July 31, 2014 By
July 31, 2014 By
I have been a member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) for the past 22 years and I can say without fear of successful contradiction that the last two Congresses – 2012 and 2014 – were the most vulgar and despicable events in the party’s 57-year history.
Congresses are nostalgic moments for party members. They create an environment for building camaraderie with comrades from across the country, sharing experiences of working in the field, sharing best practices in political work, recommitting and rededicating ourselves to the party, and, most of all, making critical decisions to charter the political course of the party for the next two years.
Unfortunately, these virtues eluded the planners and leaders of our great party on the last two occasions.
However, some phenomenal things occurred prior, during, and immediately after the just-concluded Congress, but have escaped the attention of the media and political analysts. In my respectful view, there is still hope for the future of the party.
These phenomenal events commenced with the diligent and tireless pursuit by the Region 10 Chairman Sharma Solomon and team up to the ninth hour, to get the party leadership to create an even playing field and to stick to the rules of the party as a means of bolstering the party’s image.
These efforts clearly demonstrated that no longer young people are prepared to sit with their hands folded and a finger on their lips and accept mediocrity and blatant disregard for the rules.
Then despite the impending disenfranchisement, a group of energetic, creative, and passionate young people from Linden initiated the creation of posters capturing relevant quotations from speeches of former leaders of the party to illustrate the point that the party, the PNC, was built on the shoulders of great men and women whose adumbrations are still relevant and can be used as a point of reference and guide for the party in resolving the present challenges it faces.
One such quotation was from the late President Hugh Desmond Hoyte, in his 13th Biennial Congress Address in 2002, when he said: “Change is as necessary a part of politics, as it is of life. Those who do not change become dinosaurs, irrelevant and eventually extinct. If we do not adapt to new circumstances, new challenges, and new responsibilities, we cannot survive, much less overcome.”
The extension of a hand of comradeship by Member of Parliament Vanessa Kissoon to General Secretary Oscar Clarke clearly signalled that it was not a case of her holding no brief for her colleague and that she saw the issue as her expressing her view. They disagreed on those issues and she has moved on with no animosity between them.
The final phenomenon that attracted my attention was how the appointed leaders of the new executive of the party, at a post-Congress press conference, were busy digging in their heels, establishing authority, dismissing credible claims by party members and passing the buck for the causes of the occurrences at Congress with spurious and puerile claims.
Solomon, on the other hand, rose to the occasion and outlined a way forward for the party, emphasising the need for resolving the present challenges, strengthening the party, preparing it for the next general and regional elections, the giving of the required leadership, and most important of all, uniting the party.
These occurrences clearly illustrate that a bright future for the PNC is still assured, despite the desperate and vulgar attempts by some in the present leadership to suppress opposing views, to marginalise young leaders, to cling to control of the party at all costs, and to manipulate processes.
There is a group of visionary and pragmatic young leaders who are still prepared to put their shoulders to the wheel, swim against the tide, defy all odds and work in the best interest of the party, its membership and people of Guyana.
Interestingly, Solomon, who is the eldest of this youthful cadre mentioned, is 35 – 26 and 45 years junior, age wise, to Granger, Basil Williams and Clarke, respectively. Thus he has youth, energy, a committed constituency, and a fertile political brain that will be an asset to the party long after these leaders.
The resolve by these emerging leaders should not and must not go unnoticed, and they should be assured of our support.
July 31, 2014 By
Hundreds of books on history and emotion have been written about the abominable slave trade and its consequences on millions of people rooted out of their ancestral continent – their families, their culture and legacy, which led to the devastation of their continent by conquistadores and slave traders, who blighted their continent with wars and capitalistic devouring of their enormous wealth.
Even to this day, this blight, this curse, this scourge of thievery of human flesh, sold in the slave markets is evident.
Africa was bled of the best of their sons and daughters of the tribes, nations, and countries that make up the continent of the great contributor to human civilisation, education, and wisdom.
