Do the Maths on Jagdeo’s house
is going to fade away. That edifice is just too elaborate, luxurious, majestic and extravagant, for it not to continue in the news and among commentators.
If a case could have been argued for Mr. Jagdeo, the statement by the Attorney-General (AG) has completely blown away any logic that could have come Mr. Jagdeo’s way.
The AG said that when Mr. Jagdeo came into power, he did not have properties and assets in his name. Immediately, it brings into focus, mathematics. It is when you do the maths against the AG’s announcement that we see that Mr. Jagdeo has some formidable questions to answer.
One fact stands out conspicuously – in Mr. Jagdeo’s twelve years as President, he did not have any other full-time or part-time occupation that brought in an extra income. It figures then that all expenditures by Mr. Jagdeo had to come from savings or loans or gifts.
In all the controversy over his first house in Pradoville One, he did not speak about loans and gifts. So we start with the first house. He sold it for $120 million. Let us say that he made a whopping profit; maybe about $30 million, it still leaves you with a construction that cost between eighty and ninety million dollars.
In ten years of his presidency at a million dollars a month in salary without loans and gifts, could Mr. Jagdeo have accumulated so much when you consider that he had other expenses that go with living in a modern world?
He got $120M for the Pradovile One outfit. We come now to Pradoville Two. Assessing the price of a house in any country is as simple as looking up at the skies. Just gaze upwards with your eyes and you will see the Milky Way. Take a calculator and work out with Jagdeo’s salary for twelve years and determine whether he could have afforded that mansion.
So what is the cost of his edifice? I went to see it for the purpose of this column. In my estimation at current international market rates, Mr. Jagdeo’s home will fetch around US$3 million ($600M). Those kinds of houses are owned by wealthy sports and entertainment stars.
Mr. Jagdeo got $120M for an ordinary layout in Pradoville One. If he can get that price for a normal upper middle class domicile, then surely his current Pradoville Two is worth five times what the first home cost. What the opposition needs to do is confront the Jagdeo defenders with a challenge. Let a Caribbean real estate agent come to Guyana and assess the value of the house.
Whatever value they come up with, Mr. Jagdeo will still be in hot water when you take out your calculator and add up his salary over twelve years.
The dilemma with authoritarian regimes is that the drift into cruel dictatorship becomes inevitable, because with each day a sin is committed for which there is the fear that if the government changes there will be investigations into those vices.
What happens, then, is that the regime fights each day to stay alive in order to prevent the fall of power. In so doing, more vices are committed with the specific purpose of prolonging power. A full-fledged dictatorship evolves because everyday energies are spent on weakening opposition organizations.
It is this writer’s inflexible view that the PPP will not accept the loss of power, either electorally or through a Velvet Revolution, because the greatest trepidation will be the inquiry into wrongdoing. A judicial commission is likely to recommend prosecution and loss of questionable assets.
I predict that if there is a successful no-confidence motion in Parliament, the PPP will not resign but will go to court. Can any citizen in this land see the PPP Government quietly leaving office because it lost a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly?
The first reaction would be to question the legitimacy of the process that led to the motion in the first place. Then the actual legality of the motion will be challenged.
Of course, all this can take months or years in the courts. If the general election results in defeat, all kinds of obstacles will be erected to prevent a new government from sitting. The brutal reality in Guyana is that power has been used in horrific ways, especially to accumulate wealth, and the incumbent office-holders simply will not accept the legal loss of power.