President identifies sugar woes as major challenge during four-year in office
-hopes to complete term and deliver promised good life
By Bibi Khatoon
President David Granger has identified the difficulties in the sugar industry as one of the biggest challenges encountered during his Government’s first four years in office.
“That is one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced,” he told reporters on Wednesday at the Ministry of the Presidency, referring to the decision to downscale the industry –a move which left thousands without jobs and saw the Government facing several protests and court cases.
“There have obviously been challenges and I would not pretend in every instance they’ve been successfully overcome,” he said.
The President noted that the sugar industry was already in a state of decline when his Government was elected to office in 2015.
In 2016 and 2017, the APNU+AFC Government laid off over 4,000 sugar workers with the closure of the Rose Hall, Enmore, Skeldon and Wales sugar estates. Plans were announced for diversification of the estates but those are yet to get off the ground.
However, the President said there are several areas where his Government was able to improve the lives of citizens.
He listed the creation of four new towns – Bartica, Lethem, Mahdia and Mabaruma – along with the improvement of infrastructure in rural areas and riverain communities, the holding of two Local Government Elections after over two decades and the provision of transportation for school children in the form of buses, boats and bicycles.
The Head of State said if given the chance to complete its five-year term in office, his administration will present a better life as promised, to all citizens.
“I know they’ve been challenges and we would like to complete our term, depending on what GECOM tells us, we’ll like to complete our term and deliver to the Guyanese the good life we that promised them,” President Granger said.
The Government presented five National Budgets since assuming office; in 2015 it was titled ‘The Good Life in a Green Economy,’ 2016 – The Good Life Beckons, 2017- Delivering the Good Life to All Guyanese, 2018- The Journey to the Good Life Continues and 2019- Transforming the Economy, Empowering People, Building Sustainable Communities for the Good Life.
General and Regional Elections are constitutionally due in 2020, mere months from now, however, following a No-Confidence motion passed in the National Assembly on December 21, 2018, there lies a possibility that elections can be called before.
The matter is currently before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)—Guyana’s final appellate court which is expected to give a ruling shortly on whether the motion was validly passed.
Added to the challenges faced by the President during his four years in office is his diagnosis with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma- a type of Cancer. He has recently completed treatment in Cuba for the disease.
President Granger has been endorsed by his party to run again for elections as the Presidential Candidate. Asked whether he will be on the campaign trail, President Granger responded in the affirmative.
“I’m no stranger to campaigning,” he said, adding that he is currently the Director of the coalition’s campaign committee which was formed in February 2019.
“We expect to remain in office unbroken,” the President affirmed.