“The only thing to celebrate is President Jagdeo’s leaving,” it said on Saturday in a statement that argued that Jagdeo had done nothing deserving of thanks or praise.
The statement came in the wake of Friday’s ‘Day of Appreciation,’ which was organized in the president’s honour at the Guyana National Stadium. At the event, Jagdeo was hailed as a visionary who put the Guyana economy on a solid footing and the country on the world map.
However, APNU yesterday said the Jagdeo presidency has seen the creation of a “criminalised state,” while citing the activities of “phantom” death squads and the deaths of hundreds of citizens. “The state has become criminalised. The growth of gangs has increased among the rural poor and urban underclass,” it said.
“It was under President Jagdeo’s watch that Guyana earned the dubious and shameful label of a narco-state,” it added.
APNU also noted the assassination of government minister Satyadeow Sawh, while pointing out that his death was never fully investigated.
The Guyana Police Force, it added, has under the Jagdeo administration lost the confidence of the people. It said police incompetence in solving crimes and reports of corrupt officers, with links to known criminal elements, are but a few reasons for the loss of confidence. “There is the emerging police state with unlawful detention of citizens along with the selective use of the law to protect the ruling elite, while punishing the small man,” it argued.
The coalition said that under President Jagdeo’s watch, poverty in Guyana has skyrocketed, the rate of homelessness increased and unemployment has passed the 20% mark (government has given the figure at 10%). It added that government ministers and other senior functionaries have suddenly amassed wealth which bears no relation to their known sources of income, and that the ‘Pradoville’ elites display new found wealth even as the rest of the nation is left with limited access to resources, including communities like Linden and New Amsterdam, which APNU said have been marginalised and economically strangled.
APNU also accused the administration of serially mismanaging public funds, and neglecting youth and graduates, who with little prospects of earning a living wage are forced to migrate in alarming numbers.
Meanwhile, the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), in a statement, added that if the country continued along the path forged by Jagdeo, it would implode.
“The [GTUC], an organisation established to ensure the creation of a just society premised on universal principles, declarations, conventions and laws, wishes to record our dis-appreciation and say no thanks to President Jagdeo for transforming this society into one where the stench of drugs, corruption, deprivation, violence, hopelessness, crimes, poverty and discrimination are everywhere,” it said.
According to the trade union umbrella body, fear stalks the land and it urged citizens to confront this situation head on.
A fundamental element to the development of any society is the enjoyment of liberty and critical to this is allowing the free flow of ideas, it observed.
It added that efforts over the year to muzzle free expression by withholding state advertisement from the private media, suspending broadcasting licences, refusing to grant licences and intimidating businesses not to support certain media houses have no place in the society if it is to move forward.
“We have to get up and speak out and bring an end to this transformation that seeks to deprive us and make us subjects of the lawless and ruthless,” the GTUC said.