Opposition calls for wide consultation on amendments

first_imgAmerindian Act 2006– wants initiatives under LCDS to be addressedAs Amerindian leaders from across Guyana gather for the annual National Toshao Council (NTC) conference which kicks off today (Monday), the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) said it hopes that the conference will ensure that there is clarity and will not harm Amerindian rights and ensures that there is the widest possible consultation in the communities across the country.Flashback: A section of National Toshaos Conference during one of the sessions last yearCiting recent developments, the Opposition said there have been trends under the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition Government which is aimed at threatening Amerindian rights. The first concern relates to consistent statements made by top Government leaders to have the 2006 Amerindian Act revised.This objective, according to the Opposition, has been further re-enforced by President David Granger in a statement on June 14, 2017, that was published by the Government Information Agency (GINA) with regards to the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Lands. However, there has been no indication of what sections need to be amended, the Opposition noted in a statement on Sunday.“The PPP/C wishes to inform the NTC participants that it will support any amendments which will enhance Amerindian rights. However, it will strongly oppose any amendments that will dilute the rights of our Indigenous Amerindian peoples,” the statement added.The Opposition has expressed worry about the purpose of this push by the Government to revise the 2006 Amerindian Act in the absence of any wide-spread call by the Amerindian peoples and communities to revise this Act. Furthermore, it said any revisions must be subject to consultations with all the Amerindian communities under the principle of “free prior and informed consent” as was done during the process to create and draft the Amerindian Bill.“We have a similar worry with regard to the Government’s sloth in the implementation of the opt-in mechanism for the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). This is critical to maintain the principle of “free prior and informed consent” with Amerindian communities. This fundamental issue requires that the Government commits at this conference to expedite the opt-in mechanism,” it added.The party said participants of the NTC should be well aware that the LCDS was one of the most innovative initiatives by the PPP/C Administration which also received international recognition. It initiated the largest pioneer carbon trading scheme for forest carbons which earned US$250 million revenue and contributed in a significant way to the further development of the country.Unfortunately, the present Government’s repudiation of the LCDS and the initiatives designed to enhance national, and in particular, Amerindian development, according to the PPP/C, has destroyed long years of work at all levels to find a modern inclusive national developmental strategy for the future.It said the Government’s often mooted alternative of a Green Growth Strategy remains a mystery with no specific initiatives to address development. Further to that, the party said by the Government’s refusal to implement the LCDS and its inability to create a viable alternative has, in fact, created an enormous vacuum. As a consequence, the Government has given scant attention to the LCDS’s identified programmes which include multi-year projects, the Amerindian Titling Project and the Amerindian Development Fund (ADF), which are fully funded under the REDD+/GRIF and the Government of Guyana/ Norway Partnership.“These have yielded no results since the change of Government. The end result is that applications for titles and extension of lands to Amerindian peoples and the demarcation of titled lands are now virtually at a stand-still. Whilst the ADF seems to have become susceptible to “cherry-picking” by the Government as to which villages will receive their project funds,” it stated.It also pointed out that the slowing down of all the initiatives of the LCDS, and, in particular the ALT and ADF projects, is a major cause of concern and should be addressed at the conference. The PPP/C said it is critical that the Government provide clarity to the NTC on the future of these projects and how soon they will be addressed.Land CoIAddressing the issue of the controversial Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into land titling, the PPP/C said while it is understood that the CoI work has put on hold the examination of issues relating to Amerindian lands, the NTC should note that there has been no amendment of the gazetted terms of reference of this CoI.Therefore, the Government has not moved from its original objective to examine and scrutinise all Amerindian communal lands titling. The Opposition has therefore encouraged the NTC conference to ensure that the Government is called on to commit to exclude Amerindian land titling from the CoI’s mandate and to revise its TORS accordingly.The PPP noted that there is a growing concern by a number of communities which are already in possession of communal titled land that these could come under threat with regard to the Government’s announcement to establish new NDCs adjacent to, encircling and/or within titled communities in interior regions.In addition to these fears with regard to land rights, there is growing concerns of ethnic and political discrimination. The first such act was the dismissal of 1972 young Amerindian Community Service Officers by the Indigenous Affairs Ministry in July 2015.“This was the single largest ethnic group to have been dismissed from the public service by the new Government. The loss to Amerindian communities across the country by the termination of this large number of young people is enormous; it is estimated that $800 million has been withdrawn from the village economies, and, 10,000 people directly dependent on these persons for their livelihood have been impoverished,” the party stated.After vigorous protests in the media, in the National Assembly and with the international community by the PPP, the Indigenous People’s Affairs Minister promised in August 2015 that the Government would replace the PPP’s CSO Programme with another such employment programme. However, this is yet to be delivered.Furthermore, there have been more casualties along the way – the delivery of health services in the hinterland regions has been plagued with constant shortages of critical and basic medical drugs and supplies, poor management, and bad decisions made at the central Ministry affecting access to these services; and, the maintenance of critical coast to interior and internal road networks has been sadly neglected.The PPP/C said, “We anticipate that many of these issues, including many other concerns, will be deliberated on by and among the NTC participants as well as in the presence of the Government. As the week of discussions unfold it is critical for the Toshaos, Councillors and other representatives to recognise that you have two powerful instruments at your disposal – the Guyana Constitution and the 2006 Amerindian Act.”last_img read more

