Ramotar to Guyanese diaspora: invest in Guyana!!
President Donald Ramotar has called on Guyanese living in the United States of America (USA) to return home and invest in the country’s booming economy.
The President, who travelled to the USA to attend and address the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, used the opportunity to meet Guyanese living there. He met the Guyanese community in Queens, New York on Friday evening and those in Washington on Saturday evening.
President Ramotar updated the several hundreds of Guyanese on developments taking place in the current and prevailing political uncertainty. He spoke of the eight successive years of economic growth in the Guyanese economy, infrastructural advancements and Guyana’s success stories in the social sector, particularly housing, education, and health.
“This says a lot and really drives a nail in the lie that our country wasn’t going anywhere. And why have we been able to do that? We have been able to do that despite the fact that 1) traditionally, one of the most important sectors of the economy – sugar, was not doing very well… broadening the base of our economy, what we had promised from since 1992 about broadening the base of our economy and making it more immune from external shocks, we have succeeded in a very large way… because rooted in the philosophy of the PPP is the fact that the economy must serve the people in an inter-related and connected way, while the economy will serve the people, the people will have to build the economy.”
The President noted that his Government always believes in the fact that the most important factor for development have been the people, and his Government has been investing heavily in its people to build capacity, pointing to the way in which the Government has been allocating resources.
“Let me give you one startling figure that you never see in the press anytime. When we came into office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was getting more money than the Ministries of Education, Health, Housing and Agriculture, all put together. Today, we have the opposite situation, where the bulk of our investment, if you examine our economy, goes to the social sector – health – education gets the biggest in this, 30 per cent of our budget,” he explained.
The President said his Government remains committed to continuing the transformation of Guyana, but needs the help of all Guyanese, since he does not have a development partner in the Opposition, pointing to their anti-developmental stance since they won a one-seat majority in the National Assembly which they used to cut critical budgetary allocations, defeat important legislation like the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill and block transformational projects like the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, the Amaila Falls Hydro Power project, and the Specialty Hospital, among others.
The Presiden, meanwhile, said his Government has never denied there is corruption in the country, but pointed to the various efforts successive People’s Progressive Party/Civic administrations have been making to tackle this issue, “but let me make this point to you, our achievements could not have been possible without improvement in our economic democracy, we could not have survived and strive in an international atmosphere when you had a grave financial and economic crisis gripping the world”.
“I would not stand in front of you here and tell you that we do not have corruption in our country, we know, we talk about it ourselves, but we have put in place many, many things to fight corruption. When we came to office there was no bidding system for Government contracts or procurement of services. We didn’t know how much corruption was taking place (under the PNC Government), because the Auditor General was prevented from doing auditing of Government books. The last Auditor General’s report came out 10 years before the Government changed. The last Auditor General’s report under the last regime was in 1982… they had all kinds of accounts; they had an account in Canada which no one was allowed to audit and they are making these kinds of accusations against us. Since we got into office, every year, the Auditor General report comes out. That report goes to a Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly and that Committee is always chaired by a member of the Opposition.”
The President urged the diaspora to return home and invest in the economy so that Guyana can reach its full potential.
Many Guyanese living abroad responded positively and requested that they be informed of how they can work with the Government to set up their businesses in Guyana.