Former President, Mrs. Janet Jagan, has re-stated her call for an end to the withdrawal of government advertising from Stabroek News.
Reaffirming her position on the issue, Mrs. Jagan wrote in her regular column in the Weekend Mirror yesterday, that despite her strong criticism of Stabroek News “I repeat my earlier call for the end of the advertisement ban on that newspaper”.
In February, Mrs. Jagan had called for a reversal of the decision by the government, pointing out that she did not agree with government claims that Stabroek News is losing circulation and thus the decision to close down advertising was purely commercial.
She added that government advertising should be spread throughout the media on a fair basis.
Shortly after her February statements were published President Bharrat Jagdeo stated that Mrs. Jagan is entitled to her opinion as a private citizen. Jagdeo told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that Mrs. Jagan’s opinion is not government’s policy especially when the matter relates to the use of taxpayers’ funds.
In this week’s column, Mrs. Jagan also accused Stabroek News of trying hard to stir up mischief that President Jagdeo is considering a third term in office.
“He (President Jagdeo) has clearly denied this and the PPP General Secretary has labelled it rubbish, yet SN tries to keep the pot boiling on the non-issue”, she wrote.
Further, Ms. Jagan pointed to the Stabroek News column, History This Week that was written by historian Cecilia McAlmont and published recently as being largely inaccurate.
Referring to a statement the historian made in relation to free and fair elections and democracy being enshrined in the constitution for more than a century, Mrs. Jagan said the historian seems unaware of the restricted voting system up to the 1953 elections when a voter had to have a job of stated salary or own property – which excluded many, many workers and others, as well as women from voting.
She said the People’s Progressive Party did not win office in 1957 on the basis of exact number of East Indians in Guyana as stated by the historian, adding that the party from the earliest times and after the Burnham split in 1955 always had a strong working class/farmer base.
Mrs. Jagan stated that the PPP was never and is not a party that plays the racial card.
Mrs. Jagan went on to say that the historian’s claims about the Indo-Guyanese birth rate exceeding that of the other ethnic groups and a pattern of continued racial voting, is highly offensive.
She said McAlmont’s final jab at the party came when she wrote that the 1961 elections served to confirm that ‘Apan Jhaat politics which had visited in the 1957 elections has found a home.
According to her, the historian quoted from the late President Cheddi Jagan’s “The West on Trial” but neglected to read what Dr. Jagan said about that accusation of Apan Jhaat.
“On page 114, Dr. Jagan explains that Daniel Debidin’s United Farmers’ and Workers’ Party in the early 50’s attacked the PPP for its position on the federation.
And so it originated the slogan ‘Apan Jhaat’ (own race) – the use of racism, emotionally to frighten the Indians away from the PPP”, Mrs. Jagan added.