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Corruption claims meant to influence PPP Congress outcome – Rohee

Clement Rohee (R) speaks to a reporter after the news conference.

Ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Executive Member Clement Rohee says the recent writings in the press linking the party to corruption are meant to influence delegates to “revolt” at its August 2 to 4 Congress.

His comment at a Monday media briefing was part of an extended response to a question on the view that the party had strayed from the governance ideals of founder Dr. Cheddi Jagan.

“What we have noticed over the past few months is that there seems to be a concerted attempt by certain individuals who were once leaders of this party to influence the Congress, to influence the direction of the Congress, to influence the membership and we believe that as we get closer to the Congress such attempts would intensify,” the Congress Committee Chairman said.

And in a not too cryptic reference to former PPP executive Ralph Ramkarran Rohee remarked: “Reading recent articles especially in the Sunday Stabroek you would recognise that there’s a certain prolific writer who is hammering away at the PPP, to which he once belonged, and the Congress in particular. The objective, it would seem to us, is to influence the outcome of the Congress, to influence the delegates and observers going to the Congress to make decisions.”

Ramkarran has linked the party leadership to a trifecta of corrupt individuals covering bureaucrats, contractors and influential businessmen who use their position and political connections to enrich themselves. According to him, the PPP leadership benefited from those individuals.

Ramkarran had been a member of the party for more than 40 years before his resignation last year. Writing in the PPP-affiliated Mirror newspaper, just before his departure, he had alleged that there was pervasive government corruption and that the administration needed to do more to counter it. He has taken up the crusade on his blog Conversation Tree.

“SN plus KN plus RR plus MN plus KR equal zero,” Rohee continued.

The first two initials are those of the independent dailies Stabroek News and the Kaieteur News while the others are the initials of Ramkarran, Moses Nagamootoo and Khemraj Ramjattan respectively. The last two were also members of the PPP before joining the Alliance For Change which Ramjattan now leads.

Asked about the credence of the claims levelled  by the former members about the way the party operated Rohee indicated that only Ramkarran would have been in a position to make any pronouncement on the workings of the party since the others had left a while ago.

“And even so because of the level at which he operated he would not have been very much acquainted, contrary to … the picture the Stabroek News have painted him, he would not have been involved in many of the decisions in respect to the elections.” 

Ramkarran served as Speaker of the National Assembly from 2001 to 2011.

“These attacks on the party, especially the attacks on the party in respect to corruption, as I said are aimed at influencing the membership to go to the Congress to raise questions, or to revolt as it were. It is the PPP that is being attacked and not the PPP that is being helped to find answer to certain problems,” Rohee stated.

Asked whether questions about corruption and transparency constituted “attacks” the PPP executive responded that they considered them to be so.

On the question about the party straying from Jagan’s philosophy Rohee responded that it was only those outside the party who were plugging that line.

“You would never hear persons from inside the PPP, you’ll never hear members of the PPP making such allegations, it is the detractors, it is the defectors, the people who have left us who you would hear those views coming from.”