PPP cannot be trapped by philosophy – Jagdeo

…tells Congress to rebuild for resounding victory in 2020

Opposition Leader and Central Executive Committee member of Guyana’s longest serving political force, Bharrat Jagdeo, opened the 31st Congress of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) with much vigour as he charged each member to join the efforts to rebuild the Party as they pave the journey for a resounding victory in 2020.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo addressing the Congress on Saturday at the Cotton Field Secondary School in Region Two
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo addressing the Congress on Saturday at the Cotton Field Secondary School in Region Two

For the three days, members will brainstorm to draft mechanisms that can propel the Party in the direction of success with the view of continuing to transform the lives of every citizen for the better.

With a renewed sense of commitment and enthusiasm, Jagdeo told the masses at the Cotton Field Secondary School in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) that the PPP is a party for everyone and encouraged the stalwarts, young, and the new bloods to combine their efforts, knowledge and ideas to make the Party stronger.


Jagdeo urged members to face reality and accept that weaknesses exist within the Party which ultimately led to their narrow defeat in the 2015 General and Regional Elections.congress-1

“If we do not have honest opinion then we cannot fix the problems that led us to being in Opposition, how do we rebuild from this as a party?” he emphasised.

Jagdeo, who served as Head of State for 12 consecutive years, noted that the aim of the Congress is to identify and examine all weaknesses and then make recommendations to improve the deficiencies.

He maintained, however, that the PPP was cheated during the last elections but conceded that that aspect was not the main reason behind its current Opposition status.

Additionally, he said the PPP needs to begin the process of decentralisation and to build up its local leaders so that the Party is in “tip top” shape to address the challenges in society.

Jagdeo also dismissed suggestions that the older party members are being side-lined, emphasising that their wealth of knowledge serves as the backbone of the PPP’s development.

He said it should be the honour of the stalwarts to instil the requisite knowledge and provide guidance to those upcoming vibrant minds who possess the vibrancy to thrust the Party forward.

Jagdeo also stressed that long-standing members should take pride in encouraging youths and women and to send a message that the PPP is open to all Guyanese.

The politician noted too that it is time to reach out to the disgruntled and disappointed A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) supporters who are also facing the burdens unleashed by the coalition Administration.

In this regard, Jagdeo underlined that the PPP will forever remain committed to the fundamental principle of being patriotic and tending to the needs of the grassroots. He acknowledged that though times have changed, the PPP will always be thankful to its Founding Leader Dr Cheddi Jagan.

“We will continue to work on his methodology to effect change,” Jagdeo declared.

Proud track record

Jagdeo, who also serves as the nation’s Opposition Leader, spoke about the mayhem plaguing the country’s economic system at the hands of the coalition Government and empathised with the struggles of Guyanese.

Contrasting the two Governments, Jagdeo pointed out that the PPP has much to be proud of, since the pre-independence struggle to the 1992 elections victory, which ended 28 years of rigged elections under the PNC dictatorship.

He observed that the times are worrying once again, noting that even those who supported the APNU/AFC are now missing the PPP. “In 19 months people have begun to miss us badly; imagine their own supporters are missing us now, I want to promise you that we will emerge bigger, better and stronger next elections; we have to use this period as Opposition to strengthen ourselves, if we don’t then we won’t be living up to the standards we set. There are great expectations of us, those who voted for us and also those who have not.”

Jagdeo outlined that this Government is not only incapable of managing a country but its ministers are bereft of ideas on how to stimulate the local economy and have exhibited an appetite for greed, mediocrity and arrogance. “This Government has made deception a form of art,” he posited.

Transformational ways

Meanwhile, PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee also delivered a keynote address highlighting that over the years, the Party contributed to good governance, national independence and freedom for all. Rohee recognised the invaluable contributions of all the stalwarts of the Party and expressed admiration of the strength of the Party support base. He highlighted that the PPP, whether it is in or out of power, has changed and touched many Guyanese lives in transformational ways.

Meanwhile, PPP member Indra Chandarpal offered remarks on behalf of the Women’s Progressive Organisation (WPO), highlighting that in the coming years, the PPP must aim to bolster its leadership.

Chairman of the Progressive Youth Organisation (PYO) Irfaan Ali in his remarks said the youth arm will play its role in rebuilding and strengthening local groups and will be partnering with internationally recognised youth groups in an effort to sustain activism.

He added that the PYO is working on sustaining the activism that was seen in high levels at the 2015 General and Regional Elections, as it supports the mandate of the PPP.

Ali noted that the PYO has resolved to address several key priorities in the coming months, including: rebuilding and strengthening local groups; partnering with internationally recognised youth groups with similar objectives; and represent the issues of University of Guyana (UG) students; among others.

Rice Producers Association (RPA) Head Dharamkumar Seeraj also delivered an address, sympathising with the rice farmers who are feeling the pressure of the coalition Government’s mismanagement of the sector.

Among those in attendance were representatives of the private sector, members of the diplomatic corps, and local trade union movements, as well as special invitees.

The 31st PPP Congress is being held under the theme “Strengthen the Party, Defend Democracy, Onward to Victory.”

The three-day gathering ends on Monday and will pave the way for the election of new leadership of the PPP. (Additional reporting by Indrawattie Natram)