Volda Lawrence and Basil Williams are among seven nominees for leadership of the PNCR.
The others nominated are Aubrey Norton, Joseph Harmon, Richard Van West-Charles, Carl Greenidge and Sharma Solomon.
A statement from the PNCR today said that the opening ceremony on December 11th will include an address by party leader and former President David Granger who is currently on leave.
The statement also said that “The Congress will be for delegates only, decentralised, and hybrid. It will be conducted over one day at Party Congress Houses and approved venues in the respective regions”.
The nominees will be written to for confirmation that they have accepted the nominations.
The statement from the PNCR follows:
Arrangements are well underway in preparation for the PNCR’s 21st Biennial Delegates Congress, scheduled for Saturday 11th December 2021. The Congress will be for delegates only, decentralised, and hybrid. It will be conducted over one day at Party Congress Houses and approved venues in the respective regions.
Party groups have already submitted their nominations for Party Officers and members of the Central Executive Committee, as well as the names of their delegates. The programme will commence on the morning of Saturday 11th December with an opening ceremony that would include the Congress Address by Party Leader, Brigadier David Granger and devoted to other Congress business including, the election of Party Officers and members of the Central Executive Committee.
The various Congress Sub-Committees have been meeting and advancing their preparations for the Congress. However, since the Accreditation Committee is the one which plays a central role in preparing the List of Delegates for the Congress, the Party considers it necessary to brief the Press on the work it has done so far.
Since its establishment, the Accreditation Committee has been functioning effectively and has met routinely and regularly to verify Delegates based on submissions by Party Groups.
Since it is common for a Candidate to be nominated for, and actually contest, for more than one position, the Elections will be conducted in two (2) stages with the result for each stage being declared before moving on to the next stage:
Stage I: Election of the Leader, Chairman, two Vice Chairpersons and Treasurer
Stage II: Election of the members to the Central Executive Committee
At the close of nominations, on Friday 12th November 2021, for the Party Officers and CEC Members, as well as for the submission of Delegates, groups, both local and overseas to the Accreditation Committee, the total numbers of persons nominated by Groups for each of the various positions are as follows:
1. Party Leader – 7 Group Nominations
2. Party Chairman – 16 Group Nominations
3. Party Vice-Chairman – 30 Group Nominations
4. Party Treasurer – 18 Group Nominations
The Group nominees for Party Officers are as follows:
1. For the position of Party Leader: Basil Williams, Carl Greenidge, Richard Van-West Charles,Volda Lawrence; Aubrey Norton, Joseph Harmon; Sharma Solomon.
2. For the position of Party Chairman: Volda Lawrence, Gary Best, Shurwayne Holder, Amanza Walton-Desir, Roysdale Ford, Annette Ferguson; Aubrey Norton, Sharma Solomon, Ronald Bulkan, Christopher Jones, Richard Van-West Charles, Simona Broomes, Geeta Chandan, Dawn Hastings, Joseph Harmon, and Mervyn Williams.
3. For the position of Party Vice-Chairman: Elizabeth Niles-Williams, Volda Lawrence, Dawn Hastings-Williams, Annette Ferguson, Vinceroy Jordan, Gregory Fraser, Aubrey Norton, Darren Wade, Gary Best, Christopher Jones, Richard Van-West Charles, Vinceroy Jordan, Shurwayne Holder, Roysdale Forde, Ubraj Narine, Sharma Solomon, Robert Corbin, Simona Broomes, Natasha Singh-Lewis, Kirk Fraser, Randolph Critchlow, Amanza Walton-Desir, Corretta McDonald, Ronald Cox, Ronald Bulkan, Mervyn Williams, Ganesh Mahipaul, Bernita Primo, Samuel Sandy, and Jevaughn Stephens.
4. For the position of Party Treasurer: Ivelaw Henry, Clayton Newman, Elson Lowe, Vanessa Kissoon, Derrick Lawrence, Gary Best, Faaiz Mursaline, Ubraj Narine, Ronald Bulkan, Carol Smith-Joseph, Annette Ferguson, Amanza Walton-Desir, Roysdale Ford, Dr. Karen Cummings, Volda Lawrence, Ganesh Mahipaul, Daniel Seeram, and Deron John
5. Nominees: All nominees will be written to and requested to indicate by (date) their acceptance of the nominations. Failure to respond means that, should they otherwise qualify, their names would not automatically appear on the Ballot for the position/s for which they were nominated.
The People’s National Congress has been in existence for 64 years and takes its role in the national development of the nation very seriously. Therefore, this Congress is about how the Party will re-organize and re-position itself to deliver on its programmes and meet the expectations and obligations to its members and supporters. The Party understands that it cannot do so if it is disunited and lacking in cohesion. As a consequence, its foremost duty at this Congress, as it has been at others, is to promote unity and cohesion. Indeed, the multiple candidates nominated to be elected to the various offices and the opening of this process to the Guyanese public demonstrates the confidence the PNCR has in its internal democratic systems. For us, it is an expression of the will of our members and supporters.
The Party, therefore, believes that this Congress will create the conditions for the promotion of both cohesion and unity. Indeed, the question of unity has been a powerful motivating factor for each succeeding Leader of the People’s National Congress. In 1969, the then Leader of the PNC, Mr. L.F.S. Burnham, at the 12th Congress of the Party said the following: “I pray you now that the Party is coming into its own, keep it whole and strong … Let no one now ever divide us.” It is this advice the Party has taken to heart, which will [and will] serve as constant inspiration for all of us during this Congress.
cainPerhaps, perhaps not. I see we boy Kuttapen pen a long post, as long as Greenidge's. Young blood with intelligence is needed to lead the party, too many skeletons in the old goats closets. Leave whatever happened in the past..in the past, focus on leading with tomorrow in mind. [ more ]
Demerara_GuyPNC Congress: Greenidge declines nomination for leader; expresses concerns over process December 18, 2021 -- Source -- https://www.inewsguyana.com/pn...ncerns-over-process/ Carl Greenidge SEE BELOW FOR STATEMENT BY CARL B. GREENIDGE REGARDING THE IMPENDING PNCR CONGRESS BEING HELD TODAY: Last September 2020 I voiced concerns about the path on which the Party seemed embarked and its obvious crisis of leadership. In spite of or perhaps because of the caustic response of the Party ‘leadership’,... [ more ]
cainThat gyal might have left you a lot poorer dude, so poor you might not even have a computer. [ more ]
Ronald Anthony ArjuneI remember the feeling of a girl lost and I have to recover with the power of my mental illness. To become what I could have been may be happening now. http://www.ronaldarjune.com [ more ]
cainSiggy forgot a few words after the word "was" in his heading, those words are "one day younger" [ more ]
Medics at an infectious-disease unit in South Africa, where a new strain of COVID is spreading quickly.Credit: Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images/Getty
Researchers are racing to determine whether a fast-spreading variant in South Africa poses a threat to COVID vaccines’ effectiveness.
Researchers in South Africa are racing to track the concerning rise of a new variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The variant harbours a large number of mutations found in other variants, including Delta, and it seems to be spreading quickly across South Africa.
A top priority is to track the variant more closely as it spreads: it was first identified in Botswana this month and has turned up in travellers to Hong Kong from South Africa. Scientists are also trying to understand the variant’s properties, such as whether it can evade immune responses triggered by vaccines and whether it causes more or less severe disease than other variants do.
“We’re flying at warp speed,” says Penny Moore, a virologist at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, whose lab is gauging the variant’s potential to dodge immunity from vaccines and previous infections. There are anecdotal reports of reinfections and cases in vaccinated individuals, but “at this stage it’s too early to tell anything,” Moore adds.
“There’s a lot we don’t understand about this variant,” Richard Lessells, an infectious disease physician at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, said at a press briefing organized by South Africa’s health department on 25 November. “The mutation profile gives us concern, but now we need to do the work to understand the significance of this variant and what it means for the response to the pandemic.”
A World Health Organization (WHO) expert group will meet on 26 November, and will likely label the strain — currently known as B.1.1.529 — as a variant of concern or variant of interest, Tulio de Oliveira, a bioinformatician at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said at the briefing. The variant would likely be named Nu — the next available letter in the Greek naming system for coronavirus variants — if it is flagged by the WHO group.
Researchers also want to measure the variant’s potential to spread globally, possibly sparking new waves of infection or exacerbating ongoing rises being driven by Delta.
