Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR, David Granger on Friday vowed that his party would not give a “blanket apology” for excesses during its almost 30-year unbroken rule of Guyana.
“I am not going to give any blanket apology when nobody has given any indication as to what is to be investigated,” he said.
Instead, he first prefers investigations be conducted into alleged “errors” such as killing of persons and electoral irregularities during the PNC and Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) terms of office.
Asked whether the PNCR could risk waiting on an inquiry while it seeks votes from its non-traditional constituency, he stressed “I’ve said what I’ve said. I have said if things had been wrong, I am prepared to have an investigation. I am not going to apologise on the basis of hearsay or conjecture or speculation,” he said.
Granger, who is also Chairman of the parliamentary coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), has come in for sharp criticism by a number of letter writers in the daily newspapers about how he dealt with the issue of race and politics during interactions in the predominantly East Indo-Guyanese area of Richmond Hill, New York during the Independence weekend.
The retired Brigadier of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) recalled being in the Rupununi in 1969 when the United Force (UF) had apparently advocated and led an “armed rebellion against the State of Guyana.” “There is no innocent in the United Force or the PPP so let us have a total investigation into Guyana if you want and let us see who did what to do and why,” he said.
The PNCR Leader said there has been some misinterpretation of his position at the meeting in New York. He explained that APNU embraced parties and other groups as a means of forging national unity. He noted that APNU’s associate, the Guyana Action Party (GAP), was one such organization whose members are predominantly Amerindian.
Arguing that about 20 percent of Guyanese are of mixed ancestry, Granger said race was decreasingly a major factor. “Trying to take a racial line with them doesn’t make sense… APNU is not trying to erase those differences but we are accepting the reality of contemporary Guyana,” he added.
Granger said his organization was not seeking to wipe out ethnic diversity but accommodate all races under the APNU coalition umbrella. “We are not trying to obliterate ethnic differences or ignore ethnic differences but the concerns of GAP are catered for in the policies and legislative performances of APNU,” he said.
The PNC-led administration from 1964-1992 has been accused of rigging elections, beating and killing of political opponents and the locking up of persons for being in possession of basic food items which had been banned or restricted.
For its part, the PPPC-administration has been blamed for alleged police and army torture of suspects and being in bed with drug lords such as convict, Shaheed ‘”Roger” Khan, in the fight against heavily armed gangs in Buxton from 2002 to 2006.