by Zena Henry
General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Clement Rohee on Monday lashed out party newcomer Clinton Urling, saying he lacked the authority and experience to pronounce on party issues and the power and influence that former President Bharrat Jagdeo wields in its executive.
“I don’t think he is no position to pronounce authoritatively on these matters, one would have to spend quite a considerable number of years within the PPP to understand the culture and inner workings,” he told a news conference at his party’s headquarters, Freedom House.
Urling, a prominent city businessman, at the weekend called for Jagdeo to take a back-seat because based on feedback from senior and junior party members the former Guyanese leader’s campaign strategies and style were responsible for the PPP’s defeat at the May 11,2015 general election.
Rohee also disregarded former party stalwart Ralph Ramkarran, saying he is being political when he supports statements of Jagdeo’s grip on the authority of the party, the negative role he played in the 2015 political campaign, and that the party should move on without Jagdeo now they seek to rebuild after losing the May polls.
Rohee told media representatives that Urling is a stranger to PPP functions; joining the party and becoming a candidate on their list just weeks before they submitted their representatives on Nomination Day.
He said Urling’s idea about the PPP is his insight. “That is Mr. Urling’s perception. Mr. Urling in no way could have been associated with the PPP in such a short period of time and know these things… the inner workings of the PPP.”
Rohee said that at this point, he is one of the longest serving members of the PPP, and would not give much credence to what Urling says.
However, when question about Ramkarran, who had been with the PPP for a number of years, serving under its founding member, former President Cheddi Jagan, supporting Urling statements, Rohee described him as being “political”.
He explained that, “Ramkarran never really worked in the belly of the party.” He said Ramkarran was part of the central and executive committee of the party, doing most of his legal work on a day to day basis and described himself and former President Donald Ramotar as growing up within the PPP.
He said one has to have the PPP DNA in their system to understand how decisions are taken before explaining the various committees and levels via which decisions are taken.
Rohee suggested, however, that both Ramkarran and Urling may have an axe to grind with the PPP. He suggested that Urling could have raised his concerns at the various meetings that party would have held for the expression of views and the way forward.
He did not say whether problems may have arisen with the party member, and did not say whether he is aware of other party members expressing the views Urling did in his letter to the media.
Although Urling in his letter stated that the general belief was that under Jagdeo’s presidency the party lost its way from being a “wholesome” political organisation which attracted many friends and allies to becoming one where perceptions of impropriety and corruption had created ominous clouds over the party’s image,” that businessman had question where was the evidence on Nomination Day.