18Jan/20

Guyana needs working people, not lazy politicians

first_imgIf one reflects on the state of our population in Guyana, one can understand why we are still stuck with an output per person of below US$5000 per year. In 1960, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of Guyana was US$307 per year, while that of Singapore was US$427, a mere US$120 apart. Today, Singapore produced some US$53,000 per person while Guyana is stuck in the dregs at US$4456.Much of the world rewards leadership that knows where they are going and this is exactly what has not happened in Guyana. Singapore nurtured their education systems and their people. The strategy was educating their people in the right field of study, at the right time, at the right levels and used socially intrusive initiatives such as housing to ensure that the people can focus on improving their productivity. Today, almost 98 per cent of Singaporeans own their own homes. Compared to the Granger tenure, they have built less than 200 houses in three years in a population that has a demand for 20,000 homes today.Singapore ensured that ethnic balance is reflected in all State institutions, unlike this Granger regime that appointed 16 of the 17 Permanent Secretaries from one race and over 85 per cent of the newly appointed heads of agencies from the same race. A multiracial, multi-religious nation cannot develop in such a manner. President Granger is wrong.Guyana faced this tragic developmental model for 28 years under the People’s National Congress and the results were tragic for Guyana; we became uncreditworthy and financially bankrupt by the time Desmond Hoyte changed the model. Today, under Granger, we are back to square one, doing the same thing again, and expecting a different outcome. That is developmental insanity!Not only the world but also some 550,000 Guyanese saw this developmental insanity and rejected it by voting with their feet. This situation has led to stagnation in the population. Meanwhile, in a place like Singapore, they empowered their entrepreneurs causing a dire shortage of skilled workers. By 2017, there were some 1.6 million foreign workers in Singapore on a work permit. Guyana, on the other hand, is firing 6000 sugar workers.The table below illustrates what has been happening on the population front in Guyana compared to Singapore. That city-state has expanded its population six times over in 57 years, meanwhile, in Guyana, we have chased so many of our people out the country that we have not even doubled our population in this period.SINGAPORE GUYANAPOPULATION IN 1950 1,022,000 406,000POPULATION IN 2017 7,260,000 (including 1.65M migrants on work permits) 777,000PERCENTAGEINCREASE(over 67 years) 610% 91%In Singapore, their construction sector, seafood sector, shipping sector, engineering sector and hi-tech sector are all booming and it did not happen by magic. It took leadership! When LFS Burnham was playing political strong man travelling the world selling his bankrupt ideas, Singapore was building their nation brick by brick. The end result is a testament to who was the developmental thoroughbred and who was the developmental “kangala”.As an example, Singapore does not have one drop of crude oil but has one of the largest petroleum industries in Asia. Guyana by 2022 will be pumping about 500,000 bpd of crude oil but will not have even a 40,000 bpd refinery thanks to the bankrupt ideas of President Granger, if we are to believe the words of Minister Raphael Trotman.Progressive nations are focused on revenue and the value-added elements of the value chain. This Granger model is focused on spending and more spending. Even the African leaders have moved away from this “Mugabian philosophy”. If the people are to reflect on the nation’s gold reserves and foreign reserves, they will find that since President Granger arrived in 2015, we have lost 85 per cent of our gold reserves and the stock of foreign reserves have evaporated by more than US$200 million. And there is no concrete plan to refill the coffers.Today we spend some GY$30 billion of taxpayers’ dollars per year on an education system that produces a 38 per cent pass rates in Mathematics (2016) and that includes a Grade III, which in my books is not a passing grade. I was advised that it has declined to 35 per cent in 2017. If a nation cannot get its Mathematics right, it cannot compete in the new global world order. SIMPLE!The outcome of this lackadaisical style of governance from Granger is most destructive. The Guyanese people are waking up to a 1.9 per cent growth rate in 2018, a far cry from the 5.4 per cent of 2013. When will this gobbledygook style of leadership end in Guyana?last_img read more

