I have read Pandit Ubraj Narine’s vitriolic letter, attacking the credibility of Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo and implying that he is devoid of honesty and integrity in governance. History and existing records reveal that Ubraj’s accusations are scurrilous, unsubstantiated, and malicious. I feel it is imperative that I respond to these but not with polemics and platitudes but rather with evidence.
1. Ubraj derides Dr Jagdeo’s performance on the economy, claiming, for example, that he was responsible for the poverty level.
Ubraj should know that Dr Jagdeo as Finance Minister was able to significantly reduce the debt burden of Guyana through bilateral and multilateral debt relief. He played a vital role in the development of the National Development Strategy in 1997 of which the Poverty Reduction Strategy was an offshoot. He also initiated the National Competitive Strategy.
When the Jagdeo team took office in 1992, the Government had to pay 93 cents on every dollar to service the national debt. In 1992 the GDP per capita was $1146. When Jagdeo left office in 2011, the per capita GDP was $4960 (300% + increase). In 2011, the GDP growth rate was 4.0%, one of the highest in the Caribbean.
For Ubraj’s edification, the poverty level in 1992 was 46%. When Dr Jagdeo left office in 2011, the poverty rate dropped to 30%. Under the PNC pre-1992 period, it was 65% (1988), according to Boyd.
Ubraj obviously chose to ignore established facts and stifle his conscience in order to be brainwashed by others.
2. Ubraj’s claim of environmental exploitation is preposterous. His assertion that there is large-scale deforestation and illegal logging, is grossly misleading.
The Pulitzer Center reports that Guyana has one of the continent’s best track records for Amazon rainforest protection. It continues: “as deforestation spikes across much of the Amazon exacerbating climate change and hurting biodiversity, environmentalists say that Guyana offers useful lessons for protecting the world’s largest rainforest.”
Guyana has the second largest forest cover in the world in which an estimated 21.8 billion of carbon dioxide is stored. Forest covers 85% of the country’s land mass. Less than 1% (0.005%) of tress are felled. This amounts to 400,000 cubic meters of wood.
This is not Jagdeo’s but Ubraj’s deception and falsehood. What a corroded narrative! Where did Ubraj get his perverted information? Ubraj must know that the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) is the brainchild of the VP. His Government has received not only (US$) 250 million forest grant from Norway but also, Dr Jagdeo was named as Champion of the Earth. The VP also negotiated carbon credits totalling (US$) 750 million, and a portion of this sum is allocated for investment in Amerindian communities. The VP is recognised worldwide for his leadership in climate change, including the LCDS initiative. Ubraj, should read the LCDS 2030 before expressing other people’s contorted views.
Come on Ubraj, we just celebrated Gandhi’s 154th Jayanti, an icon for truth and non-violence. Don’t you subscribe to these principles?
3. Ubraj mentions about the VP suppressing dissenting views and destroying the pillars of democracy. Really!
It was the APNU/AFC party that staged a glaring daylight heist of the 2020 elections. Who have been the democracy busters of Guyana? Everyone knows that it is the PNCR. Who have rigged elections between 1968 and 1992? PNC. Who operated an autocratic dictatorship role in Guyana where their party was paramount? It was not Dr Jagdeo but the PNC.
This letter is a classic example on how Ubraj expresses his freedom of speech but still finds it convenient to attack Dr Jagdeo for something that does not exist. Ubraj should look into history to learn which party have suppressed freedom of expression.
Ubraj, don’t forget it was your boys and girls who were sanctioned and asked to “step aside,” before democracy was restored. It was your party who attempted to steal our country.
4. Ubraj ends his narrative by saying leaders should value integrity and honesty. And they must not make false promises and use divisive tactics.
The PPP/C has fulfilled 90% of their campaign promises in 3 years and will complete the remaining 10% in another year’s time. And they have shown that they are working toward national unity via One Guyana. Some politicians who are not part of the decision-making process always make spurious claims of divisive tactics.
It is apparent that Ubraj is attributing PNCR’s modus operandi to the PPP/C. This is called projection in psychology. Nothing of what he says has any merit; they are simply wild speculations with no foundation in facts or reality. Ubraj needs to study the history of his party, PNCR, and don’t allow others to think for him or to be careful how he expresses their views.