The Washington Post published a dimension of the Trump presidency that has been repeated across the global media scene. The American De Donald is accused of making 6,420 erroneous statements in a period of 649 days. If the American press can research this type of negative output of the De Donald of the US, why can’t the media in Guyana do the same for the Guyanese De Donald?
The Guyanese De Donald of course is the former president, Donald Ramotar. Since leaving office, De Donald has published a newspaper letter once a month. There are times when it is once a week. A fortnight ago, there were two letters in the same week. Let us stick with once a month. That would be about forty letters since May 2015.
There is only one answer to why the Guyanese media cannot substantiate the amount of times the Guyanese De Donald was deliberately not factual. The Guyanese media do not have the resources that a paper like the Washington Post has (owned by Amazon tycoon, billionaire Jeff Bezos). But I contend that our De Donald was just as careless with objective facts as his American counterpart.
The Guyanese De Donald was in the news recently. He appeared on the witness stand to be questioned by the Attorney General in the court case involving the lease of the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre (Red House). The case is finished, with the Chief Justice to hand down her decision on December 17. During cross examination, De Donald acted exactly the way we would expect his American counterpart to perform.
The Guyanese De Donald told the court that he did not sign the lease as president when he approved of Red House being leased to the research centre. After agreeing with the AG that the lease of state property would require presidential permission, De Donald asserted that approval can be given orally. One wonders what the legal luminaries will make of this.
Isn’t one of the fulcrums of the legal rights of citizens since time immemorial the “signed document”? Isn’t one entering a legal minefield when one can go to court and claim a property by citing oral permission was given? I am not a lawyer, so I will leave it there, but I have the funny feeling that the Guyanese De Donald expects for the PPP to win the case because an oral approval is as good as the written signature.
Before we leave this aspect of De Donald’s deportment, one other aspect of the just concluded Red House case needs to be touched on, because it shows the way De Donald thinks. The AG showed documents to De Donald where on three occasions in the research centre’s application for the lease, President Jagdeo in 2006, 2010 and 2011 did not sign the documents. After perusing the papers shown to him in the witness box, De Donald agreed that the president did not sign. But then De Donald answered back in a way that was extremely curious. He told the AG that even though Jagdeo did not add his signature, it did not mean that Jagdeo did not approve of the lease. Interesting semantics from the Guyanese De Donald. One would like to think this is the kind of response the American De Donald would offer.
So how many times did the Guyanese De Donald not tell the truth or was blatantly misleading? I guess we will never know, but we should not leave readers in suspense. We can at least cite one or two examples. The clue to how many times De Donald strayed from the truth is contained in a few lines he used in a letter published on October 13, 2018.
Gloating over the democratic rights his party brought to Guyana when it governed, De Donald observed; “However, one of the greatest achievements was the freedom which all our people enjoyed. No one was ever afraid to speak their minds. People criticized without looking over their shoulders to see who was listening.”
So let’s conclude with just one example. I will not dwell on my contract termination at UG, six weeks after De Donald became president. Attorney Gino Persaud (now High Court judge) was chosen to be the CEO of the European firm, Credit Bureau. He was sent to Slovakia for training. When Credit Bureau was ready to set up shop here, the company was told that Persaud was an anti-government activist and the state cannot grant a license with such a person as the CEO. The only crime Persaud ever committed was to hold the position of president of the local branch of Transparency International. De Donald denied that he denied Persaud the job.
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