Monday, October 26, 2009
Pandit Reepu's call for a Jagdeo third term must be taken seriously as he has shown over the years to be a man of great visionary leadership skills.
Pandit often shared the limelight and struggle with Cheddi Jagan and as such his wisdom and understanding of Cheddi's vision must not be underestimated. Papa Cheddi also confided in Reep, as she was called. So too did Cheddi's wife, Janet. So when we hear such calls from this inspirational leader we must remember that no doubt, it is a call that must be reverberated throughout all of Guyana and taken seriously.
In my view Jagdeo is the best President Guyana has ever had, period. I believesin the President and I support him now and always. There are persons out there who people seem to fear the idea of Jagdeo running for a third term despite the fact that the President has said repeatedly he has no interest in running again. People are also apprehensive about him going for a third term despite the fact that it is the people of Guyana who have to decide that, not a group that is calling for it.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
HUNDREDS of persons from mainly the academic fraternity, a significant majority of whom are Canadians, packed the halls of three of Canada’s best universities – Trent, York and Toronto – to listen and interact with Guyanese Head of State President Bharrat Jagdeo over the past two days as he drummed-up crucial support in his widely-acclaimed international lobbying efforts on the crucial issue of climate change.
They offered him unreserved encouragement and hailed his bold climate change leadership battle on the world stage.
Speaking to a packed hall at the Trent University on Wednesday evening, the President fielded a number of questions on issues such as REDD, women and gender involvement in the consultation process on the LCDS model, monitoring and evaluation systems, and even expectations at Copenhagen.
The same interactive pattern continued at York University yesterday morning and the University of Toronto yesterday afternoon.
Director of the Centre for Environment at the University of Toronto, Professor Ingrid Leman Stefanovic, in introducing President Jagdeo during his lecture in the University of Toronto Great Hall (Hart House), disclosed that the Guyanese Head of State is the very first “genuine” Head of State in the world to have visited and delivered a lecture at the university’s Centre for Environment.
Noting that the University has hosted lectures by persons of the ilk of former US Vice- President Al Gore, a Nobel prize winner for his efforts in climate change, Professor Stefanovic said that “this is the very first time that a genuine head of state of a country has come here to the University of Toronto to deliver a lecture…and this is a very big first for the university and we are all extremely proud to be a part of this.”
She hastened to add, “But we are hosting more than just another Head of State as His Excellency President Jagdeo is making waves internationally on the issue of climate change…and growing in his stature as a world leader on this important issue.”
President Jagdeo noted that one of the reasons why he decided to accept the invitation to speak at these Canadian universities is to raise awareness among academia and the public at large on the dangers of climate change and to raise awareness about Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy.
The President spoke at length at all three universities on the genesis of climate change and how it is now an accepted fact globally that there is climate change; the first time that the whole issue was discussed in the Brasilian city of Rio in 1992 and then on to the Kyoto Protocol right through to the expectations at the upcoming major climate change summit in Copenhagen in December.
Noting that over the past 40 years, some 50% of the world’s forests was lost or degraded, in spite of a lot of philanthropy – however well intentioned – from NGOs and some amount of overseas development assistance directed to forest conservation, President Jagdeo said the cause of this is because the model being used failed to address the drivers of deforestation and degradation.
The President said what is needed now, as a matter of priority, is for political leaders to demonstrate a will to act, and for a new method of accountability at the global level.
“What I believe is crucial now is the political breakthrough…and this can only come from the people who have the will to act,” the President stated.
The more than hour-long sessions at the universities were very interactive in nature with President Jagdeo responding to numerous questions and queries about issues surround climate change and the Guyana LCDS model.
As a consequence of President Jagdeo’s consistent advocacy for urgent action on climate change, Time Magazine and CNN last year named the President as one of their ‘Heroes of the Environment’.
He has been recognized around the world for his leadership role in the area of climate change, with praise raining-in from persons such as Prince Charles, British Prime Minister Gordon Browne, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Hollywood superstar Harrison Forde.
That recognition of President Jagdeo’s leadership on the world stage on the issue of climate change has spread further afield in Canada over the past two days as hundreds of persons from mainly the academic fraternity, a significant majority of whom are Canadians, packed the halls of three of Canada’s best universities – Trent, York and Toronto – to listen and interact with him as he drummed-up crucial support in his widely-acclaimed international lobbying efforts at explaining the devastating effects of climate change, the myriad intricacies surrounding the catastrophic phenomenon, and the impact it will have on small developing countries like Guyana.
