The con­tention that Jagdeo is un­beat­able is er­ro­neous

Stabroek News - - NEWS -

Dear Ed­i­tor, In an ef­fort to main­tain po­lit­i­cal ob­jec­tiv­ity I chose to write this let­ter some­time af­ter the rul­ing of the Caribbean Court of Jus­tice (CCJ) on the is­sue of Pres­i­den­tial term lim­its in the Guyana Con­sti­tu­tion, to avoid be­com­ing a vic­tim to the ob­vi­ous sen­sa­tional at­mos­phere that the rul­ing en­gen­dered.

When the news broke that the CCJ had ruled that the de­ci­sions of for­mer act­ing Guyana Chief Jus­tice, Ian Chang and two mem­bers of Guyana’s Court of Ap­peal, for­mer Act­ing Chan­cel­lor, Carl Singh and Jus­tice B.S Roy, could not be up­held, the hope that for­mer Pres­i­dent Bhar­rat Jagdeo har­boured to con­test for the Pres­i­dency of Guyana for a third and more terms, were dashed to the ground. The CCJ’s rul­ing gave real mean­ing to Guyana’s Con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sion which lim­its to two terms, the num­ber of times any­one in Guyana can oc­cupy the po­si­tion of Pres­i­dent of the coun­try. The CCJ rul­ing also pro­vided tremen­dous re­lief to a large num­ber of the pop­u­lace who had bought into the PPP and their al­lies’ pro­pa­ganda, and had ag­o­nized over the thought of Jagdeo win­ning the 2020 Gen­eral and Re­gional elec­tions and in the process once again be­com­ing a mill­stone around their necks.

Sup­port­ers of Jagdeo are con­tend­ing that his crit­ics and the coali­tion are fear­ful of him win­ning the 2020 elec­tions. This to my mind is a mis­placed view of the re­al­ity. The con­tention that Jagdeo is un­beat­able is er­ro­neous. My judge­ment is that given his known his­tory, he would have been an eas­ier can­di­date for the APNU+AFC coali­tion to de­feat. It is my strongly held view that his pres­ence in the process will mo­bi­lize and gal­va­nize coali­tion sup­port­ers to turn out and vote mas­sively against him.

Iron­i­cally, the na­tional mood of re­lief, which I re­ferred to above, was graph­i­cally re­flected in the com­ment given to the me­dia by for­mer Pres­i­dent, and PPP Ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber Mr. Don­ald Ramo­tar, soon af­ter the rul­ing was made public. Mr. Ramo­tar was re­ported to have said, “I ac­cept it…I do not think it (the rul­ing) was a bad thing”. These words summed up how the ma­jor­ity of Guyanese felt. In­deed, the rul­ing was seen as good for the coun­try, and I will add, it was sweet mu­sic in the ears of the PPP old guard and the younger gen­er­a­tion who are filled with pres­i­den­tial as­pi­ra­tions. Jagdeo’s am­bi­tion to be pres­i­dent for the third time and, maybe for life, is now dead and buried by the his­toric CCJ rul­ing.

How­ever, even as he an­nounced his ac­cep­tance of the CCJ’s rul­ing, Jagdeo en­gaged in po­lit­i­cal me­ta­mor­pho­sis, when he said that he had grown tired of pres­i­den­tial du­ties, and is now an aging man who needs time for him­self. We are now be­ing asked to be­lieve that this power-drunk politi­cian, dur­ing the en­tire pe­riod that the mat­ter of the third term en­gaged the at­ten­tion of the courts, had no in­ter­est in be­com­ing pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic, for the third time. How­ever, the lengths to which he and his cronies went to achieve a favourable third term rul­ing from the courts, demon­strated some­thing quite dif­fer­ent from his ut­ter­ances that he was bored by pres­i­den­tial du­ties.

The fact that they spent mil­lions of dol­lars in le­gal fees, for lawyers to ad­vo­cate on his be­half, through­out the process right up to the CCJ, speaks of a des­per­ate politi­cian in pur­suit of power at any cost. Jagdeo is con­temp­tu­ous of the na­tion’s col­lec­tive in­tel­li­gence and sees Guyanese as be­ing in­fan­tile.

If the truth is told even the po­lit­i­cal naive among us knew that Cedric Richard­son was fronting for Jagdeo when he brought the law­suit. All re­ports in the me­dia had in­di­cated that Richard­son is not en­dowed with a lot of money and there­fore, was nei­ther in a po­si­tion nor, would have had an in­ter­est in this po­lit­i­cal/con­sti­tu­tional mat­ter to the ex­tent of dis­pens­ing huge sums of money (which he did not pos­sess) in or­der to get the ques­tions sur­round­ing the is­sue, clar­i­fied. An im­par­tial ob­server will con­clude that Richard­son, was noth­ing but a pawn in this “game” and was well paid to lend his name to what even­tu­ally turned out to be a misad­ven­ture by Jagdeo and his cronies. The clan­des­tine re­la­tion­ship that Jagdeo and his cronies had with Richard­son in or­der to achieve a po­lit­i­cal goal and at the same time have de­ni­a­bil­ity, was con­sis­tent with the tac­tic he had em­ployed in his “so-called war against crime” be­gin­ning in (2002) and the Bux­ton cri­sis in which the re­cruit­ing of el­e­ments in the crim­i­nal un­der­world to carry out state-spon­sored ex­tra­ju­di­cial ex­e­cu­tions and other crim­i­nal acts and deny­ing state in­volve­ment was his mode of op­er­a­tions.

In the con­text of Guyanese pol­i­tics, one would have ex­pected an In­dian sup­porter of the PPP to ea­gerly front the third term cam­paign for Jagdeo, in­stead, they used an ur­ban African as the po­lit­i­cal scape­goat. In do­ing this they sought to con­vey (1) the im­pres­sion that Jagdeo en­joyed sup­port be­yond his In­dian base; and (2) at­tempted to hu­mil­i­ate the African Com­mu­nity, by demon­strat­ing that he has the power, in and out of gov­ern­men­tal of­fice, to find one of them to do his bid­ding.

While le­gal ex­perts are say­ing that the CCJ ‘s

rul­ing in ef­fect bars Jagdeo from run­ning in the 2020 Gen­eral and Re­gional elec­tions, not only as his party’s Pres­i­den­tial Can­di­date but also the party’s Prime Min­is­te­rial Can­di­date I am not con­vinced that the PPP leader shares that view. Word is out that Bhar­rat Jagdeo has as­sem­bled a high-pow­ered team of lawyers, pre­sum­ably led by Anil Nand­lall, who is re­search­ing this mat­ter with the in­ten­tion of fil­ing a le­gal chal­lenge at the ap­pro­pri­ate time. He is sig­nal­ing here that he in­tends to use ev­ery means at his dis­posal to re­gain the seat of Pres­i­dent of Guyana which he so badly craves.

Yours faith­fully, Tacuma Ogun­s­eye

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