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Friday, October 2, 2009

Millennium Challenge Corporation conducts review of Threshold Programme
- Steering Committee to focus on sustainability of reforms

Georgetown, GINA, October 2, 2009

Acting Managing Director of the Threshold Programme of the Millennium Challenge Corporation Dr. Thomas Kelly recently conducted a review of the MCC funded Guyana Threshold Country Plan-Implementation Project (GTCP/IP) during a visit to Guyana from September 28 – 30.
The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Steering Committee will focus over the next months on ensuring that there is sustainability in carrying forward the reforms and ensuring that the desired impact on fiscal management and business facilitation is realised.
The GTCP/IP, which commenced in January 2008, is assisting the Government of Guyana to improve its fiscal management and business facilitation functions. This review comes at a critical time as the MCC Board prepares to meet in December 2009 to determine the eligibility of Threshold countries for MCA Compact Assistance.
During his time in Guyana, Dr. Kelly met with President Bharrat Jagdeo and held high level discussions on the accomplishments of the Threshold Country Plan and Guyana’s development priorities over the medium-term.


Minister within the Ministry of Finance Jennifer Webster meets Acting Managing Director Dr. Thomas Kelly and other representatives of the Threshold Programme of the Millennium Challenge Corporation at the Ministry of Finance

Dr. Kelly also held strategic discussions with senior government officials including Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, the Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Jennifer Webster, and Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Charles Ramson, S.C. 
He also he attended a  MCA Steering Committee Meeting, chaired by the Minister of Finance, where the Government presented its broad policy reform agenda and highlighted major achievements realised in political governance, economic and social reform and poverty reduction.
In addition, detailed meetings were also held with the management of the participating agencies of the GTCP/IP, who also sit on the MCA Steering Committee - the Guyana Revenue Authority, the Deeds Registry, Ministry of Finance, National Procurement and Tender Administration, and the Parliament Office. Meetings were also held with members of civil society and the donor community as Dr. Kelly sought to engage other stakeholders and project beneficiaries in enhancing his appreciation of the development context in Guyana.
Some of the highlights of the programme review mission were site visits to facilities where major reform work was underway. These included the One-Stop Business Registration Center at the Deeds Registry, the new electronic filing unit at the GRA, the ongoing library modernisation programmes at the Guyana Revenue Authority and the Parliament and the electronic transcription of 20 years of Hansard records.
Dr. Kelly also briefly visited training sessions in progress on public procurement, integrity assessment and Committee procedures at the Ministry of Finance, the GRA and Parliament, respectively. Overall, Government expressed satisfaction with the accomplishments of the two-year GTCP/IP, which is preparing to close in January 2010.

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Commonwealth Finance Ministers stress need for stronger support to poorest and smallest developing members
- In light of global economic crisis

