The proposals for amendments to the PPP's constitution were debated and lost by a wide margin
February 7, 2004
I have noticed that your editorial of 5.2.2004 dealt with the Party's last Congress and the debate on the proposed changes to the Constitution of the PPP.
Your information on the proposed rule change is accurate. Your informant did a good job.
However, what you did not emphasise was the fact that there was a full debate by congress delegates and observers on the issue and the matter was put to the vote. The proposed changes lost by a very wide margin. Is that not the essence of democracy?
Indeed, the proposed changes were circulated to all Party groups well in advance for their consideration before the Congress. Delegates' contributions were not off-cuff but were positions that were carefully considered. It is important to note that delegates and observers are selected by all Party groups, consistent with the democratic nature of the Party.
Once again, Stabroek News seems intent on making Mrs Janet Jagan out as the hardliner intent on crushing persons who 'step out of line.' This is a deliberate distortion of Mrs Jagan. Indeed, you said that in her message to Congress she denounced the Campbellville group saying that that group was attacking the philosophical underpinnings of the Party. That is a lie.
The only reference Mrs Jagan made to the proposals which were already being discussed in the media was the following, "... Internal Party unity is, of course, an elementary fact in our work and in our ultimate success. I am concerned at this time by the fact that one of our groups has seen it necessary to go to a hostile press to reveal its differences. I cannot recall this ever happening before..."
Note that nothing was ever said about the "philosophical underpinnings." That is a figment of your informant's imagination. Her only concern was that this matter was being taken outside of the Party even before it was discussed internally. (I am enclosing a copy of her speech and it would be useful to publish it since she is being made out as such a hardliner.)
In dealing with the last section of your editorial let me note that Stabroek News has given Mr Ramjattan and Mr Trotman space once a month to express their views. Trotman has used every issue to attack the PPP and the government. He has never once criticised the PNC. On the other hand Mr Ramjattan has attacked the PPP and the government in all or almost all his pieces.
Maybe, Stabroek News wants to encourage someone from the PPP to reply and to have a slugging match between Party members in the pages of the Stabroek News. Then, according to your logic that would be a nice thing.
While you pat Ramjattan on the back for criticizing the Party and the government in public, I do not see you questioning Trotman's lack of criticism of the PNC. What is your agenda?
The Stabroek News for some time now has been playing some Party members against each other by selecting a few and describing them as "articulate", "intelligent" and "independent." This seems to be part of an ongoing orchestrated campaign to sow division in the PPP.
You should not worry as the vibrancy of the Party's internal democracy is second to none in Guyana. Perhaps if you grant me space in one of your Sunday editions I can elucidate on the internal democratic mechanism. Then again, I am sure that you are fully aware of the Party's uncontested internal democracy.
Donald Ramotar, M.P
We invited Mr Ramjattan and Mr Trotman to write monthly columns on topics of their choice, because we saw both of them as progressive young members of their parties, with a mind of their own. Mr Ramotar is at all times welcome to respond to any of the views expressed.
We publish Mrs Jagan's Message to the Congress below:
It is with deep regret that I find I cannot attend Congress due to health problems. I believe this is the first Congress I am missing since our Party's first Congress was held in 1951.
Our Party Congresses are always lively meetings, where comrades from all parts of Guyana can meet and talk together. We come together with the purpose of renewing our political commitments and working together to meet the future. At all Congresses I have attended, meaningful decisions are made, intelligent discussions take place and we elect the leadership which will run the affairs of the party until the next Congress.
As always, our Party is seeking national unity and this we will continue to struggle for. Today that goal is even more pertinent, or as pertinent as it was in the sixties.
We have held our Party together through thick and thin. Internal Party unity is of course, an elementary fact in our work and in our ultimate success. I am concerned at this time by the fact one of our groups has seen it necessary to go to a hostile press to reveal its differences. I cannot recall this ever happening before and I can only say that whosoever is responsible is playing with fire. If we are not careful, we could end up in a plight like Trinidad is going through now.
That is why I want to emphasise that Party unity is of the utmost importance, particularly now, with so many forces seeking our downfall.
Each and everyone of us must pledge to do our best to strengthen our Party, work harder and work together to build our party, to be creative and innovative in our work and to carry out the teachings of our dear late Leader Cheddi Jagan. We all miss him. His loss to our Party is tremendous but we have succeeded in carrying on and trying to fill the void - not an easy task, but one in which I truly believe we have succeeded.