Aug 08, 2016 News
“He has become a sad story and it is just disappointing that he would choose to go down this path. My view is that there is a great opportunity in Guyana to pursue the politics of bipartisanism and the politics of cooperation and engagement. It is because of that belief that as soon as I became Prime Minister, I held out the olive branch of inclusivity to him (Jagdeo).” -Nagamootoo
By his very “tasteless” expressions and performance in handling this nation, Opposition Leader, Bharrat
Jagdeo has single-handedly stripped the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) of decency, dignity and integrity. This is the view held by Prime Minister and First Vice President, Moses Nagamootoo.
The Parliamentarian told this newspaper that Jagdeo has descended deeper into the slums of race-baiting politics and believes that his tactics will only earn disgust and abject rejection from right-thinking Guyanese.
Nagamootoo then reminded of Jagdeo’s comments to an audience in Queens, New York which were premised on the notion that the coalition government is engaging in an assault on PPP supporters.
The Prime Minister said that no Guyanese should try to divide the nation. He said that the Opposition leader has to move away from the mobilization of people on the basis of ethnicity.
“He has become a sad story and it is just disappointing that he would choose to go down this path. My view is that there is a great opportunity in Guyana to pursue the politics of bipartisanism and the politics of cooperation and engagement. It is because of that belief that as soon as I became Prime Minister, I held out the olive branch of inclusivity to him (Jagdeo).”
Nagamootoo said that of course, Jagdeo has chosen not to grasp that branch.
“My feeling is he is trying to close the door on unity and build a platform of ethnic mobilization for himself that is parochial and intended for his ego and relevance. But I want him to know that the appeal to ethnicity works only for a time. There is no model in the world of it being successful; there is no model of racist politics being successful in a multi-ethnic society.”
Also making reference to Jagdeo’s “race-baiting comments” abroad was Executive Member of the
Working People’s Alliance (WPA), Dr. David Hinds.
He asserted that Jagdeo’s statements are part of a larger political mobilization strategy of the PPP, which is aimed at pinning the charge of racism and ethnic cleansing on the government.
Dr. Hinds said that the message of that strategy is aimed directly at the Indian Guyanese community, and seeks to exploit the inherent fear of that community—a fear that heightens, now that a government that draws its support from the opposite ethnic group, is in power.
The University Professor opined that the charge by the Opposition Leader that Indian Guyanese are discriminated is not racist. He emphasized, however, that it is false, and it is being used to create racial hysteria among one section of the country. He reiterated that it is a charge that is not grounded in truth.
“Furthermore, the government can’t be assaulting people of Indian origin when it has in one short year pumped billions of dollars into the sugar industry and to some extent the rice industry which are dominated by PPP supporters and Indian Guyanese,” Dr. Hinds expressed.
“It seems to me that if you want to assault a community, you attack its source of sustenance. That is not what the government has done. To the contrary, the government has sought to strengthen the Indian Guyanese economic base.”
The WPA Executive Member said that what makes Jagdeo’s statements dangerous is that they are coming from a top leader, and are likely to be believed by the target audience.
Dr. Hinds asserted that if the Opposition Leader were making a case on behalf of the Indian Guyanese community and representing their concerns, he would have been in order.
The political activist said that this is not the case. Dr. Hinds asserted that Jagdeo is exploiting the community’s fears, using untruths and half-truths to exacerbate those fears, and painting the government as dangerous to the Indian Guyanese well-being.
He said that this is unacceptable. The WPA Executive Member emphasised that it is the intent of the statements and the possible outcome that are ethnically dangerous. As such, Dr. Hinds said that Jagdeo is making it difficult to bring about any semblance of national reconciliation and consensus.
With regard to Government’s response to the utterances, Dr. Hinds stated that it is “doing the best it can to combat this campaign by Jagdeo”.
He stressed that the administration has to speak directly to the Indian communities. Also important to addressing the situation, Dr. Hinds said, is the need for the Ministry of Social Cohesion to get busy.
“That ministry has to do the hard work of public education, day in day out. It has to have field officers on the ground educating people so as to soften the blow of Jagdeo and the PPP campaign of fear.”
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