August 30, 2015

GuySuCo’s 2015 turn around

Dear Editor,
The Agriculture Minister, has announced that Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) will be turned around by the end of 2015. For the sake of GuySuCo and the sugar workers and for the sake of Guyana, I hope he’s right.
However, it is now an established norm that this Government says one thing but does another. Even as the Agriculture Minister spoke of the 2015 turnaround, GuySuCo and the APNU/AFC were lowering the target from 240,000 to 227,000 tonnes of sugar.
The truth is there’s a turnaround plan but it will take more time to achieve. We made progress last year and GuySuCo surpassed the target we had set for the industry. We set a more ambiguous target for 2015 and the first crop, and came close to achieving the target of 84,000 tonnes by producing 81,000 tonnes. It means that the second crop must achieve a production of about 159,000 tonnes to reach 240,000 tons or 146,000 tons for the reduced target of 227,000 tons.
It’s a doable target, but the Minister and the “new” team at GuySuCo has already been convinced that they cannot achieve the 240,000 tonnes initial target, thus reducing it. So much for the turnaround by the end of 2015.
Yet, there’s enough sugar cane in the fields to meet the target which is part of the turnaround plan. Now we need to squeeze 70 tonnes per acre and not the average of 50 tonnes.
Meeting the target of 240,000 tonnes doesn’t means a turnaround but is a sign that GuySuCo is on its way to recovery which canot be accomplished by the end of 2015.
The turnaround would occur if the APNU/AFC gives support to the management staff and workers, and commits to making the kind of investment that Donald Ramotar and the PPP spoke about during the elections campaign. GuySuCo needs about $20 billion now.
The 2015 budget made no provisions for such a total commitment. Instead, the 2015 budget is about starving GuySuCo although a turnaround cannot come without financial support. The sugar industry requires financial commitment from the Government now; giving a little at a time will not solve the problem, but make the problem more acute.
GuySuCo is being given subsidies in a way that hinders it from achieving a turnaround. For example, has GuySuCo procure enough fertilizers for the year or obtained fertilizers on a timely basis? Does GuySuCo have the finances to ensure acceleration of its program of mechanization without which it cannot effect a turnaround?
None of these issues were addressed by APNU/AFC during the recent budget discussion. The Agriculture Minister spoke as though sugar isn’t his responsibility. GuySuCo is too important and too big to fail and I believe that the Agriculture, Finance and Prime Ministers treat GuySuCo with much indifference. The budget debate is the most important forum to establish what the Government intended for GuySuCo. Yet, the nation is still left perplexed that it was ignored during most of the budget debate.
The turnaround will not come by appointing a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) as a witch hunting exercise. It will come through commitment to the turnaround plan that GuySuCo management has been working with.
The Minister failed to say how much the members of the CoI are being paid. From all evidence gathered, by the end of September, it will exceed $75 million. At no time during the budget presentation or debate did the Government present the costs which will be incurred by the CoI.
Neither the Finance, Prime nor Agriculture Ministers spoke about Skeldon in the budget debate. Yet, without Skeldon, GuySuCo’s turnaround is impossible. The PPP/C Government was right in its decision to construct a factory in Skeldon. Circumstances changed and some of the assumptions proved wrong.
Yet Skeldon still possess great potential. This is why commitment through investment in Skeldon is required but at no point did APNU/AFC give the assurance of making the financial commitment necessary.
The turnaround will not come by placing friends and political allies on the Board which seems intent to pursue a different agenda. Instead of focusing on the turnaround plan, the new Chairman is approaching the issue from a different perspective – privatization of GuySuCo. Such a move is not in Guyana’s interest and will prove detrimental to the workers of GuySuCo.
Hopefully GuySuCo will come close to achieving its initial target of 240,000 tonnes to further consolidate its recovery which started in 2014.

