YOUR FREE COPY TO KEEP! - ISSUE 30
Guyana’s Hydromet Services
& the potential to generate revenue
The fight against corruption and the helping hand of the international community Reviewing the performance of Guyana’s Fisheries Sector for 2017
Cost Recovery Claims:
Is Guyana Ready?
Cobeer ‘Anand’ Persaud Leading The Way In Dental Health Care For More Than 37 years
CONTENTS Founder and Publisher Teshawna Lall, BA, MBA
TicketMaster Travel Agency attends to your every travel need................................................ 8
Managing Director Frank Sanichara Marketing Iconic Marketing & Printing Inc.
Cobeer ‘Anand’ Persaud - Leading The Way In Dental Health Care For More Than 37 years.............. 10
Design Iconic Marketing & Printing Inc. Editorial Contributors Kiana Wilburg Lars Mangal Sharmain Grainger Brian Ramsey Rae Dawn Brusch Feona Morrison Sarika Gajraj Simran Gajraj Tiffanne Ramphal
24 Saffon Street, Charlestown, Georgetown, Guyana, South America. Tel: (592) 223-2169 or (592) 226-7454
Reviewing the performance of Guyana’s Fisheries Sector for 2017.............................. 16
Cobeer ‘Anand’ Persaud - Leading The Way In Dental Health Care For More Than 37 years
For Subscription in Guyana and the Caribbean Contact: (592) 223-2169 or (592) 600-4212 North America: 347-599-6426
E.C. Vieira Investments Ltd. - Making its name Caribbean-wide through ship repairs......................... 17 Mastering the Art of Persuasion.................................. 18 Returning home to lead - Lars Mangal A True Oil & Gas Pioneer, Founder of TOTALTEC Oilfield Services Guyana Inc................... 20 The fight against corruption and the helping hand of the international community......................... 22 Manufactured and distributed in Guyana... Golden Crunch Coconut Biscuits - A beloved Grandma’s recipe...................................... 24 Solar Light Security...................................................... 26 Guyana Press Association elects first female President.......................................... 28
Email: guyanaiv firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.guyanainc.biz
Solar Light Security While every effort has been made to ensure that information is correct at the time of going to print, Innovative Marketing & Publishing Inc. DBA Guyana Inc. cannot be held responsible for the outcome of any action or decision based on the information contained in this publication. The publishers or authors do not give any warranty for the content, explanation or opinion. It is advisable that prospective investors consult their attorney/s and/ or financial investor/s prior to following/ pursing any business opportunity or entering into any investments. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without prior written permission of the Publisher.
Cost Recovery Claims: Is Guyana Ready?.................... 6
Correspondent Banking: A local, regional & international problem............................................... 29 Guyana’s Hydromet Services & the potential to generate revenue................................. 30 NAREI and its impact on Guyana’s exports................ 32 Guyana’s Code of Conduct enforces Transparency among Public Officials.......................... 34 The Non-Aligned Monument stands as a reminder of Peaceful Co-Existence............................. 35 Placing the Spotlight on Diabetic Eye Disease............ 36 The Quest for One Love................................................ 38
Placing the Spotlight on Diabetic Eye Disease
Understanding Bipolar Disorder................................. 40 Guyanese Artiste ‘Negus’ is making strides on the international scene............................................ 42
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Cost Recovery Claims:
Is Guyana Ready?
ost recovery is a fundamental part of any basic Production Sharing Agreement (PSA). It is a method which allows an oil company to recover costs from the petroleum produced. The various costs are subtracted from gross production. Only after costs have been recovered is the remaining “profit gas” divided between the company and the Government. Let’s examine the various costs associated with cost recovery. Exploration Costs Exploration costs are expenses incurred in the search for petroleum within the contract area. The period of exploration begins with the signing of the contract and includes the discovery of petroleum and its subsequent appraisal, up until the Government approves the first Development Plan. Costs related to exploration can be recovered in the year when commercial production begins. Examples of explorations costs, as set out in Annex C of most contracts, include: seismic surveys and studies; core hole drilling; labour, materials and services used in drilling wells; and facilities used solely in support of these purposes, including access roads. Development Costs Often called capital costs, development costs are the monies spent to build infrastructure to extract petroleum and send it to the market. Putting in place the capital infrastructure represents the overwhelming majority of the costs of an oil and gas project. Examples of such costs, as set out in Annex C of most contracts, include: drilling and completing wells, the costs of field facilities such as production and treatment units, drilling platforms, petroleum storage facilities, export terminals and piers, harbours and related facilities, access roads for production activities. Operations Operating costs start from the beginning of commercial production. Operating costs attributable to petroleum operations can be recovered in the full amount in the year in which they were incurred. These costs include all expenditures incurred 6
in the petroleum operations, including: operating and maintaining field facilities completed during the Development and Production Operations and producing petroleum and gathering, storing and transporting the petroleum from the reservoir to the delivery point. Service and Administrative Costs Service costs are direct and indirect expenditures in support of the Petroleum Operations, including warehouses, offices, vehicles, water and sewage plants, power plants, housing, community and recreational facilities and furniture, tools and equipment used in these activities. Costs Recoverable with Specific Approval and NonRecoverable Costs Most costs are recoverable through the normal “cost recovery statement” process, without further approval from Government. But, there are two important exceptions. First, where services are provided by a company affiliated with the concessionaire, the charges will be based on actual costs and will be competitive. The charges will be no higher than the most favourable prices charged by the affiliated company to third parties for comparable services under similar terms and conditions elsewhere. Second and more importantly, interest, fees and related charges incurred on commercial loans raised by the concessionaire for the Petroleum Operations requires Government approval, though this approval must not be “unreasonably withheld.” In addition, four specific costs are explicitly identified as “non-recoverable.” These include: petroleum marketing or transportation costs of petroleum beyond the delivery point; costs of arbitration and the independent expert; Petroleum Production Tax and Corporate Income Tax; fines and penalties imposed by any public authority in the host country or elsewhere. Challenges Now that you have a basic understanding as to the makeup of the cost recovery process, it is crucial to move to another dimension of this topic; that
the process for cost recovery provides ample opportunity for companies to inflate expenses. This provides significant challenges for oil rich nations. The higher the cost recovery claims by the company, the smaller the pie to be divided between the company and host country. The American state of Alaska provides a compelling example of the technical challenges of securing the full proportion of revenues owed to the Government. According to an analysis undertaken in 2003, over the 25-year lifespan of the petroleum sector, “one dollar out of every six that Alaska received from its oil development was obtained through legal challenges to the industry’s original payment.” The majority (90%) of the petroleum production in Alaska, since first exports in 1977, has been controlled by three companies, now known by the names British Petroleum, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips. Over the first 25 years of production, Alaska received approximately $70 Billion in petroleum revenue from royalty payments of 12.5% of the value of the oil, and three principal taxes: corporate income tax, a petroleum production tax, and property tax. Based on independent analyses and audits, Alaskan officials overseeing the petroleum sector claimed that the “industry chronically reduced the basis for calculating royalty, severance and income tax payments by underestimating the market value of a barrel of oil at the point of sale. Overstated pipeline shipping charges (tariffs) had the same result.” In order to secure what Government officials believed to be a fair share of revenues from this petroleum development, they were forced to take prolonged and intensive legal action against the companies. Between 1977 and 1994, the Alaskan Department of Law reported that it had paid contract lawyers and accounting specialists from 30 different companies a total of more than $217 Million to follow up these legal claims. The money was well spent. Litigation resulted in additional company payments to Government of $2.7 Billon. The issues in dispute were highly technical and, in some cases, based on a legitimate difference of opinion in the
interpretation of complex contractual language and taxation law. But, in many cases, the differences were based on outright deceit and fraud. By tracking the export and value of each barrel of oil being exported, Alaskan authorities demonstrated that overall revenues were deliberately minimized by misrepresenting the actual sale value of oil and by inflating the costs associated with transporting oil by pipeline and tankers. By 2000, litigation had produced an additional $10.6 Billion in revenue, including $6.8 Billion in direct payments for taxes and royalties and an additional $3.8 Billion in increased taxes and royalties related to reassessing pipeline transportation costs. This pattern has continued with an additional $1.7 Billion in oil and gas settlements over the past decade. The figures listed above substantially underestimate the scale of abuse. Many other claims were launched against companies by the Government but were settled ‘out of court’ and are therefore not public. GUYANA Oil production is expected to get into full swing by March 2020. That is less than two years away. Guyana does not have all of its measures in place, but Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman has assured that the Government is doing all that is necessary to ensure that Guyana’s future revenues in oil and gas are protected. In fact, Trotman said that the authenticity of cost recovery claims was one of the main discussions he and others had with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and its experts. Trotman acknowledged that indeed, several countries around the world; Kenya, Ghana, the USA and Great Britain, have had struggles with ensuring cost recovery is precise and transparent. The Natural Resources Minister said, “We have turned to some of the best financial experts in the world and they have come, they have done their assessments and they will be guiding us. It is a work in progress and we are doing better by the day.” He also pointed out that the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) was able to garner $900 Million in taxes due to its attentiveness in this regard.
Commissioner General, Godfrey Statia. Statia explained that based on the contractual arrangements, ExxonMobil is allowed to recover 75 percent of its costs in a given year. He explained that expenses which are not recovered for that year are carried forward to the following year. Statia said, “So what you need to do is audit those costs… It is important to do a proper audit because failure to do so can have implications for the Government’s cut of the pie. The higher the expenses, the smaller the take could be, so the audits need to be effective. But we have started the review of the costs incurred thus far by ExxonMobil. The audit of the claims by ExxonMobil started last year.” The Commissioner General said, “You cannot wait until 2020 or for production to start for you to begin reviewing the costs. Until the Petroleum Commission is set up, GRA will continue to review everything that would be going into cost recovery claims. We are looking after taxes. That is why we are monitoring their expenses…” He added, “There were a few things which were identified to ExxonMobil regarding their claims and we have asked them some questions on it. We have collected withholding tax and when production comes, corporation tax will kick in, but it will be subtracted from Government’s share. Our staff is also being trained in cost recovery. We are at the forefront of it.” IMF URGES The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also urged the authorities of Guyana to commence auditing of all exploration and
development costs by USA oil operator, ExxonMobil. The Fund made this known in one of its recent reports on Guyana’s oil sector. This document was handed over to the Government last year. Elaborating further on the matter, the IMF said that plans to establish a petroleum industry taxpayer unit attached to the large taxpayer office in the Guyana Revenue Authority should be prioritized. The Fund said that this effort is supported by a consultant from the US Treasury office of Technical Assistance. The IMF said, “It will be important for this unit to start verifying and undertaking audits of costs incurred during the exploration and development phase, which is getting underway now. It would be advantageous to establish close working relations between the GRA and the sector regulators (Ministry of Natural Resources, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and the prospective Petroleum Commission) to ensure that the limited petroleum sector expertise in Government is applied most efficiently.” The International Monetary Fund said the intention is that the Guyana Revenue Authority will be the single revenue collection agency for the petroleum sector. It opined that this is a reasonable decision given the key role played by the Production Sharing Agreement and the pay-on-behalf arrangement for corporate income tax in existing contracts (this is where the contractor’s income tax obligations are settled from the Government’s share of the profit oil). However, given the limited experience in the GRA with petroleum taxation, the IMF said that there is urgency to develop skills in this area.
GRA STEPS UP While Guyana still awaits the establishment of a Petroleum Commission, the Guyana Revenue Authority has stepped up to the place and has commenced the review of cost recovery claims by ExxonMobil. This was confirmed by GRA Edition 30
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Cobeer ‘Anand’ Persaud - Leading The Way In Dental Health Care For More Than 37 years
oo many people mistakenly believe that the only time they need to see a dentist is if they are experiencing excruciating pain or, for some reason, believe that something is wrong. But often times, they’re missing the bigger picture. According to Cobeer ‘Anand’ Persaud, a dental visit can mean the difference between treating a simple toothache or detecting, at an early stage, an extremely complex oral problem. As such, dental health care should always be taken seriously. Many Guyanese patients who have visited the C. Persaud Dental Lab and Clinic Inc. at 14 Peter’s Hall Public Road, East Bank Demerara (E.B.D) would have heard this lesson explained to them time and again. At this illustrious organization, patients are not only given the best in oral health care but a lesson on the importance of putting oral health care first. At the youthful age of 53, Mr. Persaud says that being able to develop the family tradition of dental health care and a reputation of changing lives are just two of his most remarkable accomplishments. He would not have it any other way. In an exclusive interview with the Guyana Inc. Magazine, Mr. Persaud, born September 18, 1965 at Lot 28 Peter’s Hall Backstreet, shared extensively about his love for life, family and dental health care.
