Dr Vindhya Persaud is among five central committee members of the PPP who are in contention to be the party’s presidential candidate.
The selection of the candidate has taken on added urgency given the likelihood that general elections will be held in March following the passage of a motion of no-confidence against the APNU+AFC government on December 21st.
Persaud has been seen as a rising star in the party. She is the daughter of the late PPP executive Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud and is prominently associated with the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha.
Meanwhile, the Executive Committee of the PPP has unanimously decided that the party’s presidential candidate shall come from within the membership of the Central Committee, however, that decision could be overturned by the Central Committee, says Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo.
Jagdeo told the Sunday Stabroek yesterday that the decision was taken on Thursday when the Executive Committee (ExCo) met to discuss the procedures and eligibility of the candidates.
Stabroek News understands that to date five candidates from the Central Committee and one non-Committee Member have been nominated or have indicated their interest in running for the candidacy. The five Central Committee members are Irfaan Ali, Dr Frank Anthony, Anil Nandlall, Persaud and Gail Teixeira.
The non-Central Committee member is Charles Ramson Jnr. Contacted yesterday, Ramson told the Sunday Stabroek that he respects the party’s decision and he does not want the issue to detract from the party winning the general and regional elections, whenever they are held. “There is no question about my commitment to the party,” he said.
He added that he did not get the chance to contest the executive elections of the party at its congress in 2016 even though he had returned to the country just for it while doing a master’s degree in oil and gas. He said that by the time he had returned the date for expressing an interest in being elected had expired.
Jagdeo said the unanimous decision by 17 of the 18-member ExCo to have only members of the central committee selected was taken after looking at precedent in which no former presidential candidate was ever selected from outside of the Central Committee. It was decided that the candidates should have been tested at the party’s congress, the highest decision-making forum of the party and who would have carried out the party’s programmes.
Nevertheless, he said, that the 35-member Central Committee has the power to overturn the decision of the ExCo.
In Ramson’s case, Jagdeo said, if he feels dissatisfied with the decision of the ExCo, he can appeal to a Central Committee member who is not a member of the ExCo to nominate him. That can be put to the vote. As to whether the Central Committee accepts the nomination or not is another matter.
Whatever happens, Jagdeo said, “Mr Ramson is a very valuable member of the party.”
The party is expected to name its candidate by the third week of this month.
Voting for the presidential candidate is expected to be done by secret ballot, Jagdeo said, if candidates do not withdraw their candidacy in support of a unanimous choice. In the past, the party had gone with unanimity.