Dr Leslie Ramsammy

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Raksha Bandhan − The Bond of Love

Dear Editor,
Celebrated on the full moon day in the Hindu calendar month of Sharavan, Raksha Bandhan is one of the most widely celebrated festivals.
It is a day that symbolises the sacred relationship between a brother and a sister. Literally translated, “raksha” means protection, while “bandhan” means bond. Raksha Bandhan, therefore, signifies the bond of love out which comes a sense of security and protection.
On Raksha Bandhan, the sister ties a rakhi, comprising of sacred threads, on her brother’s wrist and performs an “aarti” . In return, the brother gives her a gift. The ritual is meant to signify their love and that both are looking out for each other.
Today, the festival goes much beyond real brothers and sisters to any two individuals who enjoy a deep relationship. So you are likely to see a woman tie a rakhi to her cousins, neighbours and close friends.
Raksha Bandhan also has a great history. Various stories have been passed down indicating the origin of Raksha Bandhan. One of them draws its origin from the Mahabharata epic.
Once, Lord Krishna hurt his hand while fighting Shishupala, a man who had committed several heinous acts. When this happened, Draupadi, the wife of the Pandava brothers, rushed to cover the wound by tearing a piece of her sari and tying it around Lord Krishna’s hand. In return for her kind gesture, the Lord asked what she would like. Draupadi replied by saying she only desired his divine presence at every moment of her life. From that moment on, Lord Krishna told Draupadi that he would be with her whenever she called out for him.
Much later, when the Kauravas tried to disrobe her in their court, helpless, she called out to Lord Krishna to save her. And in return, the Lord gave her a sari that was infinitely long. As a result, the Kauravas were unable to disrobe her and Draupadi was saved from being dishonoured.
While the festival typically celebrates the relationship between brother and sister, it has a much deeper spiritual significance. When we take one step on the spiritual path, the Lord takes 99 steps, as it were. This is the symbolism of Lord Krishna giving Draupadi an infinitely long sari in return for a protecting his wound with a small piece of cloth. At the absolute level, it is only when we give up egos that we are able to experience the joy of the Infinite.

Surendra Tiwari

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President Granger’s 10-point plan lacks credibility

Dear Editor,
In continuing to assess the credibility of president Granger’s 10 point plan for the hinterland, I wish to refer to the annual Presidential Grant, an Economic Programme initiated by former President Jagdeo for the first time in 2007. The Grant which formed a component of our Poverty Reduction Programme for Hinterland Communities provided financial and technical resources for Amerindian Villages and Communities to fund social and economic Projects of their choice. The APNU/AFC may wish to continue this Programme which has worked so well to improve the livelihood of our Amerindian people even if it means using a different name as they have been doing.
Furthermore, the Youth Entrepreneurship and Apprenticeship Programme launched in June 2013 by the Amerindian Affairs Ministry and targeting young Amerindians aged 18years to 40 years old was a recommendation of the National Toshaos Council and which aimed at creating employment, building capacity in Entrepreneurship through skills training and providing income for those employed. The Project aimed also at helping to build self, family and the Village Economy.
That the 1 972 Amerindians employed under this Project were unlawfully and without good cause or reason dismissed by the APNU/AFC Government speaks volumes about their love for Amerindian people and their development.
But the Government of the APNU/AFC can correct this wrong: not by training a few hundred Amerindian Youths. The young Amerindians want their jobs back. They depended on it, their families depended on these jobs and so too did their Villages. They should be reemployed these young Amerindian workers. Call it what you want: “Hinterland Employment and Youth Service”. There can be no further excuses.
The establishment of the National Toshaos Council under the PPP/C Government meant that no longer was accessibility a limiting factor in the PPP/C Government’s determined efforts to dialogue with Amerindian Leaders. This is contrary to what happened recently when the APNU/AFC not only hijacked the NTC Agenda but sought to interfere with the process for electing the Executive of the NTC. Most of the Toshaos with whom I spoke complained of an Agenda that lacked substance, relevance, depth and meaning. Many saw the five and a half days activities as a waste of time. Indeed information in the public purview speak of overt disrespect heaped on Toshaos by some who served as facilitators during the Meeting. Talk of value for money: compare $ 33.4 M for the 2014 NTC meeting and $60 M for the 2015 meeting in terms of the output of the two meetings.
The tremendous progress in realizing improvement in the lives of the people in the Amerindian Villages and Communities under the PPP/C Government must be attributed to the work of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs working along with sister Ministries, Regional Councils and Village Councils, utilizing resources made available by the PPP/C Government.
In the process of realizing these improvements, we have in addition to the developments adumbrated already; removed several of the obstacles to development, viz: the absence of infrastructure and social services. But there is much more to be done.
One of the biggest challenges for the PPP/C   was to strike a balance between socio-economic development and the protection of the rights of Indigenous communities to their ethnic identity. In this regard, we were able to examine various options and develop specific policies and programmes with the participation of our Amerindian People and their Village Councils; in order to meet specific needs and address particular concerns and so build the necessary conditions for development to take place in the Villages/Communities. The PPP/C commits to continued work with our Amerindian people, their elected leaders and all who would genuinely work with us to bring further improvements in the quality of the lives of our Amerindian people.
True enough there are still challenges to be surmounted, but the 23 years under the People’s Progressive Party have brought much improvement in the lives of our Indigenous peoples across our country. I challenge the APNU/AFC to ensure that the progress to which I refer continues. Our Indigenous peoples do not want mere platitudes, tokenism or appeasements. They had enough of that from 1964 to 1992. Let the progress and development of October 1992 to May 2015 continue.

