MINISTER of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, has written to members of the United States Congress, as well as Guyana’s other international partners and members of the local diplomatic corps in relation to the “misinformation and race-baiting” that characterised the Opposition-led August 15, 2021 rally in Brooklyn, New York, United States. The event, attended mostly by members and supporters of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), saw some persons accusing the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government of being prejudice against Guyanese of African descent. The utterances have already been rubbished by many, including President Dr. Irfaan Ali and Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips.
In a more formal manner, however, Teixeira sought to zero in on some of the misinformation that she said is being peddled to the Diaspora, particularly by APNU+AFC Members of Parliament, as well as the party’s supporters and sympathisers.
Teixeira, in her missive, said that “The PNC-dominated APNU+AFC Coalition is in tatters. Race is the last desperate thing that they have in opposition to hold on to. This they have used to divide the nation and increase ethnic insecurities at each stage of Guyana’s history for the last 29 years whenever there is a chance, an opportunity for the country and the people to move forward and thrive,” the minister said. She added, “Their history of destruction, obstruction, anti-nationalism, and division has not changed.” The PPP/C Chief Whip also accused the Opposition of peddling “these untruths on a daily basis with the objectives of causing division and strife and to destabilise the government’s “Plan for Prosperity” which is rapidly unfolding before our people’s eyes.”
Teixeira also accused the David Granger-led Coalition government of having carried out the “most blatant racist policy experienced since the Burnham era” of the 1970s and 80s.
PREJUDICIAL AND DISCRIMINATORY
The correspondence penned by Teixeira also documented several instances where the APNU+AFC’s actions could have been defined as prejudicial and discriminatory. “Within one month of taking office, the Granger-led administration fired 1, 972 Amerindian (Indigenous) Community Service Officers working in the interior of the country. This one act removed over $700M from the Amerindian village economies and increased poverty for over 10,000 dependents,” Teixeira highlighted.
She pointed to the fact that even though Amerindians represent almost 11 per cent of the population and own 14 per cent of Guyana’s land mass by communal and absolute land rights, based on principle of Free Prior and Informed Consent, “the Granger government did not issue one communal land grant in the five years, as his government said the Amerindians were “avaricious” and “had too much land”. Added to that, Teixeira also outlined how more than 2,000 public servants were fired from their post, as they were thought to be supporters of the PPP/C based on their ethnicity and or suspected political affiliation.
“Promotions were held back for public servants who were thought to not be supporters of the government based on ethnicity,” the minister stated in her correspondence. She said, too, that “the Coalition Government hired and created an over-bloated government sector with 10,000 new employees in the public service, mainly supporters of the APNU+AFC and their families, [the] majority [being of] one ethnic group, Afro-Guyanese.” Teixeira also accused the Coalition of discriminating against contractors and businesses in government procurement, mainly based on ethnicity, giving the majority of the contracts “to their electoral financiers and supporters”. “In 2016, the Coalition closed one sugar estate and, in the second year, two more, throwing 7,000 sugar workers (the majority of whom were Indo- Guyanese) out of work and impacting over a quarter of the population and reducing foreign currency earnings for the country.” Furthermore, Teixeira told the members of the U.S. Congress that the APNU+AFC Coalition “terminated 99 per cent of Guyana’s representatives at our foreign missions; terminated Chief Executive Officers and high-level managers in all state corporations; and terminated 99 per cent of all Permanent Secretaries and Regional Executive Officers.”
Added to that, she said that the previous government used the State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA) and the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) as political tools to hound down PPP/C leaders. Teixeira said that the Coalition also prematurely aborted the International Commission of Inquiry into the assassination of Dr. Water Rodney, and voted on two occasions in Parliament against adopting the findings and recommendations of the report.
Further, Teixeira said that local authority councils that were won by the PPP/C in the last two local government elections were bypassed for infrastructural works by the government. She also accused the Coalition of being involved in mismanagement, the crafting of poor policies, the introduction of high taxes, and the loss of 30,000 jobs, thereby increasing poverty and hardships among Guyanese.
Teixeira also informed the international community that the previous government failed to address the “astounding levels of corruption, which led to several ministers [of government] and Chief Executive Officers of state corporations being charged and before the courts post August 2020.”
In addition to the actions of the PNCR-led APNU+AFC Coalition during its term in office, Teixeira detailed the Coalition’s acts during the March 2020 Elections debacle, and said that since August 2, 2021, the party’s actions have been largely “anti-national and divisive”.
The minister, in the 28-page document, emphasised that despite the misinformation being peddled, the PPP/C Government is legitimate, and operates on behalf of all the people.
“The international bodies of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, the European Union, the Organization of American States, the CARICOM and individual nations have recognised the PPP/C as the legitimate government,” Teixeira argued.
She said that the final declaration of results of the March 2, 2020 vote made it clear that “Guyanese drew a distinct line in the sand; one that marked the difference between a path of social, economic and political development and a path of regression.”
Teixeira reiterated that the PPP/C administration remains committed to realising the goal of a ‘One Guyana’ and a modern, transformed, developed nation for the benefit of all Guyanese.”