The diplomatic community is becoming impatient with the political situation in Guyana.
In what would be strong words for the political parties in Guyana, British High Commissioner, Greg Quinn, yesterday warned voters to choose wisely on policies and not on what families members would have traditionally been doing.
“Voters also have a responsibility. To hold their elected officials to account for what they have done or are doing. To not blindly follow one party because that has been what the family has always done. It is time to look to whomever has the best policies and best plans.”
The envoy was speaking during the Annual General Meeting of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Speaking to several business leaders and other members, Quinn insisted that the Constitution is the supreme law of Guyana.
He also noted that the 90-day timeline for the vote has not been stayed.
“It is not, however, my role to interpret that Constitution. But what I will say is that the clock is ticking following the no confidence vote in December. A legal process is ongoing, I recognise that, but that clock has not been stayed. I therefore urge, indeed implore, the political leadership of this country to get together and agree a constitutional way forward.”
The High Commissioner, who was here for the 2015 elections, insisted that it is imperative this happens.
“If no way forward is found, I fear there will be a further and more harmful impact on business and investment in Guyana. None of us in this room want that.”
He said that all political parties have a responsibility to act honestly and truthfully and to act for the betterment of every citizen – not their own pockets or to their own narrow interests. “Politicians need to put the people first.”
Recently sworn in US ambassador to Guyana, Sarah–Ann Lynch had been less blunt, urging genuinely free and fair elections.
According to Quinn yesterday, despite a long and not always glorious history, Guyana and the UK have remained close partners.
“We are equal members of the Commonwealth. We share the same fundamental values – respect for human dignity, human rights, freedom, democracy and equality. Globalisation is bringing us even closer together. That is a fact. Although it is also a fact that we face new and growing threats which seek to undermine the core values we share. Ultimately the UK’s fundamental desire is to help a fellow Commonwealth country grow, expand and develop to the benefit of each of the over 750,000 people who inhabit this land.”
He said that this is done through support to the health sector; to infrastructure development; to seabed mapping and surveying to make the approaches to Georgetown port safer and more efficient; to support the certification process of seabob and timber to expand markets; to advocacy for the rights of women and children and other disadvantaged people; through helping to give the Indigenous Peoples a voice in their discussions with Government and through support to ensuring oil and gas revenues are properly accounted for and scrutinised.
He also noted that the cooperation was through support to environmental research; through Chevening scholarships; improving the business environment; and the support to Security Sector Reform to make the security sector more efficient, effective and responsible to the people of Guyana.
“I suspect many people don’t realise the range of areas where we provide support. And yes, yes, yes, we support democracy and good governance in Guyana. My predecessors have been outspoken about the importance of free and fair elections. I said the same thing in 2015 and again on 21 December last year. I will continue to say the same thing going forward.”
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