CAST THE STONES
- Only if you are sinless
BY PARVATI PERSAUD-EDWARDS
I love Oprah Winfrey. She is my hero. She epitomizes everything that I admire in a woman and a person and I am always uplifted and often inspired the rare times I get an opportunity to see her show.
On one of her programmes she featured an American astronaut, who escaped his penurious circumstances through his own efforts to reach the pinnacle of success – Jose Hernandez, I think his name was.
During the interview Hernandez remarked to the effect that if world leaders could look down from outer space to be privileged a panoramic view of the world as he had done, then they would have a clearer picture of the world as one human village, and maybe this would help them to make decisions to the benefit of the entire race of man, rather than skewed to the exclusive benefit of their own nation states.
New Global Human Order
Our own Dr. Cheddi Jagan had espoused this concept long ago and propagated the mechanism for this construct to be a global strategy for human development in his new Human Global Order, which has been adopted by the United Nations and is even now taking centre stage at various international fora. This vision is our Dr. Jagan’s gift to the world.
But each country is a microcosm of the wider world, with leadership portfolios in various spheres, and in a contextual way this observation by Hernandez could be applicable to leaders within nations. Thus many atrocities committed by leaders on their own peoples, causing much socio-economic dislocations and infrastructural devastation, could be avoided.
But then such leaders would need to have an inherent love for their fellow man, a commitment to the general advancement of society, and an approach to a national developmental paradigm based on integrity and honesty, instead of egomania driving self-aggrandizement.
The worst election rigging
Within the Guyana framework we have leaders and aspiring leaders, and their acolytes and satellites, including several media houses, who use every opportunity to denigrate and derail the developmental mobility of this nation, and to assassinate the characters of those involved in the developmental processes, merely to advance their own selfish causes and agendas.
We are a developing country – emerging from a history of a plethora of destructive elemental forces that devastated our nation, even to the point where even the more optimistic thought that we would never emerge from the quagmire in which we had been immersed for decades – to the point where even the more altruistic funding agencies had practically written us off as almost beyond redemption.
Until Jimmy Carter decided, in the interest of justice, and in light of the contention of Guyana’s supreme leader, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, that the PPP had been “cheated, not defeated” for decades during general elections in Guyana, that the Carter Centre should use its phenomenal power to force the Hoyte administration, which is recorded to have been responsible for the worst election rigging in the history of Guyana during general elections of 1985, to concede to having relatively “free and fair” general elections in our country after decades of PNC rule.
Dr. Jagan was vindicated and the reconfigured PPP/C undertook the gargantuan task of trying to restore some order out of the critical and chaotic national landscape then prevailing – in every area.
One of the more pressing needs was to reduce the crippling debt burden - $2.1 billion, which was stymieing rehabilitation and developmental works.
Dr. Jagan and his brilliant and trusted young acolyte, junior Finance Minister, Bharat Jagdeo, went into overdrive, lobbying at every conceivable forum for a reduction and/or write-off of the albatross of Guyana’s debt. The international world responded favourably over the years and this, coupled with prudent fiscal management, has enabled Guyana to stabilise its economy, and even allowed some degree of growth, in less than two decades, to the extent where, in a recessional global environment where even the most developed nations are collapsing, Guyana has managed to maintain stability and sustain its macro-economic achievements.
Private Sector lauds President
The importance of this to the national economic health and the development of Guyana’s macro-economic fundamentals is being attested to by some big leaguers in the entrepreneurial fraternity, most of whom are not traditional PPP supporters, but whom are honest enough to publicly recognise and appreciate the Government’s policies and strategies, and its willingness to productively engage in interactive programmes that can assist the private sector’s initiatives, especially when these initiatives are adjunctive to Government’s developmental imperatives.
Kit Nascimento has been my friend for decades. He thinks I am somewhat foolish and abnormal, but he will defend my integrity (and often does) on the basis of this conviction. However, Kit and I, without disrespecting each other, have had some serious disagreements over what I considered to be his myopia over the PPP and its leaders.
I merely have time to skim newspapers and only read them properly when I am upset (which makes me dysfunctional), so it was weeks after publication in the Guyana Times that I saw Kit’s picture next to a headline “A conversation with the President”, which Kit informed me was a reproduction of a commentary he first presented on Channel 28.
That intrigued me, so I read on – in amazement, I may add, because he has made no bones about his dislike of the PPP administration in the past.
“The President’s address captured the attention, the respect and enthusiastic response it deserved from an appreciative and particularly well-integrated audience.
“He must have been pleased with the positive feedback he received from mainly the younger members of the audience.”
In my considered opinion, coming from Kit, who always unabashedly speaks his mind, this is extremely high praise.