The Chronicle newspaper spoke with several persons who listened to the Guyanese Head of State during his lectures at Trent University on Wednesday evening and at York and Toronto Universities yesterday.
The following are snippets of their comments to this journalist:
Thaddeus Bolton – Student, Trent University
It is a great pleasure and privilege to listen to President Jagdeo, and we at the university would like to thank him for being here with us today. We would also like to thank him for the numerous years of dedication and commitment that he has demonstrated on behalf of our natural environment. Today, we are all called upon to respond to the global environmental crisis but few have demonstrated the courage and vision to take a leadership position like President Jagdeo. And for that I want to thank him for being an example of what is possible. I would also like to wish that he continue to lead and inspire students and communities around the world to be advocates and visionaries for the millions of species across the world.
I think President Jagdeo’s presentation was simply spectacular. You can see he is very knowledgeable about what he is talking about and advocating and he is an excellent speaker at any public gathering.
Dr. Don Lush – former graduate at Trent University
I thought it was a very good presentation. It is very encouraging to see leaders such as him making in-roads in this area and really trying to make things happen and there has been an awful lot of political talk and a awful lot of social feet dragging and until we actually get things happening and on the ground and working and seeing the products of that activity, we are not going to be moving ahead. We have a lot of big issues ahead of us and it takes courageous world leaders like President Jagdeo to step out and take a political chance and take the risk.
Dr. Don Lush
I am just so overwhelmed by the attendance here today (at Trent University), particularly seeing that the majority of the gathering here are non-Guyanese and non-West Indian. I think this is indicative of the interest that the population here at Trent University and in Peterborough has in listening to the President speak on the issue of climate change. Their interest with this whole issue of global warming and climate change and the intensity with which they expressed themselves today and responses by the President to their queries…I am very impressed. His speech was just phenomenal.
Fitz Bharath – Trinidadian-born Canadian
I thought President Jagdeo’s presentation was very informative…and, as a born Trinidadian, I didn’t realise that so much could come out from a relatively small developing country like Guyana. I think President Jagdeo and Guyana are setting a trend for the world.
I was very impressed with his (Mr. Jagdeo) presentation and what he is trying to do, I think, is very encouraging and very refreshing. I think the Guyanese President is very knowledgeable in the area of climate change…and, as I said before, I am very impressed.
Capt. Gerry Gouveia – Prominent businessman and Head of Guyana’s Private Sector Commission
The President’s presentation here at Trent University, first of all, made me very proud as a Guyanese. When you listen to the people respond to President Jagdeo as a world leader and the last comment that we have heard here tonight, that if other world leaders was as knowledgeable like him about the details of his own country and the history of climate change then the world would be a better place - this made me very, very proud. I think also this is going to make the world be a lot more aware because universities like this (Trent) are going to be paying special interest –in terms of research, for instance, in environmental practices…so I believe that the President’s presentation here this evening and again tomorrow (Thursday) is going to move the LCDS process even further.
Also, I want to say that I cannot, as the leader of the private sector in Guyana and when I look deep in my heart and I sat through the consultation process that has been going on across the country, I cannot understand why anyone would be against the strategy. This is not politics; this is good sense. So when I see people being negative about this strategy, it hurts me.
Mr. Meric Gertter - Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Toronto
I want to thank President Jagdeo for gracing this university with his presence.
We really appreciate him taking the time to teach us more about climate change and Guyana’s visionary plan to preserve its tropical rainforest to combat climate change.
I thought that his (President) Jagdeo’s presentation was very insightful, intelligent and inspiring…I hope that we can do a session together at Cophenhagen where we can, in partnership, push his ideas forward. I believe that he is doing a great job and I wish we had more leaders like him. I wish him great momentum and that he gets the ears of the communities as he continues to push forward the agenda for the benefit of all.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) General Manager, Mr. Jagnarine Singh signed the multi-million dollar agreement with Head of a Venezuelan, Colonel Rodolfo Marco at a press briefing convened at the Ministry of Agriculture.
