Do you recall the famous case in West Indian ODI cricket in which captain Chris Gayle ordered his spinner, Sulieman Benn to leave the field? Gayle later told reporters that Benn could not do the type of bowling (over the wicket) that he had instructed him to do so he found that he was not needed on the field anymore.
It reminds one of what leadership is all about. The leader acts when his subordinates stumble, fall or mess up. Anyone familiar with this column would know that more often than not, I have referred to Donald Ramotar as the most intellectually barren, inept, arid and jejune Head of Government this country’s history has produced.
You cannot compare Mr. Ramotar with Presidents Burnham and Jagdeo in areas where the methodology would not work. Mr. Burnham was authoritarian but he was a superb political thinker with an arsenal of leadership qualities that served him and his party well. Mr. Jagdeo, like Mr. Burnham was a dictatorial human. But unlike Burnham, Jagdeo was an intellectual pygmy without any sustained urbaneness about him.
Jagdeo never possessed leadership qualities in the large way Mr. Burnham did but it would be analytically flawed to say he had none of the qualities that are required for leadership. Mr. Jagdeo had self-confidence that provided him with courage.
Mr. Jagdeo also possessed the instinct of self-awareness. He knew he was Commander-in-Chief and he told himself he will act like the Commander-in-Chief. He did during his twelve-year reign.
One example will suffice. One of the main planks of President Jagdeo’s rule was his solid reliance of one of his best friends – Nirmal Rehka, Secretary to the Treasury. When the GRA submitted a report that accused Mr. Rekha of signing more than fifty fictional duty free letters, President Jagdeo asked Rekha to step aside to allow for a full investigation. Jagdeo knew he had the power to retain Rehka, knew he would have retained him anyway but he also was cunning to know when to play a game with the country. And he played a game with Guyana using Rehka.
Mr. Donald Ramotar doesn’t know how to play any game, doesn’t know when to talk and when to be silent, when to supplant frank words with a diplomatic style, when to take one step backwards so he can take two steps forwards. This step thing was a famous quote from the god of Cheddi Jagan and all his protégés, the Russian communist leader, Vladimir Lenin.
It was Lenin who said in politics you take one step backward so that you can make two steps forward.
Jagan quoted that step statement so often that you could have predicted when it would come out of his mouth. When he was General Secretary of the PPP, Ramotar had a large poster of Lenin on the wall behind his chair. One of President Jagdeo’s former bodyguards told me that at Mr. Ramotar’s home there is a large portrait of Lenin.
But fond as he is of Lenin, Ramotar is not reading Lenin well. Ramotar is taking too many steps backward and they are leading him to the precipice.
It showed total lack of leadership qualities when Mr. Ramotar was openly seen embracing Mr. Nandlall yesterday at an Amerindian conference. Surely, it would have been strategic to keep a distance lest you are accused by the country of being bold-faced in siding with Mr. Nandlall. But this is the man Ramotar, the President that lacks leadership qualities and the man who is going to stand by Nandlall at all cost.
But let us say that you are going to stand by your man, there are ways to do. Hilary stood by Bill but in a very dignified way in which she admitted that Bill went astray with his Monica Lewinsky thing. Nandlall went astray with his Gildharie tape. There is no way Ramotar can get Nandlall out of that.
So how did Ramotar stand by his man? By being most awful and silly. He said that it is not for him to fire or suspend Nandlall; it was a police matter. The police were investigating Rekha yet Jagdeo asked him to temporarily step down.
In the history of Guyana, the tape scandal ranks high. If you are to count the scandals, they will be the attempted assassination of Argosy editor, Peter Taylor in the sixties; Walter Rodney murder; Ronald Waddell killing; the Roger Khan saga, among others. The tape scandal is right up there with these infamous events. And what does Ramotar say? “Let the police investigate.”
How about Ramotar doing some investigation on his own? Is he capable?
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