The Jagdeo regime is wont to prattle about a new political culture in Guyana. For example, this is what Mr Jagdeo himself said in his New Year’s message in 2001: “It is my belief that after more that [sic] three decades of independence, the population deserves to see a political culture based on civility between the contending parties.” A similar call for a new political culture was also made when President Jagdeo accepted the credentials of the then United States Ambassador on August 14, 2003. These are admirable sentiments, which, if put into practice, could have given a moral fillip to our politics.
But as so often is the case, events subsequent to the call new political culture, have underlined the extent to which it was not seriously intended. The recent attack on Mr Carl Greenidge, an outstanding Guyanese and international and regional public servant, and the deliberate attempt to misrepresent his role in the domestic economy when he was a Minister of Finance, is a case in point. There is no better example of the unchanging nature of the politics of the Jagdeo administration and its well-honed policy of co-ordinated personal attacks on individuals it regards as enemies.
It was a someone calling himself Brian Azore who let the cat out of the bag. Let us quote from his letter which appeared in the state-controlled Guyana Chronicle of December 23, 2010: “From all indications, the PNCR will nominate its longstanding member, Carl Greenidge, as its presidential candidate for next year’s national elections.” In the fevered imagination of the Jagdeo regime this is the sin Mr Greenidge has committed: he has threatened to bring his impressive professional credentials and his personal integrity into the political arena. Mr Azore’s letter explains the “stretch” involved in interpreting the words delivered by Mr Greenidge at the funeral service of Mr Winston Murray as an attack on the government, the virtual threat to the Caribbean Community to terminate his contract and the deliberate misinterpretation of his role as Minister of Finance.
As far as the latter question is concerned, both the African, Caribbean and Pacific Secretariat and the Caribbean Community Secretariat and intelligent heads of government of the Community disagree with Mr Azore’s view that Mr Greenidge wrecked the Guyana economy. Indeed, they understood that Mr Greenidge was one of the architects of the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) which returned Guyana economy to growth of the order of 7% by 1991. This programme was inherited by the successive PPP governments and they have done nothing to suggest that they are in disagreement with it. It is still true that imitation is the best form of flattery. It may be helpful at this point too to say to the ‘writers’ of the Guyana Chronicle that Mr Greenidge had nothing to do with the banning of foodstuffs used by any particular ethnic group and certainly made no such pronouncement on the matter, as the banning occurred long before he returned to this country and became Minister of Finance.
Mr Greenidge must have been giving the Jagdeo administration sleepless nights, for it has resumed a war with him that its predecessors began just after the 1992 elections. After the elections in question the PPP government tried to block his appointment as Deputy Secretary General of the ACP Secretariat. This is a matter of public record. Everyone in Guyana knows the words of Mr Greenidge’s tribute at Mr Murray’s funeral; in the words of Forbes Burnham, it was not the reason for the war but the occasion for the war. Now the Jagdeo administration seems hell bent on preventing him from entering the politics of Guyana.
Any self respecting administration would refrain from attacking an outstanding Guyanese and misrepresenting the facts of his tenure as one of the best ministers of finance Guyana has had. Such a policy is bound to backfire and cause embarrassment. It is politically imprudent to persist with such a policy. But the Jagdeo administration only learns the hard way.
(Name and address provided)