THE AFTERMATH OF THE SPLIT
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On 15 February 1955, two days after the split, the Executive Committee of the PPP met and expelled Burnham, Jainarine Singh and Dr. Lachmansingh. Burnham was expelled for "conducting a special conference in a manner which violated the Party's constitution and a decision of the Executive Committee." Singh and Lachmansingh were expelled for publishing a leaflet on the day before the conference, thus violating a decision of the Executive Committee and calculated to disrupt the unity of the Party. Burnham's sister Jessie and Ulric Fingal were suspended from the Party for issuing membership cards for two weeks before the conference without being authorised to do so by the Executive Committee. (Jessie Burnham, who was assistant secretary on the splitters' group, in 1958 denounced her brother as a racist and opportunist and later rejoined the PPP. Fingal also rejoined the PPP around the same time).
The pro-colonial daily Argosy of the 16 February, 1955 wrote about the disciplinary actions of the PPP: "Last night's decision indicates that the Jagan's claim on the unconstitutionality of the elections has been accepted and that the moves by the Party's 'moderates' to oust the 'Reds' from power has failed."
In April 1955, the PPP (led by Dr. Jagan) held a congress at Buxton. It was chaired by Sydney King who moved a motion to declare the elections held at the February conference null and void. This motion was approved as well as another expelling Burnham and his faction from the Party. The delegates at this congress came mainly from the rural areas and it was heavily attended by the Party's African membership. This congress convinced the majority of Africans in the rural areas that Burnham's actions in February showed that his aim was to achieve personal power.
No doubt, the basis of the "right-wing" opportunistic split was the prospect of new election and the calculation that the splitters would take away majority support from the PPP. Burnham felt that he would carry with him the five seats in Georgetown and Lachmansingh the 8 seats in the sugar belt, thus gaining between them a majority of 13 seats out of the 24 seats in the Legislature.
After the events of February 1955, Burnham and his lieutenants tried desperately to pull the rank and file supporters of the PPP over to his side. Dr. Lachmansingh attempted to woo sugar workers who shunned him whenever he tried to meet with them. It was clear that Burnham's hopes to win support from sugar workers had backfired.
Burnham, having failed to pull the PPP membership over to his side, was thus forced to call a congress of his supporters in March 1956. This congress elected Burnham as leader, Dr. Lachmansingh as chairman, and Jai Narine Singh as secretary. Other officers elected were Clinton Wong, senior vice-chairman; Ulric Fingal, junior vice-chairman; Jessie Burnham, assistant-secretary, M. Edinboro, treasurer; and general council members, Surajballi, Robert Mitchell, H. Sargeant, Mc Greggor, Jagnarine, Shepherd (from Corentyne), Shepherd (from Essequibo), Mohammed Nazir, Evelyn Bobb, R. Fields, Kamal, Jane Phillips-Gay, A.P. Alleyne, Mc Almont and Paul Tennessee.
By its own admission, Burnham's party declared that the split was rightist. At its Congress in March 1956, in reviewing "Party tactics" and "mistakes of the past", it openly expressed that members were anti-communist and that was why they split the PPP.
Jainarine Singh, Secretary of Burnham's Party, declared in the Argosy of the 22 January, 1957 that "....we told the truth about the reason why there has been this split in the PPP. We told the people that Communism was the basis of it all. We, not being Communists, could not support a Communist policy, and that is why we parted company at that time."
Burnham emerged from the split as a racial leader in the urban areas. The PPP under the leadership of Cheddi Jagan continued to have a large following in the rural areas especially on the East Coast of Demerara. A majority of the African members of the General Council and the Executive Committee remained in the Party. It was not until Sydney King left the Party to join Burnham in 1957 did the African support on the East Coast Demerara, where King was very popular, gravitate towards Burnham.
Burnham's close supporter, R.B.O. Hart, writing in the Guiana Graphic on 20 February 1955 - one week after the split- stated: "Burnham now emerges as a racial and sectional leader. He leads the African section of the population, rather more than less. Jagan has greater claims to being called a national leader, since in any show-down, Jagan will get ten times as many Africans following him, as Burnham will get Indians."