DIVIDE AND CONQUER The Split in the People’s Progressive Party of British Guiana and the Cold WarProduct no.: HP162
Barry L. Sukhram
In April 1953, the first general election under universal adult suffrage was held in British Guiana and was won by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP). In October of the same year, after one hundred and thirty-three days in office, the PPP government, headed by Dr Cheddi Jagan, was removed from office and the Constitution suspended by Britain’s Winston Churchill-led government. Between the Suspension and the next general election in 1957, the PPP split into two factions – the PPP, led by Dr Jagan, and the People’s National Congress, led by former PPP Minister of Education, Forbes Burnham.
Divide and Conquer will seek to explain these events and explore how they affected the local struggle for self-government from the colonial power, and also whether the Cold War influenced the outcome.
Barry Sukhram shows that while the Cold War was a factor in the suspension of the Constitution, his extensive research further revealed that there were other factors at work, such as the opportunistic infighting within the PPP and the lack of a cohesive ideology. He also reveals that, had the Constitution not been suspended, there would not have been any ‘split’ as some had claimed.