Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Donald Ramotar, has adjured the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) to act professionally, especially in light of the pending General and Regional Elections on May 11 of this year.The President, in delivering the Charge at the Guyana Defence Force’s annual conference at the Officers’ Complex at Camp Ayangana, stressed the imperative of ranks eschewing political affiliation for professional conduct in order to prevent and forestall any violence that may erupt upon elections, stating “… my fervent hope is that the climate is one of peace where good sense will prevail, even as contesting political parties and their supporters, as is their democratic right, vigorously conduct their campaign.” He warned “… forces of reaction and fragmentation must not be allowed to fester in our society.
“Any attempt to create a feeling of insecurity and fear among our citizens or in any segment of our population, based on rumour, subjective gutter politics or worse, must be publicly frowned upon and action taken by the security forces to arrest any such tendency.”
The President was not issuing such warnings in a vacuum, because almost every election in Guyana has been marred by eruptions of violence that ensued in much distress and destruction in the nation.
The overt and covert threats, in and out of Parliament, and the veiled instigation to violence of supporters by leading members of the Opposition, as well as some rabid anti-Government columnists, professional protesters and reporters, are engendering great fear in communities that have traditionally been victims of the Opposition’s rhetoric and actions.
The reason that President Donald Ramotar was forced into opting for his last recourse to safeguard the nation from the fallout of an abrupt dissolution and issue a proclamation of prorogation, ironically meant to guard the bastion of democracy – Guyana’s National Assembly – was because the joint Opposition’s actions would have left no room for negotiations, as Parliament would have been dissolved with immediacy through their no-confidence strategy to depose the Government. The President’s proclamation, through rights vested in him by Article 7:1 of Guyana’s Constitution, has given the nation a window of many opportunities – not least for continuity in development.
However, the very real fear that the Opposition’s actions and utterances would devolve into violence is an extant reality of an ongoing cycle that has its genesis in the infamous x-13 Plan, allegedly crafted by Hamilton Green and Forbes Burnham, with support from external forces; and continuing throughout Guyana’s history in various guises.
Approximately eight years ago, during the height of the “Buxton Resistance” and the PNC “Slo’ Fiah, Mo’ Fiah” campaign, four GuySuco workers were kidnapped and murdered aback of Buxton; sleeping babies from an adjoining community were slain, along with their parents and older siblings; a sitting minister of Government was gunned down in his home, together with his siblings and security guard; people having a recreational drink at a bar were gunned down; businessmen were scythed down like so much chaff, while entire blocks of business entities were either looted or burned flat. One May morning, before dawn, Premchand Barran and his 10-yr-old son, Mervyn Barran, from Enterprise, were executed in the backdam where they went to catch shrimp. Not far from them, Mr. Dhanpaul Jagdeo, from Non Pareil, was found. Each was executed. One policeman who persevered in investigating the murders, police detective Harry Kooseran, was gunned down. The PPP adjured its supporters not to retaliate, so the Opposition’s plan to ignite a race war was averted, but the pressure continued.
The list of atrocities was endless and spiralling out of the control of the governmental construct.
The security sector heads, as evidence showed through tape-recordings and other subsequent revelations, were complicit in these criminal and murderous forays by one section of the Guyanese community against the other.
During that period in time, the inflammatory Opposition’s rhetoric and actions reached to the extent where they labelled murderous thieves and rapists as freedom fighters and even draped the body of the notorious Lindon “Blackie” London with the Golden Arrowhead – giving him hero status. This action was never condemned by the Guyana Human Rights Association and the Opposition collective of ‘NGOs’, including the PNC/APNU/WPA women’s arm – Red Thread, which has much clout with the foreign ambassadorial delegates through intermingling on the cocktail route.
The police ranks were helpless to intervene in the wanton slaughter and destruction countrywide, because they too came under fire, being gunned down on the streets as they performed their duties, or even while they performed personal tasks during their off-duty periods.
This period of several dark and tragic times of Guyana was precipitated by ruthless power-hungry opportunistic politicians who do not care if they ‘bruk up’ the country in their relentless bid for power; and the communities through which they directed their murderous campaigns were their own strongholds, which were destroyed at many levels, including lost lives during Opposition-driven intermittent periods of violence and mayhem in the land.
Greenidge’s rampages against Indian and Chinese businesses eerily recall, and can be interpreted by their supporters as identifying targets for destruction, the calls by the youth arm of APNU for the boycott of Indian-run businesses, as well as businesses of African Guyanese who eschew race politics to work on developmental projects driven by Government, the pillorying of African leaders in Government whom they call “houseboys”, even against bureaucratic technocrats merely doing a job within the Government construct, and the racist rhetoric against GuySuCo workers and conscientious Guyanese of all ethnic compositions are warnings of the dire consequences of such blatant and open calls for insurrection in the nation.
Greenidge’s open threat to the life of the President, with his reference to King Charles, who was beheaded after he had dismantled Parliament, is high treason, and in any other country he would have immediately been placed behind bars.
Responsible Guyanese citizens have felt constrained to issue a timely reminder and warning of the consequences of these inflammatory racist rhetoric and actions by the joint Opposition and their satellites.
Those who lived through and experienced the horrors of those years are terrified of this trend to the incitement of violence and hatred, as exemplified by the utterances of Opposition leaders and Freddie Kissoon’s diabolical raging against sitting Ministers of Government, because of the potential for the destructive elements who could once again be unleashed upon the country.
Thus, the President’s charge and warning to GDF ranks is timely, and should be heeded by the ranks of the joint services, who should not see opportunistic, power-hungry politicians as their “kith and kin”; but make right choices for their real “kith and kin” – their children, whose future they could jeopardise if they opt to abandon their professional responsibilities and allow anarchy to prevail in the country.