Cheddi Jagan and the Politics of Power
British Guiana's Struggle for Independence
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
Title Page, Copyright
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I owe a debt of gratitude to the staffs of the various archives who aided me in my research. They include the fine public servants at the Public Record Office, London; the National Archives at College Park, Maryland; the Walter Rodney National Archives in Georgetown, Guyana; and the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre, also in Georgetown. ...
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“I does watchman at Clarke and Merton by night and I does get a small piece.” Thus began the statement that the frightened young man gave to the police in Georgetown on the afternoon of August 9, 1964. Emanuel Fairbain, alias Batson, had been picked up by members of the Crime Squad allegedly for bombing Freedom House, ...
1. The Imperial Coup d'Etat
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There was the eerie suspicion, even a perverse expectation, that something unusual was in the air, but the day itself was ordinary, warm, and sunny. Georgetown was rife with rumors but no one knew how the day would end. The ministers of government were said to be in their offices hurriedly retrieving their papers and destroying some of them. ...
2. Containing Cheddi and Scapegoating Savage
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Prime Minister Winston Churchill was intrigued by a news report he had just read in the London Times. Dated August 11, 1954, the article said that Dr. J. Lachmansingh, the minister of health and housing in the deposed PPP government, had chosen to go to jail following his conviction for having “subversive” literature in his possession. ...
3. Taking Stock
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The charge was simple enough, but the task it set its recipients was both daunting and complex. Fresh from its successful coup in October, the British government was now ready to examine the circumstances for its unprecedented action in British Guiana and chart a new direction for the colony. ...
4. Imagining and Constructing a New Guiana
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In the report of its findings, the Robertson Commission was pessimistic about British Guiana’s potential for economic change. “We do not believe that there can ever be built up in British Guiana the El Dorado which the masses seem to believe can easily be obtained by a re-distribution of wealth: ...
5. Searching for Cheddi and the PPP
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The premier was on his way to Government House to bid farewell to the departing governor, Sir Ralph Grey. As he left the Public Buildings (the name given to the government’s offices) on that March morning in 1964, a schoolgirl booed and lifted her skirt at him, one of the most humiliating forms of insult to anyone, much less a head of government. ...
6. The Politics and Trauma of Race
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The leader of the opposition was obviously in a reflective mood. Cheddi Jagan had lost the election the previous December and the politics of race had played the principal role in the voting. Writing in the World Marxism Review in October 1965, Jagan admitted there was a “tendency of anti-African racism” in the People’s Progressive Party that he led. ...
7. The Politics of Power
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Cheddi Jagan’s defeat in December 1964 represented the triumph of Anglo-American policy in British Guiana. Forbes Burnham became the new premier and the head of a coalition government, subsequently leading his country to independence in 1966. ...
8. Fairbain Redux
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The summer of 1964 was not a pleasant one for the people of British Guiana. The society was still experiencing aftershocks from the accumulated violence of the preceding months. Although the disorder abated by August, peace had not been restored. Emanuel Fairbain’s arrest and the horrible aftermath had divided Georgetown and the rest of the colony. ...
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Writing in 1596, George Chapman, the English playwright and poet, celebrated Sir Walter Raleigh’s encounter with Guiana in his quest for the fabled El Dorado. This ode to the new promised land reflected the optic of the colonizer and his bizarre fantasies about the colonized peoples’ submission and acquiescence to the domination of outsiders. ...
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Guyana is a country of enormous economic promise and blessed with enterprising citizens. But it is also a land with a racially divided polity and a history of internecine conflicts largely created and manipulated by some unscrupulous leaders. Forbes Burnham’s assumption of the premiership in December 1964 began his two-decade domination of the political life ...
Appendix 1: Memorandum Issued by the Advisory Committee Appointed by the Governor under the Emergency Order, 1953
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Appendix 2: Allegations against Sydney King and His Response
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Page Count: 376
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2010
Series Title: H. Eugene and Lillian Youngs Lehman Series