President Irfaan Ali has clarified remarks that he made during his Arrival Day address to the nation.
During that address, the President said every group that came to Guyana, did so for improvement and improved living conditions so that successive generations will be better off.
The statement drew instant condemnation across social media as persons reminded the President the Africans who were brought to Guyana during the slave trade, did so against their will and had to endure horrible conditions.
The Opposition Leader yesterday wrote the President directly about his remarks and asking him to correct it.
The correction came hours later. In a message to the nation last evening, the President said he was not and could not have been referring to the African ancestors, who did not come here of their own volition but were captured, brought to our country in chains, and brutally enslaved.
President Ali said those who felt offended by the way in which the language was structured in his speech, have his unreserved regret and assurance that the struggles of our enslaved African ancestors would never be understated and unappreciated.
“To my fellow Guyanese who felt offended by the way in which the language was structured, you have my unreserved regret and assurance that the struggles of our enslaved African ancestors would never be understated and unappreciated. They gave their lives for our freedom and as a nation, we must be forever grateful.” The President said in his statement.
The President said his personal and public mission is to reconcile the country after a very divisive period.
“As I expressed in my Arrival Day message, we must find deeper, more meaningful ways of celebrating our collective diversity, of pooling our collective wisdom; moreover, we need to begin and sustain the practice of speaking openly and honestly with each other”, he said.