January 22 2017 Follow Up: Post-Congress meetings and caucuses
to the conclusion of the Cotton Field 31st Congress of the People’s Progressive Party, there have been a number of Freedom House meetings including that of January 7 2017 Central Committee inaugural that facilitated the elections for General Secretary, Executive Committee and Secretariat
The Central Committee held its first meeting
The first meeting of the Central Committee Members elected at the 31st Congress took place on Saturday, January 7th, 2017 at Freedom House, Georgetown
At the meeting, elections were held for the General Secretary, Executive Committee and Secretariat Members.
Cde. Bharrat Jagdeo was elected as the Party new General Secretary with Cde. Zulfizar Mustapha re-elected as the Executive Secretary.
Other Secretaries elected were: Public Relations- Cde. Anil Nandlall, Finance Secretary- Cde. Irfaan Ali, Education Secretary - Cde. Hydar Ally, International Affairs - Cde. Bheri Ramsaran, Membership Secretary - Cde. Shyam Nokta, Mass Organization - Cde. Gail Teixeria, Organizing Secretary - Cde. Ricky Ramraj and Trade Union Secretary - Cde. Nigel Dharamlall.
Pre-Congress Mobilization-the Binary and Thematic
It is worth some considerable reflection and observation to note that the 31sr Congress took place in the kind of political conditions where Party Activists were quite visible in various Sub-regions wherever picketing demonstrations and workers protests were occurring over a period of the entire 2016.
This was particularly the experience along the West Demerara (the Wales Estate closure decision of the APNU-AFC administration).
Region Four (East Bank/ East Coast Demerara (protests over the blatant irregularities of Gecom), as well as in the twin Berbice sub-regions (Sugar workers industrial action as well as picketing of Gecom branch offices).
The continuing armed violent crime wave in several parts of the country especially in vulnerable rural or township locations, also served to place many local party groups on virtual red alert
The result of these trends was that Congress preparations ensued on the tracks of the traditional District/ Regional Raffle and Barbecue Fun Day affairs.
In fact the Fun Day aspect may well have been reset to coincide with a planned Horse Race event scheduled for No 79 Village, Corentyne.
This is an expensive labour intensive and complex undertaking that involves challenging engagements with Georgetown based authorities and bureaucracy (eg. Permit/licence from the Environment Protection Agency or EPA as well as arrangements with the Berbice Division of the Guyana Police Force who provide a detachment of police officers as a paid for service security).
Due to circumstances beyond the control of the Organisers this event could not be sponsored as envisaged to attract several thousands of Berbicians. It was called off
Visits and Interactions with Senior Party Personnel
Another incident that involved party responses was the Magistrate court appearances of Dr Bheri Ramsaran at the Whim jurisdiction.
That episode practically was a consequence of a planned provocation on the part of a local rights activist who was a subject to Dr Ramsaran’s admonition.
In fact there were at least two picketing exercises carried out in support/ solidarity with Dr Ramsaran as the matter was heard before a local judicial official.
East Berbice in particular has also witnessed a number of Reach Out type of community interactions where senior Party officers have been visible.
One day visits have additionally been organized where former General Secretary Clement Rohee has been on hand to engage at the political level.
Accabre Education Courses
The PPP, has over the months since the 2015 general and regional elections, mobilized on a broad front and based on the 2015 Manifesto, or, more correctly recommendations.
To empower the present cluster of groups Accabre Education courses have been sponsored directly through the Secretariat’s Education Secretary Hydar Ally and others (Essequibo and Berbice).
During the course of 2016 one group of students completed the topics assigned and were presented with Certificates.
It should be recognized that internal to this Sub-region there has historically been a robust stream of political supporters, mainly of younger aged citizens as well as the Progressive Youth Organisation becoming card carrying PPP members
Work Programme and Group Flexibility
All Party groups (Article 13) must be ‘referrals’ of District. No group has the right to dictate to another. Based on July 2005 renovated Constitutional Clauses approved at the 28th Anna Regina Congress, Article 13 highlights two issues. These are as follows: i. The basic group unit to be drawn from members of the Party in a place of residence, work or study in the District. ii. Each Group’s formation shall be subject to the approval or ratification of the Central Committee.
What actually has tended to be the experience is the residential formula or criteria qualifying the establishment of a group. Group creation on the other hand and in certain Neighbourhoods where, for example there are large housing schemes poses a different community dilemma in terms of the traditional village, or “ribbon settlement”, or ward, or PCU, or Neighborhood as the case might (well) be (come).
East Bank Demerara, West Coast Demerara as well as the hinterland locations of Barima/Waini and the Rupununi not to overlook the Upper Demerara/Upper Berbice riverains, have special demographic characteristics of a socio economic as well as ethnic kind that must be resolved from the inception of a new basic unit or Group.
It would seem therefore that the authority of the Regional Secretariat is critical.