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Wednesday, December 16, 2009


PM, Gov’t Officials pay tribute to late Dr. Desrey Fox

Georgetown, GINA, December 16, 2009

In celebration of the life of late Minister within the Ministry of Education Dr. Desrey Fox, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds who is performing the duties of President along with Government officials, members of Parliament and the International Community last evening gathered to reflect and pay tribute to her at the Umana Yana, Kingston.
            Many who had the opportunity of working with Dr. Fox reminisced about their experiences of her life through songs, poems and condolences.
            Minister of Education Shaik Baksh who recounted her life said that she joined the Ministry of Education with an extensive and impressive background in education mainly at the University of Guyana and at Universities overseas.

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and Government officials at Umana Yana to celebrate the life of late Minister within the Ministry of Education Dr. Desrey Fox

            He said during her tenure at the Ministry, he and Dr. Fox developed a close working relationship since they recognized the enormity of the tasked in reforming the education system in order to improve the standard of education.  
            “We shared the same vision of the Ministry of Education to be the main and most effective contributor to the development of a citizenry, able to modernise Guyana to support the citizens in becoming more productive and tolerant and to live in mutual respect,” Minister Baksh
            The Minister said that she was also an individual who sought advice and support from him and expressed her views on changes that was necessary for the development of education in the country.
            Minister Baksh stated that Dr. Fox’s passion in the area of education led her to take steps to reactivate the national schools choir and steel orchestra and pledged that her work in this area will not be in vain as he will ensure that it is completed as a tribute to her contribution.
            He further added that Minister Fox also believed that education is not only about pursuing academic learning but about molding the minds of the children by instilling values of nationalism, tolerance, integrity, respect and self-fulfillment.

Presidential Advisor, Governance, Office of the President, Gail Teixeira signs the book of condolence for late Dr. Desrey Fox

            Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai said that she was a woman of high esteem in many rounds of Guyanese society. She made her contribution and has left lasting footprints in the lives of all she may have touched during her years of faithful service to Amerindians and the nation.
            Minister Sukhai said she was also a distinguished high pace setter as evident by her many achievements and settled for nothing less but the best.
            “Being an Amerindian from the far flung village of Waramadong this never served as a deterrent to Dr. Fox who proved that she could overcome any challenge life may have thrown her way. Every Guyanese woman can and should emulate the courage, determination and self-motivating drive of Minister Fox; attributes that assured her success in every venture,” she said.
            “Dr. Fox can also best be described as a champion of indigenous culture in Guyana. She would long be remembered for her research work in the area of Amerindian languages…In fact she sought to boost Amerindian culture through Amerindian languages and the promotion of culture and sports in the school system,” she said.
            Minister of Culture Youth and Sports, Dr. Frank Anthony said Dr. Fox had a life long passion for music to help people to understand the sacred and secular musical traditions of the first people of the country.
            He said she also helped persons to understand the important role of voice especially in healing and defy manic traditions.

A section of the gathering at Umana Yana

            “She helped to make Amerindian music more understandable and more accessible to ordinary Guyanese…Dr. Fox has made a profound and invaluable contribution to the scholarship of this country. As an academic she was always very proud of her culture. Her scholarly contributions have helped the world to better appreciate and value the Amerindian culture of Guyana, Dr. Anthony said.
            Presidential Advisor, Governance, Office of the President, Gail Teixeira remembered Dr. Fox for her distinguished laugh which was infectious to many.
             “She believed passionately in Guyana, passionately in unity and diversity…She loved music and understood that in each one of us it (music) defines who we are.”
            Teixeira also noted that Dr. Fox was gifted in her research which was about sharing and was done for the use of the Guyanese people.
            Ricky Caesar, brother of Dr. Fox said that his sister was loved very much by everyone and that she will be surely missed.
            He recollected that she was an individual who was honest and always gave advice helpful.
            “She always tried to do things the right way all the days of her life…She did what she wanted to be and showed people the example by being honest to serve everyone of us here in Guyana,” Caesar said.
            Yvette Caesar-Bess, youngest sister of the Minister while highlighting Dr. Fox’s qualities said that she was like a second mom, a friend and advisor.
             “She was always there for me through my trials and tribulations and I was also there for her…she will be missed greatly by everyone.
            Other well wishers including Secretary General, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Inge Nathoo, Member of Parliament Dr. George Norton and close friends also paid homage to the late Minister.
            On December 8, Dr. Desrey Fox was involved in a motor vehicle accident just outside of Camp Ayanganna on Thomas Lands. She sustained back and head injuries and was admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation where she succumbed to her injuries and passed away just after 03:00h on December 11.
            Dr. Fox was born to Gibson and Anita Caesar on January 2, 1956 at Waramadong Village, Kamarang, Upper Mazaruni District (Region 7) and was the eldest of seven children.        
            A funeral service for Dr. Fox was held today at the Umana Yana, Kingston followed by the cremation at the Ruimzeight crematorium, West Coast Demerara.


