President Jagdeo, like an irresponsible juvenile, continues to diminish the Presidency by uttering statements which are plainly false and deliberately intended to divert attention from his miserable performance. The Guyana Chronicle of 13 October 2009 entitled, “President Jagdeo disappointed over PNCR dismissal of LCDS” is yet another example.

The original PNCR statement addressed the 17 years of the PPP in Government which represented the destruction of, rather than, the return to democracy. In that statement, the PNCR referred to the dismal record of President Jagdeo in consultation. Jagdeo wants to shift the debate to the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). What, therefore, Jagdeo should be ashamed of, not disappointed, is his misuse of the term “consultation” for political expediency and chicanery. How does President Jagdeo explain the “so-called” consultation on crime and the security situation with the National Stakeholders? After grandiose commitments to regular meetings with stakeholders, nothing has happened since. It is now evident to all that Jagdeo, faced with the Lusignan and Bartica massacres, wanted to involve civil society to shield the PPP’s non-performance on crime. After obtaining support for British aid for the Security Sector Plan and secured political advantage by debating the signed stakeholder document in Parliament, he retreated from any further consultation. This is, however, only one example of “sham” consultation.

The farce of consultation on the LCDS was vividly portrayed recently on the state monopoly, the National Communication Network (NCN). In a purported consultation with Amerindian leaders, all Guyanese witnessed the opening speaker promising support of the communities of that area for the LCDS even before the consultations had begun.

In its several statements on this issue, the PNCR has acknowledged the importance of an LCDS, but has criticised it at several points, especially in those areas where the Administration has chosen to ignore reality for political convenience. The LCDS is a form of Avoided Deforestation. And so is the Iwokrama Project initiated by President Hoyte several years ago. These two initiatives are therefore conceptually linked. Yet, the Jagdeo Administration does not have the decency to admit this.

The PNCR never referred to the LCDS as a sham. It is the consultation that “is a sham”. Surely if President Jagdeo was not spending so much tax-payers dollars travelling with his begging bowl, around the globe, he would have grasped the facts of the PNCR statement. That statement outlined why the PPP toned down their October 5th celebration. Simply, they were ashamed of their destruction of democracy.

The statement also highlighted the PPP 17 years of disregard for the rule of law; 17 years of the violation of human rights; 17 years of escalating crime; 17 years of discrimination and unaccountability; 17 years of harassment and victimization and 17 years of vilification, non-consultation and deception. It is amusing that Jagdeo is only disappointed with the consultation section of the PNCR statement at its Press Conference on 8 October 2009. That section read:

“It is for this reason that the PNCR has viewed with skepticism the alleged intentions of the Jagdeo regime to engage in consultation on Avoided Deforestation and their, now well-touted, Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). It is obvious from their track record that the PPP cannot be trusted to undertake any serious consultation with the citizens of Guyana. The Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) approach is yet another example of the type of deception that Guyanese have become accustomed.”

President Jagdeo’s statement as reported in the article under consideration can therefore be summarily dismissed. If the Party wished to add anything, it is to say that it is President Jagdeo and his Administration which seems to be at the periphery of things and out of touch with the reality in Guyana. If the Administration was not in this unhealthy condition it would not continue with the perversion of the truth, engage in autocratic practices, trample on the rights of our citizens, encourage lawlessness and criminality and behave as though Guyana belongs to the PPP/C Administration. Clearly this is a recipe for disaster. And when the disaster comes, the relevance of the LCDS will be moot.

Robert H. O. Corbin
Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform
Leader of the Opposition