Linden, Guyana – (October 1, 2017) President David Granger, this morning, kicked off the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s National Congress (PNC) with a tree planning exercise on Burnham Drive in Wismar, Linden in Upper Demerara-Berbice (Region Ten). The event, which comes ahead of National Tree Day, which will be observed on the First Saturday of this month, was described by the Head of State as important since it draws attention to the value of protecting Guyana’s natural patrimony and how that contributes to the fight against global warming and other effects of climate change in the face of recent catastrophic storms in the region.
“What Guyana is doing is not only for us but for the rest of the world. Green is what we are, green is what we do. Our national development policy depends on keeping Guyana green. Every year we will get hurricanes and the warmer the water gets, the more frequent and fierce those hurricanes will be. These events are catastrophic and that damage is being caused by global warming. It is being caused by climate change. We are seeing frequent and fiercer storms largely because of global warming and our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean are in jeopardy. These difficulties will go on unless we change the way we treat the environment,” the Head of State said.
President Granger, who has just returned from attending the United Nation’s General Assembly, the Minamata Convention on Mercury First Conference of Parties in Geneva, Switzerland and visits to the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies and the Inter-American Defense Board, told PNC members and residents of the community gathered that what happened in places like Barbuda, Dominica and the British Virgin Islands is comparable to the effects of war. “That is why I am here today because climate change and global warming are contributory factors to the damage, to the destruction and deaths, which are being caused particularly in this region. We have brothers and sisters in these countries and that is my concern. We are not free from flooding and these floods are caused by the river systems in this continent. Sometimes the Rupununi dry but the rivers in Brazil rise and starts to affect us and so we are dealing with a climatic phenomenon,” he said.
The Head of State said that anyone who criticises Guyana’s pledge of support to affected states lacks compassion, adding that many Guyanese live in many of the affected countries. “If your neighbour’s house burns down and he has no food, no shelter, nothing to eat, children left exposed would you not say come temporarily? People have no compassion in this world? No humanity? All you say is look let’s help you to get over this difficult period. There are Guyanese all over this world and even on those islands that have been destroyed by these hurricanes,” the President said.
Calling on all Guyanese to become more conscious of Guyana’s place in the Guiana Shield, President Granger said that while 85 percent of the nation’s forest remains intact, there is a need for a move towards more sustainable mining and forestry practices. “We must make sure that we replant the trees that we cut down so that we would regenerate. So this exercise is very important. I refer to Guyana as the ‘green’ state because we need to protect our biodiversity and our wildlife. The wildlife like our trees are more valuable than dead. We have some of the largest animals in the world and all of these things are from Guyana. If you remove the trees and cut them down, you destroy the habitat. This is an amazing country. Our mining industries need to do less damage and help to regenerate or else climate change is going to affect us more seriously than at present,” the President said.
The President also encouraged residents of Linden to observe National Tree Day on October 7, 2017 by planting trees since that investment can contribute to their economic livelihood. “If every household planted a breadfruit tree, we would be able to produce a million pounds of breadfruit per year and we can benefit from exporting that to other countries so planting trees is not ornamental. You can make a living. Now and then when there is no work, you can always benefit from that tree. I would urge you to care those plants so that your children can come and not only shelter from them but can pick the fruit,” he said.
President Granger along with General Secretary of the PNC and Minister of Social Protection, Ms. Amna Ally and Party Chairman, Minister of Legal Affairs, Mr. Basil Williams and Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Mrs. Valerie Patterson-Yearwood planted coconut and palm trees on Burnham Drive.
While in Linden, the President attended the re-commissioning of the PNC’s Congress House in Mackenzie. The building, which has been refurbished at a cost of $8.5M through donations and volunteer labour, is expected to become a centre for economic, social and educational activity as part of the Party’s Plan of Action for Regional Development (PARD). President Granger congratulated Chairman of the Region Ten Party group, Ms. Sandra Adams for her leadership, adding that a vibrant office stands as a beacon of what the Party stands for.
“I want to see these monumental offices standing up to the principles of this party. I do not want to see broken steps and windows. I want to see the party office as what is good for politics in this country. This office must stand for education, for entertainment, for employment. Young people must be able to come here, there must be computer laboratories so this should not be just a political place but a powerhouse in the community,” he said.
Following the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon, which officially re-commissioned the building, Mayor of Linden, Mr. Carwyn Holland handed over bicycles to 27 students, who gained more than 500 marks in the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA). Additionally, the top student was provided with a laptop computer, while other students in the top five received iPads. Mr. Holland, who spoke both at the tree planting exercise, as well as at the handing over ceremony, said that Guyana must nurture, guard and guide its young people in order to secure the future of the country. The events were also attended Regional Chairman, Mr. Renis Morian.