Change Guyana launches elections manifesto
The Change Guyana political party led by businessman Robert Badal on Tuesday unveiled its manifesto for the upcoming elections.
The party has a wide range of plans to address job creation, oil and gas, housing and community development, health care, agriculture, governance, crime and others.
Badal called on political parties to debate the issues facing the country and move away from what he described as the “boring toxic” narrative being pedalled by the two major political parties.
“They don’t know how to fix the problems of the day. We know how,” he said.
The Presidential Candidate spoke of specific plans to provide employment in Region Ten where the economic activities are mainly logging and bauxite mining.
“We will build a port facility, make Linden a transshipment point for logs…all mining, all logs have to pass through there so give Lindeners jobs and it’s a transshipment point…we have no stake bauxite, we will take US$5 every tonne of bauxite…if you can’t pay, don’t dig up the earth anymore…we will spend that in Linden, Kwakwani and New Amsterdam to develop infrastructure,” he noted.
Badal referred to the termination of 326 workers from the Russian-owned Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) noting that the company –RUSAL- has given nothing to Guyana since operating here.
In Region Two, Change Guyana has plans to expand roadways to open more agriculture lands, build a modern hospital, build a solar farm to generate electricity, improve the wharf and establish a special economic zone based on the processing of agricultural produce among others.
In Regions Two and Five, the party wants to produce electricity from rice waste since rice cultivation is the major activity in those regions.
In Region Three, Change Guyana included a new harbour bridge across the Demerara River among its plans along with the allocation of lands to fired sugar workers.
Badal accused the larger parties of stealing his ideas.
In Region Five, the party is looking to reduce the price for leasing farmlands and in Region Six, implement a phased diversification initiative at all sugar estates, build a shore base facility at Crab Island and designate investments in east Berbice as tax-free for five years while addressing crime.
Badal’s party did not include specific plans for the other regions.
Change Guyana included in its manifesto the creation of a National Oil Company with shares assigned to Guyanese, house lots for teachers, nurses, police and low-income earners, establishment of an agricultural and industrial development bank, first-world health care, a youth policy, constitutional reform, reduced taxes, better standards for hiring and training police and ending blackouts.
It hopes to strengthen the laws to penalize anyone who abuses public office.
Additionally, the party wants to establish a Commission on race relations which is similar to the Ethnic Relations Commission but more efficient.
“The Commission will ensure that there is no discrimination based on race, gender and those kinds of things. Ensure that citizens’ rights are protected to give them access to legal counselling where they cannot afford the cost of taking an attorney,” Badal said.
He added that the Commission will be free of political interference.
The party’s Vice Chairman –well-known Essequibo businessman, Roopan Ramotar along with a new endorser and an accomplished athlete, Verney Messiah said the party’s aim is to also end race-based politics.
The party was also endorsed by a physiotherapist, Dexter George and musician, Bhaskar Sharma.