Norman Whittaker

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Opulence at the cost of the people

Dear Editor,
The trend in the first 100 days reveals a party obsessed with vulgar opulence, beginning with the extravagant inauguration of the President.
We were all told that the inauguration at the National Stadium was a private affair supported by the rank and file and by supportive businesses around the country. Every senior member of the Cabinet, led by Honourable Joseph Harmon, promoted the event as being privately supported while vehemently denying that Government resources were used.
Now we learn that in fact, the 2015 budget catered for the cost of the grand though the APNU/AFC announces that it couldn’t grant the 20% pay increase promised.
It was Nicolette Henry who let the cat out of the bag in Parliament stating that over $7M were used for the inauguration and for T-20 cricket at the National Stadium. Now Ms. Henry backed by Minister Trotman she denies she ever said so.
Mysteriously, the signal was lost for precisely those moments during the live online stream of the debate. Ms. Henry spoke out of turn and embarrassed her colleagues by revealing the truth instead of towing the line. Will she be rebuked? Will Ms. Henry be treated like the Chronicle reporter and the Acting Chief Editor who did not follow the script?
The vehicle inherited by the Government Ministers seem not to be to their standards to the extent that the new Prime Minister will now travel in a vehicle that costs more than $22M, to see his constituents who cannot afford that with their earnings of a lifetime. The new Attorney General will be getting a new $16M vehicle. Note these costs are duty free charges.
Roads are being fixed where ministers live. Home are rehabilitated because they are not good enough for them to live in. Offices are being redesigned, new furniture, new computers and phones are being obtained. Support staff to accompany ministers and help ministers are being employed at salaries way above the regular public servants and all these new positions are “jobs for the boys”.
Ministers are travelling regularly out of the country; they miss no opportunity to travel. Unlike the PPP/C Ministers, they travel with support staff. The President mysteriously leaves the country regularly for business that is unknown to the public and even to Parliament.
When we add all this up to the cost of maintaining the largest Cabinet in the whole of CARICOM, we see a government that is more concern with opulence than with quality and sound governance. What requires Guyana with a smaller population than Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti, to have a larger Cabinet than Suriname, Belize, the Bahamas and Barbados?
The present government also has the largest roll of advisors for any government in CARICOM. Yet this government ended the employment of almost 2,000 Amerindian CSOs.
APNU+AFC is paying millions to its friends such as Christopher Ram, to do audits. He earns through these contracted services, over $40M. These contracts were given without consultations, without advertising and tender and are wholly non-transparent.
The APNU/AFC spent years accusing the PPP/C Government of living a “Cadillac lifestyle in a donkey cart economy”. Yet, in the first 100 days of their mandate, they have recklessly surpassed the lifestyle of the previous government.
Cutting socioeconomic benefits to the people is not acceptable when such extravagances are encouraged by the President himself. These expenses will negatively impact the almost recessing economy, and the huge reserve of almost $US1B, which is now being squandered on bad policies and trivial, pompous indulgences.
Guyanese should pay close attention to the actions of the Government, lest history repeats itself and we fall back into a dictatorship rule.

