Dr. Jagdeo challenges Norton to submit allegations of ethnic discrimination, victimisation claims to ERC
GENERAL Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, has raised questions about the credibility of the ethnic discrimination and victimisation claims made by Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton, highlighting that those accusations could be easily disproven.
During a recent press conference, Dr Jagdeo addressed the outcomes of Norton’s press engagement, where the Opposition Leader had raised concerns about ethnic discrimination and the alleged marginalisation and victimisation of a “significant portion” of the Guyanese population.
“In the past week or so, we have seen Mr. Norton holding a press engagement, and one thing I’m not going to go through all the issues that were raised at his press engagement, but the typical ones were about ethnic discrimination and a large part of the population being marginalised and victimised, and, therefore, he wants to meet President [Dr. Irfaan] Ali to deal with that,” Dr Jagdeo said.
He went on to highlight that Guyana’s Constitution has established the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) as the appropriate body for addressing issues of marginalisation and discrimination.
Dr. Jagdeo urged Norton to present to the ERC his cases of discrimination, which, according to the General Secretary, were unsubstantiated and lacked the necessary evidence to support his claims.
“So, instead of Mr. Norton trying to bring this to the attention of President Ali, because I am sure he’d never be able to do so in a manner that is credible, he should take all of these cases that he has of discrimination to the ERC, but he will never do that because they will be disproved easily,” he added.
Dr Jagdeo also stressed the repetitive nature of such claims, noting that these allegations had been made previously and had consistently failed to gain traction or credibility.
He used the term “ridiculous” to describe the recurring narrative of discrimination, suggesting that the government considered it absurd and lacking in substance.
“We have seen that narrative every time it surfaces, how ridiculous it sounds,” Dr. Jagdeo said.
Recently, President Ali reaffirmed his unwavering dedication to fulfilling his constitutional responsibilities, amid a standoff with Norton, who has refused to engage in formal discussions on governance issues and constitutional reform.
During a recent news conference held at State House, the Head of State defended his commitment to fulfilling his constitutional mandate and expressed his perplexity over the Opposition Leader’s stance despite him extending formal invitations on eight separate occasions.
“For a matter of fact, I formally reached out to the Leader of the Opposition on eight occasions between April 22 and June 2023, in relation to fulfilling my duties in accordance with what the Constitution requires.
“So, you would not find me wanting when it comes to fulfilling my constitutional mandate…. Because I believe strongly in constitutional rule and keeping the constitution of our country,” the President said.