THE Government of Guyana and Reynolds International Inc., last Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which they agreed to join in the development and mining of bauxite deposits located in the Aroaima region of Guyana, and in the marketing and sale of bauxite extracted from that mine.
The estimated initial capital requirements for this venture are about (US) $25m.
The construction base of the necessary infrastructure that would be needed such as roads, dock facilities, housing and related service facilities will soon be started, as the mine is hoped to be operated commercially by the end of this year.
It is expected that the mine would produce some 2.6 million metric tons of saleable bauxite annually.
Reynolds International Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Reynolds Metals Company of Richmond, Virginia, USA which used to mine bauxite in (Guyana prior to its takeover by the Slate in the seventies.
In picture (from left) are: Mr. Bernard Crawford, Chairman of Bidco; United States Ambassador, Theresa Ann Tull; Ms. Evlyn Wayne, Economist, State Planning Secretariat; signing on behalf of Guyana is Deputy Prime Minister Haslyn Parris; Mr. R. Reynolds, President of Reynolds International Inc., signing on behalf of that company and two other Reynolds officials.
Privatise GEC – Chamber
THE Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry is calling on the government to privitise the Guyana Electricity Corporation (GEC).
In a press release last Thursday the Chamber of Commerce argued that privatisation is the only way to ensure a reliable supply of electricity which is needed in the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP).
The release stated that reliable overseas sources have indicated foreign companies which might be
interested in the GEC as a business venture. “Something must be done immediately to correct the situation,” the Chamber urged, adding that, “a firm decision must be taken as far as the provision of adequate electric power is concerned to check and reverse the unstable supply which plagued the nation over several years.’
The release said that the Chamber of Commerce met in an emergency session and lamented, “the evident mis-management and gross neglect over several years in the maintenance’ of the GEC.
The Rule of Law Must Prevail: Hoyte
THE new High Court building was opened last Tuesday in New Amsterdam in the presence of the assembled Judiciary and a large number of lawyers.
In his feature address President Hoyte noted that for a long time legal facilities in Berbice had been very poor and the government had completed the new building at a cost of $9M at a time of financial stringency.
Several lawyers have pointed out that it is also the case that in Georgetown and elsewhere facilities at many magistrates courts are deplorable and the Supreme Court library has virtually collapsed.
Nevertheless, there was general satisfaction that a start had been made in restoring facilities.
In his address the President said: “It is vital to the wholesomeness of our society and the citizens sense of security and well-being that all proper arrangements should be made to facilitate and strengthen the administration of justice in our country.
In developing countries such as ours, Govern-ments, and the generality of the people, too, I am afraid are always in a great hurry. There are so many things that need to be changed; there are so many things that have to be done to quicken the pace of development and to introduce new systems, procedures and institutions that are deemed to be necessary adjuncts of a viable modern state. Hence, Govern-ments, understandably enough, tend to be impatient of any restraint, any rule, any practice that seems to put a brake on their ability to affect changes rapidly or seems to be incompatible with the perceived demands of the times.
“Under these pressures, Governments tend to believe that they can discharge their mandate effectively only if they can proceed instantaneously, without any delays and with complete flexibility of action, in the implementation of decisions. This belief is, of course, erroneous, but it induces a temptation to ignore or circumvent the law under the pretext of pursuing the greater good of the society or the higher interests of the state. This temptation presents itself under many alluring guises.
“Often, the argument of necessity is advanced with persuasive forcefulness. But no matter in what attractive mask it presents itself, we must recognise it for what it is: the slippery road to despotism. For once the Government succumbs to it, the Rule of Law is overridden and arbitrariness becomes the norm.’’
The President went on to say that Guyana had not fallen prey to this temptation. He said the Rule of Law must be the foundation on which society rests.
He continued, “I do not think that any one could define with completeness the concept of Rule of Law. It is a culture, an essential part of a way of life that places a pre-eminent value on freedom and human dignity. Insofar, as from time to time, we enunciate a set of principles, these are illustrative rather than definitive of the concept.
“But we know that, in a general way and as a matter of course, it obliges us to act strictly within the confines of existing law, to observe due process (including the rules of natural justice) and generally to proceed with due regularity in our discharge of statutory duties and our exercise of powers and privileges conferred upon us by law. This obligation falls equally upon the Government as an entity, Government functionaries and agencies, judges, lawyers, policemen and all entities and individuals who are vested with some legal authority that impinges upon the rights of citizens.
‘While every alien has a duty to ensure that the Rule of Law prevails in our society, its our Courts which have the primary constitutional responsibility to declare and vindicate it.”
The President said that while applying the common law, judges must take note of local realities. “The Rule of Law does not exist in a vacuum; it has a direct link with the way all citizens discharge their responsibilities within the society. In particular, it draws vitality from the vigour, courage and sense of professionalism with which lawyers approach their work and the faithfulness with which they discharge their responsibilities to their clients, to the Courts and to the Society.”