The PPP has a history of carefully selecting its leadership for the presidency. Cheddi Jagan and Janet Jagan were obvious and givens. They were political legends whose names are forever etched in our history books. Bharrat Jagdeo was a deliberate choice masterminded by the Jagans because of his Marxist economics credentials having studied just shortly before the PPP ascended to power in 1992, and because he was in possession of the commodities of youth and vitality. It is evident that the Jagans picked Jagdeo because they believed he could represent a new PPP to a nation growing increasingly younger and hungrier for opportunity and change. Bharrat Jagdeo had a reputation for hard work and possessed humility, traits which the Jagans liked. Were there moral questions that surrounded Bharrat Jagdeo that the Jagans overlooked? Who knows. What is clear is that all PPP members generally kept their ethical excesses and moral perversities in check or hidden when the Jagans were around. The Jagans did not know that Bharrat Jagdeo would leave an atrocious legacy in his wake which dwarfs his achievements on debt relief and climate change. But the Jagans knew then that Mr Jagdeo was youthful, energetic and held significant promise. They also hoped that Bharrat Jagdeo would have parlayed the promise into racial healing and reconciliation and social equity. They were proven wrong.
So that is the selection methodology up to Bharrat Jagdeo. Then there is Donald Ramotar. A man who inspires more questions than answers. A man who is a known partisan in a country needing a break from partisanship. A man who has never practised encompassing multiracial politics in a country that routinely identifies the race problem as its biggest issue. A man whom the Jagans did not see fit to elevate to any dominant role within the party when they were around. A man under whom the PPP had degenerated into corruption, egregiousness and totalitarianism. A man whose rise to the helm of the PPP has seen its worst mistreatment of some of its strongest stalwarts. A man whose reign has seen the rise of a divided PPP.
In keeping with the Jagan tradition, the incumbent president has immense powers and plays a domineering role in the PPP’s selection of who runs as the party’s presidential candidate. The Jagans had demonstrated in Bharrat Jagdeo that youth and the ability for cross-appeal were vital ingredients in selecting new leadership in the future. Which explains why Bharrat Jagdeo got the appointment. Bharrat Jagdeo’s PPP has demonstrated in Donald Ramotar that youth and crossover appeal are not necessary when the PPP selects a presidential candidate. Basically, President Jagdeo’s PPP has broken the Jagans’ mould in selecting leaders with promise for the future; with the skill set, training and intellectual ability to make tough decisions; and with an unstoppable work ethic. I’ve never heard of Donald Ramotar possessing a strong work ethic. Ramotar inherited a PPP which was already built brick by brick by the Jagans. The executive presidency is a lot of work. It is shocking that Bharrat Jagdeo who was picked by the Jagans for qualities they believed would rebuild the future of this broken country would endorse a man who is from the past, remains in the past and cannot comprehend a future. Bharrat Jagdeo’s endorsement of Donald Ramotar is an insult to the legacy of Cheddi and Janet Jagan who trusted him to utilize his incredible clout to chart new horizons in picking leaders of a different breed. Did the PPP really go from Cheddi Jagan to Janet Jagan to Bharrat Jagdeo to Donald Ramotar? Is this the age of back to the future politics?