Saturday, October 30, 2010

Queen's College teachers to be disciplined for inaction in Neesha Gopaul case.

The head teacher, the deputy and three other members of Queen’s College staff have been recommended for disciplinary action for their poor involvement in protecting Neesa Gopaul. This announcement came yesterday from Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon.
According to Dr. Luncheon the investigation which was carried out by the Ministry of Education found that at least five staff members including the Head Teacher and the Deputy were culpable of not doing their best to render assistance to the teen.
Dr. Luncheon said that the disciplinary action will include denial of seniority and demotion. He said that reports are now available from the teams assembled to examine the roles of Government functionaries in the Ministries of Human Services and Social Security and Education.
“From those teams recommendations have been made regarding the staff and those deemed culpable and recommendations are now available from the Human Services Ministry and have been publicised,” the HPS said.
Recommendations in similar impact and gravity have been made in the Queen’s College report that deals with certain staff members (about four to five, including the headmistress), being recommended to be disciplined in the form of demotions and denial of seniority.
Dr. Luncheon said that “the actual compilation of all that went wrong with the inputs from Government agencies into Gopaul’s case would be done, and assuredly would form part of the learning experience for those who enter into the delivery of social services on Government’s behalf.”

Thursday, October 28, 2010


PNC picketers yesterday

In yet another sign of the PNC's irrelevance the party could barely muster a group which consisted 7 senior citizens as they staged a protest in front of the Ministry of Human Services to register concerns over what they said was the failure of the ministry to deal with the welfare of the nation’s children.

The group of senior citizens chanted for a few minutes and subsequently left.

Senior officers at Child Care and Protection Agency dismissed over mishandling of Neesa Gopaul case.

Minister Manickchand delivering the reportThe Deputy Director of Operations of the Child Care and Protection Agency and another officer were dismissed because of their negligence in handling the case of 16-year old Neesa Gopaul who was killed and her body dumped near an eco-tourist resort. The probation period of another officer has been extended.

Human Services Minister, Priya Manickchand made public the findings of an internal probe that revealed, among other things, that the Deputy Director of Operations had "by her own admission failed to do obligatory and necessary daily management of the operations of the agency, resulting in no or no proper supervision and/or follow up of cases that had come to the attention of the agency.
Manickchand said that in a six-month period, the Deputy Director of Operations had been written to in excess of three times about her failure to perform in the capacity in which she was hired and for her continuous absences but the personnel division did not take any action although it was advised to do so.

Hammie wrong and strong!

-man thrown out of City Hall for inquiring about money owed to him

Man being thrown out of City Hall compound by City Constables

The sale of a truck to the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown (M&CC) was reportedly the basis of a physical altercation between an officer of the City Constabulary and the vendor yesterday.
The incident which occurred some time after 13:00 hours, was characterised by a boxing match which was sparked after an officer under the instructions of Mayor Hamilton Green tried to forcibly remove the private citizen out from the municipal compound.
Several media practitioners yesterday witnessed the attempt to have the man removed and the subsequent physical altercation which was appeased following the intervention of other officers. The man was promptly arrested but was expected to be released soon after.

The man had sold a truck to the municipality but has not been in receipt of full payment. It was revealed that the vehicle is valued at several millions of dollars.
Reports are that the man has sought audience with various municipal officials on a number of occasions, including the Mayor but has still been denied payment.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

WPA talking bout all kinda thing EXCEPT DEM WEAPONS!

Amerindians to benefit significantly from first tranche of Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF)

- some toshaos persuaded by the AFC to say no to LCDS money

The government’s US$8 million pledge to Amerindian communities, from the first tranche from the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) set up with Norway, will be used to accelerate land demarcation and finance a solar power drive, President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday announced.

He made the revelation at the opening of the five-day National Toshaos Council (NTC) Meeting at the Guyana International Conference Centre, Liliendaal. Some US$4 million will be used to accelerate the Amerindian land demarcation exercise, while it is estimated that about US$1.5 million will be used to purchase solar panels for every Amerindian home. The rest is to be used to fund activities arising from the council meeting, Jagdeo said.

