Harsh rebuke for critics of President Ali’s Washington trip
Hours after President Dr. Irfaan Ali returned to Guyana from a one-week trip to the United States of America, he used his first public appearance on Sunday to scold the APNU+AFC opposition and its actors who led a campaign of criticism to discredit the value of his travel.
The President, in dispelling rumors that he was summoned to Washington, said statements he read in the local press were nothing short of “reckless” with the potential to cause Guyana more harm than good.
A frustrated Dr. Ali who spent the last week meeting with U.S politicians and members of the U.S private sector said he found himself repeatedly dismantling false claims made about Guyana.
It is for this reason that the President has refused to accept lectures on his engagements in the international community.
“I sat there for hours painstakingly positioning this country where it belongs,” Dr. said as he referenced the protracted 2020 election when the country’s democracy was threatened by the David Granger government’s refusal to leave office after its election defeat.
“No one again has the right to take this country back down that path… and I don’t believe you’ll lecture me, no.
“I have the unfortunate job of repairing the damage you caused and I do so with great humility, honour and pride,” the President said during his address at the sod turning for a new Specialised Paediatric and Maternal Hospital at Ogle, East Coast Demerara on Sunday.
President Ali said his Washington trip was hard work with little sleep.
“It was meetings after meetings that those behind the headlines would never understand.
“I have a little son too that sometimes I don’t speak to for three or four days because of scheduling… I am beginning to get tired of the naysayers. What is worrying is that they are becoming personalized and it can damage the reputation of a country.”
The President said there are those who are intent on playing politics to the detriment of a country’s development.
To this end, he singled out Congressman Hakeem Jeffries who he said has not responded to a request for a meeting but continues to peddle false claims about Guyana’s governance and democracy.
Speaking directly about the trip, Dr. Ali said the United States is a partner and friend of Guyana and regarded claims of the United States having ulterior motives in the region as “absolute nonsense.”
Dr. Ali held several meetings in Washington, including with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Don Graves, representatives from USAID and the U.S EXIM Bank where an agreement was signed to make available US$2B in funding for development projects in Guyana.
“We had very frank, very frank discussions… that’s dealt ultimately with what is the best interest for each country and together what is best for the relationship,” he added.
On this note, he pointed to the development of Guyana’s relationship with Austria and the criticism of his meeting last year with that country’s President on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
“They said the President is just seeking out meetings.
“That is for narrow-minded thinkers… no one is too big or too small for us to speak to,” Dr. Ali said.
He believes some Guyanese are too “inward-looking”.