PRESS RELEASE - KAIETEUR NEWS - SUNDAY 13TH MARCH 2011
BABU JOHN’S MADNESS: PRESIDENTIAL DISGRACE
Every year since the death of late PPP Leader and former President Cheddi Jagan, the PPP has commemorated his death with ceremonies at the cremation site. Regrettably, instead of focusing on qualities that have endeared Cheddi to many of his supporters over his lifetime in politics, speakers seem to have misused the occasion for invoking those memories that have been the most negative contributions of Jagan and the PPP to Guyana. President Bharrat Jagdeo appears to have been the main culprit with bizarre speeches that have brought no credit to his late Leader, which lead to the impression that it is the spirit of the younger and irresponsible Cheddi Jagan that possesses him bringing disgrace to the office he holds as President of Guyana.
RACIST, INFLAMMATORY AND UNTRUTHFUL STATEMENTS
While Guyanese have become accustomed to his disgraceful utterances on public occasions, his racist, inflammatory and untruthful statements at Babu John on Sunday 4th March 2011 have serious implications for peace, race relations and national security, particularly in an Election Year. In addition to lying about events which occurred during the General Elections of 1973 in Berbice, he made an unwarranted and provocative attack on the Presidential Candidate of the PNCR, Brigadier (ret.), David Granger, MSS, who gave dedicated and distinguished service to the nation and people of Guyana: a distinction that President Jagdeo will never achieve.
President Jagdeo may have been fed a diet of distortions by PPP supporters at Mahaica about the facts surrounding the death of two persons in July 1973, since he was a little boy of nine years in short pants at that time. He is, however, not only an adult now, but the President of Guyana and cannot claim to be misinformed. It is, therefore, obvious that he wishes those distorted accounts of our history to be spread by PPP faithfuls to “younger generations” in the hope that racial animosity would prevail to guarantee the PPP the votes of the East Indian community of Guyana.
His specific use of words, such as “… blood on his hands” was deliberately contrived to create public mischief. The facts are that Mr. Granger was not an Army Officer assigned to any responsibility in Berbice in 1973 as he was then stationed at Atkinson Field, now Timehri Airport. Second, Mr. Granger was not at that time in the management and control of the Guyana Defence Force. Third, he was not a member of the Directorate of the PNCR or the Government.
THE DHANESSAR JHAPPAN INQUIRY
President Jagdeo, therefore, deliberately lied to his supporters when he tried to link Mr. Granger to events in Berbice in 1973. More significantly, however, Jagdeo also lied to his supporters about the events in Berbice when he failed to tell them that the incident at No 64 Village on the 16th July 1973 was directly organised by the PPP as part of their plan to create disturbances after the 1973 Elections. The Report of the Commission of Inquiry, appointed on the 15th September 1973 to inquire into the incidents, and conducted by the Honourable Mr. Justice Dhanessar Jhappan, a Judge of the High Court, was very specific on this matter. For example, at Page 19, it states,
“The events at No. 64, on the 16th July 1973, that led up to the shot Lieutenant Henry fired at the crowd, have some direct bearing to the speeches made at political meetings held by the People’s Progressive Party in the Corentyne, in June 1973 when Dr. Jagan in particular told his supporters what they were to do after the close of the polls on polling day … The behaviour of the crowd that assembled at the beach road and in the school compound, followed the same pattern advocated by Dr. Jagan, I have already dealt with this.
In his findings at Page 21, the Honourable Justice Dhan Jappan stated,
“Taking all these circumstances into consideration especially the important task of escorting the ballot boxes with so few men under his command, I find that Lieutenant Henry acted with consideration and thought under those very difficult situations, and when he fired at the crowd it was both necessary and reasonable, and that he was justified in so doing.
The incidents on the Corentyne Coast and in particular at No 64 Village were not the only of its kind in Berbice. In the Canje District the behaviour pattern was exactly the same. When the security forces went to escort the polling officials with the ballot boxes they met with resistance from crowds all along the way.”
What Jagdeo also failed to inform his bussed in crowd, was that between 24th June to 7th July 1973, the PPP held a series of meetings in Corentyne at which the main speaker was Dr. Cheddi Jagan and at which the Jhappan Report states, at Page 5,
“His theme at these meetings was the same. He told them ... after they had cast their votes and the voting had concluded, they were to organise themselves, and formed themselves into a human barricade outside the polling places. They were to take their women folk and babies and squat on the roadways or streets leading to and from the polling places. ... squatting was to be reinforced by barricades made of old trucks, cars, tree trunks, pieces of wood and anything at their disposal ... … if Burnham use the police and the soldiers ... then force must be met with force, and that if the People’s National Congress lose the election, they the PNC were going to cause trouble again …”
Following in the same pattern of his late Leader, President Jagdeo has consistently used the Babu John event to create racial discord. In his previous address at the same site a year ago, he told those gathered, in clear racial overtones, that if the PNCR won an election they would distribute guns to bandits to rob and kill them. Last week, he invoked new words of “blood on their hands”. These are indeed dangerous developments in an election year with Guyana’s known political history.
