Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo is playing a very dangerous and divisive game in this society and is being called on to stop it.
On the matter of the Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc. (BCGI) and the role of the APNU+AFC coalition government in making sure resolution is brought about to the nine-plus years impasse, Mr. Jagdeo brings not one iota of morality to the conversation. His criticism that the coalition was engaged in a “circus there just for political reason” is reprehensible (Guyana Times, 25th March 2019, “Govt’s handling of RUSAL matter was too ‘political’”).
In principle, there is nothing wrong with the Opposition holding Government to account, for that is one of its responsibilities, but this is not what is being done. The duplicitous conduct of Mr. Jagdeo must not be countenanced. The BCGI impasse started under the Jagdeo presidency and his government did nothing to seek to bring about a resolution. His administration’s refusal to address the impasse saw the Opposition, under the leadership of Robert Corbin, taking a no-confidence motion to the National Assembly against the Minister of Labour Manzoor Nadir. The motion was defeated by the PPP/C parliamentary majority.
Even when the impasse was recently intensified and Mr. Jagdeo was called on to add his voice to citizens/workers’ quest to have the sovereignty of this nation respected, in the face of threat by a foreign group, he remained silent. When he spoke to the impasse it was primarily to criticise the government and Guyanese as he let the BCGI Russian management off the hook. His role as president and leader the opposition on this matter has been one of maintaining an acrimonious industrial environment with the violation of the laws and transgression of workers/citizens’ rights.
He has to be mindful that his conduct continues to display the actions of someone who cares not a damn about the workers/citizens, Constitution and Laws of Guyana, but that of pursuing self-interest and eternal quest for power. Last week he claimed the Critchlow Labour College was partnering with the coalition government in training youth drawn from areas such as Sophia. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and there exists no doubt such misinformation forms part of the strategy of misleading the nation to increase tension and division. Mr. Jagdeo is not known to be careless with the facts; he is known to deliberately misrepresent the facts in furtherance of self-interest.
I hope he is aware it is not lost on society the devious game he is playing in demanding that parliamentarians who hold dual citizenship resign from the National Assembly, consistent with Article 155 of the Guyana Constitution, and the High and Appeal Courts’ ruling on the matter. Evidently such compliance he seeks not for his own but for others; and there is a marked difference between has resigned or will resign, the latter he promised for PPP/C parliamentarians violating Article 155.
The life of this Parliament has not come to an end. If Mr. Jagdeo is serious about the Rule of Law he would not be demanding of the government what he is not prepared to implement on his side of this House. He must not be allowed to mount the pious perch when he and his party are just as guilty as those he accuses. The Rule of Law applies for all who reside, work, visit here and do business with Guyana.
After securing weeks of screaming headlines about the importance of compliance with the Constitution and courts’ ruling, on Monday he sneaked another deception on the nation or rather revealed his true intent all along, thinking it would go un-noticed. The nation has been advised that “Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday clarified that although those holding dual citizenship in his party will stay away from the House sitting, they will not resign” (Kaieteur News, 2nd April 2019 “Parliament should be guided by court ruling on dual citizenship- former speaker”). This is an act of horning the nation. You are not working, and have refused to resign even as you demand same of others, and still expect the taxpayers to pay you as Members of Parliament.
Mr. Jagdeo and the PPP/C have no special privilege or right to cherry-pick the law or courts’ ruling; a conduct this nation bore witness to during his presidency and which he wants to continue as Leader of the Opposition. All, including the media, must hold him to account for conduct that tramples the nation’s honour, and creates turmoil, tension and division amongst her people.