Diaspora

The hue and cry about the President’s visit to Washington is a false flag – Stabroek News

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Dear Editor,
There was much speculation over the last week or so concerning the President and his entourage’s visit to Washington. Those who have a penchant for political sniping at the Ali administration, had a field day. Lurching from what could be described as reasonably acceptable assessments of the visit to the most ridiculous ones, speculation was rife inferring that the President was ‘summoned’ to Washington and that the visit was ‘hurriedly arranged.’ Introducing the word ‘summoned’ suited the narrative framed by the cynics and critics who sought to disparage and make the Ali administration look bad.
There are many instances of diplomacy before and after Heads of States and high level officials visits to ‘jaw jaw’ with their counterparts of other states on a bilateral basis. Guyana has an impressive track record of similar engagements through decades of diplomacy. Not to be overlooked are the many episodes in Guyanese/American relations and Guyana’s place vis-a-vis America’s hemispheric agenda. The first such episode was in 1961 when Premier Jagan and President Kennedy met in October 1961, at the White House on the future of an independent British Guiana under Cold War conditions. The second occasion was in November 1978, prior to the Jonestown mass suicide, when US Congressman Leo Ryan travelled to Guyana to investigate complaints he received from his constituents about the harsh conditions they were experiencing at Jonestown. Ryan was killed and Guyana won for itself a badge for international notoriety.
Involvement of representatives of the legislative arm of the United States in a country’s domestic affairs is not to be underestimated. The impact of their involvement in Guyana’s 1992 and 2020 elections attests to this. The third occasion, in August 1993, when President Cheddi Jagan, along with four CARICOM leaders, were invited the White House to address the Haitian crisis. The fourth was at the First Summit of the Americas in December 1994 when President Clinton applauded the ideas advanced by Jagan aimed at strengthening the partnership between CARICOM states and the Americas. Guyanese journalists and reporters of that era were of a highly professional caliber and shied away from inventing calumnies and pouring cold water on high level visits aimed at boosting bilateral engagements between the two countries.
A keen and open-minded observer would conclude that much effort would have been done by diplomats in the context of President Ali’s meetings in Washington, and would have followed a pattern with the US Ambassador to Guyana, her principals at the State Department along with Guyanese officials at the Office of the President and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Long before Ali’s arrival in Washington, bilateral engagements would have taken place in Georgetown between the US embassy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Office of the President with the aim of setting up the delegation’s meetings in Washington as well as preparation and signing off of briefs on issues of mutual interest.
Serious background work had to be done, policy positions discussed and formulated and agreements reached with Eximbank prior to the departure of the President from Guyana. In the circumstances, the hue and cry about the President being summoned to Washington is nothing but a false flag. The protocol issues aside, the meat of the issues discussed is what should be of concern to us all. Blinken in a tweet said “Guyana remains a key partner as we work to bolster food and energy security, promote shared prosperity and inclusive growth, strengthen transparency, and safeguard the environment”. Opposition politicians and civil society activists here in Guyana would find the words; ‘work to bolster and to promote shared prosperity and inclusive growth, strengthen and transparency’ applicable and consistent with the political flavour of the day in Guyana. Moreover, when Vice President Harris noted that she “looked forward to continuing her collaboration with President Ali in promoting inclusive democracy, economic development, and security for all Guyanese…”’her remarks were similar to Blinken’s save that they were more focused and emphatic.
In the context of hemispheric and Caribbean affairs, Guyana has never fell off the radar of the US. In good times and bad times, the US always paid close attention to political developments in Guyana, as it is doing now, and as was manifested in the whirlwind of meetings in Washington. And if it was that Washington had concerns about China’s growing influence in its ‘backyard’ as was reported, President Ali stated that: “They (China) have supported the development part of Guyana. They’ve invested in different projects over the years, as the United States, and we’ll be encouraging the US to become more aggressive and to take a more strategic space, a place in this space and the region,” “The United States, like all the other countries:  China, the UK …Cuba, you are our friends. You are our partners,” said President Ali.
Sincerely,
Clement J. Rohee  
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