Nandlall was not first choice for AG, Vindyha Persaud was last Cabinet pick

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Dear Editor,

I write in reference to collective decision to suspend Vanessa Kissoon (VV Nov 16)  and a commentary by Freddie Kissoon comparing Vanessa with Anil Nandlall and Dr. Vindhya Persaud (Nov 17). Freddie queried why Vanessa did not call on her supporters to demand her re-instatement after she was suspended some years ago. The answer is the party gave her due process as per the statement issued to the media.

Freddie asserts that if PPP prominent personalities like Nandlall or Dr. Vindya were to have been suspended from the party, the way Vanessa was suspended from the PNC, PPP supporters would be up in arms demanding their re-instatement. There is/was no guarantee that PPPites would react angrily if the party’s leading personalities have been by-passed for significant positions. PPPites are interested in keeping put the PNC from government and not necessarily fair play within the party.

It would be re-called that the process of selection of the PPP Presidential nominee in 2019 was manipulated in favor of a figure less popular than Nandlall, Dr. Persaud, and Dr. Frank Anthony. Central Committee members were coerced into voting a certain way. Party supporters grumbled and sheepishly accepted the selection. They didn’t take to the streets demanding party democracy and a fair voting process.

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It is indisputable that Nandall and Dr. Persaud are invaluable to the PPP and were key components of its victory in March 2020 as well as the official declaration in August. Nandlall led the legal campaign that nullified Mingo’s bedsheet declaration while Dr. Persaud had a daily presence at the re-counting station that confirmed the PPP victory; Dr. Anthony was also there along with other PPP stalwarts. Their presence and support were indispensable to the party in securing the victory. But would party supporters have rebelled if Nandlall or Persaud or Frank were denied a Ministry? In fact, none of the three were slated for positions they currently hold. Others were promised those positions long before March 2020.  Their prominent role in combating the rigging forced the party leader to assign them Ministries. Anthony is only a figurehead as two others are making decisions. Persaud is powerless with almost no independent resources. Nandlall was not offered the Attorney General position; he was offered Home Affairs which he justifiably rejected.

Unlike Persaud and Frank, Nandlall had/has real power; he is widely enamored by party supporters and respected for his legal brilliance. The party would not have been in power without Nandlall. Thus, he could have gotten any cabinet position he wanted, any title (AG and Vice President), and make demands for others to be appointed as Members of Parliament, Ministers, Chair of boards, etc. He did not invoke his power wisely to further empower his standing in the party. He used his influence and standing just to secure his own position as AG when he could have gotten others also appointed to prominent positions. He was tested on whether he would exercise his power and influence in the party and the government when he was given the less prestigious Home Affairs Ministry. He rightly rejected it demanding the AG position or nothing. That would have been the time for him to also make a demand for others to have their due and deserving place in government. He failed to exercise his power as the government was being constructed in early August 2020 and has since been “belittled and sidelined” by the leaders. Dr. Vindya Persaud also has strong standing among Hindus, controlling most Mandirs throughout Guyana and political leaders can’t easily sideline her. She was the last appointee of the cabinet.

Would the party supporters have rebelled if Nandlall didn’t get his way or if Dr. Vindya was not given a cabinet berth? They would have been very angry and may well have rebelled. Does Vanessa Kissoon have the same standing and bring similar value in the PNC as Nandlall or Dr. Vindya brings to the PPP? Vanessa’s supporters accepted her suspension.

Yours truly,
Sharmila Ally



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