Debt Management: Guyana’s public debt position remains sustainable

December 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Over the years, Guyana’s public debt position has remained at a sustainable level, owing to the prudent and effective debt management strategies implemented by its administration.
Debt management refers to strategies state and local governments use to manage their accumulated debt. It is a grueling and demanding task that almost every nation faces.
Over time, the government of Guyana has displayed a commendable aptitude for managing state debt effectively to the point where it has not allowed it to affect inflation, which has remained low, and the continued increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to the Bank of Guyana (BOG), the country has perhaps been one of the few in the Caribbean that has been doing an exceptional job in that regard. Like the Ministry of Finance, the BOG also has a role to play in managing the way the state handles its international loans and debts.
With the use of annual statistics, the BOG (whose role is to act as Guyana’s Central Bank) has been keeping a track record of how the debt of the state is managed with an aim to providing some fiscal measures for improvement where necessary.
For example: the bank has noted in its reports that the overall balance of payments deficit narrowed marginally to US$116.4 million from US$119.5 million in 2013. This development is explained by a decrease in the deficit on the current account as well as a contraction in the capital account surplus. The lower current account deficit was largely due to lower net payments for services and higher unrequited transfers.
Also revealed is the fact that the merchandise trade deficit expanded from a decline in export earnings. The capital account surplus contracted on account of a decline in disbursements to the non-financial public sector while the overall deficit was financed from the gross foreign reserves of the BOG and debt forgiveness.
At the end of 2014, Guyana’s total external debt stock stood at US$1.2 billion. However, Guyana was able to secure debt relief from the Caricom Multilateral Clearing Facility in the sum of US$35.9 million, under the enhanced Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) initiative.
Two debt compensation agreements were concluded with Venezuela (Guyana’s continental neighbour) for a total value of US$124.5 million. Total external debt service amounted to US$50.9 million, 10.9 percent higher than in 2013, owing to increased principal and interest payments to multilateral creditors, especially. The domestic debt stock stood at $78.4 billion at the end of 2014.
The management of the state’s debt in the years 2013 and 2014 was done under the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic-led administration. With a new government taking over, that being the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), some areas for macroeconomic stability were identified. In his budget speech, Guyana’s Finance Minister, the Honourable Winston Jordan, stated that macroeconomic stability is the cornerstone for the achievement and sustainability of a “good life” for all.
He said that his Government will implement macroeconomic policies that promote both external and internal balance, which will also encompass the improvement of the way debt management is handled by the state.
In so doing, Jordan revealed that over the next five years, the coalition administration will commit to the maintenance of macroeconomic stability by creating conditions to foster a positive growth trajectory while improving expenditure management and revenue administration, low inflation, stable exchange rate and sustainable debt.
He said that this will involve the undertaking of prudent and targeted fiscal policy, in order to reduce the deficit in both central government and public enterprises. He noted that high deficits can lead to a build-up of the public debt; the repayment of which takes away from spending in critical areas, such as education and health, as well as on key social safety net programmes for the poor. As such, the Government intends to reform the tax system so as to make it more robust, allowing for the reaping of efficiency gains from greater compliance and an expanded tax base. The process has already started.
The Finance Minister asserted, however, that in the interim, Guyana’s debt remained sustainable, for during the first half of 2015 the country’s total public debt amounted to US$1.6 billion of which external debt amounted to US$1.2 billion, and domestic debt US$0.4 billion.
External debt decreased marginally by 0.5 percent, compared with the same period in 2014. This reduction in the external debt stock arose from the signing of the fifth Debt Compensation Agreement with Venezuela in September 2014. This saw US$69 million of the oil debt effectively compensated, equivalent to the value of rice and paddy shipped by Guyana to Venezuela under the PetroCaribe Rice Trade Agreement.
The Finance Minister asserted that sustainable debt is defined as the ability to repay the debt without changing the fiscal policy. He noted that the mid-year external debt stock increased between 2010 and 2012 primarily as a result of increased borrowing from Venezuela under PetroCaribe. Thereafter, the mid-year external debt stock gradually declined due to the reduction of the debt to Venezuela since the value of rice and paddy exported to that country is offset against the debt.
It was explained that the general decline in the domestic debt stock over the 5-year period was mainly due to the redemption of Government of Guyana debentures held by Republic Bank over the period 2010 to 2013 and the redemption of treasury bills by the Bank of Guyana.
Also of note is that in the first half of 2015, principal and interest payments amounted to US$50.96 million, of which Central Government payments totaled US$45.8 million. Compared with the previous year, these amounts were lower by 36 percent and 38 percent respectively. Central Government debt service includes payments made to Venezuela in the form of rice and paddy that was shipped to that country under the PetroCaribe arrangement.
The significant decline in these payments in the first half of this year was due to level of rice and paddy exported to Venezuela compared with the first half of 2014. Over the period July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015, the actual external disbursements totaled US$137.5 million with Venezuela (Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. –PDVSA) accounting for 54 percent and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) accounting for 22 percent of this total.
Guyana’s domestic debt stock reduced by 13.1 percent, reaching $75.8 billion at the end of June 2015 compared to $87.3 billion at the end of June 2014. This decline was primarily due to the redemption of the Treasury Bills by the Bank of Guyana

What Will Hire Purchase Cost You This Season?

