I thank Mr Ralph Ramkarran for his letter `Alexander further obfuscates Burnham’s history’ (SN, April 14) for providing a useful perspective on the antecedents to the formation of the People’s Progressive Party. It is not a widely known fact that Mr Ashton Chase had declined the post of Chairman of the PPP at the time of its formation in 1950, despite the fact that he was one of the founding members of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC). The other founding members of the PAC were Dr Cheddi Jagan, Janet Jagan and HJ M Hubbard.
As observed by Mr Ramkarran, the PAC was the forerunner of the PPP and to attribute Burnham as being a co-founder of the PPP as Mr Vincent Alexander sought to do, is not only disingenuous but also factually incorrect.
My understanding of our political history was that it was the shooting to death of the five sugar workers by the colonial police in 1948 and the injuries inflicted on several others that served as a major catalyst to the formation of the PPP.
It was at the graveside of the slain sugar workers that Dr Jagan made a silent pledge, as documented in his The West on Trial that he would dedicate his entire life towards the cause of the working people.
The need for a political party to articulate and represent the interests of the working class in the British-dominated legislature was recognized by Dr Jagan and other leaders of the PAC.
It is, I believe, in the above context that the formation of the PPP has to be seen. The PPP became the first mass-based and well organized political party in Guyana and also the first to win power in the country’s history in 1953, even though that victory lasted for only 133 days.