Stabroek, tacuma ogunseye

In Jeffrey’s view, unless I fight the way he wants me to I am not fighting

By stabroek news dec 5, 2018

I want to use this opportunity in my response to Dr. Henry Jeffrey’s Future Notes column in Stabroek News (SN) of November 14th, 2018 and his subsequent letter in SN of November 25th, 2018 captioned `Coalition gov’t broke contract with the people on governance reform, Ogunseye looking for every opportunity to excuse it’ to express my disappointment with the tactics he adopted in our polemics to his recent Share Government (SG) proposals.

 The following are the stated reasons for my disappointment:- Firstly, the learned doctor had unashamedly repeated his misrepresentation of my position in his quest to arrive at a conclusion in support of his deceptive tactics. Let me for the record state that nowhere in my letter on Jeffrey’s SG proposal can be found anything which can be attributed to me that can reasonably be construed to mean, as he attempts to say that I am defending or making excuses for the government breaking its contract with the people on constitutional reform and national government. In fact, my explanation in the letter Jeffrey referred to and my reference to one of my earlier letters have set out in detail the reasons for my calculated shift on public advocacy on the matter of Shared Governance at this juncture. Seemingly, that position Jeffrey finds offensive and he seeks to interpret it as me, Ogunseye, ‘throwing in the towel’.

Jeffrey is very upset that my position is influenced by both the APNU+AFC coalition and the PPP’s non-interest in shared governance. He finds that position unacceptable and unpardonable and not in keeping with his image of a fighter. In his view, unless I fight the way he wants me to I am not fighting. He conveniently overlooks my reference to advocacy on the issue in my interaction with activists and non-activists. This to him is of no significance. Apparently, the only politics he is capable of recognizing is what appears in the newspapers.

Another of my disappointments with Dr. Jeffrey is his resort to the PPP’s tactic of invoking Walter Rodney when engaged in a polemic with WPA people to score cheap political points. He wrote, ‘… Walter Rodney must be spinning in his grave!’.  Jeffrey has learned well from his association with the PPP/C to the extent it has contaminated his political culture.

I sense he is seriously disappointed that I did not support his initiative to advance the struggle for power sharing. This point is underscored by his contention that ‘ … a fighter like Tacuma did not use the occasion of my intervention to carry the fight to those who oppose us …’. On this score, Jeffrey is behaving like another popular columnist whose self-centredness makes it extremely difficult for him to accept differences in opinions, tactics and/or strategy as the struggle is engaged in the pursuit of goals.


In one of his Future Note columns, Dr. Jeffrey in analyzing the dynamics in the APNU and the coalition government explicitly stated that the WPA has no power in the coalition and government. Like his fellow columnist, he went on the say that the party is non-existent and politically dead. However, as the necessity arises he sees it fit to call on the dead to rise up from its grave. How ironic?

More disappointing is Jeffrey’s double standards when he proclaims one for me and another for himself and his failure to indulge in self-criticism. In short, his position in the polemic is –  given my history of advocating for SG my failure to do so at this point in time when the WPA is part of the government amounts to throwing in the towel. The inference of his logic is that political praxis is devoid of any consideration of the objective situation. And being in government is no excuse for not behaving in an identical way as when in the opposition.

A self- critical Jeffrey would have been reflective and guided in this polemic by his own praxis and experience in his sojourn in the PPP/C’s government. In doing so he would be forced to examine his public politics while he was a minister in the government and to allow that to inform his response to my position. However, he has failed to do so.

I am reliably informed that in the cabinet Jeffrey stood up to Jagdeo on matters of policies and in the struggle of ideas. I have no reasons to question this information. However, I  wish to point out that the Doctor politician was more than careful to ensure that while in government his critical views remained in the corridors of the cabinet, well secured from public knowledge and scrutiny. But once he left the government he became a vocal critic of government and opposition. Bearing in mind the above and using his own logic – can it not be assumed that while Dr. Jeffrey had been vocal in government and notably silent in the public space, he was, in fact, a defender of the government and the very issues he was critical of in the cabinet. Isn’t their justification in the assumption that the lack of public exposure on positions he took on issues while he was part of the government contradicts his criticism of my approach at present to advocacy on SG?

I end by requesting that Dr. Henry Jeffrey honestly answer these questions. In doing so he would be enlightening the Guyanese nation and putting to rest concerns about him that are held by many Guyanese. I take the opportunity to remind him of the saying,  “confession is good for the soul”.

Yours faithfully,

Tacuma Ogunseye

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