Bharrat Jagdeo came to power in August 1999. By the time he won his second national election in 2006, Mr. Jagdeo had graphically proven the right an old perception of human nature – it is better to give a rich man power than a poor fellow; the poor fellow will most likely steal to get rich.
I worked closely with Guyana’s best legal brain at the University of Guyana. I was close to J.O.F. Haynes also because he knew my mother-in-law well and shopped at her supermarket for decades.
One day in his office at UG, he answered a question of mine with his customary, funny facial gesticulation. He leaned his face to one side, looked down to the floor and said; “because he has money.”
My question was why he took Rex McKay to Grenada to be his assistant prosecutor after the American invasion and the arrest of the ruling party. JOF said that he believed McKay would not be enticed by money because he already had it.
Jagdeo, the poor, semi-educated boy from Unity, Mahaica, became tempted by money and ended up having most of the rich men in Guyana as his enduring intimates. Jagdeo literally handed over this country to his relatives, friends and PPP cronies. Seventeen months after the Coalition came to power, we are still to see legal action against the oceans of illegal things Jagdeo and company perpetuated in this land and we are still to see the dismantling of the incestuously driven, publicly funded institutions Jagdeo created.
One of the reasons that best explain why the dismantling has not occurred as yet is because of the new rulers’ ineptness in politically strategizing.
The parties that make up the Coalition had fifteen years to see the incestuous use of power by Jagdeo and Ramotar. The PNC, AFC and WPA didn’t need a torch light to see how Jagdeo and Ramotar were creating a country run and enjoyed by family, relatives and friends.
Perhaps the lowest level of this moral poison was the creation of oligarchic power for Kwame McCoy and the appointment of Bibi Shadick as Pro-Chancellor of UG.
When it came to power in May 2015, one of the key strategies of the new regime was to appoint a committee of competent persons to study the areas of incestuousness and dissolve them. It never did so, thus Charles Ramson Sr remained as the Commissioner of Information doing absolutely nothing and drawing down $2 million monthly.
The story of the retention of Charles Ramson as Commissioner of Information is the story of a fiction that could only be found in a country like Guyana and there is no other disheveled country like Guyana.
The Coalition regime is seventeen months old and throughout that period, Mr. Ramson sat in his office which is located inside his home and collected 2 million dollars monthly. During this time, he became embroiled in terrible controversies.
Here are two examples. When requested for information, Mr. Ramson declined on the basis that the address on the envelope by Transparency International (Guyana Branch) did not spell out his full titles to include his seniority as a former Court of Appeal Justice. That was sufficient evidence of unbecoming conduct to have him removed after the Coalition came to power.
The second example was when he rejected request for information on the basis that his office could not function since funds for the office in the National Budget was cut by the parliamentary opposition of APNU and AFC.
This was not true because the cut item was restored unilaterally by the PPP Government and Mr. Ramson’s office had finances to work with. The law under which the Director of Information functions prescribes no term limits. The law itself is so flawed that it is literally designed to create headaches for those who request information.
Perhaps the only government that does not know that laws can be amended or scrapped is the present administration in this land. A simple amendment could have sent Ramson packing.
The APNU and AFC inherited a troubled country. One AFC leader said it will take time to correct all the terrible things the PPP cabal did.
But the leaders of this very troubled country do not behave as if Guyana has profound, extensive problems. Parliament hardly meets and when it does meet its schedule is similar to other countries which do not have even ten percent of the dilemmas we face.
So Parliament meets this week and dozens and dozens of totalitarian legislations that the PPP enacted will be left intact; they will take decades to undo.
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