I know that I have had cause to express my curious appreciation of those columnists and dedicated letter writers – based in Georgetown and overseas – who, virtually, daily, lambaste Bharrat Jagdeo, his heirs and wannabes, most relentlessly with a view to regime change.
(I wouldn’t know how to do it with such pointed frequency, even though I have nothing against those gentlemen’s ultimate success.)
Incidentally “when yuh own louse bite yuh…” Research how many of today’s harshest, most strident critics were once in the same room with the matured Donald and young Bharrat. And silly me! Why do I keep wondering what would have been happening today if Moses or Ralph Hari Narayen had secured the PPP/C vote for Presidential nominee?
Perhaps my latter personal puzzle is the motivation for returning to what was, by around 1995, the Bharrat Jagdeo enigma. Along with the phenomenon of how, with electric swiftness, to the chagrin of his comradely seniors, the relative enigma became profound reality! With indelible consequences for his own party and our own country. (Recall too my sustained wonderment with regard to normally upright persons of ability, values and integrity, serving a regime who stole the people’s will for years.)
Young Bright Burnham returned to British Guiana just in time to be embraced by Young Cheddi Jagan, only to swiftly become Jagan’s relentless nemesis. Old PPP knowledgeables still around would recall Burnham’s political acumen, inclusive of the “race-card” dealt to him, between ’53, ’55 and ’57. Fast-forward to ’92, ’95, ’97.
Out of the political blue arrived a young Progressive Youth Organisation (PYO) East Coast Demerara member; briefly a school teacher who went to Moscow to become an economist, returned to work with the PNC’s Haslyn Parris at the State Planning Secretariat, then emerged after the PPP/C returned to government near the end of 1992.
Like Cheddi his mentor, he had a rustic charm, deceptive smile and, privately, vast ambition. The latter fuelled by the Jagans – especially Comrade Janet.
Travelling with Cheddi and Senior Finance Minister Asgar Ally, young Soviet-trained Bharrat enjoyed a relatively brief apprenticeship before becoming full Finance Minister after the 1997 elections. Cheddi had passed on months before in ’97. But young Bharrat was moving forward. Like lightning!
I could not agree with the nastiness on the streets when Comrade Joe Hamilton, Aubrey and other PNC “militants” demonized Janet Jagan after the 1997 Elections. Say what you like she was a political Amazon.
Like Comrade Carberry I didn’t care about her being my President. She succumbed to the pressure of the streets and law courts and failing health.
Recall, then the unprecedented, governmental musical chairs organized by Comrade Janet: Young Jagdeo was made Prime Minister, President Jagan resigned. Prime Minister Jagdeo became President and re-appointed Samuel Hinds as P.M. all in four or five days! All politically vulgar, but constitutionally acceptable.
President Jagdeo, role and legacies
Manufactured and Readymade! Made in Janetland! My Guyana had her Bharrat as President of our Republic. I understood the hurt of such loyal “Cheddi Children” as Reepu, Moses, Navin, Clement, Ralph, even Roger and Robeson.
Look, even I, who had grown weary of my erstwhile PNC strategies and excesses, looked forward to what this baggage-less new Kid-on-the Political Block (literally a “kid”!) would offer.
I wrote about the “new Bharrat” as, mistakenly, many thought Cheddi was “a Bharrat” once. I did a whole newspaper supplement on his first 100 days. Such hope as he posed with Linden’s Afro-Girl students! Swiftly, President Jagdeo shed his masks and, Putin-like, even did some Forbes Burnham-like things. He seemingly made his Party secondary. He grasped Presidential and Constitutional authority. At his swearing-in he said Cde Janet would “always be (his) President”. Later he would describe her as “an ordinary citizen sharing her views”. There was venomous aggression against both Party and external critics. Old Cheddi stalwarts were immobilized, co-opted, hushed or evicted.
Enter the Real Jagdeo!
Unlike other more hostile commentators and political analysts, I can’t ignore the strengths and positives of leaders. However temporary, strategic or meant to deceive.