The historic occasion was witnessed by Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud, Venezuelan Ambassador to Guyana, Mr. Dario Morandy, Rice Producers Association (RPA) General Secretary, Mr. Dharamkumar Seeraj and other officials from both countries.
Persaud pointed out that initially 10,000 tonnes of white rice and 40,000 tonnes of paddy will be exported to Venezuela and the GRDB has been tasked with facilitating the trade.
The minister said the export price for paddy will be US$ 330 per metric tonne both costs and freight and white rice five percent broken at US$ 560.
“These two prices represent a very substantial percentage above what wee see taking place in the market from export and if we look at the trend.
“I must say that we are very appreciative of President Chavez’s Government of Venezuela for entering into this agreement, it is the first agreement we have of this kind and perhaps the first time we will be exporting rice to Venezuela.
He said once the agreement has been finalised, the two countries will be looking to explore trade is other areas apart from rice.
“Within the context of the agreement…within five days or there about…by Sunday or Monday a three person delegation will come from Caracas to inspect and as it were to look at all the other considerations so that we can commence export.
“The aim is to have the first shipment leaving Guyana in the first week of November and there will be about 10 shipments with the last shipment being in the last week of February,” the minister disclosed.
These arrangements, he said will not preclude other agreements the two governments many wish to enter.
Persaud told reporters that Colonel Torrez has requested of commodities that Venezuela might have and interest of importing.
“It all part of a thrust of looking at new markets and opportunities for the sector and moreso for our farmers,” he said.
Seeraj viewed the agreement as a beginning of an arrangement that will see farmers getting a better deal within the entire process of producing and marketing rice.
He said there has been a problem here in the past where local exporters seem to have lost the will to market rice and basically reduced themselves to being price takers in the industry.
“The significance of this arrangement is that the Ministry of Agriculture and indeed the Government of Guyana through the GRDB has initiated an arrangement that is intended to bring about some protection to the farmers, because I am certain that the participating exporters in this arrangement will have to agree to pass on the benefits of this agreement to the farmers so that they can enjoy better price for their produce,” the RPA General Secretary said.
Torrez said the Venezuelan Government is pleased to be importing rice from Guyana and lauded Minister Persaud for his role in the agreement.
'TRENT UNIVERSITY LAB TOUR': President Bharrat Jagdeo listens attentively to Guyanese-born Research Scientist Dr. Suresh Narine (right) during a guided tour of the laboratories at the prestigious Trent University in Canada – which will be used to develop new biomaterials, bio-chemicals and bio-products from natural oils. Also in photo are Guyana’s Consul General in Toronto Mr. Danny Doobay (third right) and Head of Guyana’s Private Sector Commission Captain Gerry Gouveia (left).
President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday attended the official launch of the Centre of Knowledge in the Environment at Trent University in Canada, a function that featured celebratory funding announcements for the creation of a new world-class Trent Biomaterials Research Programme to be led by Canadian-based Guyanese Dr. Suresh Narine, a pioneer and leader in this emerging field.
'TRENT VISIT': President Bharrat Jagdeo and Guyanese-born Canadian-based Research Scientist Dr. Suresh Sugrim during a guided tour at Trent University in Canada yesterday. (Mark Ramotar photo)
“Our research offers an alternative solution – to employ agriculture (fats and oils) to create renewable feed stocks that then can be converted using science to create materials more environmentally benign and more in sync with the natural carbon cycle to abate and combat climate change,” said Dr. Narine, who was recruited to Trent from the University of Alberta – another Canadian university.
“On behalf of my team of researchers and Trent University, I would like to offer our deep appreciation to all of our generous founding partners and funders for their financial commitment that will place Trent’s Biomaterials Research Programme among one of the top facilities of its kind in the world,” Dr. Narine stated.
President Jagdeo, in concluding remarks at the launching ceremony yesterday morning, lauded the Trent University - especially Dr. Narine for his dedication, commitment and vision - and extend congratulations and best wishes to him and his highly talented multi-ethnic and multi-cultural team of researchers (Organic Chemists, Materials Physicists, and Polymer Chemists) working on the biomaterials programme.
Mr. Jagdeo also recalled how extremely pleased he was when, a few years ago, Dr. Narine returned to Guyana to serve as the Executive Director of Guyana’s Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST), where he managed to, in a short time, infused enthusiasm and hope in that Institute.
