Caribbean

13 Political Parties to Battle for Power in Guyana Elections; But a Prime Ministerial Candidate Drops Out of the Race

President David Granger (middle) Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan (right) and Director General of the Ministry Joseph Harmon (left) handing over their list of candidates to Chief Elections Officer of the Guyana Elections, Keith Lowenfield on Nomination Day.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday January
13, 2020 –
Thirteen political parties are set to contest the
March 2, 2020 polls, based on submissions made on Nomination Day. But one of
them is now looking to find a Prime Ministerial candidate after the man who was
running for the position pulled back because of dual citizenship.

The
Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) will later this week give the official
approval of the lists. But all 13 parties are expecting they will get the nod.

Among those
contesting the polls is Change Guyana, whose chairman and Prime Ministerial
Candidate Nigel Hinds yesterday announced he would no longer be participating
in the elections because of his dual citizenship status.

Under the
Constitution, Hinds is barred from holding a seat in the National Assembly
because he is also a US citizen. And he told local media that he would maintain
that citizenship because he had health issues – diabetes and kidneys
functioning at 50 per cent capacity – which he felt would be better dealt with
at healthcare facilities in the US.

Chairman of Change Guyana Nigel Hinds

He told
Newsroom Guyana that during a routine medical check-up last November, he learned
of the health developments and did not want to “risk doing the kinds of
interventions that might be needed and getting the right medication” in Guyana.

“The
truth is, Guyana’s health system is in a decrepit [state] and really represents
the worst health system in the English-speaking Caribbean,” he told the media
house.

“It is
unrealistic to compare the medical facilities and treatment available in the
United States with what obtains in any Caribbean country and more so Guyana.”

Meantime,
the ruling A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) coalition,
led by President David Granger and with Khemraj Ramjattan as its Prime
Ministerial candidate, will be contesting the polls in all 10 administrative
regions for both the general and regional elections.

The
People’s Progressive Party (PPP), with Presidential candidate Irfaan Ali and
Prime Ministerial candidate, (ret’d) Brigadier Mark Phillips will also be
contesting all regions in both elections.

Following
the two larger parties is the United Republican Party (URP) with Presidential
Candidate Vishnu Bandu. The party leader did not announce his running mate for
this year’s poll. URP will also be contesting all regions in both the general
and regional elections.

Unlike
the URP, newly formed party, A New and United Guyana (ANUG) will only be
contesting the coastal regions. Presidential candidate Ralph Ramkarran said
Regions 1, 8 and 9 are out. A Prime Ministerial candidate was not announced.
ANUG reportedly split from the Federal United Party (FED-UP) a few hours before
the list of candidates was submitted to GECOM last Friday.

A group
of young Guyanese under the banner of The New Movement (TNM) is being led by
Presidential candidate Dr Ashley Kissoon and Prime Ministerial candidate Dr
Gerald Forde. They will be contesting Regions 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10.

Another
young party, the Citizen Initiative (TCI) led by Rhonda Ann Lam, will be
seeking votes from Regions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10.

Meanwhile,
Change Guyana will be contesting in all regions except 1, 7 and 8, according to
Presidential candidate Robert Badal.

The
Berbice based FED-UP party will only be contesting the regional elections in
regions one and two, while the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) led by Lennox
Shuman, will only be contesting Regions 1, 2, 4, 7, 8 and 9.

The
People’s Republic Party with presidential candidate Timothy Norton will be
contesting all regions expect 7, 8 and 9, while the Organisation for the
Victory of the People led by Gerald Perreira will only be contesting in Region
4.

The
Guyana National Service Party (GNSP) is led by Arthur Fredricks, while the
National Independent Party’s (NIP) presidential candidate is Saphier Hussain.

At the
close of nomination day activities last Friday, GECOM’s Chief Elections Officer
(CEO) Keith Lowenfield noted that the process was smooth and GECOM is continuing
its work.

“The
tasks to be completed are (now) internal. The parties will be made aware after
the commission has pronounced on the submissions I will make to the commission
for approval or non-approval,” he said.

Lowenfield used the opportunity to encourage citizens to use this period to ensure their biographic data is correct on the Revised List of Electors currently posted in their respective polling division.

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