I WRITE to make some observations and comments on Mr Freddie Kissoon‘s column in Kaieteur News (KN) of April 29, 2017 captioned, “Rupert Roopnaraine is Rodneyite, Granger is Burnhamite, Nagamootoo is Jaganite.”
Editor, the order of the names in the caption of the column forced me to conclude that the decision was not one of editorial discretion, but was a deliberate act by Kissoon. I believe that Kissoon, by placing Rupert Roopnaraine’s name first was continuing his campaign against the WPA of indicting the party for what he sees as the government/coalition missteps, shortcomings and betrayal of historic leaders. Once again Kissoon demonstrates his obsession with the WPA, which he has said on many occasions, is nonexistent as a political party and has neither power nor influence in the government
Given the content of the article and the power structure of the government, natural justice required a repositioning of the caption in this order – Granger– Nagamootoo – Roopnaraine. This listing is more indicative of the composition of parties in the alliance, because Roopnaraine and the WPA are junior to the PNC and AFC.
Another concern I have with the column has to do with Kissoon’s attempt to drag President David Granger over the ‘hot coals’ for not adhering to positions advocated by former President Forbes Burnham. This position is underscored by Kissoon’s question as to whether Granger “has implemented any dimension of the thought process, school of ideas, ideological beliefs, governmental policies and economic directions of Forbes Burnham?” If Kissoon’s account of President Granger’s failure on this matter is correct, I contend that it is to the President’s credit that he has been able to separate his personal feelings and admiration of the party’s founder-leader and instead, attempted to hold steadfast to the policies of the coalition, which were enunciated during the 2015 elections campaign.
The above is not an argument as to the relevance of policies advocated by, Burnham, Jagan or Rodney. The fact of the matter is that the President and the government are not bound by the policies of those great leaders, and should not be judged by their standards. The President and government have to be judged by the APNU+AFC manifesto and the promises made in the election campaign.
Kissoon in his zealousness seems to be offering an analysis of the regime’s actions or inaction. In doing so he is unintentionally pushing Granger and the government into difficult political waters. If the President and the government are perceived as implementing Burnham’s ideas — ideological and economic directions etc. – it would be perceived in some quarters as a betrayal of what was put to the people during the 2015 elections campaign.
Equally important, the APNU+AFC government and the President will be giving the PPP and government detractors the political ammunition they want. The PPP has been daily hammering into the heads of its supporters that the PNC dominates the coalition and government to the extent that there is a return to the Burnham era. Kissoon is an astute political analyst and should have no difficulties recognising the pitfalls in his position.
Another concern I have is in relation to Kissoon’s description of Dr Rupert Roopnaraine.
In his remarks in his letter on Roopnaraine, Kissoon made the following points: (a) Roopnaraine is in ; (b) Rodney may, be ashamed of what Roopnaraine is doing; (c) Roopnaraine is despoiling the face of Rodneyism; (d) he put his name to an organisation that was supposed to collect funds and build the D’Urban Park structure; (e) then, Rupert, the great Rodneyite, journeyed to the National Cultural Centre to ground with teachers, parents and concerned citizens on the vexation of VAT on private school tuition. Knowing he couldn’t play even a minor role in rolling back the tax, then why did he meet with them? (f) Roopnaraine displayed immense hypocrisy when he said he cannot support increased tuition at UG; and (g) now that it has become policy, he intoned that he does not support it, and went on to take an ignominious position that if the university does not remove it, there is nothing he can do.
I have deliberately listed the points he made against Minister Rupert Roopnaraine to compare with his handling of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, the most senior AFC leader in the government. Suffice it to say that readers should note that Kissoon dealt with Nagamootoo’s alleged transgression of Jaganism, etc. in a very brief final paragraph. My point here is to demonstrate where Kissoon’s political preference lies.
Kissoon, at this point in time, seems to be experiencing what in Guyanese jargon, is a “love/hate” relation with the AFC. This is understandable since, during the 2015 elections campaign, he invested a lot of his political capital supporting that party. Apparently, he is now having second thoughts as can be seen in his recent reflections on the AFC’s performance in and out of government. In a recent column, Kissoon contends that the AFC is responsible for its own demise and not the PNC.
I end by making this observation: Kissoon is in a political dilemma, on the one hand he portrays himself as a non-party person, but deeply in his heart he wants to identify with a progressive party that can be transformative for the country and its masses. Because Guyana is a difficult political environment, the question that Kissoon has to answer for himself is — which way to go?