Finally, I got Mark Benschop to make good on his promise of my gilbackker curry lunch. While eating it last Saturday, James Bond came into the restaurant and sat at our table, so the logical occurred – we asked Bond to pay. And he did. We talked a lot about politics with the conclusion that Bond has a long career in politics given his youth and legal profession. I said to him that I anticipate another thirty years for him.
That night I was the guest speaker at an AFC rally at Stabroek Market Square (I am not a member of any political party). Just before I was to make my presentation, Nigel Mc Kenzie of the Kaieteur News called my cell to tell me that Ralph Ramkarran had resigned from the PPP. As soon as I heard that, my mind for no reason flashed right back to the lunch discussion with James Bond.
No matter the disagreement Ramkarran and I had over the years, I know that his resignation came because he was made a victim of an authoritarian party structure and I thought there and then of the leadership of APNU and the AFC and who would be their victim as Ramkarran was the PPP’s.
My mind went back to James Bond because when the two independent dailies carried the news that the PPP-dominated UG Council had terminated my contract, James Bond was the only APNU figure that phoned me with the words; “Freddie let me know what I could do.” David Granger did call but that was in response to my initial contact with his office. I thought of Bond because what happened to Ramkarran can visit any young man like Bond and so many others if their parties are not open to leadership changes and a constitution that prevents the encrustation of dictatorial instincts.
Last week, I asked Gino Persaud, Chairman of Transparency International (Guyana chapter) if his newly formed organization has term limits. He said yes. I have put the same question to Gerhard Ramsaroop several times about whether the AFC has the same system. He said yes. Term limits prevent a person from controlling and dominating an organization to the point where it becomes their property.
Think of what a wealthy lawyer, doctor, and businessman can do to the structure of a group if he/she finances it and is responsible for its continued existence. This benefactor then decided who gets what and who does what for the party.
People like James Bond, Gerhard Ramsaroop, Gino Persaud, Michael Carrington, and Mark Benschop among others are young activists who have a destiny in shaping Guyana for the better. They have to ensure that whatever group they function in, that entity must by its constitution prevent longevity of power. We in Guyana have to turn our backs on Jagan/Burnham ownership mentality.
I have my disagreements with Ralph Ramkarran but I would uphold his right to disagree with me publish his views and demand his party recognize his right to comment on things he feels are wrong. At the end of the day, Ramkarran, Faith Harding, Henry Jeffrey, Aubrey Norton (to a certain extent) and others abided by a faulty structure that eventually hurt them.
It was Henry Jeffrey who told Denis Chabrol that there was never ever the mere existence of a group named the Civic Component. He went on to state for the sake of peace he didn’t raise it because Dr. Jagan did not take to the idea of such a formation. But given the moment that was presented to Jeffrey in 1992, Dr. Jagan could not have afforded to back down.
He announced to the world that the PPP was in coalition with the Civic Component and therefore the moment was there to seize to form such a party. History would have turned out differently if there was a legal civic formation.
In my opinion Jeffrey didn’t care about forming the civic group. He was content with power. Mr. Ramkarran is a different kettle of fish. In 1999 when there was no longer a Jagan presence in the PPP Government and Mrs. Jagan subsequently became ill, Mr. Ramkarran was the de facto elder statesman of the PPP. Reepu Dam Persaud and Harry Nokta were on their way down because of age.
Mr. Ramkarran’s stature was large at that time in and out of the PPP. From 2001, things began to slide under Mr. Jagdeo. After the 2006 election, Mr. Jagdeo went out of control. It was time for Mr. Ramkarran to step in and invoke his father’s image. Sadly, he chose not to.
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