No shame in working for an honest dollar
Born as the last of eight children to Liloutie Persaud and now deceased, Harry Persaud, Anand shared a home with his five sisters and two brothers. He recalled that in his earlier years, because of lack of finances, he would usually go to the ‘back dam’ to help his mother where she planted crops. Meanwhile, on weekends, he would go to Nandy Park and weed the yards of people who needed the assistance. “We would even help to empty their garbage bins or clean their septic tanks for a dollar. There was no shame for us in working to earn an honest dollar,” he said, adding that, “Even when I was in school, on Fridays, I remember that the Neighbourhood Democratic Council tractor used to pass to throw off garbage and we would follow it. When they dumped the garbage, we would forage through it to see what we could find. Those were very tough times.” Persaud said that his upbringing taught him to always be honest and not exploit people. He urged, “Don’t always think about money.” While Persaud’s mother did what she needed to do in order to make ends meet, it was his father, although lacking the necessary qualifications, who was part of the dental care industry. Persaud shared that his interest in dental care was sparked when he was sent, at the age of 12, to live with his dad. At the time, his father worked as a dental care personnel in Herstelling. It was while living there that he actually developed the skill of making dentures. Persaud recalled, however, that he was not encouraged along that path by his father. He said that the unfortunate lack of backing in the home to adopt the “family trade” led to many of his “rebellious boyish” moments. In this regard, Persaud shared
that he often got away from home and went with the boys to catch fish and crab. He surmised that he enjoyed a regular childhood until his father passed away in 1981.
Time to be my own man; my own Boss
After making his wedding vows in 1983, Mr. Persaud got his first child in 1985. At that time, he had secured employment at the Guyana Stock Fields Limited as a Livestock Assistant. But on the ninth day of his child being in this world, Persaud decided that that was the last time he was working for someone else. “It was time to be my own man and my own boss,” he told this magazine. Despite his determination, it took Persaud three years to get his business up and running. Among his many challenges was the lack of the necessary tools for the trade.
“That was a huge problem for me at the time. But, I have to thank the people of Linden, because my dad did a lot of house-to-house work in that area and since he died, the people of Linden became my first set of customers when I started up. As for the tools, I have a good friend whose mother gave me the tools and I worked and paid her back for them. So that worked out.” After defying the financial odds, another concern for Persaud was the space to house his business. He recalled that he lived out of a 12ft x12ft room with his wife and child, but was never discouraged by his circumstances. Persaud proudly stated that he took steps to expand until he was able to buy a property for the business. He worked single-handedly before taking on other staff. After coming through trying times, Persaud said that his successful establishment is at its peak. It aims to provide high quality Dentistry at an affordable cost to all Guyanese. Persaud said that it was never a ‘get rich quick’ task for him; it was always about making his customers feel comfortable and giving them quality work. Today, Persaud employs three Dentists, two Dental Assistants, two Dental Nurses and 26 Dental Technicians. His is one of the biggest dental facilities in the Caribbean. Unlike other places, Persaud shared that customers can get a consultation for free with accompanying educational guidelines on oral hygiene. This is the only company as well that has a layaway plan where customers can make down payments for services offered and pay the balance over a period of time. 12
“I am always open to suggestions about how I can improve my business and make customers feel as though they are in a pleasant environment. I always tell my staff that they must treat our clients with the utmost respect and care because, at the end of the day, they are not obligated to bring their business here.”
Additionally, Persaud shared that among the services offered is the making and repair of porcelain and acrylic crowns and bridges, while matching the shade of the customer’s own teeth. The business offers X-rays on the spot and does normal dental extractions and whitening, while making and repairing gold caps/ crowns for all sizes and styles. There are services for the natural teeth or dentures, which include full mouth cleaning and polishing. This can be done on the same day of visit.
Offering his opinion on the business environment in Guyana, Persaud said that one of the problems with the dental care industry is that most of the dentists just work for a few hours in the day and the money that is charged is representative of exploitation. Persaud believes that because of his difference in approach, people flock to his establishment by the hundreds, coming from various countries across the world. He sincerely believes that there is a need for fairness from all practitioners.
More To Be Done In the Area of Dental Care
Persaud also believes that there is more to be done in the provision of dental care services in Guyana. He observed that although the Government is providing free dental health care, it is a stressful process. The Government-funded services are only open from 8 AM to 10 AM. This makes it difficult for those individuals who have to travel from the outskirts of the country in order to make it to Georgetown. Be that as it may, some considerate private entities like Persaud’s are open from Monday to Saturday and for longer hours. Edition 30
“If you are just waiting around and waiting for people to knock on your door, you’re gonna go broke. You need to create opportunities and when you get those opportunities; you need to really take advantage of them.” Apart from the high-quality work that Persaud and his team delivers, he said that the hallmark of his business is customer service and how comfortable each client is made to feel. “I am always open to suggestions about how I can improve my business and make customers feel as though they are in a pleasant environment. I always tell my staff that they must treat our clients with the utmost respect and care because, at the end of the day, they are not obligated to bring their business here.” “So they are our priority and they must be treated as such. They choose to come here and we should be thankful for them. It is our duty to take care of them. I also tell them that honesty is the best policy and to never try to rob the customer, always make sure they are satisfied.”
Persaud always had dreams of becoming a police officer. But although this did not materialise, he has made significant strides in the active role he plays in community policing. In fact, Persaud shared that it was through the community policing initiative that he was able to elevate himself. Persaud became the only civilian in this country
to have 16 awards for his outstanding performance. He also served as Treasurer for the A Division for seven years. It is a movement that he loves and is still a part of. With that aside, Persaud is also a proud family man. He has four children; three girls and one boy. He disclosed to the Guyana Inc. Magazine that his four wonderful children were the product of the 26 years of marriage that he shared with Jasmatti Persaud. As fate would have it, however, that marriage ended in divorce ten years ago. Not allowing himself to be deterred by this rough patch though, Persaud remarried Sandra Vijaylaxmi Tiwari. Their union is currently in its fifth year. Amid chuckles, Persaud said that marriage has taught him to be a better man and to work harder. “It is not going to be easy, but it will be worth it. Trust me on that.” Asked to state what his most valuable lesson to date has been, Persaud categorically stated, “Honesty is the best policy.” His advice to the newer generation of dentists is to never stop learning. He said, “Dentistry is not static. It’s always moving. It’s always changing. They need to continue to learn and grow as Dentistry grows.”
Additionally, Persaud believes that no one should wait for opportunities but should create them. “If you are just waiting around and waiting for people to knock on your door, you’re gonna go broke. You need to create opportunities and when you get those opportunities; you need to really take advantage of them.” Reflecting on his career, Persaud said that he feels like the luckiest man in the world, having gotten so much out of dentistry. It is more than he could ever imagine. He now wishes every dental student the career he has had; reminding that it remains a worthy venture for anyone.
Persaud used his last remarks to remind readers that taking good care of their mouth, teeth and gums is a worthy goal. Good oral and dental hygiene can help prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease and can help keep strong teeth as you get older. Remember, a simple check-up can mean the difference in detecting something small or nipping a complex problem in the bud. Don’t hesitate to visit Persaud’s company, C. Persaud Dental Lab and Clinic Inc. at 14 Peter’s Hall Public Road, E.B.D today.
Reviewing the performance of Guyanaâ€™s Fisheries Sector for 2017
he fisheries sector is of crucial importance to Guyanaâ€™s economy. In fact, it makes more than a whopping $4.5B contribution towards the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
But even in the face of this creditable success, there are challenges which must be confronted. Marine resources have been under tremendous pressure due to excess fishing capacity, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing piracy and other factors. Additionally, increasing demand for fish and fish products have caused many commercial species to be over exploited and marine production cannot keep up with demand. In light of this, the Government
of Guyana has taken a multi-pronged approach. Not only has it stepped up training exercises but it has sought to encourage the diversification of commercial aquaculture. In this regard, incentives such as duty free concessions and technical support from the Fisheries Department in combination with projects are being provided. Furthermore, it should be noted that freshwater aquaculture is supported by the Satyadeow Sawh Aquaculture Station (SSAS), which has the mandate to conduct training, research and fingerling production and is complemented by the Anna Regina Fish Station (ARFS). This Station was rehabilitated and will procure broodstock (ten supermales and ten females) for SSAS as well as feed and other equipment. With that said, we shall now dive right into the statistics and details on the training done thus far to improve the sector.
Review of 2017 Performance (January - June) Aquaculture Production
Tilapia production fell to 77% from 2016 to 2017. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, this may be due to a decline in customer demand and price. In the meantime, black-water shrimp rose by 89%, an indication that farmers are producing shrimp. Surprisingly, there was a decrease in the smuggling of shrimp in Region # 6. The Ministry said that this was as a result of combined actions taken by government and law enforcement. As for Tambaqui, this species showed a steady increase of 4% in production. Additionally, the sale and value of fingerlings decreased by 40% and 36.9 % respectively.
FINGERLING PRODUCTION AND SALES
SSAS JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH 1ST QUARTER APRIL MAY JUNE 2ND QUARTER HALF YEAR
SALES 2016 AMOUNT VALUE ($) 3935 3,857 8,750 16,542 8,500 4,150 2,000 14,650 31,435
55,090 53,998 122,500 231,588 119,000 58,100 28,000 205,100 440,090
SALES 2017 AMOUNT VALUE ($) 10,071 1,700 2,450 14,221 1,910 2,680 0 4,590 18,811
154,994 23,800 34,300 213,094 26,740 37,520 0 64,260 277,354
E.C. Vieira Investments Ltd.
Making its name Caribbean-wide through ship repairs
Over the years, the name E.C. Vieira Investments Ltd. has become renowned throughout Guyana and even in the Caribbean for its extensive ship repair services. The company, which started as a shrimp trawling business in 1981, has done a large number of repairs in the Caribbean on vessels weighing up to 2000 tons light ship displacement.
According to its Managing Director, Edmond Vieira, the past 25 years has seen the company offering dry docking of vessels and barge building. In terms of staff, he said that although E.C. Vieira Investments has remained about the same size, the company has seen an increase in efficiency. Vieira disclosed that the company employs the largest number of steel workers in the country. He said, “We have over 100 skilled welders, burners and fabricators and can deploy 50 welders under production at any time.” He said
that the company also has the capabilities to lift some of the largest vessels in Guyana. E.C. Vieira Investments Ltd.’s exemplary track record has afforded it the opportunity of working for major international companies. For instance, for over two decades, the company has carried out works for Boskalis, a Dutch company, which is one of the world’s largest dredging companies. In addition, it has worked with Danish dredging company, Rohde Nielsen, and has also completed several projects for JP Knight, a British tug and barge company. Regarding plans for the future and apart from providing ship repair services, Vieira is looking to expand into land preparation for storage, warehousing, rental and supplying office space, while exploring other ventures. And with the greater financial potential of government with oil on stream, Vieira expects that more money will be pumped into the maintenance of the marine sector.
Mastering the Art of Persuasion
n this very adverse and fast paced business world, certain skills are indispensable. Especially those that would benefit one’s work ethic and educate others, such as persuasion. Persuasion is not to be confused with just selling an idea, but to be viewed as information learnt and negotiated. There are many situations that would need skilful persuasion for business. The expertise to influence an individual, whether it be to seal a deal with a client or to propose your company for partnership, is a vital ability to have. You need to be able to quickly and correctly discern and respond to the listener’s mood. For major projects, it will take a process of planning, deep insight and compromise. But first, let’s outline what persuasion really is. According to the Business Dictionary, persuasion is the process aimed at changing a person’s attitude or behaviour toward some event, idea or object by using written or spoken words or a combination of both. According to Jay A.Cogner, author of the book ‘The Necessary Art of Persuasion’, credibility is the cornerstone of persuasive communication. He said, “Credibility grows out of two sources: expertise and relationships.” An emotional connection is needed for effective persuasion. Cogner goes on to say “… good persuaders have the ability to accurately sense and respond to their audience’s emotional state. Sometimes, that means they have to suppress their
own emotions; at other times, they must intensify them.” Therefore, the key principles that govern persuasion are establishing credibility, planning for negotiation, imparting realistic evidence and the ability to connect emotionally. Further, reciprocity is imperative! This means to offer or respond to something in a mutual and positive manner. Give your subject more options that will benefit them in the long run and offer some sort of incentive, either a gift or reward. There must be authenticity when using reciprocity or it can backfire if not correctly executed. Personalize the message in a manner so as to relate to the receiver’s situation. Be specific and avoid misleading by trying to impress. Present raw evidence relating to someone else in a similar situation, since people respond better to a proposal when they know others are also interested. Materialize your idea; individuals put more credibility into something physical than just a word of mouth situation. It also establishes surety and will lead to them being more interested or excited about your idea. Lastly, use contrast. Comparing two outcomes and providing factual evidence that one method was more beneficial than the other will cause the listener to sway more to the positive method. Persuasion is a skill that is tedious at times, but when mastered can be a great benefit to business and everyday life.
