November 10th marked the first 100 days of the Peoples Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration and to observe the milestone, President Irfaan Ali detailed numerous achievements of his Government and the various development initiatives launched since taking the reigns of political power on August 2nd.
In an address to the nation on Tuesday, President Ali pointed to the efforts made to restore international confidence in Guyana following the events surrounding the March 2 General and Regional Elections.
The former APNU/AFC Government and persons within the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) had attempted to undermine the will of the people between March and August.
“We anticipated that there would be challenges along the way. But we did not cater for a five-month interregnum as a consequence of the sinister conspiracy which was hatched to hijack this year’s elections and subvert the will of the people,” the President highlighted.
A 33-day recount showed that the PPP won the elections, but it took the firmness of local and regional courts, the resilience of GECOM Chair, Retired Justice Claudette Singh and threats of sanctions from the international community led by the United States, before former President David Granger finally stepped aside and allowed President Ali to be sworn in.
“Democracy triumphed. We must not forget the post-election anguish and embarrassment. We will not allow the agents of discord to escape culpability. Yet, we are moving forward together as one people in unity and love”.
“We are restoring international confidence in our nation,” President Ali stated.
He added: “Over the past 100 days, I and my Ministers have been involved in a number of international engagements which attest to the international recognition and interest in our country. I have, inter alia, addressed: The 75th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations on behalf of Guyana and also on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.”
The President also reminded that he addressed the Virtual Island Summit 2020, the Forecast on Latin America and the Caribbean Conference 2020, organised by the United States Department of Commerce and the Association of American Chambers of Commerce and the 75th Commemorative Meeting of the United Nations, on behalf of Guyana and also the Group of 77 and China.
Dr Ali noted that representation was also made at the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity, the Meeting of Heads of Government on Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond and meetings of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community.
“I have held meetings with a number of investors, heads of institutions and world leaders, all of whom have expressed a willingness to support Guyana’s development. The World Bank and the US International Development Finance Corporation have offered their assistance. I have engaged the Emir of Qatar on possible areas of economic cooperation between our two states which will see the contribution of three fully functioning field hospitals,” President Ali said.
Turing his attention to the economy, President Ali reminded that the PPP/C inherited a grim state of affairs. The economy, he stressed, was in a state of “neglectful distress”.
He noted that during the five-month post-election period, Guyanese not only patiently awaited the election results but they were forced to confront the effects of the pandemic alone, “while the caretaker government shamelessly engaged in corruption, squander mania, unauthorized forays in the public purse and the unlawful disposal of public resources”.
He explained that these and other iniquities occurred whilst citizens were being subjected to extreme hardships, adding that the coronavirus pandemic triggered a downturn in production, a slowdown of business and the loss of jobs and incomes.
The President further stated that many families struggled to put food on their tables; many small businesses found themselves in a financially perilous state, schools had to be closed; examinations adjusted and our health care system was left to rot with no basic medical supplies procured in the last two years.
“Instead of a comprehensive, coherent and coordinated response to address the pandemic, the former government’s reaction was illusory, incoherent and inept. Testing was abysmally low. Many regional hospitals were ill-equipped to treat severe cases of the virus.
“When we assumed office, we found insufficient quantities of testing kits, testing equipment, protective gear for frontline workers, ventilators and oxygen concentrators. The much-vaunted Infectious Diseases Hospital turned out to be an inoperable, bareboned facility,” he stated.
Dr Ali said that he was extremely pleased with the performance of his Government during the past 100 days.