SOVEREIGNTY, NOT SUBVERSION
MY TURN EVENTS over the past 12 months have been swirling in my mind as I revisited the epic work of Dr Cheddi Jagan, The West on Trial, in which he recounted the sordid episodes of subversion in Guyana from what he graphically described as “Anglo-American imperialism.”
Literally, in 1964, I experienced the birth of my political voice with three words: “cheated not defeated.” From then, I shared the struggles and sacrifices of authentic nationalist-revolutionaries over an unbroken 28 years, for the restoration of genuine democracy.
I had coined in 1992 the slogan, “Dawn of a new era” to characterise the rebirth of our electoral democracy. I have participated since then in the governance system, and I am proud to know that Guyana has remained an open and free, multi-party, parliamentary democracy.
This second 28-year period since 1992 has been relatively stable, and was marked by electoral processes that have been largely credible.
When the APNU+AFC Coalition came to office in 2015, it sought to correct the political deformities of the recent past when the perception of Guyana was that of a narco-criminal state that was characterised by pervasive corruption and abuse of power.
The efforts at institutional changes to curb systemic corruption and para-state abuse were done in close collaboration with partners in the Western Democracies, notably the United States of America. In partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Guyana waged an unrelenting war against illicit drugs and money laundering. It smashed extra-judicial killings, curbed piracy and contained trafficking in persons.
Simultaneously, the new Coalition Government dropped all semblance of a state-controlled economy as had existed under the dominant PNC and PPP Marxist-Leninist regimes in post-independent Guyana. It enriched our democratic governance structure with restoration of full respect for the doctrine of separation of powers, so that the branches of state – the Executive, Judiciary and Legislature – worked autonomously, yet, in comity.
The fundamental rights of all Guyanese, including those of our indigenous peoples, were protected and promoted. There was full respect for media freedom and journalists were protected from harassment and persecution. Guyana has no political prisoners, no restrictions on movement by citizens; no curtailment of the right to association.
Ours was not an illegal or authoritarian state. Guyana under the six-party Coalition Government led by President David Granger, was a model democracy with an unprecedented inclusion of women in national life, and an incremental boost in the standards of living of all working people. I had once described the democratic openings here as “a silent revolution.”
So, political scientists would be baffled that Guyana has been targeted for “regime change” – the standard Western label for external subversion of unpopular, repressive and often mis-characterised terrorist states.
I am hoping that when the time is right liberal democrats everywhere would support an international inquiry into foreign interference in Guyana’s 2020 elections, and the attempt at regime change of a friendly government.
In 1995 while attending an IDB-World Bank environmental conference in Florida, I met Dean Rusk, a former American Secretary of State, who had reportedly played an infamous role in the earlier destabilisation of a legally elected government in the then British Guiana. Smiling as we shook hands, he appeared relieved that Cheddi Jagan was returned to office, and that the mischief of the past had been undone.
Today, I can hear again the chant, “cheated not defeated,” which is mis-directed not at the foreign electoral engineers and their local lackeys who attempted to dislodge a democratically elected government, but against the constitutional agencies that are standing firmly in defence of Guyana’s sovereignty.
It is interesting to note the number of times that the American Deputy Secretary of State has intervened to issue threats against Guyana, even as the United States is battling its own challenges in the fight against COVID-19, as all of our countries are doing at this time. The urgency of the Guyana mission appears to take precedence.
But, not a military or economic power, Guyana has responded with patriotism and dignity. Our Ministry of Foreign Affairs has insisted that Guyana is a sovereign state that upholds and respects the Rule of Law. Elections in Guyana are governed by the Constitution. The government does not run elections, which is the remit of a constitutional body.
The final tabulation of results of the elections has been delayed not by government but by legal processes that are engaging the attention of the judiciary. This is how a democracy works, or ought to work.
But the impatience is giving way to threats of sanctions and an undeclared war of terror. The PPP, once the victim of foreign intervention, has become the Trojan Horse of erstwhile geo-strategic interests. Its pseudo leaders are gleefully inviting more foreign interference.
They have earlier contracted a controversial foreign U.S.-based company to set its agenda, and they have since joined the wolf-pack of anti-nationalist elements who want sanctions against Guyana.
All patriotic Guyanese are taking note of their threats to punish Guyana, to bargain away her sovereignty, to promote violence and destabilisation; and to wreck our democracy.
Our Guyanese people may, like a Shakespearean character in Twelfth Night, appear to be “a monument of patience smiling at grief,” but they are resolute in their patriotic duty to defend our nation’s sovereignty.
I again urge national dialogue towards inclusive governance. This Trotskyite talk by the opposition of a permanent war “to the end” is a lot of hot air that would find the major opposition, as old people say, again losing guana and cutlass!