Dec 06, 2018  Features / ColumnistsFreddie Kissoon

People do not put politicians in front of other types of humans. Always religious authorities, business achievers, academics, sporting personalities, entertainers are on the top of people’s list but never politicians. And the reason is extremely simple to understand. There isn’t anything complex about it.
Politicians are obsessed with wanting power so in opposition they hide their true colours. In power, they become completely oblivious to the kind of loving character and inviting personality they displayed when they were dissidents.
There are countless numbers who believed that if Mrs. Clinton had won, she would not have been the type of leader she portrayed herself to be when she was on the campaign trail denouncing the Republicans.
From the time the struggle against colonialism began in the forties, the huge, famous names in this country’s history turned out to be the opposite to what they proclaimed they were, once power was achieved. The list is very long. It begins with Jagan and Burnham and all the big names in the PPP from the fifties onwards, right up to 2018. Just look at the WPA, AFC, Royston King, David Granger and others today.
Some behavioral traits are simply incredible. You cannot believe them when you see them. I grew up admiring literally dozens of famous names in Guyana. Then I got to know them when I became somebody in my country and what I saw has left an indelible imprint of pessimism in the human capacity to be good, caring and concerned people.
I would never have believed for a fraction of a moment that once the PPP was out of power and Carol Sooba was removed as Town Clerk that Royston King would have turned out to be a far more terrible and insensitive City Council monarch than Sooba. Today, I would close my eyes and choose Sooba over King to run anything in this country.
I felt disgusted to the core of my soul when I saw what Robeson Benn as Minister of Public Works was doing to very poor people like folks who set up fruit stands to sell along the East Coast Highway and places like J.B. Singh Road and teenage boys and girls selling water at Vlissengen Road and Lamaha Street . I did several heart-breaking columns on those assaults.
Then my personal friend, David Patterson, succeeded Robeson Benn as minister in that portfolio when the PPP lost power in 2015. As I walk with my dog on the seawall, vendors would come up to me and tell me what Patterson was doing to them. He even turned off the seawall road lights.
One morning, a woman came up and showed me the destruction of stalls Patterson’s ministry had committed; some of these victims I knew well because I have been a fixture on the seawall since dinosaurs roamed the earth.
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Patterson was my friend. This was not the David Patterson I knew. After a vendor complained, I rested my dog on the sand and called David. The David I knew had changed. He told me the vendors are dirty people. They defecate in the area. The old fridges are an eyesore etc. See my column of Tuesday, November 14, 2017 captioned, “A telephone call from the beach to the Minister.”
It is not that politicians change when they get power. The masks simply fall off. No sooner Volda Lawrence’s career headed in the direction of the presidency, we see the pomposity and arrogance on display. Addressing her Region Four party members, she chastised them for not showing continued gratitude and even accused some of them of being friendly with other parties (I think she had the AFC in mind). Then the warning came – she told them once they show ingratitude to the PNC, she is coming for them.
What Lawrence didn’t tell them though she knew it is that these very party faithfuls quickly change allegiance when they see how their leaders behave in government. Lawrence knew very well that party loyalists will lose optimism when they see how undemocratic those they admire have become.
The Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry brought to light an interesting, phenomenal fact that the media did not pick up, but historians, I believe, have taken note of it.
One of the witnesses, describing the violent intentions of Rodney, said that Rodney had definite links to the army. This columnist knows that. The point is, many admirers of Burnham had become disillusioned with him.
Lawrence can preach how much she wants; her party will lose support if it continues to mistreat poor people. Every Guyanese knows why Nagamootoo lost the 2018 LGE in Whim.