In his letter “One man and one group seem to know what our public servants need” (Stabroek News, Nov.19, 2022), Hamilton Green, Elder, writes “Dictatorship is where a governing group ignores the other tiers of governance, a dictatorship is where established social and other institutions, such as religious bodies, the trade unions, are trivialized, if not trampled upon.”
According to Wikipedia, “Hamilton Belal Green is a Guyanese politician who served as the fourth Prime Minister of Guyana. He is the first and only Muslim Prime Minister of Guyana, along with being the first and only Muslim Prime Minister in the Western Hemisphere… He was a member of People’s National Congress (PNC) and chosen as one of the five Vice Presidents in the cabinet of Forbes Burnham in October 1980. He also served as the Prime Minister of Guyana from 6 August 1985 to 9 October 1992.” Perhaps Mr Green can inform readers if dictatorship existed in Guyana during the years he held all those senior positions in the Government, a time when party paramountcy prevailed; his party’s flag was flown over the High Court; and critics of the government murdered as in the case of Dr Walter Rodney.
Mr Green continues “Unhappily, one is beginning to get the impression that the 50% vote in 2020 bestowed upon our President the right to do such things as he may genuinely believe to be the correct thing, assuming that we the people are so backward that this one man and a group now in control know what the public servants need, and there is no need for even the facade of consultation with the TUC.” The hypocrisy of this statement is unbelievable especially when one considers that he and his party could not win a free and fair election and rigged every election held during their term in office to stay in power for 28 by which time the country became the second poorest in the hemisphere. The undermentioned excerpts from the paper “The faces Behind the Masks”, nrachives.gwu.ca (Approved For Release 2010 06 09 CIA-RDP90-00845R000100190003-4 Guyana) are very informative in telling how his government and he personally treated workers during their term in office.
“In June Burnham negotiated a secret deal with the International Monetary Fund that typically required harsh economic consequences for Guyanese. In return for $81 million Burnham agreed to widespread public sector lay-offs and other measures that resulted in dramatic reduction in real wages. The details of the arrangement were kept from the Guyanese public until after the July 10 (1978) referendum…
On the labor front the Afro-Guyanese bauxite workers rallied trade union solidarity such as had not been seen since the pre-1964 era when the largely East Indian sugar workers and their union the Guyana Agricultural Workers Union joined the walkout By the end of August trade union solidarity was capped by the addition of support from the Clerical and Commercial Workers Union the National Association of Agricultural Commercial Industrial Employees and the University of Guyana Staff Association All of these events occurred amid increasing violence and stepped up beatings by police openly operating with House of Israel elements. In one of the most vicious attacks on CCWU strikers Hamilton Green personally led the fray”. Mr Green’s record cannot be erased from Guyana’s history.
Incidentally, I recall reports and pictures in the local press in the early 1960s of Mr Green’s conversion to Islam and his attendance of Friday prayers at the Queenstown Masjid in Georgetown. It was a time when Indo-Guyanese Muslims were encouraged to abandon the PPP and, according to documents found in the UK some years ago, the British Colonial Office funded the Guyana United Muslim Party (GUMP) for the 1964 general elections. Mr Green now identifies himself as an Elder which I understand to mean a leader in the Christian church. So is Mr Green now a Christian and his conversion to Islam at that time just a political ploy to win votes?