Georgetown, GINA, October 2, 2009

Finance Ministers of the Commonwealth have expressed appreciation for policy measures undertaken to maintain global demand and stabilize capital markets, especially by member countries of the G20, but stressed the need for continued concerted international action to end the global recession.
This was stated in the 2009 Communiqué of the Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting held in Limassol, Cyprus from September 30 – October 2.
Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh, who is representing Guyana at the meeting, stated that he took the opportunity afforded by the meeting to highlight the circumstances of the small developing members of the Commonwealth and, in particular, the small states of the Caribbean who have been severely affected by the global economic crisis and whose fiscal space even prior to the crisis was already very limited because of their high levels of indebtedness.
Minister Singh situated his assessment of the current situation in the Caribbean within the context of work that had been pioneered some years ago by the Commonwealth on the economic challenges faced by small states. He stated that if one were to examine the vulnerabilities that had been identified some years ago by the World Bank and Commonwealth Secretariat Joint Task Force on small states, one would find that the current crisis had amply illustrated the continued existence of these vulnerabilities and had further exacerbated them.
            According to the Communiqué issued after the meeting, Ministers considered the unprecedented global economic and financial crisis over the past year and its impact on the economies of the Commonwealth. They noted that growth in the overwhelming majority of countries in the Commonwealth had been below its potential level and in many countries living standards had fallen. The Ministers emphasised the importance of the interests of all countries being recognised within global multilateral processes and urged that the role the Commonwealth could play to achieve this be considered.
            “In some Commonwealth countries growth was now returning to trend levels. However, Ministers found that the impact of the crisis had been felt very strongly and persistently in the poorest and smallest developing members as well as resource dependent and less diversified economies. These economies are especially vulnerable to lower trade levels and capital flows and restricted in their ability to use domestic policy to alleviate the impact of exogenous economic shocks. Ministers stressed the need for greater international support for these countries to build greater resilience in the face of these shocks,” the Communiqué stated.
The Ministers also discussed the policy choices which countries face in working towards high and sustainable growth in the context of continuing global challenges and recognised the opportunities as well as the risks posed to Commonwealth countries by the effects of climate change and resource shortages.
According to the Communiqué, the Ministers noted that short-term policy responses to individual challenges need to be consistent with each other and sustainable over time and urged that these issues be addressed coherently, comprehensively and consistently at the national, regional and international levels. It was noted that the Commonwealth could provide a forum for discussing these global challenges and give support for members by providing analysis of emerging trends in the global economy.
In the Communiqué the Ministers called for: Continued global macroeconomic coordination including monetary and fiscal policy stimulus to avoid a return to global recession and to ensure that global growth is well established in all countries and regions before the stimulus is withdrawn; Greater future coordination in global economic policy making to support sustainable and balanced growth within and between countries; Continued global commitment to an open trading system and the rejection of protectionism.
They reiterated their call for a rapid, fair and equitable conclusion to the Doha Round of trade negotiations; Greater international support for social protection and investment in infrastructure to support growth in developing countries. In this context they called for continuing regional integration; and a stronger focus on boosting levels of trade finance.
To address the specific challenges facing small states the Ministers reaffirmed in the communiqué that they face a number of new and enduring challenges as set out in the 2006 Review of 2000 Commonwealth Secretariat/ World Bank Joint Task Force Report on small states. They also welcomed the Secretariat’s continuing work to assist small states to cope with their inherent vulnerability, build economic resilience and integrate into the changing global economy; and urged the Secretariat to collaborate with development partners to convene a biennial conference of small states representatives to promote discussion and sharing of experience amongst small states.
At the Meeting, the Commonwealth Finance Ministers strongly reaffirmed their commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and discussed the appalling human cost of the current economic crisis in many low income countries.
According to the Communiqué, despite the greater resilience provided in these countries through strengthened policy frameworks, many millions of Commonwealth citizens have fallen into poverty as a result of the crisis. In many other developing countries, the crisis has worsened development indicators and increased future vulnerabilities.
The Ministers noted the substantial shortfall in financing facing developing countries as a result of the crisis. They urged donors to meet all their commitments to provide additional resources to developing countries. They repeated their call for early attention to be given to relieving the debt burden of poor countries excluded from the MDRI and HIPC processes and of other developing countries with unsustainable debts and urged the Secretariat to support this objective actively and also agreed to give consideration to the needs of middle income countries with no or limited access to concessional finance.
The 2009 CFMM Communiqué states, “Recognising that even after these measures financing would remain inadequate, Ministers emphasised the role the Commonwealth can play in promoting innovative international measures to meet the needs of developing countries in access to finance. They called for further development of measures to be considered by Commonwealth Heads of Government at their meeting in November 2009.”
This year’s CFMM was held under the Chairmanship of Charilaos Stavrakis, Finance Minister of Cyprus. The 2007 Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting was hosted in Georgetown under the chairmanship of Guyana’s Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh.

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PM calls for reflection on Gandhi’s doctrines at 141st birth anniversary

Georgetown, GINA, October 2, 2009

The life and work of Mohandas Karamchand “Mahatma” Gandhi was reflected today in accolades and songs at a simple ceremony in the Promenade Gardens in honour of his 141st birth anniversary.
            The event organized by the Indian High Commission was attended by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds who in his address called for a reflection of his noble teachings of justice, equality and self respect and several other attributes that today occupy a central place in the principles of human rights.