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Returning home to lead Lars Mangal – A True Oil & Gas Pioneer,
Founder of TOTALTEC Oilfield Services Guyana Inc.
fter spending more than 30 years abroad, it was time for him to return home to Guyana. Mangal had followed the footsteps of his parents by taking his education in Edinburgh, Scotland and then joining the largest oilfield service company in the world, Schlumberger, in a career that spanned 20 years internationally. Of particular note was that he was headhunted to join a pioneering Danish oilfield service company, Welltec, in the field of subsea and downhole robotics to lead their international growth efforts.
Mangal’s story is about an adventurous spirit that allowed no barriers, mental, physical or racial to stand in the way of working his way up to be recognised as a well-respected ‘oil man’ internationally. This means having earned respect and building a substantial global network from many players in the oil business, including major oil companies such as Shell, ExxonMobil, BP, Agip and service companies such as Schlumberger, Halliburton, BakerHughes/GE and Welltec. Returning to Subryanville, Georgetown in late 2016 was a long-awaited homecoming for Lars Mangal. FORMATIVE YEARS Mangal’s parents met whilst pursuing their respective studies in Medicine. His father, Dr. Keshav ‘Buddy’ Mangal was studying Medicine at the University of Edinburgh and his mother, Jonna Mangal, from Denmark, was studying to be a nurse. Mangal grew up in the idyllic suburb of Subryanville, Georgetown, surrounded by fruit trees with fresh breeze wafting from the Atlantic Ocean nearby. There were friends to play with 20
from the neighbourhood including the Hughes, the Trotmans, the Fernandes and the Sawhs, to name a few. Mangal attend primary and secondary school in Georgetown before going to Edinburgh to study Engineering around 1980. He successfully completed his Engineering Honours Degree in 1990 and joined Schlumberger the same year. Whilst at university in Edinburgh, during his final year, Mangal won the prestigious John Rayner Shield for his project on combined heat and power systems. During his summer vacations, he would work on diving support and survey vessels in the ferocious North Sea, becoming a qualified and certified North Sea Tiger. And it was during this time that he became aware of the oil and gas industry, being in close proximity to Aberdeen, which was one of the early international hubs for the oil and gas industry. Mangal applied to Schlumberger, at that time the world’s second largest oilfield services company, in a very determined and focused way, successfully securing a job offer which he immediately accepted to pursue an international career as a Field Engineer in the Dowell Schlumberger division. He worked across several of Schlumberger’s business entities, getting both multiproduct line and geographical exposure. Prior to leaving Schlumberger, Mangal led the global Hydraulic Fracturing division of the company, based from Houston, as Vice President of Stimulation Services. Stimulation Services include hydraulic well fracturing – the process that fractures reservoir rocks deep underground. Fracturing has enabled the United States to increase its hydrocarbon production to the extent that it is about to be the largest oil and gas producer in the world. Mangal was involved as one of the early pioneers supporting the growth of this now enormous business. The ‘oil man’ then joined Welltec, a pioneering robotic company in the oil and gas industry, based near Copenhagen, Denmark, as the Chief Commercial Officer. During his time at Welltec, Mangal also led the fastest growing and most successful region as Senior Vice President in UK, Continental Europe, Russia and Former Soviet Union (CIS). He successfully lead the commercial team and Welltec through a period of record breaking growth over 4 years, doubling the business prior to departing in early 2015, around the same time that ExxonMobil announced its enormous oil discovery in Guyana. The non-obvious, not to say risky, move from the ‘comfort’ of a company that dominates the segment it operated into a small ‘unknown’ emerging company neatly sums up Mangal’s character – restless, opportunity seeking and aggressive, but with the ability to build teams to scale up the successes he is constantly seeking. Then, a defining moment came to take the biggest step of all – to leave completely the security of working as a high-level executive in a fast growing international company to starting his own. The catalyst for this decision was, as well, a defining moment of his home country – Guyana. In May 2015, ExxonMobil and its partners discovered oil in the Liza 1 Exploration well in the Stabroek block, 180 kilometres from the coast of Guyana and at water depths of around 2 kilometres deep. There was no guarantee that this discovery was going to be developed, but this very experienced ‘oil man’ made his analysis of the potential outcomes
of this discovery and decided that now was the time to work out a business plan and to start forming the best team that he could to return home. COMING HOME The Oil and Gas Industry is inherently a risky, adventurous business – safety or technical risk is an ever present focus. Commercial risks are also ever present; there are no guarantees that oil and gas will be found after investing multi-millions of dollars in exploration. There are no guarantees that even after oil and gas is discovered that the quantities are sufficient for commercial exploitation. The fact that the Liza discovery was made in 2,000 metres under the ocean meant that only a handful of oil companies, also known as Operators, had the competence and the deep pockets to exploit the discovery. These risks were well known to Mangal and his team, but did not deter them. The arduous work to define what the opportunities were, calculate the amount of investment needed and using all available savings as seed money to start the company were the outcomes of a series of risk evaluations that were performed in the short space of a few months. The next task at hand was to attract enough knowledgeable investors to invest enough funds to ensure that any ventures entered into will not collapse due to insufficient funding. Dreams are ever present; the challenge is to actualise those dreams into projects with an able team to execute them. The initial focus on setting up a shore base in Guyana took many twists and turns, as many experienced shore base operators in Europe with operations in Africa and the Mediterranean all expressed interest in participating in Guyana and spent many long weeks of due diligence with Mangal, only to pull out after this costly process. There was only one thing to do, get the team together and head back home. October 2016 was the month of homecoming. Mangal and his small team set up shop in the ex-family home in Subryanville. Waiting for them were trusted friends of the family that were renowned in Guyana in the past as the most experienced mining logistics operators, key amongst them was Fred and Deb Sparrock. The team quickly set to work to refurbish the former family home into a location that now serves as the office headquarters and staff house. This was a pioneering time for all, as the contrast from the comforts and certainty of being high-level employees of international companies had been exchanged for the realities of working in a start-up company. The first order of the day was setting up the newly formed TOTALTEC Oilfield Services Guyana Inc. Next was the setting of the mission statement. Mangal had the clear ambition that if he, a Guyanese, could succeed internationally in the oil and gas industry, surely, given the opportunity, countless other Guyanese will have the ability
to succeed in this field. The ambition to create a world class International Petroleum and Maritime Academy was born. Next was to ponder on how a Guyanese from the diaspora and his team can work with capable and competent Guyanese companies in partnership to jointly address opportunities in the emerging oil and gas industry. This was surprisingly, or not surprisingly, easier said than done. Diligent efforts were needed to engage local players to frame the joint opportunities available in the near future for both parties. There were nearly equal measures of effort required to inform the opportunities, i.e. a crash course in the oil and gas industry, to translate how business opportunities were available to the two parties and the translation of oil and gas knowledge into crafting compelling narratives whereby a Guyanese entity can be seriously considered as a supplier to ExxonMobil or other operators as well as to the multitude of international oilfield service companies that are about to enter the Guyanese market. Another important area of effort was to convince all parties for the need of Guyanese companies to collaborate in order to bring a balanced mix of local knowledge, oil and gas knowledge, marketing and facilities. The oil and gas industry is a high technology endeavour with stringent requirements in terms of safety culture and behaviour, record keeping, reliable service delivery, product quality, etc. and all of these items are stringently audited before even an invitation to bid is issued. This led Mangal and his team to actively search out for international partners who could not only fill the technology and process gaps that his company and local partners had, but also exhibited a strong commitment to voluntarily ensure that they were interested in Guyana for the long haul by supporting local content. This pragmatic thinking and strategy yielded quick results when Mangal syndicated the joint venture – Guyana Shore Base Inc. – that submitted a competitive bid and were awarded the ExxonMobil tender for Shore Base and Logistics support services for the build out of the Liza Phase 1 development. ExxonMobil was taking a big bet to award this newly formed, majority Guyanese owned joint venture to provide the ‘home’ for them and critical suppliers to load out time critical supplies for the drilling of the development wells as well as some components of the subsea production system in readiness for ‘First Oil’ in 2020. Other agreements were signed when international companies were pleasantly surprised to discover that a Guyanese Oilfield Service Company was operating in Guyana with staff that had extensive, decades-long experience in the international oil and gas industry. These agreements led to ensuring that the international companies had a smooth in-boarding to Guyana, and to accelerating their understanding of how and where local
content could be sourced, thus reducing their overall costs by avoiding imports to meet their needs. Mangal believes that these are the very early days of the oil adventure in Guyana and he hopes that local businesses can take comfort that they can participate in the industry if they take a pragmatic approach; keep an open mind to partnerships, both local and international; and above all, have trusted advisors from the oil and gas industry to assist them in spotting the gaps that need to be filled before they can be considered as suppliers to the oil and gas industry. Mangal, in his quieter moments, marvels at his initial strategy of participating in developing a shore base which has come to fruition. There is a long road ahead; building trust and team work between four partners in a joint venture was never going to be an easy task, but the key is in the steady results they are producing week by week. Mangal is concurrently working on a project that is closest to his heart – one that demonstrates that when Guyanese are working with and providing opportunities to Guyanese, the results should be a strong contribution to capacity building in Guyana. He believes that now is the right time for launching a project that he and his team have been working on for the past year – the International Petroleum and Maritime Academy (IPMA). IPMA is to be launched as an in-house vocational academy, a finishing school for TOTALTEC Oilfield Services Guyana Inc. recruits. The driver for this venture is to avoid altogether the ‘chicken and egg’ scenario whereby Guyanese workers are missing out on opportunities for jobs in the oil and gas industry due to a lack of qualifications or relevant job experience. The IPMA will break this vicious circle by hiring the successful Guyanese candidates of the 10 week intensive vocational training course after their graduation. This addresses their initial lack of qualification, as they will be qualified at the end of the course, and the best graduates will be placed in oil and gas industry jobs immediately or almost immediately after graduation. Mangal believes that successful Guyanese companies, as well as international companies who truly believe in building a competitive edge in the Guyanese oil and gas industry, will be strongly supporting this industry led initiative to build local capacity. He insists that the most pragmatic approach to accelerating the relevance of his newly minted company is to partner both locally and internationally and concurrently work to build local capacity. By all accounts, this is not doing business, but following a vocation. Guyana looks forward to following the progress of this pioneering oil and gas service company with big ambitions to serve the industry locally and to accelerate the introduction of a Guyanese workforce in the industry. Edition 30
The fight against corruption and the helping hand of the international community
ccording to the United Nations Development Fund, corruption undermines human development. It diverts public resources away from the provision of essential services. It increases inequality and hinders national and local economic development by distorting markets for goods and services. It corrodes the rule of law and destroys public trust in governments and leaders. It is upon this premise that local authorities have sought to increase the fight against corruption by completing its own efforts with the expertise and knowledge of the international community. One of the international organizations from which Guyana receives guidance is the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (IACAC). The Inter-American Convention against Corruption (IACAC) came into force in 1997 and is the first international anti-corruption treaty that has influenced the adoption of a number of other international instruments, including United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the African Convention against Corruption. The main objectives of IACAC are: (a) to promote and strengthen the development of the mechanisms needed to prevent, detect, punish and eradicate corruption; and (b) to promote, facilitate and regulate cooperation among the Member States to ensure the effectiveness of measures and actions in place to fight corruption. The most important aspect of the Convention relates to preventive measures. It covers the following key areas: • Internal controls and maintenance of books of
account; • Written rules and instructions for the proper execution of duties; • Conservation and proper use of public resources; • Government hiring and compensation; • Procurement of goods and services, and the execution of works; • Revenue collection and control; • Codes of conduct, conflicts of interest and other ethical considerations; • Declaration of income, assets and liabilities; • Participation of civil society; • Reporting acts of corruption and whistleblower protection; and • Oversight arrangements. Other aspects of the Convention include measures to combat transnational bribery; illicit enrichment; unauthorized use of classified or confidential information; extradition proceedings; assistance and cooperation among State parties; identifying, tracing, freezing, seizure and forfeiting property or proceeds from corrupt activities; and bank secrecy laws. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which Guyana is also a signatory to, came into force in 2005 and is more detailed than IACAC. Parties to UNCAC are expected to develop and implement or maintain effective and coordinated anticorruption policies that promote the participation of society and reflect the principles of the rule of law, proper management of public affairs and public property, integrity, transparency and
accountability. UNCAC specifically refers to the establishment of a body or bodies to promote effective practices aimed at preventing corruption. These bodies should be granted the necessary independence and resources to carry out their functions effectively, free of undue influence. In relation to the public sector, State parties are to adopt, maintain and strengthen systems for the recruitment, hiring, retention, promotion and retirement of civil servants and non-elected officials based on, among others, efficiency, transparency and objective criteria such as merit, equity and aptitude. In addition, they ensure that appropriate systems are in place for public procurement, based on transparency, competition and objective criteria in decisionmaking that are effective in preventing corruption. Other measures include: • Establishing criteria concerning candidature for and selection to public office, enhanced transparency in the funding of candidates for elected public office, and funding of political parties; • Maintaining and strengthening systems that promote transparency and prevent conflicts of interest; • Facilitating simplified access by members of the public to information on government programs and activities; • Strengthening the integrity of the judiciary and prosecution services to prevent opportunities for corruption among its members; • Enhancing accounting and auditing standards for the
private sector, and ensuring cooperation between law enforcement agencies; • Participation of individuals and groups outside the public sector to raise public awareness regarding the existence, causes and gravity of and the threat posed by corruption; • Ensuring comprehensive domestic regulatory and supervisory regime for banks and nonbank financial institutions, as well as other bodies particularly susceptible to money laundering, including the establishment of a financial intelligence unit; • Criminalizing laundering of proceeds, of acts of bribery, embezzlement, abuse of functions and other related acts as well as concealment and obstruction of justice;
and • Freezing, seizure and confiscation of proceeds of crime as well as property derived from such proceeds. It is crucial to note that Guyana acceded to the IACAC in 2000 and UNCAC in 2008. Furthermore, the Organization of American States (OAS) recently completed its fourth round review of Guyana’s compliance with IACAC relating to oversight bodies, which include the Audit Office, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Service Commissions and the National Tender and Administration Board (NPTAB). The main recommendations are: (a) these bodies are provided with adequate financial and human resources to enable them to discharge their responsibilities effectively; and (b) an anti-
corruption agency established with specialized units within the Police Force and the Office of the DPP. Guyana has consistently scored poorly on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI). In addition, allegations of corrupt behaviour are being highlighted in the print media on a routine basis. In view of the current workload of the Police and the Office of the DPP and their lack of experience and expertise in dealing with white collar crimes, local commentators have said that it would be more appropriate for anti-corruption legislation to be promulgated to provide for, among others, the establishment of an anti-corruption agency clothed with powers of prosecution and a special anti-corruption court to deal with offenders.
