Calls by WPA for IDB to withhold loan seen as economic sabotage- Finance Minister

Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh

[] – Extremely disappointing, highly irresponsible and tantamount to economic sabotage were the terms used by Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh as he criticized the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) for calling on the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to halt its funding of a loan to Guyana.

The policy loan granted by the Bank is in support of policy reforms for current and future implementation. Dr. Singh said the loan is to be utilized in the environmental sector.

“It’s attached to a number of institutional strengthening initiatives aimed at improving environmental governance and the discharge of our environmental responsibilities”.

It was pointed by the Minister that Guyana has “established credentials at the forefront of environmental leadership”. He added this country has credentials as a “green nation”, with very strong environmental policies, and as “a country with a very strong track record in implementing those policies”.

Any responsible stakeholder, Minister Dr. Singh said, who is committed to the environmental sector would be in support of the loan.

“One cannot possibly claim to be pro-development or in this case pro-environment and then turn around and urge the withholding of these resources. By no stretch of the imagination can these two positions sit side by side. A responsible stakeholder cannot in one breadth say we are not in agreement with this loan or we are not in agreement with these resources being disbursed to Guyana, and in the other breath claim to be committed to the environment or development.”

He lamented the position adopted by the WPA as being contradictory with that which would be taken by a responsible party committed to the development of Guyana.

The WPA had described the announcement that Norway recently asked the IDB to receive US$80 million as Guyana’s equity in the Amaila Falls Hydroelectricity Project as a flagrant violation of the Guyana Constitution, adding that the arrangement amounted to a conspiracy.

The WPA called on the IDB to return the funds to Norway which it said must not release any monies to the Government of Guyana until the National Assembly is reconvened. [Extracted and modified from GINA]