President trumpets call for unity, togetherness and oneness
– As Gov’t celebrates Int’l Day of Elimination of Racial Discrimination
As Guyana joins the rest of the world in observance of International Day of Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic’s Government remains adamant that racial discrimination, ethnocentrism, or any other form of discrimination has no place in the building of a modern and unified Guyana.
The administration is committed to developing and implementing policies guided by principles of equality, inclusivity and justice.
President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali said Guyana’s diverse nature can serve as an example to the world, as Guyanese seamlessly engage and celebrate each other’s religious and cultural festivals and traditions.
The unified demeanor, Dr Ali emphasised, is amplified in the implementation of government policies.
“The Government of Guyana will continue to work assiduously to eradicate all forms of racism and racial discrimination, and to ensure inclusive development with equal access, and sharing in Guyana’s wealth,” the president noted.
Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips emphasised that these principles will continue to lay a foundation for the ‘One Guyana’ platform.
He added that as Guyana reflects on the struggle that characterised its journey in the fight against racial discrimination, citizens must continue to persevere in the ongoing effort to achieve equality and unity.
“As leaders, we are responsible for creating a peaceful, productive, and prosperous environment where every citizen is valued, respected, and feels a sense of belonging, regardless of ethnicity, race, or religion. Therefore, it is critical that we lead by example, not just in words but through our actions in guiding our people, which show what we stand for,” the prime minister noted.
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, shared similar sentiments in her address, reminding that Article 34 of the constitution outlines the responsibility of the state to eliminate discriminatory distinctions.
“The PPP/C Government has always led efforts to promote equal rights, provide equal opportunity, and ensure equitable access to essential services and goods for all of our people,” the parliamentary affairs minister said.
Moreover, in a representation of this effort, the government has laid the foundation for the reconstitution of the Ethnic Relations Commission, a constitutional body mandated to promote ethnic harmony among Guyanese.
The ten-member commission will be sworn in on March 21, marking the occasion.
Meanwhile, Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, added her voice to the appeal, pointing out that Guyana is a melting pot of culture and ethnicity, a diverse mix in which cohesiveness can be maintained only through nationwide participation.
“There is evidence that prevails that Guyanese are desirous of building a strong and united nation which will ultimately undermine any attempt at discrimination, and at best squash the manifestation of racial discrimination in any shape or form,” she said.
President Ali’s ‘one Guyana’ initiative has been an instrumental aspect of the administration’s commitment to dismantling any cords of discrimination in Guyana, a true testament to the continued endeavour to achieve unity.
Meanwhile, highlighting the consequences of racial discrimination, Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha stressed the struggles endured by citizens in this regard, noting that Guyanese should forge a path of unity, justice, and equality.
“It begins with us, every citizen of our country. Guyana has demonstrated a strong political will to accelerate action for racial justice and equality. Through these efforts and the willingness that our brothers and sisters have demonstrated to come together for the greater good and development of our country,” the agriculture minister posited.
The International Day of Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on March 21. This year’s theme highlights the urgency of combatting racism and racial discrimination.
Seventy-five years ago, representatives from all regions of the world with different legal and cultural backgrounds agreed on a set of principles that state each individual is entitled to certain freedoms. These principles are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which dictates that every individual is entitled to all the rights outlined without distinction of any kind, whether it relates to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origin, property, birth, or another status.