Prime Minister Samuel Hinds speaking at the 141th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi

          Such principles, the Prime Minister said, have served as an inspiration to Guyana as efforts are being made to protect the fundamental basic rights of everyone without distinction along the lines of race, creed or religion.
            “The lessons learnt from Mahatma Gandhi and his predecessors are no less relevant in today’s world. Though it may seem unnatural, the response to acts of violence and aggression aught not to be more violence and aggression but, a greater call for non violence and continued dialogue for sustained peace unity and brotherhood towards the realization of a more harmonious and progressive international community,” the Prime Minister said.
            Gandhi was described by Mr. Hinds as one of the most revered souls of the 20th century who grew up in a world where justice, equality and the right to self determination were mere aspirations of the common man and faced oppression and discrimination for several years.


Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Indian High Commissioner Kurmar Subit Mandal and Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green at the Mahatma Gandhi monument site

           He alluded to Gandhi’s experiences in India and South Africa as the driving forces that shaped his philosophies on love, tolerance, brotherhood and most importantly, Satya Graha; the principle of truth and non violence that many around the world embraced in the fight for freedom and self determination.
            Even two of the most prominent freedom fighters Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King have acknowledged that they have followed the examples set by “the Mahatma.”
Gandhi was described by the Indian High Commissioner Subit Kumar Mandal as the “great apostle of peace,” whose message is still relevant in today’s world filled with violence at every level and who purpose of conquering hate with love is necessary as terrorism has become global.
The High Commissioner said he disagrees with those who criticize Gandhi’s message as being too idealistic since experiences in history have proven that violence has never succeeded in bringing an end to problems and resolving dispute.
Echoing excerpts from some of the popular speeches made by Gandhi Mandal said “truth is not a convenience and principles cannot be bartered on the altars of expediency.”


The Mahatma Gandhi monument in the Promenade Gardens

On that premise, the Commissioner said there is need for united and decisive action to bring solutions to problems and that the message of Mahatma Gandhi will continue to serve as a guide for a more civilized world.
Gandhi acquired the name, Mahatma, meaning great soul after his well-known demonstration of leadership in South Africa which led to the struggle against an apartheid regime.
            His monument, which proudly stands in the centre of the Promenade Gardens, is a symbol of Guyanese respect and admiration for this great leader and a reminder of the power of peace. The monument was erected by the Mahatma Gandhi Organization and unveiled by then Governor General of Guyana David J.G Rose on October 2, 1969

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Agriculture Ministry launches “A Guide” to heighten farmers’ awareness on climate change

Georgetown, GINA, October 02, 2009

The Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with Conservation International (CI), today launched a guide book to strengthen awareness and educate farmers on how to cope with climate change, at the launching held at the Ministry’s boardroom.
            Delivering his address, Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud said that this initiative is the latest of many of the Ministry’s ongoing efforts to assist farmers in their preparatory measures in facing and adapting to the effects of climate change.
            Expressing his appreciation of the Ministry’s collaboration with CI, Minister Persaud said that such a partnership was much needed to garner the required support and resources, which ultimately led to the publication of the guide.


Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud addressing the gathering during the launch

          The Minister stated that upon investigation, it was found that farmers lack the basic knowledge of issues relating to climate change and he anticipates that the guide will serve to remedy that.
            The guide contains a brief but informative explanation on the adaptation and mitigation of climate change and its effects as well as details on how it affects farmers and their crops and livestock.
 It places emphasis on the widely publicized Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and other programmes initiated by the Agricultural Ministry and offers information on agricultural diversification, drainage and irrigation, and livestock, chemical and waste management.  
            The Agriculture sector is the backbone of the country’s economy, which is being threatened by the effects of climate change.

 

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Rukumuta, Kato get new administrative village offices

Georgetown, GINA, October 02, 2009

The Amerindian Affairs Ministry continues to establish Village Offices in several Amerindian communities in its effort to promote transparency and good governance at the village level. In line with this plan, two hinterland communities Rukumuta, Region Nine and Kato, Region Eight have benefited from the construction of two administrative village offices.
            During a recent visit to the communities, Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai commissioned the two facilities.


