I was caught between small bursts of controlled laughter and measured seriousness on reading (Kaieteur News, December 10) the headline, “Jagdeo fumes at World Bank…not a cent yet from Norway,” followed by the contents of the story and then the related ‘Dem Boys seh…de World Bank mek Bharrat cry.”
I am tempted to say, “I told you so,” because besides my many letters disputing the veracity of LCDS, about two years ago, I made a friendly wager of US$I with a pro-PPPite blogger on a pro-PPP blog site that no matter what President Bharrat Jagdeo says or does, he will not get the much touted huge sum of US$580 million a year for avoiding deforestation in support of the global climate change fight or Guyana’s LCDS.
The PPP blogger, based in Brampton, Canada, was rather adamant in his defence of the government’s LCDS, contending that within one year of last December’s Copenhagen climate change summit, Guyana will be rolling in the dough.
To his chagrin and disappointment, instead of Guyana rolling in the climate change dough, its President keeps rolling around the world like a dough boy looking for the dough.
Further, the latest word is that the rich nations, which originally seemed committed to finding US$100 billion to pay developing countries not to cut down their forests, even as the rich complained about giving that kind of money to corrupt Third World governments, are now balking.
A decision was then made by the rich countries that whatever monies they set aside for climate change will be funneled through existing recognised financial institutions, like the World Bank. So Norway, with which Guyana signed a much heralded deal for US$250 million over five years, and was supposed to hand over a first installment check this year, has instead opted to give US$30 million to the World Bank (WB) to then be handed over to Guyana.
The WB, for its part, appears unprepared to pay Guyana the first check from Norway, and this caused both President Jagdeo and his Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh, to run off at the mouth against the WB, with the President referring to WB officials as ‘silly’ and ‘useless’ and the Finance Minister criticising the WB’s regional branch for busying itself with constructing a new Georgetown office.
It is ironic, Mr. Editor, that after months of chest-beating and feet-stomping about the virtues of LCDS, and exactly one year after Copenhagen was supposed to deliver US$580 million a year for Guyana’s economy, the President went to Mexico complaining about not receiving a check for US$30 million from Norway.
In a political minute, he went from the US$580 million champ to the US$30 million chump; a financial hero to a financial zero, and from sizzle to fizzle in nanoseconds.
I know it is not becoming to publicly say the President is stupid, but something has to be radically wrong with his politically cognitive capacity that he fails to read the tea leaves in helping him arrive at the conclusion that there has to be a disturbing reason why Norway decided to give the WB the check destined for Guyana, and why the WB is refusing to hand over the check.
If I were him, I’d revisit the concerns raised by rich countries about coughing up hundreds of millions of dollars to corrupt Third World governments to help fight climate change, because based on the WB’s own annual reports, Guyana does have a major corruption problem in its government.
The President and his loyal political minions are about the only ones in deep denial about the actual pervasiveness of corruption in his government and are obviously oblivious to how the rest of the world actually sees Guyana.
That brings me to the point of President Jagdeo giving a US official, attending the Cancun summit, a document for President Barack Obama. I don’t know if President Jagdeo is aware that President Obama, as the leader of a developed nation contributing to the climate change problem, is probably aware of the data in that report, so what President Jagdeo did basically smacks of political naiveté or grave personal desperation.
As a Guyanese, I think someone should have also slipped the US representative copies of Guyana’s Auditor-General’s reports for the past five years, showing where billions of dollars remain unaccounted for. This means, if Guyana were to get any climate change money from rich countries, this will only exacerbate an already egregious problem.
Maybe the President’s begging and busing approach might eventually wear out the WB, but I am convinced that the WB is holding back on the first installment from Norway to Guyana out of concerns about the corrupt nature of the Jagdeo administration – unaccounted monies and overpaid contractors – and that while the rest of the world sees great potential in Guyana, they all would prefer to see a regime change before making massive investments.
I urge Guyanese reading this letter who did not read the Kaieteur News news story I referenced at the top to do so and you will see President Jagdeo, beside the Norwegian President, making money the main issue, instead of climate change. And this is what the developed world needs to know: Jagdeo is not as interested in fighting climate change as much as he is in getting his hands on your money.
Here’s an extract of what he said: “We have delivered the results, but I can’t get the money,” and, “We’ve delivered the results, and then someone is telling us how we have to spend our money too.”
While ‘we’, the people, have delivered, it is ‘I’, the President, who need the money. See the difference? To boot, his arrogance knows no boundary. He is begging for the people’s money, but don’t want them to tell him how to spend it, which is part of the deal anyway.
Was it not his government that recently issued a directive to GECOM to advertise its procurement needs on the government’s new website because it is the public’s money that will be spent and there is a need for accountability and transparency?
Is it just me or has anyone else discerned that President Jagdeo finally lost the ability to feel international embarrassment and shame?
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