President Ali urges shift in media focus to celebrate governance successes

Criticising what he described as a historical trap focused on corruption narratives in developing countries, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali has is urging the regional media to shift its focus towards celebrating successful governance models in the region.

Speaking during an interview on Trinidad and Tobago’s CNC3 Morning Brew, hosted by Hema Ramkissoon on Monday, the president lamented that rapid economic growth in developing nations is often overshadowed by assumptions of mismanagement.

President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali

“Whenever a country is doing well, especially a developing country, you will hear ‘your system is porous, there will be corruption or leakages,’ but when you hear in the developed world that the country is growing by eight or nine per cent, some of our own journalists in the region use that as an example,” the Guyanese leader said.  

President Ali pointed out that this discrepancy arises from the perceived notion that developing nations cannot effectively manage rapid economic growth.

“We have this perceived notion…that our system is inherently geared towards exposure. We have to change that narrative. That is the system that is unfair, the system that lacks justice, and the system that our journalists need to get out of,” the president underscored.

To combat this perception, President Ali pointed to Guyana’s efforts to modernise governance through digitisation and transparency initiatives.

These initiatives aim to align with the global technological shift and enhance democratic governance.

Once fully implemented, these systems are expected to significantly improve efficiency and predictability in government mechanisms.

One key example is the Single Window System, which streamlines the application process for development projects, thereby reducing bureaucratic hurdles and the risk of corruption.

Similar initiatives include the implementation of electronic medical health records, and the Data Protection legislation, which was passed in the National Assembly last year.

Notably, the president underscored that progressive legislation has also been implemented to manage the growing oil and gas sector.

These include the Natural Resources Fund (NRF) Act, the Petroleum Activities Act, and the revision of the Product Sharing Agreement (PSA) for maximised benefits.

“These are the things we should write about. These are things that journalists in the region should celebrate and write about. But sometimes we get bogged down in a trap that was historically created for us. If we look at the leaders in the developing world, we always have to come from a position where we have to fight off this narrative before we even get into our policy-making matrix,” he explained.

President Ali emphasised that the government’s development strategy is designed to ensure that every Guyanese citizen benefits, and the legislation, programmes, and policies being rolled out nationwide reflect this goal.