Former President Bharrat Jagdeo says that Clement Rohee is the leader of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) but he once again on Saturday overruled him insisting that the party’s parliamentarians will donate the increases in their salaries to charity instead of the party’s account.
“I know what my position is and this is not going to go to the People’s Progressive Party, the money,” Jagdeo told a press conference at Freedom House.
Two weeks ago, Rohee, who is the party’s General Secretary, announced that a percentage of his salary was already being taken out and placed in a longstanding account of the party.
The general secretary was questioned as to what the party had decided since Leader of the Opposition, Jagdeo, had declared that no PPP/C MP would be accepting the controversial increase announced by the government. Rohee said, “My increase usually goes into a PPP bank account.”
Stabroek News asked Rohee why this account had not been mentioned before, considering that he was specifically asked if a fund would be set up to collect the increases and then later a decision made as to whether or not those funds would be given to various charitable organisations.
“You are imputing that by my not saying before that this bank account existed that something was sudden, was pulled out of the hat and we suddenly set up this bank account,” he countered. “It’s been there for years… I don’t have to lie. I’m a big person. I don’t have to lie over that.
…It’s always been there. It’s always been there for the longest time… Madam, I can’t tell you since when, but I know I have been putting money in it for the longest while.”
Attempting to clarify, PPP Executive Secretary Zulficar Mustapha had stated “The old salary goes to the MP and the increase goes into that special fund that the party created years ago and it’s deposited there.”
Mustapha stated, “There was a public pronouncement that the money was put in a special fund. The GS referred to that fund, that fund existed a long time.”
However, Jagdeo sought to put the issue to rest, insisting that the monies will go to charity. “The money is going to go into an account held separately at a commercial bank and every month the members of parliament, it’s their money basically, they will get together and they will decide which charity they will give the money to. There will be a public process,” he said.
Asked by Stabroek News who was the leader of the party, Jagdeo first said “The people have to answer that question.”
When probed further, he explained “You have a General Secretary and you have a Leader of the Opposition. Well I think Rohee is the Leader of the party.”