Changes to spike
Researchers spotted B.1.1.529 in genome-sequencing data from Botswana. The variant stood out because it contains more than 30 changes to the spike protein — the SARS-CoV-2 protein that recognizes host cells and is the main target of the body’s immune responses. Many of the changes have been found in variants such as Delta and Alpha and are linked to heightened infectivity and the ability to evade infection-blocking antibodies.
But the variant’s apparent sharp rise in South Africa’s Gauteng province — home to Johannesburg — is also setting off alarm bells. Cases increased rapidly in the province in November, particularly in schools and among young people, according to Lessells. Genome sequencing and other genetic analysis from de Oliveria’s team found that the B.1.1.529 variant was responsible for all of 77 of the virus samples they analysed from Gauteng, collected between 12 and 20 November. Analysis of hundreds more samples are in the works.
The variant harbours a spike mutation that allows it to be detected by genotyping tests that deliver results much more rapidly than genome sequencing, Lessells said. Preliminary evidence from these tests suggest that B.1.1.529 is spreading much wider than Gauteng. “It gives us concern that this variant may already be circulating quite widely in the country,” Lessells said.
To understand the threat B.1.1.529 poses, researchers will be closely tracking its spread in South Africa and beyond. Researchers in South Africa mobilized efforts to quickly study the Beta variant, identified there in late 2020, and a similar effort is starting to study B.1.1.529.
Moore’s team — which provided some of the first data on Beta’s ability to dodge immunity — has begun work on B.1.1.529. They plan to test the virus’s ability to evade infection-blocking antibodies, as well as other immune responses. The variant harbours a high number of mutations in regions of the spike protein that antibodies recognize, potentially dampening their potency. “Many mutations we know are problematic, but many more look like they are likely contributing to further evasion,” says Moore. There are even hints from computer modelling that B.1.1.529 could dodge immunity conferred by another component of the immune system called T cells, says Moore. Her team hopes to have its first results in two weeks.
“A burning question is does it reduce vaccine effectiveness, because it has so many changes,” says Aris Katzourakis, who studies virus evolution at the University of Oxford, UK.
Researchers in South Africa will also study whether B.1.1.529 causes disease that is more severe or milder than other variants produce, Lessells said. “The really key question comes around disease severity.”
So far, the threat B.1.1.529 poses beyond South Africa is far from clear, researchers say. It is unclear whether the variant is more transmissible than Delta, says Moore, because there are currently low numbers of COVID-19 cases in South Africa. “We’re in a lull,” she says. Katzourakis says that countries where Delta is highly prevalent should be watching for signs of B.1.1.529. “We need to see what this virus does in terms of competitive success and whether it will increase in prevalence.”
MitwahMars, Sorry to hear about your father in law. May he rest in peace. [ more ]
MarsThanks guys. I appreciate your kind words. My father in law was in an assisted living facility and we think that he contracted the virus from one of his attendants since he wasn't getting any visitors. He was scheduled to get the vaccine within a few days but unfortunately he got sick before he could get it. [ more ]
Irfon AliMars, sorry about your dad-in-law Jangles, glad to hear you FINALLY decided to take the first shot [ more ]
The Culture Minister appeared on an afternoon programme on 94.1 FM on Friday and sought to lecture the black community in Guyana about what he sees as a need for more black role models.
Guyana’s Minister of Culture, Youth, and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr. has found himself facing a mountain of criticism from several prominent black citizens over a statement he made about the black community in Guyana being in need of black role models.
The Culture Minister appeared on an afternoon radio programme on 94.1 FM on Friday and sought to lecture the black community in Guyana about what he sees as a need for more black role models.
“I think that in the black community, young black kids also need lots of examples of success because they have to be able to see that there is a pathway in order for them to live that successful life. And it bothers me a lot when I hear people who just came out of government, who spent 1.4 trillion dollars in this country and failed the black community and still are walking around the people as if they were capable of giving the leadership to help to create wealth in the country and in the black community”, Ramson said, while explaining that his father was his role model.
The statement received immediate backlash and has been described as gaslighting racial issues and racist beliefs in the country.
Appearing on a special edition of the Mark Benschop radio show on Saturday night, prominent Attorney-at-law, Nigel Hughes said while he is not surprised by Ramson’s statements, it clearly points to a pattern that may also be representative of an attempt to revise history as it relates to the experiences of Africans and Afro Guyanese.
“Every single day from the beginning of time, African people got up every morning in the presence of their children irrespective of whether they were dock workers, whether they were clerical people, whether they were Lawyers, doctors or professionals, went to work to give their children a better chance, every single day in most African households. So to suggest today that they are revising history to say that African children have no role models—African people have no role model, really needs to be treated as an attempt at revisionist history’, Hughes said.
Appearing on the same programme, former Government Minister and rights activist, Simona Broomes said Ramson’s language about the Afro-Guyanese community has been consistent. She said she is not surprised about what he had to say about the black community lacking role models and she sees his statement as degrading towards black people.
She said Ramson with his “wild and disrespectful statements”, must understand that in the black community “we do have role models. We were raised in homes too with mother and father and we are good examples”.
In a separate statement on Facebook, Opposition Member of Parliament and Attorney Amanza Walton-Desir spoke about her experiences as a child growing up to black parents who were her role models.
“I grew up with role models all around, in my family and in my community. My mother Joy Walton was a teacher for over 40 years and shaped the lives of thousands of Guyanese from all walks of life. From her, I learned compassion and the value of hard and honest labour. My father Ovid Walton was a military officer and served this country with distinction. He instilled in me the importance of integrity, love of country, and love for the Guyanese people, irrespective of race or creed. They both have left a rich legacy that I wake up to every day and proudly walk in. So, no, you do not get to diminish them, because they were not financially wealthy, nor do you get to diminish any of the hardworking Guyanese who get up every day to work to keep this country going for that matter”.
Longtime and Prominent Guyanese Professor at Ohio University in the United States, Dr. Vibert Cambridge also took offense to the statements made by Ramson and said as a Minister of Culture, Ramson should be bringing people together and not dividing them.
“It is most unfortunate when Guyana’s Minister responsible for the nation’s cultural development is consistent in stoking divisiveness and not promoting or encouraging solidarity. At one time I excused the behavior as exuberance and inexperience. Now it appears as unacceptable patterned and deliberate behavior”, Dr. Cambridge said in a Facebook post.
Another overseas based Guyanese Professor, David Hinds said he is not at all surprised by the statement of the Culture Minister. He added that Ramson appears to be attacking the black community over the power and wealth that he enjoys and which were handed to him. Professor Hinds those are things that have always been used to attack and make fun of the black community.
“We don’t want any apology from Ramson, but let him go long brave, go brave boy, go”, Hinds said.
As part of a loan taken from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the reconstructed and improved Moco Moco Hydropower Plant set to be built in the hinterland region of Upper Essequibo – Upper Takatu (Region Nine) in Guyana will add another 700kW to the grid. This is according to the project summary for this development.
This hydropower project, which is being executed by the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), will generate approximately 4,565 MWh/yr. of energy annually. The structures that were initially installed in the project included a diversion system, headrace, forebay, penstock, powerhouse, tail water canal, step-up substation, administration buildings and a transmission line. The new project will seek to maintain the current location of the existing hydraulic structure (weir), headrace, forebay, powerhouse, step up substation and tailwater canal.
The penstock alignment will be determined when the geotechnical and topographical surveys are completed. Therefore, water will be extracted from the left bank of the Moco Moco Creek.
Electricity supply in the Lethem area is currently provided by the district power company on a 24-hour basis and is generated from the company’s six diesel units with a total installed capacity of 3.825 million volts-amps (MVA) fuel. This accounts for an estimated 65 per cent operational costs. The fuel is transported by bulk transportation carriers, 450 kilometers from Georgetown to Lethem though unpaved roads, thereby making it challenging during the rainy seasons, resulting in delays in delivery.
Though generation cost is about US$0.49 kWh in Lethem, consumers currently pay an average rate of US$0.33 -0.40 per kwh, thus requiring government subsidies in the range of US$500,000 per annum. With income at subsistence level, the high cost of electricity supply remains a major burden on households and businesses, which is expected to intensify considering the expansion of businesses and government’s housing programmes in the area.
