Most Guyanese must be wondering why the PNC continues dragging out their elections heist even after the US finally put their money where their mouth is and slapped visa restrictions on those who were, in the words of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, “responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Guyana”. Pompeo called for “the Granger government to step down”. If the PNC continues to traduce democratic norms, as they did by returning to the courts to re-lit gate matters that were already settled by the apex CCJ, then the US will continue to turn the screws. They would move to other personalized sanctions such as freezing bank accounts, especially sequestering bribes, and seizing US assets such as the homes of several members of the administration.
The rationale offered by the US for the sanction was in line with the previous pronouncements of other US Officials and the local US ambassador: “This action is not about interference. It is to send a clear message of the consequences of subverting democracy and the rule of law, which poses a danger to us and our hemispheric partners. We have long said that we have no preference for a winning party, as long as it is selected through a free and fair electoral process that is credible”.
However, even though Granger has vowed to “fulfill the legacy” of his “founder leader” Burnham – and has done so in spades on the rigging front – he is definitely going off course in his relations to the US. In the 1960’s, while Jagan took what in retrospect was a fatal mistake in putting “the west on trial”, Burnham boasted about being more pragmatic and sensitive to US strategic interests in this hemisphere. As PNC insider Tyrone Ferguson titled his book on the era, Burnham’s choices were “To survive sensibly or to court heroic death” and he chose survival. The PPP, of course, was banished to the wilderness for the next 28 years while Burnham was allowed to rig elections to remain in power and flirt with his “cooperative socialism” experiment that destroyed the economy.
At this juncture, it appears the PNC under Granger has decided to do a role reversal with the PPP since they and their surrogates have launched a series of vicious attacks on the US. In addition to invoking and castigating the US for interventions in the hemisphere and elsewhere as reprising their Cold War “Ugly American” role, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter activism, the PNC has also accused the US being racist in their foreign policy. Joseph Harmon made this explicit when he asserted: “Guyana today is a nation, and no longer a plantation from whence our history of slavery and indentureship came.” The subtext, of course, is that the US sanction is designed to take us back to those days of chains and whips in the hands of “white massas”.
Following on the heels of the local partisan’s verbal warfare, one of the PNC’s supporters in the US, has followed up with his contacts in the Democratic Congressional Black Caucus – Jeffries and Clarke – to accuse the Republican administration of also backing a “racist” anti-Black PPP in the present elections crisis. But most worrying was the latest salvo from the Granger Ministry of the Presidency in which they suggested a spiteful rationale for the US sanctions than their elections heist.
Completely unprompted, Granger revealed that on April 1st, almost a month into their election heist via the Mingo inflation of PNC’s votes that the US and other Western Ambassadors had protested, the US “Voice of America” requested permission to utilize our radio frequencies to broadcast into Venezuela. This, the Granger regime refused, but as is usual in these diplomatic requests, the matter was not made public. Until now. Granger is unctuously attempting to play not just to the local gallery, but to stimulate anti-American sentiments in CARICOM and the OAS, both of which are scheduled to meet this week to discuss the PNC’s raw subversion of democracy. Their ploy is transparent: the US is kicking sand in the face of the 97-pound weakling, Guyana. While every country will act in their own interest, does the PNC believe Guyanese and our regional partners do not understand that in this instance, American interests coincide with ours: to continue on our democratic trajectory?