Guyana wants Caricom to be more aggressive with climate change issues

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — Guyana says it intends to push Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries for more aggressive action to deal with the issue of climate change following recent adverse weather conditions in the region.

President Donald Ramotar said that the recent floods in the Eastern Caribbean have resulted in millions of dollars in damage as well as the loss of lives.

“The scientific evidence is showing that for our region, which is one of the most vulnerable, these weather events will become more frequent as the impacts of global climate change intensify,” Ramotar said.

St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica were badly affected by a low-level trough on Christmas Eve, resulting in damage estimated at “hundreds of millions of dollars” and at least 16 deaths.

The Guyana Government has made donations of US$10,000 to each of the countries and has announced plans, in conjunction with the Public Service Commission, for a disaster relief fund for the affected countries.

Recognising Guyana’s own vulnerabilities in this regard, with its coastal plain approximately six feet below sea level, President Ramotar said that efforts would intensify this year to improve and expand infrastructure.

He said particular focus will be placed on the boosting of sea and river defence and drainage and irrigation systems; enhancing forecasting capabilities and response mechanisms, and building more climate resilient social and productive sectors in the economy.

The Government said it will seek to achieve these goals within the framework of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

The LCDS, a brainchild of former President Bharrat Jagdeo, sets out a vision to forge a new low carbon economy in Guyana over the coming decade. It has received critical acclaim globally, and is now in its implementation stage.