‘I formally reached out to the Opposition Leader eight times’ – President Ali
The relationship between Guyana’s President and Opposition Leader remains strained with both sides blaming each other for not wanting to meet but on Saturday, the Guyanese Head of State made it clear that he formally reached out to the APNU Leader eight times.
Dr Irfaan Ali told a news conference at State House that these formal invitations to Aubrey Norton were made between April 2022 and June 2023.
Norton, on the other hand, told a press conference on Friday that he refuses to formally ask President Ali for talks on governance issues.
On Saturday, President Ali made it clear that he will continue to fulfil his constitutional duties as it relates to consulting with the Opposition Leader. He was at the time responding to a question as to whether he would consult with Norton on the issue of constitutional reform.
“I have consulted with every stakeholder including the Leader of the Opposition on matters of the State.
“[As] a matter of fact, I formally reached out to the Leader of the Opposition on eight occasions between April 2022 and June 2023 in relation to fulfilling my duties in accordance with what the constitution requires.
“So, you will not find me wanting when it comes to fulfilling my constitutional mandate because I believe strongly in constitutional rule and upkeeping the constitution in our country,” the Head of State emphasized.
Ali explained that he has engaged many other executives of the Peoples’ National Congress Reform (PNC/R) to discuss a range of issues.
“I have fulfilled my constitutional mandate and I intend to continue to do so. I don’t understand why this burden is at my foot because I am saying to you that I have fulfilled all my constructional mandates in relation to consultation with the Leader of the Opposition.”
President Ali maintained that Norton is free to call him at any time and he will engage him cordially and friendly.
“What stops him from calling? On all the dialogue that is required in keeping with the constitution, I’ve executed my mandate [and] every time it is required of me to formally engage, you can rest assured that I will do that,” President Ali said.