By Dr. Tara Singh
The verdict of the High Court on Granger’s decision to appoint the 84-year James Patterson to the position of GECOM Chair, will offer crucial signals if Guyana reaches full dictatorship status. This level of power grabbing and executive lawlessness is also designed to create frustration and even alienation among PPP supporters and civil forces.
The violation of the constitution with impunity; the closure of sugar estates; the laying off of thousands of sugar and other workers; the ugly practice of racial discrimination; the inexcusable failure of the Court to hear the PPP election petition; among other abuses by the government, have also been calculated to frustrate the opposition, PPP supporters and civil forces. Even Kaieteur News’ “Peeping Tom” has been caught up in this frustration-driven regime when it suggested that Guyanese should join the emigration queue, following the unconstitutional and unilateral appointment of James Patterson as GECOM Chair.
Another important element of the mind game is the Coalition government’s propensity to use “code” words. They excel not only at political propaganda (comprising false promises, lies and deception) but also at the creation of code words to conceal their intentions or to rationalize their behavior. For example, when any of their operative engages in corruption (there are 40 such cases so far), they refer to that as “administrative error.” When there is glaring evidence of social erosion, they refer to that as “social cohesion.” When they violate the constitution, they describe that as “misinterpretation” or “perception.” When they want to implement unpopular decisions, they seek cover in “Commissions of Inquiry.” They describe sugar as too big to fail when they really mean “big closure or big miniaturizing” of the industry. We have to be cognizant of the extravagant use of these and other code words.
The coalition’s trolls and operatives have been monitoring commentaries by PPP supporters on FB and other media and have apparently identified a growing level of frustration among PPP supporters and civil forces. They are tapping into this perceived level of frustration and discontent.
A KN article by Oscar Ramjeet blasted Jagdeo for corruption and for an apparent association with Roger Khan, a convicted drug felon serving time in a US prison. Ramjeet didn’t say that the coalition government had conducted about 40 forensic audits against PPP operatives neither did he say what were their findings. He did not say that the PNC operatives have already amassed over 40 cases of corruption, including the Sussex Street drug bond fiasco, the Durban Park misadventure, and the $600+ million GPHC sole source drug scandal.
What is perplexing is that Ramjeet ignored the Buxton insurrection (by “freedom fighters”) which was an attempt to topple the legitimately elected PPP government. He did not mention about the incriminating videotape recording between Basil Williams and Winston Felix. He did not mention about the X13 plan that was hatched to destroy the PPP and its Indian support base. He didn’t say that the Wismar massacre evolved out of the X13 plan. Neither did he mention about Rabbi Washington and his House of Israel thugs! Ramjeet did not say if Granger was associated with the assassination of the two ballot box martyrs in 1973. He did not say how many of the 150+AK47 that were loaned to the PNC are still not accounted for, and who might have these! Furthermore, he evaded the question of how many of the AK47s were involved in murders. The Ramjeet article was designed to play on the minds of PPP supporters and civil forces with a view to casting doubts or even to weaken the PPP support base.
The Private Sector Commission (PSC) which strongly supported the coalition at the 2015 election by raising millions of dollars for their (coalition) election campaign, and which (PSC) had also criticized some policies of the PPP government, has also chastised Granger for his GECOM decision, as well as, for his anti-business policies. Now that the PSC is in a position to make comparisons between the coalition and the PPP, they realize that the PPP has a stronger pro-business approach to development and will also be able to attract much more local and foreign investment. These advantages are likely to play well among the ABC countries. Yes, PPP is more pro-investment, more pro-growth, more pro-development, and more pro-job creation than the PNC-dominated coalition. All this talk about the coalition winning the next election with the blessings of the Americans is nothing more than scared tactics that feed into the mind game.
The coalition will continue to add to the PPP’s and civil forces’ frustration by continuing to delay the hearing of the PPP election petition, as well as, continuing to reject the tabling of important PPP motions in Parliament. Despite the practice of racial discrimination, the coalition continues to walk on that track. The coalition fired thousands of workers and blocked or frustrated their efforts at seeking due process rights.
Behind every dark cloud there lies a silver lining. It may be recalled that when the PNC-dominated coalition was declared the winner of the 2015 elections, they had believed then that they also had the goodwill needed to transform the economy. They also viewed the PPP as badly wounded by the election results. To capitalize on that goodwill therefore, they called LGE (Local Government Elections) thinking that their small margin (of 5000 votes) of victory at the 2015 polls will expand exponentially at the LGE polls. Well, to their utter disappointment, they (coalition) lost the LGE by a landslide (margin of about 30,000 votes) to the PPP. The PPP bounced back quickly from a crushing blow at the 2015 polls. PPP supporters and civil forces should get inspiration from that outcome.
Here’s another reason for optimism and not falling to the mind game syndrome. A well-known critic of the PPP, Christopher Ram, has just resigned from a government committee, and lavished praise upon Major General Joe Singh for resigning from all positions in the government. Both men were exalted for the principled position they have taken regarding Granger’s unilateral appointment of James Patterson as GECOM Chair. These courageous acts (defending democracy and the constitution) by civil society members should lift PPP supporters and others from any lingering despondency. The coalition will continue to play the mind game with a view to ruffling and casting doubts into the minds of PPP supporters and civil forces. The subtle message that want to convey is, “Jagdeo and PPP had mismanaged the country and that they have enriched themselves. They (coalition) are friends with the ABC countries which will ensure that they (coalition) prevail at the 2020 elections.” That’s a wild speculation. The truth must bind us together.
With patience, fortitude, and optimism the evil forces will be defeated. Their mind game will also explode.
We must not become a victim to the mind game which is designed to immobilize our thoughts and actions. We have to rise from such insidious attempts. We owe it to our children as well as to our fore-parents who worked so hard and tirelessly in the plantation system and beyond, to set a firm foundation upon which to build our future, and we must never disappoint their memory by deviating from the goal of resilience, patience and optimism, irrespective of the contrived distractions.
DR. TARA SINGH IS AN INDEPENDENT COLUMNIST. The views expressed in this column are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the THE WEST INDIAN.