By Bibi Khatoon
The Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), headed by Former Vice Chair of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), Lenox Shuman was officially launched on Saturday night at the Georgetown Club.
The programme began with the universal prayer and other prayers from the Christian and Hindu faith.
Under the theme, “Shaping Guyana’s Future”, in a room of just over 100 attendees, Shuman announced that he will be giving up his Canadian citizenship, as he joins the race to become Guyana’s next president at the upcoming General and Regional Elections.
“As a Parliamentarian who swears to uphold the Constitution of Guyana, my first act cannot be to break the law. It is with this that I have a firm commitment and principle that I will be giving up my Canadian citizenship status,” Shuman declared to a round of applause.
He has been a Canadian citizen for approximately 28 years but is Guyanese by birth; his wife is also a Canadian citizen by birth.
His announcement follows a court case mounted by the current Government, challenging the validity of its former member, Charrandass Persaud’s vote due to his dual citizenship.
Charrandass voted in favour of No-Confidence in the National Assembly on December 21, 2018, which toppled the Government; he also holds a Canadian passport which is against the Guyana constitution.
The Constitution states that “No persons shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who is by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.”
Further, it notes that to be elected as President, a person should be qualified to be a member of the National Assembly.
Though previously touted as the Indigenous party, Shuman said his Party represents all Guyanese.
“We are not a fly by night Party that firms in the rush of elections for personal gain…” he told supporters.
The Party has not presented a Manifesto as yet but Shuman outlined some of the objectives which are as follows:
• To unite all the people of Guyana for the complete liberation of the country from all forms of discrimination
• To fight for social justice and to eliminate the vast inequalities created by racism
• To build a Guyanese nation with the common patriotism and loyalty in which the common linguistic, religious, diversity of the people is respected
• To uphold the articles of the law
• Putting a high premium on creating a leading education system, environmental protection regime, security policy and health care system
• To be transparent, accountable, responsible, open-minded, responsive, pragmatic and sensitive and sensible in its approach to Governance at all times
• Our leaders and members will conduct themselves in the most moral and ethical manner
• To promote economic development for the betterment of all
• To support and advance the cause of youth emancipation
• To support and advance national development, world peace and environmentally sustainable and diverse portfolio
• Defend Guyana’s borders
• Respect all Guyana’s diversities –cultural, economic, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, rural and urban; coastal and hinterland
• Support and protect the rights of women and children and persons with disabilities
• To respect the rights of our first peoples and all other populations who were brought to our land
• Restore value of all indigenous languages
• To restore international trust in Guyana’s government
• To foster sustainable business partnerships for the benefit of all
• Conduct all party business with integrity and professionalism
• To create policies that are informed by the people and are evidenced based
• To ensure that no group is excluded… in all facets of the party
Shuman disclosed that his Party currently has 25 members, however, other than himself, only two others are known so far.
There is John Flores. He is a resident of Mabaruma, Region One, a former commanding officer of the Guyana Coast Guard and current Director of the Safety at the Maritime Administration Department and Former President of the Volleyball Federation.
Second is Sean Dublin, who delivered a speech at the Party’s launch on Saturday evening.
Dublin is the President of the Guyana Custom House Brokers Association (GCHBA). He is also the Managing Director of the Lasedel Consultancy International.
Approximately 14 other persons joined in the Party’s group photo at the Georgetown Club who are purportedly members of the Party but when approached for details of his list, Shuman shied away from any questions, noting that the information will be supplied shortly.
The LJP is the second party to be launched this week following the FED-UP (Federal United) political party, which was launched in Berbice on Friday.
Another political party, A New United Guyana (ANUG) has also announced its presence but is yet to be launched.