Head of State Donald Ramotar, in his Independence Day message to the nation on Sunday evening at the National Park has committed the nation to continue working with the international community on global issues, including the fight against climate change.
Ramotar told the packed National Park audience that “Our country has earned the international reputation of being one of the leaders in the fight against climate change and to better prepare the world to confront the challenges associated with it.”
According to Ramotar, climate change “is the greatest challenge of our time and Guyana stands in the front ranks of the struggle even though we play no part in creating this problem…We will continue to work within the framework of the United Nations process towards a global agreement on Climate Change by 2015.”
Ramotar observed that in the process, Guyana has built an important alliance with the Kingdom of Norway.
“This relationship is now being recognised as a model for other countries to emulate…Recently, Indonesia adopted a similar project to save its forests.”
The President said too that Guyana is also working closely with the international community, mainly the United Nations, the United States and the United Kingdom in fighting international crimes which include the fight against drug dealers, money launderers and other global criminals.
“Our work with the international community will become even more intensive as we are confronted with many global issues… Global problem must be solved by governments taking common positions…These engagements are vital in also promoting the welfare of our own country.”
Turning his attention to the domestic economy, Ramotar lauded the fact that Guyana has had real consecutive economic growth every year since 2006.
This represents the longest period of uninterrupted real economic growth since independence in 1966.
“It is no mean achievement… It is one that all Guyanese must be proud of.”
Ramotar urged the nation to recall that this was being accomplished at a time when the international economy was rocked by a series of international financial and economic crises from 2007.
“In spite of these negative global developments which impacted on the price for our main exports and imports our country pushed ahead….Last year the economy grew by more than five per cent.”
He lamented the fact that the growth figure would have been much greater, but one of the big contributors to the economy, sugar, was experiencing many difficulties since the abandonment of the Sugar Protocol by Europe in 2010, which saw the price being cut by 36 per cent.
“That the industry survived this and that the country continues to grow in spite of this, demonstrates the resilience of our economy and of the sugar industry.”
Growth, he said, was experienced in mining.
“Significantly, we recorded the highest declaration of gold last year. We surpassed the level reached at the peak of Omai’s operations here…We have also seen a surge in rice production in which records were also broken.”
According to the President, the nation must congratulate the workers, miners and business men and women for the tremendous contributions they have been making to the expansion and diversification of the economy.
“Our private sector has made significant achievements in every area of endeavour…Much investments are taking place in mining, agriculture, tourism, commerce and information based technology.”
He observed too that the service sector has also grown steadily and is making an important contribution to our economic progress.
The President said too that over the years Guyana has also seen the massive development in the construction sector, another area for growth.
“Clearly we have laid and are continuing to lay a solid foundation for greater and faster progress in the future… To do so, we need to have improved infrastructure.”
The President used the occasion to once again point out that the main impediment to faster economic growth is the lack of cheap energy.
“We need this to provide for a strong industrial and processing sector. We need it to add value to much of what we produce today…We need it too, to ensure that our domestic consumers have cheap and reliable power in their homes.
Cheaper energy he said is vitally needed so that Guyana can reduce the importation of fossil fuel and to be able to save the nine billion dollars each year which is used to subsidise electricity charges.
“I have every confidence that cheap energy will stimulate rapid economic growth and facilitate job creations in every sector….That is why it was such a national tragedy that our National Assembly did not unanimously support the Amaila Falls Hydro Project last year.”
The President noted that it took four years of negotiations to have reached that stage in 2013 and all of that has been lost.
“But we are determined to get this project; already we have recommenced the search and opportunities to bring hydropower to our country…We will also pursue other forms of cheap, reliable and renewable (green) energy in the future… These will include wind, solar and co-generation.”
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