Jagdeo's Appreciation: Who's paying?.. It's a Wikileaks wash
Written by Denis Scott Chabrol Thursday, 15 September 2011 15:30
The political opposition is pouring cold water on an Appreciation Ceremony for President Bharrat Jagdeo billed for the Providence Stadium on Friday, accusing government of misusing state resources and attempting to divert attention from the Wikileaks fall-out.
Despite denials by organizers of the event that the event is being funded by private individuals rather than the state coffers, the AFC raised eyebrows about who is paying for the parachute display and gymkhana by the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and Guyana Police Force (GPF). “As it is, we find it utterly ridiculous and deceitful for them to say that no taxpayers money is being used and this is something entirely the purview of private organisations,” said AFC Executive Member, Gerhard Ramsaroop.
The AFC wants the organizers to prove that no money from the treasury is being pumped into the event and publicly invite persons to donate rather than target certain businesses for contributions help offset expenses for the event said to cost GUY$80 to GUY$120 million. One of Jagdeo’s close friends, a media owner, is said to be among those soliciting funds.
Advertisements are saturating the airwaves of the state-owned National Communications Network (NCN) and government-friendly television stations, inviting the public to the event- “A World of Thanks President Jagdeo! In tribute to the contribution of His Excellency President Bharrat Jagdeo to the economic, social and political transformation of Guyana.” Spokesman for the event, Juan Edghill insisted on television Thursday night that the Evening of Appreciation was not a State event.
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU)’s presidential candidate, David Granger believes that the Evening of Appreciation is aimed at cleansing the PPP-Civic’s image of some of the dirt emerging from the Wikileaks cables. Those US diplomatic correspondence largely point to alleged links between the government and narco-traffickers and death squads. “It is quite clear that the reports from the Wikileaks over the last three weeks or so have had a toll on the self confidence of the Peoples Progressive Party Civic and my perception is that the event tomorrow night is a form of damage control to divert attention from the damage that has been done to the reputation of the administration,” Granger said.
Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine deemed the event a “requiem” aimed at putting Jagdeo’s tenure to rest. “I think it is a brazen piece of electioneering, they are doing their mobilization,” he told a news conference at the APNU’s campaign headquarters.