Now that Mr Donald Ramotar has been publicly confirmed as the PPP’s presidential candidate, it is appropriate to take a hard, unflinching look at what he stands for, and what he brings to the national table of expectations.
To begin with, for better or worse, the ruling party had no choice: To discard and replace the sitting president would have been the equivalent of admitting he failed abjectly in his leadership role. The opposition would have been furnished with a jarring election banner headline: ‘Takes PPP years to discover what the rest of the nation already knew -they had the wrong man.’ Thus, the party chose the easy way out, and stood by their man, while putting on its most cheerful face.
While the PPP can refuse to acknowledge the severe limitations of its leader, the Guyanese electorate can ill afford to do the same. It has suffered too much, paid too great a price. Now it is faced with a single probing, burning question: What does this man, this incumbent, this nominee represent?
First, in spite of rampant, runaway corruption, Mr Ramotar is incapable of taking a firm unambiguous stand for or against this vast pestilence. On this permeating, debilitating issue, he is content to shelter in the sometimes nonchalant, other times truculent garb of a Great Pretender: It exists, but is negligible, of meagre consequence.
Second, in terms of the illegalities of the party powerful, the comrade leader has metamorphosed from Great Pretender to Great Prevaricator. Here is a man who has never seen a strand of hair that he was not ready to split, and in which he could offer sanctuary to the many startling examples of profligacy and illegality among the party faithful. Societal tumult be damned. Lack of integrity and standards only evoke bland defiance from him: not a priority, not a problem. Kamla and Trinidad leave him even more imprisoned in his irreversible intransigence.
Third, his regime talks tough on crime, but the story on the ground is one of weak implementation, weaker results, and leadership of the weakest possible strain. This so-called toughness contributes to a thickening criminal presence, and explains the reality of both perpetrators and pursuers celebrating through wholesale buying and selling of the law. The operation principle on the ground is simple: cash available, ready for business, case closed matter over.
Fourth, the man is lost without the comfort of a prepared script, without the standard, canned guidance embedded in propaganda pronouncements. This is the candidate who it must be said, cannot think for himself on his feet.
Fifth, in the field of international relations, Mr Ramotar likes the role of delegator. Hence, the man from Home Affairs (who projects an enveloping numbness on domestic issues) is given free rein to vocalize his limitations in exposure and etiquette; to display publicly his inclement nature. And not to be outdone is that other delegate who is the lady with the dismal record educating the nation’s young, and who seized the opportunity to enlighten the Americans on the finer aspects of market brawling, Guyanese style. It is to be copyrighted and called Guyanese Literature A. The leader is happy for others to take the lead in doing the heavy lifting, and further embarrass the nation.
This is the man his party says possesses the vital capabilities (vision and principles), the requisite intangibles (the stoutness of character) to pilot this nation through existing broad-based turbulence of the most threatening degree. I say he is not; not from his actions, not from his own mouth, not from his record.
I invite, indeed challenge, any citizen, whether party supporter or civil society sympathizer, to identify one signature moment in the last three years; one only. Repeat, one only, that distinguishes the incumbent president from the party General Secretary that he was, and is all that he ever wants to be in his own head. It goes without saying that what has been good for the party and its chosen people, is destructive for the fate and future of the rest of this society.
I have said enough. It is now the turn of the Guyanese public.