Ramotar has indeed tweaked the nation’s conscience
Adam Harris is right in stating that “Donald Ramotar has tweaked the conscience” of the nation (KN Sep 9) especially with regards to his failure to change the way government has conducted business after he became President last December.
I traveled a lot throughout Guyana in July conducting an opinion survey on peoples’ views about the government and on President Ramotar.
People across the political divide complained that their expectations on good governance and a change from the past so far have not been met.
They had hoped that with the government being a minority, there would be a new and improved way of conducting business with proper accountability and widespread consultation.
They expressed disappointment that virtually nothing has changed from the recent past in how government conducts business, its treatment of people, and in the selection of cabinet people or regional chairpersons and administrators.
People are increasingly losing interest in politics, in the government, and in the president. And Ramotar, himself, is losing support to bring healing within his party and national reconciliation.
Publisher Glenn Lall has it right in stating that people, including PPP supporters and those who want to see Ramotar succeed, are disillusioned in Ramotar not distinguishing his Presidency from his predecessor. They had hoped for change and a new style in governance and political behavior. Instead, they said they feel they are worse off than before or just about the same.
They had wanted to see a lot more new faces in government and in the local regional administrative offices, as well as the banishment of those individuals who failed them and those who did wrong.
Instead, they complained there is a continuation of the same old policy and the retention of some of the discredited individuals in governance, or their promotion – that turned away supporters.
People, including PPP supporters, complained about corruption, expressing support for Ralph Ramkarran’s view that the party should investigate allegations, although they could not offer any hard evidence to support their claims. They viewed Ramotar as a good man who means well, but who is not willing to take decisive action to do the right thing in reforming the PPP and to clean-up corruption and in bringing fresh faces to give the PPP an improved image.
And Adam is right that many Indians have changed their view of the Desmond Hoyte presidency when comparing it with the PPP governance of the last few years. A lot of Indian business people said the country was better off under Hoyte’s presidency, regarding a crackdown on corruption and crime, and some have expressed regrets for not voting for Hoyte after the restoration of democracy.
Too many traditional PPP supporters have lost interest in politics saying their party no longer cares for them and that is one of the reasons why many stayed away from the polls last November and will do so again next election.
Some are yearning for the rise of a Desmond Hoyte or a Messiah to save them.
Many feel the PPP will lose the government next election and won’t get it back because the party does not want to do what is necessary to clean up its negative image. Many feel that unless Ramotar changes direction and bring new faces with integrity, the party is heading for a rude awakening next election.
Many complained about the expected fallout from the resignation of Ralph Ramkarran, saying Ramotar has not done much to recall Ralph. They said Ramkarran’s resignation will most certainly have an adverse effect on support for the PPP. They noted that the party lost support last election when longtime stalwart Moses Nagamootoo resigned and linked up with the AFC, with Moses taking some grassroots support with him, denying the PPP a majority in last November’s elections. They feel Ramkarran’s resignation will take a toll on PPP support among the middle and professional classes.
The small number among the business class that still support the PPP and some among the working class said they will not vote in the next election because of Ramkarran’s departure. People described Ramkarran as someone who is highly respected and among a few party people who have unquestioned integrity.
The general feeling among supporters of all parties (including officials of the PPP) is the party would have won a thumping majority had Ramkarran or Nagamootoo or Navin Chandarpal led the party into last November’s election.
Many party supporters expressed frustration and anger with the failure of PPP leadership to mediate internal conflict to retain its stalwarts. Party supporters said they are fed up with their party alienating its base and longtime stalwarts. They described Ramkarran and Nagamootoo as good men that the party needs to retain office, and urge Ramotar to do whatever is necessary to bring them back into the fold.
An old female supporter put it this way. “If dem nah unite and dem nah listen to abee, dem guh feel. Abee nah guh vote and dem guh lose.”
As Adam Harris suggested, the Donald will have to eradicate the negativities of the past and change course, otherwise the future will become increasingly bleak.