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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Guyana committed to complying with international obligations in bio-tech utilisation
-Minister Persaud at bio-safety workshop

Georgetown, GINA, February 21, 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in collaboration with the University of Guyana (UG) today hosted a second training workshop on bio-safety.
            Facilitator of the workshop, Fred Phillips, who is Specialist in the implementation of multilateral agreements, said that this project is designed to get participants re-acquainted with bio-safety clearing house; giving them an insight on the state of bio-safety at the international level.
            All the signatories to the Cartagena Protocol have to provide information about the state of bio-safety and laws in place or any decisions made regarding Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) or Genetically modified Organisms (GMOs).
            “You will have your chance to make informed decisions on what happens in your territory based on what is happening in the rest of the world,” he told the participants.    

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Robert Persaud addressing the participants at the bio-safety workshop at the University of Guyana (UG), Turkeyen Campus.

            Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Robert Persaud who delivered opening remarks, said that this kind of training is good for Guyana; noting that as a small country with resource constraints, significant efforts are being made to ensure that its capacity is being improved.  
            He pointed out that Guyana’s framework on bio-safety is very comprehensive in terms of preparedness and ensuring that the country’s obligations under the biodiversity conventions, moreso the Cartagena Protocol on bio-safety, are satisfied.
“Guyana, under successive Governments, over the years would have taken very bold steps whereby; we have demonstrated firm and strong commitments in terms of sustainable development and moreso, how we manage and utilise natural resources while at the same time safeguard our environment,” Minister Persaud said.
In recent times, Guyana has honed and reinforced this national commitment through the revolutionary Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), which in a way, firmly commits the country at the national level complying with international obligations, while at the same time allowing for continued development without jeopardising the environment.
            The Minister explained that, “we live in a world where there are a lot of changes and where technology is being employed in all aspects of life, especially in the area of food production…but doing so in a way that it does not lead to other problems, such as importing GMOs that threaten our own biodiversity.”
            As a country, Guyana has not yet defined its policy as it relates GMOs. It is still in the assessment stage and learning from the experiences of other jurisdictions, the approach that would best suit the country.
            He clarified that Guyana does not in any way want to be a “dinosaur” in this field; but rather, take a very cautious approach and the training that is being done at this workshop would enable the country to build the necessary capacity so that bio-technology can continue to be employed in various areas, especially at the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) and the Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST), in a safe manner that does not compromise the country’s biodiversity.  
             “We are an economy that is in transition and whilst we are developing and expanding the traditional sectors of the economy, we are also looking at new areas of development…this would lend to the utilisation and would require us to enhance our bio-safety arrangements at the national level,” the Minister said.

Participants at the bio-safety workshop at the University of Guyana Information Technology Center. 

            He added that in the Natural Resources Ministry itself, the utilisation of bio-technology whether in the area of mining or the petroleum industry, is becoming more necessary as the economy expands; hence the need to look for ways to ensure a safe transfer into local industries.
            In terms of legislation, Minister Persaud made reference to the Plant Health Act, Animal Health Act and Seeds Act, all of which were passed in the National Assembly during the Ninth Parliament. These pieces of legislation incorporate features associated with enhancing bio-diversity.
            The Animal Health Act provides for the control of the movement of animals into and within Guyana and to prevent the introduction and spread of animal diseases within Guyana and from other countries.
            The Seeds Act on the other hand, regulates the production, sale, import, export and quality of certain seeds for sowing and to provide for certification of seeds and related matters.
            Meanwhile, the Plant Protection Act regulates the importation and exportation of plants, planting materials and objects derived from them, so as to protect them from the introduction of exotic pests and diseases to Guyana and to control and eradicate diseases and pests within the country.
            “Whilst we may not have specific bio-safety legislation as it were, we have been updating legislation in the different realm of activities that can lend itself to the utilisation of bio-technology,” Minister Persaud said.
            Guyana is one of 12 countries that is part of the Caribbean Regional Bio-Safety Project, where a substantial amount of work has been done in terms of legislation. This will continue because as the development advances, the opportunities and associated risks makes the utilization of bio-technology very crucial; as such the country has to be prepared and ensure compliance to international obligations.
            “I want to encourage you to make full use of the training and to ensure that the knowledge garnered here, will be utilised in our nation’s interest and to support the development of our country in a very sustainable way,” Minister Persaud said.