The new Administrative village office, Kato, Region Eight

            The Rukumuta village office was constructed at a cost $750,000 through a grant funded by the Amerindian Affairs Ministry while Kato was built at a cost of $4.9M.
            Region Nine Chairman Clarindo Lucas said that the village office was constructed for record keeping and management of new facilities.
            The new Amerindian Act   Section 10:43 addresses good governance as it relates to the community level which comprises the village council, the national Toshaos and district councils.
            The act seeks to strengthen the authority and support given to Amerindians in terms of their responsibility to the development of their respective villages.
            Regional Executive Officer, Region Eight, Ishwar Dass said the village office in Kato will house the Assistant Regional Executive Officer, Regional Vice-Chairman, Hinterland Welfare Officer and a typist clerk.
           

 

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Guyana’s investment climate has remained firmly attractive
- Minister Prashad tells participants at opening of Guyexpo 2009

Georgetown, GINA, October 2, 2009 

Despite the economic and financial crisis affecting the world, Guyana has been able to remain steadfast as a result of prudent management of the economy and a stable macro-economic and financial framework.
Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Manniram Prashad during the launching of Guyana’s largest trade and investment exposition, Guyexpo 2009 on October 1, stated that attracting new investments is never an easy task and faced with the international financial crisis, this has been even more difficult with the competition for dwindling flows becoming fiercer.
“Yet the investment climate in Guyana has remained firmly attractive. Being a resource based country we have reason to be highly optimistic, in expanding and bringing new investments here…we have been, under the National Competitiveness Strategy, working assiduously in a new partnership with the private sector to push the horizon of investment opportunities. And it has been paying significant dividends,” Minister Prashad said.  
The Minister further stated, “Guyexpo 2009 presents participants with an opportunity to put in the public realm the results of their innate talents, innovations, enterprise and industry….we are encouraged by the fact that even more companies have chosen Guyexpo 2009 to launch new products. This highlights the value and importance the private sector places on this premier event in their business strategy.”
            Highlighting the importance of trade fairs and exhibitions worldwide the Minister noted that the principal purpose behind these events is the promotion and display of local products and services nationally, regionally and globally.
“They achieve their purpose by bringing producers and traders together in a market place to engage in commerce.  They also generate new ideas, new markets and new opportunities which further create avenues for new investments by the private sector in the production of goods and services,” Minister Prashad said.
The Minister pointed out that an important part of the National Competitiveness Strategy is the Low Carbon Development Strategy both of which President Bharrat Jagdeo has played a critical role in carving and promoting. 
The theme for this year’s Guyexpo is “Promoting business in a Low Carbon Environment” and supports the national and internationally acclaimed Low Carbon Development Strategy which has gained much recognition and support. Guyana has taken the lead in this mission and will continue to support and encourage its local producers and manufacturers through alliances to preserve and protect the environment whilst increasing the quality of goods made in Guyana to compete in the international market, the Minister said.


Minister within the Ministry of Finance Jennifer Webster meets Acting Managing Director Dr. Thomas Kelly and other representatives of the Threshold Programme of the Millennium Challenge Corporation at the Ministry of Finance.

