EYEWITNESS:

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…strategies just for spite

When Jagdeo floated the idea of Guyana being compensated for not cutting down its forests, there were a lot of snickers from the cynics out there – especially in the Opposition benches. But when Norway coughed up US$250 million for doing just that, you’d think the latter bunch would’ve taken note, wouldn’t you? Well they would’ve – if they had Guyana’s development at heart, and not just interested in scoring points. Jagdeo had come up with the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) in 2008 as an overarching framework to move Guyana forward within the growing international recognition of the value of standing forests in the battle against global warming and climate change in general. He posed three questions – how to make forests worth more alive than dead; how to stimulate future growth using clean energy and non-deforesting economic activities; and how to protect against climate change.

From an early proposal by Costa Rica that deforestation should be encouraged with monetary compensation, by 2007, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – had agreed that this would include measures to promote reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, alongside conservation and sustainable management of forests. The mechanism within the UNFCCC to achieve this objective was dubbed REDD+.

Guyana’s pioneering efforts for an entire country to centre its development plan on a low carbon strategy was lauded by the world and we were invited to the G20 table to suggest financing modalities for REDD+. Unfortunately, subsequent UNFCCC meetings at Copenhagen in 2009 and at Cancun and Durban in succeeding years, didn’t see a legally binding agreement. But this didn’t deter Guyana, which had secured the Norway agreement and started to implement aspects of the LCDS programme. Such as the Amaila Falls Hydro-Electric Project.

Taking into cognisance the slowed pace of follow through by the developed countries in their financial commitments to REDD+ compliant countries, such as Guyana and other developments, the LCDS was modified in 2013.

It was therefore with great surprise, your Eyewitness learnt the new PNC-led coalition Government jettisoned the LCDS, even as they committed to “go green!” They took a US$1.5 million (GY$300 million) to fund the creation of  a Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) that still hasn’t been presented to the Guyanese public in the “consultations” they promised.

There was no need to go down this road…if they had problems with aspects of the LCDS, they could’ve had them modified – even as the PPP had done. But from their inability to justify their rejection of the AFHEP to the Norwegians – after they concluded it was the way to go to spend their US$80 million lying in the bank – it was clear they were just acting to spite Jagdeo.

Not caring they were cutting Guyana’s face.

…intellectual property rights

There’s a tempest by the usual suspects in the teapot called Guyana, over the Opposition Leader’s comment that the legislation on intellectual property (IP) rights might be too robust for us at this stage of our development. The “usual suspects”, of course, are the handful who believe their “creative genius” in producing self-published works of doggerel and novellas will now rake in billions after folks stop “knocking off” their “works”!! Then there’s the comprador class who acts as agents for the rights to broadcast content from “foreign”.

They’re making out as if Jagdeo’s some anachronism, holding back these billions from flowing. It’s clear they’ve forgotten the sordid and one-sided history of TRIPS (Trade Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) that places developing countries at a severe disadvantage. For instance, the refusal to allow patents of Traditional Knowledge (TK) from Indigenous sources and to permit developed countries to “bio prospect” – like with neem.
And that the developed countries were routinely violating IPR’s well into the 20th century!

…of the (sugar) guard?

Your Eyewitness remains confused about the claimed changing of the guards in GuySuCo.

What input has the new Board been allowed to make to deflect the trajectory of the Corporation’s plunge into oblivion??

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