Home African Caribbean Public Protest To The Awards Committee Of Africa Prosperity Network (APN) About Guyana President’s Nomination

Public Protest To The Awards Committee Of Africa Prosperity Network (APN) About Guyana President’s Nomination

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Dear Director,
African Guyanese organizations have noted with dismay the decision of the Africa Prosperity Network (APN) to present the “Global Africa Leadership Award” to the President of Guyana, Mohammed Irfaan Ali.

We have submitted the attached document to the APN calling on them to rescind the award and forward a copy for your information.
Olive Cannings Sampson
Chief Executive Officer
International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly – Guyana (IDPADA-G)
Lot 14 North Road, Bourda, Georgetown, GUYANA
General: 592 223 8852-3
Mobile: 592 624 9910

17 January 2024

To: The Awards Committee, Africa Prosperity Network (APN), #5, 4th Dade Walk, Labone – Accra, Ghana

From: The Undersigned African Organizations in Guyana

Subject: A Call to Rescind the Award of the “Global Africa Leadership Award” to the President of Guyana, Mohammed Irfaan Ali. Given the implications of awards conferred by bodies such as the Africa Prosperity Network (APN), it has generally become a tradition that intense scrutiny, involving public discourse is undertaken by the awarding body before an award is conferred on any world leader. This is because awards serve as a recognition of exemplary leadership and achievements, thus, critical examination and evaluation of the recipients’ credentials are made.
It is, on that basis, therefore, that we, the undersigned leaders of African organizations living in Guyana and who have firsthand experience of the leadership of President Mohammed Irfaan Ali and his Government call on the leadership of the Africa Prosperity Network (APN) to rescind the bestowment of the award upon President Ali because of the highlighted concerns that deserve thoughtful reflection by APN and by extension, the people of African descent regardless of where they live and what organizations they may represent.
Background Mr. Ali was sworn in as President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana 2 August 2020 on the basis of a recount which unearthed massive irregularities in terms of fraudulent votes and ballots for which the
documentation could not be located. In addition to coming to power under such circumstances, the Ali regime has systemically defied the country’s constitution by refusing to include the people’s representatives at the parliamentary level and the local levels. This, in effect, excludes the representatives of the people of African descent since the opposition in parliament got its mandate largely from the people of African descent. In an ethnically polarized society like Guyana, where people of African descent constitute 30 percent of the population, one would have expected the Government of President Ali to implement policies that are inclusive and considerate of all the ethnic compositions of Guyana.
His government instead has focused on enriching mainly his Indian ethnic grouping, all thenwhile excluding people of African descent from opportunities such as employment, access to state lands, and other Government resources. The announcement of the award was made as we commemorated the first anniversary of the brutal and inhumane removal of African Guyanese from their homes, farms, and businesses in Cane View, Mocha Arcadia – a historic African village.
For APN to bestow an award on a racist whose oppressive Government policy have caused untold suffering for Afro-Guyanese would cause one to question whether the motive of the APN is really to promote the prosperity of the African people as implied by the name of the organization.

