Feb 04, 2020  Features / ColumnistsFreddie Kissoon

 I was greeted at the gate by the campaign manager, Ms. Cole. The first thing she asked was, “Where is the dog?”
When I met Shuman in his office, last year, I took my dog and Ms. Cole asked me for her which I politely declined. I explained that with that torrid weather, which we are having, I didn’t want her for so long in the sun.
freddie-kissoon-300x273After showing me where to park, this lady with a deep British accent and an equally deep sense of humour ushered me up the stairs.
I was greeted by a lovely Amerindian woman with a winning smile (I hope that smile brings Shuman votes) who left the room so I could dialogue with Shuman. The time was 2PM yesterday.
Neatly dressed with a casual ambience, in American politics, the media would refer to the good-looks of Shuman. Shuman is quietly spoken for a man who wants to play a huge part in Guyana’s constitutional future.
The first point was his disgust at the nasty conspiracies that are being hatched against him. He said to me; “Freddie, I came back to Guyana for the love of country, renounced my Canadian citizenship and this is what is happening to me?”
I intercepted; “Come on maan, don’t be naïve. You had to know this would have happened. You must have known what Guyana is like?” to which he replied, “Yes I know, but I never thought it would be so dirty, so terrible, so poisonous.”
Shuman is covered with both rage and disappointment at Bibi Shadick representing the PPP in GECOM and Vincent Alexander on behalf of the PNC. He said they both told the media that he was removed as presidential candidate for his party – the Liberty and Justice Party – from the list.
Shuman said nothing could be further from the truth.
He moved towards the edge of the sofa, his voice rising, his eyes piercing and said, “Freddie GECOM has not removed me as presidential candidate. I am the presidential candidate; I have not received any information from GECOM that I have been removed.”
He went on to explain that his party’s delegation met with Justice Singh, the Chairperson of GECOM who indicated to him GECOM has not removed him. He said Justice Singh told him that GECOM is merely writing for information.
I asked him pointedly whether he has relinquished his citizenship. He boldly responded with a monosyllabic answer – yes.

It was time to probe Shuman’s mind to see if it contained analytical stretch. After telling him that I find Bibi Shadick to be one of the most unacceptable persons I ever met and the most unacceptable politician I ever known in Guyana, I enquired, “So why you think Shadick and Alexander did that to you?”
He said, “They know I am a threat.” He continued, “Freddie, the LJP will win seats, Amerindians will not vote for the PPP and the Coalition.”
I then revealed what I know. I conveyed to him information, which I have from reliable sources that four recent polls – two by the PPP and two by the PNC – revealed that both leviathans are not over the 50 percent mark and it is worrying both of them.
I indicated the surveys were done by professional people who are not aligned to any organisation in Guyana and they were done by people who reside overseas.
It makes sense for the PPP and PNC to have these professional surveys because it gives them a factual picture on what obtains on the ground. With that kind of information, it aids them in their campaigns.
I left Shuman wishing him well and my parting advice was that more nastiness will come and he should just ignore it and continue with his campaign.
I suspect that both ANUG and Change Guyana may be aware of these recent surveys and this explains why the rejection of merging because each feels that they will win seats to create a minority government.
Was Shuman specifically targeted by both PNC and PPP? Here is my take on the current standing of the two goliaths.
The key to winning a minority government or a parliamentary majority lies with the Amerindian vote. The PPP is going to get their traditional Indian ballots with a percentage of mixed race and Amerindians.
The identical picture exists in the PNC except you have to change Indian ballots to African votes. The key to reaching 49 percent or fifty-one percent for both the PPP and PNC is for Amerindians and the youth vote to come over in overwhelming numbers. I don’t see that happening.