By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Clement Rohee says the current Prime Ministerial Candidate – Elisabeth Harper – was the only person nominated to the PPP’s executive committee.
He told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday, February 24 that since the announcement of her candidacy on February 21, Harper resigned from her post as Director General of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
The Party’s General Secretary also told reporters that Harper is not being sheltered by the Party since she is new to the political scene having been a public servant for a number of years.
“We would like to dissociate ourselves from any indication of that sort…I take objection to put it rather strongly and firmly that the Party is sheltering Mrs Harper,” Rohee said.
He related that while some political observers and opposition ranks are “panicking” over the selection of Harper as the Prime Ministerial candidate, the ultimate test of that selection will be in the results of the May 11 General and Regional Elections.
Rohee underscored that Harper is not a “card bearing member of the PPP” noting that she was from “civic society.” Rohee was grilled extensively on what gave Harper the edge over other members of civil society such as the incumbent Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues–Birkett but he could not say.
He would only say that the Party believes in “reaching out” and “change” and has therefore chosen Harper to be President Donald Ramotar’s running mate.
“As far as I personally am concerned, there is no rift in the PPP with respect to the Party’s selection of Harpers candidature.”
Rohee also pointed out that the Civic component of the PPP/C played no role in the selection of the Party’s PM candidate saying that it has always been that way.
“When Mr Sam Hinds was selected as the Prime Ministerial candidate there were other members of the civic then…we never sat around at a table and asked them to agree or disagree on whether Mr Sam Hinds should have been the Prime Ministerial Candidate. That never happened…no different from what we did in 1992 and all the other years that followed.”
He went one to indicate that despite attempts to formalize the Civic component of the PPP, no formalization was never done hence the component does not have a leader.
“The Civic component is a rather loose arrangement that is associated with the PPP…the civic component does not have a structure…there is no structure, there is no leader…some people were not comfortable with any organizational form being given to the civic component,” the General Secretary explained.
He however noted that current Prime Minister, Hinds was involved in the process.