News Americas, GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Fri. July 22, 2011: The Working Peoples Alliance Party of Guyana is condemning what it claims is the banning of distinguished Professor Clive Thomas from a workshop sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on diplomacy.
The party, in a statement, said Dr. Thomas was invited to the workshop and then disinvited on the grounds that he is associated with the new opposition association, APNU (A Partnership For National Unity), that is set to contest the upcoming general elections in the South American nation.
Thomas was reportedly asked to nominate another person to give the lecture. “This is the first time that I have been asked for political reasons to no longer participate in an agreed training workshop for either public or private employees since I have been working at the University of Guyana,” Thomas was quoted as saying.
The WPA called the move “another giant step in the direction of a full -fledged dictatorship.”
“The silly excuse by the Minister of Foreign Affairs that everyone could not be invited has only further exposed the nastiness,” said the statement, in reaction to a claim by Foreign Minister, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett that Thomas was not rejected because of APNU but because “not everyone could have been invited.”
“Professor Thomas has been involved in National Politics for over four decades. He has been a leader of the WPA since its birth in 1974. The WPA is part of APNU. Dr. Thomas has been publicly involved in that process. Has the PPP now discovered this? In any case what does Professor Thomas’ political affiliation have to do with him delivering a lecture on a topic on which he is an acknowledged expert?”
“There is no turning back now. This government must go now,” the WPA added.
APNU, launched last week, says the aim is to establish a government of national unity, headed by David Arthur Granger of the Peoples National Congress Reform. Guyana’s current President, Bharrat Jagdeo will not seek the office again but the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic has announced that Donald Ramoutar will be their Presidential candidate going into this election.
Among the workshop panelists are former Foreign Affairs Ministers, Rashleigh Jackson and Rudy Insanally as well as Ambassador, Rudy Collins; India’s High Commissioner to Guyana, Subit Kumar; Chairman if the Guyana Geology and Mines Commisison, Retired Major General, Joseph Singh and the Director General of Caricom’s Office for Trade Negotiations, Ambassador Gail Mathurin as well as Civil Society representative, Joceylyn Dow and Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC).