President David Granger is calling on Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo to refrain from divisive statements following comments made in New York about Government’s discrimination against Indo-Guyanese and other Guyanese who are supportive of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Opposition.
Speaking on this week’s television programme, The Public Interest, the Head of State remarked that the Opposition Leader should “temper his language” as he responds to calls from commentators and various sections of society for Government to engage the indo-community more.
The President outlined that “crass” remarks such as those made by Jagdeo create divisiveness. “The language use by the Leader of the Opposition could be divisive and I would urge him to restrain his comments,” Granger stated.
The Head of State pointed out that Guyana is multi-religious community and his Administration does not want to religious extremism to exist here, having witnessed the damage it does in other parts of the world. Similarly, he posited that there is no room for ethnic extremism since that would pull the country apart.
Granger went on to say that his coalition Administration is pushing for a more cohesive society and has been reaching out to all section of the population.
“To suggest that Indians being persecuted does not necessarily call on the Government to reach out, we have! We are a multiethnic coalition; I would say we are more multiethnic than any other Government in the history of Guyana and we have reached out to all of the communities in Guyana but there will be extremists to continue to speak in divisive terms and this is what you need to put an end to,” Granger posited.
He went on to say that the actions and comments of the Leader of the Opposition is working against the cohesive society that his Administration is working towards.
Jagdeo at a meeting with the Diaspora in New York two weeks ago said “Guyana needs a spirit of community to ensure that we defend our people through these dark times. There is an assault on democracy, on the people of Indian origin and there is an assault on the supporters of the PPP…”
In fact, Government had even released a statement condemning his remarks but the Opposition Leader had maintained his stance, noting that the Jagan-founded PPP will continue to defend the rights of Guyanese people.
Jagdeo said he was surprised Government would respond to comments he made overseas when he only repeated things that he would have said numerous times at home during press conferences and on the campaign trail of the recently concluded Local Government Elections (LGE).
“Despite the charges made, my record on bolstering racial harmony and advancing equal development across the country, regardless of race, speaks for itself. That is not a position I need to defend. However, I have spoken out and will continue to speak out about the injustices against our people,” he outlined his in statement.
Moreover, the Opposition Leader posited that the Government-issued statement seems to be orchestrated by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo.
“I am inclined to believe that the Nagamootoo-styled statement has more to do with the reception given to me by thousands of people, representing the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) – in contrast to the small crowd and protest actions that greeted him.”
On the other hand, Government in its statement accused the Opposition Leader of race baiting and calling his remarks “irresponsible, hateful, and malicious fabrications.” It said that the statements were made at a time when the nation is focused on the efforts to foster closer relations and achieve a greater level of social cohesion.
The Government said that it considers Jagdeo’s statements as reprehensible, which are aimed at “sowing seeds of division, discord and race hate”.
Nevertheless, several other politicians, social activists, including some sympathetic to the APNU/AFC Administration and even trade unions have all condemned the Government’s mass dismissal of hundreds of personssince it took power back in May 2015, most of whom are either of Indian origin or supporters of the PPP.