I have read several letters in the Stabroek in support of the former First Lady written by many women activists with an unblemished record. Some of them I know well. The missing link is the absence for the call of the resignation of Minister Manickchand. In the light of the revelations of the former First Lady, Ms Manickchand has lost her ministerial credibility. She should be called upon to resign. In which country would you find those kinds of allegations being made against the head of state and the country remains the same? Mr Jagdeo is being accused of sins that in many, many countries around the world would cause him to be recalled by his party and Parliament.
In assessing the damage of the statements of the former First Lady, one must bear in mind that they are not condemnations from the opposition, the PPP’s critics and PPP detractors. Ms Singh seems not to have anything personal or political against Mr Jagdeo when she described her experiences. Mr Jagdeo and Ms Manickchand are on untenable ground because Mr Jagdeo is refusing to deny the charges. If the President is accused of going through a red light or involvement in a hit-and-run accident, how can we, the citizens believe it was a fiction if he is not prepared to say that he is innocent?
Ms Singh’s points are extremely damaging to Mr Jagdeo if they are true. But are we going to continue to say “if they are true” once Mr Jagdeo does not respond. Can that be fair to the former First Lady? At some point, we have to declare what she enumerated as true if Mr Jagdeo does not offer his alternative account. My contestation is that there are three dimensions of the Varshnie Singh press release. One is the personal opinions she has. The bedroom issue is none of our business. What political consequences or implications does that decision have? The answer is none. It does not make him a bad leader.
The second characteristic of Ms Singh’s ten page story is that she is making direct statements of fact on domestic abuse. She cited the names of Leslie Ramsammy and others, so they could be contacted for a comment. This cannot be greeted with silence in any country. The person involved is the President of the nation. The Parliament and the ruling party and the media have to ascertain the eligibility of the President to remain in office. No one is saying he should be removed but there ought to be some attempt at investigating charges of domestic abuse by the separated wife of the President of a country.
The third dimension of the now famous speech by the former First Lady is that she unambiguously described for her audience and readers the abuse of power. She asserted that there had been action to intimidate sections of society that assisted her. Ms Varshnie Singh has proclaimed that Mr Jagdeo victimizes people that he is in disagreement with. Is the opposition going to allow this pronouncement to go without a response from them? Let us see how Guyana is going to react to this unprecedented untenable position that the President and the PPP now find themselves in.