The PPP’s dominance instinct: Why is Jagan more worthy than Burnham and Hoyte? – By Dr. David Hinds

The PPP’s dominance instinct: Why is Jagan more worthy than Burnham and Hoyte? – By Dr. David Hinds

By Dr. David Hinds – Hinds’ Sight – November 7, 2015

Dr. David Hinds

Dr. David Hinds

LAST week, I lamented the fact that the PPP is doing its best to ensure that the conditions for a national government of all the political forces in the country does not materialise. I premised my conclusion on the view that the PPP is steeped, perhaps inexorably so, in the belief that governing Guyana is its divine right, or what I call manifest destiny.

Dr Henry Jeffery also believes that what he calls the politics of dominance is very much part of the PPP’s political DNA. As one who has studied the PPP as a scholar, and has spent two decades in its ranks, his views on the matter should be taken seriously.

The belief in political power as a divine right is seriously dangerous in any political economy, but it is even more dangerous in an ethnically plural environment such as Guyana’s.  

This instinct within the PPP is not new; observers had identified it as early as the 1950s. But one may argue that it was checked over the years by Dr Jagan’s overpowering influence. The crucial point here is that while Dr Jagan may have contained it, he never stamped it out. That is why its ascendancy after the party’s return to power in 1992 was so swift, even while Dr Jagan was still alive. After he died in 1997, it quickly exploded and consumed some old and trusted comrades.

The destruction to the country’s political, economic and social fabric which it facilitated will take a long time to repair.

The normativeness of this instinct for dominance in the PPP’s collective outlook is borne out by the fact that the loss of two elections and eventually political office has not diminished it. In fact, it has been reinforced. Last week, I alluded to the fact that the PPP, through its covert and overt actions, has clearly signalled that its singular objective is to return to the seat of power. It has no interest in the country’s development, in power-sharing and in cooperation with the current government. It is not too early to conclude that the PPP simply cannot exist in conditions where it does not have absolute power.

When political persons and organisations are so consumed by power, they are often blind and deaf, literally and intellectually, to the dire consequences of their insatiable appetite for dominance. The PPP is well known for flaunting its narrative of the PNC’s 28 years of evil. Over a period of time, the party has come to believe that narrative, and has been relatively successful in planting it as the ultimate truth among the Indian-Guyanese masses. That has had a damaging effect on the Indian Guyanese political psyche, including the stultification of self-criticism. As Freddie Kissoon contends, that is one of the discernable differences between the so-called African and Indian-Guyanese intellectual classes. When the instinct of self-criticism is suppressed, the community loses an essential part of its soul. Maybe that is what Dr Baytoram Ramharack is mourning in his most recent intervention about the condition of the Indian-Guyanese Intellectual Class.

What I will say next needs a bit of contextualising, especially for younger readers. I have never been a member of the PNC. In fact, I was part of a group that put our bodies and minds on the line to fight and remove the PNC from office. I am still critical of some aspects of the PNC’s politics. I still hold the PNC responsible for the assassination of the peerless Dr Walter Rodney, and view the hasty closing of the recent Rodney Commission of Inquiry by the APNU+AFC government as disrespectful to Rodney’s family, his comrades and the Guyanese people. For me, it was another assassination of one who is by far the most respected and talented personage to have emerged from our Guyana during the second half of the 20th century. And I firmly believe that while all the partners in the coalition, including the WPA, must bear responsibility for this travesty, if the PNC had wanted the CoI to continue, it would have continued.

Now back to the PPP’s manifest destiny. There has been another deadly consequence of the PPP’s instinct for dominance. I am contending that the very “evil” that the PPP trumpets about is partly a consequence of its own instinct for dominance. The PPP’s open and sometimes vulgar claim to absolute power developed among African-Guyanese a counter-force born of a real fear of being dominated. This fear of domination in turn encouraged a politics of counter-domination. It is in that context that one must partly see the evolution of the PNC’s authoritarianism during its 28 years in office. This is not to excuse the PNC leadership from their own deliberate authoritarian interventions, some of which I am sure would have occurred even if there was not the PPP’s manifest destiny to contend with. But it is dishonest to ignore the centrality of the African- Guyanese fear of domination to the PNC’s authoritarian governance.

Critically, the PNC, for the last 30 years, has been confronting and dealing with its own political demons. Some, including myself, have sometimes carelessly explained Guyana’s politics via the “twin-evil” thesis that the PPP and the PNC are two sides of the same coin. Although I concede some degree of justification for holding to that thesis, the evidence of our recent history must force us to re-examine it. While the PNC, starting with the Hoyte leadership and extending through the Corbin era to the now Granger phenomenon, has been grappling with its past — sometimes clumsily but nevertheless engaging — the same cannot be said for the PPP. In fact, the PPP, during this same period, has gone in the opposite direction. It has, in word and deed, deteriorated to the ugliest regime in the post-colonial Anglophone Caribbean.

