Georgetown, Guyana – (October 3, 2015) As President David Granger participated in a National Tree Planting Day exercise, in Bartica, Region Seven, he called on residents of the community to take the lead role in making Guyana a country with a green economy.
The President made the call at a simple ceremony, which was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and which was held at the Bartica Community Centre Ground. Among those in attendance, were Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, Minister within the Ministry of Education, Nicolette Henry, Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Simona Broomes, and Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Keith Scott.
As the President announced that National Tree Planting Day will become an annual event, he told the large gathering that he wants Bartica to be a model town for not only Guyana but for the world at large. “It must also be a model town; for the environment, for ecology, energy. We want to work with NGOs [Non-Governmental Organisations], miners, the RDC [Regional Democratic Council], and private citizens to make sure that this revolution does not falter, so we can show the world what we mean by a green economy,” the President said.
The entire green economy plan, the President explained, forms part of his administration’s overall plan for the long-term development of Guyana. “This green economy as you’ve already heard is aimed at your long-term wellbeing. It will reduce social inequalities and it will promote sustainable environmental practices,” he added.
However, moving forward with this plan, the President said his government will adopt five strategies. This includes the promotion of the sustainable exploitation of the country’s natural resources. Reminding residents of the OMAI Gold Mines toxic spill 20 years ago in north-central Guyana, the President called on residents to be the ‘watchdogs’ for their environment. Reference was also made to the creation of the Sovereign Wealth Fund, which will ensure that wealth from today’s economic activities are preserved for posterity.
The second strategy the Head of State outlined is the establishment of a good solid waste programme. “You have to ensure that solid waste is carefully disposed of and I hope that [soon] we will be able to introduce recycling practices,” he added.
Thirdly, it is also part of the government’s plan to promote sustainable energy, by introducing, solar farms, wind and hydroelectricity. “Much of the energy we are using can be generated by sustainable means; by sun, water, biogas and wind. So let us promote the sustainable energy initiatives,” the President said.
Speaking of the last two strategies, the President said all efforts must be made to promote the ecological integrity of our forests and develop and implement green technologies. “I want you to promote sound ecological practices, by encouraging the growth and replanting of the forest,” President Granger told the gathering.
Meanwhile, as the President congratulated the Ministry of agriculture for their work, he thanked the Barticians for taking up the challenge in leading the way to make Guyana a green country. “We have come here today to congratulate you on your role as leaders but also to thank you for accepting this responsibility. I will come back to see how well you are leading, so you have a responsibility to all of Guyana,” he said.
Also on the occasion, Minister Holder said this exercise is one of many tasks that must be accomplished in order for a green status to be achieved. “The Government of Guyana has decided, as a general policy, to promote the development of a green economy. From an agricultural standpoint, investing in a green economy has the potential to enhance food security, reduce poverty, improve nutrition and health and create rural jobs, while reducing pressure on the environment,” Minister Holder pointed out.
It is for this and many other reasons, he said his Ministry is pleased to collaborate with other agencies, including the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Communities, the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and other organisations in making Guyana a green country.
From all indications, the initiative was well received by Barticians as scores of residents turned out at the Bartica Community Centre ground, with plants to participate in the exercise. School children from schools around the community also came out to participate, saying they were encouraged by the President and their teachers to be a part of the exercise.
Meanwhile, in a separate activity, the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (DNRE), this morning, observed National Tree Planting Day with the planting of twenty Flamboyant trees at the Botanical Gardens.
Under the theme “The Environment is Everybody’s Business”, over 25 volunteers from the Christ Church Secondary School, Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN), and the Keep Georgetown Clean Initiative, joined staff from the DNRE, the Protected Areas Commission (PAC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the early morning activity.
Delivering his charge to the participants, Mr. Clayton Hall, Ministerial Advisor at the DNRE, emphasised that the re-greening of Guyana’s urban spaces must go beyond a simple one-off planting activity. He noted that this is a process, which all Guyanese must take responsibility for and pushed for the care and nurturing of the trees and plants in yards, streets and neighbourhoods across the city.
Today’s exercises mark the beginning of Agriculture Month and both the Ministry of Agriculture and the NRE have additional activities planned. For NRE events, groups and individuals interested in participating are invited to contact the Department on 231-2506-11 or email email@example.com.