By Abena Rockcliffe

Despite the rape allegations that saw him being removed from government, Nigel Dharamlall continues to enjoy strong embrace as a beloved member of his party. During the recently concluded congress held at Arthur Chung Convention Center, rank and file members of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) voted overwhelmingly in favour of Dharamlall returning to the party’s Central Committee.

Unlike what is given as per the structural set up of other political parties, like the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) where delegates attending congress vote for individual leadership positions, PPP’s delegates vote for the make up of the party’s Central Committee.

Delegates vote to elect a 40-member central committee. Five among those 40 members are without voting power. The 35 members with voting power then select the 15-member Executive Committee. The very committee of 35 votes for the General Secretary and other secretaries of the party who will form part of the Executive Committee.

When the party’s incumbent General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo presented the media with the voting results for the Central Committee on Sunday, he listed the 35 in order of votes they amassed. Very few persons had more votes than rape accused Dharamlall.

It must be noted that the few who beat Dharamlall are really considered the cream de la cream of the ruling party. President Dr. Irfaan Ali topped the list with 2308 votes. The very fact that he is the sitting president should secure his place at the top. Any other result of Ali being either first or second would have signalled disapproval of his performance as president from his party.

Behind Ali, is Jagdeo with 2257 votes. Besides the founding member of the party Dr. Cheddi Jagan, no one is known to be more loved or respected in the party than Jagdeo.

In third place is incumbent Executive Secretary, Zulfikar Mustapha with 2174 votes. Mustapha has been serving as Executive Secretary for well over a decade and has served under at least three General Secretaries including former President, Donald Ramotar and former Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee. He is regarded as one of the hardest working members of the party.

Behind Mustapha, with 2046 votes, is Vickram Bharrat. Guyana Standard understands that he has been working closely with Mustapha on many party projects for years and continues to be a valued member of government.

Following Bharrat is party stalwart, Gail Teixeira who has been a staple in the Central and Executive Committees of the PPP since the 90s. She is generally regarded and respected as the most powerful female member of the PPP, giving up her dual citizenship in 2020 to ensure she can continue to serve. She accumulated 2015 votes.

With 103 votes less than her, Dharamlall came in at 6, beating several party stalwarts, and serving ministers.

During the post- congress press conference, Guyana Standard asked Jagdeo if Dharamlall’s success at congress could influence his future in government.

Jagdeo, who is also the Vice President, responded in the negative emphasizing that that is strictly party’s business, drawing a line suggesting that in that particular matter, the party will not be influencing government.

It was only less than a year ago that Dharamlall had cause to step down from his post as Minister of Local Government and Member of Parliament following a rape scandal.


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