He noted that none of the Amerindian communities had been asked to pledge any of their forests to the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) but if they so choose then it would be additional funds for them. Jagdeo pointed out role of the international agencies in the funding facility and said he hoped that their representatives would be present this week at the meeting to ensure the disbursement goes ahead quickly. “They slow things up tremendously; we’ve been negotiating a year now with the World Bank [and] it’s only a couple of weeks we got the money transferred although it should have been transferred since January to our account because we fulfilled the conditions,” he declared.

Jagdeo urged the Toshaos to tell the officials not to stymie the initial US$30 million GRIF disbursement because “it’s our money, we earned it.”

He said the US$8 million was dedicated to the announced areas since that was what had been identified in consultations with the communities. He also expanded on plans for computers for the Amerindian communities saying the government was setting aside a large sum of money to be spent over the next two years in tandem with the One Laptop Per Family initiative which will concentrate on the coast. “This is not necessarily going to be funded from the Low Carbon Development Strategy, but some of it may come from the treasury itself, to ensure that in each Amerindian village … we have internet access and a bank of computers, maybe about 20 computers in each of these villages depending on their size,” the President said.

He also urged the toshaos to send a clear signal to the international community which sometimes uses the wrong people as middlemen. According to Jagdeo, some NGOs could only receive funding by being “contrarian” and he went on to state that one had undermined a US$5 million project which would have benefited Amerindians. “Let me tell you something, they’re not going to undermine this one, I’m not going to let anybody undermine this one that will bring benefit to our people,” he declared.

He added that some toshaos had already been persuaded to say that they did not want any money from the LCDS, something they subsequently denied when confronted and which their villages were not in favour with.


The 2010 Transparency International report released today listed Guyana at 2.7 out of 10 and the higher the score the less a country is perceived as corrupt. Last year Guyana registered 2.6 so this is an improvement. However, before the Stabroek News and Kaieteur News selectively single out the negative aspects for front page coverage tomorrow we wish to chip in our few cents.
There are approximately 24 lobbyists to every congressman in the USA. These most corrupt among the world's most corrupt of political players have sold everything that was not nailed down to the floor including nuclear secrets to the so called enemy.They sold out the American and European people, their jobs, homes, industry,children, future etc.
The Wall Street kleptomaniacs looted every penny available around the globe and brought entire nations down on their knees. TI makes no mention of any of this criminal activity but again focuses on corruption in small poor countries that pales in comparison.

In this respect we wish to urge that they take their corruption index report and shove it where the sun don't shine.

Undemocratic AFC in further turmoil.

-Trotman intends to run a second time

Michael Carrington

As signs of turmoil within the much touted about 'third force' continue to show, AFC executive Michael Carrington says he will press ahead with his challenge to Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan for the presidential candidacy at the party’s national conference this weekend, despite vigorous efforts to dissuade him.

Carrington issued a statement last night announcing his intention to run as a grassroots candidate and according to him, party leader Raphael Trotman told him to keep his challenge silent.

Carrington however, believes that withholding the information from the public and the general membership of the AFC would be disadvantageous to his bid, and also hurt his chances at success. He said too that it would help to close the door to freedom of information and transparency in the party.

Carrington alleged that the Ramjattan’s team had tried “with much vigour” to eliminate him from the race on the ground that he is unqualified, noting that this did not dissuade him from going to the general membership for their approval. He received approval from the National Executive Committee (NAC) on September 25.

Carrington also alleged that Trotman has intentions of running for the post a second time, but that he is being constrained by media, PPP propaganda and the rotation principle. “I had asked Mr. Trotman a straightforward question about whether he would like to run for the Presidency for a second consecutive occasion and he answered in the affirmative" Carrington said.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Even in the great U.S of A, freedom of speech is not so free after all.