CPGs receive another equipment boost

In a continuous effort to enhance the capacity of Community Policing Groups (CPGs), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) today handed over one double-cab Nissan 4x4 pickup, two motor cycles, one All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and one boat and engine to A,F and C Divisions.
            Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee said that the Government is committed to providing the necessary resources to CPGs who assist the police by forming a pressure group to keep their neighbourhoods in compliance with the law.
            The Minister made reference to complaints that have been lodged by residents with respect to misuse of CPG vehicles and other equipment. He warned that the MOHA will not hesitate to take serious actions against CPG members who are found guilty of this offence.
            “I urge you to take good care of these items as they are public property and must be used to the satisfaction of the community,” he said.

Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee handing over a motorcycle to Bernard Gomes from C Division

            ATVs have recently been given legal recognition in Guyana. They now follow the same requirements as other motor vehicles; these include registration and number plates before being used on public roads as well in outlying areas.
            The Ministry had granted a waiver to assist owners in having their ATVs regularized. However, a few stakeholders have since failed to comply with the regulations and as such a deadline which was given has already been passed. The Ministry is therefore calling on these owners to meet these obligations at the earliest, failing which could lead to serious legal implications.

Minister Rohee delivering his remarks at the presentation ceremony

            Bernard Gomes from C Division in expressing his appreciation posited that the presentation of the much needed items is an indication of the administration’s dedication towards improving the security sector and pledged to use the resources for the purpose for which they were given.
Over the last two years, CPGs effected over 1000 arrests and initiated over 500 charges. They have conducted over 300,000 patrols in addition to an unlimited number of hours of station duties. Currently there are 187 established voluntary CPGs, which receive support from the government in the form of vehicles and boats.


Prince Charles praises Guyana-Norway project

Georgetown, GINA, December 16, 2009

Britain’s Prince Charles has hailed the historic Guyana-Norway agreement as a good approach in the battle against catastrophic climate change as world leaders meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark face an uphill task trying to strike a meaningful global treaty.
The Prince, who has been among international figures backing this country’s climate change model, addressed the high-level opening of the summit Tuesday night, noting that the forests of the world are being “cleared at a terrifying rate.”
“The simple truth is that without a solution to tropical deforestation, there is no solution to climate change. That is why I established a Rainforests Project to try to promote a consensus on how tropical deforestation might be significantly reduced,” he said.
He recalled that in early April he hosted a meeting of heads of state and government at which it was agreed to establish an informal working group to look at this issue.
            “As it turns out, it seems the quickest and most cost-effective way to buy time in the battle against catastrophic climate change is to find a way to make the trees worth more alive than dead.
“The project has been exploring the drivers of deforestation and how innovative financing mechanisms could provide rainforest nations with financial rewards for positive performance”, he said.
“One example of such a performance-based approach is the recent agreement between Guyana and Norway”, he said.
Guyana and Norway last month signed a memorandum of understanding under which Norway will provide US$250M in support to this country’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) centred largely on preserving its forests to help the global climate change cause.
Prince Charles, through his Rainforests Project, has backed Guyana’s climate change thrust and has praised President Bharrat Jagdeo’s initiatives, saying his leadership on this issue is perhaps “one of the most optimistic developments”.
“There is no doubt that Guyana represents a unique opportunity to develop a model which could be rolled out across the rainforest nations”, Prince Charles said last year.
“Clearly, if we want to continue to benefit from the services provided by the rainforests we will have to start paying for them. But we cannot afford to lose this opportunity to demonstrate what can be done and to respond to the President’s remarkable offer”, he said.
Prince Charles Tuesday night said his rainforests project is also working with the World Bank on an emergency package to stimulate private sector finance for rainforest nations.
He noted that in the last 50 years “we have degraded 30% of global topsoil and destroyed 30% of the world's rainforests.”
Prince Charles stated that the inescapable conclusion is that a partial solution to climate change is no solution at all.
“It must be inclusive and it must be a comprehensive approach - one that strengthens the resilience of our ecosystems. Crucially, it must be embraced by the public, private and NGO sectors, as well as by local communities and indigenous people, while also encouraging individual responsibility.”
He recalled that one example that has been high on his agenda for the last two years is that of tropical rainforests.
“These ecosystems have been described as the planet's lifebelt, and with good reason. Not only do they harbour about half of our terrestrial biodiversity and generate much of the rainfall that is vital for farming, they also absorb and hold vast quantities of carbon that would otherwise be in the atmosphere”, he said.
“It is critical to find ways to prevent forests being converted to agriculture.
I have been heartened by my conversations with some of the world's largest agri-businesses, which have told me that, through more effective use of vast areas of degraded land, we could feed and fuel a growing population and keep the forests”, he said.
But, he stressed, it must be genuinely sustainable agriculture that helps to empower local communities and small farmers.
“We thereby create a truly virtuous, not a vicious, circle and one, because of its understanding of the relationship between agriculture and forestry, that can only improve the lives of many of the poorest people on the planet while simultaneously benefiting nature.
“It also builds what seems to me to be the absolutely critical chain which links ecosystem resilience, adaptive capacity, poverty reduction and sustained economic development.
“This is the chain that we have broken...And it is the chain that we must now re-make”, Prince Charles said.
The need fully to engage the private sector reflects not only the growing determination of business to act in a sustainable way but, crucially, its determination to listen to customers, he said.
“And what customers are saying ever more loudly is that they want their investment choices to make a positive difference to climate change”, he added.
Prince Charles said: “I know that so very many of you here today have been negotiating the unbelievably complex details of a potential agreement for a very, very long time, and you must be profoundly weary.
“But this is an historic moment. I can only appeal to you to listen to the cries of those who are already suffering from the impact of climate change.
“Just as mankind had the power to push the world to the brink so, too, do we have the power to bring it back into balance.
“You have been called to positions of responsibility at this critical time. The eyes of the world are upon you and it is no understatement to say that, with your signatures, you can write our future...
“One final thought...As our planet's life-support system begins to fail and our very survival as a species is brought into question, remember that our children and grandchildren will ask not what our generation said, but what it did. Let us give an answer, then, of which we can be proud.”