18Jan/20

Problems with GuySuCo due to bad management

first_imgDear Editor, Finance Minister Winston Jordan, while speaking about the decline of the economy, stated that we have to do more manufacturing. He was at the time speaking about adding value to our raw materials and creating wealth.Mr. Jordan has indeed made a good case for not closing or downsizing the sugar industry. This industry is best placed to do a lot more in the manufacturing sector. There are already billions of dollars sunk into it, and its raw materials are renewable resources.This is the time to really transform the industry into a modern complex, producing many different products, adding value and creating wealth. This is not the time to contract, but to expand the industry and allow it to reach new heights.After all, the sugar industry experienced many crises throughout its history, and it has always risen to the challenge each time, increasing production. This time should be no different.With little investment from Government, or with private investors in joint ventures, GuySuCo can produce and add great value to many of what is now produced. A joint venture in a refinery would be a sound investment. After all, the Caribbean has a market for more than two hundred thousand tons of refined sugar. GuySuCo can easily supply the bulk of that.GuySuCo’s Skeldon Estate is already producing electricity with the use of bagasse. This could be hugely profitable, and more estates could also do likewise.It is apposite to note that Barbados has kept part of its sugar industry going mainly because of its co-generation of electricity.The industry can produce a host of other products that would have ready markets. Many of these have been spoken about before. Fuel alcohol can be produced with not much investment and without affecting the operations of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL); another distillery can be very profitable.Paper products such as cardboard, writing and printing paper, etc are only a few of the products that could also be manufactured. These items are being produced by the sugar industries in many countries, including India, Cuba, Brazil, etc.In adding value and creating other commodities, we would be enhancing our wealth generally.It should be pointed out that Cuba developed its pharmaceutical sector on the basis of the sugar industry.A lot of the problems with GuySuCo are due to bad management. The fields, which are most important in the production of sugar, are being terribly mismanaged. This is evident in the low level of yields, which leads to low production.We can recall that, in 2015, the industry showed clear signs of a turnaround. Indeed, so strong were the signals that the APNU+AFC Administration claimed it as one of its successes. That came about because the then Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Raj Singh, had paid close attention to both fields and factories. In the fields, he was even moving to bring down costs by using liquid fertilizers; and he implemented many other innovations that would save millions of dollars. The factories performed well because of their timely maintenance. That is why 2015 was so successful.With lack of cheap energy and the killing of the Amaila Falls Hydro Project by the APNU+AFC Administration, sugar offers the best opportunities for manufacturing. If Mr. Jordan is serious, if he is speaking on behalf of the regime, then he should urge that the decision to close the industry, or a large part of it, be reviewed. At this time, when workers not only in the sugar industry but also in forestry, communication and mining are losing their jobs, this could absorb that labour force while saving the jobs of the workers on the estatesSugar can still be the saviour.Sincerely,Donald RamotarFormer Presidentlast_img read more

17Jan/20

EU Support to W. Africa Reaches €1.1 Billion

first_imgEuropean Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, has co-signed new regional funding for cooperation with representatives of regional organisations from West Africa up to the year 2020. The Regional Indicative Programme under the 11th European Development Fund amounts to a total of €1.15 billion, an EU release has said.Commissioner Mimica commented: “Regional integration in West Africa is already bearing impressive fruits and today’s signing is the ambitious starting point for preparing new, concrete projects that will benefit the region and its countries. Having almost doubled our support from the last programming period, we will work with a wide range of partners to tackle the challenges that remain in West Africa, such as peace and security, economic integration and trade, as well as sustainable development.”The West Africa Regional Indicative Programme was co-signed by President Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and President Cheikhe Hadjibou Soumaré of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).The Programme focuses on three areas of cooperation:Peace, security and regional Stability including support to ECOWAS in its regional peace and security mandate and funding for peace and security initiatives, including migration.It also focuses on regional economic integration and trade, to strengthen trade, the private sector and regional integration and support infrastructure.Sustainable Development of natural resources and biodiversity which cover support to resilience, food security and nutrition as well as environmental protection, biodiversity and climate change are the other areas of cooperation.The European Development Fund (EDF) is the main instrument for EU aid for development cooperation with the African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries (ACP). It is funded with contributions from the EU Member States. Regional Indicative Programmes represent an important step in the programming of EU aid under the EDF, complementing the National Indicative Programmes concluded with national governments of ACP states. Preparations are done in close cooperation with the regional organisations so as to ensure that the programmes support their priorities where the EU has a value added.16 Countries benefit from the EU-West Africa Regional Indicative programme. They include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana and Guinea. The others are Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.The 10th EDF Regional Indicative Programme (2008-2013) for West Africa had a budget of €595 million.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

