Guyanese President Leaves a Tattered Legacy

Stagnation, violence, corruption, arch-sectarianism, and unfettered crime—this is the heritage that President Bharrat Jagdeo will bequeath to his country. Now that Jagdeo has announced that he will not seek a third term in the upcoming August election, he may well ask, as a New York mayor once did, “How did I do?” The answer, in this instance, must be: “terribly.” Chosen by former President Janet Jagan to succeed her in office, and supposedly held in high esteem by Guyana’s founding father, the illustrious Cheddi Jagan, Jagdeo could only receive the lowest of marks from any independent evaluation. Through his tolerance of crime, racism, and dismal social progress, President Jagdeo has turned in a fifth-rate performance as president of one of the poorest countries in the hemisphere. As the Guyanese use every strategy, legal and illegal, to flee the dysfunctional country, Jagdeo will go down in history as a man who did almost nothing for his nation while in office.

Jagdeo in Command?

As Guyana was wrestling with ever-present ethnic and political tensions, Jagdeo ascended to the presidency in 1999, not by election but rather through the anointment of his predecessor, Janet Jagan, thus taking the helm with no popular electoral mandate. To his credit, Jagdeo has led Guyana on a path of considerable economic growth in the last ten years despite a devastating flood in 2005. The Guyanese economy, which is heavily dependent on the export of six main commodities—rice, timber, gold, bauxite, shrimp and sugar—has expanded at an average rate of 3 percent over the past decade.1Sadly however, despite this incremental improvement in the Guyanese economy, government officials have been either unwilling or unable to share this modest prosperity with average Guyanese citizens.

Indicative of this trend is the fact that the allocation for education as a percentage of government spending is significantly lower than it was ten years ago. Public spending on education dropped to 6.1 percent of total GDP in 2007, down from 8.5 percent in 2000. Because of this lack of adequate spending on public education, the percentage of primary school entrance-age children enrolled in such schools dropped from 91.8 percent to 62.0 percent.2 While it is difficult to speculate precisely what effect these substantive budget cuts on education have had on childhood literacy rates in the country (owing to a lack of data collected by Georgetown officials), there could be pernicious social consequences if education continues to take a back seat on the Guyanese agenda.

On healthcare, there have been some positive results including an increase in life expectancy and a notable decrease in infant mortality.3 Many exigencies however remain unaffected. For instance, about a fifth of the Guyanese population still lacks access to clean sanitation facilities.4 And the World Health Organization estimated that Guyana has one of the highest prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS in Latin America and the Caribbean.5

Perpetual Violence

Jagdeo’s tenure will also be remembered for the spike in violent crimes experienced throughout Guyana, an issue exacerbated by repeated extrajudicial killings on the part of state authorities. Since 2001, “Phantom” death squads with alleged connections to government agencies—also called the “Black Clothes Police”—have been linked to some 400 murders.6 7 “A clear pattern is emerging,” said a member of the opposition People’s National Congress Reform (PNC). “The Black Clothes Police have constituted themselves accusers, judge, jury and executioners, and have been gunning down people with impunity.”8

The Jagdeo administration shocked the region by rejecting a request by the United States, Britain, and Canada to do an independent probe of what amounted to repeated human rights violations. “We are very concerned about the allegations and we believe that the integrity of the government is something that is at question here,” said British High Commissioner Stephen Hiscock9 Amnesty International wrote an open letter to President Jagdeo in 2001 demanding prosecution of any officials involved in extrajudicial violence, and saying that the Guyanese government had “repeatedly failed to ensure the protection of the internationally recognized fundamental right to life—and to take measures to prevent such killings.”10 Although several officers were indicted for their participation in extrajudicial killings in 2004, none were convicted.11

Some have responded in kind to the state violence, such as in the notorious Rondell Rawlins case. Rawlins, who accused the government of kidnapping his girlfriend, waged a campaign of terror in Guyana seeking her return. This resulted in the shocking deaths of 23 people.12 Jagdeo’s tumultuous presidency was also beset by a series of fatal bombings over the past several years, including one attack on the Ministry of Health in 2009 and two additional assaults in 2011—one at the Stabroek Market and the other at the residence of Philomena Sahoye-Shury, a leading member of President Jagdeo’s People’s Progressive Party (PPP).13 As one editorial in Guyana’s Stabroek News put it, “The security situation grows murkier by the day and it is in this milieu that there has been a rash of dangerous events.”14

Ethnicity and Frustration

The violence in Guyana is all the bitterer for the ethnic undertones that color it. Guyana’s motto—‘One People, One Nation, One Destiny,’—only seems a cruel joke in the face of the stark division that has long seized the country—a division that Jagdeo has done almost nothing to address.

Party affiliation in Guyana falls almost directly along ethnic lines. Jagdeo’s PPP overwhelmingly receives the vote of the Guyanese of Indian descent, while the opposition PNC garners the support of the country’s African descendents. One study of the 2001 elections called the crossover votes between ethnic groups “insubstantial” and concluded that “[PPP] is still, for all practical purposes, an Indian-dominated party.” 15 Even after the 2006 election, Jagdeo’s efforts to diminish the trend were nowhere to be seen. One editorial in the Stabroek News in 2010 commented that the two main parties still remain within their ethnic platform. It said, “Both [the PPP and PNC] follow an unwritten rule that their leader must be from a particular ethnic group and both derive a high percentage of their support from a single ethnic group.”16

Often, crimes in Guyana take on a racial dimension, reflecting the continued perception of the longstanding Afro-Guyanese exclusion under the PPP. In 2007, Andre Douglas, an alleged murderer of African descent who was eventually killed by police after escaping from jail, placed his own crimes in the context of social marginalization and inequality. He called himself a “freedom fighter,” and said, “Look into innocent black Guyanese problems or unrest will not finish.”17 In other words, Douglas would keep terrorizing Guyana until the social problems of the Afro-Guyanese were alleviated. The large turnout at Douglas’ funeral showed that his frustration resonated with the country’s Afro-Guyanese community. Thus, ethnic division remains a challenge that disrupts quotidian life in Guyana, and that President Jagdeo has not effectively taken steps to resolve.

