…concerned over increased threats to reconciliation
The Roman Catholic Church in Guyana has expressed concern over the increased threats to reconciliation at the political level and called on the political leaders to address the situation comprehensively.
Particularly, the Catholic Church called on President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo to engage in talks to start the process of healing the nation.
The Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) of the Catholic Church, in a statement, noted that these growing threats to reconciliation and trust are signs that Guyana continues to suffer from increased levels of injustice and violence as a result of our inability to reconcile from earlier pain, inclusive of political and social pain.
The JPC observed that the nation is on the wrong path, part and parcel because of the Hamilton Green Pension Bill 2016; the D’Urban Park accountability scandal; the controversial rental of the pharmaceutical “bond”; the audit reports for partisan and personal gain; the exorbitant salary increases for ministers; the melting down of GuySuCo; the Baishanlin-gate; and the manner in which the Dr Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry was initiated and concluded.
Also worrying is the tone of the debates in Parliament and the exchanges among the country’s lawmakers.
“As much as the content of the disputes causes worry, more worrying is the tone of those disputes. Those who have attended Parliament will know of the undignified and unproductive manner in which the people’s business is conducted. While Parliamentarians are obliged to listen and represent the views of their constituents, the inability to reconcile differences across the aisle serves to further alienate and frustrate the people,” the JPC said.
The body posited that the common wish of the people for peaceful coexistence must not be ignored but rather built on: “Our people are weary of the scandals and growing in scepticism of political processes and our leaders. Given the amount of taxpayer funds being spent on political, justice, security and other public systems, Guyana’s levels of suicide, migration, violence and corruption suggest a massive failure on the part of our leaders.”
In this regard, the Catholic Church calls on President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo to put differences aside in the interest of the nation.
“The onus is squarely on the shoulders of our political leaders to address this situation comprehensively. JPC calls on the President and Leader of the Opposition to engage each other and agree on a programme of healing that will relieve the nation of its pain and lead us to the promised land of trust in each other. JPC believes this programme of healing must include constitutional and political party reform, and improved social cohesion and ethnic relations,” the Church stated.
The JPC is inviting all people of faith to pray for the nation and its leaders and urged every citizen to reject political efforts to further divide the country.
The Commission also encouraged the citizenry to hold the political leaders more accountable for their performance on the country’s behalf.