By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The recent comments allegedly made by President Donald Ramotar, in which he reportedly called an Aishalton resident stupid has exposed the character of the President and the attitude of the governing People’s Progressive Party.
This is the view of Leader of the main Opposition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), who told reporters at a press conference today, Friday January 02, 2015 that the Guyanese society have lost respect for the President.
The Office of the President says that efforts are being made to authenticate “the integrity” of the recording in which President Ramotar allegedly defended former President, Bharrat Jagdeo by calling a secondary school teacher, John Adams stupid.
The audio recording with a voice believed to be that of the sitting President, was at the time responding Adams, who heckled him during a recent meeting in the Amerindian village.
Adams raised concerns about the former President when Ramotar could be heard telling the villager: “You don’t know anything about Jagdeo; if he been here, he might have slap you, cause you stupid”.
The incident occurred on December 03, 2014 and Granger is calling on the President to apologise.
According to the Opposition Leader, the President’s “feral blast” explains why Guyana’s political culture has deteriorated so rapidly over the last fifteen years under Presidents Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar.
“It explains why the public has lost respect for the President. It explains also why ordinary Guyanese no longer have much confidence in the Government. It explains why there have been so many public protests against political and governmental officials all around the country.”
He further noted, “A major cause of the collapse of confidence has been the President’s own crass, coarse and crude choice of words in his public statements.”
Granger is of the view that Ramotar, over the past three years, has degraded the high office of President of the Republic “with his invective and vituperative language.
“The frequency and vulgarity of his offensive statements against certain persons and in public places suggest that there is a deeper disdain and reckless disregard both for the Presidency and the people. He is bringing the entire nation into disrepute,” the Opposition Leader said.
Granger opined that if the President had apologized on the same day the incident occurred, then it would have showed a different side of his character. He explained that the APNU is convinced that the recording is authentic, since they conducted a face to face interview with Adams.
Meanwhile, Shadow Home Affairs Minister, Winston Felix cited several cases of disrespect by members of the PPP, including that of Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall and former Local Government Minister, Kellawan Lall.
Felix, a former Police Commissioner, noted that the PPP is known to resort to threats and violence to keep people quiet.
A report in the Stabroek News today stated that President Ramotar on Wednesday said that he has a vague recollection of his response to an Aishalton teacher and scoffed at media reports of the incident where it was alleged that he said that former President Bharrat Jagdeo might have slapped the heckler.
The APNU provided several examples of the President’s boorishness:
Aishalton: President Ramotar was recorded at Aishalton Village in the Rupununi Region as saying to John Adams, a 29-year-old secondary school teacher: “You don’t know anything about Jagdeo. If he been here, he might a slap you, coz (because) you stupid.” Adams was also accosted by members of the Presidential Guard and told to stop heckling the President while he was speaking. When Adams refused, “he was slapped repeatedly by the guards” and chased away.
Babu John: President Ramotar, at the commemoration ceremony of the deaths of Cheddi and Janet Jagan on 2nd March 2014 at Babu John on the Corentyne Coast, insulted Moses Nagamootoo, Vice-chairman of the Alliance For Change (AFC) over comments he made about Guyana’s debt situation. Ramotar referred to him as “the jackass Nagamootoo” (Kaieteur News, March 5, 2013).
Whim: President Ramotar told a rally at Whim Village on the Corentyne Coast: “[Moses] Nagamootoo is like a dog lunging at his shadow; at his reflection! He was expecting Ramjattan to make him Vice-President! Ramjattan is a puppet! Ramjattan is a sham… So, if Nagamooto think that Ramjattan go make him Vice-President, Lauraah!” (Kaieteur News, November 10, 2011).
Port Mourant: President Ramotar told the PPP Congress at Port Mourant on the Corentyne Coast that he always knew that Moses Nagamootoo was “a man with a flawed character who had a penchant for opportunism.” (Stabroek News, August 3, 2013).
Georgetown: President Ramotar falsely claimed that Leader of the Opposition, Brigadier David Granger, had knowledge of 155 weapons that went missing from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) while he was the Commander, after being issued to the People’s National Congress (PNC) Government in the 1970s. (Guyana Times, August 30, 2014). President Ramotar said, further, “….When those weapons were given to the PNC, the present leader of the PNC was the commander of the army at the time. And now that he is the leader of the PNC, I would expect that he would make a genuine effort to return the weapons that were given to the PNC.” (Stabroek News, August 30, 2014).