Secretariat secure during international financial crisis 

At the recent year-end press conference of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), officials emphasized that the Secretariat, its internal agencies and operations are fully funded, financially secure and capable of functioning into 2010 and beyond.
            Housed prominently in a recently completed, state of the art complex on the East Coast of Demerara, the regional body is financially resourced by member states and international institutions, that are, in spite of the global financial crisis, making good on their contributions, accordingly to Deputy Secretary-General, Ambassador Lolita Applewaithe.
            With access to overdraft funding and the fact that a number of activities, staff salaries, travel, research and other expenses are subsidized by donors, the Ambassador posited that the existence of the Secretariat is not at stake and certainly not for the lack of funding by member states.
            Ambassador Applewaithe also indicated that on financial matters, cost control, budgeting and financial management, support from international development partners remain strong, as she expressed gratitude to the European Union, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Global Fund.
            Applewaithe highlighted that sums garnered have been implemented into the Caribbean Integration Support Programme, the establishment and consolidating of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), statistical collection and analysis, information and communication technologies, the Regional Translating Institute and the most pertinent regional energy program, the regional crime and security agenda, the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS and other health concerns, supporting Haiti and the Office of Trade and Negotiation.
            Financing was also channelled into the environment (climate change), agriculture, fisheries, services and industry, with special emphasis being placed on common trade, between member states and externally with Latin America, the United States and Europe.       Policy coordination and unity in relation to governance, youth, standards of quality infrastructure and regional literacy were also supported by the Secretariat, in its ongoing work to build a stronger and more secure Caribbean Community.


Government’s issues supported by CARICOM

As the government of Guyana continues to place emphasis on enhanced needs and services to benefit nationals, in and out of the country, one aspect that has been given specific attention is the issue of air travel. Guyana and CARICOM are working parallel on the matter.
            For the Christmas season, the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce has been working towards building linkages with regional and international airlines to ensure that frequent flights are provided, between the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and airports throughout the Caribbean, North American and Europe. This effort is part of an overall programme to guarantee that more flight connections from Caribbean Airlines, Delta, Sky Services and Liat Airlines are available year-round and not only during holiday periods.
            At the regional level, the Secretariat will, in 2010, seek to address the zoning of Caribbean countries in the context of the Air Passenger Duty on flights to the region out of the United Kingdom. With the CARICOM countries bracketed into Ban C, 4000-6000 miles, the cost of flights plying this route is exorbitant, especially when compared to rates charged to travel from the United Kingdom to western United States and the Hawaiian Islands.
            It was Secretary-General, Dr. Edwin Carrington, who insisted that the tax has an existing discriminatory effect that will be further intensified when increased in 2010. Therefore, the Secretariat is preparing to request a revision of the standard, calling for a re-categorization-reclassification of member states, into Ban B, 2000-4000 miles, thereby lessening the cost of flights, in particular, and air travel in, general.
            Ambassador Gail Mathurin of the Office of Trade Negotiation affirmed that that body will fully assist the Secretariat in this effort.
            Within CARICOM, travel via LIAT Airlines is under review. With a thriving response from Guyanese, the regional “maxi-taxi” is moving towards restructuring and refinancing its operations, to provide sustained and enhanced service. LIAT is a commuter type service; a regional bus operation with intensive and extensive flights. There was recent discussion between LIAT management and CARICOM officials on collaborating to address concerns, especially in relation to the aging fleet and expansion of services and destinations offered.
            Dr. Carrington indicated that the airline must operate on a commercial basis, but consideration should be paid to cost, since any decision made will ultimately affect the Caribbean consumer, and must, therefore, be fair and attractive.
            This year was an excellent one for Guyana in the legal sector, with developments legislatively, in jurisprudence and infrastructurally.
            Several important child care and domestic violence bills, among others, were passed in the National Assembly. Important court matters were resolved, adhering to existing precedents and creating evolved standards and a new Family Court building is currently under construction, to be completed in July, 2010.
            It is in this context that Guyana continues to advance, as one of the first members of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the final appellate voice in the region, created to replace the Privy Council and serve as an independent jurist body for matters requiring refined perusal.
            With Barbados already on board, Jamaica joined in 2009 and Belize and Dominica are also making strides in this regard. Secretary-General Carrington and Safia Ali, a legal authority at CARICOM, indicated that it is good that the issue has been revived in the context ensuring the creation of a regional jurisprudence. Carrington stated that he was pleased to see that Jamaica is now on board.
            The independence of the region in this matter concurs with the British perspective, with the Privy Council being crowded with British cases, now just accommodating the Caribbean in the resolution of matters. Most countries, including Canada and Australia, have moved on, with only CARICOM and a few Pacific countries being the last remnant of external petitions requesting the appellate jurisdiction of the Council.


