I WISH to make it pellucid that a person who gives open advice must not be labelled as a source of bad news, but as a person providing sound guidance. Therefore, I am writing this missive, not as a political antagonist but as an Ambassador for Peace. As an Ambassador for Peace; peace is all that I am interested in, along with justice and fairness to all citizens, whether they voted for a government or not. These citizens must be protected and cared for. Additionally, caring for those who did not support you is a hallmark of not only goodwill but that of excellent governance.
You may note that I did not say ANPU+AFC in my caption; this was intentional. I think the PNC/APNU was extremely kind to the AFC to give them nine seats. It is my view, and that of most ‘political pundits,’ that the AFC did not even bring a single seat to the PNC/APNU. And, as time progresses, they will go into disintegration unless the PNC/APNU clings to them. In all honesty, the undersigned has little respect for the leadership of the AFC, except maybe for Kathy Hughes and Mr. Dominic Gaskin.
Allow me to express my opinions as to why I think the APNU/PNC lost the 2020 general election. My thoughts are as follows:
1. You lost because you isolated yourselves from the masses. In my opinion, an impenetrable golden barrier separated the people from the leadership of the APNU/PNC.
2. You forgot that the people are the true bosses of the country, and that the people can bring down any government they want; they can bring the government out of power anytime they wish and particularly at the end of their term.
3. The promises you made were left unfulfilled. As one who travelled the land, I heard the cries and lamentations of the people. Since taking the reins of power, following the elections of 2015, instead of putting the people first, you boosted the salaries of ministers and parliamentarians even as the economy broke. This was a bitter pill for the electorate. Something should have been done for the people first! And to add salt to the wounds of the citizens, the words of one of your official which followed, were harsh to the people’s ears: “We have no apologies to make.”
4. You failed to see the message of your supporters in the 2018 Local Government Elections, where you received a very sound thrashing from the electorate.
5. No housing schemes were established, although credit was used for the housing schemes of the former administration and now the Government of Guyana. The few core homes were neither here nor there.
6. Rice, sugar, bauxite, gold, and other significant foreign exchange-earners went under.
7. People were very bitter about the blatant effort by your coalition to cover the US$18 million signing bonus from ExxonMobil. When your government was forced to talk on the subject, it was as though the effort was to pull the wool over the eyes of the people. Never underestimate the intelligence of the ‘man in the streets’.
8. You alienated friends and supporters by behaving as if they did not exist.
9. You had some boisterous party activists, one of them a minister, acting ridiculously and most vulgarly in the streets, counting of the votes, and many times thereafter. This led to disrepute and a severe decline in the PNC faction.
10. You denied appointments and recognitions to the positive and credible persons in society, as if these instruments were the personal purview/property of the ‘Bigger Boys’ in your political domain.
11. You failed to win friends and influence people. I wrote openly in the media and made commentaries on TV programs and social media about how important it is to master the technique of winning friends and influencing people. I wrote letters about this to senior government officials, and recommended Dale Carnegie’s book of the same title, “How to win friends and influence people.” I have advised that the purpose must not only be to look out for whoever you consider your own, even though I, the undersigned, felt that you sometimes forgot your own. This Stalinist/Burnamite technique of aggressively pulling the feathers off of a chicken, leaving it bloody and frail, cold and thirsty, but when you throw a few bits of crumbs at it, it will still follow you everywhere you go because you keep throwing crumbs. Well this time, this technique could not have succeeded. In my view, it was social media that disrupted your Stalinist strategy of power and dominance.
12. I believe that you, the PNC/APNU, isolated yourselves from your own supporters and did not attract any of the supporters of the then opposition and now the government. If you observe well, you would see that the new government and its President, with his team, are travelling most generously to areas that are not normally their stronghold. This, dear APNU+AFC, is the mastery of the art of winning friends and influencing others.
13. The closure of the sugar estates was the most terrible decision affecting tens of thousands of lives and the nation, indirectly and directly. It affected the lives of at least ten thousand workers and their families. This was a huge mistake that the APNU+AFC have paid for dearly.
