The world watched in shock and reverence as the scenes of the rebellion, defined as “violent rebellion against authority or government”, played out in the US Capitol Building last Wednesday. The crowd of President Donald Trump’s extreme right-wing supporters, armed with bats and guns, were determined to thwart Joe Biden’s declaration as US President-elect. They had been heartened by Trump in a long harangue for them.
Five people were killed before an order was restored and the Electoral College account resumed to inevitably ruin it. Still insisting that the Elections were fraudulent, Trump finally admitted, but broke more than 150 years of precedent by announcing he would not attend Biden’s inauguration. Several US leaders, including former President George Bush, denied that the rebellious act was typical of “Banana Republics” and “Third World”. They compared relatively well-organized American elections over the past century, where the centrality of democratic elections to legitimize governorship by the governors had never been questioned.
Some in Guyana, especially supporters of the PNC, questioned the functioning of the American electoral system, and claimed that the comparison was unfair. But was he? We had been under direct British colonial government for a century and a half, which they had justified by claiming that we were not prepared for the responsibilities of democratic governance, and had to be “tutored” to their minutiae. Elections to choose leaders and the responsibility of those leaders to adhere to democratic norms were central to the British debate.
In Britain, those norms had been organically imposed, and expanded in the centuries following the spread of the Magna Carta in 1215, where King John granted his subjects a Charter of Freedom in the demand of Barons and clergy. In 1832, not coincidentally the year before the mention of the Enfranchisement Act, Britain introduced its Electoral Reform Act, which was gradually extended until 1928, when women could vote with men who were 21 years old. In Guyana, we dragged on while we were “tutored” and, in 1953, we tested our first democratic elections under a universal vote.
This was followed by the betrayal of democracy and the introduction of rebellious politics by the PNC, launched by Forbes Burnham when he refused to allow internal democratic principles to act to select the PPP leader, of which he had been Chairman and Leader of Cheddi Jagan. . Losing elections in 1957 and 1961 to the last, he linked up with foreign elements to launch protests, arson and “sit-in” of Government buildings in order to prevent the democratically elected Government from taking action. In one of the last acts in front of the Parliament Buildings, Jagan Checks, in his vehicle, was viciously attacked by a crowd of PNC supporters. This was the introduction of insurgency politics in Guyana in order to call Burnham’s “leader or nothing”, which led to his appointment in 1964, after a virtual civil war in the country.
Rigging elections for the next 28 years, with a larger military following, kept the PNC illegally in office until the free and fair elections of 1992. However, in a move reminiscent of the Capitol uprising raid Hill, PNC mobs invaded Election HQ with President Jimmy Carter inside. He and democracy in Guyana were saved from the rebellion by a call from President Bush. Five years later, protesting the results of the 1997 elections, PNC goons responded to a ruling by Justice Bernard on the abduction of Janet Jagan by attacking and abusing hundreds of Indian-Guyanese, who are considered PPP supporters. Another rebellion.
The violence lasted for a decade, escalating to armed attacks by gunmen calling themselves “African Freedom Fighters” linked to elements of the PPP. In 2003, PNC protesters attacked the Presidency Office, resulting in several people being killed in the PNC’s “slow fyaah, mo ‘fyaah” rebellious strategy.
The PNC has once again argued against the results of the 2020 elections, and rebellious rhetoric is flying fast and furious.
Forewarned is forearmed about PNC’s insurgency politics.

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