See letter from former President, David Granger to President Irfaan Ali:
His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali,
President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana,
Office of the President,
Meeting of former presidents on ‘Guyana’s development’
I would like to acknowledge receipt of the letter dated 4th December from Hon. Gail Teixeira, Minister of Governance, on your behalf, inviting me to a ‘working lunch’ at 12:00 hours on Tuesday 15th December at State House.
The Minister’s letter, however, neither explained amply the purpose of the intended meeting nor recommended an agenda for my examination. There was no indication of the preparation that would be needed, the relevance of the engagement to government policies and the outcome that would be expected from our deliberations.
I was able to extract from newspaper reports that your expressed publicly intention is to generate ideas on ‘Guyana’s development’, among other things.
I regard Guyana’s development as a serious matter. You will recall that, on 1st January 2020, I had launched ‘Guyana’s decade of development, 2020-2029: Overcoming crime, disease, ignorance and poverty’ in which I outlined my concept for the country’s long-term development.
The Coalition administration, further, had promulgated the ‘National Action Plan for Public Health’ in May 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It had promulgated, also, ‘The Green State Development Strategy: Vision 2040’ in May 2019. Several other strategic plans – for Public Heath, Public Security, the Public Service, the Sugar Industry, Social Cohesion, state lands, squatter settlement and youth development among others – have been made public. These are important issues which must be considered and which the proposed high-level meeting cannot avoid.
You are aware, also, that public concern has been expressed, over the past four months, about certain governmental actions – including deaths as a result of the pandemic; dismissals of public servants; dismantling of the Departments of Citizenship and Social Cohesion; harassment of Elections Commission officials and human rights violations – which can have deleterious consequences for short-, medium- and long-term national development. I am concerned, particularly, about protecting the institutions needed to promote social cohesion which is a prerequisite for national development.
It is my considered view that it would be a huge public disappointment for the proposed high-level meeting to take place, hurriedly, in an unorganized, unplanned manner and without a predictable prospect of progress or success. It would be a blunder to ignore the legitimate concerns of a significant section of the population and the aspirations of the majority of our people for a good life, especially during the privations of the pandemic.
I recommend, therefore, that the meeting intended to be held on Tuesday 15th December 2020 be deferred until these important issues could be satisfactorily settled.
I propose that a team be appointed with a mandate to hammer out a practical agenda. This will provide an opportunity for the incumbent president and past presidents to be provided with sufficient information to allow for an informed, intelligent and meaningful engagement which could have a measurable impact on, and fulfil public expectations for, ‘Guyana’s development.’
With highest regards,