“I say we should keep rigging to save us from these devils”- Hamilton Green

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 February 2024, 21:59 by Writer

Mr Hamilton Green

Veteran Guyanese politician, Hamilton Green at the weekend cited rigging of elections as an option to remove the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) from office.

During a lengthy remark from the floor at a Burnham Foundation-organised lecture to mark the 101st birth anniversary of the late founder-leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Forbes Burnham, he recalled telling a group earlier Friday that, in response to claims that Burnham had rigged elections, then that should be the means to remove the incumbent administration from office.

“If, as I told one of the groups that I met this (last Friday) morning they say he rigged elections, I say we should keep rigging to save us from these devils, these bastards, these demons that we have,” said Mr Green, a former government minister and Prime Minister of Guyana.

The PNCR is at the forefront of persistent calls for a clean voters list/ fresh house-to-house registration and the use of biometrics at polling stations to weed out multiple voting or voter impersonation.

Burnham, in coalition with the small opposition United Force, wrested political power from the PPP in the 1964 elections and the PNCR remained in office through rigged elections until 1992. “It was Burnham’s wisdom which got him into office in 1964,” he said, recalling that he was PNCR General Secretary at a “critical time.”

After the PNC lost the 1992 elections, internationally certified as free and fair, Mr Green had publicly called then party leader a “schoolboy” in politics. The Carter Center’s former United States President Jimmy Carter had played a major role in convincing then President Desmond Hoyte to concede to the electoral reforms such as counting of votes at the place of poll, posting of statements of poll outside polling stations and new voters list that had been demanded by the PPP.

As late as the 2020 general and regional elections, the PNCR-led coalition of A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) had been accused of attempting to rig the outcome through several declarations by top officials of the Guyana Elections Commission. During and after the recount declared the PPPC as the winner, APNU+AFC had repeatedly alleged that that exercise had uncovered massive rigging by its PPPC especially on East Coast Demerara.

Mr Green was months later hauled before a PNC disciplinary committee and was expelled by what he had termed a “kangaroo court”. After his expulsion, he then went on to form his own political party, Good and Green Guyana, that had split the PNC’s votes in Georgetown in the 1994 Local Government Elections, leaving the GGG with the plurality of votes.

After Burnham’s successor, Desmond Hoyte, died in December 2002, Mr Green later returned to the PNC which he had once served as its General Secretary while that party had been in government.

Mr Green on Friday strongly suggested that only Afro-Guyanese are entitled to be at the helm. “The history of this country suggests that the only people who deserve to be ‘pan tap’ (on top) are those whose ancestors suffered for centuries without a cent. We welcomed the indentured people, gave them an education and Burnham sought to unite the people but based on the demographics, the new Indians were a larger group. They didn’t want that,” he said. He said Burnham never benefitted from ‘vote for your own’.

Several attendees at the lecture, which was held at the Critchlow Labour College, credited then Prime Minister and later Executive President Burnham with, among other things, providing Guyanese free education, discipline through the now defunct Guyana National Service (GNS), and contribution to the Southern African liberation movement.