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Political direction, leadership top issues for PPP Congress

(L-R) PPP Media Coordinator Rommel Roopnarine, Executive Member Clement Rohee and Executive Secretary Zulficar Mustapha

Executive member of the People’s Progressive Party Clement Rohee says deliberations on the party’s political direction leading up to 2016 will be a key feature of its upcoming Congress in August.

Speaking at a party news conference on Monday he noted that the last Congress was held five years ago. The congress is to be held every three years but there was none in 2011 because of national elections that year.

“Much has accumulated for the five years and the key thing is the political direction of the party, the mandate given to the party by the delegates and observers who attend the Congress so the key issue is the mandate for the party over the next three years as handed to it by the delegates and observers,” Rohee said.

General and regional elections are constitutionally due by 2016, the same year as the next Congress, unless the minority PPP/C government is forced to call a snap elections.

Rohee said another key issue was the elections of the Central Committee which decides on the higher leadership of the party, the Executive Committee and the General Secretary. The composition of the leadership going forward would have to be examined, he said.

“Should they be a fresh injection of new leaders, should they be a combination of the more experienced with younger, this is a matter that the Congress will have to decide when they vote at the Congress.”

Rohee said any discussions on long serving General Secretary and now President Donald Ramotar retaining the party position would have to wait for the Congress to decide.

He was also reluctant to be drawn into speculation about a role in the leadership for former president Bharrat Jagdeo saying that too would be decided by the Congress.

“The process is that groups nominate persons who they feel are best suited to hold a position in the Central Committee; former president Jagdeo like everyone else will be given the opportunity to say yes or no whether he accepts the nomination.

If he says yes he accepts the nomination then the Credentials Committee will factor that into all the other nominations that people have said they’ve accepted and the process will move forward,” Rohee stated.

Asked whether the party would be utilising a more transparent electoral process Rohee said they had no intention of departing from their Congress tradition. Writing on his blog in March former PPP executive member Ralph Ramkarran challenged the party to stop orchestrating decisions and results for office holders and instead design a plan to rescue it from its “worst crisis” in 20 years.

“It needs a Congress which smells the coffee, sheds the Party’s negative images, democratises, tackles corruption, renews its commitment to and restores the pride and inspiration of its members in its great mission of liberation and social justice, involves them in developing the policies of the Party and gives them free reign to frankly and freely discuss and debate where the Party went wrong in 2011, and the options of whether the Party should go forward alone or together with the opposition,” Ramkarran said.

The 30th Congress is to be held from August 2 – 4 at Port Mourant, East Berbice.