December 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

With Christmas bells already ringing, families are buzzing with ideas on just what they want this season.
It is no secret that this is the time of the year when people toss their old furniture out and replace them; the time mom gets that new piece of equipment her kitchen could not go another year without, and dad, well he gets what mom wants.
The reality is that funds are often too tight for many people as they are stretched to partake in the festivities and purchase gifts for their loved ones. The wants abound, however, and it is quite customary for consumers to look to find ways to “afford Christmas.”
At the same time, countless items come with tags like “nothing down”, “interest free payment” and “the best plan for you!” The temptation to take these “unbeatable deals” cannot be underestimated.
Why does everything suddenly seem more attainable? Businesses have already prepared for an increase in the volume of sales at this time and, consequently are intensifying their advertising efforts.
Consumers everywhere will be encouraged to immerse into several credit arrangements. From businesses’ lists of ways to “help you,” you may find yourself considering a hire purchase arrangement that may turn out to be more a burden than an easy-pay plan.
Hire purchase is probably the most common way of paying for high ticket items like cars, furniture, household equipment and computers. Like any credit deal, it can have its pitfalls and you need to think carefully before committing.
With hire purchase you can take home and use a product while you pay it off over time and that often is the catch for consumers. It can seem like an easy way to pay when you haven’t got the money upfront – especially if it’s interest-free for a while.
What may surprise you is how much it costs to do so. You may find that the total you are paying is way more than if you paid in cash, took a loan or saved up. The question which needs to be asked when you buy on credit is, do you really understand what the rate of interest is that you are paying?

Managing Hire Purchase
Hire purchase can be a good option if you treat it with care. Always ask the retailer to tell you all the fees and charges over the full repayment period. They should give you a single, total dollar amount of what it will cost you.
If the deal offers zero percent interest, ask what the interest rate will be on any amount still owing at the end of the interest-free period. Do compare the charges and fees with the price of what you are buying as they can amount to more than the interest you would pay on a different sort of loan or your credit card.
It is wise to only take up a zero percent interest hire purchase agreement if you’re sure you can repay most, if not all, of the debt in the interest-free period. If you can’t pay off the total quickly, these deals can turn out to be very expensive.
Avoid taking on several hire purchase deals at once. It can be hard to service several debts at the same time and the risk of not paying the full amount within the interest-free period increases.
Take your time to decide. As long as you take the product, you will still have to find a way to pay for the purchases you made.

Know Your Options
Generally, the things people buy on hire purchase, like appliances for example, are said to be ‘value losers’ because once bought, their value goes down. You need to ask yourself: could you delay your purchase, put money aside each month and avoid going into debt?
If you are sure you want to buy an item on credit you have several options and sometimes hire purchase isn’t the best one. Banks, credit unions, building societies and finance companies all offer personal loans.

Find The Best Interest Rate
Interest rates vary greatly. Personal loans and credit cards charge around 12-20% interest. Store cards from national chain stores charge interest as high as 36% a year. With that sort of extra cost, it pays to look around for the best deal.
The temptation is always to pay it off over a longer term but this adds more to the overall cost. Put simply, a $200,000 purchase over three years could cost you around $416,000.

Check the fees and charges
Most hire purchase agreements have a range of charges and fees. They might be bundled into the debt you have with the retailer so you may not notice them. You could be paying establishment and account fees, even on an interest-free deal.
The retailer may insist you commit to a repayment insurance premium which generally means that if you die the lender will be paid the full amount you owe by the insurer. And if you lose your income through no fault of your own (e.g. accident, illness, redundancy) your repayments will be covered for a period of time specified in the agreement. Paying the premium will add even more to the amount you owe and it may be an unnecessary cost.

It is very important to remember that it is hire, not purchase. The good is legally yours only when the last dollar owed is paid. In effect, you actually pay to hire the goods, until the bill is cleared. Cash is a hard earned; you work too hard to be tied down in debt from purchases you need not have. Be careful this season: don’t let hire purchase this season cost you next year’s Christmas.

Guyanese Journalists Cop UN Awards For Sterling Contributions…as UN Celebrates 70 years

December 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The perseverance, hard work and sterling contributions of several Guyanese journalists were highlighted recently when the local United Nations (UN) office held its inaugural media awards.
UN Guyana joined its counterparts in celebrating 70 years on Saturday October 24 2015. It was then that the media was honoured for the critical role it played in keeping developmental issues on top of the agenda. The body awarded local journalists, who despite facing many challenges, braved the odds and brought voice to the local people and light to issues plaguing the country.
During the black-tie event, which was held at the Georgetown Club, the work of the UN, its agencies, funds, and programmes, both in Guyana and nearly 200 countries abroad, came in for high praises.
In attendance was President David Granger and his wife, Sandra Granger, UN Resident Coordinator Khadija Musa, members of the diplomatic corps, members of parliament (MPs), the local media corps and private sector representatives, among other dignitaries.
During the evening of wine and fine dining, it was emphasized that time and time again the UN, like journalists, has been the source of high praise and bitter criticisms.

