Everybody says Mr. Ramotar is no Bharrat Jagdeo. That is true in several senses. The new President of the Republic is a portly, middle-aged, married man. Bharrat Jagdeo may have no more hair on his head than President Ramotar but he is a good few years younger, single, of smaller build and perhaps better able to stand up to the rigours of a brisk twenty/twenty soft ball game than Mr. Ramotar.
There are other differences. President Ramotar appears to be a man of few words even if we leave room for being proven wrong on that score. Bharrat Jagdeo never stops talking, whomsoever may be listening or not listening… and most Guyanese are most likely to finish a poor second to the ex-president when it comes to a verbal showdown. How can we ever forget his performances during the elections campaign?
Donald comes to the presidency after a lengthy stewardship in the ruling party. He is only the second General Secretary after Cheddi Jagan. Bharrat Jagdeo was a sort of a one-day wonder, plucked from obscurity; made President after Cheddi died and Janet became too old and too feeble to hold on and after the brouhaha over whether or not Moses was to be Cheddi’s successor had been settled. That’s how Bharrat got the sobriquet Janet’s Poodle.
The years have rolled over and Bharrat has spent much of his waking life proving to all and sundry that he is his own Pit Bull rather than anybody’s poodle. Once Janet tried to rain on his presidential parade and he curtly reminded the nation that it was he who was the President and that she was only Citizen Janet.
Life’s a funny thing. Who could have predicted that a thirty-something year-old one-time State Planning middle-ranking official would turn out to be Guyana’s longest-serving President.
There is another sense in which President Ramotar is no Bharrat Jagdeo. The two men have different friends. Now we are yet to put our hands on a list of all the (new) President’s men. But new cronies and new bosom buddies are bound to emerge sooner rather than later. Mr. Jagdeo’s buddies, at least some of them, will fade out of the limelight; they will step off the gravy train. Others will hang on, at least for a while, but a new set of President’s Men will take the stage eventually. That is the nature of the game.
President Ramotar appears to like his new job. Who wouldn’t. The swearing in had barely been completed when the state car and the retinue of security vehicles could he heard, sirens blazing through some streets in the city. Good for President Ramotar! Now he wouldn’t have to stop at the red lights.
Somebody asked the other day if Mr. Jagdeo could be charged for running the red lights. Old habits die hard.
Spare a thought for Bharrat, though. Being an ex-President must be a difficult thing for him…….at least that is how it will be for a while yet. No more CARICOM Heads Meetings! No more state visits! No more pronouncements on LCDS. No more dispensing state handouts to one cause or another! It’s hard, really hard, but then the retirement package ought to serve as some consolation. Perhaps he may decide to become a playboy ex-president; plenty of hang-outs and Night Clubs and old-time gatherings with the boys and girls. On the other hand he may simply decide to get married and settle down. It’s really not a bad position for a man still a few years away from fifty to find himself in.