Opposition Chief Whip and PPP executive member Gail Teixeira yesterday said that Volda Lawrence’s victory in the race for PNCR Chairman may have “tantalised” her into joining the race to be her party’s next presidential candidate.
“Maybe Volda coming on might tantalise me because I think I can slaughter her… I retract that word. I could definitely beat her at any elections,” she told reporters during a press conference at the PPP’s Robb Street Headquarters. She was asked whether given Lawrence’s rise to the Chairmanship of the PNCR, she felt as a woman it was time for her to make a bid to be the presidential candidate for her party.
With Lawrence’s assumption of the post of PNCR Chairmanship, she will be in the conversation as a likely successor to party leader, President David Granger.
Teixeira had previously indicated that she was considering the idea. Yesterday’s comments were a clear indication that she is now seriously considering a run.
Party General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo had said last month that the candidate would be named before Local Government Elections, which will be held on November 12th. However, Teixeira yesterday said her understanding is that a decision will be made before year end.
Asked whether she has decided if she is interested in the post, she said amidst laughter, “keep guessing.”
Sources have said that Teixeira was previously nominated in 2011 but chose to stand with former President Jagdeo in his endorsement of his successor, former President Donald Ramotar.
One source has said that Teixeira has “great internal support” and is respected and admired for the performance of her Chief Whip duties in the National Assembly.
“She is just as capable and is as deserving, if not more, than many who have shown interest. Gail is a powerhouse, do not mind her height. She has great support, I think always had great internal support and she is respected by all for that Chief Whip position she holds,” the source stressed.
Asked about the possibility of former president Donald Ramotar running, she said that the party in its wisdom will decide on its presidential candidate. She assured that all the “hopefuls” will have the opportunity to put their case forward and the party mechanisms will select who is the best candidate to “bring us to victory in 2020 elections.”
Teixeira also said that there are clear guidelines on what is allowed and not allowed in the race for the post. She pointed out that after the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that disqualified Jagdeo from making another bid for the presidency, persons wanting to run to be the party’s candidate began getting active. “Within a short time, the party has put out clear guidelines…as far as I know people are abiding by that,” she said.
Former parliamentarian Charles Ramson Jr was criticised by some in the party for publicly announcing his interest in being the party’s presidential candidate.
Jagdeo subsequently said that at a recent Executive Committee meeting, the issue was discussed and a decision was taken to put out a statement on what the process would entail. “The party Ex-Co (Executive Committee) has agreed that we put a statement outlining the process. The congress appointed 35 to sit in the Central Executive of the party. They then elected another 15 to serve as the Executive of the party. Right now, the procedure that we have used and will in all likelihood use again unless the Central Committee decides to change it…they will vote in a secret ballot on all of the persons whose names are before them on the ballot,” he had said.
While noting that the PPP will release a statement on the PNCR Congress, Teixeira criticised the PNCR for taking such a lengthy time to announce who had won. “I don’t know why it takes ten hours to count six hundred votes. Maybe that explains why on national and general elections it takes so long to get the votes out…But why is it that every PNC Congress …the elections take a phenomenal length of time,” she said before pointing out that the PPP doesn’t have this sort of problem event through it has more delegates.