Don't confuse the reason for Ramjattan's expulsion
Guyana Chronicle
March 1 2004

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I REFER to your (Stabroek News) editorial of February 24th, 2004 on the expulsion of Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan from the PPP in which you asked the question: "But what was the real reason for Mr. Ramjattan's expulsion?"

You then embarked on a voyage of speculation and innuendo, ascribing subjective motives to the leadership of the PPP, while totally ignoring its statement on the matter and its letter to Mr. Ramjattan of February 11, 2004.

If you had honestly analyzed the statement and the letter, the answer to your question would have been obvious. Since you made no attempt to do so, I am forced to conclude that your only motivation for writing the editorial must have been to denigrate the leadership of the PPP.

The following are the undisputed facts:

1. Mr. Ramjattan has publicly criticized the Government and leaders of the PPP on many occasions in the past while he was a member of its leading body, the Central Committee.

2. Mr. Ramjattan had been spoken to about his conduct on several occasions in the past.

3. Yet another complaint was made against Mr. Ramjattan on which a hearing was held on the 6th February.

4. The atmosphere at the hearing was conciliatory.

5. It was decided to reprimand Mr. Ramjattan and the letter of February 11 confirms this.

6. He was invited to another meeting on the 13th to indicate whether he would sign a statement of reconciliation.

Your attributing of base motives to the leadership of the PPP must fall flat in the face of the decision merely to reprimand Mr. Ramjattan on the 6th, a fact which was ignored by your editorial and by all the critics of the PPP. If we were guilty of all the motives you accuse us of as being the reason why we decided to expel Mr. Ramjattan, why did we not expel him initially? In fact we did not decide to expel Mr. Ramjattan until he literally invited us to do so as I explain below.

And despite the fact that President Jagdeo has been the object of several of his public criticisms, it was President Jagdeo who led the argument against his expulsion.

I now continue with the second set of events which triggered Mr. Ramjattan's expulsion.

1. Kaieteur News alleged on February 1st that a member of the Central Committee, (who was not named), had accused Mr. Ramjattan at a meeting of the Central Committee on January 31st of being likely to pass confidential PPP information to the US and other embassies.

2. A few days after, I made an oral statement denying the allegation made in the story.

3. About February 8 Stabroek News carried a similar story but naming President Jagdeo as the person who made the accusation.

4. On the 9th Mr. Robert Persaud denied that the allegation was made.

5. On the 11th Mr. Ramjattan issued a statement affirming the story in Stabroek News.

6. Mr. Ramjattan was present at the meeting of the Executive on February 6 (the disciplinary hearing), when he had the opportunity of raising my denial made on the 2nd or 3rd (see 2 above) but did not do so.

7. When Mr. Ramjattan issued his statement on February 11, he knew that he was going to attend a meeting of the Executive on the 13th, only two days after, when he could have raised the matter. (See the letter to him of 11th, which invited him to the meeting on the 13th).

8. He admitted in the statement by implication that he knew he was being in breach of Party rules.

In these circumstances it could only be assumed that Mr. Ramjattan rejected the offer of reconciliation and deliberately provoked a situation which he knew would lead to his expulsion. He, not the PPP, therefore, chose the time of his expulsion.

Apart from the above events, a Central Committee meeting was scheduled for January 31st. On the same day Mr. Ramjattan's article appeared in your newspaper demanding an investigation of the allegations by George Bacchus and another on account of the delay in issuing a visa to Cde Rohee by the U.S. Embassy. Cde Rohee is a member of the Central Committee of the PPP and was expected to be present at the meeting. Why could Mr. Ramjattan not await the meeting and raise the matter rather than adding fuel to the false and malicious rumors being generated by the PNC and others about Cde Rohee. If he had done so he would have been told that the U.S. embassy has no complaint against Cde Rohee and has forwarded no complaint to its headquarters in Washington. He would have been further told that the U.S. Embassy does not know the reason for the delay.

Unfortunately Mr. Ramjattan chose to jump on the rumor bandwagon rather than follow the tried and tested Party rules and practices to resolve problems. He chose the path of confrontation instead and deliberately set out to embarrass Cde Rohee, a comrade of his, without first giving him the opportunity to explain as he and other members of the Government who enquired about the matter had already done at the Executive Committee level. While this was not a reason for his expulsion and, in fact, the decision only to reprimand him took place after his call for the investigation, the incident demonstrates the entire attitude and approach of Mr. Ramjattan.

The role of Stabroek News in this entire episode cannot escape scrutiny. Mr. Raphael Trotman and Mr. Ramjattan were invited to write columns obviously on the basis of their differing political perspectives. Mr. Trotman consistently attacked the PPP and Government. Mr. Ramjattan did the same.

If Stabroek News' editorial policy had any consistency and integrity it would have either discontinued the lopsided Trotman-Ramjattan series or sought someone else who would generally represent the view of the PPP, assuming that its intention was to maintain a balance. By continuing the series with Mr. Ramjattan as a contributor, Stabroek News encouraged Mr. Ramjattan's conduct, which led to his expulsion. The shedding of crocodile tears now by Stabroek News is the height of hypocrisy.

In conclusion I would like to ask about the possible fate of a director of Guyana Publications Inc who publicly criticizes Stabroek News; or the fate of a director of, say, Banks DIH, who publicly criticizes Banks Beer. The directors would be dismissed. But being persons of integrity I expect that they would have resigned if they felt the need to make public criticisms of their institutions.

Mr. Ramjattan should have done the honorable thing. And Stabroek News should stop applying double standards to the PPP, which merely sought to defend its integrity, as any other organization would do regardless of the organizational principles that it may apply.
Yours faithfully
Donald Ramotar, M.P.
General Secretary.
People's Progressive Party