Guyana People’s Partner-ship candidate Peter Ramsaroop believes that the PPP administration is in a freefall and has come to the end of its time in power, after spreading hopelessness in the country.
“Power will shift,” Ramsaroop told Stabroek News, while saying that the governing party has forgotten the people of Guyana and seemed to be serving a small group that can be counted on his fingers. “The country is in state of uncertainty, cost of living is on the rise and there is evidence of waste of taxpayers’ money,” he said on Thursday last.
Ramsaroop, a founding member of the Reform component of the PNCR and former CEO of the AFC, launched his bid under the People’s Partnership movement last year. He referred to it as a movement of youths, who are going to influence change and make a significant dent in the system at the upcoming general elections.
A lack of optimism plagues the country, Ramsaroop continued, while saying that given the climate there is a possibility of a win for his party, and or an alternative that offers the people a better option to what currently prevails. “There is a better chance in 2011 than we have ever had in the past and will probably get in the future… given the numbers that are dissatisfied with the system,” he said of his party’s chances.
Realistically, he said they are not predicting an outright win but they do believe in a chance to shake things up. His message to the public is, “Keep your party card but here is our team, give us one chance.” According to him, the message is resonating. In addition, he said more young people who have never been involved in the electoral process will head to the polls later this year.
And this is very important for change, he said. “I believe we have hope for our nation. I am optimistic. We desperately need a resurgence of patriotism and a new focus for national optimism. But we can achieve this only when we stand together in solidarity,” he added.
He noted that there are still 54,000 ID cards lodged with the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) following the last national registration cycle and said the situation exists “because people do not care about the system.” Ramsaroop plans to go after those persons and win those votes or at least a percentage of them. He continued, “People know the country needs changing. The goal is to convince them that your plan is a better option.”
Ramsaroop has been advocating a comprehensive tax overhaul, repealing the VAT to between 8% and10%, reducing income tax and adding a dependent deduction and increase of the tax threshold to $75,000. “We need the fair tax to stimulate the economy,” he stressed, while noting that taxes are strangling the population.
He believes that increased spending power should go to the people and not the government and argues that the current PPP/C system of government raking in more taxes is “socialist” and a heavy burden on the people.
Ramsaroop believes that the country needs “someone with business experience instead of political experience” and that Guyana’s political agenda for the next decade must embody a simple and straightforward concept: to make this country a success. The goal, he said, must be social transformation and growth through unrelenting nation building.
He described nation building as “The implementation of policies that enhance the prosperity, health, modernisation and unity of all Guyana. It is the ensuring of a successful, modern and democratic Guyana for our children and their children; a nation all of whose citizens are accorded equal treatment in education, health, housing, and economic opportunity, a nation whose priority is unity, not partisanship, and whose goal is the good of all, not the aggrandisement of some.”
The Guyana’s People Partnership is currently in talks with the Joint Opposition Political Parties (JOPP) and supports a broad coalition, but Ramsaroop is of the opinion that the partnership must be inclusive of youths. “We have contributed some ideas and as long as we continue on a common path, we can see a broad coalition,” he said. He added, “I am ready to lead the coalition if I am selected in a democratic process.”
Ramsaroop noted that as far as he was aware, JOPP has not made any definitive decisions, particularly as it relates to a specific plan going into the elections. He said an approach is still being worked out and his party has made a commitment to be part of that process.
The structural things are the current focus of the JOPP, he added, but stressed that while these issues are being worked out “you also have to work the message.” Ramsaroop said that the JOPP also has to include ordinary people in the discussions because they represent the electorate. “I don’t believe that the government has done a good job in ensuring that the entire population feels part of the system and one way or another we cannot allow this to happen… we have to change this, whether we do it collectively or individually,” Ramsaroop said of the JOPP.
Further, he noted that the Guyana People’s Partnership has outlined its platform, “which focuses on economic reforms, security, the fair tax, domestic energy resources,” among other issues and excerpts can be found on its website, www.votetheG.com.