Nov 02, 2022 News
Glenn Lall says:
– tells foreign journalist Guyana’s story is not oil and gas, but eco-tourism and agriculture
Kaieteur News – Advocate for a better oil deal, Glenn Lall has criticised President Irfaan Ali for what he said was a missed opportunity when the Guyanese leader during an interview with Al-Jazeera told the world that this country’s story is not about oil and gas, but rather eco-tourism and agriculture.
Despite his bold declaration, Guyana over the years has struggled in both sectors.
An analysis by this year’s midyear report showed that eight contributors to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) have declined between 2019 and 2022; these include sugar, rice, other crops, livestock, forestry, gold, manufacturing and the services sector. According to the report, the fisheries sector this year performed better than last year during the mid-year study, while bauxite production during the first half of this year was equivalent to its output during the same period last year.
An examination of the government’s report indicates consecutive contractions for the sugar industry, which in 2019 accounted for 0.4% of the country’s GDP at half year; 0.3% in 2020; 0.2% in 2021 and 0.1% in 2022. Rice in 2019 contributed 5.3% to the country’s GDP at midyear; 3.7% in 2020; 3.5% in 2021 and only 2% this year. In 2019, during the first six months, other crops accounted for 14.5 percent of the country’s GDP; 9.5% in 2020; 7.7% in 2021 and 7.5 percent at half year in 2022. The Ministry of Finance Mid-Year Report also explains that livestock in 2019 added 2.5% to the growth rate; 1.6% in 2020 and 2022 but reduced to 1.3% this year. In 2019, the forestry sector recorded a 0.9% production rate at half year which dropped to 0.5% in 2020; 0.4% in 2021 and a further 0.3% in 2022.
Speaking on his Monday night programme, ‘The Glenn Lall Show’, Mr. Lall said it bothers him that President Ali had the opportunity to showcase “that criminal oil contract ExxonMobil gave us to the Middle East, where we could have gotten some advice, but he chose to dismiss oil completely from that interview.” “Can you believe this is a President in a country that has 11 billion barrels of oil and billions more lying under the sea bed, talking about bora, rice and sugar? These are the people y’all staining y’all fingers for. Some of you have been voting for race, race will run away and soon you will have no race to live with, but animals. It’s in the making. Every day you look at Guyanese social media commentators, it’s all about race, they can’t see beyond that.”
Expounding on his critique of the interview done by President Ali, Mr. Lall said the news item also showed Exxon’s boss Alistair Routledge talking about the transformation of Guyana, along with a representative of the Opposition talking about the cost of living and the unequal distribution of the few pennies we getting from the oil. Mr. Lall said President Ali is hesitant and fearful of holding a press conference in Guyana, to face the Guyana press, to tell this nation about their oil wealth, but he can find the time to sit down with an American journalist working for a foreign news agency, so that he can tell the rest of the world, not us, that they must mark his words, the story of Guyana is not oil and gas, is about ecotourism and agriculture, and how this country is going to be the leader in food and ecotourism, not oil.
“Our oil is on every world leader’s tongue, day and night; our oil is on all the stock exchange boards and markets; our oil money is on every international financial institution, but not on Guyana’s President’s tongue or in his mind. Bora, bajie (spinach), rice, sugar, birds and wild animals are on his tongue. Really, really, you have heard him for yourself in his own words,” Lall lamented.
He said 56 years since Guyana gained Independence the country has not planted or produced to supply its own citizens rice and sugar at a cheap and competitive price, yet the President saying we will be the leader in food security and agriculture.”
Mr. Lall further stated that the prices for everything have doubled. “Agriculture is in a crisis, sugar is on its death bed, rice farmers complaining, and consumers are bawling about the cost of food, yet Guyana, according to President Ali will be the leader in food security for the world, not this US trillion dollar oil.”
Lall said when he listened to some of the country’s leaders with the wealth “we have just discovered, I can’t control my mind from thinking of Africa, Europe, North America and places like Dubai. I just can’t. In those countries, the prison inmates are living in rooms that have TV, washroom and beds- that is better than what the regular Guyanese living within their homes. Those countries have flower gardens alongside their well decorated marble stone and brick tiled pavements, those countries have air-conditioned bus stops, their jails have gyms better than anyone of our fitness clubs in this country. How that can be possible here when you have leaders and governments talking about bora, rice and bajie?”
Mr. Lall said in Africa, there is no pavements along the road way, the Africans have to walk on a mud track, side to the road, “you don’t want to see the one and two bus stops they have, and you don’t want to see the condition of the hospitals and jails in Africa – what they look like. Guyana is heading there. Dubai can have air-conditioned bus stops and pay their citizens monthly to stay home and import Africans to work as police, import housekeepers from India, Indonesia, Bangladesh – you know why guys, because they have leaders who have their oil as number one priority on their tongues – get the best so that their citizens and country can be the best. Here in Guyana, our President number one priority is food followed by ecotourism – a country that is infested with crimes of all kinds.
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