Guyana halts large scale sugar production: Terrifying consequences ahead

January 2, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Sugar was first cultivated on a plantation-scale in Guyana in the 1630s, that is, nearly 400 years ago. This sweet sector was one of Guyana’s most rewarding sectors back then as it served as one of the strongest pillars of the economy. In fact, sugar was one of the reasons why Guyana was able to attract the interest of many international donors and investors, as the sector was deemed to be robust and profitable.

Today, this sector, which has an employment base of nearly 17,000 workers, is about to face a huge scale-down in production.

In the eyes of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition Administration, keeping sugar alive on a large scale would be tantamount to allowing a cancer to eat away daily at limited resources which could be used for the development of other sectors.

The Government’s decision to end sugar production has not been taken lightly by those within the sector, as well as the political opposition, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP). There have been protest actions this year which amounted to the loss of close to 30,000 hours of labour. This will no doubt affect the end of year production of the sector. But even in the face of this action, the Government is holding its ground.




The Sugar Industry is the only sector in Guyana that bled the nation of over $40 Billion in less than five years. This is even before the new administration came into power. Before the APNU+AFC took over, they promised that they would bring an end to this practice; the practice of bailing out a sector whose production costs and employment costs far exceed the revenue that it brings in. But even the new government was hard pressed to bail out the industry as well. In 2015, the Government noted that the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) was unable to make payments to its employees and needed cash fast to repair a number of estates. This resulted in the Government doling out $12 Billion in its first year in office. That amount was intended to help the sugar industry clear some of its debt but it only ended up clearing owed wages and salaries for that year. The following year saw a cash injection of $11 Billion. And for 2017, the administration had no choice but to grant the state-owned entity, GuySuCo, some $9 Billion to take care of fixed expenses. In three years, the Government has expended $32 Billion in this sector. This amounts to $72 Billion in less than 10 years, which would have been taken from the national purse to keep a dying industry alive. If large scale production is not cut back now, GuySuCo would need close to $10 Billion every year to stay afloat.




The situation gets worse when one considers the amount of debt that the sugar industry is drowning in. Statistics show that GuySuCo has failed to make a profit since 2005 and even suffered losses to the tune of $67.8 Billion by 2009.

By the time the PPP left office, GuySuCo’s debt burden was $80 Billion.

According to Dr. Clive Thomas, GuySuCo’s Chairman, the state-owned entity owes $1.7 Billion to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS); $7.6 Billion to the Guyana Revenue Authority; $226 Million to the Guyana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU); $665 Million to the Pension Fund; $1 Billion to foreign creditors; $2.8 Billion to local banks; $829 Million for a Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) loan; and $29.3 Billion in loans for the Skeldon Sugar Factory. In order to clear some of the debt, GuySuCo’s top executives have agreed with the Government that it should engage in the sale of some of its lands. This process has already started.



The Government’s decision to scale back on the production of sugar by year end is not only influenced by GuySuCo’s debt as well as its financial impact on the national coffers. It is also influenced by the poor state of the sugar estates in Guyana.

During the 1970’s, Guyana had 11 sugar plantations. These were stationed at Leonora, Uitvlugt, Wales, Diamond, Enmore, La Bonne Intention, Ogle, Albion, Blairmont, Rose Hall and Skeldon. With a number of factors influencing sugar production over the years, this was reduced to six.

Today, the Government has moved to merge the Wales Estate with Uitvlugt Estate. This decision was taken since an evaluation report showed that Wales was operating at less than 60 percent capacity, coupled with its deteriorating drainage and irrigation systems.

Albion Estate will also be merged with one at Rose Hall. This brings the total to three: Blairmont in West Bank Berbice, Albion-Rose Hall in East Berbice and the Uitvlugt-Wales in West Demerara.

The declining production figures of the aforementioned estates along with their dilapidating state is what moved the previous administration to commission the establishment of a state of the art sugar estate. The Skeldon sugar estate was built to the tune of US$200 Million. It was, and still is, one of Guyana’s most costly projects. The estate was built by the Chinese. It was expected to rescue the sugar industry.

Instead, the Skeldon Sugar Estate became the sugar sector’s worse nightmare. Bit by bit, the world class facility started to fall apart, until it was deemed unsafe for employees and left Government with no choice but to shut shop earlier this year. The Government has pumped more than $20 Billion into trying to repair this one estate. And it is still saddled with repaying the loans which supported its establishment. The current administration is now in the process of selling this lost cause.




The Government’s move to bring an end to large-scale sugar production is also in keeping with a commitment it made to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF is a global donor agency which also monitors the financial health of its members.

The IMF warned that it would be in keeping with prudent financial management practices for Guyana to rid itself of continuous bailouts to the sugar sector unless its intention is to nurture an economy that is riddled with debt and lopsided in growth.

Since this cautionary statement, the Government has been, on an annual basis, reducing its bailout to the sector. While the industry enjoyed a $9 Billion cash injection for 2017, it will only receive $6 Billion for 2018 and no more.




While the IMF did warn the Government to take certain fiscal measures when it comes to sugar, it did warn that this should also be done in consideration of the social implications that would result.

The Government has not done a single study on how its move would affect the sugar workers. What it has done was launch a Commission of Inquiry into the sugar sector, and it continues to follow the recommendations which speak to cutting losses.

It is yet to tell the nation what are its plans to support over 10,000 workers and their families which will be displaced for the Christmas season and months to follow.