Conclusions

On balance, Jagdeo has failed during his presidency to advance the freedom and fairness of Guyanese public life, or the inequities of the Indo-Guyanese dominated society. Increased economic growth is futile if it does not translate into a greater sense of prosperity within the entirety of society. Jagdeo’s two-term presidency fell woefully short on that point. Social needs remain unmet due to inadequate spending on education and a lack of efforts to improve the quality of healthcare. Furthermore the perpetual presence of criminal and ethnic violence threatens the fabric of Guyanese society, and, if anything, has been aggravated by the indiscriminate violence of public security forces in response.

It is not yet clear who the candidates will be in the upcoming presidential election, but whoever inherits Jagdeo’s position must work to tackle these persistent issues, and to clear the air of hopelessness when it comes to improving life in one of the hemisphere’s poorest and most forlorn countries.

References for this article are available here

59 thoughts on “Guyanese President Leaves a Tattered Legacy

  • January 27, 2011 at 4:30 am
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    This article puts into perspective, the hell-hole that is Guyana today. The writer couldn't be more brutal and frank as he described in chilling detail, the failures and inadequacies of a President who was anything but equipped for the job. Coupled with a penchant for spite and vindictiveness, Mr. Jagdeo presided over unbridled corruption, cronyism, nepotism and a myriad other ills that Guyana could have done without. He will leave a heavy burden on the shoulders of his successor.

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  • January 27, 2011 at 5:01 am
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    Weak political and legal institutions, a dependent and passive population, no transparency, a lazy press, inept opposition, and no international pressure to comply with the basics of governance in the 20th century led to this sorry story. As in many places (Zimbabwe comes to mind) the world is still helpless in the face of such bad rule even today after all the UN treaties and conventions. Maybe Mr, Bharrat Jagdeo could become president of Haiti. He seems well suited for that hapless country. Dr Politics – Prof. Steffen Schmidt, Iowa State University

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  • January 27, 2011 at 9:48 am
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    Let us remember that Indians comprise 52% of Guyana's population so a govt that's predominantly Indian is representative of the majority. Also, the problems of Guyana can be traced back to the corrupt and cruel PNC government that was illegally installed by outside forces. If the PNC members would try to compromise with rather than overthrow the PPP things might be better.

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    • January 30, 2011 at 8:01 pm
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      "Indians Guyana comprise 52%of Guyana's population"- FAT LIE this is the lie the PPP has been using to perpetuate a belief that they will win election because of indian votes. The last time I checked this rce group is less that 42% but it is about 6-7 percent less as the daily migration rate has significantly impacted same. For the last 18 years is thief, crime, bandit, corruption, death squad, massacres, stone scam, drugs runnings, gun runnings too much chaos and nuff pussyfooting

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    • January 30, 2011 at 8:10 pm
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      when will you people stop throwing blame on 28 years, the world know that jagdeo and the ppp took 18 years to bring the country to the state indicated in this report. a cruel government is one that has recruited a death squad to kill inocent citizens, remember George Bacchus 9the self confessed death squad informant) and his brother. who should compromise with criminals, but thank God the people didn't try to overthrow them like you suggesting. Wallace you sound just like a PPP( poor petty parasite) why don't you examine the contents of the reports, look at the facts.

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    • February 3, 2011 at 2:49 pm
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      It is a mindless person who would vote for a leader on the basis of race. Therefore, the 52% of which you speak should never be a factor for consideration. This base magnification of figures should reside with the dead who used it to disadvantage an entire nation. I would like to believe that after all that Guyana has been through the present generation would act as educated, informed citizens, (and by no means do I use the term citizens lightly) when they next go to the polls and that we will come to the realization that we are higher than the animals. Is it any wonder that many times we were subjected to the worst indignities when we traveled abroad.

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  • January 27, 2011 at 11:55 am
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    This article neglected to mention that this country has become ungovernable due to instigators of the main opposition party. The violence and corruption is deliberate and steady. It appears that the authors of this missive failed miserable in their research into the history of Guyana's politics and ethnic confrontations..

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  • January 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm
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    Many Guyanese are aware of the corruption, nepotism, and cronyism that runs rampant in the Jagdeo's government. Fortunately the Guyanese people now have hope and the support of the AFC.

    The Alliance For Change is a new political party that is unblemished by the corruption and racism of the PNC and PPP and the past. The AFC will represent ALL the people ALL the time. Change is coming to Guyana.

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    • January 30, 2011 at 8:19 pm
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      Emris, the AFC will dissipate just like they came, only fools run behind an organisation that has been formed out of vengeance, check all the founders and you will see their history. Further the AFC after five years in parliament is yet to demonstrate political leadership and maturity. Its internal politics is most undemocratic, so how will it run a country democratically. all those who have been washing their mouths on the PNC is yet to see a government that can govern better, the AFC will dream on.

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    • February 17, 2011 at 9:06 am
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      The AFC is as useless as tits on a boy!!!

