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US, Britain offer to help build inclusive governance; private sector wants pro-business agenda

The United States and Britain on Saturday promised to help Guyana heal divisions and hoped that the President David Granger-led administration would work towards keeping that electoral promise.

In separate messages following the declaration of official results and the swearing in of Granger as Guyana’s eighth Executive President, the missions identified the need to bridge the divide.

“It is our hope that President Granger will work to repair the divisions in Guyanese society that have emerged during the election period and will work to promote inclusive governance and national development in the best interests of all of the people of Guyana.

“The United States of America pledges its willingness to work collaboratively with the new government in this regard,” said the US Embassy in a statement.

For its part, the British High Commission also pledged the United Kingdom’s assistance to ensure that the Granger-led government works in the interest of all Guyanese. “As we move forward now is the time to look to inclusiveness and reconciliation. As President Granger said in his speech the new government must represent the will of all the people of Guyana. The UK stands ready to assist with this process,” said the High Commission.

Head of the Carter Center , former US President Jimmy Carter also expects that the new government would promote unity. “I have great expectations that the new government will reach out and promote healing and reconciliation in Guyana. It is now time for all Guyanese to unite and work together to realise the great potential of their country.”

Their offers and expectations followed a bruising election campaign in which the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) openly attacked its opponents and raised the spectre of race in this country whose political landscape has been historically divided along race lines.

In the end, the electoral results show that the East Indian-dominated PPPC and the largely Afro-Guyanese supported A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC)-led administration dominated regions of the country based on ethnic voting patterns.

Granger has repeatedly assured Guyanese that 49 percent of the population that voted for the PPPC would not be locked out of decision-making and would be even invited to join the government at the executive level once their hands are not tainted by corruption and other misdeeds in public life.

Noting that APNU+AFC won the election by a narrow margin, the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) hopes that the Coalition-led government would play a major role in helping Guyana break away from ethnic considerations. “Hopefully the combination of a Government committed to national unity and a new generation of politically-alert young people will encourage healthy political debate about the future of the society, progressively freeing public life from the suffocating dominance of ethnicity,” said the association in a statement.

The GHRA commended APNU+AFC for winning the elections without recourse to manipulation of ethnic insecurity, and also for the statesperson-like manner in which it managed tensions of the past few days. According to the GHRA, the overall impact of young people on this election remains to be assessed, but their manifest interest in this electoral process bodes well for the future, putting all politicians on notice that political life will require much more engagement with the  public than the exclusive club it has been in the past

The American and British diplomatic missions here also recognized the contributions of the PPPC to Guyana.

“The Embassy congratulates President Ramotar for the numerous achievements that his government made in the socio-economic development of the country and in strengthening the relationship between Guyana and the United States of America,” said the Embassy. The US also said it looked forward to continuing to work closely with President Ramotar’s Peoples Progressive Party/Civic in its new role as loyal opposition.

The British High Commission said: “It is also important to thank former President Ramotar and those who served in his government for their service to Guyana.” 

The umbrella Private Sector Commission (PSC) and the Upper Corentyne Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UCCI) hoped that the policies of the new government would be pro-business and that no one would be left out of the decision-making process. “We look forward to a new government which will encourage private investment and support the private sector as it continues to strive for the creation of jobs and the overall development of our country,” said the PSC. The UCCCI was more forthright: “The Upper Corentyne Chamber of Commerce is hoping that the coalition will take a more capitalist approach with regards to the economy and pledge to work along with the new government for the development and growth of the private sector and our country as a whole.”

Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretary General, Ambassador Irwin La Rocque congratulated President David Granger and hoped that  his “fresh ideas and views” would help improve the regional grouping.  Secretary-General assured the President that CARICOM and its Secretariat stood ready to work with his administration in this task.

La Rocque underscored the importance of Guyana to the Community as an original signatory to the Treaty establishing CARICOM and as the headquarters country.