Jagdeo’s party no longer has a working class philosophy

Dear Editor,

After being out of the limelight for a while former President Mr Jagdeo is increasingly making public statements. His latest public salvo in Lusignan accuses the opposition of derailing the PPP’s national pet projects. Among the opposition elements he zeroes in for critique is Ramon Gaskin.

Mr Gaskin’s economic and legal skills do not require defence. Gaskin and Christopher Ram’s forensic scrutiny of the grave flaws of the Amaila Falls Hydro Project speaks for itself and was clearly in the public interest. I was struck however by the former President’s dismissive and sneering reference, to wit that Gaskin’s “only success was to run a bicycle shop.” This allusion to a small business/working class venture (albeit in Gaskin’s past) contradicts the still claimed “working class” philosophy of Jagdeo’s party. Perhaps the party’s labour arm, the GAWU, should play close attention to Mr Jagdeo’s speeches and statements. But the philosophy propounded by the former head of state thrives in most of the spokespersons of the ruling party including President Ramotar. Indeed, plans and projects that have developed around a new state elite in Guyana – inclusive of Pradoville, large projects like Marriott and Amaila hydro and of course the preferential treatment given to media houses associated with the state ‒ speak volumes of where the economic and political philosophy of the current regime resides.

In his Lusignan speech Jagdeo was quoted as calling on Guyanese not to “lament about the small things which affect them such as potholes and drains in front of their yards.” Given the daily horror and complaint of garbage in many towns and cities across Guyana (not to mention the profound damage this has on national pride and psyche), and the constant lament of Guyanese, especially but not only the poor and/or rural communities that they have no access to affordable transport because of the state of their roads, it is an astonishing statement. But it is consistent with the thinking of the PPP regime. And President Ramotar appears to be a willing follower from in front of Mr Jagdeo’s political economy and philosophy.

Yours faithfully,
Nigel Westmaas

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