UN at 70
It was Musa who remarked that seven decades after its founding, the UN today remains the only platform in the world that brings together friends and foes on the world stage. The UN, she said, was created to save succeeding generations from war, to protect human rights, establish conditions of justice and to promote social progress and better standards of living.
“In 70 years, the United Nations has been the subject of much debate, praise and equal share of criticisms. As Dag Hammarskjöld, the great second Secretary-General, once said ‘The United Nations wasn’t created to take humanity to heaven but to save them from hell,’” Musa said.
The UN Guyana leader shared the view that global problems cannot be conquered by one nation but must rather be solved as a united unit since the collective approach presents the best forum to meet challenges.
The developmental objectives, she intimated, remains critical on the UN’s agenda. Specifically in Guyana, she said UN works towards a number of objectives, including nutrition security, protecting the rights of children, promoting dialogue, improving governance, education planning, promoting sexual and reproductive health, supporting essential health services, providing policy guidance and strategic support for the extractive industries.
The UN Resident Coordinator told those who gathered that ending poverty, fighting inequality and injustice in addition to fixing climate change were top priority areas for the body.
“The UN never fails…the UN will always be there and the UN thanks its member states for the support it has received to date for 70 years,” Musa remarked. She reflected that the UN started with 50 countries and today it has almost quadrupled, having 193 countries in its charter.

Leaving a Mark
Similarly, President of the Guyana Press Association (GPA), Neil Marks in his remarks said that the press body was also celebrating 70 years. He said, like the UN, the local media fraternity has borne the brunt of stinging criticisms just as praise is also heaped upon them.
Marks added that the media, like the UN, has sought to keep the peace, though perhaps with less success and favour as the international body. The GPA President told the gathering the media has been subject to much hardships.
The challenges, he said, have been many in both the pre- and post-independence era. “Some of us have worked very hard over the years, putting our lives at risk in order to do the job that we do, while others have tried to strangle us,” he remarked.
Marks highlighted that the media has fought back in face of injustice and attempts to infringe on freedom of speech.
“There have been efforts to threaten us, to censor us but we have prevailed and we are still here today. It is little wonder that we continue to advocate that the press be kept separate from all forces,” belaboured the GPA President.
He said regardless of the way the media is perceived, it has played a vital role in keeping society together. “As journalists we do not work to get awards but when we do, it feels really good,” ended Marks.
His remarks were followed by Chief Judge, Dr. Paloma Mohamed. I
n the prelude to unveiling the awards, she said they were premised that the promotion of the development works of UN through the media is necessary in raising the public profile of the organisation. “As primary functionaries of information gathering, framing and dissemination, all media workers and journalists have a huge responsibility to analyse situations and to keep developmental concerns on the national agenda,” she stated.
The Chief Judge commented that the stories submitted were generally poignant and strong. Quoting the works of her fellow judge (Volderine Hackett), she said the pieces called attention to some social ills in far-flung places such as in ‘Welcome to Angoy’s Avenue’ or to pressing problems such as teenage pregnancy or the slow development of Lethem or the extent of palm mite problems in Guyana.
“Many stories were good, interesting, poignant and sensitively written. The ones that went off the beaten track and brought to the fore something different and somewhere forgotten seemed to carry significant potency,” Dr. Mohammed said.
“These stories were rather in-depth, they went beyond officialdom and had a variety of use. Yes, the voices of ordinary people matter and we heard them through these pieces,” she said, beaming.
Besides Dr. Mohamed, the judges were veteran journalist and founder of first online news agency Denis Chabrol, Deputy Programme Director of Communications at CARICOM Volderine Hackett along with University of Guyana Communications Studies Lecturer Terrence Esseboom.
Media workers were recognized for their coverage on several social issues/areas. These were HIV and AIDS, Human Rights, Food and Nutrition Security, Involvement of Youth and Women in Agriculture, Health, Child Protection, Youth and Adolescent Development and Participation, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Adolescents and Youth Development and Participation; the Environment as well as Poverty and Governance.

Media operatives were awarded as such:

  • Stabroek News Senior Reporter, Gaulbert Sutherland (Human Rights – Print)
  • Stabroek News Reporter, Roger Wong (Food and Nutrition Security – Print)
  • Guyana Chronicle Editor, Tajeram Mohabir (Involvement of Youth and Women in Agriculture – Print)
  • Guyana Chronicle Editor, Tajeram Mohabir (Health – Print)
  • Stabroek News Reporter, Sharda Bacchus (Child Protection – Print)
  • Kaieteur News Reporter, Desilon Daniels (Poverty and Governance – Print)
  • Stabroek News Reporter, Thandeka Percival (Food and Nutrition Security – Online)

Honorable Mentions:

  • Kaieteur News Reporter, Desilon Daniels (Sexual and Reproductive Health – Print)
  • Kaieteur News Reporter, Sharmain Grainger (HIV and AIDS – Print)
  • Kaieteur News Reporter, Nicholas Peters (Youth and Adolescent Development and Participation – Print)
  • Demerara Waves Reporter, Tamara Rodney (Health – Online)
  • Guyana Chronicle Reporter, Ravin Singh (The Environment)
  • Stabroek News Reporter, Zoisa Fraser (Poverty and Governance – Print)
  • Government Information Agency (GINA) Communications Director, Shivanie Rampersaud (Health – Online)

Sutherland was named United Nations Champion Journalist after judges found that he had made the most submissions of a consistently high quality. His newspaper also copped the award for being the media house with the most print entries while GINA was awarded for having done the same, albeit online.

