Bharrat Jagdeo

Bharrat Jagdeo (born 23 January 1964) is a Guyanese politician who has been serving as Vice President of Guyana since 2020, in the administration of President Irfaan Ali. He had previously also held the office from 1997 until 1999, during the presidency of Janet Jagan. Jagdeo subsequently served as the President of Guyana from 11 August 1999 to 3 December 2011. He also holds a number of global leadership positions in the areas of sustainable development, green growth and climate change.[2][3]

Bharrat Jagdeo
Jabdeo 2022 (cropped).jpg
Jagdeo in 2022
Vice President of Guyana
Assumed office
2 August 2020
Serving with Mark Phillips
PresidentIrfaan Ali
Prime MinisterMark Phillips
Preceded byCarl Barrington Greenidge
Khemraj Ramjattan
Sydney Allicock
In office
19 December 1997 – 9 August 1999
PresidentJanet Jagan
7th President of Guyana
In office
11 August 1999 – 3 December 2011
Vice PresidentReepu Daman Persaud
Prime Minister (also First Vice President)Sam Hinds
Preceded byJanet Jagan
Succeeded byDonald Ramotar
7th Prime Minister and First Vice President of Guyana
In office
9 August 1999 – 11 August 1999
PresidentJanet Jagan
Preceded bySam Hinds
Succeeded bySam Hinds
President pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations
In office
26 November 2010 – 29 October 2011
Preceded byRafael Correa
Succeeded byFernando Lugo
Personal details
Born (1964-01-23) 23 January 1964 (age 58)[1]
Unity Village, British Guiana
(present-day Guyana)
Political partyPeople's Progressive Party/Civic
SpouseVarshnie Singh (divorced)
Alma materPatrice Lumumba Peoples' Friendship University of Russia

Jagdeo, a member of the People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), served as Minister of Finance from 1995 to 1999, becoming president in 1999 after Janet Jagan resigned for health reasons. Subsequently, he won two elections, in 2001 and 2006. He was the first President of Guyana to relinquish office in accordance with term limits he signed into the Guyanese Constitution.

Following the PPP/C's electoral defeat in 2015 Jagdeo became Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly. Furthermore, when the PPP/C returned to power in 2020, Jagdeo was sworn in as a vice president in the administration of president Irfaan Ali.[4] Vice News alleged that it had uncovered corruption by Jagdeo and several Chinese businessmen. These allegations were rejected by Jagdeo who pointed out instead, that the Vice News documentary failed to provide irrefutable evidence to substantiate its claims and it mostly relied on hearsay and comments by Chinese Businessman, Su Zhi Rong against whom he has filed a defamation lawsuit.

Education and early careerEdit

Jagdeo was born in Unity Village in Demerara-Mahaica, in then British Guiana in 1964 to Hindu Indian parents. In 1912, his grandfather, Ram Jiyawan had immigrated under the Indian indenture system to British Guiana from the village of Pure Thakurain in the Amethi district of the Awadh region of the United Provinces in British India (present-day state of Uttar Pradesh in India).[5] Jagdeo joined the youth wing of the People's Progressive Party (PPP), the Progressive Youth Organisation, when he was 13, and became a member of the PPP itself at age 16. He subsequently rose to local leadership positions in the party.[6]

He attended Bygeval Multilateral High School[6] before migrating to Russia in 1984 for higher studies. After obtaining a master's degree in economics from Patrice Lumumba Peoples' Friendship University in Moscow in 1990, Jagdeo returned to Guyana and worked as an economist in the State Planning Secretariat until the PPP-Civic election victory in the October 1992 election. After this he became Special Advisor to the Minister of Finance.[7]

Jagdeo was appointed as Junior Minister of Finance in October 1993, and a few weeks later, at the PPP's 24th Congress, he was elected to the party's Central Committee. He later became a member of the executive committee of the PPP. In the Cabinet, he was promoted to Senior Minister of Finance in May 1995.[6] In December 1997, he was appointed as the Second Vice President.[8]

Prime Minister and PresidentEdit

On 8 August 1999, Janet Jagan announced that she was resigning as president for health reasons, and that Jagdeo would be her successor.[9] Because the Prime Minister is the President's legal successor, Jagdeo took office as Prime Minister on 9 August, so that he would be positioned to succeed Jagan.[10] He was then sworn in as president on 11 August.[11] At age 35, he was one of the youngest heads of state in the world.[12]

Jagdeo was re-elected for another five-year term on 28 August 2006, with the PPP garnering 54.6 percent of the votes. It expanded its majority, by two, to 36 seats in the 65-member parliament. He was sworn in for another term on 2 September.[13]

