Former Speaker Ralph Ramkarran points to a decade and a half row with the leadership of the PPP in an explosive letter to the press
In an explosive letter to the press, Mr. Ralph Ramkarran pointed to a decade and a half row with the leadership of the PPP. He said that in 1997 after the death of party founder Dr. Cheddi Jagan, he, Ramkarran, was nominated to be the Presidential Candidate at the 1997 general elections. He said that nomination came from no less a person than Dr. Jagan’s widow, Mrs. Janet Jagan.
However, he pointed to a fierce, desperate and eventually successful effort to defeat his nomination and that Mrs. Jagan was persuaded to take up the nomination herself, against her better judgement. One of the worst political unrests in recent history followed Mrs. Jagan’s election to the Presidency.
Ramkarran said if the PPP has difficulty remembering that meeting when his nomination was shot down, he has the notes and is prepared to tell it all.
Ramkarran also stepped back into the debate about why he no longer occupies a top seat in Freedom House.
The party has said his departure was “inexplicable as it was sudden” and “feigning great intolerance” he walked out and resigned.
But Ramkarran disputes this, sharing a brief part of a letter of apology that was written by PPP Big Wig Gail Teixeira to prove that he was kicked out of one of the party’s leadership meetings and that triggered his departure.
Teixeira, Ramkarran said, recognised that that June 30, 2012 meeting would go down as the party’s annals as a painful and emotional one and she expressed regret and apologised for remarks which offended Ramkarran. She also said she understood how frustrated Ramkarran was about many issues.
A hard copy of that letter was sent to Mr. Ramkarran in what he said was two or three weeks later but was declined for being too little, too late and tainted with insincerity.
Based on any rational understanding of what Teixeira meant, Ramkarran said it can only be concluded that when the PPP talked about his departure from the party, they were lying.
Ramkarran said the tactics of abuse and lies are now well honed weapons in the armory of the PPP.
Ramkarran was accused of not raising the issue of corruption in his internal Party statement advocating his candidacy for the presidential nomination in the run up to the last elections.
But Ramkarran said he did indeed address the issue, including in writings to the party newspaper and the Chronicle, but he suggested most in the party leadership don’t read those newspapers anyways or he would have been kicked out much earlier.
Further, he said that the atmosphere of intolerance from the early 2000s, and especially after 2006, was so pronounced that no one, including Mrs. Jagan, dared to raise any criticism or negative issue unless one was prepared for a tongue lashing.
He said that several party comrades courageously raised the issue of corruption again and again but were always overwhelmed by hostility or the next best thing – silence.
Further, he said the leadership cabal ensured that the issue of corruption was taken off the Party’s agenda.
Mr. Ramkarran said that in response to the growing cancer of corruption and public criticism, the PPP established an Anti-Corruption Committee shortly after the 2001 elections, led by Mrs. Janet Jagan. The first act of that committee was to investigate an allegation of corruption against a senior Party organizer. That party organiser, Ramkarran said was found guilty, but the then General Secretary, Mr. Donald Ramotar, now President, refused to dismiss the party organiser or to take any other disciplinary steps against him. Ramkarran claimed that Mrs. Jagan refused to convene the Anti-Corruption Committee again until those disciplinary steps were taken against the organiser, but none was ever taken, and as a result the Anti-Corruption Committee never met again. The organizer has since been promoted, Ramkarran said.
He said the post-Cheddi Jagan PPP does not now, nor has ever had, any intention of dealing with corruption, either in its ranks or anywhere else.