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Golden Crunch Coconut Biscuits - A beloved Grandma’s recipe
t first, it was just a task for her final year University of Guyana (UG) project. Now, this project has turned into a thriving manufacturing business for Shaunda Yarde, a resilient mother of one. Yarde was at UG when she was tasked with coming up with a Marketing and Communication Plan as her final year project being a Communications Major. She was challenged with introducing a new product or service into the community. While the other students chose to produce television and radio programmes, Yarde baked coconut biscuits. The recipe was given to her by her grandmother. She said, “It is my grandmother’s recipe. She used to bake bread, buns and salara (red cake). This is in honour of her.” Prior to introducing the coconut biscuits as her project, this lover of baking once baked goodies and supplied them to a canteen owned by the family of one of her friends. This was done in her leisure time and her earnings helped to cover part of her tuition fees. However, having received positive feedback after the project was completed, she was motivated to start her own business. According to Yarde, “The product (coconut biscuits) was well received by the lecturer. She (the lecturer) liked the idea. I think that was the first time I got direct
feedback from people. Everyone in the room was eating the biscuits and they liked it.” After graduating UG and a short stint at her friend’s advertising business, Yarde gained enough courage to step into the world of business. Soon after, she birthed Coconut Grove – the manufacturers and distributors of Golden Crunch Coconut Biscuits. This brainchild of Yarde aims at producing healthy snacks using coconut. Another objective of Coconut Grove is to create employment for women in Yarde’s community of Patentia, West Bank Demerara. The entrepreneur related, “After working with my friend and seeing how she operated her business, I was inspired to start my own. By working with other small businesses, you get to see the challenges they face and how they work to overcome them.” Coconut Grove has been in operation for the past five years. But turning a spare-time passion into a profitable business was not without its hurdles. Yarde recounted the difficulties she faced in acquiring certain documents because of her desire to operate the business legally. She explained that she had to obtain a food handler’s certificate and even get approval from the Central Housing and Planning Authority and the Guyana Fire Service. She also shared that securing a small business loan to finance a new business or to expand existing operations is no easy task. As such, she is calling on
Golden Cruch Biscuits
lending institutions to reduce some of its criteria for borrowers. Yarde further explained that getting her product on the shelves of supermarkets was not an easy task; but for her, it was all about perseverance and determination. Although they were initially rejected by a few supermarkets, the coconut biscuits can now be found on sale at the Bounty Supermarkets, Massy Stores and at the Guyana Shop. They are also available at Oasis Express at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and at the Marriott Hotel. Yarde revealed, “They (the companies) were very receptive to supporting the local product.” She also has clients that purchase directly from her.
Building her brand
One of the challenges Yarde pointed out is making a home bakery business successful without compromising on the ingredients used. However, this is also something that she prides herself on. Yarde has built her brand on quality, using only natural ingredients to produce the biscuits. According to her, all of the ingredients are locally sourced from farmers and other manufactures. For example, she said that she would purchase the coconuts from farmers in her community. “The biscuits are fresh, they have no preservatives,” she added. Although production is not where she wants it to be at this stage, she noted that it is gradually growing, with two females from her community gaining part-time employment.
Training, Marketing and Originality
When she is not caring for her son, Yarde is busy marketing her product on various social media platforms. She confessed that she has “tweaked” her grandmother’s recipe a little to give the biscuits a distinct taste. She also confessed that testing and perfecting the new recipe was not only exciting but rewarding, since she had the freedom to do it being her own boss. Learning how to improve branding, market her product, the importance of networking techniques and strategies to grow a business were skills Yarde learnt during her participation in a programme sponsored by the USA Embassy in Guyana. That programme, she disclosed, was the 2016 Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), under former US President Barack Obama. It is a professional programme that empowers entrepreneurs and innovative civil society leaders to strengthen capacity and advance their entrepreneurial ideas to contribute to social and economic development in their communities and regions. In expressing gratitude to the US Embassy in Guyana for the exposure, Yarde, who is a founding member of the YLAI Guyana Alumni, said that after participating in the programme, her attitude towards business “really improved.” And to date, this has been one of the most fulfilling business experiences for her.
Having invested in commercial baking equipment, Yarde sees her business expanding soon. She already has a solid business plan in mind for transforming her business into a high-end bakery. Along with her brother, she is currently researching on other healthy items—besides the traditional sugar cake and coconut oil—that can be produced from coconuts. When quizzed on some of her plans for this year, the businesswoman disclosed that she would be seeking market for her product in the mining town of Linden and the ancient county of Berbice. As it is the first point of interaction with customers, she disclosed that she will also be focusing on how to improve her packaging to make it more attractive. For now, the coconut biscuits are packaged in a plain plastic wrap with a paper label within. In addition, Yarde also plans on producing the coconut biscuits in various shapes, sizes and flavours. First Lady, Sandra Granger, has already lent support to this young entrepreneur. In December 2016, Yarde presented a sample of the coconut biscuits to the First Lady who expressed, “I’m very happy to see how she’s marketing her product...” In return, Yarde has commended the First Lady’s efforts, through the Interweave Solutions (Guyana), in training women how to make their business legal and insurance compliance, amongst other things. Interweave Solutions Incorporated, a non-profit organization in Utah, USA, aims to move people from poverty to prosperity through neighbourhood self-reliance groups. Yarde believes that more initiatives likes this should be implemented because “there needs to be consistent support for small businesses.” Having been in business for quite some time, she advises new entrepreneurs that in order to overcome the many setbacks in starting a new business, they need to be resilient and develop the grit to endure all trials.
Shaunda Yarde, Founder Edition 30
However, most individuals do not notice that as the earth spins on its axis, the precise direction from which the sun rises and sets varies during the year. This variation should be taken into account when determining the placement of the light.
Solar Light Security By Brian Ramsey – Amalgamated Security Services Most individuals recognize that having lighting around their premises at night is a good deterrent against burglary and other crimes. With the high cost of electricity in the Caribbean, however, many persons either forgo lighting the premises or drastically reduce the amount of lighting to reduce their electricity bill.
If you’re going to mount these lights onto trees, it is important to take into account that the movement of the tree’s branches because of the wind can dampen its effectiveness. If placed where these branches are in the range of the motion detector, then the light will constantly be going to full power, thus drawing on the battery and causing the light to stop illuminating before the night is over. One therefore has to avoid tree branches or regularly cut the tree’s limbs to ensure that they are not in the range of the motion detector. One of the types of solar lights that can be used for security purposes comes with the ability to adjust the focus of the beam so that you can concentrate the light on a specific area or widen the focus so that the light illuminates a larger area. It is to be noted that in widening the focus to cover a larger area, the intensity of the light diminishes.
An option that has significantly improved over the past few years is the use of solar lighting. By drawing their power from the sun, these lights do not require any connection to the electricity supply, thus not increasing the monthly electricity bill. In addition, these lights come with a photo sensor that causes them to switch on automatically whenever it is dark. The average individual, when thinking about solar lights, imagines the garden type solar lights that are intended to be staked into the ground. These are certainly good for decorative purposes and for lighting walkways to allow pedestrians to see where they are walking. To be effective for security purposes, however, any lighting has to be placed at a height so that the light can illuminate a relatively large area. Solar light manufacturers have broadened their range of lighting designs so that there are now solar lights that are designed to be mounted onto walls or poles and others that can be easily configured to be mounted on posts. One of the factors to be considered in the placement of solar lights is that these lights draw their power from the sun, therefore, they need to be placed where the solar panel can receive the maximum direct sunlight. If the panel only receives partial light or if it receives direct light for only a few hours, it will not last the entire night. We have all grown up learning that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. This is a true statement. 26
Another feature of this light is that the angle of the solar panel is adjustable, thus you can adjust the positioning of the solar panel to gain the maximum amount of exposure to the sun. Some solar lights emit a constant level of illumination once the surroundings become dark. A few manufacturers have begun creating lights that have an adjustable level of illumination and combined that with a Passive InfraRed detector to provide motion detection. With these lights, you can choose to have the light emit a constant level of illumination or you can choose to have the light remain off unless it detects motion, at which point it will illuminate the area. A third lighting option with these lights is for the light to emit illumination at a low level and then automatically switch to full illumination when motion is detected. These variations in light settings are to
Many manufacturers have developed their lights using LEDs as these require less power in order to illuminate an area. allow the user to configure the illumination in the manner that best suits their need and, at the same time, conserve battery life to allow the light to last throughout the night. One manufacturer has designed their light so that it provides motion detection and illumination on three sides, thus giving a 120-degree wide angle detection. Many manufacturers have developed their lights using LEDs, as these require less power in order to illuminate an area. The greater the number of LEDs contained in the light unit, the greater will be the illumination that the unit emits. So when comparing different types of solar lights, you should compare the number of LEDs in each different unit. In choosing solar lights for outdoor security use, it is important to ensure that the light is waterproof, dust proof, shockproof and heat proof. It is also important to carefully review all the features of the light to ensure that it meets your requirements. Finally, it is beneficial to read any independent reviews of the particular light to confirm that it is suitable for your use, as there are many manufacturers with varying quality of product. It is possible to obtain solar lights that assist in providing security deterrence and these provide a low cost means of adding to your security arsenal.