At the PPP's 29th Congress, Jagdeo received the highest number of votes (777) in the election to the party's Central Committee,[14][15] held on 2 August 2008.[14] He was then elected to the PPP Executive Committee[14][16] on 12 August 2008.[16]

In late 2011, his term of office officially came to an end as a result of the term limit amendment to the Constitution, piloted by his government, and signed into law by himself, which created a two-term limit for anyone elected president after 2000.[17][18] He was succeeded by PPP/C presidential candidate Donald Ramotar, who was elected president in the 28 November 2011 general elections. Under the Constitution, President Jagdeo's term officially ended on 3 December 2011, when Ramotar took the presidential oath of office.[19]

InitiativesEdit

During Jagdeo's tenure as president, major economic and social reforms were initiated in Guyana. When he relinquished office, Guyana had experienced five consecutive years of strong economic growth, often out-pacing other South American countries.[20] External debt had been almost halved, and reserves had almost tripled compared to the 2006 situation.[20] During the Presidency, investments had been made in social services which resulted in improved access to education. The housing sector saw its biggest expansion in its history. Road, river and air transport infrastructure were improved.[20]

In 2003, in his role as Lead Head of Government for Agriculture in the Caribbean Community, Jagdeo spearheaded a process (known as the "Jagdeo Initiative") to create a more competitive and sustainable agricultural sector in the region by 2015.[21]

In his final term as president, President Jagdeo became a global advocate for international action to avert the worst extremes of climate change, and was described by the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra K. Pachauri, as "one of perhaps half a dozen Heads of Government who truly understands the issue".[20] In line with the President's global advocacy, Guyana's Low Carbon Development Strategy sets out a national scale, replicable model to protect Guyana's 18 million hectare forest, to address the 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions that result from deforestation and forest degradation, and re-orient the Guyanese economy onto a long-term "low deforestation, low carbon, climate resilient trajectory".[20]

As part of building this global model, Norway is partnering with Guyana to provide up to US$250 million, by 2015, for avoided greenhouse gas emissions from Guyana's forest. Guyana is using these payments and domestic resources to attract private investment to opportunities in clean energy and new low carbon economic sectors, as well as to make significant public investments in other social and economic priorities.[citation needed] This has been described by the Climate & Development Knowledge Network, the UK-based climate policy network, as "maybe the most progressive low carbon development strategy in a low income country."[22]

Jagdeo was a signatory to The UNASUR Constitutive Treaty of the Union of South American Nations in May, 2008. Guyana has ratified the treaty.[23] In November 2009, Jagdeo hosted the Heads of Government of South America in Georgetown, at his one-year anniversary of the Pro Tempore Presidency of UNASUR.[20]

On 26 November 2011, Jagdeo made a far-reaching farewell address ahead of the nation's elections on 28 November 2011.[citation needed] He spoke of accomplishments, such as the economy and defense issues, and emphasised his optimism in the future of Guyana.[24]

Corruption and Greenwashing AllegationsEdit

In June 2020, Vice News conducted a six-week investigation into allegations of bribery, greenwashing and corruption against Jagdeo.[25][26] Specifically, their report focused on the relationship between Jagdeo and Chinese investment in mining and energy projects that were at odds with the nation's and Jagdeo's pledges to address the Climate crisis and Biodiversity crisis.[27][28][29] The documentary investigation showed undercover footage of Mr Jagdeo seeming to accept bribes although without wanting to know the details of the deal which he was entering, with Su Zhi Rong dealing with the particularities. [30]

In an interview with Vice News and several national papers, Jagdeo rejected allegations of corruption and claimed instead that the Vice News documentary failed to provide first-hand evidence of corrupt transactions as it mostly relied on hear-say and comments by Chinese Businessman, Su Zhi Rong against whom he has filed a defamation lawsuit.

HonoursEdit

Jagdeo has been conferred with honorary doctorates of the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia,[7] TERI University, the University of Central Lancashire and Trent University.

Jagdeo was awarded the Pushkin Medal by the Government of Russia.[31]

In April 2013, Jagdeo was conferred with the highest honour of the State of Roraima, Brazil, the Order of Merit 'Forte Sao Joaquim'.[32]

AwardsEdit

 
Bharat Jagdeo receives Pravasi Bharatiya Samman from the then Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in 2004

In 2004 he received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman from the President of India in the field of Public affairs.[33]

International profile and post-presidency careerEdit

President Jagdeo was elected as chairman of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in September 2005.[34] He occupied this position until September 2006.[35]

Time magazine named Jagdeo as one of their "Heroes of the Environment" in 2008, and he was awarded the United Nations "Champion of the Earth" award in 2010.[36]

In early 2010, the Secretary General of the United Nations asked Jagdeo to serve on the Secretary General's High Level Advisory Group on Climate Financing.[37][38]