The Guyanese head of state, who is currently on a brief visit to Canada where he has been invited to – among other things - deliver lectures and make keynote addresses at three Canadian Universities (Trent - last evening, and York and University of Toronto - today) as part of his internationally-recognised and committed efforts to drum-up support for the fight against climate change, spent the entire day at the sprawling and scenic campus at Trent.
Noting how pleased he was to have been invited by the University to attend, participate and share in this special day, Mr. Jagdeo said the University can take a lead role in helping to find urgent solutions to globally catastrophic problems we are expected to face in the very near future, and some of which we are already facing at the moment.
Monday, October 19, 2009
He was referring to the law which stipulates that a president cannot run for a third term; he/she is only restricted to two consecutive terms in office.
Corbin spoke as if this piece of legislation was the brainchild of his party, but I would like to remind the Opposition Leader that it was the PPP/C who instituted it, contrary to Corbin’s view.
Further to it, Corbin gives the impression that it is mandatory that the opposition be consulted and for them to give their stamp of approval. Should I again remind the Opposition Leader that the PPP/C is not dependent on the PNCR for a decision, they can simply refer the matter to the people - whom they should have consulted in the first place - in a referendum and I can guarantee you the party will legitimately garner a resounding percentage of yes votes, enough to change the constitution.
This was the route taken by the PNC in the 1980 referendum when they fraudulently garnered 95% yes votes. But let me allay their fears, the PPP/C is far more intelligent than the PNCR on matters of the constitution.
Corbin also surreptitiously issued a threat to the present administration by saying, “the people” would be forced to rise up if a third term is granted to Mr. Jagdeo.
Now Robert what are you talking about who is “the people”, be honest with yourself and substitute that phrase with myself and my PNCR thugs will rise up. Make no mistaking we the people of Guyana are well informed of the plans to seize power.
Before a packed Diwali motorcade audience estimated at about 30,000, Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha President Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud on Friday night made a call for President Bharrat Jagdeo to serve a third term.
Pandit Persaud praised President Jagdeo for taking up the challenge to realise major development in many sectors of the economy. He referred to the leadership vacuum in the country at this time and urged that the country was well set to move to a higher standard if Jagdeo is allowed another term as president. The massive crowd responded favourably by applauding Pandit Persaud’s recommendation for an extension to the presidential term.
Although President Jagdeo has stated previously that he is not inter ested in another term, it is the first time that a party member has expressed the sentiment and publicly joined members of the business community and political commentators locally and regionally in making a case for a third- term Jagdeo presidency.
Persaud is a Central Executive Committee of the PPP. While on a walkabout in the LBI community ground, the president was greeted with hugs, cheers and repeated expressions of support for him serving a third term.
In addressing the work done by the Sabha, Persaud stated that the organisation was in existence to represent Hindus across Guyana and urged Hindus to continue their support so as to strengthen its’ effort and systems.
He also said he is satisfied with the work done by the Sabha to date and anticipates more in the future.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves feels restrictions on the terms of office of Caribbean heads of government deprive the people of quality leaders who are scarce in the region.
Speaking to members of the media while in Guyana in July of this year, he stated: …….. “Let the people decide! There is already a shortage of quality leadership. Why impose artificial limits, he said during last week’s Caribbean Community summit here. We don’t have to imitate everything the Americans do, Gonsalves argued.”
In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, there is no limit on the term of office of the Prime Minister.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won a referendum in February this year with a majority 54% of the vote that allowed him to run for the presidency for life.
Gonsalves said the shortage of quality leadership in the Caribbean and the restriction on the period for incumbent Presidents or Prime Ministers may pose difficulties for several countries.
Remember those famous words of President Ronald Reagan who said that the term limit on presidents was "a mistake". He went on to ask, "Shouldn't the people have the right to vote for someone as many times as they want to vote for him?"
Further, while term limits are matters for individual electorates and the abolition of term limits in Venezuela was supported by its electorate we here in Guyana need the opportunity to decide by way of referendum whether or not Jagdeo should get a well deserved third term.
‘ALL SMILES’: President Bharrat Jagdeo, World Bank Officials and some of the stakeholders at the Office of the President yesterday.