Commission of Enquiry established to investigate Blairmont estate workers’ issues 

Georgetown, GINA, February 21, 2012

Minister of Labour, Dr. Nanda Gopaul today announced the establishment of a Commission of Enquiry to investigate the charges made by the workers of the Blairmont Sugar Estate, Region Five.
            In a letter to the General Secretary of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU), Seepaul Narine, the Minister indicated that the Committee will comprise Dr. Dale Bisnauth as Chairman, Industrial Relations Officer, Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), Deodat Sukhu and Mohamed Akeel.
             He also called for full resumption of work and urged the workers to allow for due process and a mechanism that is fair to all, to prevail.
            The Committee will commence its work as soon as work is resumed and is expected to submit its findings within three weeks.
            “I would also like to assure workers that GuySuCo has made a commitment to pay Annual Production Incentive (API) by March 16, 2012, to honour the recommendations for the joint Job Evaluation Team and to effect payments in accordance with the results of the findings of that evaluation committee before the end of June 2012,” the Minister’s letter stated.
            The letter also registered GuySuCo’s concerns over the frequent strikes which are resulting in serious financial impacts on the industry and emphasised that if this continues, the Corporation’s ability to make payments on time will be in jeopardy.
            It pointed out that the industry has certain marketing commitments and unwarranted work stoppages can impede its recovery process. Additionally, given the weather current patterns, it is important to maximise the opportunity days for harvesting and grinding of sugar cane to the fullest.
            Meanwhile, GuySuCo issued a release in which it outlined its current financial status and appealed to workers  to appreciate the industry’s difficulties. 



Most striking sugar workers resume duty-as agreement reached for March 16 payout of API

 Georgetown, GINA, February 21, 2012

Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy has voiced his concern over the recent strike action taken by several Berbice sugar estate workers, due to delayed payment of their Annual Production Incentive (API).
            Minister Ramsammy affirmed that the workers, who are attached to the Rose Hall estate, were educated by officials from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and their union, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU) that the API would be paid by March 16. 
            However, the sugar workers who numbered approximately 300; including labourers; weeders, planters, manure broadcasters and field workers, refused to work until their demands were met. 
            GuySuCo in a release today, highlighted that while the issue remains of grave concern, the corporation is finding it difficult to source additional short-term finance to support the workers’ demands.
            The corporation indicated that the delay of the API was as a result of the late start of the first corporation lagging behind in its payment to creditors,” the release stated.
            Minister Ramsammy cautioned that such disruption would significantly affect sugar production and the industry as a whole, as the corporation would find it difficult to reach its projected target of 265,000 tonnes by the end of the first crop for 2012.
            “The disruptions in several estates over the weekend were short ones, and I am happy that the workers in most of the estates are back at work. As it relates to the API, while that should have been paid as soon as 2011 ended, an agreement was reached which would see them being paid shortly,” he said.
            He acknowledged that improvement to GuySuCo’s financial position is heavily dependent on sugar production and the income of finance as a result of sale of the commodity and, has called on the remainder of striking workers to resume duty.



Russian President sends Republic Day greetings to Guyana - Russian Ambassador delivers message to President

Georgetown, GINA, February 21, 2012

Russian President Dmitry Medvedevhas extended a congratulatory message to Guyana on the occasion of its 42nd Republic Day anniversary and the country’s Ambassador to Guyana Nikolay Smirnov passed on the message to President Donald Ramotar today.

Russian President, H. E Dmitry Medvedev (internet photo)

            The Ambassador, accompanied by Head of the Consular Section of the Embassy of the Russian Federation Denis Kopyl met the Head of State at the Office of the President to deliver the message and discuss the two countries’ bilateral relations and plans soon to be announced that will further strengthen ties.
Guyana became a Republic on February 23 1970, four years after gaining sovereignty from the British and will celebrate the anniversary with the signature cultural festival Mashramani, showcasing a kaleidoscope of colours pervading the streets of the capital.

Russian Ambassador to Guyana Nikolay Smirnov greets President Donald Ramotar

Russian Ambassador to Guyana Nikolay Smirnov hands over the Republic Day congratulatory message from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in the company of Head of the Consular Section of the Embassy of the Russian Federation Denis Kopyl



GINA’s pictorial exhibitions receive good response

Georgetown, GINA, February 21, 2011

Over the last several years the Government Information Agency (GINA) has been holding pictorial exhibitions depicting Guyana’s history, culture, traditions and major developments in several parts of the country.

The Government Information Agency’s exhibition site on the lawns of Guyana Stores, Water Street.

In what has now become an annual event, the agency has been holding exhibitions in honour of the country’s Republic anniversary and in honour of the country’s 42nd anniversary; it took its exhibition to Regions 2, 6, 10 and, today, Georgetown. Guyana will celebrate Republic Day on February 23.
            Today’s exhibition on the lawns of Guyana Stores Limited, Water Street, attracted a fair number of people who were able to view pictures related to the country’s history, including some on Mashramani, and recent infrastructural developments such as in education, housing, health and public works.  
The exhibition will continue tomorrow.

Two school children viewing the exhibits.