Many bid farewell to late Dr. Desrey Fox

Government officials, members of the opposition and the, Diplomatic Corps, relatives and friends, and hundreds of Guyanese today paid their last respect to the late Minister within the Ministry of Education Dr. Desrey Fox at a funeral service held at the Umana Yana, Kingston.
            The service featured songs, tributes and eulogy in recognition of the life and work of the later Minister.
            Prime Minister Samuel Hinds performing the duties of President while delivering a heartfelt tribute expressed condolences on behalf of Guyana’s Head-of-State Bharrat Jagdeo and the Cabinet. He said that her demise is a great loss to Government and the nation, since she played an integral role as a minister, researcher, mother and role model.

Government officials, relatives and friends at Umana Yana for funeral service of the late Minister within the Ministry of Education Dr. Desrey Fox

            “We the (administration) appreciate and thank the late Minister for her services to the country…she lived a life of dedication and service to the cause of humanity,” the Prime Minister said.
Minister Fox played a unique role at the level of Cabinet and he noted that, “In her, Cabinet found an excellent person with great worth who fought for what she believed in and always had others at heart.”
            Guyana is still in the making he told that gathering and is faced with many challenges but assured that if we persevere Guyana’s objective ‘One people, One Nation, One Destiny can be achieved.  
The high number of road fatalities recorded is a cause of concern for Government, he said and used the opportunity to urge road users to exercise more caution, in an effort to save lives.
Mr. Hinds said that the late Minister bridged all gaps and challenged society to practice good deeds and contribute to humanity.
He said her commitment and concern will always be remembered by Government especially the Education Ministry where she spent most of her days since she took oath on September 9, 2006.
            Minister Fox was involved in a motor vehicle accident on December 8, outside of Camp Ayanganna on Thomas Land. She sustained back and head injuries and was admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation where she succumbed to her injuries just after 03; 00h on December 11.
            The Prime Minister also read a tribute written by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony and Minister of Education Shaik Baksh which stated that her death will see Cabinet faced with a great loss.
It further stated that Dr. Fox, the first Amerindian citizen in Guyana to ever hold a PhD, lived a humble and decent life.

Late Minister Fox’s casket leaving Umana Yana

            She always said, “If there is a good thing I can do to my fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”
            People’s Progressive Party General Secretary, Donald Romotar who was also present delivered a tribute which expressed deepest sympathy.
            He said that society should be comforted by the fact that even though her life was simple, her achievements were great.
            He noted that her contribution to Guyana, especially Amerindian communities, was pertinent, and will always be appreciated and remembered.
            “Dr. Fox’s life over the last few years I believe was the happiest since she had the opportunity of relating many of her skills and dreams to many,” Romotar noted.
            Tribute was also given by University of Guyana’s Dean of humanities and Education, Professor Al Creighton who recalled her commitment, work and dedication at UG where she worked for many years.
            The eulogy was read by the late minister’s friend Ian Persaud.
            Attendees were also graced with the hymns in Akawaio and English by relatives and friends. The Ministry of Education’s National School Choir and the National School Orchestra were also in attendance. 


$94M to be expended on more LCDS consultations, improved forestry practices

During meetings held at No. 58 Miles (Region Ten) and Fairview (Region Nine) villages on December 14, Head of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), James Singh, revealed that the sum of US$475,000 ($94M) will be expended shortly, probably during the first quarter of 2010, on more consultations on the Low-Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), and on improving forestry practices.
            At No. 58 Miles village, he explained that Guyana has been the first country to successfully complete the due diligence studies required under the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and as a result will be able to access a US$200,000 ($40M) grant of which a portion of the money will support the holding of more consultations on the LCDS.
            At Fairview village, the GFC Head indicated that the portion of the money earmarked for the consultations was US$65,000 ($13M) and would be provided to the National Toshaos Council (NTC) which would organize consultative engagements all across the country in 2010.
            The remaining US$135,000 ($27M) would fund technical studies coordinated by the GFC relating to forest conservation and the LCDS.
            Singh also revealed that the GFC had submitted a proposal to the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and has recently received a grant of US$275,000 that will be used “to improve the efficiency of the forestry sector”.
            He indicated that the operations of the forestry sector in Guyana can be looked through three prisms – environmental, economic and social. On this he noted that while Guyana is doing well in the area of environmental protection of the forests, ensuring the sustainability of operations, there is a great need to improve economic factors.
            Singh stressed that the industry has been failing to obtain yields similar to other parts of the world with chainsaw and portable mill operations generating unnecessary waste. As a result, he stated that the GFC had organized a saw doctoring course earlier this year that had aided in improvements in the industry with many participants indicating that they were able to increase their yields significantly with little or no additional investments.
            The success of this course, Singh said, provided the impetus for the submission of the proposal to ITTO for funding to pursue further actions to improve efficiency standards in the forestry sector.
            ITTO is an inter-governmental organization promoting the conservation and sustainable management, use and trade of tropical forest resources. Its members represent about 80% of the world's tropical forests and 90% of the global tropical timber trade.


