‘No shut-out of Int’l aid’
President David Granger
President David Granger

…Ministry of Presidency clarifies elections not hindering assistance from international, financial institutions

AS Guyana continues to combat the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the country remains eligible to receive assistance from international and financial institutions, despite the ongoing General and Regional Elections.

“Guyana is not shut out of international aid to fight COVID-19,” said the Ministry of the Presidency in a press statement on Saturday.

The ministry was directly responding to reports, published in Friday’s (April 24, 2020) daily newspapers, which suggest that foreign partners as well as international financial institutions, are unwilling to provide Guyana with financial aid to combat the dreaded COVID-19 disease because the country’s electoral process is incomplete.

This suggestion, the ministry said, is inaccurate because Guyana remains engaged with several of its partners. It was only on Thursday, April 23, 2020 that the United States of America (USA) 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 the Guyana’s national COVID-19 campaign to the outcome of the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections,” said the Ministry of the Presidency.

The ministry said no international financial institution has indicated that financial aid has been made conditional upon the completion of the electoral process.

The Ministry of the Presidency’s comments followed a statement from Chairman of the COVID-19 Task Force, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, who said the fact that Guyana is still grappling with an election impasse may hinder its receipt of COVID-19 funding from international financial institutions. “We are aware that there are a few requests that are being processed, but I believe also because of the political situation in Guyana, while we are in transition to a government that will emerge after March 2, 2020 elections, that we cannot for sure say whether some of these international multinational lending agencies are going to be dealing with Guyana’s application any time soon. They probably will want to sit it out and wait until the president in sworn in,” said Nagamootoo during a virtual press briefing, on Friday.

It was reported that Guyana, through the Ministry of Finance, has approached the World Bank with a request for US$5M in funding under the Rapid Response Facility.
Minister of Finance Winston Jordan has stated that, if approved, the sum will fund efforts coordinated by the Ministry of Public Health and other ministries to contain the spread of COVID-19. Given the unprecedented challenges that COVID-19 poses, the bank expects to deploy up to $160 billion over the next 15 months to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.

In CARICOM, Haiti is the only country to have received a US$20 million grant for its COVID-19 Response Project.

Already, a number of entities, who are partnering in the fight with the MOPH to stem the spread of the virus, have injected assistance into the government’s efforts to slow the COVID-19 curve. These include the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which has been at the side of the MOPH ever since the pandemic and its effects became known globally.

Recently, as mentioned earlier, the United States, through the US Embassy in Georgetown, and the generosity of the American people and the leadership of the U.S. government, continues to lead the public health and humanitarian assistance to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As part of our ongoing commitment to Guyana through the U.S. Caribbean Resiliency Partnership, the Regional Caribbean Office of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is releasing US$475,000 to help address Guyana’s priority areas of laboratory diagnostics and systems strengthening and supplies, surveillance, infection prevention & control, and emergency operation centers,” said the embassy.

It was noted that the funds are part of a regional funding package of US$3,000,000 provided to support the current COVID-19 Response. The embassy said that the regional office of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention will coordinate with the Ministry of Public Health and its regional partners to disburse these funds rapidly and implement the activities.


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