ANSWERING THE CRITICS


Critics outside the PPP have accused me of being silent while in the PPP, and of only recently having found my voice. I have never responded. Those same criticisms are now being echoed from within the PPP. First a ‘source’ in a newspaper which promotes Dr. Jagdeo, whose identity can be easily discerned, and more recently Clement Rohee in his letter on April 3 in SN, in defence of Dr. Jagdeo and not a word about his belittling of President Ramotar, reinforcing my contention about Dr. Jagdeo’s grip over the PPP. The unjustified criticism, proven to be false from what follows, relieves me from any further obligation to retain confidences of the PPP leadership. I set out below a short, verbatim excerpt from a 4,275 word presentation I made at a meeting of the Central Committee of the PPP on or about March 25th, 2006, which Mr. Rohee saw in draft and amended before I read it. It demonstrates that the accusation that I never spoke out is false and known by Mr. Rohee and Dr. Jagdeo to be false. I spoke out and responded in writing on many other occasions on many issues. These will be revealed and other appropriate responses made from time to time in self defence, or whenever Dr. Jagdeo chooses to ‘have the last laugh,’ as predicted by Mr. Rohee:

 “The expression of different views does not harm Party unity; it is, on the contrary, vital to the maintenance of Party unity and the building of consensus. It is only when members have the opportunity of fully expressing their views without being quickly dismissed or responded to with hostility that they can be satisfied that they are being heard and their concerns addressed. Only then will they sign on to a decision and defend it willingly and gladly…

[This is not the case] today. Criticisms of or questions about policies or positions, however mildly expressed, are often conceived to be “attacks” which are sometimes responded to with angry “counter attacks.” As a result some  members of the Party leadership and others refrain from open debate or from raising concerns for fear of being insulted or humiliated in the presence of others or of being “pilloried” which one Minister was publicly threatened with. Many, like the Minister, take the silent way out…

“The security situation is uppermost in peoples’ minds. Everyone is terrified out of his/her wits because of the gruesome violence in Agricola, the massive theft of arms from the army, regular killings allegedly by the Buxton terrorists and weekly, wanton killings by  armed robbers…

“A report [on the Agricola violence] was given by Cde. Gail which revealed no information or analysis of any significance, so we are none the wiser. One member requested that the President should speak to the issue but he declined to do so. The newspapers or private individuals involved in speculation are the only source  of information and analysis available for the executive leadership of the Party…

“Our Party and its leaders need to know the real situation so that we can assess if the Party or individuals are in danger so that contingency plans can be made, if possible, or comrades warned or  reassured. I absolutely reject the notion that a tiny coterie of comrades in the Government can determine for the leadership  of the PPP, what information we can or cannot have when the existence of our Party and the lives of our leaders may be in issue. If for want of information our Party or any member is harmed, those who are responsible for withholding it would have to bear the responsibility…

[Minister Sash Sawh, who was present at the meeting, was assassinated, along with other relatives, on April 22, less than four weeks after these words were spoken. The issue of responsibility has never been discussed or admitted. No explanation was offered to the Minister’s family or relatives for the failure of the Party leadership to heed the potential dangers which I raised. All that happened after I finished speaking was, as expected, an irrational torrent of abuse from then President (now Dr.) Jagdeo. I have notes of what he said which I will publish while he is having his ‘last laugh.’ Had there been a serious discussion and assessment, based on information, and all leaders alerted to the dangers and steps taken to enhance security, the latter of which happened afterwards, could this tragedy have been avoided?].

“Consultation has always been the cornerstone and foundation of the Party’s method of work. I get the impression that in the recent past consultation is seen as a tedious and unnecessary humbug or worse.  Extensive consultation has never failed us and has kept us on a firm and steady path which has helped us to maintain internal Party democracy, unity, regain political office [and] do wonderful work for the people of Guyana. But we will lose it all if we jeopardise the most basic and fundamental tenets of our Party. I urge introspection and the return to tried and tested principles of organisation…

“The attitude of the Government to the Party on the crime situation which I referred to above is a prime example of lack of accountability…If we allow this situation to continue we will lose our self respect and worse, the respect of our members and supporters and justifiably so.

“Executive (Government) control of matters with political implications without the Party being fully engaged will result in continuing harm to Party/Government relations and mistakes, like the occasion when the Party abstained on a motion, and its own motion at that, to hold an inquiry into the assassination of Walter Rodney, which is an issue we are still to hear about.  There can be more serious mistakes resulting in dangerous consequences…

“I am aware that some may be critical of the raising of these issues at this time when elections are around the corner, the country is facing a grave security crisis and in a large body as this the confidentiality of my comments may not be secure – the same old party unity bogeyman.  Quite apart from the fact that there is no good time to raise difficult matters, I consider that I would be failing in my duty unless I speak up now on matters which ought have been raised a long time ago. It is not the raising of the issues that is the problem. It is the existence of the issues and the failure to frankly raise, discuss and resolve them that is the problem…

“These are not the only issues which are urgent. Attention to issues like the threat to democracy, the dialogue process, building trust, ideological questions, alliance policy and others are no longer given attention by the leadership when in fact these matters are now more vital than ever before…”

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4 Comments

  1. I’m eagerly awaiting forward to Rohee’s response to see who would have the “last laugh”.

  2. Jagdeo used fear on his Comrades …they knew he was close to Roger Khan and other death squads running around Guyana like Demi-Gods.

    ” It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

    AUNG SAN SUU KYI, Freedom from Fear

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