President Irfaan Ali has brushed aside suggestions that the US Government through the local embassy should broker dialogue between the Government and the Opposition. In an interview earlier on Tuesday, outgoing US Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch while underscoring the need for the two sides to engage more, said the US stands ready to broker talks.
However, in an interview with News Source on Wednesday, President Ali said there is no need for the US involvement.
“I don’t know why there needs to be brokerage of any conversation. I don’t know that I need someone to broker conversations with the Opposition. We are a country here and we have responsibilities, and as President of Guyana, I have a responsibility for the people of Guyana, all the people of Guyana, including the Leader of the Opposition and I take the responsibility for all the people of Guyana including the Leader of the Opposition, very seriously and I will continue to fulfill my mandate as is expected of me, in line with the Constitution and the rule of law”, President Ali said.
There are a number of constitutional requirements that requires engagements between the President and the Leader of the Opposition. The two have not met in more than a year. However, the President said he has spoken regularly with other members of the Opposition on various national issues.
“The Leader of the Opposition’s attitude and his demeanor towards me, would not in anyway shape or form influence my attitude to the people of Guyana”, he stated.
Just after the 2020 elections and his government taking office, the President had refused to engage with then Leader of the Opposition Joe Harmon on a number of issues, demanding that he first recognises the President as being duly elected before any such meeting could take place.
When Mr. Norton became Leader of the Opposition, he initially met with the President, but the engagement was short-lived as the two sides found it difficult to hammer out an agenda for their engagements.
With a number of key constitutional appointments requiring engagements between the President and the Opposition Leader, the two sides have not been meeting, but the President insists that he is ready to meet with the Opposition Leader at anytime, even as he shies away from committing to extending an invitation to such engagements.