When Jagdeo ran as President in 2001, his party got 34 seats
I feel compelled to respond to an article written in another section of the media. In his extravagance, the writer stated “the 2011 elections were a referendum on the Bharrat Jagdeo 12-year rule.” Really, a referendum?
Since when does an election become equated with a referendum? Perhaps he has included this in the course Politics 101! More astonishingly, he claims “Ramotar was able to regain in 2015 much of the support which the PPP/C had lost?” If that was the case, should not Ramotar have won the 2015 elections?
Astoundingly, he continues his charade, “credit must go to Ramotar for regaining significant support which the party had lost as a result of displeasure with Jagdeo’s latter tenure. The 2020 elections victory had a lot to do with the support Ramotar was able to claw back in 2015.” Really! This writer seems to have had a visitation from outer space.
When Jagdeo ran as President in 2001, his party got 34 seats, and in 2006, his party increased that number to 36 seats. When Donald Ramotar ran as President, the PPPC got 32 seats and in 2015 when he ran again, the result was the same (32 seats). How could that performance lead eventually to a PPPC victory at the polls in 2020, and particularly when Ramotar did not have much to do with rebuilding of the party (post 2015) or assisting with the 2020 electioneering?
The writer’s intent is clear, he is trying to create mischief (division with the PPPC) by distorting reality. To say that Jagdeo ‘banished’ the Old Guard is to vulgarise the English language. He pontificates, “The aftermath of the 2020 elections witnessed the almost total severing of the Old Guard. The only member of that Guard represented within the Cabinet is Gail Teixeira. Roger Luncheon, one of Jagan’s most trusted lieutenants, is now employed in a mere advisory capacity…”
By wrongly crediting Donald Ramotar, a member of the Old Guard, for causing the PPPC to return to Government in 2020, the writer is not only trying to revise history, but also to ignite conflict between the so-called Old Guard and the new dispensation.
Donald Ramotar has played his part well, and so has the other members of the Old Guard. However, they had to give way to the younger members of the PPPC to assume leadership roles. Each generation must build upon the foundation of the previous generation, and to give the current generation a head start is to add vitality to that momentum. This is how groups/organisations that serve the public should evolve.
Here is another perplexing position of the writer. Why does he decide to attack the PPPC leadership and ignore how the PNCR is rudderless, and how David Granger and Harmon dumped a substantial number of their Old Guard (Volda Lawrence, Basil Williams, Aubrey Norton, etc.) who had served them (PNCR) well in the past in vital leadership positions?
He is making a subtle call for revolt within the PPPC. This gimmick was tried before on the PPPC at the time when it decided the Presidential Candidate, but it collapsed. The writer has resurrected this possibility, and has challenged the Old Guard to muster courage: “Old Guard does not have the will to stoke a rebellion within the PPP to restore Jagan’s legacy.”
His spectacularly poor attempt to create division within the PPPC by inciting conflict and distorting reality would not resonate with a party that is on the move, and which puts Guyana first.
My research reveals an important piece of information. Following the electoral defeat in 2015, Jagdeo was approached in May 2015 by some top PPPC operatives, including former Ministers, to take over the leadership of the party. Those PPPCites were dejected, depressed, and disillusioned, and felt that their loss of Government in 2015 could only be tempered by the instituting of new leadership, and that this could be provided by Jagdeo, a man with a proven record of accomplishment and with international standing. At that time, too, many PPPC supporters shared the view that if the coalition practised good governance and embraced segments of the opposition (PPPC) support base, it would take decades for the PPPC to get back into power.
The coalition made a bad political calculation to engage in vendetta politics (closure of 4 sugar estates and dismissing 7,000 workers) that contributed greatly to their (PNCR+AFC) loss at the 2020 polls. It was this failing that was heavily exploited to their electoral advantage by Jagdeo and the PPPC. Jagdeo has worked aggressively to rescue the PPPC from further decline and to restore it to viability.
Blaming the AFC for the coalition’s defeat, as the writer does, would not alter the reality that it was Jagdeo and his team that dethroned the coalition with their (PPPC) superior campaigning, including grass roots mobilisation. If Jagdeo was not at the helm, it is doubtful that the PPPC would have won the elections.
Successive polls conducted by NACTA have shown that Jagdeo has been the most popular political leader in Guyana. The writer, like other detractors, is working on the theory that if “you destroy Jagdeo, you destroy the PPPC.” He must know that the PPPC is now a strong institution, and it would survive any one member.
Dr Tara Singh