By Abena Rockcliffe
The incumbent People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) has finally identified the person to run alongside President Donald Ramotar as the Party contests the upcoming elections. Should the PPP return to office following the May 11 General and Regional elections, Guyana’s new Prime Minister will be Elisabeth Harper.
Harper is currently the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Guyana’s Ambassador to CARICOM,
Her appointment was made known yesterday when PPP General Secretary, Clement Rohee, hosted a press conference at Freedom House.
Rohee told the media that the Party’s Central Committee unanimously endorsed the single nomination for Prime Ministerial candidate presented by the Executive Committee. He said that in doing this, the committee reaffirmed the tradition established in 1992, whereby the Prime Ministerial Candidate for the PPP/C would be a Member of Civic Society.
He said that Harper brings to the PPP/C slate “that sparkle, that burst of freshness that will no doubt energize and inspire the electorate, our members, supporters, sympathizers and well wishers in general to work hard for the PPP/C’s victory at the poll on May 11, 2015.”
Rohee praised Harper as a “proven and tested servant of the people of Guyana.”
He said she is totally committed to placing—at the disposal of a future PPP/C government—all the invaluable skills and experiences she has accumulated over the years.
“As the Prime Minister of the PPP/C government, she will contribute immensely to continuing the exciting journey of building a strong, stable and secure Guyana. Mrs. Harper brings to the PPP/C a formidable grasp of current national and international issues which is so necessary for the governance of small states in today’s modern world,” said Rohee.
President Donald Ramotar also did his part to sell his new running mate to Guyana through the media.
He said, “She (Harper) has served our nation with distinction, not partisan but a patriot who for her entire career as an outstanding diplomat has dedicated her service to ensuring our great land remains united, prosperous and sounding.”
Ramotar said that he is extremely confident that the long-serving Ambassador will serve the party well as its Prime Ministerial Candidate.
“While we can boast of presenting a team of strong, tried, tested and useful leaders who have successfully enjoyed the democratic mandate of our people over the years, we continue to focus on renewal and we reach to the best who can serve in the interest of all the people in Guyana,” said Ramotar.
While being sold to the media, Harper who is the wife of former Guyana Cricket Coach Mark Harper, sat quietly and did not offer any words throughout the press conference.
Even after the press conference, Harper refused to give reporters any comment on the matter.
This is the first time the PPP has had a female Prime Ministerial Candidate.
Harper’s nomination means that long serving Prime Minister, Sam Hinds has bowed out of the race. Hinds has been the country’s Prime Minister since the PPP regained power in 1992.
A little after the announcement was made, Hinds extended “heartiest congratulations” to Harper.
He did this though an email he sent out to the media. However, it is not clear whether the congratulations came from him as a PPP member or as the Prime Minister of Guyana as the email was sent officially from the Office of the Prime Minister.
“DG is a Guyanese of exceptional national commitment who, I am confident, would work with everyone in pursuit of the national ‘good’. Indeed, I commend Ms. Elisabeth Harper to all of our PPP/C supporters and to all Guyanese,” said Hinds
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