What an Outrage!
by Khamraj Ramjattan

The impression now being given by the PPP top brass in Freedom House is that I precipitated my own expulsion, that I have been a delinquent for several years now - since 1992, that I am worthless and without any support whether from the membership of the Party or from its supporters. This is their propaganda.

The PPP's propaganda machinery indeed used to have the capacity to smother those it had banished. However the cutting edge of that machinery has lost all its sharpness because the machinery these days is manned by a number of personnel whose credibility has degenerated dramatically and who are associated with untruth.

Let me emphatically state that on that unfortunate morning of January 31, 2004, in the Central Committee room, Cde Bharrat Jagdeo loudly burst out that I do carry information as to what is discussed therein to the press and the American Embassy. It was loud enough for everybody to hear. The twenty-nine (29) signatories who stated that he did not, were merely coming to his assistance and rescue. Seven (7) of the twenty-nine (29) have already told me how sorry they are and why they did what they did. I understand their predicament. I will not breach their confidentiality.

President Jagdeo's unjustified utterance was intended to poison the Central Committee members' minds against me. 'Leaking information to imperialists' is the most dastardly crime a PPP member can commit. And when such a charge comes from one as high as him, all the more convincing and cogent it must be.

I have since wondered why this attitude towards me on that fateful morning of January 31, 2004. I have concluded that the dozen or so who constitute the top brass do not want me around. Why? Because Ramjattan asks only tough questions. He is brave enough to scrutinise, on occasions which have warranted doing so, good governance policies of the Government. He is daring enough to criticise Party leaders, including Cde Janet Jagan, and Senior Government Officials - not only in the cloistered walls of Freedom House but also in public.

He is arrogant enough to propose amendments to the Party's constitution, especially its ideological positions, at a time when there is a justifiable and sensible need to de-emphasise these positions. I am so happy that Cde Moses Nagamootoo, a true Guyanese hero, stood up for truth and was not pressured into toeing the line. All the finer details of the story of my expulsion will be told. This will be done in a more tranquil time, when the dust has settled.

However, it is important that a few points be made now to negative and neutralise the erroneous insinuations being made by the propaganda czars against me.

Firstly, the impression is given that after my walk-out of the Central Committee meeting on January 31, 2004, I leaked what happened there to the Stabroek News and Kaieteur News. I did speak to the Stabroek News but it was to give my response to the contents of a PPP press release which stated that certain CC members felt uncomfortable with my presence concerning confidentiality being breached.

Now this was not the full picture. I then gave the true picture. So it was not I who went to the press. I responded after a PPP press release was sent to the press. What is wrong in doing so? Which Party rule did I breach?

As regards where the Kaieteur News got its information from about what transpired on the January 31, 2004, the omniscient czars should check amongst their ranks and ask the question who would have a motivation to cause such a leak.

Secondly, the impression is given that I invited expulsion upon myself when on February 11, 2004, I affirmed that the President did utter the damning words. At the meeting of February 6, 2004, which I thought went very well, the four (4) charges, namely instances of writing critical things about Party leaders, were dealt with. One instance had absolutely no foundation; words were attributed to me when in fact they were from a leading trade unionist whose pronouncements on the teachers issue was somewhere else in the newspaper's pages.

I did make the point that whosoever had prepared these charges were seeing a whole lot more than was properly there. This of course embarrassed the disciplinarians. I vividly remember the President shouting to Cde Robert Persaud and Cde Khellawan Lall, "what happened here?"

Indeed, and very importantly, at this meeting I was asked and I agreed not to speak to the press on anything which had transpired at the said disciplinary proceeding, and at the Central Committee meeting of January 31, 2004. I then indicated to the members present that this position should be reciprocated, that is, they too should not take anything to the press.

Lo and behold on the night of the February 8, 2004, I saw Cde Donald Ramotar on the television denying that President Jagdeo ever accused me of leaking information to the press or the American Embassy. This was reneging on what was agreed on; and was making me look like a liar. Moreover, on February 9, 2004, I read in the newspapers that Information Liaison Cde Robert Persaud, had denied that President Jagdeo ever uttered those words, and inferentially calling me a 'malicious' liar.

What was I to do? Stay quiet and allow the destruction of my integrity and credibility? No! I decided to issue a written statement to the press dated February 11, 2004, affirming what President Jagdeo said. I was not going to allow party rules to confine or crib me into not defending myself. My silence may very well have been interpreted as supportive of what Cdes Donald and Robert had said.

So it is ungrounded to argue that "Ramjattan deliberately provoked a situation which he knew would lead to his expulsion" by going to the press on the day February 11, 2004.

These chaps did not keep their part of the bargain, and then mischievously assert how I breach Party rules. Then to crown it all they give me the maximum penalty; and then go on top of the mountain and yell: "Hear ye, Hear ye: Ramjattan precipitated his own expulsion." Thirdly, the impression is given that all my articles unjustifiably attacked the PPP This is as untruthful as the denial of what the President said.

Indeed, on several occasions my commentary was biting. But the public figures they were directed at ought to be genuinely thick-skinned. I will not only praise my senior leaders. When they commit wrongs or improprieties they should in no uncertain terms be told so.

This is the surest way to promote a new political culture. Additionally, when I accepted the invitation to write as a columnist in the Stabroek News it was not on the condition that I was obligated thereafter to have a punch-out with Raphael Trotman by a reasoning that since he would attack the PPP, then I in turn should attack the PNC. I wish to point out I was asked to write on any topic I see fit as a "leading member of the PPP known for his independence of mind."

The membership and the public should be reminded that the offer to write a weekly PPP column in the Stabroek News was made to the General Secretary Donald Ramotar in the months preceding the elections. This was taken up but not always fulfilled. The PPP members should be told why after being given an opportunity to put the PPP's views in a weekly column, this grand opportunity was wasted by the top brass not writing.

Finally, the intellectual ineptitude shines through, shades of an infantile disorder, when the argument is made that a director who publicly criticises his Company ought to be fired by the Board.

The impression given here is that since the PPP is like a company and Ramjattan one of its directors, then if Ramjattan levels criticisms publicly against other directors he must be fired by the Board. This approach does not surprise me. This is the approach cultivated by the organisational principle called democratic centralism. And thank God this is not the principle subscribed to by Banks DIH or Guyana Publications Inc.

Just to enlighten you Cde Donald and comrades of your ilk, the proper approach is to let the shareholders execute the dismissal, not the Board. To continue the analogy, the shareholders are the voting delegates at a Congress. They appoint/elect the directors, ie, the Central Committee members; and they at the next shareholders' meeting have the power not to re-elect me if they feel I am delinquent.

But some directors feel they own the Party and against shareholders' decisions and desires can sack a director at their whim and fancy. The PPP's shareholders, namely the delegates at Congress, know Ramjattan very well. He has a loud mouth and a sharp pen, and always had. They voted for him to be a director in December, 1994.

The other directors unreasonably disqualified him in 1995. They voted for him in 1998 and again in 2002. What this means is that the shareholders want him in the Board because of his loud mouth and sharp pen.

Some of the other directors feel this might affect their survivorship and hence do not want him. So these other directors expel him in 2004.

How utterly immoral and illegal and torridly wrong! My expulsion was such an outrage; not only against me, but also against the Congress and the Party's membership.


March 6, 2004
© 2001