President Jagdeo calls for collective resolve against crime
By Sherwin Campbell
Guyana Chronicle
December 7, 2002

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PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday repeated a pledge to use all his strength and all the resources at his disposal in the fight against crime and urged all other Guyanese to join.

Delivering the feature address at an Eid-Ul-Fitr function in Peter’s Hall masjid, East Bank Demerara to mark the end of fasting by Muslims, he told the gathering that the battle is not an easy one.
“Those who preceded us never gave up on the struggle and I know this month, the Holy Month of Ramadhan, will help, in many ways, to strengthen our collective resolve to continue that struggle," the Head of State said.

Describing the death of the young policeman shot by gunmen in Georgetown Tuesday as "senseless" and "in the most brutal fashion", President Jagdeo said it highlighted the need for all to join forces in the anti-crime campaign.

He said: ”Today in Guyana, while I respect the efforts of many people who are trying to work towards bringing greater understanding, like the Social Partners, we are still negotiating a communique on crime.

"Why is it so hard for all of us to condemn crime and support the forces of law and order unequivocally, that we have to negotiate a communique?" the President asked.

He went on: "If we collectively resolve to fight this, if you are prepared to make the same sacrifices you made during the Holy Month of Ramadhan, then we will be able to carve a society that will allow all of us to live in peace and harmony.

"Every religion, every race, every Guyanese is equal here in this country and we must constantly strive and fight to preserve that equality," President Jagdeo said.

Referring again to the issue, he pointed out that, while negotiations have to take place for a communique to condemn crime, we still have to bring up our children, practice our religion and go to our work in that environment.

"We have to work towards changing it, changing a culture where some people constantly preach hate rather than love, where people go on the television and push racism," Mr Jagdeo said.

Continuing, he said: ”I know Islam is intolerant to racism but people openly push racism in a country like ours, a multi-ethnic country where every citizen has an equal place.”

President Jagdeo expressed the desire for Muslim brothers and sisters and all Guyanese, while trying to emulate the virtues, the compassion, the care and the tolerance that this period basically preaches, will also be prepared to sacrifice for other causes.

"In many ways, our country calls upon us to sacrifice today, make lots of sacrifices," he said, issuing a call for all Guyanese to be indignant and uncompromising with those who try to divide people along either religious or racial lines.

"It is only by speaking up and speaking out, everyone of us in our own way, that this will happen in this country," Mr Jagdeo said.

"I know our Muslims brothers and sisters have the resolve and the commitment to continue to struggle for that life in Guyana where all our people are seen as equals and they are not branded in certain categories that could be demeaning or targeted because of the way they look," he asserted.

Extending Eid greetings on behalf of the Government and people of Guyana to the Muslim community, the President remarked that attending Peter's Hall masjid to celebrate the end of Ramadhan is now a tradition for him and no amount of adversities or problems will prevent him from continuing.

“We are celebrating Eid today, after a month long period of fasting, a month long period of sacrifice, a month long period in which Muslims across our country and across the world sit with their families and rekindle certain values and I have always been an ardent admirer of values preached by Islam,” he said.

The President hailed Islam as a force for change, change for good in many parts of the world, as its history teaches.

He said Islam was formed through struggles and it has overcome many adversaries.

Saying he is optimistic about the country moving forward in a more enlightened way, President Jagdeo invoked the blessings of the Holy Prophet upon Muslims and other people in Guyana.

United States (U.S.) Ambassador to Guyana, Mr Ronald Godard, who also attended the function, conveyed greetings from the American President and people in a message he read.

Among other things, U.S. President George Bush said his nation is grateful for the friendship and support of many Muslim nations which are vital partners in the global coalition fighting against terrorism.

Godard extended his personal greetings to the local Muslim community and acknowledged their dedication to the promotion of peace and compassion.

At the conclusion of the programme, President Jagdeo and Ambasador Godard helped distribute packages to charity.

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