Anil Nandlall initiates a polemic long overdue
A few weeks ago, Raphael Trotman issued a statement that added debate to the intellectually dead society that Guyana is. The disappointing thing about it is that it did not engender debate. Trotman was furious about certain critics of the shape of the AFC politics. He said these persons have never been involved with the people in the streets.He argued that some sit in their office and condemn and some write letters in the newspapers, passing judgment on the AFC leadership that is involved in struggle for a better Guyana. Trotman asserted that he would only listen to certain detractors of the AFC who were in the trenches rubbing shoulders with the AFC.
As is expected, no discussion followed Trotman’s justified outburst; not even one person, not even one letter.
Trotman’s net included a daily letter-writer in the Stabroek, whose sole intention is to narcissistically demonstrate how he could use the English language; a former PPP bigwig of the PPP and a so-called economist in the diaspora who thinks he is so indispensible that he wrote the AFC to request the CEO job at GuySuco.
It was a candid, trenchant and refreshing input about the nature of the Guyanese society (see my column of Wednesday, January 24, 2018, “The pontific, poignant point of Raphael Trotman.”
Now Anil Nandlall has advanced some words that should galvanize some of us to start a debate. Here is what Nandlall wrote; “Dr. (Henry) Jeffrey next posits that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) “also ran an autocratic regime and by the time it demitted office 60% of its own constituency and 80% of Africans did not care for them”. Dr. Jeffrey was a Minister and sat at Cabinet and in the National Assembly for 17 consecutive years in that very PPP Government.I respectfully suggest that he dedicate one edition of “Future notes” to inform what role he played in resisting the PPP’s autocracy. I hope he will not tell us that he was a mere officious bystander. That would not only be incredible but would render him equally guilty by omission.”
If we had an intellectually vibrant society, such absorbing topics would have engaged the society. It is like that in the rest of CARICOM, but not here.
From the time the APNU+AFC Coalition came into being, some of these critics that Trotman subtly referred to, have not lost an opportunity to condemn the government’s behaviour but they say not a word about the time they have spent with the PPP cabal that remains the most egregious regime the English- speaking West Indies has seen.It is not a question of personalising the issue but these people should provide the Guyanese nation and by extension, history, of what has taken place in the most important corridor of Guyana – the room of power. I totally agree with Nandlall. It is morally obligatory of Henry Jeffrey to tell us about the pitfalls if any, in his seventeen-year journey in the PPP Cabinet.
I say without even a modicum of reservation that the nation would welcome these descriptions and analyses. Historians would find what Jeffrey has to say, priceless. As an academic, it would help my work; it would help those who are writing books on Guyana to have Jeffrey’s interpretation to Nandlall’s question.What more pungent question can interest a scholar on Guyanese politics than the one Nandlall posed to Jeffrey – what role did Jeffrey play in his seventeen year sojourn with the PPP Government in voicing his concern about and resisting authoritarian pathways of the PPP Government.
Dr. Jeffrey has written about one such aspect of his time with the PPP regime and it has been of immense importance to me in my study of the personality of Cheddi Jagan. I thank him for such a disclosure. Those who write on Guyanese politics should see this disclosure as valuable.In an interview with Denis Chabrol, Jeffrey described how President Cheddi Jagan was not too keen on the solidification and concretization (my two words) of the Civic entity. He went on to add that he, Jeffrey did not want to create an unpleasant situation by pursuing the issue with Jagan.
Donald Ramotar doesn’t write a weekly column like Jeffrey but he publishes two letters a week. All are acidic ruminations on the faults of the present administration but not one word on situations like why he did not return to parliament and to the General-Secretary post in the PPP.
There are those who spent an enormously long time in the PPP but now they are out they write profusely on all that is wrong with the AFC and PNC and not a word of those long years.