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Friday, April 11, 2008

Cabinet gives ‘green light’ to contracts for sea, river defence improvements

Georgetown, GINA, April 10, 2008

Cabinet at its April 8 meeting gave the ‘green light’ for contracts for works to be undertaken in the sea and river defence sector in several Regions.
Head of the Presidential Secretariat and Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon today at his post-Cabinet media briefing revealed the contracts agreed to by Cabinet.

Sector

Activity

Value

Public Works
Sea and River Defence

Construction of the Gabion basket Groynes at Riversview, Essequibo River.

$20.4M

Construction of 600 metres rip-rap sea defence at Sea Spray, Leonora, West Coast Demerara.

$338.5M

Scour protection at Craig/Success, East Bank Demerara.

$16.2M

Construction of 120 metres rip-rap river defence at Toevlugt, West Bank Demerara.

$53.4M

Construction of 550 metres of rip-rap sea defence at Belladrum and 250 metres at Hope, West Coast Berbice.

 

$325.9M

 

Agriculture

The supply of fuel and lubricants for the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority.

$54.5M

 
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Weeds management project progressing

Georgetown, GINA, April 10, 2008.

Efforts are continuing to find biological means to control aquatic weeds in Guyana under a programme being facilitated by Government with support from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
            The two-year programme launched earlier this year seeks to investigate the management and feasibility of utilising aquatic weeds from drainage and irrigation channels as a potential source for biogas and animal feed production and other commercial purposes.
It is being coordinated by the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) with support from the Pesticides and Toxic Chemical Control Board (PTCCB), Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
            Among the activities currently being carried out by the international experts involved in the project is the collection of samples of weeds while the possibility of using certain insects to control the weed is being explored.
It has been observed that there is the presence of such insects, but to a limited extent, and considerations may be given to the rearing of these insects in the long-term.
            The weed management programme was initiated by President Bharrat Jagdeo and is being implemented against the background that weed control would ensure efficient water management and reduced maintenance cost of drainage and irrigation canals.
            Clearing of weeds especially antelope grass from main drains, waterways and rivers such as the Mahaica and Mahaicony Creeks require significant expenditure annually to ensure efficient drainage particularly during the rainy season.
            The use of manatees has in the past been one of a number of biological control methods used in Guyana. This method has been widely suggested in the Caribbean and other parts of the world.

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Re-naming during national registration needs addressing at larger forum- HPS

Georgetown, GINA, April 10, 2008

Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon said re-naming Guyanese, on the basis of registration during the national registration exercise needs to be examined while a process that would accommodate time-tabling for Local Government Elections would have to be put in place.
His comments were made during today’s post-Cabinet media briefing at the Office of the President in light of GECOM’s move to put in place a final and definitive model by which names are associated with individuals.
            Dr. Luncheon said many people are being advised that at the end of the registration exercise, complying with all of GECOM’s rulings, they would all have different names.
“As a consequence, as GECOM proclaims National Registration documents would suffice for a number of legal and other purposes, it means those whose names would have to change would now be burdened with effort, cost and other things of going and making those changes,” Dr Luncehon said.
He added that whether the appropriateness of national registration is debatable, the process is seen as a definitive activity.
 The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) yesterday said that the registration process is 55 percent complete.
             
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Government examines inter-Ministry committee report on food
 - intends to mount nationwide awareness exercise

