Something is clinically
wrong with the upstairs of the PPP. This, I am convinced of. The PPP recently
made a public declaration that its 27th Congress, held in Port Mourant,
was a success. No, let me correct myself; it was “highly successful.” So said
its General Secretary, Mr. Donald Ramotar, even after having knowledge of the
Rose Hall Town siege by one dozen gunmen.
I do not expect intelligence
from the PPP; want I want is the truth—after all, they love to tell people they
are “Jagan’s party” (whatever that means). I expect honesty from the PPP because
the PPP occupies the seat of government in Guyana and is, therefore, obligated
by law to tell the people the truth.
How could this Congress
have been “highly successful” if four people (including a PPP activist-attendee
from the meeting) were killed on the very night the meeting concluded, in the
same locale? An entire town (Rose Hall) came under siege for 2 hours by a well-armed
posse that apparently was heading to the Congress fete. The never got there because
they were given the wrong directions by two fishermen who became suspicious—the
PPP leadership ought to be grateful for their lives.
Democratic Reforms Rejected by PPP Leadership
First, in an unprecedented
and dangerous move, the Section “K” Campbellville Group, led by prominent
attorney-at-law and PPP Central Committee (CC) member, Mr. Kemraj Ramjattan, attempted
to bring democratic reform into the archaic and obscure PPP constitution and practice—only
to be rejected. The four motions raised were:
That the terms “Marxism/Leninism,” “Socialist/Socialism,”
and “democratic centralism” be replaced with “national democratic,” “constitutional and
national democratic principles,” and “transparency, accountability, equality and
the rule of law” respectively.
That the PPP select a Leader, Chairman, and General
Secretary instead of only a General Secretary.
That 16 of the 35 seats of the CC be allocated
to Berbice (9) and Essequibo (7) constituents, instead of having a CC dominated
by party people residing in the city/G/town/Demerara (as is the case now).
That 7 or 1/3 of the 35 CC members be women.
The public is told that
these proposals were rejected overwhelmingly, but I do not believe the PPP. I
think that voters did not vote their conscience, but abided, as always, with the
dictates of the PPP big wigs—Ramotar, Luncheon, Jagan (who was not there physically),
etc., the people whose powers are most certainly to be eroded if these reforms
One has to wonder why
a mere 90 minutes was devoted to such staggering, critical issues. To make matters
worse, most of this time was allocated to people who opposed reforms—Mr. Ramjattan,
the central speaker in favor, was not even allowed to rebut. This, reader, I regret
to say, is PPP democracy.
The PPP constitution,
like its owner, operates on inappropriate (if not somewhat outdated) standards.
The PPP constitution, at its most recent upgrade, is more than 20 years old. Instead
of democracy, we hear the same tepid, “working class” rhetoric—the kind of babble
that leaves workers without any class.
None of the four motions
were accepted outright. In fact, as a consolation, the PPP leadership is willing
to allow more women and youth to “participate (without voting rights) in the deliberations”
of the CC. Hoji! Hoji! Should we be thankful? What is the purpose of this if these
people will not be allowed voting rights? When the time comes to vote on critical
issues, women will have to watch from the side as their male counterparts cast
their votes. This is the kind of democracy that the PPP is offering—one that is
undemocratic in nature and sexist in practice.
To top this off, the
president comes out in his speech affirming his supporters that democracy is “well
and strong” within the PPP. But then, as if he forgot what he said, Mr. Jagdeo
accused Ramjattan et al. of wanting de facto power via the “backdoor”;
“Some comrades have made this mistake and have created confusion and have sent
mixed signals to party members. There is no backdoor to power, which can only
come from the people.”
What “people” is he
talking about? Reader: let me digress a bit. Andrei Sakharov, the great Soviet
scientist-dissident-human rights activist who was seized and placed into detention
(Gorky Park) by the KGB, because he criticized the Soviets for invading Afghanistan,
once wrote in the first volume of his memoirs that “guilt hardly improves one’s
The PPP never learned
from its mistakes; nor does it seek redemption from its guilt. Now, back to that
ridiculous phrase, power from the “people”; the people never choose the real power
holders of the PPP (Executive Committee [EC] which consists of 15 members, one
of whom is the presidential candidate). This is due to the fact that the general
membership picks the 35 CC members—who in turns selects the 15 EC top guns. Let
me dramatize how the “people” become sideline when it most matters.
Consider the previous
Congress that was held by the PPP, in which Mr. Nagamotoo (former PPP Minister
of Information) received the second highest number of votes from the hundreds
of delegates etc. who attended that meeting. He instantly fell into the CC slot.
One would think that he would end up in the elite EC slot too, right? But this
did not happen because when the 35 CC members voted, Mr. Nagamotoo was not
included. How could one get the second
highest number of votes from the “people” but not end up as one of the top 15
PPP leaders? If the "people” wanted him as the presidential candidate, he
was wiped out by the CC leadership. So much for “people” power.
Dr. Frederick Kissoon
is correct; unfortunately, the PPP is already on the path of suicide. This Congress,
highly anticipated because it offered the party the opportunity to redeem itself
in the face of current adversity, became a farce—a rip off for a number of reasons:
The PPP leadership refused democratic reforms
The PPP leadership denied some, including women,
the right to vote
The PPP leadership did not allow for newness or
fresh people with fresh ideas; but basically re-elected itself—consisting of some
old, inept senior members
In its effort to shake
off a revolution from within, the PPP leadership is now weaker to confront a revolt
from without. Consequently, more of its supporters will suffer—more will die.
This is the charity that the PPP continues to expect from its supporters—it always
is like suicide—it always begins at home, from the inside.