Guyana’s Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo annoyed by PM Rowley’s ‘That is Guyanese dollars’ comment

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Guyana’s Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo annoyed by PM Rowley’s ‘That is Guyanese dollars’ comment

Many Guyanese nationals including Guyana’s Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo are extremely peeved by an off-the-cuff remark made by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to a journalist on the night of local government elections 2023, on the Guyana currency. Dr. Rowley was speaking at Balisier House in Port of Spain, when the TV6 female journalist posed a question in which she quoted, what later turned out to be inaccurate information saying, the newly formed National Transformation Alliance (NTA), led by political leader Gary Griffith, was able to amass 30,000 votes in Diego Martin in its first appearance local government elections.

The Prime Minister Rowley responded: “Really? Where you got that from? Where you got that from? The NTA got 30,000 votes? Them is Guyanese dollars!”  The Prime Minister’s remark caused laughter among the Government Ministers and party officials gathered in the courtyard of the headquarters of the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM).

The Elections and Boundaries Commission reported on Tuesday that officially the NTA received 15,997 votes in preliminary results. The NTA, which entered into an accommodation with the United National Congress for Monday’s election, received 4.82 per cent of the 331,300 votes cast, according to the preliminary results.

At a news conference in Guyana on Thursday, Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo said: “I hate this thing when people try to run down our country. The VP added: “I don’t want to get into any controversy with Mr Rowley. Cause one time I said we are determined to ensure that we don’t utilise oil and gas resources the same way that they did, and it got into a big heated controversy. But they always use Guyana as an example. I saw the footage that was sent to me and it was speaking about Local Government Elections and then Mr Rowley said something about ‘Oh, that’s like the Guyanese dollar,’ and laughed. Like meaning, basically, that our currency is weak,” Jagdeo lamented.

Dr. Jagdeo added that Japan was the third largest economy in the world, and the exchange rate is over 100 yen to US$1. That exchange rate does not mean Japan’s economy is weak, said Jagdeo, who previously served as Guyana’s president. He also opined : “So let them live in this fantasy and the fact remains that today, a lot of Trinidadian companies now, because of intense foreign currency shortage in Trinidad.

He cited the level of Trinidadian companies doing business in Guyana because of the tremendous growth of the Guyanese economy in recent years: “We notice a trend where some Trinidadian companies are procuring large quantities of goods for their business in Guyana and in Trinidad and making payments from here to their suppliers. So they are utilising our foreign currency to make those payments, So I hope Mr Rowley looks at that too.” Many Guyanese nationals also took to social media to condemn Dr. Rowley’s comments as insulting and unwarranted.