Nov 13, 2017
I read that Ramon Gaskin has announced that he is thinking of forming a political party for the 2020 elections. Speaking at a forum at the National Library, he told his tiny-sized audience; “We are tending in that direction to launch this new thing in January… we already have a time to do it.”
The first thing that flew immediately into my head when I read that public disclosure is how the Kaieteur News is going to treat his campaign. Gaskin was the chief witness in three libel cases involving Walter Ramsahoye and this newspaper. I can vividly recall his testimony in two of them. I will leave it at that because I don’t want to get another libel involving Mr. Gaskin.
For the purpose of avoiding such, this column will be sent to three lawyers early Sunday morning for comments. Gaskin is 73 so if he does sue at the rate the courts operate it will come up when he is 83, and may be completed when he is 86. I guess the Kaieteur News will have no choice; the principles of journalism will force the paper to report on Gaskin’s party.
At the same time, as an opinion-maker, it is acceptable and permissible journalism to assess Gaskin’s chances at the poll and analyse the type of reception that he will get from the electorate. I believe commentary on the formation of any political party is expected and legitimate. So here are my thoughts on the impending new party of Ramon Gaskin.
In announcing his intention to form his party, Gaskin had at his side, TUC President, Lincoln Lewis. Lincoln is a personal friend over a long period of time, so I think he knows I have my job to do as offering interpretations and explanations of social happening to my readers. Gaskin used the word, “we” so I assume that with Lincoln at his side when Gaskin said “we,” that Lincoln will be part of that outfit. Christopher Ram comes to mind because Ram is very close to Gaskin and Gaskin is a staple diet on Ram’s television interview programme.
How does the analyst treat this new party once it comes into existence? I know for sure that there will be another formation with names far more credible than Gaskin’s and names that will attract national attention. So right now it looks like, there will be the two established organisations – PPP and APNU+AFC and that other group. Now there is Gaskin’s thing and no doubt we will see a few other small entities from 2015 that will contest in 2020.
If Ram and Lewis join Gaskin, then I believe Ram and Lewis will be the main focus in this formation rather than Gaskin. I am being deeply honest when I say that I doubt any serious Guyanese will vote for Gaskin. If they vote for his party, they probably will be thinking of Ram and Lewis. But I have opinions like other citizens and my guess is that unless the leader and presidential candidate of Mr. Gaskin’s party comes from other sources than Gaskin himself, then Gaskin’s entity may end up with three votes – Gaskin, Lewis and Ram.
I have written more times that I can count that the factor that keeps this country from drowning in its own creation of death waves is its recurring facetiousness. A former economist at the Bank of Guyana, Craig Sylvester, has announced through the letter pages, the birth of his political party. In his letters, he has described his manifesto.
I know Sylvester from his student days at UG. I asked him why he has not stated the name of his party. He said, “Not yet.” This can only happen in Guyana where a citizen forms a political party but withholds the name. Either Sylvester is funny or … well, let’s not get into other adjectives. But back to Gaskin.
Gaskin told his listeners that the party will be a socialist one. This is the part that interests me. I have been in politics my entire life as an activist since I was sixteen, so I would be familiar with the politics of Gaskin from the time he became the editor of the “Liberator,” the newspaper of the group, “Guyana Anti-Discrimination Movement.”
This was a pro-Indian entity founded by Gaskin’s boss, Dr. Rowti Prashad, owner of the Prashad Hospital and comprising other doctors (including Gunraj Kumar, who later became the head of the United Force after Peter D’Aguiar quit politics) and lawyers including Doodnauth Singh. Since then, Gaskin’s employment up to the present time has always been with business companies. More on Gaskin’s capitalism later!