Georgetown, GINA, April 10, 2008

Cabinet at its April 8 meeting examined the first report of the Special Inter-Ministry Committee on Food which sought to highlight interventions to manage price escalations and supply/demand considerations.
            Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon at today’s post Cabinet media briefing noted that consideration was given to the external factor, its perview within the market economics, the trends and projections about the phenomenon’s duration.
            “Cabinet noted that prices of dietary commodities that were imported rose significantly as well as those home-grown. Prices of home-grown commodities were related to supply/demand consideration all heavily influenced by rising costs of production,” Dr Luncheon said.
            Flour, rice, green vegetables, animal and plant protein and ground provisions were among the major dietary commodities which the HPS said were under careful examination by Cabinet.
            Focus was also placed on mitigation interventions such as taxation measures, liberalisation of domestic markets and monitoring exports of food. As part of this intervention, Dr Luncheon said government intends to undertake an immediate nationwide community exercise to inform residents of these measures.
Government is focused on measures to cushion the effects of the high cost of living and more specifically rising food prices which are impacting on world markets.
Significant resources have been allocated to the agriculture sector which is crucial to the availability and security of food in Guyana.
The Ministry of Agriculture recently launched a grow more food campaign aimed at encouraging farmers to increase production to better serve export markets and meet the high demand for food products in the Caribbean.
According to the Economists Food Price Index Global food prices inflation is expected to increase between 20 to 50 percent over the next five years. Evidence of this is already being manifested since over the last three months the price of rice increased by over 72 percent on the world market.
Food security has been engaging the attention of Caricom leaders as they seek to devise solutions to the problem. Only recently, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Patrick Manning announced some necessary initiatives such as discussions with the Guyana Government to facilitate land space for agricultural purposes.
Several global factors have been cited for rising food prices including the conversion of food products to renewable energy resources.

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Guyana’s suggestions at crime summit adopted- Dr. Luncheon
-  timetable will be done to address legislative, administrative measures

Georgetown, April 10, 2008

The Government of Guyana’s suggestions in relation to crime fighting solutions were welcomed and adopted as part of the 31 specific activities in 11 broad areas agreed to by Caricom Heads of Government at the recent special Summit in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T).
Head of the Presidential Secretariat and Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon today made this disclosure during his weekly post-Cabinet media briefing at the Office of the President.
            “Almost all of the proposed interventions by Guyana were supported at the Ministerial level. We were so advised and when the Heads met, a large number of those interventions strongly supported by President Jagdeo were adopted and became part of the 31 specific tasks in the 11 areas to which all of the Heads were committed,” he said.
            Dr. Luncheon explained that the suggestions put forward by Guyana’s security heads at the recently held Commissioners and Chiefs-of-Staff meeting in Guyana were filtered at the summit since there were agreed to at the prior meeting.
            These included: enhancing the ability of States to prosecute and deal with evidence and wiretapping.
            “The big ones of course were all in support of enhancing the ability of states to prosecute and deal with evidence, the uses and forms in which evidence would be put to hearings whether summary or indictable events(witnesses not being known to accused)… Heightening the intelligence work and the resort to wire tapping, I think that was another area our Guyanese colleagues at the Commissioners meeting were pushing because they recognize that this was convention,” the Cabinet Secretary asserted.
Guyana also suggested having elements of the security collaboration for Cricket World Cup reinstituted.
            The Cabinet Secretary said that though the decisions were made by the participating States, Guyana is pushing ahead with putting the necessary measures in place to enable the interventions locally.
            To this end, he said that the Ministries of Home Affairs, Legal Affairs and Foreign Affairs have been given a two-week deadline to submit a timetable to address identified legislative and administrative measures.
            “I don’t know if a similar timetable has been given in the other territories but here (Guyana) we are moving apace to make these interventions.”
            At the special crime summit the Heads agreed to several interventions dealing with illegal firearms, drug trafficking, intelligence and information-sharing, kidnapping and the deportee issue.

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Two new Ministers sworn in before President Jagdeo

Georgetown, GINA, April 10, 2008

New Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues and Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai were today sworn in before President Bharrat Jagdeo in the presence of other Government Ministers, the media, family, friends and well-wishers.


Former Amerindian Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues taking the oath of office of Foreign Affairs Minister before President Jagdeo.

            Minister Rodrigues who was the former Minister of Amerindian Affairs was at the helm of a number of initiatives in her former post to address several pertinent Amerindian Affairs issues and ensure Amerindian development in several areas such as land demarcation and titling and the revision of the Amerindian Act. She replaces former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rudolph Insanally who retired from his post recently.


Member of Parliament Pauline Sukhai taking the oath of office of Amerindian Affairs Minister before President Jagdeo.

            Meanwhile, the new Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai has a wealth of experience working with the indigenous people and has been serving as a Member of Parliament for a number of years prior to her appointment.


