…as PPP Presidential race gets bitter
He has been accused of mouthing party business at rum shops, and of being incompetent, but Navin Chandarpal says that he has no apologies to make and is challenging the accusations leveled against him by President Bharrat Jagdeo.
A public row between the two is brewing over the President’s remark that if the process to choose the Presidential Candidate of the ruling party is to be done by secret ballot, this could be “dangerous as candidate hopefuls could promise persons things in order to get their votes.”
Chandarpal, who once advised the president on environmental issues and also served as his Agriculture Minister, took offence at the President’s remark. Chandarpal was fired by the President in December 2009.
Now that Chandarpal has made public how he felt about the President’s remark, President Jagdeo has accused him of being bitter and vindictive and of talking the party’s business and the government’s business in rum shops.
The President, in a report carried on local news website Demerara Waves, said Chandarpal was jealous of young people. Yesterday, Chandarpal issued a rebuke of the President’s criticism of him, even saying he would not apologise for being in rum shops.
“I am not accustomed to gutter politics and will therefore ignore some of what was said but there are a few issues which need to be addressed,” Chandarpal started off in a letter to the press.
Chandarpal said he is not bothered about Jagdeo’s “excuse” about non-performance. Those involved in the areas of environmental and natural resources management know better.
“I remain proud of my contributions to this field and I’m humbly appreciative of the expressions of appreciation by the people who matter in Guyana, the Caribbean and beyond,” he said.
Chandarpal said he was not fired because of “non-performance,” but rather because he was accused of being openly critical of Jagdeo.
He added that this is ironic since he was careful to restrict his criticisms to the internal PPP and Cabinet forums.
“It seems as though my ‘non-performance’ has been this speaking up in the internal forums when I did not agree with the views and actions of others regardless of their official status,” he declared.
Touching on the President’s remark about him being in rum shops, Chandarpal said that like most Guyanese, he socializes in public places with his friends and enjoys running into old friends and acquaintances of all walks of life.
“I do not hide and have nothing to hide. Maybe, in this new period of Exquisite Hangouts for the more financially endowed, the status of the places where everyone else hangout has been downgraded to rum shops. I prefer to be surrounded by the average Guyanese than by the new elites,” he declared.
Chandarpal said that he could not be accused of being bitter and vindictive, saying the “vindictive part has to be an attempt at a joke.”
“Every Guyanese knows who is the most vindictive of all.”
He said that it is probably felt that he is bitter because he has numerous reasons to be. “But I have been brought up to recognise that bitterness is self-destructive. Instead of being bitter, I was taught to be resolute and principled. Unlike many people, I can hold my head up and walk with confidence and self-respect surrounded by an abundance of genuine friends.”
Chandarpal said he is not bothered by the personal attacks against him, as this is Jagdeo’s “preferred method.”
The President claimed that Chandarpal was suggesting, “Other members of the Central Committee are all cowards who are afraid to speak freely and openly about who they want to support.”
This, Chandarpal said, is a deflection of the guilt, because Jagdeo is the one who initially stated that Central Committee members could be induced by a promise.
The President also claimed that Chandarpal is resentful and jealous of young people taking leadership positions.
Chandarpal dismissed that as being absurd, saying Jagdeo himself is aware of the high esteem in which he holds Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr Frank Anthony, the Head of the PYO – the youth arm of the PPP.
“I was personally involved in the growth of many youth leaders, and have always opposed measures which stultify youth, kill initiative and treat them as robots.”
“I wish to say that many young people still recognise my willingness and competence to help them. Late last year, I was invited to serve as a Principal Adviser to the Guyana Chapter of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network.”
Chandarpal said he has confidence in the youth and the future of Guyana.
Chandarpal currently serves as Principal of the labour college of the Guyana Agriculture and General Workers Union.
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