PRESIDENT, Dr Irfaan Ali has dismissed claims by a number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), some hardly known, that his government lacks accountability and is out of control as “ridiculous”.
The NGOs that made the contentious claims include the Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR); the East Coast Development Committees (ECD7); the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA); the Guyana Organisation of indigenous Peoples (GOIP); the Guyana Society for the Blind (GSB); the Guyana Workers Union (GWU); the National Toshaos’ Council (NTC); the Policy Forum Guyana Inc (PFG); Red Thread; Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. (TIGI) and Ursuline Sisters in Guyana
President Ali, in responding to the claims made reiterated that every single project his administration is pursuing, if not approved by the National Assembly, they are discussed in the public domain.
“We have established a clear vision for the transformation of our country, we have established a clear vision for the economic development of our country but it is clear that there are some organisations that are convenient with the truth and are political in nature and they cannot help themselves and their political bias and I do not have an issue if these organisations have a political bias or a political agenda but they must, they must not hide under the cloak of independence,” he said.
He emphasised that his government is moving at a rapid pace to fulfil its manifesto promise to the people of Guyana and its role and agenda in Guyana and the region is focussed on the upliftment of Guyana, Guyanese and positing of Guyana as a country of integrity, democracy and where rule of law is the basis on which decisions are made and the development of the country is advanced.
Many of the organisations who are accusing his government of lack of transparency and accountability, he said, were silent during the attempts by forces aligned to the then APNU+AFC Government to rig the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.
The Guyana Chronicle was unable to get into contact with members of most of the complaining groups and those who answered the phone chose not to offer a comment.
A representative of the Guyana Society for the Blind, who however agreed to speak but under the condition of anonymity, said the statement the society signed unto does not reflect the views of its wider membership but only that of the President of the society.
Several Amerindian leaders have also distanced themselves from the controversial statement, contending that it is a wholly disappointing and a baseless attempt by the named NGOs to request ‘transparency’ and ‘consultations’ of the government when they were not consulted on the content of the statement issued.
“In the circumstances, we as duly elected Amerindian leaders, with the required eligible standing to form a part of the National Toshaos’ Council, strongly disassociate ourselves and our fellow elected leaders from any type of endorsement of that erroneous article, the Amerindian leaders said in statement.
The statement was signed by Desmond James of Red Hill, Region One; Lloyd Perreira of Wakapoa, Region Two; Ralph Hendricks of Capoey, Region Two; Yvonne Pearson of Mainstay, Region Two; Oren Williams of Batavia, Region Seven; Shane Cornelius of Karrau, Region Seven; Melena Pollard of Rivers View, Region 10; Lenny Moses of Massara, Region Nine; Zalita Moses of Annai, Region Nine; Timothy Andrews of St. Cuthbert’s Mission, Region Four and Nowell Domingo of Wowetta, Region Nine.
The Amerindian leaders said that the National Toshaos’ Council is much more than its Executive Committee, pointing out that it is the collective body of all toshaos in Guyana. The Amerindian Act is clear on the election of the Executive Committee, the Amerindian leaders said.
“The NTC Executive in its current form is not reflective of the collective position of the elected leaders and it would be treading dangerous and contradictory waters to endorse such an inflammatory statement in an attempt to reflect a position of the NTC. Further, it must be made abundantly clear, that any attempt to endorse that incendiary statement was done without consultation.
“We strongly condemn any attempt by any individual or group who seeks to make any public statement on our behalf without due consultation or without the requisite locus standi to do so. Further, it must be noted that, in the interim, as elected toshaos with the confidence of our people, we are aptly capable of speaking out on issues and we have the legal standing to do so,” the Amerindian leaders made clear.
They also made clear that they have not endorsed the statement issued by the NGOs and disassociated themselves with any attempt to utilise their name and reputation in “a wholly misrepresented manner”.
Minister of Public Affairs, Kwame McCoy, has also dismissed the claims in the statement issued by the NGO groups of “paper organisations” as mischievous and unfounded.