Kit said “Judged by any standard, it was an extraordinary, if not brilliant, performance, not for its oratory, but rather for its substance and lucidity.”
Speaking at the ceremonials of the certification of the Ogle Airport as an international airport, Mike Correia said: “Today, I see a Guyana that has better economic prospects, over the next 5 – 10 years, than ever before.”
At the launch of Guyana’s premier trade fair, GuyExpo, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Capt. Gerry Gouveia, told an attentive audience that the PSC is looking forward with excitement to the future of Guyana and is working with all stakeholders.
Guyana on the Global Map
The powerbrokers of the world are lauding our President for his LCDS, and the courage and leadership qualities he is demonstrating – enough to position Guyana conspicuously on the global map, with all the initiatives he has driven – whether the LCDS, whether in agriculture, whether it is a lone stance against a draconian regime being forced on our region through an EPA propelled by the powerful EU, which would have severely dislocated our socio-economic imperatives.
Our performance indices are climbing – slowly but surely, on global graphs, and powerful world bodies are demonstrating their faith in the governance of this nation, notwithstanding the odd hiccup here and there, by the sustained, and even expanded, support over the years.
Lobbying against Guyana
Yet the doomsayers and the naysayers continue, unabated, their spiteful and jealous tirades. In their attempt to bring down the Government, they lobby internationally, and within the country, against initiatives that would help in the development of this country and its people – even to the extent of trying to derail our border talks.
In efforts to foster the fallacy that they, or the parties of their choice, would make better leaders for this nation, they are not above peddling lies and distortions in attempts to drive their point home, or to validate their arguments. But how solid is their personal integrity and credibility?
In normal Oprah lingo “Let’s take a look!”
And we will start with the Leader of the Opposition first.
Mr. Corbin was an integral component of the destructive PNC machinery, which laid waste this country to enrich a chosen few. While holding some important portfolios there were some serious allegations made against him, which included the barge fiasco and raping the young daughter of a colleague, among a multiplicity of other serious accusations.
Hijacking ballot boxes
I have always liked Raphael Trotman, mainly because his father, Justice Donald Trotman, is one of my dearest friends and an ardent proponent of peaceful conflict resolution.
However, there is no gainsaying that Raphael was also a part of the PNC hierarchy and has supported some of its deadliest policies during some of the most destructive years of that political entity.
One Prakash Persaud is making public accusations of fraud against Raphael’s legal firm and he has shown me legal documentation pertaining to the case bearing Raphael’s signature. The matter is currently engaging Persaud’s legal advisers.
In one of Raphael’s column he wrote that the GDF must return to being “people’s army”, not “people’s enemy”; but it was during the times Raphael’s party was in power that the army hijacked the people’s ballot boxes and killed the people who attempted to protect the people’s votes.
I will quote from Kaieteur News of July 31: “Leader of the Alliance for Change, Raphael Trotman, has reiterated his call for dialogue on governance, in light of the recent revelations by Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee, that the fire that destroyed the Ministry of Health headquarters was politically-motivated.
According to Trotman, the issues bring into focus the whole notion of governance and management of the people of Guyana.”
Sorry, Raphael, this is a highly-opportunistic position. How is the Government responsible for the destructive mentality of opposition forces. Two suspects who admitted culpability implicated several members of the opposition and outlined a plan that was strategised to create terror in the land. Not so strangely, these suspects disappeared from a secure police facility for holding prisoners.
In the same newspaper that carried the news of that allegation was a picture of The AFC leaders with placards as they joined the PNC leader, Robert Corbin, calling for sanctions to be imposed on Minister Leslie Ramsammy, on the basis of accusations of a self-confessed murderer who had been granted immunity, with his entire family obtaining US citizenship status, yet no-one in the opposition cabal, including the rabid media reactionaries, called for investigations into the allegations of the Ministry of Health arson case.
Freddie Kissoon, writing in the Kaieteur News of 7th August, stated that PNC candidate Ronald Waddell’s indoctrination of the Buxton “freedom-fighters” consisted of instilling into the ears, hearts, and minds of the Buxton gunmen that East Indian people are racist, they used black people to get the PPP in power, and that the PPP will get rid of black people.”
In that same column he also wrote: “…He told me that a certain GDF officer (whom we all know) was in the company with Dale Moore celebrating Moore’s birthday on the line top.
“A number of media personnel know about the elements in the GDF that were assisting the escapees.
“The soldiers’ assistance was out of black solidarity.”
Yes, Raphael, the PNC’s call to sentiments of “kit and kin” (even while you were an integral part of that party) does have many mavericks from the joint services and other public institutions on their side, supporting their destabilising “slow fiah, mo’ fiah” activities, but how is the issue of governance related to the lack of integrity and patriotism?
