‘Stop being narrow-minded’ – President tells critics of First Lady’s fundraising activities


President Dr Irfaan Ali on Friday defended several fundraising activities hosted by First Lady Mrs Arya Ali in the last two years to garner funds for her projects to support teenage girls during their menstrual cycle (end period poverty) and for persons with disabilities.

“I want to thank the Office of the First Lady for the work they are doing,” Dr. Ali said as he and Mrs Ali hosted hundreds of persons with disabilities at State House.

His public approval of the First Lady’s efforts and reproach of those who have questioned her method comes weeks after a boat ride fundraiser organised by the First Lady was met with some disapproval.

Dr. Ali said he read some of the comments himself on social media, one written by a man questioning the reason for “these fancy events to raise money to end period poverty.”

The Head of State said he was disappointed, to say the least, even as he called on the private sector and corporate Guyana to support these efforts.

“They don’t see the end game of the initiative. You know why? Because they are selfish,” the Head of State told the gathering.

“The only way this can work is if all of us work together…this is the only way we can build one Guyana,” President Ali contended.

He said people must learn to understand the circumstances of others before they ridicule efforts to support them.

“Stop being narrow-minded, stop being selfish. Understand the need of every single person… before you speak or put your hands on a keyboard to type a message or before you pen an article.

“Get real,” the President lamented.

Dr. Ali explained that his main objective is to deal with the challenges of citizens and find ways to fix it but he admitted that it has become daunting when people do nothing but criticise the efforts.

“I can’t deal with some of these people who see nothing good in life and who can never see anything positive. I have reached the point where I will call them out now.”

The First Lady’s boat ride “Seas the Night” fundraiser raised just over $13 million to commence the establishment of a business centre for Persons with Disabilities (PWD).

At a Chari-Tea fundraiser in 2021, $6 million was raised to support her Menstrual Hygiene Initiative which seeks to end period poverty by making sanitary pads accessible to women and girls for free.

A masked ball was also held last year to raise funds for the First Lady’s projects in addition to monthly donations received from corporate institutions.

In addition to this, the Office of the First Lady also received budgetary allocations in the sum of $25 million each for 2021 and 2022.

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