HIS Excellency, Brigadier (rtd) David Arthur Granger, is Guyana’s duly elected and sworn 8th Executive President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Head of State of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.
President Granger was administered the Oath of Office yesterday at the Public Buildings by Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh, in the presence of the thousands that converged to witness history.
The Oath was administered following the reading of the Official Proclamation by Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Dr. Steve Surujbally.
He declared to the nation, that as decreed by the Constitution of Guyana, Brigadier (rtd) Granger, who headed as presidential candidate, the List of Candidates fielded by the coalesced A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), had secured more votes than any of the other contenders at the General and Regional Elections and as such was duly elected Executive President.
Head of State, Granger, in his inaugural address to the nation as His Excellency, the Executive President, pledged to work together with the ousted People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and its leader, Former President Donald Ramotar, towards building a brighter future and in achieving the promise of a “good life for all.”
The official Inauguration Ceremony for the new Government is slated for May 26, at the Guyana National Stadium, and as had been promised by then coalition presidential candidate, Brigadier (rtd) Granger, Guyanese will celebrate the nation’s 50th Independence Anniversary from its colonial masters, under an APNU+AFC Government of National Unity.
Among the first order of business, as announced by President Granger, Lieutenant Colonel (rtd) Joseph Harmon has been appointed, temporarily, as Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS) and will head the transition team in putting in place a new Government.
Guyanese flocked to the polls on Monday 11, last, with GECOM recording the highest voter turnout in the nation’s electoral history.
More than 400,000 persons cast their votes in support of the political party and leaders of their choice, but according to Dr Surujbally, it was the APNU+AFC which secured the most votes, ousting the PPP/C from Office for the first time since its 23-year-reign began back in 1992.
The PPP/C will for the first time in more than two decades occupy the benches reserved for the political Opposition in the National Assembly, west of the aisle.
Following the tabulation of votes, it was determined that the PPP/C will hold 32 seats in the opposition benches of Parliament, while the APNU+AFC coalition will form the Government with the 33 seats and will control the Legislature.
President Granger in his acceptance speech yesterday assured the nation that as soon as members of the 11th Parliament (MPs) have been sworn in, Moses Nagamootoo, his running mate, will be sworn in as prime minister of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.
A sea of green had begun to inundate the outskirts of Public Buildings long before the scheduled 13:00hrs swearing-in ceremony.
It would have to await the scheduled midday GECOM Declaration, a formality in the minds of most, as supporters streamed to the venue to get a glimpse of history in the making.
The balcony of Parliament Building had already been prepared for the arrival of Guyana’s 8th Executive President and the corridors were jammed to capacity with dignitaries, local and international.
Every facet of society had turned out for the occasion and despite some concern over the weather, the sun shone brilliantly, before, during and after Brigadier (rtd) Granger’s arrival.
The Diplomatic Corps was in full representation at the highest level, with Charge D’ Affairs at the US Embassy, Bryan Hunt; British High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn; and Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana Dr Nicola Giles were also in attendance.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was also in full representation with the highest of its Plenipotentiary Representatives.
The legion of business and other interests were also fully represented.
Brigadier Mark Phillips, Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence (GDF), Commissioner of Police, Seelall Persaud and Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh, were among those with reserved places on the balcony of the Public Buildings.
As APNU+AFC Leaders made their way to the public buildings, those gathered erupted in explosions of cheers with the “butterfly effect” instantly affecting those engaged in chatter on the balcony, small talk of the road travelled and the journey ahead, the endorsements that came as surprise to some, the statesman-like difference of Guyana’s new President or simply taking a selfie with the who’s who of the Guyanese social strata.
Notably absent was anyone from the leadership of the ousted PPP/C.
None at Public Buildings seemed to pay any mind to the long-awaited GECOM announcement that was scheduled to be broadcast at noon with the official Declaration and election results.
The crowd had gathered for one purpose: the swearing-in of Brigadier (rtd) David Granger, as President of Guyana and as GECOM delayed yet another announcement, in turn leading to an extended hiatus ahead of the official ceremony, the anxious were reassured by their elders.
“It has been 23 long years my dear, we can wait a few minutes more,” one older woman could be heard telling a relative, friend or acquaintance; I never bothered to find out as it was a scene replicated across the floor.
The massive crowd erupted in frenzied, loud screams at the sight of the vehicles and security escort for what could only be the newly elected President.
This was dwarfed, as the decibel levels skyrocketed further when Guyana’s new leader emerged from his light green Mark ‘X’.
Attired in black, the 63-year-old former military commander was warmly received as he raised his hand to the crowd.
Having dispensed of the pleasantries, social greetings and other formalities, Brigadier (rtd) Granger, with hands on the Holy Bible, held up by life partner, Sandra Granger, he took his Oath of Office and solemnly swore to uphold the Office of the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and its Constitution.
PRESIDENT FOR ALL
According to Granger in his Oath, “I will bear true faith and allegiance to the people of Guyana.”
Introduced to the nation for the first time as the duly elected Head of State, President Granger said he intends to be President for all of Guyana.
The newly elected president in his inaugural address said, “I extend the arm of friendship to former president, Donald Ramotar, and the members of the PPP to join this great movement of national unity.”
In his appeal to those gathered and the thousands paying attention across the country, President Granger said, “let us rejoice in the people’s choice.”
According to President Granger, as the nation moves forward, “let us embrace each other regardless of religion, regardless of race, regardless of class, regardless of occupation…as fellow Guyanese let us work together to realise our inspiring national motto, One People, One Nation, One Destiny.”
In his address to the nation, President Granger was adamant in saying: “Guyanese, the elections are over, the people have chosen their representatives, the Constitution has been respected, our democracy has been fortified, let us now put past rivalries behind us and work in unity to banish poverty, ignorance, fear and hatred.”
In what was described as the first statesman-like address to the Guyanese nation in many years, President Granger said Guyana was not witnessing the swearing-in of a party leader, but rather it was the swearing in “of the President of all of the people.”
He promised “I shall be a good president for all the people,” adding that Guyanese have chosen to inaugurate a government of national unity “and to promote multi-party, inclusionary democracy.”
President Granger told the nation: “We are convinced that this is the best way to overcome our historic divisions.”
YES WE CAN
President Granger, as he embarked on his tenure at the helm, called on the thousands of jubilant supporters outside of Public Buildings to grab the hands of the person to his or her side and sing, the national song, “Let us cooperate for Guyana.”
Led by their newly elected President, the throngs upon throngs of people that converged in and around Parliament Buildings, perched on every available real estate, hand in hand, sang out loud, “Let us cooperate for Guyana, let us cooperate for our land, let us resolve to fight together, see we do it right together can we do it,” to which the crowd screamed “Yes we can!”
By Gary Eleazar