Nagamootoo still to decide on AFC

- condemns Jagdeo attacks on media

PPP stalwart Moses Nagamootoo says he is still to decide whether he will accept an offer to join the Alliance For Change (AFC) for the upcoming elections, but says he has been holding wide-ranging consultations regarding his political future.

“I have not made a decision in this regard,” Nagamootoo told Stabroek News yesterday, while confirming that he has been approached by the AFC. Nagamootoo said that over the past few months he has held wide-ranging consultations both here and in North America about what role he should play in Guyanese politics and on which platform he should stand on for the 2011 polls. He recently returned from Canada, where he held such consultations, he disclosed.

Nagamootoo, a former minister of information, is certain that he will be actively involved in the political campaign ahead of November 28 poll date. “I am looking forward with passion to doing further duties for Guyana,” he said, while adding that the decision is now which platform he should stand on.

Moses Nagamootoo

Last week, former health minister in the PNC government Dr Richard Van West-Charles and former PPP Central Committee member Rajendra Bissessar both endorsed the AFC at a press briefing at the party’s headquarters. Party leader Raphael Trotman indicated that Nagamootoo was in talks with the AFC and said he would be guaranteed a “high place” should he accept the party’s proposal. Trotman, who noted that the offer to Nagamootoo to join the AFC has been on the table since 2006, said he believed he could contribute to policy and social development in Guyana.

Bissessar said he was privy to the fact that Nagamootoo will not be on the PPP/C slate for the polls and he was almost certain that he would join the opposition party. Sources close to Nagamootoo have indicated that he has indicated to the PPP/C that he does not wish to be on its slate for this year’s election.

Meanwhile, Nagamootoo yesterday condemned President Bharrat Jagdeo’s recent attacks against sections of the local media at PPP rallies, saying it was “a typical Jagdeo low blow.”  It is “irresponsible and reprehensible that the President should descend to such an attack on journalists,” he said. “However, disappointed and enraged at the coverage in the state media and the private media…we are not Rwanda,” he added.

Nagamootoo, who was once the vice-president of the International Organization of Journalists, said the President was putting the lives of people at risk by referring to journalists as “vultures and carrion crows. I feel there is bad journalism but I wouldn’t target the messenger for the message,” he said.

Nagamootoo has been a senior member of the PPP since 1976, when he became a member of the party’s Central Committee. He was subsequently elevated to the Executive Committee in 1978, where he served continuously until 2005. He was one of the highest vote getters in the party’s 2008 Congress but was not selected to the party’s Executive Committee. Nagamootoo, who has been a member of the PPP since 1961, had indicated an interest in becoming the PPP’s presidential candidate but withdrew from the race after his call for the wider membership of the party to have a say in this process was ignored.