By STABROEK STAFF | Thursday, November 24, 2011
Over the past year, Guyanese have had a spirited debate about the future of our country, and I want to thank you and the publisher of your newspaper for making this possible. What has happened over the last few months cannot be denied, covered up, or erased by spin doctors, propagandists, letter writers or lack of editorial space. The young people of this country have risen up. They are driving the political campaign of the main opposition APNU, and it is a beautiful sight.
A few months ago, I remember complaining about the apathy among the youth, and the silence at UG‘s Turkeyen Campus. Well, I have been proven wrong, for the young people at UG are now anything but dormant, and have spoken! Youth now constitute the most vocal and active component on the campaign trail.
I have witnessed the lethargy and strain of incumbency as the PPP/C struggles to run on their 19-year record of rampant corruption, nepotism and atrocious governance. Like many, I have observed with interest the movements of the disenchanted and politically discontented. I have struggled to understand why some among us still cling stubbornly to the belief that Guyana’s political future lies in the old winner-takes-all, one-party rule, that has left us a poor and broken people. I have pondered the negative effects of racial cleavage and the scars that it has left on this land. I have watched with amazed pride as former enemies and several diverse groups came together for common cause, and I have marvelled at the rise of a partnership that has now become a national movement.
Whatever happens next week, it is clear that the pendulum of history has swung and altered the course of Guyana’s history. APNU has shown that when politicians, groups and parties put aside selfish political goals and band together for the betterment of the nation, good things can happen.
From their manifesto we see the policies and programmes that they will implement. We see an emphasis on strong and inclusive governance, with all stakeholders having a seat at the table in a government of national unity. We see a commitment to invest heavily in human development, economic empowerment and job creation. We see the return of an Ombudsman, a new and more transparent procurement system and senior public servants and ministers having to declare their assets. We see the implementation of the Chang and Symonds reports recommendations that will strengthen the police force, a complete overhaul of the tax system, and establishment of a constitutional reform commission that will remove the dictatorial presidential powers of the 1980 constitution, replacing it with a more democratic document that has safeguards for minorities and enforces the rule of law.
I am confident that the young people and the women of this nation will ensure that we will never return to the dark days of one-party rule, the maximum leader, and elections that are just a racial census. I have visited their Facebook pages, I have received their Tweets, and Blackberry messages. This generation that sends and receives their information in megabytes has finally come of age. Whoever wins these elections will have to deal with them. The APNU Campaign Movers, the Guyana Action Committee, Granger Action Groups, and the many other groups that have been formed to agitate for change in our native land, will not be silenced. In the words of American singer and song writer Tracy Chapman, “Poor people are gonna rise up and get their share. Poor people are gonna rise up and take what’s theirs … finally the tables are starting to turn…..”
“Ministers of the government with fancy lifestyles and huge assets…we have never seen one investigation
The Integrity Commission of Guyana is a body that has been established to ensure accountability in the government of the day by having certain categories of public servants, including Ministers and Permanent Secretaries, declare their assets, liabilities and income.
This body, which has been touted as one of the mechanisms in place to ensure the accountability of the administration to the electorate, is now being accused of being nothing but a big farce.
This is according to Robert Badal, Chief Executive Officer of the Pegasus Hotel.
According to Badal, the Commission has no powers to investigate incidences of improprieties and as such is a toothless rubberstamp.
Badal recently endorsed the Alliance for Change party which is contesting this year’s Regional and General Elections. During its first outing in the 2006 elections, the AFC garnered five seats in the National Assembly.
The Pegasus CEO said that it is farcical to point to the Integrity Commission as a means of accountability given the fact that if any red flags are raised in the declaration of assets, the Commission is powerless to investigate.
The Integrity Commission Act of Guyana provides for stipulated public service employees to declare their assets and liability and statement of incomes for each year.
The businessman believes that the Integrity Commission must not be restricted to just receiving returns on assets, “but to investigate public officials.”
He said that ever since 1992, when the current administration took office, there have been numerous allegations of instances of corruption, “of ministers of the government with fancy lifestyles and huge assets…we have never seen one investigation by the Integrity Commission.”
