Hamilton Green’s distortion of history – setting the record straight

first_imgDear Editor,The media recently carried a letter penned by Mr Hamilton Green in relation to the tragic sinking of the Son Chapman due to an explosion in the Demerara River. This incident occurred on July 6, 1964.In his letter, Mr Green said he was not pointing a finger at anyone for what happened, however, his entire letter was pointing a finger at the PPP.In recent times, the PNC-led APNU has been trying to use this incident to whip up racism for political mobilisation. Racism is their main weapon to try to cling to power.Mr Green is aware that neither the enquires that were held, nor the colonial police, which at that time was working with the PNC to force the resignation of the Government of 1961-1964, ever made any changes against the PPP for that incident.Mr Green resorted to circumstantial evidence to prove his point.He insinuated that it could have been a reprisal for what occurred at Wismar/McKenzie on May 25 and 26, 1964. This is how he put it “… over 75% of the Indo Guyanese were roughed up and forced to flee their homes and businesses…”A worse understatement was never made. The “roughing up” that Mr Green spoke about were the dozens of persons killed, women and children raped. Many of the women had bottles rammed into them. Even little babies were torn from the hands of their mothers and murdered. Two hundred buildings, homes and businesses were destroyed completely. Many perished in the flames. This included the family of Senator Christine Ramjattan, who almost lost her sight and her father was brutally murdered.The first report on May 26, 1964, of the previous day’s events, put the amount of dead at twenty-seven (27) and forty (40) injured by gunshot, many of the forty died later. Of course, dozens more died on May 26, 1964, in that massacre.Mr Green wrote that that was a reprisal for what was happening on the Coast, mainly the East and West Coast of Demerara.That is just not true. Most of those who suffered death and destruction of their homes were Indo Guyanese. The death count just before the massacre at Wismar/McKenzie was thirteen (13) Indians and five (5) African Guyanese.The truth of the matter is that the PNC, with the support of the British colonialists through the British Police Commissioner, had gone on a terror campaign against PPP supporters.During the strike by GAWU for Union recognition that Mr Green spoke about, the police were used to harass sugar workers. The PNC supplied scab to Bookers to break the strike.PNC recruited thugs to go into villages to beat and harass sugar workers. They were often transported by Police vehicles. It is clear that the British decided to use the strike to create mayhem as part of the destabilisation. The PNC and MPCA were the main tools of the colonial master.While the colonial police facilitated the attacks on the PPP members and supporters, they prevented sugar workers who had formed committees to guard their villages from the frequent attacks. Many times the police, accompanied by thugs, arrested and delivered serious beatings on them. One at Blairmont was murdered in his yard. Needless to say, no one was ever arrested.The PNC X-13 plan that was exposed in this period was a terrorist plan to create as much violence as possible to prevent independence from being granted. It was in operation since 1962 but only exposed in 1964. It was that plan that was being executed by the PNC. That is why the British-controlled Police took no action to stop the violence directed against Indian and African Guyanese PPP members and supporters.Coming back to the Son Chapman tragedy, let me say that the most likely cause was accidental. I say this since if the PPP had anything to do with it, that would have given the British the condition to jail and disgrace the PPP and in particular, Cheddi Jagan. It is apposite to point out that by then a large part of the PPP leadership was detained without trial or even charged.What was known also, was that Son Chapman was ferrying explosives to Wismar/McKenzie, for a while before the PNC’s murderous rampage of May 25-27, 1964.The police had many reports of this. The Premier, Cheddi Jagan, told Peter Owen, the British Commissioner of Police, that he had information that this was happening months before the explosion in Son Chapman. And months before May 25 and 26, 1964. Of course, the colonial police paid no heed.Indeed, from all the papers that have been released from the US State Department and the British Foreign Office, we see how they were protecting the PNC leadership and their criminal acts. Even Mr Burnham, who was found with an illegal weapon in his house, was protected by the Governor. He ensured that the case against him was dismissed.Moreover, the papers revealed that the PNC via Mr Burnham was collecting money from the CIA that period to help with their organisation. That continued until 1973.The Governor even went so far as to decree that individuals or organisations who or which were found