‘Change Guyana’ launched with promise to exempt nurses, teachers from taxes

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Two Guyanese businessmen, Robert Badal and Nigel Hinds have joined the race to become the country’s President and Prime Minister with the launch of their political party ‘Change Guyana’ on Tuesday afternoon.

The party has among its promises to exempt nurses and teachers from paying taxes along with eradicating poverty.

“We will take it beyond just a promise and take it to a project that is executed,” Nigel Hinds told those gathered in the Savannah Suite of the Pegasus Hotel at Kingston, Georgetown on Tuesday evening.

Robert Badal and Nigel Hinds at the launch of Change Guyana Tuesday

“I now seek your support to serve all Guyanese,” the Prime Ministerial Candidate stated as he asked persons to sign up to join the party.

Hinds is the owner of Nigel Hinds Financial Services. He believes that the party can improve local content in the petroleum and other industries to ensure there is long term economic development.

‘Change Guyana’ is the fifth political party to be launched this year with hopes of managing the country’s oil wealth as production starts in the first quarter of 2020.

“No amount of oil will save us if our management of oil revenue is poor,” Badal told those gathered.

Badal owns the Pegasus Hotel which was a major feature in his advertisement at the party’s launch, from his plans to change the skyline in Georgetown with the ongoing expansion and the creation of jobs in the construction industry.

In his speech at the launching ceremony, Badal outlined several plans to move the country forward. He also spoke of the reduction of taxes for both businesses and employees, inspire unity by restoring public trust, addressing corruption by elevating standards of living and creating jobs.

Leader of the Justice for all Party C.N Sharma (left) in conversation with former Mayor of Georgetown, Hamilton Green (center) and Political commentator, Chris Ram at the launch of the party

The party also touted free education like all of the other political parties contesting the elections, local content in petroleum industry and reliable electricity.

Badal promised to fix the Guyana Power and Light Inc. which has faced the brunt of criticisms over the years. Badal served as Chairman of the power company for two years and was unable to fix the constraints faced by GPL but when approached to speak on the topic, the party’s Presidential Candidate said he will take questions at his weekly press conferences beginning next week.

Badal also refused to state who the other members of the party are when approached by the News Room.

The two businessmen also plan to promote gender equality.

The launch was attended by just over 100 persons.

A section of the gathering at the launch of the political party

Badal pointed that over the past 50 years, Guyana has failed to reach its true potential under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)-led governments.

He noted that state institutions, which are underperforming, needs to be reformed while the Permanent Secretaries for Government Ministries need to be apolitical.

“Be the change, real change, this time around,” he said in direct reference to the promises made by the APNU+AFC parties prior to the 2015 General and Regional Elections. Badal was a supporter and financier of the coalition.

“It is time for change, time to embrace economic development,” he added.

On Tuesday evening, the businessman said he has no hope in the two major political parties.

“Our underdevelopment are not for want of skills…our people are the brightest…the problem is the lack of leadership at the highest level,” he said.

The party is represented by a bulb drawn in black ink with green human figures in the middle and three bars representing the private sector, civil society and the Government.

“Let’s ignite our economy, Right choice. Right now!” is the theme of the party.

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