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Harper tells PPP ‘No’ to parliamentary seat; three others also out

Former President Donald Ramotar and then PPPC Prime Ministerial candidate, Elisabeth Harper.

by Zena Henry

Two newcomers to Guyana’s political landscape- Elisabeth Harper and Clinton Urling- will be among four persons who will not be in the National Assembly when the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) takes up its seats in the National Assembly.

So, too, will be Dr. Nanda Kishore Gopaul and Robert Persaud.

Harper and Gopaul have confirmed to Demerara Waves Online News that they have refused to be among the PPPC’s 32 parliamentarians.

PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee has already said that Urling should not expect to be selected as a lawmaker after publicly criticizing the party and calling on former President Bharrat Jagdeo to step out of the political limelight because his presence was partly responsible for the party’s defeat at the May 11, 2015 polls.

Harper and Gopaul said on Tuesday June 30 that they have quit political life and would not be part of the 11th Parliament.  Gopaul, during a telephone interview with this news agency, said he had indicated to the PPP since the conclusion of the 2015 Elections that he would no longer be involved in political life.

“I am a retiree,” he stated. “I indicated that to some of my colleagues and to the former President that I would be retiring from political life.” Nanda Gopaul had conceded the Coalition government’s win soon after it was announced and urged the party with which he had been associated to do the same, after issuing congratulatory remarks.

Harper said that she too was asked to partake in Parliament, but declined. “I was asked and I indicated that I preferred not to,” she stated simply. Sources close to Harper said she felt that she was used by the PPP for her integrity because she is an Afro-Guyanese.

The PM candidate was new on the political scene and appeared one time with the PPP as they claimed publicly that they were cheated at the polls. Soon after, the media was only told that the PPP was keeping contact with her.

The PPP General Secretary in a recent interview with Demerara Waves Online News suggested that Urling was disqualified from representing the PPPCivic in the House after expressing his views publicly. “I wouldn’t worry to go to Parliament if I was him because he has made a very strong critcism of the leadership of the PPP, one of the leaders of the PPP and I thinik he has already made up his mind that he is not qualified to go,” said Rohee.

Former Natural Resource Minister Robert Persaud refused to state his position, saying he is, “not speaking to the media at this time.” Even questions on whether he is out of political life went unanswered.   

However, actions by Persaud and the PPP have indicated a clear split. PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee nearly ran amok as reporters pressed for answers on the party’s relationship with the former PPP minister.

Persaud was another PPP member to concede defeat at the General Elections, issuing congratulatory messages to the new government via social media. He at the time said he was going on a “political sabbatical.”

When Rohee was asked whether Persaud tendered a resignation or indicated that he was taking leave from politics on Monday, he said, “Robert Persaud wrote a letter to the PPP. The contents of that letter have been discussed internally; the contents of that letter have been responded to… And that is where the matter is at this point in time. As far as PPP is concerned that is as far as we have to go.”

This response came minutes after back and forth, as the GS first suggested that reporters ask the representatives of online media outlets Inews and Iradio for Persaud’s whereabouts. “It may be better if you ask either Iradio or Inews, I think their open to the public or Mr. Persaud himself.”

The media was forced to ask Rohee whether he was GS of the party or not, to which he responded, “Everybody knows that.” He was then asked again, about Persuad status when he finally made a disclosure.

The 2015 election defeat may finally be soaking in after 23-years in government. PPP says the elections commission cheated them at the polls and installed a “de facto” government. After three Parliamentary sittings, they are yet to sit in the House some 10 months after they prorogued Parliament.