Nagamootoo bemoans PPP’s “loss of values in public life”
Pull Quote: “He (Dr. Jagan) was incorruptible and we are seeing now the floodgates of sleaze in public life…It’s telling us that they have certainly lost their way.”
By Gary Eleazar
This past week, the debate on the 2012 Budget concluded and the Parliamentarians have since resolved into a Standing Committee of Supply to consider the estimates of the allocations individually.
There were several empathic presentations during the debate and the Finance Minster, Dr Ashni Singh, even observed what he called a linguistic competition along with an excellent display of oratorial skills.
Truth be told, there were also several less than lacklustre presentations from both sides of the aisle, at times. There was, however, in all of the banter, tit-for-tat and sometimes constant heckling, an interesting point raised.
The House remained still and all attention was focused on Brigadier (rtd) David Granger as he made his maiden presentation to a Budget Debate.
The Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition stressed that the majority of Guyanese today don’t know who “Burnham and Cheddi are.”He was referring to Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham and Dr Cheddi Berret Jagan, both deceased.
Both are also credited as founders of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) which in itself has an impressive political history and currently rules the Guyanese halls of power.
A PPP SPAWN
On Nomination Day, in the days before the November 28, 2011, General and Regional Election, Moses Nagamootoo dropped a political bombshell (the magnitude of a nuclear attack on the local political front) when he confirmed rumours that he had left his beloved PPP, which he called home for decades and would join with the Alliance for Change.
Nagamootoo is one of the few men alive today that can legitimately lay claim to working closely with the indomitable Dr Cheddi Jagan.
The two rubbed shoulders to the point that there was/is a passionate debate as to whether Dr Jagan had picked Nagamootoo to be his successor and head the political giant that is the PPP.
During a Parliamentary break this week, Nagamootoo told this publication that he does not believe that the context in which Granger made his comment was really meant to send a signal that Guyanese really didn’t know of “Cheddi and Burnham”.
He opined that the Brigadier was suggesting that the men and their contribution may not be an important enough feature to highlight as prominently as it does in a 2012 debate about monies to be spent for this year.
Nagamootoo ventured to speculate that what the Brigadier meant was that it was not important enough to focus in 2012, on a 28-year rule of the PNC which ended two decades ago or a particular tenure in office for Dr. Jagan several-odd years ago also.
PPP DIVIDED AND LOST
Speaking to the current crop of leadership in the PPP it was acknowledged that the President, Donald Ramotar, is a student of the Jagan Doctrine, but Nagamootoo had far less flattering, and even more descriptive words for the younger corps of leaders in the party.
Nagamootoo said that the PPP “has certainly gone astray from the Jagan ideals”.
He said that some of the current leaders in the party seem to have lost their way in “underscoring the legacy of Cheddi” which has been one that focused on the issue of “lean and clean”.
“He was incorruptible and we are seeing now the floodgates of sleaze in public life. It’s telling us that they have certainly lost their way.”
“What you are finding is this new breed of leaders has not really gravitated to the essential core of what I call Jaganism, which is morality in public life, humility, absence of arrogance. Jagan gave value to public life,” Nagamootoo reflected.
He said that Jagan was a man that portrayed himself as a selfless person, not inspired by material acquisition or uninhibited greed.
“These are values in public life that we seem to have lost and the new people on the PPP bandwagon, they allow themselves to be captive of the fact of power and not a fact of service.”
Nagamootoo was at the time responding to a pool of names of Cabinet Ministers all of whom would have been still very young at the time Dr Jagan died some 15 years ago.
“Power tends to make them arrogant and disdainful,” which he said manifests itself in a “cuss up, cuss down mode”.
He suggested that, “if they imbibe service as part of their political culture, they will know it comes with humility and that they have to do things differently.”
Nagamootoo drew reference to occasions when he would rise to speak in the House of Assembly from the opposition benches, “whether in a substantive manner or to simply ask a question, and they have a wolf pack that would come after me howling, because they are intolerant of any other view and more so intolerant of a view they perceive should be silent.”
