During last week we witnessed the mini-drama of the Chronicle standing by its decision to cease publishing articles by Dr David Hinds and Mr Lincoln Lewis. Both men and some others have expressed great disappointment at the Chronicle’s decision. Both are supporters of the APNU and are, no doubt, feeling betrayed. This is the continuation by the Chronicle. Recall that Rickey Singh was earlier banned.
Another member of the WPA, who like Hinds, has a history of struggle against the PNC dictatorship also joined in expressing disappointment at the actions. These gentlemen seem surprised and taken aback by the action to ban them. They are surprised because they chose to forget, and abandoned the strong anti-dictatorial, pro-democratic position of Walter Rodney. Instead, they have embraced the positions of the PNC/APNU.
Having said that, let me hasten to say that Rodney was an even stronger defender of the Black working people than Hinds and Ogunseye. However, he was also a strong opponent of Black racism. He was in the mould of Mandela and Cheddi Jagan, who were all opposed to any form of oppression of the working people or of the oppression of any race.
The behaviour of the likes of Dr Hinds and Mr Ogunseye is in a way a demonstration of the power of Rodney’s intellect and charisma. It is clear that Hinds and Ogunseye were only concerned about the position of Afro-Guyanese. However, despite themselves, Rodney was able to pull them along a progressive path, one of freedom for all oppressed peoples in Guyana and everywhere.
Rodney was aware that you cannot free people from oppression at the expense of another race. In fact, to try to free Afro-Guyanese from poverty at the expense of Indo-Guyanese would only be forging the chains of the Black masses as well. Our experience under the PNC regime confirmed this. Afro-Guyanese suffered greatly under the PNC as well. All our working people, regardless of their ethnic origins, suffered.
Indeed, the leadership of the PNC/APNU is a bureaucratic capitalist elite. They use the state apparatus to enrich themselves. Their superficial talk about defending Black people is just hot air. However, it is useful to them to keep some mass support. Hinds and Ogunseye should have known this. That is the only basis for their support. Both between 1964 and 1992 and from 2015 to the present they have failed in every area, economy, social sector, etc.
Hinds and Ogunseye have abandoned Rodney. Not a word on the obvious ethnic bias in hiring in the public service. Even the Black people that the APNU/PNC attacked, like the farmers at Seafield and Number 47 village, West Coast Berbice, have not been defended by those ‘Rodneyites’. They have not come to their defence because they have been sucked into the PNC/APNU position that those people support the PPP.
Our country produced some very powerful intellectuals among all races. Many of them were able to break free from the narrow confines of their own ethnic groups to be fighters for freedom everywhere. Cheddi Jagan, Walter Rodney, Ashton Chase, Brindley Benn, C V Nunes, C J Jacobs, Boysie Ramkarran, Fenton Ramsayohe, E M G Wilson, Janet Jagan are some that immediately come to mind.
The PNC/APNU has not changed. It has never apologized for its anti-independence role and its undemocratic rule.
Hinds and Ogunseye have travelled some distance, but still find themselves trapped in purely ethnic confines. The propaganda of the PNC still weighs heavily on their minds. They are consciously or unconsciously allowing themselves to be used by an elite that is more interested in their own aggrandisement than the masses of people in Guyana, whether Indo-Afro-Amerindians, Chinese or Portuguese Guyanese. Maybe their bureaucratic jobs have stifled their consciences and made them forget the main principles that Rodney stood for.
Hinds and Ogunseye should not be surprised. It was bound to happen.