IDB to support Govt’s LCDS, hydropower

Guyana has witnessed tremendous modernization of its natural resource management through its association with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and is likely to benefit from support for the implementation and development of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).
            This was disclosed by Minister of Finance Dr Ashni Singh who was speaking during the publication (“Guyana and the IDB partners for progress”) launch last evening at the Pegasus Hotel.
Dr Singh noted that Guyana has already concluded a technical cooperation agreement under which the bank is to strengthen national and institutional capacities for effectively dealing with climate change and to support the nationwide consultation process on the strategy.
            In addition, Dr Singh stated that the bank, through its private sector arm, is expected to support the realization of hydropower generation in Guyana.
            “President Jagdeo met with IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno while in Turkey in October this year…Subsequent to that meeting, a technical meeting was held by the consortium developing the Amalia Falls project with the bank last month and work is ongoing to secure the bank’s financial involvement in and support for the project and to ensure its success.”
The Finance Minister disclosed in recent past the IDB has supported the implementation of legislative policies such as the enacting of major constitutional amendments to strengthen public accountability and protect vulnerable groups.
            The bank has also assisted in the construction of the new four-lane highway to Providence, the International Conference Centre, the Guyana National Stadium, the newly certified Ogle International Airport as well as the bridges across the Berbice and Takutu Rivers.  
            Dr Singh said IDB has become the most important source of multilateral financing for most, if not all of its borrowing member countries. Of the bank’s total current lending portfolio of US$55.7B, the countries of the Caribbean Department account for US$2.3B.
            Due to IDB interventions, the minister revealed that Guyana has experienced a dramatic transformation in its social and economic infrastructure.
            The economy recorded positive growth in all but three of 10 years, inflation remained in single digits, external debt declined by 31 percent, gross international reserves increased by 33 percent from US$267M to US$356M and the exchange rate remained steady.
            The Finance Minister related that government is firmly committed to a policy stance that will sustain and accelerate the positive trends that have been achieved so far.
            Guyana’s formal association with the IDB started in 1977 on accession to membership of the bank. Since then the bank has provided Guyana with over US$1B in loans across a wide variety of sectors.
            The IDB also supports Guyana’s Justice Sector Reform, the Basic Nutrition Programme, the Unserved Electrification Plan and the Low Income Settlement Housing Initiative.       
In 2007, the IDB participated in a multilateral debt relief initiative which resulted in Guyana benefiting from US$467M debt write off.
This came after lobbying efforts by heavily indebted countries of Latin America and the Caribbean including advocacy by Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo.
December 30 will mark 50 years since the IDB’s establishment for the purpose of accelerating the economic and social development of regional member countries as outlined in its 1959 Charter agreement.


Arapaima fishing permit issued to North Rupununi communities could generate $20-23M – Minister Persaud
…part of Arapaima Management Plan

Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, on Tuesday, issued an arapaima fishing permit to toshao of Annai village of the North Rupununi, Michael Williams, which allows the Amerindian communities of the area to sustainably harvest 101 of the large fishes by February 15, 2010.
            On presenting the permit to Williams, Minister Persaud noted that with prices ranging from $600 to $1,000 per pound of the fish and with an adult arapaima weighing around 200 pounds, the permit could generate as much as $20-23M that can be invested to address the critical needs of the communities.
            The permit is issued under the Arapaima Management Plan, which was officially launched on April 20, 2007, and was designed with various objectives including, increasing the local Arapaima population, improving fishing income and advancing local institutions.

Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, hands over the arapaima fishing permit to toshao of Annai village of the North Rupununi, Michael Williams

The management system includes population counts, sharing an annual harvestable quota and has a guiding philosophy to conserve an economically important natural resource.
Management rules also specify that arapaimas should not be harvested unless the procesdure is conducted within the confines of the plan, with the two most important rules stipulating that only adults are harvested and that the harvesting is done only during the non-reproductive phase.
Minister Persaud encouraged the Williams to have the communities use the funds generated similarly to presidential grants, which are used to implement projects that benefit Amerindian communities.
The area covered by the permit includes 16 villages and 5,000 residents and therefore each community could get more than $1M each.

Two Amerindians on the hunt for arapaimas at Bend Down Pond

The Agriculture Minister further stated that his Ministry will look at working with the Brazilian business community at processing the fish to add value and therefore, increase the income that can be obtained from the permit in future years.
In February and March of this year, a population count showed there were 3,062 arapaimas which measured one meter or more of which 1,617 were juveniles and 1,445 adults.
The permit will finish before the next arapaima spawning season commences in March 2010. It takes about six years for an arapaima to mature fully into an adult.


