COMING on the heels of a turbulent year plagued by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and a protracted electoral process, 2021 is billed to be a year of recovery, progress and development, driven by comprehensive and targeted plans, which will be possibly outlined when President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, makes his maiden address to the 12th Parliament, on Thursday.
Dr. Ali, Guyana’s ninth Executive President, was elected to office at a time when Guyana and the world over is facing a deadly pandemic, which has compelled society to change its habitual practices in order to not just save lives but to maintain economic stability.
With the pandemic still pervasive today and the impacts of a protracted electoral process still evident, the President and his Cabinet will be looking to build on the foundation laid over the past six months in office.
It is still unclear what the President’s address to Parliament will include, but reliable sources have said that the Head-of-State will be outlining the government’s agenda for not just short term advancement, but also plans in place for the medium and long term.
According to the order paper for the 18th sitting of the National Assembly, President Ali, on his arrival at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre – the designated location for sittings amidst the pandemic – will be inspecting the Guard of Honour.
When the President arrives in the Chambers, the Speaker, Manzoor Nadir, will resume the sitting of the National Assembly and deliver brief remarks before affording the Head-of-State the opportunity to address the Parliament.
President Ali has said already that Guyana is on course to prosperity, with a diverse economy which is yet to reach its peak.
NEVER BEEN BRIGHTER
“Our economic prospects have never been brighter. Our collective feet are firmly placed on the first rungs of a ladder to prosperity that is clearly within our sight,” President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, said during his address to the nation on January 1, 2021.
The year 2021, according the President, will be the springboard from which Guyana will leap into recovery, rebuilding the economy, enhancing the people’s health and lifting up the vulnerable groups in society.
“We must not remain a rich country of poor people,” the President affirmed, noting that the bounty of Guyana must be shared across the population.
This country having received payment of US$49.3 million for its fourth oil lift, has ended the year on a high note with approximately US$200 million being generated so far from the country’s nascent oil and gas sector.
Considering the country’s oil revenue and other lucrative sources of income, the President believes that the standard of living and the quality of life must be lifted for all. “Work will be rewarded; hard work will be rewarded even more,” he said.
“Opportunities will be created to join in such work, and they will be made available to all. I recognise that there are communities within our society which, because of disadvantages of geographic location, will need more help than others to join our national advance,” President Ali reasoned.
The country will have to identify those communities, assess their needs, identify solutions, and implement plans to change their circumstances. This change will not occur overnight, it will take time. But every journey begins with a first step, the President said.
“I intend to initiate that first step, and to maintain a steady pace that will take us to that journey’s end. We still have many challenges ahead of us,” the Head of State said.