Saturday, September 12, 2009

30 versus 128: Let’s hear from President Jagdeo

30 versus 128: Let’s hear from President Jagdeo
September 12, 2009 | By knews | Filed Under Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon

I know I would have had the last laugh. I wrote about me having the last laugh twice after Mr. Jagdeo boldly proclaimed three times that the human rights group based in New York, Freedom House, put Guyana in front of over a hundred countries that enjoy press freedom.
He cited Guyana’s standing at number 30. I wrote that President Jagdeo will face tremendous embarrassment over the joy he enjoys at Freedom House’s ranking because Freedom House is one of several prestigious organizations, many of which see Guyana in a negative light.
Mr. Jagdeo is indeed facing humiliation. If he accepts Freedom House’s placement of his country in terms of press freedom why should he reject the classification on the corruption scale by an equally recognized international organization, Transparency International (TI).
It has categorized Guyana, in its latest publication as the most corrupt country in Caricom and the fifth most corrupt country in the Americas. It puts Guyana at 128 out of 180.
My presentation here needs to include the fact that our Caricom neighbours are way ahead of Guyana in terms of clean government on TI’s list. Important to note for readers is the fact that TI measures governmental corruption.
Its outline excludes financial irregularity outside of the state structure. If TI was to include all kinds of financial nastiness, Guyana might be at number 180.
There was more bad news for Mr. Jagdeo. The World Bank has fixed Guyana at number 101 out of 183 states where business facilitation by the government is slow, full of obstacles and not encouraging.
So what will Mr. Jagdeo do? Here is what he will say. Here is what his Ministers will say.
Remember when the Justice Department of the United States put Roger Khan’s lawyer on trial and incriminating evidence emerged against the Government of Guyana (I say the Government of Guyana because I don’t for one single moment believe Dr. Leslie Ramsammy acted on his own)? What was the response of the political elites?
It was a stupid, comical stance to adopt but they adopted it anyway.
The Guyanese nation was told that what we read about Dr. Ramsammy in the New York court room was from the two independent newspapers in Guyana so why should the Government believe what these newspapers print?
Imagine a criminal trial is going on in the US and the leading members of a modern (I hope it is modern) government in today’s world tell its citizens you can only know what is taking place in the trial by being there and do not worry about what the newspapers report because how do we know that they are reporting the truth.
Do you realize the implication of that weird attitude? Remember the media asked Robert Persaud to comment on Joey Jagan’s exclamation at the launching of Dr. Baytoram Ramharack’s book, “Against the Grain: Balram Singh Rai and the politics of Guyana” that he would have slapped this columnist if he (the columnist) was present at the event, for criticizing his father Dr. Cheddi Jagan.
Persaud said that he could not comment because he was not there. So if you ask Persaud what he thought of right–wing extremists who shot and killed an abortion doctor at his clinic in the US, Persaud would not be able to offer an opinion because he was not there.
Readers must understand that according to the leaders of the PPP Government, when you see Serena Williams playing this weekend at the US Open, the strokes she plays cannot be determined because remember, it is channel 7 that is showing you Williams; you, the viewer are not really seeing Williams in action.
By the same logic, when you see Beyoncé performing, you don’t know if she is singing; it is the channel that is showing you that she is singing; we don’t know if she is performing. So we don’t know if Simels was convicted; the Kaieteur and Stabroek wrote that; we don’t know if that is true.
Can you imagine this was the stance the Government took in relation to the revelations in that New York court room? So when the newspapers publish the findings of Transparency International in the coming days, we will be told that is not what Transparency International found; that is what the newspapers reported.
It sounds funny. It is funny but it is real and happening in Guyana. There can be no doubt about it – the elected dictatorship in Guyana has many, many things about it and one of those things most definitely is asininity.

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