Republic Day: President urges unity to fight social ills, secure political cooperation

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 February 2016, 1:08 by Denis Chabrol

President David Granger Tuesday- Republic Day- urged Guyanese to unite in their fight against several social ills including drug abuse and violence, even as he called for greater cooperation by political parties.

“We must, in 2016, narrow the differences and divisions between our political parties through the promotion of dialogue and the intensification of political cooperation and consensus-based decision-making,” he said in a message to mark Guyana’s 45th Republic anniversary.

The opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) has so far shunned overtures by the Granger-led administration for political cooperation, citing the dismissal of several persons since the change in government in May, 2015.

At the level of several of the 10 administrative regions, concerns have been raised by both the PPPC and APNU+AFC that their Regional Chairmen are being sidelined by the Regional Executive Officers depending on which party is controlling a particular regional council.

In yet another major push for national unity, he appealed to all sections of Guyanese to demonstrate that they are one nation by being an integral part of and share in Guyana’s development. “Guyanese must, at the national level, eradicate the suspicions that promote tensions and strife. We must dispel prejudice and hatred amongst individuals and groups. We must move forward as a united nation, constantly reaffirming our national motto: one people, one nation, one destiny,” he said.

The Guyanese leader also called on citizens to seize the opportunity of the observance to improve their communities and avert decline and, instead support the needs of individuals, families and households.

“The social problems – alcoholism and drug abuse; crime; homelessness; interpersonal violence; poverty and suicide – and the threat they present to the common good demand urgent attention and action, especially at the level of the community,” he said. “These problems cannot be addressed by any single group – be it government or non-governmental organisations. These problems are national in scale. They require national responses,” he said.

President Granger urged the nation to take advantage of the Local Government Elections (LGE) to be held for the first time in 22 years on March 18, 2016 to empower elected local representatives and so allow citizens to administer their own affairs more competently and to contribute more fully to the development of their communities. “We will fulfill our promise to conduct local government elections in order to empower our citizens in their village communities and municipalities after two nightmarish decades of municipal despotism. Local government elections will empower residents and enrich communities,” said Granger, a University of Guyana graduate in Political Science.