I am of the opinion that little is accomplished by the assault on the integrity or credibility of presidential candidates that takes the form of questions starting “Where were you when your party was messing up by….”
The political process has transformed men and is transformed by men. And if there are any lessons we have learnt they seem rooted in the fact that our political history is marked by the capacity of our politicians to infuse an administration or opposition party with their own personalities.
If we were to look at Mr Ralph Ramkarran with these lessons in mind then we would not be wasting time accusing him of having not spoken out, picketed, resigned etc in response to the low moments in the life of the PPP government. For the truth is that holding him to this standard would force us to judge all other aspirants by the weaknesses of their parties. The same questions would need to be asked of Trotman, who in reality got off the ship when his chance to impose his new vision was denied. The same to be said of Nagamootoo who stayed the course until being flung out the window. Ramjattan was dragged to cliff’s edge and kicked over but would have preferred to stay and change from inside perhaps. Within the PNC, a lot of useful candidates risked their chances by precipitate and public criticism of the leader of the party. In this regard, I think Eric Phillip’s comments on the way the Corbin issue should have been handled (giving Corbin an honourable way out in case people did not want him) showed wisdom.
Mr Ramkarran is faithful, it would appear, to a party whose “transcendence” puts it beyond the slip up, the failure, the poor batting and fielding, in the same way that you are faithful to West Indies and remain a supporter. As in the case of many traditional mass based political parties, their existence always goes beyond and symbolises something more than today’s failure. You are democrat or cons
ervative because you hold to certain values. Hence one could legitimately remain PPP and consciously work to improve the party despite the inevitable mess ups you would have witnessed or warned against.
The PPP, like all mass organisations including the PNC, is a collection of personalities and tendencies. Dissension there will be. Discipline there must be for cohesion and for offering it to succeeding generations in renewal and constant reinforcement. The same is said of the PNC.
These are two national institutions that form part of our cultural patrimony. We wish them well and wish they could work together.
Mr Ramkarran is doubtless decided in his mind that he wants to renew the PPP and focus it on the pressing problems of the day. He has listed those problems in his many pieces. He is by no means a voiceless fellow traveller. His positions have varied form the PPP’s public stance by more than nuance in some cases. This is normal. Ramotar or Rohee would similarly bring their capabilities, and vision that is peculiar to their personalities if elected.
A new president would build on the Jagdeo legacy without repeating the mistakes because conditions have changed and the cast and scenario have changed. Let us see what comes out of the mix.
Those of us who believe in shared government know the country will have to work with both parties, whatever their past.