Since he took office in August, President Irfaan Ali has, on many occasions, underlined the need for peace and harmony in Guyana, and has pledged that he is committed to working with all stakeholders to achieve this objective. On many of his visits to communities across Guyana, he has been consistent with this call. He has also assured that he would act in the best interest of all Guyanese, whether or not they supported his party. The President’s sentiments are very encouraging, and could only mean well for Guyana.
Over the weekend, for example, the President visited several communities in Berbice and Essequibo – as well as Sophia in Georgetown – where, in addition to plans for development, he communicated the need for social harmony. “I want to bring the country together. You have a President who is willing to work with everyone,” he was quoted in the media as saying.
Also, during his visit to Sophia on Saturday evening, the President told a gathering that he wanted to personally hear about their problems, saying that he has to “lead by example too”.
Earlier on Saturday, the Head of State told residents of Port Mourant that his objective is to help develop all of Guyana. “We are a Government for all the people of our country. We are a Government that will take development to every single part of this country. We are a Government that will support farmers as we support our nurses, our teachers. We are a Government that will support the sugar industry and the rice industry as we support the bauxite industry, as we support the services industries,” he was quoted as saying.
He also shared similar sentiments when he visited the islands of Leguan and Wakenaam and the Essequibo Coast on Sunday. He pointed out that the relief measures in the emergency budget were implemented for the betterment of all of Guyana.
We believe that Dr Ali has entered the presidency at a very opportune time. As someone who has served in the Cabinet and the Public Service, he has been exposed to a range of challenges, and he has a full grasp of the kind of leadership that is needed at this time.
Dr Ali has outlined a range of policies and programmes upon which his Government would embark to bring relief to businesses and individuals alike. Among his priorities, Dr Ali has specifically pointed to the need for inclusive governance, which was included in his party’s manifesto. He also pointed to the stagnant economy, which has further been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as requiring his urgent attention.
We had said before that the March elections have once again reminded us of how polarised the nation is; and perhaps now, more than ever, there is need for all stakeholders, including the current administration, political parties, civil society groups, religious leaders and, more particularly, the Ethnic Relations Commission, to renew their efforts at forging ethnic harmony in the country.
Our political leaders have a crucial role to play in building peace and ethnic harmony in Guyana. The President is leading by example, and we are very pleased to see this happening. We expect all the others to follow suit, and put country first above partisan interests. The elections have long gone, and it is time to start focusing on improving the lives of all citizens.
Over the past few months, we have noted quite a lot of divisive content on social media. This could do much harm to our already polarised society. Rather than fanning the flames, political leaders must speak firmly against such actions. They must rein in their supporters, and insist that they behave responsibly, as the nation’s future is at stake. This is the kind of political leadership that is needed at this time.
Guyana is now once again on a democratic path. We have yet another glorious opportunity to fashion a society that is modern, inclusive, progressive, and one in which all citizens could be proud.