On Thursday 8th July 2011, A.P.N.U Presidential Candidate, Brigadier (ret) David Granger and Campaign Director, Mr. Joseph Harmon met with the Rastafarian Council to determine if there was opportunity for them to work together to ensure that the growing Rastafarian community would have their issues and concerns properly represented and addressed by an A.P.N.U Government. The community was represented by a group of nine which included Ras Leon Saul, Ras Simion, Ras Benjie, Ras Nine, Sister Cole, and RaIron.
Council members expressed concerns that no one in the Government was currently representing the interests of their community. Specifically interests which include the violation of human rights in Guyana, freedom of worship, youth unemployment, police brutality, and crime, domestic violence and working conditions for single women; especially those in the security service industry who work during the night, and have no choice but to leave their children at home alone, many who fall prey to child molesters, early pregnancy, and other forms of abuse. Members acknowledged that traditionally, Rastafarians were not involved in the political process and it was noted that the meeting was in fact breaking ground and paving the way for Rastafarians to be involved as a civil group in the partnership.
A.P.N.U’s Presidential Candidate, Brigadier (ret) David Granger committed that he would work to ensure the survival of the Rastafarian community. Mr. Granger stated that issues highlighted by the council were issues which concerned Guyana’s survival as a nation. He observed that the Rastafarian religion was one of independence, strength and profound spirituality and stated that all religions have the right to practice freely in Guyana and have their members rights respected and protected.
Mr. Granger shared that the Rastafarian community had a duty to educate and teach Guyana about their religion. He stated that, “books should be published and sold in book stores to help document and teach the Rastafarian faith. This component is a critical part of the mass education of Guyanese citizens. Education is critical to the goal of building bridges and fostering acceptance of each other’s religion.” Mr. Granger further shared that it was important for the community to organize their members so as to assure representation in the assembly.
A.P.N.U Presidential Candidate shared that after 18 yrs of PPP/C rule, Guyanese are left with growing crime, a degraded educational system, massive government corruption, growing inequality and a yawning gap between the rich and the poor. Mr. Granger encouraged all citizens and civil society to join the partnership for national unity. He went on to share that, “we must believe that we can make a difference, we must believe that we can get rid of the PPP/C Government for if we don’t share the same faith, we will share the same fate”.
Presidential Candidate, Brigadier (ret) David Granger ended by stating that an A.P.N.U Government will make racial equality a priority, will ensure that Guyanese once again feel safe in their homes, will guarantee freedom of religion for all, will ensure that young people are properly educated and will return Guyana’s educational system back to a position of great prominence in the world. He also shared that an A.P.N.U Government will ensure that the business environment is conducive to investment expansion and he reiterated that an APNU Government will have zero tolerance for Government corruption.