Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has poured cold water on this week’s announcement by the government that Norway has released the final payment of $9.1 billion from its forest-saving deal with Guyana, saying that it was a regurgitation of a previous announcement and that the money cannot be accessed at this time.

The payment was made into the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), which is administered by the World Bank but cannot be released until after elections and a new government is sworn in; and it can only be released for approved projects.

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At a press conference at his Church Street, Georgetown office, Jagdeo noted a Stabroek News report of October 13, in which it quoted former Director of the Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) Per Fredrik Pharo

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“I also believe it was made clear by our minister during the climate summit in NYC that payments will be sanctioned out of the GRIF [Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund] until after the elections have been held and a government with a mandate from that election is in place,” Pharo told the newspaper.

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“In other words, the money will not be spent until the current situation is resolved,” Pharo told the Stabroek News.

Jagdeo taunted the government, saying the Norway deal was a PPP initiative; he noted that the governing Coalition partner, AFC, had even written to the Norwegian government, asking them not to release funds to the then PPP government.

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The groundbreaking deal was reached between Norway and Guyana in 2009 when Jagdeo, then President, was on an aggressive push for Guyana to be compensated for keeping forests intact, sucking in harmful greenhouses gases released by the industrialised world, causing changes in the world’s climate.

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The release of the funds hinged on how well Guyana managed its rainforest.

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