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President Irfaan Ali in a gripe about United States (U.S) Congressman Hakeem Jeffries has accused him of refusing an invitation to meet. According to the President, Guyana Ambassador to the U.S, Samuel Hinds, wrote Jeffries inviting him to a meeting with the President but the Congressman reportedly failed to respond.
Lashing out at those President Ali referred to as naysayers and whose negative views he feels constitute a disservice to the nation and may inspire hostility from potential partners, General Secretary of the Guyana Trades Union Congress, Lincoln Lewis, said the president must turn inward and examine what are contributing to the condemnations he receives, home and abroad.
For a relatively young leader Ali is very divisive, discriminatory and full of rancour and he must accept it,said Lewis. “He needs to admit his present leadership style will create more strife than harmony and citizens are within their right to stand up against him.”
Zeroing on the president’s recent visit to the U.S and his meetings with U.S government officials, the veteran trade unionist said he hopes Ali has taken seriously the lessons that were given to him, albeit diplomatically. “He was hauled over the coals for his poor stewardship and was in effect told the U.S government will not tolerate the disregard for the rights, the rule of law and good governance” Lewis said he finds it ironic even shameful the president had to travel overseas to another man’s land to be given lessons that are right here in the Constitution of Guyana.
Ali will be fooling himself into thinking the contempt shown for half the society is lost on the U.S government and Guyanese in the diaspora cannot articulate to those in the U.S the suffering and deprivations of their brothers and sisters at home, said the trade unionist. “America is not fooled by the president’s chatter and the U.S Government and members of Congress will not dismiss concerns raised by a ranking member in the legislature about the racism and discrimination taking place here.”
Jeffries, who is Chairman of the Congressional Democratic Caucus and seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party has repeatedly spoken about good governance in Guyana, charging the Ali government “has not consistently treated everyone consistent with the principle of equal protection under the law.”
Challenging the view in some quarters that Jeffrey failed to provide information on racism in Guyana, Lewis said, “Jeffries did not have to provide evidence, he spoke based on evidence provided to him which can be channelled to the relevant agencies and his superiors to whom Ali is not one.” It is Ali who has to be concerned that the relevant time will come when he will face the evidence, said Lewis, and he must know by choice or design he is heading an apartheid regime.
“He feels that all Guyanese must support him when only half support him. There is an Opposition force in Guyana, and he is constitutionally mandated to engage.” The president can’t want to ignore half of the population and expect they will roll over and accept it, said Lewis, and “if he cares so much about his image, he must work towards our national motto not the one he created.”
The General Secretary said further, “if Ali wants to prove the charges made against him are false, let him uphold the constitution and have meaningful talks with the representatives of groups and institutions, and the Leader of the Opposition. Let him include all in the development, management and decision-making processes of the state as required by law.” According to the trade unionist, the President can not want to be the head of an apartheid state and expect to be treated as leader for all. “He has not learnt his history lessons well because history shows all apartheid regimes crumble.”