– For Guyana’s politicians to come together?
AND the death of Winston Shripal Murray, MP, CCH is indubitably a tragedy for this nation.
An obvious statesman who could relate to the common man, bearing in mind the influences of his antecedents, like most men who have made their mark in their country’s political landscape, especially in third-world countries, Winston Murray has striven unremittingly to attain an academic portfolio that has made him eminently suitable for high office. Yet there are many with even more impressive academic portfolios, but who lack the requisite qualities of leadership that Murray has displayed.
Murray’s career path drove him inexorably into the folds of the then ruling PNC Party and he was mesmerised by then Executive President Forbes Burnham’s lethal charisma.
Like real Jaganites, who would not abandon the fulcrum landmark of the Jagan’s historical struggles – the PPP, regardless of any consideration, Murray was a diehard Burnhamite, who refused to abandon the Party of the man he almost revered – in good times or bad.
While some may have seen this as being foolhardy, especially in light of the many tempting offers that would have lured a lesser man, it is a measure of the man that he refused to abandon the party of his mentor; but it is also a measure of the man that he was big enough to support Government’s programmes when he perceived this was for the ultimate good of Guyana, and he resigned his position as Chairman of the Party rather than make the issue under contention a political one instead of a patriotic one.
There are many times when Guyana’s politicians eschew the mantle of politics to assume their real identities as Guyanese and as human beings, but it is a sad thing that it takes a tragedy for this to eventuate, relegating the real distressing event to a secondary position, and nowhere was this sad reality more apparent than during the funerals of Dr. Cheddi Jagan and Mr. Winston Murray, when the nation collectively mourned.
At Parliament yesterday, for someone unaccustomed to the landscape of Guyana’s political dynamics, it would have been considered a heartwarming sight, where officials of the PNC and PPP hierarchy – even the President, were conversing with respect and in accord, amicably sharing views and sentiments; but anyone conversant with the political scenario in our country could only wait in trepidation for the battle lines to be re-drawn, where the ultimate prize is the seat of government.
The PPP/C Party and Government has always maintained a stance and reached out to other stakeholders for consensual initiatives to advance the interests of the country for the greater benefit of the Guyanese people, but there has always been a group of persons – even within its own ranks, that have vetoed such positions.
Until today, many former PPP members are critical of Dr. Jagan’s offer of ‘critical support’ to Burnham when his programmes and policies redounded to the good of the Guyanese people.
They have forgotten that the two leaders were once comrades-in-arms, with the same blueprints and policies for developing the nation, and even if the charters were subsequently defined in ways that abraded the sensibilities of a major section of the nation, some did impact positively on the development of the country, and no true leader with the interest of the nation at heart would want to derail that momentum.
Likewise Murray, with the exact thinking of Dr. Jagan, who always put the nation above personal and political considerations, was able to rise to the occasion and offer support, especially to President Jagdeo’s heroic stance on the issue with the EU-driven EPA, which must have bolstered the determination of Guyana’s President to remain unswayed, despite the abandonment, and even derogation from his CARIFORUM counterparts. This was a Guyanese leader supporting a Guyanese President for the good of the nation and the region. The rest is history.
And even as head of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), after the Parliamentary sectoral committees had been formed, Winston Murray was just and equitable in his fulminations, recognising that many of the financial misdemeanours recorded in the Auditor-General’s Reports were there long before the current Government took office, and he had no qualms in determining that the culprits be brought to justice, although he was aware that many of them were PNC supporters.
When Supreme Court Registrar, Ms Sita Ramlall, had sacked some of her staff at the Registry for theft and misconduct, the PNC protested en masse and vilified Ms Ramlall mercilessly, but if one was to re-visit the Hansard during the period when Ms Ramlall was being questioned by the PAC about her agency’s accounts, then one could recognise the fairness of Winston Murray in his almost apologetic language and his respectful deferment to Ms Ramlall’s explanations of certain anomalies in the accounts of the Registry.
This was because he had scrutinised the AG’s Report and had realised the great latitude allowed Public Servants, where they can get away almost with murder without being sanctioned because of protectionist mechanisms that their unions had wrested for them.
He always accorded the leader of his party with fullest respect and honour, and always refused to become involved in the imbroglios that broke the Party of his heart into pieces, until latterly, when he recognised that there was need for a melding and a healing to bridge the internal divides, and was persuaded that he was the leverage that could have helped that healing process.
When Buxtonian, Mboya Wood, facilitated a healing between Buxton and the rest of Guyana, he went a far way to bridging the divides in the nation. Witnessing the amicable conversation and interrelation between the leadership of the PNC and the PPP one could still hope that this dream of Cheddi Jagan for unity in the nation could eventually fructify.
And if it took Winston Murray’s passing to achieve this then his death would not have gone in vain, but would have served a greater purpose than that which he has always pursued.
– For Guyana’s politicians to come together?