Political crisis, COVID-19 must pave way for new social contract on inclusion

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United Nations Resident Coordinator Mikiko Tanaka on Sunday said the ongoing political crisis in Guyana coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic must pave way for a new social contract premised on inclusion and cooperation.

“Here in Guyana, the dual C-19 and political crises must open way for a new social contract based on inclusion and cooperation,” Tanaka said in a tweet early Sunday.

Tanaka has made several statements on the elections impasse in Guyana calling for credible elections results which reflect the will of the people.

The UN Resident representative was on Sunday endorsing a speech from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres which he made at the annual lecture for the Nelson Mandela Foundation on Saturday. He pushed for “a New Social Contract & New Global Deal” based on equality and sustainability to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Guterres in his speech to honour Mandela explained that the New Social Contract, between Governments, people, civil society, business and others, must integrate employment, sustainable development and social protection, based on equal rights and opportunities for all.

“A New Social Contract within societies will enable young people to live in dignity; will ensure women have the same prospects and opportunities as men; and will protect the sick, the vulnerable, and minorities of all kinds,” he said.

The Secretary-General said, “Political leaders must raise their ambition, businesses must raise their sights, and people everywhere must raise their voices.”

“People want social and economic systems that work for everyone. They want their human rights and fundamental freedoms to be respected. They want a say in decisions that affect their lives,” the UN Leader added.

Guyanese went to the polls on March and the country’s first known case of COVID-19 was imported from New York and confirmed on March 11.

To date, there are 327 known cases but the electoral process is not yet completed making it difficult for a Government to put systems in place to help the most vulnerable.

Faced with several court cases, a national vote recount and protests, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is still to declare a winner of the elections.

Recount results have shown the Opposition People’s Progressive Party won the elections by 15,416 votes.

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