EIB Vice President Pim van Ballekom (centre) along with Angel Diez Fraile (right) and EU Ambassador, Jernej VidetiĉAfter a 10-year bilateral hiatus, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has expressed interests in reviving relations with Guyana and is willing to inject some ‘big bucks’ into developing a deepwater harbour here.This was disclosed by EIB Vice President responsible for lending in the Caribbean, Pim Van Ballekom, who led a high-level delegation from the bank.Briefing the media on the its visit, Ballekom noted that during his talks with Government and the private sector the possible investment in the rehabilitation of the harbour was discussed at length.He explained that this move is part of a much bigger investment programme to improve links between Guyana and neighbouring Brazil. However, the Vice President pointed out that it would be more practical to embrace those projects separately, beginning with the deepwater harbour.Ballekom said it is more a matter of preparing the infrastructure for the more expansive project: “I was told that without a harbour, investing in the road link to Brazil is not economically viable, so we have to start somewhere and I think the harbour, as such, is any how needed due to the fact that Georgetown can receive bigger vessels for containers. I think that makes sense even without investing in the link,” the EIB executive stated.According to the Vice President, prior to coming here he did not consider whether the project is economically feasible but having been given an insight as to what it entails, he believes it is long overdue.He revealed that already he has met a few persons from the local private sector who are willing to invest in a deepwater harbour, mainly because of the potential it has to facilitate access for bigger container vessels. The banking executive further noted that even with Guyana’s emerging oil sector, a harbour port will be more economical for the country.“I think as a stand-alone project, it will be to the benefit of the economy anyhow, apart from what is going to happen in the oil sector.”Nevertheless, Ballekom noted that they are yet to iron out the specifics of the project, that is, whether it will be a Public-Private Partnership or a loan-project. He explained that discussions were held on four separate substantial projects, and the EIB never finances a project fully, as such it will be looking to other international financial institutions, such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) perhaps, to join forces.“So we start up the process, the ultimate amount we are lending to those four projects remains to be seen.”However, the EIB Vice President outlined that no commitments were made on any of the projects until the bank carries out its due diligence process: “I will ensure that (our officers) start up the whole process of appraisal and they will have to come back more often to the country in order to look more in detail on the investment opportunities but I didn’t commit myself to anything.”Meanwhile, Ballekom emphasised that the EIB is eager to re-engage Guyana, either in the private sector or the public sector or both, noting that its economic climate is welcoming.Thus far, the delegation has held talks with President David Granger, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson and Finance Minister Winston Jordan. It has also had discussions with the private sector as well as the commercial sector.The Vice President continued that he was pleased with the preparation of the Guyanese Government, which was particular in its interests.The trip was well prepared by our office in Santo Domingo and I have to say that the Guyana Government was well prepared as well because every minister I met with, highlighted similar projects.“There was good coordination between the various departments and that’s what I like, because if you want to re-engage a country, we want to have people who are focused on the priorities… All in all, it looks very promising in the near future, and I’m sure that I’ll be back in the country in the course of next year to sign the first operations between the European Bank and either the private or public sector in Guyana,” the banking executive posited.Furthermore, Ballekom pointed out that Guyana stands to benefit from doing business with the European Investment Bank, which finances itself on the capital market and as a triple A bank, its funding costs are low, thus those advantages can be passed on to customers.He added too that the bank has a longer tenant than the private sector and also have an impressive technical expertise from which Guyana can benefit, especially as it relates to the deepwater harbour.
…says it’s a “Burnhamesque” way of silencing political opponentsAlliance For Change (AFC) General Secretary David Patterson’s threats to investigate and lay charges against former government officials is the latest to be denounced by the Parliamentary Opposition, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).AFC General Secretary David PattersonFollowing Thursday’s boycott of President David Granger’s address to the National Assembly, Patterson took to his Facebook Page to express concerns over this move by the Opposition, which he deemed disrespectful.Patterson, who holds the post of Public Infrastructure Minister posted, “I have mixed feelings on the natural consequences of this boycott – on one hand I am sadden that the opposition will be boycotting one of the main advocates for greater inclusion of the opposition in the affairs of Government, the voices of the liberals will now be drowned out.”He then indicated that this boycott has added new vigour for Government to hunt and prosecute past government officials for corruption.“What happens next is entirety due to the opposition’s actions today – the kid gloves will be taken off, since an unwritten line will be crossed – the actions which the general public have been demanding (punishment for crimes of corruption) will go into a higher gear, building of cases against alleged corrupt officials will now be at the forefront – actions which I support – by this boycott, it will strengthen the efforts…” Patterson posted.But the PPP/C said this behaviour displayed by Minister Patterson is reminiscent of the “Burnhamesque” ways of silencing political opponents.“If there was any…Patterson, removed all doubts…with a threatening rant on Facebook, which shows his incapability of understanding the various forms of protest in a democracy, and most likely reflecting his Government’s similar inabilities and views,” outlined a statement from the Office of the Opposition Leader.The PPP/C then equated Patterson’s remarks to recent threats made by controversial US Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump.“This can be likened to Donald Trump’s recent threat to jail his political opponent, Hillary Clinton, if he were to win the Presidency – a threat that all right minded lovers of democracy denounced in no easy terms,” the Party noted.Nonetheless, the Party posited that it will continue to stand with and represent the people of Guyana without fear or favour. “The PPP/C has withstood the worst of the Burnham years, where jailing and the killing political opponents were the norm. Like then, the PPP/C will not be silenced now.”Moreover, the Party called on the international community to take note of the threats made by the AFC General Secretary.
