Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran has added his voice to concerns being expressed over Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo’s recent comments while speaking to an Indian audience in New York.
The Opposition Leader has come up against a torrent of criticism from the government and sections of society even as he continues to enjoy the support of his colleagues in the People’s Progressive Party.
However, former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran believes that Jagdeo’s comments are not only unhelpful for nation building but also reveals “the new PPP agenda.”
This agenda, Mr.Ramkarran has surmised, is the Party’s formal and official transformation into an ethnic party representing exclusively ethnic interests.
In his weekend blog, Conversation Tree, Mr. Ramkarran said charges of discrimination which Mr. Jagdeo and the PPP have made before are not new.
He was however keen to dissect Jagdeo’s comments and pointed out that it seemed to be the belief of the Opposition Leader that Guyana belonged to the PPP and its supporters, who are largely Indo-Guyanese.
“He said we gonna take back Guyana. That must mean that we own Guyana, that it was taken away from us and that we must now take it back. He did not say from whom we will take back Guyana, whether it is from the PNC, or from Africans? He clearly meant, even if he did not say it, that we will then rule Guyana in our interests because it belongs to us. The big question is, who are we?” Ramkarran reasoned.
He further added, “In full hyperbolic flow, Mr. Jagdeo answers the question himself. He said: There is an assault on people of Indian origin. There is an assault on supporters of the PPP. What we thought would never return to Guyana in one short year, has returned with full force and even worse in some regards than the Burnham era. He promised to defend our people in these dark times.”
Ramkarrant said Jagdeo’s emotive appeals to “defend” Indians “in these dark times” and his promise to Indians to “take back Guyana” for them is a wholly new dimension to the PPP’s agenda, namely, “its formal and official transformation by Mr. Jagdeo into an ethnic party representing exclusively ethnic interests. Cheddi Jagan must be turning in his grave!”
Ramkarran pointed out that the two main political parties had always maintained a posture of being multi-ethnic and of representing both major races in Guyana.
“But from 2006, particularly in the National Assembly, the PNCR began to explicitly say that it was speaking on behalf of its supporters’ interests. Now that the PPP is in opposition, they have adopted the same posture as evidenced by Mr. Jagdeo’s speech.”