…spending oil money to be guided by GSDS frameworkThe much-anticipated draft Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) policy, which has been with the Finance Ministry since early 2017, is expected to be presented to cabinet early next month, setting into motion the official establishment of the fund.This is according to Finance Minister Winston Jordan, who made this disclosure at a press conference on Friday. According to Jordan, the green paper (proposal) for the fund, renamed the Natural Resources Fund, is presently being finalised.Jordan also noted that the green paper seeks to determine how monies from the fund will be guided by the Government’s Green State Development Strategy (GSDS).The policy has been with the Finance Ministry since 2017The strategy, he said, contains 15 areas of development, in which context Government can conduct consultations.“That debate can be accelerated in the context of the Green State Development Strategy. The coalition Government’s blueprint is going to be the Green State Development Strategy: trying to put in place resilient infrastructure, trying to bridge the gaps, create additional towns and new spaces, and make Guyana green. That will require money,” he declared.“We can end up with a blueprint of what we want to do. During the annual budget exercise, there are widespread consultations, but to suggest that we need to call people together and sit around the campfire and determine how to spend this money, I don’t think anyone seriously could believe that there would be a model to push this country forward. We cannot discuss what we want to do with the oil money outside of a framework,” Jordan declared.GSDSWhen the GSDS was introduced, it was billed as a framework that would “build” on the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) designed by the previous administration to protect the environment while receiving financing.According to the framework document, a critical element will be the sustainable management of natural resources. In fact, one of the strategy’s goals is the mandatory reforestation of mining sites.The document stated that it will aim to “conserve an additional 2 million hectares through Guyana’s National Protected Area System, continuing to use its monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system.”It also plans on continuing promotion of the Iwokrama as a dedicated place for research “to develop, demonstrate, and make available to Guyana and the international community systems, methods and techniques for the sustainable management and utilisation of the multiple resources of the tropical forest and the conservation of biological diversity.”In the document, it is stated that a combination of conservation and sustainable management of its forests will form the crux of the strategy.It is noted that attracting additional international support for avoided deforestation through reforms in timber industries would include reduced impact logging.It is also slated to include “reviewing compliance with agreed sustainability targets; and in the mining industry, including mapping of mining resources, improving mining efficiency, and mandatory reforestation of mining sites. Some of these activities are already in the pilot phase. For example, sustainable land management and development – putting degraded and deforested lands to productive use.”The framework document states that the elements of the strategy will be examined and consulted upon between April and December of 2017. Public consultations are yet to begin.Within the framework, seven “central themes” are provided. They include promises to diversify the economy, “creating decent jobs for all”, transitioning to renewable energy, and “human development and wellbeing.”The framework of the GSDS and financing mechanisms’ document was completed in March with financial and technical support from UN Environment. Initial consultations in regard to the development of the framework document began in December 2016 between the Government and other key stakeholders.
…says American Govt workers movedThe United States State Department on Monday issued an alert on the Pegasus Hotel. The alert comes hours after a major fire was averted at the hotel on Sunday night. However, the State Department has announced that US Government personnel staying at the hotel have decided to move to other locations. This move was made after there were dysfunctional fire alarms and emergency exits were cloaked.Pegasus Hotel in GeorgetownOn Sunday evening, guests at the Pegasus Hotel had to be treated for smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in the kitchen area at about 22:45h.The Guyana Fire Service (GFS) was summoned to the scene; and upon arrival, the fire fighters were able to contain the fire to one area.When Guyana Times arrived at the scene, GFS Station Officer with responsibility for fire prevention, Andrew Holder, told the media that the fire started as a result of a ‘deep-fry’ accidently or deliberately left on. This, he noted, caused the appliance to overheat, and it eventually ignited the installation for the extractor.This created a smoke-logged environment, but fire fighters were able to quickly put out the fire and create some form of ventilation.All efforts were made to ensure that everyone was out of the building. Holder noted that smoke would have reached at least the second and third floods, thus causing some panic among the guests who were staying at the hotel.The fire official noted that there were several safety breaches at the hotel. He said the emergency exit doors were chained and padlocked, there was no fire alarm, and staff were not trained to deal with such an occurrence.“This is a serious breach of safety, and it has severe consequences,” Holder added.Guest at the hotel expressed shock that there was no fire alarm. One guest recalled that he went to the emergency exit after his room was consumed by smoke, only to discover it locked.Pastor Ellsworth Chester of Brooklyn New York told <