Manpreet Singh to lead India in Hockey World League semis in England

first_imgHalfback Manpreet Singh was today named the Indian hockey captain for next month’s 3 Nations Invitational Tournament in Germany and the World League Semi Final in England after regular skipper P R Sreejesh was ruled out due to a knee injury.The 3 Nations Invitational Tournament will be played in Dusseldorf, Germany from June 1 followed by the Hockey World League Semi Final in London starting June 15.The 18-member team will play two matches each against hosts Germany and Belgium before arriving in London for the Hockey World League Semi Final where India are grouped with Canada, Netherlands, Pakistan and Scotland in Pool B.The team led by Manpreet, with Chinglensana Singh Kangujam as his deputy, will see Pardeep Mor, Kothajit Singh join the defence line along with Surender Kumar, Rupinder Pal Singh and Harmanpreet Singh, Hockey India stated in a press release.Harmanpreet and Rupinder will continue to be the penalty corner specialists while Akash Chikte and Vikas Dahiya will carry the onus of goalkeepers for the team in the absence of Sreejesh.Sreejesh sustained an injury while playing against Australia in the league stage at the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Tournament.The midfield will feature S K Uthappa, Satbir Singh, Harjeet Singh, Chinglensana Singh and the experienced Manpreet and Sardar Singh. Both Uthappa and Satbir were rested for the previous tournament in Malaysia where the team won a bronze medal.The Indian forward-line will see Ramandeep Singh come back into the fold, joining SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Talwinder Singh and Mandeep Singh in the attack.advertisement”The idea was to bring in a couple of changes in positions after Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. Like I had said before, there are three tours this year including Azlan Shah Cup where we would like to give opportunities to younger players,” chief coach Roelant Oltmans said.”Though we are taking a few players who are not that experienced, we still want to do well and the aim is to finish in Top 2 at the Men’s Hockey World League Semi Final and I look forward to see how the boys will perform against big teams, he added.According to the Dutchman, the biggest takeaway from the season opener in Malaysia was the team’s improvised style of play and ball possession.”We were fast and also when we compared statistics, we had better ball possession (about 62 per cent on an average) which is a big improvement from previous years.”But I would like to see our conversion rate in field goals and PC to improve from a 20 per cent and 24 per cent respectively,” stated Oltmans.The team resumed the national camp on May 14 and will continue till May 28 before leaving for Germany on May 29.The Squad:Goalkeepers: Akash Chikte, Vikas DahiyaDefenders Pardeep Mor, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Rupinderpal Singh, Harmanpreet SinghMidfielders: Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (Vice Captain), S K Uthappa, Satbir Singh, Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh (Captain), Harjeet SinghForwards: Ramandeep Singh, SV Sunil, Talwinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh.last_img read more

