In his column of March 19, 2016, Dr. Baytoram Ramharack writes about what he sees as the “moral advantages” in Africans standing up to Burnham’s excesses. But he surely cannot dismiss the stand that ROAR and GIHA took against the PPP/C Government’s excesses for which both groups were condemned by the PPP/C, and the PNC and African leadership as racists.
There is a tendency to equate the two situations when the PNC was a brutal and illegal regime and the PPP/C, for all its alleged corruptions, always a legally elected government. The struggle to remove an illegal government as led by Dr. Walter Rodney is not the same as fighting to correct the excesses of a democratically elected one.
Rodney attracted many Indian Guyanese to his struggle and never identified as a racial leader. ROAR and GIHA on the other hand identified fully as Indian groups.
Here’s the crux of the matter: Would Dr Ramharack agree that had a Rodney-like Indian leader emerged to speak against the PPP/C’s corruptions that he would never have received African Guyanese support?
Remember that ROAR and GIHA were very vocal about the PPP/C Government’s inability or unwillingness to deal with the African Guyanese terrorism centered in Buxton at the turn of the century which was directed at Indian Guyanese.
African Guyanese took their fight against the PPP/C Government to the perceived supporters of the party Indians, which was very unlike the strategy that Rodney used. He engaged Burnham and the party leadership directly and never threatened their supporters.
The Buxton terrorists were supported, however, by the African Guyanese leadership as being “marginalized” by the PPP/C Government, and justified their rape, assault, kidnapping and murder of Indian villagers.
Even today, the same African Guyanese leaders like to speak vociferously about the PPP/C’s “state violence” against the terrorists without ever acknowledging the brutal political violence they wreaked on Indian Guyanese.
I ask the above question in the further context of the current situation where WPA stalwarts like Dr. David Hinds, Dr. Clive Thomas, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, Mr. Tacuma Ogunseye, and Mrs. Cathy Hughes (who protested against Burnham during her high school years) are all comfortably ensconced in the bosom of the PNC/APNU/AFC Government.
Rodney was a moral leader who rose above the ethnic enclave but is it that his followers are all so lacking or is it that race trumps everything for African Guyanese who, it appears, are always unified against their common enemy, Indians?
Mr. Ogunseye recently wrote a letter in the press in which he admitted leaving out vital evidence about Burnham’s repressive measures against him when he gave evidence at the Rodney CoI and that he committed this unprincipled act in order to spite the PPP/C Government in the run-up to last May’s elections. It appeared that this public admittance was meant to make him heroic in the eyes of his fellow Africans.
There are no “moral advantages” here, Dr. Ramharack; only immorality and a betrayal of everything that Rodney stood for. One can almost ask whether Rodney was a failed leader since his followers have turned out to be so racist and unprincipled.
If African Guyanese can be so unified and stand even with the assassins of their fallen leader then Indian Guyanese must stand unified against such immorality and unjustness. It is a matter of rightness.
Who then, Dr Ramharack, has the moral advantages?