PPP/C Central Executive Committee backs inclusive politics

By Mark Ramotar
Guyana Chronicle
June 27, 2001

THE Central Executive Committee of the governing People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has commended President Bharrat Jagdeo on his stewardship of the country, especially in light of the post-elections unrest and other challenges.

The Central Committee - the highest decision making body outside of Congress - met for its second quarterly session last Saturday and after some five hours of discussions, arrived at a number of positions, officials reported yesterday.

These positions include the principle of the separation of the party and the work of the Government; President Jagdeo's stewardship of the country; the advancement of the Government's current developmental and economic programmes in the context of the Budget; efforts by the government to prevent corruption; the delivery of goods and services to the Guyanese people and the strengthening of the organisational structure of the party.

General Secretary, Mr. Donald Ramotar said the highlights of this meeting, the first after the March 19 general and regional elections, were the presentation of his report (the General Secretary's Report) and a special presentation by President Jagdeo on the work of the PPP/C government since the elections.

Ramotar told a news conference that his comprehensive report outlined the international and local context within which the PPP/C operates as it seeks to fulfill its programme.

The report, he said, critically analysed the present stage of socio-political developments and refocused the party's attention on several basic tenets and guiding principles that have accounted for it being a party grounded in the working people of Guyana.

According to Ramotar, his report also stated the need to combat all negative tendencies and to push on with the dynamic process of changing and developing Guyana.

He said the document also called for resolute action against the forces of destruction in which task the PPP/C must work assiduously in all communities to strengthen links with the masses.

President Jagdeo, in his intervention, reported on the functioning of the Government and the many constraints faced as a result of the PNC-inspired post-elections unrest, Ramotar told reporters at the PPP/C Freedom House headquarters in Georgetown.

He provided the meeting with an overall picture of his government's work programmes in the face of violent efforts to stall the forward movement of the country, the General Secretary added.

Ramotar said too that the meeting was updated on the many initiatives of the Government to deliver on the PPP/C's elections manifesto and bring development all across the country.

Regarding the recent post-elections unrest, the President reported on plans and programmes in place to restore progress as well as to heighten the state of security in the country.

Ramotar said the President also noted the number of initiatives his government has been pursuing to create political stability in the country.

He, however, made it clear that the Government was committed to ensuring that the security and unity of the Guyanese people was not compromised.

Ramotar said the President, in addition, reported to the Central Committee on the current state of his ongoing dialogue with Opposition and PNC/R Leader, Mr. Desmond Hoyte.

He said the meeting endorsed the presentations which formed the basis for a five-hour discussion.

As a result of the deliberations on the two reports, the Central Committee held the following positions:

** The principle of separation of the party and the work of the Government will continue to be pursued. To further prepare the party for new and emerging challenges, a special conference of party leaders will be convened.

** The ongoing dialogue process is imperative for a climate of stability and progress and must be supported.

** The current developmental and economic programme being advanced by the Government, in the context of the national budget will lead to continued economic and social progress. The budget reflected sound economic management as there were no additional burdens on Guyanese. There were no negative effects or "budget blues" as was the case under the PNC.

** The issue of security of person, property and State infrastructure must continue to receive the attention of the various agencies. In this regard, the role of the citizens and other concerned groups must be fully supported by the relevant agencies and state bodies.

** Efforts by the Government to prevent corruption and dealing with those found culpable will continue to be supported. The party will contribute to a heightening of awareness of the role citizens must play in this fight.

** The determined efforts by President Jagdeo to enhance the effectiveness of the Government to deliver goods and services to the people of Guyana were acknowledged. However, the Central Committee noted the importance for a further acceleration of the unburdening of the Government bureaucracy and the need to eliminate Government inefficiency.

** A number of measures were decided on to strengthen the organisational structure of the party, including more attention to be placed on the youth arm - the Progressive Youth Organisation (PYO) and the women's arm - the Women's Progressive Organisation (WPO).

Importantly, Ramotar said, the PPP/C recognised that "the strength of our nation, the prosperity and the pride of Guyana lie in the unity of all of our people."

All races in the multi-cultural nation deserve full and equal access to the nation's resources and all are entitled to safety, security and protection, he said.

"In this regard, the PPP Central Committee commits itself to multi-party democracy and to the promotion of a multi-cultural society, where all are free to pursue their aspirations and dreams."

Ramotar said the PPP/C also sees inclusive politics as a hallmark of the new democracy that is being built in Guyana.

He said too that the party is prepared to broaden relationships, to develop bi-partisanism and alliances.

These policies, however, are premised on respect for the national interest, responsible conduct and patriotism, he added.

"The PPP Central Committee emphasised that in this new situation, where extremist elements are bent on destabilisation, there must be zero tolerance for racial attacks on Guyanese," Ramotar told reporters.

He said there must be "zero tolerance" for criminal attacks on peaceful and hardworking Guyanese. "And there must be zero tolerance for attacks on the dedicated law enforcement ranks."

According to Ramotar, another important item on the agenda of the committee meeting was a through review of the March 19, 2001 elections.

This assessment looked at the party's work prior to, during and after the elections.

Ramotar said the functioning of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) also attracted the attention of the meeting and an analysis of the elections results was presented.

The General Secretary pointed out that the meeting recognised that "due to the pernicious campaign by the PNC/R to disenfranchise certain electors before March 19 the majority of the PPP/Civic could have been much larger."

It was noted that the results still showed political gains in some areas, especially inter-racial cross-over votes in favour of the PPP/Civic.

As is the case with all elections, a special committee is still conducting a total review and analysis of the conduct of the elections and the official results.

Ramotar said another important item discussed was the holding of the party's triennial Congress of Delegates and Observers due this year.

The Executive Committee was mandated to further discuss and advise on this matter.

It was also noted that last Saturday's Central Committee meeting came at "an opportune time".

"It allowed leaders from all ten regions to provide an update on the functioning of the party as well as to identify certain tasks for the coming period so we can further advance the interests of our members, supporters and the nation as a whole."

Ramotar said the meeting further confirmed the party's members' readiness to stand firmly on the side of democracy and progress as Guyana moves forward.

Also at the media conference were Mr. Robert Persaud, Dr. Bheri Ramsarran and Ms. Shirley Edwards, all members of the Central Executive Committee.