There’s a raging debate going on in another section of the press about Dr Cheddi Jagan and his role in Guyanese politics in general, and his cultural orientation in particular. Now the poor man passed away almost a quarter a century ago and some may say “isn’t it time we move on?? But then again, the Brits are still discussing King Arthur and his Knights at Camelot – supposedly from the 6th century – when they don’t even know whether he existed or not!! Jagan, we know, did exist and your Eyewitness believes his role must be interrogated since there are folks who still swear by him. Or AT him!!
So what’s the scoop on Cheddi – as he insisted on being called by one and all!? Well, one academic fella – who’s been involved with Guyanese politics for three decades – says that Cheddi’s embrace of communism in the fifties was kinda naive and he was tone deaf on culture. Especially when it is considered within the context of what was going on between the US and the USSR – their Cold War for global hegemony. Now we could all retort – as some of Cheddi’s defenders have done – that this is all well and good with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.
But that’s not fair, is it?? When the PPP was formed in 1950 with Cheddi and Burnham – as leader and Chairman respectively – the latter was even more “red” in his pronouncements than the former. On the “culture” charge, Cheddi did cobble together a cultural coalition in the first PPP – -didn’t he? But as events unfolded after their government was ousted after a mere 133 days, Burnham gauged the direction the wind was blowing and jibbed his political path by adjusting his ideological sails!! Now Jagan’s retort – and his partisans today snort – that Burnham had no principles. But that wasn’t true – was it?
Unlike Jagan, Burnham was a REALIST dealing with realists in the US and USSR. From the cited declassified files, we know that even the two competing powers saw Cheddi as an idealist. Very few American leaders had unkind words about him – as opposed to Burnham who they dubbed an “opportunist”. But the bottom line was, they’d rather work with him than the simon-pure Marxist, Cheddi Jagan! His intentions were always for the greater good – not only for Guyana but for the world. But that was a TAD out of proportion, wasn’t it? Could Guyana really be that consequential to’ve put “the West on Trial”?? So yes, Cheddi was a good man who had the best of intentions. But they do say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, don’t they??
He might’ve done much better as a priest than as a politician.
Your Eyewitness is more than a “bit” confused on the brouhaha from the PNC side over some remarks made by Minister of Culture Ramson. Seems he raised their ire by insisting that African Guyanese in that party weren’t providing role models for their constituency – when it comes to “making money”. But those same worthies have been griping about African Guyanese coming out with the short end of THAT stick – even after 28 years of Burnham and Hoyte and 5 years of Granger!! Now, there’s no single cause for ANY human behavioural pattern but isn’t it POSSIBLE that in making money, role models might be ONE FACTOR??
Anyhow your Eyewitness was amused by one participant in a group discussing Minister Ramson’s foray into areas where angels fear to tread!! She repeatedly referred contemptuously to the Minister as a “BOY”! The term was picked up by the rest of the panel – ironically by one who said he was a classmate of Ramson.
And presumably was just as much a “BOY”!!
Looks like the furore over the call for boycotting Indian Guyanese vendors of Black Pudding has now spread over into which ethnic group can make THAT best – or Dhall Puri.
Whatever happened to “De gustibus non est…”??