This nation is going through yet another iteration of a draft Local Content Policy. We are being advised it is the “final draft.” Many stakeholders, including the trade union and business, have questions and concerns about this policy and the management of oil and gas. Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo was presented the opportunity, via Kaieteur Radio, to share his thoughts with the public on the matter.
This is virgin economic and labour frontier for Guyana, and this man, who went as far as the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) desperately seeking a third term even though the Constitution is very clear this is not possible, by his actions, continues to demonstrate he doesn’t care about the people of Guyana.
He couldn’t set aside self-interest for the national good. In the face of multinationals and expatriate businesses setting up house here to exploit our resources, we should have been able to demonstrate to the world that we can set aside domestic differences and unite in the presence of these forces.
Forbes Burnham and Cheddi Jagan did that during the Cold War. Nothing less should be expected from the interim Government and interim Opposition in a globalised world. Mr. Jagdeo blows it again, proving that though the opposition, which is a government in waiting, he has no plan beyond the media brawls, creating confusion and mayhem.
He diverts into a tirade that “This President is no longer President. He’s caretaker President…[and]. Everyone should be in campaign mode now. The oil companies are not going to leave.” The statements by him are reckless and the asininity is troubling. The President continues to function, albeit in a caretaker mode, as outlined in Article 106(7) of the Constitution and reiterated in the 12th July CCJ judgement.
The Honourable Justices in noting this fact referred to acting Chancellor Yonette Cummings-Edward’s citing of Peter Hogg, Canadian constitutional expert, saying she “was right to note that: ‘…The government continues in office as a caretaker government or an interim government until the next elections ensue and a President is appointed (or reappointed) depending on the results of that election.’”
Whether caretaker mode or whatever term Mr. Jagdeo chooses to use, the business of government continues until an election is held. He cannot quantify what government’s limited function is, when he is not even prepared to go to parliament and come to a legal and binding agreement on said limitation.
To suggest we can deal with oil after election is gross abrogation of his responsibility and sense of commitment to the national interest. It is a shame that Mr. Jagdeo and his Members of Parliament (MPs) continue to earn money under false pretense. Some measure of accountability needs to be enacted to ensure this abuse of parliamentary privilege ceases.
Everyday these MPs are benefitting from taxpayers’ money and drawing salary every month. Mr. Jagdeo and his interim ‘cabinet’ are not honouring their obligations of going to parliament and attending to the people’s business, where he/they can best serve Guyana’s interest as a whole. Instead, he is resorting to the daily rabble-rousing.
When pushed on the importance of attending to the issues before First Oil in 2020, beyond the ghetto politics, the best Jagdeo has is a promise that should the PPP be elected to office “the entire architecture for proper management of the resources will be completed within six months.” This promise is comfort to a fool.
The iron fist he has on the PPP will inform what happens in any PPP government. Where presidential candidate Irfaan Ali is clearly not his own man, decisions will not be made unless authored and approved by Jagdeo. This nation has seen and lived through his disastrous track record, which is the worse in the English-speaking Caribbean.
It is he, Jagdeo, who gave away the Linden bauxite company for US$1.00; the Berbice bauxite company to RUSAL (Bauxite Company Guyana Incorporated) who under his stewardship transgressed Guyanese rights and violated our laws. It is he Bharrat Jagdeo who allowed Bai Shan Lin free reign to not honour its agreement and abuse our forestry resources, showing no regard for climate change and sustainable development.
While he condemns tax concessions granted in the oil and gas arrangement, we must remember the agreements he signed with many foreign and multinationals such as RUSAL, Bai San Lin, Guyana Goldfields and others were in principle no different. Under his presidency there was no need for experience to be given more than US$38.4M to build the access road to the failed Amaila Hydropower Project. Government properties were parcelled off to friends and loyalists for next to nothing.
Nepotism was the order of the day. Guyanese must not forget.
So, when Mr. Jagdeo talks about trusting Guyana under his leadership, albeit behind Irfaan, who is no more than his utensil, we must tell him ‘go da side.’ Guyanese don’t need no puppet leader.
The bad deals he had done as government, when questioned, he did nothing about them. We cannot trust him and/or Irfaan to address any deal when the PPP gets into power. This is a man who would barefacedly and unashamedly tells us we must hold the previous government to account. He is of proven deception and I call on the people to rise-up and stand up against the atrocities committed against this nation by this politician.
Guyanese cannot wait for “six months” or until after election when the PPP is hoping for a victory. Let the party leadership prove love for country, nationalism and patriotism now. Going by Jagdeo’s present record, what we know is if the PPP does not have executive power, it is prepared to sabotage this country to ensure nothing good comes out of it, as it did with the Georgetown municipalities and other regions not won by the party in previous elections.
Without a doubt, Jagdeo is the most dangerous and immoral politician of all times in Guyana. I hope the western world and CARICOM countries are taking note, for he presents a clear and present danger not only to Guyana, but for the peace and stability of the region. We must all be prepared to hold Mr. Jagdeo accountable to the taxpayers of this country.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)
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