Home Letters PM Phillips understands the nation’s problems
Since accepting the role of the second in command of the country, Prime Minister Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips has done an excellent job, which is indisputable and beyond the expectations of many.
Few expected such a superb performance from PM Phillips, who spent more than half of his life in the army and far away from politics. And those at home and in the diaspora who believed that the learning curve was very steep for the former army chief were wrong. Not only was he a fast learner, but he was able to prove to all and sundry that he is an in-depth, astute, practical, and profound thinker, with a political acumen and a sound understanding of the nation’s problems and how to solve them. He is keen and fully aware that the unity gap must be bridged, and racism must end for the country to develop and prosper, and the lives of the people improved.
Except for President Dr. Irfaan Ali, Brigadier Mark Phillips is perhaps the most active and multi-tasked Prime Minister in recent times. What he accomplishes in one day will take weeks for others to achieve.
Although the former Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) is preoccupied with visiting various communities across the country — to inform the residents of Government’s plans and development strategies, and to solve their problems – he yet finds time to address the Guyana/ Venezuela border controversy, and meet with foreign delegations such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
The objectives of the IACHR regional engagement with Guyana were initiated in January 2023 to pursue technical cooperation and to evaluate human rights’ challenges from governmental and civil society lenses, as well as to deliver training, where necessary, on the IACHR framework.
Prime Minister Brigadier Mark Phillips, while performing the duties of President, told the IACHR delegation — comprised of President Margarette May Macaulay; Vice President Roberta Clarke; Senior Advisor for Caribbean Affairs, Paul Spencer; and Specialist Technical Cooperation and Public Policies Officer, Wendy Singh, among others — that the Government of Guyana does not practise any form of discrimination or racism. In fact, Prime Minister Phillips underscored the fact that the constitution safeguards the rights of all citizens equally, including the Indigenous peoples, and respect for rights of all majorities and minorities in the country.
But most importantly, Brigadier Phillips cited the Government’s respect for human rights and for rule of law, which is fundamentally important for democracy.
The Prime Minister wisely outlined to the IACHR delegation the Government’s comprehensive policies and strategies of inclusiveness, non-discriminatory practices, protections for the elderly and persons with disabilities. Speaking truth to power, the second-in-command highlighted the fact that the six peoples of Guyana — Indigenous, African, East Indian, Portuguese, European and Chinese — have all been included in the development of the country and the equitable sharing of its resources.
On the issues of climate change, PM Phillips reaffirmed President Dr. Ali’s prioritisation of climate change by insisting that a balanced approach is needed to achieve net zero emissions, and that Guyana stands ready to collaborate with members of the international community to reach that target. Like His Excellency, the Prime Minister stressed that Guyana has taken a leadership role on energy and food security, and called for a global coalition to address them.
On President Nicholas Maduro’s irresponsible, dangerous, and hasty action following the December 3 referendum (with a very small turnout of only 10 percent of the population) to use force to unilaterally annex Essequibo, which is 74 percent of Guyana’s territory, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips has reiterated the call for vigilance, unity, and continued patriotism, which he asserted are the bedrock of resilience.
As patriots, let us recite the famous song by Dave Martin and the Trade-winds:
We are giving up no mountain, we are giving up no tree
We are not giving up no river that belongs to we.
Not one blue sackie, not one rice grain, not one cuirass,
Not a blade of grass.
Dr Asquith Rose