Thank God, that for the miniscule percentage of unpatriotic forces who try to destroy the land and hurt the people of this land, there are overwhelming numbers of Guyanese citizens across all the divides who reserve their politics for elections day and work in harmonious co-existence with their fellow Guyanese in public institutions and offices, only intent on getting the job done honestly, and to the best of their ability.
Sheila Holder misrepresents (?) facts
AFC’s candidate Sheila Holder had a headline in the Kaieteur News stating “broad-based citizens’ initiative needed to tackle corruption”. Yet, is misrepresenting the facts, if not outright lying, not an aspect of a corrupt individual? Ms Holder was proven to have been, in diplomatic terminology, misrepresenting the facts over reports she made about a pollster after her return from an OAS conference, yet when found out she did not even have the grace, or even a pretence of regret, for her contentious and inflammatory but what has been proven to be baseless accusations against a public figure.
There is a terminology “causing public mischief”. Is that applicable here?
Kleptic newspaper columnist
A columnist in a local newspaper constantly harps on corruption, and relentlessly uses unverified statements and baseless arguments, criticises persons and situations, many times running counter to his own writings of the past. But how honest is this person?
There is documented proof that this columnist, as a schoolboy, stole approximately 150 volumes of encyclopedia from the National Library and was put in psychiatric care.
Reports emanating from sources in Canada said he did the same thing in that country, hiding the books under his loose apparel. Yet he has the temerity to take everyone against whom he has a grouse to task on largely unproven theories of corruption and a plethora of utter vileness.
One of his ploys is to damn with faint praise persons whom he had previously attacked ferociously if this subterfuge could lend doubtful credence to his destructive allegations against someone else. Witness the praises he heaped on David DeCaires in the 13th September edition of the Kaieteur News.
Ram wants to be President
Christopher Ram’s vitriolic essays against his professional competitors and the administration are legend in this country. The motives for the former need no explanation, and as for the latter, well, Mr. Ram thinks he is the best candidate to be president, even if in an indefinite interim capacity, of this country – a position he advanced – purporting to have purely altruistic motives, of course.
However, Mr. Ram has always sought power through the back door, whether as a member of the WPA, or advocating on his own behalf – and there is no holds barred in his destabilising tactics – which includes rabble-rousing, mainly done with intellectual precision, finely-honed and etched, which leaves his victims – mainly innocent persons or entities, suspect in the eyes of the public, because his dishonest hyperbole always has just enough facts to seem credible to the ill-informed.
Who really stole electricity?
Kaieteur News has all but dissipated its credibility, with Stabroek News following a close second, and while they may criticise the Chronicle for leaning toward the Government, the latter is a state newspaper after all, but check the contents. They are all factual. If that offends those antipathetic to the administration then so be it, but descending to gutter-press levels is not on Chronicle’s agenda, nor is exacerbating and sensationalizing human misery part of its strategy to sell newspapers.
Denigrating governmental institutions and public figures, without verifying facts – as a matter of fact, often creating a story out of myth, is their strategy for pretensions to espousing the people’s cause. Investigative journalism is challenging – but beyond the capacity of the multiple-challenged.
The latest salvo they fired was against the Guyana Revenue Authority – initially putting Kurshid Sattaur on the defensive.
However, when that gentleman investigated and the facts emerged, there was no truth to the allegations made by Kaieteur News. Did that newspaper have the grace to retract its story? I don’t think so. It is not on their agenda to tell the facts.
And one inescapable fact is that Kaieteur News is the entity that was caught stealing millions of dollars of electricity, yet the publisher was not charged, nor did his newspaper publish this fact, so much for impartiality and unprejudicial reporting.
This newspaper that is on a crusade against corruption is not above stealing millions from a public entity. And one wonders why GPL, which disconnects the average householder for merely owing that entity a few hundreds of dollars, did not take punitive action against the publishers of Kaieteur News.
When one’s own snake bites
Moses Nagamootoo once called me “sister” and expressed great concern for me when I sustained life-threatening head injuries in an accident, and he has been in the forefront of the struggle to restore democracy in this land.
He therefore knows first-hand the pervasive fear that infested every breath one took during the Burnham years, when one had to be guarded in a simple conversation with an associate because persons were afraid of informers and Burnham did not tolerate even the mildest of criticisms, so to say I was shocked at Moses’ remarks at a GPA event was to put it mildly.
The same goes for Rupert Roopnarine, who remarked elsewhere that detainees were not treated badly during the Burnham days. My God, are you two in your dotage? My house was burnt as a result of three attempts within two weeks. I was locked up, terrorized, my family was threatened, and this was not even a drop in the ocean compared to what you and other colleagues suffered – not excluding murder – open and secret. Moses, in which real world could someone repeatedly replay a threat to a President’s life without repercussions? When one’s own snake bites, the poison is deadly.
