Dear Editor,There has been much discussion in the press recently on the factors that would have hindered the attainment of the “Impact Goals” in the PAHO Strategic Plan 2014-2019 for the Guyana health sector. Could the Head of PAHO, Dr William Adu-Krow, release the data on how Guyana performed in terms of achievement of the “Impact Goals” set out by PAHO for 2014-2019?This information must be in the public domain and should be of interest to all Guyanese, especially those in the health sector.Sincerely,Dr Madhu Pandey SinghMD (Obstetrics and Gynaecology), DCPCEO, Dr Balwant Singh’s Hospital
The Ministry of Justice has responsibility for different parts of the justice system – the courts, prisons and probation services and legal aid. It works in partnership with the other government departments and agencies to reform the criminal justice system, to serve the public and support the victims of crime. It is also responsible for making new laws, strengthening democracy, and safeguarding human rights.But, within the past days the Ministry has suffered a crippling blow, which started with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s dismissal of key deputy ministers, Cllr. Wheatonia Dixon-Barnes, Deputy Minister for Administration, and Public Safety; Ms. Victoria Sherman-Lang, Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs.The President also dismissed Hilary Sirleaf-Siakor, Assistant Minister for Prisons.When she dismissed the officials, President Sirleaf contended that she was doing it because of their failure to return home to help in the fight against the Ebola virus disease.Her action, she said, was a follow-up to her directive regarding restrictions on travel of government officials, including their return within a week for those who were out of the country without an excuse. According to the Executive Mansion, these government officials “showed insensitivity to our national tragedy and disregard for authority.”Unfortunately, Justice Minister and Attorney General Cllr. Christiana Tah resigned her post on Monday, October 6.In her resignation statement, she argued that she was doing it because President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf blocked her investigation into fraud allegations against the country’s National Security Agency (NSA), which is headed by the president’s son.Announcing her resignation in a statement dated Oct. 6, Justice Minister Christiana Tah said she could not remain in office “and not supervise the operations of the security agencies under the Ministry of Justice.” “What is the ‘rule of law’ if the president asserts that she does not trust the Ministry of Justice to independently investigate allegations of fraud against the National Security Agency?” Minister Tah added.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Centre of Excellence in Information Technology, an advanced Information and Communications Technology (ICT) training school is expected to be commissioned March 2018 at the University of Guyana, Turkeyen campus.The Centre will provide training that “bridges the gap between the Public and Private Sector,” Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes explained in a recent interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI). “We have several individuals in the Public Sector that need retraining and constant upgrading to skills, but also it provides training that the Private Sector needs.”Public Telecommunication Minister, Catherine HughesAccording to the Minister, the agreement for Technical Cooperation signed between UG and the Ministry involves educational development, which this centre is ideally designed to deliver.The sum of $144 million of $4.696 billion of the National Budget will see this project being established, with assistance from the Government of India and the eGovernment Agency.The National Data Management Authority (NDMA)/eGovernment Unit and UG will share educational resources, especially in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. The University will share its teaching resources while NDMA will provide the necessary expertise when needed. ICT-based research, Operations Research, Ideas to keep the ICT Legal and Regulatory Framework up to date, ICT Project Management, and Data and Communications Networks and Enterprise Solutions in support of courses on the curricula will be shared.Minister Hughes disclosed that there would be two trainers from India on one-year contracts who would be instructing the students and sharing their knowledge with local trainers. The Centre, the Minister explained, is one step closer to preparing Guyanese to deal with the training issues. “It will be from a basic introductory level up to programming, to the development of apps.”The objective is to “prepare citizens and the Public Sector for training that is relevant to the services that we are talking about providing”, Minister Hughes said.