He was adamant that the Integrity Commission serves no purpose given that they are restricted to just collecting returns, “and they do nothing with the returns.”
He suggested that the members of the commission do nothing meaningful with the returns given that they are political stooges of, “Jagdeo and Dr Roger Luncheon and they don’t have the means to carry out any investigation…they are not competent.”
Only recently the Integrity Commission issued notices that warned public officials to declare their assets and income.
NOVEMBER 22, 2011 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS
…says it’s a “pussur-pussur lie” to claim he was not named a possible successor to Dr Jagan
The charismatic Alliance for Change (AFC) convert, Moses Nagamootoo, has fired back at leaders of the incumbent People’s Progress Party (PPP), who have leveled serious allegations, or what he calls “lies” against him.
Nagamootoo, who spent decades in the PPP but left after citing corruption and other issues, has been a favourite punching back for the PPP at its meetings.
But in a stern rebuttal, Nagamootoo said that several lies have been cast upon him by leaders of the PPP. Among the thorniest issues has been Nagamootoo’s claim that he was seen by party founder Dr Cheddi Jagan as his possible successor.
The PPP has denied Nagamootoo’s claim that Dr Jagan had named him in November 1996 to be his possible successor.
Nagamootoo said that on May 18, 2004, he reminded Ramotar in a letter that “(t)here should be no myth about what Cheddi Jagan said at Lethem. I want to see Robert Persaud going on record on this issue. He was there!”
“Jagdeo and Ramotar never before denied what Dr. Jagan said. Ramotar tried to give it a ‘twist’”.
The former PPP member quoted a June, 8 2004 in which Ramotar wrote to him on the issue.
“It is clear that Cde. Cheddi must have been saying that when he is no longer available the Party would be in good hands because it has capable leaders. He must have mentioned you in that context,” Ramotar was quoted as saying. Therefore, Nagamootoo concluded that Ramotar never denied what Cheddi Jagan said, but only gave it his own twist.
President Jagdeo has claimed that one John Silas said to him that Cheddi Jagan never named Nagamootoo as his successor. That, Nagamootoo said, is a “pussur-pussur lie!” He said John Silas was not at the Lethem meeting.
Nagamootoo said that he is on record as writing Ramotar, in his capacity as PPP General Secretary, that he would have known that upon his return to Georgetown, he was summoned to an emergency Executive Committee meeting at Freedom House, to which Party Organiser John Silas, who was not an ExCo member, was invited to.
Nagamootoo said that Mrs Janet Jagan demanded that he explain what happed at Lethem.
He said that he related what Dr Jagan said, and his reaction to that by suppressing publication of the remarks that he could possibly be a replacement for Dr Jagan at the 1997 elections.
“I explained why I had an angry argument with the Organiser [John Silas] for being absent from the meeting, when the microphones broke down; how, when he told me that I had no authority to question him, I chided him for not hearing what Comrade Cheddi had said, and how I added sarcastically ‘You could be looking at the next president!’”
“I added in my letter that Comrade Cheddi was within hearing distance in the next room, while that brawl was going on.”
Nagamootoo said the matter was never again raised in his presence with Dr Jagan.
“I was to be at his side until the fateful day that he was flown out from Guyana during February 1997, only to die days later. He never denied what he had said at Lethem. End of story.”
Nagamootoo has also been accused of being a candidate of Balram Singh Rai’s Justice Party in 1964 that helped removed the PPP from office and left that party in the cold for 28 years.
The PPP has warned its supporters about a “conspiracy” by the AFC and the opposition alliance APNU to group together and oust the PPP from the seat of government or at least cause it to lose the 19-year control it has had on the National Assembly.
In 1964, the United Force joined the PNC (which is now the major pillar of APNU) to put the PPP out of office.
Nagamootoo, however claimed that he was no candidate with Balram Singh Rai’s Justice Party. He said that he was 17-years-old in 1964 and hence was too young to vote, since the voting age was 21.
“I was too young to be on the Voters’ List; too young to vote. How on earth could I have been a candidate for any party?”
