I would like to respond to an article, entitled, ‘Anthony, Nandlall, Ali among likely PPP picks,’ published by the Sunday Stabroek in its April 8, edition. First, I would like to endorse the author’s observation of the three potential presidential candidates, although I’m in no way on a mission to adulterate the outstanding public image of any of the above statesman.
Starting off with the current Chief Whip of the PPP, Ms Gail Teixeira as a possible presidential candidate, I personally think she is an outstanding politician with unmatched government experience. Unfortunately dealing with the millennial, existing socioeconomic and environmental issues, and having the party transition to a new generation weighs against her. Her credentials and political astuteness, nonetheless, seamlessly dovetail into her existing role, and are more suited for the government Chief of Staff; however she should not be ruled out of contention or dismissed as the article did. Ms Teixeira is loyal, committed and disciplined when it comes to her party. While she may not be as young as the other contenders, she is vibrant and among the best in the current Parliament. In my view the more intense the battle becomes between the three younger contenders, the greater her chances becomes to be the candidate the leadership compromises on.
Ali’s broad and profound knowledge of the economy, proven ability to manage an immense portfolio, like Housing and Water, and Tourism, Industry and Commerce, stand in his favour. During his tenure, housing evolved into a key economic impetus, one that drove the economy for over six years. His experience with government portfolios, including acting Prime Minister and President is his asset. I am of the view that he fulfils the criteria to get the nomination. However does he command the votes within the executive to get it?
Nandlall, though very outspoken, and publicly eulogized for his high level of zest and unrivalled sagacity in the legal profession, has a deficit of experience in functioning at various levels in government. His experience is insufficient to actively take up responsibilities of the highest office in Guyana, having being constrained to the portfolio of attorney general. The perfect presidential candidate must be an all-star, and a multidisciplinary individual who understands the dynamics of the economy. However he is bold and may very well draw support from all factions in the party in getting the nomination.
Anthony, as a possible nominee for the presidential candidacy, in my opinion, is more of a lukewarm politician than an assertive one. In my opinion, even though he may be regarded as a very polite politician, setting that aside, this country needs a leader who is confident; however, more is needed given the demanding role of being a President. Mr Anthony well supported by the old guard may have this working in his favour. We will just have to wait and see.
In my view, Guyana is poised to become a major player in global oil and gas production. However, empirical evidence continues to confirm the widespread prevalence of the natural resource curse and the Dutch disease in nascent oil producing countries. The next presidential candidate, must, at a minimum recognize this phenomenon and take bold steps to protect its manufacturing and industrial sector. Bharrat Jagdeo is the only national politician that the population will rally around and which the party will unanimously choose for 2020. The leadership must know by now he is their most viable option and if things do not go his way then the party will have an uphill battle to stay unified after the selection of its presidential candidate.