President tells UN Assembly racism still a tool used in Guyana’s politics

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…says his Government is working to reverse this 

During his address at a United Nations (UN) General Assembly high-level meeting on Wednesday, President Irfaan Ali acknowledged that ethics insecurities and race continue to be misused in Guyana’s political arena — something his Administration plans to change.

He shared these sentiments at the meeting meant to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. The meeting focused on the theme ‘Reparations, racial justice and equality for people of African descent’.

“Unfortunately, too often in the political arena, ethics insecurities — real perceived — and race are used opportunistically to manipulate issues in a manner that promotes tensions and racial feelings. Social media, whilst a powerful tool to inform people has also been misused. The Government of Guyana will continue to work assiduously to eradicate all forms of racism and racial discrimination, and to ensure inclusive development with equal access and sharing in Guyana’s wealth,” President Ali said.


He reminded the delegates that racism is a serious issue that affects all parts of the world. Nonetheless, he was proud to note that Guyana can also serve as a good example to other nations regarding the celebration of ethnic and cultural diversity in a multi-ethnic society.

The President said: “Despite advances made over decades of struggle, racism and racial discrimination, continue to be sources of conflicts and inequalities among people in all regions of the world. I’m proud to belong to a country that honors and celebrates its ethnic diversity. Our people seamlessly participate in each other’s religious and cultural festivals and traditions. In many ways, we can be a wonderful example to the world,”

He also hailed the Programme of Action as a comprehensive action-oriented document of efficient measures to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance. However, he also noted the importance of poverty eradication, protection of the planet, and building a peaceful as necessary to addressing all forms of inequality.

President Ali, on behalf of Guyana, welcomed discussions on reparations and singled out the heroic courage and sacrifices of Guyana’s African ancestors towards freedom and human dignity.

He noted that Guyana is committed to gaining international reparations for the crime of African enslavement and this reparation should go beyond an unconditional apology from those responsible and those who benefited.

“Guyana will continue to support efforts being made within the Caribbean Community, the press for the convening of an international summit to demand reparative justice for the victims of the transatlantic slave trade, African enslavement and its enduring effects,” he said.

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