Private Sector Commission

Low Carbon Development Strategy

Speech presented by Chairman of the Private Sector Commission on the occasion of the launch of the revised Low Carbon Development Strategy

It is a pleasure and an honor to be invited to address this gathering.  We in the private sector have followed the consultations on the Low Carbon Development Strategy and are happy that the consultations have resulted in a new revised Strategy.

As I recall, the purpose of the LCDS was to reconcile the tension between protecting Guyana’s rainforests and pursuing economically rational development.  At the heart of the Strategy is the determination of Guyana’s policy makers to ensure that we can achieve sustainable development while at the same time availing the world of the benefits of our natural heritage.

We do not have to emulate those who have tread the development path before us and depleted their rainforests in the process of ensuring livelihoods for their people.  As Guyana has shown in the crafting of this Strategy, it is possible for us to partner with the developed countries in utilizing the forests which are our greatest assets, to our mutual benefit.

Our nation has made great strides in recent years but the legacy of years of underdevelopment persist.  As was noted in the Strategy, we face challenges such as the high cost of drainage and irrigation for agricultural initiatives, the high cost of oil-dependent electricity, a sub-standard telecommunications infrastructure, the risk of flooding and the need for substantial incentives to attract international investors.  These are challenges which we need to overcome if we are to improve the standard of living of all Guyanese.

It is estimated that the Economic Value to the World of our standing forests is some US$40 billion.  This is not an arbitrary figure but has been estimated using sophisticated measuring criteria.  It is inconceivable that a nation with such vast wealth of resources at its disposal should renege on its responsibility to its people and the rest of the world and allow these resources to be depleted with no thought of the future.

Guyana has committed its vast forest resources to the fight against climate change and reasonably expects to be compensated for doing so.  With the threat of global warming and climate change facing all nations it is time for them to partner for the common good.  

The implementation of the revised Strategy will require the will of the Private Sector and the will of the Government of Guyana to make changes to the operational environment in the smoothest ways possible.

The hardest part of the strategy will be adapting to the changes in the operational environment of some sectors. We therefore must work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect on some of the harder implementation paradigms that will present themselves.

The Commission stands ready to lend a hand in this regard should the need arise as we commit to the overall support of the program.   And as I said some time ago in my call to manufacturers –

Let us seize the opportunity, let us seize the moment, let us rally as a nation behind national causes such as this, let us criticize each other without rancour and let us take Guyana to a place where she has never been before where tolerance and magnaminity abound and our visionary leaders lead all of us to prosperity, where civil society is included in all discourses and national dialogue continues, where ideas are listened to and not dismissed by suspicion, where there is hope for the creation of a bright future for the children of Guyana.

Thank you.

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