Guyana needs equal opportunity laws

first_imgDear Editor,The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) notes the announcement on Thursday, April 18 by Exxon Mobil of another find, marking the thirteenth on the Stabroek Block.This find will add to the already expected more than five billion barrels to be produced, yet Guyanese workers have no clear understanding or guideline on how they are expected to foremost benefit from these resources that belong to them.Outside of announcements as to profit sharing between Government and the oil companies and sweeping statements, the revenue would be directed towards improving social services on which citizens/workers have nothing concrete to hold on to.GTUC is on record calling for the Government-prepared Local Content Policy to be reviewed by stakeholders with the aim of having same become more inclusive and finally put into law.In our March 5 publicly announced nineteen-point proposal, outlining a menu of measures to forge the constitutional political system of inclusionary democracy, we called for this. Letters of our desire were dispatched to President David Granger and Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo.To date, neither Government nor Opposition has made any move to activate this crucial and important aspect of our development that would assure local labour and businesses that they stand to gain and be protected.Evidently, the politicians see the next General and Regional Elections as the mother of all elections, primarily because oil and gas are expected to flow come 2020.The workers of this country have various political association, a basic right that must be respected, but what they are wary of is that the enjoyment of said right could present a climate where they could be excluded from/discriminated against selling their labour, actively participating and benefitting from the sector.Already, there are allegations of discriminatory practices in preference of one group over the other by local contractors involved in the sector. Similar charges are made about the public and Private Sectors.To take the allegations lightly in a racially fractured and polarised society is to prepare to see the intensifying of tension and clashes amongst groups. This country needs equal opportunity laws as a matter of principle and urgency.People are already staking claims that they stand a chance to benefit. Where expectations are not met, disgruntlement and its attendant fallouts will follow. Now is the time for a national plan, the facilitating of diverse views on how Guyanese can benefit and must be allowed to participate.GTUC reiterates concern that citizens are being made to feel like the national focus is singularly on elections and nothing can happen until after.External forces and internal threatsIn the meantime, the sabre rattling between the superpowers – the United States of America and Russia – over Venezuela is escalating.Where Venezuela has already signalled non-participation in Guyana’s approach to the International Court of Justice to seek a peaceful resolution to the border controversy and has been in alliance with Russian to funnel its oil sales, thus evading US sanctions, we cannot sit easy. Particularly so since the US now has a direct and vested interest in exploiting our oil and gas resources.What is currently evolving in Venezuela, unless we have our defence and protective mechanism in place, can have a deleterious impact in Guyana and amongst Guyanese.Further, the world is replete with evidence where superpowers have sown seeds of discord, undermined Governments and invaded countries in the name of democracy to commandeer their oil and gas resources.Guyanese must be good stewards of history not only in recording and recounting, but also putting systems in place to avoid similar pitfalls.We have to stand as one in the face of our finds and external happenings and not allow ourselves to be the pawns of any in their quest for dominance and proving their might.GTUC reiterates the importance of this nation achieving a unity of purpose and commitment through the establishment of inclusionary Local Content and attendant laws.This nation, as a matter of urgency, must proceed judiciously in addressing matters that are bound to impact our sovereignty, peace and stability, be it internal and/or external.Sincerely,Guyana Trades UnionCongress (GTUC)last_img read more

SA, Angola strengthen ties

first_img22 February 2005South Africa and Angola have signed four agreements aimed at strengthening economic and social co-operation between the two countries.The agreements, signed by the ministers of both countries in Cape Town last week, formed part of a visit to SA by Angolan Prime Minister Fernando De Piedade Dias Dos Santos.The visit by Dos Santos and his delegation followed Deputy President Jacob Zuma’s visit to Angola in August 2004.Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya and Angola’s Social Assistance and Reintegration Minister Joao Baptista Kussuma signed an agreement on co-operation in the fields of social protection and re-integration.Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa and Angolan Transport Minister Andre Luis Brandao signed an agreement on reciprocal promotion and protection of investments.Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota and his Angolan counterpart, Kundy Pahyama, signed a protocol on defence cooperation, while Minerals and Energy Minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Angolan Energy and Water Minister Jose M Botelho de Vasconcelos signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of electricity.Zuma and Dos Santos discussed a wide range of issues during their meetings, including reconstruction programmes in Angola, regional and continental peacekeeping efforts; and conflict prevention, management and resolution in Africa.Angola has an immense natural resource base in the form of oil, gas, diamonds and other minerals.The country, that has endured more than its fair share of civil wars, has the potential for significant exports of coffee and other agricultural products, as well as fertile highlands with a favourable climate and plenty of water.Various SA companies and agencies, including Eskom, the Gauteng Economic Development Agency, Protea Hotels and Absa Bank, have visited Angola recently to explore the possibilities of investing there.In addition, a number of South African churches and NGOs are contributing towards rebuilding Angola after decades of protracted civil war.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Another milestone for KAT-7 telescope

