‒ Granger still with a plan to come up with a plan - Ramsaroop ‒ Squandered a golden opportunity which was inherited in the LCDS - a strategy that saw Guyana earning US$250M
David Granger, will next week, jet off to the 72nd Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where he will again have an opportunity to address world leaders and to have Guyana’s perspective laid out with regards to world affairs.
Given the destruction and carnage left in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, stretching from the Caribbean in the Atlantic Ocean to North America, where the destruction is in the staggering billions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recognized that climate change and the treatment of the vulnerability of Small Island and Developing States = of which Guyana is considered a member - and means of assisting them to cope. There is no doubt that climate change will be one of the subjects that take center stage.
“What will Granger really hope to achieve, in addressing this most critical issue, when based on what I have read and seen, he has no viable plan to present to the world leaders?”
This was among the critical questions posed this past week by Economic Advisor to the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Peter Ramsaroop.
The PPP candidate, during an interview with this publication, ahead of Granger’s address was very critical of the President’s track record when it comes to the matter of climate change and miti- gating its effects.
“The President appears to have a plan to come up with a plan, is he really going to go to New York to tell the leaders of the world that is Guyana’s current position, airy fairy ideas with no credible substance ....the same Guyana who won international acclaim in recent years through the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), accepted by many in the international community as a model?” Dr. Ramsaroop questioned.’
Dr. Ramsaroop stated that the President squandered a golden opportunity, which was inherited in the LCDS - a strategy that saw Guyana earning US$250M from the Kingdom of Norway for the preservation of our forests under a pioneering carbon trading regime.
Such was the international acclaim of the LCDS, the then President, Bharrat Jag- deo, was named ‘Champion of the Earth’ by the United Nations.
According to Dr. Ramsaroop…“not only was Jagdeo able to come up with a viable strategy for the sustainable development of natural resource, he was also able to monetize the benefits under the pact with Norway.”
Pointing to the marked differences of approach, Dr Ramsaroop observed that in recent days, the Office of Climate Change (OCC) - a department of the Ministry of the Presidency - opened a three-day workshop to focus on building the capacity of community leaders and private and public sector stakeholders to apply and access funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
The Green Climate Fund was set up in 2010 at the 16th Conference of Parties in Cancun, Mexico and is now the world’s largest dedicated climate fund, which is intended to be the centerpiece of the global efforts to mobilise $100B per year in climate finance by 2020.
According to Dr Ramsaroop, the GCF is but another of the international commitments, which is in no way guaranteed.
Countries such as Guyana do not have any guarantees in accessing any significant money from that Fund.
“Instead of focusing on broader strategies and more ways to monetize the efforts on the local and regional fronts in terms of the climate change fight and mitigation efforts where the nation can earn significant sums through measures such as the carbon trade, the President and his Government seem only inter- ested in approaching private international interests with a begging bowl.”
Dr. Ramsaroop has since surmised t hat President Granger will not be able to sway the conscience of any international world leader to look to Guyana as a beacon in the fight against climate change.
He said the Green State Development Strategy “is nothing but a plan to come up with a plan... we who were once recognized as leading the fight against climate change will become the laughing stock of the international community when ‘President Greenger’ (sic) presents his plan to come up with a plan to be the shining example the world.”
This, after the United States, one of the world’s largest contributors to the destruction of the planet through its carbon emissions, signaled its intention to pull out of the Paris Accord, plunging what the world had placed its hopes in, in jeopardy.
Dr Ramsaroop said that one should not be too excited at Guyana’s opportunity to again present something worthwhile to the international community.
“It is but another example of the woeful lack of leadership that is being demonstrated by the Granger Administration, who, like himself has been calling on former military officers to help prop up an ineffective government.
Sound and effective leadership, according to Dr. Ramsaroop, himself a military veteran, is what he had expected from Granger, but his style of management is indicative of someone who has clearly lost the ability to lead and is overwhelmed by the complexities of running a nation.
“After all, for the past 20 years all Granger was doing was running a magazine that had a minimal readership and reach. The leadership skills the military taught us has been abandoned, ” Dr. Ramsaroop opined.
“President Granger seems caught up in apolitical one upmanship trying to rival Jagdeo’s successful LCDS approach, which brought millions of dollars into our economy from Norway. He (Granger) decided to present to the nation, something called the Green Economy - an economy which has instead quickly become ‘grey’, symptomatic of the depressing state of affairs across the spectrum of this government’s actions – lack of vision, lack of expertise, lack of impact assessment , just muddling through. Maybe his legacy is about Greenger (sic), the painting of the Office of the President and the multimillion dollar fence green.
Moving Guyana to renewable energy is not about putting solar panels on State House; it is about an effected energy programme that involves re-establishing the hydro plant at Amaila Falls, growing more sugar cane for co-generation of power and ethanol production and a strategy to make more efficient use of other energy sources.
“Convincing world leaders at the top world forum to look in your direction as a model for renewable development will require well thought through credible solutions to the profound climatic challenges facing Guyana and the world - not a plan to come up with a plan,” Dr Ramsaroop concluded.