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Bharrat Jagdeo was a law unto himself

September 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Mr. President, here are some stark reminders Jagdeo was a ‘law unto himself’
SEPTEMBER 25, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS

Dear Editor,
In your news item, “President Ramotar will not stop any of Jagdeo’s projects,” (KN, September 23), wasn’t President Donald Ramotar being egregiously disingenuous in his characterization of former President Bharrat Jagdeo not ‘being a law unto himself’?
In response to questions whether Guyana is likely to see him ‘charting his own course’ instead of being in the shadow of Jagdeo, President Ramotar reportedly said, “I don’t think you understand how we (the PPP) operate… That is why you probably ask a question like that. Jagdeo was not a law unto himself. He has never been a law unto himself. Those were programmes of the PPP. Those were policies of the PPP/C.”
Well, here are some stark reminders for the President.
When the Jagdeo administration ordered the withdrawal of state ads from Stabroek News in February 2007, PPP matriarch, Janet Jagan joined with others in condemning the move. Jagdeo openly derided her as ‘just another citizen’. Was he not being a law unto himself?
In the May 01, 2012 letter to Stabroek News captioned, “The PPP called on the government to restore state advertisements to Stabroek News but was ignored,” former PPP executive, Mr. Ralph Ramkarran wrote, “The PPP did not consider the withdrawal of the advertisements to be a trifling matter. It was extensively discussed both at the Executive Committee and later, the Central Committee, of the PPP which called on the Government to restore the advertisements to the Stabroek News. The Government ignored the decision and since the PPP did not practise ”party paramountcy” there was no way of enforcing it.”
Was Mr. Ramkarran being disingenuous? Was the late Janet Jagan really speaking as ‘just another citizen’ or the matriarch of the party?
On the eve of President Ramotar’s address to the 10th Parliament earlier this year, GTUC General Secretary, Mr. Lincoln Lewis said the “GTUC (is) confident Ramotar will depart from Jagdeo’s autocratic rule,”(KN, February 10, 2012). Was Mr. Lewis wrong in his description of the Jagdeo presidency as ‘autocratic’ or a law unto itself?
In December 2009, Jagdeo fired Presidential Advisor, Mr. Navin Chandarpal, for gross incompetence, but Mr. Chandarpal, a PPP executive, retorted that he was fired for being openly critical of Jagdeo over the issue of secret ballots to choose the party’s presidential candidate. ”Every Guyanese knows who is the most vindictive of all,” he said at the time. Being labeled vindictive as a leader is not far from being a law unto one’s self!
When PPP Leader Mr. Ramotar was then asked why the PPP was not doing anything to rein in the excesses of President Jagdeo, he reportedly said that the PPP will not interfere with the decisions made by Jagdeo as President. Does Mr. Ramotar not remember saying words to that effect in the wake of Mr. Chandarpal’s firing?
Then there is the highly contentious state-owned NICIL issue. The law says NICIL must submit its audited accounts to Parliament every year, yet for eight years, NICIL did not comply with the law. And President Jagdeo did nothing about it? And although NICIL’s CEO, Mr. Winston Brassington promised earlier this year to have the audited accounts tabled by July 31, last, the nation is still waiting.
Clico (Guyana) broke the local insurance laws by investing 53% of its local funds overseas at the time of its collapse, and instead of the Jagdeo administration applying the punitive measures prescribed by law against Clico (Guyana), it rushed to place the company under Bank of Guyana supervision. Why was the law skirted here, Mr. Ramotar?
In closing, the collective leadership concept President Ramotar also seems to be advocating may have been good for the PPP, but it is no good for government. His abysmal failure to arrest corruption and paint a bold vision for Guyana away from the Jagdeo scam projects will not absolve him of direct responsibility, even if he tries to claim that he was doing what the PPP wants or decides. No wonder the PPP government is such a mess!
And while he regrets the PPP does not have a parliamentary majority, someone needs to tell him that it was his job as PPP General Secretary to keep the party’s support base intact so the PPP could win the presidency and have a parliamentary majority. That a significant number of PPP supporters voted AFC was evidence of his failure, on top of his failure on GuySuCo’s board. He started out with a failed record and is refusing to buck the trend.
Emile Mervin

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Bharrat Jagdeo crooked crony Ed Ahmad plea guilty in $50 million mortgage fraud

September 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Federal prosecutors and lawyers for Guyanese businessman Ed Ahmad, who has been indicted in a $50 million mortgage fraud scheme, have reached a plea arrangement.

According to a letter seen by this newspaper and which was filed today by Assistant United States Attorney Alexander A Solomon, Ahmad’s matter was yesterday adjourned to October 10 for a “guilty plea.”

As such he said that the prosecution and the defence are requesting from Judge Dora Irizarry that time be excluded from the speedy trial computation between September 21 and October 20 for “the purpose of permitting the parties to finalise their plea negotiations.”

Ahmad had made a US$40,000 payment to Rep Gregory Meeks (D-NY) in 2007 that the Congressman failed to disclose on his Financial Disclosure Reports for 2007, 2008, and 2009. Meeks subsequently claimed the $40,000 payment was a loan, but there were no note or payments until several years after the payment was made. Last year the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate the matter. The OCE reported that Meeks “refused to cooperate with the OCE’s investigation,” NLPC noted.

Ahmad was detained last July on charges that he operated a US$50 million mortgage-fraud scheme in Queens, New York. He faces a maximum of 30 years in jail. He is currently on US$2.5 million bail.

Ahmad’s case has attracted great interest in Guyana because of his close ties to former president Bharrat Jagdeo. Ahmad had shipped a container of goods to Jagdeo at State House and many questions were asked about this.

Three alleged co-conspirators — Ahmad’s cricket friends and employees — were also indicted in an associated case last year, court records show.

The report said that Queens-based brokers Qayaam Farrouq, Mohamed Gurmohamed and Guyanese cricketer Steve Massiah were charged with defrauding banks and mortgage companies by falsifying mortgage-loan applications to make borrowers appear more creditworthy to financial institutions, court records show.

The matter against Massiah has since been dismissed without prejudice.