Jul 08, 2015 News
– party unclear when taking seats
A little less than one month after the 11th Parliament was opened, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) seems to have finally made up its mind about its list of Parliamentarians.
But with a sitting of the National Assembly set for tomorrow, the party, which appears to have abandoned its “Civic” component, remains unclear when it will take up its seats.
Some 10 new faces, including former President Bharrat Jagdeo, will be appearing. He is to be the Leader of the Opposition.
But a number of experienced heads will not be taking up seats including former President Donald Ramotar; former Prime Minister Samuel Hinds; former Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh; and former Foreign Affairs Minister, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett.
Also absent from the list are Prime Ministerial candidate, Elisabeth Harper; Dr. Nanda Gopaul; Faizal Jaffarally; Jennifer Webster; Bibi Shadick; Robeson Benn; Kwame Gilbert and Norman Whittaker.
The new faces include Collin Croal, a former Permanent Secretary; Gillian Persaud, Zulfikar Mustapha; Alister Charlie; Venkatasuma Anamayah; Nigel Dharamlall; Dr. Clive Jagan; Charles Ramson Jr, and Africo Selman.
The presence of Dr. Jagan will mean that it will be the first time that a Jagan will be in Parliament since the 1990’s.
Also included in the list and drawn from Geographic Constituency are Carnel Damon; Irfaan Ali; Komal Chand; Anil Nandlall; Neendkumar; Priya Manickchand; Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo; Dr. Jennifer Westford; Dr. Frank Anthony; Indranie Chandarpal; Juan Edghill; Joseph Hamilton; Odinga Lumumba; Ganga Persaud; Dr. Vindhya Persaud; Dr. Bheri Ramsaran; General Secretary, Clement Rohee; Dharamkumar Seeraj; Pauline Sukhai; Gail Teixeira and Dr. Leslie Ramsammy.
Missing from the list is businessman Clinton Urling, who after endorsing the party in the lead-up of the May 11 elections clashed with senior officials after criticizing Jagdeo.
Explaining the absence of Dr. Ashni Singh and Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, PPP said yesterday that both, who were being considered for Parliament, have asked that their “unavailability to serve the Party in the 11th Parliament of Guyana be made public to avoid any speculations”.
According to Rodrigues-Birkett in the PPP statement, “I have decided to do some work overseas that will take me out of Guyana for extended periods and which will not allow me to do the required work of a Member of Parliament at this time. My new engagement doesn’t take away from my commitment to the Party.’’
Meanwhile, former Finance Minister Ashni Singh, long seen as close to Jagdeo, thanked the PPP for considering him.
In declining, he said: “As I explained, my personal and other commitments would make it difficult for me to discharge the obligations of a PPP/C MP in the manner I would like to at the current time. I remain firmly committed to the PPP/C, and I continue to be available to be of service to the Party in other capacities’’.
PPP said that it arrived at the list after a series of consultations at various levels over many weeks.
“As customary and in-keeping with the party’s policy, a number of factors were considered such as experience, youth, gender, ethnic composition, geographic-spread among others. The PPP remains proud of its democratic tradition which allows the various tiers of our Party to make meaningful inputs in the decision-making process.”
The PPP made it clear that the Opposition Leader (Jagdeo) has been fully endorsed by its Central Committee.
“Full disclosure in respect of those parliamentarians who will fill the position of Leader of the Opposition and Chief Whip, will take place at the swearing-in of the thirty two (32) PPP Members of Parliament.”
PPP insists that the list represents a list of persons who have the capabilities of representing “all Guyanese”, more particularly, the over 200,000 persons who voted for the party.
“A number of new faces are expected to be heading for the National Assembly with a good blend of youth and experienced Parliamentarians. However, the Party has not made a decision regarding when these Members of Parliament will take up their seats in Parliament. Consultations are still ongoing.”
PPP, which has been in Government for 23 years, was facing its toughest test after losing the elections on May 11 for the first time. It has approached the court claiming that the polls were rigged, although the international community said it was above board.
The party had promised to revamp its image.
The presence of Jagdeo, who is facing private criminal charges of racial incitement, has also been seen as a major problem. His administrations have been accused of corruption and gifting tax concessions to friends and a number of favoured investors.
A number of audits are ongoing within several state agencies.
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