Dr Randy Persaud: I am shocked that Brigadier Granger would attempt to defend the massive rigging of the 1973 election. Mr Granger’s defence of what happened on that fateful day in July 1973 demonstrates that the PNCR has a long, long way to go before it is truly ready to lead.
The Brigadier says that the GDF was playing “a logistical role” by securing and transporting the ballot boxes from Berbice. This is a brazen assault on history and should not be tolerated.
On July 16, 1973, I was at a polling station at Anna Catherina, immediately next to where Monarch Cinema once stood. About fifty people stood outside the polling station, many hanging out, some keeping an eye on the proceedings. As dusk fell a GDF truck pulled up and rushed into the station. A few people outside protested by asking what was going on. One was gun-butted in the face and fell to the ground. His name is Bato, aka Crab. Others were ‘chucked-up’ and slapped.
The army men drove off in the direction of Leonora with the ballot boxes. The whole thing happened fast and with terror.
Some time back Dr Van West-Charles suggested that the PNC should apologize for its past deeds. I think he was particularly interested in asking forgiveness for the rigging of elections. Some agreed with him; others thought that he was ‘going too far.’ I myself thought that it is not necessary because the PNC would have surely moved on. It appears that Dr Van West-Charles knows exactly what he is talking about.
As it stands today, Brigadier Granger now has two apologies to make: one for the rigging, and another for the defence of the rigging. I note that no senior PNC official in parliament today has ever denied that the 1973 elections were massively rigged.
..........................................................................................................................................................................Vic Puran: The comments attributed to Mr. David Granger, set out in the Stabroek News of Friday October 1, 2010 at page 8 made me nauseous.
Specifically, he is quoted as saying, “So the picture of soldiers carrying boxes into trucks and so on, they were from a logistical function …… they had nothing to do with what was (sic) in the boxes or determining the results of the election.”
The elections of 1973 remain a festering sore in the conscience of this nation. Not yet an adult, I was a polling agent for the PPP in 1973 at St. Winifred’s Primary School, situate at Garnett Street, Newtown. I was prevented from sealing the ballot boxes and I was forcibly evicted from the polling station. I ran behind the truck into which the boxes were loaded and saw the truck with the boxes enter the GDF Compound at Camp Ayanganna.
People like me, Ranji Chandisingh, Vincent Teekah and Halim Majeed understood the dynamics of 1973. Some who left the PPP with us, for instance the noble Ramesh Deonarine, were never able to become members of the PNC.
Even after the murder of my friend and comrade Vincent Teekah and even after the main witness to his murder was spirited out of the country, I went to work on Prime Minister Burnham’s staff as his Special Political Assistant.
For me it was a matter of a higher morality. My actions were dictated by the imperative of historical forces. Even now, with hindsight, I would follow the same path.
But, as a historian, Mr. David Granger cannot rewrite history to advance himself for his own aggrandisement.
I am of the humble view that he has eliminated himself as a potential leader of the Guyanese people. I admit that he is eminently qualified to lead the PNC.