One Guyana plan, 1000-man initiative will make us One People with One Destiny

Dear Editor,
WHEN President Dr Irfaan Ali was officially sworn in on August 2, 2020, as Guyana’s Ninth Executive President after the five-month elections fiasco, many felt that he would encounter some major problems because the country was badly divided along racial lines.

Indeed, the country was unquestionably divided after a bruising election campaign which the PPP/C won on March 2, 2020, but was not allowed to take office until five months later. As the former Minister of Housing and Tourism, Dr Ali became the PPP/C’s presidential candidate not only because he was elected by his party, but also because he had a vision to develop the country, improve the lives of the people, especially the poor, and heal the deep-seated racial divide that has plagued the country for more than five decades.

One of his primary goals is to unite the people in peace and harmony. Very many persons were aware of President Ali’s ability and his vision for a united and developed Guyana.
In office for less than three months, President, Dr Ali, Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips and the Cabinet embarked on a “meet-the-people” campaign across the country to listen to citizens, learn about their problems and find solutions for them. They met with many individuals, regardless of their ethnicities, party affiliation, or whether they had voted for the PPP/C or APNU+AFC.

President Ali has vowed that no one will be left behind, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or party affiliation. He has told the nation that the time has come for us not to see one another as Indo-Guyanese, Afro-Guyanese or Amerindian but as Guyanese. Since the late 1950s, race has always been injected into election campaigns and this has spilled over into one party criticising the other, and Afro-and Indo-Guyanese neighbours becoming enemies.

The end result was violence in some communities. However, in a recent statement, President Ali has vowed that the government will “destroy” and “bury” race as a political mobilisation tool in the country. It is one of the boldest statements by the president. Likewise, Prime Minister Phillips has wisely stated time and again that insularity, petty, reckless and partisan politics has no place in Guyana. He stated clearly that the government will work with everyone in the country, regardless of race or party affiliation to make sure that they benefit from the government’s programmes.

Owing to his constant trek to every town, village and district, President Ali has been dubbed the “hands on” or the “on site” President; this is a first for Guyana. The President knew that trust is not given or granted, it is earned and after less than three years in office, many felt that he has earned the trust of the majority of Guyanese. Truth be told, in some areas of the country, people are saying that they did not support the PPP/C, but they liked President Ali’s vision for the country and they believe that he is honest.

Many are of the opinion that President Ali has taken Guyana to new heights never seen before. Today, even with the high cost of living, the country is on the move on many fronts. In the area of housing, more house lots have been given out to the residents and more houses have been built than in the five years of the previous administration. Education and health care have and continue to be expanded and improved and the nation’s infrastructure is being modernised. Not to mention that the government has enlarged the agricultural sector by providing hundreds of thousands of acres of new agricultural land to farmers for rice cultivation, cash crops and dairy farming. However, the most heroic decision by President Ali was to re-open some of the sugar factories shuttered by the Granger-led coalition government.

Now we turn to his other major achievements which have grabbed the attention of the nation. One of those achievements is his “One Guyana” vision, which is to get everyone fully involved in the development of the country and move it from the status of an underdeveloped country to a semi-developed or developing country and finally to a developed nation.

Also included in the “One Guyana” initiative is the President’s heartfelt desire to heal the racial animosityt which has afflicted the country for more than five decades. And while many have attempted and failed to unite the races, we are confident that President Ali’s “One Guyana” vision will succeed, mainly because of its widespread appeal.

It needs to be emphasised that perhaps the boldest of all President Ali’s plans is his 1000-man programme. It is a positive approach to help men and youths accept their responsibilities and become not only leaders in society, but also decent, law-abiding and productive citizens. The President has said many times that while each of us is responsible for our own actions, we are also responsible for the well-being of our neighbours.

Too frequently we focus on ourselves while forgetting that God has created us to live together. Our own well-being is bound forever to the well-being of everyone. He knows that while everyone needs proper education, secure housing, adequate nutrition, and reliable healthcare, they are not luxuries. They are what is due to those who have worked hard and to those who cannot care for themselves. His “One Guyana” initiative and his 1000-man programme are bold plans that will inspire everyone to be involved in the development of the country and become One nation with One destiny.

Yours respectfully,
Dr Asquith Rose

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