The Billion Dollar Drug and Pharmaceutical Trade: Past, Present and Future

January 2, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Guyana’s Pharmaceutical Industry is one that has been marred by perceptions and instances of corruption, delayed delivery of drugs, disorganization, overpricing, abuse of sole-sourcing provisions and a total disregard for rules and regulations. In short, it was a conundrum of chaos!

In the past, only selected companies were able to benefit from the procurement of drugs and pharmaceutical supplies for the nation. This was not a perception but a fact that has been spoken on at length by many of Guyana’s most prominent and respected politicians.




Prior to the May 11, 2015 General and Regional Elections, Vice Chairman of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan, asserted that once the Coalition (APNU+AFC) won the presidency, the practice of sole-sourcing of pharmaceuticals would be banished, save the cases where it is actually seen as a necessity.

His comments in this regard would, of course, follow a series of concerns over the years as it relates to the Health Ministry’s continued sourcing of drugs from the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation Limited (New GPC) without using the proper national procurement rules and regulations. This was done irrespective of numerous commitments to cease this practice. New GPC has been supplying the bulk of the medical supplies for the nation for over 14 years.

The APNU and the AFC had also spoken to the pre-qualification requirements for the supply of drugs, which both parties said were changed to such an “unreasonable” extent that it forced only one person or company to qualify for the supply of pharmaceuticals. That company was the New GPC. Under the revised criteria for the pre-qualification of suppliers of drugs and medical supplies, the bidders must demonstrate a profit earning of $1 Billion (US$5 Million) and net assets worth US $2.5 Million.

One of the Ministry’s criteria is that maximum score would be given to those who paid $50 Million in corporate taxes annually. The company with 50 or more employees and warehousing capacity of 30,000 square feet in the city would also get an edge. New GPC is, however, the only entity in Guyana with a storage facility of that size. According to the revised pre-qualification criteria, maximum points will also be awarded in the evaluation process to the applicants who have been supplying the Public Health Ministry for over six years without any negative reports.




Under a new administration, much of this has changed. More than 18 companies can now bid for drug and pharmaceutical contracts. But this fresh wind of change will bring with it its own problems. As the Ministry of Public Health seeks to move forward with the improvement of the drugs and pharmaceuticals system, it will interface with a number of challenges; one being collusion.

In fact, the collusion between moles in the public health system and a few crooked suppliers of pharmaceuticals is what led to the Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, taking a controversial route a few months ago in the procurement of emergency pharmaceuticals for the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).

The Minister made the following remarks in an effort to correct misleading comments in some sections of the Guyanese populace. The misguided comments, she said, were in relation to certain documents which were leaked, giving the false impression that the medical facility attempted to purchase pharmaceuticals from Ansa McAl Trading Limited through sole-sourcing.

The Public Health Minister emphasized, nonetheless, that the Guyanese company was one of the four companies from which these emergency supplies were procured. The other entities included New GPC, Health 2000 and Chirosyn Discovery.

The Minister of Public Health said that other companies were not a part of this process due to ongoing probes into their late/ non-delivery of emergency pharmaceuticals for which they were contracted to procure for GPHC during 2016. She said that some of these pharmaceuticals were due for more than half of the year.

As such, she explained that this escalated the issue of drug shortage at the hospital. She explained that moves were made to fast track the purchase of these drugs so as to reduce damaging effects on patients due to the shortage of some critical drugs. “This influenced the decision to seek the green light from the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) for Ansa McAl to provide medical supplies at a cost of $605 Million.”

Lawrence explained that Ansa McAl is one of only two companies in Guyana that can provide the cold chain storage necessary to maintain the integrity of a wide range of drugs which are crucial to the health sector in Guyana.

“Ansa McAl not only air-freighted the drugs (this helped spike the cost to import the items) for the public health sector, but also donated four refrigerators to GPHC to store the emergency supplies at the internationally acceptable temperature of 2 to 8 Degrees Celsius. No other company in the history of the institution has provided cold storage facilities at the hospital, even though at least one of them (NEW GPC) was the sole supplier of pharmaceuticals to the institution for over 20 years.”

The Public Health Minister shared that the medical supplies for Guyana was sole-sourced from that company for billions of taxpayers’ dollars. During that period, she said that GPHC used ice packs to store these sensitive drugs at the facility because the main refrigerator was in poor condition and unable to maintain the exact temperature for the pharmaceuticals, thereby jeopardizing their effectiveness, strength and integrity. Lawrence stressed that she was unwilling to jeopardize the subdivision and the lives of citizens. As such, she did what she felt was necessary.

The matter has since come in for investigation by the newly established Public Procurement Commission. A report from this body has since been laid in the National Assembly.



As it continues to highlight the loopholes within the system, the Ministry of Public Health is also making moves to address the quality of drugs being imported by some suppliers. Senior officials within the Ministry of Public Health said recently that emphasis is being placed by some critics on the cost of the pharmaceuticals being purchased. However, none is being placed on the quality of drugs imported for the health sector the officials stressed.

In this regard, they asserted, “Most of the pharmaceuticals imported are generic drugs from third world countries which, in many cases, are not produced under international standards.”

The Public Health officials said that many of the manufacturers are not certified with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) while others are not approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the treatment of certain diseases. There is even an ongoing investigation into “inferior or bogus” medical supplies which were provided to GPHC by a popular local supplier.

The matter is being investigated by the Food and Drugs Department. The Ministry noted, however, that this is not the case with all suppliers of drugs. In this regard, the officials cited that the drugs imported by ANSA McAL Trading Limited are from internationally renowned manufacturers who are both ISO certified and whose pharmaceuticals can be verified by checks on the WHO website.




