THE parliamentary session of Monday, December 28 has proven, once again, that opportunistic, unpatriotic doomsayers will forever bemoan the initiatives, progress and innovations created, achieved, and planned by the current Government, and primarily, past and current presidents, even if it means development for the nation, as in most instances it does.
That is a recurring feature in their leadership culture, such as accusing former President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo of once more taking the route of beggary and denigrating his innovative, internationally-acclaimed brilliant Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), which was so unpatriotic and myopic that their rhetoric and actions were tantamount to psychological sabotage and a strategic attempt to derail the momentum of the LCDS so that it had no or minimal chance to fructify, even while it was in the embryonic stages.
The doomsayers had no intention of giving it a chance – give Guyana a chance: More to the point, give Guyanese a chance to breathe.
Former President, current Vice-President, Dr. Jagdeo’s ‘avoided deforestation’ and the framework in which it was proposed is being hailed by some of the leading experts in the field as a visionary and brilliant strategy to combat climate change, while, at the same time, providing overwhelming benefits to our people, with little or no overhead costs to this nation.
This is, in whatever way it is considered, called trade, or barter, highly acceptable in the developed world, and in every other social construct. It is exchanging, measure for measure, commodities vital to the needs of both trading partners.
Most third-world nations do not have the wherewithal to exploit their own resources, so the capitalist system allows for developed nations to extract the treasures of undeveloped countries, on their own terms, which always prove disadvantageous to the host nations.
Our history abounds with such instances, even until now, where foreign companies extract and deplete our natural resources, leaving destruction and dislocation to local and indigenous communities.
Currently, a case in point is the oil and gas sector and all the disadvantageous contracts negotiated by the past PNC-led government.
Yes, the contempt that the developed world has perennially demonstrated for third-world nations and third-world heads-of-states when negotiating trading terms (witness the EU-driven EPA) may not result in an advantageous deal for our country, but Guyana’s Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has demonstrated that even when he is battling alone, he does not compromise on a position he feels is right for this country until he achieves his goal, in whole or part. Here, reference is made to the compromise the surprisingly honourable EU made, at the very last moment, to accommodate our former President’s position on the EPA.
At the risk of denying our people benefits that may accrue to our country from visionary developmental concepts, opposition protagonists have no qualms in denigrating and denying initiatives that are programmed and driven by a PPP/C-led government so that Guyana benefits optimally from extractive/entrepreneurial activities in this country by the superpowers, who are already benefiting from our rainforests, after having denuded their own to develop and industrialize their own countries, such as the LCDS, the EPA agreement, the Amaila Falls hydro project, and now current projects in the pipeline, especially with Guyana’s newly minted oil and gas sector.
The LCDS is complementary and not competing to the dual objectives of national development and climate change imperatives, but they fought against its fructification relentlessly, thankfully not successfully.
They disregarded the fact that, fundamentally, because of the traditionally sustainable existential methodologies used by our first peoples and several other factors, our forests have been conserved in a pristine state. This is instantly recognizable because an aerial view indicates no break in the canopy, except natural breaks, such as waterways and roadways enabling accessibility and connectivity to various remote communities, so, Dr. Jagdeo was not proposing to sell, or trade, something undefined or indeterminate.
International consultant firm, McKinsey & Company, estimated that the Economic Value to the Nation (EVN) to be the equivalent of an annual payment of US$580 million.
This is the estimated value that would accrue to the Guyanese people if Guyana fully exploits its timber potentials, its post-harvest agriculture, and its mineral resources.
Our country currently provides to the global construct immense ecological and environmental services to the international community, including the developed nations.
According to the consultants, the conservatively estimated Economic Value to the World (EVW), provided by our rainforests through bio-diversity, water regulation, and carbon sequestration, is a minimum of US$40 billion each year.
But the protagonists with anti-developmental, anti-nationalist, unpatriotic agendas have arrogated to themselves the right to stymie Guyana’s development trajectory through shooting down projected programmes and plans vital to accelerating development in Amerindian and other Guyanese communities.
Former President Jagdeo has been lauded for his brilliant and visionary approach to a conservationist developmental strategy that is projected, not only to benefit the rest of the world, but will catapult our nation into the ranks of the prosperous – not because we are a servile people predisposed to beggary, but because we have visionary leaders who can formulate strategies to combat catastrophic equations – in fiscal, natural, and social terms, through the utilisation of our own God-given resources within the international construct of survival imperatives.
The irony is that the very persons who condemn PPP/C leaders for mendicancy through its drive for debt write-offs, the LCDS and reconstruction of oil and gas contracts were the very persons who drove this nation to the bottom of the world’s developmental charts and made us beggars in the eyes of the international community.