Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017


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Jimmy Carter's Visit
(Aired 16 September 2004)

    Now I am not going to sit here and tell you that I am a PPP lover, I am not! I never was, so whatever else if have been I have been consistent and the PPP today is no different than the PPP of the past except that the inherent decency and fairness of Dr. Cheddie Jagan is no longer part of the PPP. It is now a diabolically evil organisation capable of deception, mischief and victimisation.

   This brings me to the Visit of President Carter on the 11-13th August and his meeting with Mr. Jagdeo during that period. What subsequently happened was that Carter coming from the free speech and freedom of the press background he does, published his entire interview with President Jagdeo in the Carter website on the internet on the 19th August 2004.

    Now these are the minutes of this entire 90 minutes meeting and can be seen on the Carter Centre's website under visit to Guyana Aug. 11-13th 2004.

   It contains numerous statements made by Mr. Jagdeo which are just not true and tonight I want to look at some of them.

   Voter registration: Jagdeo told Carter that he is eager to bring the existing voter registration list up to date, now since nearly 20 thousand of his supporters have left the country from region 6, you can bet your house, that he wants to bring it up to date! 

   Campaign Finance: Jagdeo wants Crater's help to craft and introduce legislation concerning election contributions, this legislation would require full disclosure of all contributions made to political parties and how these funds are expended he also seemed interested in drafting "Access to information Law" similar to what Carter has done in Jamaica and Ecuador. Carter promises that he will pursue this. I kept asking myself why would the PPP want disclosure legislation for Election contributions, since it is totally out of keeping with the philosophy of secrecy of the PPP, then it struck me! the PPP want to know who is supporting the other political parties financially, so that they can threaten and victimise them later, additionally knowing that legislation exists which can expose secret financial donations to the opposition parties could dissuade people from making any such contributions. I concluded therefore that we must not have any such legislation. As for Freedom of Information Legislation keep waiting for the PPP to introduce it, but don't hold your breath!

   Election Commission: Mr. Jagdeo likes the present Carter/Price system of political nominees from the major parties to comprise the members of the elections commission and wants it to continue, Mr. Carter however feels that a whilst this is OK, he would prefer a technical/non political Commission at this juncture of our development.

  National Development Strategy: Mr. Jagdeo told Mr. Carter that he has implemented 90 % of the NDS, now I don't want to go into a long dissertation about what has been implemented and what has not, but as I have told you before, the NDS tells us in the overview of it on page vii under "constrains to Guyana's development" that quote "the major obstacle to the development of Guyana is to be found in the divisive nature of its politics. that the Westminster system, not noted for its inclusivity of the opposition in the decision making process and is tailor made for confrontation, so if Guyana is to achieve good governance there must be a number of decisions made on intelligent, objective discussions and consultations between the two parties; unfortunately there is very little that a National Development Strategy can achieve in this regard, except to recommend more inclusively in Government, greater participation in the decision making process, greater observance of the principles and tenets which would prevail in a society which cherishes law and order, greater respect for human rights and for more openness in Government" end quote.

   In my humble opinion none of this has been done and therefore up to this day despite the Dialog and the Communiqué the PNC and the PPP have not sat down and had a proper meeting of the minds since independence. If Mr. Jagdeo cannot show any progress in this most important aspect of the NDS then he has not even started to implement this strategy much less implemented 90% of it. Mr Carter notes this and I quote him "this does not include key recommendations on governance, such as political inclusiveness."  

   Mr Jagdeo told Mr Carter that he is not interested in executive power sharing.

   As far as death squads are concerned Mr Jagdeo told Mr. Carter that he has set up a commission to enquire into these allegations and that the commission will complete hearing submissions by August 31st 2004, Jagdeo asks Carter if he would support a witness protection programme from the US, now this is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard, the US can't and wont provide witness protection to Guyanese then they would have to do it for all the nations in the entire world. No ladies and gentlemen we have to ask for financial help and arrange this ourselves i.e. Sending the witness to some island or country or the other and keeping their identity secret, we can ask the US for funds to do this but you can't ask the US to take our witnesses and lose them in the USA, anyone doing this cannot be asking for help in a serious way.  

   May 6th Communiqué Mr. Jagdeo tells Mr. Carter that he stands prepared to implement all of the decisions made in the communiqué, is this is why after signing it he produced a broadcast legislation that varies from it significantly? this is my area of interest and I have seen this deception first hand I don't know if the PNC have any grouses about other deceptions which were agreed to in the communiqué and how it differed with what was actually implemented.

   I am going to stop here for this comment in lieu of the time I will continue my comment on this important meeting next week. But in all of the commentaries I will do on this important visit by Mr. Carter and his frustration with us, I will end with this paragraph in Mr. Carter's own words and I quote him "Jagdeo is an intelligent and capable leader, but he takes full advantage of the ancient winner takes all system in Guyana. Following my meeting with him, I was very doubtful that his political party [PPP] would commence new dialog with the PNC, be willing to make any substantive moves to implement the National Development Strategy, share political authority with other parties, or permit members of parliament to be elected by their own constituencies, instead of being chosen from party lists on a proportional basis.

    So after listening to Mr. Jagdeo for 90 minutes Mr. Carter came to the same conclusion that I did since 2001 and that is why I started these commentaries, Mr. Jagdeo says one thing but something completely different happens, Carter does not believe this nonsense that 90% of the National Development strategy has been implemented, he does not believe that there is any will in Jagdeo or the PPP to yield any of the powers Burnham conferred on the Presidency of this country. And therefore Mr. Carter is saying between the lines that under these circumstances there is no hope for us unless we give someone the statutory powers to force Mr. Jagdeo and the inner core of the PPP to change, this means a third force comprising people who cannot be bribed with 7-8 seats in the parliament, controlling the PNC and the PPP and that is what I have been telling you has to happen for there to be peace, equity and progress in this land of ours, there are only more disasters along this road we are walking now.