LET’S LOOK AT THIS PLOT TOGETHER

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Regardless of the position in the sizing line that he occupies when Guyana lines up its illustrious line of academia , Dr. Henry B. Jeffrey belongs in it, as does the late Dr. Festus Brotherson whose name we mention for context, since most recall them as a pair.

That, nevertheless, doesn’t preclude folks like us from analyzing Jeffrey’s opinions, especially when they are entry level and don’t need too many brain cells to navigate them.

That would actually be our comfort zone.

There are a couple of things that Dr. Henry Jeffery dissected in President Granger’s sit down with Stabroek News on October 10th that made us sniff at the smell test a little longer to conclude their practicality and purpose, in the realm of utility of these things…

…for we know for him to have taken the time out to assess and then go the extra yard to publish, was not just for casual engagement.

Dr. Jeffery, after all, is now legendarily recalled for his interpretation of Cooperative Socialism that so aligned its practice with Forbes Burnham’s sales pitch of the ideology, he was given an academic platform as Principal of Kuru Kuru college, where PNC students were re-calibrated to become practitioners of Cooperative Socialism.

If you’re asking what this Cooperative Socialism was, don’t feel bad because we are too but this is about Jeffery’s dissection of Granger’s interview on October 2nd  2018, so let’s stay focused.

“…the autocratic instincts of the President and his Party have successfully wrecked even the miniscule chance the Alliance For Change (AFC) had of becoming an authentic national partner in the nation’s long but elusive quest for national unity….In any case, although confronted by a more principled and formidable foe, did Forbes Burnham not succeed in doing a similar wrecking job?”…

Now why would Dr. Jeffrey suggest that the fate of the ‘Alliance for Change’ has come as the result of some wrecking effort by an autocratic Granger?

To do so would be to discount the negotiative skills of those who were critical to their Party’s coalescence with the others. Raphael Trotman and Khemraj Ramjattan- two of its founders-  are men of the legal profession who have more than just a perfunctory relationship with negotiations and agreements.  And let’s add Moses Veerasammy Nagamootoo to the scale, another lawyer who, like Trotman and Ramjattan had cut their political umbilical cords in the two major Parties, Moses more so than the others.

Of course, there are those of intellectual standing who are members of the AFC decision-making cadre, so for Jeffrey to blame whatever the Party’s demise might be by reaching all the way back to attach it to Forbes is the kind of boilerplate political rhetoric we expect from the lesser PPP minds that litter the blogosphere with contrived graphs and mangled diction as a marker of their intellectual depth, while weaving these holey conspiracies for ruction result and greater racial discord.

That’s not where we see Dr. Jeffrey. But this construct of AFC being a failing entity because of the autocratic machinations of a villainous Granger, whose genius he attributes to an erudite but departed Forbes Burnham, somehow passes the mark of a stretch and lands in the territory of the False Cause Fallacy, where one first draws the conclusion then cherry-picks the information to make the conclusion valid.

Thou shalt not commit a fallacy….High School, Lucille Hall Harper, literary instructor bar none…but that’s for another conversation. 

Gathering from Jefferey’s analysis, the interview proceeded with the question being posed to President Granger on what goals he hoped to achieve before the end of this current term.

Granger’s response was that of wanting to eliminate extreme poverty and reduction of inequality within this current five-year period. He may have realized that his overly ambitious goal is tantamount to the beauty contestant pledging to usher in world peace because, per Jeffrey, Granger went on to highlight the parts that he has assembled toward this goal in the form of initiatives….Bicycle, Books and Boats.

“Most of my critics do not talk about these things. They regard it as some sideshow.’…Granger laments to Jeffery.

We are amongst the critics; largely because the execution of this tranche of the goal seems to be more of a partisan endeavor than a national goal covered by the national budget. We say this because the President has headlined many a gala in North America and the UK, raising funds for his Boats Bicycles and Buses Drive.

For years before becoming President, Mr. Granger enjoyed derivative gravitas from having been a leader and having been in advisory capacities to those who led Guyana. We are assuming that he had to understand that the question of what his objectives were couldn’t be his personal or Party objectives but those that he and his cabinet were moving forward as a steering body and for national accomplishment.

That would mean raising funds at Partisan level for a government initiative would a violation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

That wasn’t Dr. Jeffrey’s observation, however, him being a critic from another angle.

Instead, he took us to Guyana’s lack of a robust plan for Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN in 2015, which made us pause.

