Last Updated on Sunday, 17 September 2023, 13:00 by Denis Chabrol
The United States (US) Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has made no mention that Guyana’s political issues were discussed last week with President Irfaan Ali, in contrast to a separate statement issued by Minority Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries.
The CBC said President Irfaan Ali, Mr Jeffries, CBC Chairman Steven Horsford and other Members of the Congressional Black Caucus “had a productive meeting and discussed a range of global issues including energy and food security, enhancing regional economic prosperity, and the importance of sustainability and environmental stewardship.”
According to the CBC, President Ali and CBC Chairman Horsford also reaffirmed the strength of the bilateral relationship between Guyana and the US and the need for future dialogue and continued cooperation between the two governments and the Congressional Black Caucus to “achieve areas of mutual interest.”
That CBC statement was issued on September 15, a day before Congressman Jeffries, in his own statement, said the importance of an inclusive society in Guyana that involved full economic participation and civic engagement by Guyanese-Africans and Guyanese-Indians was also discussed. “We will continue to encourage the government and the opposition to work together to ensure that all Guyanese citizens, regardless of race or ethnicity, benefit from the economic growth underway in the South American nation,” said Mr Jeffries who campaigns for electoral support from Guyanese and other Caribbean nationals in Brooklyn.
Mr Jeffries said the talks also included with President Ali and his delegation also included the subjects of electoral reform, strengthening democratic institutions and the need to bolster access to banking and financial services in the Caribbean region.
After Mr Jeffries’ statement in which he also stated that in the next few weeks, a delegation of House Members, himself included, would meet with leaders of the Guyanese opposition party to continue their dialogue about the opportunities and challenges confronting Guyana and other nations within the African diaspora in the Western Hemisphere, Guyana’s Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud welcomed the American Congressman’s decision to meet with Dr Ali and his team.
“We are happy that the Congressman and Democratic Leader in the House responded to the government’s request to meet which enabled a constructive discourse on regional issues and the trajectory of Guyana’s socioeconomic development,” Mr Persaud said in reaction to Mr Jeffries. The Congressman, according to Mr Persaud, has acknowledged President Ali’s invitation to visit Guyana is most welcomed.
Guyanese opposition-aligned organisations in New York have planned a two-day conference later this month in Washington DC. to raise issues of alleged racial discrimination against Afro-Guyanese, charges that the Ali administration have repeatedly denied.
Mr Persaud had previously stated that Mr Jeffries did not raise the need for inclusion and inequitable distribution of wealth with the Guyanese leader and his delegation,