Updated on Sunday, June 12, 2022 at 10:58 p.m. by Denis Chabrol
The Working People’s Alliance (WPA), to mark the 42nd anniversary of the assassination of its co-leader, Dr Walter Rodney, has pledged to help create an organized national movement to resist ‘dictatorship’ and create a new political order based on power sharing. .
“Such a movement should be multiparty, multiracial and multiclass. WPA is ready to help build this movement. Our focus in this regard is not just the wrong party, but more importantly against the wrong political order,” that party said as it reflected on the June 13, 1980, bombing death of Dr Rodney a short distance from Georgetown Jail.
In the 1970s, 80s and early 90s, the WPA and the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) shared the common goal of overthrowing the People’s National Congress (PNC) dictatorship led by Forbes Burnham, known for its food shortages, its human rights violations especially against political and other opponents and the rigged elections. In what had been widely considered to be the first free and fair elections in 28 years, the PPP won the elections of October 5, 1992.
While viewing electoral democracy as an “essential ingredient” in building a democratic order, the WPA argued on Sunday that an anti-dictatorial movement similar to the Rodney era “must not simply trade one party for the other as we did in 1992, but it must strive to erase the conditions in which dictatorship thrives.
“WPA is not surprised that since coming to power in 2020, the PPP has accelerated government and state in the dictatorial direction. The manner in which he came to power following the disputed 2020 elections and his agenda for domination coupled with his drive to push the boundaries of the winner-takes-all system in the context of ethnic division provide fertile ground for dictatorship. . The willingness of some of Guyanese elites to succumb to the pressure of political expediency also played a central role in paving the way for the current dictatorial order,” the party said.
The PNC-Reform-led Partnership for National Unity (UNPA), which is an amalgamation of other micro-parties and unknown entities, accused the PPP of corruption, irresponsible distribution of cash grants, discrimination race, poor governance, alleged underworld alignment, economic marginalization of the poor in favor of private sector allies, and sidelining of civil society. In government, the PANU+AFC coalition had also been cited for poor governance, alleged corruption, slow implementation of transformative projects, heavy taxes, intolerance of criticism and near alienation from its supporters. .
After controversial general and regional elections in March 2020, the WPA withdrew from the coalition amid months of complaints about UNPA’s treatment of its coalition partners.
The WPA has indicated that the ultimate defense against foreign domination and domestic ethno-racial domination must be through power sharing and shared governance. “We urge the leaders of both major parties to find ways to prepare the country for this eventuality. For us at the WPA, power sharing is not about one party sharing the power of the other party, but about all parties sharing the collective power of
the people of Guyana,” the WPA said.
The WPA noted that Rodney was killed “by a Guyanese government and state that had sunk to the bottom of dictatorship and autocracy”. This party asked Guyanese to remember to reflect on whether Guyana has returned to the dictatorial government and state that Rodney fought against.
Records show that Dr Rodney was given a bomb walkie-talkie by Sergeant 4141 Gregory Smith, then Guyana Defense Force (GDF) electronics expert, who days after the event was flown by GDF plane in Berbice, provided with a Guyana passport in the name of Cyril Johnson. He eventually landed a job as a communications expert in the fishing industry until his death from cancer in 2002.
With the death penalty on Guyana’s law books, France had refused to extradite Smith here to stand trial on a private criminal charge of murder.
Last year, the PPP Civic-led administration amended Rodney’s death certificates to state that he had been murdered, that the 1988 inquest into Rodney’s death would be invalidated because it states that he died following a misadventure; his children’s books, Lakshmi Out of India and Kofi Baadu Out of Africa, would become required reading as part of the school curriculum; the National Archives would be renamed; Rodney’s grave and memorial site would be managed by the National Trust and documents relating to the Commission of Inquiry into his death would be digitized and stored in the archives of a US university.