Monday, April 28, 2008

Surama chosen to film Riocochet's TV series "unbreakable"

Surama chosen to film Riocochet's TV series "unbreakable"
Guyana Chronicle, 27 April 2008

THE indigenous tourism community, Surama has been chosen by Ricochet,
Britain's leading independent television company as one of the
locations for the filming of an adventure reality based survivor type
contest and TV series titled "Unbreakable" said the Guyana Tourism
Authority (GTA).

According to a release, the 20 member team comprising of 12 film crew
and eight contestants arrived in Guyana on Saturday and the production
shoot will begin next Tuesday.

The press statement explained that the contest is about survival in
the great outdoors and wilderness and contestants will undergo a
series of grueling tasks to test their survival skills and endurance.

"The contestants, both male and female will have to endure a series of
challenges from wrestling with anacondas, biting off the heads of live
piranhas to ensuring the traditional Makushi stick beating ritual,"
the release disclosed.

The series will also be filmed in Africa and Europe.

It noted: "This adventure docu-series will provide destination Guyana
with much needed positive publicity and will help to create more
awareness of and raise the profile and image of unspoilt, untouched
and undiscovered Guyana. The series will also help to promote, brand
and share with the world our indigenous Makushi culture and tradition,
our eco tourism product, community based tourism, the remote village
of Surama, our flora and fauna, wildlife, etc".

The indigenous community will benefit from the construction of three
thatched bush camps, two toilets, two dug out canoes, two aluminum
boats with engines, a generator, a laptop computer among other
equipment, the statement underlined.

In addition, it said, over 20 persons from the village will be
employed and community members will be prominently featured during the
five day shoot.

Previous big screen motion pictures that were filmed here include
White Diamond, Guiana 1838, BBC's Extreme Dream and a National
Geographic documentary on the otters, scaling Mount Roraima.

UK gives $2M for new butterfly industry

UK gives $2M for new butterfly industry
Kaieteur News, 3 April 2008

Little is known of the production of tropical butterflies for the
export market but that may soon change. The British High Commission
yesterday presented a cheque for just over $2 million to Iwokrama to
support the development of the industry at Fair View village in the
Iwokrama Forest.
The money will be used to purchase UV resistant panels for the roof of
a butterfly house that is being built for the production of
butterflies. A team of experts from the UK is in Guyana to lend
support to the project and Iwokrama has received expressions of
interest from greenhouses in the USA and the UK which are willing to
purchase the butterflies. The butterflies will be bred and exported
when they reach the pupa stage.
Butterfly production is seen as a growing business especially for
tropical countries and Guyana could likely join a list of countries,
including neighbouring Suriname, which are already benefiting from
this market. Training for the production of a butterfly guide,
identifying caterpillar diseases, butterfly identification and
taxonomy have already been carried out and there are plans to build a
packing room where the pupas will be packed for shipping and a
visitors centre. These plans will enhance Guyana's growing ecotourism
The project is part of the Darwin Initiative programme through which
the UK assists countries to reach their obligations to the
International Convention on Biological Diversity by helping them to
achieve the conservation of biological diversity; the sustainable use
of its components; and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits.
To date the programme has supported six projects in Guyana

Logger arrested, deported after traveling along Corentyne River

Logger arrested, deported after traveling along Corentyne River
Kaieteur News, 10 April 2008

