More than 50 days have passed since the Guyanese electorate took to the polls to elect a government of its choice. The process remains incomplete as controversy erupted over the declaration of the Region Four (Demerara/Mahaica) votes. Two weeks after E-day, Guyana confirmed its first case of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Now, with the country battling to curb the transmission of the diseases amidst this unsettled electoral process, securing funding from international lending institutions will be an uphill task. At least, this is what the Prime Minister (PM) of Guyana and Chairman of the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF), Moses Nagamootoo says.
During a virtual press conference today, Nagamootoo said: “There are a few requests that are being processed, and I believe that also of the political situation in Guyana; while we are in transition to a government that will emerge after the March 2nd 2020 elections, that we cannot for sure say whether some of these international, multilateral lending agencies are going to be dealing with Guyana’s applications anytime soon. They probably would want to sit it out and wait until the president is sworn in.”
His comments come at a time when calls are being made to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to speedily resolve the electoral process so that a fully outfitted government can be installed. The current regime is operating without its legal arm, which was severed after it suffered a no-confidence motion that was tabled by the parliamentary opposition back in December 2018.
Nagamootoo said that while these applications may not be processed anytime soon, the regime has an ongoing relationship with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) with regards to several projects that will be “reconfigured” to COVID-19-related projects.
“I’m told that that, that will be a huge sum of money and we’re told that there are monies available in [other] international agencies that could be tapped,” he said.
He said that the matter of securing funding from these agencies is being handled by the Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, who is “keeping his finger on the pulse”.
Guyana now has some 67 confirmed cases of COVID-19, inclusive of seven death. Ten persons have since recovered. The COVID-19 death rate stands just above 10% compared to the 2-4% presented by the World Health Organisation (WHO).