In an article for my blog, www.conversationtree.gy, published in SN last Sunday, I took issue with a statement by former President Jagdeo that implied that Cheddi and Janet Jagan lived in luxury. His argument that the Jagans lived such a lifestyle, comparable to his own at the time his house was built, was an attempt to justify his own Cadillac lifestyle, which over the past few years has come under severe scrutiny and criticism.
There were outraged responses by many people to Jagdeo’s statement, including from Clem Seecharran and, more indirectly, Peter Fraser, two distinguished Guyanese historians living and working in the UK. But the most telling came from Nadira Jagan-Brancier, the Jagan daughter, Dr. Tulsie Dyal Singh and Sadie Amin. Dr. Singh, who conferred with Dr Jagan about his medical condition just before he died and visited his home, said that his own family home in Palmyra on the Corentyne when he was growing up in the 1950s was of similar size to the Jagan home. Sadie Amin gave a description of the modest lifestyle and home of the Jagans, including its leaking roof.
As expected, two articles appeared in the Guyana Times containing stories about me on familiar issues, some from twenty years ago, some earlier, which are completely and deliberately fabricated or distorted even though the correct information is known or easily available to the newspaper. The false allegations are intended to embarrass and intimidate me into silence. I replied with a detailed refutation but up to the time of writing it was not published. It can be found here. The message of the intimidation by the Guyana Times is that if I do not stop, there will be consequences
There were other articles in Guyana Times, by a columnist bearing the nom de plume, Eyewitness, who is a former political leader, hitherto accused of being an advocate of politics with an ethnic dimension and who was previously engaged in lively theoretical discourses as a known newspaper columnist. Now that he has been a willing victim of the Jagdeo touch, like all others, he has degenerated into a purveyor of daily abuse. Word is that he is soon to emerge again in full public view, lending his ethnic hand to the restoration of the PPP majority. But all he has become is another Jagdeo crony, available to follow orders, with the enthusiasm of a new convert. Watch for him!
Within the PPP different and more direct, intimidatory techniques exist. Direct abuse is a major one. Subtle threats of dismissal from employment are another. Most people have jobs with the party or government, which they need to secure for their livelihood. This is enough to encourage silence or elicit vociferous, sycophantic, support. Dissentient voices have been effectively stilled in the PPP, even though Jagdeo is widely criticized privately. This is the answer to the question often asked: how is it that Jagdeo has got such a hold over the PPP that no one dares to oppose him? I spoke out for years in the PPP, subjecting myself to intense abuse and isolation, until it became necessary to ensure that I no longer remain within its ranks. No one else has so far dared to oppose Jagdeo.
As expected the General Secretary of the PPP, Clement Rohee, refused to comment on the controversy, just as the previous General Secretary, Donald Ramotar, refused to comment on Jagdeo’s insult to Mrs. Jagan when she called for a restoration of advertisements to the SN in 2006. No one in the PPP will now ever be able to speak to the Jagans’ simple and humble lifestyle, and urge its emulation, for fear of offending Jagdeo. This crass and unworthy attempt by him to justify the size of his mansion by the sea and his gargantuan, post presidential, benefits has taken away one of the PPP’s greatest assets from its public relations armoury, namely, the Jagan legacy of a modest lifestyle with integrity and humility. Jagdeo said that their lifestyle was luxurious. No one in the PPP can now ever dare to say otherwise.
Jagdeo is in full command and control of the PPP. He has decided that he will lead the campaign as he did in 2011. His opening statements about the opposition’s beating the drums of race in 2011 about which he remained silent until now, kicking the opposition’s ass, and justifying his Cadillac lifestyle, show that he is in no way relenting from the boisterous cuss down tactics that he employed with such public revulsion in the 2011 campaign. Popular with the base though, this type of attack will energize supporters and shake them from their apathy. So will the raising of ethnic sentiments and the PNC’s past. But it will earn the PPP no favours from its middle class supporters, the depth and range of whose disillusionment has expanded over the past three years.
The PPP may still win the elections. They have a solid 48 percent already. No one knows if some of its lost support will return. Also no one knows what will happen to the AFC’s 10 percent, having made the alliance with APNU. But as one businessman told me, the PPP will not have ‘happy’ voters. He meant that they would be voting unenthusiastically, merely as a defensive strategy to keep the other side out.
If the competition is between Team Unity and PPP, most of us will continue to vote for PPP. But, we wouldn’t be happy voters, indeed. I don’t see change with Team Unity. I don’t see much difference between this PPP and TU. To me, they are all like-minded, power hungry. The expressions on the faces of TU’s supporters are most heartrending. These people seem so desperate for help and look at these guys as though they are their only hope.It’s sad. TU appears to be just another one eagerly awaiting the cake. These parties are taking their supporters to the slaughter house. If the PPP is robbing the people, TU is only waiting on their turn.
As for Dr. Jagdeo, my respect for him has decreased a little more when he chose to take our much revered Dr. Jagan’s name to make such arrogant claims. But he is right about one thing: Mr. President needs to be more assertive. If he were, BJ could not have said what he did. But, I will do my duty, like many others, and I wouldnt be happy about it.
Mr. Ramkarran, I hope you never join either of these. We need somebody’s unbiased analysis that is yours.
Don’t fool yourself, Mr. Ramkarran. There are A LOT of people working for the PPP right now whispering: “I’m voting for change – Shhhh!!!”
There are two outcomes from Crum-Ewing’s assassination: The first is, let’s be honest, Crum-Ewing after his death, received an upgrade by a lot of members of the society: He suddently went from crazy lone protester to “national hero”. What mr. Crum-Ewing did was not an act of heroism – that was subconscious suicide: being your yourself, anywhere, campaigning to any of the running parties is a risk of at least receiving a bucket of hot water on your head. He, being aware he was persona non grata to some people put himself at an unnecessary risk.
The second was this feeling that surfaced; where once was pride and hope and the courage to talk openly, call for the change.. Now is fear… Fear of “what if there is no change?” Then I should be careful and not expose myself…”. This feeling is strong specially to the first time voters, like myself. But I tell you one thing: There WILL be change, Mr. Ramkarran.. Regardless the race of my candidate, of who is said to be in front on the polls… We are silently going to do our part.
I am a big fan of your site and another, of the many who admire your articles. There are so many people outside and inside of PPP who respect you, such an example is Mr. Rohee, who never misses an opportunity to uncover the latrine that is his mouth, and for once has decided not to comment. There is also another set. The kind of people that want to appear as having “the balls” to say whatever about anyone… When the truth is, they only do so, when the person is no longer alive to respond to the accusations. But when it comes to people like you, who are “alive and kicking”, these cowards direct their little brainless robots to do the dirty job on their behalf. Why didn’t Jagdeo answer you directly? Does he respect you more than he respects the Jagans? No! As a matter of fact he has no respect to anyone not even himself… It’s because he is a sissy, that’s why!
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