Small states need $$$ to tackle COVID-19
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President David Granger
President David Granger

…President Granger tells UN high-level forum
…says fleeing migrants putting strain on Guyana’s revenues, healthcare system

WHILE noting that the states bordering Guyana have a high level of COVID-19 cases, President David Granger, in a virtual address to the United Nations, today, said that given the pandemic’s multi-dimensional nature, small states require extraordinary financial support in its fight against the disease.

The High-level Meeting tackled the critical finance issue to address economic devastation caused by COVID-19.

Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau; Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness; and UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, convened the special high-level meeting to advance concrete solutions to the development emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President said that Guyana, one of the smallest states in South America, is bordered by countries with a high level of COVID-19. He said migrants from these countries seek refuge to enter Guyana’s territory and enter areas which necessitates delivery of effective health services over long distances and to remote settlements

“These factors impact the state’s ability from disease and to earn revenue to protect its people,” the President said, noting that Guyana’s challenges are compounded by its COVID-19 fight.
President Granger noted that small states need sturdy and structured systems to save lives and support livelihoods.

He said that in the medium and long term, “we must build capacity to respond effectively and efficiently” when faced with health crisis which, he noted, are predicted to occur more frequently.

In the long term, he said that countries must achieve food security through sustaining agriculture and manufacturing services so that when economies reopen, the private and public sectors will be capable of rapid production.

He said that in the short term, however, states are obliged to respond to urgent, unavoidable and unanticipated effects of COVID-19. He said that the public health sectors requires costly and necessary assets.

President Granger noted that members recognise that given the multi-dimensional nature of COVID-19, extraordinary financing must be directed to support small states. He recommended three ways in which this can be done:
(1) respond immediately to the life-saving exigencies of the pandemic
(2) develop holistic long-term recovery plans and exit strategies
(3) build capacity to establish permanent public health structures to prepare for future global diseases
The President commended the governments and institutions which have supported the flow of resources to small states such as Guyana.

The virtual meeting opened with a High-Level Segment in which Heads of State and Government expressed their commitment to decisively facilitate global solutions to address the global economic crisis and its effects on the most vulnerable.
A High-Level Panel of leaders from international institutions will discuss the challenges and opportunities to act quickly on the following six issues:

–The need to expand liquidity in the global economy and maintain financial stability to safeguard development gains.

–The need to address debt vulnerabilities for all developing countries to save lives and livelihoods for billions of people around the world.
–The need to create a space in which private sector creditors can proactively engage in effective and timely solutions.

–Prerequisites for enhancing external finance for inclusive growth and creating jobs, including lowering the transactions costs of remittances.
–Measures to expand fiscal space and foster domestic resource mobilization by preventing illicit financial flows.
–Ensuring a sustainable and inclusive recovery by aligning recovery policies with the Sustainable Development Goals.

To date, Guyana has recorded a total of 150 positive cases of the Coronavirus. At the moment, there are 72 active cases while the number of deaths attributed to the virus stands at 11.

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