Voice of the People
When CN Sharma established his television station I was very supportive of him because of his programming. I was instrumental in diverting a lot of ads to his then Channel 12 in preference to other longer-established television and encouraged him to go live, even organising the first live telecast in Guyana on CNS Channel 12.
I liked him immensely because he had a genuinely good heart. He once rescued almost a dozen persons who were stranded in the country and took absolute care of them until they could return to their homes. If I remember correctly, he charged not one penny for religious ads or programmes in those days. I considered CN and Savitree friends and liked their sweet children very much.
However, when he told me of his intention to enter into politics I advised him against such a move, but he proved adamant so I drew away.
Over the years Sharma has helped some persons, and he has harmed some through his programmes; but someone I once considered a very nice human being has proven himself to be not so nice – certainly not sincere, nor honest.
Many times when I look at his programmes I am fooled by what he presents, only to discover subsequently that what he often projects as the truth is not necessarily the whole explanation, and the real situation mainly lies between what he has presented and the explanation of the complete scenario, but the harm he does is often incalculable.
He was seen on his television station criticising a panel comprising Gail Teixeira, Robert Persaud, and Roger Luncheon (the three straddle the divides of race and age) for their analysis of the PPP/C’s 17 years in Government, because he said that they should have focused on the negative things in the society.
These people had inherited a wasted nation and demoralised Guyanese people and, by dint of overwhelmingly hard work – and yes, mistakes have been made because they had no blueprint for governance, but they persevered against the overwhelming odds and today Guyana is being lauded both within and without for its many positive initiatives driving development and growth – not only in the nation, but also in the region, and with Dr. Jagan’s New Global Human Order and Bharat Jagdeo’s Low Carbon Development Strategy, internationally too; yet CN had a severe problem with their enumerating their many and varied achievements.
Yet he was a vibrant member of the Committee for the Re-election of President Hoyte, even while that President and that party had demolished this country and all that was good in it, even the peace and unity in the land.
He was not concerned then about the people – about the way Hoyte and his party had devastated every major industry in the country – rice, sugar, bauxite – everything. He was not championing the demoralised people then but his buddies in the PNC, and I think that this pretence of caring while pursuing his political career is abject hypocrisy on the part of CN.
The bandit pandit
Dharamkumar Seeraj and the Rice Producers Association have come under attack by a disgruntled rice miller who has robbed rice farmers of millions of dollars, but who has now assumed a new avatar as champion of the rice farmers, in collaboration with someone who ran away during the hard years to the land of plenty, only to return to covet and attempt to rob a young man and his associates of the fruits of years of unremitting toil, sacrifice, prudent management of resources, lobbying at various fora and a super-abundance of knowledge of the rice and agricultural sector.
But the real players behind them are a discredited politician from the West Coast and his bandit priest collaborator, who first erupted on the local scene in tandem with CN Sharma denigrating someone who has given a lifetime of service to society, Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud, who has been primarily responsible for making Hindus in this country stand tall after years of denigration and destabilization.
On one hand the bandit pandit says he is developing young persons to become role models in society, yet on the other hand he is joining forces with others to destroy young persons who have achieved by dint of much sacrifice and with sincerity of purpose – young Dharamkumar Seeraj and Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud.
The opposition cabal, including some media houses, continually attack the President and other Government functionaries, but if they refute the allegations levelled against them, no matter how blatantly untrue, then those very media houses and opposition elements cry foul, denying the President and others within the administration their fundamental and inalienable constitutional rights, which are guaranteed to every citizen in the land.
However, despite the downsizing of the world’s economy, the crisis has scarcely affected our nation, except for the prices being offered for some of our exports.
This is as a result of good macro-economic fundamentals, with a stable inflation rate.
The Executive Directors of the IMF noted in their report that, despite external shocks and social pressures, the Guyanese authorities have maintained macroeconomic stability in 2008 through the implementation of prudent fiscal and monetary policies.
Currently the humane President of the most powerful nation on earth is fighting for what little Guyana has long achieved – free healthcare for its citizens.
But the nitpicking continues; and in the interest of this nation this stone-throwing must stop and all must show genuine commitment to collaborative endeavour toward nation-building. It is the only way we will survive.
Gerry Gouveia has said: “We are all in this boat together. We fought for independence and we got it. It is no longer them and us. It is we, together.
“We have to learn the art of agreeing to disagree without burning down the house, the art of compromise and, particularly, the art of really working together in good faith always in the interest of Guyana.”