in possession of the PNC’s X-13 plan would face compulsory jail time. This was another demonstration of the British protecting the PNC in their efforts to frustrate the granting of independence.The question may be asked, where was the PNC getting the dynamite from. Those old enough would know that dynamite was the preferred explosive used by the PNC at the 1963 and 1964 riots.Recall that large quantities of dynamite were reportedly stolen from the quarries owned by Correa (A PNC legislative member) Martin Fredericks (he was a candidate on the UF list) and De Freitas (supporter of the UF). The police never recovered the explosives, nor were any arrests made.The amounts taken were large. Fredericks Quarry, for instance, lost 500 lbs. of Gelignite (dynamite), 2 coils of Fuse Wire, 1600 Detonators and 400 electric wire. This was reported by the police. The number of explosives taken from Corriea and De Freitas was just as large or even greater.It was those that were ferried up to McKenzie and were used in blasting buildings during the holocaust (using Burnham’s description) at that location. They were also used extensively on the Coast by PNC’s terrorists and in Georgetown in 1963, at Rice Marketing Board and the bombing of stores owned by Indian Guyanese.It was very clear that part of the cargo on the Son Chapman was dynamite from the stolen amounts.In passing, let me state that none of the explosives came from Demba Bauxite Company at McKenzie; their stock was not breached and all were accounted for.Historians can be sure that these explosives were in the possession of the PNC for the following reasons:In the yard of Mr Reid, who became number 2 in the PNC, dynamite and detonators were found. He was then in a senior position at Bookers and living in Bel Air Park. He was never charged.On March 27, 1964, an explosion took place in the house of Joseph London at Asylum Street, New Amsterdam. London was a PNC activist. He lost seven of his fingers in the explosion. He obviously had the explosives in his hands when it went off. When the police searched his house, they found “seven (7) sticks of blasting gelatine and ten (10) detonators with fuses.Finally, on August 17, 1964, the colonial Commissioner of Police, who collaborated and defended PNC thugs and terrorists, was forced to admit that it was acts of the PNC. He had to in light of many exposures that were taking place internationally, including the United Nations. Peter Owens said; “… enquires so far have revealed that there exist an organised thuggery which is centrally directed…” He later, in a sworn affidavit, stated that “… subversive and criminal activities of a criminal gang attached to a political party known as the People’s National Congress…” existed. This was the gang responsible for the destruction of that period.What action did he take? None. Instead, he used the occasion to further persecute the victims. A large part of the PPP’s GAWU leadership was detained without trial.These included the Deputy Premier Brindley Benn, Education Minister CV Nunes, President of GAWU, Harry Lall, General Secretary of GAWU, Phelomena Sahoye among others. Thirty-four PPP leaders were held at Sibley Hall in the Mazaruni River.Only Robert Jordon from the PNC was held. He was a Legislative Assembly Member for the Wismar/McKenzie Constituency. He was quickly released.For its part, the PPP never stopped fighting for a unity of the Guyanese people. Immediately after the Wismar/McKenzie massacre, the PPP in a statement said “Yesterday, May 25, 2019, Guyanese were given a foretaste on what they might expect from a Government constituted by a coalition of the UF and the PNC. In Wismar, one hundred (100) dwelling and business places were destroyed by fire and eight hundred (800) non-PNC-UF Guyanese became refugees from an area in which many of them had spent most of their lives.“It is a sad commentary on the quality of the UF-PNC leadership that by such going on as took place yesterday at McKenzie our Afro-Guyanese citizens are made to appear to the world as a ruthless and destructive mob whereas their whole history shows them to be a kind-hearted and generous people.”“Afro-Guyanese must surely stop now to think about the leadership they have been following and the direction in which they are being led. As was evident after 1962 and 1963, violence can only lead to economic stagnation and unemployment. The leadership of the UF need not work for a living it is wealthy, but the working people who follow the UF and PNC should look ahead to discover the faith of their future”.Mr Green knows all these things, he played a big part in it. It was in this period that he gained the reputation as being one of the PNC’s notorious strongmen.Distortions and half-truth will not serve any good purpose at this time. If our country is to heal, we need the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!Isn’t it time to come clean Hammy?Sincerely,Donald RamotarFormer Presidentlast_img read more

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