Wed | Nov 22, 2017

Jagdeo elected general secretary of opposition party

Published:Monday | January 9, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Former Guyanase President Bharrat Jagdeo was on Saturday elected general secretary of the main opposition People's Progressive Party (PPP).

Jagdeo, who served as president of Guyana for 12 years (1999-2011), was nominated by longtime party member Dr Roger Luncheon.

The 35-member Central Committee voted to replace long-time PPP member Clement Rohee at their first Central Committee meeting since the recent PPP congress.

Jagdeo went up against Dr Frank Anthony, a member of parliament and former government minister, but when the votes were tallied, the former president emerged as the general secretary with 24 of the 35 votes. Anthony picked up the remaining 11 votes.

Shortly after emerging victorious, Jagdeo told journalists that his position as opposition leader and general secretary will allow for a consolidation of the two posts and a focus on growing the party, as well as preparing the party to head back into government.

Concerning whether or not he will emerge as his party's next presidential candidate, Jagdeo said that issue will be decided when it is time.

At a recent meeting of the party's congress, Jagdeo said it was time the party focused more on what is good for Guyana rather than ideological "isms".

He noted that as general secretary, the party will reach out to all of Guyana as opposed to focusing solely on its traditional support base.

However, Rohee expressed his disappointment that Anthony, his candidate for general secretary, did not win but added that he will continue to support Jagdeo, since the PPP is a collective unit.

"I believe he is young, he has a freshness about him, he had the second-highest votes at the congress, and he is a young professional. Therefore, I thought it was better for me as an older person to step aside and give a younger person an opportunity to be the general secretary," Rohee said.

- CMC