President Ramotar should take example of George Washington
Two months ago , at a meeting at Red House for all the candidates on the PPP/”Civic”, I spoke openly and forcefully and at the beginning of my delivery, I mentioned the fact that I lived at Red House during the terrible times of the sixties and I asked if we want to go back to that; I described how the police at that time laughed when my father came home from the Legislative (now Parliament) building where his Office of Premier was located, after he was physically threatened by mobs; after we had to have our own people guard Red House from the large demonstrations outside .
That was well before the current Linden problems surfaced -everyone in that room, including (President Donald) Ramotar cannot fail to forget that. It was obvious to me that, at that meeting, the PPP leadership were preparing for a snap general election and I warned against that and called for local elections to be a more immediate concern – (they will still try to have general elections, probably early next year). They will remember that I mentioned that we should consider inclusive governance, maybe at local levels like Georgetown , especially with a minority government; that Mr. Granger and Mr. Ramjattan are not the Taliban or Al Qaeda and that we should approach them differently without a confrontational attitude, like was displayed when demonstrations led by “Fuzzy” Sattaur and certain Ministers in this government objected to the budget cuts. Ironically, after the budget cuts, we all found out about “Fuzzy”’s penchant….
They all will remember- because all that Ramotar did was take notes all the time, hardly saying anything-that I told the gathering that President Cheddi would have cut the budget more that APNU and the AFC did if he was alive and in the same situation.
They will remember that I called on these rulers to keep (former President) Jagdeo quiet and I openly questioned his statements at that time in the press when he (Jagdeo) in the headlines was calling for a review of the contracts at the CJIA Airport when he is the one who signed them. I further argued that Jagdeo should keep quiet and even questioned why he went to Brazil.
They will remember when I talked about the state of affairs at Freedom House as a center of a ruling party and communist literature, some of it actually in the Russian language sold in the bookstore downstairs. They will remember that I mentioned some the things which were not done for the people at the local levels and the weaknesses of the PPP grass roots and the consequences of those mistakes when the election was lost by the PPP.
They will remember that I called for the arrest and trial of those who were corrupt and that resignation was not enough and I implored Ramotar to do something credible against corruption. To this day, he has done nothing to investigate corruption in government quarters.
Mr. Editor, along with all the letters and e-mails which I sent Mr. Ramotar, mentioning conciliation, compromise and some sort of shared governance, the fiasco at Linden was the result of Ramotar’s failure to hold to what he told me personally when he and Robert Persaud pleaded with me to join their cause. He assured me at that time that there will be no Putin like situation (like in Russia) here and the first thing he did when he became President was to embrace all the mistakes of the past; his Cabinet selections showed no real promise, especially promoting Robert Persaud, an empty barrel. Jagdeo did nothing much for Linden and PM Hinds did even less and that is why Ramotar should have fired Hinds as soon as the trouble began-that was the first step in solving this situation and would have shown goodwill and that of a resolute President.
Mr. Ramotar should have personally gone to Linden with Mr. Granger and Mr. Ramjattan and together they could have solved the problems along with the good graces of God and the citizens there. The police action is directly Mr. Ramotar’s responsibility and he should be man enough not to pass the buck, especially as head of a minority government. Doesn’t Mr. Ramotar look at the news and see what’s happening in Syria when a government forces police action on peaceful demonstrators? Doesn’t he realize that extreme care has to be taken when confronting citizens who feel left out of the general development of this country, especially after the rule of Jagdeo?
Mr. Editor, the rule of Jagdeo left us with “Fuzzy” and who knows how many more “comrades” did the same. Without proper investigations which Ramotar is obviously not interested in, how can the public be reassured? And in the context of uncovering corruption, “squandermania” and ineptitude, we have to look first at the Ministry of Works and we have to examine the accomplishments of Robeson Benn, who in the opinion of many is totally unfit to hold such an important job.
Look at our roadways, especially our airport road and our bridge where he’s spent millions, not to mention the stelling at Supenaam and all our village roadways where millions were spent but many of these roads are falling apart.
Sam Hinds and his slumbering rhetoric have enraged the people of Linden, running the mining and electricity sectors into the ground while enjoying 20 years of taxpayers largesse; Robert Persaud and his gross mismanagement, not only of the agricultural sector but his handling of the PPP electioneering campaign; Neil Kumar and his total confusion as to our sports future where the past administration never placed the Lotto money where it should have gone-to sports and culture.
Look at the results- no medals at the Olympics- if Kumar was in charge of sports in Jamaica, Usain Bolt would be running 100 meter dashes as a messenger for Fedex. I have been told that almost 50 persons have resigned from the Ministry of Health since Ramsarran has become minister.
Editor, let us pause, take a deep breath, and wish Mr. Ramotar a “Putin-free” Presidency. Mr. Ramotar should study the Presidency of George Washington, the first and greatest President of the USA. He would learn about Washington’s humility and great leadership skills to make antagonists work brilliantly together (Hamilton and Jefferson), bringing young people to the forefront of politics and making the most of the worst circumstances to succeed beyond all expectations in elevating his nation .
Cheddi (Joey) Jagan (Jr.)