Promoting sustainable forestsThe Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) with funding from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) developed a Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) protocol to monitor all activities conducted on their traditional lands.The project stemmed from prior engagement with communities, who asked for assistance to set up systems to monitor their own forests and the parts of the wood tracking system that were associated with their land and/or community. The APA received US$70,000 from the FAO to execute the project “Supporting priorityFAO’s Country Representative, Reuben Robertsonactions for Amerindian Communities to participate in the Guyana VPA” and the process commenced in November 2016.The primary objective of the project was to enable Amerindian villages in Guyana to design, develop and test approaches to community-based independent monitoring of legality compliance in timber supply chains under the European Union Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Voluntary Partnership Agreement (EU-FLEGT VPA) initiative.Following the consultation phase, the FPIC protocol was developed after it was decided that Bethany Village in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) would be used as the pilot village.In presenting an overview of the project, Forest Policy Officer Michael McGarrell said that the project was necessary since there was a problem. He identified the problem as Amerindian communities still being unaware as it related to their land rights. He added that they have also discovered that the legal titles only covered a section or none of their traditional lands; hence, making it legal for outsiders toForest Policy Officer Michael McGarrellderive benefits from those lands.FPIC ProtocolBethany resident Roel Wilson, while presenting an overview of the FPIC protocol said that it was understandable that certain Government or Private Sector projects may have good intentions behind them, but without full consultation, such initiatives could have unexpected negative impacts on the communities.He said that they must be able to make their decisions freely – without any external or internal pressure, intimidation or bribery.“Consultations must be held and FPIC obtained from our village in relation to any proposed activity, decision, project, legislation, policy and research that may affect our rights, interests, lands, territories, resources and livelihoods. This includes activities that may not take place directly on our lands, but that could have an indirect impact on our village immediately or in the future. Roads and forest concessions close to our land or mining concessions in the source of the rivers we depend on are examples of such activities,” he explained.Wilson said that any outside organisation or individual with a proposition for the implementation of any project would be required to obtain an FPIC agreement.In order to obtain a FPIC agreement, one must write to the Toshao and Village Council seeking permission to consult with them, then the leaders would organise two General Village Meetings to inform of the project and seek consensus, after which the village representatives would meet with the project proponent; they would then conduct an impact assessment and if the need arises, technical and legal services from an outsider may be contracted.After the impact assessment, the leaders would then schedule another general meeting where the decision would be made. If yes, then the agreement would be signed.FAO’s roleFAO’s country representative, Reuben Robertson, said that the Organisation has established special ways to work with the Indigenous community.He explained that the forests play a great role in alleviating poverty and to address this, the FAO has collaborated with the EU to establish the FLEGT programme. He said that the FAO has agreed to provide the technical and financial resources to allow for capacity building.He stressed that the system to extract resources from the forest should be sustainable and transparent, adding that illegal extraction only hurt the community.“We want to ensure that we keep a forest sustained for now and for future generations. By achieving that goal, we have to stamp out forest illegality by reducing and totally eliminating illegal logging and that is what FAO is really all about,” Robertson added.He also urged the communities to ensure that there is gender equality in their proposition since that is one of the core values of the FAO.The next step for the APA is to approach the FAO for funding for round two of the process which would see the implementation and monitoring of the FPIC Protocol.The EU FLEGT system mandates countries to use the wood tracking system to tag logs and their stumps so that when they reach the point of export it could be traced backed to the origin to ensure its legality. The system is not new to Guyana since they have been mandating loggers to tag their produce so they can track them to ensure it is within their licensed agreement.
“We don’t want one to lead to two,” Donovan said. This was the fourth time this season the Gators trailed by double digits. They came from 18 down Wednesday night before beating Alabama. Ross Neltner scored 15 points for the Commodores. Joakim Noah led Florida with 15, and Corey Brewer and Al Horford each had 13 as the Gators had a season-high 22 turnovers. Vanderbilt led 35-27 at halftime, the second-fewest first-half points scored by Florida this season. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “This is one for the ages,” Byars said. “Twenty years from now, I’ll be able to tell my little kids this. This is special. You can’t explain it.” Florida (24-3, 11-1) had won 17 consecutive games and needed a victory to clinch at least a share of the SEC’s Eastern Division and the overall league title. The Gators also had won seven consecutive against the Commodores. NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Forget all that talk about the top-ranked Florida Gators rolling through the Southeastern Conference undefeated. Derrick Byars and Shan Foster each scored 24 points, and Vanderbilt snapped the nation’s longest winning streak by upsetting the Gators 83-70 after they finally fell into a hole they couldn’t dig themselves out of Saturday. But Vanderbilt (18-8, 8-4) has been one of the country’s best against ranked opponents this season. It was the Commodores’ first victory over a top-ranked team since Jan. 13, 1993, when they beat then-No. 1 Kentucky, and their sixth win over a ranked team this season. “A lot of people don’t ever get the opportunity to play the No. 1 team in the country,” Foster said. “We got the opportunity and seized the moment.” The Commodores won for the seventh time in nine games by beating the nation’s best shooting team at its own game, outshooting the Gators 57.1 percent to 44 percent from the field. They took the lead in the first half and led by as much as 16 points late. “We caught them on an afternoon where they missed shots they normally make,” Vandy coach Kevin Stallings said. Florida coach Billy Donovan tried to put the loss into perspective by pointing out his Gators, the defending national champs, had won 35 of their past 37 games and had not lost a game since Dec. 3 to Florida State. That said, he didn’t want this to be the start of a trend.