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  • January 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm
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    Greetings from Guyana .Many are happy that at least one internal organization has truly put the spotlight on Guyana.How about a research on Government connection to the local drug trade and the Death squads here.
    Please complete what you have started

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  • January 27, 2011 at 7:47 pm
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    This is the most biased and unprofessional report ever written under the name of COHA. The writers is doing the dirty work of the Guyanese opposition to whom they must be connected. It looks like they are students. COHA should be ashamed of itself for allowing its name to be exploited by two youths who are trying to make a name for themselves but who are incompetent. These men fail to report that Indians make up only 43% of the population; yet the PPP won the last el3ection with 54% of the vote. Guyana has US$760 million in the Bank of Guyana, which means that it has more than ONE MILLION DOLLARS per person in reserves. That is better then the US when they poor students live. The Prime Minister of Guyana and half the cabinet are non Indians; so is 90% of the military; 90% of the police; 75% of the civil service; 70% of the judges, magistrates and lawyers; and more than 55% of all management jobs in Guyana both in the private and public sectors are held by African Guyanese who make up only 30 of the population.. One prominent African man owns 102 houses in Georgetown, the most of anyone in the country. These students receive a solid 'D' for their poor performance. COHA deserves an F for its anti-Indian racism.

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    • January 28, 2011 at 12:32 pm
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      Mr Escalani, it's very difficult to read some of your comments and remain silent. I'm not going to state here what I think about your entire entry; instead, I'll ask you to clarify two things: If 43% of the population is Indian and 30% is black (a total of 73% of the population), what is the composition of the remainder of the population? Secondly, instead of trying to whip up mass hysteria with claims of property ownership, why don't you name the prominent African man who owns 102 houses? By the way, which part of Africa is he from?

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    • January 30, 2011 at 6:42 am
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      Stop lying Ricky…the Jagdeo government won with 37% of the electorate whereas Indians constitute 42 % of the elctoral base.

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  • January 27, 2011 at 8:01 pm
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    Robert Cavooris and Elcin Chang are anti-Indian Racists who hate Indians because of their success. Robert Cavooris and Elcin Chang apparently support the murder of innocent women and children in their beds as happened a few years ago in Guyana. Robert Coovaris and Elcin Chang call these murderers freedom fighters. COHA is under pressure to support the opposition in Guyana, the same opposition that murdered Walter Rodney and a large number of activists. COHA then asked these so called anti-Indian racist who are Associates at COHA -Robert Cavooris and Elcin Chang – to write their piece of propaganda.

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    • January 27, 2011 at 9:56 pm
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      Ricky's comment is the classic example of how critique of the PPP are greeted and Jagdeo’s govt responds to differing or dissenting opinion by labeling authors and supporters of those opinions of being part or working with the opposition and being racial. The reality in Guyana is that despite the civil service is compose predominantly of Guyanese of African ancestry the hierarchy and critical decision making positions are control predominantly by Guyanese of Indian descent and they are the ones that essentially hold power and make directives that control Guyana's political system. This is compounded with the unfair distribution of wealth where contracts for public works and tenders favor Guyanese of Indian descent who essentially dominates the business/private sector. Those that work in the public service are servitude to the government and thus are dormant on issues that affect them in fear of non-renewal of contract or termination of employment by the executive/govt since any criticism is often seen as a challenge to govt and its authority not a right of free speech or input to better governance.

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      • January 27, 2011 at 9:56 pm
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        So to the authors of the article above your analysis is sound and justified. Let not the few comments here be construe as the sentiments of the Guyanese masses. The govt will have its supporters who will defend their ills especially those that have profited from their vindictive and divisive rule. The reality is that we have a govt that is predominantly Indian in composition that many Indians themselves don't hold in high regard. This is because of mismanagement, rampant corruption and toxic politics that have permeated almost all sectors of Guyanese society to muzzle people in fear with threat to person’s personal security with denial of work and resources because of their differing opinion and known or perceived view of support to what the govt deem to be opposed to them.

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  • January 28, 2011 at 5:14 am
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    Shaw either does not know anything about Guyana or simply refuses to accepts the facts. I again state that more than 55% of all management jobs in Guyana are held by Africans both in the private and public service. African make up 30% of the population. The Chief of Police is African; the heads of every branch of the military are African; the Governor of the Bank of Guyana is African; the Head of the Presidential Secretariat is African; the Prime Min. is African; The Min. of the Public Service is African (this Minister is the head of hiring in the whole Govt), the Min. of Public Works is African (where most contracts for roads, bridges etc are given); one of the two Min. of Finance is African. This put African at the tops of the government in everything excepting the presidency; 90% of those who represent Guyana overseas in sports and entertainment are African. Many of the largest contractors in Guyana are African – eg. in electricity and construction. Shaw is another PNCR apologist hiding behind race.

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  • January 28, 2011 at 5:19 am
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    Statement by an IMF Mission to Guyana
    Press Release No. 10/448
    November 19, 2010

    Therese Turner-Jones, chief of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission to Guyana, released the following statement today in Georgetown:

    “An IMF mission visited Guyana from Nov 8–18 to conduct the Fund’s yearly review of the Guyanese economy. Despite external and domestic shocks in 2010, Guyana’s economy has exhibited resilience, registering a fifth consecutive year of robust growth. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to grow by just under 4 percent this year, above the outturn in 2009, supported by increased activity in the sugar, gold, and services sectors. Notwithstanding downside risks, including the global environment and concerns in the sugar sector, the team expects growth to continue on a steady path, supported by expansion in the mining and construction sectors. Despite a small increase reflecting movement in food prices inflation remains relatively low.

