From left, Founder of the Guyana United Democratic Party Roopnarine Persaud, Presidential Candidate Ramroop Jiwanram and Deputy Co-Chairman Seopaul Singh at yesterday’s launching.
August 4 2019
-sees no need to change ‘good’ ExxonMobil contract
A new political party, the Guyana United Democratic (GUD) party, was yesterday launched and according to the founder Roopnarine Persaud, among their focus is replacing the divisive Constitution and designing one that is for the Guyanese people.
Close friends, family and supporters, estimated at about 30 persons, gathered at the Grand Coastal Hotel last night for the launching of the party.
The leadership team of eight, who were identified in a brochure, is comprised solely of persons of Indian heritage.
The presidential candidate is Ramroop Jiwanram while Co-Assistant Secretaries Nicola Ince and Jishnu Misir, Co-Chairman Rohan Mohabir, and Deputy Co-Chairman and Ombudsman Rev Seopaul Singh make up the remainder of the leadership team. Samaroo Moonasar and Parbattie Bernard were identified as being members of the Board of Trustees.
Speaking to Sunday Stabroek, Persaud, also GUD’s General Secretary, said that the inspiration to form the party came from the fact that the country is still operating with a British-designed Constitution, which, according to him, has historically been a divisive Constitution.
“It has been designed to divide…and our mission is to get a new Constitution for the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, a Guyanese Constitution written by Guyanese for Guyana,” Persaud said.
While he has been living in the United States of America for the past 35 years, Persaud said he was born in Spring Garden, Essequibo. He eventually attended the Anna Regina Multilateral School before he went to the University of Guyana (UG).
However, before coming to Georgetown to attend UG, he taught in Essequibo before eventually teaching at the Muslim Trust College. He subsequently taught at the Central High School and then at the St Stanislaus College, before migrating to attend the University of Minnesota where he studied Urban and Regional Planning and Management Planning.
Persaud said he then taught Caribbean Studies at the university before leaving for New York, where he joined the real estate business and then the Brown’s Community College as a counsellor.
“I’ve been outside for almost 35 years but I’ve been here 41 times since. We don’t have any experience in politics and we are not politicians. We are experts in our fields, we are managers and planners and administrators, business people,” he said.
“It is embarrassing in the international community to read your papers and all you see is this one being murdered every day. We were carrying a tab counting. But what is the point of saying a person is murdered everyday if you’re not addressing the issue? The issue needs to be addressed to solve,” Persaud said.
Meanwhile, the party’s presidential candidate told Stabroek News that he has been living in Guyana for all of his life. Jiwanram, a businessman, disclosed that he has been in accounting for over 40 years and is presently the Finance Manager at Noble House Seafoods, where he has been for 35 years.
“I have done private accounting, taxation, lecturing at the GTI [Government Technical Institute], had my own accounting school and my own businesses. I have a mega farm, a mega apartment building and printery,” he said.
When questioned about the GUD party’s financing and future campaign financing, Persaud said that currently both he and Jiwanram are the primary financers but they have received donations from persons locally and from the diaspora.
He also said that they would advocate for campaign financing legislation as it would be a means to reducing the corruption in government.
“We will garner finance and will be able to self-propagate ourselves with the financing of our campaigns. We are not street politicians and the financial model we have, we don’t need a lot of finance. Our model of operation is not the traditional model. We are changing everything and bringing new ideas and methodology. We don’t have a dire need for financing,” Persaud said.
Need for third force
Both he and Jiwanram emphasised that they saw a dire need for a third force in the political atmosphere of Guyana and they have no intention of collating with other political parties since they will not be following traditional political practices, but a 21st century model.
Persaud stressed that there is a need for the government and state to be separated and for the government to be separated from the political parties.
“Right now, what has happened is we have one person is head of the state, who is also head of the government and head [of the] party and that is the cause of the corruption. The state is not the government; the government is there to execute the policies of the state and right now they are blending and merged. We don’t want any models like that and we have a new idea that I thought of,” Persaud said.
In addition to constitutional reform, Persaud said that they will work towards building a new town in the interior as well as bringing back a train system to the country.
Unlike other parties, which have stressed the importance of renegotiating the current contract between oil major ExxonMobil and Guyana, Persaud said that his party does not support such a move since the contract is a good contract.
“Those who are talking about the contract, have they read it? One would like to think so. Even if they did read it, do they have the experience, background and ability to analyse a contract before they open their mouths and speak junk? I have the contract. I have read it and I have studied it. It’s a good contract. If the Guyana Government didn’t put a proper negotiator, that is not Exxon’s fault,” he said.
Persaud was also questioned on whether the launch of the party now was because the oil and gas economy is about to take off, to which he responded in the negative.
According to the General Secretary, the party believes that they will have a great impact on the Guyanese electorate and can make a dent in the current political atmosphere. He said that if he wasn’t sure that they could have made an impact, they would not be launching a party at this point in time.