In his letter entitled “Ravi Dev attributes failure of PCD negations to the WPA and ignores it was the PPP that unilaterally ended the talks“ (SN, Sept 26, 2010), Tacuma Ogunseye failed to fill in the gaps created by refuting of Dev’s assertions. For example Ogunseye states “The WPA proposal cited by Dev called for the slate to be represented thus: “…50% should go to Civic Groups and 50% to the four (remaining} parties in the PCD”. The 12% break down to each of the PCD parties is of Dev’s imagination. It certainly was not embodied in the WPA proposal as he claimed. Incidentally, Dev’s maths don’t add up 12 by 4 is 48. What happened to the remaining 2%?” Rather than clutching at mathematical straws why does Ogunseye not simply tell us what was the WPA’s proposal?
Further opined Ogunseye, “Dev also referred to what he called the PPP’s last proposal “40% PPP: 30% WPA: 20% DLM: 10% combined list”. The intention by Dev was to convey to readers the erroneous impression that this was the last one put by the PPP at the time the negations finally adjourned – not so.” So why does Mr. Ogunseye not tell us what was the PPP’s last proposal?
Ogunseye also stated, “My contention is that the proposal referred to by Dev was not put in the second phase of the negations, neither was it the last proposal from the PPP at the time the talks adjourned.” But given that Mr. Ogunseye claims that he was privy to the talks why he does he contend rather than state the facts? This instrument of surmising is again reflected in Ogunseye’s statement, “I submit here that those discussions were in two phases.” Why is he submitting? Either there were two phases or there were not! And if there were this should have been substantially documented by all entities involved in these negotiations. So can other entities involved in these talks verify Ogunseye’s contention and submission respectively?
Maintained Mr. Ogunseye, “Dev also mentioned a 1991 SN interview with Dr. Clive Thomas, WPA’s Presidential Candidate in the 1992 elections when Dr. Thomas was alleged to have said “I really feel that the party will do exceptionally well in this election…even me who is considered the most pessimistic of the leadership in the party about our prospects.” So well, in fact because of “multi-racial support”. At best this is evidence that the WPA felt that it would do extremely well in the 92 elections.” If Dev is actually quoting Clive Thomas how is he being mischievous? Besides the results of the elections proved that both Thomas and the WPA massively misread both their electoral support and their multi-racial appeal and thus were negotiating on ivory tower assumptions typical of academia.
According to Ogunseye, “Dev also quoted from a WPA release dated 9-23-92 two weeks before the elections: “To All Candidates and WPA Members”, the WPA declared, “We are smelling victory, we now have to ensure that we keep it that way.” What is wrong with that? Is it not a legitimate position of each contesting party in an election process to declare confidence in its ability to win?”
How can it be a legitimate position to make a statement that is so out of sync with reality as to be ludicrous? In short is Ogunseye saying that the WPA was deliberately lying? If not then it stands to reason that WPA actually believed what it was saying which would mean that not only was the WPA not grounded in reality but it clearly lacked the capacity to understand voter psychology or to display political pragmatism.
On the other hand, if the WPA did not believe its propaganda and was obviously lying, what else did the WPA lie about? We now know that it lied when it asserted that it was never contemplating violence. And its members lied when they criticized me for pointing out that Walter Rodney had asserted that the WPA intended to take power ‘by any means necessary’ chorusing instead that Rodney did not believe in violence. Strangely the only denials to Roopnarine’s declaration about the WPA’s arms buildup has come from the Rodney family while the WPA itself has been conspicuously silent on this issue. More importantly, in the light of Roopnarine’s disclosure, the book by Gregory Smith and sister, Anne Wagner, “Assassination Cry of a Failed State’ assumes both greater legitimacy and validity.
Additionally Ogunseye wrote, “The brilliant academic and keen politician Ravi Dev must know that access to official records does not necessarily mean presenting them accurately and honestly.” But doesn’t the same yardstick apply to the WPA? That is, that its official records are not necessarily accurate or honest? Why then should we believe Ogunseye as against anyone else whose version is different from his, especially now that we know that the WPA has lied on a number of occasions and especially since a lot of what Ogunseye says seems to be simply his say so? Surely the WPA does not have a monopoly on truth and honesty?
Another claim by Ogunseye is as follows, “WPA’s proposal was based on a desire to have the widest possible unity against the regime to meet anticipated and unanticipated challenges before and after the elections.” Given that this was the case why did the WPA insist on the inclusion of paper parties without any significant electoral support and not civic organizations and NGOs that had more substantial followings and would have concretely reflected ‘the widest possible unity’?
Ogunseye further added, “There were many reasons for the WPA not to have allied itself with Guard which I will not go into here.” Doesn’t Ogunseys think its both to the benefit of the WPA and the interest of posterity and the public need to know that he actually goes into those reasons. After all refusing to do only creates a perception that Dev was right! Besides, how would excluding GUARD support a position of ‘the widest possible unity’?
Incidentally there are still many questions about those negotiations that need clarification. The PPP’s position is that when it offered Roger Luncheon as a presidential candidate the WPA’s supported the position of the Democratic Reform Movement that while Luncheon was black, he was also red (communist). And the PPP has contended that it was indeed asked to take a minority position on the slate but its response was that while it did not want to dominate it did not want to be dominated either. Given its subsequently proven electoral strength does the WPA still think this was an incorrect position for the PPP to take? The PPP has also claimed that it made an an offer for Clive Thomas to be running mate to Cheddi but that was initially turned down by the WPA only to be subsequently accepted after the same offer had been made to and accepted by Sam Hinds? Why did the WPA turn down the offer and why did it later change its mind?