Dec 06, 2017  Features / ColumnistsFreddie Kissoon

I was in Berbice last Sunday for a Hindu cremation ceremony. During the burning and after, a few people came up to me to chat about politics. Not one person I met had a good word to say about the AFC. It was a dreadful moment for the AFC, and their leaders should make deep reflections about the future of the AFC.
I received some mild accusations that people like me contributed to the kind of rulers we have in government today. I didn’t need a blackboard with a teacher with chalk in hand in front of me to describe what I was seeing. Without exception, all the Berbicians that came up to talk favoured the PPP. AFC’s Region five councilor, Abel Seetaram, was there. We talked at the cremation site and he expressed profound trepidation at the sustainability of the PPP in Berbice.
As we were driving past Rosignol, Abel came in front of our car and suggested we have a drink before we leave Berbice. He took us to a very popular spot and a few persons, no doubt from the cremation ceremony, came into the shop. One of them threw an accusatory remark at him suggesting that I was not welcomed in Berbice.
Armed with the belief that social activists like me brought in the new government, he was clearly upset with me. A largely built man who was annoyed at what was said to me, confronted him and chased him away.
It was a learning experience for me last Sunday but also a sad one. I was pained at the expressions I heard in the denunciation of the APNU+AFC. This is a brand new government that is just thirty months in power, but the Berbicians I spoke to do not want them back in office. It was not a nice feeling at that cremation ground.
A party that dominated Guyana for twenty-three years during which time every conceivable ugly dimension in the use of power found a pleasant nesting place in the PPP fortress still had support in Berbice. Why? How does the analyst account for what I certainly see as an atavistic psychosis?
As I finished my Malta and got up to leave, Arnold Sukhraj from the AFC’s youth arm who took me up asked Abel if the AFC can survive in Berbice. Abel said beginning from yesterday, the AFC leadership has to reach out to Berbicians and ground with them. My parting reply to Abel was that it is much too late for that. I am really worried about the resurgence of the PPP because I believe this party is irredeemable.
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There are huge lessons for Guyanese to learn from the fall of Mugabe. Permanency of power inevitably creates the mythology of ownership of people and country. The collective PPP leadership deep down on the ocean bed of its mind felt it could never have lost an election in Guyana. Indians will never vote for another party. It came to accept that Indians are its possessions and it owned Guyana.
That psychology had to lead to the most sickening display of psychotic power. And it did. No shame or no immorality the PPP could have deterred the PPP. The excesses, corruptibility, nepotism, philistinism, immorality were never a bother because power was permanent and PPP’s first, second and third tier leaders were in control.
When power becomes permanent, leaders act as if they are legal owners of the country they govern and anything they do will and must be accepted. This was Mugabe in full flow. Armed with the knowledge that he was Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe was him, he felt comfortable enough to groom his wife to succeed him, bypassing guerrillas who fought with him and were the logical inheritors of his office.
The nastiness that permanent power brings could revisit this country if the PPP is returned to power. What that success will do is to further warp the psychology of its leaders to revel in its invincibility. Guyana will be told that the PPP is God’s chosen children who could never lose power. All the debaucheries, depravities and venalities will return.
It is simply unbelievable what I was witnessing last Sunday in Berbice. Surely if a population is disgruntled with the performance of its government, it is not a civilized reason to go back to a destructive past where crime, criminality and corruption almost destroyed society.
Those who don’t like the present government better think hard and long if they want the PPP back. This time, Jagdeo will certainly sink Guyana to the bottom of our northern neighbour – the Atlantic Ocean