Jun 04, 2020 News
– raises concerns over blacklisting of countries
Foreign Minister of Guyana, Dr. Karen Cummings, yesterday participated in a video-conference with counterparts from Latin America, the Caribbean and Germany to discuss joint measures to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as well as a course of action to counter the economic impact.
In her address, Dr. Cummings expressed appreciation for the support and cooperation of partners such as Germany.
“It is our hope that the partnership will spur a stronger international response that is all encompassing to ensure equitable and fair access to medical and financial resources; allow sustained response to the pandemic; the development of holistic recovery plans; and the creation of more resilient health, social, economic, technological and research-led systems,” she stated.
German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, hosted the video-conference under the framework of Germany’s Latin America and Caribbean Initiative, which was launched in 2019.
According to Cummings “the domestic and global situation have changed drastically since our engagement in Berlin last year and unfortunately, the region finds itself trying to manage its vulnerabilities while at the same time providing the necessary social and economic structures.
“In the case of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Caribbean, COVID-19 has exacerbated the vulnerabilities and increased the susceptibility to shocks particularly at
a time when the region is preparing for the 2020 hurricane season.
“I must tell you, that in Guyana the public health measures that are being put in place are costly and negatively affecting our economy. The cost of medical equipment and supplies along with the human resource scale up required at this time, is challenging for some small countries like Guyana, where already we grapple with a vast coastland and difficult hinterland terrain.”
She said that Guyana has taken the bold step to establish a Centre for Disease Control.
“However, there is still need for critical financial support to undertake other significant and costly health system strengthening initiatives required to competently manage the spread of the Coronavirus in Guyana. In order to effectively address the COVID-19 pandemic, small economies like Guyana must rely on the availability of concessional resource availability.”
According to the Foreign Minister, Guyana’s response to the crisis through the prioritisation of public health and preservation of human resources has resulted in the diversion of already scarce resources and the seeking of new resources to combat and manage the spread of the Coronavirus.
This is despite the reduced ability of some countries to earn revenue from tourism, trade with related sectors has been severely impacted.
“Guyana remains convinced that the region’s consistent call for the adjustment of the criteria for access to concessional financing must be heeded by those who exert the greatest influence on the system to give consideration to the specific vulnerabilities faced by the Caribbean.”
The official also expressed concern about the continued placement, without consultation, of states on blacklists despite compliance with and adherence to international financial standards and best practices.
“Such continuing actions compound the region’s efforts towards sustainable development.”
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