Therefore, while the area’s peak demand is 800 kW, it is expected to increase in the short to medium-term, particularly since the government has recently completed infrastructural works for an industrial estate in the town, which will add to the demand for a more affordable electricity supply.
Notably, this US$2.2 million plant, which is one of two being funded by the IsDB, is part of the Guyana government’s Hinterland Electrification Programme (HEP) that seeks to implement small, renewable energy projects for urban and off-grid communities. The Chinese government had previously funded a plant which was commissioned in 1999 at Moco Moco. However, it was damaged just four years in, and has been defunct ever since.
A hydropower plant is also set to be constructed at the Kumu Waterfalls at the base of the Kanuku Mountain Range, Region Nine. This project, too, is being funded by the IsDB.
Guyana’s President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, has promised to provide 500 mW of new power before the end of his first term to facilitate energy needs brought on by the oil-driven growth of Guyana’s economy. This energy mix is being fueled by the gas-to-energy plant, the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project, solar energy
Demerara_GuyTop 20 countries with the most number of dams Last Modified: 04-Jul-2021 9:33 AM 23,841 -- Number of dams in China 9,263 -- Number of dams in United States of America 4,407 -- Number of dams in India 3,130 -- Number of dams in Japan 1,365 -- Number of dams in Brazil 1,338 -- Number of dams in South Korea 1,266 -- Number of dams in South Africa 1,156 -- Number of dams in Canada 1,079 -- Number of dams in Mexico 1,064 -- Number of dams in Spain 965 -- Number of dams in Turkey 720 -- Number of... [ more ]
seignetFlooding not only by rain from climate warming, now it is a controlled body of water that finds its own path. Native lands will be affected. I guess, wherever there is a river, Dam it. Dams all over Guyana. How can this be cheap electricity to the consumer. From the hinterlands to the coast, that is an expensive distribution. [ more ]
I am hoping I will see the Aliens soon so they can explain how God destroyed my life and what he did to the Hindu gods to make them mentally ill. I want to know what he really did to Jesus and how he deceived the world with the truth. I have to be contradictory because the opposite happens with what I do-a mirror of my mind.
Wishing all a Merry Christmas for 2021. My book "How Do I Think-by using my schizophrenia" would be a good present to buy for medical professionals and police and also the mentally ill. Links are on my website. Do you know a person who is mentally ill?
Kaieteur News – The government is back to its old ways. Nothing has changed from the discredited actions which caused the PPP/C to lose its majority in 2011 and office in 2015. There was one common denominator in those defeats and that common denominator is now a multiplier. The PPP/C and the country will go nowhere so long as that factor remains entrenched and pulling the strings. The Opposition hold no chance of regaining power and they do not deserve ever to hold office again. Not after what they put this country through for five months; and certainly not after squandering the golden opportunity to make a difference. Instead of rebuilding under the man responsible for bringing the PNC/R back to power through free and fair elections, there was mutiny against him and now a struggle for power. Instead of a frank and forthright assessment as to why the APNU+AFC lost political power, there is a mad scramble to depose the one man who delivered them out of the political wilderness. What is taking place in the PNC/R now is a vendetta against Granger. But after what happened between March and August 2020, the PNC/R in another couple of weeks will get the leaders it deserves. What is clear is that the PNC/R cannot be part of any democratic solution in Guyana and lacks the moral authority to hold the PPP/C accountable and to stem its excesses. I have said before that the PPP/C is now controlled by an economic oligarchy – a small grouping which is stinking rich and which expects that every cent that it gave to the party for its election campaign, must be returned with interest. And this is what we are seeing now. We are also back to the days of micromanagement. Decision-making has become so centralised that billions are falling through the cracks because decisions are not being made in a timely fashion. And instead of reorganisation of the political management of the State, the country is being treated to pappy shows. Every day is a pappy show. Every day is sheer fluff and no substance. Every day is a picture moment while the country waits for a perfect moment. There is no credible Opposition because the Opposition lacks credibility. And this is granting licence for the government to do as it pleases. And it is doing as it pleases. From the failure to audit the expenses and credits of the oil companies, to making controversial award of contracts, to making a mockery of public consultations, to dubious appointments to foreign missions while the key foreign service appointments are not being made, to the retendering of contracts, to poor educational policies, to absence of public service reform, to a dubious distinction between core and non-core sports, to the usual talk about fighting crime through increased injection of resources, to the absence of a depletion policy for the oil and gas sectors and to the return of the usual flawed business models. Guyana is on the road to eternal torment. If you have young children, this is not the government or the country for them. Get them out on the earliest flight after the pandemic has abated and tell them not to ever contemplate coming back here. Young people have no future in this country. The government lacks the vision to create a society of opportunities. All it is doing at present is allowing the oligarchy to make merry while the masses continue to suffer. And suffering they are. Burdened by heavy taxes, poor pay and soaring cost of living, they are thrown crumbs in the form of meagre salary increases and there is gumption to force the private sector to increase the minimum wage from the paltry $45,000. The PPP/C, built on the backs of the working class, is shameless. Mediocrity now rules the roost. And as is said, who the Gods despise they first make mediocre.
TotaramIf I thought you were capable of understanding an explanation I would have provided one. Communist Russia had many professionals. Does that mean theirs was a free enterprise system? Come on man, get real. [ more ]
This story was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
St. Cuthbert’s Mission/Pakuri, Guyana – In a small forest clearing, Leeland Clenkian swings his axe into the decaying wood of an ite palm tree and plucks out a squirming tacoma worm.
The tacoma, which Clenkian tosses into a plastic bowl, is a delicacy in this Indigenous Arawak community of about 2,000 residents, located two hours by road from the rapidly developing city of Georgetown, Guyana’s capital.
“They are buttery, high in protein and can be cooked without the need for oil,” Clenkian, a 73-year-old retired Arawak chief and military veteran, told Al Jazeera. “It’s very versatile, very tasty – finger-licking good.”
Eaten raw, sauteed, or skewered and roasted like marshmallows on an open fire, insects like this could help make food systems worldwide more sustainable, Clenkian said. As he spoke, a group of apprehensive visitors from the city tasted tacoma fried with onions.
With the world’s population set to eclipse nine billion by 2050, and as climate-changing emissions from livestock continue to rise, experts say diets must shift to ensure a sustainable future – and insects could play more than a bite-sized role.
Globally, the livestock industry is responsible for about 15 percent of all human-caused carbon emissions, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Insects are about eight times better for the planet than beef when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, said Arnold van Huis, a professor emeritus of tropical entomology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He has spent much of his professional life studying the role of insects in food systems.
“I think everybody realises we need to change our diets,” van Huis, an aficionado of spicy deep-fried locusts, told Al Jazeera. “I think it’s safer to eat insects than chicken. Insects are taxonomically much further from humans than chickens or pigs.” Diseases carried by livestock, such as mad cow, are generally more dangerous to people than anything contained in insects, he added.
Producing one kilogramme (2.2 pounds) of beef requires about 25kg (55lbs) of feed, van Huis said, while one kilogramme of protein-rich crickets requires 2kg (4.4lbs) of food. Insects are cold-blooded, so unlike cows, they do not expend energy on producing body heat. Livestock also requires about six times more water than what an equivalent amount of insects would need, he said.
“About 80 percent of agricultural land in the world is already used for livestock,” he added. “We have to change.”
Western aversion to bugs
In much of the Global South, eating insects is nothing new or exotic. Some two billion people worldwide savour insects in their regular meals, with approximately 1,900 edible species, according to the FAO.
There are spicy scorpions as street food in parts of China; fried termites in western Kenya; curried dragonflies in Indonesia; beetle larvae in parts of Cameroon; wok-fried tarantulas or silkworms in Cambodia; and sauce-drenched mopane worms in rural Zimbabwe.
In Mexico, crispy grasshoppers are served with lime and chilli – and of course the humble tequila worm to chase down a strong shot.
In Niger, grasshoppers collected in millet fields fetched a higher price in local markets than the actual millet, according to a 2003 study (PDF).
In Guyanese Indigenous communities such as the Pakuri, the tacoma worm “isn’t an everyday delicacy”, said Michael Patterson, an Indigenous chef specialising in traditional foods who runs a catering company in Georgetown.
Setting a tree – chopping it down, making the correct incisions and waiting for the bugs to grow in the decaying wood – takes several weeks, and this cannot be done too often without damaging the forest, he said.
