Guyana Politics: Jagdeo again calls out Dr. Hinds for debate on PPP’s treatment of Afro-Guyanese

Bharrat Jagdeo

He has been accused of marginalizing Afro-Guyanese and sponsoring a “death squad”, which “killed over 400 black people.” It was even said that under his rule, Guyanese of African ancestry were “stifled.” But former President Bharrat Jagdeo is saying that this is not true. In fact, he is calling for a “fact based” debate with African leaders on his record regarding the treatment of Afro-Guyanese.
Jagdeo said this at a recent press conference.

The former President, who now operates as PPP’s General Secretary, said that A Partnership for National Unity, which has as its main party, the People’s National Congress—knows that it cannot now return to young people—“after three years of neglect—and tell them how much the partnership cares. Jagdeo said, “They cannot talk about corruption, they cannot promise jobs so they are coming with racial rhetoric.”     

Jagdeo made reference to an article in the State media stating that during his tenure, “some 400 Afro-Guyanese were killed in an alleged state- sponsored death squad and a number of black communities marginalized.”

“So this death squad killed the policemen, the people who were massacred in Lusignan, etc. was state sponsored? If you look at the logic of the Chronicle, we sponsored ‘Fine Man’ and the others to kill the people in Lusignan, kill the people in Bartica, kill them in Agricola, Lindo Creek etc because those people’s name are on the list, even policemen.”
He said too that almost 70 people on the list are Indo-Guyanese.

Jagdeo noted that later on in that very article, Afro-Guyanese Activist and Executive Member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), David Hinds said given Jagdeo’s record, “I am very skeptical.”

When Dr. Hinds was quoted, he was responding to previous utterances made by Jagdeo about inclusion of blacks.

Jagdeo had said recently, “My job as General Secretary of the party has many folds. It is to grow the party, and I have said how we will do that is that I have set myself the task of greater inclusion in the party, changing the face of the party, more Afro-Guyanese in our party at every level, because we are strongly represented by Indo-Guyanese and Amerindians, and that’s one of my tasks as General Secretary”.

Dr. Hinds thinks that before Jagdeo attempts inclusion, he must, “first apologize for the atrocities he allegedly meted out to that segment of society and, that his party should pursue a more lasting solution with the representatives of the black community.”

Dr. Hinds said that he has mixed feelings about Mr. Jagdeo’s intention, to include more African Guyanese in the PPP. Dr Hinds said on the one hand, one must welcome any serious move by one of our major parties to reach across the ethnic divide, but said he is skeptical given Jagdeo’s record.
He said that in the past, efforts by the PPP amounted to “ethnic window dressing”, something that has not contributed to national unity.

Dr. Hinds said, “We remember how the PPP used the State and other institutions to embed fun and frolic in the African-Guyanese community, rather than introduce serious policies aimed at economic and cultural empowerment. We remember the PPP ignoring the wishes of the African-Guyanese cultural leadership and unilaterally making decisions on sensitive cultural issues like the 1823 Monument.”

The same article made mention of the fact that during a court hearing in 2011, the former Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, had said that no Afro-Guyanese was qualified to be an ambassador, save and except Elizabeth Harper, who later became that party’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2015 elections. Harper had held the position of Ambassador to CARICOM and Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Nevertheless, Jagdeo wants the debate.

Jagdeo said that nevertheless, Hinds “until now, David Hinds nor Eric Phillips or anyone cannot take us on in a factual debate about in which period in Guyana’s history Afro- Guyanese made the most progress. I can defend, in any debate, the period in the post 92 to 2015.

According to Jagdeo, it was in that period that there was “serious growth of the Afro-Guyanese community in terms of housing development, in terms of access to land, in terms of Afro-Guyanese owned businesses, in terms of vehicles, assets acquisition, we can go down the long list in a factual way.”

He said, “They are scared of facts, their biggest worry is what we are doing that the PPP will start to be attractive to Afro-Guyanese and they will have no space in the landscape any more. If David Hinds and the others are so concerned, bring all the people to us, we are prepared to subject ourselves to any questioning. David Hinds and all others can come to Freedom House, bring 50 people—the biggest skeptics—and we will answer every accusation they have made of us in this regard.”

Jagdeo continued, “They are not going to deter us…We are not going to be defined by those rumours anymore. We are going to be defined by what we say here about a party of inclusion and about our programmes… People are looking more of betterment instead of race, look at Local Government Elections. In Linden, 21 percent turnout, it means that out of every five persons who live in that town, four did not show up to the polls.”

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  • TheSociologicalMail  On 01/30/2019 at 1:49 am

    State-sponsored death squads?

  • Trevor  On 01/30/2019 at 11:03 am

    The white man and his Jezebels are here in Guyana plotting to destroy Venezuelan while stealing our oil at the lowest cost for profit.
    America has gotten us fighting like dog and cat; as I alluded and warned months before this story.

  • Tata  On 02/10/2019 at 11:57 pm

    This man has amnesia or what? 23 years of ruthless governance: corruption at the highest level: a generation of illiterates: telling his racist followers that “we” gon tek back “we” country! and now this $#@$$ is asking for a debate on his record?
    Black lives DO matter. I don’t what these people call themselves but “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (Dr Martin Luther King)

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