Accusations of racial discrimination in Guyana’s politics by Guyanese politicians are nothing new. Between 1957 and 1964 the PPP Governments endured charges of ‘apaan jaat,’ adapted to mean ‘support your own kind.’ During 1964 to 1992 the PNC Governments were consistently accused of racial and political discrimination. Between 1992 and 2015 PPP Governments were targeted by the Opposition for ethnic cleansing and ethnic discrimination. No one should therefore be surprised at accusations by Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, and the PPP that racial discrimination is taking place in Guyana.

The realities of Guyana have caused our main political parties to take cognizance of the fact that organized political expression and activity are driven by ethnic insecurities. Both Indians and Africans feel more secure in supporting parties that they believe represent and protect their ethnic interests. In order to sustain that support, each of our main parties must appear to represent, or purport to represent, the interests of the ethnic group which supports it. This is one of the factors that explain the accusations of discrimination by the party out of office against the party in office and their appeals, subtle or open, to ethnic constituencies.

The facts surrounding the distribution of jobs, appointments and goods and services, which may or may not result in some ethnic imbalances, are far more complex than mere discrimination. The PPP should know that better than anyone else. It rejects allegations that it practiced discrimination while in Government. Yet dozens of boards appointed by the PPP were dominated by Indians and the predominance Indians appointed to some Government posts was noticeable. All ambassadors were Indian on the ground that no Africans were qualified, according to Dr. Luncheon.

During the era of PNC rule between 1964 and 1992, the PPP devised a demand in relation to the issue of race. It campaigned against ‘racial and political discrimination’ and advocated that only a ‘political solution’ will resolve our ethno/political problems. The PPP proposed the National Patriotic Front (NPF) and a Government based on the NPF, as a concrete project to give effect to “winner does not take all.’ This would have seen an executive presidency held by the PNC and a prime ministership, with more powers than are provided for in this Constitution, held by the PPP. ‘Winner does not take all,’ rejected by the PNC, was never taken off the table but it did not survive the PPP’s electoral victory in 1992.

Our disputes about race and ethnicity took a turn for the worse after 1992. The language became sharper and more divisive. The PNC, particularly Mr. Desmond Hoyte, repeatedly and over a number of years, accused the PPP/C Government of ‘ethnic cleansing.’ This phrase came into popular use in the Bosnian civil war to describe the wholesale slaughter of Bosnian Muslims. Notwithstanding criticisms of Mr. Hoyte’s use of the phrase because of its horrific implications, which had no relation to Guyana, he continued it for several years.

Street violence, particularly in Georgetown, after the elections 1992, 1997 and 2001 intensified ethnic fears across the country.  During the disturbances after the 1997 elections, Mr. Hoyte horrified many by calling upon the security forces to extend ethnic solidarity with their ‘kith and kin’ in the PNC. These developments heightened ethnic cleavages.

The two main political parties had always maintained a posture of being multi-ethnic and of representing both major races in Guyana. But from 2006, particularly in the National Assembly, the PNCR began to explicitly say that it was speaking on behalf of its supporters’ interests. Now that the PPP is in opposition, they have adopted the same posture as evidenced by Mr. Jagdeo’s speech.

Speaking on behalf of Indians in New York recently, and to an Indian audience, Mr. Jagdeo revealed the new PPP agenda. He said “we gonna take back Guyana.” That must mean that “we” own Guyana, that it was taken away from “us” and that “we” must now take it back. He did not say from whom “we” will take back Guyana, whether it is from the PNC, or from Africans? He clearly meant, even if he did not say it, that “we” will then rule Guyana in “our” interests because it belongs to “us.” The big question is, who are “we?”

In full hyperbolic flow, Mr. Jagdeo answers the question himself. He said: “There is an assault on people of Indian origin. There is an assault on supporters of the PPP. What we thought would never return to Guyana in one short year, has returned with full force and even worse in some regards than the Burnham era.” He promised to “defend our people in these dark times.”

Faced with a torrent of criticism, he trotted out some loyalists, Clement Rohee, Gail Teixiera and Anil Nandlall, as he usually does when under pressure, to prove discrimination. But charges of discrimination which Mr. Jagdeo and the PPP have made before are not new. What is new are his emotive appeals to “defend” Indians “in these dark times” and his promise to Indians to “take back Guyana” for them. This is a wholly new dimension to the PPP’s agenda, namely, its formal and official transformation by Mr. Jagdeo into an ethnic party representing exclusively ethnic interests. Cheddi Jagan must be turning in his grave!

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  1. The boy has become a man! This boy in a man’s body is Mrs. Jagan’s biggest political mistake. Thanks Mr. Ramkarran for continuing to educate us. Mr. Jagdeo rants and raves about his ‘property’ Guyana. He is opening gates and doors we thought were closed by the great man Dr. Jagan.
    We do fervently wish that he will explain his wealth and also tell us WHY he did not open that DOOR on his Suhaag Raat! Find your voice sir, because SHE was a part of us, too.

