It is with great remorse that I write you this open letter. It is because of my long standing friendship with you both that I choose to write regarding the ongoing electoral standoff in Guyana. Both of you, myself, and other activists plowed the fields of injustice on shameless electoral fraud; we shared far too many moments in the political journey to get credible elections in Guyana. I cannot remain silent in the midst of blatant electoral fraud. With utmost respect as a comrade in the struggles for free and fair elections and as a friend, nay, as a brother, the time has come for me to indicate you have twisted the very concepts of honesty we shared for decades.Moses, my admiration for you took a nosedive in 2019 in the milieu of the No Confidence Motion when, after acquiescing to the fall of the Coalition you performed a back somersault. From savvy politics to peculiar math, you concocted an unheard of formula consisting of 32 ½ men rounded to a full man = 33; a majority is 33+1 =34. One year later, after wasting tens of millions of of dollars of Guyanese taxpayers’ money, it took 5 judges in Trinidad to declare that 33 is greater than 32! To my brother Moses, I say ‘you cannot lead people out of bondage then chain them to deceit ‘. that is the epitome of hypocrisy.
Khemjaj, I recall around 2012 I attended a meeting (you were the main speaker) at the real estate office of the late Sankar Nirahu, one of the founders of the AFC, and I rekindled my association with you. (Our first encounter was at the BO Adams Commission of Enquiry of the 1992 Elections). At that time, many in the diaspora were very frustrated over the PPP’s governance and were compelled to align with a new political movement, the so-called third force. I felt your movement, accepted as a c tree double third force, would relegate racial voting to the sidelines, prevent highhandedness and abuse of power and uplift Guyana to prominence from Third World status. I joined your party. It is a decision I now come to regret as indeed so many others who supported the AFC.
Many persons became ‘aligned’ to the AFC and were inspired by regular visits of yourself, Nigel Huges and Moses. Following the death of Sankar, my office became the prime location for AFC meetings and fundraisers; the highpoint being a huge 2014 Christmas Party with Lenno Craig being the feature speaker. Even at this juncture, the concept of an alliance of forces was unheard of. However, in February you (Khemraj) indicated a joining of forces with other parties. I opposed the proposal, but reluctantly I complied; the main rationale being in your words ‘dem (meaning PNC) can’t run Guyana as dem please because the AFC will keep dem in their place’! I envisaged the transformation of Saul into Paul the Apostle. I was wrong.
Through many fundraising activities, at my office and members’ residences in America and the culmination of a grand event with Granger and Moses in Richmond Hill, notwithstanding a crowd of PPP protesters, AFC gained support in America. Millions of American dollars was raised between February and May 2015. Such was my convictions that I abandoned my office and projects and rushed to Guyana to campaign for a change of government in the hopes that we will see a better Guyana. I was wrong. You betrayed me and the nation.
Today, I feel ashamed as I reflect on the words in May 2015 of my poor mother: ‘Why you going to support these people who made me line up in hot sun and rain for oil and soap, don’t you have shame’ !? ‘Son, remember tiger does get old but he don’t lose he stripes”! I did not pay heed to her words. My response was ‘this is a different time, people can change’. I was wrong.
I know the degradation you both suffered from Freedom House; I empathize with the venom you carry, but do not allow for a few persons, in particular one past president, to sway your better judgement. Let not your personal aggrandizement obscure your higher moral values to concur with anyone to perpetuate harm to our beloved country. While no one can change the tide of history you both have time and opportunity to smooth and prevent the impeding waves of scorn that will eventually become the hallmark of your life. There can be no compromise between good and evil. The quest for electoral transparency today is no different from pre-1992, nor are the underlying principles of truth and honor whether you stand at Robb Street or in Sophia. Neither is it of any consequence if you wear yellow or green instead of red.
In closing, remember the immortal words of Ralph Waldo Emerson ‘we do not inherit this world from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children’. I ask of you: is the title of Honorable Prime Minister more meaningful than the quality of being Khemraj, a man of honor? Khemraj, I know you are waiting to embark on your Prime Ministerial maiden voyage, (if you get it). However, to sail on such a ship of deceit and thievery selling your birthright for a mess of pottage. Your mentor and predecessor embarked on the same journey in 2015 as the captain; today he steps off as a crew member. The same fate awaits you.
Leyland Chitlall Roopnaraine
Resigned Executive, Alliance for Change, Queens, New York