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OPINION: Jagdeo’s press conferences becoming feature of the week but causing anxiety for some

By Dr. Randolph Persaud, Professor Emeritus, American University, Washington DC

Dr. Randolph Persaud

The Thursday press conferences by Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo are becoming a sort of media feature of the week for many people. These press conferences alternate between PPP headquarters at Freedom House, and the Office of the President. At the Robb Street events, Jagdeo speaks in the capacity of General Secretary of the PPP/C, while at the OP meetings with the press, he dons the hat of Vice President. The contents of the press conferences at Freedom House and OP have similarities because more than half the time is spent answering questions from the major newspapers and other news outlets such as Demerara Waves.

For Carl Schmitt, a German political theorist, politics are between “friends” and “enemies” This philosophical position by Schmitt is evident on every occasion. No one should expect anything less. Yet, the popularity of the PPP and Jagdeo have no doubt gone up because of the weekly encounter with the nation, and even those in the diaspora who tune in by the thousands. The popularity of these media events, however, is driving some people crazy.

Some, such as GHK Lall, are even getting fearful and frightened. His column on September 5, 2023, shows signs of rapid intellectual deterioration, combined with massive confusion. These are readily apparent through a review of some parts of the column. One moment Jagdeo is a national hero. Next moment he is a national disaster. And then by seer whim, the story moves from national disaster to human disaster. The man (Lall) then fantasizes that he will become a hero by Jagdeo’s people going after him. Rather than fight with gallantry, GHK Lall opts to go positively excremental. This is how he articulated his self-abasement – “Wither Jagdeo the national hero. I pronounce him for what he has become. What we have in Bharrat Jagdeo the leader is a national disaster. I advance: a human disaster. Still another furlong: an outright natural disaster. Go ahead! Sic the dogs. I urinate on them.” This man needs urgent care.

In the meantime, citizens both here and afar are tuning in for the Thursday news conferences with Jagdeo. Sure, there are criticisms in the comment that run along as the press conferences unfold. But Jagdeo is seen as a genuine national hero. Here are some typical comments from recent press events. The comments refer directly to Jagdeo – “Phenomenal memory…Wish questions were more incisive, so we get more from the VP;” “Clever politicking. Empathizing with APNU’s financial problems with the optics of APNU’s party color chair while saying I’m going to give him a break this week and then proceeding to attack on several issues. Very cleverly done. One of the smartest politicians around the Caribbean;” “Bharat you sound like teacher. Teaching your kids;” “Boss himself, God bless big BJ;” “Thanks for always teaching VP;” “The champion VP great job BJ always bless by god;” “The vice president Bharat Jagdeo is very intelligent man and he is bring great transformation and good development in the country keep up the Excellent job;” “Thanks BJ you are great for Guyana;” “…all need to listen carefully and stop spreading misinformation.”

Negative comments are also there. Most deal with the oil contract, and many more are clearly talking points circulated by APNU and AFC, overseas anti-PPP intellectuals, and the letter writers who populate the pages every day with misinformation. What is important to note is that none of the comments from the thousands that are visible come even close to the deranged, angry, boorish, and uncontrollable outbursts of GHK Lall pontifications.

It appears that the Thursday press conferences by Jagdeo, combined with the daily outreaches by President Ali, is rattling the APNU and AFC, and their friends in the media. It is understandable that Lall, a fanatical supporter of General Granger, is feeling frightened. Constructive ways should be found for dealing with these anxieties. It is unbecoming for a daily columnist to lose composure to the point where it becomes a national embarrassment.

Dr Randolph Persaud is an Advisor at the Office of the President