The President of Guyana has it so good that every other President and Prime Minister, even those in tyrannical lands, envy him. And that is because we have a semi-energized press. If Mr. Jagdeo’s counterparts were involved in just one percent of the controversies that have enveloped Mr. Jagdeo, they would never survive. Take his accusation against me of not publishing any research as an academic.
Three times he repeated that derogation. I decided to challenge him on this page. If I produce published research, would he resign? And if he gives me a deadline for the display of such research and I fail to produce it, I would resign from my teaching job at UG and bring this page to an end. Mr. Jagdeo has not responded. And the press lets him off the hook.
We can cite the US, Italy, France, some of our CARICOM states where if that had happened, the press would have been relentless. Can you see Manning of Trinidad publicly deriding a UWI academic for not publishing even a single essay? Then the UWI lecturer openly challenges the PM, and the press let it slide.
Can you guess what would have happened to Berlusconi in Italy? Had he made that remark about an Italian academic, and the battle was joined, would the press have allowed Berlusconi to survive? Not one journalist has said to Mr. Jagdeo why he hasn’t grasped at the opportunity to remove me from the political landscape. It has died down. The press moves on as with so many other scandalous situations. We have put the file on the Lindo Creek massacre on the shelf. Who killed those diamond miners? This writer is entitled to his opinion and my unshakeable belief is that it was not a marauding gang of criminals.
No one bothers with the shocking revelations of the former First Lady, Varshnie Singh. Stella Ramsaroop did a piece on it this week. And I added to Stella’s reflections by revisiting Ms. Singh’s tragedy in my column yesterday. And what about properties that are sold at such a fairy tale prices that it leads one to believe that acts of money laundering may have occurred. There is no journalistic investigation. That too has disappeared into obfuscation. It is not hard to imagine what goes on inside the head of the rulers of this land when they land in volcanic waters. At least we can try. We can start with Robeson Benn.
Was Mr. Benn being silly when he told the media that the Government is satisfied that there is sufficient information on the track-record of the contractor for the Amaila Falls project and then boldly proclaimed that he doesn’t have to provide the evidence and he will not? Mr. Benn made this statement eleven months before a national election is due. So is he foolish? Doesn’t he know that near to an election you don’t behave like that because you can lose votes? So what is the answer? Mr. Benn is not silly. Inside the head of Mr. Benn is the same formula that you find for all his colleagues.
It goes something like this – so what will happen if I get into hot water; who is going to do what about it and in any case in a few weeks’ time, that is dead and forgotten. This is the thinking that is rampant in the corridors of power. A property is sold, the price is so excessive, it raises eyebrows but it has gone onto the shelf too. No one was afraid of the adverse publicity and why should they be. It will soon be covered with dust on the shelf. It has already. Why should a powerful politician be scared of bad publicity over wife abuse? In a few weeks, it becomes a forgotten footnote. There is nothing for a policy-maker to be frightened about when huge tracks of priceless real estate owned by the state is virtually given away because of the ridiculous price the purchaser paid. Go inside the head of the seller and you will find the Benn formula.
It is the unimaginable absurdities of these scandals that make you sick. How can a human fire a bullet into his brain, then still be alive and have the energy to pull the trigger of the gun to put another shot into his head? And the nation is told that it is suicide. And the nation and the press will just carry on as if nothing happened.
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