Hundreds pay respect to late Dr. Fox

From about 08:30 hrs until 10:00 hrs, many Guyanese from all walks of life paid their respect to the late Minister within the Ministry of Education, Dr. Desrey Fox whose body symbolically was outfitted in Amerindian attire and accessories.

Friends of the late Dr. Desrey Fox viewing her body and offering words of encouragement to her three sons (left) at the Umana Yana during her funeral service.

Persons also signed a book of condolence and students from various schools, those who were privileged enough to know her and those who benefited from her contributions in the education system were present.

Teachers and students who knew Dr. Fox at her casket, viewing her body which was outfitted in Amerindian attire and accessories, as part of her custom.

            Dr. Fox passed away in the wee hours of December 11, succumbing after four days of hospitalization subsequent to a motor vehicle accident.
She was a renowned Guyanese scholar, researcher and social anthropologist concentrating on indigenous people.

Ministers of Government and members of Parliament at the viewing of the body of the late Dr. Fox, Umana Yana.


The late Minister within the Ministry of Education, Dr. Desrey Fox’s sons comforting her brother.



Late Minister Fox cremated

Guyana mourns the tragic death of Minister within the Ministry of Education, Dr. Desrey Fox who was cremated at Kaashi Daam, Ruimzeight, West Coast Demerara this afternoon.
            Minister Fox passed away on December 11, succumbing to injuries from a motor vehicle accident.
            Her wake commenced December 11 at the Carifesta Sports Club formerly called the GNS ground and continued from December 12 to December 15 at the Umana Yana.
            Minister Fox’s body was on display for viewing at the Umana Yana this morning from 08:30 hrs to 10:00 hrs where her family, colleagues in Government, Education Ministry officers, students and friends were given the opportunity to sign a book of condolence and pay tribute to the late Minister.
            A traditional service was held at the Umana Yana today, which commenced with an opening prayer followed by the National Anthem being sung by Amerindian children in the Akawaio language and English.

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, acting in the capacity of President, accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Yvonne Hinds at the cremation of late Minister within the Ministry of Education, Dr. Desrey Fox, Kaashi Daam, Ruimzeight, West Coast Demerara.

            Government officials and Opposition leader, Mr. Robert Corbin gave speeches in honour of Minister Fox’s works and personality, all of them acknowledging that she will be sadly missed and even though she is gone, her memory will live on.
            After the service, her body was taken to Kaashi Daam, Ruimzeight for cremation at 14:00 hrs.
            Minister within the Ministry of Health, Dr. Bheri Ramsaran noted that Dr. Fox was a vibrant person who was always concentrating on promoting education and a better way of life for her fellow Amerindians.

Family members of the late Dr. Desrey Fox lighting her pyre at her cremation at Kaashi Daam, Ruimzeight, West Coast Demerara.

            Minister of Labour, Manzoor Nadir stated that Dr. Fox was a passionate person as it related to education and music and that she was relatively close to him, since they were colleagues and spent most of their time conversing with each other about developmental issues, which he said were based on spreading her culture and elevating the life and standards of Amerindian people.
            Minister Nadir said her last wish in the education system was to introduce music nationally in the curriculum with the establishment of a National Schools Choir, which she achieved shortly before her tragic death.

The late Dr. Desrey Fox’s pyre engulfed in flames at Kaashi Daam, Ruimzeight, West Coast Demerara.

            He posited that she was always a caring and friendly individual who was committed and dedicated to serving her people and country and for that she would always be remembered.
            Born on January 2, 1955 to Gibson and Anita Caesar at Waramadong Village, Kamarang, Upper Mazaruni District (Region 7) Desrey Clementine Caesar- Fox was the eldest of seven children.
            She attended the Waramadong Primary School, and the Campbellville Government School and then briefly the Georgetown Seventh-Day Adventist Academy.
            She was awarded a nursing scholarship in 1973 and was a trained midwife at the Georgetown Hospital School of Nursing. She married a few years later.
            In 1977 she joined the University of Guyana (UG) as a junior researcher attached to a special project referred to as the Amerindian Languages Project. She continued serving within this unit until it evolved into the present Amerindian Research Unit.

Minister of Housing and Water, Irfaan Ali (right), Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, the later Dr. Fox’s son and friends at her cremation.

            The focus of her research was cross-cultural, resulting in data being collected and analyzed on a wide range of Amerindian issues and situations in Guyana such as their pre-history, present history, spirituality, demography, geography, rites and rituals, kinship networks, language, music and general aspects of their way of life.
            The Minister’s PhD dissertation was biased towards the analysis of the variants of the Akawaio language spoken in the village of Waramadong.
            Minister Fox wrote several scholarly essays in fields of anthropology, sociology and linguistics with a bias towards Indigenous Cultures in Guyana and the wider Caribbean.
            She was called to serve Guyana on September 10, 2006 as the Minister within the Ministry of Education, a position which she held until her death on December 11.


