By Dr. Tara Singh
I feel compelled to respond to an article written by Peeping Tom (PEET) in Monday’s issue of the Kaieteur News. PEET stated that the “2011 elections were a referendum on the Bharrat Jagdeo’s 12-year rule.” Really, a referendum? Since when an election becomes a referendum? More surprisingly, PEET claims “Ramoutar was able to regain in 2015 much of the support which the PPP/C had lost?” What support did Ramoutar regain in 2015? Shouldn’t one conclude that if Ramoutar regained in 2015 much of the support that the PPPC had lost earlier, he should win the 2015 elections?
Astonishingly, PEET notes further, “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! PEET 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 Ramoutar 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 Ramoutar did not have much to do with rebuilding of the party (post 2015) or assisting with the 2020 electioneering?
PEET’s intent is clear; he is trying to create mischief (division with the PPPC). To say that Jagdeo ‘banished’ the old guard is to vulgarize the English language. PEET 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 praising Donald Ramoutar, a representative of the old guard, for causing the PPPC to return to government in 2020, PEET is trying to create conflict between the so-called old guards and the new dispensation.
Donald Ramoutar 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 take over 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 this momentum. This is how groups/organizations that serve the public must evolve.
Here is something very perplexing! Why did PEET 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 guards (Volda Lawrence, Basil Williams, Aubrey Norton, etc.) who had served them (PNCR) well in the past, in leadership positions? I believe that PEET is HJ. He is making a call for revolt within the PPPC. “Old Guard does not have the will to stoke a rebellion within the PPP to restore Jagan’s legacy.” PEET’s spectacular attempt to create division within the PPPC by inciting conflict and distorting reality would not resonate with an enlightened people. The PPPC has enough smart members to determine their own path forward, and do not need the wicked advice of PEET, who would be welcomed by the PNCR.
For clarity, this piece of information is presented. Following the electoral defeat in 2015, Jagdeo was approached by top PPPC operatives, including former Ministers, to take over the leadership of the party. Those operatives 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 practiced 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 led to their (PNCR+AFC) loss at the 2020 polls. It was this failing that was heavily exploited by Jagdeo and the PPPC to their electoral advantage. Jagdeo has worked aggressively to rescue the PPPC from further decline and restored it to viability.
Blaming the AFC for the coalition’s defeat would not alter the reality that it was Jagdeo and his team that dethroned the coalition with their superior campaigning, including grass roots mobilization. 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. PEET, like other detractors, is working on the theory that if “you destroy Jagdeo, you destroy the PPPC.”
PEET must know that the PPPC is a strong institution, and it would survive any one member.