This strangeness has been going on forever
Freddie Kissoon column
Kaieteur News
November 16, 2006

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Haven't you found it strange that many persons, since the late eighties, have defected from the PNC to the PPP; have become more than just ordinary visitors in the corridors of influence, some of them in fact wielding considerable political power, have had monumental praises showered (and it continues) on them by most of the first and second tier leadership of the PPP, but have refused to date to tell all those around the world who have an interest in Guyana and those who are in Guyana, just what Burnham's rule was like?

Every five years, the PPP attacks the PNC viciously. We hear and continue to hear how the PNC rigged elections since 1968. But how were these elections reduced to political games by the PNC from 1968 to 1985? Despite his courageous intervention at a crucial time in the development of this country, Desmond Hoyte, in 1985, presided over the most twisted electoral process that this country has ever seen. If Forbes used to rig national elections, then what Desmond did in 1985 made Burnham look like an ailing boy scout. And guess who were there to support the PNC in its fight against the WPA's and the PPP's claims of fraudulent elections? People like Festus Brotherson, among others.

We hear from the PPP that the PNC had a secret deal with Jim Jones. We hear from the PPP that those close to Burnham killed Vincent Teekah. We hear from the PPP that Burnham and others assassinated Walter Rodney. We hear from the PPP that the PNC and the House of Israel were symbiotically related. We hear from the PPP that the country's gold used to be exported from the Office of the President to a special person in Canada. President Jagdeo, just before the August elections, told this to his interviewer, Dr. Grantley Walrond, on Channel 9.

Perhaps the most serious charge ever made by the PPP in relation to the opposition was contained in the words that came out of the mouth of President Jagdeo in March this year when he told Berbicians that the persons who stole the army's AK-47 assault guns will be given those guns freely if the PPP lost the election in 2006. The accusations against the PNC by the PPP on what the PNC has done to this country since the PNC ousted the United Force under Peter D'Aguiar just before the 1968 elections are never-ending.

But how much of these charges of horrible, horrific, and terrorist conduct on the part of the PNC Government between 1968 and 1985 does the PPP actually know through the possession of hard evidence? No PPP leader was ever part of the discussions that involved the modalities that were used to rig the national elections. No PPP leader was in the room when the actors were named who were to be assigned to conduct the fraud. No PPP leader was part of the secret confabulation in Burnham's hideaway, out of which came the decision to murder Walter Rodney.

So the PPP do not know these things because they were not there. But more than all other organisations and persons in and out of Guyana, PPP leaders can ask the former PNC leaders, who occupy space with them in the corridors of power, to inform the Guyanese nation of the methodologies of the PNC under Burnham. These people do not have to write a book on how the elections were manipulated. Just some short notes in the newspapers will do.

Why are they so silent, even though the PPP, which loves to hate the PNC, is the hand that feeds them? People like Henry Jeffrey, Kit Nascimento (he was an employee of the state) and Odinga Lumumba come to mind. Festus Brotherson has carried his secrets to the grave. Brotherson was a valued comrade inside the PNC when elections were rigged and the 1978 referendum was reduced to a farce. Brotherson wrote often, even winning the confidence of President Janet Jagan, so that she facilitated him with a weekly column in the Sunday Chronicle.

Brotherson's Chronicle articles were never on the Burnham era. Just imagine, Brotherson knew so much about the darkest period in Guyanese history, but in his Sunday Chronicle columns, he would write on the politics of Hilary Clinton. Not a word was ever uttered on the methods the PNC used to cheat the PPP out of power. This is the man, who when he died, President Jagdeo declared a national treasure.

When I read that piece of presidential passion in the Chronicle, I was in the kitchen making hot water for a cup of coffee. I had a mild heart attack and a temporary stroke, and was unable to turn the stove off. The gas leaked and a fire started and the neighbours called the fire engine in time. Only one item was damaged in my study – a booklet by Janet Jagan on the rigging of the 1973 elections and the shooting down by the GDF of two PPP supporters who were protesting the removal of the ballot boxes.

Since that book was destroyed in the fire, I was not able to name the two “PPP martyrs” in this article. I called a friend to tell him what this article was about. He, too, couldn't remember the guys' names. But he told me that after the killings, Festus Brotherson said on the radio that the GDF were defending themselves because the two “PPP martyrs” had guns and were about to shoot two soldiers who fired in self defence. I never heard this version, and I am determined to ask Janet Jagan how she felt about that interpretation by Festus Brotherson. Finally, the silence of Henry Jeffrey about his days in the PNC continues to baffle many Guyanese. I have been told by a source that Jeffrey is writing his autobiography. I am not going to buy it. It will not tell us about the methods Burnham used to rig elections. But I could be wrong.