President David Granger has responded to Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo, who has criticized the Government for having no clear climate change policy and for sending someone to the United Nations (UN) climate change summit who does not understand the concept.
Guyana’s representative is Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman; but his selection has been disparaged by Jagdeo. In a press conference on Saturday, he had described Trotman as having a “vague understanding” of climate change concepts and not making his position known.
Granger (presently on the island of Malta for the commonwealth summit) called Jagdeo’s comments misplaced, unfair and unhelpful. He noted that Guyana has challenges and if Guyana presents a united front, the national interests would be better served.
Granger also declared that there is a conceptual difference to environmental management than the previous People’s Progressive Party (PPP) administration. He took Jagdeo to task, noting that to “attack” a representative of the Government was not a behavior expected from a former Head of State.
“If he has a strong view, we can meet, sit down and discuss it,” Granger said. “We are an inclusive government and we are prepared to sit down and benefit from his experience.”
“But to stay afar off and start to attack a representative of the present Government is not the behavior we expect of a former Head of State. We are not at war with the PPP. We were the ones who held out a hand of friendship and I would welcome Jagdeo sitting down and giving us the sort of brief that I feel the new government is entitled to.”
Expanding on how the Government’s approach was different from the PPP’s, the Head of State said that the modified policy focuses on the development of a green economy, which covers areas beyond just the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).
“Many people got the impression that the whole idea, or a large part of the motivation under the previous administration, was simply to get funds,” he said.
“The result is that many people did not really understand how the strategy would work for them. So it is partly a question of public information (and) partly a question of considering climate change in a holistic way.”
“We have to ensure that there is a strategy for developing a truly green economy. The previous administration never even used the word green economy. It was just LCDS and funds. That is all it was. But now we are talking about the real green economy of which LCDS will be part. We are the first people to speak about that.”
Touting a vision of overall ecological and environmental management, the President said that climate change is not a money-making venture.
“It is not a device to get money from one country and simply transfer it. It is a means of transforming the economy. It is not a transfer of funds. It is a whole conceptual difference we are talking about”, he said.
At his press conference on Saturday, Jagdeo had expressed the hope that Granger would attend the conference, since heads of state are given a platform to speak ahead of mere government Ministers.
However, Granger has indicated that he will not be attending the summit since he needs to focus on domestic issues. He nevertheless indicated that Guyana will be well represented.
“I would have liked to go to Paris but it is difficult to spend that amount of time out of the country right now. There are things at home that need my attention. I had to make a decision. It was a difficult decision but I do believe that it is in the national interest”, Granger said.
The draft Climate Resilience Strategy and Action Plan (CRSAP) has been released by Government, outlining its strategy. The document comes at a time when Guyana is slated to feature at the United Nations (UN) climate change summit, which runs from today until December 11th in Paris, France.
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