Jagdeo is a Patron of the Delhi-based World Sustainable Development Forum.[39]

In 2011, Heads of State and other leaders from the world's rainforest countries asked him to be "Roving Ambassador for the Three Basins" (Amazon, Congo Basin, South East Asia).[40]

In March 2012, the world's largest and oldest environmental organisation, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), announced that President Jagdeo would become the IUCN High Level Envoy for Sustainable Development in Forest Countries and an IUCN Patron of Nature.[41]

Jagdeo is also the President of the Assembly of the Korea-based Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI),[42] having been a Founding Board Member of GGGI since 2010. GGGI is the world's newest international organization, and has 20 Member States.

In June 2013, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma announced that former President Jagdeo would lead a high-level team of experts to identify solutions for unlocking resources to enable small, poor and climate-vulnerable Commonwealth countries to combat climate change. The former president was joined by eight others to create a set of recommendations for the international community to help identify practical solutions for those countries most vulnerable to climate change. Jagdeo presented the report to the 53 Heads of Government and other leaders of the Commonwealth, representing about a fifth of the world's population at the 2014 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo, Sri Lanka.[43]

Jagdeo travelled from the 2015 CHOGM to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change summit in Warsaw where he spoke of the outcomes of CHOGM and the need for continued leadership from Prime Ministers and Presidents.[44] In a major speech in Warsaw, he stated: "In the next 24 months much progress needs to be made if we are going to have a climate agreement. We can still stop the absolute worst extremes of climate change, and start the massive shift towards global low carbon development... The world tried to do this in 2009 at Copenhagen, and failed. As a consequence, more people will die, more livelihoods will be destroyed, more economies will suffer and the cost of action has gone up steadily...If we fail again in 2015, the damage and the costs will become truly unmanageable....Future generations will ask: how could we be so selfish not once, but twice?"[quote citation needed]

In March 2013, the ACP Council of Ministers inaugurated a 14-member Eminent Persons Group (EPG) whose mission will be to provide guidance and concrete recommendations for the future of the ACP Group. The 14 members of the group who met in Brussels designated the former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, as their chairperson, with Jagdeo designated as one of two Vice Chairs.[45]

Jagdeo has been a guest lecturer at Columbia University (New York City, USA), York University (Toronto, Canada), Trent University (Peterborough, Canada), the University of Toronto, United Nations University (Tokyo, Japan), and the University of the West Indies.[citation needed] He has also taken part in Trent University's Carbon Conversation,[46] focusing on the need to de-carbonize the global economy.

Leader of the OppositionEdit

Following the PPP's defeat in the May 2015 general election, Jagdeo was included in the list of the PPP's 32 MPs.[47] He was sworn in as Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly on 17 August 2015.[48]

Vice presidentEdit

In March 2020, the PPP won the 2020 Guyanese general election, but an attempt was made by the incumbent APNU+AFC government to stay in power illegally.[49] Jagdeo was to the fore of domestic and international efforts to protect the democratic process, and see a peaceful transition of power.[50] The support of the US Government (who placed sanctions on several members of the incumbent Government),[51] and others,[52] resulted in the swearing in of Irfaan Ali as president.[53]

