The bizarre business politics of the Jagdeo era – Freddie Kissoon

The bizarre business politics of the Jagdeo era

I read the other day that the NIS has seventy-six percent of the share-holding in the Berbice Bridge Company. When you square that with the fact that the very company was against the lowering of the fare, then it brings into sharp focus what kind of government Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar ran.

If the majority of investment money in the construction of the bridge came from the State then the majority share-holder has a greater input in policy. You don’t have to be a business student to know this.   

The direction of company business is determined by the shareholders and which shareholder has the strategic stocks determine decisions. When the government in 2015 wanted a lowering of fees, the bridge directors objected to it. But they were minority shareholders. How did such power come about?

Because this was the way Jagdeo approached the business policies of the State. What Jagdeo did was to give veto power to the few local investors in return for the money they put into the bridge. The NIS funds, though larger than each investor’s individual contribution, did not translate into NIS power. The story of Marriott is well known. Public money went into the project, the construction company was paid from public money, but the company shut out the employment of local labour.

Mr. Jagdeo is now the Opposition Leader. You have to give him credit for surviving one of the nastiest eras of bad governance in the history of Guyana. In most countries in the world, the types of failures, immoral hegemony and corruptibility that accompanied Jagdeo’s presidency would have resulted in relegation to obscurity. Former leaders with that kind of sordid track record do not survive in politics. Mr. Jagdeo has.

Guyana has a very tragic political biology. Jagdeo has not survived because of his erudition, integrity and accomplishments. Jagdeo brought none of these to office when he ruled Guyana for twelve years as de jure president and three years in a de facto manner. Because of the huge ethnic divide in our society Jagdeo has acquired staying power. But this symbolizes all that is tragic, morbid, uncivilized about Guyana the past sixty years. People will vote for Jagdeo if by some miracle he is allowed to contest elections to run for a third presidential term in 2020.

They will do this and ignore the destructions Jagdeo brought. But psychological deformations are at work here. I meet people all the time who would like to see the APNU+AFC out of power and would be happy to see the return of the PPP. Within their psychology is the obliviousness of fifteen years of the PPP’s excesses that have resulted in more than a trillion dollars lost to corruption.
They will ignore fifteen years of terrible times in Guyana. They can only see two years of what they consider unacceptable policies from the current administration.

This explains Jagdeo’s staying power. Let’s return to that figure of a trillion and a half dollars in money lost through corruption. What could that money have brought to Guyana’s future? Every major conceivable international organization of a multilateral nature, be it UN, World Bank, IMF, IDB, EU etc has adumbrated an analysis of the destructive tentacles at work when state officials steal from poor Third World countries.

It results in the persistence of poverty of every conceivable kind – deplorable public schools, scarcity of drinking water, rundown public medical care, lack of modern public infrastructure. The list goes on.

Even if you disagree with the sum of one and a half trillion dollars, the stealing of resources by corrupt rulers prior to 2015 is staggering, incredible and unbelievable. Yet amidst this psychosis of prodigious corruption, former politicians who stole from the State are offering themselves as returnees, that is, to return to power.

I could imagine what goes through the head of a sugar worker who is facing unemployment. He is not an analyst. He is not a historian. He just wants to keep his job.

No matter how you show him the connection between Jagdeo’s direct hand in the collapse of the sugar industry and sugar workers’ present dilemma, he will listen to Mr. Jagdeo’s fulminations against the APNU+AF administration. This is where the psychological deformations come in.

How can you ask a man to create employment for you in a bank when that very man caused the bank to collapse? Why put your faith in him when he is the reason for your distress. But this is Guyana where the mind continues to distort reality.

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  • Tulsie T Das  On 05/10/2017 at 3:49 am

    Mr Freddie Kissoon why don’t you in your infinite wisdom foward this commentary to S A R U his Excellency Dr B Jagdeo shall return the P P P to form the next Govt.

  • demerwater  On 05/10/2017 at 5:33 am

    “People will vote for Jagdeo if by some miracle he is allowed to contest elections to run for a third presidential term in 2020”.
    Almost a self-fulfilling prophecy from someone in newspaper journalism.
    I remember names like B.O. Hart (‘Things that bother me’); Carl Blackman and Archie Codrington whose weekly columns motivated people to buy the ‘Sunday Graphic’. Regrettably, I am quite occupied in trying to separate ‘news’ from ‘fake news’; ‘facts’ from ‘alternate facts’ here in the USA. I am quite out of touch with journalism in Guyana.
    I am very hesitant to add the name of “Freddie Kissoon” to the list.

  • Roland Ratte  On 05/10/2017 at 7:51 am

    Freddie Kissoon is the real deal and public awareness of what is going on in Guyana’s politics depends on his commentary in exposing corruption in the corridors of power,

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