Tacoma worms are normally prepared during cultural activities or festivals, Patterson told Al Jazeera. Their consumption, he said, “comes back to the whole basic survival mode of human beings. Mankind started with the soil; it’s back to those basic principles”.
To some consumers, however, eating insects is not just gross; it is part of a dark, humiliating future. The opening scene of the dystopian sci-fi film Blade Runner 2049 shows the main character entering a protein farm, where a worker in a hazmat suit grows insect larvae in a toxic-looking vat of brown sludge.
Van Huis traces the western cultural aversion to insect consumption to environmental factors. Insects tend to be larger, easier to harvest and available all year round in much of the tropics, compared with the smaller bugs in much of the western world, which cannot be accessed in the winter.
Even in countries where insects have traditionally been eaten, changing dietary preferences mean that some middle-class consumers are now shunning them, van Huis said, as they are “associated with the poor man’s diet”.
Insects for animal feed
For people who are not comfortable eating them directly, insects still have a role to play in addressing climate change and making agriculture more sustainable, said Renata Clarke, a Barbados-based researcher with the FAO. She’s working on a project to make it easier for small farmers to produce insects, mainly mealworms and black soldier flies, to feed chickens and pigs.
“Using insects as a feed source is a lot less costly for the environment than traditional feeds,” Clarke told Al Jazeera in a phone interview. “It’s also less likely to evoke the ‘yuk’ factor than people directly consuming them. Who knows; maybe it’s a pathway to thinking differently about insects?”
About 17 percent of the world’s food is wasted, according to a recent FAO report. Leveraging some of that refuse as a food source for insects, which could then be fed to livestock, would be a win-win for local farmers and the environment, Clarke said.
Many countries in the Caribbean import 80 percent of their animal feed, and supply chain disruptions related to the COVID pandemic – coupled with recent price increases – have made insects more palatable as a source of animal feed, she added.
Having local farmers produce the insects, rather than importing feed from “monopolistic” traders, could also strengthen local economies, she said.
Back in Pakuri, Leeland Clenkian and the current chief, Timothy Andrews, hope the tacoma worm can one day be an export for their community – or at least a potential draw for tourists looking to try something new.
They are working on building an ecotourism project where day-trippers from the capital or foreign tourists can go for a swim in the river, watch colourful birds, take a hike in the forest or try the tacoma worm.
“I’ve heard insects are becoming a delicacy in Southeast Asia,” Clenkian said. “So the tacoma has a good chance of having a worldwide taste.”
Crew on the Liza Destiny FPSO prepare for an approaching oil tanker.
The government of Guyana has sold its final one-million-barrel oil cargo for this year, bringing the exports representing the country’s share of Liza Crude to five million barrels for 2021 and 9 million in total since oil production began in December 2019.
OilNOW understands the offloading of the one million barrels of oil was completed last week.
Brent oil price was hovering around $80 during the week but plunged to $73.52 on Friday on fears of a rapidly spreading, new COVID-19 variant announced the day prior by the health minister of South Africa, representing the biggest single-day drop of the year.
As of October 31, 2021, Guyana’s Natural Resources Fund (NRF) grew to US$534 million. With the final lift for this year completed, Guyana will have over US$600 million (GY$124 billion) in oil revenue as it enters 2022.
To date, there has been no investment mandate for the NRF account which is held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York since the government has publicly disclosed its intentions to let the funds remain untouched until a series of reforms are enacted.
With the arrival of Guyana’s second floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) and start of oil production by early 2022, at peak 220,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) will be added to the already producing Liza Phase 1 project – 120,000 bpd – taking total output to around 340,000 bpd.
“Come next year, 2022, we are expecting to see the amount of lifts, the amount of economic activities and the amount of revenues coming to Guyana…more than double,” Senior Petroleum Coordinator at the Ministry of Natural Resources, Bobby Gossai Jr., told members of Guyanese diaspora in October.
The Guyana Court of Appeal is slated to rule on December 21 on whether it has jurisdiction to hear the appeal filed by the main opposition APNU+AFC against the dismissal of one of its two petitions challenging the March 2, 2020 General Elections.
At the same time, the appellate court is expected to make pronouncements on whether it may have been the Full Court of the High Court to which the appeal should have been laid.
When the matter came up for reports yesterday morning, acting Chancellor Yonette Cummings-Edwards announced that the Bench—also comprising Justices of Appeal Dawn Gregory and Rishi Persaud—will deliver its ruling on Tuesday, December 21 at 2pm.
During previous hearings, the Court heard arguments from lawyers for the appellants and respondents on the preliminary issue of its jurisdiction and why it can and cannot hear the case.
It had been during the course of those arguments that the enquiry of a possible appeal to the Full Court came to the fore.
In January, acting Chief Justice Roxane George SC threw out the petition after finding that APNU+AFC presidential candidate David Granger was not served on time.
Trinidadian Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes, who represents now President Irfaan Ali and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo—who are among the number of respondents listed in the action—has argued that the appeal court has no jurisdiction to hear the matter.
Mendes’ contention has been that the purported appeal falls outside of the requirements created in Articles 163 (3) of the Constitution, and for this reason there is in the first place no appeal, and secondly, that the Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to hear the matter.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall SC, who has also been listed as a respondent in the action, shared the sentiments expressed by Mendes.
The two attorneys have advanced that when the Chief Justice threw out the petition, that decision was not in relation to a final order of the court, and is therefore not capable of being appealed.
They have argued that in accordance with 163 (3), an appeal would only have been permitted if the substantive petition had been heard in its entirety.
Meanwhile, on the issue of the Full Court possibly hearing the appeal as opposed to the Court of Appeal, Nandlall has argued that the Full Court has no jurisdiction to hear any matter arising out of anything connected with an election petition.
The AG’s position is that the Court of Appeal itself has no jurisdiction to hear the appeal currently before it, since it did not stem from the hearing by the High Court, of the substantive petition.
However, Attorney Roysdale Forde SC, who represents petitioners Monica Thomas and Brennan Nurse, in whose names the coalition’s petition was filed, has argued that the appellate court does have jurisdiction to hear the matter.
The petitioners subsequently appealed the ruling, arguing, among other things, that the Chief Justice erred in law and misdirected herself by misapplying the doctrine of strict compliance and holding that such compliance related to the contents of the affidavit of service instead of the filing of the affidavit of service in a timely manner.
The petitioners’ contention is that the elections were unlawfully conducted and/or that the results (if lawfully conducted) were affected or might have been affected by unlawful acts or omissions. They nonetheless argue that from those polls it is Granger who should be declared the duly-elected President of Guyana.
They were seeking to have the court nullify the outcome and to declare President Irfaan Ali to be illegally holding office.
The results of a national recount of all ballots cast showed that it was the PPP/C which had won the general elections with 233,336 votes over the coalition’s 217,920 votes.
The second of the filed petitions, which has also been lost, is also before the Court of Appeal. It has not yet been called.
DjangoDetermination of questions as to membership and elections. [14 of 2000] 163. (1) Subject to the provisions of this article, the High Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to determine any question— (a) regarding the qualification of any person to be elected as a member of the National Assembly; (b) whether— (i) either generally or in any particular place, an election has been lawfully conducted or the result thereof has been, or may have been, affected by any unlawful act or omission; (ii)... [ more ]
With the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sticking by its decision to not require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the new Demerara Harbour Bridge, environmentalist Simone Mangal-Joly is warning against the potential impacts that a project of such magnitude can bring.
On Wednesday, the EPA launched a fresh process for the approval of a new bridge over the Demerara River and stuck to its contentious stance that an EIA is not required, even though protected mangroves will have to be removed. Additionally, it granted a 30-day period for the public to appeal the decision before the Environmental Assessment Board.
The new bridge is expected to land in the vicinity of Nandy Park on the eastern side of the Demerara River and at La Grange/Meer-Zorgen on the West Bank. Based on the information provided, the bridge is expected to land some 700 metres inland from the eastern bank of the river and will be elevated 50 meters at the beginning of the channel – which is closer to the east bank. The descent is slated to be at a rate of 5 degrees.
