Harmon’s model for Opposition Leader – maximise misrepresentations and fabrications

Joe Harmon has devised for the Opposition Leader a role that is not only reckless, but will end up making him the worst Opposition Leader this country and Caricom ever had. Supporters can be sycophants, but one thing is certain: one cannot keep fooling them.
Even some of the most ardent PNC supporters knew they were being lied to during the five-month electoral thieving attempt last year. But Joe Harmon, clueless in his role as Leader of the Opposition, has decided that he would represent his supporters through the most appalling fabrications and misrepresentations.
Last week, for example, he spoke of the PPP Government giving away shoreline lands to its supporters. This happened, but not with the PPP Government; it happened just before the elections in March 2020, and the Government was the APNU/AFC Government. This week, he claimed the Government slashed the budget for the Leader of the Opposition’s Office. In fact, the budget for the Leader of the Opposition’s Office in 2021 has been increased from previous years, and the 2021 budget is the largest this office has ever had since it has been budgeted for in the national budget.
Before he finishes off his stint, Harmon is destined to be known as Caricom’s worst ever Leader of the Opposition. David Granger, in all his capacities – Leader of the PNC, Leader of APNU, Leader of the Coalition APNU/AFC, Head of State – made many bad personnel choices. His Cabinet was the weakest and most incompetent cabinet ever in Guyana. His personnel choices were the most incompetent in all areas. Now, after losing an election, in spite of trying to thief it, his choice for Leader of the Opposition might well be the worst personnel decision he ever made.
In making his choice, he ignored many veteran and long-serving, loyal PNC members. He also ignored the younger leaders of that party, just as he did when he was President, telling them to wait their time. Even among his own party members, there is now open talk that Harmon is failing as the Leader of the Opposition. This is not shocking, since no one can succeed if their concept of the role of the Leader of the Opposition is simply to fabricate and misrepresent.
This week, Harmon misrepresented that the 2021 Budget for the Office of the Leader of the Opposition was slashed. The Speaker of the National Assembly has now told the nation the truth, and the truth is nothing like Harmon represented. In fact, Harmon’s story is now plainly a fabrication. His 2021 Budget of more than $37M averages more than $3M per month. This does not include his salaries and benefits. The $37M 2021 budget is the largest annual budget for this office since it has been budgeted for. The budget for 2020 was about $35M, and it was about $33M in 2019.
In 2020, between January and August, when Bharrat Jagdeo was Leader of the Opposition, the average monthly budget was just over $2M. During the period September to December 2020, when Harmon was Leader of the Opposition, the average monthly budget was over $4M. Thus, Harmon was not just misrepresenting the facts, he was fabricating stories. He claimed that the budget was slashed from $92M to $37M. But the budget for the Leader of the Opposition was never larger than $37M. The $92M is what he wanted.
Every Minister asks for more each year. But if everybody gets what they ask for, Guyana’s annual budget would be more than a trillion dollars and our taxation would have to increase by more than 300%.
But Harmon’s fabrication did not end with the untruth that his budget was slashed. He also tried to get people to buy another fabrication – that his budget was slashed by the PPP Government. In fact, the decision relating to the budget of the Leader of the Opposition is one made by the Speaker and the management of the Parliament, and not by the Government. The Speaker made that clear.
Harmon’s fabrication of shoreline lands being distributed by the PPP is an attempt to divert attention from the many corrupt deals regarding shoreline lands given away by the APNU/AFC Government. The time has come for Harmon to tell the nation who gave away prime lands along the Demerara River banks, near to the vicinity where the bridge was supposed to be built and near to the mouth of the river. The time has also come for the nation to know about the Berbice lands that were given away to senior officials of the APNU/AFC Government, lands in the vicinity where the possible oil refinery and deepwater harbour are to be located.
While we are at it, inquiring minds want to know which senior officials in GECOM got land just before the March 2020 elections.
Clearly, Joe Harmon, clueless in the role of Leader of the Opposition, has decided that he would bring his own innovation to the office, that he would make this office the consummate champion of fabrication and misrepresentation. But he must remember that, just as he could not get his supporters to buy the untruth that they won the March 2020 elections, he will fail as Leader of the Opposition if he thinks he can live on fabrications and misrepresentations.

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