Pres. Ali urges Harmon to be a ‘responsible’ Opposition Leader

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

President Dr Irfaan Ali has urged the Opposition Leader, who has consistently claimed that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government is illegitimate despite it winning the 2020 elections by 15,416 votes, to give up his false narrative and be a responsible Opposition Leader.

President Ali made this statement on the sidelines of the swearing-in ceremony of the eight Local Government Commissioners (LGC) on Monday. He was asked about the process for the appointment of the LGC. According to him, he has personally not consulted with the Opposition Leader and knows from his utterances that his baseless comments against the Government remain unchanged.

“Mr Harmon has consistently repeated, since our last conversation, the same narrative about his feelings about the Government. So that hasn’t changed… on more than one occasion I’ve made it clear. My role as President is to engage every Guyanese and stakeholder in the development of our country and the advancement of the lives of our people,” President Ali said.

According to the President, it is necessary for the Government to engage with stakeholders who will not act in bad faith. He urged the Opposition Leader to desist from the false narrative he perpetuates that the PPP is not the legitimate Government.

“There’s no compromise on that. But as I said in that engagement, there must be an acknowledgement that you’re dealing with a partner who, one, has great clarity in his own head that he’s dealing with someone he respects as the Government and two, he acknowledges as the Government.”

“What I would say is that Mr Harmon needs to get off this narrative that he’s comforted himself with for far too long, face the reality and act in a manner that is befitting the citizens of Guyana and puts Guyana and the people first. And if he does so, he will immediately correct his statements. And I put the challenge out to him,” Ali said.

The President has previously said that he would not engage with the Opposition Leader if he continues to undermine the legitimacy of the Government. While Harmon has said he is prepared to meet with Ali in the national interest, he has also maintained his non-recognition of the PPP Government.