Following the 2006 General Elections, President Bharrat Jagdeo had considered getting rid of his most senior advisor and Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon.
As a matter of fact, Jagdeo’s intention was to make substantial changes to his new Cabinet after that August 28 elections and had weeks before the polls told officials of his decision.
According to another of now infamous WikiLeaks secret cables that has been released and now posted on the internet, the Guyana Head of State had met US Ambassador Roland Bullen, a month before the elections on July 11, and disclosed his intentions of the “substantial” Cabinet changes.
“One casualty may be Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon, who has held that position as Guyana’s de facto number two since the PPP came to power in 1992. Dr Luncheon has even criticized Jagdeo in recent meetings with Ambassador and DCM (Deputy Chief of Mission), and described conflicts between the PPP government (Jagdeo, essentially) and PPP party headquarters,” a cable sent by Charge d’Affaires Michael Thomas to the US Secretary of State said.
According to the cable, other observers have described the split between the idealistic “Communist wing of the party (who, ironically, are fairly well-disposed to the U.S.) and the opportunists who entangled the party/government into dealing with narco-criminal Roger Khan…The old-timers fear that Jagdeo will force them out if he wins another term in office.”
The American Embassy felt that the PPP was trying “very hard” to present a very unified campaign face, but divisions lurk beneath the surface.
“Jagdeo and the party are not on the same page. The PPP was scrambling until just before nomination day to assemble its list of candidates.”
Regarding the implications of the PPP/C asking its former Executive Council member, Moses Nagamootoo, to return back to the party, it was felt that this was a coup for the party since the former Minister of Information, could potentially attract another three to four percent votes.
“But relations between Jagdeo and Nagamootoo are reportedly poor. No doubt, announcing in 2003 that he would seek the 2006 PPP presidential nomination did not endear him to Jagdeo.” The cable noted that Jagdeo enjoyed a greater support outside the party than he does among the old guard of the PPP inner circle.
Jagdeo has had an uneasy relationship with his party members, especially with senior executives.
“Now some PPP stalwarts must be fretting over the president they created. There are no signs that Jagdeo’s micro-managing leadership style has changed in the run-up to elections. In fact, the August 28 election date is largely a product of his determination to have elections before the September 2 extended constitutional deadline.”
The role of 85-year-old Janet Jagan, alive at the time, was also raised in the cable with Thomas noting that while she remained the matriarch of the PPP, her role will decline rapidly as her health continues to decline.
“Tellingly, Jagdeo apologized to Ambassador Bullen (on) July 11 for Jagan’s vitriolic column that described the “stench of rendition” in relation to Khan’s expulsion. Jagdeo took pains to make clear that Jagan does not speak on behalf of the GoG (Government of Guyana).”
Meanwhile, the cable also spoke of the threat of convicted drug trafficker Shaheed “Roger” Khan over the 2006 elections.
“The possibility that Khan reveals the PPP’s dirty laundry is the big wild card. Post understands that Khan may have compromising information about Jagdeo. If Khan does reveal this information in a proffer, it would spell the end for Jagdeo. Nagamootoo could benefit in this scenario — but it is a long shot.”
The embassy believed that at the highest levels, the Guyana Government would have gone to great lengths to prevent Khan from “spilling the beans”.
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