Dec 16, 2010 News
…But projects not yet approved
One week after fuming that Guyana had not received a cent from Norway because of World Bank delays, President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday insisted he was not quarreling about the money not coming in.
Rather, he said, he was just using Guyana as an example to illustrate the lack of movement on so called REDD-Plus models in which forest-rich nations have to develop national plans to spend money they could get from rich countries to preserve the forest.
“Guyana’s case is not that we ain’t get the money yet, but it took us so long to negotiate something so simple,” Jagdeo told a press conference at his Presidential Complex in Georgetown. The “something simple” Jagdeo said was the setting up of a current account at the World Bank, something he said that could take a day, but instead took over a year, given that the process started in September 2009.
So, where is the money? The President said the first tranche -US$30 million – has been deposited into the World Bank account. So what he was agitating about in Cancun at an event organized by a non-governmental organisation, is not that Guyana doesn’t have the money, but about the time intermediary agencies like the World Bank take, given that they are part of the process in developing national REDD Plans.
“When I sat on that stage there, Guyana was a leader and the builder of a global model for REDD Plus,” Jagdeo stated.
He said that “hopefully” by January the money would start going into projects.
The first tranche of the money, the President has said, would be spent placing a solar panel in every Amerindian home, hiring surveyors to demarcate Amerindian lands, and giving Amerindian communities a maximum of US$25,000 to transform their village economies.
While President Jagdeo said the money is available, the projects still have to await approval from the steering committee of the Guyana REDD Investment Fund, through which the money from Norway is being channeled to Guyana.
At a forum set up by Avoided Deforestation Partners in Cancun two Wednesday’s ago, Jagdeo said that Guyana has not received a cent yet from Norway under the five-year agreement valued at US$250 million.
Yesterday, President Jagdeo said that Guyana would receive, in addition to the first tranche of US$30 million, another US$40 million, which would be the second tranche, by the first quarter of next year.
“We don’t have a problem with all the safeguards, particularly ensuring the money is not spent in a corrupt way,” he told a gathering at the Marriott Hotel in Cancun. “You can do hundreds of audits, but just let us move forward.”
Norway has insisted that it wants to see results, and has appointed the World Bank to manage the delivery of the funds. Jadgeo said yesterday the World Bank is getting US$700,000 to manage the funds, or as he put it, “to do nothing.”
In Cancun, the President insisted that Guyana had fulfilled the conditions to receive payment from Norway a year ago, but that “we have not seen a single cent expended as yet on the projects that are so vital to transformation.”
On the panel with Jagdeo at the Marriott Hotel was Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.
President Jagdeo said that he agreed with Prime Minister Stoletenburg that Norway would want to see results and ensure the money is spent properly, but insisted that Guyana has delivered but still can’t get the money.
The World Bank envoy Andrew Steer has insisted that the World Bank would do the job it was asked to do by Norway.
Yesterday, President Jagdeo, responding to a published report by Steer, said that the World Bank envoy reported that he was misquoted. He has promised to make that memorandum public.
In turn, Kaieteur News would provide a recording of the interview with Steer.
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