The PPP has attempted over the years to distort the events of 1973 as they have done in distorting their role in the stimulation of racial strife in 1964, prior to the Elections, as part of their Campaign entitled, “NO PR OR DEATH”.
They continually emphasise the death of two persons at No 64 Village, Jagan Ramessar and Bholanauth Parmanand, while suppressing the fact that another person, Vernon Campbell who was working with the security forces, was also killed at Canje when a PPP inspired crowd sought to disarm a police man and the gun fell to the ground. They have also always painted this incident in a racial context by deliberately withholding information that both the security personnel and the Election officials were of various ethnic groups. For example, the report at page seven identifies that Sergeant Ross and Police Constable Seecharran were members of Lt. Henry’s party at No 64 Village.
NO PR OR DEATH
In 1964, Guyana was torn apart with racial strife after the PPP, dissatisfied with the decision to introduce the new system of proportional representation, PR, launched a campaign of terror across the country, “No PR or Death”, to prevent the holding of elections. It is the same PPP that engaged in several acts of sabotage, such as the bombing of infrastructure and burning of buildings and cane fields, between 1964 and 1985 while the PNC was in Government. It is the same PPP that facilitated the reign of terror by phantom gangs and drug Lords which resulted in the execution style murders of over four hundred youth, mainly of African descent, over the past few years and have refused to hold a single Inquiry into these matters. Consequently, Guyanese cannot afford to treat lightly statements made by President Jagdeo that can create racial and political tensions and reignite racial strife in Guyana.
IMMORALITY AND DOUBLE STANDARDS
During this year 2011, the United Nations proclaimed, the International Year for People of African Descent, one would have expected that any responsible Government would seek to promote the successful achievement of its declared objectives. Instead of pursuing these objectives the PPP/C Administration, led by President Jagdeo, appear determined to manipulate this year for partisan political advantage.
The first blow was the deliberate exclusion of the major African Guyanese Organisations from the planning of the Programme and the hijacking of the opening so called “Official Launch” of the year.
The Government in their 2011 Budget has also allocated millions of dollars in non specific allocations to provide the flexibility for intervention in certain selective African communities if they deem it politically expedient to do so. This explains the PPP policy in Buxton where they have suddenly developed an interest.
Significantly, in visiting this and other African communities President Jagdeo has failed to address their concerns over the torture, murder and disappearance of their sons at the hands of state forces and state sponsored phantom gangs. He has failed to address the concern for an Independent International Inquiry that is supported by all major stakeholders in Guyana. If there is blood on anyone’s hands it must be on President Jagdeo’s and the PPP.
In visiting these African communities, President Jagdeo has been urging them to forget the past and look to the future: the complete opposite of what he advised his supporters at Babu John last Sunday. Most Guyanese are aware of these double standards and will not take him seriously, but such immorality is dangerous and unbecoming of a President.
It is also amazing that President Jagdeo could feel comfortable opening a National Men’s Forum recently claim concern over the specter of escalating domestic violence in Guyana. The harboring of male predators and pedophiles at the Office of the President; encouraging wife abusers in his administration; deceiving the nation that he was legally married to Ms. Varshnie Singh and his abuse of her while being his companion at State House, have all left him devoid of any moral authority to speak on those issues. In this context, President Jagdeo’s speech at Babu John is reflective of the immorality and double standards he has displayed in both private and public life as he asks Berbicians to remember the past but tells Buxtonions to forget.
His untruthful, inflammatory and racist statements at Babu John must be condemned by all. Such a matter would have been appropriate for the attention of a duly constituted and constitutional Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) under the Law, but regrettably, that too is a toothless poodle under the control of President Jagdeo. President Bharrat Jagdeo is a disgrace and an embarrassment to Guyana. His days are, indeed, numbered.
NOTE: Persons, who are interested in reading the report of the Honourable Justice Dhanessar Jhappan on the Commission of Inquiry into the Incidents on the Corentyne in 1973, may uplift a copy from the gate of Congress Place for a small contribution of $500.00.
People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Sunday 13th March 2011
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