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Pres. Granger, Guyana’s first Foreign Minister appeal for end to political rivalry

President David Granger addressing thousands of persons at his inauguration ceremony at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence. (photo by Gordon Moseley)

Former Commonwealth Secretary General, Sir Shridath Ramphal and Guyana’s President David Granger Tuesday appealed for an end to decades-old political division in an effort to build on the victory of a five-party coalition two weeks ago.

That was the common thread in their addresses at Granger’s Inauguration Ceremony held before thousands of Guyanese who braved the inclement weather at the Guyana National Stadium.

Sir Shridath, who was present at the Independence Inauguration Ceremony on May 26, 1966 at the National Park, said 49 years later Guyana was on the cusp of a great future if the country could put political bickering behind and live the national motto of “One People, One Nation, One Destiny.”

“We must not let the vicissitudes of politics and the discords inherent in the democratic process diminish our oneness. At moments of transition like this, it is the duty of all of us to work hard at destroying the myth of otherness and cultivating by conscious effort a reality of oneness that is our historical birthright,” said Sir Shridath, Guyana’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister after Guyana attained independence from Britain.

His call comes at a time when the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP), which lost power to the Coalition, does not recognize the Granger-led administration on the basis that the May 11, 2015 general elections were fraudulent.  The mainly East Indian-backed PPP’s Progressive Youth Organisation (PYO) has also charged that there is increasing racial discrimination following the polls.

Sir Shridath called on Guyanese to embrace President Granger’s administration in the quest for good governance locally and across the Caribbean within a framework of tolerance, respect and shared ambition. “It is our solid duty to support his administration towards fulfillment of the trust the people of Guyana have reposed him and his coalition colleagues,” he said.

Congratulating the coalition for its courageous first stop in pursuit of the endless journey of national unity, Sir Shridath called for such unity to be the credo and ethic of governance.

For his part, President Granger in his 30-minute address, pledged that he would not fail Guyanese in building a stable economy, reducing crime including domestic violence, creating jobs, increasing salaries and pensions, reducing poverty, eliminating ethnic security; strengthening of local, municipal and parliamentary democracy; improving the quality and variety of educational opportunities and enriching cultural and deepening of national patriotic consciousness. “We shall infuse the spirit of inclusionary democracy into every municipality, every neighbourhood, every region and in the National Assembly itself,” he added.

The President expressed the desire for national unity and reconstruction now that the electioneering is over. “Let now put our rivalries and our antipathies behind us. Let us look forward to making this big, beautiful and bountiful land the best place in the entire Western Hemisphere to live,” he said.

Granger restated that his administration would reach out and engage other political parties, trade unions, private sector and civil society to arrive at a national consensus programme “to move our beloved Guyana forward.” “We shall establish cordial relations with civil society, with religious organisations and with the trade unions. We have the responsibility to restore the integrity and the viability of working peoples and non-governmental organisations which have been gravely undermined,” said the Guyanese leader.