Guyana’s political leadership in climate change hailed by CCCC- other Caribbean countries urged to follow suit

Georgetown, GINA, March 11, 2014

The commitment and political leadership shown by Guyana over the years on the issue of climate change has been hailed by Dr.  Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center as a model for other regional governments to follow.

In an interview with the Government Information Agency in Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Leslie said Guyana continues to be at the forefront of the efforts to ensure Climate Change adaptation takes the front seat in the Caribbean, one of the regions most vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the world.

“Guyana so far in terms of the region has taken on the leadership role in terms of the region, in advancing the issues of climate change…by working through COTED, it was President (Bharrat) Jagdeo and Prime Minister (Stephenson) King who got on the agenda, the idea of putting together a portfolio of projects, this meeting right now going in St Vincent has been led by Guyana,” Dr Leslie said.

President Donald Ramotar was instrumental in getting the ongoing Caribbean Community Inter-Sessional meeting in St Vincent to include on the agenda, the issue of climate change.

Dr Leslie urged other Caricom leaders to take a page of Guyana’s book and show more political will to address the issue of climate change.

Meanwhile the CCCC head warned the Caribbean not to see climate change as something of the future.

“ Climate Change is here, you saw in terms of the frequency of extreme weather events, those are some of the indicators that the climate is changing,” he reasoned, “but more importantly, people don’t realize that the sea level is rising at this time, at a rate of five millimeters per year, and they might say that five millimeters, what is that, but in ten years, five millimeters will become 50 millimeters and in terms of the English system that’s two inches, in 30 years that is six inches, now consider the sea level rising a further six inches in Guyana or Suriname or Belize,” Dr Leslie stated.

According to a study from the University of Hawaii, by 2035, there will be real evidence of change in the climate of the planet, that is a mere 21 years from now, but Dr Leslie warned that already changes are being seen,  “ therefore we need to have our political leaders become very knowledgeable of what is being negotiated…technical people can negotiate at the technical level but  the final decisions are made at the political level,  and therefore if our political leaders are not cognisant with what is going on, then we will fail in terms of getting what is needed for then adaptation that we have to make.”

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