Castellani House: A Sanctuary For Guyanese Art

December 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The Castellani House has stood the test of time and, today, it stands as a safe haven for some of Guyana’s most thought-provoking pieces of art and craft.
With many of its 19th century features still in place, this landmark still exhibits much architectural appeal and continues to serve as a platform for the growth of imaginative and artistic ingenuity in Guyana.
The Castellani House, which can be found on the corner of Vlissengen Road and Homestretch Avenue in Georgetown, once served as the official residence of government officials, pre- and post-independence.
The edifice was actually designed and constructed between 1879 and 1882 by the Maltese architect, Cesar Castellani, after whom it is named. Cesar Castellani was considered one of the most prominent and prolific architects of the colonial era in British Guiana.
The Castellani House was originally designed as a residence for the government botanist, George Samuel Jenman, who occupied it in 1882. He was transferred from Jamaica to British Guiana to supervise the conversion of the area into a botanical garden and to beautify Georgetown via landscaping.
After he died, Castellani House was used as the official residence for Directors of Agriculture. In 1942, the house was extended with the addition of a third storey to the original two.
In 1965, further changes were made to the structure of the house by the Guyanese architect, Hugh McGregor Reid. From then to 1985, Castellani House was the official residence for Guyana’s first Executive President Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham and First Lady, Viola Burnham. During this time it was known simply as “The Residence”.
For Burnham, it was the perfect, huge wooden house, bordered by the country’s National Zoo.
Years on, after a major refurbishment, Castellani House was re-opened as the home of the National Art Gallery in 1993. The Gallery’s first curator was Everley Austin, whose tenure ended in 1996. She was followed by Elfrieda Bissember. Ohene Koama is currently acting in the capacity of curator.
Since 1993, the National Art Gallery has seen been the home of priceless Guyanese art and it stands ready to serve as a platform for new comers in the industry and even old friends.
After ten years, the Art Gallery saw for example, the return of selected works by one of its dear friends, Bernadette Indra Persaud, under the theme ‘As New and As Old’ which happened to be one of the poems written by renowned Guyanese poet Martin Carter.
Her paintings are bursting with life, filled with vibrant colours and exhibit allusions to her East India heritage. The Guyana Women Artists’ Association’s (GWAA) have also had its members’ work on display at the location.
Over the years, the former Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, which has responsibility for the Castellani House, hosted exhibitions there too.
In fact, the former Ministry last year opened in grand style its “Spirit of Revolution” expose. It was said to be in keeping with the intellectual aspect of the Mashramani celebrations. Each year, the exhibition focuses on a different aspect of Guyana’s Republic status, and for 2014, attention was on the resistance and revolts by slaves.
Based on the numerous art exhibitions it has hosted, the then Culture Ministry had observed that “Resistance” in Guyanese art has been quite evident and is seen in a number of ways. It noted however that the depiction of physical conflict is not a popular motif.
The Castellani House has seen from the former Ministry’s exhibition, paintings and sculptures by notable artists such as E.R. Burrows, Stephanie Correia, Stanley Greaves, Phillip Moore, and Winslow Craig.
The art gallery has also played home to contemporary displays from emerging artistic groups such as Bravo Arts. Their displays included eye-catching body art models.
There are still many more who continue to benefit from the use of the art gallery whether it is to showcase their work or to observe the astounding beauty of Guyanese art. Either way, the Castellani House, remains a cherished landmark as it continues to capture hearts through the exhibition of untamed art.

Prematurity: Risk factors and complications associated with preemies

December 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Dr. Sara Singh, Paediatrician, Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation

World Prematurity Day
Observed on the 17th November each year to raise awareness of preterm birth and the concerns of the preterm babies and their families worldwide.

Babies are one of life’s greatest joys. For many, the anticipation, hope and excitement are great, but for some, the reality is nothing short of heartbreaking.
Prematurity is the number one cause of death in newborns worldwide. Fifteen million babies are born prematurely and more than one million die as a result of it. Babies that survive often have lifelong problems such as cerebral palsy, vision loss, hearing loss, breathing problems and intellectual disabilities.
World Prematurity Day is observed on November 17 each year to raise awareness of preterm birth and the concerns of the preterm babies and their families worldwide.

What is a premature baby?
This is the term given when a baby is born at least three weeks before its due date, or at less than thirty seven weeks’ gestation. The earlier a baby is born, the more severe his or her health complications are likely to be. Some of these babies may spend days or even months in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where they receive specialized care until they are strong enough to go home.

What causes premature birth?

