If there was any doubt that while the opposition parties have been asleep the PPP has been doing its work, it was on Mash Day, when the PPP fielded a multi-racial band during the Float Parade.
The PPP left many of the parade surprised not only with their participation in Mash but also with the multi-racial nature of their band.
The PPP continues to mobilize across racial lines. It continues to woo supporters from the traditional base of the opposition and also now has a solid base within the Amerindian community.
The PPP has done all of these things while maintaining party unity. The PPP has surprisingly suffered no major internal implosion and this despite the raging ambitions and egos within the party.
If there is one thing that the party can be proud of, is its ability to maintain unity and strength despite the obvious dissatisfaction over certain policies of the ruling PPP.
A positive sign during the Budget was the reference made by the Finance Minister to “our party” and not just our government.
The Finance Minister is a brilliant scholar and no doubt is pleased with the PPP. This shows that when it comes to the professional class, the party continues to grow and expand.
Not many had expected the party to remain intact following the passing of Cheddi Jagan.
He was such a major figure within the party that upon his death there were many who predicted that the party would fall apart.
When this did not happen, the prophets of doom said that it was his widow who held the party together.
Well she too has passed to the Great Beyond and her passing has created no recognizable void within the party. In fact at the time of her death, she was hardly an influential force within the party.
When one considers that during the twenty-eight years in opposition, the PPP struggled to attract non- working class supporters and struggled to keep the party going, it must be asked what has been responsible for this dramatic improvement.
The party’s groups and supporters are not just restricted to Guyana. The party has strong overseas groups and these continue to work well.
Despite many persons in the Diaspora having concerns about the country, the party has not surrendered any support in this area.
There were a great many persons, including a number of overseas-based Guyanese, who turned their backs on the party when it was in opposition. But power is like honey and it attracts its own following.
But while the PPP’s position as the ruling party may have attracted a whole new following, this does not explain the relative cohesion that has existed within the party and more so when one considers that all reference to Marxism-Leninism is now totally muted within the party.
When one considers also that the country has moved from crisis to crisis, there must be a factor to explain how the differences within the party have never resulted in a major implosion and how the party has been able in these circumstances to not only achieve internal unity but also expand its base.
The factor that is often missed is the General Secretary, the person who stands at the apex of the party and who is mainly responsible for the day to day affairs of the party.
His success in keeping the PPP together despite the problems; his success in expanding the party’s support base into non-traditional constituencies; his ability to deflect major ideological rifts and his skill in ensuring that the party remains financially sound, is attributable to his personal qualities as well as to the high esteem in which he is held.
His personality has had an important role to play in preventing problems within the party. He is respected and is someone that is approachable.
He may not always have the solutions to a problem but he is someone who the ordinary member can trust.
He has also been able to maintain good relations with all, including those persons who have left or have been forced out of the party.
So when people ask what has ‘The Donald’ achieved over the years, the answer is that he has simply been his humble and simple self, and in being himself, he has been able to ensure that the PPP remains strong and united in the face of many difficulties.
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