first_img29 September 2011The Square Kilometre Array South Africa team have reached another milestone with the completion of the seven antennas of the prototype KAT-7 and the delivery of the telescope’s first astronomical image.South Africa, allied with eight other African countries, is competing against Australia (allied with New Zealand) to host the €1.5-billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA), an instrument 50-100 times more sensitive and 10 000 times faster than any radio imaging telescope yet built.The KAT-7 is a prototype for the MeerKAT radio telescope array, an 80-dish precursor instrument for the SKA, being built by the SKA South Africa team on the Karoo Astronomy Reserve outside the small town of Carnarvon in the Northern Cape province.First astronomical imageLast month, SKA South Africa announced that all seven of the KAT-7’s dishes had been fitted with “cold” radio receivers, signaling the successful completion of the telescope antennas.The first astronomical image – of the galaxy Centaurus A, whose intense radio emission is powered by a massive black hole in the centre of the galaxy – has already been made using cold receivers on all seven KAT-7 dishes.According to SKA South Africa, the resulting image was much more sensitive than a preliminary image made with just four of the KAT-7 dishes fitted with un-cooled receivers in 2010.“The radio receivers and all their components are cooled to about 70 Kelvin (minus 203 Celsius) in order to reduce the ‘noise’ which is inherent in all radio (and TV) receivers,” SKA South Africa said in a statement. “This allows the telescope to see much fainter objects than it would if the receivers and ‘feeds’ operated at room temperature and were not cooled.”‘Early science’ for the MeerKAT and SKAThe improvement would allow the KAT-7 to perform “early science” in preparation for the MeerKAT and the SKA.“These preliminary observations will be focused on the needs of the MeerKAT large survey projects, and include imaging of nearby galaxies and work on radio transients and pulsars, for which KAT-7 is well suited.”The KAT-7 is testing technology for the MeerKAT, which is in its early construction phase and is due for completion in 2016.The MeerKAT, besides being an important step towards the realization of the SKA, will be among the most powerful telescopes in the world in its own right, providing African scientists and engineers with a cutting-edge instrument for revolutionary science and technology.“This latest milestone in the development of the KAT-7 telescope has again been achieved on schedule,” said MeerKAT project manager Willem Esterhuyse.Esterhuyse commended the technical staff on the site – Siyabulela Tshongweni, Sibusiso Wakhaba, Andre Walker and Matthys Maree – all of whom have been trained in their special high-tech skills by the SKA SA project.The international science funding agencies and governments involved in the international SKA consortium are due to announce the winning bidder for the SKA in 2012, with construction likely to start in 2016 and take place in phases over several years, with completion by about 2022.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Stars lined up for Mandela Sports Day

first_img12 August 2013Award-winning artists including DJ Black Coffee, Zahara, Toya Delazy, Mafikizolo, DJ CNDO, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Salif Keita and the Mahotella Queens will be part of the line-up at the inaugural Nelson Mandela Sports and Culture Day at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.Other artists include David Jenkins, the Mahotella Queens, Umoja, Gcina Mhlophe, DJ Alessandro, Wouter Kellerman, Naima Mclean, Elvis Blue and 1st Project, and Kurt Darren.Announcing the lineup on Monday, Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile called on South Africans to continue to celebrate Mandela’s life “in order to re-commit ourselves to the ideals he dedicated all his life towards achieving.“It is these noble values that continue to guide us as we seek to build a national democratic society that is truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous,’ Mashatile said.Mandela, who turned 95 on 18 July, is making a “slow but steady improvement” in hospital in Pretoria, where he was admitted over two months ago with a recurring lung infection, although he remains in a critical condition, the Presidency said on Sunday.“As Madiba lies in hospital, we continue to keep him in our prayers and thoughts,” Mashatile said.The day will begin on Saturday with a football match between the South African Masters against the Italian Masters at 11am, followed by an international friendly between Bafana Bafana and Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) runners-up Burkina Faso at 1:30pm.The Springboks will then tackle Argentina in the opening match of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, kicking off at 5pm.Former Bafana Bafana captain and captain of The Legends, Lucas Radebe, said he was looking forward to the soccer match. “Music and football play a great role in unifying the country. As a country, we are lucky to have Mandela with us as our icon,” Radebe added.Tickets for the inaugural Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day are on sale at Computicket and Shoprite/Checkers outlets across South Africa. The proceeds will go towards building the Nelson Mandela Children’s and SAinfo reporterlast_img read more