Former Toshao of Pakuri Village, Lenox Shuman has signaled his intention to form a new political party to contest the 2020 general elections.
Shuman made the announcement last evening with a post on his personal Facebook Page, as he highlighted issues affecting mainly Indigenous Peoples in Guyana.
“Public, friends, family, and all interested, we are in the process of forming a NEW Political Party for 2020. We are just simply tired as Indigenous Peoples and citizens of Guyana of how we are treated,” Shuman wrote.
“We are still begging for our lands, we are still begging for our rights; we are seeing townships being established without our consent, we are only 2%, we have an education system that is failing us; we are seeing a non-movement on Constitutional Reform, We have a system that is failing our Women and Children – UNICEF Report and the list goes on. Don’t wait for change. Be the change you want to see,” the former Toshao added.
When contacted by Stabroek News last evening, Shuman promised to comment on the matter at a later date as he said “We are still in the process of looking at the logistics.”
An airline pilot by profession, the former Toshao, who also serves as the Vice-Chairman of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), returned to Guyana after the May, 2015 general and regional elections.
He was elected Toshao of Pakuri Village in July, 2015 and Vice-Chairman of the NTC the following December.
Over the years however, Shuman, has publicly aired his dissatisfaction with the local political climate, particularly when it comes to addressing issues affecting Indigenous Peoples.
Shuman in an interview with Stabroek News to discuss achievements of the NTC and challenges it faced over its three-year tenure had said he would put the performance of the current administration in line with the previous administration who expected Indigenous Peoples would “be happy and eternally grateful” with the little handouts they get.
“We have not seen the mining issues addressed in any community. We have not seen any policy changes in addressing logging issues in indigenous communities nor have we seen any policy changes in addressing education or health issues in indigenous communities,” he said.
“We keep having these discussions and there is no commitment. When we come out and speak on behalf of the people on their inactions, they look on us as being tainted with opposition,” Shuman added.
In recent weeks, Shuman and the toshaos council have criticised the government over the failure of President David Granger to agree to a meeting with them on outstanding issues.
With the indigenous segment of the population estimated at around 10% and growing faster than other groups, Shuman’s announcement can have wide-reaching impact. In recent elections, it has been noted that if Amerindians voted mainly as a bloc they could have a significant impact on the outcome of the general elections.