-especially where it relates to personal opinions aired via networks

Terrence Greaves: In a piece appearing in the Kaieteur news, of 21.10.10, it is reported that Guyana has slipped 20 points down the ratings of press freedom, citing the given reasons for such a demotion as one relating to radio monopoly and strained relations between the President and the media. While I am not au fait with the criteria applied by the France-based, Reporters Without Borders, the authors of the report, it is rather surprising that the great United States of America, that bastion of democracy, where freedom of expression is sacred, is in the first twenty nations of this report. Their position ought to be paramount, given the vibrancy of, and the right to, a free press as is often there, extolled. Having said this, the writer wishes to refer to three incidents surrounding the sacking of three prominent CNN commentators, who were accused of making comments that were not in keeping with their organisation’s policy.
One of the commentators was accused of offering his opinions, instead of his official slot as an analyst in which he had been expected to put issues in their correct perspective. The other two prominent faces were terminated for controversial statements on topical issues in that North American country.
There is this held belief among the general citizenry of Guyana, and especially among some opposition figures, that freedom of expression is an absolute. Definitely, as so many judicial decisions/opinions would have shown, it is not! This most sacred tenet of democracy must be executed in a very responsible manner without prejudice and offence. Apart from the fact that there are policy guides that govern the conduct of electronic personalities. So even in the great America, freedom of speech, as so often referred to, by some prominent media personalities locally, is not so free after all, especially where it relates to personal opinions aired via networks.

C.N.Sharma hiding out in Canada.

-Doctor at Balwant Singh hospital facilitated his flight from justice

C.N Sharma during one of his many acting stints after appearing in court.

Leader of the Justice for All Party, C.N Sharma is reportedly hiding out in Canada in an attempt to stall criminal proceedings against him. Sharma is currently before the court for having sex with an underage girl against her will and has desperately tried his best to subvert the course of justice. The first time Sharma was taken to court he pretended as though he was ill and had to be taken to the hospital with what was perceived to be a heart condition. While in hospital he rejected the medication by spitting it out in the lavatory. Attempts were also made to bribe the family of the female involved through an offer of $10M which was facilitated by Mark Benschop. Later on it was revealed that Sharma tried to get doctors at the Caribbean Heart Institute to falsely issue a letter stating that he was gravely ill and needed urgent overseas treatment. However, doctors at the CHI who were approached by a Secretary in Sharma's employ indicated that they needed to see him before any such letter was issued. At the time he remained in the vehicle in the compound, a few steps from the institute.

He then paid a huge sum to a doctor at Dr Balwant Singh’s hospital and from there he travelled to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport on his way to Trinidad having been cleared to travel by the courts.
He was to check in to St Clair Hospital (1-868-628-1451) where he would have been under the supervision of Dr Hughley Hanoman, a Guyanese now resident in Trinidad.
Word out of Trinidad is that Mr. Sharma never checked into the hospital, choosing instead to do so at a hotel. There are reports that he is now in Canada. There have been two other court hearings and he has been absent from both because of his ailment.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The opposition have adopted a strategy where the credibility of the 2011 elections will be questioned and used as their battle cry.

Opposition protesters set fire to a Regent business

PNC protesters

It is clear that the opposition and their agents have come to the realization that the ruling PPP/C will be returned to office by yet another landslide victory come 2011 elections, so as a precursor to this eventuality they have adopted a strategy where the credibility of the 2011 elections will be questioned and Government interference in the operations of GECOM is the new rallying cry.

For starters, phase one of this campaign has already begun with talk of an urgent need for collective protest action by the opposition and so called 'civil society' organizations coming from the W.P.A in light of a directive by the HPS to GECOM which was deliberately misrepresented. The W.P.A by the admission of one of its leaders, is in possession of weapons and knows fully well that similar actions by the opposition in the past resulted in violence against Indo-Guyanese citizens and severe damage to businesses, particularly around election time. So it is not unreasonable to assume that this call is a call to battle by the opposition.

