International Day of Parliamentarianism 2022
Message of His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana
I am pleased to join the members of the United Nations family in extending best wishes and greetings to all members of national legislatures, on the occasion of International Day of Parliamentarianism 2022.
This year’s observances are intended to focus on the theme of “public engagement”. Indeed, public engagement is essential in making our legislators more receptive and responsive to their constituents – the people.
Guyana’s Constitution reminds us that sovereignty belongs to the people and is exercised through their elected representatives. Among the democratic organs in which this sovereignty is exercised is our Parliament.
Electoral democracy is the foundation of the exercise of the people’s sovereignty. The Caribbean Court of Justice, Guyana’s apex court has declared that “elections that are free, fair, transparent and accountable are the lifeblood of a true democracy.” Violations of electoral democracy constitute an assault on the right of people to freely elect the government of their choice, and thus the exercise of their sovereignty.
Public engagement strengthens the bonds which should exist between our elected representatives and the people. As the Global Parliamentary Report 2022, produced by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, notes, public engagement builds public trust, makes legislators more responsive to and respectful of the public’s concerns, ensures a space for civic discourse and provides a voice for the people.
On this International Day of Parliamentarianism, I join in urging continued respect for democratic norms. I also encourage public engagement, between our elected representatives and the people, as one of the principal means of strengthening and enhancing the representative character of our National Assembly.
Dr. Mohammed Irfaan Ali
President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana