By Gerald V. Paul
Guyana’s APNU/AFC Leader David Granger said recently, “I am not Burnham.”
That’s as in Forbes Burnham, called in Dr. Arthur M. Schlesinger’s A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House an “opportunist, racist and a demagogue.”
Cheddi Jagan was infinitely preferable but they went with Burnham. And the rest, as they say, was 28 years of rigged elections and dictatorship.
Granger can take comfort in the blog BrutalFacts which says “Forbes Burnham was not a racist.” Why burn the bridge you are crossing? It’s like the song: “Take your picture from the wall and burn it.
This brings me to the Cuffy Dollar question. Is the PNC, the leading party in Granger’s APNU, not Burnham-style policy driven? Is Granger treating all that Burnham stood for and his followers, the hopes, dreams and aspirations, like leftovers you give to hogs in the yard?
Indeed, Burnham’s name has gone to the rice-eating dogs. According to BrutalFacts, “He, Burnham, is so unpopular that even those within his own political party rarely tout his accomplishments … to mount a battle to salvage his image.”
In Toronto, a group tried to do a make-over on the Burnham image but failed. And there were even two newspapers in the name of Burnham’s PNC. They, too, went to the dustbin of time.
Other PNC / Burnham proponents huddled under the PPP / Jagan tent for the soup and eventually moved on to greener pastures.
U.S. State Department declassified documents, released in 2005 (http: //www.state.gov/m/aips/c22798.htm) show the PNC / Burnham machinations in Guyana were well documented.
A memorandum by Thomas H. Karamessines for Walt W. Rostow, special assistant to former president Lyndon Johnson was labelled “Plans of Guyana Prime Minister Forbes Burnham, Leader of the PNC, to rig the elections scheduled for late 1969” (June 12, 1969).
You see, Eyesers, Granger’S PNC (APNU / AFC on the wagon) is the People’s National Congress, founded by LFS Burnham in order to get the support of the British and Americans to get into naked power.
But why would Granger who sat at Burnham’s feet now act like de coconut fall far from de tree? Granger, like Judas denying his Kabaka, treating him like kaka, methinks. But allyuh look story, eh, eh.
Burnham told the first PPP Congress it was “not a party of big shots. It’s a party of the working class people of British Guiana (now Guyana). It is a party that has come to stay as a permanent institution.” O, how prophetic.
Fast forward. After imposition of proportional representation by Britain’s Harold Wilson in July 1964, Burnham said “the election is now over. The Peoples National Congress, in the interest of peace and stability, has agreed, with the support of the United Force, to form the government.”
United Force was kicked to the curb and Burnham’s PNC was large and in charge. But Granger is not Burnham. He will not kick the AFC to the curb, right?
Trust Granger, like how the British and Americans trusted Burnham? Cool.
By the way, Eyesers, at a conference in New York in 1990 which Jagan and Schlesinger Jr. attended, Schlesinger apologized for the role he played in imposing proportional representation on Guiana.
“I feel badly about my role 30 years ago. I think a great injustice was done to Cheddi Jagan.”
Schlesinger was referring to the fact that it was his “recommendation to the British that led to the proportional representation tactic.” It was a time when the CIA was involved in Guyana’s politics, funding strikes and contributing to race riots in Georgetown in an effort to destabilize the PPP government, which led to 28 years of PNC-rigged elections and dictatorship by Burnham’s PNC.
Small wonder Granger would say, “I am not Burnham.” According to Schlesinger, Jagan is infinitely preferable to Burnham – “racist, demagogue and an opportunist.”