By Melissa Johnson
CORRIVERTON, CORENTYNE - A Guyanese logger was reportedly arrested
and deported by the Surinamese authorities for not being in possession
of a valid travel document as he traveled along the Corentyne River.
This act has sparked anger among some sections of the Corentyne.
Businessman Ganesh Singh owns two logging concessions, one at Cow
Falls some 139 miles up the Corentyne River, and the other at Wanatabo
some 200 miles further along.
On his return to Guyana, the man related that on Friday morning he
took three forestry officers up to the Wanatabo Forest Resource to
undertake verification in order to commence operation of his logging
"This concession has now been transformed into a timber sale
agreement. So the procedure is that you have to have the forestry
officer verify it before you can start working."
It was while they were returning home the following day that the
incident took place. "Me and my manager, Outram Prasad, left Wanatabo
to travel to Cow Falls. On my way I stopped to fish with my rod within
the Cow Falls concession area that is at Matawai (in the vicinity of
"While fishing, the Suriname police approached me with their boat -
about eight policemen with guns. They asked me for my passport. I said
to them I have no passport with me because I have been traveling for
the past 35 years to the same concession without having to use a
They said to me that I am on Suriname water and as such I am illegal
and they would have me arrested and taken to Suriname.
They took me to the pontoon that they were pushing. It was some
pontoon they had seized from some Surinamese."
He recalled that when he got on the vessel he saw five of his workers
on the said pontoon along with the boat they were using to travel to
another location in the vicinity of the Iguana Island area.
The businessman said that later the said Monday evening the forestry
officers were on their way back from Wanatabo and they stopped upon
seeing him.
"I had their belongings on my boat like their material and clothing.
When they stopped alongside me they were ordered to go on the pontoon
and the Suriname police asked them to produce their passports.
They told them it was their first trip up the Corentyne River and that
they were not told by their superiors that they had to have travel
documents to travel on the Corentyne River."
According to him, the officers produced their identification badges
and were allow to go free.
"That was my only way of sending a message out for my people to know
what happened to me. They kept me on board the pontoon Monday night
with the other workers.
The pontoon happened to be grounded on a rock so they couldn't go
further so they had no other alternative than to leave the pontoon
behind the next day (Tuesday).
Two Suriname police officers went with my boat and my Manager and me
to Aporea Police Station in West Suriname."
The businessman and his workers were later placed in the lock-ups at
Nickerie. "My workers complained to me that they were badly beaten.
This morning (Wednesday) about 10:00h they sent us to South Drain and
the seven of us were deported using the Canawaima to Guyana about
11:00 hours."
Back home, the immigration authorities handed them over to the
Springlands Police Station where statements were taken.
Ganesh Singh feels the matter should be looked into by those in
authority. "I would have to take this matter to the Foreign Affairs
Ministry in Guyana. What the Surinamese police are saying is that
anybody they find in the Suriname territory on the river without their
passport stamped they would hold them as illegal."
President of the Upper Corentyne Chamber of Commerce, David Subnauth,
condemned the action. "This is nonsense! Guyanese have been using the
Corentyne River from the beginning of time to do their business and to
go to their lands on the Corentyne River.
We use the river to bring down sand, logs, agricultural produce and to
go up to this resort and to Orealla, Siparuta and further up. We were
never harassed."
He said this incident with the logger is the beginning of a difficult
situation. "Unless this is immediately tackled by our Foreign Affairs
people it might escalate to a situation where we Guyanese cannot use
the river. This would pose tremendous difficulties for many of us."
For those living along the river he asked, "Do they have to get a
passport too?"
Incidentally, Wanatabo was the location where the Joint Services
destroyed an illegal airstrip and found an aircraft.

