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PNCR inches closer to openly endorsing socialism

PNCR Leader and President,  David Granger addressing the opening of his party's 19th Biennial Delegates Conference at Congress Place, Sophia.

PNCR Leader and President, David Granger addressing the opening of his party’s 19th Biennial Delegates Conference at Congress Place, Sophia.

President David Granger on Friday appeared to have shifted closer to declaring that the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) is again openly endorsing socialism.

“We are an ideological party and our ideology is inspired largely by the ideas of Forbes Burnham, our Founder-Leader,” the PNCR Leader told the opening of his party’s 19th Biennial Delegates Conference at Congress Place.

After Burnham died on August 6, 1985, his successor, Desmond Hoyte, eventually abandoned Guyana’s socialist experiment, scrapped state control of the commanding heights of the  economy and shifted radically to a market-oriented system backed by radical political reforms including free and fair elections.

Former PNCR Leader, Robert Corbin, when asked whether his party is still socialist, said his political organisation has “never given up its basic beliefs” to build a society in which Guyanese have equal opportunities to develop themselves fully. “Everyone knows that the basis of Mr. Burnham’s philosophy had been on the basis of socialism,” said Corbin who served in the Burnham and Hoyte-led governments.

Granger said Burnham’s posture against the injustices of colonialism was influenced by the domestic conditions in British Guiana, the international situation and intellectual currents in the British Empire and the common destiny of the Caribbean peoples.  “His ideas grew out of the historical experiences and social action and he used those ideas to transform society,” said Granger, a Retired Brigadier, who was responsible for political education in the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) while Burnham was leader.

Delivering his address a short distance from a huge bust of Burnham, the PNCR Leader said Burnham was also motivated by the socio-economic conditions at that time. “The unequal distribution of wealth and the denial of opportunity to the masses at the global, regional and local levels combined to mould Forbes Burnham’s thoughts,” he said.  Granger credited his predecessor with responding to an unfavourable social environment with a determination to change Guyana in fundamental ways by the creation of equal opportunities and nationalism including the protection of Guyana’s sovereignty and elimination of foreign domination.

“Forbes Burnham’s ideas are still relevant today,” he said.

Granger said during the past four years, the PNCR has sought to institutionalize Burnham’s ideas to ensure that they continue to inform future leaders and inspire future generations. Those initiatives  are the Burnham Education Scholarship Trust that awards bursaries to children after they pass the National Grade Six Assessment Examinations, the Burnham Book Trust that publishes and reprints texts of Burnham’s Congress and other major political speeches  and the establishment of the Burnham Research Institute. “It will continue to operate separately until the Government of Guyana reclaims red House so that they could become a research institute for all presidents of this Republic,” he added.

“These three organisations are essential to understanding the PNC’s ideology, they are essential to understanding our Founder’s vision for the development of this country,” he said.

Granger , who places heavy emphasis on education and history, has adorned several rooms of the Ministry of the Presidency with huge copies of a photograph in which then Prime Minister Forbes Burnham had received the instrument of Independence from Britain’s Duke of Kent.

The President has been also pushing the need for Guyana to produce large quantities of food to supply local and Caribbean markets.

President Granger again reiterated his position on several areas including discrimination, corruption, the creation of a green economy and generally the political environment.

The opposition People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) constitution still includes references to Marxism-Leninism, which party ideologues say they use to analyse society. While in office, the PPP had endorsed the growth and development of the private sector.

  • Emile_Mervin

    What a major piece of trickery to run an election campaign of change only to usher in a return to Burnhamism. I am convinced that if the Coalition had only mentioned returning to Burnhamism that those who voted for the Coalition, including crossover PPP supporters, would not have voted.

    But this is part for the course in Guyana political history whereby politicians keep fooling Guyanese and then foisting an ideology that Guyanese do not like since Guyanese leaving the country are heading for non-socialist nations.

    I now see why the Coalition appears leaderless!

  • Col123

    OK..the headlines are not to your likeness..should someone help you to decipher the PNC party’s ideology ?…The statements the Pres himself made!.. Maybe Freddie can explain better in his column!..He is an educated journalist!…or check out dem boys seh!..

  • Lancelot Brassington

    Will this serve any useful purpose? I know of one non-useful purpose it will serve. It will result in the loss of Indian votes. Are these manoeuvres being properly thought out with 2020 in mind, because it will be here before you know it. I think that what is needed is a dose of reality. Guyanese need jobs, homes, a good income, education, good health and social services,proper systems of governance, proper infrastructure and last but not least a properly functioning legal system. Philosophical excursions will not provide these.
    If the PNC wants to revere somebody then how about Desmond Hoyte, the best president the country ever had. It is better not to revere ANYONE though. We should do away with pseudo/quasi intellectual things and get down to business before the coalition wakes up one morning and discovers that its in 2020.

    • Emile_Mervin

      Granger has finally emerged as a massive waste of our blasted efforts to get rid of Jagdeo-Ramotar era corruption and set Guyana on the road to true socioeconomic development.

      I dare Granger to show us the lasting legacy of Burnham’s socialist experiment. Thanks to Burnham’s freaking folly, we had Jagdeo using the PNC Constitution to beat up the PNC, enrich his cabal and do or say whatever he wanted without consequences or accountability.

      Not only have I grown disappointed in the Coalition, but I have to abandon open backing of it, because it has no vision that makes sense to Guyanese after campaigning on promises that resonated with voters.

      I wager anything that if Granger had only gotten up on the campaign trail and talked about returning Guyana to Burnham’s socialist crap that the Coalition would still be in the Oppsition benches. But Granger now belongs to the class of political tricksters, having tricked Guyanese for their votes to now come up with this bullspit about Burnham socialism.

