GEORGETOWN, July 1, CMC – The former speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran, a key member of the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP), on Saturday resigned from the party after a prolonged disagreement with the government’s handling of corruption. But the ruling party held out hope for his return.
Ramkarran lost his presidential candidacy bid to President Donald Ramotar for the 2011 elections, leading to strained relations with the PPP’s leadership, of which Ramotar remains general secretary.
A long-serving member of the ruling party, Ramkarran said in a brief statement Saturday that his resignation stemmed from a disagreement with other executives over an “internal matter”.
Ramkarran, who writes a column for the ruling party’s Weekend Mirror newspaper, has called on the president to deal with allegations of corruption in an article which, he suggested, heightened tension within the party.
“At a meeting of the Executive Committee on Friday … disquiet was expressed about the confidentiality of discussions in my presence having regard to my recent article on corruption. However difficult it might be to link the two issues, the intensity of the discussions were such that further participation in the activities of the PPP would be a challenge,” he said.
The PPP executive held an emergency meeting late Saturday to discuss Ramkarran’s resignation. In a statement confirming his resignation, the PPP said it was attempting to reach out to its disaffected stalwart.
“The PPP General Secretary’s office this morning (Saturday) received a letter of resignation from the PPP by Mr. Ralph Ramkarran. Immediately, efforts were made to engage Mr. Ramkarran on his concerns and his decision. These efforts are continuing,” the PPP statement said.
Ramkarran, a lawyer for the past 40 years, was elected to parliament in 1997. He served two terms as speaker of the unicameral legislature, the National Assembly.
He has also been a member of the Guyana Elections Commission through four local and general elections in Guyana since 1973.
As a lawmaker he also chaired the bi-partisan Constitution Reform Commission called to overhaul the 1980 Constitution.
But in recent weeks, Ramkarran has been vocal in opposition to the administration’s handling of corruption, urging President Ramotar to take a tough stance on the issue.