Ethnic power and ideological racism: Comparing presidencies in Guyana
This is the title of an eighty-page research I did over a two-year period that looked at the practice of racism by the Guyana Government during the tenure of Bharrat Jagdeo. It will be tendered by my lawyers in the Jagdeo libel suit. I cannot discuss the case because it is before the courts. What I can do is describe the testimonies that have been made public since the hearing began.
I am entitled to do so by the principle of fair comment. Contempt of court comes in when one strays from what is already published. The most salient characteristic of this libel hearing is the deliberate decision of Mr. Jagdeo not to testify. In this context Mr. Jagdeo’s stance is extremely unusual in the world.
Which Cabinet Minister, Prime Minister, President, army chief sues a national commentator for slander of character and refuses to attend court to explain to the court how he felt and why his accuser was wrong.
Mr. Jagdeo did not come from one reason only – he believed and knew that he could not have matched wits with Mr. Nigel Hughes, Khemraj Ramjattan and Christopher Ram. There wasn’t a person in Guyana that thought for a fleeting moment that he would have attended court. That was the consensus throughout this country. And people knew why – Jagdeo is not capable of intellectual heights.
Mr. Jagdeo felt unsure of his intellectual ability since 1999 when he became President. It was predictable that after he became President, he would spend his career running from any debate with his detractors. After twelve years in power in which he faced two national elections, Mr. Jagdeo insanely avoided any debate, no matter what the format was.
I first met Bharrat Jagdeo at the Castellani swimming pool when he was introduced to me by Malcolm Harripaul. He was junior Finance Minister then. He said stupid things to me when we were in the sauna that I thought was unbecoming of a Minister. Then there was a flurry of bad-mouthing of UG. I knew there and then that Jagdeo would not be a person to hold Ministerial status. When I heard that he had become Senior Finance Minister, it confirmed for me that Cheddi Jagan was always a fool. But the presidency? No that was unthinkable.
Jagdeo always came across to me as a nincompoop and non-entity, but it was an incident involving my duty free letter and President Jagdeo that convinced me that this man was not even fit to run a small state agency dealing with animal cruelty, much less a troubled nation like Guyana where brilliance and leadership qualities are priceless factors for Guyana’s survival. Jagdeo had none. He didn’t even have an ordinary grasp of things. Mr. Jagdeo’s twelve years of power have set this country back by more than fifty years. This writer is saying unambiguously that APNU and the AFC, should they come to office, cannot undo this damage even in ten years.
I wanted to change the model of my car as stated in my letter. I went to the Finance Minister who told me that President Jagdeo wanted to make that decision himself and required that I see him. I went to meet with him. After half an hour of his schoolboy asininities, Mr. Jagdeo sent me to Mr. Nirmal Rekha, Secretary to the Treasury, to sign the new letter.
I suggested he write a note to Rekha. Jagdeo waved his hand and said to me. “Tell him I ordered the change.” Rekha refused. I went back to Jagdeo, Jagdeo sent me back to Rekha. And so it went for days. Then I became angry with this unbecoming leader and said to him, “Telephone Mr. Rekha in my presence so Mr Rekha can no longer refuse.” Mr. Jagdeo replied; “You go back to Rekha; Rekha has to do his job.”
It was all a game and Mr. Jagdeo was the head clown.
Mr. Jagdeo had no intention of changing my letter by a signed document. He and Rekha were deliberately pushing me around. There and then I knew this man was unfit to hold any position of importance. I knew he would fail as a leader and become a spectacle for Guyanese to laugh at. It happened. People began to laugh at Mr. Jagdeo for a certain reason and the nation lost respect for him. From the smallest child to the most elderly, Guyanese joked about Mr. Jagdeo and he brought it on himself.
He demonstrated to Guyanese that he was unfit to be their President. Arif Bulkan published a photo in the Stabroek News of President Jagdeo with hand on his crotch in public in New York City at an India Day parade.
I knew he would never have testified. He cannot and will not because he knows he cannot answer intellectual giants like Nigel Hughes, Khemraj Ramjattan and Chris Ram. He sent Roger Luncheon to prove to the court that I had libeled him. After Nigel Hughes was finished with Luncheon, Guyanese facetiously referred to him as “Luncheon meat.” He had looked for that.
His advice to Jagdeo was to drop the case. Jagdeo didn’t and now I am going to prove to the world that Mr. Jagdeo was one of the most racist leaders the 21st century produced anywhere in the world.