Jagdeo and the PPP – Lifestyle and Politics – by Ralph Ramkarran


Ralph Ramkarran

Ralph Ramkarran

Posted on March 21, 2015 –  by

In an article for my blog, www.conversationtree.gy, published in SN last Sunday, I took issue with a statement by former President Jagdeo that implied that Cheddi and Janet Jagan lived in luxury. His argument that the Jagans lived such a lifestyle, comparable to his own at the time his house was built, was an attempt to justify his own Cadillac lifestyle, which over the past few years has come under severe scrutiny and criticism.

There were outraged responses by many people to Jagdeo’s statement, including from Clem Seecharran and, more indirectly, Peter Fraser, two distinguished Guyanese historians living and working in the UK. But the most telling came from Nadira Jagan-Brancier, the Jagan daughter, Dr. Tulsie Dyal Singh and Sadie Amin. Dr. Singh, who conferred with Dr Jagan about his medical condition just before he died and visited his home, said that his own family home in Palmyra on the Corentyne when he was growing up in the 1950s was of similar size to the Jagan home. Sadie Amin gave a description of the modest lifestyle and home of the Jagans, including its leaking roof.  

As expected, two articles appeared in the Guyana Times containing stories about me on familiar issues, some from twenty years ago, some earlier, which are completely and deliberately fabricated or distorted even though the correct information is known or easily available to the newspaper. The false allegations are intended to embarrass and intimidate me into silence. I replied with a detailed refutation but up to the time of writing it was not published. It can be found here. The message of the intimidation by the Guyana Times is that if I do not stop, there will be consequences.

There were other articles in Guyana Times, by a columnist bearing the nom de plume, Eyewitness, who is a former political leader, hitherto accused of being an advocate of politics with an ethnic dimension and who was previously engaged in lively theoretical discourses as a known newspaper columnist. Now that he has been a willing victim of the Jagdeo touch, like all others, he has degenerated into a purveyor of daily abuse.   Word is that he is soon to emerge again in full public view, lending his ethnic hand to the restoration of the PPP majority. But all he has become is another Jagdeo crony, available to follow orders, with the enthusiasm of a new convert. Watch for him!

Within the PPP different and more direct, intimidatory techniques exist. Direct abuse is a major one. Subtle threats of dismissal from employment are another. Most people have jobs with the party or government, which they need to secure for their livelihood. This is enough to encourage silence or elicit vociferous, sycophantic, support. Dissentient voices have been effectively stilled in the PPP, even though Jagdeo is widely criticized privately. This is the answer to the question often asked: how is it that Jagdeo has got such a hold over the PPP that no one dares to oppose him? I spoke out for years in the PPP, subjecting myself to intense abuse and isolation, until it became necessary to ensure that I no longer remain within its ranks. No one else has so far dared to oppose Jagdeo.

As expected the General Secretary of the PPP, Clement Rohee, refused to comment on the controversy, just as the previous General Secretary, Donald Ramotar, refused to comment on Jagdeo’s insult to Mrs. Jagan when she called for a restoration of advertisements to the SN in 2006. No one in the PPP will now ever be able to speak to the Jagans’ simple and humble lifestyle, and urge its emulation, for fear of offending Jagdeo. This crass and unworthy attempt by him to justify the size of his mansion by the sea and his gargantuan, post presidential, benefits has taken away one of the PPP’s greatest assets from its public relations armoury, namely, the Jagan legacy of a modest lifestyle with integrity and humility. Jagdeo said that their lifestyle was luxurious. No one in the PPP can now ever dare to say otherwise.

Jagdeo is in full command and control of the PPP. He has decided that he will lead the campaign as he did in 2011. His opening statements about the opposition’s beating the drums of race in 2011 about which he remained silent until now, kicking the opposition’s ass, and justifying his Cadillac lifestyle, show that he is in no way relenting from the boisterous cuss down tactics that he employed with such public revulsion in the 2011 campaign. Popular with the base though, this type of attack will energize supporters and shake them from their apathy. So will the raising of ethnic sentiments and the PNC’s past. But it will earn the PPP no favours from its middle class supporters, the depth and range of whose disillusionment has expanded over the past three years.

The PPP may still win the elections. They have a solid 48 percent already. No one knows if some of its lost support will return. Also no one knows what will happen to the AFC’s 10 percent, having made the alliance with APNU. But as one businessman told me, the PPP will not have ‘happy’ voters. He meant that they would be voting unenthusiastically, merely as a defensive strategy to keep the other side out.

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  • de castro  On 03/24/2015 at 3:52 am

    Interesting prognosis on tactics pre-election.
    A day week month is a long time in politricks.
    The die hard PPP voters will continue the hapanjuat voting.
    As was correctly stated the ‘middle’ class (educated class)
    will vote how they see their future.
    The undecided the ‘swing’ vote.
    Polls seldom get it right but they do influence the outcome.

    Any campaign focused on the ‘swing’ voters should prove successful.

    Obama was elected by the Hispanic vote in USA…middle class in american society..any society built on a ‘stronger’ middle class will be freer and fairer.