“The Guyexpo logo symbolizes the vulnerability, susceptibility and delicateness of the rainforest and that it is our duty and responsibility as stakeholder groups – commercial, industrial, community and domestic; to preserve and protect the rainforest. The Future of the rainforest is in our hands. We all need to work together to build a low carbon economy where national development and combating climate change are complimentary. Our private sector is recognized as the engine of growth and development and must adapt to the realities of being models of low carbon development. We as Guyanese must be energy efficient and we must take advantage of the investment opportunities in a low carbon environment,” the Tourism Minister stated.
The Small Business Act was enacted to help small and medium sized firms under which the Small Business Council was created along with a Small Business Bureau and a Business Development Fund. The Council was established and is being chaired by a Private Sector representative, Chief Executive Officer of Hand-in-Hand Mr. Keith Evelyn. The Minister announced that the Bureau is now being established and the Fund will soon be operational. 
“The overriding purpose of the Act is to grow small and medium size businesses as rapidly as we can.  Allied to this, we have currently in place the Matching Grants Initiative (MGI), the Council for which is headed by Mr. Yog Mahadeo of GT&T.  It provides grant assistance to firms wishing to start up export or desirous of expanding their exports.  Both the Small Business Bureau and the Matching Grants Initiative have a joint booth here and businesses are encouraged to obtain details on their modus operandi,” Minister Prashad opined.
Pursuant to the Fair Trading Act of 2006 a Competition Commission was established, which is a requirement of the Treaty of Chaguaramas. The Competition Commission is chaired by Mr. Ramesh Dookhoo of Banks DIH. And will ensure that no local or foreign company doing business in Guyana acts in a manner that is harmful to another competitor or against consumer interests in the market place, the Minister noted.
“It is intended to ensure that the market functions properly and orderly and businesses are free to complain if this does not happen.  Further, significant reforms are underway in relation to the operation of customs and the licensing Agents to make easier for you to import and export with less red tape. The Credit Bureau Act will enable banks to lend to businesses for investment and trade purposes more readily, quickly and cheaply depending on credit risk assessments.  At the same time and in partnership with the Private Sector Commission (PSC) the NCS is reviewing redundant laws which adversely affect business,” Minister Prashad said.
Guyana has also joined the Trade Point International which is expected to be operational by the end of this year. It will link buyers and sellers on the internet in a virtual market place.
“We are also exploring via the NCS in having the Caribbean Development Fund (CDF) link Guyana into a trade network it is developing for the CARICOM region as a whole.  St. Lucia is already benefiting from this initiative.  Once this is done Guyanese buyers and sellers will be continually in the market place with their CARICOM counterparts.  This can only be good for business expansion and it should add meaning to the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) drive. Of course, internet trading will be no substitute for Guyexpo – but it will certainly add value to the process by continuing to bring buyers and sellers in direct contact, face to face,” the Tourism Minister said.
            This year’s Guyexpo is the 12th to be held in Guyana and the Minister noted that it has continuously expanded to become one of the premier trade and investment events in the CARICOM region.  The event is a partnership between the Ministry and the private sector.

 

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President outlines key projected LCDS developments
…during opening ceremony of GUYEXPO 2009

Georgetown, GINA, October 2, 2009

Head of State Bharrat Jagdeo joined thousands of his fellow countrymen and women last evening to launch the 2009 edition of GUYEXPO, Guyana’s premier trade show and exhibition. He delivered the feature address, where he highlighted the three key developments in the evolution of the Low-Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) that Guyanese should look forward to within the next three months.
            The first development the President pointed to is the expected announcement of the details of Guyana’s agreement with Norway to establish a working REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) model for the world, through which international payments for avoiding deforestation is likely to be integrated into a global climate deal after Copenhagen.
            “Guyana will hopefully start to receive payments for the climate services our forests provide based on performance in ensuring that where appropriate, our pristine forests will be protected, and where appropriate, economic activity within the forests will continue but if and only if it is in accordance with the relevant internationally accepted,” President Jagdeo stated.
“The Government of Norway has continued to be one of the most forward-thinking in the world on this matter, and I look forward to our two countries showing the world what can be done to address climate change when true partnerships are formed.”
The next development that Guyanese should expect, the President said, was the release of an updated LCDS document, which would incorporate the best ideas that were suggested by individuals, organizations and companies during the extensive three-month national consultations into the initial draft.
Finally, the long-awaited climate change negotiations in Copenhagen. Denmark would conclude during the first part of December and will set the parameters for how progress might be made in building a new global economy in the years ahead.
“The negotiations under the UNFCCC are frequently tortuous but the people of Guyana can feel proud of the role our team has played in progressing the REDD and low carbon development agendas, as well as the international recognition we get for these efforts,” President Jagdeo told his engaged audience at the GUYEXPO 2009 opening ceremony.
Recognizing the occasion at which he was speaking, the Head of State urged businesses to take note of each of these events as they will provide opportunities that can be profitably exploited.
“Each will present new opportunities for our economy to grow and prosper and for new forms of partnership in new sectors to take our country forward.  Importantly, our forest will start to be valued for the climate services it provides, and this will lead to a steady build-up of significant payments which will be used to accelerate our national development – for example, by supporting the move to renewable energy, by opening up non-forested parts of the country to agriculture, by upgrading the skills of our young people to participate in low carbon industries such as business process outsourcing and ecotourism, and by enhancing the competitiveness of our agriculture sector through new investment in sea defences and irrigation,” the Head of State noted.
To support Guyana’s push to develop a low carbon economy and to encourage businesses to stop looking at climate change as a problem but rather as an opportunity, this year’s GUEXPO has the theme of “Promoting business in a low-carbon environment”.

