Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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Unbelievable Guyana
(Aired 7 April 2005)

   I returned from my trip to the US since March 20th to find the President Mr. Jagdeo at war with the City Council. "They are wrangling and incompetent and running the city down" I noted him telling the public.

   When I return from trips abroad I take time and I watch and I wait until I get a feel for the situation, this usually takes around three weeks, so I listened in total disbelief to Mr. Jagdeo criticising the City Council and threatening to put in place an interim body, I read  the letters in the Stabroek news from several people telling us that we should hold Local Government elections and not allow this dictator [the actual word printed in the newspaper] Jagdeo to install any interim management committee in the city.

    But essentially I heard nothing even closely resembling what the situation truly is.

    The Government and the elections commission should understand that they have to enforce the constitution on being sworn in as President Mr. Jagdeo undertook to enforce it.

     Mr. Jagdeo was sworn in as President twice so far, once in 1998 when he replaced Mrs. Jagan and again after the 2001 elections.

     Now I will let the legal eagles in the country explain the details of what I am going to say here tonight, but from 1999 to this date having presided as President in this country Mr. Jagdeo has broken the constitution he swore to uphold by not holding Local Government elections. This also holds true even if there is an impasse concerning which rules we should hold local government elections under, the new constitution, the old one, whichever; but it must be held. The PPP and the PNC together notwithstanding that they represent over 85 percent of the population cannot tell us that they are deciding which constitutional laws they will hold the elections under we are not interested which it is, Mr. Jagdeo swore that he will enforce the constitution so he was supposed to declare local Government elections since 1998 when he was sworn in since even at that time it was long past due!

      Here we have another example of the break down of the rule of law, if this was a country governed by the rule of law, then any citizen would be able to go to the Supreme Court and force Jagdeo to carry out his oath of office and hold elections. Incidentally there is an acting judge in this country who does not understand that however he twists the law to suit his masters he must not interfere with the rule of law as it pertains to me, and so I will be dealing with Mr. Risky Persaud soon.

     Now this President having betrayed his oath of office for 6 years in this matter now decides that the city council is incompetent, so in an effort to cover his incompetence as President he informs us that he will put an interim management committee in place and he instructs Collymore to fire the City Engineer.

    Well the City engineer needs to be fired, I agree completely with that, but if what I told you was true and Mr. Munroe the Chairman of Region four kept complaining about the lack of money in his Regional budget to maintain the drainage system in that region and the danger the Conservancy posed to the residents on the East Coast, then it is this same Minister Collymore who should be fired as well.

   Ladies and Gentlemen I have an office in Georgetown and I sustained damage there just as any other citizen who has a house or business in the city did, but the water in Quamina Street, a noted low area of the city, never rose higher than one foot in the bottom flat of our building there and after the rains stopped on the 18th January the place was flood water free 5 days after the rain stopped pouring.

    Now Mr. Jagdeo and the PPP must explain to us why the water in Georgetown went away by the 23rd January even though the city engineer had all the drains in the city blocked up, whilst the water on the East Coast did not go away until 5 weeks later! And Mr. Jagdeo must also tell us why no one was fired from the Ministry of Finance [including Jagdeo himself] the Ministry of Local Government, and the Drainage and Irrigation Board since they have all been in a coma, sleeping, just as good as Cephas James!

     Ladies and gentlemen this is another sham, a red herring Mr. Jagdeo does not care about the City of Georgetown or the people of region 4, his budgets prove that! but this is the year immediately preceding the elections in March 2006 and Mr. Jagdeo wants to draw our attention away from the mess he and his government has made for us in this country, to draw our attention away from the situation his mismanagement has caused to the residents on the East Coast, before the disaster, in the poor rehabilitation of the Lama dam by Tiwari, the disregard to the calls for help from Regional Chairman Munroe which resulted in disaster, he wants to take our attention away from the mess he made of things during the actual flooding, he also wants us to forget that the Commonwealth, through Sir Michael Davies, has now told us that we do not have a functioning Parliament he wants us to forget the two British Justices Baker and Lewis's report which told us that we do not have a functioning judicial system, he wants us to forget that the World Bank has told us since July 7th 2004 that Guyana is suffering from a crisis of governance, that the PPP and the PNC are deadlocked without any possibility of conciliation, that the sugar industry is in financial trouble due to irresponsible raises in pay to the workers by this government and that the work force must now be reduced to 16 thousand from 25 thousand, that the Demerara estates must be closed, Mr. Jagdeo can deny it all he wants to but I guarantee that after the next election he will have to close them, the World Bank is demanding it. He wants us to forget what Mr. Carter wrote after his visit here during August 11th-13th 2004 and I quote him "although my faith in the Guyanese people remains, it has been a sobering visit. Except among a few political party leaders. There has been almost universal expressions of concern about the present condition and future hopes for Guyana, based on a failure of the political leaders to heal the incompatibility and animosity that characterises their relationship" and this quote from the last paragraph of Carter's notes on this visit to Guyana "of all the countries I have visited in the world, Guyana has the most unrealised potential" in other words I read this to mean that apart from a few PPP political party persons the rest of us are fed up and see no future for ourselves or our children here. Over the past several years OECD tells us that 83 percent of all graduates of University leave us for greener pastures and I for one do not condemn them for it.

     There no question that our economy has failed, that businesses are in real financial trouble, that we have become a major transhipment point for drugs to the US and to Europe, that the rule of law has failed us, that the police force have failed us, that the Parliament has failed us, that the PPP and the PNC have not met or had any meaningful conversation in nearly two years, which according to Mr. Carter, Sir Michael Davies, the World Bank and Me, is a recipe for disaster, since without a meaningful engagement between the PPP and the PNC in or out of the Parliament there cannot be a resolution of our current political, economic and social crisis, and that the PPP continues to erode the progress made by the constructive engagement to the detriment of our country.

     We the citizens of this country should tell the President that local government elections were supposed to be held nearly 10 years ago and that it was he and his government which did not hold it for their own agenda, those who do not know what that agenda is, should find out. What we want now, is National Elections so that we can change him and his colleagues from being in total control.