Why is Mr. Granger Distorting Our History?
by Rakesh Rampertab

[Editor's Note: This article (a shorter version) was sent to the Guyanese press after Kaieteur News columnist and UG Professor, Mr. Frederick Kission called on retired Guyana Defence Force brigadier, Mr. David Granger, to explain his adoration for national service under Forbes Burnham (see KN 06/25/06 and also previously.) It was published on 06/26/06.

Retd. Brig. David Granger

A discussion of all the vices (e.g., rapes) of national service under the PNC is valid today because these are relics which loyal PNC supporters are keen on re-implementing. While national service may not be bad in essence, under our short political and military histories, we are destined to have severe consequences.

Why did Mr. Granger refer to the PPP as "gangsters" and such writings are posted as "history" on the offical website of the Guyana Defence Force, a state institution? See website link and go to page 42-44: This is absolutely unacceptable, partisian and pro-PNC. It should be removed and we encourage others to write to the newspapers and help have it remove. The political views of Mr. Granger is not Guyanese history.]

Granger describes the PPP supposed "campaign of violence" during the 1973 General Elections. This is the page as it
appeared on the GDF website as of 2005-2006. This is evidence of the PNC nature of the GDF.


Having recently read about the raping of women and ethnic practices associated with Forbes Burnham’s National Service, it is quite challenging that Mr. Frederick Kissoon (KN 06/18/2006), has called upon retired brigadier, Mr. David Granger, to explain his adoration for this plagued institution.

While I suspect that Mr. Granger may not be bothered, just in case he responds, let us be weary of what he has to say. Regardless of his education or military career, Mr. Granger has allowed his undying love for the PNC to severely distort his interpretation of history. Truth, with Mr. Granger, is a rare thing. I offer two very revealing examples to support this view.

First, in October 2003, in Santiago, Chile, Mr. Granger presented a 28-page paper titled, “Civil Violence, Domestic Terrorism and Internal Security In Guyana, 1953-2003,” at a conference organized by the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies. Painstakingly constructed to portray the PNC as a noble organization, a “well educated” (Kissoon) Mr. Granger lectured about “domestic terrorism” in our history but willfully omitted any mention of the Wismar Massacre of May 25-26, 1964, orchestrated against East Indians by PNC supporters.

It is part of our flawed national make-up that Guyanese speak of Rwanda, Bosnia, and now Darfur, but they are silent about the Wismar Massacre, Guyana’s own case of genocide. Ours is the only Republic that celebrates self-rule (Independence) and commemorates genocide on the same day (May 26). Yet, when I say “commemorate” Wismar, I do not speak of prayers for the murdered, or vigils, or even a moment of silence for those butchered, raped, burned, and driven from their homes by PNC activists in 1964. No, what I mean is, we become dumb, silent, and forgetful about Wismar, just as Mr. Granger, an “educated” ex-top brass soldier did in Chile.

This paper by Mr. Granger is just another example of extremely prejudicial and partisan writings done by a selected few extremists (and supposed “intellectuals”) who have embraced completely with all of its trappings, the Burnham legacy, and for whom the Wismar genocide never happened, just as they are destined by temperament and attitude, to argue that there never was any Buxton gang or attempted coup during 2002-2003.

But Mr. Granger was keen to tell his audience about the Son (Sun) Chapman tragedy or as he said, “…the most alarming slaughter of the ‘Disturbances’ was that of 40 Africans on 6 July at Hurudaia in the Demerara River as they travelled in a motor launch to Mackenzie.” It is a horror in itself to watch grown-ups belittle themselves so effortlessly.

Secondly, there is another lengthy essay by Mr. Granger titled, “The New Road,” an artful token to Mr. Burnham’s socialism, written I suspect sometime back when Mr. Burnham was still alive. (See for essay subtitled: "A Short History of the Guyana Defence Force: 1966-1976".)

This paper is supposed to be “a” history (not the history) of the army, and thus, one can now find it on the new GDF website. But I wish to make it clear that this essay should be removed from this website, for the GDF website belongs to a national institution. It is not the property of Mr. Granger or the PNC. This is a pristine example of how this national institution has become appropriated in both deed and spirit, by the lingering grasp of the PNC. This is why I say again, the army must be thoroughly reformed of its PNC manifestations; otherwise, we shall never have a viable nation.

The Commander in Chief ought to find this essay despicable, especially since Mr. Granger not only berated the PPP, but actually called them "gangsters.” I say no more but what is relevant as my second example. According to Mr. Granger, soldiers performed “splendidly” to suppress a “campaign of violence” by the PPP during the 1973 National Elections.

He wrote, "National elections were scheduled for July 1973, Realising that their hold on the electorate was slipping further and in an abortive attempt to forestall an obvious and overwhelming PNC victory, a campaign of violence and resistance was planned by the PPP. The GDF was called in to aid the Civil power and prevent a break down of law and order that was planned by the gangsters. The operation established the maturity and competence of the Force and through sensible precautions and deployment, the PPP plan was frustrated. The soldiers behaved splendidly in the face of provocation. The sound political education that the officers and soldiers received during 1971 and 1972 enabled them to act with tact, discretion and firmness in 1973 and this saved the day. The GDF, fully aware of the government's policy and dedicated to serving the working masses, performed really creditably" (see pp. 42-44).

The page as depicted in the GDF website, wehre Granger describes the soldiers' action of 1973 as being splendid. Note his
use of the word "gangster" to refer to the PPP.

This is a bold-faced lie. Mr. Granger failed to mention that two East Indians (Jagan Ramessar and Parmanad Bholanauth from No. 63 Village, Berbice) called the "Ballot Box Martyrs” were killed on July 16, 1973 by soldiers who seized the ballot boxes at the New market Primary School, as was ordered by Mr. Forbes Burnham during that elections. Ballot boxes were taken to army headquarters at Camp Ayangenna, tampered with, before released back to the public domain. It is a shame that Mr. Granger has to resort to such primitive standards by which he accords measurement to our history.

In any event, I would like to remind those (especially Mr. Hamilton Green) who often speak harshly against the re-writing of Guyanese history, to take specific note. It is precisely because of this distorted writing by people such as Mr. Granger that there is a demand for us young people to revise and re-write (or write) our history.

Finally, since Mr. Granger mentioned it and it applies to what we are discussing, let me try to clarify something. Mr. Granger in 1993 wrote that, “The victim of the first recorded political murder was Felix Ross of Port Mourant, a PPP political ‘stronghold’ on the Corentyne.” Now, he snatched this from Eusi Kwayana (see “Next Witness”) and in like fashion, Kean Gibson repeated it recently.

Interestingly, Mr. Ravi Dev (ROAR) has written at least twice about this case. He asserted after checking the newspapers and speaking with people of the Port Mourant area, that the death of Mr. Ross was not related to politics or the “disturbances.” As far as I am aware, Mr. Kwayana has never challenged this claim. So, what’s wrong here?

I do not know why Mr. Kwayana made such a claim, but perhaps he would be kind enough to clear up this issue once and for all.

June 22, 2006
© 2001