An expectant mom can do everything in her power to have a healthy full-term baby, but sometimes something goes wrong and she goes into preterm labour. The best thing to do is be prepared.
Some of the more common causes of preterm delivery are:

  • A previous preterm birth
  • Chorioamnionitis – This is a condition in which bacteria infects the membranes and amniotic fluid that surround the fetus.
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Health problems in the expectant mother – Pregnancies complicated by diabetes or hypertension are associated with a higher incidence of prematurity.
  • Multiple gestation pregnancies – Preterm birth rates for twins have increased with advances in assisted reproductive technology and infertility treatment.
  • Maternal age – Preterm birth rates increase in women older than forty years old.
  • Ethnicity – Although most black women give birth at full-term, on average, black women are about 60 percent more likely to have a premature baby compared to white women.
  • Tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug use – About 15 to 20 percent of pregnant women smoke cigarettes. This is a risk factor for placenta abruption (separation of the placenta from the wall of the womb during pregnancy, especially when it occurs prematurely) and accounts as a factor for 15 percent of preterm births and 20 to 30 percent of babies born with extremely low birth weights (<1000g).
  • Problems with the uterus or cervix – Cervical incompetence is a medical condition in which a pregnant woman’s cervix begins to dilate and efface before her pregnancy has reached full-term.

Reducing the risk of prematurity
Most preterm babies arrive early without warning. However, some pregnancies are known to be at-risk of ending in preterm birth due to maternal or fetal complications. If such is the case, the team in charge of this delivery will prepare by offering advice and medications that help to improve the outcome for the preterm baby.
In some cases, obstetricians may suggest treatment that may delay birth to give the fetus more time to develop. In other instances, it is safest to deliver the baby preterm. One such example would be if the expectant mother has an infection or problems with blood pressure control. If this is the case, the mother can be given medication to help the baby’s lungs to mature before delivery, if there is sufficient time before delivery.
There are steps that women can take to help minimize the risk factors and complications associated with preterm labour and birth. It is very important to receive all the neonatal care offered. This is the only way a woman’s risk can be assessed beforehand.

A woman can reduce some of the lifestyle factors that are linked to prematurity if they:

  • Stop smoking or using any illicit drugs.
  • Refrain from using alcohol during pregnancy.
  • Use prenatal vitamins.

Good nutrition is very important. Women are at a higher risk of having a baby early if they are undernourished or underweight, particularly if their Body Mass Index (BMI) is less than 19.8 before pregnancy. Obese women (with a BMI more than 30) are at an increased risk for medical intervention that may lead to premature birth. It is unwise to diet during pregnancy but lifestyles can be improved. Being physically active throughout pregnancy will boost a woman’s overall wellbeing and reduce the risk of conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, which can lead to a premature delivery.
Physical abuse or stress from a serious life event can also cause premature delivery. It is important to get help. Confiding in a partner, friend or seeking advice from a doctor can provide the support needed to overcome the stresses that accompanies having a baby.

Taking home a premature baby
Paediatricians would not allow a premature baby to leave the hospital unless they feel that the baby is well enough to stay healthy at home and they are confident that the mother is capable of giving him/her the necessary care.
When a mother is finally told it is time to take her baby home, there is usually a flood of mixed emotion. On one hand, there may be sheer happiness at the prospect that her baby will finally go home with her. On the other, the prospect of taking home and caring for this tiny human can be daunting. The good news is that going home will be highly beneficial for mom and baby. By going home, there is a reduced risk of infection, there is better establishment of a feeding regimen and there is bonding between mother and child.

Rejection: The Perception of Failure That Can Lead to Suicide

December 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Rejection, and the fear of being rejected, ranks among the most potent and distressing of the everyday events that people experience; it can even lead to suicide.
Emotional rejection is the feeling a person experiences when disappointed about not achieving something desired. It is commonly experienced in a quest of emotional relations, such as among romantic couples, in social and group settings, or in the professional world in relation to advancement.
Rejection by a loved one, a romantic relationship, ostracism, stigmatization, job termination, and other kinds of rejections have the power to compromise the quality of a person’s life. As a result, people are highly motivated to avoid social rejection, and, indeed, much of human behavior appears to be designed to avoid such experiences. The act of rejection can make the person experiencing it undergo a sudden drop in positive emotion. This is displayed as something ranging from a vague disappointment, sadness, and depression, to anxiety, phobic behavior, or even stalking or forcibly abducting the rejecting person.
Rejection is both a cause and consequence of depression. Peer and family rejection in childhood and marital discord in adulthood are all associated with increased risk of developing a depressive disorder. Interpersonal processes involved in depression, such as self-verification striving, excessive reassurance-seeking, blame maintenance, and stress generation cause rejection and are key factors in the maintenance and recurrence of depressive symptoms.
Rejection and Suicide
Rejection is heavily associated with increased risk of suicide. In particular, social isolation and family discord are associated with elevated risk of suicide. Many evidence-based psychotherapies for depression and suicidal behaviors target interpersonal functioning. These therapies help clients change their interactions with others to prevent rejection and skillfully manage emotional pain that results when rejection occurs. Thus, although rejection is associated with both depression and suicide, psychotherapy can halt the downward cycle.
The detection and treatment of mental disorder is oftentimes the main focus of suicide prevention strategies. However, additional suicide prevention strategies may be necessary to help individuals who may take their own life despite no signs of a serious mental disorder.
There have been cases of persons, who in spite of accomplishments and successes, had taken their own lives in young adulthood leaving loved ones at a loss to understand what really happened.
These persons appeared to have compensated for their lack of self-worth by exaggerating the importance of success, thus developing a fragile, achievement-based self-esteem in adulthood which left them vulnerable in the face of rejection and the perception of failure.
A study done by researcher Mette Lyberg Rasmussen of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, uncovered a particular vulnerability in persons to feeling rejected and to not having succeeded in achieving their goals. This is in stark contrast to previous research, which largely seeks to establish that mental illness, and in particular depression, in the period prior to death is an important risk factor for suicide.
Rasmussen stated that “In these situations there is a strong sense of shame and of being trapped in anger. This develops into unbearable thoughts that the vulnerable person cannot regulate or manage, and leads to a feeling of a life not worth living. The former strategy, which involved compensation with continual increased efforts, does not work anymore, and suicide becomes a way out of a situation of unbearable psychological pain.”

