Leadership to be main concern at PPP congress – Rohee

The composition of the leadership of the People’s Pro-gressive Party (PPP) will be the main concern at its upcoming congress in August.

“Should there be a fresh injection of new leaders? Should there be a combination of the more experienced with the younger? This is a matter which the congress will have to decide when they vote,” Chairman of the Central Congress Committee Clement Rohee said during a party press conference at Freedom House yesterday.

Clement Rohee
Clement Rohee

The PPP’s 30th Congress will be held at Port Mourant, from August 2 to August 4, to review policy and elect executive members after postponements in the preceding two years.

It comes in wake of the PPP losing a significant amount of support at the last general elections in 2011, when it retained the presidency but lost control of the National Assembly for the first time in almost two decades.

Rohee was evasive when Stabroek News asked what a decision in regard to President Donald Ramotar continuing as the party’s General Secretary. “I cannot anticipate that,” he said, adding “that is a matter left to the delegates when they arrive at the congress venue.”

He also said former president Bharrat Jagdeo could very well vie for a position in the party.

“The process is that groups nominate persons who they feel are best suited to hold a position in the central committee. Former president Jagdeo, like everyone else, will be given the opportunity to say yes or no, whether he accepts the nomination,” Rohee explained.

He further said that if the former president accepted a nomination, that decision is sent to the credentials committee for review and that would factor in looking at all the other nominations.

In terms of transparency, Rohee said the congress would not steer away from tradition.  He noted that the media has always been invited to the opening session. He was coy when asked about the potential for public scrutiny and the level of transparency that will be allowed, reiterating that congress had no intention of departing from the way in which it has traditionally conducted business.

Critics are calling for congress to be more open to the public, considering the emphasis being placed on transparency throughout Guyana, including at the executive branch of government.

Former PPP stalwart Ralph Ramkarran recently dared the party to place on the agenda of its upcoming congress whether to go it alone or work with the opposition while also urging that scheming members be excised from the leadership.

In a column in the March 24, 2013 Sunday Stabroek, Ramkarran said that the party’s twice-postponed 30th Congress needs to face frontally the issues that have led to its worst crisis in 20 years.

He also declared that the Congress will have to excise the growing cancer of persons in the leadership of the party scheming against other leaders or the electorate will deal a blow to the party “from which it will take years to recover, if at all.”

Ramkarran challenged the leadership to place on the agenda of the congress whether to go forward alone or together with the opposition and said the party should allow a full, free and balanced debate and then submit the question to a secret ballot.

Ramkarran, who quit the party in his 50th year of membership after a row over what he said was serious corruption in the country, added that the party does not need a congress with a superficial show of unity, festering discontent and a collapsed organizational infrastructure beneath the surface.

“It needs a Congress which smells the coffee, sheds the Party’s negative images, democratizes, tackles corruption, renews its commitment to and restores the pride and inspiration of its members in its great mission of liberation and social justice, involves them in developing the policies of the Party and gives them free rein to frankly and freely discuss and debate where the Party went wrong in 2011, and the options of whether the Party should go forward alone or together with the opposition,” he declared.

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