President Dr Irfaan Ali told the Guyanese diaspora in Washington, DC that his government is working assiduously on building a Guyana that reflects the principles and defines its citizens and their diversity.
The President also told them that the Government is working on providing world-class services in all sectors that will incentivise their return to their homeland.
He made the comments while addressing a diaspora reception in Washington, DC, on the side-line of his State Visit to the United States of America where he has since engaged a number of government officials and private sector representatives.
“Know that the Guyana we want to build is the Guyana that must reflect the values that define us as a people.”
The President noted that these values must not be individual values, but principles that Guyanese share collectively as part of the “Guyanese identity”.
“When someone says they are Guyanese they must be a symbol of the rule of law. They must be a symbol of democracy. They must be a symbol of ethnic harmony. They must be a symbol of what unity looks like. They must be a symbol of tolerance. This is how a Guyanese identity must be defined. We are born in a society that is multi-ethnic, a society that is multi-religious. God has given us this gift so that we can demonstrate to the world how you combine a multi-religious and multi-ethnic country to demonstrate what the true meaning of tolerance and unity is.”
The President said that the time has come for all Guyanese to embrace “this fundamental gift”.
“When we combine the collective differences in our individual identity, we have an identity that is called Guyanese. And that is fundamentally important because that is what is going to shape our character. That is what is going to shape us as we move forward in this tremendous phase of transformation and development in our country.”
Pillars of development
The President pointed out that the Government has a transformative agenda aimed at improving the lives of all Guyanese.
“There are three fundamental pillars that we have to address that would give you further incentives to return home. You want to know that you can return to a healthcare system that could take care of your family. You want to know that you can return to an education system that can give your children the best possible education, and you want to know if you can return to a system where the security of your family is not a worry, but a given.”
These changes, the President explained, will not only come with the improvement of infrastructure but must also be accompanied by a change in the mindset, attitude, and behaviour of the citizens.
“This requires a lot of work but we have to do the work, we don’t have a choice. We just don’t have a choice… You see, the future requires a level of frankness and honesty in our discourse. I made it very clear that there is one way forward.”
The President added that all of these will be done to build an economy that is competitive, strong, robust, resilient, and sustainable enough to compete at “every level”.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Honourable Hugh Todd; Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud; Guyana’s Ambassador to the United States, H.E Samuel Hinds and US Ambassador to Guyana, H.E Sarah-Ann Lynch were also at the event. (Office of the President)