An informal opinion poll conducted by this writer reveals that Prime Minister Mark Phillips and the Ministerial delegation that he led on the US visit earlier this month was very well received. The PM impressed his audience everywhere. He was viewed favorably by everyone I interviewed for an informal poll. They gave him very high ratings. The PM and the Ministerial and investment delegation visited the Miami area as well as the greater New York area.
The PM and his ministerial team (Collin Croal from Housing, Gail Texeira from Parliamentary Affairs, and Oneidge Walrond Allicock of Tourism) received very high ratings with everyone, including critics and supporters of PNC (and APNU) praising him. In Miami, the team interacted with investors and Guyanese diaspora. In NY, the PM and his delegation was hosted at several receptions and engaged the diaspora on investment at several meetings in addition to giving an update on the situation at home. He and the delegation also visited several Mandirs and churches and engaged leaders of the Islamic community as well as members of non religious organizations. They were given a very cordial welcome everywhere. Head of Goinvest, Peter Ramsaroop, and Minister Oneidge did not visit New York with the PM as they were recalled home to prepare for the President’s impending state visit to Dubai.
In speeches everywhere, Prime Minister Mark Phillips repeatedly urged people to celebrate “our diversity and oneness of Guyana” for which he was cheered and saluted.
Every Guyanese this writer interviewed gave the PM as well as the delegation a thumbs up similar to their response to the visit by the President and Vice President to New York in September. No one interviewed had any unfavorable things to say about the PM. Even in Brooklyn, the PM and his delegation was cordially received with the PM engaging a handful of detractors and shaking hands with them, telling them “we are all one Guyanese” and that the PPP/C led government is promoting the concept of one Guyana.
Guyanese in the diaspora were/are very pleased with the visit praising the PM and his team for the engagement. In spite of Covid, there was much enthusiasm to meet the PM with relatively large gatherings in attendance at every event but with anti-Covid protocols observed.
Those who interacted with or followed the PM on social media said they were most impressed with his remarks, humility, style, and mannerism and his respect for other people’s faith.
The PM was described by the diaspora as warm, friendly, humble, polite, affable, articulate, and respectable. Congregants at the places of worship flocked the PM and the Ministers (Croal and Texeira) for photo. Worshippers lined up to take pictures with the PM – a measure of the warmth exuded towards him at the mandirs and elsewhere. At the Tulsi Mandir in Richmond Hill, the PM and Minister Croal and other members of the delegation sat cross legged on the carpeted floor listening in rapt attention to Pandit Lakheram Maraj as he delivered his updesh or religious discourse during that auspicious period of Navratri. Humility is the embodiment of Hinduism and the congregation was very impressed by the behavior and behavior of the PM, Minister Croal, and Joe Yussuf, and other dignitaries fitting in with the rest of the congregation.
PM Mark Phillips remarks on unity in diversity and the government’s support for religious and cultural freedom of all groups was well received. People were very pleased to hear the PM say that the PPP/C government does not discriminate in employment practices or in any other aspects of governance. He reiterated: “We are a government of and for all groups. National policies are geared towards the prosperity of all”. Towards this end, the PM embraced a well known perennial critic of the PPP in Brooklyn telling him and other detractors, “We all have to work towards the improvement of Guyana”.
The Brooklyn based Guyana America Chamber of Commerce was also very receptive of the PM and praised his leadership style saying it was honored to host and welcome the Prime Minister. The organization had hosted Mr. Phillip’s predecessor before the March 2020 election which was won by the PPP/C, the party affiliated by Mr. Phillips.