The Scope of Works in the design/build contract included the complete design and construction of a two-lane dual (four-lane) carriageway, hybrid cable-stayed centre-span bridge with concrete box/T-beam girder approach bridge structures, and must include bridge collision protection, a navigation span to accommodate Handymax vessel navigation aids, lighting, signage, and all other ancillary works, an access road with a minimum of 50 meters up to abutments, toll-collection buildings and ancillary buildings on the West Bank of the Demerara River.
Government in early November announced that it will be engaging China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) for the construction of the bridge since it had submitted the lowest responsive bid. CSCEC, in its tender document, pegged the cost for the construction of the bridge at US$256,638,289 and this is based on the Design, Build and Finance (DBF) option, or Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Maintain (DBFOM).
The government is yet to engage CSCEC and the company still has to accept the award. From all indications, this process is yet to commence and it therefore means that while there is an artist’s impression of what the bridge would look like, there is no actual design for the project as per the intended agreement with CSCEC.
On that note, Mangal-Joly opined that the EPA cannot decide whether or not an EIA is required for a project when the design does not yet exist.
“When the EPA gets an application for an environmental permit for a project, it must examine the project design and determine whether the proposed activities could have a significant impact on the environment and human health. If the impacts could be significant, then the EPA must require an Environmental Impact Assessment. To be able to determine whether an impact could be significant and thus require an Environmental Impact Assessment, the design of the structure must be known,” the environmentalist explained during an interview with the Stabroek News.
Hydrology of the Demerara River
The complete bridge project would have to be comprised of approach roads which must be built or rerouted in the communities to feed traffic to the bridge. Then there is the bridge approach, which is a type of ramp that leads up to the bridge and the upper structure one would drive over to get to the other side.
At both ends of a bridge are abutments, which are the parts that straddle the land and river and in between these in the river are piers, or big and wide posts that support the upper structure of a bridge.
Mangal-Joly, who holds a BA in Geology & Third World Development Studies from Smith College, USA, a Master’s in Natural Resources and Environmental Management with sub-specialisation in Social Ecology from Yale University, USA, and has completed three years of graduate field research on the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) in natural gas and downstream developments towards a PhD in Economic Anthropology at University College London, told this newspaper that the construction of the piers usually requires pile driving deep into the riverbed to provide the support for the bridge.
“This comes with its own risks due to vibration. There can be many impacts of a bridge, depending on the bridge design, or during construction and operation… the number of piers in the bridge design will determine the degree of obstruction of water flow. The degree of flow obstruction will tell you what to expect downstream. Basically, the number and positions of the piers will affect the hydrology of the river. One must conduct hydrological and hydraulic studies to determine the likely impacts and identify impacts that are significant enough to warrant a closer assessment of their specific nature, extent, and any measures to counteract or deal with the negative effects. To model and conduct hydrological studies you need a design for the bridge,” the geologist explained.
Further, the hydrological changes in the river can change how sediments are deposited downstream, affect the passage of boats, operation of wharves, affect the biology of the riverbed, the ecosystem of the riverine harbour, the fish and marine life, and affect fisheries and the livelihood of fisherfolk.
“In fact, the entire port of Georgetown could be silted by this bridge depending on the design,” she posited.
With reference to the US$600 million wharf project being executed by a group of local businessmen, Mangal-Joly said that she and her associates would be pushing to have an EIA conducted to determine the impact the project may have on their investment.
Impossible to justify waiving of EIA
The project would see the construction of an access road at Nandy Park, and according to Mangal-Joly, there may be an attempt to separate the roads from the bridge project. However, she warned that Guyana’s Environmental Protection Act does not allow for the separation, explaining that once something is required for the bridge to function then it is part of the “complete” project.
Approach roads will affect every person that operates within the area of the expected landing site of the bridge and the density of vehicular traffic will affect residents’ health, as there will be noxious fumes which can be very dangerous to one’s health at fine scales.
“One would have to model airflow and may want to alter the design to minimise harmful effects on residents. One can expect an increase in industrial usage, which means an increase in pollution over current levels. One can also expect the greater intensity of rainfall and propensity for landside floods and would have to account for how impacts could change over time based on climate models. The short is that it is impossible to justify waiving an EIA at this stage or waiving an EIA at all. That is an irresponsible thing to do,” she asserted.
The environmentalist added that waiving an EIA for a structure as massive as the new DHB project is unheard of in the democratic world. She explained that the EPA should wait on the preliminary bridge designs and launch the EIA process while the designs are being finalised. This would allow for the best possible design, as well as reduce delays, and it would not deprive the frontline communities of the opportunity to be part of the design process and to contribute to problem definition and solutions for minimising or mitigating impacts.
Additionally, the EIA and subsequent consultative processes would allow affected residents to be fairly compensated for their losses. The issue of consultation seems to be a burning one with the Regional Democratic Council of Region Four withholding its “no objection” to the project until the Ministry of Public Works holds consultative sessions with the residents of Nandy Park.
However, the Ministry has been silent on the holding those consultations.
Mangal-Joly said that it is her observation that the rush with the new DHB project seems to be aimed at enabling the activities of companies in the oil & gas industry and planned downstream activities rather than fixing the traffic problem.
“My understanding is that expert opinion on the traffic issue has to do with traffic control, not the capacity of the existing floating bridge. We are using public funds for a high span bridge and the least that the authorities can do is show some respect for the people’s wish to be included in a more meaningful way in the decisions that will profoundly affect their lives,” she added.
With the EPA allowing 30 days for persons to appeal the decision, Mangal-Joy said that going through the process again is tantamount to the EPA abusing citizens and its line staff. She was referencing the previous deadlines for filing appeals over the same decision.
Those hearings never kicked off and now the process is being restarted.
“We must stay vigilant as citizens against impatience and external influence that leads the Agency to make reckless decisions, such as waiving EIAs. We must keep holding the EPA accountable until those who would exert undue influence over it learn that the fastest way to get the job done is to do it the right way. This is in every Guyanese’s interest because we all rely on this agency to protect our communities, our businesses, our ecological and material assets which form our economic base, our very bodies, ourselves.
“Any Environmental Assessment Board hearing on the matter should not last for more than three minutes. There is no world in which anyone, at least any sane or self-respecting environmental professional, would show up in front of their peers to tell them how they decided to waive an EIA for a structure for which the design does not yet exist. If the EAB indulges this recent EPA decision, then in my view, each member of the EAB will have destroyed their own credibility,” she averred.
Mangal-Joly added that the EAB is fully aware that the job of an environmental regulatory agency is not to decide what it wants to do then bend the evidence around that action rather it is to look at the evidence and then decide what to do.
cainSorry to say this, but that woman is too intelligent to waste her talents in a country where those at the top seem to turn a blind eye to everything proper. Where/How in the world did these goofs find out that a project of this magnitude does not need an EIA? [ more ]
Former Attorney General and former Chairman of the PNCR, Basil Williams SC has signalled his acceptance of the nominations by groups to contest for leadership of the PNCR at its upcoming congress.b
A statement by Williams follows:
Basil Williams SC
November 26th 2021
I thank you, my members for the confidence you have reposed in me by nominating me for inter alia the highest office in this great party of ours, the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR).
I had said from the outset that if nominated I would then consider whether the circumstances allow for me to contest.
No doubt it is because you know Basil Williams SC has been your servant/leader over the last twenty (20) years going where all others feared to tread. I was upfront and centre in combating the oppression of the PPPC and helping to lead us to victory in 2015 to become the government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.
I note the impact Covid-19 is having on our members and supporters and indeed the people of Guyana.
In March, 2020, during the height of the last General and Regional Elections (GRE), I was inspired to create the legal framework to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, in order to save lives. It is the first of its kind in Guyana.
Currently, we are the country with the highest death rate per capita in this hemisphere. Over nine hundred and eight three (983) deaths have occurred due to Covid-19 to date.
I am still saddened by the loss of Comrades Gloria Lindo-Wolfe, Namela Henry, Imran Khan, Mondale Smith and many other comrades to COVID-19.
We are asked to hold our Congress in this milieu and therefore it can’t be business as usual. The world has had to adapt and also Guyana.
The PNCR must also adapt lest we ‘kill-off’ our treasured members.
Virtual meetings, and other forms have taken over to avoid wherever possible face-to-face meetings in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and more deaths there from. I do not propose to provide the occasion for our people to contract the virus by having them assembled to listen to me campaign for the post of leader. I will adopt the relevant means of messaging as attend the pandemic.
