At the 2015 death anniversary of Cheddi Jagan in Berbice and at the Kitty launching of the PPP’s election campaign, the front man as in the style of Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, was Bharrat Jagdeo.
If we had stand-up comedians like the US, Donald Ramotar would have become mincemeat. Someone needs to ask, “Can the real Presidential candidate, please stand up?” Jagdeo is the front man for the PPP election campaign and from the way he overshadows Ramotar, a visitor from Newfoundland would swear that Jagdeo is the presidential contender.
Mr. Jagdeo actually went on to say that he is in charge of the government when he made a gargantuan Freudian slip. He told a press conference that after speaking to President Ramotar, the policy of financial support for medical facilities for governmental seniors would be reshaped.
The trouble with the resuscitation of Bharrat Jagdeo is that you don’t need a doctorate in economics to know that he was a failed President. Guyana as a failed country is bringing back the cause of its failure. And it is not that you have to do intense research to ascertain the horrible economic non-performance of Jagdeo. His twelve-year-reign is emblazoned with financial, economic and social misery.
Jagdeo has left the NIS with an uncertain future. This is a monumentally priceless institution. Six billion dollars of its funds Jagdeo invested in CLICO; CLICO collapsed and the money was lost. Jagdeo took a similar sum of the NIS money and put it in the construction of the Berbice Bridge. To date the NIS has received not one cent in dividends.
Jagdeo took US$185 million and put into a new sugar factory at Skeldon. It remains the largest state investment in the history of this country. It doesn’t make profits and has to be subsidized by the state. Under Jagdeo’s reign, a four-lane highway from Timehri to the airport was financed. Where is the volume of traffic to justify that expenditure? And it came at a time when Caribbean flights are now landing at Ogle.
Under the stewardship of Jagdeo the University of Guyana virtually collapsed. UG cannot even pay its taxes to the GRA and send remittances to the NIS. Under Jagdeo UG stands bare. During the tenure of Jagdeo small airstrips were constructed at Leguan and Wakenam respectively. What purpose they serve remains a mystery.
Guyana is one of the most obscure countries in the world. We have no viable tourist industry that brings in foreign exchange in an appreciable amount. Even during international cricket in Guyana, the arrivals did not fill the Pegasus and Princess hotels. There are also a large number of smaller hotels that visitors use rather than patronize the more expensive ones.
Against this background, Jagdeo took over US$36 million (to date we don’t know the real figure) to finance the Marriott. You don’t need even a first degree in economics to know that the Marriott will never have even half occupancy at any time in the near future. What kind of investments come into Guyana to justify the largeness of the Marriott? It was a criminal waste of taxpayers’ money.
It was under Jagdeo that Guyanese had to pay for water. It was under Jagdeo that the exchange rate hit $205 for one American dollar. It was under Jagdeo that Guyana achieved the egregious distinction of having the highest cost per kilowatt for electricity in the Americas. It was under Jagdeo that the foreign owners of the Pegasus sold it off and invested the money in Jamaica.
It was under Jagdeo’s twelve-year domination that public sector yearly wage and salary increase never went beyond five percent. Jadgeo’s Amaila Falls venture was a financial horror show. Guyanese are still waiting to see the benefits from the large Chinese investments if they ever will see such benefits at all. We could go on and go. But space will prevent such an excursion.
The balance sheet of President Jagdeo, 1999-2011 was an abysmal failure. It has to be one of the weirdest moments in politics anywhere in the world where a President who hardly achieved, anything if he achieved anything at all, is the front man for his party in a national election.
It explains why from now until the day of balloting, Mr. Jagdeo will cuss down the opposition, invent fictional tales about the opposition and pursue into fanatical denunciations of the PNC government in the seventies but will never mention his balance sheet as President. He knows the slate is not only bare but dirty. What an irony. Jagdeo heads the PPP campaign.
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