President Donald Ramotar was on Monday confirmed as the Presidential Candidate for the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) for the May 11 polls.
This was disclosed by General Secretary of PPP/C Clement Rohee at the party’s weekly press conference held at Freedom House, Robb Street, Georgetown. According to Rohee, Ramotar was selected and decided upon at a meeting which was convened last week. He noted that Ramotar was the only Presidential Candidate and there no other competitors in the race for the position.
“The only thing that has been decided upon is the fact President Ramotar is the Presidential Candidate. There was no other Presidential candidate,” he said. He noted too that this is not likely to change anytime before the polls.
Questioned on whether this was a wise choice given the fact that the party would have lost a majority Government under the leadership of Ramotar in the 2011 General Elections, Rohee noted that was simply an assumption and it was not proven that the candidate was the primary reason for this.
“There were a number of reasons why that happened and after the 2011 elections, we did an analysis and made it known the factors that responsible for us losing control of the Parliament. We had also pointed out over the years that we have taken corrective measures to address those issues.
“Now I believe that we are in a better position and we are still working to ensure that we are way ahead of the game. That is just an assumption and we are not going into the elections with that kind of assumption. We are going to win elections,” Rohee explained.
Meanwhile, Rohee, who also holds the post of Home Affairs Minister, related that the Prime Ministerial candidate is yet to be chosen, but there are several nominees for the position. It is possible that Prime Minister Samuel Hinds will be replaced.
“The party is still discussing this. Anything is possible. If the PPP/C has the Presidential Candidate then the Prime Ministerial Candidate would come from the Civic. There are a lot of people working,” he disclosed. Rohee noted that the party remains optimistic that it will regain its majority at the polls slated for May 11.
After serving as PPP/C’s General Secretary for 14 years, Ramotar was selected as the 2011 Presidential Candidate in April that year, ahead of the November 28 elections. Subsequent to his decision to prorogue Parliament on November 10, 2014, President Ramotar told reporters that he was “confident” that he will be the next PPP/C Presidential Candidate.
The President has consistently said that he is not afraid of the electorate and emphasised that he will secure a majority in the next election. “This time I am going back for the majority bigger than before,” he had declared.
Winning the 2011 elections with a plurality, Ramotar became the first President not to have a majority in the National Assembly. In the 65-seat National Assembly, PPP/C secured 32 seats while A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) secured 26, and Alliance For Change (AFC) 7, resulting in the collective Opposition gaining a total 33 seats.
Already President Ramotar has featured in a campaign television advertisement which has begun airing. In the two-minute advertisement, the President detailed plans for jobs security, investments in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), higher education opportunities and modernisation of the country’s infrastructure.
“Unlike the other parties and individuals, I commit to further investments to secure the sugar industry and an agriculture diversification plan that would move us into value added production.
“I present to you a platform that would see us achieving universal secondary education and expanded health care. I commit to a future where resources would be used to improve the life of every citizen through increased spending in the social sector, creation of a knowledge based economy and a future where every Guyanese own their own home,” he said in the advertisement.
President Ramotar also highlighted the developments made over the years under his watch in the areas of tourism, mining and agriculture. He pointed out that the country’s foreign debt was also reduced during this time by half and its international reserve is at its highest ever.
“We cannot risk these gains, the work must continue. Let us move forward together. I am Donald Ramotar, and I ask you and your families to support this future. Join us in moving forward together,” he ended in true campaign-like momentum.
At the end of the ad, the PPP/C symbol was boldly displayed. The advertisement also features clips of the President interacting with the young Guyanese, visiting Marriott Hotel site and touring housing developments.