It was not surprising to me that the PPP Government and its State Media would have commenced an attack on the AFC after its public announcement of its decisions at its June 12th National Executive Meeting. What is surprising, however, is the magnitude and intensity of this concerted onslaught on the airwaves, newspapers and TV channels which it owns and controls.
The obnoxious spin and twists and distortions by the State Media are characteristic of a Government which is nervous and scared. Its unenlightened speculation about the goings-on in the internal structures of the AFC is a calculated scheme to divide and destroy, and to distract attention from the PPP’s own internal paralysis.
Let it be immediately said that the nice smile Donald Ramoutar will put on will fool no one. It seeks to camouflage the humongous disaffection that PPP leaders and members have as to the manner of Jagdeo’s governance – primarily his ouster of them from all decisions. And the Party’s obvious impotence to do anything about it! The PPP membership does not have a say anymore! It is its creature, namely President Jagdeo, which says all and does all. Many PPP leaders and a substantial portion of its supporters have become supplicant followers, ranting and raving internally and showing nice smiles externally. This was never the democracy so many of them fought for, and which have been ruthlessly stolen from them. This has turned out to be a democrazy. The maximalist leadership culture which they never demanded nor wanted has been forced upon them.
Moreover, as is recently evident, the AFC’s precedent-setting procedure as to the determination of its Presidential and Prime Ministerial Candidates has warranted a huge demand within the PPP’s leadership circles to follow through with such a procedure. But “No!” says the General Secretary, Ramoutar. For him there must be a continuation of the procedure which says “Pa say Ma, Ma say Ba and Ba say …..” No internal democracy! What has happened recently, however, that has shocked and rocked even Donald Ramotar is that “Ba say Birkett-Rodrigues!” Now this is unorthodox, almost abnormal! And even Donald now is arguing that it be taken to the Executive and Congress…like the AFC has.
It is for these reasons why many of these members and supporters in Corentyne and Essequibo have engaged the AFC and even have become members thereof. It is for these reasons, too, why some of its leaders have been speaking to the AFC leadership stating that if certain things do not happen at the next PPP’s Congress there will be a major cross-over to the AFC of these leaders.
Unhappily, however, the attacks against the AFC have not come from only the PPP/Government. Spokespersons like my elder in struggle – Tacuma Ogunseye – who I respect so much, have been making statements which obviously are intended to tarnish. His critique of the AFC in his recent Demerara Waves and Spotlight interviews must be met.
The AFC having gotten five (5) seats at the last 2006 Poll after nine (9) months in existence has every right to be confident in doing better this time around. This is not triumphalism, Brother Tacuma! It is a legitimate expectation especially in the context of the work put in on the ground by the AFC, and the negatives seen and felt increasingly in the PPP and PNC camps, since 2006. Moreover, it should be said that the strongholds of the PPP and PNC have a younger generation which has not been damaged by the ethnocentrism of the Tacuma generation. So the AFC’s simple proper positioning per se will mean nothing else but an increase of its earlier tally.
Would not this be the thinking of you and your co-leaders, Tacuma, if the WPA had gotten 5 seats last elections and had continued doing its groundwork? Let us be honest man!
Moreover, the attempts to sully the AFC and Raphael Trotman as destroyers of alliance building will hardly help towards that effort this time around. Indeed alliance building even with non-PNC organisations will be most challenging. But to start off with lacerating the AFC and negatively placing it in the political spectrum will exacerbate those challenges.
By the way where did you get the idea from, Tacuma, that the Western countries helped the AFC in the 2006 Elections? This false allegation is akin to those which the PPP carried that we got monies from narco-dealers! The AFC never got one cent support from the British, Americans or Canadians. None whatsoever! Just like it never took any narco dollars! The AFC took a strong line against Roger Khan and narco-dealers the last Elections. Some even advised that we were going to lose votes for this approach. We did not care having votes on such unprincipled, indecent premises.
And where this nonsense that the AFC undermined the process when the Joint Opposition Parties were working on the Dossier? These are statements which bring on the distrust! Let me make it quite clear that the AFC did excellently in meeting its obligation in getting that Dossier completed and printed. I wrote one of its chapters, Arguments as to the need for an International Inquiry, and the AFC funded $150,000.00 out of the $200,000.00 for the publication thereof from one of its members in the Diaspora. We helped in distributing it regionally and internationally. So where was the undermining by the AFC?
And as to Peter Ramsaroop, well what can I say about his allegations of the AFC being undemocratic. The least said, the better. Suffice to say that indeed his entrance into the AFC membership as CEO, against all the others who came as ordinary members, I must concede was most undemocratic. As a not too insignificant legal mind, I should have known better and clip such an accommodation in its bud notwithstanding a desire to build alliances. Happily, however, such an undemocratic act was quickly corrected.
What a nice start to alliance building!