ESTABLISHMENT OF THE UNITED FORCE
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During 1959, the PNC became interested in organising a united front to include not only Africans, but also Portuguese, Chinese and hopefully the Amerindians to combat the PPP which it regarded as pro-Indian. But this plan was later abandoned after the financially prosperous Portuguese section of the population refused to give support to Burnham and the PNC.
Towards the end of the year, a group of Portuguese businessmen and a handful of East Indian trade unionists and senior civil servants who opposed the PPP began a series of private meetings to work out a strategy on how to stop the PPP from winning the elections to be held in 1961. Peter D'Aguiar, a leading businessman, eventually became the leader of this "third force".
The members of this "third force" gave full support to a group of persons calling themselves "Defenders of Freedom". The "Defenders of Freedom", affiliated to the Catholic Church, received financial backing from the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade of the United States, and was widely seen as a CIA front organisation aimed at toppling the PPP Government which it labelled as "communist". The group openly opposed the PPP Government in protest exercises and strongly opposed the demand for political independence from Britain, and at times attempted to violently break up pro-independence public rallies.
Realising their political weakness, the members of the "third force" asked D'Aguiar to negotiate a unification agreement with the PNC. The discussions between D'Aguiar and Burnham began in late 1959 and continued throughout most of the following year. In the end the talks collapsed because the PNC was not prepared to accept the demand that D'Aguiar presented.
D'Aguiar's proposal was that his group would join the PNC and provide financial support for the campaign against the PPP. For this support, the PNC was requested to give nine of the fifteen seats on the executive committee to D'Aguiar's group. Burnham would remain as leader of the party, and in the event of a PNC victory in 1961, he would become the Prime Minister and D'Aguiar the Minister of Trade and Industry.
The leaders of the PNC felt insulted by D'Aguiar's offer, and Burnham stated that the Portuguese businessman "wanted to buy the party." Regardless of this, Burnham, in a response, offered to give D'Aguiar's group six seats on the executive committee with four of them to be filled by D'Aguiar's Indian supporters in the Rice Producers' Association (RPA). D'Aguiar immediately accepted this offer, but when he finally presented his list to Burnham, it included himself, three Portuguese businessmen and only two non-influential Indian members of the RPA. The PNC rejected this list and felt that the party could not engage D'Aguiar' group in any merger unless he could obtain the support of popular Indians who could help in drawing Indian support away from the PPP.
With the collapse of the unification talks, D'Aguiar announced on 4 October 1960 that all connection with the PNC no longer existed and that the only alternative left was to form a new party. On the following day, the new party, the United Force, was launched with about 50 Portuguese businessmen and three Indian leaders of the Man Power Citizens' Association (MPCA) offering their support to it. The establishment of this new party presented a problem to the PNC which saw the disappearance of a source of funding in addition to any plans of organising a united non-Indian front against the PPP.
Some bad feelings between the PNC and D'Aguiar's group were also interjected during the period. Even while the negotiations were taking place, D'Aguiar's supporters spread a rumour through a newspaper article that John Carter and other PNC members who once belonged to the UDP would secede and join with D'Aguiar's group. Even though there was no truth in this, the PNC regarded it as a serious matter. At a party meeting in October, shortly after the formation of the UF, the PNC executive committee requested the former UDP members to reaffirm their loyalty. John Carter complied with this request and firmly stated that he and the former UDP members had no intention of abandoning the PNC for the United Force.