PPP/C Govt working in interest of all Guyanese – Teixeira tells US Congressmen

…says APNU/AFC must recognise legitimacy of Govt before talks

Over the last few days, United States Congressmen Albio Sires and Hank Johnson have called on the Dr Irfaan Ali-led Government to ensure that all Guyanese benefit from the nation’s wealth and for the advancement of inclusive governance.
In response, Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Gail Teixeira said that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government is working in the interest of all Guyanese and that the calls of the US Congressmen is in keeping with the Party’s plans outlined in its manifesto.

Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Gail Teixeira

“I want to say on behalf of the Government that we have been saying this all the time. In fact, the manifesto of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic during the election campaign and in the programmes we brought out since is focusing on making sure that Guyanese benefit not only from the oil money, but from the development of our nation, the modernisation and expansion of our economic base and so all our programs show that.
“In fact, if one looks at since we’ve come into government in terms of COVID relief to every household across Guyana, in relation to increasing the cash care program for every child registered in school, the increase in the school uniforms for children across Guyana including the COVID relief to the Amerindian villages of $1.5 billion, that we have been moving to ensure that all Guyanese are benefiting from the wealth of our country prior to oil during oil and after oil,” the Minister said in a video statement.
Congressman Johnson, representing Georgia’s 4th District, released a statement on Wednesday saying that he has been following the issue of flooding across the country.

US Congressional Sub-Committee on the Western Hemisphere Chairman Albio Sires

“Guyana has experienced substantial economic growth in recent years, but the COVID-19 pandemic and this national emergency threaten to erode some of those gains. It is important that every person affected by this disaster is able to receive the support they need to rebuild their lives in the shortest possible time. Guyana’s wealth is for all the people of Guyana, irrespective of their ethnicity,” the brief statement read.
Teixeira reiterated that the Government has been doing everything in its power to ensure that every Guyanese benefit from the wealth. She explained that when the PPP/C Government took office just about 10 months ago, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the country was “woefully” underprepared for the pandemic owing to the nonchalant attitude of the APNU/AFC – the same party now crying foul. She said that the then Government, led by David Granger, failed to secure basic supplies to treat COVID-19 infected persons and within months the PPP/C had reversed that.
In relation to the flooding, the APNU/AFC has been accusing the PPP/C of discrimination in the distribution of the flood relief supplies.
“We are not here to discriminate against anybody. But we’re here to represent people who need and so the point their Opposition has carried is that some people aren’t getting flood relief that they should be getting.”

Georgia’s 4th District
Congressman Hank Johnson

She added that the assessment was done by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) along with UN organisations and civil society, who are “going region by region to assess the state of the damage and people in need.”
“We’ve given out 1000s and 1000s of hampers, hygiene kits and cleaning materials and so, no one has been left behind. Persons who may not have gotten those who were not flooded. So it is not a situation where everyone could get but there are people who suffered tremendously, and they are not only now in certain areas after a month that water is going down, after livestock and people’s homes were damaged. We are pleased that our friends in United States are monitoring Guyana and watching out for our interest and we wish to assure them that we will continue as a democratically elected Government, to stand by our Constitution and the protection of rights, the rights of all Guyanese regardless of who they voted for and for what ethnic group they belong to, what gender they are, and what part of Guyana they from and what race,” she said.

Inclusive democracy
The APNU/AFC has also been complaining about the lack of dialogue with the Government on key areas of interest while labelling the Ali-led Administration as “installed”. The Government has since maintained that it will engage the Opposition only when it recognises its legitimacy.
“I urge the current Government and leaders of the Opposition in the National Assembly to work together towards further strengthening Guyana’s democracy and building a more inclusive nation,” Congressman Johnson urged in his statement.
Similarly, Sires – who is the Chairman of the US Congressional Sub-Committee on the Western Hemisphere – urged the Government to ensure all Guyanese benefit from oil wealth and for the advancement of inclusive governance.
Governance Minister Teixeira reminded that Article 13 of the Constitution talks about parliamentary democracy and participatory democracy, adding that her Government believes in that. However, she said that in order for the Opposition to get a seat at the table they must first recognise the legitimacy of the PPP/C Government.
“We have no issue with the calls by the two gentlemen in relation to all Guyanese benefiting. We are committed to the sustainable development goals, we’re committed to Article 13 of our Constitution, we’re committed to constitutional rule of law and participatory democracy. But it cannot be the rule of those who refuse to accept democracy and those who do not accept the will of the people of our country who elected the People’s Progressive Party/Civic.
“We won’t be bullied, we were bullied for over five years and therefore, we look forward to the APNU/AFC taking a mature political position of recognising the PPP/C as the legitimate Government of our country and then the opportunities for dialogue and a number of issues become opened. So, we wish to assure friends in the United States that we are committed,” she said.