Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB of Georgetown has commended all Guyanese for standing “tall and firm” through the whole period during which the nation was processing matters to do with governance and the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. What they have done, he said, gives very positive testimony of the nation.
“You have kept faith, sustained hope and looked out for each other in love,” Bishop Alleyne said in a pastoral letter issued June 19. The full text was published via diocesan weekly Catholic Standard.
“From this very solid position you can now turn to that part of the body, the leadership duly elected, made up of government and opposition, with legitimate expectations to have them honour your vote and act in diligent service and oversight of all matters pertaining to your well-being,” he said.
Bishop Alleyne commented that citizens have shown themselves as gifts in the hands of those elected to govern. He prayed that the whole body would forge a way forward, coming together as a whole—One People, One Nation, One Destiny—marked with the enduring gifts of faith, hope, and love.
Guyanese, in the civil domain have been on hold since the passage of the no-confidence motion on December 21, 2018.
The bishop observed that from that time until the present, the major political parties have had much to say, the Courts have spoken, diplomats and observers have added their perspective, the Elections Commission has carried out its mandate and local groups and individuals have given their views.
“What stands out in all of this is what you, the people of God of this nation, have shown,” Bishop Alleyne said.
He continued, “You have waited with patience and trust, you have admirably done your part in turning out to the polls and casting your vote. Over ten thousand persons, from among you, have supervised the voting procedure at the 2,239 polling stations and done so in a responsible manner —so proved by the statements of polls and recount.”
The bishop, cognisant that added to the matters of governance, Guyanese also had to contend with the threat of COVID-19 and have risen to the call to keep the threat of the virus at bay.
He said he has seen evident efforts on the part of many to wear their masks, to wash hands and sanitise, to keep distances and minimise gathering. This, he believes has contributed to the relatively low rates of infection from the virus.
Bishop Alleyne spoke of the many positive and creative initiatives of people working at home, accessing lessons online, etc., and many who have been celebrating their faith in their homes via various digital avenues.
While he did observe that not everyone has fully grasped the gravity of the threat of COVID-19 and not complied fully with the sacrifice to protect each other, he urged all to continue to reach out to that part of the body and draw them into the mainstream of life and love.
Bishop Alleyne mentioned reports that within some homes, relationships have been strained, more so with the lockdown and stay-at-home requirements and instances of violent behaviour. This he said is a very troubling reality and leaves terrible wounds and scars on the body of God’s people.
He asserted that at present and in the aftermath of COVID-19, an all-out and concerted effort needs to be sustained to ensure that the fullest respect is shown to all by all in an effort to remove this scourge of violence, in all its forms.
Meanwhile Guyanese-born Bishop-elect John Persaud of Mandeville, Jamaica is appealing to President David Granger and all those seeking leadership to truly put Guyana first.
“This is my country and will always be my homeland, but I pain, I hurt over what is happening,” Bishop-elect Persaud said via virtual interview with Trinity TV.
“It is time to end this nonsense and to allow us to build a nation and to bring our people together and it’s not about selfish needs and desires and needs for power, but it is about putting all Guyana first,” he said.