More value for money, root-out corruption in 2012 – President in New Year’s message
President Donald Ramotar pledged that in the New Year his government will work resolutely on a developmental agenda that guarantees value for money in the delivery of public goods and services and to bring an end to corruption. In his New Year’s message to the nation the Head of State promised quality in the social services, improvement in the physical infrastructure, a greater and higher standards of living for every Guyanese.
“We have always believed that economic growth must be accompanied by social development which ensures that all of our people, without exception, benefit from the progressive improvements in the economy in the form of a better standard of living,” President Ramotar said. In a society that is multi-ethnic President Ramotar said there should be more opportunities for Guyanese to realise their fullest potential in a safe and cohesive society, based on tolerance, understanding, solidarity and the rule of law. The New Year, the Head of State believes, will be a defining moment in the country’s history that can be realized if pitfalls are avoided and the opportunities to sustain the progress made over the years are grasped.
But with countries in Europe still grappling with volatility from the economic crisis and natural disasters lurking from climate change, President Ramotar said Guyana is still at risk of facing the impacts. The activities of mankind are still to be blamed for the environmental challenges faced and President Ramotar pointed a finger to the continued emission of green house gases into the atmosphere which if not curtailed or halted “can have a catastrophic effect on our world and our very way of life.”
“The international community has recognized that we have to embrace new approaches and models of development. No longer can we adopt traditional approaches which have led to economic growth but have inflicted great harm to the environment,” President Ramotar said. Through the Low Carbon Development Strategy Guyana has gained international acclaim and has influenced heightened national awareness and support for our climate change initiatives. The second largest forest carbon partnership with the Government of Norway is one such example.
President vowed that in 2012 work will continue to towards maintaining the momentum of progress made in the implementation of the strategy which enables Guyana to continue preserving its valued natural asset without sacrificing social and economic development.
“In this effort we will continue to embrace a national approach so that all Guyanese can be aware, be involved and also be beneficiaries of the opportunities our climate initiatives and the LCDS will bring,” President Ramotar said.
Guyana earned US$70M through the forest carbon partnership agreement. The money is secured in the Guyana Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Investment Fund (GRIF) that was established in October 2010.
Guyana primed for second wave of take-off– President Ramotar
President Donald Ramotar reflected in part on the accomplishments made by the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) during the year and noted that Guyana is now on a solid platform and is primed for a second wave of reforms. Delivering his New Year’s address to the nation, the Head of State pointed to the growth rate which the economy achieved for the sixth consecutive year despite the well known challenges in the international climate.
“Our main trading partners in Europe and North America are experiencing serious financial and economic problems. The difficulties have impacted heavily on our region with many countries facing serious economic problems. In spite of this adverse international environment, Guyana has done well,” President Ramotar said. This achievement was credited by the President to a resilient economy which he said has been progressively fortified over the past two decades by the prudent economic policies pursued by successive PPP/C administrations.
The Guyanese economy was hailed in an International Monetary Fund (IMF) country report for demonstrating resilience and recording a fifth consecutive year of robust growth for 2010 even in the face of external and domestic shocks. Additionally, the 2011 mid-year report was presented to the National Assembly showing a 5.9 percent growth rate in the economy that was described as an ‘enviable’ figure anywhere in the world. The Government credited such achievements to low fiscal deficit and debt, strong external reserves, stability in the exchange rate and low interest rates and containment of inflation to single digits.
“All Guyana should be proud of the health of our economy and the impressive strides our country has made. The sustained economic growth has ensured continued improvements in the social services in our country,” President Ramotar said. He turned this attention to the social sectors noting that more of the country’s children are enjoying better access to improving educational facilities and are acquiring life skills while quality health care and specialized treatment are expanding and more Guyanese today have access to potable water than ever before.
“Our young people continue to benefit from opportunities to prepare them for today’s challenges and tomorrow’s possibilities; our workers’ are benefitting from improved remuneration; and the elderly and vulnerable Guyanese are receiving enhanced support and attention. Notably too, the agriculture, mining, construction and services sectors as well as other emerging sectors are all expanding,” President Ramotar said.
The year was one in which Guyanese went to the polls at the general and regional elections. President Ramotar described the process as a renewal of democracy and another step in the consolidation and entrenchment of democratic norms in our national life. The PPP/C captured 48.6 percent of the votes and secured 32 seats in the National Assembly while the opposition parties combined won the majority 33 seats.
“It has created a new political situation in the country. We can see this as an opportunity to work together to take this country forward in achieving national unity, security and social and economic prosperity,” President Ramotar said. Since taking office the President has been in consultation with the opposition in keeping with his promise but believes that its success will depend on genuine cooperation on important issues instead of striking deals or to gang up against one partner.