I note the letter from Mr. Ralph Ramkarran in Stabroek News `The PNC was not even prepared for shared governance at the City Council level’, October 17, 2013.
I have the highest regards for Ralph Ramkarran and have always held him in high esteem. However, his letter demonstrates a lack of knowledge of the wider and more significant issues. It is true that an arrangement was apparently made between the PPP and the PNC leadership to share the Mayorship in Georgetown after the 1994 municipal elections in Georgetown.
That is how the PPP and the PNC Councillors combined to vote together for Ranwell Jordan for the second of the three-term Mayorship for Georgetown. But Mr. Ramkarran is obviously unaware of the more significant issue, which is an obsession by the PPP for political control of the Capital City.
The truth is as follows:
In 1994 Georgetown – a stronghold of the People’s National Congress – Desmond Hoyte was the leader of the PNC, and Hamilton Green had serious disagreement with him over the political management of the party machinery. Hoyte had Green expelled by a Kangaroo Court that he Hoyte had established. So in 1994 Municipal Elections for Georgetown were in fact a pitched battle between two PNC Titans. The result Green (GGG) 12 seats, Hoyte (PNC) 10 seats and Cheddi (PPP) 8 seats.
After these results were announced then President Cheddi Jagan summoned me and proposed the rotation of Mayors for the three-year period – First year GGG, Second year PNC and Third year PPP. This is the formula to which Mr. Ramkarran refers.
Now the whole story which I had planned for my memoir – but must now be revealed as a result of Ramkarran’s letter.
When Cheddi Jagan and I spoke, I complimented him, for he and the PPP accepting the concept or notion of the shared governance. And said it would be noble of the PPP to put this policy in place in circumstances where they were victorious and not only where they were the losers. I told him that I would agree provided the idea would apply to boards, commissions, the diplomatic service and even the cabinet. That was the end of our conversation.
It appears that the then PNC leadership at that time unaware of the deep ideological philosophy of the PPP leadership for total control of everything seemed to have fallen for this PPP trick, hence PPP support for the election of Jordan as Mayor in 1995. With my experience of the PPP I knew that the plan would be to support the third year PPP Mayor with Government resources so that their Mayor would look good and therefore influence voters for the next election.
Mr. Ramkarran may not know that Burnham and Jagan and just a few of us had held secret meetings in an effort to forge a political unity (or a modus vivendi). Things were near fruition when Burnham died, my witness being Elvin Mc David. After Burnham’s death Hoyte had a strong hostility towards Dr. Jagan, which I did not share. Hoyte was not aware of the secret Burnham/Jagan talks. I recall inviting Cheddi Jagan to my home to revive those talks. Hoyte was upset, my witness to this being Dr. Joey Jagan.
The truth is this question referred to by Ralph Ramkarran is related to one raised by Hydar Ally, because good and shared governance is a prerequisite – a sine qua non for National Unity, that is, if it is to be deep, and to be part of the psyche of our people.
Hamilton Green, J.P.