Some have said to me that they see a contradiction in my recent public writings on Mr Ralph Ramkarran. I disagree.
First, I took Mr Ramkarran to task for his failure to agitate more openly, consistently, and forcefully on issues of national concern. Examples include the narcotics-politics complex, leadership excesses, and, of course, corruption. I believe that the former speaker was way too late; that he should have been brawnier in his objections. For a man – as I saw him – of integrity and honour, this was inexcusable. Rightly or wrongly, I held him to a higher standard. I still do.
Second, and with the foregoing as context, I praised Mr Ramkarran for the courage of his convictions, and his willingness to proceed to the fateful step of resignation; that he stood up publicly for what he believed. No one rends asunder a fifty-year relationship, but like many of us, he wanted to vomit and did. Finally, he is true to himself.
Third, I felt strongly enough about Mr Ramkarran’s character and leadership credentials to have said in these same pages that he represented the best the PPP had to offer. I would not lift pen or voice in support of the crooked or the shallow from any quarter. I did so for Mr Ramkarran because he met the tests of character and aptitude. It is for these very same reasons that I found it necessary to question harshly his sloth and vacillation in rising to the occasion earlier. It is what is demanded – expected – of a man of his believed calibre.
Now because of these same standards, Mr Ramkarran needs to be most careful about his responses to overtures from one-time comrades. From my perspective, the bell cannot be un-rung. What will his actions be? He must be aware that they need the sheen of his honesty to give them some vestige of credibility and viability at the polls. By the way, snap elections anyone?
Further, given Mr Ramkarran’s public stances and resignation, and given the outpouring of goodwill from varied sources, reconciliation would be the worst possible step for him today, tomorrow, and the perfect vision of history. All the sentiments expressed, and based on his honesty and integrity would vanish. So would perceptions of the presence of those qualities themselves.
Last, I remind honest, well-intentioned citizens that the world is rarely black and white, or one of absolutes. Rather, it is more of nuance, thrust and parry, segmentation, attention to detail and minutiae, and peeling of the onion one invisible, teary-eyed layer at a time, whether for or against. It is how I view the still unfolding Ramkarran affair; it is why I see no contradiction in my positions.