President slams ‘convenient’ civil society groups questioning pace of decision making
President Irfaan Ali has dismissed criticisms of the speed with which his government is undertaking national development projects.
“We were elected based on a manifesto and we have a responsibility to implement that manifesto as effectively and comprehensively as we can, and that is the intention of the government,” the President stated recently.
It was in response to a statement by some organisations which pointed to “the bewildering pace and range of official decision-making” saying this is rendering the Government accountable to no one.
But in an interview, the President denied there is no accountability.
“Every single project that we are pursuing, if it is not approved in National Assembly, in the national parliament, you will see expressions of interest.
“All these projects are discussed in the public domain,” the President stated.
The organisations which endorsed the statement from a group called the Policy Forum included the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA), Red Thread and Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. (TIGI). Neither the GHRA not TIGI has a broad membership while Red Thread has been silent over the years on national issues during the time of APNU+AFC in power. The name of the National Toshaos Council was also stated but several Amerindian leaders have come out to disassociated themselves from the statement.
“We cannot confuse civil society with individual organizations, that is, organizations that are run by individuals or are not open to the wider membership of our country.
“These organizations cannot be the conscience of truth or the conscience of society when they are convenient in the way they address issues,” President Ali stated.
He said many of the organizations had nothing to say after the No Confidence motion when then
President David Granger refused to call elections in the constitutionally mandated three-month period and went on to hold on to the seat of government for 13 months.
Further, the President noted “ they had nothing to say, during the five months of impasse where our country’s integrity and credibility was damaged because of what took place,” namely the attempt to rig the elections in favour of APNU+AFC.
But Dr Ali said his government is focused on delivering its manifesto promises.
“First of all, I remember during the campaign, many of these very people, they tried to make a mockery out of our promise to deliver 50,000 jobs, to deliver 50,000 house lots.
“And today, what we’re seeing? We’re seeing a change now that the government is moving at too fast pace. These are targets that we set in our manifesto. These are targets that we were elected upon. The projects that were that we are pursuing are projects that we presented to the electorate, and they elected us as a government to deliver on those projects.”
He said the government going to move at an even more accelerated pace to ensure that commitments made to the people of this country are realized, “and our social contract on which we were elected must be achieved.”
He said his government has established a clear vision for the transformation of the country but it is clear that there are some organizations that are convenient with the truth and that are political in nature.
“They cannot help themselves and their political bias. And I do not have an issue if these organizations inherently have a political bias or a political agenda, but they must not hide under the cloak of independence.
“They cannot hide under the cloak of independence.”
He said that the government’s agenda is for “the upliftment of Guyana, the upliftment of Guyanese and the positioning of Guyana as a country with integrity, a country with democracy and a country in which the rule of law must be the basis on which decisions are made.”