KN Jul 08, 2016
A curiously intriguing, little letter appeared in the newspapers a few days ago. Written by a young East Indian Guyanese who lives in the United States, the gentleman, Sean Ori, says that he is committed to supporting the PPP in the future and that he has always embraced the PPP. For him, no other party can have his loyalty. But he believes that as the evidence of corruption from the forensic audits mounts, the PPP’s future can only be assured by the infusion of new blood.
He believes that the PPP’s current hierarchy is tainted and the PPP’s future deportment must include transparency, good governance, accountability and respect for citizens. Ori’s (that is his real identity) plea takes us back forty years, with the split in the African community between Forbes Burnham and Walter Rodney. Countless analysts believe that if Burnham was more accountable and democratic, then Rodney’s politics would have been far less successful.
What was pellucid at the Rodney Commission of Inquiry was that witness after witness testified that Rodney had won the emotions of sections of the African middle class and African youths and even military personnel. What Rodney’s followers were asking Burnham in the seventies is what Ori is asking the PPP leadership in 2016. We will never know what shape history would have taken if certain phenomenal figures didn’t die or if certain anticipations and predictions did not fail to appear, but it tantalizes the imagination to know what Guyana would have been like if Burnham had outfoxed Rodney and Cheddi Jagan.
Countless people believe that had Burnham, with all his great, creative mind, had genuinely reached out to Indians, Jagan would have been a footnote in Guyanese history. As Burnham became weaker from his increasing authoritarianism, that increasing authoritarianism made Jagan stronger. The same can be said for the context in which Walter Rodney operated. Many aging activists from that period, from the Caribbean and elsewhere, believed Burnham made a tragic mistake in denying Rodney an appointment at UG. They feel that as a professor at UG, Rodney would not have morphed into a fantastic street activist.
It is the same with the PPP since 1992. If Jagan had lived on as President after 1997, would Guyana have seen the Buxton infamy, the crime spree after 2002, the passionate denunciation of the PPP Government as racist by the African community, the criminalized state, and the abominable level of state thuggery?
In a similar vein, we must ask if the PPP under Jagdeo had reached out to other parties and stakeholders and democratized its governance, and if when Jagdeo ended his presidency, he had allowed democratic election for the presidential candidate and Ralph Ramkarran had won, if there would have ever been a Coalition Government.
So we come back to Ori. If young Indians like him could pressure the PPP supporters in Guyana to demand a democratic vote for new leadership, what would Guyana be like after2020? Could a new look PPP win the 2020 poll? Anything is possible, but few analysts would dismiss the possibility of unpredictable election results if a fumigated, democratic, modest, fresh, young and apologetic PPP takes centre stage in 2019.
Sadly, Guyana is not that fortunate. My own take is that the PPP will lose in 2020, because the monocrat and his paladins will never ride away. One must understand that the Jurassic minds that have imprisoned the PPP will never accept what Sean Ori wants.
People like Jagdeo, Gail Teixeira, Clement Rohee, Roger Luncheon and others think of the PPP in terms of possessive mentality. The PPP belongs to them. The PPP is their property. These aging leaders, at the conceptual level, do not understand and will ever accept the principle of a membership vote for the leadership in an organization. That is an unthinkable political thought for these enduring autocrats. These are the people that will lead the PPP into the next general election.
What is incredible to know is that if Ori was to land in Freedom House and ask for accountability, transparency, good governance and modesty, he will be told that the PPP always practiced those values, in and out of government. If he points to the evidence of corruption from the forensic audits, he will be told that there is no such tangibility, but it is the conspiracy of a witch hunt by the Coalition Government.
This is the dangerous dilemma that faces Guyana with a recalcitrant PPP. The monocrat and his paladins come 2020 are going to circle the wagon. A democratic PPP is nowhere on the horizon, now or in the future.