EDITORIAL | Puppet Presidents cannot build legacies

This is a popular post

Attention was drawn to a post on Meta on the page of BIG SMITH News WATCH. Capitalizing on the engineered political hype of the recently commissioned Eccles to Mandela Road Link, Leroy Smith seized upon the opportunity to build a cult of personality around President Irfaan Ali.

The post, published on April 15, entitled: ‘This is not a Popular Post (Meaning…Everyone will not agree)’ was a classic example of the comedy of errors that converge when social media journalists attempt to dabble in the high affair of statecraft. Mr. Smith can be forgiven in that regard. If this were an academic paper subject to review, it may have gotten an F.

First, the headline naively concedes the unpopularity of Ali and by extension, the PPP/C regime. Smith proceeds on the basis that the post is unpopular. In doing so, he agrees with most Guyanese and may have negated the aims and objectives of his post.

He states from the jump: ‘This is not a popular post’. We agree with him. In the amateur attempt to prop up a puppet President who is not regarded in any high esteem on both sides of the political divide, Smith bundles the whole thing.

He revises presidential history by using the presidency of Bharrat Jagdeo as his yardstick for Ali’s measurement. He ignores the legacies of Arthur Chung, Cheddi Jagan, Forbes Burnham and Desmond Hoyte.

Anyone who uses the 12 years of Jagdeo’s reign of terror on the Guyanese people as a yardstick for high presidential standards, is either naïve or playing footsy with the facts. As you may have gathered by now, it must be the former.

Second, Mr. Smith’s entire premise is almost non-existent and as sturdy as the Stabroek Market Stelling because he proceeds from the assumption that Ali has maximum power. This is far from the truth. The facts have long been laid bare from the onset of the installation of the PPP/C regime on August 2. It is Jagdeo’s third term.

The smallest child in the furthest parts of the hinterland region will tell you that. Ali is the puppet who is executing the whims and fancies of Jagdeo and the powerful private sector commission interest.

Hence, he cannot have a legacy. He is a utensil and conduit through which Jagdeo tries to repair his tattered legacy. Mr. Smith daringly compares Ali to the Jagdeo and Granger presidencies. News flash Mr. Smith, those men had de jure and de facto power and as a natural corollary, they could have exercised maximum power and crafted a legacy.

Third, Leroy dares to tell us: ‘President Ali is now in charge…’ and we could have imagined the chuckles of all Guyanese while remarking: ‘In charge of wuh?’. Smith continued his frolic by suggesting that Ali has ‘already outshine both Ramotar and Granger’. But how could he? He has not been functioning as President since August 2nd. It is all Jagdeo. ‘Papa Jagabat’ will be upset by this childish attempt to diminish his third term.