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Sometimes it is felt in Guyana when ordinary people are given the opportunity to do extraordinary things, they always fail us. Both President Irfaan Ali and Leader of the Opposition Joseph Harmon were not born with the proverbial gold spoon in their mouths. They are both from humble backgrounds and are now in the spotlight given the title of their offices. Living in a small society like ours their experiences would have included knowledge of daily deprivation, poverty, racial tension and divisions, even if only at election time. They know what it is like to be without and having to do without. They were not insulated from the pains and the desires of the ordinary man.
The Constitution of Guyana gives these two office holders tremendous power. For some this power can be daunting, others to abuse, and the wise to be used to the benefit of the people. Society would expect these people who came from humble backgrounds, having experienced the plight of the ordinary man, would be sympathetic towards their cause and advance measures to help them. President Ali and Opposition Leader Harmon have been given the opportunity few achieved but many aspire to in the hope that should they be so fortunate what they could do for others.
Where both President Ali and Opposition Leader Harmon have been given the opportunity to do something extraordinary for the people, President Ali is more engaged in a willingness to abuse his power and authority by throwing up unnecessary roadblocks to avoid meeting Mr. Harmon. He is misusing power vested in him by the Constitution for partisan political gain. He is not upholding the constitutional mandate of inclusionary democracy and recognising that half the population did not support his presidency but are still entitled to participate without interference and such crass demands that he makes.
It is farcical, nay it be said nonsensical, to set a precondition for meeting that it has to be said, the government is “legitimately elected.” This should not matter other than to soothe an ego that needs assurance, or a self-esteem being questioned. Another precondition to meet is to withdraw the election petition. Could leaders be any more deranged to disregard the right to pursue legal justice is to file a petition to address all concerns arising from the elections. Or is the government saying the opposition has no right to seek justice by way of a petition? The action of government is none other than indication that they are forcing the opposition to pursue justice in the streets.
The so-called conditionalities being set by President Ali is a different level of crazy which is a very serious and frightening development in Guyana. It may be of convenience to some to forget, but it should not be forgotten the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) did not recognise the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition Government. They said the coalition was fraudulently elected and filed a petition in the High Court. This did not prevent the Coalition Government from meeting with the Opposition PPP/C. A simple google search could put to rest any denial. Now in government the PPP/C is setting conditions in violation of the Laws of Guyana and which were not set for them by the APNU+AFC.
By refusing to meet, by setting crazy preconditions for meeting, not only demonstrates a childishness or inability to handle power and do extraordinary things but is a sign dictatorial tendency. This may be a dangerous strategy of the government to force the opposition into the streets because they are the ones who are denying them involvement and participation. The government is seeking to create mayhem and further marginalise almost half of the population. They are undermining the Constitution of Guyana.