Nagamootoo explained that he joined the PPP on October 3, 1964, and served for an unbroken period until his resignation in September this year. In fact, he said that in 1991, he was conferred with a Meritorious
Award for serving the PPP with distinction continuously for over 25 years and that that certificate was signed by party founder Cheddi Jagan and current general secretary Donald Ramotar.
Another lie Nagamootoo said was being levelled against him is that in 1976, he was about to join the PNC along with Ranji Chandisingh, Vincent Teekah, Halim Majeed. He revealed that during 1975-1977, he favoured talks with the PNC, as advocated by Dr Jagan.
Nagamootoo said that others, who opposed cooperation, rigged the 1976 elections of the party’s youth arm so as to oust several “pro-talks” young leaders.
“I was dissatisfied but never left the PPP even though inducements were made to me by L.F.S. Burnham, Chandisingh and others.
Later, threats were used against me, but I refused to betray my leader and my party,” Nagamootoo claimed.
Nagamootoo denied talk by PPP leaders, including President Bharrat Jagdeo and presidential candidate Donald Ramotar, that he left the PPP because he lost the nomination to be the incumbent party’s presidential candidate.
Nagamootoo said he withdrew from “the rigged process” where party members were excluded from choosing a candidate.
He said Ramotar was hand-picked by “a gang” within the Central Committee, the highest decision making forum within the party.
Nagamootoo had refused to appear before this body, saying that it had no mandate to select a candidate.
“There was no election. Only a rigged selection,” he charged.
President Jagdeo, Nagamootoo claimed, had repeatedly said that he, Nagamootoo, lied on Mrs Jagan as she never promised that he should be Vice-President of Guyana.
However, Nagamootoo said that twice when the issue came up, Mrs. Jagan said she could not remember. “At 80 plus, it is fine not to remember. But she never denied. She never said that I lied on her,” Nagamootoo claimed.
Mere days before her death, Nagamootoo said that Mrs Jagan, his mentor as journalist, on March 5, 2009, in her own handwriting, sent a note to him, with words of appreciation and fraternal affection.
“She took pains
to scribble that note, telling me that her hand was in cast as she had broken her shoulder. Would she have done that if she felt that I had lied on her?”
Nagamootoo said that Mrs Jagan had done so on many previous occasions, embracing his work as she did on 27th May, 2008 when she lauded his tribute to militant women in the Guyanese struggle:
Nagamootoo also debunked that claim that Ramotar did nothing for the PPP in the last 10 years.
It is the same Ramotar, Nagamootoo said, who wrote him on June 8, 2004 in great appreciation, saying: “Your suggestions and contributions to debates have always been valued and I and the Party leadership look forward to your continued contribution.”
In addition, Nagamootoo quoted a July 21, 2006, press release in which Ramotar announced that “the Executive Committee expects that Mr. Nagamootoo will shortly resume his useful role in the party.”
Nagamootoo also took on Dr Joey Jagan, whom has accused him of being a soup drinker, a vagabond and an opportunist.
“What soup-drinker would leave a teaching job earning $180 monthly in 1970 to work for $114 as a journalist at Mirror, staying on for the next 22 years at the side of Janet Jagan, my editor?
“Which soup-drinker and opportunist would remain loyally at the side of Cheddi Jagan in the PPP for the unbroken 28 years in opposition under Burnham, and then another 12 years under Bharrat, and completed the proverbial 40 wilderness years?
“I resigned twice as Government Minister in 1993 and again in 2000. A ministerial portfolio held no soup for me,” Nagamootoo declared.
He said he left “the throne for the mudflat; I gave up privileges, perks and positions.”
When he was in Cabinet, Nagamootoo said he opposed the increase in Ministers’ salaries, but was out-voted.
He said he refused a national award when he was recommended by Cheddi Jagan, and when he became Minister, he refused to leave his humble house to live in a state-sponsored house.
Nagamootoo said that he never travelled on a first-class air ticket, nor stayed at hotels overseas at government’s expense.
He said he refused a $15 million loan from Jagdeo to buy a personal Prado, and choose instead to drive around in a second-hand government jeep.
In addition, Nagamootoo claimed that while he worked as journalist for a foreign agency between 1985 and 1992, he donated his entire salary to the PPP to help pay decent wages to party organisers.
