Guyana President to address Opening Session of Summit

Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar arrived at Vigie Aiurport Monday afternoon with his delegation for this week’s CARICOM, where they were met by Guyana’s Honorary Consul in St. Lucia Lokesh Singh, who said his country’s Executive President “will do more here than just attend the Caricom summit.”
Mr Singh said, “The President will do like all his predecessors and will take time off to meet the large Guyanese community here and members of the Guyana-St. Lucia Association.”
It’s indeed President Ramotar’s first visit since his election, but his arrival here is what every one of his predecessors has done. He will be attending the Heads of Government meeting, but he’ll also find time to meet Guyanese resident here — and to see those parts of St. Lucia his gracious hosts would most like to show him.
President Ramotar, Guyana’s sixth President, succeeded two-term predecessor Mr Bharrat Jagdeo, who succeeded (the country’s first and only woman President) Mrs Janet Jagan, who succeeded her husband Dr Cheddi Jagan, who succeeded Mr Desmond Hoyte, who succeeded Guyana’s first President of the Republic, Mr Forbes Burnham.
Each of Ramotar’s predecessors attended previous Caricom meetings in St. Lucia over the decades, starting with President Burnham, who attended one of the first regional integration meetings here. Cheddi and Janet Jagan both attended summits here, as did Hoyte and Jagdeo.
St. Lucia has also featured prominently in the recent history of Guyana.
Janet Jagan and Desmond Hoyte held a historic meeting here in 2000 in the shadows of that year’s Caricom Summit, during which they shook hands publicly for the first time since she was elected. It was a volatile time in Guyana that included almost daily street protests and the two political leaders, as President and Opposition leader, signed a declaration that changed the course of politics in Guyana.
That agreement was significant. For the first time, the Guyana (PPP/Civic) Government agreed that no elected President shall serve more than two terms; and the Opposition (PNC) agreed to call off its protests against the election of Janet Jagan, the country’s first woman President.
Janet Jagan completed the term she inherited from her husband, but she didn’t seek a second term, instead supporting the candidacy of Bharrat Jagdeo, who, at 34, became the country’s youngest president. Jagdeo would easily win a second term, but was barred from a possible third term by the Jagan-Hoyte concordat.
Jagdeo, a Soviet-trained economist, last visited St. Lucia as President during the Commonwealth Finance Ministers meeting of October 2008.
Ramotar, who is also General Secretary of the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP), has spent his first year in office and will take time off while here to address the Guyana-St Lucia Association.
Consul Singh says the association has planned this activity to allow the relatively new President “to both formally and socially meet the many, many Guyanese in St Lucia.”
Not all of the thousands of Guyanese in St Lucia will attend, but those who do will hear from President Ramotar what his government’s plans are for the future of Guyana in the present national, regional and international context, as well as more about the plans and economic prospects related to the discovery of oil in waters off Guyana.
As Guyana’s sixth President of the Republic and its newest, Ramotar will address the opening ceremony of the summit, along with the Prime Minister of Jamaica Portia Simpson, who was also recently elected.
But before he returns home he will be celebrated by the local Guyanese community at the Indies Conference Centre on Thursday (July 5th) starting from 6:30pm—where he will also pay tribute to them in much the same way that they have paid reverence to every other visiting Guyana President.

Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar.

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