As Guyana’s political season enters its beginning stages, a plethora of new political parties are coming forward to present their programmes to the electorate, seeking its support. While new parties emerging near to election time is not a new phenomenon, the numbers of new entrants to the political scene so far are unprecedented. Yesterday’s news suggest that another party, in addition to the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), A New and United Guyana (ANUG) and The Citizens Initiative (TCI), and led by two prominent personalities, Messrs. Robert Badall and Nigel Hinds, is likely to be announced later this week. There is at least one other group organizing and preparing to launch a political party.
The immediate factor which may be responsible for the number of new political parties coming on stream at this time is probably the collapse of the Alliance For Change (AFC) which declined from 10 percent support in the 2011 general elections to 4 percent in the local government elections in 2018, and may have lost some more support since then. These new political parties could not have failed to observe that there is a pool of at least 6 percent of the electorate who may be looking for a political home. It is possible that the potential of attracting this support has been partially responsible for the number of new political parties being introduced to the electorate. It would not have been lost on these new parties that political support of the core Guyanese electorate has long been concretized by ethnic cleavages. Some are relying on the substantial youth vote on the basis that the youth are less motivated by ethnic considerations and more by matters of principle and policy.
A New and United Guyana (ANUG) announces that at a members’ meeting held on Saturday, October 5, 2019, at the Georgetown Club, Camp Street, Georgetown, Ralph Hari Narayen Ramkarran was elected as its Presidential Candidate for the upcoming general and regional elections due to be held on March 2, 2020.
Mr. Ramkarran is a founding member of ANUG and is its General Secretary. He has played a major role, along with the Chairman, Mr. Timothy Jonas and many others, in recognizing the need for a new political party with a unique and singular vision. ANUG is dedicated to bringing to an end the competition for ethno-political dominance in Guyana’s politics by creating: (a) a governance system which provides for the equal participation at the executive level of Guyana’s main political forces; (b) an electoral system that provides for elected constituency representatives while maintaining proportionality, and: (c) a representative legislature independent of the executive.
October 5, 1992, the date of the return to democracy after a quarter of a century, promised not only a new era of democracy, but of winner-does-not-take-all politics. The first half of the equation has been largely achieved, though still on shaky ground. The second half, recognized as essential for political stability and economic and social progress, has been all but been abandoned. And it has spawned the political instability that now prevails.
Without an overarching and inspiring political direction, for most Guyanese, the choice for March 2 is already made. In accordance with long standing tradition, rooted in the ethno-political dimensions of our politics, most Guyanese will vote for either the PPP/C or the APNU+AFC. While Guyana has special historical circumstances which determine the bases of the political choices made by the vast majority of voters, in most democratic countries, in and out of the Caribbean, the choices are also between two main political parties, but ideologically, between social democratic/liberal and conservative. Similar circumstances exist in most of the Caribbean although distinguishing their ideological orientation is sometimes difficult.
A New and United Guyana (ANUG) has noted a statement publicized by the media indicating that Mr. Terrence Campbell has withdrawn from ANUG. An email on the morning of January 7 by Terrence indicated that he did not feel that he could add value to our efforts in the days ahead. His reason appeared to be the charged political situation arising from the no confidence motion passed by the National Assembly against the Government on December 21. As an aside he alleged that three members of the Steering Committee had dual citizenship.
The email to us was published in the Stabroek News online edition yesterday and the report appeared on other news outlets. It made no reference to “a knife” being stuck in his back by his “own people.” It is clear that Terrence has come under severe pressure because of his leading role in establishing ANUG. Some of us have also come under pressure from official sources very recently, as a consequence of association with ANUG, and in the past. We have endured and survived and expect to continue to do so in the future. We intend to build our movement to offer the Guyanese people an entirely different and creative political choice that will lead to a new and united Guyana.