The president wants to micro manage everything
Stabroek News
September 1, 2001

Dear Editor,

I refer to your editorial of (20.8.2001) [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] captioned 'Let go, Mr. President', and believe you have missed the essence of who the president really is. That he is young, energetic (which oftentimes comes with youth) and appears to be well-intentioned, I accept. But it is delusory to think that the president is stepping in to fill the vacuum caused by the poor performance of his cabinet and other key functionaries of government. After all he had ample opportunities to put people of competence in key positions, people who could function effectively, efficiently and independently.

The problem is the president in essence is a control freak who wants to micro manage and through whom all decisions must pass. Independent minded and competent individuals do not fit in the scheme of the president's modus operandi.

GoInvest has been around for seven years and both as minister of finance and president, Mr. Jagdeo has been the major impediment to expeditious and smooth processing of investment proposals. As Chairman of the fast-track committee he never attended meetings when he did not agree with a position, even if cabinet ruled on it. He was a good guardian of the prevailing incentive regime, but made exceptions that only he could explain.

As president, all investment propsals had to have his blessing. On numerous occasions the president made decisions within a matter of a day that are extremely inconsistent. I remember the president denying Robert Badal and Guyana Stockfeeds Ltd request for concessions only to grant the same concessions to Deo Singh of DIDCO, this despite the fact that Mr. Badal's project was earmarked for Berbice where investments are so much needed and so lacking.

I remember the president taking a decision to sell Trevor Roopnarain of the Global Consultancy, New York (remember the printing of the law books contract for Guyana) some eight acres of Guysuco's land along the roadside at Providence, East Bank, Demerara, on a proposal that was so weak it was laughable, all because he knew the gentleman. Needless to say, the project never saw daylight as the gentleman's true intent became apparent when the contract was being drawn up.

I have heard on many occasions the president's statements about GoInvest and investments, including giving out his phone number in a dramatic way in Miami, in December 1999. But there is a big disconnect between his words and his actions.

Yours faithfully,

Deochand Narain