– party stalwart since 1962
In a shocking move yesterday, senior Executive Member of the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Ralph Ramkarran, tendered his resignation to party General Secretary, President Donald Ramotar.
The move, according to party sources, was triggered by abuses from party insiders following Ramkarran’s comments on the need for the party to address allegations of corruption. He recently authored articles to this effect in the party newspaper, Mirror
Yesterday, in a one line letter addressed to President Donald Ramotar, who is the party’s General Secretary, Ramkarran said that the resignation is immediate.
“I tender my resignation from the Peoples Progressive Party.”
It was signed “Yours fraternally, Ralph Ramkarran”.
Ramkarran and his family have been around for decades in the party’s hierarchy.
He has been with the party since 1962, becoming a Central Committee member in 1974 and a member of the Central Executive in 1975. He had left Guyana in 1972 to pursue further studies overseas.
His father, Boysie Ramkarran, was a founder member of the PPP, having been a member of the Public Affairs Committee, the forerunner of the PPP. Like his son, decades later, Boysie Ramkarran also resigned from the party headed at the time by Dr. Cheddi Jagan because of disagreements. Boysie was also independent.
Ralph Ramkarran has served two terms as Speaker of National Assembly taking over from Martin Zephyr who was elected Speaker when Derek Jagan died.
Ramkarran was one of two persons in the upper level of the party who never worked with government. Because of his independence he challenged many things in the party, often incurring the wrath of the then President Bharrat Jagdeo. In fact, he was one of the people Jagdeo liked the least.
Sources close to Ralph Ramkarran said that his father always insisted that he get an education and not to be dependent on the party.
Last year, he was a main contender to challenge for the Presidential candidacy but stepped aside to allow Donald Ramotar to be nominated.
Ramkarran’s resignation would come at a time when several major projects are under fire and there has been a spate of resignations amidst corruption allegations and at a time when the PPP/C is desperately seeking to rebuild its image after a shocking loss of Parliamentary majority as a result of November 28 General and Regional Elections.
Ramkarran also issued a separate statement to the media.
“My resignation from the People’s Progressive Party was handed in to the office of the General Secretary this morning.”
According to Ramkarran, a lawyer by profession, at a meeting of the party’s Executive Committee on Friday, there was concerns over the articles of corruption he has written.
“…disquiet was expressed about the confidentiality of discussions in my presence having regard to my recent article on corruption.”
The politician also hinted strongly that it was clear there was a distrust of him.
“However, difficult it might be to link the two issues, the intensity of the discussions were such that further participation in the activities of the PPP would be a challenge.”
A party insider said that members angry that Ramkarran would dare to challenge corruption in the ranks, were actually abusive. And this would not be the first time. A female executive member some time back was critical of Ramkarran because he was “born with a gold spoon.” That he was “not from the proletariat”.
Boysie Ramkarran was a poor man who struggled to fund Ralph Ramkarran’s studies abroad.
Writing in the party’s Mirror Newspaper last month, last week, Ramkarran called corruption “a tax on development, and retards growth and development by a significant degree.”
He warned that the Government ought not to wait for more accusations from the Opposition or more allegations in the press and should immediately initiate discussions with one or more international agencies to seek out assistance in dealing with corruption.
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