I am unequivocal in my condemnation of the Working People’s Alliance/A Partnership for National Unity’s David Hinds’ call for the digging up/ blocking of the East Coast Highway by Buxtonians in support of the Linden Struggle. Given Hinds’ professional engagement I expected a more judicious and discerning reading of the present mood of Guyana. I view Brother Hinds’ call as overventuresome and ill-conceived. This is especially so now that the August 17th Agreement has been initialled and likely to be signed by the two parties.
Privately I had advocated, immediately following the July 18th massacre of Lindeners by police, that the struggle should take the form of Lindeners peacefully slow travelling to Georgetown, and peacefully occupying the Square of the Revolution and outside Office of the President until their demands were met. I concede now, that such action, had it been undertaken, would have diluted the Linden Struggle. What transpired, of Lindeners locating their struggle in Linden, was a more effective course of action which has forced the government to formally yield to their demands as we have seen with the August 17th Agreement.
I can understand, in the face of the executive abuse of Guyana, Hinds’ anxiety to see the removal of the unjust PPP regime and thus the nationalizing of the struggle. I understand too Hinds’ expressed disappointment with the rest of Guyana not taking to the streets in standing in solidarity with Linden. Political action, revolution and change though often come in stages and piecemeal and not always as a flood of overnight transformation. It is part of the process.
If Buxtonians are of the conviction that they, as a community, continue (we know they have been subjected to) to be maligned and discriminated against then they have every right to do as Linden did and protest as they are allowed to constitutionally. Buxtonians have demonstrated that when they reach that stage they will take the actions they deem necessary and they need not academics or scholars to issue calls to them to act.
Further Hinds’ proposal in all likelihood will only allow for regression in the national struggle for change from the PPP regime. The blocking of the East Coast Highway at this time will allow the legendary PPP propaganda machinery to heighten its effectiveness by sending their divisive messages of fear to their base in an effort to galvanize their support based on emotion above reason.
Hinds fails to appreciate too that events of the 2002-2008 crime wave are too fresh in the psyche of the nation and any action by Buxton such as proposed by him stands to quickly alienate the Indo-Guyanese community who demonstrated in no insignificant way on November 28th that they too are in strong disapproval of the regime’s handling of the republic. Gains of unparallelled proportions have been made within the last year especially, opposition political leaders must be astute and shrewd in protecting these and ensuring that these are not squandered.
It will also allow the regime to float the ‘anarchy line’ as cover for the more violent and fatal action by agents of the state which will lead to the death and violation of our brothers and sisters. We know of the regime’s approval of the use of deadly force in response to even peaceful protests.
That Hinds’ call has not gained traction speaks for itself.
What I believe Hinds and other senior leaders of APNU and also the leaders of AFC should be undividedly committed to is the matter of constitutional reform which will allow for a change of government by the ballot box when elections are next called. The PPP is comfortable with the current system which allows that party a minority of the total vote but 100% of the executive power. There must be constitutional reform and there, above all else, is where the combined political energies ought to be focussed.