Leslie Ramsammy

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Poll: Granger & Jagdeo lead in Likeability rating

Dear Editor,table
President Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo lead fellow politicians in likeability rating as voters are divided by race and political affiliation in their likeability of a list of political leaders, according to the findings of an opinion poll conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association.
The survey interviewed 430 voters (41% Indians, 31% Africans, 18% Mixed, 9% Amerindians, and 1% other ethnic groups) via face to face contacts to reflect the demographic composition of the population.
The likeability rating (positive or negative view) is not the same as an evaluation of the performance of the individual at his job. Rather, it is an expression of how well a person is liked or disliked by the population. The likeability rating gives an indication whether a person will be acceptable by the population and have confidence in his or her ability to succeed at his or her political endeavor.
Based on the findings of the survey, President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo lead in likeability for the government and opposition while Khemraj Ramjattan has the lowest positive rating because of the rise in crime under his Ministry edging out former Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee of the Opposition.
There are mixed likeability ratings of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Raphael Trotman, and Carl Greenidge. A large majority of the nation does not hold a positive view of Minister of the Presidency Joe Harmon because of his firing of State employees and cancellation of contracts, among other reasons, with voters linking him to a host of national problems; virtually no PPP supporter and only half of AFC supporters has a favorable rating of him.
The PPP supporters overwhelmingly support Bharrat Jagdeo as Opposition Leader with many APNU/AFC supporters (20%) also approve of him for that role. They feel he is the best leader for that role now. However, PPP supporters feel the party should prepare for leadership succession to make it attractive to voters in the next election.

Vishnu Bisram

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Misconceptions on Guyana’s underdevelopment

Although I am in French Guiana, I am more bothered by the realities back home.
As one drives to French Guiana, one cannot help but be fascinated with the buildings and road infrastructures on that journey, except for those on the Guyana leg.
One is also amazed by the electrical, internet and transportation services, except on the Guyana stretch. I have made this trip several times and it always amazes and fascinates me. So as I sat in total frustration derived from comparing the two extremes, I decided to engage a Guyanese living here.
I questioned my friend as to why these smaller, less resourceful, less scenic, countries could be so advanced and miles ahead of us in just about every measurable way. His reply first startled me then it angered me.
He said that Guyana cannot develop and should not expect to develop due to an escalating homosexual culture and because, according to the Bible, the world will get progressively worse.
It was not the first time that I had heard this nonsensical and illogical argument, but having just observed the irking disparity of our country’s development as compared to that of Suriname and French Guiana, it pushed me over the edge.
With as much self-restraint and Christ-like decorum as I could muster I tried to engage my friend.
I first asked him to tell me which of the three countries has more homosexuals. My intention was to challenge his farfetched and baseless notion that homosexuality restricts the development of a country.
To further highlight the frailty of his conclusion, I even extended my summation to include Europe and North America, asking him again, to say which was more developed and which has more homosexuals. For good measure, I asked if he ever travelled to our sister Caribbean Island, Barbados.
Then I asked for his take on the developmental progress of the two nations, vis-a-vis his “homosexual” argument.
By this time I perceived that he was sensing both my frustration and my disdain for his stance. But I could not end my rant before I dealt with his additional empty suggestion that Guyanese living in the “last days” necessitates our continued need to exist in poverty.
At this point my theological training kicked in as I sought to have him explain to me when the biblical “last days” began. Of course, he was either reluctant to answer my question or otherwise ignorant of the answer.
I assured him that the “last days” began well before all the now developed countries became developed. And that if his argument was to carry any substance, it would mean that no country should be developed because we are all now living in the “last days”.
Editor, what I havefound is that the average Guyanese citizen has been so abused and mentally scarred over the last decades that we are prepared to hide our heads in the sand and accept any notion – theological, political; or otherwise – to justify our brokenness, even illogical notions.
It is obvious to any Guyanese, especially those who have traveled, that our lack of human, technological and infrastructural development is due primarily either to political and governmental miscalculations, or gross administrative ineptness.
To blame Guyana’s social and financial retardation on some moral or eschatological premise would amount to failing to remember the past and hence being destine to repeat it.
I hope and pray that this Granger-led administration keep front and center in their minds that Guyanese have suffered long enough. As I compare and contrast the fiscal disparities between us and our neighbouring counterparts, I long for the day that we could boost some semblance of their realities.
Unlike my dear friend, I do not believe that the gods have cursed us. Rather, I believe that God helps those who help themselves. I am therefore striving to do my best for my country, even as I hold President Granger to his word of alleviating Guyana of poverty in the near future. And I hope to realize this reality, even in these “last days”, with or without the prevalence of our homosexual comrades.

