Friday, October 23, 2009

Canadians hail Jagdeo as ‘World Leader’ in climate change battle

IN recent years, President Bharrat Jagdeo has spoken frequently of the need for developing countries to be at the fore in identifying solutions to avert the worst extremes of climate change, and has repeatedly raised the issue at the United Nations and summits of Latin America and Commonwealth Heads of Government.

As a consequence of President Jagdeo’s consistent advocacy for urgent action on climate change, Time Magazine and CNN last year named the President as one of their ‘Heroes of the Environment’.

He has been recognized around the world for his leadership role in the area of climate change, with praise raining-in from persons such as Prince Charles, British Prime Minister Gordon Browne, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Hollywood superstar Harrison Forde.

That recognition of President Jagdeo’s leadership on the world stage on the issue of climate change has spread further afield in Canada over the past two days as hundreds of persons from mainly the academic fraternity, a significant majority of whom are Canadians, packed the halls of three of Canada’s best universities – Trent, York and Toronto – to listen and interact with him as he drummed-up crucial support in his widely-acclaimed international lobbying efforts at explaining the devastating effects of climate change, the myriad intricacies surrounding the catastrophic phenomenon, and the impact it will have on small developing countries like Guyana.

The Chronicle newspaper spoke with several persons who listened to the Guyanese Head of State during his lectures at Trent University on Wednesday evening and at York and Toronto Universities yesterday.

The following are snippets of their comments to this journalist:

Thaddeus Bolton – Student, Trent University
It is a great pleasure and privilege to listen to President Jagdeo, and we at the university would like to thank him for being here with us today. We would also like to thank him for the numerous years of dedication and commitment that he has demonstrated on behalf of our natural environment. Today, we are all called upon to respond to the global environmental crisis but few have demonstrated the courage and vision to take a leadership position like President Jagdeo. And for that I want to thank him for being an example of what is possible. I would also like to wish that he continue to lead and inspire students and communities around the world to be advocates and visionaries for the millions of species across the world.

Dwarka Persaud

Dwarka Persaud - Guyanese residing in Canada
I think President Jagdeo’s presentation was simply spectacular. You can see he is very knowledgeable about what he is talking about and advocating and he is an excellent speaker at any public gathering.

Dr. Don Lush – former graduate at Trent University
I thought it was a very good presentation. It is very encouraging to see leaders such as him making in-roads in this area and really trying to make things happen and there has been an awful lot of political talk and a awful lot of social feet dragging and until we actually get things happening and on the ground and working and seeing the products of that activity, we are not going to be moving ahead. We have a lot of big issues ahead of us and it takes courageous world leaders like President Jagdeo to step out and take a political chance and take the risk.

Dr. Don Lush

I think too many political leaders are playing it socially safe and not really stepping out and it is really encouraging to see somebody like President Jagdeo who is actually doing that (speaking out and raising awareness). I believe other leaders in the world generally have to start supporting innovative proposals such as the LCDS being proposed by the President of Guyana. There will always be flaws with the proposals and you will always be able to pick apart bits and pieces but unless you start somewhere, you will never get anywhere. You require the first steps to get there and President Jagdeo has already taken those first steps. He might falter, but he can pick himself up and try again. He is young enough and committed enough and I think he has the right attitude and drive that will see him make progress in the future.

Anna Punit

Mrs. Anna Punit – Trinidadian-born Canadian resident who is married to a Guyanese
I am just so overwhelmed by the attendance here today (at Trent University), particularly seeing that the majority of the gathering here are non-Guyanese and non-West Indian. I think this is indicative of the interest that the population here at Trent University and in Peterborough has in listening to the President speak on the issue of climate change. Their interest with this whole issue of global warming and climate change and the intensity with which they expressed themselves today and responses by the President to their queries…I am very impressed. His speech was just phenomenal.

Fitz Bharath

Fitz Bharath – Trinidadian-born Canadian
I thought President Jagdeo’s presentation was very informative…and, as a born Trinidadian, I didn’t realise that so much could come out from a relatively small developing country like Guyana. I think President Jagdeo and Guyana are setting a trend for the world.

Neil Widlak

Neil Widlak - Canadian
I was very impressed with his (Mr. Jagdeo) presentation and what he is trying to do, I think, is very encouraging and very refreshing. I think the Guyanese President is very knowledgeable in the area of climate change…and, as I said before, I am very impressed.

Capt. Gerry Gouveia – Prominent businessman and Head of Guyana’s Private Sector Commission
The President’s presentation here at Trent University, first of all, made me very proud as a Guyanese. When you listen to the people respond to President Jagdeo as a world leader and the last comment that we have heard here tonight, that if other world leaders was as knowledgeable like him about the details of his own country and the history of climate change then the world would be a better place - this made me very, very proud. I think also this is going to make the world be a lot more aware because universities like this (Trent) are going to be paying special interest –in terms of research, for instance, in environmental practices…so I believe that the President’s presentation here this evening and again tomorrow (Thursday) is going to move the LCDS process even further.

Gerry Gouveia

I think President Jagdeo is doing a wonderful job with this in really putting Guyana on the map. For me, as an eco-tourism operator, the low carbon development strategy is really a big, big boost for eco-tourism in Guyana and anybody in Guyana who is interested in doing business with a social conscience and with a high level of responsible management will find the low carbon strategy as a great asset to them – to both Guyana and the world.

Also, I want to say that I cannot, as the leader of the private sector in Guyana and when I look deep in my heart and I sat through the consultation process that has been going on across the country, I cannot understand why anyone would be against the strategy. This is not politics; this is good sense. So when I see people being negative about this strategy, it hurts me.

Mr. Meric Gertter - Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Toronto
I want to thank President Jagdeo for gracing this university with his presence.

We really appreciate him taking the time to teach us more about climate change and Guyana’s visionary plan to preserve its tropical rainforest to combat climate change.

Donna Workman

Donna Workman - Manager of Programme and Partnership Development at the Centre for Environment, University of Toronto
I thought that his (President) Jagdeo’s presentation was very insightful, intelligent and inspiring…I hope that we can do a session together at Cophenhagen where we can, in partnership, push his ideas forward. I believe that he is doing a great job and I wish we had more leaders like him. I wish him great momentum and that he gets the ears of the communities as he continues to push forward the agenda for the benefit of all.

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