Right of citizens to choose their leaders must remain sacrosanct – President

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President Dr Irfaan Ali

Message by His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Guyana

Democracy is sacrosanct

October 5th is a significant date in our country’s political calendar. On the 5th October 1992, democracy was restored to our beloved motherland after an absence of 28 years.
On this the 28th anniversary milestone, Guyana recalls the epic struggle waged for the restoration of the right of our people to freely elect a government of their choice.

Today, we pay tribute to all those, inside and outside of Guyana, who contributed to the eventual triumph of democracy. We remember especially those brave individuals who lost their lives in this struggle, including Jagan Ramesar, Bhola Nauth Parmanand, Father Bernard Darke and Dr. Walter Rodney.

The restoration of democracy on October 5th 1992 ushered in the dawn of a new era. No longer were we a pariah state, and no longer would dictatorship oppress our people and stifle economic development. It unlocked the latent potential of our people and propelled economic growth and development.

Guyana’s economic, political and social progress over the past twenty-eight years would not have been possible without democracy.

Sovereignty, according to our Constitution, belongs to the people and they exercise this sovereignty through their elected representatives. The right of the people to freely and fairly choose who would govern them must remain sacrosanct. This right, we saw earlier this year, is fragile. It must be guarded and safeguarded zealously.

My government remains committed to upholding and protecting democracy. We intend to fashion a more inclusive system of governance and, especially, to fortify our democratic institutions so that never again will our people’s freedom be subject to the threat of being hijacked.

This glorious day reminds us that rights carry accompanying duties and that, consequentially, every citizen has a duty to defend democracy.

Today, as we observe the 28th anniversary of the restoration of democracy, it is as a good a time as any to re-commit to ensuring our democracy is never again threatened.

I also take this opportunity to recognise and thank all those Guyanese, among them, many young people who stood up and allowed themselves to be counted in the history books of our country, when their country needed them, in defense of democracy in 2020.

Today, as we reflect on the legacy and life and contribution of Dr. Jagan, Janet Jagan and other leaders in our society; for the People’s Progressive Party we can say that their legacy, we can say that their commitment was again celebrated when Guyanese in 2020, continued in a vein that ensured democracy lived on.

The Political Affairs Committee when it was formed, all the great leaders of our country, Ashton Chase among them, all subscribed to the tenets of democracy. Our great Trade Union leaders all subscribed to the tenets of democracy. As a nation moving forward, the values of democracy must never, and will never be understated. I thank you.

Office of the President
5th October, 2020