WHAT the well-known Major General (Retired) Joe Singh had hoped would be an objective open letter to President David Granger on Guyana’s current electoral stalemate has been examined by many as a missive with an underlying grudge held for 9 months and visible hypocrisy.
Singh wrote the letter on March 18, 2020 urging the President to call off the “Dogs of War”; to “direct” the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to commence a national recount and all while claiming that he had “forgiven” the President for not selecting him as GECOM Chair in 2019.
A flood of responses by way of ‘Letters to the Editor’ have since come in response to Singh, most of which expressed astonishment at his seemingly departure from impartial, non-biased expression.
A SIMPLETON’S PERSEPCTIVE
To the Editor, Devina Mahadeo, a 35-year-old conservationist, said she had always respected the public writings of Singh but is now “deeply disappointed” in the person he has turned out to be.
She said it was the language and tone of Singh’s letter that exposed his intent. Mahadeo ventured as far as to question whether the former GECOM Chair had truly written the letter or simply affixed his signature to it as it went against his known attributes.
Singh had stated in one section of his letter to the President: “I have forgiven you for classifying me and other nominees for the Chairmanship of GECOM as not fit and proper persons but I will not forgive you if you fail to do the honorable duty of calling off the Dogs of War, and excise them condignly from wherever they are hatching their moves and counter moves.”
In July 2019, Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo submitted the names of the 11 nominees, inclusive of Singh’s, during a new process of selecting a GECOM Chair, after it was found by the Court that the former Chair, Justice (Ret’d) James Patterson, was wrongfully appointed.
It led to the appointment of Retired Justice Claudette Singh some nine months ago. In the letter on Guyana’s electoral stalemate and what he presumed should be done, MG Singh had listed several of his senior positions held in the past seemingly bearing a grudge that he was not selected by the President to be GECOM’s Chair.
Mahadeo, in her letter to the editor, described Singh’s letter as one which portrays him as a “simpleton” and requested that, if it is that he simply affixed his signature to the written words, he finds the courage to distance himself from it.
Mahadeo said she is surprised that any wise person would take the term “fit and proper” – used on several occasions by the President – to heart.
“The letter you signed, whether you read it or not, left you bereft of the academic savvy to recognise and appreciate the use of words in context. Let me be clear: no educated and mature individual would carry around such unforgivable anger that burns like acid in his bosom over those words for as long as you have done, according to that obvious mercury campaign letter with some of the campaign messages embedded; a despicable portrayal of you– an expose of treacherous deception,” she said.
She also expressed her surprise over Singh’s sarcasm and intolerance surrounding the interim injunction accepted by the High Court to block a planned national recount as if he had no respect of the right of every citizen to have access to the court.
The woman stated: “I never heard a word from you when one side of the divide approached the courts. Why do you believe now that Mr. Granger, who is not a dictator, and does not control the minds of his followers or the courts, should somehow silence a Guyanese who has an opinion different from his, yours and mine for that matter?”
‘DOGS OF WAR’
In another Letter to the Editor, Political Commentator, Mark Devonish said that he too was taken aback by the suggestion that President Granger should call off the ‘Dogs of War’. He said that Singh failed in his letter at an attempt at appearing a-political.
Furthermore, Devonish said that the true ‘Dogs of War’ are the PPP leaders, and Opposition parties which followed suit, in their intention to kick in the office door of the current GECOM Chair.
Devonish said: “I would assume that since the retired Major- General has not commented on other relevant recent events, that his Internet is a tad slow. As a result, the terrorist incidents inside GECOM have not yet arrived in his inbox. These unsightly terrorist events include staff being verbally and physically assaulted, and the Chairwoman, Justice Claudette Singh’s office door being kicked in. When the unbiased Major-General does receive these images, I would be grateful if he can identify the owner of these vicious Pit Bull-type ‘Dogs of War’ and pen them a severe reprimand in the media. Also, I guess the retired Major-General has not received the images of the terrorist attack at Lusignan, where schoolchildren were attacked and hospitalised with broken bones; police were attacked, and they too hospitalised with broken bones; school buses were attacked; private cars set on fire; cane fields and properties burnt; innocent civilians threatened by a gentleman with a gun; roads blocked with logs, and tyres set ablaze.”
He criticized the Major General for being silent on past gruesome acts such as the killing of mostly Afro-Guyanese by the ‘Phantom Squad’ and the assassination of Former Agriculture Minister, Satyadeo Sawh as opposed to his vocalization on current presumed creators of war when the country is being led by a President simply upholding the Constitution.
“You see, Joe Singh is yet another ‘victim’ who is struggling with the ‘psychological trauma’ of being part of a group that the President deemed ‘not fit and proper’,” Devonish concluded.
“Sadly, folks like Christopher Ram, Seelall Persaud and Joe Singh are telling us to euthanise our chihuahua-type ‘Dog of War’, while they are secretly feeding blood to their pit bulls.”
On the other hand, a citizen Gregory Howe said that one must be reminded that “only the owner(s) of ‘the dogs of war’ can call them off.”
He said that Singh, though a distinguished member of society, “faltered badly” in his letter to the President and failed to equally address the Opposition which has played major roles in the country’s arrival at its current state.
“Without any shred of evidence, Mr. Singh has determined, by the tone and content of his letter that it is President Granger who is at fault and needs to do the right thing. I am not surprised, but profoundly disappointed,” Howe said in a Letter to the Editor.
“The President has neither breached the Constitutional provisions nor broken one jot or tittle of any law in Guyana, in this matter of elections in this country. He has been properly biding his time and space.”
He too spoke to the PPP’s and other small opposing party’s invasion of the GECOM Command Center on March 5, 2020 led by Jagdeo which Singh has failed to address and the highly questionable involvement of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) throughout it all.
Howe stated: “If the Major General (Retired) takes a careful look at those few events mentioned in this letter, then he would have much more than an idea about the owner(s) of ‘the dogs of war’. Certainly, those ‘dogs’ could not be owned or handled by His Excellency, President David Granger.”
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament (MP) Jermaine Figueira stated in a letter that Singh’s motives are now under question as his “camouflage-patriotic language” failed to mask his bruised ego over not being selected as GECOM’s Chair.
He pointed out the error in Singh’s boastings that he holds “no brief for any political party” and, by choice, has never voted, noting that this does not speak well to the exercise of one’s democratic right that Guyanese have died for and should not been seen by any as a proper example to follow.
Figueira said on many occasions, when Guyanese would have appreciated the input of Singh, he was silent and has found his voice only to urge the President to act unconstitutionally and to create a false sense of the state of affairs.
Perhaps educating Singh post-missive, APNU+AFC Prime Ministerial Candidate, Khemraj Ramjattan pointed out that the President cannot “direct” GECOM and has no intention of ignoring the role of the court.
He said that President Granger will continue to adhere to the rule of law. The President, he said, understands the legal procedures which must take place prior to the hopeful acts of GECOM.
“Joe Singh can say – as he has done and we wholly respect that – but he must also respect the law. He has already made up his mind that some faction of the party has hijacked the process from His Excellency. This is outrageous!…this country will be in huge problems whichever party wins. And we must not abdicate any responsibility to ensure these problems are solved. The surest way there is, is being guided by the law and lessons of history,” the APNU+AFC Prime Ministerial Candidate said.