The PPP faces more than a dilemma in next year’s elections (see title of Annan Boodram’s missive ‘The PPP seems to be facing a dilemma over the presidential candidate’ (SN, Dec 14)). For the first time in its 60-year history, the PPP could lose an election. There is widespread disgruntlement about the PPP all over the country. People are saying this is the worst PPP administration in the party’s history in office, and a lot of traditional supporters are not going to vote for it next election. Indians don’t want the PNC but are not pleased with the PPP either. They will sit it out or vote for the AFC which has a good shot at winning a lot of disenchanted PPP supporters since there is no other alternative. If Ravi Dev’s ROAR had been active, that party would have had a good shot at winning several seats from Indians now complaining about the PPP.
I have travelled around the coast and the complaints I heard about the PPP are endless. Many are saying this is not the party of Dr Cheddi and Janet Jagan. It has lost its working class credentials, and honesty and integrity are no longer associated with its governance. It is a rich man’s party, and the government takes good care of its rich friends. This does not mean President Jagdeo is disliked. In fact, he remains popular. But a lot of people are not going to vote, especially if the candidate is Donald Ramotar who is not liked. Clement Rohee is not even talked about and Robert Persaud has some following.
Mr Boodram is right in stating that the two viable candidates that can save the PPP from defeat next year are Moses Nagamootoo and Ralph Ramkaran. He is also right in stating that neither one is favoured by President Jagdeo who prefers Donald Ramotar. As a former PYO member, Mr Boodram knows the inner workings of this Marxist party. The selection of the presidential candidate will be manipulated. The 15-member Executive Committee (Ex Co) or the 35-member Central Committee (CC) will choose the candidate. And Mr Jagdeo has loyalty from a large majority of both committees, so Ralph and Moses have little chance of getting the presidential nod unless people vote their conscience, as Ramotar is not presidential material when compared with Moses or Ralph.
Mr Boodram is right that Moses is very popular among rank and file members and would win the nomination if the membership or the delegates were to vote. But President Jagdeo and Mr Ramotar want to restrict the voting to the Ex Co and CC members, and this process has already been decided as Ramotar reminded everyone. Moses has virtually no support in the CC and even less in the Ex Co. So he is completely out of contention. In fact, Moses has stated publicly that he will withdraw from the process if the party members or Congress do not vote to choose the candidate. Thus, Ralph has a better shot and should be backed by decent-minded people in the Ex Co and CC to save the party from defeat and the country from continued poor governance. It is in Moses’s interest to back Ralph, because under a Ramkaran presidency the country will return to good governance à la the principles of Jaganism which Moses has been advocating since Jagan’s death in 1997.