It was the European’s eye-pass to wish to enrich their countries and persons, and build their own civilisations and great cities; their great railroads and subway systems; their bridges and dams by stolen; beaten; broken; raped; hanged by the neck, feet and ribs; starved black flesh, at times hanged in public for display in the most ruthless and sickening manner to create fear and terror in the hearts of those who might rebel.
Every people, as now evident in Palestine, will rebel once they are subjected to the whims and fancies of others, makers of evil and seekers of personal aggrandisement. So rebel they did, and escape they did, and the terror unleashed at times was so reprehensible of those who were the masters and who considered themselves better, that they descended to the worst of bestialities to maintain control and build more wealth for themselves and their countries.
The strength and power of their economies, the ability to make bombs and nuclear warheads, guns that fire hundreds of rounds per minute, and cannons and tanks that can demolish countries with fierce ferocity; Apache helicopters that stand in the clouds and target villages; navy ships that stand hundreds and maybe thousands of miles away, with their satellite commodores in the stars for precise targeting of individuals and buildings, villages and countries. Their great universities; their institutes of law and academia; their laboratories that create viruses to wipe out humanity, the same that experiment on humans in countries in Africa; and their nuclear bombs that can destroy humanity and the earth 15 times over, are all possible because of the abuse of black human flesh in bondage for hundreds of years.
Even modern-day Africa is manipulated, used and abused by the so-called developed world for its oil, uranium, diamonds, gold, amazing animals, and other minerals and resources.
Ladies and gentlemen of Guyana, Government of Guyana, the Embassies of nations which enriched themselves from the blood, sweat and tears of Africans, and the world, it is time for compensation.
The black descendants of the African Diaspora must be compensated. Pay up and free your minds, your souls, descendants of the European slave-masters. The monies and wealth wasted in military campaigns, the manufacture of viruses to wipe out humanity; the monies for manufacture of mass killing machines can be best utilised to rid yourselves of the atrocious memory and guilt, that what you live, eat, inherit and enjoy, are the fruits of sin, the great abomination of theft of human flesh, European banditry and mass theft of lives, and destruction of nations.
Black people, descendants of slaves, you can never be truly free, unless you agitate, demand, fight, and take it to the highest courts of the world, that you be compensated for the worst bondage of humans, your forefathers, known to man in history.
Please use this day of yours for goodness, for great reflection and prayers for your ancestors, please be careful, and do not consume the obnoxious spirits that were created by the slave masters in the form of rum or alcohol to control your people.
Educate your children; be moral so that your children and even ours could be inspired as my ancestors were of your ancestors when they came to Guyana. Your ancestors were our first teachers and guides to this wilderness for my people when they came, and they became friends, midwives, and taught them survival in the new land.
The Indians of Guyana owe the Africans for being the teachers and counsels, and for the representation when our ancestors were being abused by the Europeans accustomed to slavery, though slavery was abolished.
The greatest drummers in the world are Indians and Africans; put them together and the legacy in music is historical and alluring, even mystical. Together, our peoples, all peoples in this great and beautiful country of ours called Guyana – all the peoples, I emphasise – must work in national cohesion to transform this fertile and “opportunised’ land into glory, and an example for humanity, as we must strive to live in constant harmony, peace and goodwill.
We need each other in Guyana; we have learned that we cannot live without each other, brother unto brother and sister unto sister. As we used to sing in the Guyana National Service, “Let’s build this land, Guyana free!”
Praise to the stoic African ancestors, and blessed be their descendants. Thank you, God.
Teachings of Islam
July 31, 2014 By
The recent attacks on fishermen on the high seas by pirates is another stark reminder of the dangers of the fishing business and the risks being taken by our artisanal fishers to earn a livelihood and bring prosperity to this nation.
There have been numerous reported attacks already this year, none more dreadful than the one where four fishermen were beaten and thrown overboard during a pirate attack on their vessel. The vessel was later found drifting in the Mahaica area. Another attack on the Corentyne, Berbice was recently reported.
Apart from the suffering this incident brings to relatives and friends of these fishermen, it also exposes the frailties of our maritime capabilities and even that of our neighbour, Suriname, where the attack occurred. Over the years, high seas piracy in Guyana has graduated from routine seizure of engines and the fishermen’s catch to the use of violence and this is because pirates are moving up the value-added ladder.
