Nagamootoo: “Give us a chance to make a change”


November 6, 2011  —    Letter to all Guyanese By Moses Nagamootoo

Dear Friend:

Following my resignation from the PPP, ending 50 years of association with that organization, I responded to proposals by Messrs. Raphael Trotman and Khemraj Ramjattan, to join the platform of the Alliance for Change.  I did so, not as an AFC member, but an independent citizen, in exercise of my constitutional and democratic right to choose with whom to associate.

I had wanted to leave the PPP since 1998, when the process to destroy the party’s internal democracy had started. I didn’t do so then.  I again wanted to resign in 2004-2006 when the leadership refused to investigate many of my complaints including allegations of corruption, fraud at the Wildlife Department, illegal export of bottle-nose dolphins, phantom squad.  

Later, I became totally disgusted at the shameful greed of some of the leaders, who turned the state into a real estate agency and were helping themselves and their friends to prime properties, and were interested in globe-trotting and extravagance whilst sugar workers, public servants and old people were living on starvation wages and pensions.

One example suffices here: When I first saw the proposal, I had said that the “president’s pension plan”, in excess of $36,000,000.00 annually, “rattled my soul”, but to my utter shame and regret I voted for it, because I was required to do so as a PPP/MP. I had pleaded that we were moving away from Cheddi Jagan’s and Ho Chi Ming’s principles of “revolutionary morality”, and that we were becoming greedy and corrupt. No one in the leadership supported me.

I had taken a stand on those issues before the scandal broke, and leaders were indicted in WikiLeaks cables to the United States Government on allegations of corruption and criminality.

So, resigning from the PPP, was a burden that I have eventually shed, and I have felt relieved and at peace with myself since.

I embraced the AFC with sincerely and passion. In it I have seen Guyana’s future. Here, in this AFC Family, are young leaders who have honest vision and serious ideas for Guyana’s development and progress. Here are leaders who have worked on a comprehensive Action Plan for the short, medium and long-term development of Guyana, putting emphasis on jobs, jobs and more jobs;  getting bigger pay packets for workers and decent pensions for old people.

Here, in the AFC, I see brothers and sisters who are serious about tackling crime and corruption, and restoring Guyana’s pride and international respect.   Here, I see leaders who believe in the Rule of Law and not lawlessness and daily vulgar practices by others who have set our young people no good example by which to live.

Here, I see real commitment to a liberal democracy where there is respect for fundamental freedoms and rights, including the right to live in peace, freedom of the press and freedom of journalists to practice their profession without interference.

And here, in this magnificent Alliance, I have seen zero-tolerance for racism, gutter attacks against anyone on account of their political choice, sexual orientation, gender and religious beliefs.

Since I made my choice, I was generously welcomed into the AFC family with respect and love, and appreciation for my life which was totally dedicated to public service – as a teacher, journalist, writer, politician and pro-democracy activist.

My erstwhile “comrades” who, not so long ago rejoiced at my departure, have chosen to heap calumnies upon me, and putrid garlands of the ungrateful for one who has done so much and for so little.

I watched them, one by one – Joey and Leslie included – and could only paraphrase Julius Caesar when he said before his death, “Et tu, Brute!” And I wanted to re-create Pablo Neruda and Martin Carter, who would have proclaimed in defiance: “Sentence me quickly.”

But I pity them, and would allow Mark Anthony to speak for me: “O judgement! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason!”

Since I embarked on this new walk with the AFC, I was greeted with understanding. There are hundreds of letters of solidarity in my Email and Facebook, from people of all walks of life and from everywhere. And, I know I have done the right thing; I have made the Right Turn.

Thousands of Guyanese, from all walks of life, would shout my name in approval, and would embrace my decision, and wait their time to turn the Key.  I saw that in my daily walk-abouts in Georgetown, in Port Mourant, Whim, Lancaster, Liverpool, Corriverton, Vreed-en-Hoop, and other places.

I have seen renewed hope and optimism in the faces of ordinary, hard-working folks, who would give me a one hundred dollar note as a “lil change” to bring about the “big change”.

I am confident that we are now on the move; that Guyana’s Spring has come, and our people will peacefully make their own Revolution for bread and justice, quality education with job opportunities, political decency and democracy.

I am confident now that constitutional change is now within our grasp to banish this autocratic executive presidency which, recently, has brought our country so much shame and lawlessness, and that we could have a political system that would define a role for all of our people.

I am proud of my choice and fully indorse our Presidential and Prime Ministerial candidates, Khemraj Ramjattan and Raphael Trotman, and all of our national and regional candidates.

I ask our people to give the AFC a change to make the change, and to make a difference in Guyana. A vote for the AFC, is the Key to success.

Yours faithfully,

Moses  Nagamootoo

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