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‘One Guyana’ must be more than a slogan’ Former President Granger urges gov’t to show its serious about social cohesion amid allegations of discrimination
Amid a flurry of allegations of discrimination levelled against the government, former President David Granger today urged that the government implement urgent measures to show that it is serious about its ‘One Guyana’ policy.
The Former President first made his call during his weekly Public Interest Programme, his office later released a statement, where Mr. Granger was quoted as saying that his administration had set the foundation for a united Guyana through its Social Cohesion policy and the PPP must show the will to continue along that path.
“I proposed, at the first ‘Social Cohesion Roundtable’ (in 2015), a five-point programme to promote a cohesive society aiming at ensuring equal access to education; eradicating the worst forms of inequality, including gaps between coastland and hinterland, rural and urban areas and the rich and poor; eliminating income disparities caused by poverty; enhancing social protection of vulnerable persons; and embracing inclusivity at the political and social levels,” Mr. Granger said today.
Mr. Granger recalled that although his policy was meant to unify Guyana, he was not being helped by then Opposition PPP, who he said was not serious about the question of Social Cohesion.
“The PPPC condemned the establishment of the Department of Social Cohesion (in 2015); boycotted a social cohesion forum (in 2017); and called Social Cohesion a ‘farce’. One former ranking PPPC official threatened to ensure the ‘failure’ of the Department of Social Cohesion and called Social Cohesion Policy efforts ‘talk shops’,” Granger recalled.
With the scrapping of the Social Cohesion Ministry and policy, Mr. Granger believes the current administration must not miss the opportunity it has now to unite the country and rid itself of accusations of discrimination.
“Guyana’s security, stability, solidarity and sovereignty depend on the willingness of political parties and civil society to work together to reduce ethnic tensions and create conditions for ‘social cohesion’. Catchphrases cannot correct the ‘root causes’ of inequality. Slogans cannot supplant systems and structures or substitute for the systematic solution to racial antagonism. Dismantling the Departments of Citizenship and Social Cohesion and the dissemination of slogans – ‘One Guyana Commission’ and ‘Corridor of Unity’ and disparaging civil society have damaged advances in ‘social cohesion’,” the Former President said.
According to the Former President, Guyana has had to endure the bloody ordeals of the ‘Disturbances’ of the 1960s and the ‘Troubles’ of the 2000s which left a legacy of dread and distrust. He said a government’s sincere adoption of ‘social cohesion’ measure can prevent such dreadful recurrences.