The PPP’s obsession with Nagamootoo
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IN recent weeks we have seen an intensification of a phenomenon which we first witnessed in 2011.
This phenomenon has seen the newly minted Opposition PPP members, especially since having taken up their seats in Parliament, express a heightened level of obsession with Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo. They are led by their belligerent leader, Mr Bharrat Jagdeo.
This manic preoccupation with Nagamootoo may seem awkward, but there is a well-defined reason for this pattern of compulsive fixation.

The PPP’s obsession with Nagamootoo can be traced to a deep- seated hatred. It goes back some time.

Nagamootoo was a leading target for the PPP’s electoral campaigns in both 2011 and 2015. Political campaigns are exercises in rigid management of resources. Political parties are not known to waste time and energies targeting persons or issues that are inconsequential.

There was a well-researched and credible reason for the PPP to have focused as much time and attention on Nagamootoo in those campaigns. The campaign attacks have now transferred to targeting Nagamootoo as the duly elected Prime Minister. But the issue extends to even before the 2011 campaign.

It was against Nagamootoo that there was internal PPP scheming and manipulation and allegations of much worse by the highest office holders of the party to sideline him (Nagamootoo) who was once heir apparent.

Following his spectacular departure from Freedom House and his embrace of the AFC in 2011, it was Nagamootoo who piloted the historic No Confidence Motion against the PPP, which triggered Donald Ramotar’s unceremonious and unprecedented prorogation of Parliament which ultimately resulted in defeat for the PPP at the May 11 polls.

It is Nagamootoo whom Freedom House sees as that tipping force which caused the PPP Government to fall and which has consigned the PPP to the Opposition benches.

The new Opposition Leader is former President and reluctant private citizen, Bharrat Jagdeo. Fate, and thinly veiled ambition to return to the halls of power, has dealt Mr Jagdeo a seemingly ignoble blow. He must now occupy the seat in Parliament, among the Opposition benches, located directly across from Prime Minister Nagamootoo on the Government side. Every time he raises his head it is Nagamootoo whom he sees in his line of sight, sitting as the Leader of Government business in the House and as the Prime Minister and second in command of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. Mr Jagdeo, once strangle-holder of the highest office in the land is now relegated to Leader of the Opposition and sitting outside the corridors of official governmental power. It appears as though these facts are too much for the proud Mr Jagdeo to digest. The wounds are fresh. There are five years for Mr Jagdeo to get accustomed to the contours of his new seat and field of view.

The signals of Nagamootoo’s presence in Government galling the PPP in general and Mr Jagdeo in particular are not few.

After Mr Jagdeo’s budget presentation, which sounded not unlike his campaign platform ‘performances,’ he stormed out of the National Assembly, his loyal troops filing out behind him. Having schemed and manoeuvred unsuccessfully for days to avoid speaking before Nagamootoo, Mr Jagdeo would have known that Prime Minister Nagamootoo was slated to present after him and clearly could not bear to “man up” and face Nagamootoo.
Mr Jagdeo did what many have described as an act of irresponsible cowardice and let his people down by vacating the highest decision- making body in the land – an act for which he himself and numerous of his colleagues have previously viciously berated the previous Opposition. There is an issue of hypocritical behaviour which the PPP will find itself confronted with on this score.

But alas, it was not Nagamootoo’s departure from the PPP that has Freedom House as repulsed as they are. Had Nagamootoo left, but, like Ralph Ramkarran, opted to become politically non-committal, the PPP might very well have clung to power as they did in 2011. That critical mass to get the coalition Opposition over the line was provided by the AFC in support of APNU’s mass appeal as a united coalition front. At the helm of the AFC in the six- party coalition was the irrepressible Nagamootoo as the Prime Ministerial candidate alongside Presidential Candidate Brigadier (rt’d) David Granger.

There would have been post-election analysis done at Freedom House, and perhaps at places within the vicinity of the Plaisance Community Centre Ground. It appears as though the analysis has recommended that the response be to seek to diminish Nagamootoo’s Prime Ministership to the level of their own 23-year pliant Prime Minister, Mr Samuel Hinds. And hence the obsession, the heckling, the barrage of media comments and the revulsion towards Prime Minister Nagamootoo.

What appears certain is that this is the first phase of the PPP attack plan. There is certain to be more to come. Prime Minister Nagamootoo will have to prepare to face more as long as he remains resolute in occupying his seat on the Government side of the house. There will be no relenting as long as his face is what comes into focus at the head of the table when those on the other side lift their heads from a downward gaze.


By Imran Khan


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