EYEWITNESS: Picking the right leader…


…for the job

The PPP elected their presidential candidate through a procedure they’ve had for exactly fifty years: having their 35-member Central Committee vote by secret ballot. Yet, from the squeals from some quarters you’d think General Secretary Jagdeo stuffed the ballot box like Burnham in 1973! No one could believe Irfaan Ali would trounce Anil Nandlall in a straight one-and-one faceoff.

But he did after all the other three candidates dropped out. Some had figured that he could only squeak in if the vote was splintered …but here it was he came through 24-11! Fact is, the overriding majority of the PPP’s CC had to’ve felt Irfaan was the better candidate at this juncture of our history.

And what’s this conjuncture? The PPP is a party that has explicitly defined itself as one dedicated to development to raise the standard of living of the poor in our massively underdeveloped Guyana.

Secondly, that all parties agree that our model of development should be based on the free-market system and foreign direct investment should be encouraged to produce goods for the export market.

And thirdly, with first oil scheduled for 2020, we finally will have the capital to build the infrastructure demanded to make an economy take off.

The point of all this, is Guyana needs at its head a Chief Executive who understands the mechanics of combining those factors to produce growth with development rather than the PNC talkers we’ve had between 1964 and 1992 and from 2015. They’re releasing a lot of hot air into the atmosphere about Irfaan not being “lettered”. With all due respect what did the lettered lawyer Burnham, the dentist Jagan and the historian General Granger do for Guyana’s actual development?

That’s not to say these gentlemen from Queen’s College didn’t WANT development – far from it. They slavered for development. But they didn’t have the background that cultivated the nous to pick sense from nonsense from the cornucopia of development models out there.

Bharrat Jagdeo had the MOJO to save a devastated Guyana and set it on the virtuous path of growth. But Irfaan was allowed to go beyond that, standing on Jagdeo’s shoulders so to speak. Youthful as he is, he was given the opportunity to actually put his party’s and his ideas on a critical aspect of human development – Housing and Water – to the test and he came through with flying colours.

And that’s what the members of the CC knew: what was needed to hit the ground running and get Guyana on a sustainable path of growth AT THIS JUNCTURE was someone with the specific skill set that Irfaan possesses. But it wasn’t just the CC who recognised that cometh the hour cometh the man. The people who spontaneously came out in their thousands in Irfaan’s native West Demerara knew, up close and personal, the measure of the man.

Unlike some other leaders. He didn’t move to the bright lights of Georgetown when he became a Minister – but remained with them.

For these and so many other reasons, Irfaan’s the man of the hour!

…against the PNC

One of the peculiarities of Guyanese politics is that Burnham imprinted on it a compulsion to seize power by any means necessary. Including violence.

As such, parties that oppose the PNC have to be prepared at all times for extreme PNC-inspired violence. Young Jagdeo was tested by the “mo fyaah, slow fyaah” strategy of PNC leader Desmond Hoyte. They never thought he would stand them down – which he did by 2008, when the last of the Buxton gang were eliminated.

With oil raising the ante, the PPP must have leaders at its helm who won’t flinch from the tough decisions that have to be made soon.

Irfaan has shown in his work that he’s not a pushover, but will stand up and be counted to do the right thing for his country –- whatever the forces arrayed against him.
Irfaan is a young man who will stand up.

…as co-pilot

Next up for the PPP is to select a prime ministerial candidate. What absolutely must be avoided is to pick someone like Moses Nagamootoo.

There’s only so much the Guyanese people can stomach!!



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