Despite some previous criticism that may have suggested the contrary, President Irfaan Ali assured representatives of the Civil Society Forum (CSF) that civil society’s involvement “is key to Guyana’s development”.
According to a release from the Office of the President, these remarks were made at a discussion which took place at the Head of State’s offices on Shiv Chanderpaul Drive last August.
Among those present were Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall; Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, and CSF representatives, including Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB of Georgetown, and others.
CSF is a coalition of organisations, including Electoral Reform Guyana (ERG), Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), Heal Guyana, Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO), the Roman Catholic Church, and Transparency Institute Guyana Inc.
According to a Stabroek News article, President Ali told the gathering that the role of civil society has now evolved and as a result, there is more involvement in discussions regarding national advancement. Also mentioned was the “important” role of civil society in advancing ‘One Guyana’.
The release also stated that the President emphasised the importance of dialogue and discussion being a “two-way street”. Both Nandlall and Teixeira affirmed that consultation with civil society organisations is an important step not only in the legislative process but with regards to fostering inclusion and participation. They emphasised the importance of “good consultative relationships”.
The Attorney General also pointed to several key pieces of legislation which he said will require the input of civil society organisations including the constitution reform process. Members of the CSF expressed gratitude for the dialogue and their commitment to engage in the future, the release added.