Desire for Acceptance
The desire for acceptance, the opposite of rejection, is a driving force that keeps many people from being authentic. They are so driven by the need for acceptance by others that they lose their own identity in the process. They mimic the ways in which others act, dress, talk and function. Acceptance is the underlying process in the power of peer pressure and is what causes young people, and older people alike, to fixate on the culture of the day. They crave recognition and acceptance from the reference group with whom they want to be identified.
People who operate out of a fear of rejection often display little or no assertiveness; they do not speak up and let others know how they feel about something, especially if their opinions differ. They lack the courage to function differently from others, even when they don’t enjoy the behavior in which they are involved. They will often keep their personal feelings hidden from others and too often from themselves.
For too many people, the fear of rejection and the desire for acceptance are the main motivating forces for all actions in their lives. It plays a part in their choices concerning their education, career direction, work behavior, achievement level, interpersonal and marital relationships, family and community life, and the ways in which they spend leisure time. The person who operates out of a fear of rejection all too often ends up pushing away the very friends, family, and helpers who care the most. The pulling away of these caring ones appears to be rejection, and the vicious cycle goes on with negative results.
The causes of fear of rejection can range from such things as having a physical condition that the person believes makes them unattractive to others, being rejected as a child, or having been abandoned or unloved. The person may have had a traumatic experience of rejection that deeply scarred them, they may have never been exposed to healthy ways of dealing with conflict or disagreement, or they may lack a healthy self-concept, sense of self-worth or positive self-esteem.
But regardless of the cause, it can create real problems in the “here and now”. Fear of rejection can lead to codependent, clingy, obsessive, jealous, or angry behavior in relationships. It can make you drive others away from you. It can cause you to reject others to avoid being rejected yourself. Overall, a fear of rejection can result in a very damaging pattern of emotions and behaviours that can cause real hurt to relationships and your enjoyment of life in general.

Coping with Rejection
Stop the “bleeding”
One of the most common reactions people have to a rejection is to become self-critical. We list all our faults, lament all our shortcomings, and chastise ourselves endlessly. Romantic rejections cause some of us to employ an inner dialogue so harsh that it verges on abusive. We then convince ourselves we somehow deserve it.
Yet by kicking our self-esteem when it’s already down, we are only making our psychological injury worse, deepening our emotional wounds, and significantly delaying our recovery.
Revive your self-worth
The best way to restore confidence, motivation, and especially self-esteem after a bruising rejection is to use a self-affirmation exercise. Self-affirmations remind us of our actual skills and abilities and by doing so, affirm our value in the domain in which we experienced the rejection.
The exercise has two steps. First, make a list of qualities you have that you know have value, and second, write a brief essay about one of them. By writing a couple of paragraphs about one of our strengths, we remind ourselves of what we have to offer and revive our self-esteem.
Connect to those who appreciate and love you
Getting rejected also destabilizes our ‘need to belong,’ which is why we often feel so unsettled and restless after a romantic or social rejection. Our need to ‘belong’ dates back to our days of living in small nomadic tribes, when being away from our tribe was always dangerous and sitting among them was a source of comfort.

One way to settle ourselves after a rejection is to reach out to our core group – whether they are friends, colleagues, or family members – to get emotional support from them and remind ourselves we’re valued, loved, and wanted.

International Day for The Elimination of Violence Agaisnt Women 2015

December 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

This year, with a slew of new activities planned, November 25 will again be the day the world and its leaders unite to observe the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
In fact, since 1981 activists around the world have made this day one to combat and raise awareness of violence against women. Last year, social media users, many Guyanese included, took social media websites like Facebook by storm, proudly displaying orange profile pictures. The United Nation’s Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign had called all to “orange” their neighbourhood. The colour, they said, symbolized a brighter future without violence.
This was even as numbers showed that 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner; about 120 million girls have been forced into intercourse or other sexual acts at some point in their lives; and 133 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation.
Ending violence against women has been made a key priority. Violence is one of the main mechanisms denying women equality, and it imposes high social, health and economic costs.
It has been emphasised time and time again that violence against women is a human rights violation and it is a consequence of discrimination against women, in law and also in practice, and of persisting inequalities between men and women. It impacts on, and impedes progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security.
The costs and consequence of violence against women last for generations. Guyana has a strong and robust legislative and policy framework for the protection of women yet the number of women who suffer at the hands of abusers continue to rise.
Sadly, at least 22 women have been killed brutally this year; some have been shot, others hacked, beheaded, burnt, strangled and even raped before their lives were snuffed from them.
The Guyana Constitution along with several international treaties, including the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and other pieces of legislation such as the Domestic Violence Act (1996) and the Sexual Offences Act (2010) enshrines the rights of women.
Guyanese leaders have highlighted that the elimination of gender-based violence is an important issue that transcends all barriers including race, politics, culture or geographic location. It is seen as one of the greatest obstacles which can have a significant effect on the advancement of women.
Violence, in whatever form it takes, is repugnant to human life and freedom, and there is nothing remotely excusable about violence against women.
The leaders have also advocated for men to indicate that they are supportive of women. It is believed that change begins with men of honour speaking out, to let perpetrators know that violent attitudes and negative behaviour against women are unacceptable in any circumstance.
They have stressed the importance of women having a right to grow up in an environment that is free from violence, neglect, and exploitation.

