[Editor's Note: This
article (a shorter version) was sent to the Guyanese press after
Kaieteur News columnist and UG Professor, Mr. Frederick
Kission called on retired Guyana Defence Force brigadier, Mr.
David Granger, to explain his adoration for national service under
Forbes Burnham (see KN 06/25/06 and also previously.) It was published
Brig. David Granger
A discussion of all the
vices (e.g., rapes) of national service under the PNC is valid
today because these are relics which loyal PNC supporters are
keen on re-implementing. While national service may not be bad
in essence, under our short political and military histories,
we are destined to have severe consequences.
Why did Mr. Granger refer to the PPP as "gangsters"
and such writings are posted as "history" on the offical
website of the Guyana Defence Force, a state institution? See
website link and go to page 42-44: http://www.gdf-gy.org/TNR5.htm
This is absolutely unacceptable, partisian and pro-PNC. It should
be removed and we encourage others to write to the newspapers
and help have it remove. The political views of Mr. Granger is
not Guyanese history.]
describes the PPP supposed "campaign of violence" during
the 1973 General Elections. This is the page as it
appeared on the GDF website as of 2005-2006. This is evidence
of the PNC nature of the GDF.
Having recently read about the raping of women
and ethnic practices associated with Forbes Burnham’s National
Service, it is quite challenging that Mr. Frederick Kissoon (KN
06/18/2006), has called upon retired brigadier, Mr. David Granger,
to explain his adoration for this plagued institution.
While I suspect that Mr. Granger may not be bothered, just in
case he responds, let us be weary of what he has to say. Regardless
of his education or military career, Mr. Granger has allowed his
undying love for the PNC to severely distort his interpretation
of history. Truth, with Mr. Granger, is a rare thing. I offer
two very revealing examples to support this view.
First, in October 2003, in Santiago, Chile, Mr. Granger presented
a 28-page paper titled, “Civil Violence, Domestic Terrorism
and Internal Security In Guyana, 1953-2003,” at a conference
organized by the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies. Painstakingly
constructed to portray the PNC as a noble organization, a “well
educated” (Kissoon) Mr. Granger lectured about “domestic
terrorism” in our history but willfully omitted any mention
of the Wismar Massacre of May 25-26, 1964, orchestrated against
East Indians by PNC supporters.
It is part of our flawed national make-up that Guyanese speak
of Rwanda, Bosnia, and now Darfur, but they are silent about the
Wismar Massacre, Guyana’s own case of genocide. Ours is
the only Republic that celebrates self-rule (Independence) and
commemorates genocide on the same day (May 26). Yet, when I say
“commemorate” Wismar, I do not speak of prayers for
the murdered, or vigils, or even a moment of silence for those
butchered, raped, burned, and driven from their homes by PNC activists
in 1964. No, what I mean is, we become dumb, silent, and forgetful
about Wismar, just as Mr. Granger, an “educated” ex-top
brass soldier did in Chile.
This paper by Mr. Granger is just another example of extremely
prejudicial and partisan writings done by a selected few extremists
(and supposed “intellectuals”) who have embraced completely
with all of its trappings, the Burnham legacy, and for whom the
Wismar genocide never happened, just as they are destined by temperament
and attitude, to argue that there never was any Buxton gang or
attempted coup during 2002-2003.
But Mr. Granger was keen to tell his audience about the Son (Sun)
Chapman tragedy or as he said, “…the most alarming
slaughter of the ‘Disturbances’ was that of 40 Africans
on 6 July at Hurudaia in the Demerara River as they travelled
in a motor launch to Mackenzie.” It is a horror in itself
to watch grown-ups belittle themselves so effortlessly.
Secondly, there is another lengthy essay by Mr. Granger titled,
“The New Road,” an artful token to Mr. Burnham’s
socialism, written I suspect sometime back when Mr. Burnham was
still alive. (See http://www.gdf-gy.org/TNR5.htm
for essay subtitled: "A Short History of the Guyana Defence
This paper is supposed to be “a”
history (not the history) of the army, and thus, one can now find
it on the new GDF website. But I wish to make it clear that this
essay should be removed from this website, for the GDF website
belongs to a national institution. It is not the property of Mr.
Granger or the PNC. This is a pristine example of how this national
institution has become appropriated in both deed and spirit, by
the lingering grasp of the PNC. This is why I say again, the army
must be thoroughly reformed of its PNC manifestations; otherwise,
we shall never have a viable nation.
The Commander in Chief ought to find this essay
despicable, especially since Mr. Granger not only berated the
PPP, but actually called them "gangsters.” I say no
more but what is relevant as my second example. According to Mr.
Granger, soldiers performed “splendidly” to suppress
a “campaign of violence” by the PPP during the 1973
He wrote, "National elections were scheduled
for July 1973, Realising that their hold on the electorate was
slipping further and in an abortive attempt to forestall an obvious
and overwhelming PNC victory, a campaign of violence and resistance
was planned by the PPP. The GDF
was called in to aid the Civil power and prevent a break down
of law and order that was planned by
the gangsters. The operation established the maturity
and competence of the Force and through sensible precautions and
deployment, the PPP plan was frustrated. The soldiers behaved
splendidly in the face of provocation. The sound political education
that the officers and soldiers received during 1971 and 1972 enabled
them to act with tact, discretion and firmness in 1973 and this
saved the day. The GDF, fully aware of the government's policy
and dedicated to serving the working masses, performed really
creditably" (see pp. 42-44).
page as depicted in the GDF website, wehre Granger describes the
soldiers' action of 1973 as being splendid. Note his
use of the word "gangster" to refer to the PPP.
This is a bold-faced lie. Mr. Granger failed
to mention that two East Indians (Jagan
Ramessar and Parmanad Bholanauth from No. 63 Village, Berbice)
called the "Ballot Box Martyrs” were killed on July
16, 1973 by soldiers who seized the ballot boxes at the New market
Primary School, as was ordered by Mr. Forbes Burnham during that
elections. Ballot boxes were taken to army headquarters at Camp
Ayangenna, tampered with, before released back to the public domain.
It is a shame that Mr. Granger has to resort to such primitive
standards by which he accords measurement to our history.
In any event, I would like to remind those (especially Mr. Hamilton
Green) who often speak harshly against the re-writing of Guyanese
history, to take specific note. It is precisely because of this
distorted writing by people such as Mr. Granger that there is
a demand for us young people to revise and re-write (or write)
Finally, since Mr. Granger mentioned it and it applies to what
we are discussing, let me try to clarify something. Mr. Granger
in 1993 wrote that, “The victim of the first recorded political
murder was Felix Ross of Port Mourant, a PPP political ‘stronghold’
on the Corentyne.” Now, he snatched this from Eusi Kwayana
(see “Next Witness”) and in like fashion, Kean Gibson
repeated it recently.
Interestingly, Mr. Ravi Dev (ROAR) has written at least twice
about this case. He asserted after checking the newspapers and
speaking with people of the Port Mourant area, that the death
of Mr. Ross was not related to politics or the “disturbances.”
As far as I am aware, Mr. Kwayana has never challenged this claim.
So, what’s wrong here?
I do not know why Mr. Kwayana made such a claim, but perhaps he
would be kind enough to clear up this issue once and for all.