…says it’s a “pussur-pussur lie” to claim he was not named a possible successor to Dr Jagan
The charismatic Alliance for Change (AFC) convert, Moses Nagamootoo, has fired back at leaders of the incumbent People’s Progress Party (PPP), who have leveled serious allegations, or what he calls “lies” against him.
Nagamootoo, who spent decades in the PPP but left after citing corruption and other issues, has been a favourite punching back for the PPP at its meetings.
But in a stern rebuttal, Nagamootoo said that several lies have been cast upon him by leaders of the PPP. Among the thorniest issues has been Nagamootoo’s claim that he was seen by party founder Dr Cheddi Jagan as his possible successor.
The PPP has denied Nagamootoo’s claim that Dr Jagan had named him in November 1996 to be his possible successor.
Nagamootoo said that on May 18, 2004, he reminded Ramotar in a letter that “(t)here should be no myth about what Cheddi Jagan said at Lethem. I want to see Robert Persaud going on record on this issue. He was there!”
“Jagdeo and Ramotar never before denied what Dr. Jagan said. Ramotar tried to give it a ‘twist’”.
The former PPP member quoted a June, 8 2004 in which Ramotar wrote to him on the issue.
“It is clear that Cde. Cheddi must have been saying that when he is no longer available the Party would be in good hands because it has capable leaders. He must have mentioned you in that context,” Ramotar was quoted as saying. Therefore, Nagamootoo concluded that Ramotar never denied what Cheddi Jagan said, but only gave it his own twist.
President Jagdeo has claimed that one John Silas said to him that Cheddi Jagan never named Nagamootoo as his successor. That, Nagamootoo said, is a “pussur-pussur lie!” He said John Silas was not at the Lethem meeting.
Nagamootoo said that he is on record as writing Ramotar, in his capacity as PPP General Secretary, that he would have known that upon his return to Georgetown, he was summoned to an emergency Executive Committee meeting at Freedom House, to which Party Organiser John Silas, who was not an ExCo member, was invited to.
Nagamootoo said that Mrs Janet Jagan demanded that he explain what happed at Lethem.
He said that he related what Dr Jagan said, and his reaction to that by suppressing publication of the remarks that he could possibly be a replacement for Dr Jagan at the 1997 elections.
“I explained why I had an angry argument with the Organiser [John Silas] for being absent from the meeting, when the microphones broke down; how, when he told me that I had no authority to question him, I chided him for not hearing what Comrade Cheddi had said, and how I added sarcastically ‘You could be looking at the next president!’”
“I added in my letter that Comrade Cheddi was within hearing distance in the next room, while that brawl was going on.”
Nagamootoo said the matter was never again raised in his presence with Dr Jagan.
“I was to be at his side until the fateful day that he was flown out from Guyana during February 1997, only to die days later. He never denied what he had said at Lethem. End of story.”
Nagamootoo has also been accused of being a candidate of Balram Singh Rai’s Justice Party in 1964 that helped removed the PPP from office and left that party in the cold for 28 years.
The PPP has warned its supporters about a “conspiracy” by the AFC and the opposition alliance APNU to group together and oust the PPP from the seat of government or at least cause it to lose the 19-year control it has had on the National Assembly.
In 1964, the United Force joined the PNC (which is now the major pillar of APNU) to put the PPP out of office.
Nagamootoo, however claimed that he was no candidate with Balram Singh Rai’s Justice Party. He said that he was 17-years-old in 1964 and hence was too young to vote, since the voting age was 21.
“I was too young to be on the Voters’ List; too young to vote. How on earth could I have been a candidate for any party?”
Nagamootoo explained that he joined the PPP on October 3, 1964, and served for an unbroken period until his resignation in September this year. In fact, he said that in 1991, he was conferred with a Meritorious
Award for serving the PPP with distinction continuously for over 25 years and that that certificate was signed by party founder Cheddi Jagan and current general secretary Donald Ramotar.
Another lie Nagamootoo said was being levelled against him is that in 1976, he was about to join the PNC along with Ranji Chandisingh, Vincent Teekah, Halim Majeed. He revealed that during 1975-1977, he favoured talks with the PNC, as advocated by Dr Jagan.
