Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo on Wednesday said that President David Granger’s address at a People’s National Congress (PNC) Chapter hosted in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States, four days ago reveals that he is bent on returning Guyana to the days of “Burnhamism” as he [Granger] is finding it difficult to adapt to the values of the 21st century.
“The President probably did not know he was being live streamed when he spoke at a PNC Chapter abroad, so when he thought he was making a speech that it may be confined to the room… and so that speech is very revealing to many people and it showed significant descent in the PNC… I think he’s stuck in the mind-set of the 70s and the 80s,” the Opposition Leader told media operatives at his Church Street office.
Jagdeo reiterated several times that the President’s speech disclosed that “he wanted people in the PNC … and it seems as though there is a significant yield of descent within the PNC over the path it’s pursuing and its programs in the Government and he wants to crown all of this by saying, you know, you have to be faithful to the leader.”
President Granger at the biennial conference in Atlanta, among other things, said “I think the time has come for people to stop attacking the leader of the party as a past-time, as cake-shop or rum-shop gaff, and establish a truce between the membership and the leadership.”
Giving credence to his assertions, Jagdeo said was the fact that Granger’s examples of “people being unfaithful” involved Former Prime Minister, Hamilton Greene, and others who left the PNC party.
“… But he had the most scathing criticism for [former] President [Desmond] Hoyte and if you read the coded messages about President Hoyte, it is that he [Hoyte] made an error in changing the economic program of the PNC, he made an error in allowing free and fair elections, and President Hoyte departed from Burnhamism, didn’t want to be called comrade anymore and that he, Granger is going to go back to ensure that Burnham’s legacy is maintained and fulfilled,” the Opposition leader said.
Moreover, Jagdeo posited that Granger’s mind set is dominated by the memories of the 70s and 80s era when he became part of the elite and failed to recognise how the actions of the then PNC Leader, Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham “devastated this country.”
“his mind-set is dominated by those things that he remembers fondly because he was part of an elite, without seeing how those same policies devastated this country, pauperised the public sector, led to huge accumulation of debt, many of our people [out of Guyana] feeling that [the country] was a pariah state….He did not experiment on those things because he is part of the ruling elite and again we see the same thing…He does not sympathise with people.”
“… Burnhamism thrived and the lack of democracy thrived because we were a closed society…but now it’s not going to work Mister President, it’s not going to work again” Jagdeo quipped while calling on Guyanese to “bring our President into the 21st century” by voicing their criticisms and displaying public advocacy.
He posited that if this Administration works hard and ensures that their policies are appropriate for Guyanese development, then they are capable of fairly winning the elections in this modern era.
Nevertheless, he emphasised that citizens need to express their dissatisfaction with the Government’s attempts to return to a past that devastated the lives of many.
“We are not asking anyone to support…PPP’s position. All we’re asking is that people support and express descent now, in whatever fashion they can. Not with violence, because violence has no place in our society, but expressing robustly their dissatisfaction with attempts to take us back to that sordid, that past that destroyed the lives of so many people.”
In Granger’s speech while in Atlanta a few days ago, the statement that caught the attention of many was when he said “you have to ask yourself how the PNC gained office in 1964. Ask how the PNC remained in office and what it did to do so. Ask yourself how the PNC regained office in 2015 and ask yourself how would the PNC retain office in 2020”.
Since then, several members of public have voiced their interpretations of the President’s words.
According to former PPP/C Minister, Leslie Ramsammy, “there is no room for misinterpretation. Every one of the PNC activists knows exactly what he was speaking of.”
Ramsammy said that the statement describes “an elicit promise by leaders of the PNC to their supporters to restore the legacy of Forbes Burnham – the legacy of usurping and keeping power through rigged elections and dictatorship.”
“President David Granger gave his clearest, most unambiguous, most explicit promise that his mission is to carry on from where Forbes Burnham left off in 1985,” he said.