Tensions grew high in the National Assembly last evening as Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman pulled off his gloves and weighed in, on the performance of past President, now Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.
Since the APNU+AFC coalition secured office two years ago, Mr. Jagdeo has launched a series of attacks on the government’s performance, which he has since described as deserving of an F grade. The Opposition Leader has weighed in on issues relating to the economy, crime and security, social and cultural issues and infrastructure development among others.
However, in his closing presentation on the Petroleum Commission Bill in the National Assembly last evening, Minister Trotman used the opportunity to remind Jagdeo of his performance during his Presidency (1999-2011).
Passionate in tone, Trotman rhetorically questioned: “How could you come here and try to lecture us after you have left that behemoth that has failed in Skeldon? US$280M and can’t produce a kilowatt of power and you want to come here and lecture us as if you’re the world’s greatest economist? How dare you?”
He was speaking about the failed US$280M Skeldon sugar factor which was set up by the then Jagdeo-led government.
The Minister, supported by intermitted rounds of applause by his colleagues, went on to state that many major projects initiated by Jagdeo and the PPP across the country are in jeopardy currently, because of poor governance and management.
“The Skeldon factory is down because of him. We are barely holding the Berbice River Bridge up because of him. Every sector that he touched is down; National Insurance Scheme [and] Marriott Hotel.”
He went further, to point out that “Under his [Jagdeo’s] government, just seven years ago, we had become a pariah state, washed with drug money and corruption. There are people in this House who could not travel abroad. And now being lectured to? Who are the Pharaoh that have just showed up and try to tell us how to run a country?” Minister Trotman asked.
Having described Jagdeo’s performance during his presidency as poor, the Minister said it is for this reason he and his party are in opposition and they will remain there.
“This honourable member is nothing but the doctor of doom, because of the people of Guyana were to hear him they would know that he has nothing good to offer”, he said.
Adding that, “We will not be lectured by the leader of the Opposition on good governance” he said, adding that he does not mind being lectured by PPP’s front benchers Gail Teixeira or Odinga Lamumba, but that he will never accept a lecture from the Opposition Leader.
The bill, which seeks to put measures in place to help to regularize Guyana’s expanding oil and gas sector, was eventually resent to Special Select Committee for further fine tuning.