Former Presidents meeting is an “overture” for formal engagements; no need for agenda- Teixeira

Last Updated on Friday, 11 December 2020, 16:14 by Denis Chabrol

Governance Minister Gail Teixeira said President Irfaan Ali’s invitation to all former Presidents is an “overture” that is aimed at opening the door for formal engagements so there is no need for an agenda, in response to reports that former President David Granger has turned down the invitation.

Noting that up to 2:27 PM, she did not receive a response from Mr. Granger,  Ms. Teixeira scoffed at the  position taken in a PNCR statement that there needed to be an agenda to allow for proper preparations, relevance of the meeting to government policies and the expected outcome.

The Governance Minister, stressing that the former President knows a lot about protocol and procedure, should exercise courtesy and reply since the engagement that is scheduled for December 15 is with President Irfaan Ali , not with A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC). “This meeting was what you call like a breaking of the ice and, therefore, to invite someone to come to your house to have a working lunch and then say I am not coming unless you tell me what’s on the menu is rather rude,” she told News-Talk Radio Guyana / Demerara Waves Online News.

The veteran Guyanese politician said the planned meeting was to set the groundwork for formal engagements on specific national issues. For me, it was meant to be an overture and that’s what it’s meant to be- an overture. Certainly, if there are any consequential issues that would come out of it, then former President Granger has a right to say ‘we’ll come back to that, I’ll come talk to my party’ and he’ll consult whoever he has to consult. No one is going to tie Mr. Granger and tell him he has to agree to anything. That’s absurd,” she added.

Mr. Granger, she said, was invited because he is expected to be interested in national  issues for the betterment of Guyana.

The Governance Minister could not say whether the former Presidents meeting would still go ahead in Mr. Granger’s absence, as it is Dr. Ali’s meeting and he would make a decision based on the responses that he receives.

Concerning Mr. Granger’s desire for the meeting of former Presidents to be postponed until a number until high rates of deaths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; alleged unwarranted dismissals of public servants and alleged harassment of Elections Commission officials and human rights violations, are addressed, Ms. Teixeira said the preliminary meeting was intended to be “open-ended”.