Former president of Guyana, David Granger has blanked a request to attend a meeting called by his predecessor, Dr. Irfaan Ali to discuss Guyana’s future development.
Ali said the meeting is scheduled to take place on December 15.
“It will be an open floor meeting where we will bring together all the former Presidents. I think it is an opportunity for us to continue to share ideas, generate ideas, talk about how we see Guyana’s development and to work out a model and a framework on how we engage on the future and how we have a continuous contribution,” Ali said.
But in a statement, Granger’s People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), on Friday said that the former head of state had declined a meeting of former presidents “until important public concerns “are placed on agenda.”
The statement said that Granger has acknowledged receipt of a letter dated December 4 from the Minister of Governance, Gail Teixeira, inviting him to a ‘working lunch’ on Tuesday, December 15 at the official office of the President.
“The Minister’s letter, however, neither explained amply the purpose of the intended meeting nor recommended an agenda for his examination. There was no indication of the preparation that would be needed, the relevance of the engagement to government policies and the outcome that would be expected from deliberations. The President’s intention on the other hand, according to newspaper reports, was to generate ideas on ‘Guyana’s development,” the PNCR said.
It said that its leader pointed out that regards ‘Guyana’s development as a “serious matter,, recalling that, on 1st January 2020, he launched ‘Guyana’s decade of development, 2020 – 2029: Overcoming crime, disease, ignorance and poverty’ in which he outlined his concept for the country’s long-term development.”
The statement said that Granger also “emphasized…that there is public concern about certain governmental actions – including the high rates of deaths as a result of the pandemic; unwarranted dismissals of public servants; harassment of Elections Commission officials and human rights violations – which can have consequences for Guyana’s short-, medium- and long-term national development.
“Granger emphasized that it would be a huge public disappointment for the proposed high-level meeting to take place, hurriedly, in an unorganized, unplanned manner and without a predictable prospect of progress or success.
“He felt that it would be a blunder to ignore the legitimate concerns of a significant section of the population and the aspirations of the majority of our people, especially those enduring the privations of the pandemic,” the PNCR said, adding that Granger has “recommended, therefore, that the meeting intended to be held on Tuesday 15th December 2020 be deferred until these important issues could be satisfactorily settled”.
The other former heads of states are the current Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, Donald Ramotar, Samuel Hinds, all of whom are members of the ruling People’ Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).
Prior to his announcement, President Ali had ruled out political talks with the opposition until the Granger and the APNU had recognized his government that came to power following the disputed march 2 regional and general elections.
The APNU has since filed two election petitions challenging the results with Acting Chief Justice Roxane George expected to deliver a ruling on January 18 next year.