Nagamootoo recalled that when he made his presentation from the benches of the AFC to the 2012 Budget, he attempted to highlight some scathing remarks that emanated from the biological offspring of Cheddi and Janet Jagan.
“I referred to Nadira (Jagan) and they had a big howl, the wolf pack went on the offensive.”
Nagamootoo suggested that the ‘Parliamentary wolf pack’ he was referring to, did not want him to have Nadira Jagan’s observation of the party leaders recorded on the Parliamentary Hansard.
The former PPP stalwart said that Mrs. Jagan-Brancier’s comments served as a serious indictment on the party and its current leaders.
He said that not only is she, the daughter of two founders of the PPP, but a political operative, bred by the Jagans.
“As she said, she did not have much time (with them) but the little time was quality time.”
Nagamootoo in seeking to qualify the statements made by Mrs. Jagan-Brancier, said that as a child she “had become a victim because of her parents own sacrifice…in her own life she had participated in small struggles.”
Nagamootoo said that she had a disposition, in which she wanted to emulate her father and she was drawn to the PPP because of the values that her parents had instilled in the political movement.
Values, he said, that she “looked to enhance particularly the poor and the disadvantaged.”
He pointed out too that the daughter of the legendary leader “is revolted by what she has seen…it it has become a departure from the ideals of her parents, which attracted her to making her own sacrifices. I know her, and she is very passionate in her commitment to people and her commitment to her country, and I believe that she is not only disappointed, but feels betrayed.”
JAGANITES VS JAGDEOITES
Nagamootoo has a morbid prediction for the party he once called home even though he says that, “I suppose it will never cease to be Jagan party.”
He opined that, “there is going to always be a struggle of opposites in the party…those who have betrayed the Jagan ideals, (and) there will be the Jagan loyalists who would constantly repudiate them and try to put them aside.”
Speaking ominously Nagamootoo said, “And those who like the Jagdeoites, the new kids on the block who came with their own background, not necessarily one of commitment and one of sacrifice, they would try to assert their own way, their own mode of doing things.”
Nagamootoo was drawing direct reference to former President Bharrat Jagdeo, who served at the helm from 1999, hence being de facto head of the party.
He said Jagdeo developed a loyal following, with many maintaining allegiance to him even after he demitted office a few months ago.
“I believe there would be a constant battle between the elements inside the party…between those who feel that the Jagan ideals are best for Guyana and those who feel that you don’t need Jagan, he is dead and gone.”
Nagamootoo says that he recalls a function he had attended some time ago, where another party stalwart said, “don’t worry with Jagan, Jagan dead and gone.”
Nagamootoo says that as he recalls, this is a statement that left many persons feeling offended.
“For us, it is not Jagan as a person, and I suppose the same could be said of Forbes Burnham…Forbes Burnham had an intellect that attracted people to him.”
Nagamootoo on turning his attention to the other individual credited with founding the PPP said that, “He (Burnham) was in many ways a visionary, a developmentalist who looked into the future and had placed on the agenda for Guyana this need for self reliance, the need to focus more on Guyananisation.”
Nagamootoo suggested that there will continue be an appeal for certain values that are associated with Burnham “in the same way there will continue to be an appeal to the values associated with Cheddi Jagan…so it is not simply the issue of two legendary leaders, who for me are the maximum legendary leaders that this country has seen.”
In concluding, Nagamootoo boldly opined that he has seen materialise in the Alliance for Change, a dream of Cheddi Jagan where Guyana could return of the politics of the 1950s.
This, he said, was a time where there was a united political movement motivated by the interests of the people of Guyana.
“That’s why we (AFC) describe ourselves as the rainbow coalition, and before Dr Jagan died, he had always said that he wanted this country to return to the politics of the ‘50s…1953 when you had a united movement….it was a united national movement.”