The Public Health Minister has said that when it comes to the future of health in Guyana, efforts will be made to have a system that is accountable and transparent.  She added that the system needs urgent and massive overhaul as she found that several procurement officials are not only unqualified for the job, but also unwilling to obey the rules, which unfortunately leads to chaos within the health sector.

Therefore, “there will be slippages and the loopholes will be many,” Lawrence said. The slippages, Lawrence stated, still exist “because health is a rewarding industry and a lure for dishonest folks and venal firms. Hence, many have fallen victim to the allure of dishonest gain.”

“Without a shadow of a doubt, this shortage is man-made and designed to rob the nation of pharmaceuticals and cash… But I am not for sale,” Lawrence said.

The Public Health Minister said that the engineered shortage of drugs in the system meant that drugs that should have been in stock since 2016 to cater for demands in the first quarter of this year were no longer available. She stressed that this has dire implications to the tender process for drugs. She said that she is bracing for a fierce fight from suppliers and stiff staff opposition because they now feel helpless by the fresh wind of change that is brewing in the direction of the nation’s health care system.

The fresh wind of change, she said, has brought open tender; a proper procurement policy which includes computerization of data, storage of vital pharmaceutical drugs under globally accepted conditions and the placement of pharmacists in wards of the GPHC.

In addition, the Pan American Health Organisation and World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) are lending their support in an effort to help develop a proper and accountable public health system. PAHO/WHO is helping to shape policy directions in the areas of purchasing, distributing, storing and monitoring the depletion levels of pharmaceuticals at the GPHC.

Furthermore, Lawrence said that the current difficulties in the public health system are compounded by its inability to forecast forthcoming needs correctly due to its dependence on a pen and paper system which is rarely updated.

Lawrence wants this ended immediately and has promised new measures to accomplish this. The first step was taken recently when she met with several delinquent suppliers at her Brickdam, Georgetown office. “The policy and standards will be rigorously applied to guarantee the safety of the Guyanese people who are my priority,” she asserted.

Ministry of Education to focus on ‘Innovation’ through Youth Innovation Project

September 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

In simple terms, the word ‘innovation’ is defined as a new idea, method or device. It is also the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay. Further, to be called an innovation, an idea must be replicable at an economical cost and must satisfy a specific need.
Innovation involves deliberate application of information, imagination and initiative in deriving greater or different values from resources, and includes all processes by which new ideas are generated and converted into useful products.
In business, innovation often results when ideas are applied by the company in order to further satisfy the needs and expectations of the customers.
Like its rich pristine landscape, Guyana has rich human and natural resources piping with creative juices. The next step is the materialization of those ideas which will inevitably position our populace – especially the youth – in the right direction.
In recognition of the high level of unemployment among Guyana’s youth, and the need to further youth development, the Ministry of Education is embarking on a Youth Innovation Project (YIPoG) which was launched on May 22, 2017 at the Umana Yana.
The project will address in- and out-of-school youths, and is intended to harness the hidden innovative spirit among young people by providing timely and affordable interventions and funding to implement their pioneering ideas.
The project will support existing initiatives such as the Youth Entrepreneurship and Skills Training Programme (YEST), the Volunteerism Support Platform (VSP), and the President’s Youth Award Programme Republic of Guyana (PYARG).

The Competition
The Tertiary Institution and Community Technical Innovation Challenge or TICTIC calls for responses/action by youths/groups/schools to societal issues. The purpose of this contest is the recognition and support of the production of outstanding project proposals and initiatives in the 10 Administrative Regions of Guyana.

Persons from all 10 Administrative Regions, including Georgetown, in the 16-35 age range and who are not attending a primary or secondary school are eligible to participate. Applicants are encouraged to come up with creative ideas and fundable project proposals that would qualify them to access training and seed funding. Teams of up to 10 persons will be tasked to design and build a STEAM initiative under the mentorship of their teachers.
STEAM refers to activities based on science, technology, engineering, agriculture, anthropology, archeology, architecture, the arts, mathematics and spirituality.
They will also be expected to use STEAMs to propose innovative solutions for identified problems and compete against other teams in the community and country-wide.


Important dates:-
Deadline: July 14
Feedback from Selection Committee:
July 1 – August 31
Announcement of winning projects:
September 1
Production of prototype:
September – November
Evaluation: December 1-15

Categories for the Winners
1. Most Relevant to Sustainable Communities
2. Most Creative and Innovative
3. Best Plan and Project Design
4. Best use of STEAMS
5. Best Presentation


(Article taken from the Guyana Inc. Magazine Issue 27)

Press Release: 51st Independence venue preparation moving apace

May 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Government’s plans are moving apace to complete the sprucing up of Durban Park and all other auxiliaries to ensure a memorable, culturally sound and patriotic commemoration of Guyana’s 51st Independence. At present there are ongoing upgrade works being undertaken by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure at the venue.

This was among the many updates presented by the various stakeholders of the planning committee for the 51st Independence Celebrations. The comfort, safety and security of the patrons to the venue are  of paramount importance. This includes the VIP as well as the 27 stands which seat in excess of 30, 000 patrons. Emphasized at the meeting was the need for all involved to ensure that due procurement processes are adhered to for transparency and accountability.

Sound and lighting improvement are assured ahead of the May 25th event. Already the Ministry of Public Infrastructure has commenced addressing the location assiduously with a view to completing all necessary ground works. The over growth is being removed and general external cleaning of drains has also commenced.

A ministerial site visit is set for May 24th even as the multi sectoral approach continues with the Ministry of Education Department of Culture taking the lead role.