    “Discussions centered on strategies to maintain fiscal and debt sustainability over the medium term in the context of the Low Carbon Development Strategy, further enhance economic flexibility and resilience to shocks, while continuing to reduce poverty. Fiscal consolidation remains a priority, consistent with the authorities’ commitment of maintaining a sustainable medium term debt path. Staff recommended strengthening ongoing efforts to improve the fiscal outturn, given existing challenges in the sugar sector.Maintaining the strong fiscal stance would also help to support external sector stability. Staff welcomed the continued improvements in public financial management and tax administration, especially with respect to compliance and risk management. It welcomed the increase in the gross foreign reserves position, to about five months of imports at present.

    “While the banking system remains liquid and well capitalized, continued vigilance is warranted, particularly against the backdrop of the ongoing housing boom. Recent enhancements in financial sector supervision and regulation, including new guidelines on risk management, are welcome. Staff commended the dissemination of financial sector indicators, which now appear on the Bank of Guyana’s website.

    “The IMF Executive Board is expected to discuss Guyana’s Article IV consultation in January 2011. The mission is especially grateful for the open communication and close collaboration enjoyed over the past two weeks not only with government officials but with all Guyanese stakeholders, with whom it had the privilege of exchanging views.”

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  • January 28, 2011 at 8:11 am
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    a quote from a great man who we should all know:
    “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

    there is some (extremely biased and more of an attack) truth to this report, but it leaves out the fundamental challenges that guyana has faced over the past years. of course the effects of the 2005 floods were not significantly taken into account by the author of this report, their homes were dry. many people lost their years earnings and perhaps only means of income the UN reports show damage in excess of 57% of gdp and expected setbacks on developmental indicators. the total expended costs on recovery $52 billion. everyday reports are made to evaluate heads of state and state projects etc etc. a report that brushes these facts swiftly away paves a simple road to unwaiveringly accepting negativity.

    percentages can be cut any way you like them, the total investment is education has risen in percentage every year or that it has seen a smaller share in overall investment, the way you cut it depends on your view, a one sided one will quote just one, but a report that heeds to integrity should take in all factors and quote both.

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  • January 28, 2011 at 8:27 am
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    Ricky, I did not disputing your question on the occupation and performance of Guyanese of African ancestry in the civil service. You are making a mountain out of a mould hill and premising your argument on race. You need to take you head out of the sand like the proverbial ostrich and note my point here again and I quote "The reality in Guyana is that despite the civil service is compose predominantly of Guyanese of African ancestry the hierarchy and critical decision making positions are control predominantly by Guyanese of Indian descent and they are the

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    • January 28, 2011 at 8:31 am
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      Ricky, I did not disputing your question on the occupation and performance of Guyanese of African ancestry in the civil service. You are making a mountain out of a mould hill and premising your argument on race. You need to take you head out of the sand like the proverbial ostrich and note my point here again and I quote "The reality in Guyana is that despite the civil service is compose predominantly of Guyanese of African ancestry the hierarchy and critical decision making positions are control predominantly by Guyanese of Indian descent and they are the ones that essentially hold power and make directives that control Guyana's political system. This is compounded with the unfair distribution of wealth where contracts for public works and tenders favor Guyanese of Indian descent who essentially dominates the business/private sector."

      Reply
  • January 28, 2011 at 8:29 am
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    Please also note that persons employment does not necessary speak to the govt's fairness but persons that are competent and qualify to serve. You have mentioned some portfolios that have persons serving but note some of those that hold the post preside over institutions that are highly politicize especially the Guyana Police Force with a Commission of Police that is often not independent in decision making based on constant meddling by the govt/executive. I can also identify the post of Chief Education Officer that was held by a person of African ancestry where that former officer was compelled to take early retirement because of non-confirmation of her service after her application for the post on numerous occasions and protest by trade unions to no avail. After her over two decades of service to Guyana's educational system she leaves with no guarantee of gratuity and other entitlements and this is just the tip of the iceberg Ricky. So you can talk and give your mouth liberty but people on the ground in Guyana know the ills of the administration with wanton discrimination and victimization.

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  • January 28, 2011 at 8:29 am
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    Therefore, many of your arguments are red herring for despite you have articulate the talents of Guyanese of African descent in services, education and skills you cannot produce cases of fairness in distribution of resources. This unfairness also apply to all Guyanese of all walks of life who are not fond, do not support and objectively criticize the govt that are shut out of consultations and decision-making processes by the govt that result in lack of access to resources for a better life in their homeland.

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  • January 28, 2011 at 10:22 am
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    Indians may dominate the private sector because they worked hard and pulled themselves up by the bootstraps. They were the cane cutters and rice planters. They lived frugally and saved to send their kids to professional schools. They saved up to open businesses. The land they got was given to them by the British in lieu of the promised passage back to India after their indentureship ended. Under the Burnham government Viola Burnham owned the bus transportation system after her husband shut down the trains. There was widespread corruption and rigged elections under the PNC. The BBC has documented the facts that the Burnham government was handed the reins of the country in an illicit manner. The country needs to heal itself by mending fences across racial lines. Instead of being jealous about one ethnic group's success, everyone should leave the past behind and accept the lessons. there is good and bad in everyone. Lots of terrible things were done under the Burnham regime but he was a smart and educated man who just lost his way in the pursuit of absolute power. If all of us focused on uplifting deeds rather than petty bickering things would be better. There are alumni from Guyanese high schools living in Canada who raise funds to send books and computers back home. Now that is a worthwhile cause.

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    • January 30, 2011 at 8:28 pm
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      wallace you seem to be only able to spit racial venom, so it is the indians alone that work hard in Guyana. I wonder how the trenches were dug so that rice planting could be possible. you people are short sighted and sound just like your government. whoa be onto Guyana shoud they regain power.

