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President Ali promises unity, transparency, accountability; Western Nations urge bridging of divisions

Last Updated on Sunday, 2 August 2020, 21:34 by Denis Chabrol

Newly-elected President of Guyana, Dr. Irfaan Ali on Sunday promised to work towards national unity but he gave no indication of when he would reach out to the Chairman of the opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), David Granger.

“There is only one future and that future requires a united Guyana, that future requires a strong Guyana, that future requires every Guyanese to play a part in building our country, ensuring that we leave a better Guyana for the next generation,” said Dr. Ali whose People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has historically drawn the bulk of its support from among Indo Guyanese. The President said Guyanese are not separated by class, ethnicity, religion or political persuasion.

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo earlier Sunday insisted that, in keeping with his People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) 2020 elections campaign manifesto, talks would be held with the opposition only after the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM) declaration of a result.

In a congratulatory message, the United States, Britain, Canada and the European Union urged the PPP-led administration to find common ground among a variety of stakeholders to bridge deep-seated divisions.  “We also look forward to seeing this government at its outset reach across political divisions to unite Guyanese of all ethnicities, races, and regions, around meaningful progress on constitutional reform and reconciliation,” they said in a joint statement. The APNU+AFC coalition had promised constitutional reform but did not go very far in getting the process off the ground.

The President promised a “people-centred, accountable government”  that would use the best human resources to manage all sectors in a “transparent manner, accountable manner” for the benefit of Guyana. The last PPP government had been dogged by persistent allegations of corruption, favouritism and discrimination.

The US, Britain, Canada and the European Union welcomed Mr. Granger’s decision to acknowledge that he lost the March 2, 202o general and regional elections and  the GECOM Chairman Retired Justice Claudette Singh to have declared the results of the poll based on the national vote recount. “We thank GECOM Chairwoman Claudette Singh for having the courage of her convictions to uphold Guyana’s Constitution,” she said.

Leader of the Alliance For Change, Khemraj Ramjattan said the time has come for Guyanese to put the behind them the partisanship and rancour over the past five months or the Guyanese community would be in a degraded stated. ” hope that he (President Ali) means well when he says that he will govern for everybody,” Mr. Ramjattan said on an APNU+AFC social media programme. “We must appreciate that there will be a new government which will obviously want to feel that it alone can do things but which we must make sure must do things inclusively including at very many occasions the opposition and we’ll get this country going” he said.

In congratulating President Ali, Mr.  Ramjattan said although APNU+AFC supporters would feel “hugely disappointed” they should be assured that the coalition would not tolerate the reemergence of drug lords and other criminals in crime-fighting. “The opposition is not going to allow any kind of advantage that occurred then to happen again,” said Mr. Ramjattan who was up to Saturday Guyana’s Minister of Public Security.

Touching on the oil sector, the AFC Leader said the coalition would take legal and political action against the PPP administration in the areas of human rights , worker rights and other areas. The coalition, he said, would “ensure these funds are distributed equitably in all regions…instead of friends and family,” said Mr. Ramjattan.

The Ali-led administration is expected to appoint additional ministers later this week before holding an official inauguration ceremony this weekend.

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