From the Guyana Police Force standpoint, security will be further heightened given the nature of the event. The GDF has indicated that adjustments have been made for the number of ranks on parade to be increased and rehearsals have commenced.

The Guyana Fire Service has assessed the ground and will do further visitations to ensure that the event would not be affected by prevailing weather conditions. The GFS has also assured that a fire safety evacuation plan is in place in the event of a mass causality occurrence. They assured that they are ready to respond in event of an emergency and noted that fire fighters will be present in each of the 27 stands.

Technical Vocational Education and Training- The Key To Regional And Global Competitiveness

September 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

According to UNESCO and the International Labour Organization, Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) involves the study of technologies and related sciences; and the acquisition of practical skills, general education, attitudes and an understanding of occupations in various sectors of the economy.
With this in mind, it is clear that TVET plays a critical role in shaping human and national development. In fact, a country with skilled human capital is an economy that shows significant growth potential.
Over the years, Guyana has been paving the way for thousands of young people with comprehensive TVET programmes. In this regard, the Ministry of Education believes that the success of any developing country can be considered a key indicator of the country’s advancement in development.
Moreover, it can be argued that any country that evolved into a technologically advanced one must have witnessed the critical role of TVET education in equipping its work force with the requisite skills and training.
A survey by the technical arm of UNESCO—UNEVOC showed that worldwide, some 80% of all occupations require TVET certification. The Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies, (CANTA), also supports this. According to CANTA, the role and positioning of TVET as an economic activity (well integrated within the education system) must be imperative for CARICOM’s sustainable development and prosperity.
In Guyana, there are 10 public TVET Institutions within the Ministry of Education. These public Technical Institutions offer programmes in a wide range of areas including: Business Studies; Electrical Installation; Electrical Engineering; Arts and Craft; and Cosmetology. In addition to this, TVET programmes are also offered at the level of Secondary Schools through the Secondary Competency Certificate Programme (SCCP) as well as CXC.
The Ministry of Education intends to help students gain the skills they need to compete anywhere in the Caribbean and beyond. What is also important to note is the fact that TVET programmes are designed for everyone including those who may have a disability.
Over 1000 persons graduate annually from these TVET Institutions with skills ranging from entry level to supervisory level skills and have helped to maintain and encourage the growth of the Guyanese economy.
TVET graduates continue to make a valuable contribution to the socio-economic development. Chefs, Arts and craft specialists, engineers, lawyers, business tycoons, doctors, pharmacists, economists, bankers, ministers and officers of government, and many other professions have passed through the hands of the highly skilled staff of the TVET centres.

List of TVET Centres:
1. Carnegie School of Home Economics, Durban and High Streets-Georgetown (226-2441)
2. The Craft Production Division, Durban and High Streets-Georgetown (225-5728)
3. Government Technical Institute, Camp Road-Georgetown (226-2468/227-1197)
4. Guyana Industrial Training Centre, Woolford Avenue-Georgetown (226-6196-7)
5. Essequibo Technical Institute, Anna Regina-Region 2
6. Leonora Technical Institute, Leonora-Region 3
7. Linden Technical Institute-Region 10 (444-3333/6719)
8. New Amsterdam Technical Institute, Berbice-Region 6 (333-2562/2702)
9. Upper Corentyne Technical Institute-Berbice-Region 6 (339-2210)
10. Mahaicony Technical Institute, Mahaicony-Region 5 (221-2190/2198/2199)

