Describing it as the most difficult decision in his life, Moses Nagamootoo yesterday resigned as a member of the PPP, saying that he had lost faith in its current leadership.
Nagamootoo, who has been associated with the party for more than 50 years, said the decision signalled a new beginning for him but he stopped short of endorsing any political party. The PPP, in a statement last evening, played down Nagamootoo’s resignation, saying it came as “no surprise” and that it will not be distracted by “this latest Nagamootoo publicity antic.”
“I confirm that I would not subscribe my name to the PPP’s list of candidates for the 2011 national elections, nor would I feature on the party’s platform, a decision I revealed to you on October 1, 2011,” Nagamootoo told a news conference yesterday, while reading from a letter he had sent earlier in the day to PPP General Secretary and its presidential candidate Donald Ramotar.
“I have lost faith in the current leadership,” Nagamootoo said. “My association with the party has been compromised and I can no longer in good conscience remain on the Central Committee or serve as a party member,” he added. “I will not condone or be a part of any bullying, corruption and authoritarianism, more especially when these decaying practices emerged inside the organisation to which I had dedicated all my life and to which I have been given my finest efforts as activist, journalist and government minister,” he said, with his wife Sita by his side.
He accused the party of departing from the vision of its Cheddi Jagan vision of being “lean and clean. Unfortunately, the leadership has betrayed its promises as well as these values. As much as I loved our ‘home’ there was just no space for me to help make it accountable, responsible and free from corruption,” he said. “The recent, awful disclosures by WikiLeaks should at least remind the leadership that ‘Moses had told us so,’” he remarked.
The former information minister within the PPP/C administration indicated that the final act which influenced his decision was “the total breakdown in internal democracy” within the party, in reference to the selection of its presidential candidate. Nagamootoo, who had indicated an interest in being the PPP’s presidential candidate, had called for a system to be implemented where the wider membership of the party had a say in the selection.
The PPP, in its statement, said that Nagamootoo’s action was “predictable,” given his “longstanding public dissatisfaction at not being supported by the membership and leadership for his bid as the presidential candidate, his efforts to secure a spot in government in 2005 and the membership’s non-support for him to be a member of the Executive Committee following his withdrawal from the body in 2005.” The party also noted that Nagamootoo has not been participating in the bodies and activities of the PPP. “It is sad that he continues to make unfounded charges against the party’s leadership as well as the government,” it added.
‘I am not done’
Nagamootoo, 63, had previously withdrawn from the PPP in 2005 following disagreements with the party’s leadership. He, however, returned to campaign for the PPP/C in the 2006 elections. He served as a Member of Parliament for the PPP/C during the Ninth Parliament of Guyana.
He said yesterday that he is wiser now from that experience and that he would definitely not be returning to the PPP for this election. He, however, did not completely rule out returning to the PPP’s fold later, saying that life was full of possibilities.
Questioned about his future, Nagamootoo indicated a desire to work towards a government of national unity. “I am not done. This is a new beginning and I am open because I have always been committed to the formation in this country of broad coalitions that work for common goals. And I believe that someday, this country will see and must see a government of nation unity,” he said.
“I cannot rule out anything because the search for a role in the society begins with finding people of like minds and I think there are many in Guyana who would wish to see these dreams,” he added. Asked specifically about talks with the AFC, Nagamootoo said: “There are no talks, so I cannot give you a status report. I’ve received some proposals and there have been some exploratory forays, the context of which I will not disclose at this point.”
Nagamootoo also revealed that he had been approached by several groups and parties but indicated that he had not been directly approached by opposition coalition A Partnership For National Unity (APNU). He said though that persons claiming to have some connections with the opposition coalition have spoken to him on the matter.
Meanwhile, Nagamootoo appealed to the PPP/C to refrain from using speeches and interviews from previous campaigns and distorting them to fool supporters that he was campaigning for the party. According to him, for the past two weeks the PPP has been showing a clip from a speech he made at Good Hope during the 2006 elections campaign, when he said he had been approached by the AFC but indicated that he would not join that party.
Questioned about on the likely impact that his departure from the PPP would have on the party’s base, Nagamootoo said he hoped that his move would serve as an eye opener to the masses. “Whether I have an influence on the base, my resignation from the PPP is not necessarily an attempt to have that base break rank but it is to have that base open its eye to a reality that we are now on the precipice of a return to autocratic methods,” he said. According to him, this is something the base of the party would have fought against and of which it should be wary. “If it can happen to a few people, that they could be thrown onto the sidelines and into the dog hut, then it will happen to everyone eventually,” he noted.