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Pres Ali could not have rejected “US-facilitated talks” with Opposition when there was never an offer – VP Jagdeo

President Dr Irfaan Ali

Shutting down reports that President Dr Irfaan Ali has rejected an offer by outgoing United States Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch to facilitate dialogue between the Government and the Opposition, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo has contended that there was no offer in the first place.
During a recent interview on the Jumpstart programme with Gordon Moseley, the US diplomat was quoted as saying that open dialogue and frank discussions were very important in bringing people together.
Lynch had also added, “Certainly, the US stands ready to do whatever we can to bring all parties together.”

Outgoing US Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch

However, Jagdeo sought to shed some light amid recent comments which painted a picture of the Head of State rejecting this gesture. Rather, he maintained that it was just common courtesy extended by the Ambassador when she was asked about the matter.
“There was no offer to us. The US has never offered to bring people together to discuss power-sharing or inclusion of the people who are making politics out of inclusion. All week long, I see a big debate about President Ali not accepting the US offer. This is not a US offer,” the Vice President positioned on Thursday at his press conference.
He added, “Which person, if asked are you going to be helpful in trying to bring people together, would they say no? They would say yes. It’s a courtesy. There was no offer to do that as they made it seem like Ali rejects some offer from the US Government.”
Moreover, the VP asserted that when constitutionally mandated, President Ali will meet with the Opposition.

Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton

“President Ali has made it clear. He will meet anytime with the Opposition when the matters relate to the performance of his constitutional duties as President. But if you want to talk power sharing, etcetera. You have to talk to the People’s Progressive Party about this. Our position has been clear on this matter,” the Vice President said.
After the matter was raised, President Ali had emphasised during an engagement with the media that he would continue to fulfil his mandate as required.
The Guyanese Leader has stated, “As President of Guyana, I have a responsibility for the people of Guyana, all the people of Guyana, including the Leader of the Opposition, and I take the responsibility for all the people of Guyana, including the Leader of the Opposition, very seriously and I will continue to fulfil my mandate as is expected of me, in line with the Constitution and the rule of law.”
Moreover, he had lamented Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton allegedly refusing to meet on several occasions to iron out pertinent matters of national importance.
He had also shared, “The Leader of the Opposition’s attitude and his demeanour towards me would not in any shape or form influence my attitude towards the people of Guyana…Engagement is not in the public domain. Engagement is about building relationships. Engagement is about nurturing relationships. Engagement is about building trust.”