INTROSPECTION is a mental tool that serves as an invaluable medium for me gaining a better understanding of myself, recognising my limitations and ultimately serving to inform the process in me making myself twice a better person today, than I was yesterday and hopefully not half the person I can be tomorrow. Maslow defined this as self-actualisation. It is this self-directed internal personal audit, for want of a better term, that guides the inner and outward growth. This is so critical if we are to effectuate betterment in self, betterment in homes, betterment in communities, and ultimately betterment in the country we call home.
The People’s Progressive Party had been in power for 23 painful and unproductive years. After being rejected by the electorate in two consecutive elections, if I were in the shoes of the de facto leader Bharrat Jagdeo, I would have undertaken careful introspection. My first definitive step after introspection would be to resign, followed by succession in the party, which would have been guided by younger blood with new ideas. But even before those ideas were ventilated, it would have been of paramount importance for the party to have a collective introspection to gain an understanding as to what were the factors that contributed to the electorate rejecting them in two successive elections.
This clearly has not been undertaken, or if it ha, the recommendations not enacted since it is evident to the electorate that the PPP as a political party has not collectively improved. This is evident by the selection of a presidential candidate who has 19 criminal charges, who has serious questions about his academic qualifications, who is a university dropout and who is persona non grata in Canada.
To provide the reader a better understanding of the PPP’s political downhill slide, one only needs to examine the arrogance and incompetence of Bharrat Jagdeo, the Russia- trained strongman of the party. It is his arrogance, lack of introspection and not recognising his limitations that brought the economic fortunes of Guyana spiralling downwards, while the economic fortunes of his friends and associates followed the opposite direction. As a result, the electorate that voted them out in 2015 would have no other choice but to give them another five years out of government to hopefully get their house in order.
The reasons underpinning the electorate informed conclusion were not only the aforementioned factors, but also concerningly other factors, namely, a collective lack of contrition on the part of the party and the litany of failed and controversial projects undertaken, from which lessons were not learnt.
These failed projects were the brainchild of Bharrat Jagdeo for which he should take total responsibility. His arrogance would have him going around making economic forecast, assessments and all things economic. His arrogance would make us want to believe that he is the best economist to have graced this earth since Adam Smith. But I can tell you this, Adam Smith, if he were alive to witness Jagdeo’s failed record, would have been ashamed to be referred to as an economist. Let’s examine Bharrat Jagdeo’s record. Let’s review his failed projects.
FAILURE #1: Bharrat Jagdeo promised to fix the Skeldon sugar estate project, which cost US$200 million at the time, before he demitted office. When one considers interest and in net present value terms this cost would be in excess of US$300 million. Jagdeo demitted office in 2011 and the Skeldon Sugar Estate has remained the most expensive white elephant and his biggest “hydro-seed,” thus far. The fact is that the project was bound to fail from the start, as it was based on a set of false assumptions, inclusive of more private cane farmers returning to the land, when it is unclear why a region that is known for cattle-ranching and rice-farming (as well as illicit trading) would want to return to the back-breaking task of planting sugarcane. Now the failed economist and failed President wants to regain the presidency through the backdoor, trying to deceive the electorate with another of his three- card tricks that he will be re-opening estates. This is rich coming from a man who closed Ogle and Diamond estates.
FAILURE #2: The world’s worst economist was not satisfied with his Skeldon catastrophe, he soon conjured up a new devious project. This time he awarded US$15 million to “Fip” Motilall to build the road to the Amaila Falls Hydro-Electric Project. Mind you, “Fip” Motilall was just as incompetent as him with his only experience in construction was building a dog pen which unfortunately collapsed on the occupants, a few minutes after completion. But that was just a minute pixel of the comprehensive picture of a poorly thought out project. For starters, the Amalia Fall Hydroelectricity Project went from an initial cost of US$435 million to over US$900 million, by the time this government pulled the plug on it. The hard truth is that Jagdeo’s own Minister of Works at the time had indicated that the project would require at least US$1 million yearly for maintenance. Another waste of taxpayers’ money. What an economist Jagdeo is!!