    1. Sultan Mohamed

      The SN headline and thrust of this story is most horrifying. Jagdeo could not mean he is allegedly “taking back Guyana” for one ethnic group. Why is there an attempt to sow racial discord by SN?


      I PREVIOUSLY strongly supported Ralph to be the Presidential candidate in the 2011 elections. I regret ever doing so and strongly condemn his and SN attempts to sew racial discord in Guyana.

      Talk of bringing back Ralph to the PPP must never gain traction. With the rising tide against the PNC even among their supporters Ralph and SN are attempting to shore up the PNC led government. Let Ralph rescue the slowing economy if he possesses any such skills. He has NO economic skills whatosover.

      Ralph’s bitterness has, like Moses, now consumed him. What a pity, that a man who comes from such a legacy has now dishonoured himself by his and SN twisting his words to make the PPP/C look bad.

      Clement Rohee, Kwame Mcoy, Robeson Benn and countless other Afro Guyanese PPP leaders who strongly support the PPP/C should not be tricked by SN and Ralph’s venom. Most Guyanese will not be so stupid to believe Ralph.

      Readers should examine (below) for themselves what Ralph wrote.

      After reading this complete article by Ralph, the SN did NOT place the same emphasis on Hoyte and the PNC for urging Guyana’s armed forces to support their “kith and kin”.

      With former GDF chiefs, David Granger, Eddie Collins, Gary Best and former Police Commissioner Winston Felix and so many GDF personnel like Joe Harmon etc in the Government we can see that Guyana is fast becoming a military state.

      Ralph remains vacuous whether there is discrimination against mostly Indians and Amerindians in Guyana..2000 Amerindians were fired when the PNC led government took office. Now 2000 sugar workers are to lose their jobs with the closing of Wales and LBI estates.

      Has Ralph any nowadays connecting with the Jagans to know whether they are turning in their watery graves because of the wrongs against their fellow Guyanese? People like Ralph make Jagdeo a more popular national leader by their constant criticism of him on ANY fair grounds.

      By the SN twist of this article Ralph has now lost all credibility forever .


  2. I think Ralphie has done us proud being a PPP member he like Naga is standing head and shoulders above the rest of PPP’s I know . I am extremely hopeful that they are lots more like him in the o PPP, We can ably rely on people like him on both sides of the isles to safely lead Guyana’s children in the next era. Jagdeo is pure poison and he would ruin our lovely land .His followers are no better. I born among Indians, grow up with them, care for them and they cared for me.We slept together like relatives, sisters and brother, father and son and and I have many friends who are Indians, I love them very much.It would be heartless to sit at the table and break bread together and not loving each other after so many long years ,yes I do love them and folks like Ralphie , Naga, and Freddy would only make these kinds of relationship survives the onslaught it is going thru for so many many years because people like the PPP race trio are leading their crew. I was upset that Ralphe was not chosen by the new government for a post even as speaker of the house again.But God is wise ,he is the one who chose our leaders as the bible says , “he rules in the affairs of men. He gave the people just what the deserves.If they are crooked he will gave them crooked leaders to lead them every time.Like Israel back in bible times.I can safely say now that had Ralpie been given a role in the new Government he would have been plainly playing in the hands of the Crooked ,trio”,de Wipper, de Gotal, and their race bait leader Jagrace”.Thank God Ralphie was not given the chance to work with the new government.Moses also is a great guy and is doing a splendid Job.
    Freddie!…is an asset,I saw him at UG in the late 80″s , and early 90″s and always thought he was just racist but got a better view of him in the early Jagrace reign and I was able to better understand him.Should people like Nagamooto and Ralpie lead a PPP party tomorrow ,I would certainly join them as I know the represent what Guyana should be.I am not going to follow a party because of my race.So sad I still have close Indians friends and know from my heart tey are racist and I am sad.I equally know some blacks wo are reacist and that is so sad.That is what PPP does…God bless, Naga and Lil Mo…..God is with you guys….I also gathered that all this rant about race is a ploy PPP is using to stymied the efforts of the new government to put them in Jail where some of them belong, and the issue of race is just a distraction. They knew that their entire crew were found with cookie crumbs on their hands and they are trying to dust their hands off on their pants , but the crumbs are all over their bodies, clothes () pockets and this makes it impossible for them come clean and they know they could be prosecuted .They are saying their properties ,and jobs are being taken away, bla,bla …biliions…..wow.. we should read between the lines people.That is why the nation’s scoffers were clean.ow things and cry race can we stand with leaders and people who encourage these kinds of behavior and cry race wen we know judgement day is coming.

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