As 2011 approaches, lobbying has intensified for the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) presidential candidate for Guyana and it sees as if the country’s sugar workers, which comprise the bulk of the work force in the country, will have a big say in determining the candidate for the governing party.
At least four party stalwarts have announced their candidacy. They are General
Secretary Donald, Ramotar, Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran,
Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee and former Information Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, who is now a practicing attorney.
It seems as if the outgoing President, Bharrat Jagdeo, who cannot seek re-election is supporting Ramotar, for reasons best known to himself, but I feel that Ramkarran is the best candidate for several reasons, not only because he is brilliant and capable or because he is the only one in the four, who can rub shoulders with world leaders.
Nagamootoo who was not in the good books with Jagdeo seems to be much wider away from the Russian trained leader, because the former Minister of Information criticised the President for not condemning GuySuCo for threatening to de-recognise the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) as the bargaining agent for the sugar corporation, because it is felt that the Union called too many strikes, thus preventing GuySuCo to reach its annual target.
Jagdeo said that GAWU will never be derecognise while he is president, but Nagamootoo felt that was not enough and the PPPR leader should have demanded that GuySuCo withdrew the threatening letter.
Meanwhile, Ramotar told reporters that Nagamootoo was harshly rebuked by the second highest decision making body of the PPP for criticising GuySuCo’s threat.
Ramotar said that although Nagamootoo was warned not to issue his statement condemning the sugar corporation, he still did so. On the other hand, the politician/attorney/journalist expressed shock that the Government could have condoned the attack on GAWU and the sugar workers and that the PPP leaders would have been expected to be in silent conspiracy with that outrage against the vanguard of the working class movement in Guyana.
GAWU which is considered an arm of the PPP, fought for decades to be the bargaining agent for the sugar workers. There were scores of strikes, work stoppages, protests and demonstrations throughout the year, which led to the death of Kowsilla at Leonara Estate who was killed during a picketing exercise against the Man Power Citizens Association (MPCA) which the sugar planters, Bookers, had recognized, although more than 90% of the workers were supporting GAWU. It was only in 1976 that GAWU was given recognition.
Former Minister and former advisor to the President, Navin Chandrapal also spoke out against GuySuCo’s threat and said that the sugar workers would have a say in determining the PPP presidential candidate.
Meanwhile, Ramotar and Ramkarran are at loggerheads as to the system of voting for the presidential candidate, Ramkarran said that it should be done by secret ballot, but Ramotar said that in the past the candidate was elected by showing of hands. This was denied by the Speaker who said that in the past that there was no need to vote because all the candidates, Dr, Cheddi Jagan, Janet Jagan and Jagdeo were elected unanimously.
Nagamootoo feels that all the members should be involved in choosing the candidate and not group representatives.
The PPP in the late eighties merged with the Civic party and the movement was known as PPP/C, but it seems as if the Civic element of the party is no longer active.
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