Then US Ambassador Roland Bullen cabled Washington on March 13, 2006 on how in his view President Bharrat Jagdeo had taken the election campaign on the low road and had tried to stir up public fear and leverage it into votes.
In a cable headed ‘Jagdeo taking campaign to low road’, Bullen commented as follows: “Jagdeo’s intent is transparent — to arouse the public’s fear and leverage that into votes. His distrust of the GDF, often expressed in private, is now bubbling to the surface. The VCL lawsuit would seem frivolous at any time, but coming just five days after Jagdeo’s slanderous remarks at Babu John it is crudely hypocritical. Ramjattan’s assertion that Jagdeo is pursuing a racist, divisive line in private campaign sessions seems very credible. The PPP feels vulnerable that they may not win an outright majority in the upcoming election and will play hardball to avoid this result. Unfortunately, this approach can only reinforce Guyana’s vicious political cycle of mutual recrimination between the PPP and PNC and racially-oriented election violence.”
The lawsuit Bullen referred to was filed by the Office of the President on March 10, 2006 against Vieira Communications Television. The programme carried comments by opposition PNC leader Robert Corbin linking drug traffickers to the PPP administration.
Bullen noted that Corbin’s comments merely echoed statements that appeared in the 2006 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.
Bullen also told Washington how Jagdeo had summoned Western diplomats on short notice on March 4, 2006 to discuss elections and security. “Jagdeo wanted to discuss the elections and security. He said that he has started his campaign. (Note: Jagdeo has not yet been officially designated the PPP’s presidential candidate.) He then surprised his guests by asking them how election preparations are going. Ambassador and the High Commissioners replied that the Joint International Technical Assessor (JITA), whose reports are shared with the GoG, has said technical preparations are proceeding well despite some slippage in a few areas.”
The US envoy then referred to the Babu John address commemorating the death of former President and PPP leader Cheddi Jagan. He said Jagdeo used it as a platform to score political points and implored them to vote PPP because: “I want you to know that the same people who have to steal guns now would be given (the) guns if the government changes”. Bullen said that Jagdeo was referring to the theft of the army’s 33 AK-47s and five Barettas.
Bullen’s cable also related a meeting between an embassy political officer and AFC leader Khemraj Ramjattan on February 22. Bullen noted that Ramjattan was a former PPP Central Committee member and there was no love lost between them. “Ramjattan told PolOff that Jagdeo is playing the race card repeatedly when meeting with Indo-Guyanese constituents,” Bullen related.