STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTER, BRIGADIER (RET’D), THE HONOURABLE MARK PHILLIPS CONDEMNING THE DISRESPECTFUL MESSAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA AGAINST THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION:
Over the past few days, the Government has noted the circulation of a song that contains abhorrent lyrics directed at the Minister of Education, the Honourable Priya Manickchand.
I unequivocally condemn this unconscionable attempt to sully the good character of Minister Manickchand, particularly when the Minister has tirelessly been working to curtail learning loss and ensure that our children are educated in a safe environment amidst the difficulties posed by the pandemic.
The Government has gone to great lengths to ensure the safety of all Guyanese and to minimize the negative socio-economic impacts of these challenging times.
A most necessary and important means of combating Covid-19 is vaccination against the virus.
As a result, the Government has taken all reasonable measures to ensure that the country has adequate vaccines and that we achieve herd immunity within the shortest possible time to return to some semblance of normalcy. Among these efforts is ensuring that our children 12 years and over are vaccinated and developing a strategic virtual and physical schedule for the reopening of school at all levels.
It is disappointing that some sections of society may find it entertaining to target the Minister of Education with such distasteful messages. Most disturbing is that a sitting member of the National Assembly, Mr Sherod Duncan, has shared this revolting song on his social media platform. We must all join in condemning Mr Duncan for doing so.
Such divisive actions by agitators to make light of matters of national importance and to disrespect our female leaders only serve to create a wedge between our people.
The Government is wholly committed to ensuring that our people live with cohesiveness and tolerance for one another. Therefore, such actions by agitators, which seek to bring segregation among our people while making light of a grave situation, are unacceptable.
I wish to discourage any further propagation of this message and urge that we be more responsible and understanding of the pressures that challenge us daily as we continue to deal with the pandemic.
We must not allow toxic behaviours to influence us. Let us all take up the responsibility of creating a nation built on respect for our fellow citizens, for it is only through mutual respect that we can achieve the unity towards which we all strive.