Mr Jagdeo did steady and sustain an erratic exchange rate – – even if his parallel market had something to do with that; he did seek out a more robust continental foreign initiative with Venezuela (Chavez), Brazil (Lula) and Suriname (the Doubtful Desi); Jagdeo did attempt massive infrastructural works – – even if many contractors never built dreams before; he withstood a five-year crime wave, eventually getting the murderous gang; he catapulted Guyana onto the Global Climate Change/Forest Preservation Map and he was a Master of Showpieces – ICC World Cup at new Stadium, Carifesta 10 and Jamzones many.
His loyalists of the current new PPP recently responded to a litany of his failed Presidency by presenting their own Super List of his Achievements – from the Law-of-the-Sea triumph over Suriname’s claim to his weathering the international financial meltdown. Good for them. But really, how will Bharrat be remembered? Not because of what people write and assess, but by the thousands of poverty-challenged citizens of this Blighted Land?
A powerful, petulant,
President’s (PPP) Legacy?
Jagdeo was masterful in having the selected Ramotar declare that, as President, he (Ramotar) would “continue” the policies of Jagdeo. Great for Bharrat, Catastrophe for our poor and powerless.
Frankly Speaking, to me, this lad from the fishing village of Unity, now known by the UN, Caricom, South America and the world, succumbed to the virus of unmitigated power, power that immobilised even successive bright intellectual opposition(s).
From Virgin Lands, Guysuco’s retired acreages; the so-called “Commanding Heights of the Economy”, the Private Sector, Investment Opportunities and Parliament, to even the electronic spectrum, Jagdeo channelled to his buddies. Using from nepotism, new legal entities, fronts, sleight-of-hand to retroactive legislation.
Frankly Speaking, young Bharrat made young Black Professional Persons seem like either an endangered species – or extinct. His is a powerful “legacy” of Indo-names in every sphere of authority, power, status and public life.
Sadly, even if not of his doing, under his watch sugar collapsed, crime and cocaine reigned, extra-judicial killings soared, greed submerged even sport, institutions were compromised and national morality plummeted as thousands fled and his own folks also suffered. And still suffer. Now add your List.
What is to be done?
The perennial question! What have been the Opposition responses to the Jagdeo legacy since he departed from Office but not from influence?
Unfortunately I’ll have to return to this as time and space shackle me here. (Just don’t ask Chris Ram that question). To me the Ramotar fellows – and Madame Gail – have done a fine job to stymie any effective measures the Brigadier’s Opposition have mounted. The Administration has used judicial challenges and delays to a fine art.
Budget challenges are by-passed, contracts are awarded like ice-cream and the PPP/C boys are rewarding themselves for any eventualities. Hail now the AFC’s No-Confidence motion! But wait! What’s in store for the Opposition? Stay connected.
*1) Old PPP fellows tell me they get Bharrat livid by telling him that – “is you mansion and pension mek we lose de majority. What America, Britain and de PNC fail at you manage to do!”
Til next week!
APRIL 4, 2013 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
There are three grave tragedies of the Guyanese condition created or magnified by our divisive politics since 1950. One is the scourge of racism and ethnic polarization. Another is moral and psychological degradation of the nation. The third is economic impoverishment.
The first and the last elements have always existed in this land since the events pre- and post-Emancipation reshaped this landscape. The moral and psychological degradation of the Guyanese people before the arrival of the bitter struggles of the PPP and the PNC was limited to the immoral domination by the bourgeoisie of the working class.
The working class majority itself was peaceful, hardworking and decent-minded people grounded in justice and fairness in a sharing and crime-free working class stratum despite their sufferings. That changed with the arrival of the PPP and the PNC. They introduced full-scale ethnic division and racial apartheid politics to Guyana.
They caused their constituencies who were 85% of the population to adopt morally fraudulent and catastrophic positions out of this racial division. It was no longer what was right, just or fair, but what was racially opportunistic.
Negative ethnic generalizations and stereotyping became full-blown diseases under their reigns. All Africans were the PNC and all Indians were the PPP.
Moral hypocrisy strutted supreme. A dictatorial PNC government was to be overthrown by a Stalinist PPP party that crushed democracy. PNC socialism injected with healthy communist action (see nationalization) was condemned by the PPP and its supporters who advocated in the same breath the replacement with a communist state. PNC supporters sinfully accepted the atrocities of the PNC government just like PPP supporters support the abominations of the PPP government today.
