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Civil society should craft own oil and gas elections manifesto for political parties to endorse

Civil Society is being encouraged to formulate its own oil and gas manifesto for the upcoming general elections and give to the political parties to implement.

This idea is being floated by the Policy Forum Guyana, an organisation that focuses on accountability and transparency issues related to natural resources, climate change and extractive industries.

The role of civil society was floated at the weekend during a forum titled “Fathoming The Future: What To Do About Oil & Gas” with the aim of multiplying open space initiatives.

Policy Forum Guyana says rather than approach the next election waiting for political parties to produce wish-lists of what they would do if elected to office in a party manifesto, civil society should reverse the process.

That, the Forum says, should see civil society presenting its own manifesto, or list of demands regarding oil and gas to all contesting parties for their public endorsement.

The organisation says the final phase of this process would be for civil society to remain in place to ensure implementation of the commitment in the post-election period.

Policy Forum Guyana is, however, worried that political leaders will ultimately stick to the so-called narrow party line instead of injecting participatory democracy into Guyanese politics and being willing to rise above subservience to party leaders.

However, the organisation notes that politicians that respond to the outcome of citizens’ assemblies such as the one at Marian Academy are more likely to be rewarded by electors.

Policy Forum says a second lesson to be drawn from the Open Space initiative on oil and gas is that while for politicians the major divide in Guyanese public life may be ethnicity, for the younger generation it is age.