Harmon says “prepared to meet with President Ali”; but yet to recognise PPP/C govt

0
L-R: President Dr Irfaan Ali and Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon

Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon has said he is prepared to meet with President Dr Irfaan Ali in the best interest of advancing the cause of the Guyanese people.

This comes on the heels of President Ali on Thursday putting the ball in the court of the Opposition Leader for them move on and have talks so that they can, not only develop the country but also enhance the lives of all Guyanese.

In a statement on Friday responding to the Head of State, Harmon said he is prepared to put the country first.

“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 with a view to advancing the interest of the people of Guyana,” Harmon posited in the missive.

In fact, the Opposition Leader reiterated some points he raised during his recent Budget Debate submission which he said will move the country forward and which should form part of the agenda between the President and himself whenever they meet.

These include: agreeing that constructive engagements based on clear principles and broadened stakeholdership at the national, regional and community level is a sine qua non for Guyana’s development; immediately shift from ethnic marginalisation and vindictiveness; agree to meet to cause redress on what has occurred; agree to collective focus on poverty and the plight of poor citizens; agree that there is need for immediate and urgent protection of our sovereignty and national patrimony; expand the COVID-19 task force to include Opposition representation; and agree that there is urgent need to update Guyana’s elections laws to ensure a List of Electors which reflect the reality of Guyana.

But while he is prepared to meet with the President, the Opposition Leader believes that the demand to recognise the PPP/C government as legitimate is an “absurd proposition.”

On Thursday, President Ali told reporters that he is open to talks with the Opposition but pointed out that it is impossible for the Government and Opposition to move forward if the legitimacy of the Government continues to be undermined.

“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.”

“He [Harmon] has a responsibility to his supporters to come clean now… The hardest thing in life is to recognise that you have made an error, to own up to that error and then to say that listen, I am owning up to this error but let’s move forward… The Leader of the Opposition has a choice you know,” the Head of State posited.

Attorney-at-law Selwyn Pieters

Only two weeks ago, prominent Guyanese-Canadian Attorney-at-Law, Selwyn Pieters called on the Guyana Government and Opposition to find ways of working together for the betterment of the country. However, he recognised that this cannot happen if the Opposition continues to refer to the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic Administration as “illegal”.

According to Pieters, who was an election observer at the contentious March 2 polls and had spoken out against the blatant attempts to “frustrate” the tabulation process of the Region Four votes, it is time to move on.

He added, “There has to be a coming together in some way for the development of this country. Like how long will this [political] stalemate go on with just a small population of 750,000 people.”

Moreover, Pieters, who had participated in several major Commissions of Inquiry (CoIs) in Guyana and has been an activist on a plethora of social issues here, said that the APNU/AFC coalition needs to step up and be a stronger parliamentary Opposition that is able to hold the Government accountable.

The Canada-based Guyanese attorney said the coalition Opposition is not performing up to par, adding that he is not pleased with the performance of Harmon as Opposition Leader.