Today the PNC shares power with others, and has invited the PPP to be part of that sharing. To those who still hold the view that the PNC should apologise, I ask what better apology is needed than this embrace of National Unity. In contrast, the PPP scornfully turns its back on National Unity. If there was any doubt about where the PPP stands, just listen to Donald Ramotar and the PPP on the matter of the Red House issue. They have said, without a hint of concern for the consequences of their statement, that Burnham and Hoyte are not fit to be in the same house with Jagan. For them, Jagan fits into the company of Jagdeo, but not Hoyte and Burnham.
What separates them? What sins have the Burnham-Hoyte governments committed that the Jagdeo-Ramotar governments have not? Yet the latter are welcomed into the house of humanity and the former are otherised. What makes Dr. Jagan a qualitatively better politician and human being than Burnham and/or Hoyte? Why are some more worthy than others? “Let them find another place for Hoyte and Burnham,” the PPP bellows. The fear of contamination is hardly disguised.

In our fragile ethnic reality, the history of systemic otherisation of the darkest among us should always temper our political outbursts. Clearly, the PPP cares not about the deep feelings of that group. Hoyte and Burnham are part of our collective space, with all of its splendour and failings. Even the descendants of segregation found a place for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr on their hallowed Mall. Some say I see race in everything. I say, “I am not blind.” I am very sure that this is not my last word on this issue.

More of Dr Hinds’s ‘writings and commentaries can be found on his YouTube Channel Hinds’ Sight: Dr David Hinds’ Guyana-Caribbean Politics and on his website http://www.guyanacaribbeanpolitics.com. Send comments to dhinds6106@aol.com

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Comments

  • De castro  On November 10, 2015 at 3:48 am

    Wonderful honest and factful read. Truthful and honest enlightment.
    Thank you comrade Hinds…..hindsight teaches fools. Ignore at our peril.

    It is my belief that change in the political areana of Guyana s politricks will eventually emerge
    sometime in the future how the political cl asses address it my concern.
    A united Guyana is a strong Guyana a divided Guyana is a failed state.
    United we stand divided we fail/fall.
    We may not have a cure for the cancer of Guyana s political past but we can certainly contain
    it today and tomorrow.
    Am forever the optimist.
    Openness and transparency way forward. Truth to power.

    Alelulah amen
    Lord kamtan of cherin by appointment to HRH QE2 UKPLC

  • Gigi  On November 13, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    I couldn’t be bothered to read your drivel knowing you’d be peddling your racist Afrocentric tripe couched in the black victim-hood race card. There is no respect in having to stoop that low to make a dishonest buck. And if that wasn’t shameful enough you now have to be another uncle tom to not only the white man controlling your govt, but also the brown Asian man in charge of misinformation that you have to report to. I feel I ought to cry just a little for your sorry, miserable life but I have no tears. This can be resolved very easily. All you have to do is tell your people to support a two state separation of Guyana. Believe me, we DO NOT want to remember Burnham and Hoyte EVER and this solution would fix that. Feel free to use the Jagans, Jagdeo, and Ramoutar as your past presidents so that you can make yourselves look good to the world. We don’t mind sharing our blessed virtues and glories with you.

  • Tata  On November 15, 2015 at 12:40 am

    Gigi…..I am truly glad, you have taken the time to read and hopefully understand the difference between the bigotry the PPP have fed you over these years,and this beautiful piece of journalism that is rare in Guyana’s culture. Incidently, your hateful rhetoric is the scourge, which is the wedge that has divided two people with a brutal colonial past

    As a matter of fact, Dr Hinds is politically correct, in his mention of the PPP’s belief and DIVINE RIGHT to rule Guyana with impunity. Our Colonial masters foresaw this problem and laws were put in place to combat this impotence.
    Notably, the skill of using Burnham as a political football for the past 30 years, was the PPP’s way of pulling the wool over the eyes of the illiterate; moving taxpayers money out of the country, building mansions with taxpayers funds and a host of unethical behaviors. In other countries, these crimes the PPP committed against the Guyanese people are punishable with jail time.

    Again, Burnham died leaving his followers very poor but Guyana was in much better shape than the rape of a people of their dignity. Burnham left an intelligent Nation and a BEAUTIFUL country that will take YEARS to restructure.

    PLEASE!!!!

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