There appears a missive in the newspapers titled, “It was Mr. Rohan Singh who achieved much of the change being credited to Mr. Ramjattan.”
I was the Organising and Planning Secretary of the PYO at that time and I am unaware of a Tarachand F. Veerasammy at any level of the leadership or membership of the PYO at that time.
I do recall two Veerasammy brothers from Enmore, one of whom, Bernard Veerasammy, was Sports Secretary in our PYO Secretariat, while there was another Veerasammy from Bath Settlement West Coast Berbice, who was a Field Secretary with GAWU, while there were some Veerasammies from Albion who were members of the PYO but not at the leadership level.
I took the pains to research and check these facts because the person who penned this letter has a sinister motive to reposition, reconstruct and therefore try to make irrelevant deductions from the beautiful working relationship between Rohan Singh, Khemraj Ramjattan and Lionel Peters which relationship still exist in large measure today.
The mischievous writer ties to insinuate and paint the image of a Rohan Singh unknown to me even now. Rohan last visited me several times in August last Year on his way to India to pursue his religious passions.
As usual we discussed issues pertaining to our work in the PYO in the 1989-1996 period.
I have never admitted this, but I never disclosed to anyone that the original document with Rohan’s cosmetic changes to some elements of the PYO constitution done in Rohan’s handwriting went missing from the PYO’s office, never to surface again. I am not aware that Rohan was part of a search, with outsiders, to locate this document. That is not the Rohan that I have known and admired all these years and this raises important questions.
Who is this phantom writer, Tarachand F. Veerasammy, who obviously knew some vital businesses of the PYO, even undisclosed developments and betrayals within the PYO and how was he able to inveigle his way into Rohan circle at the level he apparently did is beyond me?
Which brings me to the essence of the need for changes in the PYO at the time under discussion.
I only disclosed to Rohan the disappearance of the particular document at my home here in Queens, New York last August. No problem there because we did achieve what we set out to accomplish as an Organisation with our work among young people in attracting them to the PPP and positioning them for leadership later.
The need to do this was initiated by Lionel Peters, as Planning Secretary because of the marked lack of ability of the PYO to attract bright young people to the ranks of the PYO and by extension the PPP as against our ability to recruit from among the sugar, rice and farming sectors. We lacked the impetus from the Tertiary level needed to move the organisation in and at the pace necessary with the advancing changes that were about to take place across Guyana.
The foresight of this planning process saw the recruitment of bright young leaders of the calibre of Gerhard Ramsaroop, Troy Kellman, Tarron Khemraj and his wife Priya, Silkie Sookraj, Sadie Amin, Arjune Carpen, Sase Narine Singh, Jagdesh Singh and Terrence Simon among others.
An earlier attempt to initiate such action by Peters through the Kitty PPP Group was quickly put down but that is a narrative for another day. That approach was premised on the Party’s practice and application of the principle of Democratic Centralism.
The successful outcome of the PYO’s initiative was soon manifested in its expanded role and results leading up to the successful outcome at the 1992 General Elections.
What can’t be denied is that Rohan did facilitate an enabling environment within the PYO for these changes to occur. At the time Rohan was preoccupied with writing his unpublished manuscript about growing up within a communist organisation.
Peters was able to charter successfully a course to attract newer forces to the PYO while Ramjattan virtually singlehandedly was able to influence his peers in the legal profession and the social clubs in Georgetown. He was able to accomplish these advances largely through his very successful legal practice and his personal ability to finance his passionate social pursuit.
Peters was able to organise the previously hostile Georgetown environment for the PPP and to exponentially expand the outreach of the PYO in sporting disciplines not traditionally part of the PYO’s area of influence. PYO competitions were organised in cycling, basketball, football and even boxing, but it mushroomed in dominoes and male and female softball.
Ramjattan was able to transform his fight from within the PYO, on changes to the PYO’s constitution to the larger picture, through the Party groups in Georgetown and across the country on a transformation of the Party’s ideological position, a fundamental shift. While he was doing this he devoted much time and finances to helping Lionel Peters in his successful outreach across the country in holding large and influential sporting events that were able to attract influential personalities to the sphere of influence of the PPP, in essence the genesis of what became known as the Civic of the PPP.
In spite of some adverse developments in all of their lives Rohan, Prakash, Lionel and Anan Boodran retain their close friendship and respect for each other and hopefully one day soon will find it convenient to put their considerable skills to work collectively for the upliftment of the Guyanese nation.
The phantom Veerasammy makes an important observation that the leadership of the PYO, in Rohan, Prakash and Lionel were decapitated after the General Elections of 1992, but this can still be corrected and put right.
Lastly, while a lot of things were happening at the level of the PYO, Bherry Ramsarran resigned from the Secretariat of the PYO, but was promoted by the PPP from membership of the Central Committee to membership of the Executive Committee with responsibility for Youth work. This was not communicated to those whom Veerasammy refered to as “the epitome of a new political breed; talented, intelligent, vibrant and creative young people both with a vision and a mission”.
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