GRA allocates additional staff at CJIA
- in light of holiday season

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) through its Customs and Excise Department attached at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) has been servicing passengers throughout the year professionally to ensure their travel comfort.
            In light of the holiday period when an increase in passengers from Europe, North America and other countries is seen, the GRA has allocated additional clearance staff at the main port of entry.
            The staff are trained and clearance will be done expeditiously. Also, Senior Officers will be present at the airport to assist passengers with queries and monitor the performance of the on duty staff to ensure the sustenance of transparent transaction and procedures.



Key that Guyana maintains its foot and mouth disease free status
…Agriculture Minister tells participants at Lethem workshop

Georgetown, GINA, December 16, 2009

Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, on December 15 at a foot and mouth disease workshop at the Savannah Inn, Lethem, stressed that it is paramount that Guyana maintains its disease free status if the country’s cattle industry is to be developed for export purposes.
            “Within our Agricultural Diversification Project (ADP), we have done the feasibility and other studies which indicate that given our current state in terms of the cattle industry and the potential that we have, we can become a leading producer of beef, as well as an exporter of beef, but countries will not buy our beef if our country loses that status,” the Minister stated.
            “If we lose that status, it would be a severe blow to the industry and to the thousands of farmers who depend on cattle for their livelihood.”
He called on all the participants to do their part by following the guidelines outlined by the Ministry’s Crop and Livestock Department to prevent the disease from entering the country, and to spread the information gathered at the workshop in their communities.
“We must see this as a national task. It can make or break the success of our cattle industry and I am happy that you are participating in your numbers and are part of this important workshop,” he told the workshop participants.

Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, delivers the closing remarks at a foot and mouth disease workshop held at the Savannah Inn, Lethem on December 15

Minister Persaud further highlighted what his ministry is doing to improve the livestock sector in Guyana including the signing of an agreement with a foreign firm to develop and modernize the country’s animal health system to bring it to a level and standard similar to those of countries that have well-developed cattle industries, the development of a meat processing facility and genetic improvements of the breeding stocks within the cattle industry through artificial insemination.
He further stated that legislation will be discussed in the National Assembly on December 17 that will establish a Livestock Development Authority that will oversee the growth of the sector.
“Our plan is to give our farmers – small-, medium- and large-scale, opportunities that are abundant within the livestock sector but for us to do that, we must ensure that our animal health system is intact and one of the gravest threats in the cattle industry remains foot and mouth disease,” Minister Persaud explained.
He noted that it is an offence to move live animals without the permission of the Ministry of Agriculture, and stressed that tough measures will be taken against those who breach these regulations.
“There is much at stake,” the Agriculture Minister warned.


$128.6M hinterland rice and beans project launched
…dedicated in memory of Dr. Desrey Fox

The US$643,000 ($128.6M) Hinterland Rice and Beans Project was launched Tuesday during a small ceremony at the St. Ignatius Benab, Region Nine where Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, dedicated the project to the memory of Minister within the Ministry of Education, Dr. Desrey Fox, who succumbed to injuries sustain in an automobile accident on December 11.
            “In tribute to her commitment to Guyana’s development, to our Amerindian people’s development and to the role of food and agriculture (plays in that development), I want to dedicate this project to her.”
“Whilst today is a day for us to celebrate and which I consider a milestone in the modernization of agriculture in Region Nine, it is also a day in which all Guyana mourn the loss of an outstanding indigenous citizen,” Minister Persaud stated.

Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, dedicates the $128.6M Hinterland Rice and Beans Project to the memory of Dr. Desrey Fox, Minister within the Ministry of Education

            He indicated that Dr. Fox had a peculiar fascination with agriculture and believed that hinterland communities could take care of their own food needs as well as being linked to Guyana being a leading exporter of food to the Caribbean and beyond.
            “She was very passionate about that. She never ignored the importance and the contribution and the rich tradition of our indigenous people in terms of agriculture, in terms of food production,” the Agriculture Minister said.

Blueprint for replication
            He encouraged the audience gathered for the ceremony to commit themselves to making the project a success because it is not only important for Region Nine where it is being implemented but it could serve as a blueprint for similar projects in other hinterland regions.
            “It will advise and inform us as to how it is we should approach similar agricultural ventures in other parts of the hinterland of Guyana,” Minister Persaud highlighted.
            He indicated that this project is one of the ways Government is working with hinterland communities to ensure that they can feed themselves, and further stated that the project will see modern technology and training techniques used.

Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, examines one of the two ATVs handed over to Region Nine’s agricultural extension officers during the launch of the $128.6M Hinterland Rice and Beans Project

            The hinterland rice and beans project is a joint collaboration between the Governments of Guyana and Spain, through the Spanish Development Agency, and will see the establishment of cultivation over a three-year period of black eye beans, among others, and upland rice.
            It will support the improvement of rural development of the Rupununi Savannah’s indigenous communities with Moco Moco, Karauaranau, Awarawaunau and Quarria being targeted during the fist year.

The new state-of-the art combine harvester that was handed over to the Region Nine communities that will benefit from the $128.6M Hinterland Rice and Beans Project.