Last on the mind of these power thirsty scoundrels is the fact that it is this PPP/C government which saw the importance of having a truly independent GECOM and not one that merely facilitated the rigging of the elections and was subjected to the dictates of the executive as was the case when the PNC was in power.

The W.P.A awakes! But still no word on those weapons Rupert Roopnaraine spoke about.

Rupert Roopnaraine

The W.P.A has awoken out of its slumber!
Strange, is the fact that a party that was completely silent when Rupert Roopnaraine admitted that they(WPA) were accumulating weapons prior to Walter Rodney's assassination has now joined the choir of distortionists who have willfully omitted from their blabbering that the HPS's directive to GECOM was related to PROCUREMENT advertisements.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Surujbally & his Commissioners should explain GECOM's inability to deliver on its mandate despite Billons of $$ in expenditure.

Instead of barbing about the misconstrued directive, GECOM's Chairman and Commissioners should bow their heads in shame over the entity's inability to host local government elections this year.

At one time Guyana was spending more money on a per captia basis than any other country in the world to organise elections. We find it inconceivable that they could not make proper arrangements to prepare for elections this year with all the staff and money that was expended…something has to be wrong.

When GECOM's continued failure is examined against the fact that in some countries in the region agencies tasked with the running of elections only have to be given a one month notice and they are prepared and ready for elections, it makes one wonder about value for money and the competence of those tasked with administering the agency such as Surujbally and the commissioners.

Kaieteur News PNC Mouth-piece sued by the PNC Vice-Chairman for $100M

An interim injunction was granted yesterday ordering Kaieteur News to desist from publishing certain statements which attorney Basil Williams is contending are libellous and damaging to him.

Williams, in an ex-parte application to the High Court, is asking that he be granted in excess of $100 million in damages for libel contained in the August 29, 2010 edition of Kaieteur News. The newspaper, published by the National Media and Publishing Company Limited, reportedly published the libellous statements in an article captioned ‘Locked up for five years’.

The article was published following Justice Roxane George’s freeing of Nigel Forrester, who had been accused of the November 2005 murder of businessman Mahadeo Budhai.

Justice Brassington Reynolds, Williams told members of the media yesterday, granted an order barring Kaieteur News from continuing the publication of the statements and “restraining the defendants by themselves their servants and/or agents otherwise whomsoever or howsoever from publishing any other statements defamatory of and concerning” the plaintiff.

The ex-parte application was filed on behalf of Williams by attorney-at-law Chandrawattie Persaud. The matter, Williams said, has been adjourned to November 30.

A writ was filed jointly against Kaieteur News, its Editor-in-Chief Adam Harris and reporter Latoya Giles yesterday. It commanded that they cause appearance to be entered on their behalf within 10 days of being served a copy of the document. It warned that in default of this, Williams may proceed and judgment may be granted in his favour in their absence.

Basil Williams/Winston Felix tape recording left many unanswered questions.

Former C.O.P and PNC supporter Winston Felix

Now that P.N.C/R M.P has made his intention to be the party's presidential candidate in 2011 public there are a few questions that must be answered about the alleged tape recorded which surfaced in 2005 between himself and then C.O.P Winston Felix.

Transcript of conversation between then Police Commissioner, Winston Felix and PNCR Vice Chairman and Member of Parliament, Basil Williams

1. Who was referred to as "number one"? Is it PNC Leader, Robert Corbin?

2. Why was the Commissioner divulging information (e.g., that the Home Affairs Minister called him) so readily to Williams?

3. What "threat" was Basil Williams taking about when he said "of threats and stuff like duh?" Street violence? Gunplay? Criminal attacks? And when? During elections to prevent people from going to vote? Or were they really relating to a security detail regarding World Cup Cricket?

