President urges planners for decade of people of African descent to step up work

The forum, which was held at the Critchlow Labour College began with a libation ceremony  (Ministry of the Presidency photo)

President David Granger yesterday urged the members of the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM), a core group of the International Decade of People of African Descent (IDPAD) to refine and erect an “economical structure” in its quest to implement programmes that would improve the quality of life of people of African Descent.

He issued the call to the group at the Cuffy 250 Committee’s Fifth Annual State of the African Guyanese forum which was held under the theme, “Repositioning African Guyanese for Justice, Recognition and Sustain-able Development” at the Critchlow Labour College.

At the forum, Granger in delivering the keynote address said that the United Nations General Assembly Resolution of 2014 would have called on member states to take concrete and practical steps to combat racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance faced by people of African descent.

“The resolution outlined areas of action by member states and the Co-operative Republic of Guyana is one of those member states. We therefore have an obligation, not an option to take action in accordance with the UN declaration.”

Following this call he said that the CCM has been formed and they would have completed a 187- page report which the group should seek to refine if it is to bear the burden of the work to be done.

He informed that while he would have heard a brief synopsis of the report, he is sure that a work plan can come out of the report once the group works swiftly. “I am sure that the report can be scrutinized within coming days and weeks so that we can get a work plan out of the report.”

As it relates to Govern-ment’s support in relation to financial allocation, the President said that he would be making representation in October when Parliament comes out of recess. “As far as the state is concerned, in July we began our budget cycle and within ten weeks the budget for financial year 2018 will be presented in the National Assembly. When Parliament comes out of recess in October, I shall be going to Parliament to present the Government’s budget and legislative agenda, the main principles of the budget.”

He added that, “if financial allocations are to be made to support the United Nations declaration, those allocations have to be determined within the next ten weeks. This gives you a sense of the urgency with which we need to consider the plan before us. I would therefore urge members of the CCM to consider three elements which should be dealt with over the coming hours.”

Noting that 40 months have elapsed in the International Decade of People of African Descent, Granger charged the group to ensure that the next 80 months are used to achieve the group’s objectives. “So we should not deviate, we should not allow ourselves to be diverted from our mission. The opportunity presented by a United Nations decade is unlikely to present itself during our lifetime.”

In this regard he stated that what occurred with the International Year for People for People of African Descent which began on January 1, 2011 should not repeat itself. “Many people in this room will remember how the Government of the day converted that event into a song and dance show and there is nothing to show for the international year. This must not be the fate of the international decade.”

“This is not the time for bickering and brawling and for breaking down. It is time for building up…Bickering seems to be the preoccupation of some people in this country. All I urge is that this is not the time to bicker…This is the time for organization, education and implementation,” he urged.

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