We can’t predict life. A person can emerge as a phenomenal human being and change the course of history. Then a situation can arise where social conditions can create groups of people whose energies are so boundless that they change the lives of so many. In 2012, I couldn’t find one person only that stood out. There were three for me- Sharma Soloman, Nigel Hughes and Ralph Ramkarran.
I was involved in Linden from the start with the voices that rejected the electricity hike. As the pace gathered momentum, Sharma Solomon, the Chairman of Region Ten emerged as the voice of the entire community of Region Ten that rejected the electricity increase.
Powerful in delivery, modest in deportment and with a dedication that inspired the people of Linden, Solomon cut a figure that reminded you of the firebrands in the anti-colonial struggle. With each day the protest continued, his stature grew. By the time Linden was overflowing with anger over the shooting to death of three protestors he had become a formidable figure on the national scene.
This young man, acting with others of his make-up could open up exciting horizons of political change. He has the qualities to go with him and he is possessed of an integrity that will serve him well in the future. Solomon led Linden into a battle with a government that he unapologetically believes does not serve their interest. The result is a phenomenal achievement in which the central government can no longer command the people of Linden, treat them they way it wants to or make policies for Linden without Lindeners’ approval. If any part of Guyana will stand up to a bullying government it is Linden and one man provided the bulk of the passion and energy in creating that situation, Sharman Solomon.
Next is Nigel Hughes. I predicted two years ago that Hughes will invoke the spirit of Walter Rodney and walk like Rodney. Last year I made the assessment that in the shape of things to come, Hughes will make a huge difference. Born into a political environment in which his father had to face the heat of Burnham’s vindictiveness (Hughes’ father Clarence, was the divorce lawyer for Burnham’s wife at the time and that carried deadly consequences for the senior Hughes), Nigel Hughes comes across as a man who wants to change Guyana and fast.
A brilliant lawyer with a passion for human rights protection, Hughes is all over Guyana trying to right wrongs. From Region Six with flood victims to Region Five with women groups who are looking for empowerment schemes to Agricola with shooting victims to Timehri with residents who are facing housing demolition to the bauxite town with aggrieved Lindeners to Georgetown with African rights activists that want a monument to be where it historically belongs to Vlissengen Road in South Georgetown where weekly legal clinics are held, Nigel Hughes is walking in the footsteps of what he likes to repeat quite often, “his proud ancestors.”
In politics in today’s Guyana, Hughes’ presence counts.
Finally, there is Ralph Ramkarran. I have had my public quarrels with Mr. Ramkarran but I would never deny him the positive role he played in 2012 that may impact significantly on the future shape of this country. An enduring figure in the PPP leadership because of both his years of service and his father’s invaluable contribution, Ramkarran showed immense bravery in publicly breaking with a party that he and his father made into an important part of Guyana.
It was not a simple thing to do. Mr. Ramkarran’s psyche must have been burdened for nights and days when he proclaimed his exit from his party. But what was more important was that he knew fully well what would have been the consequences for his party.
But he felt Guyana should come first. In leaving the PPP, Mr. Ramkarran has told Guyana that he can no longer serve the organization that administers this country because he rejects the style and approach to governance. This will have its inevitable impact on the future of the PPP.
We don’t know as yet what the political plans of Mr. Ramkarran are but most Guyanese would know that in a national election the PPP may not survive with a Ramkarran on the opposing side. My opinion is that it will not.
If Ramkaran joins an organization that includes Moses Nagamootoo, Khemraj Ramjattan, Gerhard Ramsaroop and Dr. Ramaya, then the Berbice that put power in the hands of the PPP for so long will take it back.
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