President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday said the government is not abusing state resources in promoting the candidacy of Donald Ramotar, and that as head of state he is free to hire whoever he wants.
“I’m not shy about having Donald Ramotar as my advisor; the person who I feel will be the next president of Guyana. I would love to make sure that there is continuity and the more he’s exposed — he’s already exposed as GS — but more intimately exposed to the programmes of the government, I think the easier the transition will be,” he said.
“I don’t have any apology to make for that and there is no abuse of resources,” he added, when questioned during a news conference with regard to concerns about the state sponsorship of the PPP/C’s presidential candidate.
“Donald Ramotar, in my view, will be the next president of Guyana. He will win the elections. As a member of the PPP and as President of Guyana I have a duty… and as President in particular, I have the authority to hire whoever I may want,” Jagdeo said. “I think Donald Ramotar now should be a member of the Cabinet. I’ve asked him to sit in my Cabinet. I’ve asked him to be my advisor, because he will have to work with me as head of the party too, to decide when we call the elections and I want him to be exposed as much as possible to what’s happening here. And I do this within the powers that the president has.”
Still staunchly defending Ramotar’s recent appointment, he added: “Now Donald Ramotar travels with me, but I travel as President. He comes with me to many of these places… I don’t see it as any abuse of power. What was abuse of power was when we had a Ministry of National Mobilisation and they had funds dedicated to this sort of thing and secondly that every state corporation had to write a cheque and send to the PNC…,” he continued.
Maths don’t add
up for APNU
Meanwhile, Jagdeo also said he was baffled at the PNCR’s decision to be part of the A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) coalition as the mathematics of it did not add up.
Questioned about the formation of the opposition coalition, Jagdeo said the numbers of the political players in APNU did not suggest that it had a chance of unseating the ruling party.
“Elections are about mathematics, particularly in a country that has, as its electoral system, proportional representation,” he said. “The PNC in the last elections got, I think, 34.07 per cent of the votes. WPA didn’t contest the last elections but elections before that they contested with GAP/WPA, they got, I think, 2.35 per cent of the votes. The NFA got 417 votes in the 2001 elections, not even a per cent. Now let’s add 34 plus 2, you get 36 per cent. They haven’t improved, in fact, if anything WPA has become defunct,” Jagdeo said.
“That is the reality of APNU, you can dress it up, you can call it whatever you want, that is the reality of this coalition.”
The President said that the PPP/C got close to 55 per cent of the votes at the last elections.
He noted that the coalition may be a tactical decision but emphasised that the players remained the same, and he pointed to the APNU’s presidential candidate retired Brigadier David Granger. “Granger is running as the presidential candidate [but] his record doesn’t disappear because he changes the form of the organisation. Granger still has to answer for his record,” Jagdeo said. “He has a record and in the period when he was there lots of bad things happened and he needs to speak about them. What he knows of them. How involved he was. Because he wasn’t a regular soldier, he was someone sent from the Office of the President to get the army to move in a particular direction and you know what that direction was, to subvert our constitution and the laws because he was trying to get the army to pledge loyalty to the PNC.”
According to Jagdeo, many people know Granger as the “chief theoretician and advocate for the doctrine paramountcy for the party.”