In a Saturday surprise, Guyana’s governing party, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic named Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Guyana’s Ambassador to CARICOM, Ms. Elisabeth Harper as its Prime Ministerial Candidate.
The announcement was made at a Freedom House press briefing hosted by party General Secretary, Clement Rohee.
The press briefing began with Rohee and the party’s executive secretary alone sitting at the table but then Rohee informed the press that the party has arrived at a Prime Ministerial Candidate.
He said there was only one person nominated for the position and the move is in keeping with the PPP’s decision to always have the Prime Ministerial Candidate drawn from civic society.
After he read a prepared statement, he welcomed President Ramotar into the room and the President announced Harper as his Prime Ministerial Candidate.
A shy looking but elegantly dressed Harper walked into the room and took her seat besides the President.
Mr. Ramotar said he is now confident that the PPP will regain the majority at the upcoming May 11, 2015 elections now that its Prime Ministerial Candidate is in place. He also said his party is more than confident of winning the majority.
The President praised Ambassador Harper as a smart woman whose work in the diplomatic and foreign relations community cannot be tested. She is a career diplomat and up until now has remained away from the political lens of the country.
Ms. Harper, who is the wife of former Guyana Cricket Coach Mark Harper, sat quietly and did not offer any words throughout the press conference.
The President said she will have lots to say as the campaign season picks up in the lead up to the May elections. Questions were not allowed at the media briefing and PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee smiled and said “you all didn’t see this one coming” as the media left the press room.
Although Ambassador Harper is well known in the diplomatic community, some political observers have already opined that she is not well known among the wider cross section of the Guyanese public and the PPP will find itself being forced to do lots of promotion of her in the lead up to the elections.
The decision by the PPP to make Elizabeth Harper its Prime Ministerial Candidate means that Prime Minister Samuel Hinds will not run again for the office although he indicated his willingness to continue serving the party if it was so desired. The Prime Minister is now expected to retire at the end of the elections.
Just last Saturday, the opposition parties APNU and AFC announced their coalition for the upcoming elections with the APNU’s David Granger as the Presidential Candidate and the AFC’s Moses Nagamootoo as the Prime Ministerial Candidate.
Filed: 21st February, 2015