Sunday, November 20, 2005

Other women should emulate Stella - Freddie Kissoon

Other women should emulate Stella Ramsaroop. She embodies a new political culture that reminds me of the WPA in the 70s. She is not conceited and arrogant when her faults are highlighted.

That to me is the hallmark of a new Guyanese person. This country for a small, poor society is overburdened with chauvinism, narcissism and egotism.

The really crucial question is whether we can put aside these psychological deformities and character defects and invent a coalition that will eventually take us out of 50 years of darkness and into the brilliance of a modern society.

I warmly embrace the modesty and mental independence of Stella Ramsaroop. I hope desperately that Guyanese women follow the example of Stella and see Mr. Jagdeo for what he is – a leader obsessed with power to the detriment of a country whose government is already in a semi-fascist mood inevitably drifting into a chasm of impending disaster.

From the time the great floods of 2005 receded, Mr. Jagdeo has been on an inexorable PR campaign. He shares out flood relief; he visits distressed villagers; he inspects infrastructural works; he enjoys the numerous trade exhibitions; he hugs little babies and promises them toys; he tours the countryside; he make promises to people with vacant eyes.

But do not judge this man on those superficial inconsequentialities. President Jagdeo does not have a modicum of the qualities of Cheddi Jagan.

At least Jagan would listen to his dissenters. If their points are strong, there will be some consideration. Jagan would put his own people in places, but he had the tendency to say, “Let me see how I can fit in your plans with those of mine.”

For Jagdeo, he has an obsession with micromanaging every conceivable detail of power outlet. He does not bargain. He does not compromise. Nothing wrong with that if the higher goal is Guyana's future.

But the preservation of power is the ultimate end even if Guyana suffers. And Guyana is suffering

The people of this country must judge the President on his attitude to power not his PR bandwagon. Stella Ramsaroop got it wrongly when she said the PPP is holding him back. That was how it started when he was given the Presidency by Mrs. Jagan.

The party issued him with daily edicts. Now there is a divergence between him and the party with many PPP leaders wondering if Jagdeo's authoritarian style may not cause the party to lose the 2006 poll.

I know many top leaders (including, much to my surprise but to my relief, Mrs Jagan) were incensed at his decision at a cabinet meeting of August 26, 2005 when the President single-handedly defied basic democratic norms and the politics of consensus building by destroying the autonomy of the University of Guyana, an autonomy that survived even under Forbes Burnham.

What the President did to UG on August 26 has definitely made up my mind for me that, if the PPP gets back in power, semi-fascism is going to become fascism.

This country should not forgive the President for the position he took at that Cabinet meeting of August 26, 2005. His imposition of his choice at UG is going to destroy the University, if it isn't destroyed already.

But then again, which public institution isn't moribund in this country. When Jagdeo goes on his next PR trip, let those women who garland him take a leaf out of the book of the decent, brave woman named Stella Ramsaroop

Frederick Kissoon

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