Pastor W. P. JeffreyPractical Christianity MinistriesFounder/President

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Minibus experience nearly ended my life in Guyana

Dear Editor,
The recent very interesting letter by Stacy Cheong, headed “Need for better road conduct” reminded me of an incident on the very first morning of my recent visit to Guyana. I found some descriptions rather appropriate to what I experienced in a very personal way, for example “road bullies, ready to graze the vehicles of others” and “hardly any respect from drivers”.
On my 2-week visit, I was accommodated at a guest house close to Main Street, and decided to take a mid-morning stroll around the Stabroek Market area, to buy some urgently needed items – bottled water and face tissues. It was almost the beginning and end of my holiday.
I made some purchases at a shop near the market, and enquired from customers what minibus would take me along Main Street. One was passing along just then, the shoppers hailed it and the conductor invited me to board.
I attempted to do so, not realising the step-up was so high. The bus moved off and I was sent sprawling, my body half-in-half-out the bus, both driver and conductor unaware of my plight, until the women shoppers screamed that an “elderly woman” had fallen and her legs were sticking out. The minibuses behind on the same route were, in the meantime, trying to get past, honking their horns, shouting rude comments, seemingly unconcerned whether I was left without body parts. The bus continued to move, unaware of the fact that the women were screaming to let the conductor know that I had not boarded. Both he and the driver then looked back and realised what all the fuss was about! The women then instructed the conductor how to help me into the bus. Sighs of relief all round. Needless to say, for this ‘performance’, I still had to pay the full fare.
It taught me a valuable lesson, however – never again to try to board a minibus on the move. From then on, I joined them at the park. Otherwise, I used a taxi. “Money talks and they’re all listening”.

Geralda Dennison

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Muzzling of Free Press and Withholding of Information

