By The Piper
The waiting is over. After nearly two months of speculation we now know whom the PPP is sending to parliament, and most importantly, that former president, Bharrat Jagdeo will indeed become the Leader of the Opposition. A number of points come to mind concerning the PPP parliamentarians soon to be sworn in, so let us get to work.
First, Bheri Ramsaran. His reinsertion into parliament is, at once, predictable and shocking. It is predictable because the PPP, like most Third World political parties are beholden to loyalty. Bheri has been around the PPP practically all his life, a loyal son one might say, and this simple fact entitles him to a seat in the legislature. Other parties in Guyana do the same. Hamilton Green’s warm embrace by the APNU+AFC, despite a storied history of confrontational politics – if not more, is also indicative of the loyalty factor.
Yet, the Bheri factor must trouble those who are not only keen on relations of gender, but also because the PPP lost a great opportunity to show some real resolve about discipline, broadly defined. Make no mistake about it; even PPP die-hard supporters watched the former minister’s performance with disdain. Jagdeo should assert himself and deport Bheri Ramsaran from parliament. Bheri’s loyalty can play itself out at Freedom House where he should be given desk duties.
It is good to see some new faces, not least Harry Gill and the young Charles Ramson. Gill heroically defended the PPP in a press that can only be generously described as hostile. One hopes that he is not made to simply sit around. The young Ramson must still prove himself by first getting to know the Guyana outside of Georgetown. He does have the general make-up on someone with a real political future. He will no doubt cull wisdom from his illustrious father who is both bright and constructively pugnacious against nonsense.
Bharrat Jagdeo has a real chance to show that he can rise above the relentless and often unfair criticisms of his opponents. As a two-term former president he will bring not only leadership to the PPP, but will also keep the APNU+AFC coalition on its toes. The debates in the legislature are bound to be of high quality on account of Jadgeo’s wonkish knowledge with practically every aspect of governance. He will, however, be better off if he sticks to the policy matters rather than getting tracked with petty issues.
Jagdeo needs to do two things immediately. Firstly, he must get a spokesperson who is not only media savvy, but someone who is also broadly educated in matters of economics and governance. This job should not be left to Freedom House, which is legendary for its bankrupt media operations. Rohee himself needs some assistance. And who will ever forget those rambling and incoherent post-cabinet Roger Luncheon briefings? Secondly, the new opposition leader should strike a careful balance between devolving leadership opportunities to his colleagues in the PPP, while at the same time institute a regime of discipline becoming of parliamentarians. That basically means hard work. If I may say so, Jagdeo needs to develop a quiet kind of leadership, a form that President Granger seems to have mastered. What do you think?