Urling, Clive Jagan among new candidates but PPP/C banks on family ties

Alongside the children of party stalwarts, businessman Clinton Urling, dental surgeon Dr Clive Jagan, and the Chief Executive Officer of GuySuCo Rajendra Singh are among the new additions on the PPP/C lists of candidates for the upcoming general elections.

And despite saying that he wouldn’t be a candidate, former president Bharrat Jagdeo has also been included among the 93 names on the National Top-Up list as is outgoing Prime Minister Samuel Hinds. Jagdeo, at a press briefing at Freedom House, on March 28, had said, “… I will not be on the ticket. I will not be on the list because I am not interested in going into parliament.”

The former president has reiterated numerous times since reappearing on the public stage that he was not interested in any constitutional posts and was satisfied that the incumbent could win the elections with its current list.

President Donald Ramotar (second from right) leading his team to City Hall yesterday.
President Donald Ramotar (second from right) leading his team to City Hall yesterday.

Also on the list are former AFC executive Sixtus Edwards and former APNU MP Africo Selman, who have recently voiced support for the incumbent, while notably absent are two current ministers of government: Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy and Human Services Minister Jennifer Webster. (Ramsammy recently underwent additional treatment for a heart condition in the United States and has been recovering. Luncheon had previously stated that Ramsammy was unlikely to continue in his capacity, although the minister subsequently stated that he was still prepared to serve.)

Additionally, Labour Minister Nanda Gopaul and Housing Minister Irfaan Ali are only listed on the geographical list for regions 2 and 3, respectively. Both of those regions have historically been PPP/C strongholds at elections.

Urling, who had telegraphed his entry into active politics after resigning from the nonpartisan NGO he founded, Blue CAPS, had said he had been approached by the two major political forces and was weighing the pros and cons.

Another businessman, Peter Ramsaroop, who endorsed the PPP/C at the last elections after previous associations with both the People’s National Congress Reform and the Alliance For Change, has also been fielded as a candidate this time around.

In addition to past second generation entries, such as Shyam Nokta, the PPP/C’s National Top-Up list includes Alexei Ramotar, son of President Donald Ramotar; Tsitsi Thank Mya-Mia Luncheon, who is the daughter of Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon; Rima Rohee, who is daughter of the party’s General Secretary Clement Rohee; Colleen Teixeira-Khan, the daughter of Presidential Advisor and the government’s Chief Whip Gail Teixeira; Rabindranauth Chandarpal, the son of late party stalwart Navin Chandarpal and long serving member Indra Chandarpal; and Charles Ramson Jnr, son of the former Attorney General.

GuySuCo’s Singh, who used to be the Chairman of the Board of Directors, was made CEO of the struggling corporation by President Ramotar last year. However, mismanagement criticisms still persist at the corporation.

Members of the media flocked President Donald Ramotar as he exited City Hall after handing over the PPP/C’s Lists of Candidates.
Members of the media flocked President Donald Ramotar as he exited City Hall after handing over the PPP/C’s Lists of Candidates.

The other head of a state-owned corporation who has endorsed the PPP/C by appearing is Badrie Persaud, the Managing Director of GuyOil.

The head of the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) Mahender Sharma, who is son of former Justice For All Party leader CN Sharma, is another new addition to the PPP/C list.

Speaking to reporters just before he presented the lists, President Ramotar said the PPP/C would be intensifying its campaign, which he was adamant would be a positive one aimed at regaining a majority in the National Assembly.

“I feel pretty good today. Now that nomination day is here, I feel everything is going to be more open to the Guyanese people. They would have a chance to examine our list of candidates. They would have a chance very soon [to see] our manifesto,” he told reporters.

He also said he is confident that his party has the best manifesto and the best lists.

Ramotar further claimed that the PPP/C has been making a great effort to create the social and physical infrastructure to take Guyana to “higher places.” Despite the fact that his government has been “frustrated in these last three years,” he said, in an obvious reference to it not having the majority in the National Assembly, the country’s economy is still the fastest growing in the Caribbean.

Asked what he would want to say to a still undecided voter, Ramotar said they should read the excerpt of the party’s manifesto and see that they are not promising the “pie in the sky, but our promises are realistic, our programme is realistic, we are identifying sources of financing and therefore I think the country will have a great future with the PPP/Civic in power.”

After presenting the lists, the party released a statement calling its candidates representative of “people from different parts of Guyana, different professions and occupations, women and gender, youth and experience, ethnicity and religion.”

“We are encouraged that so many people came forward to be a part of the Lists of the PPP/C. While not everyone could have had their names placed on the Lists, many more will be playing leading roles in other ways as the PPP/C enters this election with great confidence of returning to office. At the same time, we extend congratulations to all citizens who have come forward and made themselves available as candidates,” it added.

PPP/C supporters gathered in front of Freedom House—where buses lined the street after bringing supporters for the walk to City Hall—and commenced the walk down Robb Street, turning on to Camp Street and making their way to City Hall.

Ramotar, flanked by current government ministers including Hinds and Prime Ministerial Candid-ate Elisabeth Harper, led the procession. As the crowd made their way to City Hall, Ramotar, Harper, Hinds and others sang and danced along the way.

The crowd then waited patiently for Ramotar and Deputy List Representative Ganga Persaud to hand over the list to Chief Election Officer Keith Lowenfield for verification at City Hall.

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