Former Presidents’ meeting today

…“Granger has still not responded to me” – Minister Teixeira

President Dr Irfaan Ali has invited all former Presidents to a working lunch, to discuss areas of importance and the future development of Guyana, however, according to Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Minister, Gail Teixeira immediate past President David Granger has not yet formally responded to the invite.

President Dr Irfaan Ali

The meeting will, however, proceed today at noon and according to Teixeira – who sent the invite on behalf of President Ali – Granger nor his team has communicated his availability or unavailability to her.
Granger is the only non-People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) President that is still alive. The current four former Guyanese Presidents are Samuel Hinds, who briefly served as President in 1997; Bharrat Jagdeo, who served as Head of State from 1999 to 2011 and is currently a Vice President in the Ali Administration; Donald Ramotar, who served as President from 2011 to 2015, and David Granger, who served from 2015 to 2020.
When asked whether the meeting would still occur today, Minister Teixeira told Guyana Times that as far as she is aware it is happening.

Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Minister Gail Teixeira

“I am not aware of any postponement requested by Mr Granger or anything from Mr Granger. I am not aware that the President is postponing or there is any change in terms of rearrangement at this point. I think it is still going forward for tomorrow [today] because I have not been advised otherwise. I don’t see the reason for a postponement because Mr Granger has still not responded to me, as the person who sent the invitation on behalf of the President,” she told this publication on Monday.
President Ali’s aim is bringing together all former Guyanese Presidents to discuss ways in which they can work together to develop the country.

PNC statement
Just a few days ago, a statement from the People’s National Congress Reform – the largest party in the APNU/AFC coalition and of which Granger is the leader – rejected the invitation from the president.
The statement indicated that Granger acknowledged the invitation from Teixeira but asked that the engagement be deferred, noting that there is not enough explanation as to the purpose of the meeting nor an agenda for review before the engagement. However, this has not yet been communicated to the Minister.
She said that she only became aware of that via press reports and cannot comment on it.
When he first announced the meeting, President Ali had stated that it would serve as an opportunity for the former Guyanese leaders to share ideas and work towards Guyana’s development.
“It will be an open-floor meeting, where we’ll bring together all the former Presidents. I think that it’s an opportunity for us to continue to share ideas, generate ideas; for us to talk about how we see Guyana’s development, different perspectives and then to work out a model and a framework on how we engage in the future and how we will have continuous contributions,” the Head of State had explained.
According to the PNC’s statement on Friday, Granger said it would be a huge public disappointment for the proposed high-level meeting to take place without addressing pressing public issues such as the high death rate from the COVID-19 pandemic and other governance issues, which he said can have consequences for Guyana’s short-, medium- and long-term national development.
Already, former Presidents Ramotar and Hinds have confirmed to this publication that they will be attending the meeting. Former President Jagdeo is also likely to attend.
Earlier last week, PNC’s General Secretary, Amna Ally, had snubbed the invitation extended by President Ali after she was contacted by this publication for a comment on the initiative. Ally had poured cold water on the President’s invite and reiterated her party’s non-recognition of the PPP Government.
Nevertheless, the Head of State on Thursday reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to inclusivity but posited that “If we are to grow as a people, this has to be a two-way street.”
President Ali assumed office as Guyana’s 9th Executive President in August following five months of electoral and political deadlock following the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.
The former Granger-led APNU/AFC Administration had refused to concede defeat at the March 2 polls and demit office. In fact, even after a National Recount confirmed the People’s Progressive Party/Civic electoral victory, the coalition continued with its delay tactics by moving to the courts.
It took mounting international and local pressure for the new Government to be finally sworn into office on August 2, 2020. (G2)