    Opportunities to move from low to high class or visa versa must be encouraged
    by implementation/introduction of laws by the political class.
    Because I was born a cane cutter does not mean I must die a cane cutter.
    Choices and opportunities by moving away from class structure in society
    benefits the ‘ whole’…Modi of India is faced with this dilemma.
    Communism was hoping to eradicate ‘class’
    Capitalism reinstated it
    Socialism replaced both.
    Our world has changed..is changing….will change.

    Hopefully for a more peaceful and prosperous one.
    My wish
    My dream
    My vision


  • de castro  On 03/24/2015 at 3:55 am

    I thank and congratulate on bringing truth to power.
    You are a brave honest and courageous writer.

    Enjoyed the article tremendously.


  • Helen  On 03/24/2015 at 7:40 am

    What Guyanese people must remember is that they have the power on election day and if they don’t like the government they presently have, they can replace it. No point saying that they don’t have a choice because of fear of losing their jobs. Jagdeo will not know who voted against the PPP on election day and what better way to kick him in the balls.

  • Deen  On 03/24/2015 at 2:28 pm

    Very good article Mr. Ramkarran.
    Guyanese are caught between a rock and a hard place. Although there is a cancer of corruption, government mismanagement and apologetic leadership, Guyanese may be apprehensive about the possibility of returning to the harsh conditions that existed during the 27 years of PNC/Burnham/Hoyte era.
    It was during this period Guyana was relegated to being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, stealing the infamous status from Haiti. Those were regressive years when the Indo-Guyanese were deprived of their basic food staples, flour, etc., getting good jobs discreetly required a PNC party membership or favors, the Indian dominated rice industry suffered and Guyanese liberties were restricted. Dr. Walter Rodney was aware on all the adverse conditions and committed himself to change them. Unfortunately, he was assassinated. Yes, those conditions have left an indelible impression in older Guyanese memory.
    I’m not a fan of the current PPP/C party based on their poor performance in governing the country and the industries, the pervasive corruption and tolerance for crimes, their lavish lifestyles at the expense of the people, their arrogance and disregard for the people’s welfare and economic well being, poverty and unemployment still prevail, etc. The PPP/C have let down the people and missed opportunities to put the country on a progressive path.
    However, given the choice of enduring all these negative conditions or the possibility of reverting to past suffering conditions, I’d assume it’s probable that the people may reelect the PPP.
    I applaud Ralph Ramkarran for his bold and unbiased commentaries. Guyana need candidates like him who appear to have all the professional and political credentials to get Guyana out of the corruptive cesspool that it has been wallowing in for years.
    SAD! SAD!!SADD!!!

  • de castro  On 03/24/2015 at 2:55 pm

    I echo your sentiments and share your concerns.

    But must remain optimistic for the future ….. even if the results are ‘negative’
    the struggle for. ‘Freedom from mental slavery’ will continue and hopefully
    the ‘people’ will unite ending the political ‘stalemate’ ‘stagnation’ ….
    It will take a ‘revolution’ of thinking in the minds and hearts for that
    change to occur. Guyanese will eventually unite to eventually remove
    the ‘trough suckers’ from their political class…..not in ‘race’ war but in
    War of the classes/masses for a classess society.
    Cheddi and Janet will be vindicated……it is never too late…
    Never say never
    Nothing is impossible.

    Que Sera
    Sir kamtan lord of cherin granada spain by appointment of HRH QE2 UKPLC

  • de castro  On 03/24/2015 at 3:34 pm

    On reading your comments again must add…..

    “However given the choice of enduring all these negative conditions or the
    possibility of reverting to past suffering conditions I’d assume that it is probable
    that the people may reelect the PPP.”

    SORRY beg to differ….
    Don’t think the electorate will ‘reflect’ so much to past political propaganda
    especially the younger voter…..who will vote for their future well being.
    Their dreams their wishes their future……the future is theirs to change the status quo in politricks by voting.

    Dont underestimate their desire for change.

    Am optimistic for the future.

    Hope I am not disappointed !😇


  • Deen  On 03/24/2015 at 5:26 pm

    Hi Kamtan,
    We both want to see much needed political and economic changes in Guyana that would benefit the people and the country.
    I can appreciate your comments and I hope your optimism will prevail.
    What I was saying is that we cannot rule out the possibility that the PPP party may be reelected.
    I do not know the demographics of Guyana’s voting population. If the majority of voters are young and unbiased, then the possibility exists that they may vote for change.
    Kamtan, you are the eternal optimist; I’m the positive realist.
    Take care

  • de castro  On 03/24/2015 at 5:59 pm

    My grandmother my homegrown philosopher ….
    She exited in her 93 year in guyana
    Her legacy 14 children
    54 grandchildren….who now live in every corner of the globe….except Guyana.
    Her immediate legacy 14 children are now with her in the afterlife……if it exists.?
    Over 150 next generation living outside Guyana.
    One of her quotes….
    It is better to live in hope than die in despair.!

    Maybe thats where my ‘eternal optimism’ originated …..we were lucky to have her living with us until her exit.
    Today old folks are placed in ‘homes’ until their exit.
    Sad world indeed….thats why will be smiling on my exit.

    Thanks your kind words of encouragement.

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