Commentary: The Guyanese nation has no confidence in Jagdeo and the PPP crime cartel

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Rickford Burke is the President of the Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID)

By Rickford Burke

Guyana’s opposition leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, a former president, has filed a no confidence motion in Parliament against the coalition government of Guyana, led by President David Granger. The Granger administration was elected in 2015 with a one seat majority in Parliament. The government has 33 seats, while Jagdeo’s opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has 32.

Jagdeo’s motion is not based on any failures of the government. Rather, it seeks to exploit the current illness of President Granger who has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment in Havana, Cuba.

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, the leader of government business in the National Assembly, is performing the duties of the presidency. Technically, the National Assembly is a component of Parliament. The Assembly becomes the constitutional Parliament whenever the president attends to deliver ceremonial addresses.

Jagdeo has adopted “Trumpism.” He believes that asininity, racism, lies and dishonesty will propel his party back into government. His gangster brinkmanship violates the nation’s sacrosanct period of super natural supplications on behalf of our president. Only a man of uncanny decadence would seek to exploit the illness of a head of state to divide a nation for cheap political points.

Worse, Jagdeo’s PPP members have, in a most vile manner, been disseminating death wishes against the president on social media. These actions are dishonorable and unpatriotic. Indeed, such inhumane treachery can only be hatched in the minds of evil men who think like beasts, who deserve to be rebuffed and isolated.

Jagdeo has been desperately attempting to dominate the political space created by the president’s absence and temporary illness. In a media frenzy, he cockily claimed that whenever the prime minister is performing duties of president, he cannot vote in the Assembly. This fraudulent claim is to portray his motion as viable. However, nothing in the law prevents the prime minister from fulfilling his constitutionally mandated parliamentary duties, and he will.

Moreover, intelligence sources may have detected PPP elements allegedly discussing a reward for government MPs who vote with the opposition on the motion. Since bribery and public corruption is a known PPP contrivance, law enforcement scrutiny of this plot or conspiracy is apposite.

Guyanese know Jagdeo’s dishonorable hunger for power. He has been acting like a raging lunatic at the prospect of not having control of Guyana’s oil revenues. Although the constitution bars him from ever becoming president again, he filed a lawsuit to strike down the current presidential term limit in the constitution. After the Caribbean Court of Justice rejected his ill-conceived attack on the constitution, his party members attacked the court as a “black” institution.

But Guyanese know what PPP governance feels like. As president of Guyana from 1999 to 2011, Jagdeo’s cabinet was known internationally as a criminal cartel, and one of the most brutal, racist and corrupt governments, and ruthless criminal enterprises in the world. Embezzlement, fraud, bribery, rampant thievery of government assets, money laundering, weapons and drug trafficking and murders embroiled his disastrous presidency.

International government accountability watchdog Transparency International ranked Jagdeo’s government as one of the most corrupt in the world.

In 2009 Jagdeo’s government corruptly gave his personal friend over $167 million taxpayer dollars to build a private hotel – Buddies, now Princes Hotel. Jagdeo’s government corruptly and unlawfully took US$41 million to build the Marriot Hotel. Its parent company, Atlantic Hotel’s Inc., was mysteriously registered to his two friends, Michael Brassington and Marcia Nadir.

Jagdeo’s government unlawfully seized $950 million from the nation’s workers Insurance Scheme (NIS) to build the Berbice River Bridge. Although the NIS monies mostly built the bridge, Jagdeo’s government give the majority of shares in the bridge company to a consortium owned by his best friend, Bobby Ramboop.

Jagdeo’s government also sold the multi-billion dollar Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation to Ramroop at a fraction of its value. Ramroop’s company was subsequently made the sole drug supplier for all government hospitals. Billions of dollars in contracts were then funneled to Ramroop’s company. Jagdeo also sold the government compound at Leonora Estate, West Demerara, at a fraction of its cost to his friend Ed Admad, who has since been convicted of fraud and jailed in the US.

When Jagdeo’s party was voted out of office his public service minister, Dr Jennifer Westford was charged with allegedly embezzling over $680 million. This case is currently sub judice.

It is therefore no wonder that the people have called on Jagdeo to explain how he was able to build a multi-billion, Hollywood-styled mansion in Guyana. Moreover, Jagdeo and several of his cabinet ministers allegedly fraudulently undervalued, then purchased prime, seaside government lands on which they constructed multi-million dollar homes. The Organized Crimes Unit of the Guyana Police Force arrested Jagdeo and some formers ministers in connection with this ongoing alleged fraud investigation.

As president, Jagdeo handed control of the country’s national security apparatus to Roger Khan, a murderous criminal and international drug lord. Jagdeo’s government gave Khan a license to import CIA-type spy equipment that tracks people’s physical location by their cell phone number, using triangulation technology. Khan was also head of the drug cartel and murder for hire gang called the Phantom death squad. His gang used his spy equipment to track and kill targets. Khan was eventually captured by US FBI and DEA agents. He was subsequently convicted and jailed in the US.

Cellular telephone records and other intelligence helped an international investigation uncover that Khan’s Phantom death squad functioned under the direction of Jagdeo’s national security minister, Ronald Gajraj. The US government has documented that, in the glaring eye of the PPP government, Roger Khan made Guyana into a transshipment center where narcotics from Columbian and other parts of South America were shipped to the US, Europe and the Caribbean.

With direct PPP government supervision, the Phantom death squad murdered over 400 young black men. A 2005 United Nations investigation led by international human rights attorney, Gay McDougall, confirmed the murders as well as the involvement of PPP government officials.

Under international pressure Jagdeo was forced to appoint a commission of inquiry (COI), and to remove Gajraj from office but later reappointed him at the end of the COI. On April 12, 2005, the US State Department issued a statement condemning Gajaj’s reappointment. The statement added that “the United States is concerned about… his involvement with individuals who allegedly carried out extra-judicial killings… We believe significant questions remain unanswered regarding his involvement in serious criminal activities…”

Fearing the US would indict Gajraj and expose the PPP cartel, Jagdeo made Gajraj ambassador to India and granted him diplomatic immunity from prosecution. To date, there has been no serious investigation of the murders, an actual genocide, and thus, no justice for the victims.

This is the tip of the iceberg of PPP crime and corruption. After 23 years of murder, drug-running, racism, fraud, and outright thieving of billions of taxpayer dollars, the people of Guyana expressed no confidence in Jagdeo and the PPP, by voting to kick them out of office in 2015.

Guyana is now on the threshold of becoming one of the world’s largest oil producing nations. Jagdeo is bursting with a potential orgasm at the prospect of Guyana’s oil money. He and the PPP have been like ravenous cats that are raring to watch the milk. But Guyanese know that they are crooks disguised as watchmen who are anxious to raid the national treasury.

Under Guyana’s new coalition government, our nation is being transformed. There has been unprecedented economic and social development. The people can see national prosperity on the horizon. If there is any no confidence in the coalition government, it is its failure to prosecute and jail the PPP cartel for their murders, embezzlement, fraud, thieving, money laundering, gun smuggling and drug trafficking perpetrated against the nation. The time for accountability is now! Who is listening?

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