President David Granger on Sunday called on a coalition of African groups that is developing a plan to improve the condition of that segment of the population to come up with concrete projects that could be financed by next year’s budget.
Granger, who received a draft copy of the 187-page Cuffy 250 Committee’s Plan ahead of Sunday’s workshop and heard a synopsis of the document before his address, indicated that he expected the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) of the United Nations-designated International Decade of People of African Descent to come up with a cost of some of their activities for 2018.
The President said when Parliament comes out of recess in early October, he would be addressing Parliament to indicate some of his government’s budgetary and legislative priorities ahead of the presentation of the 2018 National Budget in another 10 weeks.
“If financial allocations are to be made to support United Nations Declaration, those allocations have to be determined within the next 10 weeks. This gives you a sense of the urgency with which we need to consider this plan before us,” he told the Cuffy250 Committee’s 5th Annual State of the African Guyanese Forum held under the theme “Repositioning African Guyanese for Justice, Recognition and Sustainable Development.”
In keeping with the Resolution on People of African Descent that was approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 2014, Guyana and several other countries across the world have committed themselves to implement projects and programmes to improve the quality of life and recognition of people of African descent.
In that regard, he called on the CCM for the United Nations-designated International Decade of People of African Descent to “define and refine the architecture to erect an economical structure” of the organisational structure to bear the work that is to be done, focus on education for the future and documentation of the achievements of the evidence.
Hoping that a work programme would emerge out of the “carefully studied” report, Granger assured that the report would not be ignored at a time when 40 of the 120 months of the International Decade of People of African Descent.
Delivering a presentation of the report on the plan, Jonathan Adams highlighted a number of historical challenges facing African Guyanese including stigmatization, poor family structures, teenage pregnancy, repeat offenders, discrimination and xenophobia.
Granger urged participants of the event at the Critchlow Labour College to not to use the International Decade of People of African Descent to engage in petty arguments such as racial or religious recrimination or fake history and instead buckle down to the implementation of projects. “Let us fight one war at a time and let us not try to fight old battles of the past,” he said.
The President said there is no room for Afro-Guyanese to be diverted or deviated from their mission because the opportunity may not be available again for decades to come. “My brothers and sisters, this is not a time for bickering and brawling and for breaking down. It is time for building up,” he added.
United Nations Representative in Guyana, Dr. William Adu-Krow announced that a Working Group on the People of African Descent would be visiting Guyana in October, 2017 at the request of the Guyana government.