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    • February 17, 2011 at 1:55 pm
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      The first sensible comment I have read in this entire spouting of bitterness and hatred. Guyana will only make true progress when the ills and hatred of our past serve to strengthen not divide.

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  • January 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm
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    Extreme bias.I expect nothing less from COHA as their sources are from the AFC.This so called alliance for change is nothing more than a group of middle class individuals that want to get their hand on power.It will never happen.
    COHA should not get involved with areas that they have no expertise,hence we see this piece of trash trying to pass off as a scholarly work.
    We need to support more objective work from proper organisations,then perhaps we can say that our money was well spent.
    This is the second article put out by COHA that had their roots in the AFC and their cohorts in the US.

    I dont trust the objectivity of this organisation.

    Onlooker.

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  • January 28, 2011 at 12:42 pm
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    Ricky, you argument has solidly reinforce that the govt has totally failed in its responsibly to guarantee national security. Reports after reports by the US State Dept. indicated Guyana is a major transshipment point for drugs and almost every week someone is interdicted at the int't airport with drugs conceal in almost every commodity under the sun including their person.

    Further, Guyana have no freedom fighters just plain criminals who are hell bent on causing havoc that the govt was not effective in harnessing because of a politicize police force that could not go about it's work without undue interference. The only self admitted freedom fighter Guyana had was a well known drug kingpin called Roger Khan that publish an ad in the newspapers admitting his relationship in helping the govt confront criminals – a big criminal offering aid to fight criminals that made the govt criminal with such assistance.

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  • January 28, 2011 at 12:42 pm
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    In addition, known evidence presented in a US court of law establish that the drug lord was in possession of a spy equipment that was procure by the govt to intercept calls of opposition politicians and the Commission of Police among others that was totally unlawful and unconstitutional and clearly establish a relationship with the govt and the criminal underworld. Presented in the court also were evidence that this criminal enterprise is culpable of the deaths of over 200 Guyanese. Thus, it is clear to conclude that the govt fermented mayhem in Guyana with such a criminal enterprise by Roger Khan that saw rampant crimes in Guyana especially along the East Coast Demerara corridor.

    Under the Hoyte administration there was an effective combat of kick-down-the-door banditry but for the last 18 years in Guyana we have seen crime increase exponentially with three massacre in Lusignan, Bartica and Lindo Creek of 2008 which are currently unsolved because of a police force with some rogue elements and no reform to make it robust noting the refusal of UK $3 million by the govt towards that endeavor.

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  • January 28, 2011 at 6:42 pm
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    The massacres were all done by people loved by the COHA associates – Robert Cavooris and Elcin Chang. The PNC people also went to the funerals of some of these murderers and placed the flag of Guyana on their casket. That was the time when the Gulf was the sanctuary for the political-criminal enterprise. Please also remember that Raphael Trotman of the AFC was in the PNC as a big one, when Georgetown was being held hostage by COHA loving thugs. Does COHA remember when the penis was put in that woman's mouth in front of city hall? We all know who they are. You should read about Oceans 11. The PPP must be blamed for letting the criminals get off so easily. The problem they have is that when police action people complain to the UN and to COHA. The opposition in Guyana is lazy and unimaginative. They are mostly lawyers making big money. They have nothing to do with the people, excepting at election time they get busy. Since they are so disconnected they take out one trump card that works – race. Because Americans themselves are so caught up with race, they buy into it readily.

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  • January 29, 2011 at 6:12 am
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    So COHA wants democracy promotion but it is now refusing to post my latest entry.

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  • January 29, 2011 at 6:21 am
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    CDB report commends Guyana’s 2009 economic performance
    By Stabroek staff | 1 Comment
    Business | Friday, February 5, 2010

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    Cites stable exchange rate, fiscal soundness

    Despite “poor sugar and rice harvests” which resulted in a significant contraction in the performance of Guyana’s agricultural sector, the recently released report of the 2009 activities of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has cited Guyana as one of only a few Caribbean economies that demonstrated a measure of resilience in a year when a global financial crisis and economic recession resulted in a contraction in economic output in most regional economies.

    Bank of Guyana

    The overall dismal assessment of Caribbean economies in 2009, including the underperformance of the key sugar and banana industries against the backdrop of what the CDB report describes as “weather-related and other country-specific problems as well as the ongoing effects of trade preference erosion,” is however, punctuated by the identification of several bright sparks in the 2009 performance of the Guyana economy. The report lists Guyana as one of only four Borrowing Member Countries (BMC’S) – the remaining three being Belize, Haiti and Montserrat – that recorded positive growth last year. And in the face of what the CDB says were various “exogenous shocks” that threatened the soundness and stability of the regional financial sectors only Guyana and Belize are listed as having shown some measure of resilience.

    Guyana is again singled out, along with Belize as being the main exceptions to a region-wide slump in the construction sector, a development which the Bank attributes to a fall-off in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI’s). In the cases of both Guyana and Belize the report says that construction activity was “a key factor” in the realization of overall economic growth, albeit at a reduced level.

    While the report alludes to a sharp contraction in bauxite output in both Guyana and Jamaica it notes the strong 2009 performance of Guyana’s gold mining sector where total yield topped 300,000 ounces and secured record earnings for the sector.

    Meanwhile, the report lists Guyana, along with Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica as the three regional economies that maintained “relative exchange rate stability” attributing Guyana’s exchange rate stability to “a strong balance of payments performance.” The report attributed last year’s increase in net foreign assets to the twin factors of declining domestic credit and project loan inflows.