After the PPP regained the presidency, President Ali swore in Jagdeo as the first Vice President on 3 August 2020.[4] Jagdeo also shortly held the position of Minister of Finance until Ashni Singh was appointed the minister.[54]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "About". Bharrat Jagdeo via Facebook. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  2. ^ "President Bharrat Jagdeo Named For Climate Change Group". lcds.gov.gy. 28 June 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  3. ^ "A presidential drive for sustainable development in forest countries | IUCN". Archived from the original on 26 March 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Irfaan Ali sworn in as President". 2 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Guyanese President visits ancestral village in UP". 24 August 2003.
  6. ^ a b c "Meet the New Cabinet Members" Archived 26 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, GINA.
  7. ^ a b "Bharrat Jagdeo". Peoples' Friendship University of Russia. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  8. ^ Lansford, Tom (24 March 2015). Political Handbook of the World 2015. ISBN 9781483371559.
  9. ^ "Guyanese president resigns for health reasons", Associated Press, 9 August 1999.
  10. ^ "Jagan's heir sworn in as prime minister in Guyana", Associated Press, 9 August 1999.
  11. ^ "Guyana's new president urges racial tolerance", Associated Press, 12 August 1999.
  12. ^ "Former Guyana President appointed FAO Special Ambassador for Forests and the Environment". Food and Agriculture Organization. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  13. ^ "Guyanan president sworn in after re-election". Xinhua. 3 September 2006. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  14. ^ a b c Press release on Central Committee election, 3 August 2008.
  15. ^ "Donald Ramotar re-elected General Secretary of PPP" Archived 20 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Guyana Times, 13 August 2008.
  16. ^ a b "PPP General Secretary, Executive Committee elected", PPP press statement, 12 August 2008.
  17. ^ "Washington Post". The Washington Post. 28 November 2011. Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  18. ^ Jagdeo hails smooth voting process - Stabroek News
  19. ^ Wilkinson, Burt (4 December 2011). "Donald Ramotar Sworn in as Guyana's President". Guardian (Trinidad and Tobago). Archived from the original on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  20. ^ a b c d e f "Bharrat Jagdeo: The journey of a World Champion". Guyana Times International. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  21. ^ "Euacpcommodities.eu" (PDF).
  22. ^ "Policy Brief" (PDF). Climate & Development Knowledge Network. November 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  23. ^ "Unasur". Archived from the original on 21 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  24. ^ Jagdeo, Bharrat (26 May 2011). "President Bharrat Jagdeo's Address 45th Independence Anniversary". caribbeanelections.com. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  25. ^ "VICE News airs more claims about laundering, bribes by Chinese businessmen here". www.stabroeknews.com. Starbroek News. 8 July 2022.
  26. ^ "Is Guyana for sale? People react to controvserial VICE documentary". www.loopnews.com. Caribbean Loop News. 20 June 2022.
  27. ^ "VP Jagdeo to sue Chinese businessman over corruption claims". www.loopnews.com. Caribbean Loopnews. 20 June 2022.
  28. ^ "Major bribe scandal". www.caribbeanlife.com. Caribbean Life. 22 June 2022.
  29. ^ "Guyana's President dismisses calls for the resignation of Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo". www.carribeannationalweekly.com. Caribbean National Weekly. 21 June 2022.
  30. ^ "Undercover In Guyana: Exposing Chinese Business in South America". www.vicenews.com. Vice News. 7 July 2022.
  31. ^ Aashish Gala - aashishgala@hotmail.com. "Welcome to Southern Cone Investments Homepage". Southernconeinvestments.com. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  32. ^ "Jagdeo conferred with Order of Merit from Brazil". Guyana Times. Archived from the original on 29 June 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  33. ^ "Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo on five-day working visit to Jamaica". Thewestindiannews.com. 31 July 2009. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  34. ^ "BOARDS OF GOVERNORS • 2006 ANNUAL MEETINGS • SINGAPORE" (PDF). International Monetary Fund. 20 September 2006.
  35. ^ "Bharrat Jagdeo". Columbia University. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  36. ^ "Jagdeo need not respond to attempts to discredit his tremendous accomplishments". iNews Guyana. 25 September 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  37. ^ "Champions of the Earth - United Nations Environment Programme". Unep.org. Archived from the original on 5 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  38. ^ "Heroes of the Environment 2008". Time. Archived from the original on 26 September 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  39. ^ "World Sustainable Development Forum". Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  40. ^ "The Three Basins Initiative - Roving Ambassador Jagdeo". Archived from the original on 21 August 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  41. ^ "2012Forum Form". iucn.org. Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  42. ^ "Jagdeo elected president of Global Green Growth Institute". gggi.org.
  43. ^ "Former Guyana President Jagdeo to lead Commonwealth Expert Group on Climate Finance". Archived from the original on 29 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  44. ^ "President lashes back at Jagdeo about Trotman's ability to handle climate change". iNews Guyana. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  45. ^ "ACP Council of Ministers, Brussels March 25-26, 2013 - ACP". Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  46. ^ "Trent University :: Trent Centre for Biomaterials Research". Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  47. ^ "Jagdeo on PPP/C Parliament list", Stabroek News, 7 July 2015.
  48. ^ Derwayne Wills, "PPP returns to Parliament, Jagdeo sworn in as Opposition Leader", Guyana Chronicle, 18 August 2015.
  49. ^ Marks, Neil (6 March 2020). "Guyana's Granger claims victory as U.S. and EU question vote results". Reuters. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  50. ^ "Jagdeo lambastes APNU+AFC over vote recount delays". Stabroek News. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  51. ^ "US Ambassador says sanctions "still on the table" for Guyana over electoral fraud". iNews Guyana. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  52. ^ "European Union urges GECOM to 'rapidly' declare recount results". News Room Guyana. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  53. ^ "Irfaan Ali already deemed President of Guyana – Jagdeo cites Constitution". iNews Guyana. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  54. ^ "Is Jagdeo the chief cook and bottle washer?". Kaieteur News Online. Retrieved 15 April 2021.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Guyana
1999
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Guyana
1999–2011
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by President pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations
2010–2011
Succeeded by