           
Commenting on her plans for her new post after taking the oath of office,    Minister Rodrigues says she plans to firstly meet with the staff of her Ministry to see which are the priority issues which need to be dealt with, what needs to be improved and what new can be added.
She also plans to work on improving the image of the country.


           
In the meantime, the new Minister of Amerindian Affairs alluded to the success   of her predecessor and the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) in relation to Amerindian Development and plans to further this development, particularly in the areas of business and tourism.
            She also noted that she hopes to complete the work in the area of land titling which has already moved to an advanced level.
             
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New Foreign Affairs Minister pledges to work on Guyana’s image
-among other plans

Georgetown, GINA, April 10, 2008

Former Minister of Amerindian Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues who was today sworn in as the new Minister of Foreign Affairs before President Bharrat Jagdeo at the Office of the President, told the media that foremost on her agenda for the Ministry is to consult with the staff of the Foreign Affairs Ministry to determine what are the immediate issues that need to be dealt with, what needs to be improved and what are the new things that could be added.
            Minister Rodrigues has replaced former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rudolph Insanally who retired from his post.
            Asked by the media about certain issues she will inherit in the Foreign Affairs Ministry such as the Guyana-Barbados immigration issue and how she plans to deal with it, Minister Rodrigues said she will be consulting with the Ministry’s staff, following which Government will decide on the most appropriate response.
            The Minister alluded to territorial issues as those she would also be working on as well as improving the image of Guyana.
            On the issue of Venezuela giving assistance to Buxton farmers, Minister Rodrigues said Government was not consulted on the move and as such, Venezuela breached protocol. On this note, Government’s concerns were registered with the Venezuelan Ambassador to Guyana.
            The Minister said that this was done to ensure that the sensitivity of the issue is taken into account, adding that though Guyana welcomes the assistance by other countries, especially neighbouring countries, a certain protocol has to be followed in the process.
            Minister Rodrigues served as Minister of Amerindian Affairs since 2001. Under her leadership, a number of pertinent Amerindian Affairs issues were addressed, such as land titling and demarcation and the revision of the Amerindian Act.       
               
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Final closure plan announced for OMAI mine sites

Georgetown, GINA, April 10, 2008

The curtains have finally come down on the operations of Omai Gold Mines Limited following the announcement of a detailed closure plan for the OMAI Mine Site which has been agreed to by OMAI, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
            It is envisaged that all environmental and other activities at the OMAI Mine site would be completed by the end of September 2008.
            The release said OMAI has given notice of its intention to “terminate the mineral agreement and voluntarily relinquish its mining licence with effect from October 1, 2008 to which the GGMC and EPA have agreed.
            “The EPA confirms that, generally, OMAI Gold Mines Limited has complied with the identified limits and other environmental requirements of the EPA, and that the company’s compliance was consistent with its ISO 14001 certification for environmental management,” the release added.
            The closure plan at the request of the government has been changed from “back to nature” to an “after use” of the OMAI mine site. The infrastructure which includes internal roadways, landing barrage, airport, access roads, power plant and camp site facilities will however, be retained.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds who is also the minister responsible for mining was quoted in the release as saying that Government, consistent with the after-use option for the OMAI site is inviting other mining companies to re-evaluate its underground mining possibilities.
The Prime Minister reiterated government’s policy of foreign-direct investment but also welcomes responsible mining which facilitates successful large scale operations in Guyana.
The GGMC also acknowledges the operations of OMAI noting that regulations provide a framework for the operation of gold mining in compliance with international standards.
            “The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission notes the long gestation period associated with birthing large scale operations and challenges all exploration companies to stay on course with their field activities.”
            The release added that although OMAI departs with dignity it looks forward to other interventions such as pursuing prospecting activities of Eagle Mountain and has been reviewing other prospects in Guyana.
The relinquishing of the company’s operations is considered closure to an important chapter in the life of gold mining in Guyana.
Among the highlights of OMAI’s operations in Guyana is the spearheading of the first large scale cyanide extraction operation in 1993 with the opening of the mine by the late President Dr. Cheddi Jagan.
Among its other success stories was the accomplishment of producing approximately 3.8 million ounces of gold from operations in 2005. The company’s contribution to gold mining operations in Guyana is considered by government as sterling.
           

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