– in the face of global changes
The roles of engineers in society need to be re-organised within the changing global environment, as legislation to give engineers more recognition is currently being pursued.
While addressing a gathering, which included Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, at the 42nd anniversary of the Guyana Association of Professional Engineers (GAPE) at the Georgetown Club on Saturday evening, President of the association Ramdhulari Ramkhelawan stated that engineers across Guyana need to re-examine their roles in society as, according to her, the capacity of GAPE to perform depends on its membership.
She said that members of the unit need to be more “involved”, to make contributions locally and internationally in the face of a changing environment where infrastructure is changing almost on a daily basis.
She said GAPE participated in several major projects across Guyana, including airing its views on the proposed Hope Canal, the Takutu Bridge among other projects. She said GAPE has also participated in forums carried out by several agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Guyana National Bureau of Statistics (GNBS).
Ramkhelawan stated that GAPE is actively pursuing draft regulations entitled, ‘Engineering Draft Engineers Act 2010’, and according to her the body has been working in tandem with the Ministry of Foreign Trade as well as Caricom to this effect. She said the regulations being pursued include proposals for engineers to perform professionally only if licensed, and the individual must be the holder of a degree in the field and have as well four years post-graduate experience to his/her name.
She said the engineer would be able to perform with the title of a Professional Engineer as passed down by a Professional Engineer Council.
The association president stated that the engineering regulations in place at the moment have no mechanism for the advent of the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME), currently being instituted among regional member states. She said that with the CSME in place there should be reciprocal arrangements for engineers to work within member states of Caricom, once they are licensed.
Dr Gem Fletcher, an advisor to the Caricom Secretary General, while delivering the feature address at Saturday night’s event, said that the issue of free movement within the region, which focuses on “oneness” and “unity” has been a contentious issue. She said the CSME stands for the region having a “single space”, to integrate people including the labour force.
She said that the issue was contentious because of sloth in the passing of laws in member states which she noted takes time and while some excuses to do so may be fragile, some states are working to pass legislation identical to their domestic needs.
She said that the onus is on the engineers to raise their standards to achieve the goals for the CSME, as she noted “your responsibility is to keep track of what is going on; the demands of the skill”.
Fletcher, a qualified engineer, said it is important to note that the skills recognition certificate, which is fundamental to the CSME, indicates that member states are providing a positive indication where implementation of the CSME is concerned. In terms of the statistics, she revealed that Trinidad and Tobago (1,000), Barbados (1,000), St Kitts (175) and Guyana (185) are among member states which have issued skills certificates as of 2008.
She added that in future engineers need to change the way they “view things”; the manner in which they provide their services with the advent of technology in the field and to have an adequate knowledge base of the regulations governing the engineering field within their respective territories.
At Saturday evening’s event, awards were presented to Safrawz Ben Hassen Sharief and Rohan Mangra, who graduated with a Diploma in Technology and Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering respectively from the University of Guyana.