Economic Conditions
The economic conditions of people of African descent have deteriorated exponentially under successive PPP Governments, including this present PPP Government led by President Ali. In his essay, “Ethnic power and ideological racism: Comparing presidencies in Guyana”, Mr. Frederick Kissoon, of Indian heritage, considered the racism against Afro-Guyanese as being “ideological.”
This ideologically driven racism aims to exclude Africans from any wealth consequently leaving them not only ignorant of issues that affect their daily lives but also, vulnerable to further exploitation and abuse. In 1992, when the PPP Government came into office, for example, there were 11 black rice millers. Today, there is only one black rice miller.
The PPP pushed them out of business. Although the population of Indian descent in Guyana constitutes about 37 percent of the national population, the Government awards them 95 percent of the contracts.
In terms of state employment, it is important to note that because of our post emancipation experience, Afro Guyanese opted to find employment in the traditional public service. It was Afro Guyanese Teachers and Educators pre- and post-independence that helped willingly and lovingly the Indo-Guyanese to access education and other opportunities. Yet successive PPP administrations have been hostile to and refuse to consult with the Trade Unions representing those workers. As a means of further impoverishment, Guyanese public servants continue to be underpaid. Revenues streaming from the enormous oil wealth are being channeled to projects such as roads mainly in Indian communities.
Contracts to execute these infrastructural projects are also largely awarded to individuals from one ethnicity. This is a well-planned racism to hinder the social and economic movement of black people. This is public knowledge that APN can easily verify should diligent investigations be conducted before conferring any award.
In 2006, the Government built a bridge over the Berbice River. Engineer studies identified the crossing to be on the East Bank of the Berbice River at a place near Stanleytown and on the West Bank of Berbice river, the village of Ithaca. Both of these communities are populated by the majority of Afro-Guyanese. International lending agencies refused to grant the loan to construct this bridge when the PPP changed the bridge’s location on the East and the West side, to the communities populated by Indo-Guyanese. Mind you, the cost to build the bridge was almost double the original estimate. The PPP took money from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and established a business group to own and manage the bridge to a company dominated by Indo-Guyanese.
In successive local and national elections, the PPP has lost polls in the municipalities of Georgetown, New Amsterdam and Linden. These areas are also predominately occupied by Afro-Guyanese.
In office, the PPP administration led by Irfaan Ali have been hostile and have refused to cooperate with the Mayor and Councillors of those three African dominated Municipalities.
The above is a microcosm of the studied marginalization of Afro-Guyanese in Guyana. For you to award Ali, it constitutes an affront to the Afro-Guyanese and we hereby express our objection to the proposal.
Democratic Governance
Another critical aspect deserving attention is the state of democratic governance in Guyana.
There is egregious evidence that President Ali and his PPP-led Government are authoritarian and undemocratic. This is a Government that has been accused of murdering over 1,400 people of African descent.
Fierce critics of their racist policies such as Courtney Crum-E-Wing and Ronald Waddell were gunned down in cold blood. Other critics such as Mark Benschop were imprisoned on fabricated treason charges. Recently, the Irfaan Ali-led PPP government has attempted to silence Afro Guyanese living in the diaspora such as Rickford Burke and Melly Mel. Indian brothers and sisters who speak out against their racism such as former Army Lieutenant Malcolm Haripaul have either been attacked or their lives threatened.
A thorough evaluation of President Ali’s commitment to democratic values is paramount when considering the bestowal of a Global Leadership Award.

Environmental Stewardship
Global leadership, especially in the 21st century, requires a commitment to environmental sustainability. Guyana’s indigenous people who constitute about 14 percent of the national population live in the hinterland regions of the country. In addition to their continued exclusion from the national patrimony, their efforts to protect the environment such as at Chinese Landing, (a place in the interior of Guyana) the way they have done for thousands of years is being undermined by the Irfaan Ali-led PPP Government.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has lamented the Government’s treatment of our indigenous peoples, including their forceful removal from their ancestral lands. By working to safeguard the interests of the powerful rich, mining in the Chinese Landing area has affected the biodiversity and the livelihoods of the indigenous people.

Social Issues
Further, before recognition for any award, a leader must consider critical social issues.
In Guyana, the Ali Government has not been inclusive, one of the bases for being selected by APN. It has practiced barefaced exclusion against people of African descent, the indigenous population, and even those of his ethnicity who are critical of his exclusionary policies. Human rights continue to be abused by a politicized police force and social justice has been undermined. Case in point is the murder of the “Henry boys” immediately after assuming office in 2020. The Irfaan Ali government blocked efforts to have an independent body investigate these murders. To date, no justice has been served. When the parents demanded justice, the government instructed the police to arrest their parents. Both mothers of the murdered boys fell ill while pursuing justice.
We, therefore, believe that human rights, inclusivity, and social justice are integral components of effective leadership and a detailed examination of his policies and actions in these areas and towards African Guyanese is necessary before endorsing the Global Africa Leadership Award.
Awards from a Prestigious Organization such as yours should be given if the recipient has served with Honor and Dignity over a long period. Since this Award is to an individual, President Irfaan Ali has only held this Office since August 2020, a relatively short time. There is no evidence within his own Party or the Nation of Guyana and the wider Caribbean Community that he has done anything noteworthy that deserves your Accolade. It may be that your analysis is based on information garnered from a media that is with few exceptions State-controlled.

1. Hamilton Greene, Former Prime Minister of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana
2. The Pan African Development Foundation
3. Ghana Day Association (GDA)
4. African Cultural Development Association (ACDA)
5. People of African Descent Farmers Association
6. 1823 East Coast Demerara Revolution Committee
7. Coordinating Council, International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly – Guyana
8. Coordinating Committee for the United Nations Association of Guyana
9. Cuffy 250 Committee
10. Pan African Movement (Guyana Branch)
11. First of August Movement



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