“I am humbled to have attracted such great attention for my life’s work.
“I wish I could have taken these garlands of thorns to my grave — Judas, soup-drinker, traitor, neemakharaam, laurra, gutless, visionless, loser, vagabond, hypocrite, naga-dog, naga-goose, labaria, opportunist, ochro, etc.
“Except, these are all lies, dirty lies.”
President Bharrat Jagdeo and the PPP Presidential Candidate, Donald Ramotar, who both received backballs
These two words, presidential backball, seem contradictory – as if the two words should never be uttered in the same breath. Indeed, there ought to be respect when the word “president” comes across our lips. Backball, on the other hand, is a lewd word, something we hope our children do not mutter until they are adults.
Yet we are begrudgingly forced to join these two paradoxical words as we consider the conduct of President Bharrat Jagdeo and the PPP Presidential Candidate, Donald Ramotar, who both received backballs at their party’s recent rallies. I honestly cannot even believe that I am forced to talk about such coarse behaviour, but talk about it I must and so I shall.
The Urban Dictionary defines backball as a “Caribbean term for sensually gyrating in a forward bent over position, most often in front of a male while partying, sometimes also touching the ground with hands. Referred to as receiving by males and giving by females.”
This type of conduct is something that should be done in private, or at the very least in a dark room at a club full of people who are doing the same thing. It does not belong on the platform of a political rally in front of all and sundry – including children and impressionable young people.
However, my focus for this column is to draw a clear and concise line on how the crucial issue of domestic violence relates to the president of a country receiving a public backball. Common sense tells us that this type of public behaviour is inappropriate for any leader, much less the president of a country, but allow me to connect the dots for those who still do not seem to get it.
You see, as long as women are sexualised and objectified by society, they will never obtain the respect necessary for men to stop treating them as mere objects that can be toyed with, abused and discarded. Therefore, reducing women to objects of sexuality at a political rally by putting them in a permanent ‘club’ atmosphere perpetuates domestic violence.
With the depth of disregard and contempt displayed to the women of Guyana by these leaders, is it any wonder that so many women are being beaten, raped, tortured and murdered everyday? How will the youth of today ever learn to form healthy and respectful relationships when their leaders do not seem to know about healthy and respectful relationships?
To make matters even worse, Mr Ramotar is married! After speaking with Mr Ramotar about his wife earlier this summer, I believed he held her in high regard. However, no husband who respects his wife that would do what he did on that stage last weekend. It would seem the president is being a bad influence on Mr Ramotar.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. The legal definition of sexual harassment is “unwelcome verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive and affects working conditions or creates a hostile work environment.”
The fact that most of those on the stage at last weekend’s rally in Kitty were being paid by the PPP or the government made that situation a hostile working environment for the women.
Moreover, that the conduct in question was done in front of “thousands” of attendees and then broadcast throughout the nation and put on the Internet to go throughout the world, it then created a hostile living environment for all Guyanese women.
Minister of Human Services, Priya Manickchand, knows the definition of sexual harassment. She also knows what a hostile working environment is. She knows the only way domestic violence will stop in Guyana is by changing the existing social norms that degrade women.
Why has the Minister not put an end to this demeaning behaviour toward women? Why has she not, at the very least, condemned the shameful conduct? In fact, it would seem the entire PPP elite needs a comprehensive sensitivity training course. Madam Manickchand, if you want men to start respecting the women of Guyana, you need to start with the men in your own party.
Women should be seen at these political rallies giving stirring political speeches focused on how they are going to participate in transforming the country. We should see them displaying their intelligence, their ideas, their platform and their plans. Women attending the rallies should be seen as potential voters who want to make informed choices at the polls. They should not being objects of sexuality.
The media incessantly bombards us with sexualised images of women. Kaieteur News gives us a pretty face to look at every Sunday. But the government of Guyana should be leading the country in a different direction. The men of the PPP should be the standard to which the men of the nation can look for an example of how to treat a woman. God forbid they use the example they see now from the men in the PPP.