The World Bank yesterday reiterated its support for Guyana’s climate change thrust as a due diligence mission ended what officials said was a successful field trip as part of the preparatory phase to support this country’s model.
During last week, a 22-member team, including bank officials, government, civil society and donor representatives met 16 Amerindian communities at Iwokrama, Nappi and Kamarang to discuss the government’s proposed Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) strategy to keep forests standing, store carbon, and in return, receive payments from the international community.
At a press conference with President Bharrat Jagdeo at the Office of the President complex in Georgetown yesterday, team members commended Guyana for its open, transparent and intensive consultations and other approaches centred on the proposed Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).
REDD is to be the main financing mechanism for the LCDS and President Jagdeo said Guyana is very pleased with the engagements so far with the international community to develop its approach to climate change.
“We are pleased with the good partnership that we have developed with the multilateral institutions and with our other international partners”, he said.
He recalled expressing concern earlier this year that “old tools” may have been used in an entirely new area in creating a framework and incentives within that framework to ensure sustainable development friendly to the environment and that would not result in significant climate change.
He said that since then he has seen a “great willingness on the part of the donors – the multilateral institutions and other partners – to work in a collaborative fashion to develop new tools…approaches to this issue. For this we are very grateful”, the President said.
Guyana is leading a group of 37 countries around the world that stand to benefit from the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) administered by the World Bank.
World Bank Guyana Country Representative, Mr. Giorgio Valentini, who has persistently backed the Guyana Government’s thrust, yesterday maintained his stand, saying the bank was proud to be partnering Guyana in this project.
The visiting mission included representatives from the United States and the United Kingdom, two of the FCPF donor countries, and it was the final assessment before anticipated approval of support for Guyana under the trust fund.
The visit, organised by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), was financed by the World Bank and the British Department For International Development (DFID).
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
According to the poll if Mr. Jagdeo were to be the PPP/C’s candidate for the next election, voters believe he would easily win re-election as they do feel the current choices available from the opposition parties cannot defeat him.
The report of the NACTA poll further stated, when asked whether Mr. Jagdeo should be allowed to seek another term as President 47% said yes while 31% said no, with 22% offering no response.
According to a source while the Constitution does not allow President Jagdeo to run for a third term, this recent development could bring to the fore the issue of whether a referendum should be held to determine whether he should be given the chance to run for a third term based on his popularity.
This development also comes on the heels of the recent view offered by St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves that there should not be term limit for leaders within CARICOM because of an obvious shortage of quality leadership in the region. He further noted that we in the region should not follow everything which the US has adopted.
President Jagdeo for his part has publicly stated that he is not interested in a third term but the findings of this recent poll could bring some pressure on him from his supporters to perhaps reconsider his position, especially in light of the many achievements that have been made under his stewardship as President.
Ralph Ramkarran: Vishnu Bisram, the well known and reputable New York pollster, recently published a poll, reflecting what I believe to be the true state of affairs, namely, that President Jagdeo is the most popular politician in Guyana and if he runs for a third term he will win hands down. The outstanding economic and social progress in Guyana under President Jagdeo’s leadership, amidst great challenges, and a number of initiatives in the world financial architecture and climate change have ensured Jagdeo’s stature as a leading statesman. The poll confirms this.
Work on the much-vaunted Amaila Falls Hydropower project could commence by mid-next year if an upcoming meeting with Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) officials to discuss financing for the project yields favourable results, President Bharrat Jagdeo announced yesterday.
Speaking at a press conference held at the International Conference Centre, Jagdeo said that this meeting was initiated after he had discussed funding for the long-awaited project with the President of the IDB while he was in Istanbul, Turkey. Jagdeo returned to the country on Sunday after attending the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group in that country. The upcoming meeting, which has been organized by the President of the IDB Luis Alberto Moreno, will be held early next month in Washington at the IDB. Jagdeo said that since the IDB may supply part of the financing for the project, the organization will play a critical role in organizing financing for it.
According to the President, before he left Guyana for Turkey he had met with the group responsible for the project. He said that the “there was a re-bid of certain portions” of the project which had gone out to tender last November and that the pricing is now in a range that is acceptable.
The President later disclosed that the price for the project would be about US$500 to US$600 million. The developer of the project is Synergy Holdings Inc. while Sithe Global Power is the leading financial group for the Amaila Falls Hydropower project in Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni).
