…monies will not be affected – Persaud
Guyana will be lodging formal representations with the Norwegian Government as it relates to the Reuters article that painted Barama operations in Guyana in a bad light.
This was confirmed by Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud who said that he was a little surprised at the statement given that the information was made available by that country’s finance ministry and it is known to them what Guyana’s forestry practices are.
He said that the reports will not affect the monies that Guyana is scheduled to receive from Norway under the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed last year.
Norway’s Ministry of Finance reported that it would no longer invest in Malaysian forestry company Samling Global Ltd because of some of its logging activities.
The Government Pension Fund Global Norway’s repository of oil revenues follows ethical guidelines set by the government, and among the companies it refuses to invest in are those that produce nuclear weapons or cluster munitions, damage the environment or abuse workers’ rights.
“The Council on Ethics has assessed Samling Global, and concluded that the company’s forest operations in the rainforests of Sarawak and Guyana contribute to illegal logging and severe environmental damage,” Finance Minister Sigbjoern Johnsen said in a statement.
Persaud subsequently rebuffed an article, “Norway oil fund excludes 2 Israeli companies” which he said conveyed the wrong message about logging operations in Guyana, and as such he had to offer some clarifications on a specific statement in the article.
“The Ministry said it had excluded forestry company Samling Global based on the environmental impact of its forest operations in Malaysia and Guyana.”
That statement, according to Persaud, gives the false impression that Barama Company Limited’s (BCL) operations in Guyana have resulted in serious damage to the environment.
He said that the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) which is engaged in continuous monitoring of BCL’s operations has found little evidence to substantiate such a position.
Samling Global Ltd. has many companies that operate in several countries worldwide – Barama Company Limited (BCL) is one such company that has been operating in the forestry sector of Guyana since 1991.
At the end of 2009, Norway’s state pension fund held 8.1 million kroner in stocks in Samling Global, which have now been sold.
Ethical directives from the government bar the fund from investing in manufacturers of weapons considered “particularly inhumane” and in companies known to be involved in large-scale human rights violations, corruption, the tobacco industry or environmental pollution.
Around 50 companies have already been blacklisted by the fund, including Boeing, Wal-Mart, EADS and BAE Systems among others.
Bourda Market is potential major revenue-spinner – Clerk of Markets
– but repairs must be addressed urgently
The Bourda Market has the potential of being “a major revenue spinner” for the municipality but there is an urgent need for rehabilitative works to be completed. This is according to Clerk of Markets, Mr Schulder Griffith.
During a recent interview with this newspaper, he expressed optimism that the roof of the facility, in particular, will be urgently addressed as a colossal leakage problem exists when it rains. “I am hoping that we can treat with the entire roof of the market…We also have to think about the eastern, western and northern fences of the market because those are in a deplorable state.”
The Market Department, according to Griffith, has on numerous occasions amplified its concerns about the state of the Bourda market, including the fact that there is a resulting security problem. He revealed that some $15M was some time ago estimated for the repairs of the roof of the market, of which a sum was approved by council to commence urgent repair works.
Last year rehabilitative works valued at some $2M were undertaken on the Bourda Market, this was centred mainly on the eastern section of the facility. Among the other works that should have been completed last year were replacements of guttering, fixing of the plumbing system and the setting up of a proper fence with expanding metals.
According to Deputy Mayor Robert Williams, some 60 lighting fixtures were installed during the latter part of 2008, but a few more should have been added.
Meanwhile works have also been proposed for the rehabilitation of the Albouystown and East Ruimveldt Markets even as plans for the Kitty Market remain in limbo. According to Griffith, the Markets Department had budgeted for repairs to the Albouystown and East Ruimveldt facilities but due to the financial state of the council no works have been engaged. “Albouystown has problems with leaks, and to a lesser extent East Ruimveldt has problems with the gates and the bridge, and we have proposed to do the paving of the walkway and driveway and the fence, but because of finances we are unable to at this point.”
Griffith stated that although Council remains strapped for cash, the Markets Department has still been able to execute several projects with the most recent and biggest being the completion of the New Vendors’ Mall. That facility, he said, was completed with little or no injection from the council. This was achieved through collaboration with the stallholders and corporate citizens, a move which has been dubbed a public/private relationship. And since this development has proven to be a success, Griffith revealed that plans are apace to introduce it at the Stelling View Market.
“With the same arrangement we are engaging stallholders. We have given them specifications and designs and they are building the stalls. We have already identified persons to construct fences, to put in lights and one person has offered to build the new sanitary block once permission is granted.”
The Stelling View facility, Griffith said, is expected to accommodate some 53 persons.
“We have a few existing vendors…They have already started construction and they, in addition to those occupying the front of the Stabroek Market, are being given first preference.”
Meanwhile, assistance to maintain the Stabroek Market, which is regarded as one of the better markets has been forthcoming from Colgate/Palmolive, according to Griffith. He revealed that this support saw stalls being rehabilitated and repainted. Colgate/Palmolive has also taken up the responsibility to rehabilitate sections of the Stabroek Market Bazaar.
As part of the continued works being undertaken by the Markets Department in collaboration with stallholders, Griffith noted that works were undertaken to rehabilitate the fish stalls at the Bourda Market.
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