Ramotar, Hinds laud initiative, confirm attendance

Former Presidents’ meeting

…PNC snubs invite, Granger remains silent

Former Presidents Donald Ramotar and Samuel Hinds have confirmed that they will accept President Dr Irfaan Ali’s invitation to meet with his predecessors, while lauding the initiative as a positive one that could even become a tradition.

President Dr Irfaan Ali

President Ali had recently announced that he had invited the four extant former Presidents of Guyana to a December 15 meeting. The meeting would have seen the Presidents coming together to share ideas on how to work to move Guyana forward.
This publication made contact with two of those former Presidents, who not only confirmed their attendance but also lauded the initiative. Former President Ramotar, who served from 2011 to 2015, expressed hope that the initiative would not be the last.
“I think its laudable that he is making an attempt to reach out. So, I think it’s a good initiative and I’m looking forward to it. This is the first encounter. And I hope its not the last,” Ramotar told this publication.
In an invited comment, Ramotar also spoke of the importance of Guyana’s national development trajectory being able to continue based on a framework even when governments and Presidents change after election cycles.

Former President Samuel Hinds

“We can have a common developmental plan that is agreed by all beforehand with the involvement of everyone, not just the political parties, but civil society, labour, the farming community. And if we can develop a national plan of that type, I think (it can work),” Ramotar said.

Great tradition

Meanwhile, former President Hinds, who served as Head of State between March and December 1997 following the death of former President Dr Cheddi Jagan, was of the view that this meeting could be the start of a great tradition.

Former President Bharrat Jagdeo

“It’s a good initiative. And I hope it can eventually become a tradition and serve to establish a sense of stability amongst our different parties and between the leaders of our different parties,” Hinds said.
This publication was unable to make contact with former President turned Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, who served as President from 1999 to 2011 and former President David Granger, who served from 2015 to 2020.

PNC snubs
But in an invited comment, People’s National Congress (PNC) General Secretary Amna Ally poured cold water on the President’s invite and reiterated her party’s non-recognition of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government.
“He (President Ali) doesn’t recognise the Opposition. (But), Granger has to answer for himself (if he will go),” Ally said.

Former President Donald Ramotar

President Ali had announced the December 15 meeting at the Arthur Chung Conference Center on Friday last. According to President Ali, he is hoping this meeting will set the stage for similar engagements in the future.
“In my inauguration speech, I committed to convening a meeting between all former Presidents of Guyana, and I have named December 15 as a date of the first meeting,” President Ali announced.
“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 explained.

Former President David Granger

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 David 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 PPP’s 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 sworn into office on August 2, 2020. (G3)