We note the further misspending of state funds and the abuse by the government-controlled television and radio at the Appreciation event for our head of State, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo. Various groups and individuals were mobilized to extol the virtues of our worthy President, and as part of the election campaign blitz, the PPP presidential candidate as well.
Happily, Sasenarine Singh, Lionel Peters, Lincoln Lewis and Freddie Kissoon, among others, have helped to open our eyes and lay bare the reality of the PPP misrule, and Jagdeo record of service.
Everywhere in every country, citizens expect their national leader to be a paragon of virtue, and to set the example of rectitude.
He (or she) should have at least four attributes:
First – A person who will put his or her foot down on all wrongdoing and violations of time-honoured practices.
Second – A person who will by their personal behaviour and conduct set the moral guidelines for us to follow; the old imperial dictum of do as I say, not as I do ended centuries ago.
Thirdly – A person whose word we can rely on; as they say, your word is your bond. A promise by a head of state should be held sacrosanct and be honoured, so that citizens and subordinates can come to believe in that leader and what they say.
And lastly – A person as leader who is not greedy, and will not tolerate greed and selfishness in themselves, and those close to him or her. In each of these four areas, Dr Jagdeo and the PPP have been failures.
Just note how Roger Khan operated with impunity in Guyana. Let us give the President the benefit of any doubt that he was unaware of Roger Shaheed Khan’s full-page paid advertisement in a newspaper of May 12, 2006, but his activities ought to have alerted the President that it was high time to deal with this spreading cancer of a superman parallel security force. Thank God for the US law enforcement; Mr Khan is behind bars
What of Dr Jagdeo’s friend of fifteen years, Ed Ahmad, now under US manners, who shipped four containers to Dr Jagdeo, who stored them, against all tradition, on the lawns of State House of all of places.
Then we have all these absurd contracts – Amaila Falls, etc, the printing of the law books, the laptops – the transfer of state property, etc, the tenders for pharmaceutical drugs. None has the President caused to be investigated, but we hear his propaganda guru, Dr Prem Misir on television suggesting that drugs and corruption are not special to Guyana – Amen.
How does the President explain that we are the only country in this part of the world where the US State Department had cause to revoke the visas of two of his Ministers of Home Affairs, and the Commissioner of Police whom he kept on the job after the retirement age?
Take a bet, the police who tortured the teen, nothing will happen to them.
In the second area of personal conduct and to be a moral guide there is the fake marriage and the deceiving of a young woman; only in Guyana could a leader get away with such conduct. Where are civil society, women activists, and the religious leaders?
What guidelines do we offer with officials like Kwame Mc Coy in key positions, and ministers who gun butt and are known to drink in public, who in any country would have been disgraced and/or dismissed. However, Dr Jagdeo rewards this type of behaviour with ambassadorial appointments. Of course, he shows total disrespect by having all his mission heads of one race; if they were all persons of quality we could not complain. No wonder our Foreign Service is the laughing stock of our Caribbean friends.
We have a President in breach of all protocol along with his Minister of Local Government. He invites the Deputy Mayor and Senior Officers to discuss and settle matters related to the Mayor and City Councillors of Georgetown – beyond belief but true. The Deputy Mayor’s connivance with this impropriety is not of moment now.
The third issue, namely that a true leader keeps his word – set aside the experience of myself and family – Dr Jagdeo promised a return to democracy, but we still await that new day. He promised freedom of information; a Bill is passed, but no implementation, so end of story.
And the fourth fatal flaw is greed. The PPP dominated Parliament has legislated to give to him when he ceases to be President a very generous package, while at the same time, not even a push bike and a pack of cigarettes for former prime ministers. The people need to be reminded that when the President leaves office he will receive a substantial monthly stipend for life; free utility services (water, electricity, phone); personal and household staff including an attendant and a gardener whose wages will be met by the state; clerical and technical staff similarly paid by the state; free medical treatment or reimbursement of medical expenses incurred by him or the dependent members of his family; full-time personal security; the provision of motor vehicles owned and maintained by the state; toll-free road travel; an annual vacation allowance provided on the same basis as that granted to serving members of the judiciary; tax exemption status.
These benefits could provide food, housing, clothing and transportation for 300 ordinary families – which would be a truly rich legacy.
What a legacy!