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|Head of State updates US- based Guyanese about political situation at home|
|Wednesday, 16 May 2012 22:46|
PRESIDENT Donald Ramotar’s first official visit to the United States included an address to US-based Guyanese at the Guyana Embassy, Washington D.C. on Mother’s Day 2012.
Assuring the gathering that he was aware that they are closely monitoring the situation at home, the President said that the current political status is being experienced for the very first time in the history of Guyana, where the joint Opposition has a one-seat majority.
He stated however, that he hopes “that we will use this opportunity to try to work together and be more in touch with each other, in terms of dealing with the problems that affect our country.”
Pointing to the cuts in the 2012 National Budget that amount to about $21B, President Ramotar said that it was an experience that was not so good. “I don’t mind cutting, but I think there should be a reason for some of these cuttings. When I examined the reasons, I couldn’t find a logical one, some of the things they were cutting made absolutely no sense,” he said.
The Head of State observed that the Administration has the philosophy that, “if we want to develop our country, we have to develop the capacity of our people.” He noted that this was being done by creating equal opportunities, and that government was also ensuring that each citizen has the opportunity to learn to use and operate a computer, while also ensuring that each family has one. However, this programme has been cut by the Opposition.
The hard work towards building a hydro electric power plant at the Amaila Falls in Region 8 to harness cheaper energy has also been halted by the Opposition.
He pointed to other areas that have been cut, such as the distribution of solar panels for hinterland families who cannot be supplied with power from the national grid. The solar panels would have ensured that people in the interior would have access to electricity, and as a result, some form of modern standard of living. “I can’t see any
reason other than they are trying to show that they have some authority in the country itself,” President Ramotar said.
On the economic side, the President reported that while the world economic crisis affected the rest of the world and the Caribbean, Guyana managed to stave off the worst, and for the past five years has grown at a rate of 5% per annum. He noted that if the planned projects are in place, the economy would grow even faster.
The President said that cheap electricity would advance the manufacturing and investment sector. Additionally, with the worldwide competition to create bio-fuels to replace the rapidly dwindling sources of fossil fuels, President Ramotar stated that since agricultural products will supply this need, “We hope we can contribute, with our land and fresh water, two of the important aspects for agricultural development, an area that will help us grow even more rapidly.”
The Head of State also pointed to the development of the mining sector and increased relations with neighbouring countries, such as Brazil.
He noted nevertheless, that what is even more important than development, are the people of Guyana, which is why there is heavy investment in education and health.
“Our education system is showing signs of success. For five of the past seven years, our students have topped the Caribbean in the CXC exams,” he said proudly, noting that there are now schools in areas that had none before. He added that 90% of hinterland teachers come from the same communities where they teach.
The President and a delegation, including Foreign Minister, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh, and Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Elisabeth Harper left Guyana last Saturday for several engagements in the U.S.
The President was accepted by the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States (OAS) at a Protocolary Session on Tuesday, when he called for closer cooperation to defeat the drug trade and urged that more be done to rid the region of poverty in order that its people have a better standard of living. However, he urged that poverty cannot be lessened unless inequality is addressed.
He also spoke of countries avoiding hunger protests by providing workable plans to improve food supply and reduce the effects of hunger and poor nutrition.
The President is slated to have other engagements while in Washington, DC.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 22:48|
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