AFC Chairman calls for President and Opposition Leader to meet on national issues; Dismisses “school boy” politics

AFC Chairman calls for President and Opposition Leader to meet on national issues; Dismisses “school boy” politics

Chairman of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Cathy Hughes did not mince words today as she addressed the ongoing feud between President Irfaan Ali and Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton, telling the leaders ‘enough with the immature, school boy behaviour.’

“We have to get to the level of maturity, where regardless of who the winner is, we don’t behave like little school boys in kindergarten, and we can reach out across the divide to build Guyana,” the Opposition Member of Parliament told reporters during an AFC press conference today.

President Ali and the Opposition Leader have not held official talks in a more than a year.

In May, 2022, they met for the first time officially to discuss a number of Constitutional and statutory appointments.

However, their relationship went downhill weeks later after a planned meeting between the two leaders fell through. The situation further deteriorated after the Opposition Leader refused to shake the hands of the President at an event, telling reporters that he will not shake hands of his “oppressors.”

This week, the US has expressed a willingness to broker talks between the two leaders, but the President has brushed aside that suggestion.

Noting that a personal issue should not affect the development of the country, the AFC Chairman said the President should be the “bigger person” and extend an official invitation to the Opposition Leader to discuss matters of national importance such as the rise in cost of living, and its impact on the working class.

“This…immature attitude just gets us absolutely nowhere. And that’s what we know for sure now. Now, what we know for sure, is that when it comes to engagement, there is no progress. We’re not going anywhere. All of us are not serving the people of Guyana with the current engagement or lack of engagement,” MP Hughes said.

President Irfaan Ali and Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton

She said while the Constitution talks about inclusionary democracy, the Government has done everything in its powers to sideline and marginalize the Opposition.

According to Ms. Hughes, contrary to the norm, the Government has not extended an invitation to the Opposition Members to sit on State Boards. This, she said, goes against traditional practice that lend to transparency and accountability.

“The minister in his office would write the members of the opposition and invite them to choose their own person to sit on those state boards, and that whole process was a way of endorsing your commitment to full transparency and accountability and independence. We have not received one letter inviting any political party or member of the opposition to sit on those State Boards. In fact, the eye pass was that this government selected persons and said that they were going to represent the opposition.”

Further to that, she accused the Government of excluding the Opposition from the Independence and Republic Day celebrations. The AFC Chairman said “it is absolutely clear” that the Government is creating a “One Party State.”

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