            The project will then be replicated in other Amerindian communities in the following two years, with the replication based on lessons learnt for a reduction in any problems that were encountered.
            Already, 50 acres of land has been prepared for upland rice cultivation while black eye bean plants have already been sown. Also, a storage bond is under construction in Moco Moco and Minister Persaud handed over a state-of-the-art combine harvester for the project, and two all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) that will be used by Ministry of Agriculture staff to carry out extension services in the North Rupununi.
            “I want to assure you that as part of our programme, our vision in going forward, we will work every single day looking at opportunities where we can improve your livelihood, where we can better your living conditions in all regards and this project is just a manifestation of that, of what we are trying to do,” the Agriculture Minister concluded.


President Jagdeo meets key world leaders as efforts intensify in Copenhagen

President Jagdeo today met with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Nepal Prime Minister Madhav Kumar as efforts continue for leaders to work towards a favourable outcome of the Copenhagen Climate Meeting.  
          Among the key issues discussed was the need for some of the major economies of the world to come on board with emission cuts and the issue of financing for developing countries.
During the day, the United States of America announced a global fund of US$1 billion in total to address deforestation and degradation to 2012, and the Government of Japan announced that they would contribute US$5billion per year if an ambitious agreement was reached at Copenhagen.
The United States’ announcement was made by US Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. At the same event as Mr Vilsack made the announcement, President Jagdeo shared a panel discussion with Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg, Jane Goodall of the Jane Goodal Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, Sir Charles Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group.

Nepal Prime Minister Madhav Kumar, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and President Bharrat Jagdeo

The event, organized by the Avoided Deforestation Partners under the theme ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation: Opportunities for U.S Initiatives in Support of a Global Framework’ brought together policy makers along with some of the leading global NGOs working on forests and heads of multilateral financial and corporate institutions.
Among those who participated included Eduardo Braga, Governor of Amazonas, Brazil, Helen Clark – Administrator of UNDP and former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, Julia Marton Lefevre, Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Carter Roberts, President of WWF US, Peter Seligmann, Chairman and CEO of Conservation International, Mark Tercek, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy.

Founder of Avoided Deforestation Partners, Jeffrey Horowitz, (at podium), Richard Branson, Jane Goodall, President Jagdeo and Norway Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg

 During the discussions, President Jagdeo highlighted the importance of adequate financing for REDD+ for it to be successful. He highlighted the partnership with Norway and the fact that payments are performance based and subject to Monitoring, Verification and Reporting System (MRVS). Norway Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg indicated that Norway’s Initiatives on forests which included collaboration with Brazil and Guyana, said it was one of their best initiatives on Avoided Deforestation while emphasizing that it is one of the most cost effective abatement solutions available and which could be implemented immediately.
The President and Guyana Delegation also participated at Guyana Presentation, organized to share information and further promote Guyana’s Initiatives and the Low Carbon Development Strategy.


PPP/C reflects on late Brindley Benn’s life and work

In recognition of the role and contribution one of the key leaders of the Guyanese independence movement and former Deputy Prime Minister, the late Brindley Benn, an evening of reflection was held at Freedom House, Robb Street.
            Prime Minister Samuel Hinds who is performing the duties of President along with Government officials, members of the Progressive Youth Organization, Women’s Progressive Organization, relatives and friends gathered to reflect on his many achievements.
            Mr. Hinds while delivering a tribute on behalf of Guyana’s Head-of-State Bharrat Jagdeo acknowledged the contribution of the late Brindley Benn.

Minister of Transport and Hydraulics Robeson Benn during his tribute

            He noted that Benn dedicated his life and service to the working people of Guyana.
            “Benn was one of the many people who fought for a peaceful economy which has contributed significantly over the years to national development,” the Prime Minister noted.
            Brindley Benn born on January 24, 1923 is a Cacique Crown of Honour awardee who served in the capacity as Minister of Education, National Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources in the late 1950s and 1960s.

Minister of Transport  and Hydraulics Robeson Benn flanked by Government officials

            People’s Progressive Party General Secretary, Donald Ramotar who also delivered a tribute said that Benn influenced by the many speeches of the late President Dr. Cheddi Jagan about the occurrences in the bauxite industry and colonial rule, joined the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and became integrally involved in politics.
            His political life which included many campaigns saw him being elected Chairman of the PPP and Member of the Executive Committee. He also served as representative of the Essequibo Islands and the Interior.

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds during the reflection ceremony

            After the party contested and won the 1957 elections, Benn was appointed Minister of Community Development and Education and it was during this time that he organized the National History and Culture Week (1961 to 1964) under the theme ‘One People One Nation One Destiny,’ the slogan that later became Guyana’s independence motto.
            Benn was also highly recognized by Government officials for his work with the Mahaica, Mahaicony Abary (MMA), Boerasirie and Tapacuma Schemes.

Attendees at the Reflection on the life and work of the late Brindley Benn held in the Auditorium, Freedom House, Robb Street.

            Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony, WPO General Secretary Indra Chandarpal, Minister of Transport and Hydraulics Robeson Benn and Speaker of the National Assembly Ralph Ramkarran also paid tribute to the Benn family.
            The funeral service for the late Brindley Horatio Benn will take place on Friday December 18. The body will be at Freedom House from 09: 30h to 10: 00h for viewing.


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