FAILURE #3: The failed economist and President continued to give to his friends, family and comrades. He awarded a fibre-optic cable project contract to his first puppet’s son at a cost of US$80 million. Not sure if the younger Ramotar knew exactly what he was about but the project in keeping with previous projects, was a complete failure that never brought a single email to anyone. When the APNU+AFC government came into power in 2015, they tried to resuscitate it, but were advised to get the Catholic priest to read the last rites. Another waste of taxpayers’ money.
FAILURE 4: And the useless economist and president, rather than doing some introspection, continued with his foolery. This time the project was a specialty hospital. Not sure why a specialty hospital is required to treat “hydro-seed,” since the GPHC is quite capable of doing just that. Anyway, he went along his foolish ways by awarding the contract to a shell company out of India. The people of Guyana advanced this company over US$4 million and have only a few piles to show. “Hydro-seeds” and piles, where do we go from here? The last thing I heard is that the company was under one of Houdini’s magic spells and just disappeared into thin air. Once again, the taxpayers counting their losses.
FAILURE #5: It would be remiss of me not to remind the electorate about his devious role in strong-arming the NIS to be used as a slush fund for construction of the Berbice bridge. The fact is that the Berbice bridge is owned by his friends and his friends only, with his very close friend Dr Bobby Ramroop having the biggest share of 40% despite the bulk of the money invested coming from the NIS. That must be some kind of Russian economics unknown to us. And that is not all: all the investors in the bridge have links with Bharrat Jagdeo. Doubt me then have a read.
As mentioned earlier, Dr Bobby Ramroop, a very close friend of the former President, Bharrat Jagdeo, is the largest shareholder. NICIL has 10 percent shares in the bridge, NIS has 20.2 percent, Hand In Hand Fire Insurance has 10, New GPC has 20 percent, Queens Atlantic Investment Inc. has 20 percent and Secure International Finance Co. Limited owns 20 percent. Winston Brassington’s brother, Michael, is the largest shareholder in Hand in Hand.
The Ramroop/Brassington combination therefore puts ownership of the bridge into the hands of Jagdeo’s close friends. It should be noted that Dr Bobby Ramroop owns two of the companies that each has 20 percent shares. We should not forget that it was this same Dr Bobby Ramroop that he give the multi-billion pharmaceutical contracts. Talking of conflict of interest. It was the same Dr Bobby Ramroop who flew him out to America when he was afflicted with the benign acute diarrhoeal disease. It was the same Dr Bobby Ramroop who nursed him back to life. So when your poor grandparents cannot get their pensions, they know who to blame– Bharrat Jagdeo. Despite that sordid history he may wish to make you believe that he cares about the aged.
It is obvious that his words are not consistent with his action of stealing” their pensions. Added to that, he once wanted to increase the pensionable age above the life-expectancy age! Most Guyanese would have been long dead before they had a chance to receive a pension. And we should not forget the liquidating and losses incurred by the failure of CLICO, not to mention the associated job losses. So, when Jagdeo wants to talk about taxpayers’ money, let him account for those funds first. Those are just some of the bigger ones that we know about.
Further, the great masquerader speaks about caring for youths and have people trying to find out what youths want, when it was his party that abolished the Guyana National Service, took away a constitutional right of free education from nursery to university, murdered more that 400 young people including Yohance Douglas, a UG student, and locked up a child for showing his motorcade his middle finger. Let’s stop and think for a second.
Most of the crimes were committed by persons who were born in the 23
years of his party’s rule or grew up in them, hence they were a product
of his and his party’s failed policies for youths. If things were so
good for 23 years as he and his underlings have been running around
spewing, then where were the opportunities for these young people? Why
did they have to turn to crime? To get more information on the state of
play in Guyana under his rule and the rule of the PPP, then one can read
the full report of the 2001, The Doing Business Index in Guyana and the
Transparency Index for his years. Young people should not be fooled by
Bharrat Jagdeo and his frontman, they are expendable as a baby diaper.
I know there is a price I will pay for educating you about the dark past of the Champion of lies. The result is me being inevitably banished to his black book. I don’t mind. I don’t care.That is a price I’m prepared to pay. I rather live in his black book than have you dead in the streets.
Dr Mark Devonish