    Amidst what the report says was a trend of deterioration in public finances in most of the region’s economies, Guyana is again singled out, along with Dominica as two Caribbean territories that recorded “higher current revenues and improved fiscal outcomes” resulting from a combination of expenditure restraint and tax reforms. According to the CDB report the general fiscal gaps in the economies of several Caribbean countries resulted largely from “salary increases, interest payments on accumulating debt stocks, rising transfers and subsidies and pre-election spending.” Fiscal performance in those countries in the region with narrow revenue bases was also affected by a decline in revenue, the report says.

    According to the report, the relatively strong fiscal positions of the economies of both Guyana and Dominica have been supported by grant inflows, debt relief and/or concessionary loans. It notes that while some OECS countries have turned successfully to non-traditional donors such as Venezuela and China for grant financing, Jamaica and Barbados have had to endure reduced access to international capital markets as a result of the downgrading of their credit ratings.

    Meanwhile, the CDB report sees more challenges ahead for the regional agricultural sector, notably the sugar and banana industries, which it says, are likely to result chiefly from a continued reduction of the guaranteed price for sugar arising out of the transition to the new Economic Partnership Agreement and the World Trade Organization banana deal which is likely to increase competition from banana exporters in Latin America. The report says, however, that the attendant Banana Accompanying Measures which the European Union is set to implement under the Geneva Agreement on Trade in Bananas could help boost regional competitiveness in the banana industry. Guyana’s rice industry, meanwhile, is likely to benefit from the duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market which it has been enjoying since January 1 this year.

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  • January 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm
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    Luncheon discharged PDF Print E-mail
    Saturday, 29 January 2011 14:37

    Dr. Roger Luncheon

    Dr. Roger Luncheon
    Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon was Saturday discharged from the state-owned Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), hospital officials confirmed.

    Luncheon was admitted Friday morning to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), complaining of severe spinal spasm.

    He suffers from a chronic back ailment.

    Luncheon was due to have an MRI scan done to determine whether the injury has been worsened by Friday’s episode.

    Agriculture Minister, Robert Persaud had said on his Facebook page Luncheon slid down while doing kitchen chores. “As a precaution, he went to the hospital and did several x-rays which have found no injuries,” said Persaud.

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  • January 29, 2011 at 4:01 pm
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    THEORIZING WITH FREDDIE KISSOON
    The failure of the Buxton Conspiracy
    Part I – Voodoo Political Theory
    IS the Buxton conspiracy over? Troy Dick is the only member of ‘Ocean Eleven’ alive today. Ocean Eleven was the combination of the five escapees joined by six other diehard Buxton-based conspirators that included Vibert Cambridge, who helped to burn down the house of Idris Chester and Melroy Goodman, who burned Haroon Rasheed alive at Non-Pariel. Ocean Eleven, of course, became larger with every passing day. Most of the members of the Buxton conspiracy are young men between the ages of 14 and 22. There are some even as young as twelve! They normally help to create confusion by robbing minibuses but they do not carry guns. Since the February jailbreak, a certain former army officer has been recruiting these youngsters. A large question mark hangs over the future of the Buxton conspiracy now that a majority of the senior members of this unusually savage criminal group have been killed.

    This series traces the origin of the Buxton conspiracy, examines how it started, how it operated, who sustained it, why it lasted for almost a year, why it operated with the impunity it did, why it killed its victims with such bestial sadism, and why is it about to collapse. I would like to say many thanks at the beginning of this series to members of the security forces, some of the people I know who still live in Buxton, and some of my colleagues in the media community whose interaction with me enabled me to put the pieces together. What is about to unfold in this analysis is frightening. Never has something like this happened in the world before. And if there is anything readers should know about the Buxton conspiracy it is the frightening merger of criminality and politics. Some people, particularly in the WPA (and if you read Clive Thomas’ recent columns in Stabroek News, a similar angle is there), take the view that the state in Guyana condones some dubious type of activities by dubious characters.

    While one can argue that hard, concrete, tangible evidence needs to come out so commentators can comment on this accusation, the glaring fact, the incontrovertible fact, remains that a group of seasoned criminals with no scruples or remorse in raping innocent women, robbed and killed people savagely because of their ethnicity. Such bestiality was interpreted by a not so small percentage of opposition people and members of the Afro-Guyanese community as legitimate political action. What this revealed is the extent of opposition emotional anger against the state and how that anger has been sold to its constituencies. This article is not about that dimension of the politics of this divided land but about how that disunity gave rise to a social pathology that almost destroyed Guyana but didn’t, thanks in part to the American government. http://www.waveguyana.org/FreddieKissoon.htm (Read More here)
    PS: Freddie hates the PPP to the point of insanity. Yet this is what he writes.

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    • January 30, 2011 at 8:40 pm
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      ricky the copy and pasting will not take away the facts that Guyana is a failed state under the PPP AND JAGDEO. Say what you may that is the fact. very day is a gun crime and somebody is shot dead. I had two experiences recently with two family members gunned down, crime take over the country and the government just cannot help the people there is no protection for the people but all of them live in pradoville so they don't care.

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  • January 30, 2011 at 11:27 am
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    Ricky, what is the point of regurgitating data as posted above? We all can take the liberty to ready such on our own along with many other overwhelming dissenting views by some of those same authors and sources on Guyana's govt poor performance in managing the economic as reflected in the article notable on corruption (note rating by TI), transnational crime, money laundering, trafficking in illicit drugs, arms and humans that saw the exponential rise in a underground economy along with the govt inability in addressing the racial divide with policies and practices that ferment it. So your post in isolation does not change the realities of the day noting your post serves as a pool of literature to misinform those that are not totally familiar with the dire realities in Guyana. I will like persons to take the liberty to often read the Stabroek News (www.stabroeknews.com) and Kaieteur News (www.kaieteurnewsonline.com) that chronicles these realities. They are Guyana's two widely circulated and independent daily newspapers.

