Former President David Granger is of the view that the reason why Guyana has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases is because the new People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) administration abandoned the strategic plan his government left when they demitted office on August 2.
Appearing yesterday on APNU+AFC’s Insight programme, Granger was asked to weigh in on the COVID-19 situation in Guyana and he expressed concern at the alarming numbers emerging daily.
Asked what could possibly result in such high COVID-19 stats, Granger said, “What is responsible is that they abandoned the plans that they inherited on August 2.”
Giving context, Granger stated that when the PPP/C took office, they tried to “disparage” the Center For Disease Control (CDC) and they dismantled the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) that his government had implemented.
The central and commanding role of the NCTF fell under the purview of the then Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo and even this role, he added, was removed.
“I supplemented that task force with an Executive Task Force. All of this…people seem to underestimate the danger that COVID has put this country in. We were conscious of that danger and we put all of our resources to prevent the spread of the disease and now that prevention mechanism had been dismantled and the disease is spreading,” Granger said.
The Executive Secretariat of the NTCF was headed by now Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon and was aimed at strengthening the policies of the NCTF.
Harmon was responsible for directing the NCTF operations and restarting interrupted activities; all important logistical measures necessary to prevent the disease from spreading further, directing rapid responses to unexpected and emergency incidents; developing short-term plans for disease prevention and public safety; communicating directly with agencies, ministries, regional task forces, agencies and stakeholders; and disseminating accurate information with regard to COVID-19 to the public. But to date, evidence of the Secretariat executing their mandate has not been seen.
With respect to the surge in deaths, Granger pointed out, even those could have been prevented if their plan was adopted by the PPP/C.
“When we demitted office on August 2,” the former President stated “we had about 20 deaths. In four months, we had 20 deaths. In four weeks, the present administration has recorded 23 deaths and that is what is happening.”
Proffering his recommendation, Granger said that the PPP/C should revert to the Coalition’s plan which would lead to a decline in the cases.
According to him, the plan included an inclusive approach with each ministry including Public Security, Education and even Public Infrastructure; this plan, he continued, would not work without someone like the Prime Minister to see it through.
“You needed someone with the authority of the Prime Minister who could align the work of all the Ministries for the nation response…We had an integrated plan and if that plan had been adopted, we would not have seen the surge in infections rates that we are seeing now,” he said.
To date, Guyana has recorded a total of 1,416 positives cases with 44 deaths. August was branded the deadliest month of all with a whopping 21 deaths, a little less than half the national total to date.
Under the Granger administration, testing was fairly restricted and consequently numbers were low. New government officials have said that with increased testing currently being done the true numbers are revealing themselves. From an analysis done by this publication, one in every four persons tested for COVID-19 was positive.
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