Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
– Granger tells Ali
Former President David Granger said it would be remiss for President Irfaan Ali and the former Presidents of the country to meet without placing high on their agenda the high rates of deaths associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the unwarranted dismissals of public servants; and harassment of Elections Commission officials.
“…there is public concern about certain governmental actions – including the high rates of deaths as a result of the pandemic; unwarranted dismissals of public servants; harassment of Elections Commission officials and human rights violations – which can have consequences for Guyana’s short-, medium- and long-term national development,” the former President said on Friday.
At the time, he was announcing his decision to turn down an invitation by President Ali for a high-level meeting with the former Presidents on Tuesday, December 15, 2020.
According to the former Head of State, it would be a huge public disappointment for the proposed high-level meeting to take place, hurriedly, in an unorganized, unplanned manner and without a predictable prospect of progress or success.
He is of the opinion that it would be blunder to ignore the legitimate concerns of a significant section of the population and the aspirations of the majority of the Guyanese people, especially those enduring the privations of the pandemic.
Since the first COVID-19 case was recorded in Guyana on March 11, 2020, the country has recorded over 5,700 confirmed cases, of which 154 persons have died. The country’s Opposition – the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) for which Granger is Chairman, has repeatedly pointed out that, Guyana, within a four-to-five-month span (March 11-July 30), had recorded a total of 430 cases of the disease, of which 21 persons had died. Since the change in Government on August 2, 2020, the country has recorded well over 5, 000 additional cases, and more than 130 additional COVID-related deaths. In the eyes of the Opposition, the pandemic is being poorly managed by the Ministry of Health, and by extension, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government.
Further, the unwarranted dismissal of public servants remains a major cause for concern. The Opposition has alleged that close to 1,000 persons. Environmental and Petroleum Engineer, Dr. Vincent Adams; Environmental Economist, Dr. Mark Bynoe; Commissioner Trevor Benn, who has a wealth of experience having served the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for over 11 years, and the Public Service for 25 years; Sherie Samantha Fedee, a career public servant with over 25 years of unbroken service; Colvin Heath-London, a Business Consultant with vast managerial experience having worked on multi-billion dollar projects in the Caribbean, China and the Middle East; Attorney-at-Law, Amanza Walton-Desir; Economist, Dr. Clive Thomas; Major (Ret’d) Aubrey Heath-Retemyer and 38 employees at the now defunct State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA) are just a small percentage those dismissed at the hands of the PPP/C Administration.
Additionally, at least nine (9) GECOM officials, including the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, and the Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO), Roxanne Myers, have been arrested, interrogated and in most cases charged based on allegations of fraud alleged to have been committed during the controversial March 2 General and Regional Elections. Chairman of the People’s National Congress/ Reform (PNC/R), Volda Lawrence is among political party representatives before the Court for alleged electoral fraud.
Granger said it is critical for the country’s leaders to address the burning issues facing the Guyanese people, as such, he recommended that the planned high-level meeting be deferred to a later date to facilitate an agenda that would represent the interest and concerns of the masses.
“The meeting intended to be held on Tuesday 15th December 2020 [should] be deferred until these important issues could be satisfactorily settled,” Granger said.
The former Head of State also reminded that on January 1, 2020 he had launched a Decade of Development, 2020 – 2029 with the intention of overcoming crime, disease, ignorance and poverty.
Granger’s statement comes one day after President Ali had expressed the hope that all of the surviving former Presidents would attend the high-level meeting to discuss the development of the country. The other former Presidents are Donald Ramotar, Bharrat Jagdeo and Samuel Hinds.