Guyanese can expect a higher quality of life over the next five years and government is laying the plans for this, President David Granger said in a New Year message to the nation, according to the Guyana Chronicle.
“We are planning for improvements in our lives in the form of: economic growth which will accelerate as production increases and the major sectors become stronger and more resilient; farmers and fishers benefitting from the modernisation and diversification of their sectors,” the Head of State said in his address.
President Granger said 1st January is a memorable and momentous date that marks the dawn of the ‘Decade of Development: 2020-2029’. He said it was also the start of the national observance of the 50th Anniversary of the Republic and the launch of campaigns for General and Regional Elections. An eventful year lies ahead.
The Guyanese leader outlined that during the next decade miners will enjoy safer mining practices; education and healthcare will continue to improve; information communications technology will be extended countrywide to link all regions and communities. He said too that employment opportunities will be available; citizens having larger disposable incomes and public servants’ emoluments continuing to grow to improve their standard of living; public infrastructure will continue to be rehabilitated, upgraded and expanded; and more housing for low-income families. “Energy supply will be extended to more rural and hinterland communities; manufacturing enterprises will be catalysed by more reliable electricity; and the generation of electricity from sustainable sources will be expanded.”
President Granger said that his administration had maintained that the principal objective of the state will always be to secure the ‘good life’ for all. “This will entail providing every citizen with opportunities to be the best he or she can be; securing sustained economic prosperity; ensuring access to quality public services and promoting social cohesion. The ‘good life’ involves eradicating extreme poverty and reducing class, racial and geographic inequalities. The ultimate measure of the good life is happy communities, happy households and happy people.”
President Granger said his government will launch a ten-point programme aimed at improving the quality of life over the next five years. This will include: educational improvement, assured by enabling every child to have access to nursery, primary and secondary education; providing tuition-free education for eligible students at the University of Guyana and strengthening teachers’ training; economic growth, characterised by higher levels of investment, enabling incentives for business development, including robust support for agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing and mining; constitutional reform, pursued vigorously, with wider popular consultation, and with greater emphasis placed on broader political inclusion; protecting human rights and preventing constitutional gridlock; good governance, by adopting measures aimed at enhancing transparency and integrity in public office, strengthening regional development and empowering women and youth; social protection, by strengthening social safety nets for pensioners, the homeless, the indigent and disabled – and social cohesion by ensuring greater respect for each other’s religious beliefs, ethnic identities and cultural practices; human safety, by intensifying action to suppress and reduce crime, protect human life and ensure national security by safeguarding the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; Indigenous peoples’ development, by preserving indigenous cultural identity and according recognition of indigenous peoples’ knowledge in protecting the environment; energy sector development, through strengthening the institutional, legislative and regulatory framework for the management of the petroleum sector and by fast-tracking the development of renewable energy sources; environmental protection, by preserving our ecosystems and their biodiversity, implementing conservation, climate adaptation and mitigation measures and combating the adverse effects of climate change; and infrastructural improvement, by extending aerodromes, bridges, road networks, stellings and ferry services through hinterland development and strengthening coastal sea defences.
High levels of growth
“We can look forward to living in a country which enjoys high levels of growth and human development and with an accountable government and greater equality. Constitutional reform will allow for the easier resolution of political differences.”
The Guyanese leader said citizens can be assured that their communities will be safer and that borders will be more secure and that the productive sectors will be more resilient by receiving increased support to drive economic development.
He noted that 20th December he declared ‘National Petroleum Day’ signifying that Guyana had become a petroleum-producing state. He said that increased fiscal space that will be created by the commencement of petroleum production will allow for the intensification of the rate of implementation of these transformative processes. “Your government will ensure that petroleum revenues will be managed prudently for present and future generations in accordance with our objective of securing the ‘good life’ for all. We shall do this through a Natural Resource Fund which, as it stands, meets 21 of the 24 Santiago Principles with the other three principles to be met once the legislation comes into force.”
Decade of Development
To this end President Granger announced the launch of a Decade of Development: 2020-2029 – a ten-year plan that will accelerate the country’s four transformative processes – the ‘green state’, the ‘digital state’, the ‘petroleum state’ and an education nation. He said the first transformative process involves the transition towards becoming a ‘green state’ that will emphasise the preservation and protection of the environment and the graduation towards greater value-added production; the second will be the development of a ‘digital state’ which will connect every region, neighbourhood, village, community and government agency, generate ICT services and make public services more accessible; the third will be the emergence of an ‘education nation’, characterised by every child attending primary school, every child graduating from secondary school and the country having a more highly educated workforce; and the fourth will be the beginning of petroleum production which will result in faster economic growth, increased employment and economic opportunities and larger fiscal revenues.
“We can expect to live in a gentle, green and good country, during the Decade of Development as a result of these changes. The results will be: a growing economy that is innovative and competitive and which generates jobs for everyone willing to work; an education system in which every child attends, and graduates, from school; every eligible person is accorded free tertiary education at the University of Guyana; every teacher is trained and paid satisfactorily; a public health-care system providing the best treatment and care available, including to the aged, the infirm and children; communities in which there is a roof over every head and parks, playfields and recreational facilities where citizens are free to walk without fear of molestation; a country with modern infrastructure which would allow someone to drive from Crabwood Creek on the Corentyne to Sand Creek in the Rupununi, and with every household, community, region and business having access to the internet. “
President Granger said his government will continue to protect human life by safeguarding the environment. “We shall intensify our commitment to: preventing pollution of our waterways, eliminating the importation of single-use plastics which contribute to clogging drainage systems, flooding and squalour, depleting aquatic life and contaminating creeks, rivers, freshwater and marine waters; combating the adverse impact of climate change and rising sea levels caused by global warming, which erodes our natural sea defence structures and protecting the mangrove forests which help to secure our shoreline and river banks from erosion; and strengthening forestry and mining laws to make re-forestation and land reclamations conditional for the approval of mining and logging concessions.”
According to President Granger citizenship of this good country must mean, by 2030, living in a modern state where everyone could enjoy equality before the law, education that is free, employment that is satisfying and an environment that is safe and healthy. “The launch of the ‘Decade’ today brings the realization of the ‘good life’ closer.”
He said too that it was fitting that, as Guyanese witness these transformative changes, “we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of becoming a Republic on the 23rd February 2020. This is an occasion of national pride, deserving a grand celebration of the actualisation of our sovereignty. The Republic’s jubilee occurs at an auspicious and propitious time. We are about to leap above the barriers which previously constrained us in the pursuit of the ‘good life.’ Guyanese are urged to join in the vibrant celebrations being planned to mark the Republic’s Jubilee.”