With Guyana just months away from General and Regional Elections, Norway has decided to release some $393.4 million Norwegian Kroner or $9.1 billion in climate-related funds, to the David Granger-led caretaker Government.
This was announced by Head of the Project Management Office in the Ministry of the Presidency, Dr Marlon Bristol, in a statement on Monday. According to Bristol, the money will go into the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), which is administered by the World Bank.
According to Bristol, the funds were released last Wednesday to the World Bank, which issued a confirmation on Monday that the funds, which represent the remainder of the country’s 2009 pledge, were received. According to him, the funds will be used in a number of areas, including the European Union Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT).
“The funds will be used for projects in areas such as renewable energy, ‘green’ tourism, biodiversity, strengthening of Indigenous mechanisms, and the European Union-FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) Partnership, which is a legally binding trade agreement between the European Union and a timber-producing country outside the EU,” Bristol was also quoted saying.
It is unclear how readily the Government should have access to these funds, since they fell to a No-Confidence Motion since December 2018 and will not be holding elections until March 2020 – well over a year after it was defeated by the motion. The Constitution of Guyana stipulates that elections must be held within three months of the passage of a No-Confidence Motion.
The constitutional deadline for holding elections, as set out by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), had expired as of September 18. When it made its July 18 ruling on the no-confidence cases, the CCJ had said that the effect of the No-Confidence Motion was on pause while the cases were being litigated.
That process, CCJ President Adrian Saunders had said, was no longer on pause following the court’s June 18, 2019 ruling, which upheld the validity of the No-Confidence Motion and thus triggered the need for fresh elections.
In their ruling, the CCJ had also made it clear that the Government continued in office as a caretaker Government. The parliamentary Opposition and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, have made it clear that as a caretaker, the Government should only carry out routine functions and set the stage for new elections.