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  • January 30, 2011 at 8:33 pm
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    So the justification for allowing Guyana to become a crime ravages state is because in the PNC time there was kick down the door bandits, well then these people need to get out as they have no clue as to how to govern but to make excuses. We should have stayed with the PNC them because we might not have graduated to massacres, beheading, kidnappings,death squads and the like.

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  • January 30, 2011 at 8:42 pm
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    Come on COHA don’t facilitate personal attacks if you want to know what is really transpiring in Guyana. Go and see for yourself, if you ask the majority they will tell a picture that is far different from this. You cannot write an article that excuses the wrongdoings of known hardcore criminals that stop at absolutely nothing to wreak havoc its disrespectful to the victims . Sure the picture is far from rosy but it’s also far cry from the atrocities of the MARA and Mexican cartels who have been holding central America to ransom and growing in size. And if “stagnation” means predicted economic growth for yet another year by the imf and the best fiscal position this country has been in since the dark ages of the 80’s. greater diversification in economic sectors then yes there is “stagnation”.

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  • January 31, 2011 at 6:08 am
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    The point of posting those materials is that COHA student associates are not qualified to file a report on a country. They ignored reports such as I posted. These incompetent students COHA associates simply want to use their little report as a resume builder, a line on their resumes. Max, you should read the Failed Buxton Conspiracy report by Kissoon. You might learn something. It goes without saying that COHA should remove the incompetent report f4rom its website and apologize. The student associates are connected to the AFC – a small party that has very little broad based support. They have a couple of seats in parliament.

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    • February 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm
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      Whatever you think of this report Mr. Escalani, there is no evidence of any sort that its authors are connected to the AFC.

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  • February 5, 2011 at 1:49 pm
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    The Jagdeo PPP government is the most corrupt and divisive ever seen. There is a 16-month old industrial dispute at the bauxite company which the government is refusing to settle because the workers are African Guyanese. 62 workers have been fired, loosing tens of millions of dollars in income, but on Jagdeo's instruction the Minister of Labour is refusing to act. For more on this situtation please read :
    http://www.stabroeknews.com/2010/news/stories/11/
    http://www.stabroeknews.com/2011/news/stories/01/
    http://www.stabroeknews.com/2010/news/stories/08/
    http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2011/01/16/mini
    http://www.stabroeknews.com/2009/opinion/letters/
    http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2011/01/03/neve

    COHA, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE help bauxite workers in their 16 month struggle for justice, fair play and equalty.

    Thank you.

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  • February 6, 2011 at 2:45 pm
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    Both writers (if Chang is a real person) are ignorant on the facts about Guyana – how many time did these guys visited Guyana and how may Guyanese did they interviewed? What I gathered from this article is that the writer has no knowledge about Guyana’s history. Jagdeo and the PPP government brought Guyana out of the doldrums to prosperity. Yes crime rate is high, and corruption is prevalent – taking these into consideration with the population ratio – Guyana is still one of the better countries in the Caribbean.
    The present racial situation was created by the British in agreement with the USA to discredit the PPP regime in the early 60’s – it is still encourage and facilitated by the opposition – not the Jagdeo Administration. There are progress in every field and is attributed to Jagdeo and the PP administration. Foreign observers should first spend some time in Guyana and listen to the people before they assess Guyana

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  • February 16, 2011 at 8:51 pm
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    coha is a piece of shit

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  • February 16, 2011 at 8:51 pm
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    coha is a piece of shit

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    • February 17, 2011 at 9:02 am
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      That is the best you could come up with?

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  • February 17, 2011 at 8:49 am
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    COHA’s ‘Tattered Legacy’: Its Journalism

    A recent “assessment” of the legacy of Guyana’s current President, Bharrat Jagdeo, published by the Washington based Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) and co-authored by Robert Cavooris & Elcin Chang unconvincingly and at times, unproductively seeks to cast doubt upon the merits of President Jagdeo’s tenure in office. A meticulous examination of this article is unnecessary, for any casual inspection reveals one glaring fact—this article is filled mostly with propagandistic vitriol and unsubstantiated accusations tempered by backhanded compliments of Guyana’s economic achievements in a time when the global economy itself is in a tailspin. Although Guyana has indeed experienced its share of violence, it is irresponsible and even possibly actionable as malicious libel for COHA, without evidence, to insinuate political involvement and ultimately place the blame solely and directly upon President Jagdeo.

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  • February 17, 2011 at 8:50 am
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    It is somewhat laughable that COHA would take any time whatsoever to mention the fact that “Jagdeo ascended to the presidency…not by election but rather through the anointment …thus taking the helm with no popular electoral mandate,” without pointing out that President Jagdeo was elected President in both 2001 and 2006, garnering 54.6 percent of the votes in 2006.

    COHA’s article goes on to exaggerate the underlying consequences concerning the government’s spending on education. For instance, COHA ignores the fact that between 2006 and 2010, the Guyanese Government has spent on average, approximately 15% of its National Budget on education. Additionally, in stating that “there could be pernicious social consequences if education continues to take a back seat on the Guyanese agenda,” COHA completely ignores Guyana’s 2011 Budget Plan concerning Education, which begins by stating:

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  • February 17, 2011 at 8:51 am
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    There is no investment more important than in our people and, particularly, in the education of our young people. Our Government’s aim is to implement effective programmes to improve access to, and quality of education, with a strong emphasis on equipping the labor force with the skills needed in the domestic economy of tomorrow.

