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PPP presidential candidate pick within days but “I am not taking no back seat” – Jagdeo

PPP General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo

General Secretary of the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday vowed to be in the forefront of the election campaign even after the party elects a presidential candidate in the coming days.

“I am not taking no [sic] back seat until we win the elections,” Jagdeo told a news conference at his party office, Church Street, Georgetown.

He said he was committed to ensuring the PPP wins the next general elections and removes the APNU+AFC coalition government that he labelled as a “corrupt, incompetent, useless cabal”.  “I am General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party. You’ll see me working hard everyday in the interior and the coast, everywhere working harder than even now until we win the elections,” he added.

The former Guyanese leader also said he was committed to changing the PPP’s face which is largely East Indian-dominated, and delivering promises made also to non-traditional supporters.

Jagdeo said he would be heading the PPP’s manifesto committee which would be inviting ideas from the public.

At the 2011 general elections, observers had noted that Jagdeo had overshadowed then PPP candidate, Donald Ramotar.

On the impending selection of the PPP’s presidential candidate, he said the Central Committee would elect someone from among the five enlisted contenders “within a matter of days” and there would be no run-off elections. He added that all five of the candidates, “unsolicited, said they want me to play a role”. The candidates are Irfan Ali, Anil Nandlall, Vindhya Persaud, Frank Anthony and Gail Teixeira.

Stressing that “this is the best thing that could happen if you could get a consensus” candidate, Jagdeo noted that all five nominees told the Central Committee that they would work with the person picked to lead the PPP into the next polls. “One thing that happened is that in the presentations… every single one of the five said ‘if I do not become the candidate I will work and support the other person’. They all said that explicitly. This was asked of everyone and they all said that,” Jagdeo said.

The PPP General Secretary took a delicate stance responding to questions about the authenticity of Ali’s academic qualifications and he questioned the reason behind news reports about Ali, the Shadow Finance Minister, surfacing on the eve of the PPP presidential candidates’ presentations. “What bothers me a lot is the timing,” Jagdeo said.

He remarked that Ali was in the process of obtaining additional transcripts from the universities at which he pursued studies. Jagdeo noted that one of the qualities he would be personally looking for in a candidate is the ability of that person to work from the ground up.