OPINION: The Dharamlall affair: trusting Jagdeo, issuing invitations re Congress

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 May 2024, 23:00 by Writer

by GHK Lall

I will do something dangerous: give PPP General Secretary and Guyana’s all-purpose Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo the benefit of the doubt. I do so, despite being made to regret wasting my trust more often than I can count. Jagdeo said that the PPP Congress was not rigged for certain people to do as well as they did, that the PPP is not the PNC. For various serious things in the governance of Guyana, I have heard similar such oaths from VP Jagdeo, and ended up in the same disappointing place. I will still trust him on the voting for results of the Congress delegates relative to the 35-member Central Committee names and faces. The other five are respectfully bypassed. When Jagdeo says something is so, it is so. There is no more truthful figure, leader, citizen in Guyana. That could be taken to the bank (with a little knowing wink and some small change from the master of the game). Still, he has some explaining to do, plus I have some recommendations to help him along.

To begin with, there were 2,512 voting delegates, and so few of them (one out of four only) had a problem with the man subject to new allegations of wrongdoing. This is better than the old USSR and East Germany, isms discarded, still considered. Then, there is no clarity on how many of the 2,512 voters were women (was that deliberate?), but it would be intriguing to learn how many of them, if any, voted for Nigel Dharmalall in the so so-called secret ballot. Next, if the number of women delegates are known, a fair interpretation/extrapolation could be made. Then Bharrat Jagdeo could do no wrong on anything in my book. Since I dismiss most of the men in the PPP as roustabouts and questionables of a special dispensation, the issue of how many women delegates there were at the Congress assumes more mass. Surely, no PPP leader and luminary, not even Jagdeo, is going to tell Guyanese (feel free to tell them, but please don’t risk the same in this direction) that morals and alleged abuse and alleged sexual violence, as all alleged, did not matter to PPP women delegates. Even when it is a young woman. Even when there is a record of past accusation(s). Even when the image of the PPP is tarnished again. There is loyalty and protective measures, there is a time to cut losses, if only to pick up the pieces, save face. There is appreciation that Comrade Dharamlall is the Vice President’s go-to-guy to get, ah, certain jobs done. Jobs that have a peculiar odor, and which nobody else in the group wants. I agree that the comrade has utility, is a commando for tough Jagdeo causes. But there should be a limit to how much he or anyone else could be rewarded, and how long they are allowed to stick around.

Further, and just so that all my fellows understand how much trust is placed in Jagdeo’s truth (no rigging), I am aware of a fair number of whispered confirmations from knowing people in the PPP that there was a preferred list of names handed to select delegates. Undemocratic, neither of free will nor of a fair contest? Maybe, maybe not. I move on to the recommendations for the GS and VP that I mentioned earlier.
Moreover, though each was an interested party and a competitor, it would be good to hear from Anil Nandlall, Vindhya Persaud, and Don Ramotar, to call a few names, on their take about the integrity of the PPP elections. None of them should take the Fifth. They should advance and assert. In doing so, it would be swearing to more than the truths of the PPP elections. It would be each one of them giving the clearest, most powerful, reference to Mr. Nigel Dharamlall. The authenticity of his candidacy. The texture of his morals and ethics. The expression in the public domain of their personal comfort with not only what transpired at the party’s Congress, but their belief in the man Nigel Dharamlall who now stands again accused, and not by just anybody.

It is appreciated that I am asking for the near impossible. The party’s inner workings are involved. Plus, the people named have an eye on political continuity. Admission is made again: it is suicide mission. Somebody has to stand for something in this society. I said at the beginning that I am expressing trust in Bharrat Jagdeo, all the woes and failures not counting for anything. There is horror over where this leaves me. Now, he has an opportunity to prove me right. Reveal how many women voters were part of the 2,512 bloc. Deny that there were preferred lists circulated. Deny that a combination of reminders, intimidation, and incentives was not part of the proceedings. In a similar manner, Anil Nandlall, Vindhya Persaud, and Donald Ramotar have a chance to declare me right or wrong, and what they are made of, truly so. Let this matter involving Nigel Dharamlall be put to bed (no slyness involved) once and for all time.