-a pres­i­dent and protests

Stabroek News - - REGIONAL NEWS -

CARIFTA and CARICOM. No won­der Cheddi Ja­gan thought lit­tle of CARICOM. But PNC Leader LFS Burn­ham had quickly be­come some­thing of a vi­sion­ary states­man, hand-in-hand with his bur­geon­ing au­to­cratic ten­den­cies. A com­pe­tent Cabi­net of Min­is­ters moved the coun­try for­ward dur­ing the Third Par­lia­ment un­der Burn­ham’s PNC Ad­min­is­tra­tion. This era fea­tured names like Reid, Hoyte, Ram­sa­roop, Green, Jack, Hope, Ram­phal, King, Naraine, Field-Ri­d­ley, Car­ring­ton, Clarke, Dun­can, Nasci­mento among oth­ers. But Burn­ham de­layed the next Gen­eral Elec­tions be­cause he and the PNC had a Master Plan.

From an or­gan­ised ref­er­en­dum (July 1978) to a Con­stituent As­sem­bly a new Con­sti­tu­tion was born and passed in the Na­tional As­sem­bly on Valen­tine’s Day 1980. Forbes Burn­ham be­came Guyana’s first Ex­ec­u­tive Pres­i­dent. The man’s po­lit­i­cal mind was phe­nom­e­nal. The PNC be­came a para­mount in­sti­tu­tion. Even though it never had the peo­ple’s para­mount ma­jor­ity sup­port!

(On a per­sonal note I feel like men­tion­ing that LFS stopped me and a small group of trained teach­ers from pro­ceed­ing to Kenneth Kaunda’s Zam­bia. Quite cor­rectly and jus­ti­fi­ably. Also, I was se­lected to co­or­di­nate the PNC’s Pub­lic Re­la­tions for the Gen­eral Elec­tion cam­paigns of 1980, 1985 and 1992). ’62 to ’64, he was art­fully per­suaded into PNC pol­i­tics by Leader Forbes. It was also a Party po­lit­i­cal bomb­shell when Burn­ham cat­a­pulted Hoyte to Prime Min­is­ter over pop­u­lar Party strong-man Hamilton Green. (One source said that Burn­ham wanted the tech­no­crat Hoyte to mar­shal his min­is­ters whilst Ham­mie was to keep the party “in­tact.” To me Forbes was also keep­ing a tac­ti­cal eye on Ham­mie’s pop­u­lar­ity and base. Ham­mie, are you read­ing this?)

So Hoyte be­came Pres­i­dent on the pass­ing of Burn­ham in 1985. The PNC won the elec­tions of De­cem­ber 1985, Hoyte’s vic­tory was “ram­pant”, 54 seats to 11 (oth­ers). But Guyana’s econ­omy was in sham­bles. Thou­sands of the coun­try’s finer minds had mi­grated or were flee­ing to greener pas­tures. Banned con­sumer items gave rise to a flourishing type of vendor-im­port trad­ing and var­i­ous par­al­lel mar­kets. Pres­i­dent and PNC Leader Hoyte was forced into fash­ion­ing an Eco­nomic Re­cov­ery Pro­gramme (ERP) even as he eased up on “So­cial­ism”, rein­tro­duced Press Free­dom and tried to find a new im­age for his Party.

The first Ge­orge Bush, Amer­i­can pres­i­dent, Bri­tain and Canada in­sisted on free and fair elec­tions through Amer­ica’s most suc­cess­ful ex-pres­i­dent, Jimmy Carter. To his eter­nal credit Hoyte suc­cumbed and his Party had to lose the Elec­tions of Oc­to­ber 1992. The PNC’S 28 year rule ended.

More an­a­lyt­i­cal, hope­fully non-PNC minds will at­tend to a full ob­jec­tive his­tory of the PNC some­time in the fu­ture. Right?

1) Amer­i­can First Lady Me­la­nia Trump is a rel­a­tively re­cent im­mi­grant to the U.S. She is prob­a­bly un­com­fort­able when her hus­band speaks about im­mi­grants and refugees.

And Michelle Obama could have com­plained: “an im­mi­grant is tak­ing my job.”

2) I sus­pect that PNC His­to­ri­anLeader Granger will one day write a com­plete his­tory of the Party. And a Bi­og­ra­phy of LFS Burn­ham. 3) What does PNCR-1G mean? 4) Do you know one-man band Stitchie’s med­ley – Ruck­atucks? I heard the other day all the way in Man­hat­tan, N.Y. USA!

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