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Date: 17 Jun 18 06:09am
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Date: 17 Jun 18 06:09am
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Date: 17 Jun 18 06:09am
There is a strongly held belief that only protest will get the government to fulfill its mandate to the people.This principle was manifested in the Port Kaituma District yesterday as scores of residents took matters into their own hands and blocked a major artery to press their demand for better roads.In some cases the roads are almost impassable, with craters ranging from 12 to 18 inches in depth.And with the remoteness of the area, accessing vehicle spares to replace those that are constantly being damaged, is becoming more of a burden and expense.The area’s inhabitants are convinced that they are being deceived by officials within the Ministry of Public Works, who they say keep making empty promises.From as early as 06:00 hours, the residents used several large objects to effectively shut-off traffic to and from the gold mining backlands, as well as the Port Kaituma Airstrip.According to one resident, officials of the Interim Management Committee, Jerseys From China, that oversees the district, had informed that money was allocated for repairs to the road, but to date no work has started.Kaieteur News understands that no contractor has been identified to carry out the work, leading to greater anxiety among the residents with regards to prolonged hardship they will have to endure.The residents became even angrier when they tried contacting a senior Ministry of Works official, only to have him deliberately turn off his cellular phone.Port Kaituma residents say that while they will relax and allow vehicles for the essential services to operate, they will be upping the ante to ensure that their demands are met with a speedy resolution.This newspaper tried unsuccessfully to contact Works Minister Robeson Benn and his Permanent Secretary.However Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon at his weekly press briefing told journalists that over the past two to three weeks, hinterland roads and their rehabilitation have been a matter that was high on the agenda, both at the level of the President and his weekly meetings with his Sector Ministers.Luncheon took the opportunity to address to some extent the Port Kaituma issue as well as the road in Bartica which also saw protest actions, aimed at forcing speedy attention.He said that the Works Minister had provided Cabinet with evidence that there was some setback with regards to design and to a greater extent the weather, with specific reference to the road in Bartica.“I think the situation has been a bit complicated by the actions of ill-advised residents who have ditched the road, and in a variety of ways, have made the actions by the Works Services Group and the Public Works Ministry even more difficult than it ordinarily would be, ” Dr. Luncheon said.He explained that in Port Kaituma, Minister Benn conceded that the road there needs urgent significant rehabilitation and Cabinet was assured that the public works Ministry was attending to it.
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Date: 17 Jun 18 06:08am
The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development yesterday hosted a workshop for the Regional Engineers Department and Works Committee, in an effort to target issues surrounding overpayments to contractors for various projects in the ten administrative regions; from the issue of preparation of bills of quantities, to the completion of projects.The venue was the Guyana International Convention Centre.The workshop being conducted at the Convention Centre yesterday.Emphasis was being placed on the duties of officers who are tasked with the responsibility of assessing works and recommending payments-the area in which overpayments occur.Minister of Local Government, Ganga Persaud, addressing the Convention Centre yesterday, said that his Ministry is hoping to put an end to the poor works being reflected in the Auditor General’s report.Regional officers all gathered at the Turkeyen venue for the workshop. One of the Regional Executive Officers, Deolall Rooplall, was tasked with presenting on the “Budget and Fiscal Management Act”. Design and Preparation of the Bill of Quantities was done by Mr. Kheeraj from the Ministry of Public Works.Mr. Budhan Nipan, of the Expenditure Planning and Management Unit, presented the topic – Monitoring and evaluating the projects.Functionality of the Works Committee was presented by Mr. Peter Ramotar, another REO.The workshop also dealt with the issue of Payments and Overpayments; presenting on this was the Works and Structures Department of the Audit Office of Guyana.Prior to the workshop, Minister Persaud had explained that “overpayment” in this sense does not mean that contractors getting more than the contract sum, but that they are paid for works which they were not able to complete for whatever reasons.Overpayments have been repeatedly featured in reports of the Auditor General. There have reportedly been numerous instances of overpayments to contractors by some regions.These overpayments were as a result of payments made for works without prior assessments. Heads of some agencies have recovered monies, but others did not.It was reported that despite contracts being incomplete, Wholesale China Jerseys, officers from the works department of the region continue to certify payments.Persaud yesterday noted that while many may want to point fingers for various political reasons, there are persons from the various political parties who are members of the Works Committee who would report that the works were “satisfactorily” done. This, he explained, is how payments are being issued.He added that if Regional Officers feel that their salaries are too small, “they should find another job.”
