Where is the opposition to President Jagdeo?
If a news item in yesterday’s Kaieteur News is correct, then I am calling on the Alliance For Change (AFC) to boycott Parliament, refuse to have any relationship with the Jagdeo Presidency, and organize extra-Parliamentary struggle to the Presidential excesses that are threatening to destroy this country.
We have been there before. Must we go down the road to perdition again? I have singled out the AFC because I voted for that slate in the 2006 elections. The AFC has an obligation to seek the views of its voters on how it should shape its fight against elected dictatorship.
On page 10, there is a news item captioned, “Jagdeo consults Corbin on reconstituted Integrity Commission.” The paper stated: “President Jagdeo has said that, to the best of his knowledge, the Leader of the main opposition party has been consulted on the members of the Integrity Commission. The President told media operatives that those were the names supplied to Corbin and he has acknowledged their personalities but has asked for the curriculum vitae of the persons to assess their qualifications….the CVs will be made available.”
If there is anything President Jagdeo has said that does not make sense since 1999 when he became President, that quote from the Kaieteur News is it. Nothing makes sense in that emanation. It is illogical and lacks rationality.
First, the President says that, to the best of his knowledge, Mr. Corbin was consulted. What is his knowledge of consultation? Would it not have been better if Mr. Jagdeo has described the shape of the consultation? Secondly, could an expert in grammar tell this nation what it means in English and what action is being described when a person says, “He acknowledges their personalities.” Can you acknowledge the personality of a human being?
One can assess or analyse the personality of someone, but surely, you cannot acknowledge a human being’s personality. Of course, you can acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of a person’s character. “Character” and “personality” are two different concepts. I take it to mean that Mr. Jagdeo meant that Mr. Corbin expressed knowledge of the persons he (the President) named to comprise the Integrity Commission.
This brings us to the third point. That aspect of the Constitution that obliges the President to consult the Opposition Leader surely cannot mean that the President merely informs the Opposition of the names of a state institution he (the President) plans to bring into being.
It appears this is how Mr. Jagdeo interprets the Constitution. Mr. Jagdeo says the Constitution does not empower the Opposition Leader to agree with Presidential appointees. But the Constitution does not empower the President to achieve the benefits of consultation by merely informing the Opposition Leader of some names.
By any stretch of the imagination, that constitutional clause has to have, and does have, a deeper meaning than what President Jagdeo told the media.
Fourthly, if Mr. Jagdeo has convinced himself that he did indeed carry out his constitutional obligation to Mr. Corbin in relation to the Integrity Commission, then why has he agreed to supply the CVs of the new members of the Integrity Commission to Mr. Corbin?
In doing so, the President would look foolish, and in receiving the documents, Mr. Corbin would appear in similar fashion in the eyes of the nation. If Mr. Jagdeo believes what he told the press, the matter is finished. Why give Corbin the CVs? If, as the President has stated, he has already made up his mind on the members of the Commission, then what purpose does it serve Mr. Corbin to peruse the histories of the Commission members?
So where is the truth in all this confusion? Without even guessing or speculating, one knows what Mr. Jagdeo did. Mr. Jagdeo’s style is not something Mr. Jagdeo is willing to hide. His authoritarian stamp is not a print that he attempts to obfuscate. Mr. Jagdeo came up with his four persons, and merely said to Mr. Corbin that ‘here are my names.’ If Mr. Corbin can inform the nation that this is what Mr. Jagdeo did, then this country is heading fast towards the precipice.
Civil society and the country’s opposition parties in and out of Parliament should not let Mr. Jagdeo dissolve what we have gained after thirty years of a long, hard struggle to win back freedoms in this land. Those clauses in the Constitution came after hard battles. Mr. Jagdeo (and by its silence, the PPP, too) should not be allowed to roll back those democratic gains. He should be stopped.