17Jan/20

Why John Selma Is Our Person of the Year

first_imgThere are three reasons we dispatched our team of reporters to Lofa County to find our Person of the Year. The first is because we thought it most appropriate to focus this time on Agriculture. With Lofa being the nation’s traditional breadbasket, we thought it a good place to start.Second, we heard about a hardworking farmer who was making a serious difference, especially in producing rice, our staple food.Third, though we had held an extensive interview with him in Monrovia, we thought it important to follow him to Lofa in order to see for ourselves what he is doing, find the farmers he is working with, and see how he is impacting their work.That is what our Agricultural Reporter, Gloria Tamba, and Reporter Alvin Worzi did last week, traveling to several places in Voinjama District.They returned highly impressed with the work which John Selma is doing with rice farmers. Our reporters found Selma extensively involved in rice cultivation. They also found many farmers in the district who were benefitting from Selma’s training and even his purchasing of their rice or helping them to find buyers.We find this extraordinary. Here is a hardworking, highly committed and selfless rice farmer who is determined to help others to succeed in rice cultivation. In our interview with him when he visited the Daily Observer’s new premises last week, Selma told us he had one objective in mind: Helping Liberia to become self-sufficient in rice. After listening keenly to all that he had to say about his work, the Observer team asked him what he saw as a major obstacle to his work. He replied that the biggest problem was the lack of buyers for the farmers’ rice. There were, he told us, too many farmers whom he had encouraged to grow rice, and they were doing just that. Often when he had the capacity, he would buy their rice, especially with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its agricultural subsidiary, Food Enterprise Development (FED).Mr. Selma expressed one fear to our reporters: “I am afraid,” he told us, “that if Lofa farmers continue growing rice in abundance as they are doing now, and find it difficult to sell this rice, they will stop and find other things to do. This is my fear. I don’t want this to happen because if it does, it will be hard to convince them to return to rice growing tomorrow.”Reporters Tamba and Worzi, during their visit to Lofa last week, found the identical fear expressed among rice farmers. Some of the farmers pointedly told our reporters that they already had huge stockpiles of rice in their kitchens for which there were no buyers. If this continues, they will stop growing rice and find something else to do.The fact that John Selma has been able successfully to grow rice in large quantities and encourage many other farmers to do the same is the reason we have chosen him as Person of the Year. Under the same breath, however, we are making this urgent appeal to our government, most especially to our President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and her new Agriculture Minister, Dr. Moses Zinnah, to do everything possible to encourage our rice growers and work closely and conscientiously with them to keep them GROWING MORE RICE to make the nation self-sufficient in its staple!The government can accomplish this in two ways: First, GOL can equip its network of agricultural extension agents and deploy them nationwide to help all our farmers, most especially rice farmers. These should be given every encouragement because they and Mr. Selma are convinced that Liberia CAN become self-sufficient in rice.One of the answers to the decline in iron ore and rubber in our economy is self-sufficiency in rice, in order to save the hundreds of millions of dollars we spend importing rice.Second, we suggest that GOL make it mandatory, that rice importers make it their first priority to buy local farmers’ rice.This would be a great boost to our rice farmers, as it will keep them doing what they know and love best – growing rice.Congratulations, Mr. Selma, and thank you for your worthy example. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

14Jan/20

Infringement on gender equality

first_imgOver the past week, much debate arose over the decision to bar single mothers employed with private security firms from working night shifts.However, as the debate erupts, what is unfortunate is the fact that despite the calls by gender equality activists for the decision to be reviewed with the need for a more comprehensive approach, Minister Keith Scott is moving ahead with his “noble idea.”The United Nations, in its report on attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, more particularly Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women – has informed that Guyana has made good progress in the area of gender equality, and has achieved gender parity.The issues of gender equality has attracted worldwide debate over the years. The World Economic Forum’s annual gender gap event reported last year that, in several countries, women’s participation in the labour force has declined, and the number of women in senior positions is shrinking.The annual report looks at progress towards equality between men and women in four key areas: educational attainment, health and survival, economic opportunity, and political empowerment.  Sadly, that report highlighted that progress towards economic equality has slowed globally, with the economic participation and opportunity dipping.Locally, President David Granger, in his “Power to the women” speech on International Women’s Day 2017, committed to ending gender inequality in Guyana. As a matter of fact, the President is quoted as saying, “We can, we must, and we will achieve greater gender equality, to empower our women and girls. The struggle for equality and parity continues…Gender equality cannot be achieved in the absence of a more equal society.” He also said that Guyana’s approach is to make gender equality a parallel policy of his government.That being said, it begs the question: why does one of his ministers now take a backward step on this issue? Are there no consultations over decisions on national importance within the Cabinet? Such issues will not only have social backlashes, but, importantly, can lead to economic hardships for women, and moreso single mothers. If such a position is taken, women’s chances of employment with security firms will ultimately be marginal. This decision is no less than an infringement on gender equality, and can be used as a tool for demoralising women. Women in Guyana have made enormous advancements over the years, but this decision from Government shows that the administration still has some longstanding views of women as the lesser sex and their place being in the home.It can be agreed that while the minister’s heart may have been in the right place following some conversation with few private security firms, he should instead have met with women before making any decisions. Ironically, the very private security firms with whom the minister met have, in a public missive, called his actions a “cruel and arbitrary attack”.At this point, what is needed is dialogue between Government and women, moreso single mothers who work the night shifts as security personnel. This discussion should look at promoting and facilitating opportunities for women as they balance paid work and family responsibilities.The women of Cabinet should not sit by idly and watch their male colleagues trample on the rights of Guyanese women.last_img read more

