Young Rodney admirers must deluge Clive Thomas with these questions
Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon
Kaieteur News – These were my opening words in my Tuesday, June 7, 2022 article: “I once wrote on this page that as soon as you completed your analysis and ready to send it to the newspaper, the item goes on the backburner because some controversial intrusion is always coming up. I cannot count the amount of times I had to relegate to a later date completed articles because of intervening factors.”
I had to switch gear last week. Today I am switching gear again. I completed my article for today since last week. It analyses the reasons PNC leader, Aubrey Norton, gave for initially refusing to shake the President’s hand. Then reading the newspapers early Saturday morning, I came across an item in which the remnants of the WPA will be holding a public event in celebration of the assassination anniversary of Walter Rodney (June 13) with featured speaker, Dr. Clive Thomas.
Shock and anger are poor words to describe my reaction on reading the news item. I reflected on how poor the quality of humans is in this world we live in. Before we go to the questions attendees must ask Dr. Thomas and the title of the talk today, an important, extremely important piece of information, needs to be publicised for every human in this world who follow trends in Guyana.
Here it is. There has only been one year from 2015 when the WPA got into power that there was an event to celebrate the assassination anniversary of Walter Rodney that was not sponsored by the WPA. That year was 2017.
Here is what I wrote in my Wednesday, June 13, 2018 column about that sordid affair: “Last year, the invitation to the event listed the sponsors as Friends of Walter Rodney. Who were his friends that organised the gathering? For example, present co-leader of the WPA, Rupert Roopnarine was not there in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The question which the WPA ignored is why the WPA did not host the event. And if it could not, why did a group named WPA Overseas not do the job?”
So today, the WPA will host the event. There was no anniversary celebration in 2018, 2019, 2020. In those years, the WPA was part of the Government of Guyana. I attended the ones in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Clive Thomas was only present in 2017. Before we move to the questions, a word about the name of the speech Clive Thomas will be delivering.
It is opportunistically titled, “Revisiting the Buxton proposal.” Not one PNC and AFC minister while in government has ever used that term and they still don’t. Not one editor or journalist has ever used that term. Not one letter-writer in any of the four dailies has used those words. Not one academic, in and outside of Guyana has used that term.
Please see my column of Thursday, October 7, 2021, “The Buxton Proposal: Subliminal ethnic instinct.” The Buxton proposal is an invention of Clive Thomas that he has used in his weekly Stabroek News column. He uses it to refer to the statement of Henry Jeffrey that he, Clive Thomas, has popularised. It was Jeffrey that originally suggested that the government must make cash grants to Guyanese from the poorer classes.
Even Jeffrey who made the original thought does not write about the Buxton proposal. No one in Guyana knows what the Buxton proposal is except Clive Thomas. What all other persons in and out of Guyana refer to is cash grant from oil revenues. That is the way people in the other oil rich economies refer to the advocacy. One is simply stumped in understanding what cash grant from oil revenue has to do with Buxton.
Those young Guyanese who admire Walter Rodney must look Thomas straight in the eyes today and ask him many questions some of which include the following:
1 – Finally in 2015, 39 years after the birth of WPA as a political party, the WPA finally got state power with three of its leaders securing strategic places in the power structure. Can Thomas enumerate the transformative policies of the WPA when in power, May, 2015 – June 2020?
2 – Is what left of the WPA a multi-racial entity? What is the current structure of the WPA? How many members are in its executive and of those, how many are Indians, Amerindians and of mixed race?
3 – Under the chairmanship of GuySuCo, 7000 sugar workers were retrenched. Even if the industry had to be closed, why did the workers have to go to court to get their financial entitlement?
4 – Can Thomas, Guyana’s long-standing scholar, tell Guyanese what the essential differences between the PNC and PPP are and why WPA joined the PNC and not PPP?
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)