by GHK Lall
Charles Ramson, Jr. for president has a new and different sound with a fresh appealing flavor to it. This comes out of the blue and could pose a migraine for the PPP’s brain trust; and the party’s electoral base as well, long committed and intertwined with one man. The questions are these: Is young Mr. Ramson good for the leadership role? More searchingly, is he the right man for the reins at this time?
He looks well on paper: the right credentials, the right words and positions carefully chosen. Mr. Ramson, Jr. looks well in pictures too, which can only help with the female base. His political pedigree is sound, though there is the looming possibility of it being a handicap of sorts in some circles. Junior is going to have to tread a careful line in distancing himself from seniors. That is, if he cares to make the distinction.
Nevertheless, his name presents party elders (and the established kingmaker) with a problem, a couple of significant problems: Can he be maneuvered at will? Is he malleable and docile enough? Does he have the party’s interest first and foremost? And what about his Westernization? Patrice Lumumba or Cuba he is definitely not. It would take a lot of persuasive powers on the part of Mr. Ramson, Jr. to ease and overcome those misgivings as to how much of a party animal he is; or how much personal ambition, a la the late Vincent, he is about? In summary, do they really know this young man long enough and deep enough to commit?
Personally, I find this young Guyanese palatable. But does he have what it takes to lead this boisterous, deformed, devastated entity that exists under the umbrella of a nation? Does Mr. Ramson, Jr. possess all the wiles and guiles, strengths and subtleties, and creativity and constancy of character required? I think not; Does he possess the political character to elevate to the issues that bedevil and above the determinedly ethnic and the hostilely partisan? I think not; not yet. My emphasis should be made clear: Is Mr. Charles Ramson, Jr. ready now? I say no.
Although there is a distant outside chance that he could be the first oil president, he is seen as seen as too much of an apprentice, having not paid enough dues, and fodder for the political cannoneers. To some, he runs the risk of coming across as a Young Turk in a hurry, and still to earn significant spurs. There is hesitancy in trusting him with such a sensitive weighty responsibility, especially by the party. In the next instance, it would be serious test for Mr. Ramson, Jr. to mobilize in his favor a young hungry segment of his party; the disenchanted too. The latter would encompass those marginalized, denied, and angered by the now jilted third term aspirant. Against all of this, it must be remembered that the main man calling the shots has almost total control. I do not see him reacting favorably to a likely upstart with his own head.
It is believed that Mr. Ramson, Jr. may have the book smarts, but there is skepticism that as to if he has the visceral sinews to challenge that solid oligarchy (cabal) within the party. Its people fight dirty; they fight to the end. Here is another dilemma for the potential candidate: if he passes muster and is presented as the Prince of Wales being groomed for coronation, that could signify that the blessings of the big man were given (the one big one that matters). That is not going to go down well with a keenly watching Guyana that wants nothing to do with a clone. That supposed blessing could end up being a fateful curse.
I think Mr. Ramson means well; he needs to learn more so as to position himself more formidably for later. Shall we say, seven years hence….? Call it laying the groundwork and the grueling work of dues paying. So, although Mr. Ramson, Jr. represents fresh air, I don’t think that the powers in his party are ready for him yet. And even if they were, Guyana is definitely not. I am not. I think that given the calumnies and stream of nightmares with another callow youth back then, who turned out to be a political monstrosity, both party and country fear what could be concealed. Stated differently, who is the real man behind the public mask?