It is with recognition of the need for truth to triumph and for an improvement in the quality of our commentary in the political arena that I type this note to highlight the unwarranted and unrelenting attacks on the character and person of former President Bharrat Jagdeo.
As the pendulum swings favourably across the many impressive achievements of Mr. Jagdeo, one encounters a sort of cognitive dissonance in trying to reconcile the hostile and disparaging pronouncements by an unsanctified group of Jagdeo-haters and propagandists versus the growth and development of Guyana’s economy while Jagdeo was President of Guyana.
My viewpoint is not intended to paint Jagdeo as a saint. However, it is an insult to the intelligence of the Guyanese people to addictively depict in the media our most successful President − and certainly our most solutions-oriented and dynamic Executive President − in a constantly negative manner, primarily to discredit his achievements for Guyana and have him endure a barrage of hate columns and letters.
A few of President Jagdeo’s accomplishments that come to mind are: 1) Jagdeo’s implorations and successful efforts allowed Guyana’s external debt to be reduced substantially by members of the Paris Club under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. 2) Jagdeo restored confidence in Guyana’s economy, as evidenced by the extraordinary increases in real estate values that have enriched thousands of Guyanese. 3) Jagdeo sealed the PetroCaribe fuel deal with a neighbour that has claims on our territory, allowing cheaper fuel to come to Guyana and significantly lowering annual United States Dollars’ expenditure to source fuel. 4) Jagdeo brought to fruition the PetroCaribe Rice-offset deal that significantly boosted the rice industry and foreign exchange demands. 5) The successful construction of the Berbice Bridge. 6) Initiating the building of the Guyana Marriott Hotel in Georgetown. 7) Distributing land lots to approximately 100,000 Guyanese. 8) Revitalising and stabilising the Bauxite Industry with the sale of Linmine to BOSAI & Aroaima to RUSAL. 9) Significant improvements in the reliability of power generation and delivery. 10) Sale of National Bank of Industry & Commerce and Guyana National Cooperative Bank to Republic Bank. 11) Guyana-Norway Agreement for the Low Carbon Development Strategy. 12) Tripling of External Foreign Exchange Reserves for 2006-2011. 13) Massive reduction in the potholes that plagued the capital city and the Georgetown/Timehri route. 14) Redistribution of earnings from prosperous industries to sustain other industries.
These measures were taken not to bolster Jagdeo’s image or some such fanciful endeavour, but to improve the living standards of Guyanese, maintain and create employment, and strengthen the Guyanese economy.
However, supposedly reputable columnists and letter writers have rendered seemingly interminable writings and rantings over the last decade with a bombardment-like focus on the perceived or fabricated negatives of President Jagdeo. Their writings and rantings have generally been published with the intent of undermining Jagdeo’s accomplishments and reputation. In addition, some columnists and other writers seem unable to criticize the current coalition government without resorting to some purported or concocted terrible act of Jagdeo.
Of course President Jagdeo has stumbled and made errors. Show me a current or former President or Prime Minister in Guyana or across the world who has not made mistakes, and I will show you a tiger without any stripes.
The issue is really whether President Jagdeo’s time serving Guyana was a net benefit to the country’s growth, development, improvement in social services, and economic buoyancy. The answer is undoubtedly yes. And in my opinion, his performance in this regard places President Jagdeo at the head of the class. No other President or Prime Minister of Guyana has, in Guyana’s history, managed to strengthen Guyana’s economy in a manner that benefited so many the Guyanese.