Last Updated on Sunday, 31 May 2015, 11:58 by GxMediaPeople’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) candidate, Clinton Urling has blamed former President Bharrat Jagdeo for the party’s defeat at the polls earlier this month and said the time has come for him to take a back seat if the party is to be rebuilt.
Urling predicts that the PPP will face a difficult task in rebuilding itself if Jagdeo remains the de facto leader. “Moreover, it would be difficult to attract, and in my case retain, the type of people who can help reinvent the party. Plainly stated, the party has to move on without Jagdeo if it is to ever recapture its former political prestige,” said Urling.
Observing that Jagdeo played a central role in the party’s political campaign strategies, Urling called for Jagdeo to take a back seat. “For many within the party, while the loss was disappointing it also presented an opportunity for rebirth, redemption and change in the way in which the party operates.
It justifiably should have been the start of a complete break from the politics of Jagdeo and his loyal circle within the PPP,” said Urling in a letter in the privately-owned Stabroek News newspaper.
The city businessman said that following the PPP’s defeat at the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections, the party’s Robb Street-based Freedom House headquarters was a ghost town and little was being told to any party candidate or supporter.
At the same time, Urling said senior and junior party members appeared to blame Jagdeo directly for the PPP’s defeat. “ There was no place where I turned that I did not hear party members and supporters whisper and angrily criticize Jagdeo’s divisive campaign rhetoric,” he said.
The former President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and founding Chairman of Blue CAPS, a non-governmental organisation, said that from most accounts the PPP is now in tatters. “The general belief was that under his 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,” he said.
On Nomination Day when Urling was questioned about his decision to become a candidate in the face of allegations of corruption, Urling had asked for critics to show him the evidence.
Despite the seeming negative role that Jagdeo has cost the PPP, Urling said Jagdeo “took charge of the party, insistent on shaping the post-elections narrative and was firmly back in command.”
“This did not – and still does not – go down well with many members. Many whisper behind his back or choose their words carefully when addressing any forum where he has been included, but none would dare say to him directly how they felt. As I write this, the displeasure that he is still firmly in charge of the party does not sit well with many. However, for reasons I still cannot comprehend, many are reluctant to call him out and challenge him visibly or publicly,” said Urling.
The former Guyanese leader recently remarked that “the base wants me” and that is why he was back in the political limelight including being a candidate for his party.