‘Burnhamite faction has taken control of PNCR and will fight to the bitter end to hold on to power – Jermome Khan

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Former PNC MP Jerome Khan

Since the many controversies that accompanied the Guyana Election Commission (GECOM) declarations of results in Region Four, political analysts have criticised and theorised on the People’s National Congress (PNC) dominated coalition’s tacit approval of the results, in the face of international threats of sanctions.

Only the President’s son-in-law, Dominic Gaskin, has broken ranks with the coalition to criticise the lack of transparency in the now discredited declaration by Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo. However, former PNC Member of Parliament and Executive, Jerome Khan has now spoken up about the situation.

According to him, PNC is not championing a transparent process because it has indeed been hijacked by die-hard members who are bent on A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) remaining in power, regardless of the price Guyana pays or how this is done.

“I have posited to my colleagues and friends that the current election impasse has evolved to a war of attrition between Congress Place and the rest of the world,” Khan said. “The group that Freddie Kissoon describes as the Burnhamite faction is real, they exist and they have taken over control of the PNCR, aided and abetted, by a compliant protege of the founder leader.”

Former Prime Minister and President Forbes Burnham stayed in power from 1968 to 1985 through elections that many local and foreign observers described as fraudulent. During that time, Guyana’s economy deteriorated and it was not until reforms from his successor, President Hugh Desmond Hoyte, that the economy began to recover.

Leaders of the APNU/AFC at a previous political rally (APNU photo).

According to Khan in a statement on Sunday, members of this ‘die-hard’ faction are adherents to a ‘Burnhamite’ philosophy and were prevented by Burnham’s successors, Hugh Desmond Hoyte and Robert Corbin, from seizing control of the party.

“Twice before, this small but influential gang within the PNCR was thwarted in their efforts to seize control of the party… this faction, I predict will fight to the bitter end, as their good life is threatened. They simply do not care about the threat of sanctions; they believe they can ride it out.”

“I am convinced that there will be further deterioration and the war of attrition will continue, to force some power-sharing arrangements. The most difficult question for all is whether the world would accept a small bunch of thieves who have stolen the inalienable rights of citizens.”

Khan emphasised the importance of Guyanese being able to elect a Government of their choice, through free and fair elections. According to him, he has personally clashed with this cabal during his time in the party, because of his more democratic views.

“The supporters of all political parties will suffer. But the masterminds do not care and will continue to enjoy the good life. I do not have a crystal ball to predict how it will all end but I see the leadership struggle in the PNCR being played out on TV post [David Arthur Granger].”

Moreover, he noted that the talks now emanating from persons aligned with the party about power-sharing are tantamount to a smokescreen. Political analysts have already highlighted the timing for such calls, as APNU/AFC failed to advance power-sharing and constitutional reform during their four years in Government from 2015.

“You see, if your rights are stolen from you, it is tantamount of taking your life away; this is not any social interaction from which something positive can emerge, but equivalent of a bandit robbing you and then you have to agree to share with the robber in order to live in peace with the bandit,” Khan said in his statement.

“The mindset is to wage a war of attrition, observers have left, locals will get fed up, weary and abandon [the] cause. The region will hypocritically posit themselves as peace brokers and events like COVID-19 will shift focus to survival. This is not about Guyana but about a handful of greedy individuals who caricature Jagdeo as the enemy. If Jagdeo was not around they would have found another scapegoat,” Khan added.