Nagamootoo said that others, who opposed cooperation, rigged the 1976 elections of the party’s youth arm so as to oust several “pro-talks” young leaders.
“I was dissatisfied but never left the PPP even though inducements were made to me by L.F.S. Burnham, Chandisingh and others.
Later, threats were used against me, but I refused to betray my leader and my party,” Nagamootoo claimed.
Nagamootoo denied talk by PPP leaders, including President Bharrat Jagdeo and presidential candidate Donald Ramotar, that he left the PPP because he lost the nomination to be the incumbent party’s presidential candidate.
Nagamootoo said he withdrew from “the rigged process” where party members were excluded from choosing a candidate.
He said Ramotar was hand-picked by “a gang” within the Central Committee, the highest decision making forum within the party.
Nagamootoo had refused to appear before this body, saying that it had no mandate to select a candidate.
“There was no election. Only a rigged selection,” he charged.
President Jagdeo, Nagamootoo claimed, had repeatedly said that he, Nagamootoo, lied on Mrs Jagan as she never promised that he should be Vice-President of Guyana.
However, Nagamootoo said that twice when the issue came up, Mrs. Jagan said she could not remember. “At 80 plus, it is fine not to remember. But she never denied. She never said that I lied on her,” Nagamootoo claimed.
Mere days before her death, Nagamootoo said that Mrs Jagan, his mentor as journalist, on March 5, 2009, in her own handwriting, sent a note to him, with words of appreciation and fraternal affection.
“She took pains
to scribble that note, telling me that her hand was in cast as she had broken her shoulder. Would she have done that if she felt that I had lied on her?”
Nagamootoo said that Mrs Jagan had done so on many previous occasions, embracing his work as she did on 27th May, 2008 when she lauded his tribute to militant women in the Guyanese struggle:
Nagamootoo also debunked that claim that Ramotar did nothing for the PPP in the last 10 years.
It is the same Ramotar, Nagamootoo said, who wrote him on June 8, 2004 in great appreciation, saying: “Your suggestions and contributions to debates have always been valued and I and the Party leadership look forward to your continued contribution.”
In addition, Nagamootoo quoted a July 21, 2006, press release in which Ramotar announced that “the Executive Committee expects that Mr. Nagamootoo will shortly resume his useful role in the party.”
Nagamootoo also took on Dr Joey Jagan, whom has accused him of being a soup drinker, a vagabond and an opportunist.
“What soup-drinker would leave a teaching job earning $180 monthly in 1970 to work for $114 as a journalist at Mirror, staying on for the next 22 years at the side of Janet Jagan, my editor?
“Which soup-drinker and opportunist would remain loyally at the side of Cheddi Jagan in the PPP for the unbroken 28 years in opposition under Burnham, and then another 12 years under Bharrat, and completed the proverbial 40 wilderness years?
“I resigned twice as Government Minister in 1993 and again in 2000. A ministerial portfolio held no soup for me,” Nagamootoo declared.
He said he left “the throne for the mudflat; I gave up privileges, perks and positions.”
When he was in Cabinet, Nagamootoo said he opposed the increase in Ministers’ salaries, but was out-voted.
He said he refused a national award when he was recommended by Cheddi Jagan, and when he became Minister, he refused to leave his humble house to live in a state-sponsored house.
Nagamootoo said that he never travelled on a first-class air ticket, nor stayed at hotels overseas at government’s expense.
He said he refused a $15 million loan from Jagdeo to buy a personal Prado, and choose instead to drive around in a second-hand government jeep.
In addition, Nagamootoo claimed that while he worked as journalist for a foreign agency between 1985 and 1992, he donated his entire salary to the PPP to help pay decent wages to party organisers.
“I am humbled to have attracted such great attention for my life’s work.
“I wish I could have taken these garlands of thorns to my grave — Judas, soup-drinker, traitor, neemakharaam, laurra, gutless, visionless, loser, vagabond, hypocrite, naga-dog, naga-goose, labaria, opportunist, ochro, etc.
“Except, these are all lies, dirty lies.”
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