      • Lancelot Brassington

        My patience is also wearing thin. Granger is either listening to people who are stuck in a time warp and are programmed to think a certain way or he himself falls within that category. Where are the forward looking elements in the party? Hoyte was courageous enough to stand up to the backward elements even though he hadn’t a day’s military service to his name. He changed gear and changed course and won over the party elements who were not previously progressive thinkers. It now seems that some residue still remained.

        Nagamootoo, Roopnarine and Ramjattan in my opinion need to engage the Indian community more intensely, but they need something to work with eg meaningful portfolios and evidence of clout, influence, progress etc. Now, Hoyte buried Burnham. Exhuming Burnham is like giving Nagamootoo, Roopnarine and Ramjattan a mosquito net (not even a basket) to fetch water with.

        Whomsoever feel some sort of misplaced gratitude to Burnham and want to belatedly repay him should find some way of doing it privately.If I don’t see some sort of meaningful progress in terms of thought and action by December 31 then I will be forced to conclude that Jagdeo will make a triumphant return in 2020 to continue inflicting damage on the country. Wake up Granger.

        • Emile_Mervin

          I welcome your stimulating level of reasoning that focuses on the issues.

          Someone once wisely stated that the acid test of a great political leadership is not how many projects were built or targets/goals were met, but the ability to raise up leaders to continue building on those achievements. Otherwise, all achievements will fade or projects will deteriorate.

          Since Burnham was proven as a failed leader and Granger is praising him and following in his footsteps, then Granger is a failed leader before his journey even started.

          Looking at the Coalition’s performance the last 15 months, it’s obvious Granger is no progressive or visionary leader. Worse yet if Joe Harmon ever becomes his successor.

          Sad to say, the AFC is playing along to get along and try to keep the PPP out of power. It is no longer a potent independent force.

          Now, unless Granger can radically pivot to visionary and productive leadership by ending this pursuit of political symbolisms, the Coalition will either have to rig the 2020 elections or postpone the elections under any contrived guise. Except for Carl Greenidge, I see no hopeful visionary in the Coalition.

          • Lancelot Brassington

            Well, Greenidge was one of Hoyte’s chief lieutenants and he probably worked out most of the details of the changed economic course that followed Hoyte’s ascent to the presidency. Given his resume I never quite understood why he was not the preferred candidate when he sought the leadership of the PNC.

          • Emile_Mervin

            Greenidge did make a run against Granger for PNC leadership, but he and others bitterly complained the party elections were rigged and Greenidge said he was cheated. The same person who rigged national elections engineered rigging of the PNC elections. But Greenidge remains a far better choice than Granger and is political light years ahead of Harmon.

            BTW, it was Greenidge who skillfully engineered the negotiations that produce the APNU-AFC coalition. While Granger and Harmon combined are 25% of Greenidge’s political value, I still believe a President Nagamootoo could have been more effective than Granger.

          • Lancelot Brassington

            Granger is a big guy but Greenidge is bigger. The intelligent and articulate Vincent Alexander was one of Burnham’s boys but I think he has enough discernment to pursue a progressive course and know when to let historic figures remain history.Unfortunately he left the party a while back after being ‘put through the ringer and hung out to dry’ via another disputed election.Sherwood Lowe dropped out of circulation a number of years ago.If Greenidge is to take over the captaincy it will have to happen like yesterday. Time is not on his side.

  • Gtloyal

    Apart from the recognized socialist countries such as China, Cuba, etc., Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, New Zealand, Belgium all have socialist oriented systems in place and are surely doing better than Guyana.
    Socialism is not the problem. The ambition of men is.

    • Emile_Mervin

      The problem here is Granger is looking to revive Burnham Socialism.

      • Gtloyal

        I may not agree with all you say but I’ll endorse your right to say it.

        • Emile_Mervin

          Thanks for being candidly respectful, unlike some bloggers who can’t simply disagree without being hateful and bitter assholes. Like as though they have freaking shares in the government.

    • Col123

      You need to get a taste from some of the fruits and rewards of those collective farms in Cuba..social programs exist in all countries…

      • Gtloyal

        Maybe I planted some of those trees with Fidel and El Che.. Comprendes paisano? Espero que si.

        • Col123

          si..espero un rato

          • Gtloyal

            Your reply tells me you do not know the language … and I guess you neither know the land you wrote about.

          • Col123

            Yea..like your paisano which is Italiano…provincial lingo ..wait for a while..

          • Gtloyal

            You are just confirming what I wrote earlier, paisa. Take my humble advice: A veces mas vale callar y pasar por tonto, que abrir la boca y demostrar que lo eres de verdad.

          • Col123

            probablemente cita de Mark Twain que era, un esclavo owner, he le enseno bien!

  • Col123

    You don’t want to answer to the king , boy?….you are now a slave to the king mate…

  • Col123

    Reason who quotes him does not know that.. He is on a self aggrandizement trip…

  • Col123

    Investors are crashing the airport in Guyana to get in and participate in piece of this socialism pie..Roaches took over the conscience of these folks a long time ago..

  • Surujpaul Rampersaud

    I will agree with you on ” pragmatic socialism” if you are more specific. Yes there should be a three tiered ownership- private, public and cooperative. We already have socialized medicine, socialized education and many more. Let us keep just at that. No more KSI and import restrictions.

  • Surujpaul Rampersaud

    Agreed. We also need a progressive tax system where people who make more, pay more and the tax collected being used to help the poor elevate themselves.