Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday blasted Stabroek News’ bloggers and other critics saying that not only was he a credible messenger on corruption issues but that with time even his worst critics will recognize this.
“My credibility is on the ground…as the days pass more and more I am going to be justified…,” Jagdeo told a press briefing yesterday.
He had been asked by Stabroek News to respond to critics and bloggers who say that he is not the best person to lead the charge of speaking out on corruption or pro-democracy governance given the myriad allegations of corruption and lack of transparency of his party, especially during his rule.
“I think our supporters would say differently and there is a large group of people out there who blog elsewhere who have an entirely different position… so I can’t respond to bloggers; they have their own opinions,” he replied.
Of recent, Jagdeo has been very vocal in his criticisms of the David Granger administration. His positions on varying issues have drawn equally vocal disapproval with one person likening him to “the boy who cried wolf that now when he could have viable points no one would listen.”
But the former president said the public needs to be a watchdog of the government, as only six months into its administration there is evidence of a lack of leadership skills, integrity and other issues. Referencing his request that parliamentarians submit incomes and assets to the Integrity Commission, Jagdeo opined that this newspaper and its bloggers do not call government to task.
“The same people on the other side who have been crying wolf… Why don’t Stabroek News and their bloggers ask them [government] because in ten years some of them have not submitted their statement of assets and income to the Integrity Commission… Why don’t you ask the ministers one by one why don’t you comply with the law?” he questioned.
“The second issue is that we have been regaled with issues of corruption particularly by the media hostile to the PPP…. The same media houses that were crying foul are now in a lukewarm way commenting about these issues, lukewarm way. What does that lead one to conclude? Were initial reports by these media houses wrong? Why aren’t they so concerned about transparency now?” he further queried.
He stressed that if government believes in transparency, then ministers should have no problem making public their incomes.
“If they said they are purer than lily, that they are so clean you know and they wanted to clean things then on the 17th of this month we will be making a motion (in Parliament) … So I think the government and members of parliament would not have any issue with making public their tax payments for the past ten years,” he stressed.
Nonetheless, he said he was not bothered by some public perceptions since there were also many persons who complain to him about the leadership of the current administration and before the APNU+APNU term ends people will be calling for the PPP. “I see tons of people from the business community coming to meet with me now to say they [government] are clueless about what they are doing,” he said.
“Long before the term of this government ends, people would want the PPP because things are bad and it is getting worse. People will want the PPP back,” he added.
He believes that his party’s 23 years in office were so clean that the period can be used as a manual by international agencies as a guideline for good governance.
“Our management would look like a manual for good governance… compared to what they have started and will continue to do. The PPP’s tenure in office would look like an IMF manual for good governance,” the Opposition Leader said.