…Govt’s coverage ‘public relations gimmick’ Outspoken attorney and accountant Christopher Ram has dubbed the Government’s coverage of the Green Paper “public relations and propaganda” and not serious consultations.He told a forum organised by the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) on Thursday to discuss the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) that the paper leaves more questions than answers.“It is not a Green Paper, it’s a White Paper. A Green Paper tells you what your options are and various variables, what are the advantages and disadvantages,” he explained.However, he claimed that the document is “very prescriptive.” In other words, it actually outlines what the Government plans to do. He argued that that is not consultation.“And we are also speaking against the background of inadequate information. We still don’t know things about the contract and there is an elephant in this room and we are not addressing it,” he said.Ram, pointed to a host of things that are yet to be done, including information being released about the prospecting license, the production license, a depletion policy, and no local content policy.“I think the paper has paid some lip service to the Dutch disease particularly as it relates to the impact on exchange rate, inflation, unemployment, balance of payment, unbalanced development. We have already seen the Dutch disease here,” he added.The outspoken accountant told the forum attended by persons from civil society that the distinction must now be drawn between the theory and the practice.“We are gone a far way with a Natural Resource Fund…And we are seeing the economy already suffering from the Dutch disease…We have said, we talked about the resources curse. There is nothing saying how to do you prevent it,” he further pointed out.A section of the audience at the forum organised by the GMSA on ThursdayHe continued, “I am, not sure what there consultation process is, who is taking the notes, and do we have a committee in the Ministry of Finance for the Government to consider recommendations and to decide? Because unless we do, we are hearing that government is going ahead with legislation by the last quarter of 2018. They are not waiting on us.”Ram stressed that “Unless you put good mechanisms in place nothing is going to work” and added that he believes that “the best sovereign wealth fund you can have is a well-managed economy and a proper structured country.”Using Singapore as an example, he said that that country is not one that is natural resource blessed but still has one of the best economies and SWFs in the world be “because it “runs its economy well and puts aside its money.”Veteran trade unionist and General Secretary of the Guyana Trade Union Congress (GTUC) Lincoln Lewis who was part of the panel said that the Government has failed to engage the Guyanese people in active consultation to hear from them what they would like to see done with the resources from the oil and gas sector.Meanwhile, University of Guyana lecturer Carol Webster said there is need for a clearer rules set out in the Fund that will guarantee sustainability and the equal distribution of wealth.The discussion covered issues such as the guiding principles for a SWF; how the SWF should be utilized and mechanisms for doing so; governance mechanisms, and oversight and management of the SWF and the role of civil society and the private sector. Forum also included a representative of the Finance Ministry Sonya Roopnauth.The Green Paper on the Natural Resources Fund (NRF), which will deal with the question of management of anticipated oil revenues starting in 2020, was laid in the National Assembly in August. Government has said that legislation in relation to the fund could be laid in Parliament before the end of the year, as indicated in Budget 2018.It said that the proposed legislation addresses two main issues: stability of the economy, and saving for future generations. Advice on this fund is being sought from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Commonwealth Secretariat.Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo recently said he still did not agree with the model being proposed for the Fund, which could cater for a representative from the Opposition.
“We can always use bottled water, coffee, cereal and tea,” Preheim said. County officials are collecting materials for shelter residents from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Santa Clarita Service Center, 24271 San Fernando Road, Newhall. “We’ve already had some people bring in clothing and items like toothpaste,” center manager Lupe Lopez said. “My staff will take anything people bring in that homeless people can use; toiletries like deodorant or personal hygiene items, warm clothing, even easy-open food items.” Preheim is organizing groups to prepare meals offsite because the buildings do not have a kitchen, but hasn’t gotten past the first month. “We have some people signed up, but right now we’re focusing on getting the shelter open. After that, I’ll have a chance to look over the schedule for the gaps. If anyone wants to volunteer to cook a meal, all they have to do is call me. Shelter organizers expect about 120 people and 25 to 30 families – with more than 50 children, Preheim said. Families have their meals at the shelter then are given vouchers to stay at hotels. It takes 1,700 to 2,000 volunteers to staff the shelter during the winter months, she said. “This community is unbelievably generous with everything, including their time,” she said. The shelter, at 21190 Centre Pointe Parkway, is run by the Santa Clarita Community Development Corporation. Volunteers wishing to participate in the Alternative Gift program or donate time or goods to the shelter can call Preheim at (661) 259-2267. Carol Rock, (661) 257-5252 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! CANYON COUNTRY – Santa Clarita’s emergency winter shelter will not open until Dec. 20 due to delays in delivering code-compliant buildings to a county maintenance yard on Centre Pointe Parkway. In the interim, shelter officials have established an “Alternative Christmas Gift” list for the community, offering individuals and groups the chance to sponsor one or more clients. A donation of $2.50 provides a sack lunch for one person; $20 covers housing and three meals for one person for a day; $50 provides 20 sack lunches; $75 supports one family for a safe, clean and warm night as well as a hot dinner, breakfast and sack lunch. Gifts grow exponentially; $100 provides three meals a day for 30 people; $120 covers one week of shelter and three meals a day for one person; a $500 donation supports one family with shelter and food for a week and $700 provides an entire week of meals for 30 people. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals All gifts are tax deductible. More than 120 people are expected to use the facility over a three-month span that ends March 15, a significant increase over last year’s 77 residents. Shelter manager Barbara Preheim said that the prefabricated buildings that make up the shelter have been modified and are being shipped from G.E. Capital in Fontana. “We’re busy recruiting all our people to give us a hand once the buildings arrive,” she said. Andy Gump Inc. is providing portable toilets and wash stations and Preheim said security guards have been hired for the three-month stretch. Many supplies for the shelter have been secured, but a few remain on their wish list.