I do not know of any other president or presidential candidate who could behave in such a vulgar way in view of the whole world and still continue in that role. Any other political party would have publicly shamed them and attempted to save face by saying it would never happen again. The PPP has done no such thing, which leads one to assume it is just fine with their leaders disrespecting Guyana’s women.
It is not fine. It is not ok. In fact, the President and the PPP presidential candidate owe the women of Guyana an apology for further perpetuating the already insufferable situation in which they live. But let’s be honest. An apology will not be forthcoming. If these men did not esteem women enough to refrain from public backballing in the first place, they will not find enough regard for women to apologise now.
Spin Back – US revokes Guyana ruling PPPC goon Kwame McCoy’s visa amid allegations of child solicitation
US revokes Kwame McCoy’s visa
By STABROEK STAFF | WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2009
The United States has revoked the non-immigrant visa of Office of the President Press and Publicity Officer Kwame McCoy as of Monday amid allegations of child solicitation that have been levelled against him.
In correspondence seen by this newspaper last evening, the US Embassy wrote that McCoy’s B1/B2 visa which was issued on March 6, 2009 has been revoked. Up to press time last night McCoy said no such correspondence has reached him, but he declared he is not worried should the information be confirmed as true.
McCoy told Stabroek News last night that if any letter of a visa revocation exists the most likely reason for such action would be the current allegations against him, allegations which he dismissed as unfounded. He also questioned whether the child in the case “exists”. McCoy said there appears to be no interest on the part of the US to enquire into the basis of such allegations and to determine whether they can be substantiated. According to him, any revocation on such grounds simply demonstrates how uninformed decisions could be taken based on “mere allegations”.
McCoy turned his attention to the US government saying an examination of its policies would point to the state offering protection to a confessed murderer who “admitted to being part of a criminal gang that killed (Ronald) Waddell among other things but now he and his entire family is being protected by the US”. McCoy added that the public will judge the facts.
“…I am not worried at all if my visa was revoked because thankfully the US has no control over where I travel”, he added.
A taped conversation between an adult and a child surfaced in September and on the recording, the two speakers discuss plans for a sexual liaison. McCoy, who is also a member of the Rights of the Child Commission and a PPP/C Region Four Regional Democratic Council representative has denied that it is his voice on the recording, and deemed it a clear fabrication aimed at “smearing my character and family name.”
Previously, the US had revoked the visa of then Minister of Home Affairs, Ronald Gajraj following allegations that he was linked to a death squad and subsequent to this current Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee also encountered visa problems while he held another portfolio. The US had also revoked the serving Commissioner of Police Henry Greene’s diplomatic visa in 2006 before taking back his visitor’s visa in June of the same year after Washington alleged that the then Acting Police Commissioner had benefited materially from the drugs trade. Greene had strenuously denied the allegation.
Sunday, March 23rd 2008
I refer to a letter in your Good Friday edition by Minister Clement Rohee. It is an evaluation of the politics of Tacuma Ogunseye. I have adopted a policy that once Mr Rohee writes on the politics of this land, I will reply even if I am on my sick bed. It is important that those who care about Guyana and want to stop its gradual destruction by the PPP in a wanton display of political immorality that has exceeded the autocracy of Forbes Burnham, should inform the Guyanese people about this crass display of hypocrisy. Mr Rohee has armed himself with a pugnacious attitude, meaning that despite the ocean of venalities that the PPP is swimming in he will fight back and argue that there is proper government in this land. Even before the ink is dried on his letters, those of us who fought for the post 1968 freedoms of this country should not let political “has beens” like Mr Rohee fool our young people
The caption you gave Mr. Rohee’s letter I found to be an advantage in my response here. It is titled “Mr. Ogunseye’s approach in rejecting compromise and realpolitik as reflected in the day to day struggle for a better Guyana leaves the political arena open to the worst elements in our midst.” Your title is actually taken from a paragraph of Mr. Rohee’s letter. It shows the superficial understanding of political concepts by Mr Rohee and reminds us of the time he confused Dominica and the Dominican Republic when he addressed the UN in his capacity as Foreign Minister. Why he was not demoted after that humongous and unforgivable lapse shows the nature of Cheddi Jagan. Mr. Rohee totally misunderstands what “realpolitik” means But let’s move on to more substantial dimensions of this letter.