In the grand circle of irony, these two groups of supporters have become one and the same. This moral undermining of the nation that took place in the racial-political struggles of the fifties and sixties have left an indelible stain on this nation’s psyche and morality. Even today, there are calls for the repetition of these stereotypes as evidenced during the 2011 election campaign when Bharrat Jagdeo reminded those who endured the PNC struggles to recall those experiences for the youths of today.
The moral damage was not limited to the psychological operations of the PPP and PNC and their race-driven political orgy. It has to do with the economic woe the PPP and PNC left this nation. Both of these parties have been dismal economic managers. Despite its working class rhetoric, the PPP’s economic management from 1957 to 1964 was a failure that saw economic decline and hardship for the working class along with increasing corruption.
The PNC was handed an economy in gradual decline in 1964 and took it over the precipice with a reckless socialist policy accompanied by corruption and mismanagement. In 1992, the PPP got a destroyed economy that was beginning to grow again and has delivered modest growth in an era of the greatest worldwide economic growth. The modest gains the PPP achieved have been largely shifted by deliberative government policy into the hands of a new upper class who benefit from the largesse and corruption of the PPP.
All of this economic mismanagement has pushed the majority of this country to moral corruption in order to survive. Not only do they have to work for immoral government, they are constantly morally debasing themselves in order to obtain a basic modicum of decent living. Even worse, this is now instinctive and normal for many.
By allowing illegal activity like drug trafficking to flourish, the PPP has firmly destroyed the already wavering moral core of this country. Economic destitution leads to moral equivalency and Guyana since the fifties has been a prime example of this truism. We have people who condone or execute all manner of atrocity for fear of losing that laughable paycheque in a country of rampant unemployment.
In dictatorial governments, people become afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation and harm. The mind becomes Pavlovian, directed by the dictates of the regime. This is what has happened in Guyana since the fifties. Slavery was abolished some 175 years ago while Indentureship ended 96 years ago, yet this nation remains very much a plantation moved by race and economic survival. This gives us the constant moral massacre or the annihilation of the moral code of this nation.
Right and wrong is relative in this nation because there is no moral line left that cannot be crossed. Wrong is very right in Guyana and right is often wrong and illusory. We are a nation in a moral quagmire from which extraction requires sacrifice, which we lack.
In every country that has built itself from ruins, except Guyana, there is an unmissable connection between sacrifice and struggle and moral reclamation. In these countries, people struggle, scrimp, sacrifice and battle to improve their lot, but they also possess a powerful moral philosophy about it; that they will endorse those who will help them achieve their redemption and reject those who are morally abject.
In Guyana, we have a generally hardworking nation that somehow abandons that moral requirement that is vital to their ultimate advancement. If people refuse to attach moral expectations and demands to their struggles, they will inherit societies constantly derailed by the immoral leadership and political parties they refuse to change.
Convenient moral blindness produces no economic profit or advancement out of poverty. You cannot expect less choke-and-rob of your earnings when you allow more choke-and-rob of your taxes by the rulers of the state. Choke-and-robbers at the top lead to choke-and-robbers at the bottom.
Moral hypocrisy allows crooks to bully a populace. Moral convenience leads to an immoral society where vagabonds thrive and in such a society only a handful of the depraved are enough to demonize and crush the rest.
The PPP and PNC have destroyed the morale of this nation and wrecked its psyche. Too many are worried about how those of another race or class are voting or how their own race or class are voting and not focused on what is important to them. That self-focus, which is evident in wealthy nations, and which allowed a White-dominated society like the USA to elect a Black President, is grounded in that element of morality that is missing in Guyana.
As nationals of Guyana, we have been concerned about how poorly employers, particularly the PPP regime, have used the human resources in the country.
For too long, this government has allowed the finest minds to be either underemployed or without any positive and active involvement in the country affairs.
Yet the state continues to expend significant amount of resources on educating the people and encouraging them to prepare themselves. To what end?
Let’s call a spade a spade! Almost daily, available jobs are usually advertised in the media and elsewhere by the government in order to satisfy some internal organizational protocol.
