Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 October 2021, 20:57 by Denis Chabrol
Former Finance Minister Winston Jordan has categorically dismissed any claim that President Irfaan Ali’s Muslim religion has earned Guyana goodwill from the Arab Nations.
“What assistance have they got from the Arab World that is new as a result of the government”,” he asked.
Reacting to claims by Governance Minister Gail Teixeira that Dr. Ali, being a Muslim, has secured international support from leading Islamic countries, Mr. Jordan highlighted that it was the David Granger-led coalition administration that had established an embassy in Kuwait.
However, the official records show that the embassy was established in 2011.
Mr. Jordan also poured cold water on Ms. Teixeira stating that Guyana would be establishing embassies in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as part of a plan to expand its diplomatic presence in the Middle East. “They are giving the impression that as a result of Ali being a Muslim, we are now going to establish embassies in Qatar and UAE when it’s not true. They are just spinning many things they came in and met from the Coalition,” he added.
He said A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Cabinet had already decided to do so before leaving office in August 2, 2020 so Ms. Teixeira’s claim was merely a rehash of a decision that had been already taken by Guyana. “We were already in discussion with Qatar and UAE about opening embassies in those two countries so this is not something that Ali brought; this was already in the works,” he said. He added that Qatar had agreed to assist Guyana with its diplomatic mission there.
The Former Finance Minister also said that US$900 million envelope from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) had been obtained by the APNU+AFC administration and has been merely tweaked by the incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic-led government. “It is the coalition that brought Guyana into the Islamic Development Bank,” he added. He said loan has been acquired for the Guyana Power and Light and two small hydropower projects in the hinterland.
Mr. Jordan frowned on the provision of a 100-bed hospital by Qatar, quipping that “that is all that is new in one and half years and that could not certainly be due to his religion.”