4. Who is his "group"? The PNC? A cell? One of Many? What "matter" was Williams asking about?

5. How many "matters" were there, since the Commissioner asked "which one" Williams queried about?

6. What did the Commissioner mean by him and "number one" having to "refine our position about it"? What was the position? Was it a plan to be executed by the PNC while Felix/ the police play absent from or blind to?

7. Why did the Commissioner lie to the public about who committed the Agricola massacre?

GECOM was told what ads should go to the e-procurement website and which ones should be excluded.

-advertisement directive misconstrued by “wicked people”

Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon says that his advertisement directive to the Guyana Elections Commis-sion (GECOM) has been misconstrued by “wicked people” but has promised to respond promptly to any formally documented concerns sent to him by the body.

“I will be happy to review whatever GECOM sends and I undertake to do it in a much more timely fashion than they have done with my correspondence,” Luncheon said yesterday during his post-cabinet press briefing at the Office of the President. He was at the time responding to a question regarding concerns raised by GECOM officials that a recent directive on advertising will affect the civic and voter education plans for next year’s election. OP has directed GECOM to submit its advertisements and notices for publication through the new government procurement website. GECOM, during a statutory meeting on Tuesday, decided to seek clarification from OP after some Commis-sioners admitted concerns about the implications of the directive as well as the financial control that government wields.

Luncheon, however, was dismissive of the recent developments and said that it was being caused by some “ill-informed, wicked people out there”. “I don’t believe that those who criticize are the only fountain of knowledge, he said. “I’ve been here 19 years I must know what can adequately be done in the name of voter education. I don’t need a lesson from [Steve] Surujbally or Kaieteur News. I know what could conceivably be unreasonable and I would be a madman, and the government would not encourage mad people to occupy my position and give instructions that are … counterproductive,” he said.

According to Luncheon, he wrote GECOM identifying “the content of public business of the commission that should be provided to the e-procurement website” adding that “he went further to identify what should be excluded.” Luncheon said that there was no way his instructions could be misconstrued.

“I don’t know where these guys are finding the time and encouraged by this media to engage in this spurious [and] useless activities; manufacturing sensational ideas. This is a non-issue,” he said.

Luncheon stated that the correspondence had been sent to GECOM weeks ago and he felt that the matter had been “consummated quite some time now”. He said that OP was in essence ensuring that there was coherence in that procurement had migrated to the e-procurement website.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ramjattan ready for leadership battle.

-as Trotman supporters issue pro-Trotman fliers to AFC membership

Ramjattan V/S Trotman for the AFC leadership

Several posters by persons claiming to be supporters of AFC Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan appeared around the city recently. In these posters AFC members are being urged to be vigilant as "moves are afoot to deny Khemraj Ramjattan the party's Presidential candidacy". Insiders close to Ramjattan have revealed that the party chairman is prepared to wage an intense battle should Trotman not back down. They also expressed concerns after party members began receiving fliers urging them support Trotman as Presidential candidate.
Trotman and Ramjattan are in a leadership battle following the failure by the party’s top brass earlier several months ago to honour a rotation agreement that would have seen Ramjattan take over as AFC leader.
Party insiders had said back then that Trotman’s faction was insisting that Ramjattan is unsuitable to lead the AFC while the Ramjattan group accused the party’s prime movers of alienation tactics.
Businessman Mr. Peter Ramsaroop also resigned as AFC Chief Executive Officer and withdrew his membership of the party while publicly expressing his displeasure at Ramjattan’s leadership.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Globe Trust small depositors to start receiving payment.

-liquidator forced to take Deborah Backer's husband to court

Stephen Backer's $45M Ranger Rover

The liquidators for Globe Trust and Investment Company Limited (GTICL) announced yesterday that the way has been cleared for depositors with less than $100,000 dollars to be refunded almost ten years after the institution came crashing down.

Nizam Ali, who was appointed liquidator, said yesterday that around $45 million dollars has been made available for the payouts following a court ruling by Chief Justice (ag) Ian Chang last month. On register are 3050 persons classified as small depositors. Ali said letters would be sent out on Monday for these depositors to visit the firm at its Camp Street location in another week’s time, but noted that payments would be made in batches of 100.

