The People’s National Congress (PNC) used its youth arm, the Young Socialist Movement (YSM), to terrorise innocent Guyanese and politicians who opposed the repressive politics of former Prime Minister and President Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham.
This is according to key findings of the internationally acclaimed Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry which was probing the circumstances which led to the death of Guyanese Historian and international scholar, Dr Walter Rodney.
The Commission’s final report which has not been officially released by the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) coalition Government sheds light on the integral role played by the PNC youth arm with the full support of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) in beating, killing and suppressing innocent Guyanese who dared to challenge the decisions and status quo set by the former Prime Minister and President.
The findings in the report confirm one of the widely held fears of the many who lived through the Burnham era that the PNC recruited hundreds, if not thousands of Guyanese youths, and trained them in various forms of political thuggery in order to accomplish the principles of party paramountcy and subjectivity to the Prime Minister.
The report also chronicled how the Burnham-led PNC used YSM in violent activities in support of the party, including murder of innocent persons because of their perceived support for the Dr Rodney-led Working People’s Alliance (WPA) and the Dr Cheddi Jagan-led People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
The report found based on evidence presented at the Commission’s hearings that the YSM which was at one point led by Robert Corbin, worked in close collaboration with the House of Israel in carrying out acts of violence and intimidation against WPA Members.
The report singled out an incident where Reverend Rueben Gilbert who testified before the Commission recalled that on one occasion, he was grabbed, beaten and rammed in his ribs by the YSM. His experience resulted in two broken ribs before he was handed over to the Police. He was hospitalised for one week.
He testified of a second incident which took place about three months before Dr Rodney’s death, where he was forewarned by a PNC member that YSM hitmen were going to visit his house and kill him under the pretext he had a gun in his guitar case.
Reverend Gilbert further stated that he slept at the University of Guyana that night and asked his brother to keep his house and the next morning, his brother informed that indeed the YSM was in search of him.
Reverend Gilbert’s testimony was further reinforced by Former House of Israel member Joseph Hamilton, who told the Commission that there was “a lot of cooperation between the YSM Cadet Corps and the House of Israel”.
Hamilton during his testimony said that the House of Israel had several points of coordination in the relationships between the PNC and singled out figures like City Mayor Hamilton Green, the late Deputy Mayor Robert Williams and Emerson Simon who worked at the PNC headquarters.
“Addressing Terms of Reference IV, we have no hesitation in concluding that in the face of the evidence presented that both the GPF and the YSM and those in command and superintendents of these agencies were tasked with the surveillance of and the carrying out of actions against the political Opposition, specifically the WPA ad the PPP,” the CoI report stated. (Guyana Times)