Reference is made to the news item `Shuman says new party for September launch’ (SN Jul 25). As others penned in several commentaries (SN various dates), such a party is welcomed as a balance against the two (three) behemoths – PPP and PNC (and AFC that seems to have morphed into the PNC). The PNC is largely perceived as an African party while the PPP is recognized as the party of Indians. Why not an Amerindian party as a balance?
As others commented and as obtained in conversations with Guyanese within Guyana and in New York, we are a nation of six races and divided by ethnicity. Since the Africans and Mixed and Indians have their parties, why shouldn’t the other ethnicities also have theirs? (NB: The three parties will dispute they are ethnic). The Chinese community is very small (reduced through migration during the period of oppression under the dictatorship) and as such don’t have the numbers to form a party, but they have a powerful Chinese Association to represent their interests. The Portuguese had a party in the form of Peter D’Aguiar’s United Force but it has become dysfunctional, and the Portuguese population has largely migrated because of persecution during the dictatorship. Why shouldn’t the Amerindians also have a party to advocate for their interests?
Reports earlier this year suggested Toshao Lenox Shuman would form an Amerindian-based party. The latest statement in your news story seems to suggest it will be a general party similar to some others that have failed to gain traction. If it is a generalized party, it will have a similar experience and fate as other mini-parties. People will see it as similar to the others and it is likely to fail at garnering significant support. An Amerindian party will gain representation in parliament and regional councils.
I found in my discussions in traveling throughout Guyana that people of all ethnicities welcome the formation of an Amerindian party since the other ethnic groups have theirs. Amerindians, in particular, like the idea of and endorse the formation of such a party. Everyone feels an Amerindian party will win representation in parliament in a free and fair election. And many Amerindians say they will vote for an Amerindian party. If it gains enough representation, it could be the real balance that Guyana needs against the other two parties now that the country can no longer depend on the AFC to serve as a balancing force.