Another stalemate in the National Assembly with no party gaining the majority of seats is the best outcome at the upcoming May 11 poll, as this would force the politicians to come together and talk, according to Dr Joey Jagan, son of the PPP’s founder the late president Cheddi Jagan.
“That is why the elections that is coming in a lot of ways I hope and pray … the elections result is the same as it was in 2011 because that will force the players involved to come together and bargain…,” he said during an interview with the Sunday Stabroek.
And for the first time in its history no Jagan is expected to be a candidate on the PPP’s list. Joey Jagan was the last to do so at the 2011 elections and he said that this should not be seen as an issue, pointing out that the party has moved away from what his father would have envisioned.
According to him, there is no Kamla Persad-Bissessar in Guyana. Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, is known for firing her ministers who commit infractions. Jagan said that she is the epitome of good leadership in the Caribbean and one that he does not see the PPP government following.
He mentioned the inquiry that uncovered financial irregularities at the state broadcaster, NCN, that ensnared its former programme manager, Martin Goolsarran and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mohammed ‘Fuzzy’ Sattaur, and which President Donald Ramotar has refused to act upon. Both Goolsarran and Sattaur have been known for being close to the party and they were both allowed to leave the company without any real sanction.
In June 2012, the NCN Board launched an investigation into suspected financial irregularities at the network. Sattaur subsequently resigned and Goolsarran was suspended. He was initially suspended for eight weeks without pay for allegedly attempting to cover up financial irregularities by pressuring staff to prepare backdated invoices, among other things. The suspension was later extended indefinitely.
“To this day there has been no resolution, nobody has been called to heels if that was Ms Kamla Persad-Bissessar that would have been settled long ago. So what are we really doing here?” Dr Jagan questioned.
Known to be a thorn in the PPP’s side for years, Jagan said unless the country gets leadership like what obtains in Trinidad and portrayed by US President Barack Obama we are not going to move forward.
He said should it be the same scenario as 2011 the PPP/C would then be forced to deal and bargain with the opposition, something he has been advocating for quite some time.
Jagan dismissed talks that there might have been some kind of mistake that would have led the PPP/C to lose the majority in Parliament pointing out that he had campaigned with the party at the last elections “and I could tell you I was worried after the first month of campaigning, because I was in the Corentyne and I saw the turnout of crowds wherever I went and it was very low, they were bussing in people.
“The PPP have serious problems in their own areas but that doesn’t mean that the opposition will gain grounds there because of the whole racial and political set up of this country and that’s why we have to break out of that…,” he said.
He said the best solution for the country was for President Ramotar to bring the opposition into his government and “run this country in the right way and carry us forward by incorporating the whole population.”
Asked whether with the country’s ingrained racial issues this can indeed become a reality Jagan said: “Yes because God is good.”
And while in the past Jagan said he had advocated for a united opposition for the upcoming elections he believes the opposition parties should run separately and the results would be better for the country.
“Because we already see the race thing coming up here, so run separately, make your own decisions, everybody is an honourable leader [because] I feel we have decent leaders…” he said.
Once this is done then Guyana would end up with the same “stale mate” in the National Assembly as happened in the 10th Parliament which according to Jagan is good for the country “because it forces them in the end to come and talk.
“Every country in the world…people are coming together to talk. You cannot be fighting each other in your own country, it makes no sense,” he said.
Many would disagree with Jagan on this issue as it would be pointed out that the opposition parties and the government would have had several talks during the last Parliament none of which amounted to anything.
The last Parliament would best be remembered for how often its members took to the courts to address issues. The government turned to the judiciary on several occasions especially when it came to the opposition stamping its authority on the national budgetary allocations. The opposition parties have argued that they were forced to take this route as the administration failed to take any of its suggestions on board when crafting the national budget.
However, Jagan said he does not believe in majoritarian governments pointing out that such administrations existed under the PNC, which he said created its own majority by fiction. The same thing occurred under the PPP/C, which also created its majority by a different fiction by “having the Indian population ensnared in what they are doing.” None of these he said brought any real good to the country.
“We need a combination, we need to come together and stop the crime and the violence and the bad treatment of our children. Our children deserve better by far and all these politicians I wish they would sit down and think about our children first…”
He pointed out that the schools and the University of Guyana are in trouble because of what is happening on the political front where the leaders just want to fight all the time.
“Now we gone to another election, we can’t afford another election, the money they spending on election could have gone to our children [to] improve their education,” he said.
His advice to the president was to avoid election at all cost before his term was up and to do this he would have had to bring the opposition into the government and “stop doing your own thing.”
Referring to the recent $3 billion loan to the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), which according to fincial experts violates several laws, Jagan said that is the government “doing what [it] wants” something that cannot work in the “real world.”
Jagan also called out President Ramotar for his refusal to hold local government elections something he said he “begged” him to do and he had promised it would have been done within one year of his presidency.
“They are committed to communist creed, and a communist ideology and communism doesn’t allow local elections. Communism is about centralism, control and power and then corruption sets in…,” Jagan said.
He said rather than fight it the ruling administration should have held the elections in an effort for the PPP to “increase its strength, build back its shattered party structure at the base level.” The party, he said, does have a serious problem at the base level where the party organisation is not functioning properly.
Asked about the fact there may be no Jagan on the PPP’s list in this election, Jagan said that while the PPP might have been founded by Cheddi Jagan it is not the same party his father would have envisioned but quickly added that this happens in other countries naming the Congress Party in India which was founded by Mahatma Gandhi as an example.
“How that [the Congress Party] ended up with all the corruption and nepotism and the lack of vision for the development of Indian that is why the Congress Party can’t win anything; they are in trouble and I think it is the same process that is occurring here,” he said.
He said that in time to come, among the younger generation, Cheddi Jagan will be a revered name but with no connection to the PPP as has been the case with Gandhi in India.
“That’s going to happen to the PPP if they don’t change course and do something different, which is to bring change with vision. We need change with vision,” he stressed.
“I was on the list last elections but I don’t know if they would find another Jagan somewhere, manufacture one somewhere…,” Jagan said, revealing that his son who worked at Office of the President following the 2011 polls has since departed Guyana.