Freddie Kissoon’s June 16, 2021 column, captioned: “The theory of Granger’s hegemony is an academic fraud” once again forces me to seek your tolerance in permitting my response.
Kissoon premises his thesis on the contention that Granger alone is not responsible for his actions and for the APNU+AFC coalition losing power. He asserts that it was the “depraved political culture of the AFC and the WPA” that led to Granger’s hegemonic leadership of the coalition and government. I will not attempt to speak for the AFC since doing so is their responsibility. From my standpoint and that of the WPA’s we reject Kissoon’s opportunistic and self-serving approach to this issue of governance and coalition management, in short leadership. I accept the contention by some critics of the WPA when objectively made; that the WPA’s presence in the APNU and the coalition government means it must share collective responsibility for the success and failures of the government. But to stretch this as Kissoon does to imply that the WPA is responsible for Granger and his party’s behaviour is erroneous and lacking in objectivity. And to remove Granger and the PNC/R for responsibility for their political conduct and shifting it to coalition partners is opportunistic.
I will state some areas of agreement with Freddie Kissoon in an effort to keep the discourse objective and rational. He wrote, “The PNC could not have retained the five seats it lost in 2006 elections if the PNC was not seen as a changing party that has as its partner, the WPA.” He continues, “The PNC could not have won the government in 2011 if it had run as the PNC and not under the banner of the APNU. The PNC could not have regained elected office it lost in 1992 if Indians did not vote for the AFC in a coalition with the PNC.” (I will add the vote of Kissoon and his active campaigning for the coalition.) On the above observations, I agree with Kissoon. He writes, “What happened then is that after victory, the coalition stood on a falcon which its engineering soundness did not depend on the PNC alone.” Here again, I concur.
However, Kissoon as he moves his thesis along enters a slippery slope, losing his objectivity and in doing so departs into the wilderness of conjecture and speculation. None of the persons he cited and their writings on the 2020 elections had in any way influenced the WPA’s assessment of Granger’s management of the coalition and government. Our position on this matter predates the elections. In short, we came to our conclusion based on our engagement and experiences in the APNU before the elections and very early in the coalition government. For example, when Granger decided to end the Walter Rodney COI without consulting the WPA.
In exiting the “promised land of truth and objectivity,” Kissoon returned to his old self: of twisting reality to suit his dishonest analysis. Having moved from his comfort zone (AFC internal affairs) of narration of the AFC politics in addressing Granger’s hegemony, he then struggles to similarly indict the WPA. He contends, “While the AFC was essentially driven by the temptation of power, the WPA’s role in nurturing Granger’s ambitions was ideological. All the African leaders in the WPA saw the 2015 dispensation as African entitlement. They supported Granger’s role.” This is far from the truth and Freddie can’t speak for African leaders in the WPA. He continues, “The two Indians, Rupert Roopnaraine and Moses Bhagwan, had different motives. Roopnaraine was traditionally close to the PNC preserving the loyalty his mother had for Forbes Burnham. Bhagwan was glad that the PPP was defeated (as Kissoon was in his public statements) and supported the post-2015 outfit because of hatred for the PPP. Granger’s hegemony then was not a play for power. It grew out of the depraved culture of the AFC and WPA.”
Kissoon’s claim that Roopnaraine was traditionally close to the PNC is false and has not been substantiated by any credible evidence. Whether or not it is correct that Roopnaraine’s parents had close relations with Burnham has to be seen in the context that Roopnaraine’s father was a senior member of the PPP before the split between Burnham and Jagan. And the fact that the Roopnaraine had migrated years before Burnham came to power makes Kissoon’s claim a non-issue. What I found repulsive and depraved is his stating, Roopnaraine’s “mother” not father or family had close relations with Burnham. This is classic Kissoon, leaving a deliberate insult in the public domain in the hope it would not be challenged.
Concerning Moses Bhagwan being happy that the PPP was defeated, applies to all of us in the opposition, including Freddie Kissoon. What I will contest is his ‘hate’ argument. Where is ‘hate’ in seeing the back of a regime whose more than two decades in power witnessed corruption on a vast scale, support for drug lords, deaths of hundreds of people and a terrible record on race relations.