The Office of President David Granger today (April 25, 2020) denied claims that Guyana’s appeal to international agencies for assistance to fight the COVID-19 pandemic might be on hold until a duly-elected government is sworn-in.
On Thursday, Chairman of the National COVID-19 TaskForce, Moses Nagamootoo, has stated during a virtual press briefing that, “We are aware that there are a few requests… being processed, but I believe that because of the political situation in Guyana…that we cannot say for sure whether some of these international, multilateral … agencies are going to deal with Guyana’s applications anytime soon. They are probably going to sit it out until a president is sworn in.”
However, a statement from the Ministry of the Presidency (MOTP) this morning denied that this is the situation.
“That suggestion is inaccurate,” the President’s Office stated.
It added that Guyana remains engaged with several of its partners and pointed out that only on Thursday, the United States of America announced that financial aid to the tune of US$475,000 will be provided to help address Guyana’s priority areas in its fight against COVID-19.
“The Ministry wishes to make it clear that no international or financial institution has linked support to Guyana’s national COVID-19 campaign to the outcome of the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections. No international financial institution has indicated that financial aid has been made conditional upon the completion of the electoral process,” it further contended.
This missive from the President’s Office came less than 24 hours after it was announced that the caretaker Head of State has handed over operations of the COVID-19 Task Force to MOTP’s Director General, Joseph Harmon.
While Nagamootoo remains the Chairman of the taskforce, Harmon has been named Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and among is responsibilities is “disseminating accurate information with regard to COVID-19 to the public.”
It was further noted that the CEO is responsible, under the direction of the Chair, for directing the NCTF operations and restarting interrupted activities; all important logistics measures necessary to prevent the disease from spreading further, directing rapid responses to unexpected and emergency incidents; developing short-term plans for disease prevention and safety of the people and communicating directly with agencies, ministries, regional task forces, agencies and stakeholders.
The President also said that the CEO, under the general or specific directions of the NCTF Chairman is to establish a permanent National Task Force Secretariat; assign permanent staff to manage the national campaign; create preventive measures against the disease to safeguard citizens’ health and collaborate with regional task forces and stakeholders to safeguard citizens’ health.