Dear Editor,
I do not think that anyone can sensibly take issue with the contention that a free press, specifically, and the free flow of information, regarding the business of Government and public expenditure, are indispensable prerequisites of democracy and economic prosperity. A quick scan of the world economies would establish beyond doubt that wherever these prerequisites exist, there is economic and social progress. The reverse is equally true. We experienced it in Guyana during the PNC dictatorship when economic and social progress ground to a halt in the absence of a free press and when information regarding Government business was almost non-existent.
Over the last few days of the consideration of the National Estimates, some worrying propensities emerged from this APNU/AFC Government. The fact that the Government is only four months old aggravates the situation. Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, who holds ministerial responsibility for the State media, reportedly sanctioned a reporter from the Chronicle Newspaper because of an article written, which though adverse to the Government, was objective and factual. This was followed by another unbelievable and shocking public revelation that the Prime Minister will now have to approve the headlines of the Chronicle Newspaper. That a Prime Minister and First Vice President’s, the second most powerful executive officer in the land, only responsibility is a newspaper, a television outfit and a government information agency, is by itself highly fascinating. He exacerbates it with further self-miniaturization by now performing the functions of monitoring the headlines of the Chronicle newspapers. My contention is that such political censure constitutes an assault on freedom of the press and on democracy. This attempt by the State to muzzle and control the information which is disseminated to the public and their interference with press freedom must be condemned.
The fact that the Government Information Agency is now headed by Beverly Alert, an APNU/AFC activist and candidate for that coalition at the 2015 elections and that there has been a complete changing of guards at the editorial levels, both at GINA and the Chronicle, where persons have been simply handpicked and placed in high positions, frog-leaping long standing editorial staff, are all indications that political tentacles have deeply penetrated the state media. This is the very state media, which the Prime Minister has repeatedly assured, will be free from all or any political influence and direction. Indeed while in the Opposition, they cut budgetary allocations to these agencies because they claimed that they were contaminated by political influence. At the time, GINA was headed by a career journalist, Neaz Subhan. He was not and never was a candidate for the PPP. Indeed and ironically, he was once a Member of Parliament for the PNC.
The approach of this coalition Government to press freedom can be gleaned from an incident which occurred just a few hours before the conclusion of the examination of the Estimates by the Committee of Supply last Thursday morning. Minister within the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Nicolette Henry, in answer to a question seeking information about a particular budgetary allocation of thirty-six million dollars, disclosed that this sum was used, inter alia, to fund the inauguration of the new Government at the National Stadium. A media outfit carried a story on this matter shortly thereafter. The story came to the attention of the Minister while the business of the Committee of Supply was still ongoing. The Minister denied that she made this disclosure and she demanded that the story be recalled by the news agency. There was also a demand that the news agency be banned from the Parliament.
The story embarrassed the Government and exposed their false public proclamations that the inauguration event was funded by friends, supporters and well-wishers and not tax payers’ dollars. Significantly, their reaction was instinctive and natural and it is here that one gets to see the true nature, characteristics and authoritarianism of this Government. As it turned out, the video and audio recordings revealed that the news report was accurate and the Minister was attempting to deny what she had earlier said and therefore was attempting to lie to the House in order to withhold information from the public. If we do not firmly resist these early manifestations, this nation is heading for a dictatorship that may be worse than the Burnham years.
I am fortified in this view by the attitude of the Ministers to the answering of questions posed by the Opposition in the Committee of Supply requesting information about budgetary allocations. There was a marked aura of arrogance and reluctance and a discernable effort by most of the Ministers to withhold or conceal information. Many Ministers promised to supply information before the conclusion of consideration of the Estimates but never did so. Some of this information they had in their possession and could have given it immediately but they flippantly refused to do so. The supply of this information is neither gratuitous nor discretionary; it is a mandatory obligation on the part of the Ministers and an entitlement of the citizenry. Fortunately, there is a competent Opposition and a vibrant press. The scrutiny will become more rigorous and the exposé more revealing as the Government exits its honeymoon period.

Mohabir Anil Nandlall,

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Monitoring the President’s “new 10-point strategic plan for Hinterland Development”

Dear Editor,

President David Granger’s “new 10-point strategic plan for Hinterland Development” speaks, inter alia, of ‘a Hinterland and Indigenous Peoples Lands Commission and Hinterland Language Cultural and Sport Service”; as if the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) had neglected these very important areas of hinterland development. May I remind His Excellency who revels in research and rewriting history that while our Indigenous peoples were marginalised under the People’s National Congress, the PPP ensured that they took their rightful place in our country’s history, that is, as Guyana’s first people.

