The People’s Progressive Party wrapped up its 30th Congress yesterday revealing to delegates that the total cost for the event was just over $30.1 million.
During the closing of the congress, executive member of the party Irfaan Ali stated that the party was operating with a $2.6 million cash surplus. He said that leading up to the congress the cash received was over $6 million.
The transportation cost was cited as being the largest expense at $10 million. Residents in the area told Stabroek News that delegates camped out at the JC Chandisingh Secondary School in Port Mourant as well as other schools in the area. This publication understands that for the month of July cots and supplies were trucked in to various locations in efforts to accommodate members who were coming in from far-flung areas.
Stabroek News was made to understand that food costs were around $4 million for the duration of the congress. Speaking with a resident of the area, this publication was told that the party seemingly prepped for the congress with little community involvement. Stabroek News was told that party members did not really visit the area or spend time speaking to residents, however the party emphasized reconnecting with the grassroots multiple times over the course of the three-day congress.
Many of the addresses were tailored to include founder of the party, Dr Cheddi Jagan’s views on the community and never losing focus of the party’s core constituency. President Donald Ramotar during the course of the 30th congress acknowledged that going into the 2011 election the party was over confident and as a result more work needed to be done at the local level to regain the trust and support of traditional strongholds of the party.
When Stabroek News spoke to a delegate on Saturday night this newspaper was told that congress was a time for “those at the top to talk to we on the ground”. He had stated that for some of the groups they felt a disassociation with the full complement of the party because central committee members did not visit areas that were far-flung. He noted that after casting his votes for the central committee he hoped to see fresh names on the 35-member committee.
He told Stabroek News that the party was based on “principle” and that he was disheartened to hear the President question the calibre of new party members in his general secretary’s report. He said that the president himself had to find his way to talk again to the people in communities to reconnect.
However other delegates did not share the same opinions, another man told Stabroek News that it was the media which was perpetuating negativity and choosing “to side with the opposition to see the party fail”. He said that media in Guyana only wanted to emphasize what was wrong in the party and never wrote about all of the good. When Stabroek News questioned what he would like highlighted the newspaper was told “all the roads they building, the schools going up and international trade…”
Getting back to the grassroots, the 30th Congress was a forum for the party to incorporate the community by having delegates speak to people on the street to hear their views.
Meanwhile, the Berbice Bridge Company Inc. took the initiative to lower toll charges for 30 and 50-seat buses along with large trucks including four-wheel capable vehicles from August 01, 2013 to August 12 prompting criticism that the 30th congress may have influenced the BBCI’s decision.
The next congress is expected in August 2016 according to the party’s public relations.