Speculating on the Jagdeo factor in a possible Jagdeo-Corbin partnership
I want to conclude my three-part focus by saying, whereas PNCR Leader, Mr. Robert Corbin, appears to have consolidated his hold on the party’s leadership position, and seems set to dictate to his party’s presidential candidate, President Bharrat Jagdeo, on the other hand, still has to establish where he will be politically in event of a post-Jagdeo government.
And judging from what I have seen in recent months, I am convinced that if he keeps his word and demits office this year, he will do so only if his successor will protect his government from corruption probes and preserve his government’s questionable deals/agreements involving public funds and resources.
This may explain why he recently appeared to be pushing his party’s de facto leader, General Secretary, Mr. Donald Ramotar, to succeed him. The other leading PPP candidate, Mr. Ralph Ramkarran, is on record saying if he becomes President, he will root out corruption in government, and this has to bother the President.
So, is the President’s end game plan actually to switch roles with Mr. Ramotar, thus becoming PPP Leader and, like the PNCR Leader, be in a position to exert influence over the decision-making of his party’s candidate, while functioning as if he was the President?
If so, then based on what I am observing, it is possible that both Messrs. Jagdeo and Corbin aim to secure the top honcho spots of their respective parties, to ensure their preferred choice for party candidate gets the nod, to participate in the elections and, regardless of the outcome, decide on shared governance with their respective candidates functioning as political puppets.
However, judging from rumblings from members/supporters in and out the PPP over the President’s surreptitious moves that seem to favour Mr. Ramotar, the President could encounter internal challenges to his preferred successor and any bid to become leader of the PPP.
While we’re on the subject, the PNCR leader, too, could encounter internal challenges to his preferred candidate that he would want to control.
Mr. Editor, anyone can chalk up my speculation to an overactive imagination, but what can anyone expect when we have a government and main parliamentary opposition behaving in a strange bedfellow’s manner that we never expected to ever see after 1992?
Immediately after the 1992 elections, the Desmond Hoyte-led PNCR took the streets in protests for shared governance under the guise of greater inclusiveness. That concept was alien to Guyanese and the PNCR was not well liked so there was no reason or incentive for the public to support the PNCR’s street protests.
Today we have a criminally corrupt PPP government and an increasingly authoritarian President, both definite reasons for the PNCR to be leading peaceful but massive street protests, yet the PNCR appears to be an extension of the Jagdeo administration’s payroll, with the PNCR leader getting a retirement package approved and nothing to show from government for his constituents.
How can we not then conclude there was a secret deal between the President and PNCR leader?
And even if there never was a secret deal, with the President facing a possible revolt in the PPP or a mutiny among grassroots supporters, he cannot afford to have the PPP lose this year’s election, so he either forces his will on the PPP leadership or cuts a deal with the PPP leadership.
If neither works out, then a last ditch move could see him use his executive powers to suspend elections or make a shared governance offer to the PNCR with specific conditions.
For the PNCR Leader, the latter will be like a dream come through as he finally gets to share virtual power.
In fact, despite all the talk about a PNCR candidate campaigning, the PNCR Leader repeatedly expressed his firm belief that shared governance is still the most viable option, so the PNCR’s choice of a candidate and election campaigning may be just a front or trying to go into any shared governance deal with a strong hand.
The obvious question at this time, therefore, is whether there really was/is a secret deal for Messrs. Jagdeo and Corbin, to make sure they become leaders of their respective parties, and actually run the government vicariously through a PPP President and PNCR Prime Minister?
Mr. Editor, we will find out sooner or later, but what we are finding out right now is that, instead of this year’s election race being an appraisal of the Jagdeo presidency and the PPP’s inconsistency, and awarding the winner main prize – which party governs for five years, the race is suddenly featuring a publicly watched fight among contenders in the PPP and PNCR.
For the PPP, we have Donald Ramotar, Ralph Ramkarran and Moses Nagamootoo. For the PNCR, we have David Granger, Hamilton Green, Carl Greenidge, James Bond and Faith Harding. This is definitely a first for both parties, and there is no way I can anticipate the President and PNCR leader allowing this to get out of their control.
As far as the President is concerned, too much is at stake with his government being investigated and agreements being revisited. And as far as the PNCR Leader is concerned, he did not up his right to be a vigorous parliamentary opposition leader and let the President strengthen his own hand in government and the PPP, to now let some new candidate walk away with his long awaited prize.
This is why, as we advance into this election year, we should pay very close attention to both the words and actions of both the President and PNCR leader the same way we are wont to do with opposition political parties and civic groups gearing up for the elections.
This year’s election has to be about the people of Guyana, not the PPP or the PNCR, and certainly not the President and PNCR Leader.