Sacrifices of the ballot box martyrs (Part 2)

first_imgDear Editor,On that most memorable but fateful day of July 16th 1973, Corporal Collins, Privates McKenzie, Layne and London (Blackie) of the GDF, along with Sergeant Ross and Police Constable Seecharran of the Police Force, accompanied Lieutenant Henry. They were armed with tear smoke grenades, respirators, steel helmets, two sub-machine guns, rifles and bayonets. Henry himself was armed with one of the sub-machine gun, Corporal Collins had the other.The PNC tugs, with all their armed might, descended on the Corentyne with the clear intention of taking full control of the ballot boxes and removing the representatives of the other three political parties from around the boxes.Bholanauth Parmanand was shot and killed in the full view of villagers. His wife and four children had to endure the death of the sole bread-winner of their home, as their loving husband and father was ripped from them in the most brutal manner possible.Young Jagan Ramessar was shot and killed, and the army threw him in their vehicle and drove him around as he was kicked and stamped upon. He was paraded around to send a message to the people in Berbice. Approximately five hours later, after he was unspeakably desecrated, he was taken to the New Amsterdam hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.Ramessar, only eighteen years old at the time, was brutally murdered by the PNC; and his parents and family still cry in response to the outcome of his sacrificial demise. Parmanand’s immediate family and his friends, forty-five years later, still vividly recall the unbelievably brutal and monstrous debacle that was the 1973 RIGGED Elections.My friend Reshiram Motie and his friends tearfully recounted for me what they witnessed on that fateful day. Motie suffered a broken nose. His body was black and blue, as he was cuffed and kicked. Scores of persons were badly beaten and threatened. Families were humiliated and separated. Still alive, Reshiram Motie remains a genuine activist of the PPP, regardless of the many challenges.During the campaign before July 16th, 1973, it was clear that the PPP meetings attracted massive support, while the PNC’s had a sprinkling of people. Motie, sobbing, told me that when the Elections results were announced and the PNC was declared the winner, the people did not accept the results. Sobbing and trying to hold back his tears, Motie said the PNC terrorists continued to terrorize the Berbicians, as hundreds of people fled their homes to Suriname, while others went into hiding for weeks and months.As we honour the supreme sacrifices of these two men in the fight for free and fair elections, Motie has said he is disappointed to see some people, like Moses Nagamoottoo and Ramjattan (now fully entrenched in the bowels of the PNC/AFC cabal), joining with the criminals for opportunistic reasons….(rearing to repeat the terror of the past). Some 45 years later, Guyana is once again where we were in 1973.Guyanese must never forget that many eminent persons, such as Dr. Walter Rodney, Michael Forde and Father Darke, were also assassinated and/or murdered during the dark days of the PNC dictatorship. Today we must draw strength, unite, and work together for the return of democracy, which in a most clandestine manner was taken away from us.We must ensure that the memories of Bholanauth Parmanand and Jagan Ramessar live on in us, and let their supreme sacrifice inspire us to rally with Cheddi Jagan’s People’s Progressive Party.As we prepare for Local Government elections, let us walk the walk; campaign house to house, and ensure that every voter comes out and votes. The fight for free and fair elections in Guyana is once again at the top of our list of struggles.Let us continue to live and work for a better Guyana. Long live the memories of Bholanauth and Ramessar!Sincerely,Neil Kumarlast_img

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