While in the Regions, the exhibition was well received especially by the school children who showed appreciation for the Agency’s television programmes and pamphlets which captured the on-going developments around the country. Requests were also made for additional materials to be sent to the respective Regions.

An elderly man paying keen attention to one of the developmental pictures.



Agriculture Ministry launches Mash camp
…under theme “Go Green and Grow-Keeping Innovation Alive”

GINA, Georgetown, February 21, 2012

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy and Minister of Culture Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony on Monday launched the Ministry of Agriculture’s 2012 Mashramani camp under the theme “Go Green and Grow-Keeping Innovation Alive”.
        Minister Ramsammy said that the quality of the costumes and the level of participation among staff are very impressive, hence his Ministry is ready to take to the streets and celebrate the success of the country.
      He stated that Mash is a Guyanese celebration whether one group or an individual wins; it will be Guyanese celebrating Guyana’s Republic status, which must not be forgotten.

Minister of Culture Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony, Minister of Agriculture, Dr Leslie Ramsammy and Designer Carol Fraser with members of the band.

         “We have many good reasons to celebrate with pride keeping innovation alive, whenever we celebrate our pride, what our ancestors have given us we are making good use of the sacrifices, the blood, sweat and the pain, so in celebrating on Mash Day, we will be showing our pride in what we have achieved,” Minister Ramsammy said.
         He also urged persons to come out and join the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport in celebrating the 42nd Republic anniversary on February 23.
         Minister Anthony stated that he particularly likes this year’s Mash theme since people view going on the road and celebrating as just having fun. “The message is a very pertinent one, and it is good that the Ministry is not only using this occasion to celebrate but to educate the people on what they have been doing,” Minister Anthony said. 
         He noted that the Ministry of Agriculture was the first to launch its band and he encouraged the staff to do their best in the celebrations because they are in for a stiff competition since there are over 30 other bands that would participating in the road parade.

Members of  Ministry of Agriculture band showcasing their costumes.

            Carol Fraser who was selected as the 2012 designer for the band, mentioned that the theme is in keeping with raising awareness of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development vision; grow more food economic diversification and the Guyana Competitiveness Strategy paper.
            She explained that the theme is built on the belief that with enhanced awareness of these national development initiatives, there will be a forging of collective interest among entrepreneurs and innovation and, they will take action in the interest of all Guyanese.
            The global green innovation industry generates billions of dollars, in the production of apparel, kitchen, domestic utensils and building fittings. These industries have strong influence on job creation and poverty reduction and have positive impact on economic diversification in alignment with environmental practices. This, in a nut shell, captures the story behind the theme “Go Green and Grow-Keeping Innovation Alive”.



Housing and GWI in joint Mash entry – affordable housing, water conservation to be highlighted
The Guyana Water Incorporated, (GWI) is collaborating with its sister agency the Central Housing and Planning Authority under the helm of the Ministry of Housing and Water to create a Mash float entry which focuses on promoting the Ministry’s success with affordable housing as well as GWI’s core message of water conservation.   
The float which will compete in the medium band category as a “Queen Costume”, will depict the Ministry’s successful core home programme which seeks to offer low income workers the opportunity to own their own homes.  The entry will also advocate water conservation which is a key component of GWI’s Public Education Programme and its popular National School Education Programme, “H2O Kidz ‘N’ Action”.   
According to Minister of Housing and Water, Irfaan Ali, “we have had massive success with these two programmes.  Guyanese have responded well to our core homes and hundreds of families are now enjoying the luxury of their own home.  GWI has also achieved much success with its school education programme, so it was important that we highlight these milestones as part of our Mash Day celebrations.”
Costumes created by veteran Guyanese designer Derrick Moore will also depict messages urging Guyanese to conserve water; while the float entry created by popular designer Olympia Small Sonaram will depict a village consisting of core homes and will highlight the improved quality of life offered by the programme. (GWI).  



First ever National Art Competition attracts over 150 children 

Georgetown, GINA, February 21, 2012

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport has recognised the importance of art as it relates to Guyana’s traditional values; hence it incorporated a National Mashramani Child Art Competition and Exhibition in this year’s calendar of activities to celebrate the 42nd Republic anniversary.
The exhibition displayed the extravagant pieces at the Umana Yana and was declared open by First Lady, Mrs. Deolatchmee Ramotar.  

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport, Alfred King and First Lady, Deolatchmee Ramotar being entertained by the National Dance Company at the National Child Art Competition, Umana Yana.  

“We all express our feelings, our hopes and our aspirations in many ways. We do so in words, through songs, poems, in other forms of literature but also through art. This art exhibition allows us an insight into how our children view Mashramani. It is an opportunity to peer into their still young and impressionable minds,” she indicated.
Children participated in five different age ranges and three categories. The first place winner in the Drawing and Painting 4 – 6 years’ category received a prize of $20,000, while the 7-9 years category winner won $25,000 and the 10-12years’ group winner copped $30,000.
The winner of the Painting category in the 13-15 years group won $50,000 while the winner of Drawing in the same age group copped $40,000.

