– Seems to be general trend
THE tendency of the People’s National Congress (PNC) to rig elections has its genesis in the 1968 elections, when the blueprint for rigging of elections in Guyana was formulated by LFS Burnham, with the complicity and support of the United States.
The skeletons came out of the closet when US State documents of the period were declassified, as exposed in excerpted quotes from Dr. Odeen Ishmael’s “How the American Government Helped Burnham to Rig the 1968 Elections” as follows:
“In an introduction to declassified US state documents (Foreign relations, 1964 – 1968, Volume XXXII, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti, Guyana) the historian of the US State Department wrote that the Special Group/303 Committee of the National Security Committee approved $2.08 million for covert action programmes between 1962 and 1968 in Guyana. A good proportion of this covert funding was given to the PNC and the UF in 1963 and 1964 when they were trying their best to overthrow the PPP government.”
“Delmar Carlson, the US Ambassador to Guyana, reported in a telegram to state Department on July 15, 1966 that “Burnham has confided to close colleagues that he intends to remain in power indefinitely – if at all possible by constitutional means. However, if necessary, he is prepared to employ unorthodox methods to achieve his aims.”
“A footnote to a memorandum prepared by the 303 Committee on 17th March 1967 quoted in part: “Since we believe that there is a good likelihood that Jagan can be elected in Guyana unless the entire non-East Indian electorate is mobilized against him, we also believe that campaign support must be provided to Peter D’Aguiar, the head of the United Force, and Burnham’s coalition partner.”
“Another memorandum, prepared on 12 June 1968 by Thomas H. Karamessines, Deputy CIA Director for Plans, for Walt W. Rostow, Special Asst to President Johnson, (Source: Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, Document E.O. 12958, Sec NIJ 94.268 – 12 June 1968). The document, titled ‘Plans of Guyana Prime Minister Forbes Burnham, leader of the People’s National Congress (PNC), to rig the elections scheduled for late 1968 or early 1969’, showed US government complicity in this arrangement……”
A final progress report on “Support to Anti-Jagan political parties in Guyana”, prepared for the 303 Committee on 21 November 1968 by the US State Department, stated, inter alia: “……….the problems facing Burnham stemming from his having padded the registration lists in the United Kingdom excessively in an attempt to win an outright majority….”
The foregoing quotes merely refer to the events preceding the 1968 elections, but history records that every general election, subsequent to that, was massively rigged under the PNC watch.
Registration of non-existing overseas voters, of teenaged supporters of the PNC, when the voting age was 21, of people long dead, of people as yet unborn, the unclassified US State documents, detail all the methods used by the PNC, in complicity with the US, to place that party and keep it in power, and the PPP out. This also included unleashing violence to make the country ungovernable under a PPP administration. (Recall the infamous X-13 Plan).
A memorandum from William Tyler, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian affairs, to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, even went so far as to detail a plan, complicit with the Venezuelan government, to specially train 100 men to kidnap Cheddi and Janet Jagan and take them to Venezuela.
These are the historic lengths that the PNC went to install and keep itself in power in this country, which soon plunged to the bottom of the world’s development charts as a result.
For this Party, the end always justified the means, and ethics never mattered. Now the chickens are coming home to roost.
First Team Alexander cried rigging, now Norton has done so. But these are not national elections, where outsiders are involved in any way. These incidents have occurred within the bastion of the PNC – Congress Place, and the victims and the alleged fraudsters all belong to the Party accused of rigging every election in Guyana since 1968, until the Carter Centre interceded in 1992, when the country’s exchequer and international goodwill had already been bankrupted, while every sector in Guyana had been completely devastated.
Party executive Aubrey Norton said that the PNC’s Georgetown District Chairmanship elections, conducted on 28th June, when the Georgetown District of the PNC held its District Conference, were fraudulent.
Norton, who lost the chairmanship of the Georgetown District to Party co-chair, Volda Lawrence, through a vote 96 to 220, alleged that there were blatant cases of padding of the voters’ lists. According to Norton, there was a turnout of less than 300 delegates to the conference, yet the tally of votes reflected that more than 300 persons voted.
According to reports, chaos reigned at Congress Place because of accusations that some persons had received several ballot papers, while others were receiving none.
Norton complained about the Brickdam Group, which he claimed Lawrence to have said had one hundred members, when he was convinced that it has only an approximate thirty.
During the last Congress Vincent Alexander and a team of party stalwarts had launched a challenge to the PNC leadership, which had been defeated.
Then, as now, there were allegations of massive rigging of the electoral processes at Congress Place.
The fallout was expulsion of several members, with Alexander and others resigning from the party.
Previously Raphael Trotman, under similar circumstances, resigned from the PNC and, in partnership with Khemraj Ramjattan – formerly of the People’s Progressive Party, formed the Alliance For Change (AFC), which drew votes from many disgruntled members of the PNC during the last general elections.
Disillusioned members of the PNC are gravitating to the AFC, and with the looming leadership challenge by Burnham’s son-in-law, Richard Van-West Charles, the fractured PNC may very well find itself contesting the 2011 General Elections under several factions.
“Wha’ guh around come around” is a popular Guyanese saying. Burnham engineered the split in the People’s Progressive Party decades ago, and this led to a nation divided unto itself.
Today, while the PPP of Cheddi Jagan retains its organizational strength, the PNC that Burnham formed, splitting the masses and derailing the momentum of the freedom movement of the Guyanese people through Machiavellian mechanisms and methodologies, is self-destructing.
Could one call this divine retribution?