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Fmr. Chief Magistrate launches political party

Former Chief Magistrate Juliet Holder-Allen and Administrative Manager, Garfield Hoyte at the press conference.

The National Democratic Party of Guyana, under the Motto “together we grow,” (NDPG) on Friday announced its intention to contest the May 11th, 2015 general and regional elections.

According to the party’s manifesto, which was provided to reporters, former Chief Magistrate, Juliet Holder-Allen will run as the party’s presidential candidate and former police officer and attorney-at-law, Patrice Henry, its prime ministerial candidate.

The party, whose symbol is a “stalk of rice,” and its official colour dark brown, made the announcement during a press conference at the Guyana Legion on Carifesta Avenue.

The manifesto goes on to list attorney-at-law Lyndon Amsterdam, Namela Rowe, Donna Stephens, and Garfeild Hoyte as the party’s Attorney General (AG) designate, Public Relations Officer (PRO), General Secretary/ Treasurer and Administrative Manager respectively.

The former Chief Magistrate and Hoyte were the only onesof the above-listed persons present at the press conference on Friday. The other members, she said, had personal issues to tend to and could not make it. She explained that the press conference served to fulfill a legal requirement, that is, to inform the populace that “we are in.”

The NDPG was launched in February of 2010 and Holder-Allen says she was, on the advice of “particular persons,” giving the main parties an opportunity to sort themselves out, “which did not happen,” she lamented.

And now that the NDPG has opted to contest these elections Holder-Allen she says the party will not again hibernate.

She said that the party has already begunto work behind the scenes. However, when asked for specifics, she told reporters “all you need to know today is that we are here.” Asked about how the party’s plans to go about sensitizing the populace on its intentions and manifesto in the coming weeks she said that Stephens would have been the one to make such pronouncements but that she was not present.

The NDPG is poised to face two particularly steep challenges as it positions itself to contest these elections.

The main political parties, being,the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC), which is coalescing with APNU for these elections – are very much institutionalised. Over the years Guyanese have not shown much willingness to break significantly from traditional voting practices.

Notwithstanding this trend, that the AFC was able to peel off support from the PPP/C in the 2011 elections is an indication that the trend can change. On this matter Holder-
Allen said “people can continue voting along the patterns they have been voting and going nowhere, (but)if you wish to survive you will vote for the rice stalk. That’s where you put your X,” Holder-Allen declared. Asked if the NDPG considered joining the APNU-AFC ticket she said “why should I? I’m not about what they are about.”

Also, the main parties all have massive head-starts, having launched their campaigns several weeks ago. With elections day just about two months away Holder-Allen says she is undaunted. “The race has not started as for as I’m concerned…the reason you are seeing the other party is because they were always there in your life. But (if you vote for them),five years from now you will be in the same place that you are now.”

Additionally, election campaigns are extremely costly and so there is a question of how the party stands financially, and how this will affect its campaign. Holder-Allen though, believes that the party“will fare very well,” and says “I have every hope of taking almost all the seats (in the National Assembly.”

She says the most important issue engaging the party’s attention is getting the necessary paperwork completed for nomination day on April 7th