14Jan/20

Violence against women and girls

first_imgCome next week, Guyana will be joining the rest of the world to observe, UN Women’s theme for International Day for the Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls, which is being celebrated under the theme “Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls”According to UN Women, when world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, they recognised that ending violence against women and girls was a prerequisite for the achievement of the development agenda. Goal 5 on gender equality includes a specific target to end all forms of violence against women, including trafficking, other forms of sexual violence, and harmful practices.Despite this, the body pointed out, the resources dedicated to addressing the issue still do not match the scale of the challenge. It also emphasised that allocating adequate resources to prevent and address violence against women is not only a legal obligation and a moral imperative, but a sound investment, too.One in three women around the world experience violence in their lifetime, often at the hands of someone they know, love and trust. Of all women who were victims of homicide globally, almost half were killed by intimate partners or family members.The term ‘violence against women’ means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life” (Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, UN General Assembly, 1993).Violence against women has been declared a global pandemic and human rights violation. In the male-dominated world-view, the role of women in the family, home, relationship and society has been taken for granted, and this taken-for-granted-ness has led to the perpetuation of violence in several forms. Such acts of discrimination impact the socioeconomic wellbeing of women and girls, impeding progress in areas such as poverty eradication, HIV/AIDS, peace and security.UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has highlighted effective interventions and reiterated that the pandemic of violence against women and girls can end, but it would need commitment and investment nationally and internationally. Violence against women and girls, a gross human rights violation, devastates lives, causes untold pain, suffering and illness. It also incurs high economic costs. A recent study estimated that the cost of intimate-partner violence accounted for 5.2 per cent of the global economy.Beyond the direct medical and judicial costs, violence against women takes a toll on household and national budgets through lost income and productivity. In Viet Nam, for example, expenditure and lost earnings resulting from domestic violence was estimated at 1.4 per cent of GDP in 2010. In the United Kingdom, the cost of domestic violence in 2009, including service-related costs, lost economic output and human and emotional costs, amounted to 16 billion pounds sterling.In Guyana, the Women and Gender Equality Commission, which joined with many other organisations to speak out on the occasion, also acknowledged that one of the major challenges to efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls worldwide is financing. As a result, they pointed to the glaring reality that resources for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women and girls are severely lacking.In their bid to reinforce the point that there is much more work to be done in Guyana to ensure that the Prevention of Discrimination Act and the constitutional provisions on non-discrimination and equality are enforced, they pointed to the overall economic impact of tackling the existing issues which can actually contribute to the prevention of violence against women and girls.“Advancing women’s equality could potentially add trillion to the world’s economy…and in emerging economies, women reinvest 90 cents of every additional dollar of income in their families’ education, health and nutrition, compared to 40 cents for men. It is therefore important to see gender equality as a critical economic issue. It is imperative that 100% of the population is given ample opportunity to contribute skills and intellect to its development and growth,” the Women and Gender Equality Commission said in its statement.last_img read more

