Recognising…Cheddi’s contributions

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Yesterday was Cheddi Jagan’s death anniversary, and while your Eyewitness couldn’t make it to Babu Jaan, he’d like to pay homage to the great man.

He was going to say, “great soul”, but being a through and through Marxist, he doubts that Cheddi would have any truck with such idealistic notions! He followed Marx in insisting that “religion is the opium of the masses”. And he rejected opium!

Cheddi’s greatest contribution to Guyana was his commitment to improving the lot of the poor. While one can say this was “natural”, because he’d come out of the sugar plantations where most people eked out a subsistence existence, it wasn’t, really. He’d returned in 1943 as a qualified dentist with a “white wife”, and could’ve easily slipped into the incestuous and pretentious Coloured stratified middle-class of Georgetown, as so many professionals had done before. But in the US, he’d detected the wind of change that was coming – especially after the 1939 Moyne Commission had promised an opening up of the franchise when the War was over.

Politics before him had been dominated by middle-class politicians who rationally targeted their peers, since only they qualified for the franchise. In the 1947 elections – under the expanded franchise – Cheddi won a seat in the Legislature, and really shook that joint up! The old order of the Governor and his chosen cronies – both appointed by him and elected – had never been spoken to so frankly! The killing at Enmore of five sugar workers who were protesting an arbitrary detrimental change in their work rules made Cheddi into a prophet for the sugar workers. Wasn’t this exactly what he’d been saying all along?

Cheddi wore his Marxist ideology on his sleeve, and had received must criticism for this. It was seen as his Achilles heel, which eventually brought him down politically; but he really believed in “dialectical materialism” as a law as much as the law of gravity. So, he had no doubt that his position would prove to be right in the end – even after he was thrown out in 1953 and again in 1964 by the West.

While it might seem egoistic, he really believed that he’d placed “The West on Trial”!

And after 28 years in the wilderness, he DID return to office! And so, had the last laugh on his bete noir Burnham, whose grandiose plans had all collapsed ignominiously after all his Machiavellian scheming and plotting. They do say “all smart fly…”!

While he didn’t survive his term, he did show that he wasn’t as doctrinaire as the West had feared; he governed pragmatically. It gave him great satisfaction to hear Kennedy’s right hand man Schlesinger apologise for deposing him.

An Order of Democracy?

…trauma

Even without International Women’s Day tomorrow, your Eyewitness – and every Guyanese, he hopes – has been sensitised to the appalling level of violence being inflicted on women daily in our country. As such, he has listened carefully to the claim of PNC MP Sarabo-Halley that she was assaulted by PPP MP Kwame McKoy. The latter has vehemently and categorically denied her claim.

He is pleased that the Police have taken the matter in hand. They immediately reviewed the CCTV footage, but, unfortunately, it didn’t cover the spot where the incident was alleged to have occurred. They did, however, identify two MPs who were eyewitnesses, and have forwarded the case for legal advice.

What is troubling, however, is the insistence by the PNC to have McKoy banned from Parliament during the Budget Debate, and their raucous behaviour when the Speaker baulked. As Parliamentarians, who actually CREATE the laws of the country, they should appreciate that everyone, including MPs, have a right to due process!

They cannot be allowed to lynch McKoy!!

…BS

How ridiculous can Harmon get? He wants to have talks with “President Ali” to deal with matters confronting the nation, but refuses to recognise the Ali Government!

Well, wouldn’t President Ali’s “presumed illegitimate” Government be committing “illegitimate” acts?