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Opposition Leader says ready to talk with President, side-steps call for recognising gov’t

Last Updated on Friday, 5 March 2021, 16:33 by Denis Chabrol

Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon  on Friday categorically stated that he is ready to meet with President Irfaan Ali but stayed clear of directly saying whether he would explicitly recognise the administration and the presidency as precondition for talks.

“I have stated from the outset and I reaffirm now, once again, that I am prepared to meet with President Ali at a mutually convenient time in the interest of meaningful dialogue and consultation and with a view to advancing the interest of the people of Guyana,” he said in a prepared statement.

Among the issues that the Opposition Leader wants to discuss with the President are poverty alleviation, territorial and natural resource protection, broadening representation on the COVID-19 Task Force, updating the election laws and revising the voters’ list.

He also wants to discuss broadened stakeholdership at the National, Regional and Community levels, and a shift from ethnic marginalization and vindictiveness.

Mr. Harmon instead accused the President of taking that stance to avoid reaching at the table to have meaningful dialogue and consultation. The Opposition Leader noted that the President is seeking to place the burden of responsibility on him for talks to occur, a position that Mr. Harmon has rejected it.

“I offer my considered rejection to this notion. This is an absurd proposition and a continuation of the intransigence of the PPP regime in absolutely refusing to engage in dialogue,” he said.

Mr. Harmon recalls that since he was appointed Leader of the Opposition prepared to meet with President Ali in the best interest of advancing the cause of the Guyanese people.

The Opposition Leader says the President is concerned with being in power and less than half of Guyana who represent the PPP supporters.

The Opposition Leader says Guyana’s constitution does not set pre-conditions for consultation and dialogue between the President and the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Harmon’s A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change has said the March 2020 elections were rigged and that the Ali-led administration was installed by local and foreign business and geopolitical interests.