–President Ali affirms
–acknowledges diplomatic community’s efforts in helping Guyana overcome 2020 election impasse
HAVING overcome the destabilising five-month impasse following voting day on March 2, 2020, President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, has affirmed that the nation will never again endure such a testing period, as the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government’s commitment to democracy is unwavering.
“We believe strongly that democratic values are values that should never be sacrificed, are values that are part of human dignity and human rights; and our commitment to Guyana is to ensure that never again should the people of this country have to experience such moments when the democracy of the country was tested. So, I want to say to all of you that be assured that Guyana and this government’s commitment to democracy is unwavering,” President Ali told diplomats who were gathered at State House for a special luncheon in their honour, on Wednesday.
The event organised by the President was a form of appreciation to the diplomatic community for its role in preserving Guyana’s democracy during the recent electoral impasse.
“It has been just over a year since many of you who are here, led, with great admiration of the people of Guyana, the Caribbean and the rest of the world, an important battle…to ensure that democracy was not derailed and to ensure that Guyana will remain in the company of democratic countries,” President Ali said.
The President added that Guyana would always be grateful to those who led from the front in defending the principles and democratic values of the country.
Those examples, the Head of State said, have cemented his government’s commitment to contributing, wherever and however possible, to democracy all across the world. He also assured the diplomats that his government is one that is open, transparent and accessible.
To this end, he expressed hope that there will be more opportunities, despite the constraints of the pandemic, for a continuous exchange of ideas and a building of relations between the diplomatic corps and the government.
“And that is why we wanted this event also. This will be part of the feature of the government, ensuring not only Guyanese have access, but the international community has access, and that we are ready and prepared to answer any questions, any queries, and also to listen to any ideas that you may have,” He related.
President Ali noted that he had also made it clear to members of the cabinet that they have to be proactive.
As a result, they will be engaging the diplomatic community as part of efforts to create more opportunities for cooperation, to achieve more outcomes and to discuss possibilities. This, President Ali said, will lead to a better, more prosperous and dynamic society.
“So, today [Wednesday], I just want you to relax a bit in an environment that you can interact with the Cabinet and continue this strengthening of relationships; we value every relationship, we honour every relationship, and we believe that it is only in creating better relationships and understanding that we can have a better and prosperous dynamic society.
“So, please convey to your capitals also the best wishes of the government, and also our prayers for your safety and the safety of the countries you represent, as we navigate another difficult phase of this pandemic,” President Ali said.
He used the opportunity to applaud, once again, the outgoing Secretary-General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, for his stellar service and stewardship over the years.
The members of the Diplomatic Corps who attended the luncheon were United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch; European Union (EU) Ambassador to Guyana, Fernando Ponz Cantó; Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr. K J Srinivasa; Deputy British High Commissioner to Guyana, Ray Davidson; outgoing Secretary-General of CARICOM, Ambassador LaRocque; Cuban Ambassador to Guyana, Narciso Reinaldo Amador Socorro; Mexican Ambassador to Guyana, Jose Omar Hurtado Contreras; Chilean Ambassador to Guyana, Juan Manuel Pino Vásquez and other representatives.
Members of Cabinet in attendance were Vice-President, Bharrat Jagdeo; Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, S.C.; Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh; Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira; Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony; Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand; Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd and Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn.
Also present were Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha; Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill; Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat; Minister of Human Services, Dr. Vindhya Persaud; Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, Kwame McCoy and Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues (Office of the President)