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Local Gov’t Elections under a new statutory framework

Georgetown, GINA, June 01, 2009 The long awaited Local Government elections, slated to be held later this year, will be governed by a new statutory framework. Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon at a post-Cabinet press briefing today, said that the ongoing work of the Parliamentary Special Select Committee, established to consider the bills dealing with the statutory framework of Local Government, was noted by Cabinet. Dr. Luncheon said that the tabling of Local Government Bills in Parliament was an act consistent with the commitment of the People’s Progressive Party’s administration with the express intention of giving the Bills legal effect upon enactment. The full complement of the Special Select Committee in now onboard, and are actively involved in consultations to execute their tasks. Dr. Luncheon posited that the anticipation regarding the Committee’s work in Parliament and its timely completion was considered by Cabinet. Even though, the political parties have committed their support, Dr. Luncheon noted, that there are a few entities with little intention of providing consistent support throughout the upcoming elections. However, he said that the correlation of forces is sufficient, despite the detractors, to allow a successful hosting of Local Government elections 2009. Dr. Luncheon disclosed that inadequacy at Parliamentary level is recognized, where endless unproductive and inconclusive attention to the Bills could frustrate the electoral process. Despite all contentions however, it is expected that all parties should resolve their issues and pledge their commitment and support throughout the elections. Local Government elections were last held in 1994. A Joint Task Force on Local Government Reform, comprising members of the PPP/C and the PNC/R was established in 2001 to draft legislation to overhaul the local government system. This came out of the dialogue between President Bharrat Jagdeo and the Leader of the Opposition, the late Desmond Hoyte. After the termination of the task force, President Jagdeo had stressed that dialogue between himself and the Leader of the Opposition, Robert Corbin, would seek to settle the stalemate before the Bills were tabled in the National Assembly. However, due to illness of the Leader of the Opposition, Government moved directly to Parliament where the Bills will be debated in a Special Select Committee. The four pieces of legislation are: the Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill, the Local Government Commission Bill, the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, and the Fiscal Transfers Bill 2009.  (Jul 1, 2009 | post #1)

NOC receives equipment valued $6.7M

Georgetown, GINA, July1, 2009 The Ministry of Health’s National Aids Programme Secretariat (NAPS) in a collaborative effort with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport today donated a quantity of equipment valued $6.7 M to the New Opportunity Corps. Among the items received by the NOC were 15 computers, three televisions, safety gear, projector, fans, fax machine, DVD players and a brush cutter. A computer lab will soon be established at the facility, located at Onderneeming, Essequibo coast to accommodate the computers and computer training will be provided to the 189 youths housed at the institution. This joint effort by the Ministries is a continuation of a $51M programme which began in 2006 to rehabilitate the facility. Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony who has responsibility for the NOC said that the initiative is just a part of a broader programme by the Ministry and aims to teach youths skills in carpentry, masonry and sewing among others which will assist them in becoming employable. In addition to the programmes being offered at NOC, the students are allowed to attend public schools in neighbouring communities and to write the CXC.  (Jul 1, 2009 | post #1)

30th CARICOM Heads of Gov’t meeting begins tomorrow

Georgetown, GINA, July 1, 2009 Guyana will play host tomorrow when the 30th Heads of Government Conference of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is officially opened with a grand ceremony at 17:00h at the National Cultural Centre. ` Principal speakers for the opening ceremony will include the previous CARICOM chairman, Prime Minister Dean Barrow of Belize; Prime Minister Tilman Thomas of Grenada, as the Community's newest Head of Government; Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, who hosted last year's 29th regular summit; and Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo, summit host and incoming chairman for the next six months. However, before the meeting is officially launched, there will be a caucus of the Heads of Government at 10:00h at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC).  (Jul 1, 2009 | post #1)

World Bank approves Guyana R-Plan

The world bank has placed their support firmly for the Government's readiness plan for Guyana's Low Carbon Development Strategy and this encourages the country to continue with this initiative.  (Jul 1, 2009 | post #2)

Cabinet insulated from procurement process - President

The cabinet only acknowledges the details of the award of the contracts and provides a no objection to it. The National Tender Board is where all the decisions are made and contracts are awarded.  (Jul 1, 2009 | post #2)

GPL proposes unprecedented move to integrate Demerara, Be...

The integration of the Demerara and Berbice power grids will lead to a better provision of service to customers and allow for the expansion of the proposed interconnection of the Amalia falls hydropower project.  (Jul 1, 2009 | post #2)

GMC to launch Agriculture Marketing Information Service

This is a great way for customers to keep up to date with food market prices.  (Jul 1, 2009 | post #2)

Fisherman’s Day observed

The fishermen and aquaculture business of Guyana plays a vital role for having food supplied to the local markets and available for export. The Ministry of Agriculture through it's fisheries department work in collaboration with the fishermen to teach them new techniques and how to make their trade safer and less stressful.  (Jul 1, 2009 | post #2)

Labour Ministry re-organizing administration of Co-operat...

The Government has recommitted it's support to the Co-operative association because of its importance to personal, national and global development.  (Jul 1, 2009 | post #2)

KN continues to misinterpret, misrepresent, distort AG’s ...

