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Being the final congress before the next general elections in 2011, the 29th Congress of the ruling People’s Progressive Party is generating significant interest.The theme of the congress which will be held next Saturday and Sunday at the Diamond Community Centre Ground, East Bank Demerara, is ‘Strengthen the party, secure the nation and accelerate development’.What is uppermost in the minds of those who will be paying special interest is the identification of a new presidential candidate for the next General Elections. But word coming out of Freedom House is that that announcement will not be made at the upcoming event. Current President of Guyana,Cheap Sittched Jerseys China, Bharrat Jagdeo, is not eligible by the constitution to contest another term.What is certain at the congress is that there may be a changing of the guard with regards to who sits on the Central Committee.“There is a lot of interest because of the presidential candidate (for the next elections). This will be raised at the congress, but no decision is to be taken. I think that is why there is so much interest,” said party General Secretary Donald Ramotar.Never before has the PPP been in this kind of dilemma, having to choose a presidential candidate at a congress with so much time before the next general elections.The party has long done away with choosing a leader, having amended its constitution to reflect this position.“Since 1970, the party has had no place for a ‘leader’ in its constitution,” Ramotar said in an interview with this newspaper.The last person to be called leader of the party was the late President Cheddi Jagan, and that was way back in 1970. There will, however, be elections for the 35-member Central Committee, which should see some of the old stagers being replaced by new blood, who will be expected to take the party forward.The first 35 members with the highest votes will be members of the party’s Central Committee, which is the main decision-making arm of the PPP.Among the top names being put forward are the General Secretary himself; Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran; long-serving foot soldier, attorney-at-law Moses Nagamoottoo; Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, and the indomitable former President of Guyana, Mrs Janet Jagan.This year’s congress will review the gains of the party since the last such event in 2005. Among them is the PPP/C’s victory at the 2006 polls which saw the party increasing its majority in the National Assembly.“Also,Cheap Jerseys, the economy has grown since the last congress, and the party will monitor the work that is being done to maintain this position, as well as look at ways to improve,NFL Jerseys Authentic Cheap,” Ramotar said.Like the previous congresses,NFL Jerseys Cheap, this year’s event will attract members from the Diaspora,Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys, mainly from the Caribbean, but also from the United States of America and Canada.Evidence has shown that the PPP has increased its membership as more young people graduating from the party youth arm, the Progressive Youth Organisation, become members.“Our party is much larger than before. People are coming in with new experiences, and we have to educate them about the workings of the party,” said the PPP General Secretary.Another issue of great significance at the PPP congress will be the general political situation in Guyana, where the party will analyse its relationship with the main opposition PNCR and other political parties. This will include what has changed since the 2006 general and regional elections.According to Ramotar, one of the main pillars for discussion on the matter will be trust.“We will try to build trust. That had a severe setback since 2006,” Ramotar stated.He pointed to a number of arrangements between the PPP/C and the PNCR which were thrown overboard after what he described as the PNCR reneging following the last general elections.As the theme suggests, crime will also be a major topic for discussion.The PPP/C Administration has presided over the most violent crime wave in post independence Guyana, and there are many who feel that the party is devoid of ideas on how to arrest the problem.But, according to Donald Ramotar, while acknowledging that crime is a major cause for worry, security is much broader than crime.“We have a responsibility to the nation, and we will be discussing what the party can do to make the country more secure.” Ramotar explained that the party has been advocating the establishment of more community involvement in tackling crime, since, he said, “the administration cannot put a policeman at everyone’s door.”While many have blamed the Government for not properly addressing the crime situation, and the party itself while setting policies for the Government it has provided for the Guyanese people, Ramotar said that the party and the Government are quite distinct from each other.“We feel there has to be a distinction from Government and the party. While the party is its members, the Government is for all of Guyana. There is unity and distinction,” he said.What is certain is that there is unlikely to be a similar fiasco to the one that obtained at the last congress of the main opposition People’s National Con
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