Suriname’s Santokhi coming to Guyana for President Ali’s inauguration

Chan Santokhi became President of Suriname in July (Image: STVS)

Suriname’s President, Chan Santokhi is expected to attend the inauguration ceremony of Guyana’s 9th Executive President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, on Saturday, August 8, 2020.

Santohki’s Progressive Reform Party won 20 seats in the May 25 elections, and formed a coalition government. He was inaugurated as President in July, taking over from his predecessor, Desi Bouterse.

Suriname, on the north-eastern shoulder of South America, shares a border with Guyana, Brazil and French Guiana.

Suriname and Guyana have developed excellent bilateral relations over the years.

Meanwhile, the inauguration the ceremony will take place at the National Cultural Centre in Georgetown, beginning at 10:00 hours.

The event will commence with the arrival of the Prime Minister Brigadier Mark Phillips, followed by the arrival of the President.

There will then be a review of the Guard of Honour and the 21-Gun Salute.

After the President and his entourage are escorted to their seats, the event will be blessed by prayers from Guyana’s three most prominent religions.

There will also be entertainment in the form of patriotic songs from the Police Military Band, cultural dances and poetry.

President Ali will deliver the feature address.

According to organisers of the event, strict COVID-19 guidelines will be adhered to.

Ali was sworn in as President last Sunday, August 2, 2020; five months after a record-breaking protracted electoral process stemming from the caretaker A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition’s refusal to accept defeat and give up office.

In his inaugural address as President-elect, Dr Ali committed to Guyanese that he will uphold the Oath of Office he took and work every day in the best interests in the people of Guyana.

The President noted that there is a lot of work to be done and this will start instantaneously.

Dr Ali brings to the presidency a long and diverse experience at all levels of Government. He previously served as a Government Minister under the PPP/C, with responsibilities for major sectors like housing, tourism and commerce.

During his tenure, he conceptualised and implemented the largest and most extensive housing drive in the country’s history, undergirded by a massive house lot distribution to citizens from all strata and geographic regions.

The 40-year-old politician also has a wealth of parliamentary experience; he became a Member of Parliament in 2006 and during the last National Assembly, he chaired one of the most important committees; the Public Accounts Committee which is responsible for examining public expenditure.

He was recently awarded a PhD in Philosophy in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of the West Indies at St Augustine, Trinidad.

He has also been a part of the leadership for 15 years, during which time he held the position of Finance Secretary for several years.

Ali was born in Leonora, West Coast Demerara (WCD). He attended St Stanislaus College and has been a member of the PPP for over 20 years, starting at the Party’s youth arm.