I can so do because I have been working nonstop for the last twenty (20) years as a member of our Central Executive Committee (CEC). During that time I spent seventeen (17) years in Parliament, practised as a lawyer at all material times, and served as Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General the last five (5) years for the APNU+AFC government.
I have been travelling incessantly the length and breadth of our Country and the diaspora to visit with our membership and indeed wider communities.
I can appropriately say ‘if you don’t know me by now you will never never know me.’
But I have worked my way up the CEC’s ladder from an ordinary member in 2001; Vice Chairman for four (4) consecutive two (2) year terms, eight (8) years, and Chairman for three (3) consecutive two (2) year terms, six (6) years. It was under my watch as Chairman we won government again after twenty-three (23) years.
The only office I never served in is that of Leader. I believe that having been nurtured by our Founder Leader Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham and inherited by subsequent leaders after his death and having performed with excellence, the ordinary member, armed with facts and knowledge of my works would agree that Basil Williams SC is a sound choice for Leader of this great party of ours.
Nonetheless, the conduct of the elections for the 21st Biennial Delegates Congress could be quite taxing as it is unprecedented in the annals of our Party that is, decentralised to all other regions in the country and in the North American region my team and I, of necessity, must continue to assess that the process is transparent.
If the leader is to be the Presidential Candidate then this brings into focus other considerations such as whether the leader can win a General and Regional Elections (GRE), whether he or she is a dual citizen and is otherwise qualified under the rules of the PNCR and the Constitution of Guyana.
It would be my distinct pleasure to serve as your Leader and therefore come the day of elections, I unequivocally ask for your vote.
Once again I thank our members for reposing confidence in me.
Basil Williams SC
Immediate Past Chairman of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR).
Former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs
Guyana’s development partner, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), suggested in a report that the government reform the withdrawal rules in Guyana’s Natural Resource Fund (NRF) to make them simpler and less rigid. The advice is found in the report – ‘Economic Institutions for a Resilient Caribbean’ which was published in February.
The NRF was enacted in 2019 under the previous APNU+AFC administration. At the time, the government had explained that the legal framework for the fund includes provisions for public oversight management, the nature and source of deposits, withdrawals, including Parliamentary approval, and determination of amounts to be withdrawn. However, the PPP/C which was then in opposition, had contended that the framework is complex and places too much authority in the office of the finance minister. After assuming office in 2020, the PPP/C led government began moving towards overhauling the legal framework for the fund and has said it hopes to table the draft legislation before the end of the year.
In its report, the IDB explained that up until the time when 3 percent of the size of the fund reaches a specific threshold designated in a formula, the maximum annual withdrawal will be determined by a complex set of formulas. Those formulas involve the calculation of benchmark oil prices based on a moving average of past prices and forecasts of future prices, estimates of oil production, non-oil revenues, and the NRF’s balance.
“If in any past year, 3 percent of the fund’s balance has exceeded the specified threshold, the maximum withdrawal for all future years thereafter will be limited to 3 percent of fund assets,” the IDB said.
The Bank pointed out that the Fund’s objectives are stabilisation, competitiveness, savings, and development. It posited, however, that the Fund’s operations, isolated from the government’s overall fiscal policy, are not enough to achieve these objectives on its own.
It said the rigid withdrawal rules do little to foster stabilisation or saving but may entail fiscal costs. The Bank said, for instance, that the rigid rules could simply force the government to resort to borrowing, in the absence of a similarly minded overall fiscal policy, opening the government to fiscal costs related to borrowing that are higher than the returns on the Fund’s assets.
The Fund’s design, the IDB states, could play a good role in managing Guyana’s public financial assets, but it cannot be viewed in isolation from the country’s overall fiscal management.
“Since the objectives currently assigned to the NRF are overall fiscal policy goals, it would be straightforward to reformulate them,” the IDB said.
The Bank suggests a different aim for the Fund and added that in the context of a comprehensive fiscal framework, its transfer rules should provide for effective integration of the Fund with the budget.
In making a case for simpler withdrawal rules, the IDB states, “The formula for the maximum permissible withdrawal in the initial period is among the most complex operational rules for a resource fund in the world. Its design departs from good practices.”
It adds that state-of-the-art advice based on international experience and good fiscal management principles emphasize simplicity, flexibility, transparency, and close integration with the budget and public asset-liability management.
“The rule’s complexity may also conspire against fiscal transparency and public understanding,” IDB said.
In a post on his official Facebook page, Mr. Shuman explained that "I made two Facebook posts yielding a series of intimidation and threats ranging from the possibility of being fired from my job as Aviation Advisor to not given access to Government Services and being sidelined and blocked from doing business or executing anything in my name".
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Leader of the Liberty and Justice Party, Lenox Shuman has claimed that his job as an Aviation Advisor the government was recently threatened because of Facebook posts that he made criticizing the government.
In a post on his official Facebook page, Mr. Shuman explained that “I made two Facebook posts yielding a series of intimidation and threats ranging from the possibility of being fired from my job as Aviation Advisor to not given access to Government Services and being sidelined and blocked from doing business or executing anything in my name”.
He said he is already facing an interruption to doing business and while he has not received threats to his life, he would not rule out that possibility.
The Deputy Speaker spoke about the personal sacrifices he has made in order to return to Guyana to serve the people.
“As a person who surrendered a professional career, renounced my citizenship, returned to Guyana to help fix the system and fought for Democracy, I ask my fellow Guyanese at home and in the Diaspora to take note. We all have rights enshrined in the Constitution of Guyana to freedom of Political Association, Freedom of Speech, and to live in a safe environment among many others”, Shuman wrote.
The political leader said he has registered his concerns with the international missions in Guyana.
In a recent social media post, Mr. Shuman made reference to the 50% salary increase that was promised by the PPP during the elections campaign and the 7% that it recently announced for public servants.
The PPP government has since claimed that it never made any 50% salary increase promise, although there were campaign posters with the promised posted across the country.
Shuman’s Facebook post resulted in an avalanche of criticism from social media activists for the government and the PPP’s official Facebook page also called him out over the social media post.
He eventually removed the post.
Just after the last elections, Shuman was hired by the Government as an Aviation Advisor.
The PPP also used its majority in the National Assembly to elect him to the position of Deputy Speaker although he holds one seat as an Opposition MP and the Deputy Speaker spot usually goes to the largest Opposition party in the Assembly.
Gold dealer Mohamed’s Enterprise, yesterday signed a $614 million contract for the construction of the new Guyana Fire Service Headquarters building on Homestretch Avenue, a move that has since raised questions about the firm’s experience in executing such a large project.
According to the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) website, Mohamed’s Enterprise submitted a bid for $858,788,980 so it is unclear as to how a contract was signed for $614 million.
Efforts to contact NPTAB’s Chairman Tarachand Balgobin were unsuccessful.
The contract was signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Mae Thomas and Managing Director of Mohamed’s Enterprise Nazar Mohamed in the presence of Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn.
The signing of this contract comes on the heels of the $346 million contract for the construction of the Bamia Primary School in Linden being awarded to St8ment Investment Inc – a less than six months old company and whose principals are closely linked to the government.
At yesterday’s signing, Benn said that construction of the new Fire Service Headquarters is expected to commence no later than December 1, 2021, and completion is expected in 14 months. He added that the relocation of the Guyana Fire and Ambulance Service, from the highly congested Stabroek Market square, will help increase the emergency response timings.
Benn further stated that more space would be added for the storage of equipment and assets.
The headquarters will be built just west, of the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall on Homestretch Avenue and next to the proposed Guyana Football Federation’s complex. The Ministry opened the competitive bidding process in early October and the tenders were opened by the NPTAB on October 26.
Twelve bids were received and according to the engineer’s estimate, the project is expected to cost $648,600,670.
The 12 companies that bid were PD Contracting with a bid of $580,131,313; International Imports & Supplies $620,043,794; A&N Enterprise $616,616,534; Quality Deliverer $490,580,934; SD Investment $630,265,880; Navin & Son’s Construction $587,313,476; Memorex Enterprises $604,009,738; STP Investment Inc $648,077,094; Mohamed’s Enterprise $858,788,980; Nabi Construction Inc $619,881,084; Ivor Allen $641,490,199 and R. Bassoo & Sons Construction Company Inc $ 657,298,466.
