The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is still not sure when its congress will be held as it has to go through a process before the Central Committee makes the final decision, General Secretary Clement Rohee said on Monday.
“Right now, I don’t want to prejudge about the Central Committee because the constitution of the party said that only the Central Committee can postpone congress,” Rohee told reporters at the PPP’s weekly press conference at Freedom House.
He said too that members have to discuss among themselves and determine whether it should be held this year or whether it should be postponed to next year.
“Postponing of a party congress has nothing to do with whether you win or lose the election. It is not unprecedented to postpone a congress; that is the nature of politics,” he added.
The last PPP congress was held in Berbice in August 2013 and according to the party’s constitution, congress is due to be held this year.
Former PPP stalwart Ralph Ramkarran has suggested that Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo and Rohee may not be keen on the congress being held this year.
“The real reason for a possible postponement of the Congress arises out of the crumbling of the core leadership and possible challenges that have since arisen,” Ramkarran wrote in his Sunday Stabroek column. He identified Jagdeo and Rohee as seeking to be the party’s presidential candidate in the 2020 national elections and having the most to lose if the congress is held at this time.
Ramkarran said that it would be unprecedented for a PPP Congress to be postponed except if an issue of national importance gets in the way.
For example, Congress was not held in 2011 because of elections year, nor in 2012 because the PPP’s minority government was under “siege.” There might have been other cases in the past but there have been no postponements of Congress for purely internal reasons, he said.
In response to why he and the other opposition members did not attend GuyExpo in their official capacity, Rohee said they were “busy all over the country doing political work. We got to work hard from now to get back in the government; no time to lose…”
He said that invitations were issued to all members of parliaments to attend the event but they have “thank you meetings going on with respect to the Local Government Elections. We are busy people, we’re in the opposition now…”
Rohee criticized President David Granger’s ‘State of the Republic’ address delivered at the National Assembly on Thursday, saying that “heavy emphasis was placed on high sounding and lofty ideals such as social cohesion and national unity.”
He said: “The speech from all appearances had more to do with what purports to be Granger’s legacy rather than coming to grips with wrong-doings of the PNC and its reincarnation, the APNU+AFC which has thrown Guyana into the economic and social doldrums leaving hundreds of thousands of Guyanese wondering, and in many cases regretting, that if this is the change they voted for then it is not welcomed.”
The PPP charged again that since the APNU+AFC coalition took over office hundreds of young Amerindians have been dismissed from government jobs.
Rohee told the media that Granger has pretended to be “totally oblivious to what his underlings are doing on a daily basis to create social dislocation and disintegration as well as economic deprivation…”
According to him, black members of the PPP are being targeted while there has been unsubstantiated and groundless allegations against former presidents and ministers of the PPP/C Government.
He called on Granger and “his colleagues to explain how will the bridges he spoke about, be built and trust restored in this hostile, anti-democratic and anti-people environment characterized by fear and intimidation engineered by his own administration which he spoke so glowingly and glibly about.”
He also said that, “To claim that the ‘absence of National Unity has led to political and economic fatigue’ is not only disingenuous; is a reflection of a yawning gap between political rhetoric and the socio-economic realities obtaining in Guyana today.”
Rohee added, “The President’s speech was best suited for a PNC Congress or a gathering of APNU+AFC political operatives and activists but not for the parliament; it was basically a cover-up of a horrendous magnitude and a disaster of national proportion.”