Taking A Closer Look At The Performance Of The Controversial NDIA

September 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

While the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) has experienced its fair share of challenges like any organization would, an objective analysis of its performance for the year 2015 would certainly show that it has implemented its work plan creditably.
This was manifested with the construction of several drainage pump stations, clearing of numerous canals, and the installation of pumps countrywide.
It was observed that the NDIA improved the drainage network across the country which was a major part of its mandate. As a result, construction of drainage pump stations were completed at Windsor Forest, Canal No. 1 Polder, Paradise/Enterprise, Pine Ground, Rose Hall and GuySuCo No. 66 Village Eversham BBP, No. 43 Village BBP, Bengal BBP, Gangaram, and Lima.
That aside, the primary focus of NDIA continues to be to improve and upgrade drainage and irrigation services countywide, thereby enhancing the competitiveness of the various sectors and improving productivity.
With this in mind, it was observed that NDIA carried out a number of maintenance work during 2015. There was maintenance of approximately 24,350 rods of drainage and irrigation canals within Wakenaam, Leguan and Cane Grove NDC; maintenance of 106,177 rods of drainage and irrigation channels and canals within Community Development Councils areas such as Greenfield, Hope, Anns Grove, Two Friends, Bellfield, Nabaclis, Golden Grove, Haslington, Triumph, Friendship, Kuru Kuru, Mocha, Barnwell North, Bell West, Friendship, Lusignan to Vryheid’s Lust Area, Canals Polder, etc.
There was also maintenance of 129,376 rods of drainage and irrigation channels and canals within Water Users Associations’ areas such as Cane Grove, Golden Grove/Victoria, Blankenburg/ Den Amstel, Vergenoegen/ Naamryck, Lot 52 – 74, Black Bush Polder, Crabwood Creek, Vreed-en Hoop/La Jalousie.
Based on its records, it was noted that the 2015 capital budget of $4.295 billion entailed the provision of $1.701 billion for the maintenance of Drainage and Irrigation (D&I) infrastructure and the operation of pumps, excavators, etc.; $2.051 billion for the construction and rehabilitation of D&I infrastructure; $311 billion for the construction of the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) channel at Hope/ Dochfour and $232 billion for the rehabilitation of the EDWC structures.
After an examination of its recently updated records, it was noted that NDIA was able to execute its 2015 recurrent work programme according to plan.
The NDIA also continued to work along with the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary – Agricultural Development Authority (MMA-ADA) to bring relief to rice farmers along the coast.
It was discovered, however, that the finance department was faced with a number of constraints during 2015 as a result of a financial audit, resignation of the finance manager and two assistant accounts and issues with transportation.
Furthermore, 2015 also saw Guyana experiencing both flooding and drought like weather conditions which resulted in the NDIA having to undertake a number of emergency operations to aid farmers and residents in general.
In fact, documents reveal that in May 2015, the NDIA was tasked with bringing some level of relief to rice farmers who were suffering from flooded rice lands on the Essequibo Coast.
With the continuing El Nino period, the NDIA was further tasked with conducting continuous works across the country to provide irrigation to farmers given the limited water resources available.
Officials from the NDIA also met with members of the Civil Defense Commission (CDC), GWI and other officials to discuss the way forward impeding the El Nino conditions.
During 2015, NDIA also saw a total of 169 project activities being undertaken under the local capital funded component. 130 of these projects have been successfully completed, with the remaining 38 projects rolling over into 2016.
It was noted by NDIA, however, that one project had to be abandoned due to a shortage in material. Pump station constructions were completed at Windsor Forest, Canal No. 1 Polder, Pine Ground, Paradise/ Enterprise, Joppa, Eversham, Gangaram and Lima.
In addition to completing pump stations, NDIA carried out repairs to a number of sluices, culverts, revetment and bridges.
As it relates to administrative matters, in July the CEO of NDIA, Mr Lionel Wordsworth, proceeded on administrative leave and Mr. Fredrick Flatts was appointed as the acting CEO.
Furthermore, President David A. Granger introduced a National tree planting exercise in October last which saw the staff of the NDIA partaking in the activity by planting trees in and around the compound and around pump stations across the country.
On a lighter note, two NDIA engineers rescued a stranded flamingo from the Essequibo River while conducting routine visits to drainage and irrigation structures.
The animal was brought to the city and immediately donated to the Zoological Park. The NDIA staff also participated in the Ministry’s annual cook off and inter-ministry sports activities.

Performance Report on Guyana’s Energy Sector

July 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Based on the statistics, Guyana’s Energy Agency (GEA) seems to be performing exceptionally well. In fact, a total of 5,001,497 barrels of petroleum-based products was imported in 2015, representing about 13,703 barrels per day.

This represents a 1.27 percent increase when compared to 2014. Petroleum imports for the year were acquired at a cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value of US$355,201,732, representing a decrease of 36.76 percent from that of the previous year.

Twenty-six percent or 834,056 barrels (2,285 bpd) of total imports were obtained under the PetroCaribe Agreement during 2015.  There were increases in the consumption of Mogas, Kerosene, Avjet, Fuel Oil and LPG with reductions in the consumption of Diesel and Avgas. Notably, consumption of Avjet and Fuel Oil increased by 32.58 percent and 5.11 percent respectively.


Guyana Inc. was able to accurately ascertain that the average cost per barrel of petroleum-based imports decreased from US$113.72 in 2014 to US$71.02 in 2015, a decrease of 37.55 percent. This downward trend also continued for the average unit CIF value for each petroleum product. There were decreases of 32.85%, 37.91% and 38.95% in the average unit CIF value (US$/bbl) for Mogas (gasoline), Gasoil (diesel) and Jet fuel/Kerosene respectively. In addition, the average unit CIF value for Fuel oil, Aviation Gasoline (avgas) and LPG (cooking gas) also decreased by 42.08%, 22.31% and 34.13%, respectively.


Solar Energy

1,164 kW of solar photovoltaic capacity was documented as being the total installed capacity in Guyana producing an estimated 2,125 MWh of energy annually.

Building on the experiences of GEA’s solar PV grid-tied system, GEA, through competitive bidding, procured a 10 kWp solar PV system which will be installed at the Agency’s head office in the first quarter of 2016. This will result in additional annual savings of G$920,000 and avoided carbon dioxide emissions of 8.8 tons annually.

During 2015, GEA’s Engineers installed 11 energy efficient LED solar-powered street lights, bringing the total number of installed solar-powered street lights to 13 and resulting in annual savings of about G$800,000 per year.

GEA’s Engineers, during the year, repaired and rehabilitated a total of 1.655 kW of solar PV equipment at 4 schools.



The GEA, with support from the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) coordinated with other Arco Norte countries to gather information to support an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded pre-feasibility study to explore the possibility of an electrical interconnection and generation expansion project involving Guyana, Brazil, Suriname and French Guiana.

Fifteen (15) visits were conducted at eight (8) hydropower sites in five different Regions during the year. As part of the GEA programme to encourage and demonstrate the use of renewable sources of energy, a number of activities were completed at the Hosororo, Region One  hydropower site. Collection and analysis of water level data and watershed delineations were also done at the Kumu site, Region Nine.


Wind Energy

GEA continued to monitor and record wind data (speed and direction) at four sites: Port Mourant, Kumu, Mahdia and the University of Guyana.

GEA also assisted the Hinterland Electrification Company Inc. (HECI) in selection and evaluation of fifteen potential wind sites along Guyana’s coast where the best four will be chosen to carry out wind measurements.


Biomass Energy

In exploring the use of rice husk biomass to generate electricity, a 400kW/hr gasification system was installed in Region 2 (Pomeroon – Supenaam) by a private rice miller. The project was installed with the assistance of The Energy Research Institute (TERI) and support from the Government of India.

