Jagdeo stands firm against discrimination

first_imgIf all are to be judged by and held to, the same standards, then the entire Government, “is made up of a bunchFormer President Bharrat Jagdeoof racists.”Former President Bharrat Jagdeo made the bold assertion this past week, as he sought to again defend his stance taken when he recently addressed the Diaspora in New York, pointing out that supporters of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and more specifically, Indo-Guyanese, are essentially being persecuted by the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government.Jagdeo’s utterances were widely condemned by sections of society including former PPP/Civic stalwart Ralph Ramkarran.He had suggested that the former President, in fact, exposed the Party’s new agenda and pointed to Jagdeo’s assertion that “we will take back Guyana.”No apologiesBut the former President made it clear he has no apologies for his comments and his position should not be seen as racist.Jagdeo holds firmly the view that it cannot be argued that simply because he speaks out in defence of one section of the population, this means he is racist.He suggested that persons such as pro-black activists, Professor David Hinds and Eric Phillips – both of whom are currently in the employ of the Administration – should also both be considered racists, given the public pronouncements made in support of the Afro-Guyanese population.Jagdeo met with members of the media this week at his Party’s Freedom House Headquarters and articulated why he remains steadfast in his declaration that the Indo-Guyanese population is under attack by the David Granger-led Administration.He was also later joined by the Executive Leadership of the PPP/C including his immediate successor, former President Donald Ramotar; PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee; Member of Parliament Irfaan Ali; and former Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon.The PPP/C team met with scores of Guyanese during a public talk held at the Sleepin Hotel on Brickdam, Georgetown.Jagdeo used the occasion to concede that the PPP/C is partly at fault for allowing naysayers to continue to peddle the assertion that his Administration did in fact persecute the Afro-Guyanese population at an institutional level while in office.Jagdeo was hauled before the courts on two occasions over purported racist statements and acts, both of which have since been dismissed by the judiciary.Fact-based analysisThe former President said the PPP/C is in fact proud of its record and is prepared to have a fact-based analysis of its time in office, inclusive of its spending policies.The PPP/C Executive Members at the time were speaking to the very assertions of victimisation and discrimination against the Indo-Guyanese population in addition to what they termed ‘mounting concerns’ over the militarisation of the State apparatus in Guyana by former Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Brigadier, David Granger.The Opposition Leader also repeated his assertion that Government was in fact discriminating against supporters of the PPP.According to Jagdeo, “I have spoken that if you are black and you support the PPP then you face the brunt of the Government, the Amerindians know that too.”Qualifying his assertions, when he said, “we will take back this country,” Jagdeo said it is, “from people who discriminate based on your politics and our race.”Jagdeo this past week said he will continue to “Unequivocally stand by every statement I have made so far.”Anti-Jagdeo campaignThe former President opined that there may be a campaign against him by the ruling Administration to, “characterise me in a particular fashion helped obviously by some of the friendly media.”Jagdeo said there have been many, other than him, that would have come out alleging discriminatory practices by Government, “but it seems as though if you are Indo-Guyanese and you speak about discrimination against Indo-Guyanese or Indian people in Guyana then you have to be racist but if you are Afro-Guyanese and you speak about discrimination against Afro-Guyanese historically or current, then you are a freedom fighter.”An obstinate Jagdeo posited, “if you were to judge several individuals by the same standards that you want to judge me every time I speak out against an act of discrimination against people based on their race or their politics then you will find that this Government is made up of a bunch of racists.”He reiterated that persons traditionally on the fringes, now part of Government, such as Professor Thomas, Desmond Trotman, Eric Phillips, Tacuma Ogunseye and David Hinds, have all been vociferous in their pronouncements that blacks in Guyana were being discriminated against based on their race and perceived political affiliations.Jagdeo went as far as accusing President David Granger of being a racists for “saying some of the things he did.”The former President said he is resolute that “I will not stop representing people if I feel they are being discriminated against because of their race, I will speak out against it whether they are Indo-Guyanese or Afro-Guyanese, but not because they are Indo-Guyanese I will suddenly cower in a corner and not say anything for fear of being labelled (a) racist.”Flawed argumentsHe also used the opportunity to take to task Professor David Hind’s defence of the APNU/AFC Government saying it was not racist and this is evident in the billions in subsidy transferred to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) which led Jagdeo to ask, “how can we (PPP) be racist?”He pointed to the per capita spending in Region 10 which is predominately Afro-Guyanese. According to Jagdeo, when looked at on a per capita basis, Region 10 received the largest amount of Government resources.He pointed to investments such as New Hospital, two new secondary schools, two new housing schemes (Amelia’s Ward & Block 22), a new water treatment and supply system in addition to the subsidies provided for its electricity, among other industries and asked, “how could we be racist then too?”last_img read more