Nova Scotia preprimary classes will be up and running by end of

first_imgHALIFAX – A key campaign promise by Nova Scotia Liberals will be fulfilled when the expansion of pre-primary classes for four-year-olds is up and running by the end of the week, says Education Minister Zach Churchill.Churchill said Monday that a full complement of early childhood educators — 102 — had been hired to teach in all 50 classes in 43 locations across the province. Churchill announced in July that 30 new classes would be added to 20 existing classes.The minister, who made the announcement at a pre-primary class in the Halifax suburb of Lower Sackville, said another two classes would also open within the first two weeks of October, bringing the total number of classes this year to 52.He said 818 children had been enrolled for the play-based pre-primary program.“So I would encourage parents to participate as this program gets expanded because it’s free and it’s going to be positive for their children,” he said in an interview.Churchill said the next step is a consultation process later this fall with the private non-profit sector, during which the groundwork will be laid for phase two of the rollout, which will tentatively see another 70 classes added to the system next September.He says the startup cost for the initial 52 classes is $6.5 million — or about $125,000 per class. The program is to be introduced across the province over the next four years at a cost of $49.9 million a year.First announced in April, the speed of government’s rollout following the May 30 election has been criticized by political foes who have called for a delay and by the early child care sector, which expressed doubts that enough qualified staff would be found.“I know that people were wondering why we were so ambitious with our timeline,” said Churchill. “It’s really that we wanted to make sure that kids in this learning cohort had access to these programs this year.”Churchill said any providers hurt by the government’s program would get help in recruiting workers, although he believes there will be enough to go around. He said there are currently 2,400 early childhood educators who are registered to work in Nova Scotia, with about 1,600 employed by the private and non-profit sector.He said the fully staffed, government-funded pre-primary would need about 500 early childhood educators.“The labour market analysis is telling us there are enough early childhood educators registered here to fill the complete demand, but of course we don’t know if people will choose to enter into the field professionally that they studied in,” said Churchill.Lisa Davies, chair of the Non Profit Directors Association of Nova Scotia, said she’s surprised the government was able to find enough staff so quickly.“I hope that they are all fully trained … so that they can provide the best possible program for the children, especially in light of the quick start. You’re going to have to have some pretty skilled folks that can pick that kind of thing up off the ground and run with it.”Davies said her organization would have a better idea of whether there’s been any adverse impact to its workforce when it meets later this week.last_img read more

Stella Artois recall over concerns of glass particles in bottles

first_imgVANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – If you have any bottles of Stella Artois in your fridge, don’t drink it.The brewer has issued a voluntary recall of select packages containing 11.2-ounce bottles of its beer over concerns of broken glass.The recall applies to Stella Artois 6-packs, 12-packs, 18-packs, 24-packs, “Best of Belgium” multi-packs sold in the US and Canada. It also applies to Stella Artois Légère 6-packs and 12-packs sold in the US.“This recall impacts less than 1% of Stella Artois glass bottles sold in North America annually, and affected bottles will be far less than this,” says a news release from the brewer.The recall does not affect cans or draft.The company says a “glass packaging flaw” in some bottles may cause “a small piece” of glass to break off and possibly fall into the beer.This recall includes cases of Stella Artois with specific packaging dates. To check if your beer is affected, you should check codes that are found on the back label of the bottles and on the side of the cardboard cartons for multi-packs. The company says if you have a “Best of Belgium” multi-pack, you should check the Stella Artois bottle inside it.Click here to find out which codes are affectedIf you have bottles that is affected by this recall, the company says you will be reimbursed.last_img read more