Selection of Jagdeo as Opposition Leader would be self-defeating

Dear Editor,

 

I refer to the article titled ‘Jagdeo likely to be Leader of the Opposition –sources’ (SN, June 22).

In the approximately six weeks since May 11, I have not mentioned the PPP by name in public writings. The closest I trusted myself to state was “the former ruling party” and the like. This is how much of an anathema this group had become to me. Today I start over.

If Mr Bharrat Jagdeo is selected to lead the PPP, this would be the absolute worst thing, hands down, to happen to the party. Any rhetoric and postures about reform, reconciliation, and racial harmony would all be just that: empty rhetoric and shallow postures.

For if the man turns out to be the leader, then the moderates, reformers, rehabilitators and decent will either separate themselves or submit themselves to be silenced into the oblivion of meaninglessness.

It is said that the leopard cannot change its spots, but some creatures are known to shed their skin; I believe that this political reincarnation will be some combination of the two, with the result being a truly mythical concoction: a Guyanese chameleon.

From all appearances, the influential powerbrokers within the party are bent on resurrecting the old, the divisive, and the degrading. This will certainly generate some warmth and excitement within the dedicated fold while, on the other hand, it incites societal disbelief and ridicule.

The PPP insiders must recognize that no matter how much he can galvanize the faithful on a tribal basis, his name and presence (and history, too) unleash implacable dissonance everywhere else. With an approximately 40% race-based constituency, it is not enough; and so too his claim to economic expertise. Further, swing voting blocs are likely to distance themselves from association with his leadership. There is no credibility and no harmonizing attributes present; only a sweeping toxicity and dense discernible radioactivity.

Even further, chew on this for a moment: the so-described “militarization people” and “racists” so recklessly branded pre May 11, form an integral and growing part of the new administration. The Opposition Leader would have to share space with them, and more. I do not envisage him getting things done, as feelings are hard and deep. Too hard and too deep.

For these reasons and more, this selection would represent a fateful backward step. I think that a reformed, restructured, re-peopled PPP stands a chance, with the right moves, to challenge for power after a minimum of ten years, more likely fifteen. Now with this name and leadership, it could be way longer. It makes no sense, lacks vision, and is devoid of appeal outside the group. It is self-defeating.

 

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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