Charles Ramson Jr, who recently announced his interest in being the presidential candidate for the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) at the 2020 elections, yesterday denied that his public declaration is a deviation from party norms, as has been claimed by the party’s General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo.
Last Thursday, Jagdeo told a news conference that Ramson had deviated from established party practice by publicly declaring his interest.
In a statement issued yesterday, Ramson responded to Jagdeo, noting that his intentions are good and that he is unaware that one cannot publically state their intent to run for the position.
“I was never aware of any such custom and over my 10 years with the party I saw different,” he said. “I saw persons make public announcements before going through a nomination process for the 2015 election and only recently one potential contestant made comments in the newspapers,” Ramson Jr stated.
He made it clear from the onset that he was not going to get into a “tit for tat” with Jagdeo because he has respect for him and the entire PPP.
“This tit for tat politics is destroying Guyana and it must change so the political parties have to change the way they do things….I respect my political party and all of our members so I will never disrespect any member in public like that since good leadership demands that you protect the people you lead,” he said.
In his statement yesterday, Ramson made it clear that he was responding to the comments made by Jagdeo because he wants people to know that “I am scared of no man … I only fear God. We are all on the same team seeking to obtain the same objective which ultimately is to change the lives of Guyanese for the better and since I believe that the programme of the PPP is better than that of any other party, my objective is to get the PPP back into power.”
He stressed that acceptance of the younger generation will mean fresher ideas and a change in the way things are done.
“If you invite our generation into the process and court our support then you are going to have to be prepared to accept that we are going to be bringing fresh ideas, beliefs and [ways] of doing things too. We respect customs but we also stand firmly for freedom, justice, openness, and fairness,” he said.
Ramson, an attorney-at-law, made the announcement that he would be contesting for the position of PPP presidential candidate one day after the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled that a president cannot seek re-election after serving two terms. This would mean that Jagdeo would be ineligible to run again. Ramson had stressed on the need for “young, fresh and credible leadership.”
Traditionally it is the General Secretary that is the party’s presidential candidate.
Jagdeo on Thursday stressed that the party membership may select a candidate, but in the end it was how many votes that person can muster at the Central Committee level that determines who will emerge as the candidate. “One thing we have frowned upon is the lack of modesty from our presidential hopefuls,” he had said, while apparently taking aim at Ramson’s public announcement. Throughout the party’s history, he had added, only former PPP member and current Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, “who displayed a public love for himself,” had declared himself the “anointed one” to take over the reins of government after Dr Cheddi Jagan.
“Once nominated, they will be considered once they are modest in the process. We don’t want the Nagamootoo-type ego to govern how we approach this matter,” he had added.
Jagdeo had noted that he was not worried about the process, because the party will unite behind the candidate. “We will work hard to ensure a PPP victory in 2020. We are not departing the scene as some people would wish. We are going to be here to ensure that the party stays strong and viable in 2020,” he had stressed.