About the Author Brian Ramsey has a B.A. in Accounting & Management, along with an M.B.A. in Finance and over 29 years in the Caribbean security field. He is the Regional Development Director for Amalgamated Security Services Limited which operates in Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Barbados, St Lucia, Guyana, and Antigua. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Guyana Press Association elects first female President GPA President, Ms. Nazima Raghubir.
fter more than 70 years of existence, the Guyana Press Association [GPA] has elected a woman as its leader. Nazima Raghubir, who has for years been the face of Prime News, one of Guyana’s leading television newscasts, was on January 7, 2018 elected the first female President of the Association. She ran unopposed. The GPA, which was established in 1945, is an organization that represents the interest of practicing media workers in Guyana. The first time the organization came close to having a woman at the helm was when veteran journalist, Julia Johnson, who was elected Vice President under then President Denis Chabrol, was required to act as president for a period. Johnson was among those lauding the historical development recently. Speaking of her decision to run for office, Nazima said that it was after careful deliberation that she decided to make the crucial decision to pursue the leadership of the GPA. However, Nazima might have been the most fitting candidate for the post in any case, not only because of the number of years she has been in the media, but because of the various positions she has held in the past. Other positions she was elected to included: Assistant Secretary/Treasurer, Treasurer and Floor Member. According to Nazima, “I have been a member of the media and GPA for more than a decade and a member of the executive committee of the ACM over the last two years.” The ACM is the Association of Caribbean Media Workers which represents media workers in the Caribbean
and Guyana too. Since Nazima also holds a place on that body, she said, “I feel that with the collective support of GPA’s membership, I can lead an Association that represents all media workers over the next two years.” Her proposed approach to strengthening the GPA is based on collective action, but according to Nazima, “I will not make any promises that assume that I propose to do it all by myself. The GPA is as strong as its members and I would encourage members to support the Association beyond the elections.” Nazima has already crafted a media plan which she hopes will help to propel the efforts of the GPA. Among her ambitious plans is to build a strong and financially sustainable organisation with a broadened mandate to execute projects based on the skills of the Association’s membership and allies. Moreover, she envisages a widened membership base while maintaining its integrity as an Association of journalists and media workers operating on traditional and new media platforms. During her tenure too, Nazima has her eyes set on “strengthening relations with regional and international organisations interested in media development in Guyana and the press freedom issues that confront us.” This she anticipates will include strengthening existing relations with the international diplomatic community resident in Guyana, with particular reference to their interest in media development and the strengthening of the democratic process. But even more, the newly installed President is looking to build capacity to ensure that the GPA can respond to crises when they arise, and develop protocols to guide the leadership and members. Also in the pipelines are tactics to develop greater solidarity across the borders of commercial competition through joint projects and activities that promote greater cohesion, Nazima revealed. She is also preparing to establish what she calls, “a pathway for the communicating of concerns over the coverage of state institutions.” Moreover, her presidency is also slated to be laced with moves to review and revise the constitution of the GPA to take into account the changing realities of media in Guyana even as moves are made to develop a public communication strategy and plan to promote informed opinion on the work and functions of the organization. But even as moves are made to implement her ambitious plan, Nazima made it clear that she will not be working in isolation. For this reason, she stressed the need for the development of a framework for broader sharing of executive responsibilities among the leadership of the organization.
Correspondent Banking: A local, regional & international problem
ccording to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), correspondent banking with global banks allows smaller banks access to the international payments system, facilitating money transfers through transactions such as wire transfers, check clearing and currency exchange. The IMF notes that without these banking relationships, businesses are cut off from international trade and financing, families are unable to collect remittances from relatives working abroad, and foreign investors may be unwilling to invest if there is a risk that they will be unable to repatriate their profits. The threat to Caribbean economies from large-scale withdrawal of correspondent banks was high on the agenda of policymakers attending the most recent High Level Caribbean Forum in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, last year. “The withdrawal of correspondent banking relationships presents a clear and present danger to the Caribbean,” declared IMF Deputy Managing Director, Tao Zhang, in opening remarks at the forum, which was co-hosted by the IMF and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. A survey conducted by the Caribbean Association of Banks shows banks in 12 countries in the region have experienced loss of correspondent banking. Among them are The Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname,
“We believe a solution to this issue requires dialogue between countries, regulators and banks and increased information exchange. This can help clarify regulatory expectations, build trust, facilitate capacity building and highlight best practices....” - Tao Zhang
Trinidad and Tobago, and countries in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. In Belize, the withdrawal of correspondent banking relationships is systemic, with affected banks’ assets amounting to more than half of the domestic banking system’s assets. In other countries, the loss of correspondent banking relationships has not reached systemic proportions, but still presents an urgent threat. Increased regulation of banking systems globally—to address concerns about tax evasion and combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism—has had the unintended consequence of making correspondent banking relationships costlier and less attractive to global banks. Increased enforcement and unclear regulatory expectations present correspondent banks with the possibility of large fines for noncompliance, particularly in cases where local privacy laws prohibit the sharing of information about banks’ customers. Thus, the withdrawal of correspondent banking services is seen as “de-risking” by global banks. Another concern highlighted during the forum is the risk that increased monitoring would push transactions to informal channels, making it difficult to monitor illicit transactions and, in effect, countering anti-money laundering efforts. Furthermore, IMF officials said de-risking was an issue that the institution regarded as very important for its member countries and reaffirmed the IMF’s commitment to helping countries find solutions, including through increased policy dialogue and technical assistance. “We believe a solution to this issue requires dialogue between countries, regulators and banks, and increased information exchange. This can help clarify regulatory expectations, build trust, facilitate capacity building and highlight best practices,” Zhang said. Panelists at the forum expressed a sense of urgency to address the impact of de-risking on the region. They encouraged policymakers to examine the scope for collective solutions to mitigate the costs to individual countries of introducing measures—such as taking advantage of better technology to facilitate information sharing and reducing the cost of providing correspondent banking services. Edition 30
Guyana’s Hydromet Services & the potential to generate revenue
uyana’s Hydrometeorological Department provides a range of services to the aviation industry, water, agriculture, engineering and other related agencies for the socio-economic development of the country. It is the official provider of weather, water and climate information and related products and services for Guyana. Additionally, the department, which is attached to the Ministry of Agriculture, has the general responsibility to monitor and evaluate the weather and water resources in Guyana and to actively support the government in disaster risk management. While the department has been doing an exceptional job in the provision of its services, it has been noted that it holds great potential for generating revenue which can be added to the national purse. In fact, the Guyana Inc. Magazine understands that hydrometeorological data is provided to consumers at a minimal cost. During the first half of 2017, it was noted that Seventy Five Thousand, Five Hundred and Seventy Dollars ($75,570.00)) was generated. The funds were paid directly to the Ministry of Agriculture Accounting Unit. While that is a notable contribution, the Hydromet Service is of the view that with greater effort, more money could be had for its services. The Hydromet Service said that persons who are interested should invest more since the hydrometeorological data provided is critical for their company’s sustainability. For example, whenever engineering firms request extensions due to weather forecasting data they received from the department, they ultimately save on projects which
value millions of dollars. Since 2017 to now, the Department revealed that it would have provided approximately Fifteen Million, Nine Hundred and Eleven Thousand, Three Hundred and Thirty Dollars ($15,911,330) in meteorological data freely for developmental projects and irrigation projection. It noted that this alone speaks to the potential for the Service to generate revenue for the country.
During the first half of 2017, it was noted that Seventy Five, Thousand Five Hundred and Seventy Dollars ($75,570.00)) was generated. The funds were paid directly to the Ministry of Agriculture Accounting Unit.
DETAILING THE POTENTIAL
Guyana’s Hydrometeorological Service is often times called upon to play an active role in environmental predictions related to climate, the energy sector, floods and drought, to name a few. In addition to this, there has been a longstanding relationship between the aviation industry and meteorological service. Aviation has benefited from significant investments by governments in international meteorological infrastructure, while advances in that infrastructure and in forecasting systems and techniques have been driven in part by the evolving requirements of aviation. One example has been the fruitful co-operation between the airline industry and meteorological services in establishing programmes for making available automated reports from aircraft, which contribute significantly to enhancing the quality of the services provided to all users, including aviation. The Service is providing all the information freely to various stakeholders. The objective of a Cost Recovery Framework in this context is to ensure that required services are delivered,
appropriate revenues are recovered, and that there is a fair distribution of such revenues to providers of both services and supporting infrastructure. According to the Hydromet Office, there are various models of service delivery and cost recovery being used by many countries around the world. Generally, the most efficient way to recover costs from aviation has proven to be the designation of a single entity to recover all air navigation service charges on behalf of all service providers, including aeronautical meteorological services. However, in instances where a single entity is designated to recover all air navigation service charges, experience in International Civil Aviation Organisation and World Meteorological Organisation has shown that it is essential that transparent and formal agreements are reached beforehand on the appropriate distribution of the revenues which are recovered to all air navigation service providers including meteorological services. The Hydrometeorological Service is a department that demands academic scientific competence and experience, long working hours, etc. so that it can meet its mandate. The Office told the Magazine, “We must also be aware that new equipment and its operation and maintenance, and the use of computers and improved telecommunications will result not only in changes to operational routines but also, at times, in changes to the structure and management of the Service itself.” “However, the Service is currently guided by the Public Service procedures which do not adequately cater for the specialized needs of scientific based institutions like Hydromet, thus it is recommended that steps be taken to have this institution function semi-autonomously.” It added, “The Service has immense potential to generate its own income especially in areas of aviation meteorology and ground water hydrology. Landing charges at the CJIA and 2% of all capital works that utilize Hydromet data/information should be paid to the treasury as revenue generated by the Hydromet
Service. The possibility also exists for an increase in revenue from charges for licenses in drilling of wells, data, etc.” The Hydromet office said that the efficiency and reliability of the hydrological and meteorological network was improved with the installation of the Doppler weather radar, satellite imagery reception stations and replacement/training of staff. These measures have enhanced the quality of products from the Hydrometeorological Service. 2018 Projections Climate change is expected to trigger more frequent and serious extreme events that will ultimately have adverse impacts on Guyana. Hence, in this regard efforts are ongoing to strengthen the Hydrometeorological Service to further improve the capabilities of this Department in daily, seasonal to inter-annual climate predication so as to guide Guyanese to cope with the threats posed by climate variability and change. For 2018, the Hydromet Office proposes to do the following activities: a) Equip, staff and fully operationalize the Water Quality Laboratory. b) Fully staff and operationalize the Groundwater Section. c) Install a server system to manage the Service’s ICT infrastructure. d) Initiate training for at least three (3) weather forecasters and hydrological technicians (3) at the CIMH. e) Undertake specialized training in groundwater hydrology. f) Improve transportation facilities to accommodate an increase in field activities. g) Continue to maintain and expand meteorological and hydrological networks across the country. h) Strengthen climatological and hydrological database. i) Continue with primary and secondary Hydrometeorological data processing. j) Provide data/information request to public, engineering, agricultural, etc users. k) Continue to provide daily Public, Marine and Climatological Forecasts to stakeholders and the
Guyanese public. l) Continue to provide meteorological information to various airline operators and pilots that are crucial to planning and execution of flight operations. Ensure that Guyana’s obligation to the International Civil Aviation Organization are met. m) Participate in various Expos. n) Preparation for celebrating Agriculture Month Activities 2018 in order to increase public awareness on weather and climate information and its applications to improved management of natural disasters. o) The Hydrometeorological Service’s mandate is to monitor the quality and quantity of Guyana’s Water Resources. In order to strengthen the National Water Information System (NWIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPSs) are required to obtain the geographical coordinates of all stations. This will be done throughout 2018. p) In 2018, the Service is expecting an increase in Automatic Weather Stations. This will contribute tremendously to an anticipated increase in field activities. q) Continue to make available all the Automatic Weather Station Data Accessible via the internet allowing for the viewing of data ingested in almost real time from each station across the country. r) Continue to maintain and strengthen the National Water Information System (NWIS). s) Additional training in the field of Information Technology for technical staff that are involved and attached to the Telecommunication and Maintenance Section. These staff members are expected to benefit from Computer Network and Repairs, System and Database Administration and Security. Also specialized training in maintenance and usage of the Megellan Satellite Receive System which will be enhanced forecasting capabilities. t) Continue the digitization of historical hydrometeorological data.
