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CONTENTS President Ramotar

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Democracy Bears Fruit

ambassador Karran Page 5 Man of Many Talents

economy & finance

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On the Money


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Keeping Fiscal Order


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A World of Partnerships


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Enduring Links

oil & gas

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An Energized Future


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Unearthing Bright Prospects


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King’s: A Dazzling Pioneer

Private sector

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Engine of Growth


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A Natural Choice


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Flying High


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Finding Their Voice

call centers

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Success on the Line


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Important Lessons


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Colorful Traditions


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Overflowing Potential

the Washington Diplomat international Department Nadira Berry, Project Manager P.O. Box 1345, Silver Spring, MD 20915 USA

April • May 2013

fruits of democracy

President: Under PPP, Guyana is ‘Back on Track’


uyana proclaimed its independence from Great Britain in 1966, but it wasn’t until 1992, when the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) returned to power after decades in opposition, that the country truly found its footing.

Today, it’s on a solid path of democratic and economic advances, moving forward at a rapid pace under the direction of President Donald Rabindranauth Ramotar. For Ramotar, the nation’s success has been a 20-year journey. “In 1992, we took over a country in ruins. That was due to the fact we didn’t have a democracy,” said the president. “When we got into office, we had a huge debt burden — 95 percent of our revenues were going to service the debt. Today it’s only 4 or 5 percent. Our country is once again back on track.” Ramotar, 62, spent an hour talking with us at his office in the heart of Georgetown. The jovial president spoke about Guyana’s problems and progress with warmth and humor — and obvious pride in the nation he has led since his Dec. 3, 2011, inauguration. “Our country has been on a steady path of growth. We have improved in every area of life. The main obstacle is that we still have a fairly weak infrastructure,” he said. “That’s why we’re investing heavily in hydroelectricity. This project will help us attract investment in manufacturing, which is crucial for us. We must develop an energy infrastructure, roads going into the interior, and a deepwater port in line with expansion of the Panama Canal.” We asked the president if there’s any achievement he’s particularly proud of. “I’ve kept the economy going,” Ramotar replied. “Last year, it grew 4 percent, and this year we’re hoping for 5 percent. From the political point of view, we haven’t had any serious major political crises, despite the fact we’re a minority government. That’s new for Guyana. And I hope that in the near future — another four or five years — we can have universal secondary education in our country.” Another priority for the government is developing a knowledge-based economy. “We are investing in our people because we believe we have the possibility of being one of the best countries in the world,” he said. “Our efforts are reflected in our ‘One Laptop per Family’ project, our building of a fiber-optic connection to a Brazilian telecommunications provider to bring relatively cheap Internet access to remote areas, and developing e-governance for the country’s schools, hospitals and other services, and most importantly, tapping into the many investment possibilities that ICT offers.” The president noted that Guyana possesses a number of advantages that make it an ideal location for information and communications technology services. “Guyana is an English-speaking country with a relatively high literacy rate and this makes the business of providing voice or data services to customers in the SPONSORED REPORT

UN Photo/Jennifer S Altman


Our country has been on a steady path of growth. We have improved in every area of life…. Our country is once again back on track.

— Donald Rabindranauth Ramotar president of Guyana

global markets much easier.” Ramotar was born in 1950, the same year Dr. Cheddi Jagan and Jagan’s Chicago-born wife Janet Rosenberg were joined by the charismatic Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham to form the PPP as the first mass-based political party in what was then known as British Guiana. The young Ramotar signed up to the PPP in 1967, some 12 years after the party had split between Burnham’s new People’s National Congress (PNC) and the original PPP. By age 17, Ramotar already knew where his political ambitions were headed. “We were out of government, and I wanted to make a contribution,” he recalled. “So I campaigned in the 1968 elections and gradually rose within the party, from the ground up.” Ramotar eventually wound up managing the PPP’s head office in Georgetown. He became the general secretary in March 1997 when Jagan passed away, a position he holds today. “I wouldn’t say I had set my sights on becoming president, but it so happens I was promoted to these Continued on Page 4

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