`Do more research into problems facing developing countries'
-- President Jagdeo urges
Guyana Chronicle
October 23, 2002

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PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo is urging the academic communities in the Guianas to do more research into the problems that are facing developing countries and to come up with solutions that translate into the improvement of the lives of the people.

Declaring open the 5th Inter-Guianas Conference yesterday at the Umana Yana, Georgetown, the President said: "As academics you have a job not just to churn out findings, but to make sure that they really mean something and that they are translated into the improvement of the lives of our people.

"If that does not happen then people will accuse you of being in an ivory tower.'"

However, he assured the academics that his Government is prepared to study the findings of the conference and to implement those that are appropriate and relevant.

"I am prepared to make a list of your recommendations that will emerge out of this conference, and have my Government, and I hope I can lobby the Government of Suriname, to sit with you and discuss these issues with a view to implementing some of the recommendations," the President said.

He told the delegates that in order for them to be able to influence decision and policy makers, their findings must be of good quality and they must be persistent advocates of the findings.

Touching on the emerging challenges of globalisation that developing countries are faced with, the President said that they are not prepared to deal with them, noting that decisions pertaining to globalisation are made in other parts of the world which do not take into account the peculiarities of the developing countries, resulting in dislocation in the third world.

"Decisions are being made in other parts of the world with great rapidity and these decisions have a tremendous impact on the lives of our people.

"In fact, in many cases these decisions and their implementation are causing dislocation in third world countries like ours.

"So when you address this issue, I hope that you are not just going to deal with globalisation and its very obvious impact on third world countries, but you are going to try to demonstrate ways of mitigating that impact and to build and to take advantage of the opportunities that may become available from globalisation," Mr. Jagdeo urged.

He accused some countries that champion the cause of globalisation of reneging and retreating from those same principles of neo-liberalisation and said that because of their economic and trade strength, they exert powerful influence on the multilateral financial institutions.

Speaking on the importance of negotiations, the President said that a strong argument can be put up to justify the establishment of economic and financial systems that take into account the peculiarities of developing countries, but that sometimes principles do not matter.

"As policy makers, when you sit in the various negotiating theatres sometimes you have very strong arguments.

"I am sure we can put up all the arguments in the world to just make a strong case for world economic and financial systems that would take into consideration the peculiarities of our countries.

"We have strong arguments; I am sure many of them would emerge here over the course of the conference, but sometimes these do not matter, the arguments do not matter, principles sometimes do not matter", he said.

"We have seen people who professed a commitment to free trade renege on that by implementing and adopting policies that run totally contrary to free trade," the President declared.

He urged that the conference focus on ways by which the uniqueness possessed by the Guianas can be transformed into products of competition in international trade to bring greater economic and social benefits to the people.

Speaking on the development of common resources, President Jagdeo urged that members of academia should lead the fight against the existing insularity, caused by false concepts of sovereignty, and how to create a climate to give effect to the sharing of resources for the benefit of all the people.