But government officials merely go through the fraudulent motions of an interview process when they have already decided who the holder of the position will be. And it is one of their supporters or relatives of high ranking PPP officials.
But the regime has the gall in these advertisements to let potential applicants know up front that they thank them for applying but do not have the decency to even acknowledge their applications let alone call them for an interview.
This is the scam that this regime has been involved in for years and it has caused unnecessary grief and pain after those who apply found out after what has happened. To use such a sinister ploy to deceive the nation indicates how low the administration has descended.
The fact is when the private sector engages in these acts, at least the consequence is personal, and shows up in their bottom line expense sheet.
But when the Government does the same, employing only friends and supporters of the PPP despite their lack of ability, qualifications experience and requisite skills, the entire nation suffers.
Let us be clear in saying that we have no difficulty whatsoever with the regime wanting to hire its party supporters and members or people of like thinking in critical policy areas so long as those persons are qualified to do the job.
But this has not been the case at the office of the President and at several other state agencies and departments which have employed hundreds of contract employees who are paid super salaries because they are the children, relatives and friends of the PPP cabal.
This is happening in a country where brain cells have gone on strike for an extended period and the loudest mouths in political campaigns are usually rewarded with the most influential positions.
This is wrong and the Jagdeo/ Ramotar cabal must stop this ignominious and dishonest practice if it is to regain the trust and confidence of the people.
The reality has been since Guyana attained its Independence on May 26, 1966, party purity and loyalty have become more important than to employ qualified and experience persons to carry the government tasks.
Once a political party wins, its candidates begin to circle the wagon of political power. The game is essentially about paying back those who made the win possible.
While the noble intentions of politics are “serving the people’s interests,” the first people usually served are those elected, that is, jobs for the boys.
The bigger question is why most of the educated Guyanese with college/university degrees are all over the world and not in Guyana.
The answer, we believe, is that we have never found a way as a society to harness and apply the best and brightness minds to address our nation’s challenges at any one time.
The real sadness of all this is that it does not matter where you come from in society, what your ethnicity is or whether you belong the PPP or the PNC, it was Guyana and the Guyanese taxpayers who have given you a start in life and have prepared you for wherever you now are.
Our continuous poor use of our most qualified personnel is tantamount to perpetrating an injustice on the country which has invested heavily through taxation, blood, sweat and tears in the development of its citizens.
With that said, we always held the view that the real issues we face in Guyana are not only corruption, poverty, crime, joblessness, illegal narcotics trafficking but also injustice! People all over the world have fought and died for their civil rights and against injustice, will Guyanese do!
Dr. Asquith Rose and
Harish S. Singh.
Punishing Poor People Continuously
NOVEMBER 21, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
Since knowing ourselves, Guyana has always been a country in political turmoil, the struggle for independence, the struggle for free and fair elections and today the struggle for good governance and against a system that rewards corruption and penalizes those who want to play by the rules.
Throughout our history all these experiences have taught us that life for the poor and the working class remains almost unbearable. Even the small business and peasant class “catching fire” under this Jagdeo/Ramotar regime.
If one is to observe the comments coming out of Berbice on the issue of blackout under this PPP regime it is a clear that day to day life in Guyana remains painful and no amount of PPP propaganda can erase the burning in the belly of the people.
Sukhai, a farmer said in Stabroek News What the people Say Column, “This blackout is very terrible because when the current goes on and off… our appliances get burn and damage ….. and we do not receive any refund from GPL.” Sukhai further stated as a poultry farmer, “…. when the current goes off these chicken suffer.”
But stay with us and listen to Sukhai. Sukhai revealed a reality that the ordinary people in PPP Guyana face every day when he said “…while there is blackout during the day and the pipe is running it (the water) cuts off. We do not have water to use and this is really bad for the people in Berbice.”
Thank you Mr. Sukhai for speaking your truth and for exposed several cases of irrational underdevelopment because of poor governance and corruption under the PPP namely:
1. The PPP executes capital (fund) punishment on this farmer by damaging his appliances resulting in him spending what he does not have, on new appliances. This is the PPP formula to keep Sukhai in perpetual poverty. He did not damage his TV; GPL and by extension the PPP did but they refuse to refund him for his loss of wealth.