As is the case internationally, a few years ago, they attacked fishing trawlers just off the coast. Now they take on oil tankers and container ships far out at sea. Ransom money is buying property, luxury goods, and power.
Profits are also being used to buy satellite phones, GPS, more powerful weapons and faster boats, or to bribe officials and collaborators. Profits of piracy are also spreading corruption, perverting local economies, and empowering criminal groups.
This poses a major threat to state security and also the fishing industry which is big business in Guyana, both for commerce as well as increasingly for sport. Guyana’s Hijacking and Piracy Act 2008 was defined as “any illegal act of violence or detention or any act of depredation committed for private ends by any person on board, including the crew or passengers of a private vessel and directed on the rivers, internal waters or territorial sea of Guyana against another vessel, or persons or property on board such vessel.”
Such acts of piracy have occurred as the result of lax law enforcement practices especially on the Corentyne where the other maritime crimes of backtracking and smuggling thrive. Another issue at hand is that many of the pirates are rogue fishermen who are familiar with the maritime environment, know the routine of their colleagues, and also are aware of the inefficiencies of our lawmen.
This must be seriously addressed and tougher regulations to screen fisherfolk should be implemented to preserve the integrity of the industry and protect those who are legitimate operatives within the sector.
With 459 kilometres of Atlantic coastline and much of the interior punctuated by rivers, Guyana has the perfect conditions for a healthy and prosperous fisheries sector. Guyana’s shrimp and prawn exports are major cash cows, contributing 5.6 per cent of total export revenues, with the United States as the largest export market. The fisheries sector, which grew 15.5 per cent in recent years and employs over 15,000 people, contributes some six per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), similar to rice production.
This to us is worth safeguarding and no efforts should be spared in protecting fishermen from the threats of piracy and other dangers on the high seas. It, therefore, means that our Government must work more aggressively in strengthening maritime security, which is very essential to protect not only small artisan craft, but larger vessels and ships that come to our ports.
Greater collaboration with countries such as Suriname and Venezuela should become priority. Until such time, pirates will continue to be encouraged by the absence of enforcement, their raids will intensify, fishermen’s losses will increase, and the number of killings will soar.
Modern maritime security requires a new way of thinking and a new system of enforcement and regulation such as the country has never had before. And if this is not done now, instead of bringing home boats of fishes, our fishermen will be bringing back bodies on their boats.
July 31, 2014 By
Again, through the media, I am advised that my Party Leader, Mr David Granger had lifted the suspension he imposed on me on June 24 for 12 hours to allow me to participate in Congress. This is no longer a suspension, this has become a detention. I take personal offence to this new development.
In addition to not being told of this decision by the party, I am not a juvenile nor is the PNCR a correctional institution. This is not the 18th Century when women had to know their place and decisions were made for them without their involvement or knowledge.
The last correspondence I received on the suspension issue was from Mr Allan Munroe on July 20 informing about my non-submission of a statement and that his committee will proceed with hearings on July 22 on my non-appearance.
I was most surprised to learn from the media that in a press briefing last Sunday evening, my party leader said the suspension was lifted for 12 hours to enable me to attend Congress. Congress was a three-day event and I was present every day.
My attendance at Congress was consistent with Rule 15 of the party constitution and under which I was accordingly accredited. It was not a concession granted. Ms Kissoon needs no concession; Ms Kissoon needs her rights respected consistent with the party rules. Ms Kissoon wants no favours or concessions. If party members follow the party constitution and govern consistent with the constitution, there will be no need to grant concessions.
While the leader seems willing to execute discipline, he must be just as willing to do it in an even-handed manner. Mr Aubrey Norton has complained that Mr Granger’s driver had abused one of his supporters during the Congress. Mr Granger told the media he will investigate the matter then act accordingly. I have not been given similar rights and respect. As a woman of the 21st Century, I am beginning to believe sexism and favouritism are at work here.
The leadership of my party is asking that members keep and settle their disagreements in-house. But the very leadership that is demanding compliance from the ordinary members is not prepared to adhere to the same directive. I continued to be kept abreast with the moving parts of my matter, from the leader, through the media.
