Nov 13, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – It was the best time for Vice President Bharat Jagdeo to speak. It was the worst occasion for him to choose silence. It was the biggest issue on hand at the moment, and on which he must have had something of value to offer, if only for the spiritual joining of hands with all parliamentary colleagues. Yet, Guyana’s former head of state for 12 years, and now Vice President for over three more, uttered not a single word during the gathering that was all about Venezuela.
Prime Minister Mark Phillips spoke, and so did Attorney General Anil Nandlall, among others. Bharat Jagdeo’s voice belonged in that choir of Guyanese speaking with heart and heat, with zeal and zest, on where they stood, and where this country must be on the dire Venezuelan border controversy. For the strangest of reasons, known only to himself, he let the moment pass, as if premeditated. Jagdeo is not known to be a stickler for protocol, or one who is deferential to those in his party, but there he was, a figure set in stone, with feet firmly anchored to the ground, and lips sealed shut. Clearly his mind was made up, which raises alarms.
As a former president, as the present leader of his party which holds the reins of power, there is plenty that he is sure to know about Venezuela from before, plus deep insights on the overheated daily developments from over there. If only as a show of all hands on the Guyana deck and for the Guyana cause, Jagdeo had to stand up and say something. Not saying anything that came to his head for the sake of saying something, but as a form of solidarity with his political brethren from both sides of the parliamentary aisle.
It may remain a mystery about why the Vice President did not speak on Venezuela during the special sitting of parliament. But what he has chosen to focus on recently gives a clue into how he may be thinking, what could be his first and only priority. Prior to the Monday, November 6th extraordinary parliamentary session, it was Jagdeo himself who spoke about Venezuela, but with what left many Guyanese staggering. Jagdeo emphasized that Venezuelans who are eligible to vote here should be given the greenlight to do so. It is incredible that this nation is labouring under the cloud of escalating threats, and its former president is talking about voting rights for citizens of the same country seeking to intimidate Guyanese.
We do not think that any political figure in this country could be so power hungry, or consumed with a lust for power and the retention of it, that the only matter of merit in his mind is how to use economic migrants (looking at this in the best light) for elections purposes. Elections should be the last thing on the mind of any Guyanese at this time of severe menace coming from across this country’s western border. We would like to include Vice President Jagdeo in this reasoning, this conclusion, but his priorities make it very difficult for us. To compound matters, he was uncharacteristically silent on the biggest stage dealing during the biggest hour reserved for dealing with the biggest issue facing this country. It is the intensifying Venezuelan saber-rattling and its uninterrupted one-sided war of words.
Could it be that Jagdeo is afraid that if he opened his mouth in parliament, he risks contradicting himself at best, or showing where he really stands, and of which nothing could be worse? There are some issues that have compelling imperatives of their own, and the Venezuelan border controversy stands head and shoulders above all others, in this regard. Bharat Jagdeo is not a junior minister, but one with the biggest portfolio, if not all of them. He has spoken on China, he has been at the side of the President during visits to America. But there he was on Monday November 6th in parliament, and like Banquo’s ghost in Shakespeare’s Macbeth (about a bad king, coincidentally), he could be seen but had nothing to say. There is so much that could be made of Jagdeo’s thunderous silence, most not positive.
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