Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
The attention of the People’s National Congress has been called to a letter entitled – PNC should consider the harm it has done to black people – which was attributed to former President Mr. Donald Ramotar and published in the newspapers on Sunday 17th January.
Mr. Ramotar refers to earlier letters by Mr. Hamilton Green and Mr. Lincoln Lewis who he describes as ‘PNC sympathizers.’ Thereafter, he refers to the ‘PNC Leaders’ and the ‘PNC elite.’ The PNC wishes to make it clear that anyone can be a ‘sympathizer’ and is free to express his or her opinion. Mr. Green and Mr. Lewis, in this case, are free to write on their own behalf and have not been asked to write, speak or act on behalf of the PNC.
Mr. Ramotar’s specific allusions to ‘PNC leaders’ elsewhere in his letter, however, refer to the specific group of persons who have been elected or appointed in accordance with that Party’s Constitution and can speak authoritatively on Party policy. It is therefore dangerously dishonest for Mr. Ramotar to expend over 800 words in his letter to blame the PNC for the actions of two private citizens who were not acting on behalf of the PNC.
Mr. Ramotar, in his long letter, should have been more careful to publish only information which is factual and truthful. He was elected by the People’s Progressive Party and his tenure of office from 2011 to 2015, however, as was the entire PPP 23-year regime from 1992 to 2015 was far from glorious.
The PNC wishes to refer to certain specific untruths appering in Mr. Ramotar’s letter.
First is the worn-out lie that “… the PNC fought against Independence for this country” for which he cites no evidence. The truth is that the PNC campaigned relentlessly for complete independence for British Guiana to the point of expelling a very senior executive who public challenged the Party’s policy on Independence prior to the 1961 general elections. The PNC is proud of having led Guyanese to Independence in 1966.
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP), on the other hand, refused to attend the Independence Constitutional Conference at Lancaster House in London which drafted the Independence Constitution and, except for the brief, token appearance of the PPP’s General Secretary at the flag-raising ceremony on 25-26 May 1966 and the opening of the new parliament, to participate in the actual Independence celebrations.
The PNC has never ‘used racism and violence’ to stop freedom. The truth is that racism and violence, particularly in 1964 when the UK Government decided to introduce the proportional representation system in the pre-Independence period was caused by two main factors both of which were aimed at preventing the holding of general elections that year and to delay the grant of Independence. First was the PPP’s declaration of a hurricane of protest” and, second, was the strike in the sugar industry called by the Guiana Agricultural Workers’ Union (GAWU). Both the ‘hurricane’ and the strike were coordinated with the same objective.
The PPP, after entering office in 1961, had set about acquiring a large quantity of arms, ammunition and explosives and training a large number of cadres from its youth arm – the Progressive Youth Organization – in a foreign country. These youths returned to wage their particular ‘brutal and savage violence’ campaign in 1964.
Professor Clem Seecharan asserted, pointedly, that “…sugar workers were pawns in the politics of sugar throughout Cheddi Jagan’s political career – from the late 1940s to the late 1990s”. He made it clear that the PPP was simply using sugar workers as foot soldiers to achieve political objectives in the Disturbances. Dr. Jagan himself, provided evidence of the nexus by admitting that “…the ending of the [GAWU] sugar strike brought an end to the disturbances” which claimed over 176 lives.
The removal of the PPP from office in 1964 effectively neutralized the terrorists who had threatened to tear the country apart. The PPP’s return to office in 1992, however, opened the gateway for a renewed violence, especially from 2000 to 2010 in what has been called ‘The Troubles’ which were the result of several factors. These included the PPP administration’s tolerating notorious narco-traffickers, undermining police officers’ efficiency, slaughtering young men from depressed communities and starting what Dr. Roger Luncheon, PPP Executive Member and former Head of the Presidential Secretariat, described as ‘drug-gang warfare’.
The Troubles started with notorious public execution of Lyndon London by the Police Force’s Target Special Squad in February 2000 and took a deadly turn in April 2001 with the killing of Shaka Blair in his bedroom in Buxton Village. That killing by the special squad was timed with a macabre motive to occur on the same day as the funeral of slain police officer Leon Fraser and infuriated Buxtonians beyond measure. There were a dozen massacres, over 1431 murders and uncounted ‘disappearances’ during the PPP’s decade of death from 2000 to 2009.
The PNC at no time ‘sided with criminals against the police.’ Mr Ramotar should know that it was the PPP administration which appointed both the Commissioner of Police and the Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force at the time and tried to employ the two forces to behave unprofessionally. The PPP attempted to recruit former NYPD Commissioner – Bernard Kerik – as national security adviser despite the candidate’s known ethics violations to continue the oppressive campaign in certain villages. Kerik was later to be convicted and disgraced.
The PNC never supported the so-called ‘Douglas gang’. The truth is that the PPP was forced by local public opinion and international pressure to convene a formal Commission of Inquiry into allegations that its Minister of Home Affairs was involved in directing a gang of persons, including rogue police officers, who had been killing young men in extra-judicial executions.
The PNC rejects Mr. Ramotar’s assertion that it has been “…brutal against African Guyanese who opposed their racism… in order to drive out the Black people from the PPP.” The PNC has always been a multi-racial party which draws its support widely from all Guyanese, regardless of their race, religion, region of residence or social class.
The PNC, like any other political party, seeks the support of honest persons who share its objectives and can contribute to making Guyana a better place. It would be political suicide for the Party to attack anyone on the basis of his or her race or religion.
Mr. Ramotar has been misinformed about what occurred during the visit by the Leader of the PNC and the Leader of the Opposition on Monday 7th September 2020. He was most likely misled by loose remarks by the PPP Ministers who were specially selected and sent to the scene of the protests.
The truth is that villagers started to protest spontaneously on Sunday 6th September soon after the mutilated bodies of two young men were discovered that same day. Villagers began burning tyres and blocking the main Berbice-Demerara highway. Villagers had been sickened by the violence which occurred on 6th March when buses carrying schoolchildren were stoned and their occupants injured by PPP hooligans at Bust Lot Village in West Berbice. Their actions on the roadways was not started by anything that the PNC said or did.
The two leaders did not at any time address the public or encourage disorder or disrespect. They spoke indoors to the families. The visit was expressively and entirely to convey condolences to the grieving mothers and relatives of the two youths who had been killed. The PNC leaders bore no responsibility for any acts which took place as a consequence of the murders.
Mr. Ramotar’s letter is replete with disinformation, distortion and deliberate deception. The PNC rejects Mr. Ramotar’s letter in its entirety.
People’s National Congress