“Best is yet to come in 2023” – Pres Ali in New Year’s message

– promises massive transformation in every region
– as Norton hints at ‘stepping up’ opposition

President Dr. Irfaan Ali has assured that when it comes to the progress that Guyana has been experiencing under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government, the best is yet to come in the New Year.
In his message to the Nation to usher in 2023, President Ali stated that the government has massive plans to further advance the country in the new year. According to him, while the country will continue to experience economic growth, more policies will be rolled out to ensure that more of the population benefit.
“In 2023, we shall roll out policies, programmes, and projects to ensure that the fruits of this growth are more equitably shared amongst our population. Our primary goal is shared prosperity, one which is characterized by reduced inequality. In this regard, no region, community, or village will be left behind in our quest to create a One Guyana.”

President Dr Irfaan Ali

“The New Year will therefore see a greater thrust towards community development. Your government will engage communities to assist them in improving roads, drainage, street lights, recreational facilities, and in improving safety and security,” the President said.
Some of the plans include major road works on the Linden to Mabura Road, completing the Eccles to Diamond Road link; advancing plans for the four-lane highway between Crane and Schoonord, the new bridge across the Demerara River, and the Ogle to Eccles Road link.
There are also plans to intensify the digital transformation of Guyana, including plans relating to coding, telemedicine, smart classrooms, virtual education for the hinterland; electronic health records management, and establishing a single window for business and building permits.
“Work will also start on a National Hospitality Institute, while shrimp production, the use of shade houses in the agricultural sector, and promoting large-scale dairy production and the cultivation of high-value crops such as broccoli and cauliflower, will be increased,” the President said.

Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton

“These are only some of the massive transformative plans we have for every single region. The New Year will also witness intensified efforts at arresting criminal activities. Healthcare will be boosted in the New Year. Major upgrades will be undertaken to regional and district hospitals and improvements undertaken at health clinics and centers.”

New hospitals
According to the Head of State, works on the construction of new hospitals at Anna Regina, Bath Settlement, De Kindren, Little Diamond, Enmore, No.75 Village; and a new pediatric and maternity hospital at Ogle will commence in 2023.
“In addition, every regional and district hospital will soon be able to offer a suite of diagnostic services such as computerized tomography (CT) scans, echocardiograms, ultrasound scans, and X-rays. The demand for more medical personnel will be met through expanded training, including quadrupling the number of nurses trained each year. We want the best education with which our citizens can benefit from.”
“We are going to provide the resources that can provide our children with world-class education. As such, this year we will intensify teacher training to ensure that by the end of 2025, all teachers in our public education system are trained. All students will also be entitled to universal secondary education. The school feeding programme will be expanded. This year we will also begin consultations on plans to ensure that every child receives a rounded education.”
He outlined that every student exiting school should have had exposure to at least one sport, one musical instrument, one foreign language, one technical and vocational skill as well as be imbued with a sense of volunteerism and social responsibility. These plans and more, according to Ali, would lay the foundation for a post 2030 Guyana.
“We envision a country, which at the turn of the next decade will be the energy and industrial capital of the Caribbean, a prime tourism destination, a regional food security, and transport hub, and a competitive knowledge-based, and low-carbon economy. The post 2030 Guyana will be inclusive and wedded to sustainable development.”

2022 Review
In giving an update on the performance by the government in 2022, the President noted that Guyana’s economy continued on its high-growth path despite significant challenges from global supply chain shocks and price increases triggered by the war in Ukraine, Guyana’s economic performance was stellar.
Amidst these threats, Guyana’s economy proved resilient; growth was sustained, inflation contained to single digits, and exchange and interest rates stabilized.
“We have kept our promise to resuscitate the traditional sectors. As a consequence, the non-oil economy is expected to register a growth of almost 10% for 2022.”
The buoyancy of the local economy supported a fast-paced, energetic, but careful rollout of our national transformative agenda. Progress was made in advancing major infrastructural initiatives, including the gas-to-shore project, the Corentyne River Bridge project and the proposed new Demerara River Bridge.
He added that transformation is also taking place at the community level while noting that a massive programme of improving community roads is being rolled out across the country; recreational facilities are being enhanced and drainage improved.
“Over the past year, our people continued to benefit from better social services. For thousands of Guyanese, the New Year will find them either in their own homes or on their way to becoming new homeowners.
In 2022, we increased access to potable water to more than 15,000 persons, and plans are advanced to ensure that some 100,000 more persons benefit from treated water and through improvements to our water supply system. Our aged electricity network is being upgraded to provide a more stable supply of electricity even as plans are in train for increasing generation.”
In education, he related that the school children continue to excel at regional examinations.
Further, he posited that the elderly and vulnerable population was supported through increased pensions, social assistance, cash grants and the payment of annual disability grants.
The investments made in public security have led to a decline in serious crime by 19 per cent – the lowest reported rate for such crimes in a decade. Further, he added that in 2022, public sector workers benefited from enhanced remuneration. Thousands are now benefitting from the part-time jobs being created by the government. The national minimum wage was increased and measures implemented to address the rise in the cost of living, a problem which continues to plague citizens around the world.
“Guyana led from the front in its relations with the Caribbean and the rest of the world, particularly in the area of food security and climate change. The signing of the historic agreement for the sale of carbon credits attests to our commitment to protect the environment while ensuring revenues for national development. Indeed, on all fronts, the past year has afforded Guyanese the opportunity for a better life.”
Meanwhile, A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC), led by Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton, promised to ramp up its opposition to the Government and its policies in the New Year.
In their New Year Day message, Norton even laid out how the opposition would oppose the Government. Among their plans is to continue their agitation for biometrics at places of poll during the elections.
They also noted that they would continue to pressure the government to implement cost-of-living relief measures… something the Government has been doing all year, with salary increases, billions of dollars in targeted cash grants, and measures to slash fuel prices.
“May Guyana remain a Blessed country as I once more wish you a Happy and Prosperous 2023! May the Lord bless you all! HAPPY NEW YEAR as we pursue a bright future for all Guyana as we forge ahead in developing One People, One Nation, One Destiny!”
“In 2022, we engaged the diplomatic community and the US Congress with support from Guyanese in the Diaspora. To those Guyanese we express our heartfelt appreciation. We will continue to engage the diplomatic community and widen the list of countries and international organizations we engage in 2023,” Norton also said in his New Year message.