 

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Fire Prevention Week marks anniversary of one of world’s worst conflagrations

Georgetown, GINA, October 02, 2009

Activities to mark Fire Prevention Week kick off on Sunday with the 35th Thanksgiving Anniversary Service at the Carifesta Sports Complex, Carifesta Avenue.
            Fire Prevention is described as any precautionary measure put in place to obviate the outbreak of a fire.  Fire Prevention Week marks the anniversary of one of the world’s worst conflagrations. The great Chicago Fire, which occurred on the October 9, 187, claimed the lives of 250 persons and destroyed 17, 430 buildings, leaving 100,000 people homeless.
            In commemoration of this tragedy, October 9 was first observed officially in 1911 as Fire Prevention Day and upon recommendations of the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) it was extended to one week in the United States and Canada.
              The Guyana Fire Service is patterned after the British Fire Service. In 1947 a new era for the fire brigade was ushered in with the arrival of an expatriate British Officer, who launched a fire programme. This programme formed the basis of the Fire Prevention activities that were soon established as an important part of the Fire Service work.
            Subsequent to the amendment of the Fire Prevention Ordinance, the Fire Service established a committee in 1974 consisting of members of the Guyana Fire Service to plan and execute a public awareness programme during the week, which include October 9. The week has since been observed annually.
            This year, under the theme “Fire Prevention Needs Everyone’s Attention,” the week activities include a series of Fire Safety Fair and drills at Fire Stations, schools and community centres across the country.

 

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Human Services Ministry observes “Month of the Elderly”

Georgetown, GINA, October 02, 2009

The Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security has designated October as the “Month of the Elderly” under the theme “Living today for a better tomorrow.”
            A series of activities has been planned to give special recognition to senior citizens across Guyana in observance these include church services, sporting activities, hosting of Health and Wellness checks at various hospitals and clinics, domino competition, birthday celebrations and distribution of hampers.
              Over recent years, Government has been working ardently to ensure that senior citizens benefit from the services they provided to their country and it has continuously been increasing their pensions. A total of $3.3B is allocated to be spent on old age pension to over 40,000 pensioners and to pay their water rates, while a total of $800M is allotted for public assistance programmes.
             In the 2008 budget, $2.5 B was allocated for old age pension for the benefit of 35,000 pensioners, which led to an increase from $3,673 to $6,000. Pensioners are also receiving a water waiver, free medical care at all public hospitals and health centres across the country and spectacles.
            In May 1999, Cabinet appointed the National Commission on the Elderly, comprising 15 persons as a welfare agency, to administer the disbursement of financial and other forms of assistance available to citizens aged 65 years and older.
Over the years the number of centenarians has been increasing in Guyana while the life expectancy rate is now at 67.

 

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PYARG celebrates 11 years of existence in Guyana

Georgetown, GINA, October 2, 2009

Students from over 20 schools in Georgetown were invited to be a part of the President’s Youth Award Republic of Guyana’s (PYARG’s) exhibition and edutainment concert at the PYARG Secretariat in Georgetown.
            Field Officer of PYARG, Idi Wilson said that the exhibition showcases a variety of pictures which display the achievements of the organisation and there will be demonstrations to school children, on how to use a medical make-shift lab and kitchen outdoors in the event of being stranded or camping outdoors with limited facilities and equipment.
            He explained that the exhibition and edutainment will kick-start the list of activities that the PYARG has planned for October, after which; there will be an Inter Faith Service on October 4 followed by a walk-a-ton on October 24.
            This year approximately 800 participants are expected to receive the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards at the Presentation Ceremony, which is being held under the theme “ Empowering youth through voluntary, self-development activities”, scheduled for October 31.
            PYARG programme is now operating in all 10 administrative regions and over the last 10 years, 4449 medals were distributed, of which 3037 were bronze, 1044 silver and 368 gold.
            This programme is one of the largest in the Caribbean and is recognized as the fifth programme in the world for achieving high conversion rates from bronze, silver and gold awards.
            PYARG was adopted from the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme which was introduced in Britain in 1956. It was launched in Guyana in 1998 and has to date provided experiences and life skills for over 7000 persons including unit leaders.
           
