CGID slams Jagdeo as desperate to grab Guyana’s oil money, warns of PPP secret deals to give part of Essequibo to Venezuela
BROOKLYN: A war of words is brewing between Guyana’s Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo and his former student, Rickford Burke, President of the Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID). Jagdeo on Thursday attacked Burke as a “political neophyte” who is speaking for Guyana’s APNU+AFC coalition government. Jagdeo insisted that the government, which narrowly lost a no confidence vote in Parliament on December 21, must resign and call general elections.
Jagdeo brought the motion against the coalition government, led by President David Granger, which has a one seat majority in Parliament. The coalition has 33 seats in the 65 seat Parliament, while the PPP has 32. The motion passed, 33 to 32 votes, after government back-bencher, Charrandas Persaud, joined the opposition PPP to vote for the motion, then immediately fled the country to Canada. Persaud has been accused of accepting a multimillion dollar bribe, to which he responded, “so what if I was paid?” in a Facebook post.
Burke drew Jagdeo’s ire after he wrote to Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland, asserting CGID’s position that Persaud’s vote contravened Article 156.3 (a) and (b) of the Guyana constitution and should be nullified. Article 156.3 mandates that a MP first declare in writing to the Speaker an intention to vote against his or her party’s list, and upon so doing must be expelled see letter – Charrandass Persaud: Open Letter to Speaker Dr. Bartland Scotland.
Burke fired back in a CGID statement Saturday saying
Bharrat Jagdeo is a desperate, two bit hustler with an insatiable craving for Guyana’s oil money. He is power drunk and desperately wants to be president again, but the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) rejected his unconstitutional bid for a third term as President. He’s therefore suffering from rejection syndrome, and is determined to make the country ungovernable. His boorish name calling is beneath the dignity of a constitutional officer of Guyana.
Burke dismissed Jagdeo’s claim that CGID speaks for the government as “delusional.” He asserted that
CGID speaks for thousands of Guyanese who are outraged at the treason committed by bribing a coalition Member of Parliament (MP) to vote against his own parliamentary list and government. CGID likewise speaks for all Guyanese who believe in the rule of law which prohibits a MP from voting against his own list.” Burke added that “as president, Bharrat Jagdeo amended the very Article 156.3 of the constitution to prevent his party’s MPs from taking this exact vote. He therefore knows that Persaud’s vote is unlawful.
CGID asserted that
there are potentially three constitutional violations associated with the no confidence vote.” It said A MP cannot cross the floor or hold dual citizenship as Chrandass Persaud allegedly does, and it is now widely held that a no confidence motion requires 34 and not 33 votes to pass.” The institute maintained that “Parliament cannot violate the constitution. Therefore this matter has to be settled by the courts.
The institute accused Jagdeo of dividing Guyana and tearing away national cohesion. CGID also blasted the opposition leader’s call for the government to resign as “reckless, hysterical nonsense.” It said that the APNU+AFC coalition government is the duly elected, constitutional government and will remain so until general elections are called.
CGID noted that
the majority of Guyanese rejected Jagdeo and the PPP in 2015, because of their discriminatory and corrupt management of the nation’s resources for 23 years.” The Institute noted that Guyanese are not prepared for the country’s resources and oil revenues to be managed by the PPP.” The institute posited that “the coalition government has eliminated corruption, engendered national stability and cohesion, created significant economic growth and placed Guyana on the threshold of modern development.” It cautioned that “these gains are now imperiled by the instability being engineered by the PPP.
CGID contended the instability brought about by the PPP’s unpatriotic rhetoric and parliamentary coup has opened Guyana to external threats. The institute said that Guyanese must hold the PPP accountable for the December 22, 2018 Venezuelan Navy invasion of Guyana’s waters that disrupted ExxonMobil’s oil exploration, and which led to Exxon Mobil suspending operations in Guyana. “We cannot allow PPP’s reckless drive for power to gain control of Guyana’s oil revenues to threaten the Guyana’s oil production, economic growth and development. This PPP recklessness must be stopped, or it will destroy Guyana,” the institute contended
CGID reminded Guyanese that the PPP already made a reckless backdoor deal to give Venezuela part of Essequibo to build a corridor to the Atlantic Ocean to ship Venezuelan oil. It also recalled that in 1999 the PPP signed a secret agreement for Venezuela and Guyana to work jointly to determine the impact of logging and mining in Essequibo. CGID argued that these PPP agreements give Venezuela leverage over Essequibo. It condemned them as irresponsible, unpatriotic and ill-advised and said Guyanese must demand that they cancelled.
“As an Essequibian, I’m concerned about the PPP’s appeasement and secret deals to give away part of Essequibo to Venezuela. This should scare all Essequibans and Guyanese. All Guyanese must join in unity and fight to defend Essequibo and Guyana from the PPP’s power grab,” Burke was quoted as saying.