We have a young and
vibrant President whose experience may be questioned but his enthusiasm and his
apparent willingness to compromise and cooperate has made him very popular. Before
the last election in a survey, done by a civic group of Guyanese calling
themselves the Initiative, told us that this president was more popular than
the PPP itself, it is probably why they were re-elected, people voted for him
because he promised that things will be better, that things will change, that
corruption and incompetence will be dealt with that there will be new inclusion.
From day one, after he was
sworn in I saw that this was not to be so, I saw clearly that he wanted our Foreign
Affairs Ministry in different hands but he was overruled by Freedom House and
now as a compromise we have two Ministers of Foreign Affairs, many other
glaring examples are there, anyone with half a brain and one eye can see for
I have called this
commentary promises, promises; since I see our young President on a path of
danger which he must be made aware of, if you give your word that you will do
something you should see to it that it is done, it is called credibility.... It
is very important this matter of credibility ladies and gentlemen, it is what
makes the difference between a great President and a poor one. A great MAN and
a shady character, so tonight let us look at this President's credibility.
He promised us that
things will change if elected, it has not, he promised that corruption will be
eliminated, it has not, no credible evidence exists that he has even tried, the
law contracts scandal for example, he promised that we will have more competent
ministers to manage our affairs he could not, apart from Mr. Insanalli no credible
changes have been made to our cabinet, in addition to the above let me list a
few of the promises that were made to our people which have not been kept, some
by this President and some by his predecessors but since 1999 this President
was obligated by virtue of his office to ensure that all promises made to his
people by anyone in his government, were discharged expeditiously.
In August 2001 the President
promised us that an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the
shooting of three young men on Mandela
Ave. would be done, nothing has been
heard since. Too numerous to list individually, were over two dozen other extra
judicial killings, which have never been investigated.
In June 2001 we were
promised by the President that a fair investigation would be mounted into the
shooting of a man in front of the Albion police station, nothing further has happened.
In July 2001 we were
promised an investigation into the killing of three alleged smugglers by BASS,
we have heard nothing further.
In July 2001 we were
promised a full investigation of the events at the BASS headquarters at
Corriverton in which three onlookers were killed, we have heard nothing
In June 2001 the office of
the president promised us that an investigation would be launched into the
circumstances regarding certain irregularities with contracts which involved
the attorney general's chambers, nothing has been heard since.
In March 2000 the police
and the Ministry of Home Affairs promised an investigation into the incidents
surrounding the apparent public execution of one Linden Blackie London, nothing
further has been heard.
In 2000 after floods
destroyed several hundred acres of rice lands in West Berbice, we were promised
an investigation into the poor management of the situation by the Drainage and
Irrigation board, nothing has been heard since.
In 1999 the government
promised an investigation into the mysterious fire at the Ministry of Education,
we have heard nothing further.
In 1998 the government
promised us an investigation into the mysterious fire at the Ministry of Finance,
specifically that part of the ministry where all the government contracts were
stored, when this President was Minister of Finance, nothing has been heard
No one I have spoken to
can remember anytime in our history when a series of fires in less than 5 years
[1996-2000] destroyed so much important government documentation.
In 1996 the late president
Jagan himself promised us an investigation into widespread corruption in the
government he told us that, and I quote him "this rascality must stop" it did
not, and there was never any investigation.
In 1996 after a state of
emergency was declared in all ten regions as a result of flooding, due to poor
drainage we were told that an investigation will be mounted to investigate the
literally hundreds of complaints by farmers who had lost several million
dollars from these floods, nothing further has ever been heard. I have decided
to tell you more about the functioning of our drainage and irrigation board and
its chairman... so stay tuned.
In 1996 a mysterious fire
destroyed the ministry of works, where most of the paperwork of that ministry
was kept, the late Dr. Jagan promised us that a full investigation will be
mounted into this mysterious fire, there has been no report to date. I could go
on and on, but let these suffice for now.
There is little question
that corruption is rampant in this country today, the PPP's own supporters are
aware of it and privately they are as fed up with it, as the rest of us are,
they have seen their Ministers, their other Government functionaries, their Regional
Chairmen display a sudden and inexplicable acquisition of wealth, whilst they
themselves are driven further and further into poverty. Incidentally and
incredibly this was the one investigation we heard of, Dr. Luncheon has assured
us that a complete investigation was done by a committee and no member of our
government was found to be in possession of inexplicable wealth, who were the
members of this committee again Dr. Roger? The three blind mice? As to the
question of their competence I need hardly say anything at all.
President Jagdeo, you are
a popular President elected by a majority of votes in a democratic election,
but you are losing ground because your credibility is now in question, your
citizens, all of them, are now quite fed up with the situation in this country,
they perceive that promises are being made to defuse rather than heal and to
remedy, you have to do something to repair that perception.
At the beginning of this
comment I said that this path is laden with danger, IT IS, the post election
events have sent a number of warnings to us, we should heed them.
Before I close tonight I
want to refer to a letter from a Mr. Leon Suseran that was printed in the
Stabroek News of Tuesday Oct. 2nd
2001 congratulating us for the good job
we are doing in Berbice, I would like Leon to know that the Program Manager of VCT is yours
truly. In fact it was I who personally designed, redesigned and engineered the
Berbice system for three long, hard years to get it right, it was the hardest
thing I ever did. VCT runs 6 transmitters to take this service to our friends
in Berbice so the signal has to be perfect going into the system and I would
like to assure Mr. Suseran that we are aware of the problem of the jumping of The
Evening News broadcast in Berbice and that we are working on it.
We try very hard ladies
and gentlemen, given the poor nature of our resources, I am not a person that
accepts too many excuses, I insist at all times that we at VCT try to treat our
viewers with the respect they deserve, if one of the VCT operators treats the
public with contempt by having a blank screen on the air for more than 15
seconds they hear from me. Don't even ask what happens around here everytime
the news is late.
VCT will never put up a
sign for 5 minutes telling the public that so and so is coming up NEXT. Or a
sign telling the public to stay tuned for this or that program, with 10
channels to choose from which broadcaster in his right mind will do his viewers
and his advertisers such a great disservice? that is why we have the most
sophisticated satellite dish system in the Caribbean. You play signal from one dish and the other is on
the channel you are going to next. Sometimes the VCT operators get a little
confused because our satellite guide tells us that one thing is coming up but
something else entirely appears, so there is a short delay whilst they consult me
since between 8PM to 11 PM the VCT operators are not allowed to use any initiative
whatsoever to change programs they must consult me. During non prime periods
they are allowed to do so, after 11 PM and during the day.
Thank you Leon it is
feedback like yours which makes it all worth while. And no, John Mair AKA Bill
Cotton, who in our weekly email exchange has accused me of writing letters of
praise to myself. I did not write that letter John.