Guyanese logger held by Suriname

Guyanese logger held by Suriname
Stabroek News, April 11, 2008
A Crabwood Creek logger at Ganesh Singh & Brothers Logging/Contours
has said that Suriname police seized his boat and engine after
detaining him along with his manager and five workers and then
deporting them for being "illegal in Suriname waters."
Ganesh Singh told this newspaper that he had done an inventory in an
area along the Corentyne River and on Friday three forestry officers
accompanied him and the workers to conduct a verification exercise.
He said the Suriname police were towing a pontoon that was apparently
used for dredging, back to Suriname when they made the arrest. He and
his workers were detained and later deported to Guyana via the Molsen
Creek ferry.
According to him, on Monday he sent the forestry officers to the
Wonotobo Resort while he proceeded to Cow Falls to wait on them to
travel back home the following morning.
Singh said in the meantime he stopped at Matawai to do fishing with
rods and while there the Suriname police approached him and requested
that he produce his passport.
He said his workers had already been held up along with two chainsaws,
a 75 HP Yamaha outboard engine and a quantity of grocery and they
later said that the police had beaten them badly.
The logger told Stabroek News that he found it strange that he was
asked to produce his passport since he had been travelling in the
Corentyne River for over 35 years and he was never asked to do so
before. Singh said while the forestry officers were on their way to
meet him at Cow Falls they saw his boat on the pontoon and stopped
since some of their belongings were in his boat. But the Suriname
police threatened to arrest them as well if they could not produce
their passports. It was only after Singh explained to the police that
the men were forestry officers and had never been in the Corentyne
River before that they were allowed to go. The forestry officers then
reported the plight to Singh's family.
He pointed out that on Tuesday morning the pontoon was grounded on a
rock and the police asked him to go with his boat to a police outpost
at Aporea, West Suriname. The logger said they remained there for the
day then the police later took them to Sokoe's Sawmill. He said the
police ranks removed his engine and transported it in the police van
to the police station. He could not say what they had done to his
After he arrived in Guyana yesterday he made a report to the ranks at
the Springlands Police Station. He reiterated that he and his workers
were wrongfully held as the only way to access his logging concession
was through the Corentyne River.
He plans to "take up" the matter with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and questioned whether the residents travelling from Orealla would
also have to produce passports.

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill is still languishing in the National Assembly two years after it was first tabled as a private member's bill

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill is still languishing in the
National Assembly two years after it was first tabled as a private
member's bill by then PNCR MP Raphael Trotman.
Stabroek News, April 11, 2008

A closure plan for the Omai mines has been agreed to by the relevant
parties and the existing infrastructure is to be left at the location
rather than the site being restored to its natural state.
This disclosure yesterday, was to have been made at a press briefing
but the absence of Prime Minister Samuel Hinds forced the cancelling
of the event. However, the Guyana Information Agency (GINA) issued a
joint statement from the Government, the Guyana Geology and Mines
Commission (GGMC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Omai
Gold Mines Limited (OGML)/IAMGOLD regarding the agreement.
The statement said that at the request of the Government, the closure
plan for the site was changed from the originally contemplated 'back
to nature' model to an 'after use' one. It explained that as a result,
infrastructure will be retained at the site including internal
roadways, landings, barge, airport/ airstrip and access road, power
plant distribution, camp site and mill site facilities including the
gyratory crusher and the aggregate plant.
It disclosed that Hinds stated that consistent with pursuing the
'after use' options for the Omai site, Guyana is inviting other mining
companies to re-evaluate the underground mining possibilities at that
Production at the mine had ceased in 2005 and the parties have agreed
to the conditions of the Closure Plan conducted by OGML and which
covered site reclamation, re-vegetation and physical, biological and
chemical stability and which up to this point has been monitored by
the EPA and the GGMC. The statement said that the company reported
that it has spent some US$6M since production ceased.
According to the statement, the closure plan envisages the completion
of all environmental and other activities at the Omai Mine site by the
company by the end of September. OGML has given the required notice of
its intent to terminate the Mineral Agreement and voluntarily
relinquish its mining licence with effect from October this year; the
statement said adding that at the hand-over of the property, slated
for October 1, a full and complete certificate of compliance will be
The statement noted that the company is pursuing "one …prospect of
Eagle Mountain about 75km away and has been reviewing other prospects
in Guyana".
It added that the EPA confirms that generally OGML has complied with
the identified limits and other environmental requirements of the
Agency and the company's compliance was consistent with its ISO 14001
certification for environmental management.
Meanwhile, the GGMC acknowledged "the pioneering nature of the
operations of OGML and notes that the mining regulations and the
historic Mineral Agreement which this development engendered provided
a strong framework for the financing and operation of a world-class
large gold mining operation in conformity with prevailing
international standards".
Hinds, according to the statement, indicated that the collaboration
between the government and Cambior, the parent company of OMGL is
"evidence of the welcome and partnership which the Government and the
people of Guyana extend to Foreign Direct Investment".
The statement said that OGML has stated that its operations at Omai
were a "roller coaster ride" with highs and lows, with particular low
points being the gold price plummeting to a low of US$252 per ounce
during its operation and the rupture of its tailings dam in 1995 which
saw the declaration of the Essequibo River as a disaster area. It
noted that the company considers its greatest success as being able to
produce approximately 3.8 million ounces of gold from its surface
mining operations before the ore body was exhausted in September 2005.
The site had been explored by Golden Star Resources Limited led by
David Fennell and culminated with Cambior Inc establishing OGML in
1991. The mine was opened on March 11, 1993 by the late President, Dr
Cheddi Jagan.

