A timely message Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
July 24, 2002

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THE open letter to the people of Guyana from former United States President, Mr. Jimmy Carter is timely and one that should be heeded by all those concerned about the future of the country.

Mr. Carter has been closely involved with Guyana since he first helped broker the key electoral reforms which paved the way for Guyana's return to the fold of democratic nations with the historic October 5, 1992 elections.

Those elections marked a critical turn in the affairs of this country, ending almost 30 years of fraudulent elections and allowing Guyanese once again the chance to elect a government of their choice.

Touching on that period, Mr. Carter in his letter says, "Guyanese are capable of tremendous vision and leadership. I recall (former) President (Desmond) Hoyte's crucial decisions - against the will of many in his own party - to reform the economy and bring free and fair elections to his country. When the recent history of Guyana is written, there should be no doubt of his significant contribution."

Mr. Carter also says that President Bharrat Jagdeo, "young and energetic - has already made his mark on leadership. He has shown a willingness to engage civil society to shape an inclusive and harmonious future for all Guyanese."

For the former U.S. President, the Guyanese people have a special place in his heart and he, like so many Guyanese, is clearly worried about recent developments here.

He is a respected international mediator whose voice and views carry weight around the world and the fact that he has taken time out to write a public letter of concern about Guyana speaks volumes.

"The Carter Center has worked in more than 65 countries around the world, but I hold a special place in my heart for the Guyanese people. For this reason I am deeply troubled by recent events, especially the fatal incidents of July 3", he says in the letter.

"Guyana is at a crossroads. The decisions facing the leaders of the major parties are between a path of self-destruction or a positive future for all the people of Guyana", he adds.

Others here and those representing the major western nations have condemned the events of July 3 which saw the unprecedented storming of the Office of the President complex by a group of illegal protesters and an upsurge of violence in the city later that day.

These developments and the continuing spate of violent crimes resulting in the murder of policemen and civilians have sent shockwaves across the nation and among the large Guyanese community overseas.

People are worried and are growing more worried with each fresh assault, but Guyanese together have to rally against the forces that threaten the fabric of the society.

Mr. Carter notes the "signs of serious strain" being put on the "fragile democratic foundations upon which Guyana must build" and the wider society and all leaders have to sit up and take note of his message.

It is a message of care and concern and an appeal that should be heeded.

This is a timely initiative from Mr. Carter and we join with all those hoping that those most concerned will take note.