There are mechanisms in the party for members to discuss concerns and objections in-house and when these avenues are closed off, two choices are left: stay silent or be heard from outside of the party.
I am a disciplined party member and by this, I mean I am committed to obeying the party’s rules. The rules of my party protect and allow me the right to expression, due process, and involvement in anything that affects me in the organisation.
The party rules do not allow for a person to be placed on detention, the detention lifted for a period, then reinforced. Not even the 14-year-old GYSM member is this disrespected. The PNCR is a civilian organisation guided by its own rules and these rules must be used to unite and position the party as the country’s best political alternative. Every man, woman, and child must feel that they will be treated equally and protected by the party. As a member of the PNCR, I continue to give and expect no less.
The reports that Linden protested against the Congress are inaccurate. The placards Lindeners carried illustrated photographs and quotes of the three former leaders which resonated with us. This expression was an act of making known that the visions of our former leaders are still relevant.
None of the placards was anti-party. Contrary to the views of some, the red, black and white attire and green armbands worn by Lindeners during the three-day event were done to display the party and national flags.
Lindeners chose to use these colours to help persons to re-identify with the party colours and heroes since these are observed to be undermined in the party. No organisation can grow and develop without solid foundation.
The current leaders and members of the PNCR are here because of the foundation built by previous leaders and members and we saw it fitting to make acknowledgement. Linden party members are offended that in their continued fight for their rights from the Government and within the party, they are being accused of being PPP/C redcoats.
In the meantime, Mark Archer of the PNCR/APNU Public Relations Department has taken to social media to demonise Lindeners and their leaders and mischaracterise events surrounding Linden, as Ronald Bulkan and Volda Lawrence have called us names.
If Mark Archer, as the public relations person, is speaking for or on behalf of the leadership of the party, this is unacceptable. If Bulkan and Lawrence think calling us names is OK, we’d like them to know this too is unacceptable; Lindeners will not accept this treatment. As leaders, better is expected and an end should be put to the silly season.
Members of the PNCR have a party to strengthen and national elections to win. All members are equally important and as the Founder Leader Mr Forbes Burnham said “there is no better way to lead than by example”. This was on one of the placards Lindeners carried during the Congress.
July 31, 2014 By
The original “gang of eight” was a bunch of old fogies who once ruled China from behind the scenes. They were so lacking in energy, they could only meet once a week. And if a subject came up for discussion that they couldn’t agree on, it was immediately dropped. They just couldn’t muster the stamina to debate. Obviously, they had to go if China was going to ever get ahead.
So they were thrown out – and look where China is today. Fast forward to Guyana after 2000, and Joey Jagan discerned a “gang of eight” in Guyana – with his mother, Ralph Ramkarran, Moses Nagamootoo, and Khemraj Ramjattan as some of the big wigs. Well, that gang’s no more – and Guyana’s doing quite well, thank you…and would do even better if the Opposition weren’t determined to “bruk up” the country – if they can’t have the government.
Well, the PNC was never one to be left behind – and at their just-concluded scandalous Congress, their own “gang of eight” took over the party. By hook or crook. If long-time stalwarts Norton and Greenidge and a host of others are to be believed, it was mostly “by crook”. But the dust hasn’t even settled from that sirocco and we’re already hearing sounds of cooing and sweet nothings. Seems the fellas who were rigged out of their democratic rights still want in.
Reminds this Eyewitness of that oldie from the Stylistics, “Break up to make up”. The lyrics go like this:
“Yo, why should we break up if we keep makin’ up?
Yo, I mean let’s just stay together
So won’t ya pull up to my window? I’ma take your order
Anythin’ you want girl you know I get it for ya.”
But the question is whether Granger’s gonna tell Norton, “Anythin’ you want boy, you know I get it for ya”. Frankly, we don’t think so. One of the gang of eight, Basil Williams, was rather outraged that Greenidge would have the nerve to demand that PNC’s internal election be free and fair. “What the (expletive deleted), he thinks this is?? GECOM? This is a (expletive deleted) party.”
The PNC gang of eight, contrary to the protestations of some apologists before the Congress, feels “different strokes for different folks” is the guiding principle when it comes to “democracy”.
So we ask the new gang of eight the question originally posed by Donna Summers: “Who do you think you’re foolin’?” And her wise advice: “You’re halfway up the ladder?/or are you really halfway down?/you never know in this town.”
We think it’s halfway down.
…or living in fool’s paradise
There’s this lawyer who pops up ever so often with some crackpot scheme. Makes you certain the “continuing education” programme by the Bar had to have lapsed. Looking at the present impasse in politics, he’s come up with the solution. No… not the Mike Persaud one to place a person from “the other race” to lead the two major parties.
This fella suggests that since it takes “ONLY a two-thirds majority of the votes in Parliament” to change the Constitution, why don’t the parties in that big house change the rule on forming the government?? More specifically that 51 per cent of the votes should be needed to win the elections – and not just the “largest” party as it is right now. The hick lawyer should’ve asked himself why the change wasn’t made up to now. We won’t even answer it for him.
But we’ll suggest another question that should help. Why don’t the two Opposition parties form a coalition BEFORE the election??? Isn’t that easier???
…through the barrel of a gun
Word is that the fella featured prominently with a gun in his hand – and nabbed fleeing the jurisdiction – is an ex-army man with a long-standing relationship with Granger. He might not be in the “official” bodyguard squad, but….
July 28, 2014 By
No. Your Eyewitness isn’t going to say, “I told you so about the PNC leadership rigging!”. He’s not even going to gloat. What’s to gloat?? The tragedy and farce that simultaneously unfolded was positively Greek in its inevitability. How could it be otherwise? Your nature will come out, no matter how you try to hide it. No one could’ve expressed more pungently this truth than President Obama: you can put lipstick on a pig…but it’s still a goddamn pig.
The PNC will always be the party of intimidation and bullyism – and that’s why there’s no reason for any Guyanese to gloat. For good or bad, the PNC’s the party of African Guyanese. And for one section of our population to be continuously used as pawns – more like shock troops to intimidate the PPP/C and the populace – doesn’t bode well for Guyana.
More to the point, because he’s been exposed as totally alienated from the ordinary PNC supporter forming its base, Granger in the short term will whip them up into one adventure or another to prove he’s “their man”. And not the weasel he’s shown himself to be up to now. There’s no reason he would’ve allowed the Congress to descend into anarchy if he wasn’t sure he’d lose in “free and fair” elections.
So he’ll have to precipitate some kind of street protest or other – which is sure to plunge Guyana deeper into the coming conflagration. The “hard line” he’s taken on the AML/CFT Bill hasn’t resonated at the grassroots. For Granger and his inner circle of Army sycophants, they might argue they’ve laid siege to the PPP/C’s ability to govern as they strangle the financial system. But the grassroots PNCite wants an “action man”. And strangely for an Army man…this he ain’t.
Those who tried to fight the good fight – not to clean up the party…that’s for Hercules who took care of the Augean Stables after 100 years of horsesh*t – but to finally give the “small man, who never got a chance to be a real man”, they’ll have to move on. As Norton said quite openly, the PPP/C’s not an option, now that he’s been shown the door by Granger.
And of course, the same holds for Greenidge and Clarissa Reihl and others. There’s been talk of them joining the AFC…but that bunch’ll never let anyone into that right little circle. They’ll be back to square one.
If they had any sense, they’d get out there and form a movement that’ll finally place ordinary African Guyanese at the centre. And not as the elite’s house slaves.
…at the Rodney CoI
The Rodney CoI resumes today. The PNC – and their handmaidens in the WPA – had accused the Government of convening it to “sully” their name. The question, of course, is whether you can ever sully “mud”, since the PNC’s name’s been mud from the moment it was formed. Anyhow, that argument is academic right now. Even their worst arch enemies couldn’t have pulled off a stunt like the one that just happened at the Congress in Sophia that showed them to be nothing more than the worst low life.
