President Granger reaffirms his government’s commitment towards inclusionary governance in order to achieve national unity – at inauguration ceremony
As Guyanese today celebrated their country’s 49th Independence Anniversary, they also witnessed a historic event, the Inauguration ceremony for Guyana’s 8th Executive President, His Excellency, David Granger.
In his inauguration speech, the Head of State told the packed Guyana National stadium that today should be a day of thanksgiving as all are thankful for the gift of independence, a renewed democracy.
“We give thanks for the gift of democracy which we renewed only 15 days ago. I affirm today as President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana my determination to continue the task of working towards achieving national unity, and towards making Guyana one nation.”
In so doing, the Head of State said, he will not be working by himself, but with the largest coalition of political allies that has ever been established in the Republic of Guyana.
“We went into general election as a grand coalition comprising six parties …we won the support of the majority, we can now better work together in an inclusionary manner towards a common destiny.”
He noted that even as the celebration of Independence continues, his administration is more determined to deepen that independence by liberating all people from the threat of one party domination and by thwarting the threat of dictatorship.
These, the Head of State said will be done by protecting the parliament from the threat of premature dissolution and prorogation, and respecting the constitution.
“We have assembled too to acknowledge the democratically expressed will of the people of this great country as expressed in the recent elections. We have assembled to proclaim openly our intention to pursue relentlessly the goal of inclusionary democracy.”
Clearly, President Granger said Guyanese are recognising the need for national unity as the results from the last two elections spoke for all citizens.
“The results of the last two elections have made clear that (the) majority of Guyanese yearn for national unity, they desire inclusionary democracy, people increasingly are abandoning the winner takes all approach and are adopting the collective path to building one nation.”
Now that the people of Guyana have spoken and have chosen their representatives, the President said “our constitution has been glorified, our democracy has been fortified, our people are satisfied, we must now look to the future, we must now turn our effort and energy not to destroying one another, but towards defeating the real enemies of our people.”
These enemies he said are crime, disease, ignorance and poverty.
“The Guyanese people have chosen to inaugurate a government of national unity, we are convinced that working together is the best way to overcome our historic division, we are indeed more determined more than ever to re-fashion our society.”
Meanwhile the President also called on Guyanese to at all times pay homage to the workers, the legislators and the ordinary citizens who played a role in Guyana gaining its independence.
“We have a duty to actualise the vision of our founding fathers who fought to bring forth a new state. We have a duty to continue their work which was to transform a divided country that they inherited into a united nation, but we cannot become a united nation if we are divided.”
Ramotar declares PPP/C no stranger to struggle –assures Port Mourant of ‘commitment to fight’
THE RAIN stayed in abeyance, but the mighty thunder that was heard at Train Line, Port Mourant, Region 6 (East Berbice/Corentyne) emanated from hundreds of supporters of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) who, having marched from Albion, gathered for the party’s first major public meeting since the May 11 General and Regional Elections.
Their objections included chants of “Cheated, not defeated!”, “We demand a recount!”, “We demand impartiality at GECOM!” and “Surujbally must go!”
The PPP/C is contesting the election results after flagging several irregularities in the electoral process; and, bolstered by the energy of the sizeable gathering, former President Donald Ramotar made clear that the PPP/C was no stranger to struggle.
“We have a proud history of fighting for freedom…our freedoms were taken away in 1968 when elections were rigged and we had to struggle then, as we have to struggle now…we have to struggle once more for democracy in our country,” he said.
Mr Ramotar assured his supporters that the PPP/C would certainly continue to fight to ensure that the gains made in the fight for democracy are not lost.
“This last election did not reflect the will of the Guyanese people. You voted for the PPP/C, but we did not get our votes counted. Many in the international community said the elections were free and fair before the verification was done,” he charged.
Recounts were requested before and after the official declarations were made, but those were rejected, as were the PPP/C request for the SoPs, Tally Sheets and a breakdown of results of each Polling Division or Ballot Box.
“They cannot deliver what we have asked for, and yet they are talking about free and fair elections in Guyana. Why are they refusing us?” Mr Ramotar bemoaned.
