APNU+AFC gov’t has made great strides but chal­lenges per­sist

-Granger

Stabroek News Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - -Granger

The APNU+AFC gov­ern­ment has made great strides dur­ing its three years in of­fice, ac­cord­ing to Pres­i­dent David Granger, who also says there are still some chal­lenges that it is work­ing to over­come.

“Some­times com­men­ta­tors tend to un­der­es­ti­mate the dif­fi­cul­ties we face in terms of our fi­nance… in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions… crime and se­cu­rity but I think [a] sober anal­y­sis will see that we have made tremen­dous progress,” Granger told re­porters last Wed­nes­day at State House, af­ter he was asked to eval­u­ate gov­ern­ment’s three years in of­fice and to iden­tify chal­lenges and pos­si­ble changes, par­tic­u­larly to the Cabi­net.

May 11th marked the third year since the gen­eral elec­tions that were won by the APNU+AFC coali­tion to as­sume of­fice.

Among the suc­cesses iden­ti­fied by Pres­i­dent Granger was Guyana’s ap­pli­ca­tion to the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice (ICJ) re­quest­ing that it con­firm the le­gal va­lid­ity and bind­ing ef­fect of the 1899 Ar­bi­tral Award on the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela.

“For the first time in liv­ing mem­ory, for the first time since in­de­pen­dence, we have a sit­u­a­tion in in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions where the ter­ri­to­rial con­tro­versy is go­ing to the World Court and that has been a ma­jor achieve­ment. We work very hard for it and I give credit to our for­eign min­is­ter and team of ad­vi­sors,” he said.

Changes, he added, have been made in the wages given to pub­lic ser­vants and pen­sions. “If you sat down to re­mu­ner­ate the im­prove­ments over the last three years, you can see that the coali­tion gov­ern­ment has done quite a lot in a lit­tle time,” he as­serted.

Granger pointed out that gov­ern­ment has also made tremen­dous progress in sup­press­ing piracy in Guyana wa­ters. “Un­for­tu­nately the tragedy that we have seen take place in New

Am­s­ter­dam and Suri­name shows that the prob­lems of piracy have not been com­pletely de­pleted,” he fur­ther said in ref­er­ence to the at­tacks on al­most two dozen fish­er­men at the end of last month.

The pres­i­dent also pointed out that post­ing of pho­to­graphs of in­mates of the New Am­s­ter­dam Prison con­sum­ing al­co­hol on Mother’s Day high­lights the ex­ist­ing prob­lems in the prison ser­vice. “These are chal­lenges that are not of our mak­ing but we are work­ing very hard to over­come them. We have sought the ad­vice and as­sis­tance of our part­ners overseas and we are very con­fi­dent that in the fair­ness of time we will be able to deliver to the Guyana cit­i­zens…We promised them a bet­ter life, a safer life and a more pros­per­ous coun­try,” he said.

With re­gards to the Cabi­net, Granger said that he has no in­ten­tion of in­creas­ing its size.

“Ev­ery per­son I ap­pointed in May, 2015, in the Cabi­net is still in the Cabi­net. I’ve made some changes, in terms of estab­lish­ing a Min­istry of Pub­lic Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, but I’ve tried to keep the Cabi­net small. It is 15 main min­istries and we don’t en­vis­age that there is go­ing to be an ex­pan­sion of the num­ber of min­istries,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the pres­i­dent, gov­ern­ment has to deal with new chal­lenges, in­clud­ing those that come with the pe­tro­leum sec­tor. “We are now re­ceiv­ing ad­vice, the best ad­vice, to how the ar­chi­tec­ture or the man­age­ment of that sec­tor could be de­signed, so I don’t en­vis­age that there is go­ing to be any ma­jor ad­di­tion to the Cabi­net in terms of new min­istries. And as far as I am con­cerned, it is just a mat­ter of en­sur­ing that we over­come some of the chal­lenges we faced in 2015,” he said.

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