Specifically, Dr Cheddi Jagan, the then Prime Minister of Guyana ensured that Amerindian culture, art and craft, cuisine, music, dances and other aspects of their traditional lifestyle were kept alive when he officially designated September as Amerindian Heritage Month in memory of Stephen Campbell, the first Amerindian to enter the Parliament of then British Guiana. This is quite apart from the several other support measures of the PPP/Civic Government to ensure that our first people were able to access social services viz: education and primary health care, extended and improved infrastructure, support for the village economy.

Amerindian Heritage Month celebrations also provided opportunities for Amerindians and was another way of bringing Amerindian people and their communities into the mainstream of national development. There was no need to wait until August 2015 to hear of a plan to advance development of our Amerindian people, their language and heritage. It must be noted that the rotation of the designated Heritage Village from year to year provided opportunity for Guyanese , including our Indigenous people themselves, to experience and to learn more of the culture and way of life of our Amerindian people. It allowed them to market their villages, its people and what they had to offer in terms of goods and services. In short, Amerindian Heritage Month was also a medium for promoting hinterland tourism.

I previously drew attention to the Constitution of Guyana through Articles 35, 149 G and 212 S which focus respectively on the very issues which the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) are now seeking to highlight in this 10-point plan . These include our ‘indigenous people’s right to the protection, preservation and promulgation of their language, cultural heritage and way of life’. There was already established under the PPP/C Government an Indigenous Peoples Commission which was already involved in work aimed at addressing the needs of and enhancing the status of our Indigenous people.

Our Amerindian people’s ownership of their lands including the forests resources thereon and their right to plan and manage the use of these resources, and to negotiate in mining, are enshrined in the 2006 Amerindian Act drafted through the consultation and input of Amerindians and Hinterland residents. This is a reflection and a representation of the nature and extent of the progress the PPP/C made as a Government and with the involvement of our indigenous leaders and their people.

Integral to the acceleration of the development process in the villages and communities has been the PPP/C’s greater focus on economic activities that create employment and generate income for the people who must live and work in the hinterland communities.

The National Hinterland Secure Livelihood Programme initiated through the Amerindian Affairs Ministry of also sought to address some of the challenges of economic development in the hinterland. These challenges included the inefficiency of some traditional farming methods and practices, limited knowledge of managing nontraditional crops, inadequate diversification, absence of food processing technology to cater for “periods of shocks” and the need for our farmers to develop an appreciation for enterprise.

These diversified activities lead to the creating of more opportunities for income generation among our Amerindian people, increasing accessibility to goods and services while improving the standards in the communities.

There is concern that the APNU/AFC by their political and ethnic discriminatory actions directed at our Amerindian people because of their massive support for the PPP/C at the recent 2015 General and Regional Elections have determined to remove these gains and take such punitive measures against our Indigenous people such as terminating their employment.

However, the PPP/C stands by its commitment to the hinterland population and our first peoples, in ensuring that the APNU/AFC’s actions are closely monitored, examined and upbraided where necessary.


Norman Whittaker

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Call to Priya Manickchand to represent the people of Mahaicony creek

Dear Editor,

We were very happy, when we had a visit by the Public Health Minister and the Regional Health Officer of Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) some time back during the floods, in Mahaicony Creek, East Coast Demerara.

We had discussed many issues affecting communities in the Mahaicony Creek, including the shortage of doctors at the heath centre and the price for paddy.

We the residents of Mahaicony Creek are suffering from non-access to health care, because there is no doctor or Medex at the health centre to provide service to the people. We are paying high costs for transportation to access health care at the Mahaicony Hospital.

The Public Health Minister and the Regional Health Officer during discussion with us, promised that next week a doctor will dispatched to the health centre to provide service to the residents in the Mahaicony Creek.

We have been trying since then to make contact with the Minister, but our efforts were futile. His office keeps insisting: “you have to make an appointment.’’ Residents of Mahaicony Creek are still waiting on the service of a doctor, promised by the Public Health Minister.

We want to urge the new Government not to make promises you cannot fulfil. We are now calling on our Region Five Member of Parliament Priya Devi Manickchand to make some additional representation for her people in Mahaicony Creek.


Concerned residents of Mahaicony Creek

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