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Amid accusations of racial discrimination being perpetrated by the Guyana Government, United States Congressman, Hakeem Jeffries over the weekend said that Washington will not tolerate racism in Guyana.
Jeffries who is also Chairman of the Congressional Democratic Caucus was at the time addressing the Annual Seventh-Day Adventist Church Guyana Day New York City convocation at the Bethany Baptist Church located in the historic Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. The service was organized by the Guyanese Adventist Missionary Endeavor (GAME). GAME also organizes religious and humanitarian missions to Guyana to complement the work of the Guyana Conference of Seventh Day Adventists.
Present at the service was also President of the Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) Rickford Burke. Jeffries represents the 8th congressional district of New York, in Brooklyn. He told the gathering that himself and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, whose parents are Jamaican-Americans, represent the largest Guyanese American Community in America. “My sister Yvette Clarke and I, we represent the largest community of Guyanese in the United States. We are very proud of that fact,” Jeffries emphasized. “We will continue to stand strongly behind Guyanese Americans, the SDA community, and certainly the folks back home in Guyana living right now in very difficult circumstances. A government that has consistently not treated everyone consistent with the principles of equal protection under the law,” the Congressman said. “We’re not going to tolerate racism here and we’re not going to tolerate racism down in Guyana either,” Jeffries stated. He added: “We will continue to do everything necessary to get things moving in a fairer more equitable direction,” he said.
It is not the first time Jeffries has spoke out against racial injustice here. Late last year the US Congressman called on the Joe Biden Administration to remove US Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch as he joined thousands of Guyanese in the streets of Brooklyn to march against racial discrimination in Guyana. In his address to thousands of Guyanese at Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, New York, the US Congressman said it is time for the Biden Administration to remove US Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch from Office. “The first thing I think the Biden Administration needs to do is to get rid of the Trump-appointed Ambassador to Guyana,” Congressman Jeffries said.
The main opposition in Guyana – the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) – has accused the US Ambassador and other foreign diplomats of interfering in the affairs of Guyana during the highly controversial 2020 General and Regional Elections, which spanned for a period of five months and was marred by allegations of electoral fraud. Quoting Martin Luther King, US Congressman reminded those represent that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, noting that the lives of black people matter regardless of their location be it in the US, the Caribbean or Guyana.
“We stand in solidarity with each and every one of you to deal with the situation down in Guyana,” he told the massive crowd. Congressman Jeffries added: “We will not tolerate racism, we will not tolerate intolerance, we will not tolerate bigotry, we will not tolerate hatred, we will not tolerate xenophobia, we will not tolerate racially motivated violence, we will not tolerate discrimination, we will not tolerate injustice and we will stand together.”
Hours after US Congressman had made the statement, Prime Minister, Mark Phillips had said the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration is open to having discussion with the Congressman on matters of mutual interest. “We invite the Congressman Jeffries to have discussions with us on matters of mutual interest,” Prime Minister Phillips said but not before expressing disappointment in the US Congressman over sentiments expressed at the “Anti-PPP Racism” Rally at Army Plaza, Brooklyn, New York. “We call on the Congressman to desist from joining with these individuals in creating chaos in our communities at home and in the Diaspora,” the Prime Minister said while emphasizing that the PPP/C Administration is a Government for all the people of Guyana. “Evidence exists that we uphold democratic principles, adhere to equitable practices, embrace diversity and inclusivity and promote transparency at all levels. We continue to show strong leadership to the people of Guyana and abide by the principles as reflected in our national motto- One people, One Nation, One Destiny,” he added.