Whatever you may think about Donald Ramotar, he has gone down in the history books on cricket. I doubt whether the Prime Minister or President of any nation has presented the prize money to a winning team in any kind of sports outside of the grand prize to the winner in the climaxing game.
And I am not too sure if any Prime Minister of all the cricketing nations ever graced the podium to present the final prize. I could be wrong. (Portia Simpson-Miller did present medals at the end of the track and field meet in her native Jamaica).
Ramotar turned up at one of the second round matches in the Caribbean Premier League to present the cheque to the winning captain. Ramotar was also able to secure an interview with one of the commentators, no doubt arranged by Ramotar’s PR people.
The talk among observers of American politics all over the globe is that President Obama has grown grey prematurely. And the process started very early in his second term. Looking at Ramotar at that cricket match, one can see the identical transformation. Mr. Ramotar looked tired, jaded with a conspicuous touch of slow, vocabulary presentation.
With a Local Government poll in 2015 followed by General Elections in 2016, for those Young Turks in the PPP who believe they stand a better chance of securing a victory for the PPP than Ramotar, the schadenfreude grins must be larger than the combined length of the three great Guyana rivers.
Running the United States against a defiant, powerful Congress is bound to cause any American President to show signs of fatigue. One may say the same for Guyana since 2011. Guyana is a complex society far more labyrinthine, mysterious and inexplicable than many countries in the entire world.
Mr. Ramotar inherited the presidency with burdensome factors at work. First, he lives with the guilt that he is the only PPP president not to win a parliamentary majority. Secondly, he has to endure the mental torture that his personal and political attributes may have been the reason. He has to contend with the psychological pressure that this makes him vulnerable in any election environment.
Thirdly, Mr. Ramotar is also saddled with the hysteria that with each passing day, there is no Ramotar moment that can catapult him in front of the admiring eye of the nation and time is not on his side. Ramotar may be looking for that accolade but it keeps evading him. It is nearing three years into his presidency and he has not initiated any grand scheme, great, national project or superb idea.
Fourthly, Ramotar’s presidency is living in a vortex. He has to contend with a defiant Parliament and guerrilla warfare inside the PPP. These are no ordinary oppressive circumstances. These are very depressing moments for any Guyanese president. Therefore it is understandable that Mr. Ramotar would bear the signs of fatigue.
Which of these factors are sapping the energy of Mr. Ramotar? If I were to isolate and comment on one of them, it would be his fear of losing the election candidacy in 2016. We need to get one suggestion out of the way before we continue. There will be no snap poll. The increase of UG tuition fees is the biggest indicator to date on that.
There is no way the PPP would increase UG fees and a general election is around the corner. There are more Indian than African students at UG. And UG’s student population consists of predominantly working class people; not even lower middle class but children of the labouring masses.
By November 2016 when the election comes around, the PPP is hoping that the fee increase would be a dead issue.
Mr. Ramotar is preoccupied with the road to 2016 and whether he will be in the frame. He knows that the obsession with all PPP beneficiaries is that for the PPP to survive, it has to win a majority in 2016. And he feels that there is a growing trend to look to a younger, more dynamic candidate (see my July 16 column – “Guerilla Warfare inside the House of Gerontocracy.”)
The presence at the cricket ground during the CPL may have given the Young Turks prodigious encouragement because truly when you look at Mr. Ramotar’s appearance and speech at that event, you feel that he lacks the endowments that would put him ahead of any of the Young Turks.
I want to make it quite clear that I am not referring to Mr. Ramotar’s age or body structure or anything like that. Those things do not matter and should not. I am referring to the overall appearance of a leader who gives off signs that he may be psychologically burdened and disoriented.
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