Guyanese taxpayers need to evaluate whether the frequent overseas trips by the President and his claque will bring the nation suitable returns on these huge sums spent on traveling expenses. In May the President was in India with five of his sidekicks; not to be outdone, the honcho and de facto power czar followed suit 2 weeks later! Earlier, the Head of State was in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates which was preceded by his attendance at the funeral of the Queen in September a year earlier, not to mention his trip to Belize in the same year. Additionally, the First Lady traveled to Singapore merely to launch the Lisa Prosperity ship a year ago, while Min. Edgehill journeyed to Kolkata, India to see the ship MV MA LISHA – which is yet to make a voyage as there are no docks in the North West-set sail for Guyana. Two weeks ago President Ali was dancing in a Hindu Mandir in Canada. At the time of writing the big man is in Trinidad.
At home, the non-appointments of the Chancellor and Chief Justice are as much an abandonment of the President’s constitutional duty as that of his illegal actions related to the scrapping of the Police Service Commission. If only the President could act with some form of alacrity is streamlining the clumsy procedures of public service is delivering much-needed documents like Transport and Death certificates!
Now this is not President Ali’s area of influence, as highlighted by how vociferous and vocal the Vice President has been on the subject even though it has nothing to do with his self- anoint oil expert portfolio. This also explains their different approach to the media. Journalists are summoned weekly to listen to an hour or more of Jagdeo’s rambling polemic before he takes a sip of coffee and entertains questions.
While the President refuses to hold press conferences, and whenever he does, he bobs and weaves from questions thrown at him as he is running through a minefield. His answers are mostly insipid and devoid of any intellectual content. When further pressed for answers he expresses impatience and annoyance with the journalist. The Mutt and Jeff dynamics of the Ali/Jagdeo relationship do not auger well for Guyana as is evident that the latter is the real boss while the big man is floundering to defend the decisions of his Vice President. For all the pomp, pageantry, and now a plane for his use, our President is not functioning as his own man. The Dharamlall rape accusation clearly indicates that he is incapable and inexperienced in dealing with problematic issues. Herein lies the dilemma: If Mr. Hess can state that he was assured by President Ali that there will be a stay in Judge Kissoon’s decision in the EPA case, can one conclude that there was no interference in the Dharamlall rape matter? And while the nation guesses his next destination and how many millions of taxpayers’ money will be expended, I have four simple words for you President Ali: Charity begins at home.
Leyland Chitlall Roopnaraine