The Exotic But Eerie Dyeing Dart Frog

December 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The vibrant colours of the Dendrobates tinctorius, more commonly known as the dyeing dart frog, easily makes it one of the most exotic yet peculiar creatures among the species of the poison dart frogs.
This amphibian is native to Guyana’s rich, pristine forests. This frog enjoys the ground and is inclined to remain there. However, it can be found on vines that hang close to the ground and near water.
Some dyeing dart frogs reach 3.5 cm long but most morphs are around 5 cm in length or slightly bigger, while some of the larger morphs may exceed 7 cm, although large ones are usually closer to 5.5 cm long. As of recent, however, breeders have had much success raising larger ones.
Dyeing dart frogs are usually black, with an asymmetrical pattern of yellow or white stripes running along the back, flanks, chest, head, and belly. However, it is not unusual for the body to be primarily blue-yellow, or mostly white. The legs can range from pale blue, sky blue or blue-gray to royal blue, cobalt blue, navy blue, or royal purple and are usually sprinkled with little black dots.
Males are characteristically smaller and more slender than females, but they have larger toe discs. Interestingly, the toe discs of female dyeing poison dart frogs are circular but their counterparts’ are heart-shaped. Also, the females have arched backs while males have curved ones. The Dyeing Dart Frogs usually consume ants, spiders, termites and other insects.
Interestingly, this frog can prove to be highly toxic if consumed, for it produces pumiliotoxins which is used for self-defense. While pumiliotoxins are said to be weaker than their derivative allopumiliotoxins and the batrachotoxins secreted by Phyllobates species, they are sufficiently toxic to discourage most animals from feeding on them.
Severe digestive problems occur when animals fail to take heed of its bright colours which is intended to represent danger. It is said that in the case of the dyeing dart frog, the toxins can cause intense pain, cramping and even stiffness if the animal is not handled correctly.
It is understandable that they have very few enemies. The colour scheme of the frogs are also said to give an indication of the varying degrees of toxicity. The brighter and more the colour mix, the more deadly it should be viewed.
Some rate these frogs as the most poisonous animal alive. In Guyana and others parts of South America, the poison produced by the dyeing dart frog plays an instrumental part in hunting for indigenous tribes. Hunters from indigenous tribes regularly hunt birds, monkeys and other small animals using poison darts. The poison often comes from the dyeing dart frog.
In some cases, its toxins are incorporated in a decorative process where feathers are removed from birds and dipped into the poison. The high toxins cause the feathers to transform into a beautiful yellow colour if it was once red or green. These modified feathers are highly revered in those tribes and they are used as part of certain ceremonial processes.
Dyeing Dart Frogs are sought after and exporting is usually an easy process. For further particulars or details on how this poisonous frog can be exported, contact Animal Farm Guyana Lot 5 New Haven, Bel Air, Georgetown, Guyana, South America on Telephone: 592-227-5585 or 592-223-9888, US Direct Number: 1-954-246-4841, Fax: 592-227-0373 or via email on email:

