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US politicians upbeat about Guyana’s coalition government

US Congresswoman Yvette Clarke presents a Proclamation to Minister of State in the Office of the President, Joseph Harmon.

Coverage courtesy Fly Jamaica

Key influential elected officials of the United States (US) Democratic Party on Sunday highlighted that lobbying for fair elections last month helped defeat the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) for the first time in 23 years.

Addressing thousands of Guyanese at the APNU+AFC victory rally in Brooklyn, Congressman Hakim Jeffries of the 8th District of New York said he and his colleagues ensured that they reached out to President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and the wider US government to ensure that Guyana’s elections held on May 11, 2015 were democratic as part of efforts to ensure that the coalition was victorious.

“We knew that if a democratic election took place, the voice of the people will prevail and the coalition will win and so we are pleased to have their victory,” Jeffries represents New York’s 8th Congressional District in Brooklyn and Queens.

He noted that 23 years ago the PPPC won general elections and now with the coalition’s victory, Guyana was once again regarded as a free country. “Sometimes you know a setback is just a set up for a comeback and 23 years later the coalition has come back and in the words of that old Negro Spiritual, we can say free at last, free at last…” he said.

Jeffries praised Guyanese for their strong work-ethic, entrepreneurial spirit, links to the African Diaspora and their cuisine. When he referred to pepperpot, the gathering erupted in cheers.

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke told the gathering that ever since then President Donald Ramotar had suspended the Parliament last year, she had been paying attention to Guyana’s political landscape. She credited Guyanese Rickford Burke and his team at the Caribbean Guyana Institute of Democracy (CGID) with keeping her abreast and urging her to “ensure that this election would be fair and would be just.”  “We monitored it from Washington DC and with my esteemed colleague, Hakeem Jeffries, we spoke with the leaders and wrote letters to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to investigate the suspension of the National Assembly prior to the vote of no-confidence,” she said.

She vowed to remain vocal if attempts are made to rupture democracy in Guyana and the US. Clarke said the “fair” polls led to the election of a multi-party coalition and “the transition of leadership that was peaceful.” The Congresswoman President Granger commended on his acts since assuming the presidency and his commitment to building one nation and equal rights.

Clarke, whose roots are Jamaican, called on Guyanese to use their leverage in lobbying their representatives in the US if their country-of-birth is in distress. “You have proven that your power is boundless. You need to know that you are residing in one of the most powerful nations in the world and when you decide that the fate of your homeland is at stake, you can use your power here to influence what goes on in Guyana and that is why I am in Washington DC to make sure that it is so,” she said.

Congresswoman Clarke presented a proclamation to Guyana’s Minister of State Joseph Harmon. That document notes that Guyanese have established a democratic state, equal respect of all under the law.

Describing herself as Guyana’s “flag bearer” in the halls of the New York State Assembly, Roxanne Persaud, congratulated Guyanese on “this fabulous victory” that she hoped would eventually see an end to her country folk being stigmatized. “…a victory that would see Guyana moving forward, that will see Guyana moving beyond all the other people in the Caribbean and where people will no longer make fun of Guyanese because they’ll know that we are a progressive people”

Persaud presented Tourism Minister, Cathy Hughes with a citation to be delivered to President David Granger. That citation states in part that Guyanese elected a coalition government that is focused on national unity and the creation of a multiparty inclusionary partnership.

The main opposition PPPC has refused to acknowledge the APNU-AFC coalition government on grounds that the polls were rigged and fraudulent, contrary to assessments by the US, Britain, Canada, US and major international observer groups.

The PPPC has so far not taken up its 32 seats in the 65-seat National Assembly.