The sudden closure of the sugar estates in Berbice highlighted many areas of concern. Some of which are as follows:
a. The sudden closure of the sugar estates in Berbice to those affected was a kind of hatred or vengeance, because it is known that these people are a major support block of the PPP/C. They felt hated and betrayed, especially from the AFC faction of the coalition. The fact that not even government officials or AFC leaders in the Region Six areas were informed was quite disheartening. He only knew from the newspapers for which his life was later threatened and which later led him to find a way to eke vengeance on the APNU+AFC. I am speaking of Mr. Charrandass Persaud. The few seats gained by the coalition through the AFC: Moses Nagamootoo and Ramjattan, caused the supporters of the AFC in the region to regret that they had ever voted for a party that had little power in the coalition.
b. There were no plans in place to educate people on alternative occupations. The fact remained that there was no medium developed to provide reasonable plots of land for independence and/or prior education in the principles of co-operativism.
c. These workers were annoyed because they had to fight to get their severance. Please note, severance is very different from compensation. Severance is what they have earned. Compensation or a gift would have demonstrated gratitude for their decades of service to the industry that kept this country alive and well.
d. The fact that, after taking power, the government abandoned the rice farmers. Instead of getting the price hikes that were promised, they were left with the millers: with the need to find their own markets.
e. Sugar workers and rice farmers believed that they were being exploited by the AFC and deceived by the coalition. They were left to wander in the wilderness, in depression and suffering, in suicides and darkness. No efforts were made to include depression counselling or grant scholarships to the children of these workers.
f. I wrote in the media that the industry should be kept alive before the factories and the fields deteriorate, carbonise, and sell off to convert these lands, or part thereof, to rear cattle for dairy and meat. Black belly sheep; a delicacy in the world could have been reared, or produce fish using the canals that were cleverly built by the British Colonial Masters. With the support of friendly countries, such as Holland, Australia, New Zealand, we could have started manufacturing canned, condensed, and evaporated milk products for local and foreign consumption. But your government at that time did not see what people like me saw. If the government did not want to be involved in these productions, it could have provided the necessary support and trade with the people to make these products. The same factories left to rot could still have produced some sugar with alternative goods stated in the aforementioned. The factory, one or part thereof, may have been used to dehydrate fruit and vegetables. Canning of fruit and vegetables and, as I said earlier, canning of meat in a number of ways. This also included canning of fish products while at the same time, complying with the regulations of the USA and the Europeans, so that we can export frozen or processed fish, such as tilapia, catfish, and armored catfish, aka hassar.
14. INFRASTRUCTURE: Your government has forgotten that infrastructure, such as roads and canals, is important not only in the areas of its supporters, but for all of Guyana.
15. THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES: It is known that the Indigenous Peoples were and are the most discriminated, exploited, and abused by the conquistadors and left to wander with little support from the various governments, in particular the APNU+AFC coalition. Hundreds of them were terminated from their jobs when your government took office in 2015. The backlash was seen in the 2020 elections by the Indigenous Community against the APNU+AFC coalition. The last-minute attempts for bribery were seen for what it was.
I know it is a very painful time for the APNU+AFC camp, and I have always said openly that I have friends with both the PPP/C and the PNC. And, everybody knows that even if I disagree with a point of view and/or a political entity; my ethos, moral upbringing, and my spiritual compunction would always be just for all institutions and others.
I will always be impartial and fair, whether I disagree or agree with a certain point. I have no bias towards a particular institution, and I speak about what I see is right and true. As my Creator states in the Holy Quran: “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.” (Quran 4:135)
Of course; some weak-minded political adherents will think I do not like their party. If any, I simply have little respect for the AFC, but even if I have to sit in an authority to judge something – for or against them – it will always be a matter of compunctions of true justice.
My message to you, to the coalition, to all politicians, to all humanity, but firstly to myself, is that our successes or our failures come from our own mind. Eventually, the seeds you plant will bear fruit or not. Either you could not get fruits because the seeds did not grow, or you got fruits but they were bitter and useless, or fruits that were succulent, wholesome, and nutritious. I write this in the form of intellectual metaphorical wisdom. From the moment the coalition took office, you started to put things in place to secure yourselves. You, the coalition, began at GECOM when you were obviously trying to put who you wanted in office. You eliminated people who were qualified for political appointments. One could have seen that your plans were for manipulation.
Instead of offering service to the people and winning the hearts and minds of the people, you began to fortify the compound of the Ministry of the Presidency and fortify it as if you wanted to keep revolutionary fighters away. Too many people were terminated, and then you started to disaffect some of the people you suspected might not have been on your side — people who were independent, mostly, and who made independent comments and spoke fairly. So, in my opinion, you planted these seeds of desperation, and everything you did was as if you were trying to use the situation, including the political parties.
My point is that we, as human beings, are creating our destiny through our thoughts and our hearts. If the intent of the heart is good, then things turn out to be good. But when you try to fortify yourself and put yourself in a clandestine way, people will know, and then the universe knows, then Divine retribution is effected by the universe. As you tried to affect and conspire to disaffect others, you were actually conspiring against yourselves. This is a simple procedure to teach us that we are the creators of our own futures. So do please blame yourselves for the loss of the 2020 elections.
Hajji Dr. Roshan Khan