Last Updated on Friday, 4 September 2020, 9:24 by Denis Chabrol
The Working People’s Alliance (WPA), which has broken away from the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)-led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU),has accused the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) of again criminalising the State in less than one month after taking back the reins of power.
The WPA is accusing the APNU+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition administration and local and foreign interests for the situation in Guyana since the PPP was declared the winner of the March 2, 2020 polls five months later.
“We believe this rebirth and resurgence are both a testimony to the poor performance of executive governance by the Coalition Government, and to the synergistic combining of external actors and interests with certain internal civil, economic, and political interests,” the WPA said.
While in government from 1992-2015, the PPP had been accused of racial discrimination and nepotism as well as aligning itself with the drug underworld to fight heavily armed gangs that had killed, kidnapped, raped and robbed people mainly on the lower East Coast Demerara, parts of Georgetown, Bartica and Lindo Creek. Then President David Granger had subsequently said his plan to hold commissions of inquiry into the period of the “troubles” had been stymied by a lack of evidence. Then Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had repeatedly challenged Mr. Granger to hold a full investigation into all that had happened during that period.
Among the concerns now being raised by the WPA is “overt and covert” racial insecurity and animosity since the return of the PPP to government.
The opposition has castigated the Irfaan Ali-led administration for laying off hundreds of mainly Afro-Guyanese and APNU+AFC supporters, but government has said that they are all political appointees. The administration has said a system of redress would be established for those who feel that they have been wrongly dismissed to appeal such a decision.
Concerns have also been raised by the WPA about “racial hysteria” on Social Media combined with a “total consolidation” all daily print media in the hands of Indo-Guyanese along with the State-owned Guyana Chronicle which is “now indisputably the organ of the new governing party.”
“This consolidation causes great anxiety about the right of African Guyanese to portray how they interpret their reality. Take a couple of examples of great concern to them. African Guyanese have seen during these crises that, the print media have rightfully and righteously castigated the African Guyanese leader of a new political party for clearly unacceptable predatory behavior against young women.
While this was taking place, leading Indian Guyanese men, remained without public rebuke, even though they are long known for beating women and children in the public square; traders of “benefits” for sexual favors from students as well as predators of indigenous Guyanese female youth. These same men continued unabashedly to pontificate on public morality. attacking prominent African Guyanese men based on their preferred access to the Indian Guyanese owned and controlled media houses. This has been the distasteful reality in what we call Guyana civil society today!,” the WPA said.
The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) has said the majority of complaints about violations of the Racial Hostility Act are based on utterances on Facebook which make it difficult to investigate especially since many of them are fake profiles or are overseas-based people.
In apparent reference to now on-leave Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Vincent Adams and Head of the Office of the President’s Department of Energy Dr. Mark Bynoe, the WPA noted that those “African Guyanese” face an array of sloganeering from big-oil “expert” critics by previous employees of big oil companies from which they now receive pensions.
“The other characteristic is that not one of these experts is African Guyanese. The sophistry is astounding! WPA raises these issues precisely because they represent an uncomfortable truth which it is not prepared to hide. Too many Guyanese whisper about those publicly un-acknowledged inequities, which, are aided and abetted by the hirelings of the daily Indian-Guyanese print media monopoly,” that party said. The WPA’s David Hinds and veteran trade unionist Lincoln Lewis, who the APNU+AFC administration had removed as columnists in the Guyana Chronicle, several months later withdrew their columns from the privately-owned Kaieteur News citing censorship of anything against the PPP.
Wary that the PPP would plunder Guyana’s resources, the WPA expressed concern that national budgets would favour PPP supporters. “The other is that Guyana’s national patrimony and national budgets will continue through the Government to prioritize constituents of the governing PPP/C,” the party said.
There has been no 2020 National Budget due to the five-month long political crisis that had stemmed from the protracted delay in declaring the results of the March 2, 2020 general elections.
The WPA recently walked away from APNU, saying that it could no longer tolerate non-consultation especially by the Chairman David Granger. The WPA Chairman, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley subsequently resigned from her party but refused to resign as a parliamentarian although she had been included on the list of candidates through the WPA when it was a part of APNU.