After putting off its launch in September, a new party targeting mainly Indigenous Peoples’ votes, led by former toshao of St Cuthbert’s Mission and former vice chairman of the National Toshaos Council, Lenox Shuman, is now ready for a February launch.
Shuman told Stabroek News that the poor turnout at the November 12 Local Government Elections shows that citizens are disenchanted with the two main political parties, the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) and the People’s National Con-gress Reform, and that the future presented by these two parties is not one they will identify with.
“There are a lot of people reaching out to us on the launch, especially in light of the poor turnout and results of the local government elections, and the no-confidence motion filed in the National Assembly by the opposition PPP,” he said.
Following the elections, he said, that people were anxious to get involved in pushing the new party’s agenda, especially in the hinterland areas.
The party is targeting the Indigenous Peoples votes while reaching out to Guyanese of all walks of life.
In setting up its administrative structure, Shuman said, the party has acquired an office on Cowan Street, Georgetown out of which it is now operating. It has also in draft several instruments including a constitution, vision and mission statements. It is still to decide on a name and symbol which it will use for elections and identification purposes.
Shuman said that some of the party’s primary objectives include constitutional reform, particularly to diminish the powers of the office of the president. “There is no place in a modern democracy for an executive presidency,” he said.
Another is to move the governance structure from a proportional representation model to a constituency-based democracy at the national level. “Give the power to the people”, and “define a governance versus power sharing formula to provide a better governance structure,” he said.
Other constitutional reforms proposed would include provisions for allowing post electoral coalitions, developing and implementing a strong environmental policy that will be enforceable, and developing an economic model that will not be solely dependent on oil revenues. The new party proposes, Shuman said, that oil revenues be used to provide “free” education to all citizens.
Other objectives are to strengthen the Judiciary to ensure that judges and law enforcement officials, in the execution of their duties, do not fear government operatives and appoint ministers of government who are deserving of their respective offices.
“Ministers must understand the gravity of their position and must conduct themselves in a more respectable, transparent, and ethical manner. “Any minister who disrespects the public, breaches moral and ethical lines will be dismissed, or break the law, will be prosecuted or disciplined,” Shuman said.
The new party, Shuman said, will develop laws to address political and campaign finances. This should provide a more accountable administration, and ensure that everyone’s constitutional right is protected.
These objectives are just a few, he said. “We have more but those are the basics that the party will use to transform Guyana into a liberal egalitarian meritocracy.”