…says if PPP elected in 2020 it will be shelved
“It will add cost. I disagree with its fundamental premise. The premise which brings cost to the country versus earning money for the country… The LCDS was an economic strategy. It earned money for Guyana. The GSDS is so far about expenditure from our treasury. That is why conceptually, we disagree with it.”
These were the words of Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jadgeo as he reiterated his disapproval of the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) that was created to replace the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).
According to Jagdeo if the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) returned to office, GSDS would be automatically scrapped as it would only put pressure on the treasury.
He described the draft strategy, which he has had a look at, as one that was a basic ‘cut and paste’ of best practices from around the world, essentially lacking the ability to attract funding for Guyana.
Jagdeo, the mastermind of the LCDS, which secured him international recognition and led to him being conferred with the “Champion of the Earth” award by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said that under the LCDS, there were specific areas that were targeted for development purposes across Guyana.
“We said we are going to spend US$10.5 million on Amerindian land titling. It solved a problem. Two, we will spend US$17 million on ICT (Information Communication Technology) in the hinterland. We would spend x amount of money like US$80 million on the hydropower by buying down equity,” he explained.
Further, the Opposition Leader said there were also plans to create a centre for biodiversity studies and establish an adaptation plan. He said, “We searched into crops that were flood and bug resistant. We set aside money for small loans and grants too to individuals in various sectors. It was about 20 initiatives and we were earning money doing that, we weren’t taking money from taxpayers’ money.”
As such, the former Head of State argued that the GSDS was more about cost to the Guyanese public. “Right now, they are talking about planting trees and all of that. They missed the whole point that that was an economic strategy to adjust to the future. That’s why conceptually, we have a major difference,” he added.
Reference was also made to the fact that several foreign consultants were hired to review the strategy for advice and further input, including requesting the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) to be part of it.
Jagdeo, who was the first President of that body, said he has seen a lot of what has been used before in the GSDS, in addition to that of the work being done by UNEP.
“The speeches would tell you, (David) Granger… the first year he went into Parliament. He keeps saying one thing over and over again. It does not change. Same old thing,” Jagdeo stated, noting that the GSDS would not bring any substantial benefits to Guyana, but rather put pressure on taxpayers’ dollars.
Jagdeo noted that the Strategy has not received the approval of the National Assembly, while noting that it was still at its conceptual stage. Nevertheless, he said, “That is a political initiative of Granger until it has parliamentary approval as far as we are concerned. In all likelihood, we will scrap it as soon as we get into office, because it makes no sense. It will only add cost. That’s all.”
A number of renewable energy farms and facilities form the thrust of Government’s goals in the GSDS. The Government plans to build a solar energy plant to the tune of US$3.8 million. The farm, to be funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), will be constructed at Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni). It was indicated that construction of this farm would be completed by the end of 2018.
Government has also secured funding from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to establish solar photovoltaic (PV) farms at Port Kaituma, Region One (Barima-Waini) at a cost of US$1.8 million; Kwakwani, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) to the tune of US$2.6 million; and Matthews Ridge, Region One (Barima-Waini) at a cost of US$2 million. It has also secured a line of credit of approximately US$15 million.
The Government has been heavily criticised for the GSDS that has been touted as a blueprint to developing a “green economy”. The Opposition has described the document as a hollow one. But with Government recently getting the green light to access funds from Norway for its renewable energy initiatives, questions remain over exactly what policy document was presented.