Businessman Beni Sankar, one of the key members of the newly formed A New and United Guyana (ANUG) yesterday officially resigned from the political party.
Despite Sankar’s exit, ANUG co-founder Timothy Jonas has since said that relations between him and the party continue to be “very good.”
“What I can tell you is that relations between ANUG and Mr. Sankar are very good but he felt he had to step back for personal reasons,” Jonas told Stabroek News last evening when contacted.
Jonas said that Sankar himself would have to explain his personal reasons for his exit.
Sankar was contacted by this newspaper but said that he was “not talking to any newspaper at this time.”
Jonas added that he would not be offended if persons left because of fear of victimisation from either government or the opposition.
“The darkest fear anyone has in politics is victimisation. The reason people don’t like to be on the frontline of everything is victimisation. We have two big parties who are known to have a history of victimisation,” he said.
Another businessman, Terrence Campbell, who previously withdrew from ANUG on January 7th, citing national polarisation over the December 21st no-confidence vote against the government and attacks “by my own people,” lamented Sankar’s leaving.
“It is sad, very sad. I think all the political parties should know that it is good to have the perspective of those involved in business and having an inside seat politically, rather than just being members of civil society. I am disappointed and unhappy,” he said.
“I don’t believe that businesspersons should be left only in a civil society role. They should have a role in direct politics and influence policy more directly. Historically, it has been left to the private sector to advocate for the business community. On that basis, I think his leaving is very sad,” he added
Campbell is the managing director of CAMEX Limited, which is the franchise holder of several United States-based headquartered fast-food and courier services operating locally.
He previously explained on Facebook that then government member Charrandass Persaud’s vote for the no-confidence motion had polarised Guyana, leading him to realise that now is not the time for the kind of healing, centrist politics he envisaged.
In the present political atmosphere, he had said, it all depends on the timing and the time it takes to divest those business interest that might be subject to attacks.
“Mind you, I don’t believe that any business people in Guyana should be subjected to boycotts. Any boycott or attacks on businesses should be last resort, such as for human rights abuses like apartheid or something like that,” he explained.
Business people and professionals, Campbell said, should be free to join any party of their choice without fearing for their businesses or the practice of their profession.
He said that although he has resigned from the party, he was preparing himself for public life.
Asked why he feels he should make a contribution to the political landscape, he said, “I don’t want to leave Guyana the way I found it. We have been a divided country for 50 plus years.”
While he said that Guyana was divided for over 50 years, he noted that one of his colleagues has told him that Guyana has been divided since the 1880 over differences in income for slaves, ex slaves and indentured labourers. “I refuse to leave Guyana in the way it I found it. Whatever efforts I can make to make a different Guyana, that is what I am going to do for the rest of my years. If that means that I have to exit some of the businesses that I currently own, then I will. In fact, I have already taken steps to do so,” he declared.
Meanwhile, although the party has suffered the withdrawal of two key prominent business figures, Jonas believes that the party is still making strides in attracting members.
Jonas said that the party has been gaining momentum but many persons prefer to support in the background for their fear also of being victimised by either of the two biggest parties in Guyana.