Burnham’s policies had plunged Guyana into an economic abyss

first_imgDear Editor,As of late, laudable exhortations portraying Forbes Burnham as a prophet of so-called social cohesion in Guyana are risible, to say the least.Burnham was a megalomaniac whose policy plunged the country into an economic abyss. Aversion to everything British, and lacking thoughtfulness; large scale nationalisation, and replacement of qualified and able personnel with lackeys whose only qualification was their card-bearing membership of the PNC was more visceral than gravitas. During Burnham’s dictatorship, the economic, social and moral conditions of the Guyanese people can rationally be encapsulated as the darkest period of post-independence Guyana.This argument is supported by the following incontrovertible facts: The blatant rigging of elections for two decades was well documented by the British Granada Television. In this expose, non-existent Guyanese voters were deemed to be domiciled in cemeteries in Britain and other non-verifiable addresses.During Burnham’s time, systemic kicking down of doors of East Indian family dwellings was the norm, and this scourge led to mass migration of these hapless people. Far from being a person of social cohesion, Burnham and his ilk nurtured the concept of racial primacy based on the authoritarian idea of party paramountcy. This vile doctrine was so entrenched that it accelerated racial fear rather than racial harmony. Assault on the Rule of Law and coercion of judges made the independence of the judiciary a mockery to the point that one of the pre-eminent jurists, Akbar Khan, found it necessary to migrate.Dishonesty, manipulation, intimidation, and boldness in his opportunistic utterances prompted Sir Nigel Fisher (Duncan Sandy’s deputy) to characterise Burnham as “twisted as a cork-screw”. To intimidate the populace, Burnham harboured the crime fugitive Rabbi Washington, whose reign of terror was all-pervasive.In one of his pre-independence talks in London, Burnham used increasingly stringent language in his denunciation of the East Indian entrepreneurial community. Cheddi Jagan, when asked informally to comment on Burnham’s chutzpa, resisted with evasion and sophistry.All in all, the PNC under Burnham was the apotheosis of racial and social strife: and this perception remains haunted in the collective consciousness of the people. So much for social cohesion!The sycophants and apologists of Burnham cannot honestly palliate the wrongs of the Burnham regime. With cunning, they devise dubious claims of Burnham’s place in Guyana’s history. It is worthy to note that the present state of lawlessness, corruption, bribery, suicide, domestic violence, day-time robbery and violation of the Constitution is a continuum of an inherited past; and such moral squalor is only fascinating for its repugnance. Editor, to write of Burnham’s legacy would occupy volumes, and no effort to glorify the period of Burnham’s rule would find sanction in an informed and elevated mind.Respectfully,Albert Khanlast_img read more