MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE
PEOPLE’S PROGRESSIVE PARTY
PPP Central Committee Members - (L-R) Cyril Belgrave, Clinton Collymore, Kellawan Lall, Gail Teixeira,
Robert Persaud, Dr. Roger Luncheon and Shirely Edwards at the Media Conference - 11:30hrs. February 14. 2004. Photo by Adrian Ally
The People’s Progressive
Party (PPP) states that after extensive deliberations by the Executive Committee
on the 6th February, 2004 and 13th February, 2004 in relation to the disciplinary
charges made against Cde Khemraj Ramjattan, the Executive Committee was forced
to conclude that Mr Ramjattan has no intention of abiding by the minimum rules
and standards necessary to sustain his membership of the Party.
In its deliberations, the Executive Committee noted that Cde Ramjattan’s public criticisms and accusations against Party and Government leaders and their policies commenced shortly after the PPP/C Government took office in 1992 and continued with regularity. As a result of these public criticisms and attacks, he was repeatedly summoned before representatives of the Executive Committee to answer charges made against him for being in breach of party rules.
In those meetings, we have always made it clear to Cde Ramjattan that there is no rule against Party members giving their views in public. We have constantly stressed that the Party respects his right of free speech as it does for every other member. In fact, the Party was responsible for restoring free speech and other fundamental rights to Guyana. However, as a leading member of the Party holding a seat on the Central Committee, his responsibilities need to be discharged in a manner that do not denigrate Party and Government leaders or bring Party and Government policies into disrepute. Free speech did not mean that he could deliberately ignore his obligation to adhere to Party rules and that some degree of commitment to collective decision making processes which is an important hallmark of all organisations, voluntarily or otherwise, was essential.
On every occasion that complaints were made to Cde Ramjattan, he expressed regret and undertook to abide by the rules and practices of the Party. These commitments were never honoured.
On 29th January, 2004, the General Secretary of the Party wrote Cde Ramjattan expressing alarm that he had displayed contempt for the Party by alleging that the last Congress was undemocratic even though his views were fully discussed and defeated by delegates in an open vote.
Several other issues were raised in the letter and he was invited to a meeting to answer allegations that he was engaged in activities detrimental to the interests of the Party.
At that meeting on the 6th February, 2004, Cde Ramjattan was accused of disparaging the internal decision making process of the Party of attacking Congress decisions and describing them as being undemocratic and attacking Party leaders.
At the meeting, the atmosphere of which was fraternal and conducive to a resolution of all differences, Cde Ramjattan declared that his public and expressed positions were not intended as attacks on the Party or it leaders. He expressed regret and undertook to develop better relations with other Party leaders and comrades in order to resolve differences.
He agreed to cease all public attacks on the Party, Government and their leaders, to use internal party bodies to express differences and to abide by the Party rules and practices. A copy of the Executive Committee’s letter of 11th February, 2004 is enclosed.
As a result of these commitments made by Cde Ramjattan, the Executive Committee decided to ask him to issue a statement consistent with his commitments.
The Executive Committee also determined that any further infractions would be met by expulsion. His views on the Executive Committee’s proposals and draft statement were to be received at its meeting on 13th February, 2004,
before the meeting, on the 10th February, 2004, he deliberately, blatantly and in violation of his commitments and of Party rules and practices, issued a public statement challenging denials that certain allegations were made against him. The issue of the statement was deliberately designed to derail the process of reconciliation decided upon by the Executive Committee and to withdraw his commitments.
It was also intended as a message to the Executive Committee that he never intended and did not intend to abide by his commitments or Party rules and practices. And would not be bound by them. Cde Ramjattan had the opportunity at the Executive Committee meeting on the 6th February, 2004, to raise the issue of his divergent views concerning deliberations at the meeting of the Central Committee on the 31st January, 2004, because on the 3rd February, 2004 Cde Donald Ramotar, the General Secretary denied the press reports. He did not do so but chose to return to his well established conduct of disregard for the Party, its leaders and its rules.
He knew that his statement of 10th February 2004 was in clear violation of Party rules because he said in the Statement that he will not allow Party rules to “crib” him into not defending himself.
Regrettably, and having regard to Cde Ramjattan’s long standing and deliberate disregard for Party rules and his clear intention to continue doing so, the Executive Committee was forced to terminate the Party’s relationship with Cde Ramjattan. A copy of our letter dated 13th February, 2004, informing Cde Ramjattan of the decision of the Executive Committee is attached herewith.
February 14, 2004
February 13, 2004
Cde. Khemraj Ramjattan
10 Delph Street
Dear Cde. Ramjattan
In our letter to you of
11th February 2004, we referred to the statements and commitments you gave at
the Executive Committee held on the 6th of February 2004. These statements and
commitments were set out in the letter as follows:
“At the meeting you declared that your public and other expressed positions were not intended as attacks on the Party or to denigrate Party leaders. You expressed regret and undertook to develop better relations with other comrades in the Party’s leadership so that policy and other differences can be discussed and resolved whenever possible.
“Your commitment to the Executive Committee was to (1) cease all public attacks on the Party, its leaders and the government; (2) use the internal fora to air positions and (3) abide with the Constitution and rules of the Party.”
We also stated:
“Having regard to the above the Executive Committee has decided to reprimand you and to issue a final warning that if infractions of Party rules occur in the future, the ultimate sanction of expulsion will be applied.”
To our shock and distress you deliberately chose to disregard not only your commitments but the fraternal atmosphere which characterised our meeting of 6th February, 2004 and issued a public statement dated 10th February 2004 tending to bring the Party and its Leaders in disrepute and declaring that you “will not allow Party rules and crib” you in not defending yourself. In issuing your statement, you clearly knew that you were in breach of Party rules and the commitments made.
We hereby inform you that the Executive Committee of the Party has decided to expel you from the Party forthwith.
We expect that you would tender your resignation from the National Assembly upon receipt of this letter.
Ulric Ramanah for
The Executive Committee in its disciplinary capacity.
February 11, 2004
Cde. Khemraj Ramjattan
Central Committee Member
People’s Progressive Party
Dear Cde. Ramjattan
The Executive Committee has considered the representations and commitments made by you at its meeting on the 6th February 2004 in response to its letter to you dated 29-01-2004.
In its letter it charged
• You had publicly disparaged the internal decision making process of the Party;
• You had attacked the Party’s Congress decisions and described it as being undemocratic and
• You had attacked Party leaders.
The Executive Committee is of the view that the allegations against you set out in its letter warrant expulsion from the Party especially since the Executive Committee, through one or more members, had cause to speak to you in the past about your public expressions which commenced shortly after the PPP/C took office.
At the meeting you declared that your public and others expressed positions were not intended as attacks on the Party or to denigrate Party leaders. You expressed regret and undertook to develop better relations with other comrades in the Party’s leadership so that policy and other differences can be discussed and resolved whenever possible.
Your commitment to the Executive Committee was to (1) cease all public attacks on the Party, its leaders and the government; (2) use the internal for a to air positions and (3) abide with the Constitution and rules of the Party.
Having regard to the above the Executive Committee has decided to reprimand you and to issue a final warning that if infractions of Party rules occur in the future, the ultimate sanction of expulsion will be applied.
The Executive Committee has noted that the media has been using this issue to generate divisions within the Party and to criticise its well-established rules and practices. In the circumstances, we expect that you will re-affirm your support for and commitment to the Party in the form of a statement, a draft of which is enclosed. If you agree with its contents please sign it and return it to us for distribution.
Donald Ramotar, M.P.