… awaits word from company on draft contractThe Malaysian-owned Barama Company Limited will likely be granted approval to continue its operations in Guyana when its 25-year Investment Development Agreement comes to an end in October.Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman (left) toured the Barama Company Limited facility earlier this yearNatural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman, on Tuesday confirmed to Guyana Times that Government will be moving ahead with the renewal of the agreement.He said Government already dispatched a draft agreement to the logging company and is awaiting its comments on the proposal before wrapping up the deal.“The Barama agreement is still being finalised and a draft has been shared with the company for its review and comments,” he stated.He refrained from providing further information on the matter until a definite decision has been taken.“Until we agree, I won’t want to get into specifics, except to say that we are proceeding and getting nearer to a conclusion,” Trotman stated.In a recent statement, the Natural Resources Ministry explained that a Task Force was established to examine the Company’s request for a continuation of its contract.Cabinet had recommended the convening of a Task Force to examine the request given the rapacious activities of some foreign companies operating in the forests of Guyana.The Government had noted too that some negative observations had also been expressed at the operations spearheaded by Barama.The Task Force met on several occasions and visited Barama’s operations at Buckhall, Essequibo, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam).A legal consultant subsequently began reviewing the existing contract, forest concessions and tax incentives, previously enjoyed by the Company, while other members of the team examined critical issues, such as workers’ rights, value added operations and environmental management practices, to name a few.General Manager of Barama Guyana, Mohindra Chand, emphasised the Company’s commitment to continue its operations in Guyana, stating that while it was faced with many challenges, it has no intention to shut down its operations.Barama has invested in excess of US$43 billion in its local operations since its establishment in 1991.Barama’s operations consist of forest management, timber harvesting and manufacturing of various wood-based products, such as plywood, sawn timber and flooring products.It is one of Guyana’s biggest employers, employing approximately 1000 Guyanese.It has been allocated some 1.6 million hectares of the State production forest and has been operating the largest forest concession in Guyana.
Legislators across the country have been struggling to find answers to the issue. Recently, San Francisco became the first major U.S city to ban oil-based plastic bags, requiring shoppers to use paper, biodegradable or canvas bags instead. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors also is considering a similar ban, an effort to deal with the 6 billion plastic grocery bags used in the county each year. “Consumers tend to think of plastic bags as being free, but they are really costly for the environment,” said Bryan Early, a policy associate for the environmental group Californians Against Waste. Early, who focuses on plastic waste, said AB 2449, passed in 2006, will go in effect July 1, forcing all major grocery stores to brand their plastic bags with the message, “Please reuse me.” Stores will also be bound to have reusable bags for sale. “The good thing about this legislation is that it’s taking this first step and really bringing to mind the idea of reusing bags,” Early said. “Hopefully, in the climate we are in of environmental awareness people, realize that these little things we can do really add up to make a difference.” Gail Swanlund, a CalArts faculty member and adviser to Jaster on his project, said graphic design artists have really begun to be more aware of their powers to create change. “Graphic design is a really powerful tool,” Swanlund said. “It’s very engaging on a personal level.” A year and a half ago, Jaster decided he wanted to combine his design skills with his desire for social change by placing bright yellow, blue and green “reuse” graphics on paper bags that he handed out at his local Ralphs market. Jaster’s efforts got him recognition in the art world, and got his work displayed in several art galleries. But he said as time went on, he felt he needed to do more. “I began to wonder what I really achieved. I wanted to prevent the project from becoming a one-liner.” This new tote bag project will bring Jaster back to his regular market. Growing up in communist East Germany until the Berlin Wall crumbled when he was 11, Jaster said his upbringing was definitely different than most Americans his age. “I was not deprived, but it was an environment where you made the most of every little thing you had,” Jaster said. Jaster remembers how amazed he was with the wealth in America when he came here as an exchange student at 16. Grocery bags in particular were always interesting to him because back home, both before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the sacks were washed and rinsed after every use. In most European countries, taxes on disposable bags are already levied. “That definitely makes people bring their own bag,” Jaster said with a smirk. As he prepped himself days before the bag event, Jaster admitted he was nervous, but said he’d be happy if just a few were moved by his message. “I am not trying to persuade anyone to change the law. I just want to talk to shoppers directly and let them know they have a lot of power to opt out of a crazy, wasteful habit.” firstname.lastname@example.org (661) 257-5254160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “This is a gesture, a provocation for thought,” Jaster said. “Most conservation efforts go back to the same question, paper or plastic, but they are just confusing the issue with a choice when the real answer is: neither.” His idea is to give a small group of people “sexy bags” that they’ll look forward to using for shopping instead of disposable ones. By taking the bags, the shoppers must agree to use them for at least six months. “This is an ecological intervention that forces people to stop and consider what they are doing to the environment,” Jaster said. Every year, Americans consume more than 100 billion disposable shopping bags – that is 1 million bags a minute. While paper bags traditionally have been looked at as the more eco-friendly option – they are biodegradable and can be recycled, they are made from trees and once used, break down in landfills. Plastic bags are made with petroleum products and end up filling drains, or worse, washing up on ocean shores. VALENCIA – If you see him toiling away by the sewing machine, all this German-born graphic design student asks is that you stop by and chat. His message: Neither paper nor plastic. To celebrate Earth Day, Roman Jaster will be handing out 40 handmade sacks today to shoppers at Ralphs grocery in Valencia’s Granary Square. Jaster, a graphic design student at nearby California Institute of the Arts, said this living art project is his personal crusade against bag waste.
The Times of India (ToI) newspaper reported a decline of about half in the number of visas granted to Indians heading to work in the Gulf States, reaching 3.7 million in 2017, compared with 7.6 million in 2015.According to a report published in the newspaper, the number of new Indian workers in Kuwait last year was 56,380, compared with 72,384 in 2016 and 66,543 in 2015, which represents a decline of about 15 percent between 2015 and 2017.Read it at Arab Times Related Items