This sustainable stuff cannot be divorced from what prompted the establishment of this plan in the first place.

So we filled in the blanks.

In order to maintain its seat at the United Nations, its international aid recipient status and its recognition in the International Community, Guyana, under the Government of the PPP, Dr. Jeffrey’s Political Home, was ordered to meet a set of Millennium Development Goals dictated by the United Nations in 2000, that ranged from the reduction of undernourishment, which from 1990-1992 clocked in at 19.2% of the population, to the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger from amongst the 28.7% of population that suffered from this. These Goals demanded the passage of a Domestic Violence Act which was only done in 1996 and a Sexual Violence Act which was only passed in 2010. It forced the government’s attention to AIDS/HIV and though the mortality rate due to AIDS dropped from 9.4% to 3.6% through 2005 to 2010, the number of those infected remains unattenuated. Guyana was also forced to meet safe the fundamental safe drinking water standards.

We should mention that Henry Jeffrey was a very active PPP cabinet member during those years but we can’t seem to find any record of him being a battling soldier for the cause of repair of any of those things during that period…can’t find him steering any march towards these development goals that foreign bodies had to end up forcing him and his Party to fix.

His suggestion that the Coalition Government is failing to meet or, even, move in the direction of Sustainable Development Goals, therefore, is one of the spectacularly hypocritical charges coming from the Opposition.

The Sustainable –as the word suggests – Development Goals, would be a mechanism that, over time, will arc towards the achievement of the 17 Goals the United Nations has stipulated. Over time would not be three years… considering that the legislations behind the Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence Acts remain inadequate .

Jeffrey’s analysis feigns some nervousness that the Coalition Government’s management of 30 million received from the Inter American Development Bank for Housing in 2018 is “not getting to the poorest”.

Thou hypocrite, we think, and it’s not that we believe in tat for tat or finger-pointing but genuineness leaves it footprint.

In 2005 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit , GTZ, cooperating with the European Development Fund and the Inter-American Development Bank made $30 million available to the PPP Government for low income housing with specific focus on  1500  homes in ‘spontaneous settlements’ – Squatters. Dr. Jeffery was the  Minister of Labour, Housing, Human Services and Social Security from August 199 to August 2006  and though we find a Wikileaks cable attesting to him not being “terribly effective” , we can’t find any evidence of him spearheading the use of the 30 million that was under his control for the provision of housing per loan stipulation or documentation or scholarly article attesting to his prowess “in getting to the poorest”.

Then, as if he were psychic and realized we would be the ones to spotlight how, he, Henry Jeffery as Minister of Housing did not ‘reach the poorest’ when he had his stab at $30 million designated particularly to do so, he concluded his criticism of Granger’s ‘failure’ with a gratuitous: “ Though laudable, President Granger needs to allow his poverty agenda more time; some of which should be utilised to construct a comprehensive anti poverty plan.”

Well here’s a rare tableau of how to do it, we’re thinking, allow the poverty agenda more time…just what is germane to a sustained goal.

Dr. Jeffrey may have meant for this to be one of his quieter assaults on the Coalition.

But serving up a requiem, of sorts, for the Alliance for Change, as his plot, with the inherent compulsion to insert the PNC and any or all of its parts, the thing disavowed subtlety at every turn and galloped off on the basis of fallacy and Forbes and pitiful fancy.

Hear.

If Jeffery’s intent was to sound a death knell on AFC and have APNU toll the funeral bells, he botched the death announcement with a topsy-turvy plot that had too many parts comedy to read like tragedy.

We applaud healthy criticism of government and its politicians, particularly because they are accountable to the electorate and making sentiments known in the public square is one way to mark their report cards – though we will admit this Coalition has a peculiar case of imperviousness which may be the direct result, per complaints from the frustrated within, of President Granger opting to be a cloistered ruler who refuses to discuss ideas or share plans or even have meetings with paid staff and advisors.

Autocratic instincts,therefore, may have been the closest Dr. Jeffrey got to escalating his critique past propaganda.

But then he derailed his own thesis by backing in to what he wanted its conclusion to be with a mash of words intended to effect a certain propagandic word association.

It was a surprisingly flimsy attempt by a man whose efforts generally soar above the idiocy that comes from that quarter.

In the end, we know that he announced the death of AFC.

But we couldn’t tell if it was murder or misadventure.

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