“…The process is moving at a faster pace now”, he said indicating that the disbursements signal the beginning of the end. Ali recently filed the Schedule of Steps in the High Court which is consistent with requirements in the law.

These depositors could've been paid since 2001 had Christopher Ram and other Directors of Globe Trust and Investment Company Ltd not move to challenge the liquidation. A total of 5,404 depositors would have each received up to $100,000.

Globe Trust’s debt collection has slowed despite attempts by the liquidator to reclaim some of the $750 million handed out in unsecured loans; the majority of Globe Trust debtors have ignored repeated calls by Ali to repay, and only a tiny fraction of the funds has been recovered.

But Ali continues to pursue debtors in the court and he disclosed that next month several of the matters are coming up for hearing. He noted that the majority of the cases are against former directors of the institution, two of whom are now deceased.

He mentioned that matters had been filed against former Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Backer, the husband of PNC/R member of parliament Deborah Backer; Jonas Sampson who is deceased; Peter Britton who is also deceased and Loaknauth Persaud among others.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kaieteur News stereotyping Amerindians.

Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett: An article in the Thursday October 14th edition of the Kaieteur News, captioned “Brazilian man dies during sex act” is disgusting and unacceptable owing to the fact that the Kaieteur News identified the race of the woman allegedly involved – an Amerindian.
Why is this necessary? I have noticed in a number of stories relating to sex and rape where Amerindian women are allegedly involved either as the perpetrator or victim, this media house highlighted the Amerindian race.
They have not done this, rightfully so, in other similar stories where the persons allegedly involved are not Amerindians. Why are Amerindians being singled out?
This faux pas was brought to the attention of the Editor of this newspaper some years ago when It was first noticed and he apologised and promised to ensure it is not repeated.
It appears as if the KN IS determined to continue in this way and implicitly propagate stereotypes which cause much hurt to Amerindian women and indeed other Guyanese.
We deserve no less than equal respect.

Guyana's economy records 2.8 percent growth in the first half of 2010

…domestic economy recorded real growth of 2.8 percent in first half of 2010
- overall growth for the year now projected at 2.9 percent

FINANCE Minister Dr. Ashni Singh yesterday reported that the Guyana economy continued along a path of steady growth in the first half of this year,
despite persistent difficulties in the sugar industry, continued adverse movement in commodity prices and the effects of the sliding Euro.
“The continued resilience of our economy has provided support to poverty reduction, emphasis on the accelerated implementation of programmes in the social sectors as well as key infrastructure gaps being addressed”, he said in the report presented to the National Assembly. (See highlights on page ???)
The minister said that in addition, the recent rebasing of the national accounts now provides a clearer picture of the drivers of growth in the economy.
“It reflects the results of the government’s policy initiatives and private sector efforts at diversification over the last decade, which together have yielded demonstrable results”, he said.
“Further, the launch of Guyana’s Revised Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) in May of this year saw the outcome of almost a year of review and consultation across the country in addition to input from climate change negotiations at the United Nations, and other international climate change initiatives.
The LCDS now outlines a national strategy to forge a new low-carbon economy over the coming decade which, coupled with our National Competitiveness Strategy, will position Guyana well into the medium and long term”, Dr. Singh said.
He reported that the domestic economy recorded real growth of 2.8 percent in the first half of 2010, with non-sugar gross domestic product expanding by 3.1 percent. As a result, overall growth for the year is now projected at 2.9 percent and non-sugar growth at 2.4 percent.
At the end of the first half of 2010, the overall balance of payments reflected a surplus of US$34.6 million compared to a surplus of US$57.3 million for the corresponding period in 2009.
This, the minister said, is on account of an expansion in the current account deficit due to higher imports of intermediate goods, particularly fuel and food, as well as capital goods such as agricultural and building machinery. This was partially offset by the increase in gold and bauxite export earnings and the improvement in the capital account due to higher disbursements of the non-financial public sector and increased foreign direct investment.
Singh said the inflation rate at end of the first half of 2010 was 2 percent, driven primarily by movement in the food category. Price increases in the food category arose mainly from supply constraints of poultry meat. This was tempered by more moderate price developments in other categories of the consumer price index.
Based on the developments in the first half of the year, the inflation target has been revised to 4.5 percent compared to the 4 percent at the time of budget, Singh said.
The Finance Minister said the performance of the economy is most commendable, viewed against the backdrop of a global outlook characterised by uncertainty, with the developed economies still seeking the delicate balance between policies aimed at stimulating output and measures required to contain indebtedness and achieve fiscal sustainability.
He said: “The domestic economy’s favourable performance demonstrates the strong underlying fundamentals on which the economy is built and reflects gains made over the years at diversifying the sources of growth. Traditional sectors such as rice, forestry, and gold continue to be important drivers of growth and, coupled with favourable performances in other sectors such as construction, information and communication, health and social services, compensated for more subdued performances in the sugar and bauxite industries.
“The sustaining of real growth in the productive sectors translated to a favourable balance of payments outturn, with significant growth in exports helping to offset increased imports. At the same time, fiscal performance remained strong, allowing for accelerated project and programme implementation in the various sectors of government operations.
“Taken together, these results point to continued fulfillment of the government’s ongoing commitment to prudent and stable macroeconomic policies, and to strengthening Guyana’s economic base through modernisation and diversification along a low carbon path.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Construction of the Amaila Hydroelectric Project access road to begin this week.