100 energy efficient wood stoves purchased in 2014 were distributed and demonstrated at a pilot scale to 10 households in 10 hinterland communities.

Additionally, 10 energy efficient institutional wood stoves were also demonstrated and distributed to nine hinterland residential schools/institutes. The energy efficient design will result in an 80% reduction in firewood consumption versus the open fire.


Energy Efficiency

Engineers from the GEA and Ministry of Public Infrastructure replaced 37 high pressure sodium vapour (HPSV) street lamps rated at 250 watts with energy efficient Induction Lamps rated at 120 watts. It is estimated that G$1,173,000 would be saved annually and 14.7 tons of CO2 emissions would be avoided. Ten (10) energy efficient LED street lamps rated at 80 watts, 100 watts, and 120 watts replaced 10 x 250 watts high pressure sodium lamps.

Sixty-five x 100 watts LED street lamps were procured as part of the Agency’s ongoing effort to promote energy efficient street lighting and replace existing 250 watts HPSV street lamps. It is estimated that G$1,468,000 would be saved annually when the lamps are installed in 2016.

With support from the Work Services Group, a total of 300 defective photo sensors on street lights were replaced as part of GEA’s efforts to conserve energy, translating into annual energy savings of about G$18.2 million.

GEA completed Energy Consumption Assessments of 70 buildings in the last three years along with the change-out of inefficient lighting at 28 buildings.



Engineers of the GEA conducted research in a number of areas: hydropower, natural gas, vapour recovery systems, biomass, wood waste potential, energy potential from rice husk, gasification systems, refrigerant replacement, solar powered and energy efficient street lights.

GEA conducted several visits to the Town of Bartica based on government’s mandate to transform the area into a ‘Green Town’.

Energy assessments targeted at government buildings and schools with the aim to reduce energy consumption, assessed the potential for roof top grid tie and standalone solar PV installation were conducted.

GEA also identified a suitable location to conduct wind measurement and is currently awaiting the relevant approval to install a wind mast.


National events slated for the Golden Jubilee celebrations

July 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 


While private entities have been making their grand plans for Guyana’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, the Government has carefully crafted a number of events that will last throughout the year in honour of this occasion. Here is a look at some of the spectacular events that encompass political appreciation, cultural diversification and the promotion of national unity.


National Trust – Architecture and Heritage Festival
(All Regions) May 15th-28th @10am – 3pm each day


Jubilee Literary Festival Continues – “Ottoman and We
(Upper Demerara – Region 10) May 20th


Yukuriba Republic Road

Jubilee Jam
(East Berbice-Corentyne, Region 6) May 20th New


Amsterdam Guyana Action Committee Gala (Demerara-Mahaica, Region 4) May 21st Fusion of


Cultures/ North West

Awards Ceremony
May 21st Police Gymkhana (East Berbice-Corentyne,

Region 6)

“Tales of Our Fathers” Play (Upper Demerara-Berbice, Region 10) May 21st


LICHAS Independence Exposition
(Upper Demerara-Berbice, Region 10) May 21st


Miss Guyana World Pageant (Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) May 22nd



Horse Racing Cup
(Mahaica  Berbice, Region 5) May 22nd


Dedication of Unity Park (Pomeroon-Supenaam, Region 2) May 22nd


Perth Village,

Essequibo Boat Cruise
(Upper Demerara – Region 10) May 22nd

Jubilee Literary Festival Continues
“Future Tense: Isika”

May 22nd


Schools Pan Explosion
(Inter-regional schools steel band competition

(Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) May 22nd

Merriman’s Mall National Symposium including Distinguished Lecture (Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) May 23rd-24th


Arthur Chung Conference Centre The Digital Tent (Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) May 23rd


Arthur Chung Conference Centre Legacy of Iconic Guyanese Women – Launch (Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) May 23rd

 Arthur Chung Conference Centre National Creative Writing Competition
May 23rd at Giftland Mall


Short Play Writing Competition May 23rd at Giftland Mall


National Poetry Slam – On the theme of Independence May 23rd Giftland Mall


Steel Pan Symposium (workshop, demonstrations, exhibition), Youth Village (Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) May 23rd – 24th National Park


Book Launch
– Guyana at 50

(Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) May 24th Arthur Chung Conference Centre



Book Launch
– Coee Table Publications
(Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) May 24th Arthur Chung Conference Centre


The Legacy Of Female Icons

(Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) May 24th


Literary Prize Giving Ceremony (Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) May 24th Arthur Chung Conference Centre



(Upper Demerara, Region 10) May 24th Regional Members Association Finals Linden Sports Club (CONCACAF)

Prepared Speech Competition on Independence

(Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) May 24th Carifesta Sports Complex


International Football Friendly (Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) May 25th National Stadium

National Flag Raising Ceremony (Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) May 25th Durban Park @ 9pm


Jubilee Float Parade (Demerara-Mahaica, Region 4) Details to follow May 26th


GTT sponsored Mega Event (Demerara-Mahaica, Region 4) May 26th National Stadium


Day of Sports
(Barima-Waini, Region 1) May 27th


Elite League Football Championship

(Demerara-Mahaica, Region 4) May 27th National Stadium


50 Shades of Reggae May 27th Hj Water World


50th Anniversary Gala (Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) May 28th Arthur Chung Conference Centre

T20 Cricket

(East Berbice-Corentyne, Region 6) May 28th Albion Sports Club



Independence Ball
(Barima-Waini, Region 1) May 28th Brooms Resort


Finals of the 10/10 Softball cricket Competition
(Demerara-Mahaica, Region 4) May 28th National Stadium@10am


