Why would WPA leaders heap scorn upon Roopnaraine? (Pt 2)

first_imgDear Editor,In 1979, when the WPA declared itself a political party, the social reality of Guyana took a dramatic turn. It had changed from a pressure group into a contender for political power. It was a direct challenge to the “big boys”. Prime Minister Burnham declared that university professors could engage in academic exercises, but once they stepped into the political arena, they would be subjected to a different set of rules, rules more akin to the Roman amphitheatre. He boasted of his sharper steel. The political reality of Guyana took on a new persona, one that forever changed the historical narrative of Guyana from that day forward, creating a new narrative regarding the sociological reality in terms of the racial divide. The Jagan/Burnham political/racial dichotomy had been seriously challenged, and both men realised the danger the WPA posed to their racial blocs.At a public meeting, Eusi Kwayana raised the hands of both Walter Rodney and Rupert Roopnaraine, clasped them together, and proclaimed that these two men represented the new political/racial reality of Guyana. It was a moment of inspiration for many Guyanese of all races, one that they will forever cherish. Without that hope of a new dawn, Guyana is doomed. With the assassination of Walter Rodney, Rupert Roopnaraine, at that time, assumed a heavy burden of ensuring that vision of the WPA remained alive.Freddie Kissoon makes the claim that, “I knew the WPA burnt down the Ministry of National Development. I know that it stole the arms that were removed from the People’s Temple when Jonestown collapsed and other conspiratorial things. I know the little illegal things I did.”There is no indication by Kissoon whether his knowledge of the events he claimed were first hand or second hand. It raises the question as to why the Burnham-led PNC State was unable to prove what Kissoon claims that he has definitive proof of, despite hauling the arson trio to court as in the case of the burning down of the Ministry of National Development, a ministry which was in reality the PNC headquarters financed by State funds under the Doctrine of the Paramountcy of the ruling party.Many of the young cadres at the time felt the loss of Dr Rodney profoundly as he was their mentor. Several sought solace in the person of Dr Roopnaraine for leadership at that critical juncture of the party’s history. They were granted that invaluable insight that Kissoon wished he had access to, but deliberately spurned, that of “being close to such a giant of an intellectual with such a deep analytical mind.” These young men and women did learn “priceless and valuable lessons in sociology and history.” Dr Roopnaraine shared his profound insights with them. Today they yearn for the person they knew him to be. Kissoon’s “tragic decline of a brilliant mind” reminds us of that reality.If Kissoon’s definition of “honesty” is taken at face value, should Dr Roopnaraine have confessed to the burning down of the de facto PNC headquarters assuming Kissoon’s knowledge of the facts of the matter to be true? If Kissoon is prepared to argue that “history is more important than friendship”, then he must tell us when “history” begins and when “friendship” ends. There is also a question mark as to what Kissoon meant by “friendship”.Kissoon failed to give testimony at the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry, where his “honesty” would have set the historical record straight. He states that Dr Roopnaraine did not give names to the claim “(w) hen he admitted that the WPA was stockpiling arms to overthrow Burnham”. It is unlikely such testimony would carry much weight, since any person could make such claims without any means of corroboration from independent sources. More fundamentally, the WPA never depended on the use of arms to remove the Burnham dictatorship, so the statement is very inaccurate if taken out of context.The claim that the WPA is a dead party has been made by Kissoon on numerous occasions. Is Kissoon making a case that “the decline of a brilliant mind” of Dr Rupert Roopnaraine is a major contributing factor to the lingering presence of the corpse? Political parties are known to come back to life when the occasion demands it. Kissoon, more than any other critic, has kept the WPA alive with his high expectations of the party, expectations he claims it has failed to live up to. He remains one of the WPA’s best friends with his critique of the shortcomings of the party, regardless if they be real or imagined.Sincerely,Rohit KanhaiWPAOA Memberlast_img