Monday, January 16, 2006

Don't trust these guys, Stella - Freddie Kissoon

Here's Freddie's column from today's Kaieteur News:
Kaieteur News columnist, Stella Ramsaroop, writing in yesterday's edition of KN, informed us that PNC heavyweight, Sherwood Lowe, requested her thoughts on the PNC at this moment in time on Guyanese politics. It is a measure of the respect some people in the PNC have for Stella since her views are certainly not on the same wavelength of the PNC.

It is certainly also, a measure of a modesty on the part of Sherwood that he can go outside the circle of the PNC and enquire of the ideas of an independent mind. Mr. Lowe deserves our respect for such a new approach.

The question that has to be asked is how sincere is Sherwood? Is he honest about looking beyond the PNC's parameters for philosophical opinions? Or could this be a publicity campaign? I don't know Mr. Lowe at all. The little I know of him by his writings makes me feel that he belongs to the old culture that has enwrapped the two major political parties.

I have seen no one inside the young brigade of the PPP and the PNC that has wrested with the task of surmounting the inherent limitations of the PPP and PNC. Khemraj Ramjattan was the only one in the PPP; Trotman, the only one in the PNC.

That the PPP hasn't produced more of such people has to do with power and wealth. Why would young men, guaranteed of a prestigious job, an opportunity to accumulate wealth, and invested with influence and authority, rock the boat? Ramjattan was the exception because he was financially independent and had national standing.

It was in the PNC that more Trotmans should have been produced. The PNC is an opposition party and innovation, ingenuity and dynamism have to be manufactured to achieve the level of national support needed to take control of the government. There is only one reason why this scenario hasn't become a reality – the PNC is hopelessly trapped in its old mansion of race, violent politics and intellectual stultification.

Since I don't know Mr. Lowe, I have to believe that he is sincere in trying to discover new horizons. But those new paths have always been there since the PPP began to falter in the early stages of its rule with Cheddi Jagan from 1992 onwards. Is the PNC interested in these existing positive directions?

A long time ago, I remembered a statement the vastly experienced WPA leader (and someone I respect and admire immensely. I hope he and Eusi Kwayana return to live in Guyana ), Moses Bhagwan made to me. I asked him with all the power and resources Burnham had, why did he never seek to win the support of the Indians. After all, Jagan was hardly a great innovator.

Bhagwan's response was that he thought Burnham had given up on the realization of winning the Indians.

Had Burnham gone that route, such a culture would have transformed the nature of the PNC. For all his astute ability, Burnham was a miserable failure in this respect. His party is paying the price of that failure. My theory is that the PNC has rejected walking those new paths because its traditional political culture does not allow it to.

This explains the parallel existence of 13 years of bad governance and 13 years of arid, uninspiring, old opposition manoeuvres. Could Sherwood Lowe's correspondence to Stella be a search for the new landscape?

I don't want to be rude or insulting to Sherwood Lowe, but I doubt it very much. But it's there. It's there waiting for the PNC to embrace it. But the PNC can only do that with fresh leadership. It is the other side of the coin with the PPP. The eroding credibility, the disappearing popularity, the decreasing support have done absolutely nothing to cause the PPP to reflect much less to change its face and its policies.

The tragic thing about the PNC and PPP is that they are so hopelessly lost in a bygone age that no Mandela or Jesse Jackson or Bill Clinton or Kofi Annan (Jimmy Carter has given up) can put them back on track even if all of them come together and travel to Guyana.

At the psychological level, the PPP understands one thing only about Guyana as the party in power – the PNC is a Black party with Black people supporting it; we will not give them this country; it is us versus them. The PNC on the other hand, sees the PPP as an Indian party and it directs all its energies to fighting the PPP.

The dangerous, frightening and melancholy thing about these two parties is that they inculcate that belief system into the younger generation of the membership. Thus, young leaders in the PPP and PNC with good degrees to their names, with training at some respected universities cannot go beyond this political miasma.

This analysis of mine is not original. Raphael Trotman said he left the PNC because the party couldn't be beyond what I just described. When political commentators and businessmen say that Guyana's future lies with another political force, people accuse them of making a pitch for the party of their choice.

What these critics have to understand are the inner negativities of these two parties that drive them and they cannot produce a vision and a new political culture to take Guyana out of its rot. Speak to PPP and PNC leaders and they feel that the private sector will save Guyana . What about the bulk of the population that has lost imagination and faith and want to leave Guyana because they feel that the PPP and the PNC will forever dominate their country?

I wish you luck Stella in your advisory role to Mr. Lowe. I wish Mr. Lowe well too if he is looking for a modern meaning for the PNC. But this I will warn you Stella; don't trust the PNC leadership. They had 13 years to come good. When are they ever going to? I have to reply to you about your question of me being the AFC's mouthpiece. You are dead wrong. I am congenitally, an independent thinker. It runs in my blood.

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