    Moreover, according to the Millennium Development Goals Progress Report, funded by the UNDP, “Guyana has made excellent progress towards achieving universal primary education. The country is likely to meet the target of ensuring that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.” Additionally, primary education completion rates have increased from 91% in 2004 to 95% in 2007. These observations would seem to sufficiently neutralize COHA’s bare observations which, fail to take into account the totality of the circumstances.

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  • February 17, 2011 at 8:52 am
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    The article mentions—as if unimportant—that President Jagdeo does not intend to seek a third term in office, but neglects to point out that the constitutional framework upon which Guyana first introduced presidential terms was developed and enacted during President Jagdeo’s tenure, and is ultimately in furtherance of democracy within the region since term limits temper the fear of ‘elective dictatorship.’ President Jagdeo’s unfettered commitment and respect for this constitutional limit tends to cast his legacy in a light much brighter than that of COHA’s article because anyone familiar with Guyanese politics would know that this was an unprecedented move by any sitting Guyanese President and is worthy of its fair share of praise, which COHA has apparently summarily swept under the proverbial rug.

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  • February 17, 2011 at 8:52 am
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    Interestingly enough, not even COHA’s attack could ignore that President Jagdeo has been credited with stewarding economic progress in Guyana. Even in the face of a devastating flood that hurt multiple Guyanese industries in 2005 (67% of Guyana’s economy and over 300,000 people’s homes and farms were damaged) as well as the most violent crime wave the country has ever experienced in the 2002-2008 period, President Jagdeo’s leadership proved invaluable in improving Guyana’s economic standing, especially regionally, with Guyana’s growth rate of Real GDP increasing from 2.0 in 2008 to 3.3 and 3.6 in 2009 and 2010 respectively. In the “Statement by an IMF Mission to Guyana,” November 19, 2010, chief Therese Turner-Jones, is quoted as saying, “Despite external and domestic shocks in 2010, Guyana’s economy has exhibited resilience, registering a fifth consecutive year of robust growth. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to grow by just under 4 percent this year…supported by increased activity in the sugar, gold, and services sector.”

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  • February 17, 2011 at 8:53 am
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    It is worth mentioning that President Jagdeo has also received tremendous praise for his handling of the recently emerging global issue of climate change. The Jamaican Observer, on May 3, 2010 notes President Jagdeo’s receipt of the “Champion of the Earth” award from the U.N., a highly prestigious recognition that is not lightly bestowed. That article goes on to note CARICOM’s Secretary General’s comment in which he “heartily endorsed the UN’s description of the Guyanese President as a ‘passionate forestry and ecosystem infrastructure proponent.’” Moreover, according to The West Indian News website, Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma is quoted as saying “Guyana has shown the opportunity of demonstrating global leadership through the Commonwealth,” referring specifically to President Jagdeo’s initiatives such as the Commonwealth Youth Programme Regional Centre and the Iwokrama International Centre. In 2010, President Jagdeo was invited by the United Nations Secretary General to serve on a High Level Panel to examine climate change financing.

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  • February 17, 2011 at 8:55 am
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    Britain’s Prince Charles and other notable dignitaries have also come forth to praise President Jagdeo’s efforts, yet such positivity is wholly and, even more so, suspiciously absent from COHA’s article.

    Based on this President’s record and the easily verifiable testimonials made on his behalf by highly esteemed individuals throughout the Caribbean and international community does this sound like a President who will leave behind a “tattered legacy”? Given COHA’s provocative and unfounded assertions, are we to assume that COHA considers the President’s achievements regarding the environment, economic stability, and governmental transparency to be unimportant factors in determining his legacy? If so, then how could any reader take the article’s assertions seriously?

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  • February 17, 2011 at 8:56 am
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    In fact, it would not be the first time that COHA has had its integrity and the veracity of its statements called into question. In its article on the crisis in Haiti and specifically, on then sitting executive President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, COHA came under tremendous scrutiny and criticism, prompting COHA senior editor Larry Birns to admit that evidence his organization had received “were opposed to our viewpoint.” COHA subsequently changed its “official” position and posted a substantially modified version of its original article. This is but one of several instances in which COHA has evidenced a “tattered legacy” with regards to journalism.

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  • February 17, 2011 at 8:56 am
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    In coming to reasonable and fair evaluation of President Jagdeo’s presidency, one must also take into consideration the historical context which existed prior to the current government’s (PPP/C) administration of Guyana beginning in 1992, with the first free and fair elections the country had held in 28 years. With the leadership of PPP/C Presidents; Dr. Cheddi Jagan, Mr. Samuel Hinds, Mrs. Janet Jagan and Mr. Bharat Jagdeo, through a ‘pro-growth/pro-poor’ approach, Guyana has shifted from a low income country to a low-middle income country where there is realistic hope for the future.

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  • February 17, 2011 at 8:57 am
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    Truthfully, no legacy, presidential or otherwise, is without its demerits depending on the source of the criticism. At no point can all affected or interested parties be pleased with 100% of a person’s efforts and achievements. In the end, what may be said is that while the COHA article and any other such detraction will soon fade from memory, President Jagdeo’s legacy will remain intact and Guyana will owe a large part of its ascension in the regional and international arenas to his efforts and leadership.

    /s/ Cheddi Berret Jagan II, Esq.

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  • February 17, 2011 at 1:57 pm
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    COHA needs to apologize to Mr. Jagdeo. The article was so biased as to laughable.

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