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Date: 17 Jun 18 06:08am
In recognition of the fact that its new operations framework will have to revolve around updated legislation, the Ministry of Health with the support of the Attorney General is currently working towards having key legislation repealed.At least this is according to the Health Ministry’s Parliamentary Secretary, Joseph Hamilton, who during an interview with this publication revealed that the Ministry currently functions under legislation that dates back to the colonial period.“They will have to be repealed and we have started on that journey, ” said Hamilton.At the moment at least two outdated pieces of legislation are gaining the attention of the Attorney General’s Chambers. These, according to Hamilton, are the Nurses and Midwives and the Optometrists’ legislation.It was also disclosed that there are plans to commence consultations very shortly with stakeholders and the public, even as measures are put in place to repeal the existing Public Health Ordinance.  The proposed replacement will take the form of the Health Promotion and Protection Bill, Hamilton said.“In the next couple of weeks I will commence consultations with the Regional Democratic Councils, Municipalities and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils, because the Public Health Act straddles everything…whether it has to do with housing, hotels, eating places or the types of foods we eat…and so we have to do wide consultations, ” said the Parliamentary Secretary.Added to this, Hamilton disclosed that moves are afoot to include in the Health Promotion Bill how mass gatherings are dealt with. This undertaking is especially crucial, since according to him “I suspect we are unprepared…if you have 10, 000 people gathered and you don’t have medical facilities, what will happen if there is a tragedy.”Hamilton said that against this background there must be prescription to allow for people to hold mass gatherings, inclusive of a medical tent complete with doctors and nurses.He alluded to an incident during the most recent Bartica Regatta which resulted in the death of a popular speedboat racing champion, Orin Belle. “I suspect he died because we are back in time. If I understand it, he took about an hour before he got medical attention, and all the information suggests that he bled to death.”“If we had a medical outpost at Lake Mainstay I suspect Mr Belle might have been alive, because he would have been stabilised; he would have had medical intervention before being taken to the hospital some 45 minutes away, ” said Hamilton.“We can’t have situations where we have men driving at 100-odd miles an hour and these things have propellers that can kill you, and you don’t have a doctor and you don’t have nurses. So that is a new remedy you have to bring.”Moreover, he asserted that there is need for water sports to have legislation governing them, as should other high speed sporting activities such as car racing.  Referring to car racing, Wholesale Jerseys, the Parliamentary Secretary said that he has been informed that over time measures were put in place to ensure that medical outfits were organised during such events.“They have had their medical outfits there but that was ad hoc. They just thought they should do it…but this is the way it must be done.”According to Hamilton, in order for any mass gathering to be held today, permission must be granted by the Police Force as well as the Fire Service. However, the new proposed legislation will require that permission is granted by the Chief Medical Officer as well.“He will have to ensure that you are suitably prepared. If you are going to gather 5, 000 you have to prove to us that you have a tent, a doctor, nurses, an ambulance on standby…but if you go beyond 5, 000 the same remedy cannot apply.”Another issue that the legislation is likely to govern is the operation of pools in public spaces. This is in light of the fact that over the past 10 years there were several drowning incidents at a particular public pool and other resort type locations.“There is a need for a lifeguard and that is how it must be done. Were those measures in place we could have saved a lot of lives. We have to do consultations with the promoters, sponsors of these events, business people and all the people concerned.”Also, Hamilton said that in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government, another Bill will be crafted with the intent of establishing an Environmental and Solid Waste Authority to address garbage disposal.“People often just focus on the garbage but fail to consider the wider situation. We have to find a way, holistically, how we deal with solid waste management, from Crabwood Creek to the North West District to the South Rupununi, ” Hamilton insisted.The Environmental Protection Agency, he said, hasn’t the remit to address solid waste management and currently “we have no framework, and so the Attorney General is working to develop the legal prescription.”
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