03Jan/20

‘Matic not irreplaceable for Chelsea’! Le Saux and King preview League Cup final

first_imgGraeme Le Saux and Ledley King joined the Hawksbee and Jacobs show to preview Sunday’s League Cup final between Chelsea and Tottenham.Spurs ousted the Blues in their most recent meeting, a 5-3 victory at White Hart Lane, while the Lillywhites beat the Premier League leaders in the 2008 League Cup final.But Jose Mourinho will have fond memories of the competition, when he won his first trophy as Chelsea manager with a 3-2 victory over Liverpool in 2005.Le Saux and King give their insight into who will come out on top on Sunday and discuss the main talking points, including Harry Kane’s red-hot form and Nemanja Matic’s absence from Chelsea’s starting line-up.last_img read more

30Dec/19

‘Show us you’ve changed’, AC Milan captain tells Mario Balotelli

first_imgAC Milan captain Riccardo Montolivo has told Liverpool flop Mario Balotelli to clean up his act.The striker joined the Serie A side this week on a season-long loan, one year after he left them for Liverpool in a £16m deal.The Italian’s time at Anfield proved to be a major disappointment as he found the net just once in the Premier League.And now Milan captain Montolivo has urged Balotelli to prove his worth to the team.“He has to show on the long term that he really changed in his behaviour,” Montolivo told the AC Milan channel.“I hope he does that, because he can be an extra resource for the team. He has the club and the team’s support.“The Champions League? It’s tough to watch others playing it, we want to go back to being in it ourselves.“When you’re out of it, these are the most difficult days.“It’s our duty and our responsibility. The club worked well on the transfer market, now it’s our turn.“But objectives are not to be declared, they are only to be met.” Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli 1last_img read more

28Dec/19

The Late Tackle Podcast on talkSPORT – Saturday, February 4

first_imgAndy Dawson and James Brown bring you a light-hearted look back on a busy day of sporting action.This week, the boys chat to former Stoke, Everton and Sheffield United goalkeeper Steve Simonsen, discover what exactly Isle of Man Tin Bath Racing is, and ask listeners for more of their mundane celebrity encounters.Get all that and MORE in the latest Late Tackle Podcast!Have a listen, above, or click here to download the podcast from iTunes.last_img

27Dec/19

Leicester City wait for Adrien Silva clearance from FIFA

first_img1 Leicester are awaiting international clearance to complete the transfer of Adrien Silva from Sporting Lisbon.The Premier League club are confident they managed to sign the Portugal midfielder in time, after being granted a two-hour extension to get the deal done after Thursday night’s 11pm deadline passed.Silva’s move hinged on Danny Drinkwater sealing a switch to Chelsea and the window closed with Silva at Leicester’s training ground and Drinkwater at Chelsea’s Cobham base.The paperwork for both deals was submitted on time and Drinkwater was announced as a Chelsea player at 1.30am on Friday morning but because Silva is an international transfer, Leicester have been waiting on clearance to announce the deal.However, Sporting have said in a statement: “Sporting Club de Portugal… informs the market that we have reached an agreement with Leicester City Football Club for the definitive transfer of the sporting and economic rights of the professional soccer player Adrien Silva.“The registration of the same (player) is awaiting confirmation of FIFA.”Silva is a product of Sporting’s academy and has had loan spells at Maccabi Haifa and Academica. He has earned 20 caps for Portugal, despite being born in France.Leicester appear to have held on to Riyad Mahrez – for the time being at least.The winger, a key figure in the Foxes’ remarkable title triumph in 2016, had been allowed to leave the Algeria squad and return to Europe to “formalise his transfer to his new club”, the Algerian Football Federation announced late on Wednesday.There were reports throughout Thursday of Mahrez, who submitted a transfer request at the start of the summer, being spotted across Europe but the day passed with no new offers when the English transfer window closed on Thursday night.Chelsea, Tottenham and Barcelona were linked with Mahrez but Leicester stuck to their valuation of the player, thought to be upwards of £40million. Roma were the only club to actually make offers for the former PFA Player of the Year and their bids were nowhere near Leicester’s asking price.Meanwhile, Press Association Sport understands Demarai Gray had told Leicester he wished to move to Bournemouth after the Foxes rejected a £25million bid from the Cherries for the winger on Wednesday.Leicester were keen to sign a central defender after having a second bid for West Brom captain Jonny Evans rejected this week. They turned their attentions to Calum Chambers but had a bid turned down by Arsenal before being told the 22-year-old was not for sale.Leicester did finally get a centre-back through the door in the shape of Austria international Aleksandar Dragovic from Bayer Leverkusen on a season-long loan. Elsewhere, Nampalys Mendy was offloaded to Nice on loan. The Foxes are confident they managed to sign the Portugal midfielder last_img read more