Dr Tara Singh
The members and supporters of the PNCR (APNU) were grandstanding in Washington leveling various allegations against the PPPC government in Guyana at a conference organized by known Africanist Rickford Burke of Brooklyn. The PNCR and AFC ‘s opposition MPs and their allies launched a scathing attack on the PPPC government to an audience that comprised one ethnic group. Indian and Guyanese of other ethnic groups were missing. It was like preaching to the flock.
Nothing is wrong with criticisms, but when those attacks are based on fabrication and distorted information and spewed out with reckless abandon, it raises serious questions about credibility. One constructive comment was made by Amanda Desir who said that the opposition and the government are one in the defence of Guyana’s territorial integrity.
Leader of the Opposition Mr Aubrey Norton spoke about their people-centered development plan (but didn’t have a copy to show the audience), and repeated an old mantra, “growth is not development.” Only a blind person could not see the vast development taking place in Guyana. He blasted the PPPC for destroying democracy in Guyana. Cathy Hughes, AFC MP, joined him in this tirade. They quickly pointed out that the action by the Immigration Department to stop Mr David Patterson, AFC MP, from leaving the country was a sign of the PPPC’s authoritarian rule. They didn’t tell the audience that the Chief Immigration Officer blamed the snafu on a computer error and that they later corrected it and that Mr. Patterson is free to travel. Why would the PPPC not want Mr Patterson to attend the Washington Conference? This is political grandstanding.
Cathy Hughes quoted from News Room which she said is a PPPC medium. This is false. She also complained about the NRF fund which had $(US) 1.7 billion at end of June 2023 and asserted that most of this money was going to fund big contracts, while many children cannot read and write, and many go hungry. She laments that the 22 members that they had in their version of the NRF (Act 12 of 2019) to provide monitoring and compliance tasks, were replaced by 5 members closely connected with the PPPC. This information is wrong. The comparative body in the PPPC legislation (Act 19, 2021) has 9 members. Under the PPPC’s Act, the 5 members are for the Board of Directors who are responsible for managing the NRF. Were these falsehoods designed to excite the audience’s sensibilities?
If there was any doubt about this, Burke took to the podium and accused Jagdeo government of killing 1,400 Blackmen. Already Stabroek News had done an analysis of the 420 cases and disputed these allegations. And I have done a content analysis and found that 118 of the 420 of the people listed were Indo-Guyanese. Most of those who were killed were linked to gang warfare, shoot out with police, rampage by mass killer Fineman and his gang, and other known criminals wanted by the police. What about the attempt to overthrow the PPPC government, the storming of the President’s Office, and the East Coast insurrection?
Burke played to his true form. He used incendiary rhetoric to stir the sensibility of the audience. He asserted that Jagdeo must pay for the murders committed under his Presidency. He subtly suggests street action as one remedy. “We cannot trust the police, so we have to take action.” What action?
When the PNCR led government was in power 2015-2020, why didn’t they carry out an inquiry into those murders but just decided instead to inquire into the Lindo Creek murders? They knew that the evidence was not there. Also, that would have raised a pandora box about the killings of Father Darke, Dr Walter Rodney, Vincent Teekah, and the attempted assassination of Dr Josh Ramsamny, among others. It has always been the PNC that was linked to violence, arson (slow fiah, mo fiah), and destruction of property, not to mention the X13 plan.
The biggest travesty perpetrated upon the audience in Washington was the claim by Mr Norton that the PPPC government is destroying democracy in Guyana. How much more outlandish could one become? All the western diplomatic missions are aware of their (PNCR) attempt to stage a daring electoral heist in 2020. All the international Observer Missions, including the Carter Center, have condemned the PNCR’s democratic behavior and several of them had their US visas suspended for this purpose. How do they have the gall to preach and pontificate on the altar of democracy?
In December 2018, the PNC led coalition lost a No Confidence motion in Parliament. Instead of stepping down from power and holding elections within 3 months, they hung onto power until August 2, 2020 on the absurdity that 34 is a majority of 65. Another blatant abuse of the constitution and a frontal attack on democracy was when PNCR leader Mr David Granger unilaterally appointed Judge James Patterson as GECOM Chair, contrary to the constitution which mandates that the chair would be chosen among nominees submitted by the opposition Leader who was at the time Bharrat Jagdeo. Granger’s unliteral decision was overturned by the Caribbean Court of Justice. The history of PNCR is a sad tale of electoral rigging (1968-1982), dictatorship, economic collapse, and hopelessness.
If their purpose is to get the US to interfere into the internal affairs of Guyana, that would not happen. The US Embassy has all the factual information which they conveyed to the State Department. They are aware that the PNCR is a democracy buster.