Unless countries act, President Ali warns Americas heading for worse crises
By Vishani Ragobeer in Los Angeles
Countries in the Americas were among the worst affected by recent global events and Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali has ominously warned that unless countries act, people of the region will face the brunt of future crises.
The Head of State delivered a passionate address at the ongoing Summit of the Americas, hosted in Los Angeles, California on Friday.
During his remarks, he illustrated the need for meaningful action by all leaders while providing a litany of statistics on how countries in the Americas – particularly those small developing states in the Caribbean – have been worse-affected.
For example, President Ali related that Caribbean economies were beset by the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to economic downturn.
During the pandemic too, he pointed out that access to education and internet connectivity, particularly for children in the most disadvantaged areas, was constrained.
Food and water shortages, flooding and other harsh effects of climate, housing woes and threats to governance are among the other challenges faced in the region, President Ali lamented.
Despite those grim experiences, President Ali reminded the leaders of the Americas that the region is endowed with abundant human and natural resources that can spur economic growth and prosperity for its people.
President Ali’s concern, however, is that the region remains vulnerable to so many issues despite this wealth. He believes that “systemic issues” are at the root of these woes.
And so, he urged the leaders to act to work together to resolve those issues.
“Let us talk about collective responsibility at this conference to fix the problems and fix the issues that affect our people,” President Ali implored his fellow Heads of Government.
In doing so, the Head of State offered Guyana’s abundant resources to help the hemisphere achieve just that.
“… we have standing forests the size of England, storing 19.5 gigatonnes of carbon, we have 11 billion barrels of proven oil resources, and an assessment of gas reserves is underway.”
He also highlighted that ongoing partnerships and discussions signal what is possible.
For example, he said that oil and gas partnerships among Guyana, Suriname and Brazil and possibly with Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados in the future, illustrate how energy security in the region can be pursued.
Such partnerships, he believes, should be replicated across the region in the interest of common development.
And he emphasised, “The prosperity that we seek to achieve cannot be done alone, we belong to the family of humanity and we are ready to make our contributions.”