Consequently, given that the election results have been officially declared despite the fact that these concerns were raised, the PPP/C is advancing legal action to have a recount ordered by Guyana’s courts. The PPP/C meanwhile continues to work on compiling a comprehensive case to support its election petition.
“We are building our case,” Mr Ramotar assured his audience, even as he lamented the “dangers to democracy” that lie ahead if a “de facto government” is allowed to function.
“We depend on your support…the government of the day does not reflect the interest of our people…we have to stand up from now…we will take our fight to every length and breadth of Guyana, and we will look forward to another victory for the people; so that when we celebrate our 50th independence anniversary, we will also celebrate a strong democracy,” Mr Ramotar said.
Reiterating his recurring appeal during the 2015 election campaign, the former president added, “Stand by me; stand by the PPP/C as we have stood with the Guyanese people in countless struggles.”
Advancing from the basis of contesting a “rigged elections”, several other speakers reiterated Mr Ramotar’s assurance to PPP/C supporters, saying that the party remains committed to the fight at hand, and is standing strong on the strength of the Guyanese people.
The wrongs in the electoral process highlighted by the PPP/C in the last two weeks include: the discovery of falsified Statements of Poll (SoPs); GECOM’s refusal to have public vetting of polling day staffers, many of whom were discovered to be activists of the political Opposition; misdirection by some GECOM staffers who advised voters; damaged stamps that saw some ballots not being properly stamped; the fact that persons without identification cards were allowed to vote, even though their images did not match those in the files of GECOM staff; and the denial of proxy holders to use their proxies, among other things.
PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee questioned the talk about national unity when more than 200,000 voters had no say in moving the country forward.
“When so many people have said that they want the votes to be recounted, what is so hard about recounting the votes? They don’t want to recount the votes,” he said.
On that note, Rohee committed to “exerting” every pressure to ensure that the will of the Guyanese people prevails.
“One of the greatest achievements in our struggle for the people was to ensure that the people are able to have a choice of government… This is something we fought long and hard for…we will continue this new struggle to the end,” he stressed.
According to him, Guyanese must remain strong and committed to the task at hand.
PPP/C member and former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, took the platform by storm, saying: “They cannot silence the voices of 200 and more thousand people! They can cheat us, but they cannot defeat us.”
Expressing his appreciation for the support from Berbicians, he noted that the PPP/C is a party of struggle and has a history of struggle. “You have seen their struggle wane and wasted…you struggled with us to ensure that the days of stolen votes do not return, but May 11 signals to us and to the world that rigged elections are in Guyana.”
According to him, the Guyanese people have to now commit themselves to a different struggle. “We, the PPP, are with you in the new struggle. This new struggle will have a single focus, and we will take this struggle to every single part of this country,” Nandlall promised.
He highlighted the evidence of “broken promises” to the Guyanese people – the promise of lean government, as opposed to a 25-minister cabinet; and the promise of wage increases for sugar workers, as opposed to an industry that is currently unable to pay wages and salaries for May 2015.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg…only two weeks have passed,” the PPP/C member opined.
However, all considered, he assured supporters of the commitment of the party to the people. “History and time are on our side. Win we must, because our cause is just…we will battle them in every street, every community, every town, in the Parliament and in the courts of our country… This is what we promise you,” Nandlall declared.
On that note, he disclosed that the PPP/C will fight for reform at GECOM and the resignation of GECOM Chairman Dr Steve Surujbally, among other things.
“There has been injustice in Guyana…we will continue to fight. The struggle will continue,” Nandlall said.
FIGHT WILL CONTINUE
Africo Selman, who also addressed the gathering, stressed that the current Administration is built on corruption. “Anything built on corruption will crumble. GECOM must recount our votes.”
According to her, the Guyanese people have a duty to ensure that democracy is not further subverted.
“We will not rest until they recount our votes…united we are standing, and we will not fall…we will continue to fight,” she declared, calling on supporters to stay the current path and support the current struggle.
Similar public meetings are scheduled to be held across the country to update PPP/C supporters on a number of important issues of national importance, as well as to outline how the next stages of its current struggle – protesting the election results – will proceed.
A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) scored a close victory in the General and Regional Elections held on May 11 last, with 207,200 votes going to that coalition, while the PPP/C secured the support of 202,694 Guyanese who cast their votes in support of the party.