Banks DIH sponsored

Mega Concert
(Demerara-Mahaica, Region 4) May 28th National Stadium @ 8pm


T20 Cricket

(Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) May 29th National Stadium


Culture Night
(Demerara-Mahaica, Region 4) May 29th Golden Grove


Youth Reception

(Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) May 31st Lawns of State House @7pm


Youth Parliament (Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) June 3rd


Parliament Village Day Launch (Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4)

June 4th – Cane Grove

June 11th – Victoria

June 18th – Chateau Margot

June 25th – Diamond

July 2nd – St. Cuthbert’s Mission


Youth Village

(Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) August 12th-13th National Park


Steel Band Music Festival and Award Ceremony (Demerara – Mahaica, Region 4) November 19th & 20th Cliff Anderson Sports Hall




2016 Local Government Elections paves way for historic changes

July 27, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

With its two-decade long absence, the return of Local Government Elections to Guyana two months ago has brought another tier of democracy to the citizenry.

The citizens of Guyana were once again given back their right to elect the people they want to follow, the people they believe possess the tools and the skills to elevate and make their communities more liveable.

To understand what Local Government Election is, the functions of Local Government should be explained first. This system is responsible for providing many important services. Some of these responsibilities include: the improving of working and living conditions in a specific Municipality or Neighbourhood Democratic Council; encouraging and supporting local economic activities; improving the delivery of goods and services; promoting healthy social and cultural life; raising the level of awareness of citizens about their community; providing advice and supporting people in their communal activities; maintaining and protecting public property; and protecting and improving local physical surroundings through: garbage collection, cleaning of drains and parapets and the maintenance of streets etc.

Indeed, the absence of the Local Government Elections has had its effect on communities in Guyana. One effect was the stagnation of development and another; the barring of the public’s input.

It is, however, hoped that with the return of this level of independence, new ideas and ultimately a new approach, will be taken into the management of communities.

During the months leading up to the elections, there were many voter-education programmes being conducted throughout the country. However, the voter-turnout was met with much scrutiny.

Due to this, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) found itself staring down the barrel as they were being accused of not going the extra mile to educate the electors. Also, candidates/parties received their equal share of criticisms for allegedly not expanding their reach fully to the constituents.

It was also evident that many electors were not au fait with several aspects of the process which subsequently led to some confusion at various polling stations throughout elections day.

Nevertheless, Guyanese have the ability to learn from their shortcomings and will see this elections as a “try-out”. It is hoped that at the next Local Government Elections, scheduled for 2019, the populace will have a better grip and understanding of the process.

The return of the election has also created some form of competition. Some officials who sat in offices for the past two decades, were seen stepping up to the plate at the last minute, all in fear of being replaced.

Their replacements have now found themselves in a position where they too will have to deliver or be removed as well. This is a good approach in ensuring that citizens get 100 percent from their councils and it also puts the citizens in the “backseat-driver” mode.

There is always the notion that in a constituency, there is a specific person or group of persons with the potential to do more than those in power can. The return of the Local Government Elections has provided the platform for these persons to step forward and vie for these posts.

Lower Voter-turnout in 2016 than 1994’s Elections

The 2016 Local Government Elections was held in 71 Local Authority Areas, which includes 62 Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) and nine Municipalities – an overall total of 508 Constituencies. 149 consistencies were a “no contest”, since only one party would have expressed interest in contesting in each.

In the voter turnout results released by GECOM, some 507,584 voters were captured on the Official Voters’ List and 1,562 Polling Stations were open to facilitate voting. However, there were 239,070 votes (47.1 percent) cast in total, with 2,747 being rejected or spoilt.

The turnout figure represents a 10% increase over GECOM’s estimated figure and also represents a decrease from the 47.91% of voters who participated in the 1994 LGE.

The Local Authorities (Elections) Act was amended in 2009 to include as many people as possible, apart from political parties, to present themselves as candidates. There were 83 groups, three political parties, 63 individual candidates, and 17 voluntary groups.

According to the data that GECOM provided, the lowest turnout was recorded in the Municipality of Linden where the ruling APNU+AFC coalition had secured 15 of the 16 council seats. In that municipality, only 8,279 or 35.15 percent of the 23,880 registered voters took part in the elections.

Georgetown, whose council is now being dominated by the coalition, recorded the second lowest voter turnout at 37.66 percent.

Of the 112,364 registered voters, only 42,313 casted their ballots. This represented a 4% increase on the 33.37% of voters who participated in the 1994 LGE in Georgetown.

Youths and the Local Government Elections

The Mayor and City Council of Georgetown also went through a change in its council. The Deputy Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green moved up to the position of Mayor as her predecessor Hamilton Greene, retired.

This paved the way for the young and vibrant, Sherrod Duncan, to obtain the position of Deputy Mayor who, to some extent, is being applauded for his efforts and his dream of making the city, the gem of the Caribbean.

One can safely say, that the return of the elections has clearly cemented the path for youths to enter into the political area. One such youth is 19-year-old Maxine Ann Welch, the new Deputy Mayor of Lethem and not forgetting, the youngest City Councillor, 23-year-old Akeem Winslow Cennick Peter.

There have been numerous calls to get more youths to contest in the Local Government Elections. There have been also, countless letters being written to the local media saying that the youths have the power yet they refuse to step up to the plate.

However, now that the newly elected young Councillors, Mayors and Deputies have taken up their posts and have begun to wield their constitutional-invested powers in the best interest of their constituencies, eyes are beginning to open and spirits are being lifted. It is hoped that with the next Local Government Elections, Guyana will see more youths contesting.

