Days before the PPP’s 30th Congress there were attempts by “some comrades” to lobby against certain candidates to the Central Committee elections including former President Bharrat Jagdeo and this prompted a letter from President Donald Ramotar warning those engaged in this to desist.
Various sources present at the 30th Congress of the ruling party at Port Mourant, Corentyne on August 2 said that the campaign largely targeted Jagdeo and persons believed to be close to him.
Sources say that this behind-the-scenes campaign points to a continuing contest for control of the party and the positions it might take on pivotal issues such as cooperation with the opposition in Parliament.
In a letter to all delegates and observers in attendance dated July 29, 2013 General Secretary Ramotar stated that “it had been brought to the attention of the Party Executive that some Comrades in an attempt to influence the votes at the Party’s upcoming Congress have been circulating (a) list of names of proposed candidates to the Central Committee.”
Ramotar continued that it would seem that “a deliberate attempt is being made to target specific individuals some of whom are long standing members”. He did not identify anyone. The letter went on to state that the move was politically dangerous and detrimental to party unity.
Ramotar added that all members who were involved in the distribution of the list needed to “desist from this practice immediately”. He asked delegates to ignore the list that was being circulated, declaring that it was both unauthorized and inconsistent with the norms of the Party’s democracy.
The letter added that a committee had been established to investigate allegations of improper conduct and that members who were found to be in involved in “activities detrimental to the party will face disciplinary sanctions.”
It is unclear whether the party took action against any members. The result for the central committee elections showed that Ramotar clinched the highest number of votes with Jagdeo closely behind. Analysts see this result as reflecting the on-going tussle between the two for shaping the future of the party and government.
During the various discussions at the PPP/C’s 30th Congress, multiple references were made to the changes the party had undergone since the last Congress in 2008 and the loss of the government’s majority in the 2011 general Election.
The Party’s previous leadership was continuously referenced. Ramotar also criticised the “calibre” of new members in recent years. He noted that while membership had grown in the past years the members were not versed in the fundamentals of the party. He noted that moving forward members would have to attend seminars to be properly educated about party philosophy and the history of the party.
He had noted that in relation to the 2011 election the party did not pay enough attention at the local level and this was in need of changing.