Three-year old Azrelita Williams reciting the poem entitled, “The Little Turtle”

The winner of the Craft category in the 13-15 years category copped $40,000 while for the same category but in the 16-17 years group, the winner received $60,000.
For Painting in the 16-17 years category, the winner got $60,000.


Age Group(yrs)



Drawing and Painting


1st Waterloo Nursery;
2nd S.M Field Ridley Nursery
3rd  Bath Nursery

Bibi Shamara Abdool
Lotonya Joseph

Aurita Feodora



1st John the Baptist Primary
 2nd Comenius Primary
3rd West Field Prep

Rence Amjad

Christopher Tobin
Kensha Williams



1st Richard Ishmael Sec
2nd Sans  Souci Primary
3rd Bishops High

Rebecca Hill
Nasika Azween
Jaideo Singh



1st West Demerara Sec
2nd Tutorial High
3rd  Bishops High

Shania Richards
Cherrie King
Candace Rogers



1st Stewartville Sec
2nd Bishops High
3rd Bishops High

Eric Beluingy
Carisa Kissoon
Shawn Prince



2nd Tutorial High

Danesh Bud
Cherrie King
Natesha Isaacs



1st Tutorial High
2nd Tutorial High
3rd  Richard Ishmael

Tammy Walkers
Telroy  Mc Calmont
Mark Hutson



1st Stewartville
2nd Bishop High
 3rd Bishops High

Kenisha Persaud
Chantel Jones
Afina Mohamed

According to Coordinator of Mashramani Child Art Competition, Philbert Gajadhar the competition was judged by originality, “then there was clarity that dealt with the display of imagination in the design to clearly illustrate...the presentation had the arrangement of elements and principles of art in sections so as to create themes”.

Some of the winners along with Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, Alfred King, First Lady,  Deolatchmee Ramotar and Coordinator of the  Mashramani Child Art Competition standing behind.

            Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, Alfred King said, “We see this festive season as truly a national one, one where we not only stop to ponder, to celebrate our rich cultural heritage, our achievements, our diversity but, more than that, it is a period during which we want to recognise our creative talents and in every true sense of our creative talent.”

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport , Alfred King, and First Lady, Deolatchmee Ramotar observing the art pieces.



Region Two anticipating biggest rice crop - Regional Chairman
-over one million bags of paddy targeted

Georgetown, GINA, February 20, 2012

Region Two, Pomeroon-Supenaam, one of the country’s biggest rice producing area, and home to more than 40,000 people has over the years been transformed in many sectors, more especially agriculture.
The modern diagnostic Suddie Hospital,  the stelling to accommodate the roll-on/roll-off ferry, a modern roadway from Supenaam to Charity, water treatment plants; drainage and irrigation structures, huge secondary schools equipped with computer laboratories and most importantly, the largest agriculture scheme, Aurora all stand as  testimonies to this transformation.
            But all of this, the newly appointed chairman Parmanand Persaud told the Government Information Agency (GINA) could not have been possible without the foresight of the administration and its wider vision for the region and the country.

The regional administration is working with the rice farmers to harvest the first rice crop for the year, which Persaud said will be the biggest crop in the region’s history as over one million bags of paddy are expected to be realised.
        However, Persaud said that because of the heavy rains experienced over the past several weeks, access dams to farm lands are in a deplorable condition.
        To ensure farmers can have proper access to their farmlands and to transport their produce, as well as to improve road access for thousands of residents, he said the regional administration has deployed all its machinery to improve dams so that the harvesting period will not be stymied.
        “We are expected to start harvesting this week, as of today we are going to harvest our rice and it will go through for another month or so throughout the region.”
        This, Persaud said this could not have been possible without the assistance of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority which give the region a pontoon to clean the two outfalls, at Lima and Devonshire Castle.
Drainage and Irrigation (D&I)
As result of the agricultural nature of the region, he said a lot of emphasis and resources are being invested by the regional administration to ensure the drainage system is effectiveness and efficient.
       “Region Two is basically a rice growing region and so emphasis must be placed on enhancing the D&I system, creating better drainage for our rice farming areas,” he said.
        Emphasis, he said, will be placed on the drainage canals, outfalls and sluices that are not working effectively including Westbury, Andrews and Three Friends.
         Over the past six years,  major emphasis was placed on D&I as it is a critical player in agricultural production.
         The Regional Democratic Council, this year, Persaud said will continue the modernisation of the county which will see more focus on further development of agriculture, health, education and the public works sectors.    










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