With Ralph Ramkarran gone from the PPP because of his stance on corruption, it is time PPP members and supporters look at internal corruption of the PPP’s constitution.
The PPP holds a general congress for its members every three years. The last one was held in 2008. The controlling force of the party, its 35-member Central Committee, is elected at these congresses.
The Central Committee from the 2008 Congress was dominated by Jagdeoites. Jagdeo, his ministers and Office of the President staff comprised the majority of the PPP’s 2008 Central Committee. Since 2008, Janet Jagan, Moses Nagamootoo, Ralph Ramkarran and Dr. Moti Lall have either left the PPP or passed away. There could be more added to this list. Therefore, the Central Committee was down to 31 members.
It would be interesting to know who was replaced, if anyone, to fill those slots. In any event, the PPP’s Central Committee elected in 2008 was dominated by persons for whom Bharat Jagdeo was their boss with hiring and firing power over them. What is worse is that since Donald Ramotar became President, more Central Committee members and Jagdeo loyalists were awarded positions of power. Some were given ministerial posts.
When the general congress for 2011 was suspended to enable the Jagdeoite-dominated Central Committee to handpick its own candidate for the presidency, the PPP’s wider membership was discarded and rejected by the Central Committee. That decision means the Central Committee elected in 2008 will now have sit in power for an unprecedented six years until 2014. Having done it once, look for the power-drunk cabal controlling the PPP through the Central Committee to try to suspend the congress for 2014 again or even worse, to call a snap election before that constitutionally due congress just so their own handpicked candidate could be the party’s presidential candidate. For those reasons and given the oppressive presence of the Jagdeoites on the Central Committee, the PPP membership must commence a fight for democracy within its own party. It must demand a general congress before the end of this year.
The departure of a stalwart like Ralph Ramkarran is conclusive evidence that there is a culture of gross disrespect, bullyism, dictatorship and arrogance that permeates the upper echelons of the party and its controlling inner circle. PPP members and supporters throughout Guyana should be ashamed that the PNC/APNU is practicing democracy while their own party is falling into totalitarianism. More than the shame is the jolting reality that the PNC’s embrace of greater transparency and internal democracy within its party has rejuvenated its base and enhanced its appeal with the wider voting public while corrupt despotism continues to sink the PPP.
The PPP will continue to bleed votes as long as this corrupt group continues to hijack the party. It is time for the PPP membership to mount a struggle against the tyrants dominating them.
The PPP membership must insist on a general congress before the end of 2012 and must demand that the invitation process to the congress is not selective and fixed to enhance the value of political losers and vagabonds.
I am of the view that the very security of the PPP’s primary constituency, Indian-Guyanese, depends on the radical internal change and democratization within the PPP.
Without such transformation, the PPP will not find quality and non-corrupt leadership. Without good leadership, the PPP’s voting advantage will slowly disappear. Guyana’s future is firmly one of minority government as no party could conceivably win a majority for the forseeable future.
Weak leadership and the constant shame of corruption and wrongdoing cloaking the party will never convert minority government into majority government. It is only credible, quality and dynamic leadership that engineers change that could convert minority governments into majorities.
As long as the Jagdeoites continue to handpick incompetents who are beholden to them as opposed to possessing change-directed qualities to fix the country, the PPP will see its invincibility erode. At some point, this group of Jagdeoites will take the PPP perilously close to losing power. I hope PPP members and supporters do not wait until then to fix this mess and to install democracy within their party.
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