Crime fighting, development foundation plans for 2023

Last Updated on Saturday, 31 December 2022, 20:24 by Denis Chabrol

President Irfaan Ali on Friday- Old Year’s Day- announced that his administration would be aiming for a further reduction in crime and setting the foundation for Guyana at 2030 and beyond, even as he hailed non-oil economic growth in 2022 at about 10 percent.

“The New Year will also witness intensified efforts at arresting criminal activities,” he said in his New Year’s address, No details were provided, but Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn recently challenged the Guyana Police Force to go gear up to fight financial and cybercrimes.

Dr Ali reflected on success in reducing crime in 2022 compared to 2021. “The investments made in public security have led to a decline in serious crime by 19%, the lowest reported rate for such crimes in a decade,” he said.

In terms of Guyana’s economic performance, the President credited his administration with reviving traditional sectors of the economy as is reflected in an almost 10 percent economic growth. “We have kept our promise to resuscitate the traditional sectors. As a consequence, the non-oil economy is expected to register a growth of almost 10% for 2022,” he said.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in its latest quarterly report, states that food prices have seen even higher rates of inflation, averaging 11.2 percent this year through September. “The implications of this challenging global context driven by high energy prices and disrupted supply chains is that consumer purchasing power has eroded in the face of increasing price levels, contributing to higher poverty levels and inequality,” the IDB states.

While the IDB notes that the Guyana government has been handing out cash grants and increased monthly allowances to vulnerable segments of the population such as the disabled, pensioners, recipients of public assistance and farmers, the opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) has been demanding higher salaries from oil revenues to cushion the impact of rising cost of living.

The President said there are several ongoing initiatives such as the construction of roads, the Demerara and Corentyne River Bridges, greater access to healthcare through telemedicine and the rehabilitation of existing hospitals and the construction of new ones, the training of teachers to ensure all of them are trained by 2025, universal access to secondary education, expansion of the school feeding programme and having special programmes for women and youth.  “Our plans for this year, 2023, will lay the foundation for the establishment of the post 2o30 State. We envision a country, which at the turn of the next decade will be the
energy and industrial capital of the Caribbean, a prime tourism destination, a regional food security, and transport hub, and a competitive knowledge-based, and low-carbon economy. The post 2030 Guyana will be inclusive and wedded to sustainable development,” he said.

While New Year’s messages by Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton’s  and the Alliance For Change attacked the performance of the government, both the President and the General Secretary of the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP) , Bharrat Jagdeo did not refer to the opposition.