NAREI and its impact on Guyanaâ€™s exports
he National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) is the leading organization tasked with spearheading agricultural research and extension activities for productivity enhancement and diversification of the non-traditional crops sectors. Its work can have a significant impact on exports here. In fact, work at the Institute has been increasing as it relates to crop production and improvement. In 2017 alone, it was projected that non-traditional crop production would increase by at least 2.5 per cent. By the end of the first half of 2017, a total of 400,000 Metric Tonnes (MT) was produced. A similar projection is being made for 2018. Major emphasis is also being placed on coconuts, plantains, peppers, cassava, pineapples, spices and tomatoes for processing. Plantain Production Plantain production for the first half of 2017 was estimated to be 51,507 MT and is projected to exceed its 2016 total production of 78,695 MT to reach at least 85,000 MT by the end of this year. In 2018, the current emphasis on plantain production will continue in an attempt to supply the increasing demand for this commodity in the processing industry. Efforts will be on boosting plantain production, particularly through the promotion of improved agronomic practices; through the use of bunch covers to ensure product quality; Black Sigatoka Disease (BSD) management; using organic fertilization methods and proper field sanitation. All this will work to ensure a constant and reliable source of plantains for the processing sector. Coconut Management for improved production According to NAREI, the coconut industry continues to expand with the 32
resurgence of markets for coconut products. It is estimated that an additional 5000 acres would be established within the next five years. Thus, there is the need to have an adequate supply of planting materials to satisfy the increased acreages. NAREI has since recognized the need to ensure the constant and reliable source of planting materials and as such, in 2017, the Institute established three coconut nurseries in Mon Repos, Wakenaam and Charity. In 2018, nursery production would further be enhanced at all three of these locations, with support from the Hope Estate. The introduction of tissue cultured plantlet production is also programmed for 2018 to ensure a sufficiency of coconut planting materials. For NAREI, the increasing production/productivity of coconuts would be an on-going activity. Emphasis would be placed on management of pests and diseases and promoting the adoption of good agronomic practices, inclusive of fertilization. Coconut will continue to be promoted as an industry as outlined in the roadmap for the sector in 2016. Additionally, the operationalization of a major processing facility at Marudi will result in the production of valueadded products, inclusive of virgin coconut oil, activated charcoal, coconut water, etc. Hot Pepper Production According to NAREI, production of this commodity will continue to be given priority to ensure that the demands of the processing sectors are met. For the first half of 2017, production was at 6,577 MT compared to the 10,745 MT produced in 2016. Cassava Production Cassava is another commodity which would be featured in 2018.
According to NAREI, emphasis will be placed on increasing production in Region 9 to cater for the demands of the two processing facilities at Wowetta and Moco Moco. The Institute has already begun to work with farmers in the communities of Quarry and St. Ignatius in order to improve cassava production. Production of Spices (Turmeric, Ginger and Blackpepper) The operationalization of the turmeric factory at Hosororo in 2017 has given impetus to this commodity. In 2017, 50 acres of turmeric were cultivated. For the first two quarters of 2017, it was estimated that at least 800 MT have been harvested across the country. It is estimated that by 2020, 150 acres would be cultivated to satisfy the local demand (167 tonnes) for this product. Similar activities are proposed for ginger and blackpepper. Tomatoes Apart from satisfying local demands, tomato production will be featured at Paramakatoi in Region 8. The Institute noted that this will ensure year round production of tomatoes for the sun dried tomato facility commissioned by President David Granger in July 2017. Enhancing Diversification According to the Institute, a number of diversification initiatives will continue in 2018, building from the successes of 2017. In fact, NAREI said it will continue to work with Amazon Caribbean (AMCAR) on the 500 acre fruit farm, Herstelling, in the Berbice River. An additional 50 acres is to come on stream in 2018. In 2018, NAREI, in collaboration with WUSC (World University Service of Canada), through the Promotion of Regional Opportunities for Produce through Enterprises and Linkages (PROPEL) project, will continue to refine the production practices for Irish potato varieties
(Spunta, Bristol Pride and Kennebec) which showed adaptability to local conditions; additional varieties will also be acquired for testing. It is anticipated that ideal locations and dates for planting would be identified for successful cultivation of this crop. Based on current projections, an estimated 660 hectares (ha) are needed to satisfy local demand. The onion variety, Mercedes, was identified as suitable for local cultivation. Commercial planting of this variety will be done in 2018. Quinoa which was targeted as a new crop to be established in 2017 was delayed due to the non-acquisition of seed material. The first trials were expected to be done in the last quarter of 2017 in the Canje Area, Berbice. Further evaluations will be done in 2018. Other diversification initiatives include accessing and evaluating new varieties of watermelons, tomatoes, cassava, etc. The evaluation of the two new breadfruit varieties, which commenced in 2017, will continue in 2018. Management of Pest and diseases NAREI has noted that it will continue to employ the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies to manage pests and diseases. Lures, bio-pesticides, baits, trap-cropping and pheromones would be utilised to manage pests and diseases. IPM for the management of the BSD of plantains and bananas will continue to be a priority activity. Additional demonstration farms on farmers’ field will be established to promote field sanitation, fertilisation and other agronomic practices to reduce the application of non-organic fungicides and pesticides. Cultivation of the four BSD resistant plantain and banana cultivars, identified in 2017, will be expanded. The Institute also noted that IPM of coconuts will also be given prominence, especially for the management of the Red Palm Mite (RPM). In addition to biological controls using predators, IPM plots established on farmers’ fields at Mahaica, Hague, Wakenaam and the Pomeroon will be continuously monitored. The IPM treatments evaluated include field sanitation and fertilisation, combined with a more
environmentally friendly fungicide. Green Agricultural Practices Apart from the green practices, the Institute said that emphasis will be placed on the use of mychorrizae (tomatoes and pepper) and rhizobia (beans) to reduce the use of synthetic fertilisers on these crops. The use of activated charcoal and biochar, as soil amendments, would be promoted on low fertility soil, especially on the Linden/Soedyke Highway, to enhance the water holding capacity and nutrient retention of these soils for enhanced crop production. Additionally, the use of composts and vermicomposts to improve the organic matter content and nutrient status of soils would be encouraged. In addition to cow manure, which was traditionally used as the source for vermicomposting, the use of pig manure as well as sheep or goat manure would be evaluated as sources for vermicomposts. NAREI stated that it will continue to work with the Ministry of Communities with respect to its tree planting exercise. This Ministry intends to establish 300,000 trees over a three year period; an activity which commenced in 2017. Hinterland Agricultural Development Hinterland Agricultural Development continues to be a priority for the Ministry of Agriculture and its agencies. NAREI will be engaged in the research and technology transfer aspects of the Inter-American Bank (IDB) funded Sustainable Agricultural Development Project (SADP). Other activities which have already been fulfilled under Hinterland Agricultural Development in 2017 are summarised below: • Continuous monitoring and evaluation of the 20 acres of orchard established at Ebini; • Spice cultivation and processing in Region 1 and the expansion of the Hosororo nursery. • The production of tomatoes to supply the sun dried tomato facility at Paramakatoi; • Establishment of nursery and farm at Paramakatoi; • Utilisation of farm at Kato for the production of crops such as potatoes, onions, fejou and fruits; • Expansion of cassava cultivation in Region 9 and the Irish potato trials.
Climate Smart Practices NAREI has said that it will be engaged in the recently approved Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Project targeting climate smart agriculture. This project seeks to identify crops that show resilience to the vagaries of climate change and the adoptive measures that farmers could utilise. In 2018, an assessment will be conducted on the production practices being utilised for shade houses that were previously established. This will provide guidelines on how these practices could be improved. Work will continue with farmers and private investors who have expressed interest in expanding shade house cultivation. Demonstration farms/ Training Demonstration farms are essential to transferring appropriate technology as well as for training farmers using the Farmer Field School approach. In 2017, more than 80 demonstration farms/plots were established in all ten regions. This exercise will continue in 2018, in districts which were not previously targeted. NAREI revealed that it will continue to provide support to the Community Development Projects (CDP) which were previously established and those coming on stream in 2018. Extension services and training would also be provided to the four target areas under the Regional Agriculture Infrastructural Development (RAID) Project. Demonstration farms are also to be established in beneficiary areas of Ithaca, Triumph, Buxton and Mocha. Mangrove Management/Restoration In 2017, an assessment of the coastline from Regions 2 through 6 was conducted to evaluate the condition of the coastline and identify sites to restore mangroves. Based on that assessment, a brushwood dam and geotextile tube groyne was established in Region two. The Mangrove programme for the next three years will focus on (i) Mangrove conservation and sustainable management; (ii) Restoration of degraded sites; (iii) Research; (iv) Education and awareness and (v) Increased technical capacity through training.
WORK RELATED LAW...
Guyana’s Code of Conduct enforces Transparency among Public Officials
s with all Government-related positions, it is imperative that there exist rules which govern the conduct of those individuals chosen to fill them. In Guyana, such rules come in the form of a Code of Conduct. It provides appropriate guidance on the values that should govern the conduct of Ministers and other office holders in carrying out their Parliamentary and public duties. It is also meant to reinforce public confidence in the way in which Ministers and public office holders perform their duties. In essence, this Code enforces transparency. By virtue of the oath or affirmation of allegiance taken when they are elected, Ministers have a duty to be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, according to law. Public office holders are duty bound by this Code in all aspects of their public life. The Code does not regulate the conduct of public office holders in their private and personal lives. They do, however, have a duty to uphold the law, including the general law against discrimination and sexual harassment, and to act with propriety on all occasions in accordance with the public trust and confidence placed in them. Public office holders have a general duty to act in the interests of the nation as a whole and owe a special duty of care to their constituents and citizens. All public office holders must abide by these 10 principles: Accountability - Public office holders are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions, and must submit themselves to scrutiny and criticism. Dignity - Public office holders are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that is worthy of the respect of their peers and the public. Diligence - Public office holders are expected to be effective, efficient, courteous and reliable in the performance of their duties. Duty - Public office holders are reminded that they owe a duty to the public and must consider themselves servants of the people. Honour - Members of Parliament should regard it as an honour to serve in the nation’s highest legislative forum. They have a moral responsibility to preserve the reputation of their office. Integrity - Public office holders have a duty to declare any private interest relating to the discharge of their duties and
responsibilities, and to ensure that their personal decisions and actions are not in conflict with the national interest. Loyalty - Public office holders should display allegiance to the State and should show concern for the wellbeing of the persons that they were elected to represent. Objectivity - Ministers, in carrying out public business, should make decisions based on merit when making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits. Responsibility - Ministers, collectively, have a basic responsibility to take decisions only in the national interest void of any forms of personal gain, or other material benefits for themselves, their family or their friends. Transparency - Ministers should be open about all their public decisions and actions and be prepared to provide explanations when so demanded by the public. Another great point to note is that the acceptance of gifts and other forms of rewards worth more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) by Ministers, Members of Parliament and public office holders in their official capacity must be reported to the Integrity Commission. Ministers, Members of Parliament and public office holders are expected to decline such gratuities if the acceptance of same could be perceived to have an affect on their objectivity and lead to complaints of bias or impropriety. This could be considered bribery of some sort. In terms of conflicts of interest that arise when the “private interests” of the public office holder compete or conflict with the interests of the State, Ministers, Members of Parliament and public office holders should avoid using their official position or transmitting any information made available to them in the course of their to benefit themselves, their relations or any other individuals with whom they are associated. “Private interests” mean both the financial and personal interests of the official and staff or those of their connections including: »» Family and other relations; »» Personal friends; »» Other companies or business interests which they hold or own (both in part or in whole) »» Other clubs and societies to which they belong; and
Any person to whom they owe a favour or are obligated to in any way. They should avoid compromising themselves or their office, which may lead to an actual or perceived conflict of interest. Failure to avoid or declare any conflicts of interest may give rise to criticism of favouritism, abuse of authority or even allegations of corruption. In particular, Ministers, Members of Parliament and public office holders involved in the procurement process should declare conflicts of interest if they are closely related to, have, or will likely be perceived to have beneficial interest in any company or transaction that would result in the award for the supplies of goods and services to the state. Officials and Ministers, Members of Parliament and public office holders must also not accept lavish or frequent entertainment from persons with whom the Government has official dealings with, so that they will not be placed in a position of obligation to the other party. Additionally, officials and staff who misuse their office for personal gains or to favour their relatives or friends or to benefit their business connections are liable to disciplinary action by the Government or even prosecution by the State. Officials and staff are not allowed to disclose any classified or proprietary information to anyone without prior authorization by the Government. Officials and staff who have access to, or are in control of such information, should at all times provide adequate safeguards to prevent its abuse or misuse. Any public office holder given access to any property or other resources of or acquired by the Government (such as venue) should ensure that it is properly used solely for the purpose of conducting the Government’s business. Misappropriation or unauthorized use of such property or resources, such as for personal use or personal gain (e.g. resale or unauthorized leasing), is strictly prohibited. Facilities provided to Ministers, Members of Parliament and public office holders at Government expense to ensure fulfillment of their official duties should not be used for political activities. Government property should not generally be used for constituency work or party activities.
