With Opposition Members staying away from his inaugural speech to the Parliament, President Irfaan Ali this afternoon called on all Guyanese to stand as one to defend the country’s sovereignty.
The President noted the recent arrest and detention of Guyanese fishermen by Venezuela while they were operating in Guyana’s waters.
He reminded that the threat from the neighbouring country, which continues to claim Guyana’s territory, remains.
“The threat from our neighbour Venezuela has not receded simply because the International Court of Justice has ruled that it has jurisdiction in the matter and is proceeding to adjudicate the merits of the case before it on the Guyana/Venezuela contention. We all know that recently that Guyanese fishermen were arbitrally arrested and detained by the Venezuelan military while they operated in waters of Guyana’s exclusive economic zone. This demonstrates that the threat is an ever-present danger even as we pursue a path of settlement by peaceful means through international law”, the President said.
The President said if Guyana fails to take the necessary steps to ensure that its interest and rightful income are safeguarded, the nation could see the dissipation of its right to make decisions on national interests.
Mr. Ali told the Parliament that the nation is on the cusp of great things and changes, as he offered a glimpse into several plans of his government over the next five years.
“We are at an unprecedented time in our nation’s history. We stand together on the cusp of what could be a new economic era of prosperity in which all will share now and from which future generations will benefit. But let us not fool ourselves that this new economic era will happen without our collective effort, that it will happen without our national unity and that it will happen despite ourselves. There has never been a greater moment when we as Guyanese need to stand as one to secure the benefits of our natural resources and to protect our national sovereignty”, President Ali told the Parliament.
He also announced that the Government has decided to form a One Guyana Commission which will seek to foster more love and respect for the country by citizens while addressing many of the issues and problems that ignite hate. That Commission is to be headed by the Prime Minister.
The Government is expected to soon table legislation to pave the way for the birth of the One Guyana Commission and the Commission’s work will be expected to cover the entire country and look at making citizens more aware of the country’s history, develop educational programmes about the country and find newer ways to unite the Guyanese people.
The President said his government will be transparent as it forges ahead with its many plans and programmes of development.
He noted too that his number one priority at this time is tackling the Coronavirus pandemic and his hope is to get all Guyanese vaccinated by the end of this year.
The President’s speech to the Parliament was his first since taking the oath of office last August. It came on the eve of his government’s presentation of its national budget for this year.