• 06 Oct, 2022

Rashleigh Jackson Was Silent on Rigging and Rights Violations in Guyana

Rashleigh Jackson Was Silent on Rigging and Rights Violations in Guyana

Rashleigh Jackson Was Silent on Rigging and Rights Violations in Guyana

Glowing tributes were paid to Rashleigh Jackson, the former Foreign Minister of Guyana and Permanent Rep at the UN. One does not say bad things about the dead. But the country must not forget that Mr. Jackson condoned election rigging from 1968 thru 1992, and he served an illegal regime that was not democratically elected. Mr. Jackson was also silent during the banning of basic foods, violation of human rights, and persecution of Indian Guyanese on account of politics and race. 

Mr. Jackson served at Foreign Affairs from the 1960s thru 1990s. He was PS at Foreign Affairs Ministry and was head of various Guyanese overseas missions that were responsible for overseas rigging in 1968, 1973, 1978, 1980, and 1985. The Ministry and the missions gave the PNC almost all of the overseas votes including those of traditional PPP supporters (read Indians) who would have accounted for some 60% of Guyanese settled abroad and who the PNC claimed voted for it. That was and is preposterous. 

Mr. Jackson never apologized for the rigging unlike his immediate predecessor Fred Wills. Willis had a fall out with Burnham. He served as FM between 1975 and 1978 before he was sacked and replaced by Jackson. I do not recall if Wills was FM during the July 1978 referendum rigging. But in lectures in New York, when he was a visiting scholar at Rutgers University, Wills and I had several exchanges when he would come to City College for guest lectures organized by the Black Studies Department and co-sponsored by the Student Government where I was an elected leader. He publicly condemned Burnham and Hoyte’s elections rigging. He apologized for serving Burnham’s illegal government. For the 1992 election, he advised that Jagan’s PPP and other political parties should not participate unless the ballots were counted in the presence of observers at the places of voting.

Unlike Wills who expressed regrets, Jackson never dissociated himself from Burnhamism and never repudiated election rigging. In fact, he also did not chastise those who attempted to rig the March 2020 elections. May his soul rest in peace!

Dr Vishnu Bisram

Dr. Vishnu Bisram is Guyanese born who received his primary and secondary education in Guyana and tertiary education in the US and India. He is a holder of multiple degrees in the natural sciences, social sciences, and education. He taught for over forty years in the US. He is a specialist on the Indian diaspora traveling globally to research and write about Indian communities.