I note that in his valedictory address as Leader of the People’s National Congress, Brigadier David Granger stated among other things that Jainarine Singh, Eusi Kwayana, Raphael Trotman and Hamilton Green leaving the Party weakened it.
I cannot speak for the others but could not allow the felicious figment of someone’s imagination to go unanswered. In human history, Leaders have emerged who had a vision for purity that was not being practiced in their organization.
Martin Luther of course is the best known example. In post 1955-1956, while being Chairman of the PPP, Forbes Burnham broke away from the Jagan and the PPP. If he did not break away from the PPP, there would have been no PNC. I remain the only person alive who was present and witnessed those events.
What is more egregious is Granger’s statement that my leaving the PNC weakened it. This taking into account all relevant circumstances is too simplistic and can very well confuse young and old members. At all times my advocacy, passion and programmes were to stand as a sentinel to protect the interest of Party supporters and make it clear to the PPP that the GGG would not give them any political advantage.
Let me again make it very clear that nothing then and now could cause me to leave the Party for which I made personal sacrifices to promote and make the Party into a powerhouse. In the early 1990s, with Elections on the horizon, Mr. Hoyte embraced the likes of Former US President, Jimmy Carter. My advice to talk with Dr. Jagan and the PPP to discuss and find a modus vivendi with Dr. Jagan and the PPP were ignored.
The straw that broke the Camel’s back for me was on a Saturday morning, while selling New Nation in the shop by Joan Granger in Queenstown, I heard Jimmy Carter announcing to this Nation that Overseas Voting would no longer be allowed. This matter was never discussed with neither the Party’s Executive nor the Cabinet and seemed to be an unilateral decision by Hoyte at the instance of Jimmy Carter.
At a subsequent Party Meeting, I expressed shock and alarm that the matter of Overseas Voting which is allowed in the United States and which was a constitutional right in Guyana was abandoned and worst announced not by our President but by Former President Jimmy Carter.
At a Party Meeting at East Ruimveldt Secondary School, I stated in Hoyte’s presence, that such a decision showed a lack of political perspicacity which could not help our cause but hurt it.
A sensible Leader in every democracy should do all things possible to help citizens of their country but certainly do nothing that puts your grouping at a disadvantage and I entoned that only an inexperienced school boy would do such a thing. Others such as the late Thomas Anson Sancho supported my position. Leaders must not be thin-skinned.
After that Meeting Hoyte appointed what came to be known as a ‘Kangaroo Court,’ and after many members who were present refused to testify, I was expelled from the Party. I repeat, I was expelled from the Party. So let me make it clear to David Granger and others, I never left the Party that I helped to establish and always love.
Even though I was Prime Minister up to 1992 Elections, when the time came for a leader of the list to extract names of persons to sit in the Parliament, I was excluded and sent to pasture.
Many others came out in support of me, Basil Williams, Odinga Lumumba, Gregory Fraser, Patricia Chase-Green, Gwen Mc Gowan, Joe Hamilton, and the late Allan Chin, Robert Williams, Ramesh Kissoon, Thomas Anson Sancho, Llewelyn John among others.
By popular demand, I formed the Good and Green Georgetown (GGG), contested the 1994 Municipal Elections in Georgetown, the traditional stronghold of the PNC. With little resources, we sent a message to Hoyte’s section of the PNC by securing twelve (12) seats and Hoyte PNC ten (10) seats and the PPP eight (8) seats.
For us, this was a twenty two (22) seats victory for the PNC and this translated into a robust PNC contingent that faced an in-office PPP. It is no secret, through all this, PNC supporters, particularly those wedded to fulfilling the dreams of its Founder Leader, Forbes Burnham, remained PNC at heart as I did. If David Granger is unaware of all of this, I take this opportunity to let him and others know. For the record, I have been brought up to take seriously the words found in the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our trepasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
In December, nineteen (19) years ago, on Channel 28, I did a weekly programme, which I recorded on the morning of the 20th. I began that programme by stating that I forgive all those who did me wrong. Desmond Hoyte was the person I had in mind, so when he passed away two days later, I felt at peace that I had forgiven him and immediately dismantled the GGG and returned to my political home. Today, I attended a ceremony to mark the anniversary of his passing. I was impressed by our new Leader, Aubrey Campton Norton’s address. The new leadership gives us hope and I expect that particularly the young ones would seek and take wise counsel from experience and those who have been burnished by the heat of the most dangerous period of our history. I wish David Granger well and I forgive him for his recent misplaced verbal salvo.