Without Boysie, Jagan would have been like a man without a right arm, and so will the PPP be without Ralph Ramkarran
With the resignation of Mr Ralph Ramkarran from the PPP after many years of dedication and commitment, I would like to publicly apologize to him for my errors of judgment in relation to his political positions over the years. But I would also like to let the public understand that the ‘crocodile tears’ which were expressed in the press by Moses Nagamootoo cannot cover up the fact that at the most critical moment in Mr Ramkarran’s political career at Freedom House in 1997, before the general elections, it was the terrible behaviour of Mr Nagamootoo against Mr Ramkarran that lost him his chance to lead the PPP/Civic to victory. However, the undermining of Ramkarran’s chances to lead the PPP/Civic also involved other persons who had also undermined Mr Ramkarran’s father, Boysie, years before when he was basically forced out of the PPP leadership, after serving my father loyally from the very beginning of his political career.
Ralph Ramkarran came from the very bowels of the working classes of Guyana and as was reported in the press, in a recent executive meeting of the PPP, a member of the executive insulted and abused him about being born “with a gold spoon in his mouth” and not being of the working classes. That was the last straw for him. Mr Ramkarran was correct to talk of corruption and I have sent President Ramotar more than one letter over the last six months concerning this issue. As recently as three weeks ago, at a big meeting of the candidates on the PPP/Civic list of electors held at Red House, I as a candidate, called openly for those guilty of governmental corruption to be arrested.
Ralph Ramkarran is definitely royalty in the history of the working classes of this country because his father, Boysie Ramkarran, was one of the princes of the working class movement up to the end of his life. I always loved and admired Boysie and I can tell anyone, anywhere and at any time, that Boysie Ramkarran was the most loyal but outspoken comrade Jagan ever had, full stop. My father always told me that Boysie was in his majesty in Parliament, witty and in total control of his facts gained over many years of representing and leading sections of Guyana’a working class. Boysie was there from the beginning when the PPP was in its infancy, serving as Treasurer of the PPP Jagan led in 1953, and he served in every government Jagan led up to 1964. When Cheddi Jagan was imprisoned by the British in 1954, Boysie Ramkarran was also sent to Mazaruni prison after being restricted to his Bel Air home for almost a year. From 1957 to 1961, Boysie served in Jagan’s government as Minister of Communication and Works when there were only five ministers, and in the period from 1961 to 1964, he was the Minister for Works and Hydraulics. Later, he headed GAWU from 1975 to 1985 to make it a powerful union dedicated to the sugar workers – union work for the benefit of the working class and work with which he was well acquainted, as his thrust into politics came from his skills in the early days of union organizing in this country. I will always remember Boysie Ramkarran as a man whom my father always treated as his equal and of whom I never heard my father say anything negative. Jagan always had a special feeling for Boysie and I know the whole story of his departure from the PPP leadership, which President Cheddi always regretted.
On a personal note, Boysie Ramkarran helped our family greatly when in 1964, after being forced out of government, my father was really homeless and we had to rent a house on Camp Street. Boysie sold my father a piece of his land in Bel Air at a very low price so my father could finally own his own property. Boysie Ramkarran was never corrupt and would never tolerate corruption, and that is why he was a trusted and devoted comrade of Jagan. I can tell anyone that if President Cheddi was alive today, he would have severely punished anyone who insulted and forced Boysie’s first son to resign from the PPP. As a candidate for the PPP/Civic slate in the 2011 elections, I, for the record, would like to state that the person(s) who added insult to injury against Ralph Ramkarran at the Executive PPP meeting last week, should be expelled from Jagan’s party immediately. Mr Ramkarran was correct in pinpointing corruption in government circles and furthermore, criminal prosecution for those who are guilty is the best medicine to stop the cancer of corrupt behaviour; resignation is not enough. And if ‘friends’ and ‘comrades’ fall, then so be it. Mr Jagdeo, our former President, obviously did not believe in the concept of ‘the buck stops here,’ as Mr Sattaur of NCN was re-instated (with direct intervention by Mr Jagdeo) after his suspension a few years ago, and now look what has transpired at NCN. Thank God that the opposition opposed subventions to NCN. Let us all pray that President Ramotar is not like Mr Jagdeo and proves that the buck stops at the desk of the President.
Again, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Ralph Ramkarran and his family for the comments I have made in the past, and I would like to congratulate him for the fire in his belly that he has found and which was put there by his father, an illustrious servant of the people of Guyana. Boysie Ramkarran would have been proud of his son in this pressing period in our political history, because without Boysie, Jagan would have been like a man without a right arm, just the way the PPP will be without Ralph Ramkarran.
Cheddi (Joey) Jagan (Jr)