Apr 29, 2017 Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon

 frddie2Don’t ever doubt President Granger’s embrace of Forbes Burnham. Granger puts his money where his mouth is. Inside his private home at D’Urban Backlands, directly opposite the Natural Cultural Centre, Granger houses three important entities dedicated to the late President – Burnham Education Scholarship Trust, Burnham Book Trust and Burnham Research Centre. When the Guyana Chronicle (of February 21, 2017) ran the story, this is what it reported; “President David Granger declared open the Chetwynd Learning Centre aimed at the preservation and dissemination of his (Burnham) ideas which form part of his (Burnham) legacy.”
Surely that is definite admiration. But the question that must be asked is: after two years as President, has Granger emulated Burnham in any way? Has he implemented any dimension of the thought process, school of ideas, ideological beliefs, governmental policies and economic directions of Forbes Burnham?
Since I asked the question, my readers are entitled to ask me what my answer is. Well, two years is a short time, and maybe Mr. Granger thinks he will have five more years after 2020, so he is not in a rush to apply Burnham to his government. But if Granger does decide to hold a second open press conference, the journalists should ask him to define Burnhamism.
Vincent Alexander should define Burnhamism. Vincent, like Granger, is dedicated to the dissemination of the legacy of Burnham, so he founded and heads the Forbes Burnham Institute. Vincent was in the YSM (youth arm of the PNC) when Burnham was president, but had no strategic role in government; and had none under President Hoyte too. He currently holds the position of advisor on tertiary education to the Minister of Education, the ideological buddy of Walter Rodney, Rupert Roopnaraine. Vincent also sits on the UG Council, officially representing the Government of Guyana.
I should go to the Botanical Gardens and speak to President Burnham and ask him if he agrees with how Mr. Granger runs his government, and if he accepts the advice Vincent gives the Minister. I could tell you that UG hasn’t improved in any substantial way over the past ten years, and when Guyanese read about the nepotism in employment and lack of transparency in the administration of UG, Vincent may have a lot of explaining to do.
We tend to be over-eager to see how people with great ideas when in opposition would perform when they acquire power. Well, Roopnaraine and Vincent are in power, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Burnham may be chastising Vincent, while Rodney may be ashamed of what Roopnaraine is doing.
Walter, I guess, is not amused at how foolishly Roopnaraine is despoiling the face of Rodneyism. First, he put his name to an organization that was supposed to collect funds and build the D’Urban Park structure. Would Walter have approved of such a huge waste of funds? Wouldn’t Walter see such unnecessary trappings of power as post-colonial depravity? My answer is yes.
Then, Rupert, the great Rodneyite, journeyed to the National Cultural Centre to ground with teachers, parents and concerned citizens on the vexation of VAT on private school tuition. Knowing he couldn’t play even a minor role in rolling back the tax, then why did he meet with them? He suffered a walk-out. Next, Rupert trenchantly dented his Rodneyite emblem, if he ever had one in the first place (which may evoke a response from Bonita Bone).
Roopnaraine displayed immense hypocrisy when he said he cannot support increased tuition at UG. He was in the Council representing the opposition when the decision was taken to implement the hike over a three-year period beginning in 2014. And it was put into effect in that very year. Obviously since then until last week, he had amnesia or convenient memory. When the second phase of the fee hike was going into effect, it was all over the news three weeks ago, Roopnaraine was silent. Now that it has become policy, he intoned that he does not support it, and went on to take an ignominious position that if the university does not remove it, there is nothing he can do.
Finally, Moses, the man who parted the sea, and allowed (in justified ways) the PPP to drown. Moses would definitely conclude that he is a Jaganite. But what is Jaganism? Is Moses practicing Jaganism? Would Jagan have run the government the way Moses is doing it? And Moses does run the government, because he is Prime Minister, and the Cummingsburg Accord bestowed serious authority on him. Cheddi perhaps, has already spoken to Moses, asking him not to kill his (Cheddi, that is) legacy.