By Radha Motielall
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Former President Bharrat Jagdeo says the move of former Army Chiefs into the political fold has broken trust between the Executive and the army management.
This comment was made by the former president during a media conference on Wednesday, April 22 at Freedom House, as he sought to defend his and the PPP/C’s legacy in relation to the military.
Former Army Chief, Gary Best recently endorsed the APNU+AFC Opposition Coalition and according to Jagdeo, given what he has observed of Best recently, he can now understand why Edward Collins was against Best being appointed Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force.
He added that Collins was “probably right” in relation to some of the claims he had made about Gary Best. Speaking particularly to the positions being taken by former military men to the effect that the PPP is bad and discriminates, Jagdeo questioned why then did these Army Chiefs accept the job to work with the PPP/C Government.
He said that he too “knows tons of things, but chooses not to say them publicly”; adding that if he does, Gary Best for instance will stay “quiet.”
Jagdeo said in retrospect, there was no real desire to go after the criminals in serious cases of crime, where the Army was enlisted to assist the police to fight against.
In this regard, he suggested that crimes such as the massacres at Lusignan and Bartica could have probably been avoided.
Meanwhile, addressing the case of discrimination, Jagdeo reminded that he appointed Winston Felix, Henry Green, Floyd McDonald, Edward Collins and Gary Best to head national security agencies.
Jagdeo also debunked the claims that he and the PPP do not like and respect the Army. In doing so, he stated that during his tenure as Commander in Chief, he always respected and supported the Army.
He recalled his instructions to the Management of the Army to ensure that soldiers acquired a skill before leaving the military, his directive to the Middle Management to get an education at the University of Guyana and his consistent increase in budgetary allocation and other resources to the military and stated that unlike Opposition Leader, David Granger, he [Jagdeo] gave the GDF his full support and respect.
He then proceeded to compare his association with the Army to that of Granger and reminded that the now Presidential hopeful did nothing for the Army.
He used the 1990s budgetary allocations to expose miniscule support for the Military while noting that Granger instead preached an ideology that the Party was paramount to the military.
Jagdeo said “this sudden love for the military” is baffling, when all Granger did was force the military to subvert democracy in Guyana.
He said given Granger’s unapologetic stance for the past, he fears that their accession to Government will result in a repetition of those situations, where the military will again be subverted to the rule of the Party.