Below are the arguments in an unfinished response to Mr Rohit Kanhai’s letter on me (‘Kissoon’s agenda was not simply about a stroll down memory lane’ SN, April 13). I will not describe my association with the WPA for Kanhai. To do so would be infradig. I was present when the WPA was born in the bottom flat of NAACIE. I left Guyana to study in 1979. I returned to Guyana in 1984. There is too much material on my WPA days so I will end here on that subject.
I did not know of Mr Kanhai’s oppression under the PNC dictatorship He has described them and he has my admiration. I hope never to deny him that. I will be careful not to I thank him immensely for another negative exposure on the faulty politics of Cheddi Jagan. I wonder what took him so long to prove to the world the inherent flaws of Cheddi Jagan. I am no giant of an intellectual as Kanhai cynically describes me with the deliberate purpose of being ironical. From Kanhai’s previous response to me last week, Rupert Roopnaraine is such a giant.
In my humble way in my fifty years of praxis, I have stuck to my essential philosophical beliefs and I have never participated in any situation in which humans are oppressed. I cannot say the same for many WPA leaders. Roopnaraine, Dr. Clive Thomas and Tacuma Ogunseye are supporters of a naked, neo-liberal government that oppresses the poor and the powerless and a government that is not working class oriented. They are active functionaries of a regime that does not hide its authoritarian propensities. A victim of such autocracy is a WPA leader himself – Dr David Hinds. Roopnaraine is close to the President of Guyana who is an unapologetic, shameless endorser of the politics of Forbes Burnham, a type of politics that was cruel and deadly.
Two more points: First, I will now take the liberty to assume professorial status and lecture to Kanhai. We humans do great things, then, we humans undo the great things we do with the passage of time. This law of history is applicable to all societies. In Guyana, Jagan, his wife, Burnham, Ashton Chase and so many others did fantastic things to make Guyanese free at a time when I wasn’t born.
Then as time moved on and they became the holders of powerful offices, they began to do wrong things. This is how I see my country. This is how I read it. This is my reading of the WPA persons who are still alive. I would exclude Eusi Kwayana, Moses Bhagwan and David Hinds though I think David’s emphasis on identifying with ethnic organizations does not help his multi-racial image.
I repeat and I would hope Kanhai reflects on what those WPA have become today ‒ the WPA has atrophied. Three of the WPA admirable activists from the seventies have gone so far from the original WPA culture that their politics today is sadly symptomatic of the degenerative culture that Walter Rodney fought against. Three of them stand out for their 180 degrees turn around: Ogunseye, Bonita Bone and Dr Odai Singh, now Hindu priest, Aksharananda.
The second point is the reaction of the three honest WPA persons that I mentioned that are still around today – Kwayana, Bhagwan, Hinds – that Kanhai has now informed me about. It has to do with Roopnaraine’s declaration in Clairmont Chung’s book that the WPA was stockpiling arms and other equipment to attack the Burnhamite state. Kanhai rejects that and tells me that when he penned his commentary on me he consulted one of the three WPA figures and they too reject Roopnaraine’s declaration (please note; he said one of the three, since I don’t know which one, I will have to generalize).
But to date none of the three has commented on Roopnaraine’s confession. Do they have an obligation to history to do so? Hinds writes profusely in the media. Kwayana had a letter in the Guyanese press recently and so did Bhagwan a few months back. Why was it left to Kanhai to disagree with Roopnaraine and why was it left to Kanhai to tell Guyanese that this is the position of Kwayana or Bhagwan or Hinds? Finally, as it related to the arms collection, why is Roopnaraine not telling the truth? What was his reason for being so misleading? He told Chung that in an interview in 2010, long before he took ill.