Dear Editor,

An observable pattern is emerging whereby there is a coordinated strategy by a small group of PNC/AFC aligned members seeking to create a false impression of conflict between President Ali and the Vice President Jagdeo.

This was demonstrated in two separate letters in Kaieteur News’ editions of September 8th and 9th, by Aubrey Reteymer and Dr. Vincent Adams respectively. Dr. Adams, in particular, made some vile remarks about the Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, all of which have no basis in fact. It was rather a distasteful and politically motivated attack on the Vice President.

In his defence of the Vice President, Dr. Randy Persaud chronicled a masterpiece of a response to Dr. Vincent Adams which I would not add or minus anything written therein but would urge your readers to consult with Dr. Randy Persaud’s letter which can be accessed here []( “smartCard-inline”) .

However, I wish to make a few comments in response to Dr. Vincent Adam’s comparison of Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo with Janette Bulkan. First, let’s understand the distinction between honorary doctorates and doctorates earned via the traditional academic route. Honorary doctorates are typically conferred onto persons who are practitioners in their fields for their outstanding contributions in a particular field or fields. On the other hand, academically earned doctorates are conferred onto persons in academia who contribute new studies, findings, empirical evidences, and theories to the body of contemporary literature in a particular subject, via their PhD publication. The difference between a practitioner and an academic is that practitioners contribute to shaping reality, whereas academics contribute to academia. Dr. Randy Persaud did an excellent job highlighting the Vice President’s contributions to Guyana and internationally.

Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo served in several capacities in the PPP/C government during the period 1992-2011, including as junior finance minister, substantive finance minister, and the President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana from 1999-2011. He played a pivotal role in turning around the economic fortunes of the country during that time.

The state of the economy in the pre-1992 could be summarized as follows, which was inherited by the PPP/C government in 1992:

– In the post 1992 era, Guyana transitioned from a Centrally Command and Bankrupt State to a mixed- economic system, with more predominant features of a free market economy.
– Guyana’s Debt-to-GDP stood at over 900% at one time in our history (over three decades ago)
– The highest inflation rate recorded for the period of 89.7% in 1989,
– Highest interest rate (prime lending rate for the period) 37.5% in 1989,
– Negative growth rates recorded in 1988-1990,
– Exchange rate devalued from G$4.25/US$1 in 1985 to G$27/US$1 in 1989, G$112/US$ in 1990, G$138/US$1 in 1994, G$178/US$1 in 1999, G$200/US$1 by 2004.
– Net International Reserve pre-1990 was nil. By 1990, net international reserve (US$103M). Until 1992, a positive net international reserve of US$15M was recorded.
– There was no FDI pre-1992. FDI in 1992 was recorded at US$138M and averaged US$200M up to 2017.

By the end 2011, the former President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo accomplished the following:

– Real GDP stood at US$3.7 billion with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 47%, down from a high of 900% in 1992,
– FDI was recorded at US$308 million compared to a nil position in the pre-1992 era,
– Net international reserve of US$750 million,
– Government Deposits held at the Bank of Guyana stood at $60.786 billion. Government deposits up to 1991 was nil, and in 1992 was $1.3 billion.
– Inflation was recorded at 3.3% in 2011, down from 89.7% in 1989,
– Prime lending rate came down to 14% from 37.5% in 1989.

Essentially, former President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, played a formative role in turning around the economy from a state of economic depression and bankruptcy―to economic stability and financial viability by the time he demitted office as President, in just two decades.

Yet, this was not an ordinary task. His accomplishments were against the backdrop of the following challenges, chiefly, political economy challenges during that era such as:-

– 1992-1997: there was a short period of street protests and violence having restored democracy, following which the economy took off (short period of stability).
– 1997-2001: prolonged street protests and disruption (elections time).
– 2002 – 2003: prison break, crime wave spiraled out of control and politically motivated disruptions.
– 2004–2008: unrests, politically motivated disruptions
– 2008–2012: Lusignan, Lindo Creek, Bartica massacre, violence erupted when protestors blocked the Wismar Mckenzie bridge.
– The 2005 flood (natural disaster) estimated economic loss of $93 billion representing 60% of GDP (Budget speech, 2006).

On the contrary, Janette Bulkan’s accomplishments are only limited to academia as far as I am aware. There is no record of her making any tangible contributions to Guyana that would have aided the upliftment of its people. And, arguably she has no ethical or moral standing for the reasons stated hereunder.

Her endorsement for the APNU+AFC/PNC is not one that is underpinned by the merit of their policies per se; rather it is based on the fact that her sibling served as a former minister under the APNU government. In this respect, I confirmed that Ronald Bulkan, former minister of communities, is her brother. This explains why Janette Bulkan has a track record of antagonizing the PPP/C government in the pre-2015 era, she then went missing during the period 2015-2020, and re-emerged in 2020 to present.

This is a clear case of political bias and conflict of interest given her positions on the government, considering she has never made any public disclosure to these ends. Unlike Dr. Vincent Adams, he is a known AFC affiliate / member, so his political activism is justified.

That said, imagine Janette Bulkan has the audacity to pretend as though she cares in a genuine way for the Amerindian people, while she labeled the carbon credit deal fraudulent. A deal that will transfer tangible benefits to the Amerindian communities to finance their village development programmes. Thus, it is reasonable to question her integrity and credibility at this point since she had no such concern for this same group of people during the period 2015-2020 under the former government.

One would recall that the former government terminated some 2,000 Amerindians who worked in their communities as Community Support Officers (CSOs), effectively taking away about $4billion annually from the Amerindian villages. This is not the only injustice to the Amerindians by the former government that Janette Bulkan supports. The former government also added VAT on domestic air transport which increased the cost of goods and airfares for the people residing in hinterland communities. It is worth mentioning that the Amerindian Land Titling project was left dormant under the former government.

The above-mentioned are just a few of the atrocities inflicted upon the Amerindian communities by the former government.  However, it is the same Janette Bulkan who now pretends to be the champion for the very people whom she had no interest in fighting for their rights to be restored, much less for more benefits.

In closing, there is absolutely no conflict or division between the President and the Vice President. The example cited by Dr. Adams about the refinery is inconsistent with the facts. The fact is that the Vice President did not say anything outside of what is stated in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Guyana and the Dominican Republic.

Yours respectfully,

Joel Bhagwandin


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