Cheddi (Joey) Jagan, son of deceased presidents Cheddi and Janet Jagan has slammed government for underdevelopment in Berbice one year after elections promises were made for a brighter Ancient County saying it was this reason he left the party.
“Since the last elections, I have been back to Berbice quite a few times to assess for myself what has been done for the residents there since Mr Ramotar became President last year, and I have found out for myself, that nothing much has been done, especially in tackling job creation and investment initiatives so critical for growth and development,” Jagan said in a letter to the editor published in yesterday’s edition of this newspaper.
“The 63-64 beach area is a disgrace, the black-outs and irrigation problems are nightmares by themselves, the crime situation is out of hand and getting no better, investment to create good jobs and job training [are] seriously lacking with no real prospects in sight, and basic amenities like licensing [drivers] and passport offices are sorely lacking,” the letter also stated.
Using another letter by a Berbician, who highlighted the electricity problems faced by Berbicans, Jagan said not only did he agree with examples of non and underdevelopment in Berbice he was compelled to apologize to Berbicians for endorsing Donald Ramotar’s PPP/C government.
“I am critical and speak out because I have a conscience that’s it bottom line… I have a right to change my mind. I cannot sit and watch the people perish and say nothing … I speak out especially for the people of Berbice because that was where I campaigned and told the people to believe that change was coming but it hasn’t and it doesn’t seem as if it will,” Jagan told Stabroek News yesterday.
He said so perturbed he was about the stagnation of development in Berbice that he wrote to President Donald Ramotar over 20 times, between January and June 19 of this year to no avail. He said after his last letter and using his democratic right of choice he severed all relationships with the PPP/C and will now be an independent advocate for country development.
“I told Mr Ramotar that I will give him the same amount of time I gave my mother 6 – 7 months and if there is no change then I am gone. If I give my own mother 8 months, I am not giving anyone else longer. That time is enough to see at least little change. I continued writing to him and this man never had the decency to reply – not once,” he added.
Told that some persons have called him a disappointed opportunist and a ‘Flip Flopper’ Jagan said everyone was entitled to say what they wanted. He pointed out that no one could say he was an opportunist since he never bartered his endorsement for anything from the PPP/C government. “As God above me and Mr Ramotar can also tell you I never asked for any position or anything personal but that Berbice where I campaigned promises be lived through and that Charlotte Street be fixed,” he said.
“If I wanted or was looking for anything I would have been a quiet boy then [during his parents’ tenures] and gotten position power and wealth,” he added.
He criticized the Ministry of Agriculture’s Grow More Food initiative saying that under past Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud it had failed to meet expectations and as such failed the Berbicians and by extension Guyanese. “Slogans and taxpayers’ money spent on growing more food, have still resulted in increasing food costs for the people of Berbice and the rest of Guyana. If we had grown more food then food prices, especially for the basics, would have gone down for Berbicans.” Minister of Natural Resources, Robert Persaud, when contacted, stated that he had not seen the letter and as such was not in a position to comment. Current Minister of Agriculture Dr Leslie Ramsammy said on the issue of drainage and irrigation at Berbice his ministry was working not only in that county, but countrywide in a strategic manner. He said while Jagan may take personal jabs at him he would not get caught up in the “tit for tat” as he was focused on his job and had much to do preparing for the rainy season. “Let him say what he wants.
I state facts …Throughout the country we have to prepare for the rainy season. We have to plan for irrigation and drainage issues. One has to look at the money we have and people should understand,” he said.
Meanwhile Jagan said that he will continue to be critical of all governments until change for the better comes for all Guyanese and ‘Cheddi’s Vision’ is realised. “I will continue to speak out and give criticisms because the PPP/C lied to me, Berbicians and the Guyanese people making promises during the elections,” Jagan stated. (Marcelle Thomas)