Monday, May 9, 2011

Is Mr. Granger his own man, or is he just doing what Corbin tells him to do? Harry Gill

Harry Gill: Much has been said about the recent appointment of PPP’s presidential candidate Donald Ramotar as President Jagdeo’s Political Advisor, and I wish to add my input to this debate.
Of course, it was perfectly acceptable when the Leader of the Opposition Robert Corbin was pushing the candidacy of David Granger as the PNCR choice for president, prior to his official ascension to that position, but that was hardly cause for concern outside the PNCR camp. As a political observer, I believe the appointment of Ramotar to be a brilliant, strategic move by the President.
Let me explain: The PPP will win the upcoming elections. Not only have they done enough to be re-elected, but the main opposition is underfunded, disorganised, and too obsessed with wanting to investigate and prosecute members of the Jagdeo Administration. They will waste public funds to set up ‘independent commissions’, and will put an end to essential projects now ongoing, such as the Amaila Falls Hydro-Electro Plant.
They have no real plan to further develop Guyana, and are hoping that young voters with no knowledge of the failed PNC policies that bankrupted this country in the ‘70s and ‘80s would turn out in masses to put them in office, but this will not happen. Too many people are benefitting from the policies of the PPP/C Government… Amerindians and the youth included. Of course a lot more could be done, but the average Guyanese are not concerned with allegations of corruption and cronyism.
The other party is not even worth discussing here, for they will have Another Failed Campaign (AFC), and is likely to lose most of the five seats they won from PNC supporters in 2006.
Donald Ramotar is heavily favoured to be Jagdeo’s successor, and in order to ensure a smooth transition after the elections, it is imperative that he knows everything that’s taking place within the Office of the President (OP). But most importantly, this appointment gives the next president the unique opportunity to shape his policies now, while trying to prevent Jagdeo from making controversial remarks and decisions that would make it more difficult for him to win an outright majority in Parliament. This I believe is the main goal of this appointment.
In his letter, “Whatever happened to the days when words like shame and honour meant something?” (Kaieteur News May 6), Mark Archer wrote, “It is widely believed, even among former PNC critics, that the Office of the President is the most corrupt and morally compromised place in Guyana. Some have labeled it an incubator for both personal and public scandals. Why would a serious presidential ‘wannabe’ attach himself to such an operation? The question must be asked. Is Mr. Ramotar his own man, or is he just doing what Jagdeo tells him to do?”
Ironically, this is the very question I asked of the PNCR presidential candidate: Is David Granger his own man, or is he window dressing for Robert Corbin? The fact that Granger will not contest the leadership of his party, leaving Corbin to retain the office of Leader of the Opposition even after another PNCR defeat later this year, tells me that Corbin’s support for Granger was conditional, and that Corbin is really the one pulling his strings. The same, however, cannot be said of Ramotar, for Jagdeo has nothing to gain from this appointment, and this may very well have been Donald Ramotar’s idea in the first place.
In a recent press release, the PPP has denied that a salary is being paid to Donald Ramotar in that capacity, and this can be verified if the opposition is interested in doing so, rather than jumping to conclusions. The report stated, “Since his appointment as General Secretary of the PPP, Mr. Ramotar has served formally and informally as a political advisor to the President and Government of Guyana.” If this is so, what’s all the big fuss about?
Then Mark Archer made reference to the President’s recent address to supporters in New York; he said, “Mr. Jagdeo told his audience that while other nations had faltered during the economic crisis, Guyana had prevailed, that we were building and growing. He even opined that unlike many countries in the developed world that were cutting back on spending for higher education, his government had increased funding for the University of Guyana.”
The President also mentioned that while banks were being closed and loans denied in developed countries, the banking institution in Guyana was rapidly expanding. But of course, Mr. Archer does not believe this. He continued, “In his remarks, Mr. Ramotar echoed the President, and touted the economic growth and development in Guyana. Is there no shame? Have Messrs. Jagdeo and Ramotar not seen the lines in Duke Street, the crowded departure lounge at the airport, and the country’s net migration rate? ….Mr. Editor, if things are as rosy in Guyana as portrayed by Ramotar and Jagdeo, why are these people leaving?”
I’ll tell you why Mr. Archer, but I doubt that you’re objective enough for it to make a difference.
There is nothing unusual about “lines in Duke Street”, and here I think he’s referring to the US Embassy. There have always been lines at US Embassies, this is not unique to Guyana, and this happens all over the world… Everybody wants to come to America. But it would have been interesting if Mr. Archer had compared the migration rate now, to that during the PNC reign. At least Guyanese are free to travel at will unlike the ‘70s when I was prevented from going to the USA by the PNC Government.
I’d first applied for a US visa in the ‘70s, and was turned down because I had “too much interest outside”, or so I was made to believe. Years later while living in the Caribbean, a friend from the US Embassy in Barbados who had seen my embassy files, told me the real reason my visa application was denied in Guyana, was because the Burnham Administration had asked the US Embassy there to severely limit the issuance of visas to Guyanese of fair complexion and those of Indian descent in order to prevent a mass exodus from the country.
Today, everyone would be shouting “racism” if this happens under Jagdeo. Had this not been done in the ‘70s, I’m sure most of the Indian population and all Portuguese would have left Guyana under PNC rule… things were that bad. And in the event that Mark Archer is not aware of this, “crowded departure lounge at the airport” is a sure sign of progress.
More Guyanese are prosperous and can afford to travel, but it also demonstrates the ability of the Guyanese traveler to get foreign exchange at will, something that was in very short supply in the days of the PNC, when foreign exchange was limited to the US$ equivalent of G$100 for anyone leaving the country. During that time, Guyanese smuggled out raw gold which were sold in Trinidad and Brazil for US currency. Mark Archer talks about the lines in Duke Street, but I will remind him of those horrible days of bread-lines and Guy-Lines and everyday food shortages, that nobody wants to go back to again.


  1. There is now way that Granger could be his own man his position in life of the PNC was made clear since Burnham day and that is he will do what he is being told to do.

  2. The whole of Guyana knows that Granger dont have the first and only say in the PNC he has to wait and be instructed on what step and what he must do.

  3. well it is most obvious that granger is corbin's footstool...its like the PNC is Corbin's house and even though granger is head of it..he still has to abide by Corbin's rule.