Not all the people in the hinterland are Amerindians

Not all the people in the hinterland are Amerindians
Stabroek News, April 11, 2008
Dear Editor,
Whenever there is some new development in the hinterland the headline
reads Amerindians now have access to whatever, whether it be water or
The point I am trying to make is that if you look at the ethnic make
up of these regions you would see that the people are not 100%
Whenever there is report on Buxton, for example, the headline never
reads "African Guyanese now have greater access to new development"
and in a report on Lusignan the headline never reads "East Indians
now have greater access to a health facility."
Yours faithfully,
S Khan

WWF Guianas embarking on major public awareness drive in Guyana

WWF Guianas embarking on major public awareness drive in Guyana
Guyana Chronicle, 13 April 2008

Gold mining pollution abatement officer (standing) during an awareness
exercise with miners
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Guianas, a global Non-Governmental
Organisation (N GO) working in Guyana for almost 10 years, has planned
a major public awareness drive in Guyana to sensitise the masses of
the Guyanese people to its existence here, and its ongoing and
intensified collaboration with the government and people of Guyana.

The local office, previously located in Bel Air Park, is now housed at
285 Irving Street, Queenstown, and is one of three located in the
Region. The other two are in French Guiana and Suriname. The regional
WWF Guianas office is based in Suriname.

WWF Guianas was established here in 1999 after the Guianian Moist
Forests region covering the three Guianas was identified as one of 238
eco-regions with the highest priority areas for conservation world

Cognizant that many Guyanese are yet unaware of WWF and its mission
and many if they hear of the name would think of a certain wrestling
federation, WWF Guianas affirms that it is important to note that the
only official 'WWF' in Guyana is World Wildlife Fund!

WWF Freshwater officer (far left) with local fishermen taking part in
the Arapaima survey
Until recently, the task force in Guyana was very small, but has now
expanded to include a Forestry Officer, a Freshwater Officer, a Gold
Mining Pollution Abatement Officer and an Education and Communications

Some recent highlights include:
* working with various forestry companies to achieve Forest
Stewardship Council (FSC) status;
* establishing wildlife clubs nationwide,

* robust establishment of working relationship with miners to reduce pollution;

* the carrying out an Arapaima survey in the Rupununi;

* working closely with other organisations in setting up the Kaieteur
National Park;

* as well as planning for the Kanuku Mountains protected area.

In addition, the Forestry Officer is working closely with various
communities to assist them in community forestry techniques so that
they can use their forests in a successful and a sustainable way.

WWF Forestry officer (right) working to assist a local forestry
company in implementing eco friendly logging practices
The WWF Office has also given grants to various educational
establishments to assist them in their environmental awareness
initiatives. The office hosted a panel discussion for World Water Day
on March 20th, and is currently in the process of working with the
National Library, promoting awareness and education.

Working in over 100 countries worldwide, WWF has more than 2000
conservation projects underway at any one time. The WWF Guianas
Programme is a WWF conservation initiative launched in 1998, covering
the three Guianas and targeting the Guianian Eco-region complex

The mission of WWF in brief is: ȁTo conserve habitats and protect
flora and fauna in order to ensure a healthy and working ecosystem
that also serves to support human populations."

Currently, WWF Guianas is working under the Guianas Sustainable
Natural Resources Management Project under which there are 6 main
programme areas: Sustainable Forest Management, the Gold Mining
Pollution Abatement, Protected Areas Establishment and Management,
Freshwater Conservation and Management, Species Conservation and
Management, and Environmental Education and Communication.