Sadly, Mr. Ogunseye’s politics has morphed into extremist forms. In the days of the WPA, Mr. Ogunseye acquired the status of a respected freedom fighter. Mr. Rohee and I owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Ogunseye. He fought long and hard in an endeavour that not even Cheddi Jagan could match. What has happened to Mr. Ogunseye is that he watched as Mr. Rohee, Mr. Jagdeo, Mrs. Jagan and the rest of the PPP leaders took his efforts, those of the WPA and so many of us and destroyed the values that returned to Guyana after the long struggle against Burnham. I am not excusing the extremist politics of Mr. Ogunseye. In that sense he betrayed Walter Rodney. If Ogunseye reads the recent speech on race by Barack Obama he probably would back off of his present doctrinaire position. Listening to Obama was as if Walter Rodney was speaking
Few political analysts would deny the process of African marginalization under the PPP. The need to diminish the “other side” is a tragic game the PNC and the PPP have played while in power. PPP ministers like Rohee know that African marginalization is the terrifying reality that may bring down the PPP, thus the frenetic, Pavlovian urge to reject the existence of the process whenever it is spoken of by opposition forces. The really sad thing about the PNC and PPP is that they are hopelessly trapped in the race game where the “other side” has to be weakened. It is in this context that I feel uncomfortable with the concept “marginalization.” I prefer the term “racial discrimination” because marginalization has a deliberate ring to it that I do not believe existed in the minds of the PNC leaders from 1968 to 1985 when Burnham died. And since 1992 in the PPP. When you refer to marginalization, you seem to wipe away the fundamental error in the political culture of the PPP and PNC, and that is they have to practice racial discrimination because it is the only way they can keep their constituencies intact. The tragedy of Guyana is that if the PNC returns, the East Indians will be diminished. The tragedy of Guyana is that once the PPP stays in power, the African communities will be neglected. For Guyana to develop, it has to go beyond the PNC and PPP. The African people did that after Burnham became totally intolerable. It is time now for the East Indians to reject the PPP
I believe the rule of the PPP has degenerated in forms that are worse than under Forbes Burnham. In my recent UG seminar (that causes so much questionable controversy elsewhere) I delineated four areas where the decay has become more frightening than under Burnham. They are: first, the labyrinth connecting the drug people and powerful members of the political establishment. It has certainly alarmed the Americans but the Americans have deliberately eschewed the exertion of pressure on the Guyana Government out of fear that if it falls, the vacuum may bring too many uncertainties that may have dire consequences for the region. Satisfied that it got Roger Khan, the Americans have eased the heat on the government. This unsavoury connection has spawned a group of rich people that have become more powerful than the government and the security forces. They are virtually the kings of Guyana. And they are buying up the country.
Secondly, Guyana must be the only society in the world where the children of the political controllers of the state have used state resources as if they own them. This is part of the degeneracy of the PPP that cries out for research. Burnham would not have allowed this. The wives and children of Burnham’s elite circle worked in ordinary jobs. Elvin Mc David’s wife was a junior teacher at St. Roses High School. An investigation would show that the children of PPP and governmental leaders have creamed off fantastic state jobs most of which are funded by international agencies. There is the absurdity where one of these children is being paid three thousand American dollars a month for a job in which she has not even a day’s training. They have now moved into property and land ownership. If the PPP stays in power for ten more years, there will be no more state lands. They will either be given away or sold to party people.
Thirdly, it is highly unlikely that Forbes Burnham would have tolerated the corruption monster that has devoured the Jagdeo Government. Surely, Guyana under the present regime has emerged as the worst corrupt regime in the history of British, French and Dutch West Indies.
Fourth and finally, there may have emerged in the leadership of this government an element of racism that I do not think was ever as determined and poisonous under Burnham. If the Indian group in the PNC like Teekah, Chandisingh, Shahabudeen, Ramsaroop, Pandit Sharma and others had complained to Burnham about African racism directed against them, Burnham would have been livid. In the PPP, open racists are openly embraced. Rohee ought to know that if any thing is certain about Guyana it is its uncertain future.
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