Jagdeo stated that prior to the construction on the hydropower plant, work will be done to develop the access road to the site since this will advance the project schedule tremendously. Additionally, the government will be looking at establishing the transmission main along the coast. He stated that the transmission line is costing about US$100 million to bring the power down.
President Bharrat Jagdeo at the media conference yesterday.
He was referring to a Kaieteur News headline ‘LCDS consultations a sham by administration’, over a story which said the PNCR views with skepticism the intentions of the Bharrat Jagdeo regime to engage in consultations on avoided deforestation and their now well touted LCDS.
“I saw in the papers, this morning, that the Opposition has said that the LCDS consultation is a sham and what I find very unappealing about it is that they could disparage the efforts of so many people,” Mr. Jagdeo remarked.
He continued: “Everyone with a modicum of sense or who would have observed what has taken place over the last three months would see that no country, that I know of in this world, has consulted as much on any issue as we did in Guyana.”
President Jagdeo declared that, definitely, no country, including both developed and developing countries, has subjected their environmental plans to the type of scrutiny that Guyana has allowed in this case.
“If you examine the website that is managed by the secretariat, you will see that we have faithfully represented every comment that we have received, positive and negative,” he told reporters.
President Jagdeo said it has even uploaded articles from the newspapers that have been critical of the strategy, “just to give a balanced view of the consultations.”
“So, when the Opposition says this, people know they can’t be serious, first of all and, secondly, I think it is in the true fashion of what our Opposition has become, many ways irrelevant and on the fringe of things,” he offered.
“They can’t support anything that is mainstream, anything that is positive. They can only see negatives. They can never run a country with this outlook,” said President Jagdeo, criticising the Opposition party.
Declaring that the Opposition is “disrespectful of people”, he asked: “Can you imagine the 157 Toshaos, elected leaders of the Amerindian communities who sat here for several days, including two full days, with me starting from morning going late into the night, talking about the future of our country and the LCDS – that they are disparaging the efforts of all of these people?”
President Jagdeo reiterated, “It is just a lack of respect for all Guyanese but, more particularly, for Amerindians.
“If you can dismiss all of these efforts made by all the elected leaders of the Amerindian communities, who spent two full days discussing this, then, clearly, you are either out of touch with reality or you just don’t care about people’s opinions. But it’s the PNC and I guess I shouldn’t come to expect any better.
“It’s just that I am disappointed because I was hoping that we could have a positive engagement since the LCDS is good for the country and for our people and will be good for many decades to come for this country,” he maintained, adding: “So I am very, very disappointed about that.”
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) is moving to forge a successor to the current Kyoto Protocol that is to be endorsed in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December and President Jagdeo has been leading the Guyana lobby for forest preservation to be a central plank of that new pact.
Monday, October 12, 2009
You have to be understanding of the level of fear and insecurity as a result of this initiative among those that view our position in contradiction to theirs which could very well result in wanton acts of desperation on their part. Violence included!
The PNCR on Thursday last reiterated that it will never support an amendment to the constitution to allow President Bharrat Jagdeo to contest the Presidency for a third term.
Speaking at the party’s weekly press conference at Congress Place, PNCR-1G MP Keith Scott, who read from a prepared statement, said that for the President to be granted a third term in office, the Opposition would first have to agree to this and he emphasized that this will not happen.
The party’s statements come after the actions earlier this week of a shadowy group calling itself the “Guyanese Coalition For Jagdeo Third Term” (GCFJTT). The group has been distributing flyers and buttons campaigning for Jagdeo to be supported for a third run for the presidency. The members of the group remain unknown.
PNCR Leader Robert Corbin, who was present at yesterday’s press conference, told this newspaper on Wednesday that whoever was responsible for the actions of the group was “out of touch with reality because it will never happen.”
At the press conference, the PNCR labelled these recent actions as “political games” by the PPP intended to take the attention away from the various controversies ensnaring the PPP/C administration.
However, the PPP, through its General Secretary Donald Ramotar, has said that it is not in any way affiliated with the group and its activities. He also called the actions of this group mischievous since President Jagdeo has repeatedly denied having an interest in contesting for the presidency for a third time. Officials employed at the Office of the President have also stated that they are unaware as to who is behind this campaign.
