I was most impressed with the Vice President’s press conference on the gas-to-shore proposal and the other issues that have appeared in the media in recent days. As usual, Jagdeo did an exceptional job in responding to tough questions from reporters. It was, as a media savvy person stated, public relations at its best.
He dealt with queries expertly, speaking with confidence. Few Guyanese did or have done as much as Jagdeo to shape the trajectory of development post Jagan. He knows the issues well. As others have commented, he is a politician and economist of innovative ideas, a man who is willing to take economic risks and who is not afraid to confront opponents or critics. The Irfaan Ali-led administration is benefiting enormously from his wisdom and vision for the country. It is noted that Jagdeo’s thoughts are into future development with new mega projects like gas-to- shore and other shore-based projects tied to energy.
The overall latest Jagdeo conference was found to be captivating. As viewers note, it is always a joy to listen to Bharrat Jagdeo. His comments have always been newsworthy, because he is engaging, and not boring like other speakers. He is a master of press conferences, bringing an experience, expertise, and talent that only a few have in the government. There are few speakers who are as lucid as Jagdeo in commenting on socio-economic and political issues. The Opposition has not shown there is a match for him in its benches.
Readers and viewers care about the issues in the media, and his views always grab the attention of the public, who admire and respect his leadership. Few in the Government are as knowledgeable as he is on policies. He seemed to have mastered technical issues pertaining to the gas-to-shore project rather quickly, based on the general announcement he made just before Christmas. The VP provided clarification on a lot of issues pertaining to gas-to-shore, housing, infrastructure, public service training, fishing licensing, housing, among others.
The VP was bombarded with a plethora of queries on several subject matters, and he masterly defended the Government’s policies and programmes. His responses were not serendipitous. Rather, they were studious. He gave excellent, masterly, crafty, erudite, cogent responses to all the questions.
Jagdeo gave factual responses without a self-promotional tone. He did not evade questions as other public officials normally did, and he gave assurances on Government’s intentions on recent policies. His responses to questions were so direct that they seemed to have piqued journalists’ interest. His remarks were infused with some wit and humour. Overall, he was very engaging with reporters.
People would now be pleased that the VP has addressed the issue of the gas-to-shore project. Gas-to-shore had piqued the interest of the media and public, especially development economists like me. Some had felt very uneasy about the project when the VP announced it two months ago. The VP’s updated remarks now instill some trust and optimism in the gas-to-shore project. It eases anxiety. Moreover, the project induces confidence in the future of the gas and oil economy. It offers an opportunity for a bright future.
If there is a favourable assessment, and it is cost- effective, the VP said, it would attract a lot of investors, and the project will create a lot of jobs. There are indeed immense possibilities for the future once this gets going. In fact, Guyanese have expressed optimism for the future under this Government, unlike its predecessor, which was so secretive on governance and which was stingy on hosting press conferences. There will be a lot of business activities if the project is approved.
Jagdeo is very knowledgeable about issues. The VP is applauded in moving quickly to address concerns expressed in the media. He is encouraged to continue to hold regular press conferences to keep the public informed on Government’s policies and programmes.
Dr Vishnu Bisram