President Ali, top democrats meet in Washington

Hakeem Jeffries and other officials from the Congressional Black Caucus last week during his visit to Washington DC.

According to a statement posted to Mr. Jeffries’ Facebook page, several critical issues were discussed including regional and energy security, the climate crisis and the importance of an inclusive society in Guyana that involved full economic participation and civic engagement by Guyanese-Africans and Guyanese-Indians.

Electoral reform, strengthening democratic institutions and the need to bolster access to banking and financial services in the Caribbean region were also discussed.

The between between President Dr. Irfaan Ali and his delegation, and Mr. Hakeem Jeffries and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus (Photo: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries/ Facebook)

Mr. Jeffries’ statement noted, “In the next few weeks, a delegation of House Members, myself included, will meet with leaders of the Guyanese opposition party to continue our dialogue about the opportunities and challenges confronting the Republic of Guyana and other nations within the African diaspora in the Western Hemisphere.”

President Ali was accompanied by several Guyanese officials including Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond and Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud.

The Foreign Secretary, in a Facebook post, underscored the significance of the meeting.

“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,” Foreign Secretary Persaud wrote.

Last year, President Ali raised concerns about statements made by Mr. Jeffries relating to Guyana’s governance and democracy. He made this statement after Jeffries did not respond to an invitation to engage him (the President) in Washington then.

Before that, the Democrat leader joined overseas-based Guyanese Rickford Burke at meetings denouncing alleged racism and poor governance in Guyana. Dr. Ali maintains that Jeffries was misled by Burke, a known anti-PPP activist and critic of the Ali-led administration.