           

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Labour Ministry strengthening institutional capacity

Georgetown, GINA, October 2, 2009

There have been significant changes in the administration of the Ministry of Labour involving a new corps of professionals with varying academic skills.
            Minister of Labour, Manzoor Nadir speaking at a ceremony on October 1, at the hading over of  airline tickets to labour officers who will be representing the country overseas, said they are building in the Officers who have been promoted the capacity to administer the Labour, Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) laws.
            This year saw the appointment of Yoganand Persaud as Chief Labour Occupational Health and Safety officer.  Persaud is also a practicing Attorney-at-Law and previously worked with the Human Services and Social Security Ministry for a number of years, including helping out with the Legal Aid Clinic. Before his appointment he was understudying the former Chief Labour Officer, Mohamed Akeel.
            Clive Nurse, Chief Cooperatives Officer was appointed Deputy Chief Labour, Occupational Safety and Health Officer. Two years ago Nurse proceeded on study leave to complete his Legal Education Council (LEC) at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago and will be admitted to the Guyana Bar Association shortly. His appointment came into effect on August 1.
            Meanwhile Lydia Greene was appointed as Assistant Chief Labour, Occupational Safety and Health Officer, moving up from her previous position as a senior Labour officer. 
            Minister Nadir pointed out that the Ministry is investing heavily in the training of its officers and he is confident that they can absorb their new areas of responsibility.
            Last year Persaud spent two months in the United States, observing their Occupational Health and Safety practices.
           
           

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Workshop to be held on accelerating national response to HIV/AIDS

Georgetown, GINA, October 2, 2009

Government in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), United States Department of Labour (USDOL) and the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) HIV/AIDS will be hosting a Strategic HIV/AIDS Response for Enterprise and Tripartite constituents (SHARET) workshop, from October 5-7, 2009 at the Pegasus Hotel. The main focus will be sustaining the workplace action against HIV/AIDS in Guyana.
            The workshop will be seeking to highlight the achievements of the GoG/ILO/USDOL/PEPFAR HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme and outline the programme’s plans for a continued and sustained tripartite and enterprises’ response.
            The opening ceremony for the workshop will be held on October 5 at 18:00 hrs where the feature address will be delivered by Labour Minister Manzoor Nadir.  Remarks are expected to be shared by ILO Programme Manager from the Geneva Headquarters, Behrouz Shahandeh, Ms. Karen Williams, Charge d’Affaires o the US Embassy and representatives from the Consultative Association o Guyanese Industry (CAGI), the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions in Guyana (FITUG).
            The Workplace Education Programme has been the implementing agency for SHARET since October 2005 with the objective of strengthening the capacity of government, employers’ and workers’ organizations to mitigate the impact of the HIV epidemic on the world of work. It addresses issues of employment related stigma and discrimination against persons living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. The Programme currently serves 31 enterprises in 11 sectors in Guyana and staff and affiliates of tripartite constituents. Funding for the programme comes from PEPFAR through the USDOL.
            The project is managed be a National Project Coordinator and is guided by a Sub-committee of the National Tripartite Committee on HIV/AIDS. The Sub-committee comprises representatives of the Ministry of Labour, CAGI, GTUC, FITUG and the ILO’s Programmes Office.
            A press release from the GoG/ILO/USDOL/PEPFAR HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme said that to date, a National Workplace Policy on HIV/AIDS has been launched and all workplaces have either enforced or have drafted workplace policies based on the principles of the “ILO Code of practice on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work”. Enterprises that partnered with the programme have received specialized training in Behaviour Change Communication Strategy and Programme Planning and 442 workers have been trained as Workplace peer Educators. Employees and affiliates of the Ministry of Labour and members of employers’ and workers’ organisations are also beneficiaries of specialized training.
            Other workplace action includes the integration of HIV/AIDS education into orientation, induction and graduating exercises and into occupational safety, health and human resource training programmes. HIV/AIDS has also been included in collective labour agreements for union affiliates.
           

 

 

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