The General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Clement Rohee on Tuesday declared that the Civic component of the PPP/Civic Alliance is a “loose arrangement” which does not have any structure.
Mr. Rohee was at the time responding to questions about whether the Civic group was consulted on the decision to make Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Elisabeth Harper the Prime Ministerial Candidate of the PPP Civic.
Rohee defended the decision by saying that Harper is from “civic society”. He said he was the one who put forward her name to the executive of the People’s Progressive Party and there was no other name offered up including names of serving members of the government who see themselves as members of the Civic group.
“The Civic component is a rather loose arrangement that is associated with the PPP, that is in alliance with the PPP. The civic component does not have any structure as such so it was in that context that the decision was taken”, Rohee said. He added that the component has no leader and has never had any leader. He said it is a “rather loose configuration of individuals”.
Rohee said when Prime Minister Samuel Hinds was chosen as the Prime Ministerial Candidate for the first time back in 1992, there was no sitting around the table and consultation on that move although there were other members of the Civic grouping.
The PPP General Secretary further stated that Civic component never submitted a nomination for the post of Prime Ministerial Candidate and the group was never asked to submit a name although Prime Minister Samuel Hinds who is from that component had made known his desire to serve again if asked. He said the Prime Minister was told of the decision and was also “involved in the process”.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds has served as the PPP’s Prime Ministerial Candidate for every national elections since 1992. The party won all of those elections although it lost the majority in parliament at the 2011 polls. When questioned about what may have given Ambassador Harper the edge in being selected over the sitting Prime Minister who was ready to serve again, Mr. Rohee said “this party believes in reaching out and this party believes in change.”
He said if change is good for the opposition parties, it should also be good and accepted for the People’s Progressive Party.
Mr. Rohee also dismissed concerns about Ms. Harper not being well-known enough to be the running mate of a sitting President. He asked whether David Granger was a popular figure when he became the Leader of the People’s National Congress and later the Presidential Candidate for the APNU.
Granger became the PNC’s Leader after he won the party’s nod to be its Presidential Candidate following a long public consultation and public debate process which involved all of the persons who were nominated for the position of Presidential Candidate.
President Donald Ramotar on Saturday announced that Ambassador Elisabeth Harper will serve as his running mate for the upcoming elections.
Harper is well-respected among diplomatic and foreign relations circles as an official who understands foreign policy well after being guided for years by some of the country’s smartest foreign policy minds.
Though she has always stayed away from politics, her international travel with the President and other senior government official in her official capacity has presented her with a bird’s-eye view of many major decision-making locally and internationally.
Mr. Rohee has announced that she has since tendered her resignation from her Foreign Affairs Ministry position.
Filed: 24th February, 2015