The Non-Aligned Monument stands as
a reminder of Peaceful Co-Existence
f you have ever walked, drove or just simply passed by the northern entrance into the Avenue of the Republic, you probably would have noticed a group of four busts with a number of large stones in front of them. For most, this is simply just another one of our many monuments, since only few actually know of its significance. As a matter of fact, only a handful of persons even know the name. This memento is called the Non-Aligned Monument. For those who have no idea where it is, the monument is located on Company Path in Georgetown, in front of the St. George’s Cathedral and opposite the Bank of Guyana. It commemorates the 1972 Conference of Foreign Ministers of Non-Aligned Countries historically held in Guyana from August 8 to 11 of that same year. The four busts depict the founding leaders of the NonAligned Movement (NAM), President Gamal Abdel Nasser from Egypt, President Kwame Nkrumah from Ghana, President Jawaharlal Nehru from India and President Josip Broz Tito from Yugoslavia. The monument was unveiled by the then and First President of Guyana, Mr. Arthur Chung, to pay tribute to the work done by the founders of the NAM. Beautifully and intricately designed, each of the four busts was sculpted in their country of origin and then brought to the site of where the monument now stands. Three are made of bronze and one of plastic. The mount on which they stand is a plinth made of concrete, possessing a base made of quartz stone obtained from the district of Mazaruni. Added to the four busts on the plinth are four rocks of jasper, taken from the Orinduik Waterfall. These adorn the front of the monument in a pool decorated with multicoloured stones taken from the riverbeds of Guyana. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was made up
of a collection of countries which were not formally or completely aligned or associated with or against any of the world powers. That is, any of the leading nations of the world, like the USA, England, China, Germany, etc.There are currently 120 members of the organization, inclusive of Guyana and a vast number of other third world and developing countries. The organization was founded in 1961 by the four presidents mentioned above as well as Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, who was not included in the monument found on Company Path. All of these men were great advocates for remaining neutral and non-aligned as developing countries during the Cold War between Western Powers and Eastern Powers. The Cold War was the feud remaining between the supporters of Germany and the allies just after the end of World War II. Although the war was over, some powerful countries still had minor battles that did not change the course of any outcome. To prevent this from affecting the now developing countries, the founders of the NAM decided to band together to keep neutral and solicited the support of many other nations who wanted no part in the Cold War. To date, the countries of the NAM represent almost two-thirds of the members of the United Nations Organization and 55 per cent of the world’s population. As was mentioned, most of the members are of developing and third world countries. Because the NAM was a gesture done in an attempt to stop the Cold War, after it ended, there was little relevance to it. Because of this and some other issues, the Non-Aligned movement was never established as a formal organization, but simply became the name to refer to the participants of the Conference of Heads of State or Governments of NonAligned Countries first held in 1961. It remains that to this day. President Nehru, in his speech in 1954, described the five pillars to be used as a guide for Sino-Indian relations, also called the five restraints. These principles would later be carried over and serve as the basis of the NAM. They are as follows: 1. Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty 2. Mutual non-aggression 3. Mutual non-interference in domestic affairs 4. Equality and mutual benefit 5. Peaceful co-existence Despite all of the issues faced by the movement, it remains strong and the memories of its necessity remain in the minds of those who were there. For those who weren’t, the fruit of its significance stands strong at Company Path, Georgetown as the NonAligned Monument.
Placing the Spotlight on
Diabetic Eye Disease
vast majority of persons above the age of forty living in Guyana suffer from some form of elevated blood sugar or Diabetes Mellitus. Additionally, a fraction of these have poor control over it which leads to a number of issues, one being diseases affecting the eye and vision.
This leads to scarring and cell loss and thus further vision loss. It goes through four stages: • Mild non-proliferative retinopathy - This occurs when small areas in the blood vessels in the retina begin to swell and may leak fluid into the retina.
Diabetic eye disease is actually a group of conditions resulting from symptoms of diabetes. These can take two major forms: 1. Diabetic retinopathy - which affects blood vessels in the retina (the light-sensitive area that lines the back of the eye). It is the premier underlying cause of visual impairment and blindness in adults suffering from diabetes. 2. Diabetic macular edema or DME - this is a consequence of diabetic retinopathy and is basically swelling in an area of the retina called the macula. Diabetic eye disease also includes cataract and glaucoma.
• Moderate non-proliferative retinopathy - As there is progression, there is also swelling and distortion of the blood vessels that bring nutrients to the cells of the retina. This loss in the ability to transport blood causes a characteristic change in the appearance of the retina and can lead to DME.
What exactly causes diabetic retinopathy?
When blood sugar is chronically high from diabetes mellitus, there is widespread damage to the tiny blood vessels in the body, including the retina, leading to what is known as diabetic retinopathy. The retina works in the capacity to detect light and to convert it to nervous impulses that are sent via the optic nerve to the brain. Diabetic retinopathy can lead to blood vessels in the retina leaking fluid or bleeding after blood vessel destruction, thus enhancing the distortion of vision. When in the advanced stages, new abnormal blood vessels grow back and increase in number on the retina’s surface.
• Severe non-proliferative retinopathy - The progression leads to many more blood vessels being blocked, preventing blood from reaching certain areas of the retina. These specific areas compensate for this loss by secreting compounds known as growth factors that stimulate the retina to grow new blood vessels. • Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) - At this stage, the growth factors secreted by the retina triggers the growth and multiplication of new blood vessels, which grow along the inside surface of the retina and into the vitreous gel, which is the fluid that fills the eye and gives it its shape. These new blood vessels are very fragile and are more likely to break and bleed. Scar tissue that has developed can contract and cause retinal detachment. This leads to permanent vision loss.
What is Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)?
DME occurs when there is a build-up of fluid in a part of the retina known as the macula. What makes the macula so important is the fact that it is necessary for the sharp, straight-ahead vision that is used for reading, facial recognition and driving. A little-known fact is that DME is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetic retinopathy. Also, approximately half of all people with diabetic retinopathy will develop DME. It also occurs at any stage but is more prominent in the latter stages.
• • • • • • •
What are the risk factors?
Diagnosis of either type 1 or type 2 diabetes Diagnosis of diabetes at an earlier age Females are at a higher risk than males Age 40 and above Obesity Hypertension Pregnancy
What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy and DME?
The early stages of diabetic retinopathy are usually asymptomatic, notwithstanding symptoms of diabetes and some small amount of blurred vision that occurs on and off and is often confused as being normal eye shifts. The illness usually gets worse and is not noticed until vision is constantly affected. Due to bleeding of the retinal vessels, persons may complain of seeing numerous floating spots in their visual fields. These may dissipate, but if not treated there is always a recurrence, thus increasing the risk of blindness. If DME simultaneously occurs, it can lead to blurred vision.
How are diabetic retinopathy and DME detected?
The diagnosis of these two diseases must actually be done using a comprehensive dilated eye exam that includes each of the following components: 1. Visual acuity testing - This is the eye chart test that measures how well a person sees at different distances. 2. Tonometry - This test is done to measure the pressure inside of the eye. 3. Pupil dilation - When a specific type of drop is placed on the eye’s surface, it causes the pupils to widen, thus allowing a doctor to look at the retina and the optic nerve. 4. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) - As complex as the name sounds, the technique used is very similar to ultrasound, but uses light waves instead of sound to capture images of body tissue. OCT helps to provide detailed images of tissues that can be penetrated by light.
If there are suspicions of DME or severe diabetic retinopathy, a fluorescein angiogram may be done to ascertain the presence of damaged or leaky blood vessels.
How can people with diabetes protect their vision?
Prevention is always better than cure, especially when the damages are irreversible, as in the case of vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy. It is important to detect the disease early so as to treat it early, and because the early stages are so asymptomatic, everyone with diabetes should be screened or get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once yearly. Of course, people diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy will need eye exams more frequently. Also, pregnant women with diabetes should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam as soon as possible.
How is DME treated?
DME can be treated using several different therapies. These could be used solely or in conjunction with each other. • Anti-VEGF Injection Therapy - These Anti-VEGF drugs are injected into the vitreous gel to block a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which can stimulate abnormal blood vessels to grow and leak fluid. Thus, by blocking VEGF, the growth of abnormal vessels could be reversed. Some of these include Avastin, Lucentis, and Eylea. • Focal/Grid Macular Laser Surgery- In this form of surgery, just a few to hundreds of small laser burns are made to leaking blood vessels in areas where there is edema near the center of the macula. These laser burns for DME help to slow the leakage of fluid, reducing swelling in the retina. It is a one-session procedure but some persons may need more than one. • Corticosteroids - These common drugs can either be injected or implanted into the eye and may be used in solitude or in conjunction with other drugs or laser surgery. The Ozurdex (dexamethasone) implant is done for short-term use, while the Iluvien (fluocinoloneacetonide) implant is longer lasting.
How is proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) treated?
Laser surgery is the mainstay of treatment and it has been very successful given the fact that it has vastly remained unchanged for many decades. The treatment involves making about 1,000 to 2,000 tiny laser burns in areas of the retina away from the macula. These are done in an attempt to cause abnormal blood vessels to shrink.
he slogan “one love” was made popular by Bob Marley in his song by the same name, but it is an ancient concept in the realm of Human Rights where ‘one love’ speaks to equality of all people. The idea of ‘one love’ was conceptualized as long ago as 576 to 530 BC by the Persian King, Cyrus the Great; a King who had created the greatest empire of his time, stretching from the Balkans in the West to the Indus Valley in the East. After the conquest of Babylon, Cyrus the Great freed slaves and declared everyone free to choose their religion. It is argued that this was the world’s first charter of human rights and the beginning of what we know to be Human Rights. King Cyrus’ decrees were recorded on a clay cylinder, called the Cyrus Cylinder.
THE CYRUS CYLINDER
The Romans considered the concepts on the clay cylinder to be ‘natural law,’ since it seemed natural that all humans should have freedom of choice and bodily integrity. Yet, persons who wielded power still oppressed less powerful people by stripping them of their freedom entirely. It was not until approximately 1215 AD that a document was issued by King John of England codifying the notion that not even a King could countermand the rights of people. This document, the Magna Carta (translated:’The Great Charter’), is one of the most celebrated documents in history, establishing the doctrine of the rule of law. It contained 63 clauses, but perhaps the most prominent and influential clause was the 39th, which declared that all ‘free men’ were entitled to justice and a free trial.
Most of the core principles in the Magna Carta are still reflected in constitutional documents across the modern world. In addition to the Cyrus Cylinder and the Magna Carta, modern day human rights principles can be attributed to the Constitution of Medina (622), AlRisalah-al-Huquq (late seventh to early eight century), the Twelve Articles of Memmingen (1525), the English Bill of Rights (1689) and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789). Throughout history, despite growing acceptance of equality for all, there were still persons who objected to equality and freedom of the human race. Napoleon Bonaparte, for example, sought to conquer France and when he did, he declared himself the ‘Emperor of 38
the World’. It took the combined efforts of the United Kingdom, Russia, Austria and Prussia to overthrow him. When he was finally defeated in the Battle of Waterloo, European leaders made fair efforts to secure and maintain natural human rights. Unfortunately, they did not extend these efforts beyond the borders of Europe and ironically, during this time, the rest of the world was being invaded and dominated by European countries. It took a great effort, scores of years and many lives lost, to push that movement beyond the borders of Europe, and activists for human rights were and still are faced with a moral dilemma: How do you fight for your human rights without encroaching on the rights of others?
Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi of India circumvented this dilemma by employing non-violent civil disobedience to campaign for equality and human rights in general, despite the threat to his personal health and despite being arrested several times. Many people were empowered through these peaceful campaigns. Yet again, there were people who disagreed. Just when it seemed that Ghandi and other activists had made strides for human rights, two World Wars erupted. Between 1939 and 1945, the education of females in Nazi Germany was geared completely towards producing children. Women were prohibited from voting, becoming professionals (doctors, lawyers, etc.) and from even wearing make-up or perming their hair. A woman’s role in Nazi Germany was completely relegated to bearing children and supporting their husbands from home. Legislation that restricted the issue and repayments of loans based on how many children a family had was enacted. For example, if a family had four or more children, they could keep the money they borrowed. Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazi Party in Germany, in the promotion of his racist ideology explained in his book ‘Mein Kampf’ that “Blood mixture and the resulting drop in the racial level is the sole cause of the dying out of old cultures; for men do not perish as a result of lost wars, but by the loss of that force of resistance which is continued only in pure blood. All who are not of good race in this world are chaff.” Hitler, in his attempt to create a ‘superior racial stock’, ordered the massacre of approximately six million or two-thirds of the Jewish population on earth and over seventeen million persons in all; including ethnic Poles, persons of African descent, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and political opponents, to name a few in an extensive list. These persons were either rounded up and slaughtered in the most savage, inhumane ways in extermination camps or hunted down and killed. Hitler alone, it seemed, had succeeded in making Human Rights seem obsolete. In 1945, when World War II finally came to an end after the Axis countries surrendered, yet another attempt was made to attain a better world for all. In a desperate move to restore the state of human rights, the United Nations was formed. Under Eleanor Roosevelt’s guidance, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was established containing thirty (30) articles which establishes the worth of all people and the equal rights of men and women, finally concretizing the ancient concepts and principles of human rights. Today, the idea of ‘one love’, though widely accepted and acknowledged, is still not extended to every person, as it should be. Acclaimed international Human Rights lawyer, Amal Clooney, courageously and fearlessly, in her first speech at the United Nations Conference in
2016, addressing the plight of the Yazidi people and women in particular, chastized the member states of the United Nations for putting national and economic interest before human interest. She reminded those in attendance at the conference that the United Nations was created seventy years ago as a way of ensuring that the genocide on such a scale as was carried out by the Nazis was never repeated. She reminded them of the genocide of the Tutsi that took place in Rwanda, where the United Nations responded a little too late, and she finally implored them not to let ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) get away with another genocide which they are in the throes of executing. Mrs. Clooney appeared at the United Nations along Nadia Murad, a woman who had been lucky enough to escape bondage in the ISIS camp. She, too, spoke at the conference and testified to the horrors that ISIS inflicted on her people. She described how they were bought and sold in a marketplace alongside fruits and vegetables and she, bravely in a faltering voice, recalled torture and suffering at the hands of her captors. Both of their speeches were met with a standing ovation and the hope that steps would be taken to bring those responsible to justice. It seems that there will always be challenges to the idea of ‘one love’, but history has also shown us time and time again that in the face of adversity, love always conquers.
Understanding Bipolar Disorder 40
ipolar Disorder is a relatively well-known disorder globally. However, it is frequently misunderstood and consistently used out of context. The definition of ‘Bipolar’ is somewhat selfexplanatory, because the prefix ‘Bi-’ means two and the word ‘Polar’ means opposite in character. When put into the context of a person and their emotions, ‘Bipolar’ means having two distinctly different moods. A more scientific definition is preferred by the National Institute of Mental Health. “Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.” The words bolded represent the two polar emotions. What exactly is mania? Mania is, as defined by the Medical Dictionary, “An abnormally elated mental state, typically characterized by feelings of euphoria, lack of inhibitions, racing thoughts, insomnia, talkativeness, risktaking and irritability. In extreme cases, mania can induce hallucinations and other psychotic symptoms.” Therefore, in simpler words, mania is an abnormal and extreme feeling of happiness, which can lead to psychosis. This means that one cannot differentiate between what is real and what is not. This mania exists simultaneously with depression, as the name of the disorder suggests. It is generally believed that depression is just sadness and feeling hurt for a short period of time. Depression encompasses sadness and feelings of hurt, the extent of which may vary based on the Edition 30
type of bipolar disorder someone may have. The Mayo Clinic terms Depression as a “mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.” Depression is a serious illness that affects different people in a multitude of ways. Extreme cases of depression may lead to suicidal thoughts and the inability to actually go through everyday life. Symptoms of depression vary widely and may affect an individual for any period of time without prediction. Persons who suffer from this bipolar disorder can feel exhilarated and wonderful for a period of time when suddenly, their moods change dramatically to the opposite end of the spectrum. The highs of this disorder are not always termed ‘mania’ but may be ‘hypomania’ which is a less intense, but still extreme version of mania.
TYPES OF BIPOLAR DISORDER There are four types of Bipolar Disorder, namely: • Bipolar I- this is characterized by at least one manic episode which lasts for a minimum of seven days, or by manic episodes which require immediate emergency care. This type also has major depressive episodes which can last for approximately 2 weeks. The possibility exists that a person can experience episodes, which feature both feelings, when diagnosed with this type of Bipolar Disorder.
• Bipolar II- is characterized by having, at minimum, one depressive and one hypo-manic episode, but never experiencing a manic episode. • Cyclothymic Disorder- is where you experience multiple depressive and hypomanic symptoms for 2 years for adults or 1 year for children, but never experience an episode of either. • Other specified or unspecified Bipolar-related Disorders- a person exhibits the symptoms, but are not classified under the three categories listed above. Although there is significant research on this disorder and its effects, its causes remain mostly unknown. Two well-known and identified causes are: • Biochemical Changes: essentially, during brain development, there was a chemical imbalance with hormones and neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine. • Genetic changes: Bipolar Disorder can be hereditary to an extent. First degree family members are more likely to develop Bipolar Disorder. Identical twins, for example, share a close relation and have the same genetic makeup and, therefore, if one developed Bipolar Disorder, the other has an approximated 3390% chance of developing it too. Bipolar Disorder, when diagnosed remains with you forever. However, the symptoms can be treated and, ultimately, the episodes’ intensity and frequency can be decreased. The most popular treatment is psychotherapy, along with medicine. In psychotherapy, an individual talks about their problems and episodes, just like counselling. This allows them an outlet to discuss how their minds perceive their reality.
Other alternative treatment options are:
per year. Statistics show that women are more vulnerable to this disorder. While men have an average of 252.3 years per 100,000 men losing ‘healthy life’, women have a ‘healthy life years’ rate for the disorder at approximately 304.7 years per 100,000 women. For both sexes, at ages 25-29, most people lose ‘healthy life years’, meaning this is the age range when they are diagnosed. An evaluation of your mental health is always very important. Mental issues left untreated can become bigger issues in your daily life. This stops you from fully enjoying what life has to offer. You may not suffer with bipolar disorder, but it is important that you show your support for persons close to you who may suffer with the disorder. Support and understanding are two necessities when dealing with persons who experience the symptoms of this disorder. It is easy to become frustrated when friends or family’s moods are ever changing with little notice. It is important to remember that the perception of reality for these persons may differ greatly from yours. If you are dating someone with the disorder, make sure that you encourage them to live a healthy lifestyle and to seek therapy regularly. Persons who have this disorder can have a fulfilling life if they stick to treatment regimes. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of this disorder or any other mental illness, make sure you contact your healthcare provider. Those who experience suicidal thoughts can use the following hotlines for assistance: Guyana Inter-Agency Suicide Prevention Help Line Telephone numbers: (+592) 223-0001, 223-0009, 600-7896, 623-4444, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, BBM PINS: 2BE55649, 2BE56020 Twitter: guyanaagency; WhatsApp: +592-6007896, 592-623-4444; Facebook: Guyana Inter-Agency Suicide Prevention Help Line. DISCLAIMER: THE VIEWS AND ADVICE PROFFERED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE NOT FOR MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT. IF YOU SUSPECT THAT YOU OR A LOVED ONE IS SUFFERING WITH MENTAL ILLNESS OF ANY KIND, CONSULT A MEDICAL PRACTITONER.
• Electroconvulsive Therapy: which is where an individual is placed under anesthesia and electric currents flow through the brain triggering a brief seizure, which when the person recovers, can help reduce their depression levels. • Sleep Medication: this is for those who have sleeping disorders due to their highs. Some forms of mania can keep individuals awake, so this method provides relief. According to a study done by the Institute of Health, Metric and Evaluation in 2013 and refreshed in July of 2016, Guyana has the lowest Bipolar Disorder ‘healthy life years’ lost rate in South America. This rate has decreased by 3.4% since 1990, with an average decrease of 0.1%
Guyanese Artiste ‘Negus’ is making strides on the international scene
uyana has, for many years, produced many talented people. Many of them have even been recognised both locally and internationally. Among those who have gained this level of recognition is Alwin Nurse. Nurse is a recording artiste with a keen inclination for the Reggae/ Dancehall genre. Many may not recognise him by his given name, but a mere mention of the name ‘Negus’ have seen many clamouring to be entertained, and with good reason too. Although he was born and raised in right here in Guyana, Negus has been making an astronomical name for himself in Canada, a country he has adopted in order to expand his tuneful ability. It is not at all surprising that he, from a very young age, gravitated to the world of music. This is in light of the fact that he was born to a father with a long history in the entertainment industry. His father, Kenneth Nurse, aka Small Man, was the manager of a popular music band called the Mingles Sound Machine. Like his father, Negus, although a mere boy, took to the music industry and has not swayed in any way from this natural forte. He grew up in Middle Road, Albouystown, Georgetown, and attended the St. Pius Primary School. By the time he was seven years old, he was living between Trinidad and Guyana because of family circumstances. About a decade ago, however, he took up residence in Canada, and he has been evolving by leaps and bounds as a musical professional ever since. Among Negus’ most popular tracks, which can be found all over the internet, are: Believe in Yourself, Rat Race, Love You Forever, Act Crazy and many more. In fact, Negus has more than 50 songs to his name. Some of these were even produced right here in Guyana during some of his visits back to his homeland. Although his many energetic tunes were sufficient to elevate him to a higher plateau, it might have been his collaboration with several Jamaican artistes that really gave him the nudge in the right direction. Back in the day, Negus performed alongside notable Jamaican artistes including: Beenie Man, Buju Banton and Red Rat. He even collaborated with yet another Jamaican artiste, Konshens, to produce a provocative dancehall track ‘Dah whine deh’ in 2013. Although grateful for the recognition that came with the collaborations, Negus said that it came with the realisation that many were under the impression that he too was a Jamaican artiste. “Many didn’t know who I was... They thought I was a Jamaican artiste too because I was performing with people like Konshens... I got many write-ups because of that hype,” Negus related.
Recording Artiste ‘Negus’
But he intends to remain true to the land of his birth even as he evolves on the international scene. Because of his international exposure, the 35-year-old has increasingly been making a name for himself. Recently, he was making the final arrangements to produce a video for his latest single – ‘Nuzzle-Up’, and already, it has started to gain positive reaction. In fact, an increasing number of people have been gravitating to his many tunes. He has been receiving much more airplay and push from Jamaica and a number of other Caribbean Islands and Canada too. “People outside of Guyana have been uploading my music to the internet and they [my songs] are always on the internet... Many of my songs are on YouTube, just Google search me. You will even see write-ups about me,” said Negus. But it is his desire that his music will have no boundaries in his homeland. “I would like people who have the capabilities to push the local artistes to step-up, instead of channelling other artistes. They should promote local artistes so that they can gain the recognition they deserve,” Negus said. This is in light of the fact that he has not failed to represent Guyana overseas. Negus emphasised that he is not only passionate about his music, but he has remained patriotic to his homeland over the years. Negus is not only limited to recording tracks, as he possesses an exceptional talent to write impressive lyrics drawn from current affairs, his imagination or even from movies. “I focus on everything... If I wake up tomorrow morning and the world is in chaos, I can write about what I see. I will write based on my feelings and emotions... I am constantly creating stuff and I have a variety of music based on the experiences and thoughts I have,” said the talented artiste who currently owns the Street Platinum label out of Toronto, Canada. The father of one has remained so in-tuned musically that he has been able to create some astounding beats for himself and others too. He also has the ability to do graphic designs and video editing, all of which are crucial to the music industry. “I have worked on songs for some Jamaican Artistes, and right now I am working on a song for Natural Black and Timeka Marshall,” Negus revealed. When he is not busy producing his music, Negus finds the time to engage in other artistic creations in his tattoo parlour.