PM calls for COVID-19 related debt write-offs at PROSUR meeting

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Prime Minister Mark Phillips

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, today called for more to be done to help developing countries recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Phillips was at the time representing President Dr Irfaan Ali at a virtual extraordinary summit of Heads of State at the Forum for the Progress and Integration of South America (PROSUR).

The meeting focused on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the continent.

During his address, Prime Minister Phillips said that Guyana is looking forward to working with the countries of PROSUR to combat the pandemic and to ensure that adequate relief measures are instituted, such as viable economic and social programmes.

He also called for a more collaborative approach within the international financial system to consider debt write offs of COVID-19 related financing and better refinancing conditions to allow developing countries time to recover before having to repay.

Additionally, the Prime Minister asked PROSUR to focus on the surveillance of new variants of the pandemic and to explore opportunities for regional networking in order to access genetic sequencing of the coronavirus and for viruses that may appear in the future.

PROSUR, which was created in March 2019, is currently chaired by President of Colombia, His Excellency, Ivan Duque. It includes formal member states, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Guyana. Uruguay and Suriname also participated in today’s Video Conference.

Director General of the Pan-American Health Organization, Carissa F. Etienne, the President of the Inter-American Development Bank Mauricio Claver-Carone and the Director of the IMF’s Western Hemispheric Department, Alejandro Werner were special guests at the meeting.