Guyana Breaks Into The Formula 4 Market

December 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Guyana has broken into a new realm of racing with the introduction of its first Formula 4 (F4) Driver, Calvin Stanley Ming, at the Inaugural NACAM (Norteamérica, Centroamérica, Caribe y Norte de Sudamérica) Championships in Mexico.
At the big weekend (October 30 to November 1), the launch of the F4 class took place on the grandest stage of them all: the Mexican Formula 1 Grand Prix set for Mexico City’s revamped Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Leading up to that weekend, Ming told the media that he was relaxed. He was adamant about his usual game plan: “apply the concepts and techniques that I would have learnt over the last year in the (United) States at Team Pelfrey.”
It was on Saturday October 31 2015 that Ming broke the barrier as the first driver of Guyanese parentage to enter the F4 arena and one of the first Caribbean men to make a stake in that level. Ming is the son of eminent Guyanese entrepreneur and veteran Guyanese racer Stanley Ming.
The young Ming qualified a decent 7th on the grid. He had faced some late issues on qualifying day but that did not dampen his spirit. Rather, it worked as the motivation which fired him to do better come race day.
Making a bit of a ‘bobble’ (as he describes it) at the start of the race cost him a quick two spots after just the first lap but the Guyanese was intent on flying the Golden Arrowhead high.
Reverting to his game plan and putting his shoulder to the wheel, the young Ming moved up to fourth spot, much like his racing number, before the safety car was called onto the track in the dying minutes after another competitor spun.
He used his reflexes to dart to third quickly on the restart of the race but was overtaken on the last lap of the race, owing to the fact that he did not block because his team radio had incurred problems and could not hear that it was the last lap.
Nonetheless, the Guyanese racer took the optimistic approach, saying, “The race was pretty intense and I was able to learn a lot more being the first time I’m in a winged open-seated car race. I will definitely keep up the momentum and keep pushing for more. Hopefully next race I’ll be on the podium.”
In July this year, the junior Ming did some testing in a F4 car belonging to Team Pelfrey, a top team in the United States. After an evaluation, he was invited to drive for the team. Calvin Ming was exposed to some valuable lessons in F1600 series – another open wheel, single-seater, open cockpit setup, similar to the F4 series that he would be participating in.
The F1600 class featured the same basic design and driving style of the F4 cars. As such, he quickly picked up a podium finish during the second of the three race days, copping valuable points that aided his team to constructors’ glory.
He called that fixture, “A really good race from the go”, adding that “as soon as they dropped the flag, I tried to stay up with the lead pack. That was my whole objective for the race.” It proved a valid strategy as he ended second.
All the while, testing continued at the Gingerman Raceway in Michigan, Putnam Park Road Course in Indianapolis, Indiana and the New Jersey Motorsports Park where he completed over 500 laps and covered a distance of approximately 800 miles. The 6 days of intense testing in the US was done in preparation for his ‘rumble with the big boys.’
During his training, Calvin Ming was under the watchful eyes of his personal coach, team directors, mechanics, and engineers.
The next stop on the Ming train is right here in Guyana, where he will thrill fans with a demonstration run of one of his two F4 cars during the final leg of the Seaboard Caribbean Motor Racing Championships (CMRC) on November 14-15.
Calvin Ming started racing in the shifter kart division in Guyana before attending the Florida International University where he pursued a Degree in Engineering. He also attended the Skip Barber Racing School Programme where he emerged as top student in a class of 21.

A Case for Immigration Reform

November 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Keith Bernard

It should be proposed that Guyana reform its immigration laws to allow for, at least, 1,000,000 new citizens from around the world, i.e. people that have specific skills needed to increase economic growth and prosperity in Guyana. Contrary to some economic theories, an increase in population growth is linked to economic growth. However, certain factors, such as a strong job market and the availability of skilled workforce, will make the linkage complex.
Guyana has never been able to reach a population of 1,000,000 citizens, except if you count those in the diaspora. According to the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) World Factbook, in 2013 the country’s population was 799,600, including a workforce of 313,100. As shown in the table below, the population growth was 1.1% from 2005 to 2010. Moreover, according to the United Nations (UN), the population growth rate was 0.5% from 2010 to 2015. In 2013, Guyana’s gross domestic product (GDP) – a measure of productivity – was US$3 billion. In 2013, Wal-Mart employed 2,200,000 workers and generated an operating income of US$27.8 billion.
According the Multilateral Investment Fund, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), during 2014, US$438 million (up 5.5% year over year) were remitted to Guyana from
overseas based Guyanese. This number represented 14% of total GDP. As result, per capita GDP of $6,700 was misleading as most Guyanese supplemented or depended on these remittances to meet
their everyday need for products and services.
According to an IMF Staff Report dated September 25, 2014, to address economic growth and poverty reduction, Guyana needs to modernize its traditional sectors, such as agriculture, mining as well as divest into new industries to hedge its risk against volatility of world commodity prices. It is well publicized that the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has endured many years of billion dollar losses due in part to volatility in world sugar prices. On the other hand, Banks DIH Ltd. has enjoyed years of profitability of billions of dollars.
To implement large scale divestments, the country needs a large and meaningfully skilled work force, one that is far more in excess of the aforementioned 313,000. The solution is to open naturalization process to a million or more skilled labour from places with underutilized talent and expertise in Information Technology (IT), Logistics, Mining, Agriculture, Advance Food Processing and light industry manufacturing in addition to Infrastructure Building such as roads, bridges, and irrigation systems. Where will you find these people? Try India, Africa, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Haiti, Brazil and Mexico. Why would people want to come to Guyana to live and work? Because, among other factors, the dollar is fairly stable against the US dollar. Moreover, inflation is low at 2.5%, a positive for purchasing power. In 2013, household consumption was 89% compared to government consumption of 11%. This will change with an increase in population because of an increase in domestic consumption that will see the Government’s coffer balloon as a result of increase in tax receipts both from personal income and businesses. According to the CIA World Factbook, in 2013, government’s expenditure was $US875 million versus $US732 million in revenues for a deficit of 4.5% of GDP. Taxes and revenues accounted for a mere 23% of GDP. For the same period, public debt was 57% of GDP.
According to UN data, in 2012, exports were US$1.1 billion compared to imports of $1.9 billion – a balance of negative US$830 million. According to UN data, in 2012, Guyana’s main trading partners were: Imports – USA (26%), Trinidad (15%) and Curacao (11%) and Exports – USA (29%), Trinidad (15%), Venezuela (14%) and UK (12%). Surprisingly, where are Canada and Brazil or any major European, Middle East or Asian countries? These are potential major markets that could only be entered with a significant expansion in the labour force.

« Previous PageNext Page »

Menu Title