Climate change must be given top priority-President Ramotar

Georgetown, GINA, January 2, 2014


In light of recent adverse weather conditions in Guyana and the wider Caribbean, President Donald Ramotar plans to tackle the issue of climate change with other CARICOM Heads towards more aggressive action being taken this year on the regional front.

In his New Year’s message to the nation, the Head of State said that the flooding the countries in the Eastern Caribbean experienced in recent weeks has resulted in millions of dollars in damage to property and loss of life.

“The scientific evidence is showing that for our region, which is one of the most vulnerable, these weather events will become more frequent as the impacts of global climate change intensify,” President Ramotar informed.

Since the deadly storm hit on December 23, the Government has approved financial support of US$100,000 each for St Lucia and St Vincent and US$75, 000 to Dominica, the three countries that felt the most severe impacts.

Additionally, the Government, in conjunction with the Public Service Commission (PSC) will be spearheading a drive whereby Guyanese and organisations can contribute to the disaster relief fund for the affected countries.

President Ramotar maintained that this is an issue that must be given top priority at all cost.  Recognising Guyana’s own vulnerabilities in this regard, with its coastal plain approximately six feet below sea level, he said that efforts will intensify this year to improve and expand infrastructure.

Particular focus will be placed on the boosting of sea and river defence and drainage and irrigation systems; enhancing forecasting capabilities and response mechanisms, and building build more climate resilient social and productive sectors in the economy.

The Government will seek to achieve these goals within the framework of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

The LCDS, a brainchild of former President Bharrat Jagdeo, sets out a vision to forge a new low carbon economy in Guyana over the coming decade. It has received critical acclaim globally, and is now in its implementation stage.


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