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Civic apparently sidelined in Harper’s nomination as prime ministerial candidate

PPP-Civic Prime Ministerial candidate, Elisabeth Harper; President Donald Ramotar and PPP General Secretary, Clement Rohee.

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) did not consult the “rather loose” and unstructured Civic grouping before nominating Ambassador Elisabeth Harper as its prime ministerial candidate for the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections, according to party General Secretary Clement Rohee.

He said the Civic component did not submit a nominee and was not asked to do so.

Rohee restated that Harper,57, was the sole candidate who was nominated by him to the Central and Executive Committee of his party.

Pressed on specifically whether the Civic component was not consulted on the decision to make Harper, up to recently the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, its prime ministerial candidate, he opted to restate that that grouping is not organized by choice. “I have already said that the Civic component is a rather loose configuration of individuals; there is no structure, there is no leader,” he said.

Rohee recalled that when Samuel Hinds was chosen from the Civic component as the PPP’s prime ministerial candidate in 1992, the PPP and Civic “never sat around a table and asked them to agree or disagree” on his candidacy.”

Asked to respond to an article in the PPP’s Official Organ, Thunder, that states that the Civic component had met once monthly under the chairmanship of then government minister, Dr. Henry Jeffrey, the PPP General Secretary said both his party and several Civic members did not agree with Jeffrey’s advocacy. “We never agreed to it and in fact many people in the Civic component at the time did nit agree witn that.  Some people just don’t want to be in any organisation. They don’t like organizational structures because organizational structures impose on them the need to be disciplined, they need to be something like a political party,” he said.

Rohee also shrugged off questions why outgoing Prime Minister Hinds was not consulted as the apparent leader of the Civic component. Instead, he said the PPP decided on Harper as part of its renewal.  “This party believes in reaching out. This believes in change…so I think the opposition has also ventured out on such a road so if it’s good for the opposition I would assume that the PPP is not afraid of change or is afraid of reaching out to persons in our country- Guyanese of distinction who are prepared to serve in governmental capacity,” he said.