The new president must emerge from the shady shadow of Bharrat Jagdeo
Donald Ramotar is sitting on history. It doesn’t get better than this; a minority government, a chance at reconciliation, a prospect for creating an environment of racial healing, an opportunity to define a legacy, an opening to carve out an identity to an electorate who largely think he lacks independence, and frankly don’t know much about the man, and an opening to change the culture of politics under Bharrat Jagdeo that has poisoned this country and pitted the haves against the have-nots.
If Donald Ramotar allows Bharrat Jagdeo to stick around, it will likely lead this country into a period of bitter politics where confrontation and arrogance is the order of the day.
That behaviour will lead the AFC and APNU to go to war with the PPP when it comes to using their Parliamentary majority, aggressively exposing the PPP, leading witch hunts and taking a punitive role against the PPP.
With all the skeletons in the PPP’s closets, this backlash from the APNU and AFC in response to PPP’s antagonism pushed by any Jagdeo interference in Ramotar’s presidency will severely expose and tarnish the PPP, when a more cooperative strategy with APNU and AFC can allow Ramotar to quietly expel and target the corrupt in the PPP.
Therefore, Donald Ramotar must emerge from Jagdeo’s shadow and firmly banish Jagdeo from influence in his presidency of this country, to give peace, hope and reconciliation a chance.
Further, the PPP cannot afford to become a lame duck government, where its hardheadedness can lead APNU and the AFC to essentially run the country by passing all the laws to govern it. The risk with this approach, which someone like Jagdeo may favour with his known confrontational style, is that it enables the APNU and AFC to pass good, credible, fair and equal laws which the people may love and which may lead to the perception that the opposition is running the country and doing an excellent job while doing so. That perception will do serious harm to the PPP.
The removal of Jagdeo’s influence must also be accompanied with the removal of those Jagdeo’s cronies such as Robert Persaud, a man who has succeeded at only one thing in his political career; failure. His latest failure as PPP’s campaign manager has Donald Ramotar sitting as a president with a minority in Parliament. It would be political suicide for Ramotar to sacrifice his neck for something like Jagdeo’s ridiculous pension when it is changed in Parliament.
Donald Ramotar has been called many things in this campaign and comes to the presidency with the lowest level of overall respect as a leader. But he reportedly has a congenial and easy-going temperament which he can use to great benefit in building political consensus in this country and forming accommodating relationships with the opposition. Donald Ramotar sits on a slice of hope and redemption that Guyana has never had since 1953.
He has spoken about the spirit of 1953. He has to work to achieve it. That reclamation begins with the distancing of himself from Bharrat Jagdeo and his sinful legacy.