So what’ll we hear at the CoI??? We hear that the soldiers will be testifying. We don’t know exactly who’ll be those soldiers – but the ones that should testify were all at Congress Place when bullets were flying on Sunday. The soldier who knows more than anyone else about Rodney’s death, of course, is the man who just rigged his way to the PNC’s leadership – David Granger, but was then head of the GDF!!
Burnham and Hoyte rigged national elections against the PPP. Granger topped them by rigging his own party’s election!!! Ow maan!!!!
We wonder what the Donkey Cart economist, the Flower Boy, the Taxi Driver from Queens and Asquith are all now saying about their “Messiah for Democracy”, Granger?
July 28, 2014 By
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has noted the ruling of the Speaker, Raphael Trotman, dated July 24, to send the Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh to the Committee of Privileges for the second time for this year.
Ruling No 2 of 2014 issued to the National Assembly on February 14 by the Speaker was in response to Mr Greenidge’s motion of December 13, 2013, seconded by Mr Ramjattan, to send the Minister to the Privileges Committee on two matters.
The Speaker ruled that a prime facie case had been made by Mr Greenidge to send the Minister to the Committee of Privileges with regard to one of the two issues, that is in regard to Resolution No 15 on Extra-budgetary Agencies but not on the second issue with regard to releases of monies to GINA and the NCN.
The second motion of Mr Greenidge, seconded again by Mr Ramjattan, was submitted on July 4, calling on the Speaker to send the said Minister to the Committee of Privileges for releases of monies to the GINA and the NCN after the budgetary cuts. The Speaker publicly advised the National Assembly on July 10 that he had received the submission by the members and would need time to consider same.
The Speaker’s Ruling, No 4 of 2014, concluded that a prima facie case had been made and referred the matter to the Committee of Privileges. The Speaker is the Chair and the Opposition members are in majority in this Committee, as in all Committees.
When one examines the contents of these rulings, the PPP/C is confident that the arguments made by the Speaker to justify his ruling and decision to send the Minister once again to the Committee of Privileges raise major challenges to the Constitution, Standing Orders and parliamentary norms and practices.
Most notably absent in the Speaker’s arguments leading to his Ruling is any reference to the Chief Justice’s decision regarding Article 218 (3) (b) except the inclusion of the words that “the National Assembly though aggrieved by the Chief Justice’s decision of January 29, 2014, sought to comply”. Thus the Speaker once again has thrown the Legislature on a collision course with the Judiciary, the body mandated by the Constitution as the sole authority to interpret any constitutional provision.
The PPP/C has paid special attention to this development and will be prepared to challenge this matter at the appropriate times and occasions. However, the PPP/C has found it of passing interest the difference in the treatment of the APNU-AFC submissions to send the Minister to the Committee of Privileges with the treatment of the Government’s request to send two Opposition Members of Parliament to the Committee of Privileges.
The PPP/C, through its Chief Whip, has indicated by way of letter to the Speaker on July 15, 2014 of its intention to call for Mr Ramjattan and Mrs Cathy Hughes to be referred to the Privilege Committee for violations of privilege, namely conflict of interest and pecuniary interest in matters before the House which they did not declare, with regard to the Specialty Hospital and the Marriott Hotel, and the Amaila Falls Hydro-Project Falls Inc, respectively.
The PPP/C, through its Chief Whip, has not been contacted by the Parliament Office nor received any communication from the Speaker on the serious charges made against these Members of Parliament who are from his political party, the AFC.
July 28, 2014 By
On behalf of Stephen Kerrigan of London, I am seeking any information about Cecil Sagar, born c1945 in Guyana. He studied Electrical Engineering in the 1960s at the South East London College in Lewisham, London SE4 from approximately 1963 to 1966.
Unfortunately, after leaving college, post 1966, contact with Cecil was lost and despite various efforts, including perusing the college alumni records and contact with past students, searching various directories and civil records, he has not been located.
It is likely, then, that Cecil returned to his home country; also, it may be that the name ‘Cecil’ was a nickname or another version of his given name.
Should any reader know or have any information at all concerning Cecil, please contact me at email@example.com
With many thanks,
July 28, 2014 By