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The Freddie Kissoon column


A successful business couple I know is migrating with their children to the US . They left this morning. The wife told me that the Sash Sawh murder was the last straw. Here were two genuine Guyanese investors who started from scratch and achieved prodigious commercial success. I didn't say a word as she spoke because I read her mind and I went inside her head. I know what she was thinking. Fear was the factor. Then she told me of a well established Guyanese family that will be leaving billions behind to go to Florida . Yes billions. Their investments in Guyana are very, very huge.

I can't name these people but if I did, you would become depressed because if they can migrate, then the whole of Guyana will be leaving. The Sash Sawh murder has sent the adrenalin rush to countless business people in Guyana , and the exodus will be given a large push. But would there have been more optimistic prospects if this exit route did not exist? Suppose there was no way to go, would the business class have flexed its muscles and dictate to the ruling political class that it should seek a new approach to governance?

For me the answer is yes. If Canada and the US weren't there, out of sheer survival instinct, the business community would have been forced to confront the obduracy of the PPP Government. Sadly, very few Guyanese entrepreneurs will stay and organise for a change in government. Once North America is there, they will leave. And they will leave behind those who have no option or choice but to stay in Guyana . It is with these people, the hope for changes lies.

The Sash Sawh murder should galvanize every supporter of the PPP to confront the PPP on their style of governance. On Monday, I will devote my column to the intended law to abolish any form of industrial protest in a number of areas of occupation in Guyana , suffice it to say that this vexatious imposition hit the press one day after Sash Sawh was cremated. Are the PPP supporters blind? Can't they see the PPP is leading them down the road to perdition?

The Sash Sawh assassination has taken Guyana into dangerous waters that the PPP and their supporters never expected. For the first time in the modern history of CARICOM nations, a serving minister of the cabinet was physically attacked and killed by a self-styled group of urban gunmen who have an anti-government plan. No government official was ever killed in the seventies in Trinidad when the National Union of Freedom Fighters (NUFF) embarked on guerrilla warfare. The state annihilated them. Then the Muslimeen group took the Trinidadian Parliament hostage. In Guyana , the WPA had an agenda to remove the PNC regime, but as someone who was close to that movement, there was absolutely no conspiracy to kill members of the government.

Those days are different from the circumstances that surround the Sash Sawh killing. What Guyana may be witnessing is the rebirth of the NUFF in Guyana but with a completely different methodology. NUFF patterned itself after Latin American urban guerrilla groups and its ideology was Castroite. It was also Black Power oriented. We don't know what is the ideology of the Agricola and Buxton based carriers of the AK-47s. Vaguely, we know that they see the police as a group that must be tamed because they kill African youths with impunity. But that era is gone. The Guyana Police Force has shifted to a more responsible and accountable modus operandi.

Secondly, their teachers have indoctrinated them with the theory of African marginalisation. The sordid aspect of this proposal is that the other side of that coin is anti-Indian feelings. If the government is bent on marginalizing African Guyanese, then it logically follows that Indians are the beneficiaries. I believe this is a flawed theory.

The sociology of Guyana is much more complicated than the teachers of these gunmen make it out to be. Here is the essential difference between NUFF and the people Ronald Waddell and Tacuma Ogunseye refer to as the “resistance movement.” NUFF was Black Power oriented indeed. But it had its indigenous roots. It was hardly related to Stokley Carmichael (later Kwame Toure)'s model of Black Power as it obtained in the US in the late sixties and very early seventies.

Thirdly, these gunmen are anti-government. They see the police as an agent of the state and they see the state as having an ideology of ethnic domination. One of the crucial mistakes in the teachings of the people who mystify the young attackers of Buxton is the emphasis they place on race politics. Had they studied the nature of the Burnham regime, it would have shown them that African Guyanese were hardly the beneficiaries of Burnham's “great socialist thrust.”

Under Burnham some African constituencies gained. But not the African working class. The same movie is playing with the PPP in power. It is a ruling clique with beneficiaries that come from a limited Indian constituency. But how much has the lot of the Indian working class improved? Indians are on a massive migration campaign. The most misleading aspect of this resistance group is its deformed ideology. But however contorted is its philosophical approach to Guyanese politics, it exists. We return to the role of PPP supporters.

The trouble with Indian people in this country is that they are so gullible to the lying propaganda of PPP leaders. We have a volatile situation in Guyana that does not lead to any conspiratorial room belonging to the PNC. But this is what PPP supporters will be told when they demand inclusive governance. And inclusive governance is the only game in town after Sash Sawh's assassination. Those Guyanese who have stayed with the PPP must come to the realisation that Guyana is no longer the Guyana they knew when Papa Cheddi won in 1992. The crime spree that is killing this country is bound up with a political solution. Do PPP fans really believe that President Jagdeo didn't have time to respond to a letter from Mr. Corbin after Sash Sawh was killed? As I go about my business in Georgetown , all I meet are fearful people. There can still be a way out of this madness. It lies with Freedom House and those who prop up and bankroll the PPP.


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