by Zena Henry
Just as the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is preparing to make its way to Parliament, the Coalition for the 1823 monument has condemned former President Bharrat Jagdeo as Opposition Leader and at least three other PPP members who have been named as parliamentarians.
The organization, which protested outside Freedom House Tuesday July 13 is adamant that Jagdeo is a racist, and Anil Nandlall, Ganga Persaud and Bheri Ramsarran degrade women.
Executive member of the organization, Rudy Guyan said that the organization wants to highlight the role the former President played in creating a culture of fear and intimidation, while turning the country into a narco-state where women are disrespected and degraded.
Guyan said, “Jagdeo should not be there… Jagdeo being in Parliament means that the present government endorses his behaviour and that is not so. We are calling on the government not to be afraid that people are behind them. Come out and say Jagdeo is an undesirable persons and he should not be there in Parliament.” Guyan explained that an Opposition Leader represents all the people. “If Jagdeo is there’re, we’re saying Jagdeo is representing us and he is not; he is not representing women.”
When questioned about the fact that Guyanese for the PPP which allows them and their Opposition Leader of choice to sit in Parliament, Guyan said those persons were misinformed by statements Jagdeo made on the campaign trail. He spoke to Jagdeo’s remarks about the military kicking down the doors of East Indians and robbing them should the APNU+AFC win the election.”
“That’s what he said, and they (people) voted in fear. We are saying misinformation, fear etc… by coming out against Jagdeo now we are coming out against everything that was done during the election that was not right for the people.”
Social Activist Freddie Kissoon also claimed that Jagdeo is an unfit Opposition Leader that does not represent the people. He said that a President makes policies across the national board, regardless of race or politics, while the Opposition Leader keeps the government in check.
However, “There are more that 10 statements from Bharrat Jagdeo which he has demonized the culture and existence of African Guyanese.” Kissoon said Jagdeo made certain statements and he has not been condemned for it.
The former President was unmoved, telling the media on his arrival at Freedom House and seeing the small protest, “I see we have visitors.” He refused to react to descriptions by the protesters that he is a racist and anti-Guyana. “No comment at this time. I will speak when I am ready to speak…You will hear me when I am ready to speak,” Jagdeo insisted.
Former Prime Minister Samuel Hinds said, “The PPP is not a racist party.” Chairperson of the Women and Gender Equality Commission, Indra Chandrapal said the PPP made great achievements for women during their tenure and the views of a few persons cannot change that.
She said the former Health Minister Bheri Ramsarran apologized for his ‘slap and strip’ statement to a female activist, “so we can’t just keep holding that issue all the time against him. There are many people if you go back in history… there are many people who have violated women in many ways. So what I am saying, I’m sure these public officials having said what they said they would have recognized what they said and faced the consequences for it.”
Nandlall was criticized for statements some view as a terrorist threat against the privately-owned Kaieteur News newspaper during a recorded telephone conversation with a reporter who works at that media house. Nandlall is heard asking the reporter to assist in having a female reporter making contact with him on behalf of a relative who was interested in meeting her.
Persaud’s name has been mentioned in relation to certain matters. He resigned as Local Government Minister.
In these matters no court matter was brought forward only against Jagdeo for allegedly inciting racial tension by remarks he made at Babu John in March of this year. That matter is currently in limbo as a High Court matter is ongoing to squash the case.