Section 39 (2) of the Public Procurement Act of 2003 states “The Evaluation Committee shall, using only the evaluation criteria outlined in the tender documents, evaluate all tenders, determine which tenderer has submitted the lowest evaluated tender, and convey its recommendation to the procuring entity within a reasonable period of time, but not longer than fourteen days.” It is unclear whether the lowest bid, which came from Quality Deliverer for $490,580,934, was non-responsive.
Back in June, the Ministry of Home Affairs signed contracts worth an estimated $1.2b for the reconstruction of the Lusignan Prison Lots 1-3 and among the recipients were Mohamed’s Enterprises for the reconstruction of one of those blocks.
cainIf as it's said, this company did all that work why would their workmanship be in question? No mention was ever made previously about Mohamed's Enterprise (gold dealer) having been into construction. So with the exchange rate, Mohamed's bid was for approx CDN $5, 225,000 + but they actually accepted the contract at $3, 738,646..approx 1.5m less....sniff sniff. [ more ]
MitwahGoogle says, Cronyism is the practice of partiality in awarding jobs and other advantages to friends or trusted colleagues, especially in politics and between politicians and supportive organizations. ... Whereas cronyism refers to partiality to a partner or friend, nepotism is the granting of favour to relatives. [ more ]
DjangoMohamed’s enterprise defends being awarded Fire Service construction contract; Points to its 30-year experience in construction November 25 ,2021 Source The company pointed out that it has been involved in construction for 30 years and its projects include the construction of its own main office on Lombard Street, the Albouystown masjid, and two state-of-the-art buildings for the ISA Islamic School as well as countless homes for Guyanese. One day after being awarded a $614 million contract... [ more ]
Sixteen days after it had been revealed that the statutory period for the auditing of US$9.5b in ExxonMobil’s expenses had expired without an audit firm being hired, President Irfaan Ali yesterday said that the forensic scrutiny of this massive figure will be done.
The President’s response to Stabroek News via his spokesperson came after his government had been pilloried for allowing the two-year period to expire without the appointment of a firm.
The announcement of the lapse had been made by Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo on November 1st at a press conference. It was not until yesterday that both Ali and Jagdeo sought to assure that auditing will still be done. Neither of the two said whether ExxonMobil and its partners had been approached to extend the period to allow the auditing to be done.
In response to questions from the Stabroek News on Jagdeo’s announcement on November 1st that post-contract costs from 2017 have not been audited because a local firm was not found and the evaluation of a tender to find a company was discontinued, Ali said he was reiterating all that his Vice President stated, as he dismissed talk of not auditing the oil majors here as “a fairytale.”
“The President reiterated what the Vice President has said and he said that VP has made the government’s position very clear; that unlike the APNU+AFC government that had no interest in conducting the audit, this government is committed to getting it done and it will be so,” Ali’s Press and Communications Officer, Suelle Findlay-Williams told Stabroek News.
“The Vice President had also said that the government is looking at the composition of local experts and technical persons in keeping with his commitment to local content policy and he [the President] said that process is ongoing. The idea that the government is not pursuing the audit is a fairy tale and the President is committed. The audits will take place and that the process is ongoing,” she added, while explaining that Ali’s response to the questions came between meetings in his hectic schedule yesterday.
Ali’s statement did not acknowledge that the statutory period had expired without the government appointing an auditing firm.
Meanwhile, the Department of Public Information (DPI) later yesterday quoted Jagdeo as saying that the audit will be done. He, too, did not acknowledge that the two-year period had expired.
“We have made it clear what our intention is, to have local people involved,” DPI reported Jagdeo as saying.
On November 1st, Jagdeo announced that ExxonMobil’s post-2017 expenditure for the Liza-1 and Liza-2 wells would not be audited as government was not able to select a strong local group to undertake it. This statement was at odds with the fact that the government had advertised this year for foreign firms.
“We have been very disappointed that we have not been able to select a group to do the audit of the post-2017 expenditure on Exxon. The reason is we did not have a strong local content. We had two local groups that came in but they were not strong enough. We want to build a capacity in Guyana to do this audit,” the VP posited.
“We think our people have enormous skills, forensic skills, auditing skills, and we are looking to see if we can’t have an arrangement where we have a consortium of local people partnering with a foreign company so we can build capacity right here in Guyana. We are disappointed that from the individual bids we have not been able to do this. When I get back from Scotland [from the COP26 conference] I have asked the minister to see if we can’t get all the groups that expressed interest to see how we can partner, they can partner with a foreign company to do this audit. We also have to build this capacity in GRA [Guyana Revenue Authority]. GRA has been mandated to build a capacity to do this. But it is a disappointment because it has been quite a while,” he added.
If the US$9.5b in expenses is inflated it means that Guyana would be getting less profit oil than it is entitled to. Prior to Jagdeo’s casual announcement on November 1st there had been no statement by the government that it was having difficulty sourcing an auditing firm and that there was a risk of the statutory period for doing the audit expiring.
ExxonMobil told this newspaper this week that it is confident of its bookkeeping matters and transparency of the company. It added that it has never shied away from audit requests and that it submits periodic reports on its spending to a number of government agencies here.
“ExxonMobil Guyana considers audits a normal part of our operations and cooperate with the government so it can fulfill its obligations. We are fully transparent with the Government on our budgets and cost banks for each block and have implemented extensive cost controls across our business in line with our contracts and the laws of the country,” ExxonMobil spokesperson Janelle Persaud said in response to questions from this newspaper.
“Audits are just one part of a comprehensive framework of controls established by the government. These include setting annual budgets for each block we operate which are reviewed by the Ministry of Natural Resources, and reporting actual spend against these on a monthly basis to the Ministry. We also steward and report costs for each project that is approved and each well that we drill,” she added.
The company boasts that its procurement strategies and processes leverage the latest international methods, capturing significant market value for Guyana. “We employ modern information technology systems and a professional workforce, many of whom are Guyanese, that ensure we operate with robust processes and controls,” the company declared.
“We publish the statutory financial statements and the independent auditor’s report, made by a Guyanese audit company. ExxonMobil Guyana is also audited by internal auditors, its co-venture partners and multiple government agencies, including the Ministry of Natural Resources, Guyana Revenue Authority and Guyana National Bureau of Standards, as a final step in verifying our compliance with relevant contractual commitments and laws,” it added.
In addition to the torrent of criticisms it has faced on the issue, the Opposition APNU+AFC has taken to Parliament seeking answers and has asked for a copy of the US$460 million pre-contract audit report it had initiated. The pre-contract auditing was done by UK firm IHS Markit and Ali’s government has not explained why it has not released this report.
In the name of Shadow Minister for the petroleum sector, David Patterson, government is being asked a number of questions on why it abandoned the procurement process to find an auditor, along with who made the decision to allow the audit to fall into default.
Government is also being asked if the Ministry of Natural Resources or any other agency with oversight of the oil & gas sector has approached ExxonMobil for an extension of the deadline for the auditing of their US$9.5 billion expenses. If it did, then the opposition wants proof as it has asked that “this Parliament [be provided] with such documentation including the response by ExxonMobil.”
The PPP/C was flayed on Monday by Chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Jermaine Figueira, who said that that the failure of the government to undertake an audit of ExxonMobil’s expenditure of US$9.5 billion is a glaring example of its real position on transparency, accountability and good governance.
In a comment to Stabroek News on the revelation made by Jagdeo, Figueira said: “All the talks the now government had pre-2020 about ExxonMobil and their promise to change the contract, was just that, talks. Nothing they promised to do to ExxonMobil and that contract was done and quite frankly, the government’s attitude to this new form of economic colonialism [is that] nothing will be done.”
Figueira, a Member of Parliament for APNU+AFC, said that Jagdeo’s disclosure at a press conference last week was more of a “mixture of an academic and political response to evade the failure of the government to make right the combined failure of both administrations [APNU+AFC and PPP/C] for the benefit of the Guyanese people”.
The PAC Chair said that the government is squandering yet another opportunity to right a wrong.
On November 9th, Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram flayed the government’s nonchalant attitude on the audit saying it could have asked Canada for help.
“And if the Government was so interested in auditing those costs, it could have called on the Audit Office, which has easy access to Canada and its wealth of experience in petroleum audits, to provide assistance, even as a short-term measure,” Ram told Stabroek News.
