PPP Presidential Candidate: Jagdeo says job may be harder for a ‘newbie’

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The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) will Thursday begin the formal process to choose a presidential candidate for the next general elections, which could be held in three months following Friday’s passage of the No Confidence motion in the current coalition government.

The selection of the PPP’s candidate may not be completed by the end of the year. Whoever becomes the presidential candidate of the PPP will overwhelmingly be up to its leader, General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo, who took over the party three years ago, mobilised the ground troops, rounded up those who had strayed and broadened the base.

Then, he took a No Confidence motion to the National Assembly and forced the Government out of office before its five-year term could end.

With the Alliance for Change weakened, as shown in local government elections a month ago, the PPP fancies a solid chance of getting back in power after it was booted in 2015 after spending 23 years in office.

So, who in the PPP does Jagdeo want to be President?

“It is a very complex thing to manage a Cabinet. The issues are multifaceted – from security, to economy, then you have border issues etc.

“If you have newbies then it’s much harder if you don’t have some Cabinet experience,” Jagdeo told a news conference Monday at his Church Street, Georgetown office.

Jagdeo is careful not to say it is not all up to him; the 15- member Executive Committee meets on Thursday and will try to work out the process by which a candidate will be chosen.

It is not clear if it will get down to actual names. Whatever decision is made at that Executive Committee must be ratified by the larger Central Committee, which has 35 members.

In a future PPP government will Jagdeo have a role? Yes, and he is not shy to admit it.

“I will be part of the Government; I have made it clear,” Jagdeo stated.
What exactly does he foresee that role to be?

“I have no interest in…the trappings of government; but I have to make sure we deliver and that is my role – to be there as counsel to deliver,” he declared.

In the three years he has led the party, Jagdeo has been trying to infiltrate areas where the PPP did not enjoy popular support – such as Region Four and in Afro-Guyanese communities.

“We’re strong in the Indo-Guyanese community, we are strong in the Amerindian communities, but we’ve been weaker in terms of membership in Afro Guyanese areas.

“We are taking a conscious policy to work harder to reach out more, to break down the stereotypes about us so we can get more people to join the party – broaden our base,” he stated.

Whoever becomes the PPP’s Presidential Candidate, Jagdeo knows they will be called his puppet, and he doesn’t seem too bothered about that.

“If anybody gets appointed, no matter who they will say that that person is Jagdeo’s puppet – anybody.

“They used to say I am Janet Jagan’s puppet.

“So the same thing they will say if we appoint high or low, big or small – whoever emerges as the PPP candidate.”

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