It was a privilege to listen to a world-class political analysis on Guyana presented by Ralph Ramkarran while he delivered a speech in Queens, New York on Sunday, October 8th. Because of technology, I was in the confines of my home in Maryland and benefited from a live feed. The only mistake I made, I did not record the address since my initial thoughts were “another politician, what new can he bring to the table”. But I was dead wrong; that speech by Mr Ramkarran was one for the record books.
Let me for the record make it absolutely clear: I would rate that speech as one of my top three speeches from a Guyanese and definitely in the top 10 in my entire life. It was some 45 minutes of stimulating facts that expertly catalogued Guyana’s political history and major events. I encourage Mr Ramkarran to put those words into a small book; it matters for the future of Guyana and I am willing to offer my service to help in its publication.
His speech was very fair to the Granger-led, PNC dominated coalition on many scores. He gave him credit for winning the presidency in the 2015 elections. Mr Ramkarran acknowledged, after 20 years of the PPP in power the “people wanted something new”. He clarified that it is normal in any political system for people to want something new periodically.
But where he floored me, was the legal precision he used to deconstruct the Chief Justice’s ruling on the Gecom chairmanship. In the final analysis, both he and the Chief Justice clearly concluded that the Granger team failed to accurately interpret the Constitution. For this total act of mediocre law, it is my opinion that Basil Williams should have been relieved of his position.
But Mr Ramkarran did give credit to President Granger for not interfering in the process that culminated in the Chief Justice’s ruling; as he said, when compared to the Burnham era, “very few judges were able to rule against the regime maybe except for Justice Vieira”. He also agreed with the Chief Justice that “fit and proper” does not have to be someone with judge-like credentials and therefore President Granger is wrong.
He brought clarity on many issues (political and legal) that no one in Guyana has come even close to explaining to the population over the last few years. It is unfortunate the audience was an exclusively diaspora crowd. Such a statement would be even more valuable for the Guyanese domiciled in the motherland, and I am not talking about a small group in Georgetown, but the masses. In that regard, I appeal to Mr Ramkarran to pre-record these thoughts for a Guyana TV programme because as I said at the inception of this letter, his statement was nothing but fantastic. Berbice, Essequibo and Linden need to hear this message.
But the most appropriate news of all was that after that speech I was convinced that the third force movement is dead for another generation because of the opportunistic actions of the AFC. Even Mr Ramkarran confirmed that the former PPP supporters who voted for the AFC have now left that party permanently. Are they back with the PPP?
I have no patience for mediocrity from politicians as my writing reveals. But what Mr Ramkarran did on Sunday was anything but mediocre; it was intellectually stimulating, very balanced and factually driven. I thank him also for bringing truth to reality in this maze of subterfuge and deception called political commentary from the much discredited Guyanese political class. He distinguished himself by demonstrating that Guyana still has men of calibre walking the corridors of power in Georgetown.