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.
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.