The 2016 Local Government Elections has also created history. Thirty-five year old Gifford Marshall was elected the first Mayor of the Bartica Mayor and Town Council with Kamal Persaud being elected Deputy Mayor.

Bartica was officially declared Guyana’s seventh town just recently, as more than 15,000 flooded the avenues soaking in the celebration.



Ministry of Communities: Taking Development to a Whole New Level

December 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In May, Guyanese were introduced to a brand new Ministry.
After emerging victors in the General and Regional Elections, the relatively new coalition, as part of its new-look Government, unveiled the Ministry of Communities, merging what was formerly known as the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development with the Ministry of Housing.
The idea, explains Ronald Bulkan, the Ministry’s first leader, was to bring the country’s development in line with reality on the ground. Bulkan has been handed the task to make it all happen.
The creation of a Ministry of Communities (MoC) is long overdue, Bulkan explained to Guyana Inc.. “It is only logical and sensible to have a single Ministry that will be responsible for delivering all of the services which pertain to creating decent and dignified living conditions,” the Minister added.
Continuing, he explained “It is a Ministry that has, at its heart, human needs and the interest of citizens. Simply put, a single Ministry, under one administrative structure, would be better able to coordinate activities in a holistic and comprehensive manner rather than multiple separate agencies. It is for efficiency and rational delivery.”
It was the same explanation that the Minister made on August 20, 2015 during his national budget presentation to the National Assembly. The focus of the new ministry is to create communities, he belaboured. “We want to develop communities which include proper infrastructure, good water supply, roads, recreational facilities, health centres and schools, among others. In this way, citizens can enjoy decent standards of living.”
Indeed, development in the past has been hampered by the fact that coordination was needed on many initiatives and projects, often leading to delays.
“The decision to create the MoC,” Bulkan explained, “is in line with campaign-promises regarding housing, made during the 2015 campaign, as articulated in the Manifesto which is now government policy. It is part of the broader, comprehensive, holistic strategic vision of the administration to create a better life for all Guyanese,” the Minister said.
The new ministry is ambitious in its promises as they have stated their intention to initiate a campaign called ‘Renewing the Dream’ which will expand and upgrade housing development away from the seaside and facilitate home ownership, not only house lot distribution.
Minister Bulkan noted that in the past, it was the practice to issue house lots and not look at the wider development aspect that will ensure citizens are living in schemes that offer more than a place to live.
“The MoC was created also to merge community development with regional development. The administration is of the firm view that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between development and empowerment; there can be no regional development in the absence of regional empowerment.”
The administration intends to give effect to Article 74 of the Constitution, which states: “It shall be the primary duty of local democratic organs to ensure in accordance with Law the efficient management and development of their areas and provide leadership by example.”
With this in mind, the administration expects that Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs) to leverage their particular natural and human resources to attract investments, create jobs and thereby, promote development, instead of simply waiting for subventions from central government.
“Regions are expected to be productive regions, not just administrative regions. This view was articulated by His Excellency (President David Granger) on July 10, 2015 when the new Regional Chairpersons (RCs) were sworn in at the Ministry of the Presidency. On that occasion, the President said, ‘Every single region can be rich, no region is desert, no region is swamp land, and every region has resources, human resources, material and natural resources, and we must decide how those resources must be exploited in order to benefit our people.’”
On that occasion, the President also called on RCs to craft developmental plans for their regions- he charged each RDC to craft a Plan of Action for Regional Development (PARD). He said that in crafting such a plan, “serious consideration must be given to clearly defined economic goals.”
RDCs will now have the ability to make a meaningful contribution to their own development. “Regional empowerment involves transferring decision-making power from central government, into the hands of the people. Decentralisation of power involves devolution, deconcentration and deregulation,” the minister stressed.
In other words, the ministry, and by extension the new Government, is seeking to place more power in the hands of the people.
“Devolution and deconcentration is the transfer of administrative and decision-making processes to sub-national levels of government, such as our local democratic organs (LDOs). This transfer of roles, responsibilities and functions will be accompanied by the requisite authority and autonomy, to empower LDOs such as Regional Democratic Councils to leverage their diverse natural and human assets to benefit residents of each region.”
As a matter of fact, RDCs will now be empowered and expected to raise their own revenues, work directly to attract business investors and thereby, create jobs and opportunities for their respective residents.
“Regions will not only be administrative subdivisions of the country, but they will be productive and self-sufficient. Citizens can therefore have more opportunities and wider prospects to build better lives regardless of where they live.”
Deregulation includes the divestment of state-controlled assets to the private sector, as well as delegation of responsibilities to non-centrally controlled statutory bodies.
“Decentralisation, therefore, will result in central government working hand-in-hand with local democratic organs, nongovernmental organisations, and the private sector, to raise the standard of living of all Guyanese, instead of dictating to citizens from offices in Georgetown,” Bulkan intimated.
According to the Minister, many initiatives will be undertaken to facilitate and augment the process of regional empowerment, which will lead to development. One such initiative was the unveiling of Regional Flags and Emblems at the Regional Democratic Councillors Leadership Forum at Arthur Chung International Convention Centre on July 31.
“The flags embody the spirit and economic backbones of each region, and capture their unique resources and sources of pride. The administration believes that there is strength in diversity and honour in acknowledging our proud traditions in our varied and diverse land,” the Minister stated.
He is insistent that the new ministry was created to comprehensively improve the standards of living of all Guyanese by facilitating coordination among the various departments which make this possible – department of housing, department of water, department of regional development and department of local government – which are the four departments within the MoC.

Next Page »

Menu Title