An interesting letter in Kaieteur News of January 8th, by Narendranath Loknauth titled “Ramotar is the right man for the job” has caught my attention.
Mr. Loknauth wrote: “Historically with the Jagans at the helm, it was inconceivable for anyone to dream about leadership status, since it was regarded as sacrilege to challenge the Jagan candidacy within the Party”. This single sentence spoke volumes about the kind of democracy practiced within the PPP. Founder-leaders were leaders until death. They were divine.
It not only was “sacrilege” to challenge the founder-leader, the party’s constitutional rules and practices made it possible for the founder-leader to hold that position until death. It was a system of concentric circles – one group of 15 persons sitting within another group of 35 – first group to select the leader, then they themselves sitting and influencing the larger group of 35 to rubber stamp the decision. The whole system is a joke and has no semblance to the true meaning of democracy.
That was a system imported from hell (or from Jamaica), which in our current age, given our new values and ideas about how to run a modern party and state, is an anachronism and should long ago have been relegated to the dustbin of history. But President Jagdeo and his cronies have taken an oath in heaven to retain that system. Of course they can use that system for personal profit – to perpetuate themselves in power, to hold on to the levers of power in the Putin-like model.
Our notions of democracy today are very different. Jagdeo’s, Ramotar’s and Ramkarran’s embrace of an outdated and thoroughly discredited system must be seen as a gross violation of a sacred tenet of democracy.
What we have at the national level can hardly be considered genuine democracy. The PPP as an Indo-ethnic party is guaranteed to win the elections, thanks to the majority Indian population and the culture of voting race for ethnic parties. But let us also says thanks to the Afro-ethnic PNCR for they like the PPP are like two-peas in a pod: both parties practice the same kind of politics. Both ethnic parties literally lock down the country, foreclosing any chance of Guyana developing and evolving into a genuine multi-racial democracy.
The Guyanese people and particularly the independent press should resolve themselves to fight for genuine democracy.
The writer, Mr. Narendranath Loknauth dedicated his letter to the promotion of the candidacy of Donald Ramotar. The Ramotar candidacy stands for the promotion of race-based politics. It is also about preserving the so-called centralism of the party which by definition is anti-democratic.
There is one shining beacon of light within the PPP party. He is not afraid to confront the bastions of power within the party. He has called for empowerment of the members of the party. He wants all 2500 dues-paying members of the party to have the right to elect their new leader.
It takes wisdom, vision and courage to make that call. That is a mark of leadership – which Ramkarran and Ramotar sorely lack.
That beacon of light is Moses Nagamootoo. He is the same man who stood up to the power of GuySuCo when it threatened to de-recognise the workers’ union. That is called leadership.
Following the aftermaths of the 1997 and 2001 elections, the opposition PNCR alleged fraud. There was Kit Nascimento the front man for the PNCR speaking to the international media trying to make the case that the elections were fraudulent. The only man within the PPP who could have successfully countered the damage of Nascimento abroad was Moses Nagamootoo.
The skill-set required was a knowledge of the facts and presenting them with clarity point-for-point to effectively expose the falsehoods peddled by Nascimento. Moses possesses excellent speaking and presentation skills. He was an equal match for the formidable Nascimento. The skills and experiences of Nagamootoo – and performances in service of the PPP – are unmatched by any other member.
Guyana needs a leader who is well educated, who has good speaking and writing skills, who can speak with something better than a high school vocabulary. Moses fits that bill. As an attorney and journalist, Moses is very superbly qualified.
Where are the demonstrated leadership traits of Ramkarran and Ramotar?
Back in 1999 (when Jagdeo ascended to the presidency) and again in 2001 and 2006, Jagdeo did not think Ramotar qualified or suited for a plum appointment to Ministerial portfolio.
So why is Jagdeo backing him now for the presidency? This is easy to figure out. Ramotar is the only one who would cooperate with Jagdeo to replicate the Putin-model of leadership in Guyana.
The only good thing you can say about Ramkarran is that he is playing a quiet-quiet role, he doesn’t want to ruffle feathers, in other words, he is a loyal apparatchik like Gorbachev waiting for power to be thrust in his hands. That is a sound and proven strategy, the Gorbachev-strategy.
The only problem, you never know what Ramkarran would do once he ascends to the presidency. Would he become a Gorbachev or would he promote policies to support the status quo?
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