2. As his chicken dies as a result of poor electricity supply, his ability to multiply his wealth is put at risk by the PPP. Thus his return on his investment reduces with every chicken that dies as a result of blackouts. Under the PPP this farmer is not guaranteed a fixed rate of return for his investment and labour.
However this same PPP has guaranteed the rate of return for all the mega-investors in Guyana (the Marriot Hotel investors, the Berbice Bridge investors, the Amaila Fall project investors and even Buddy Shivraj when he invested in the Princess Hotel). No risk for the rich friends, family and business buddies of the ruling Jagdeo/Ramotar cabal. This is the PPP brand of working class party for you!
3. Water is life; at least that is what the United Nations tells us. However, under the PPP, potable water remains a luxury that is not easily accessible in the land of many water. Water is a critical element for every family and if you do not have reliable access to water, then you cannot run a poultry farmer properly; much less manage a family satisfactorily. The risk posed by denying this farmer water in times of Blackout has to be responded to by the majority in Parliament.
A motion must be passed demanding a full, independent and transparent investigation of the operations of GPL.
It is time the leadership from all political forces including the back benchers in the PPP, rise up and demand justice for the people of Berbice. Mr. Zulfikar Mustapha and his side-kick Mr. Jafarally, who like to flounce on Berbice TV to sing the praises of the PPP should wake up from their slumber and stop telling the people Alice in Wonderland stories. All is not well in Berbice.
They’re living in a world of their own and they’re trying to reduce the rest of us to the same condition of losing touch with reality. We call on the AFC to highlight the real suffering of the Berbicians to all of Guyana, especially in those areas that the PPP thinks they got tribal rights.
Let us bring the nation back to its centre of gravity where the people more actively resist non-violently the oppressors in the current regime, just like how they resisted the colonialist and the Burnham dictatorship.
Dr. Asquith Rose and Harish S. Singh
Guyanese Ed Ahmad pleads guilty to mortgage fraud in New York court
Written by Demerara Waves
Wednesday, 10 October 2012 13:59
New York-based Realtor, Ed Ahmad on Wedneday pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud and could face up to 13 years imprisonment.
Ahmad, who was indicted on a US$50 million mortgage fraud, handed in his guilty plea at 12:08 (New York time), less than one month after he entered a plea bargain.
Ahmad, a former member of the Guyana Police Force, plead guilty to count one of his indictment when he appeared before Judge Dora Irazarry.
The New York court would soon issue a schedule leading up to the sentencing.
US Attorney Alexander A. Solomon indicated that the prosecution would be seeking 121 to 151 months jail terms- the equivalent to about 10-12 years 7 months., a few short of 13 years. The financial penalties totalling US$42 million include US$14 million in restitution, US$28 million in criminal fine and a mandatory criminal forfeiture of US$500,000.
Defense Attorney, Steven R. Kartagener indicated that he would contest the actual amount of the monetary loss Ahmad is responsible for, a move that could possibly result in a reduction in the monetary penalties. The two sides are expected to argue and make written submissions between now and the date of sentencing.
The criminal fine and restitution are based on the government’s estimate of loss in the amount of US$14 million. The criminal fine is twice the gross loss. Restitution is in addition to criminal fine. . Between now and sentencing the parties are expected to argue and make submissions on the actual amount of monetary loss
Ahmad, a close friend of former Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo, was visibly nervous and spoke with a broken voice.
He plead guilty to count one of bank and wire fraud and said his attorney had no viable defence. The offence included conspiracy to defraud various lending institutions by doing false appraisals of the values of properties.
The offences were committed between January 1995 and January 2009.
In 2011, Ahmad was reportedly removed from a Guyanese-bound airplane on the tarmac at JFK airport by the FBI and was indicted in connection with a massive $50 million mortgage fraud scheme.
Ahmad’s financial dealings have been also caught up in New York’s politics. Ahmad made a $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 Rep. Meeks “refused to cooperate with the OCE’s investigation.
The PPP on trial
OCTOBER 8, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
Some in the PPP like to claim how effective the government is, even when little or no evidence of such exists. Moreover, when challenged to provide proof, they create the context, and in some instances turn to propaganda and distortions to justify their self-assessed effectiveness with a view to persuade the masses about how hard they have been toiling on their behalf.