The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lewis Brown, Thursday, January 16, assured students of the University of Liberia and the administration of the reopening of the institution in the soonest possible time.Speaking at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism’s regular press briefing on Thursday, Mr. Brown said that through the office of the president, a committee has been set up to investigate the closure of the state’s premier learning institution in the country.According Mr. Brown, the government was concerned about the ongoing situation at the state-run University that has affected a numbers of students and the government, since the closure in December.The Minister maintained that the issue of demonstrations in the country will not in any form be allowed by the government. Those days are gone and Liberians must graduate from the stage of backwardness he explained.“We will ensure that the rule of law serves the public. Accordingly, we want to call on the students to desist from demonstrations and try to resolve issues at Liberia University and other educational outlets in the country.”Mr. Brown explained that the University of Liberia will not reopen because of demonstrations by students as experienced by students in the country in recent time he added.According to Mr. Brown, Dominic Tarpeh has been appointed by president Sirleaf to head the Committee on the University of Liberia’s closure since last year. He highlighted the progress made in the Sirleaf-led administration in the areas education, electricity, and free speech; He added that Liberian must continue ensuring that all efforts are made for the betterment of Liberia.The Minister called on students who are threatening the president’s annual message to desist and rethink their decision for the sake of peace and progress made over the past year.“we want to call on the students that have decided to disrupted the president’s annual message to modify their decision, we have moved forward and will continue to work together as one family.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
US President Barack H. Obama has announced the withdrawal of all US troops in West Africa helping to combat the deadly Ebola virus disease. The disease has so far killed more than 9100 persons as at February 11.At least 3826 of the number of persons, who have reportedly died so far from the disease in eight of the nine countries, which have reported confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), have occurred in Liberia alone.Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are the three worst hit nations of the virus and all three account for most of the deaths. Liberia 3826, Sierra Leone 3341 and Guinea 1995.The nine countries, including the US, United Kingdom and Spain, have so far recorded at least 22, 894 cases on their shores. Others are Mali, Nigeria and Senegal.Speaking on America’s leadership on the Ebola fight both at home and abroad in West Africa on February 11, the US President told the world: Today, I’m announcing that by April 30th, all but 100 (troop) who will remain to help support the ongoing response, all but those 100 will also be able to come home — not because the job is done, but because they were so effective in setting up the infrastructure, that we are now equipped to deal with the job that needs to be done in West Africa, not only with a broader, international coalition, but also with folks who have been trained who are from the countries that were most at risk.However, the US President made it very clear that despite him pulling his soldiers from West Africa, including Liberia, does not mean that the epidemic has been defeated. He also announced his government’s new response approach to the Ebola crisis in the sub-region.“So I want to be very clear here: While our troops are coming home, America’s work is not done. Our mission is not complete. Today, we move into the next phase of the fight, winding down our military response while expanding our civilian response. That starts here at home, where we’re more prepared to protect Americans from infectious disease, but still have more work to do., for as long as Ebola simmers anywhere in the world, we will have some Ebola fighting heroes, who are coming back home with the disease from time to time. And that’s why we’re screening and monitoring all arrivals from affected countries.Obama told the audience that they had gathered at the South Court Auditorium, Washington D.C., so that he would tell all those directly and indirectly involved in the fight and to mark a transition in their fight against this disease , stressing: we’re not to declare mission accomplished, but to mark a transition.“Thanks to the hard work of our nearly 3,000 troops who deployed to West Africa, logistics have been set up, Ebola treatment units have been built, over 1,500 African health workers have been trained, and volunteers around the world gained the confidence to join the fight,” he told the American audience to rounds of applauds.The US is heading the global respond against the epidemic.The President also announced to the US people and the rest of the world that “Liberia has seen the best progress. Sierra Leone is moving in the right direction, Guinea has the longest way left to go.” He stated that they would now focus on getting to “zero. Every case is an ember that, if not contained, can light a new fire. So we’re shifting our focus from fighting the epidemic to now extinguishing it.”In mid-September 2014, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wrote Mr. Obama for help in managing Liberia’s rapidly expanding Ebola crisis. President Sirleaf had warned that without American assistance the disease could send Liberia into the civil chaos that enveloped the country for nearly 15 years.In a letter she sent to her American counterpart on Tuesday, September 9, Madam Sirleaf wrote: “I am being honest with you when I say that at this rate, we will never break the transmission chain and the virus will overwhelm us, and she requested 1,500 additional beds in new hospitals across the country and urged that the United States military set up and run a 100-bed Ebola hospital in Monrovia.The US President responded to Madam Sirleaf’s plead and deployed nearly 3,000 of his soldiers to West Africa. He said it’s now logical to withdraw them but their (Americans’) mission is not yet complete as new cases of the virus still emerge.According to the WHO, the total weekly case incidence increased for the second consecutive week, with 144 new confirmed cases reported in the week to February 8, Guinea reported a sharp increase in incidence, with 65 new confirmed cases compared with 39 the week before. Transmission remains widespread in Sierra Leone, which reported 76 new confirmed cases, while the resurgence in cases in the western district of Port Loko continued for a second week. Liberia continues to report a low number of new confirmed casesShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)