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Views Editor: Nigel Williams Tel: 225-5128, 231-0397, 226-9921, 226-2102, 223-7230 or 223-7231. Fax: 225-5134 Mailing address: 238 Camp & Quamina Streets, Georgetown Email:,


Guyana’s southern connection


resident Donald Ramotar has made it clear where Guyana stands regarding the country’s relations with its Caribbean and Latin American neighbours. In his speech on Independence Eve at the National Park, the president made mention of strengthening ties with Latin America, while at the same time, maintaining that Guyana will not compromise its close integration with the Caribbean Community (Caricom). On the one hand, Guyana has been an integral part of the regional bloc since the signing of the Chaguaramas Treaty establishing the grouping on July 4, 1973 – a “defining moment” in the history of the Commonwealth Caribbean, as stated on the Caricom website. Prior to the treaty, a free-trade area had already been established via the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), but this did not quite provide for the free movement of labour and capital, or the coordination of agricultural, industrial, and foreign policies, as might have been the thinking and intention of the members who crafted and entered into the association at the time. Guyana will, no doubt, continue to be fully integrated into the regional scheme of things, as the broad objectives of Caricom membership hinge around several pivotal areas, all of which are central to Guyana’s thrust for continued economic and social development. These include improved standards of living and work and accelerated, co-ordinated and sustained economic development and convergence. Despite the glaring nonintervention by Caricom during many years of the dictatorship and rigged elections at the hands of the People’s National Congress (PNC), the change of government in Guyana in 1992 saw renewed efforts by the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) administration to further strengthen its regional ties. At the same time, there has no doubt been a concerted effort, which perhaps became more highlighted under the leadership of former President Bharrat Jagdeo, to look toward the southern continental neighbours for more meaningful trade and economic cooperation. As President Ramotar has pointed out, within the framework of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), several of the leaders in South America took a well-thought out decision in 2008 to integrate the political and economic infrastructure on the continent. It is within this framework that both Guyana and Suriname have undertaken to begin the process of embarking on a feasibility study for the construction of a bridge across the Corentyne River, which separates the two countries. Considering that Guyana and Suriname have had to overcome significant differences with regard to border demarcation in the quest of both countries for oil, this must be considered a noteworthy achievement, although the construction of such a bridge is only still at the conceptualisation stage. The president also pointed to the fact that Guyana is working with Brazil on infrastructural integration, including a deepwater port and a fully paved Linden-Lethem road. With senior-level teams from both countries working diligently to accelerate the realisation of these projects, it is yet another major incentive for Guyana’s southern venture. And despite territorial disputes in the past, over recent years, Guyana has enjoyed far improved relations with western neighbour Venezuela. Indeed, as President Ramotar acknowledged, much of the improvement has had to do with the visionary leadership of the late President Hugo Chávez and former President Jagdeo. Already, therefore, Guyana appears to be well on course for greater integration into the Latin American group of nations and, on the surface, there seems to be much more on offer, although it is the only English-speaking country in this grouping. It appears to be a far cry from integration, albeit as a founding member, with the 40-year old Caricom, for which it will be much more difficult to speak of “remarkable achievements”. With MERCOSUR (Southern Common Market) also offering another avenue for Guyana to seek further economic and political cooperation within the South American bloc, even at this initial stage, the future looks promising as far as the southern connection outlook is concerned. The recent establishment of a permanent Argentine embassy in Guyana is but a concrete signal of the promise our southern connections bear and their reciprocal faith that together South American nations can do great things. On the other hand, benefits from Caricom integration largely remain but a dream waiting to be fulfilled.

Housing Minister Irfaan Ali and participants at the launch of the fourth edition of the Building Expo trade fair at the Princess Hotel Friday night (Carl Croker photo)

Do not give up on autistic children Dear Editor, As we know, autism is a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterised by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships. However, children with autism have a hard time adapting what they’ve learned, such as from the therapist’s office or school,

to others including the home. For example, your child may use sign language at school to communicate, but never give up on them. Explore the possibility of having therapy taking place in more than one place in order to encourage your child to transfer what he or she has learned from one environment to another.

Some people may think children with autism have no future, but positive reinforcement can go a long way with autism; so make an effort to “catch them doing something good”. Praise them when they act appropriately or learn a new skill, and never give up on them. Moreover, there might

be a few in Guyana, suffering from autism but this illness is all over the world. I would like to persuade people to allow autistic children to have a better future and not to discriminate or discourage them from being a part of society. Regards, Anna Persaud

Employment of neighbourhood police


he Home Affairs Ministry reaffirms its commitment to a new preventative and proactive approach addressing the issues of domestic violence and child abuse in Guyana. The ministry wishes to reiterate the statement made by Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee on December 31, 2012 viz: “... an expanded physical .presence of neighbourhood police on the ground for the purpose of information gathering and preven-

tion could go a far way in preventing and reducing domestic violence and child abuse.” To accomplish this goal, the ministry has received more than 100 applications from persons desirous of being sworn in as neighbourhood police. This is keeping with the ministry’s thrust to employ 100 neighbourhood police ranks to increase the number of neighbourhood police who patrol neighbourhoods 24/7, principally by day since the po-

lice do not have the numbers to patrol on foot in each village day and night. These applications are currently being processed by the Guyana Police Force. Following the processing, the selected applicants will undergo training at the Felix Austin Police Training College. In order to expedite the process, the Home Affairs Ministry has requested that acting Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell organise a crash course for the new

neighbourhood police recruits in order that the recruits be ready and able as soon as possible to assume their duties and responsibilities in the neighbourhood to which they will be assigned. This new batch of neighbourhood police will boost the existing corps of neighbourhood police in an effort to curb and reduce domestic violence and child abuse in neighbourhoods across the country. Home Affairs Ministry

Major clean-up exercise for Georgetown


he Local Government and Regional D e v e l o p m e n t Ministry, in collaboration with the Georgetown City Council and other agencies, will be undertaking a threeday clean-up of several city wards as part of activities for World Environmental Week, within which is observed World Environment Day on June 5. The exercise will encompass: Kingston from Water Street to Parade Street, and Young Street

to Cowan Street; North and South Cummingsburg from Lamaha Street to Church Street and Thomas Street to Water Street; Lacytown from Water Street to Camp Street and North to South Road; East Ruimveldt from Trench Road to Mandela Avenue, and Front Road to Mandela Avenue; and West Ruimveldt from Vlissengen Road to Hunter Street, and Mandela Avenue to Front Road. Special emphasis will also be placed on clean-

ing the environment of the National Library, National Museum, St George’s Cathedral and the market places. The cleaning works would entail weeding and clearing of the street and alleyway drains within the blocks, weeding of the parapets and avenues, and removal of garbage from the parapets. World Environment Day was first celebrated in 1973, after being established by the United

Nations General Assembly in 1972, to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. It is celebrated annually on June 5, with focus on a particular theme to draw attention to specific environmental issues. This year’s theme is “Think. Eat. Save.” and it focuses on food wastage and food loss. Local Government and Regional Development Ministry

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