It is disgusting enough that the Kaieteur news would be deliberately irresponsible in their attempts to distort the Auditor General's report. They continue to mislead their readers and fuel them up with bizarre theories and speculation.  (Jul 1, 2009 | post #2)

GGMC outlines plan to align mining sector with LCDS

For the Low Carbon development strategy to be successful, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission has outlined a plan to align the mining sector with the use of mining and environment laws and regulations.  (Jul 1, 2009 | post #2)

GUYEXPO 2009 to be bigger and better- Minister Prashad

The theme for this year's Guyexpo "Promoting business in a Low Carbon Environment" is suitable for Guyana's national awareness of the Low Carbon Development Strategy for us to be environmentally conscious of what we do.  (Jul 1, 2009 | post #2)

Head of State’s leadership on climate change inspiring

The Clinton foundation has recognized President Jagdeo's leadership for combating the effects of climate change and they have shown their support for his Low Carbon Development Strategy initiative.  (Jul 1, 2009 | post #2)

World Bank approves Guyana R-Plan

Georgetown, GINA, June 30, 2009 At its third meeting of the Participants’ Committee (PC) of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) in Montreaux, Switzerland from June 15 to 18, the Word Bank approved Guyana’s readiness plan (R-Plan). The PC is the governing body of the FCPF and is made up of both donor and developing countries’ representatives. The FCPF was created in 2007 as a mechanism to support country readiness for the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) programme, a topic currently under negotiation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). If REDD schemes are approved at the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in December, REDD countries would theoretically be eligible for payments from the industrialized countries to support forest conservation. The R-Plan (or “REDD readiness”, in World Bank lingo) entails developing a reference scenario of the country’s historical and projected deforestation patterns; a strategy to reduce deforestation and conserve standing natural forest (in Guyana’s case, the Low-Carbon Development Strategy – LCDS); and developing a system for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of emission reductions, all of which will need to be in compliance with evolving international standards to make the country eligible for REDD payments. At the meeting, there was significant debate within the PC but the political pressure to move the process forward won the day. Also approved was the R-Plan for Panama, with approval pending for Indonesia. R-Plan grants amount to a maximum of US$3.6 million, which includes a $200,000 grant which can be provided up front to support R-Plan development. Both donor and REDD country representatives on the PC expressed concern that if the PC didn’t approve the plans now, there would be little progress to show in Copenhagen in December, undercutting the ability of nations advocating UNFCCC adoption of REDD to point to real on the ground advances. In order to help the PC make a decision on whether to approve a R-Plan, the World Bank has assembled a Technical Advisory Panel (or TAP) of experts on forest issues, the recipient country, and at least one expert on indigenous issues, for each R-Plan. Weak governance of forests is an issue in the majority of REDD countries. However, Guyana and Panama are among those with relatively strong institutional frameworks. The approval of the R-Plans also places the spotlight on the governments of Guyana, Panama and Indonesia, who, as the first countries to formally begin REDD readiness under the auspices of the World Bank, will be carefully scrutinized. The experiences of these pilot countries will be used to assess whether the FCPF process is capable of facilitating sustained and effective engagement with civil society and indigenous peoples, and of producing high quality plans for reducing deforestation that are credible both nationally and internationally.  (Jul 1, 2009 | post #1)

Cabinet insulated from procurement process - President

Georgetown, GINA, June 30, 2009 Head of State Bharrat Jagdeo strongly refuted the findings of the 2006 Auditor General’s Report on the public accounts of Guyana which stated that Cabinet and the Ministry of Health were in breach of procurement legislation with respect to the purchase of drugs and supplies. “I think that is absolutely untrue,” the President said. “The Cabinet does not approve contracts… it offers a ‘no objection’,” the President told the media at a press conference recently. The Head of State explained that Cabinet does not get involved in the procurement process; the National Tender Board makes a recommendation for the award of a contract and Cabinet reviews the recommendation and offers a ‘no objection’ if there are inconsistencies identified. However, where Cabinet is not satisfied, the recommendation is returned to the National Tender Board and the procurement process is carried out again. President Jagdeo explained that Cabinet does not select the supplier who is awarded the contract. Cabinet remains insulated from the procurement process. He explained that previously the Ministry of Health used to purchase its drugs and supplies from agencies of the United Nations (UN) as they were assured of getting the best prices. However, it was decided that if the Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (GPC), the supplier in question, could match the prices that the UN agencies were quoting, it would be better to buy from the Guyanese company, thereby keeping the money spent within the country. The Head of State was keen to stress the point that GPC was required to match or undercut the prices quoted by the UN agencies, despite the procurement legislation that gives a 10% benefit to local suppliers. Also, the Ministry of Health has resubmitted a request to the National Tender Board which has been approved and received Cabinet’s ‘no objection’ and extends to December 2009. In the latest report, the 2007 Auditor General’s Report on the public accounts of Guyana, the Ministry of Health has received a clean bill of health regarding its procurement practices for drugs and supplies.  (Jul 1, 2009 | post #1)

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