Despite the best efforts to stymie by opposition elements construction work on the Amaila Hydroelectric Project access road will begin this week. This follows the issuance of the construction notice to proceed by the Ministry of Public Works to Synergy Holdings on October 5th.

The notice follows the recent approval given by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the positive review by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) of key environmental and social aspects of the road works and the contractor’s Environmental & Social Management Plan (ESMP) in the context of the IDB’s policies.

Synergy is fully mobilised at the project site along with the supervisory consultants. Works will begin immediately on the section of new and upgraded road areas between Mabura Hills Road to the Essequibo River and from Butakari to just west of the Kaburi Amerindian community in Region Eight. Concurrently with access road construction, the IDB is completing its review of the revised Environmental & Social Impact Assessment Report (ESIA) which includes the Amaila hydropower facilities, the transmission line as well as the access road works. The ESIA was prepared by Exponent & JGP, a consortium of American and Brazilian environmental and social experts on hydroelectric project development hired by Amaila Falls Hydro Inc. (AFHI). The construction of the access road is the first phase of the Amaila hydro-electricity project, which is the biggest infrastructure project in Guyana’s history, and the flagship of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

The project will involve utilizing less than 0.001% of the State forest area, and the Government of Guyana has put in place measures to ensure that the project complies with both national and international social and environmental safeguards.

Earlier this year acting Chief Justice Ian Chang, S.C., declined to issue orders of Certiorari and Prohibition to Management Consultant Ramon Gaskin. Gaskin had set out to prevent Government from awarding a $15M (US) contract to Synergy Holdings Inc., to design and build roads and stream/river crossings for Amailia Falls Hydro Project. The application was refused. The legal team representing the applicant included Mr Rex Mc Kay, S.C., Mr Fitz L.R. Peters, Mr Neil Boston and Mr Christopher Ram. The move to the court was widely believed to be orchestrated by Christopher Ram.

In giving his ruling the acting Chief Justice concluded that :"The court is unable to persuade itself that the issue of writs of Certiorari and prohibition would be for the public good in light of the importance of the Hydro electric project to public welfare and development of the country. The execution of the project by Synergy Holdings Inc., may warrant close monitoring but the need for such monitoring does not provide a sufficient basis for the exercise of the court's discretion to issue the Orders or Rules nisi of Certiorari and Prohibition as prayed."