Pointing to an April 2021 notice and terms of reference by government which called for only firms with extensive experience to bid for the auditing contract, Ram said that Jagdeo’s statement was disingenuous.
“It is both misleading and unfortunate for VP Jagdeo to lament the absence of local capacity to audit the costs reported by the oil companies. The statement is inconsistent with the Government’s own advertisement, inviting bids to audit the contract costs: it was directed to `internationally recognized accounting and audit firms with extensive experience in …. auditing petroleum costs under production sharing contracts and other petroleum agreements and its fiscal implications.’ Were firms expected to lie about their status and capacity, or was it a condition of the World Bank’s US$20 million for a project which includes the audit?“, Ram questioned.
In the April notice, Guyana Oil and Gas Capacity Building Project (P166730), the government had outlined that the audit would entail the company, among other objectives, understanding the methodology applied in conducting the audit and interpreting the findings while communicating those findings to the contractor. It was expected that the auditing process would take four months. No further word was heard from the government on this project.
As Opposition Leader in 2018, Jagdeo had vowed that should the party get back into government, it would ensure that all of ExxonMobil’s claimed expenses are subjected to rigorous scrutiny.
He had been vocal in criticising the APNU+AFC government for its sloth in auditing the US$460M pre-contract costs. In June of 2018, Jagdeo had questioned why auditing of the pre-contract expenses had not begun given that ExxonMobil would not refuse to have its books checked.
“What surprises me is that ExxonMobil says that we are open to the audit… but it is still not done,” Jagdeo had told a press conference.
He also said that while he had no immediate plans if the government refused to commission an audit, should his party return to government it would ensure that one is done.
“It has to be done and we will do it,” Jagdeo stated.
He had emphasised that it was only through auditing that this country would know if costs submitted were indeed the sums spent.
“Imagine the people said they will do the audit. So, the government should have said, ‘Okay, we will get a firm to [do it] and at your cost, too. Whatever the figure is we will put that figure in the agreement.’ Easily that could have been done because they had no push back from the company. But the people said US$460 million and [Minister of Natural Resources Raphael] Trotman said ‘Put it in there, put it in.’ They already made a huge fundamental mistake by putting it in the contract, a figure that was not audited. The company said they are not unwilling to have this done all you have to do is ask our own government…I wish they would do it,” he said.
Jagdeo had said that while the figure submitted by ExxonMobil and partners reflected purported costs prior to the discovery of oil in 2015, he could not comment on if he believed the US$460m figure was accurate.
“If I say that to you, I will be just like Trotman. You have to submit the invoices. You have to say here is a contract for the rig. The Government of Guyana then says ‘Yes, we can verify that it cost US$30 million.’ Then the next questions should be ‘Was this competitively sourced? Could we have gotten it for US$20 million, because the going rate at that time was US$20 million?’ Then: Was it a company related to the oil company? Because if it was related, the cost could be inflated,” he stated.
“These are questions for everything that comes out of every expenditure of the company. At the end of the day, you aggregate and come up with a figure and you say, this is real because we have asked the questions and have gotten the answers,” he added.
DjangoIn 1965, three Caribbean nations Antigua, Barbados and Guyana initiated the Caribbean trade integration process by signing the Treaty of Dicksenson Bay, which established the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) . The Integration Movement in the Caribbean. https://publications.iadb.org/...h-of-Integration.pdf [ more ]
DjangoThe end result after concerns was raised ,India denied the plans. [ more ]
seignetThis business of Indian numbers has been a problem for Africans for many many years. First, it was the colored people concerns. When the re-alignment of race took place after the split, it became the concerns of all Africans, pure and mixed. It was prominent coloreds who questioned Forbes about his alliance to CBJ. The Split provided Colonials an avenue to pursue a different agenda than CBJ. Ojections to Luckhoo's plans of bringing to British Guiana a large number of Indians. Indians in BG... [ more ]
The outlet has opened through a collaboration between Duty Free Dynamics and Simextra Group
Duty Free Dynamics and Simextra Group have collaborated to open one of the first dedicated Lego stress in South America.
The outlet, at Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Guyana, is located in the departures area and gives shoppers a chance to explore the iconic toy brand’s offer.
The opening marks a new focus on brand concept and monobrand stores for Duty Free Dynamics.
Duty Free Dynamics VP Commercial/Americas Maria Villarreal said: “We feel really proud to be able to open one of the first stores fully dedicated to Lego within the LatAm region.
“We’re also honored to join forces with Simextra Group. This step represents the beginning of Duty Free Dynamics’ (DFD) new commercial strategy. Moving forward, DFD’s business will be focused on the development of brand concept stores throughout the Americas. We will be joining forces with our best partners regionwide.
“We will be developing this new model with all the brands within our company’s portfolio which we consider will be self-sustainable under a monobrand retail environment.”
“What started as a small idea to also offer Lego toys in our travel retail stores, slowly grew into a fully dedicated brand store at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport,” explained Simextra CEO Awien Soekhoe.
“An entire team of local and international professionals has dedicated their time and best efforts and the result exceeded everyone’s expectations. As always, we don’t consider ourselves simply a domestic wholesaler or travel retail operator, but a professional partner with market experience, willing to work towards the long-term goals of all stake holders.”
Devi Seitaram along with Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall (right) and Senior Prosecutor Tuanna Hardy
Former Guyana Times journalist, 32-year-old Moonmattie Devi Seitaram also known as Devi Seitaram was on Friday admitted to the Bar by Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall of the Supreme Court in Georgetown.
Seitaram was called by her fellow Berbician, Tuanna Hardy, a senior prosecutor in the office of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).
During the proceedings to admit Seitaram, Justice Morris-Ramlall spoke on the importance of upholding the standard of the legal profession and observing the ethics which guide the behaviours of legal practitioners.
Seitaram was sworn in after the Judge said she was satisfied that she would be a valuable addition to the profession. Seitaram also gave brief remarks where she spoke about her humble beginnings and her upbringing.
She also spoke about becoming a trained journalist but decided to change careers as she desired to become an attorney-at-law. At the time, she was residing in Jamaica and worked with the Minister of Tourism, Jamaica.
However, Hardy spoke about the recently admitted attorney’s inability to fund her education and undertaking fundraisers and a GoFundMe to assist with her studies.
Fortunately, she completed her law degree in two years – a journey that ordinarily takes three to four years – then went on to the Norman Manley Law School where she completed her Legal Education Certificate in September 2021.
New Attorney-at-Law Devi Seitaram, along with mother Lilowtie Seitaram and younger brother Joel Seitaram, at the High Court on Friday
Seitaram, who resides in Jamaica, is awaiting her admission to the Bar in that country. She expressed a desire to open a practice in Guyana where she can use her skills to help those who are in need of legal representation.
Among her motivations to become an attorney are to assist in creating laws and policies to help the people of Guyana and those who are disenfranchised, especially her birth county Berbice.
Seitaram worked at Guyana Times from April 2010 to 2012. Whilst there, she represented the company at the Climate Change workshop held in Miami that was hosted by Reuters.
She then resigned and migrated to Jamaica where she started her journalism degree at the University of the West Indies.
After completing her journalism degree in 2015, she had initially applied to read for a Master’s degree in economic development but was accepted into the law programme as her second option.
The brilliant young woman told this publication that she was forced to work more than one jobs to offset her tuition and living expenses.
“One night I was so tired a pot of hot water fell on me and burned both of my legs. I was preparing for exams and that still didn’t stop me. I was lying in bed for eight days but in between, I was still studying but I had informed my professors what had happened,” she recalled.
She persevered and was able to complete her studies. An emotional Seitaram said it was the hardest thing she has ever done in her life.
“It was challenging going to school full time. At one point I couldn’t afford it but I said you know what I’m not going to quit. I’ll take on more jobs. The pandemic helped me because I was able to work from home, attend school and take on odd jobs by using my writing skills and my journalism qualifications so everything had a purpose in life,” she stated.
Her advice to young women is to never settle for anything in life.
“I was in an environment where girls weren’t expected to go further than secondary school. I was discouraged from being a journalist because I’d have to work with men etc but no matter what people said I kept going because I had a vision for my life. I knew I wanted to make an impact in society and I often prayed for purpose over my life.”
She encouraged young women to be independent, become educated, and “go after your goals”.
The young attorney’s aim is to also be admitted to the Jamaica Bar so that she can practice law there as well.