– as GMSA calls on Govt to protect local contentGovernment must do more to ensure that there is greater protection or consideration for local content when it comes to the implementation of foreign funded, or foreign executed contracts.This is the view held by President of the Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association (GMSA), Eon Caesar, who during an exclusive interview with Guyana Times on Thursday, confirmed that at least two local stone suppliers have lodged complaints given the news that a Suriname-based quarrying company has been awarded a mega contract to supply stones for a local project.Caesar was at the time making reference to the reported US$7.5 million contract awarded to Suriname’s State-owned mining company Grassalco, to supply some 300,000 tonnes of crushed stone over a 12-month period for the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Expansion project – currently being undertaken by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).Caesar told Guyana Times that while CHEC was a private company that would have to make its own decisions with regard to completing its project within the stipulated timeframe and specifications, the project was being funded by taxpayers and as such, it was imperative for Government to do more to protect local products.Speaking to the complaints lodged by at least two local suppliers, Caesar said even if it was a case that one of the companies could not meet the demand in terms of the amount of stones requested, at least both companies together could have met the quota.“Even if one could not supply all, both could have fulfilled the order,” Caesar said.According to international reports, Surinamese Grassalco and Zhong Da International Engineering Company will deliver the material in partnership to CHEC in Guyana.The contracts were reportedly signed by Grassalco’s Chief Executive Officer, Sergio Akiemboto; Zhong Da International Engineering Company General Manager Wu Qiong, and CHEC Project Manager Sun Wei.The Guyana CHEC Contract is reportedly the largest contract the State-owned company has signed with a foreign contractor. The issue of protecting local labour and businesses was catapulted into the limelight during the construction of the US$58 million Marriott Hotel where Guyanese labour and supplies were largely not used by the Chinese contractor.The matter was also recently raised again by representatives of the local Private Sector Commission (PSC) following the discovery of oil offshore Guyana by ExxonMobil. Local content in that case has been defined as the quantum/percentage of locally produced materials, personnel, financing, goods and services rendered to the oil industry and which can be measured in monetary terms.Presidential Adviser Eric Phillips recently called for the necessary legislation to be put in place to protect local content.Phillips said if managed strategically and if good governance became the norm in Government and the Private Sector, exponential growth in Guyana’s economy was a real possibility with the discovery of oil.He had called for a Local Content Bill, which he argued was “an absolute necessity at this time during the early days of oil exploration… Exxon and other multinational entities who occupy the value chain of oil production and associated industries should know from day one that Guyanese must be involved in the initial spend to produce oil and later as oil is produced.”
14 April 2014 The Department of Energy will make a definite announcement on South Africa’s nuclear build future within the next two months, Energy Minister Ben Martins told a business briefing in Pretoria on Monday. South Africa’s Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) for 2010 to 2030, a 20-year projection on electricity supply and demand, currently envisages 9 600 MW of additional nuclear capacity by 2030. The department is busy reviewing the plan. Koeberg remains South Africa’s only nuclear station. Martins said that, towards the end of last year, an inter-departmental team tasked with preparing for South Africa’s nuclear build programme had conducted study visits to a number of countries with expertise in the nuclear field, including the United States, Japan and Russia. The team comprises representatives from the Departments of Energy, Public Enterprises, National Treasury and other departments. The team had prepared a report which would be given to an inter-departmental committee chaired by President Jacob Zuma. “A definite announcement in regard to progress should be made in about two months’ time, maximum,” Martins said. The deputy director-general responsible for policy in the Department of Energy, Ompie Aphane, said that nuclear was at the core of the department’s planning process. “If one looks at the period between 2020 and 2030, one of the biggest challenges that we face is that we have to decommission some of the coal-fired power stations because … they are all coming to the end of [their life cycle] at the same time. “That’s where the 9600 MW of nuclear is predicated to be,” Aphane said. “We need to replace the coal in line with our objectives, in response to issues such as climate change.” On how a nuclear build would be funded, Aphane said the department had commissioned an independent study to look at various funding options and sources. Martins said the countries visited by the task team had all expressed their readiness to partner with South Africa on the skills needed for the nuclear build. “The study visits that we conducted we were in touch with a number of countries and tertiary institutions. They are all willing and ready to partner with South Africa. “In terms of skills training, there’s commitment,” Martins said. “What we’ve emphasised to all role players is that we are interested in localisation to ensure that a programme of that nature will result in the requisite industrialisation in South Africa. “What can be produced in South Africa should be produced in South Africa, and we’ve made emphasis on the aspect of skills training. There will be new disciplines and job opportunities.” Source: SAnews.gov.za
