The ‘One Guyana’ initiative conceptualised by President Irfaan Ali has received mixed opinions from Guyanese, with the latest concern being that this policy will result in the loss of cultural values.
However, this will not be the case, the Head of State assured on Thursday. The ‘One Guyana’ initiative aims to bring Guyanese together and embrace the diversification of the country. However, this concept is not viewed this way by all Guyanese.
On Thursday, when Arrival Day was observed on what was previously celebrated as Indian Arrival Day, many Guyanese and even a major political party expressed concerns on social media over the apparent loss of culture for Indo Guyanese.
The citizens were of the view that the heritage of the six diverse ethnic groups would be lost, but President Irfaan Ali, in response to those concerns, assured Guyanese that is not the case.
Instead, he reiterated that the One Guyana policy aims to unite Guyanese to adopt a common ground of values and developmental path.
“If you are a good Christian, a good Hindu or good Muslim, a good Afro Guyanese, a good Indo Guyanese, or Amerindian, then there are certain values that must constitute the one Guyana that we will embrace. Values of democracy, the rule of law, respect for each other, religious tolerance [...] these are all part of the value system that embrace the concept of one Guyana,” the Head of State explained.
He adds that the concept is evolving into a national dialogue.
“The consultative process is evolving, and different questions and ideas are being asked and answered and being crystalized in a way in which at the end of it where definitely I am putting pen on paper in defining this concept. It will have greater ownership because every group, every individual would see their own thoughts as part of this process also.”
Thus far, he related that there has been no significant resistance to this concept, and even if there is one, he noted it will be “inevitable.”
“We have no other option; there is no other path than this. We can have the best development, we can have the greatest investment, but if we can’t understand our singular purpose, if we can’t understand the glue that bind us together, what makes us Guyanese and inoculate the way of life, then we will not be able to enjoy the fruit of our labour.”
Since assuming office in 2020, the Head of State has been pushing for the one Guyana initiative. A commission led by Prime Minister Mark Phillips will be established in this regard. Works are progressing accordingly along this line.