President Ali announces formation of ‘One Guyana Commission’ during inaugural address to Parliament


In his inaugural address to the Parliament as President of Guyana, Dr Irfaan Ali announced the formation of a ‘One Guyana Commission’, a body that he says will be tasked with fostering one nationality and a common love for country.

The Head-of-State said it is part of the government’s path to building a single Guyanese identity and part of efforts to put an end to the division caused by race and politics.

In so doing, the leader of government’s business in the House, Prime Minister Brigadier (retired) Mark Phillips will soon take steps to table legislation that will give life to the ‘One Guyana Commission’.

Dr Ali said the Commission will be empowered to chart nation-building through practical steps while respecting the diversity from which oneness springs. He said the Commission will host countrywide consultations where it will listen to the free expressions of all voices.

Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and President of Guyana, Dr Irfaan Ali makes his inaugural speech to Parliament (Photo: Latchman Singh/February 11, 2021)

Among the matters to be addressed is education concerning Guyana’s history and religions; employment and entrepreneurship and strengthening the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC).

To make his point, the President quoted Nelson Mandela “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

He said it was time to move nation-building from abstraction to action. “Stand up for one nation and one Guyana, stand up for one identity, the Guyanese identity,” the President said.

Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and President of Guyana, Dr Irfaan Ali inspects the guard of honour before making his inaugural speech to Parliament (Photo: Latchman Singh/February 11, 2021)

In a direct charge to Members of Parliament, Dr Ali said Parliamentarians must understand that while the citizens expect disagreements among politicians, they don’t expect it to happen at their expense and detriment.

He called for persons from across the political divide to work in fostering unity.

“To do so calls for political maturity… you must be able to put national interest and political welfare above all else… the success of a nation depends on it… none of us should let our nation down,” the Head-of-State emphasised.

Again, the President referred to the famous line in Martin Carter’s poem “…all are involved, all are consumed”.

While the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition Members of Parliament absented themselves from the House, the President spoke in the presence of the Chancellor, Chief Justice, members of the diplomatic corps, the Commissioner of Police, the Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, and other special invitees.

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