If you challenge for political leadership of a political party and you are overwhelmingly defeated, your political future is finished. The annals of history are littered with political casualties, those who dared to challenge for leadership without ever having any real chance of success.
If you have a constituency or significant support within a party, you stand a chance of surviving after an unsuccessful challenge for leadership, only a chance.
But if you bring only a reputation and no constituency to a party, inevitably if you make an unsuccessful challenge for political leadership you will eventually be put out to pasture.
If on the other hand, you run a close race within the quest for leadership and are able to maintain your support-base, you are likely to have a place around the round table until you are eventually made redundant.
The PNCR is a party divided into two main camps. Within that party, PNCR, there have been close contests for the position of leader on two occasions and it is only because the race was close and the defeated candidate has significant support within the party that he has managed to survive within the leadership.
Many years ago, Hamilton Green was a powerful figure within the PNC. But when he opted not to go ahead with a challenge for the leadership, a process was commenced to sideline him from the party. This campaign came to head after the PNC defeat at the 1992 elections; the campaign against him commenced. Green was not selected to be on his party’s slate for the National Assembly. He was later expelled from the party. Hoyte was taking no chances. He was putting out to pasture someone who could have challenged him for leadership. He was practising real politics.
It was major political gamble by Hoyte because Green was a powerful political figure with significant support within the party. But Hoyte took the gamble. He paid a huge price for it in the 1994 local government elections when Green took the most seats in the municipal election.
In the end Hoyte prevailed and Green was expelled from the party for close twenty years. It was not until recently that he was restored to the membership of the party. With the passage of time, he no longer posed a threat to the leadership and therefore they could be charitable and accept him back into the party.
Another political casualty was Vincent Alexander. He had decided to contest the leadership of the PNCR but this challenge never got underway and after there were concerns about the fairness of the process he pulled out. He has since removed himself from the leadership of the party, and for all intents and purposes may never again be counted amongst its future ranks.
It is against this background that no great expectations must be had about the forthcoming Congress of the Peoples Progressive Party calling for the reinstatement of persons who had resigned from the party. That is not going to happen.
In the case of Ralph Ramkarran his political future is over. He made a bid to be the presidential candidate of his party but did not have the support to be successful and his bid flopped. That effectively ended his political career.
It was always going to be difficult, considering the political culture of the PPP, for him to have survived in the leadership after that. He would have eventually been pushed out. But even if he was not, he would not have survived for long. He would have been voted down at this Congress had he not opted to resign.
This unfortunately is the reality of politics in Guyana. If you have a large enough constituency or strong support within a party you may survive an unsuccessful challenge but once you throw your hat in the ring and lose overwhelmingly then you political days are numbered.
This is the sad reality of politics in Guyana. The citizenry should not delude themselves into believing that that a more liberal culture is being cultivated within the political parties in Guyana. It is not.
It is always going to be hard for persons who have unsuccessfully challenged for leadership to remain with their party’s leadership for long and even when they do there will always be attempts to put them out to pasture.
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