The PPP this afternoon chose Donald Ramotar as its 2011 presidential candidate.
The other three candidates Ralph Ramkarran, Clement Rohee and Gail Teixeira withdrew from the process.
“No voting was required,” a statement from the party’s Central Committee said this afternoon. The party’s Central Committee had met at Freedom House to consider and finalize the presidential candidate. The decision is to be formally endorsed by the membership of the Party at three County Conferences. The meetings will be held on April 9th, 10th and 11th in Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice respectively.
“At today’s meeting Clement Rohee and Gail Teixeira withdrew from the contest and pledged their support to Donald Ramotar. Their decisions were well received by the meeting. Subsequently Ralph Ramkarran withdrew and recommitted himself to working for another victory of the PPP/C. The magnanimity and political astuteness of the candidates who withdrew was hailed,” the Central Committee said.
At the meeting, Chairman of the selection process, Dr Roger Luncheon presented a report to the Central Committee on the Executive Committee’s extensive deliberations on the matter. Presentations made at the Executive Committee by the candidates were also circulated prior to the meeting, the release said.
“Every member of the Central Committee was given the opportunity to express his/her views on the candidate and the process which was consistent with the Party’s constitution and democratic norms,” the statement said. “Members were confident and there was a full and unimpeded opportunity for the potential candidates to reach out and make their case to the Central Committee members,” the statement added.
The leadership, including all the persons vying to be presidential candidates, recommitted to working together “to ensure another victory and reinforcing party unity,” the release said.
According to the statement, “this consensual choice reflects the party’s leadership commitment to maintaining Party unity continuing process in Guyana and building stronger unity at all levels of the Guyanese nation. “
Ramotar had been one of the front-runners from the very start and was believed to be President Bharrat Jagdeo’s choice as the candidate. His closest rival was seen to be Ramkarran. There was a heated debate over the method of selecting the candidate. Ramkarran favoured a secret ballot which it was believed would have been to his advantage while Ramotar and Jagdeo favoured an open vote.
Ramotar, according to a biographic sketch provided by Freedom House, was born on the 22nd October, 1950 in the village of Caria Caria on the Essequibo River, to Sam Ramotar and Olive Constantine. His father was a Timber Grant operator and his mother a housewife. He has eight siblings.
Ramotar, is an economist by training. The sketch said that he received his primary education at Caria Caria Congregational School and the St. Andrew’s Primary School. He later pursued studies at the Government Technical Institute and went on to become a graduate of the Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Guyana. He also pursued studies in what was then the Soviet Union.
He began his working career on his father’s timber grant. Between 1966 and 1975 he worked at GIMPEX, the commercial arm of the PPP. In 1975, the sketch said, he was appointed Manager of Freedom House, a position that he held for eight years.
Having joined the PPP in 1967 he has been in the leadership of the party since 1979 when he was elected to the Central Committee. The sketch said that he became a member of the Executive Committee of the PPP in 1983 and assumed the position of Executive Secretary of the party one year after the PPP was restored to office in 1992. He became the General Secretary in March 1997 when Dr. Cheddi Jagan passed away. Ramotar has had extensive experience within the party and has represented it on numerous occasions overseas. According to the biographic data, he was also a member of the ACP- EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and a Bureau member of that organization and a serving member of Guyana’s National Assembly since 1992. Ramotar has also served on several Corporate Boards including that of the Guyana Sugar Corporation since 1992.
Ramotar is the husband of Deolatchmee Ramotar and the father of three.