Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon says that he is prepared to have dialogue with President Irfaan Ali.
Ali, yesterday, said that Harmon should “own up” to errors in the last election, and to recognise the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) as the legitimate government. Once that acknowledgment is made, only then can there be dialogue.
“I am saying to you now that the Leader of the Opposition needs to recognise the Government with the President and I don’t want no implicit recognition, he must go out there publicly and say, the government is legitimate and he recognises the Government, the president, and then let’s talk….I am ready to speak to all Guyanese and I’ve been doing that, the question is, is the Leader of the Opposition ready to speak to the legitimate leader of the country,” Ali said.
But Harmon noted that the Constitution sets out no preconditions for dialogue between the President and Leader of the Opposition.
See Harmon’s full statement below:
I have taken note of media reports quoting President Irfaan Ali as saying that he will engage in no talks with me until I recognize the government and seeking to place the burden of responsibility with me for talks to occur.
I offer my considered rejection of this notion. This is an absurd proposition and a continuation of the intransigence of the PPP regime in absolutely refusing to engage in dialogue. I am, as I have been and as is well known, since being appointed Leader of the Opposition prepared to meet with President Ali in the best interest of advancing the cause of the Guyanese people.
It continues to be clear as day that the PPP regime and President Ali has no interest in genuine consultation and dialogue; he has no interest in all Guyanese who he claims to represent; he has no interest in One Guyana.
He is purely and adamantly concerned only with being in power and less than half of Guyana who represents the PPP supporters.
I have already outlined that the constitution of Guyana does not set pre-conditions for consultation and dialogue between the President and the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Ali and his handlers in the PPP can decide whether they want to put the country first, as I am prepared to do, or they wish to continue with their discriminatory, partisan and isolationist approach.
I have stated from the outset and I reaffirm now, once again, that I am prepared to meet with President Ali at a mutually convenient time in the interest of meaningful dialogue and consultation and to advance the interest of the people of Guyana.
Finally, I reiterate the 8 points with which I concluded my recent Budget Debate submission which in my view will move the country forward and which should form part of the agenda between the President and myself.
i)The PPP Government cannot function by just seeing red or green communities. Our communities are made up of people.
ii)We must agree that constructive engagements based on clear principles and broadened stakeholdership at the National, Regional, and Community level is a sine qua non for our development.
iii)We must immediately shift from ethnic marginalization and vindictiveness.
iv)We must agree to meet to cause redress on what has occurred.
v)We must agree to collective focus on poverty and the plight of our poor citizens.
vi)We must agree that there is a need for immediate and urgent protection of our sovereignty and national patrimony.
vii)We have no representation on the COVID-19 task force – which we believe must be expanded to include representation at a meaningful level. Hardheartedness does not reflect who we are as a people.
viii)We must agree that there is an urgent need to update our Elections laws to ensure a List of Electors which reflect the reality of Guyana.