Last Updated on Thursday, 4 October 2018, 17:22 by Denis Chabrol
Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday rejected calls by President David Granger that he should cease his criticisms and give him an opportunity to govern the country.
“It is what he has done about those issues that are affecting the nation and if he has done nothing aboit them although they are affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of our people all across Guyana, then we have to be critical of him,” Jagdeo told a news conference.
President Granger, in an extensive interview with the privately-owned Stabroek News newspaper, said former Presidents should not be criticising the current president because they had their time to govern. He also recalled labelling Jagdeo and other opposition parliamentarians for disrupting his entire speech to the Parliament by holding placards and heckling him.
Jagdeo, Guyana’s longest serving Executive President, suggested that Granger was unfairly expressing concerns about his criticisms because, as Opposition Leader, he had been critical of the then People’s Progressive Party Civic administration.
Jagdeo said all he, the PPP and Guyanese have been complaining about a GY$60 billion increase in taxes on food, water, electricity and machinery for the productive sector since 2015. The Opposition Leader said he has been raising concerns with Granger, as Executive President and chairman of the Cabinet, about increased borrowing as is evidenced from a GY$100 billion overdraft at the Bank of Guyana, US$150 million of development borrowing, GY$30 billion for the overhaul of the sugar industry and the failure to complete titling of Amerindian lands.
“Bringing these things to the attention of the President is not personally disparaging him. The attention that we bring to the public and to him on these matters is to basically ask him to account for his policies,” he said
Other issues the former President said were of serious concern to Guyanese include the fate of retrenched sugar workers, the likelihood of RUSAL bauxite workers losing their jobs, wastage of GY$5 billion annually that could have been used to pay teachers and severance to sugar workers, his unilateral appointment of the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, and alleged corruption.
“He has to account for the policies that his government is pursuing so it’s not because we hate President Granger, as an individual… we have to point out the deficiencies of his government,” Jagdeo added.
The Opposition Leader said President Granger “enjoys my respect as a Guyanese” but he has to account for policy and decision-making by the administration. “He sees this as personal when I come to press conferences or elsewhere and I say that the President is not giving leadership and the whole country is in chaos…We have nothing personal against the President but we have to get answers to these issues. I will be abdicating my responsibility as Leader of the Opposition if I did not raise these issues,” he said.