by Zena Henry
Obviously offended by the constant resurrection of her father’s name by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) every election period, daughter of the late Forbes Burnham, Ulele Burnham, gave her father the final burial with the endorsement of the new political buzz; the A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition.
Burnham said she is burying her father, hinting the close of an era and the start of a new Guyana on the verge of dismantling race division and race voting. Burnham was one of the special speakers when the Coalition held their last lap campaign rally at the Square of the Revolution Saturday May 9, ahead of General and Regional Elections, less than 24-hours away.
Her message to the gathering was one of unity, peace and the ability of citizens to vote in political leaders and hold them responsible to work in the interest of the people.
However, with utterances of the “dreaded Burnham era” and “the dark days of the PNC under the Burnham regime,” she felt that she had to rest her father once and for all. “I am here to bury Burnham, I gotta be here to bury him because is every election his grave getting dig up again and again so that they could talk jumbie story.”
The PPP describes Burnham’s twenty one years in power as an administrative dictatorship and blamed him for the hardships the country faced. They have accused him of making Indo-Guyanese within the country suffer and usually warn them of crime, violence, human rights abuses, food shortages committed against them if a party lead by Afro-Guyanese is to rule again.
Burnham expressed however that the Coalition represented by, “David and Moses is the best hope for an alternative Guyana.” She quoted Burnham saying in 1962 that the country can only go forward if it is understood that, “We are Guyanese first, Guyanese second and Guyanese third.” In 1989, she said, then Opposition Leader Cheddi Jagan in his budget speech urged that Guyana needed a, “broad based independent and non-aligned national patriotic front government,” while national hero Dr. Walter Rodney opined that no ordinary citizen of any race can be mislead by the myth of race.
She was adamant however that should the country choose the Coalition, citizens are not to just hand over their power to them, but hold them liable and remain mobilized in their quest for responsible leaders.
She urged citizens to check their neighbours May 11 to see if they’re voting, “look after their children of those with children after you’ve voted so that they can go and cast their votes.” She urged that those less capable of moving be aided to the polling stations.
The young Burnham noted that the work for change comes Monday 11, but, “the real work is on May 12 as you try to build a Guyana that is united.”