PPP and PNC have never tolerated independent thought
February 28, 2004
The PPP's expulsion of Kemraj Ramjattan should not surprise any keen observer of Guyanese politics. From Sydney King's expulsion from the PNC in 1961 to the present, neither major party has been hospitable to independent thought and action. This is a Caribbean phenomenon. Our neo-plantation political elites have not been able to make much of our constitutional independence largely because they are chronically anti-independence. For these elites, independence is synonymous with "enemies" of the party and state.
The leading member of the typical Caribbean party is a prisoner of these powerhouses in the same way that the ordinary supporters are clients bound to the party by tribal chains. Former President Hoyte was most honest when he declared that the PNC's General Secretary is the creature of the leader. That Mr. Ramjattan did not realize that he is a creature of the PPP's leader is a crucial blunder.
I have noted with much amusement the comments in the press regarding democracy in the PPP. Guyanese and Caribbean analysts like to begin their analysis from false premises. We like to attribute qualities to our politics and political structures, which they have never had nor even pretended to have. The PPP has never been democratic and never pretended to be. Like all major Caribbean political parties, the PPP is a command organ in the tradition of the authoritarian order from whence we came. Mr. Ramjattan's attempt to democratize the PPP was, therefore, an attempt to kill the PPP, which obviously would not be tolerated. Democracy in Guyana and the Caribbean cannot be nurtured from inside parties, for democracy is the sworn enemy of party politics in these parts.
I congratulate the PPP for expelling Ramjattan, for they have unwittingly strengthened the ranks of the "community of reason," the force that serves as Guyana's political life support. Welcome Khemraj- you will soon learn that your rhetoric about commitment to the PPP means nothing, since you cannot be committed to something that does not want you. Commitment to noble ideals and loyalty to the people's cause are more righteous than commitment and loyalty to the Party.