Guyana regaining its spotlight on world stage – Teixeira

…criticises APNU+AFC Administration for squandering opportunities

Under the presidency of Dr Irfaan Ali and the leadership of the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Administration, Guyana is regaining its spotlight on the world stage after years of no significant progress or accomplishments under the APNU+AFC Government from 2015 to 2020.
This was the view of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Gail Teixeira, who was at the time speaking during a televised programme to reflect on the second anniversary of the five-month-long March 2, 2020 election, which saw blatant attempts by forces to sway the results of the polls in favour of the ruling David Granger administration.
Acknowledging that those five months shattered the country’s image internationally, Teixeira posited that Guyana is now successfully rebuilding its image on the world stage.
“We have kinda taken back our rightful place in Caricom (Caribbean Community) …rightful place as an equal and leading member of Caricom… Look at the role the President has played, look at the relationships with the Caricom leaders,” the Governance Minister and former presidential advisor posited as she referred to Guyana’s President Dr Irfaan Ali’s push on sustainable food security and agriculture in the region.
President Ali’s vision and work in this area have already been lauded by the Caricom Chairman, Belize Prime Minister John Briceño.
“One of the highlights of the meeting was the important and stimulating presentations by President Ali of Guyana, who laid out a comprehensive plan for the development of the agri-food sector that was embraced by all. I congratulate President Ali and his team for their excellent work,” the Caricom Chairman remarked during a press conference to culminate the recent 33rd Inter-Sessional Meeting.

Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Gail Teixeira

Regionally, Guyana has been fostering deeper ties with countries such as Suriname, Brazil and Barbados. Among other things, Guyana, Brazil and Suriname are working together to develop a regional energy corridor, while Guyana and Barbados have partnered to market a joint tourism package.
Teixeira went on to criticise the APNU+AFC Administration for squandering opportunities that were available for the country as a result of the gains Guyana made in the international arena pre-2015.
She made reference to the innovative Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and the carbon trading agreement with Norway.
Guyana has earned millions of dollars in foreign currency from carbon trading; specifically, the millions it earned from the Kingdom of Norway for keeping deforestation rates low and for reaching certain benchmarks.
“We came forward with a model in 2010 that went through two years of consultation across the country and was a model that tried to balance between environmental protection but also dealing with development, also dealing with the whole area of mitigation and adaptation and so on. We are now in the new phase of the expanded LCDS. But that respect for us was shown when they gave President Jagdeo the Champion of the Earth,” Teixeira explained.
Since its inception in 2005, the annual Champions of the Earth Award, the United Nation’s highest environmental honour, has been awarded to some of the world’s most dynamic environmental leaders.
Referring to the LCDS, Teixeira indicated that the award was fitting, since “it was something emanated from Guyana and was different and unique and innovative on the world scene.
“So, we got on to the international arena and we lost that. The whole areas of what we took: low carbon, the Norway Agreement with carbon trading, all these things kinda flittered away,” the Governance Minister contended.
“APNU+AFC came into a Government that was over $700M in foreign currency reserves, over four months of foreign currency reserves, sitting there. They came in with an agreement with the Norwegians that we were being paid for our forests and the fact that we were preserving the planet, making our own contribution to preserving the planet, and they squandered that, they squandered that at the international level,” she further asserted.
Teixeira noted too that, instead, the Granger Administration introduced a “Green State Development Strategy”, which, according to her, “no one saw”.
Against this backdrop, she reasoned that Guyana “lost our footing at the international level, and now we’re taking that back.
“The whole area of balancing between oil and gas and development of other sectors, preserving forest and taking care of our environment…”
This level of international attention and respect, Teixeira posited, presents a remarkable opportunity for the country and its people.
According to her, “Guyana has never ever, in its history as a nation, reached this level of attention”. She reasoned that throughout its history, Guyana has always been in a “negative light” on the world stage, ranging from riots, ethnic violence, rigged elections, and Jonestown.
“Now we have enormous attention on Guyana…there is this tremendous interest in our country,” she remarked.
“This I call ‘the golden era of Guyana’…where we can do things and make it right, and that’s why the whole platform of ‘One Guyana’ is so important, to try to bring us all together in looking at how we go forward…”