Screen shot of book coverThe Family Development Early Intervention team is always on the look-out for quality children’s books that help address some of the unique needs of military children.The following is an interview with M.L. Sather, the author of Boo Boo Bear’s Mission. More information about Boo Boo Bear and his experiences can be found on Facebook. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.What, if any, experiences do you and/or your book’s illustrator have with the military?My son served 34 years with the Minnesota Air National Guard 148th Fighter Wing, including three tours in Iraq. My husband served in the Middle East during the Korean Conflict and my dad was in the Merchant Marines during WWII.The book’s illustrators were children from military and civilian families. We wanted to offer an opportunity for all children to participate in a fun and empowering project. We wanted to give military-connected children a voice in defining their experiences. We also wanted children from civilian families to become aware of the pride and challenges their military-connected peers experience during deployments. Finally, we wanted to support children learning from one another.What made you decide to write this book? Was there some incident or experience with the military that inspired you?I was working on another children’s book when my son called from Iraq during his second deployment to tell me that his daughter had sent her beloved teddy bear to him to keep him company until he could return home to his family. Her sweet act of love for her dad touched me deeply. I knew I had to tell the story, so I set aside the other book and “Boo Boo Bear’s Mission” was born.What message(s) do you hope that children and families receive as a result of reading your book?First, my hope is that children and their families would enjoy, and identify with the story. I want readers to realize that learning how to name and express feelings, keeping family connections strong and practicing healthy coping strategies will help them meet the challenges of deployment—as well as the challenges in general that all families face. Finally, I hope that readers will recognize the power of love to hold families together.Have you received any feedback from military families after they read your book, and if so, what have they said?One of my greatest joys in sharing Boo Boo Bear’s Mission is the wonderfully affirming feedback I get from those who hear the story. Everywhere I go to share Boo’s story, there are individuals who can relate to the story either because of their military connections or because they have experienced another kind of separation and understand the feelings that can arise from any separation. I am delighted that every group of children I work with can identify with the message of the book—that Boo Bear’s mission is to carry a family’s love until they can be together again.Since much of the feedback I receive is in the form of notes from kids, I have included samples below and edited their spelling for clarity.First Grader: “I really liked Boo Boo Bear. It was a good book because kids did the illustrations. The cover was good too. One thing that I loved was details.”First Grader: “I really enjoyed this. If you ever need a volunteer for when you come again, I’d be it”Fourth Grader: “That book is for all ages. It’s small enough [short enough] for little kids to read and it would make grownups happy.”Child of deployed parent: “I’m going to send my bear to my mom.”Library Media Specialist with military connections: “You’ve touched a lot of lives today.”MN National Guard 148th FW Airman and Family Readiness Program Manager: “This is absolutely the best kids’ deployment book I’ve read. It identified and validates the emotions of so many children in Air National Guard families.”Former First Lady of Minnesota and creator of the Military Family Initiative: “Your story is absolutely delightful. . . I am certain the tale will be endearing to many children. Your story also underscores many deeper, important messages. . . “Do you have plans to write another book that focuses on the military? If so, what is the focus of that book and when might we expect to see it?Though the kids I meet often suggest ideas for sequels to Boo Boo Bear’s Mission, at this time I have no plans to write another book for military-connected children and their families.Are there any other books for military children that you would suggest for young children?Some of my favorites are:A Paper Hug by Stephanie SkolmoskiLily Hates Goodbyes by Jerilyn MarlerMy Father Is in the Navy by Robin McKinleyMy Red Balloon by Eve BuntingNight Catch by Brenda EhrmantrautPilot Mom by Kathleen Benner DubleSometimes We Were Brave by Pat BrissonStars Above Us by Geoffrey NormanThe Invisible String by Patrice Karst (This one deals with separation that includes death, so may not be appropriate for all families)The Kissing Hand by Audrey PennThe Wishing Tree by Mary RedmanWhen Dad’s At Sea by Mindy PeltonThis post was edited by Robyn DiPietro-Wells & Michaelene Ostrosky, PhD, members of the MFLN FD Early Intervention team, which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, onTwitter, and YouTube.