The PNCR also said yesterday that the activities of the group are an attempt to distract from “the government’s involvement in criminal enterprises and the united call by the Joint Opposition Parties for an international inquiry of the administration as a result of the evidence revealed in the recent trial of Robert Simels in the United States.”
A group calling itself the Guyanese Coalition For Jagdeo Third Term (GCFJTT) has been campaigning for a third term for President Bharrat Jagdeo by distributing flyers and buttons amid growing public concerns that a move may be afoot to amend the constitution to remove term limits.
It is, however, unclear who the members of this group are and whether they are affiliated with any another organization.
The flyer being distributed bears the header “WE SUPPORT A THIRD TERM FOR JAGDEO”. The document goes on to say: “We the people of Guyana admires Presi-dent Bharrat Jagdeo for his visionary, courageous and astute leadership over the years. We need Jagdeo to continue the developmental path for a modern, peaceful and prosperous Guyana. In this respect, we are prepared to utilize the constitutional mechanisms to a third term as President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.”
The flyer, which carries the name of the group, ends with the footer: “JAGDEO! OUR CHOICE FOR 2011”.
The button that is being distributed is white and it has the words “JAGDEO 3rd TERM” printed in red.
Meanwhile, suggestions that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) may be behind this have been refuted by its General Secretary Donald Ramotar. Ramotar, when contacted, told Stabroek News that the party is not in anyway associated with the GCFJTT and emphasized that the flyers and buttons “have nothing to do with the PPP”. He told this newspaper that he, himself, had been presented with one of the flyers and a button, from an unknown source. Ramotar opined that “it may be somebody trying to be mischievous since the President has repeatedly stated his position on the matter.”
The actions of the group calling itself the “Guyanese Coalition For Jagdeo Third Term” (GCFJTT) have been lambasted by the opposition parties, who have labelled the campaign as pointless.
Earlier this week, the shadowy GCFJTT began campaigning for a third term for President Bharrat Jagdeo, by distributing flyers and buttons. The group in the flyer said that Jagdeo had demonstrated “visionary, courageous and astute leadership over the years” and that the group wanted him to continue the “developmental path for a modern, peaceful and prosperous Guyana”. The group said that “we are prepared to utilize the constitutional mechanisms to a third term as President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.”
It is still unclear who the members of this group are and whether they are affiliated with any other organization.
However, President Jagdeo has repeatedly stated that he has no interest in running for a third term.
PNCR Leader Robert Corbin, when contacted last evening was in a meeting, but in a brief statement he called the actions of the group “diversionary” and added that “whoever is doing this is clearly out of touch with reality because it will never happen”. He said that his party will address the matter in greater detail today during its press conference.
AFC Leader Raphael Trotman, when reached for comment, said that his party respected the right of citizens to express their views but emphasized that his party would not support anything that was unconstitutional. He told this newspaper that he had also been a recipient of one of the flyers and buttons.
According to Trotman, the issue of extending the term limit was not something that the AFC would support and added that “we don’t believe that the incumbent has the right to seek an extension”. He said that the President seemed to have greater interest in addressing matters outside of Guyana than in the country.
Trotman also stated that he hoped that the PNCR shares a similar view and that they would not allow themselves to be coerced into supporting this move.
When asked if he had any idea as to who were the members of the (GCFJTT), the AFC leader said that sources have told him that officials employed at the Office of the President are behind the group and its activities.
However, an official attached to the Office of the President denied this and told Stabroek News that employees at OP were baffled by the entire episode.
Columnist for the Guyana Chronicle and employee at the Office of the President, Dr Randy Persaud said that he was surprised at the campaign. He said that he was unaware of the actions of the GCFJTT until he read yesterday’s edition of the Stabroek News. He, however, echoed the sentiments of PPP General Secretary Donald Ramotar who told this newspaper on Wednesday that the act was one intended to create mischief.
Ramotar, who on Tuesday stated that his party had nothing to do with the GCFJTT, told Stabroek News yesterday that he still did not know who was behind the campaign. When asked if the matter was one of concern to the party, Ramotar said that it had not been discussed as yet.” He, however, re-emphasized his belief that it was an attempt by someone to be mischievous.