And even when the Jagdeo/Ramotar regime is drowning in their own manufactured hogwash, they become so immune to it that they are not bothered or shaken by the views of the opposition or by the sentiments and perceptions of the people.
This kind of stubbornness and narcissistic behaviour by the PPP regime is bordering on being insensitive to the needs of the youths and the poor and the working class.
The Jagdeo/Ramotar PPP regime is on trial because they have displayed a sense of heartlessness toward the youths and the poor and the working class in Guyana. Based on their actions, we are convinced that the PPP cabal is completely removed from the reality that exists beyond the glass casing that separates them from the masses they pretend to serve.
The truth is that even on their best days their pretence is so obnoxious that they drive away their own supporters in droves. It is indisputable that this type of behaviour by the Jagdeo/ Ramotar regime is predictable and reactive as if they are at a Grand Opera.
The PPP regime has shown total contempt for Parliament and the combined opposition in that the Attorney General Anil Nadalall has not only challenged the no-confidence motion against the Minister of Home Affairs Mr. Rohee in the courts but he and the PPP cabal have also distorted the decision of the Chief Justice Ian Chang in the budget case to mislead the public.
The opposition is aware of this but they have done nothing to prevent the Minister of Finance Ashni Singh from using the Contingency Funds to pay the contract workers at the Office of the President.
The majority opposition must end their lackadaisical posture and stand up and represent the people as Sharma Solomon and Vanessa Kissoon did at Linden. We believe that if the people of Linden had waited for APNU to represent them in the manner Solomon and Kissoon did, they would have waited in vain because it was the leaders of APNU who in April cut backroom deals with the PPP to increase the electricity rates at Linden that led to the protest and the subsequent murders of three unarmed young men.
For one reason, the opposition parties need plenipotentiaries to coordinate their policies and to maintain the same or similar line of argument/criticism against the PPP. For another, both the AFC and APNU should start the process of developing a shadow budget in order to have an estimated amount of the cost of next year’s budget.
It is our understanding that the PPP intends to bloat the budget in excess of $40 billion with the expectation that the opposition will cut part of that amount and still leave them with the required amount needed for fiscal year 2013. And the leader of the Parliamentary opposition who prides himself as a security Czar is yet to present a security plan/bill to Parliament.
The minority PPP-led government has had enough time to improve the standard of living in Guyana but they have failed to demonstrate to the masses that they are the stewards who are worthy of their trust. The regime has had enough time to formulate an economic development plan to create employment for the youths and those willing to work, a crime prevention program, an Anti-Corruption Agency to reduce corruption, and an educational curriculum to shrink the failures at examinations. But so far, the Jagdeo/Ramotar regime has not even come close of achieving any of the above. In fact, the Minister of Education Priya Manickchand should stop masquerading over inconsequential issues such as the flogging of students and focus on the bigger issue of reducing failures to a minimum.
It may appear to Mr. Ramotar and his government that things are hunky-dory, but nothing could be further from the truth—times are extremely hard for the youths and the poor and the working class who are at their wits end to put food on the table. The Jagdeo/Ramotar regime should know by now that the clock is ticking, the tension is building and the poor and the working class are about to explode under the enormous pressure.
These are tough times. Crime and violence, narcotics trafficking and corruption are on the upswing, unemployment continues to rise to new heights, real wages have declined, frustration and misery are peaking, and yet the government seems clueless as to the seriousness and extensiveness of the plight of the poor and the working class. Still, some in the PPP and their wealthy friends appear to live so comfortable that one wonders which country they live in.
In conclusion, for those who continue to harbour doubts about which political party we support, one thing remains clear: we are not beholden to any party. We shall always be guided by truth and honesty. And while we do not aspire to assume any meaningful role, we remain grounded in our conviction and steadfast love for Guyana, sufficient to declare that any criticisms of the opposition are not that we love them less, but that we love Guyana and Guyanese more. Our conscious is our guide.
Dr. Asquith Rose and Harish S. Singh
Mr. President, here are some stark reminders Jagdeo was a ‘law unto himself’
SEPTEMBER 25, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
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.