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Jagdeo- Guyana’s Putin

by Political Oracle

History is dominated with a plethora of acknowledgment and myriad examples of the concept “true power lies behind the throne”. Most astute politicians will endeavour to try to achieve the skills to be a “king maker rather than a king”. The term “secret president” is not so mundane in our daily political discourse, but the concept was in existence for very long time. However, it still manifest itself regularly in many political systems and nations Edith Wilson and Eleanor Roosevelt were the two ladies in recent times, that were famous for executing the duties of a  “Secret President” and performed “power behind the throne”.

These women were performing the duty for their husbands, who were both USA presidents during World War 1 and II.  It is chronicled that they played the role very effectively.  The Russian president, Vladmir Putin created a similar scenario and became famous for popularising his version of political puppetry, which universally became known as  “Putinism”. Vladmir Putin had the absolute power and the final political decisions in Russia during Dimtry Medvedev presidency. It was known in diplomatic circles in every international fora, that Putin is the “power behind the throne” many international experts started to ponder if Dilma. Rousseff of Brazil will be a obsequious president to Lula, as was Medvedev to Putin.

In Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, has emerged as a powerful “secret president” and an undisputed “power behind the throne” In August1999, Janet Jagan stepped down for health reasons and transferred the presidency to Jagdeo.  As a Marxist leader of the PPP and the matriarch of the Guyanese nation, Mrs Jagan conceptualized a plan that would enable her to control the young Russian economist. But logics and reality have shown, Mrs Jagan failed in her endeavours. At a cursory look at Jagdeo in 1999,he appeared to display obvious docility. But characteristically, Jagdeo was always judicious in his political ventures and perspicacious in economics.  He was also a sincere erudite and a sagacious person.  It is noted that from the inception of his presidency, Jagdeo unearthed the dictatorial  desires he harboured and revealed the power obsession which he suppressed. One of his initial acts was to read and analyse all the documents and literature on Forbes Burnham and he studied Burnham’s for nation building and political solution in party life. Jagdeo on numerous occasions imitated Burnham, both tactically and strategically. He is a “miniature kabaka”

Jagdeo ingeniously began to consolidate power with the party, the government and the wider society. He surrounded himself with loyalists and ‘yes men’ and the ‘new private sector’ which become the recipient of most of his financial favours. The so called old guard of the party almost became extinct  At first his strategies and motives were inconspicuous,  but when he won the 2001 election and received national endorsement at the polls, his attitude and antics evolved into a polemic and pugnacious nature. Jagdeo was ” lord of the manor” at cabinet meetings. Mrs Jagan was too physical unwell and languorous to take control of the party and government. She once rose to the issue of the withdrawal of the government advertisements from Stabroek News, a matter that Jagdeo did not like and he was contentious in calling her a public citizen. It was an indication that Jagdeo was fearless of any one in the PPP or in the society at large.  On one occasion he presumptuously insulted industrial icon Yesu Persaud at the launching of Guyana Times, a newspaper owned by his friend Bobby Ramroop. His behaviour was blatantly supercilious to any who he perceives as political threat. On the death of Mrs. Jagan, Jagdeo became very rancorous and openly disagreeable with his opponents.

On the other hand, he was affable and amiable to those who loved and supported him. On various occasions Jagdeo would be gregarious and he displayed a jocular personality. As time progresses, Jagdeo became indispensable to the PPP because he has a rare managerial skills, he can conceptualise and express himself efficiently and eloquently on fiscal and monetary issues. This enabled him to administer government contracts and state programs to his advantage and with impunity. Over 97 percent of the Guyanese population cannot comprehend Government accounting and national economics principles and procedures.  This gave Jagdeo the opportunity to manipulate the economy to his advantage.

The PPP depends on him as their financial Czar and until now he meets with several implementers of major government projects and policies. In essence, two presidents occupy Office of the President on a weekly if not a daily basis.