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Jagdeo: 'The politics of mediocrity'

The things this President says

By: Freddie Kissoon

In all my studies of Guyanese and Caribbean politics, I have not encountered a governmental leader that has made so many faulty statements that should have disqualified him from receiving any votes at all at election time. Mr. Jagdeo does not think before he speaks. Or so it seems.
He opens himself to severe embarrassment by saying the wrong things; things that cannot be defended. It is that he just doesn’t care. Or he is unable to extricate himself from the politics of mediocrity.
I can offer here literally hundreds of self-defeating statements from Mr. Jagdeo that in so many other countries would have caused leaders like him to be voted out of office. Let us look at one such embarrassment. Mr. Jagdeo told the press that ideas about shared governance with the PNC evaporated because the PNC became burdened with infighting. Any school boy would tell you what shared governance is all about.
It involves the exercise of power that seeks to bring social justice and economic benefits to communities and ethnic groups that feel that the ruling party is biased or discriminatory. These constituencies need to be comforted with the empowerment of their own leaders who will secure a place for them in the exercise of governance.
If a Prime Minister or President genuinely believes in shared governance and wants to see the contents of shared governance expressed in policies, then he/she can start the agenda by him/herself. What this means is that the truly democratic placements of a leader can render shared governance meaningless because suspicious communities will feel that they have a patriotic leader that loves his/her people. Isn’t this what the Obama revolution is all about?
Mr. Obama promises an inclusive agenda in Washington D.C. How can Mr. Obama then tell the world that there is a power struggle in the Republican Party and since this shuts out the possibility of talking to the Minority Party on Capitol Hill, his implementation of the inclusive framework he promised during the election will have to wait.
In actual terms, what President Jagdeo has enunciated is an attitude that he will only act to bring about a democratic culture when the Opposition is ready to talk about inclusive politics. This is not only shocking mediocrity but it may be deception of the worst kind. Shared governance has a definition. It includes caring and democratic policies. It includes government acting in the interest of its people. So what is Mr. Jagdeo waiting for in terms of the contents of inclusiveness? We can answer that question by identifying some of the requirements of this model.
There cannot be any debate about the things the Opposition and civil society will want in a dialogue on shared governance.
Most definitely, all the participants facing the Government’s representatives across the table when the negotiations begin will demand an end to the radio monopoly. Every member of the parliamentary opposition and every citizen of this country will accept the necessity of a Freedom of Information Act (FIA).
So why is President Jagdeo waiting on the PNC to get its house in order before he frees up the radio license and adopts the FIA? How can such democratic processes be held to ransom to what takes place inside the halls of Congress Place? Look at the intention of a government that says it wants inclusiveness in the process of administering Guyana. It has taken the decision to appeal the Chief Justice’s ruling that television licenses should be made available to applicants from Linden.
Where are the indications of the attempts to move the culture of political tribalism out of its traditional mould? After the President’s infamous observation, none of the journalists present found the thought useful to inquire of the President why the stakeholders’ consensus, formed after the gruesome murders at Lusignan and Bartica evaporated into thin air?
Who or what was responsible for that? No analysis of President Jagdeo’s conference last Wednesday will be complete without some kind of assessment of his reference to Mr. Corbin.
He made the point that some of the anti-Corbin elements want him to take PNC supporters onto the streets. The President didn’t stop to reflect on why that is so. The answer is because Mr. Jagdeo’s unstoppable authoritarian train has put Mr. Corbin in that unenviable cul-de-sac that he, Corbin has now found himself.
The more intransigent the Government becomes, the more pressure there will be from inside the PNC for Mr. Corbin to show some level of disapproval at what Mr. Jagdeo does. Judging from the de-recognition of the TUC which the PPP has just achieved through the passed Trade Union Recognition Bill, the trials and tribulations of Robert Corbin will continue.

The views expressed above are those of the author/s and do not in any way reflect those of the publisher or members of the Boston # 1 PNC group.
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