NORAD report on Guyana-Norway forest pact a ‘telling blow’ to the government, says Ramjattan

Leader of the AFC Khemraj Ramjattan says that the Norwegian Agency for Development Coopera-tion’s (NORAD) recent report on the Guyana-Norway forest protection pact is a “telling blow” to the government and exposes what many have been saying all along.

Ramjattan told Stabroek News that he has been in contact with Norwegian officials who are “very disappointed” with Guyana’s efforts in protecting the forest. Ramjattan said that the report does not come as a surprise and pointed out that he has said before that the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) was built on a platform of “intellectual dishonesty” and it was a “scramble” by former president Bharrat Jagdeo “to get money out of Norway more than anything else.”

NORAD, which is the Norwegian government agency through which funds are channelled to Guyana for protecting its forests, in its report on the partnership between Guyana and Norway released last week, described the LCDS as being a “stand-alone more-or-less ad hoc collection of projects.” NORAD has also pointed out that despite the LCDS, the Government of Guyana is still maintaining a high carbon development path.

The agency said too that insufficient action has been taken to reduce the mining operations that are the main cause of deforestation here and confirmed that Guyana will lose US$20 million as a result of increased deforestation in Year 3 (2012) of the Guyana-Norway forest protection partnership.

NORAD is a directorate under the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and since 2010, it has been monitoring Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), the programme under which Guyana is paid to protect its forest. Guyana and Norway in 2009 inked a REDD+ partnership under which Oslo will pay for Guyana’s performance on limiting greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and for progress made against governance-related indicators. REDD+ is a global initiative that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Norway’s payments to Guyana may amount to approximately US$250 million over the period to 2015, depending on Guyana’s performance.

“There was no genuine intentions to cut emissions,” Ramjattan told Stabroek News saying that Jagdeo had engineered the scheme “just to get money” from Norway. “They were never genuinely about low carbon… hardly anything in Guyana is low carbon,” he said.

The AFC leader stated that the NORAD report is very useful and he is happy that the agency has published it. Ramjattan said that the opposition political parties have been speaking on these issues but would have been accused of politicising the matter.

Guyana has established the necessary systems for measuring forest protection but insufficient action has been taken to reduce the mining operations that are the main cause of deforestation in the country, NORAD had noted. In this regard, Ramjattan said that government needs to do more and should ensure that there is a reafforestation policy.

He said that while he understands that with the high price of gold it would have been extremely difficult for the miners to keep within the regulations, the mining community needs to be much more disciplined.

NORAD had reported too that concerns had been expressed about the use of funds to ensure political support for the ruling PPP. “Concerns have also been raised about the way in which the Amerindian Development Fund has been used to create an obligation on Amerindian communities, in order to encourage future political support, and also the way Community Support Officers (CSOs), who report to the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, are being posted/imposed upon participating Amer-indian communities,” NORAD said, while noting that the funds for the CSOs may have a Norwegian source.

Ramjattan said that they have been pointing this out before: that funds are being used to foster political support for the ruling party. “We have seen that…it is directly political,” the AFC leader said describing it as an attempt to buy votes.

NORAD had also warned of the risk to Norway’s reputation if the controversial Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) is funded by the Chinese and has urged Oslo to send a high-level team here to discuss these and other issues. Ramjattan said that he is very supportive of hydroelectricity, but the question has been about the feasibility of the AFHP and whether Guyanese are going to pay more rather than less for electricity under the project. He noted that they had been awaiting analyses on the project from the Inter-American Development Bank and said that the Norwegians should also investigate the feasibility of the AFHP. “That [feasibility] is the important part, not the fact that it is Chinese money,” Ramjattan declared.

The AFC leader said that money from anywhere including China, once it is legal funds, is money that could be acquired for such a project. “I have nothing negative to say about Chinese government funding” or from the development bank, Ramjattan asserted.

NORAD had urged that a high level “at minimum ministerial- level” visit be undertaken by the Norwegian government to explore and discuss the AFHP and other issues. This would be helpful in preparing Norway/NICFI for negotiating a second Memorandum of Under-standing, and also to impress on the Govern-ment of Guyana that Norway, whilst fully respecting national sovereignty, is keen to see that all uses of Norwegian funds are unlikely to damage Norway’s and NICFI’s international reputations, NORAD declared.

Latest in Local News

default placeholder

Northern carriageway of Carifesta Avenue closed to traffic

The northern carriageway of Carifesta Avenue has been closed to traffic. This is to facilitate ongoing improvement and lighting works to the thoroughfare.

The newly appointed Deputy Commissioner General Hema Khan (left) with Chairman of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board Rawle Lucas. She was introduced during a press conference held yesterday.

GRA sacks heads of Customs, HR

Chairman of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board Rawle Lucas yesterday announced a major shake-up in the management of the tax body, including the removal of the heads of its Customs and Human Resources divisions for unsatisfactory performance and the appointment of a Deputy Commissioner-General.

European Union Ambassador Jernej Videtič (left) hands over the Coastal Engineering Design Manual for Guyana Sea and River Defences to Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson. (Ministry of Public Infrastructure photo)

$2B in EU funding for sea defences

While urging the swift operationalisation of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), European Union (EU) Representative to Guyana Ambassador Jernej Videtič yesterday handed over a $2 billion cheque to Minister of Finance Winston Jordan to aid in improving the country’s sea and river defences.

Members of the City Constabulary in their ceremonial dress march along Regent Street yesterday prior to the arrival of the President. (Photo by Keno George)

Put citizens first

With the controversial parking meter contract instigating fractures within the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), President David Granger yesterday reminded city councillors that they are accountable to the citizens who voted them into office.

Injuried: Dhaniram Tribeni

Canal Number One businessman beaten, shot in home invasion

A Canal Number One businessman is now injured after he was beaten and shot early yesterday morning when armed bandits invaded his home and escaped with a quantity cash and jewellery.

default placeholder

City councillor accused of invading Town Clerk’s privacy

A city councillor has been accused of invading the privacy of Town Clerk Royston King and his family after contacting one of King’s daughters about the controversial trip he made to Mexico with the Mayor and other council members.

default placeholder

Chainsaw operator, 16, charged over rape of 10-yr-old

A 16-year-old chainsaw operator was yesterday charged with the rape of a child under the age of 16 years old and later released into the custody of his parents.

Students of Guyana and Suriname who participated in the first Inter-Guianas Spelling Bee Competition, held yesterday at NCERD.

Guyana overall w-i-n-n-e-r in first Inter-Guianas Spelling Bee

Guyana’s students yesterday emerged the overall winners in the first Inter-Guianas Spelling Bee Competition. The Spelling Bee brought together students of Guyana and Suriname, from ages 10 to 14, in a concept of solidarity dubbed “Guianame.” The participants were drawn from several regions in Guyana and from the AlphaMax Academy, which has been the winner of the National Spelling Bee in Suriname for the past three years.


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: