Expressing his utmost disappointment with the “haphazard approach” being undertaken to transform the country into a green economy, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Wednesday demanded that the Government give specific details about its plan to promote sustainable energies and ultimately create an economy that is less dependent on fossil fuels.
According to Jagdeo, at every available opportunity, President David Granger talks up his Government’s intention to develop huge wind farms, solar farms and hydropower plants; however, he hardly ventured into pointedly speaking about how he intends to attain those targets.
Only recently at the official opening ceremony of GuyExpo 2016, Granger unveiled Government’s intention to adopt a Green Development Strategy (GDS), noting that every Government institution (hospitals and schools)
must soon convert to using green energy.
Granger also committed to placing another two million hectares of Guyana’s land under conservation in an effort to protect the country’s rich flora and fauna so that “our grandchildren can see the good things we inherited from our grandparents”.
Previously, the President had announced intentions to reduce the tariffs on the importation of key materials and all equipment used to generate renewable energy.
The President had also pronounced that the Norway Funds will now be utilised for more strategic projects such as reforestation in mined-out areas, generation of energy apart from hydropower, coastal zone management and tackling the impacts of El Niño.
But in light of certain actions taken by the current Administration, the former President believes that their promises are merely rhetoric for support of a green economy.
“The President said it is absolutely imperative to develop a green economy… he said it is important for our future and industries. On the other hand, his Government has killed a project, for political reasons not economic reasons… they killed a project that would have saved us at least US$2 billion in 20 years at 2012 prices…,” Jagdeo pointed out, referring to the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project.
“The Amaila was the biggest green project that would have had the biggest impact. It cannot be replaced by planting trees. The green economy is not about planting trees, it is an economic concept,” the Opposition Leader argued.
He asserted that no one is even sure about “anything anymore about the green economy”, given Government’s apparent lack of strategy on the matter.
“No conceptual framework, no vision excepting they are implementing in a haphazard way some of the things we’ve left,” he posited.
Jagdeo also expressed concerns over the status of several of the green projects that were introduced by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration under the Norway/Guyana partnership.
It was previously pointed out by Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira that since the change of Government, a number of initiatives regarding the partnership have been falling by the wayside, including the LCDS Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee meetings, the absence of information about GRIF-funded projects on the LCDS website and Amerindian and other stakeholders not being consulted on the LCDS or the Guyana-Norway partnership.
Jagdeo also noted that the public does not know whether the funds from Norway were released and whether or not Government has embarked on discussing a successor agreement.
In general, the Opposition Leader explained that if promoting a green economy is indeed of the biggest thrust of the Government, then its leaders need to be more specific about the respective strategy for the future.