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< Current local time in Suriname – Paramaribo
PARAMARIBO–Gold miner IAMGOLD has announced that it will develop and operate a solar power project in Suriname. “The project will help meet the electricity requirements of the mine in district Brokopondo and at the same time free up power for use by other customers in Suriname, the company said in a press release.
The release said the solar installation will produce five megawatts; it will cost IAMGOLD about $14 million, including site access and preparation. It is slated to be operational from the beginning of the third quarter of 2014. “IAMGOLD is fulfilling a prior commitment to the Government of Suriname through this green project,” the release said.
Canada headquartered IAMGOLD since 2006 operates the profitable Gros Rosebel gold mine. In April this year the company signed a new agreement with Government, which cut IAMGOL’s 90 percent stake to 70, and effectively made Government a partner in Rosebel Gold Mines NV, the joint company that operates the mine in district Brokopondo, where in 2011 some 385,000 ounces of gold was produced.
PARAMARIBO–An outlandish evasive bug with a wild hairdo has reboosted the news of the discovery in southeastern Suriname of sixty never before seen animal species. National Geographic on Tuesday carried a picture of the tiny unidentified “troll-haired” creature, as did other media that marveled at its Don King plumage.
Researchers believe the bug is an immature insect called a nymph, possibly fitting into one of four nymph families: Dictyopharidae, Nogodinidae, Lophopidae, and Tropiduchidae.
It was photographed by teams from universities from around the world that trekked for three weeks to explore the untouched rainforest of the southeast . They recorded 60 never before seen species during the expedition that was part of Conservation International’s Rapid Assessment Program (RAP).
Princeton’s Dr Trond Larsen, a tropical ecologist and conservation biologist, spent days studying the creature. Larsen: ‘I have spent hours searching drawers of nymphs to compare it to other species, but have only been able to narrow it down from 16 to four. I couldn’t match it with anything we have discovered before. I can’t get it into a family with certainty. It could be any of these four we know about – but it is very difficult to tell.”
PARAMARIBO–WWF Guianas is driving its anti-mercury message further home this week with presentations of the movie “Amazon Gold” in Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana. “It is a really good movie; worth seeing,” WWF Regional Communications Officer Karin Spong said in her email accompanying the invitation. Regional Director Dominiek Plouvier add: “We have made our standpoint clear: Mercury is destroying our country. The Minamata convention is a first step in banning it, but we have a long way to go. Suriname needs everybody on board for the debate about mercury.” The insightful movie shows in Suriname on Wednesday.
Amazon Gold is the disturbing account of a clandestine journey into the Amazon rainforest. It follows Ron Haviv and Donovan Webster, two journalists who normally cover wars and human rights issues on their voyage along Peru’s Madre de Dios River to uncover the savage unraveling of pristine rainforest. Accompanied by Peruvian biologist Enrique Ortiz they bear witness to the apocalyptic destruction in the pursuit of illegally mined gold with consequences on a global scale.
PARAMARIBO–The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved two loans totaling US$40 million to support Suriname’s power sector: a US$30 million loan for upgrades and a US$ 10 million loan that will be used to transit into sustainability, a press release from the Bank said. Both loans have a 20 year payback term.
The release explained that the first loan of US$30 million will support the country’s plans to improve the quality and reliability of the local electricity service, bring 24-hour access to electricity to some locations in the Hinterland, and reduce the use of fossil fuels. It will upgrade critical infrastructure and information systems of national electricity company EBS’ power operator, as well as finance works to expand the electricity grid and renewable energy production. This loan has a 7,5 year grace period.
PARAMARIBO–Suriname is not taking the risk of losing the World Heritage listing lightly, culture department head Stanley Sidoel has said. He said Government will do all in its power to hang onto the prestigious spot and UNESCO has been informed of this formally. “Minister Ashwin Adhin (Education) has sent a letter to this effect to the World Heritage Committee,” Sidoel said.
The wooden inner city of Suriname’s capital Paramaribo was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2002, on account of its historic buildings that “illustrate the gradual fusion of Dutch architectural design with traditional local techniques and materials.”
But a report from UNESCO’s advisory body, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), warned last week that the protected site is losing much of its charm. Historic buildings were found to be dilapidated or replaced by new structures and Government redesigned the Independence Square without consulting the UNESCO, which is mandatory when considering modifications of listed sites. ICOMOS said much of Paramaribo’s historical characteristics still remain, but if urgent measures are not taken “the inner city will dwindle in an irreparable process of collapse and suffer under big changes that will have an increasing influence on the characteristics that justified the listing.”
PARAMARIBO–Parliamentarian Patrick Kensenhuis says Government should show more consideration for the rights of the native peoples from his district. During an interview last week he took issue with how a highway is being steamrolled through Wit’ Santi, an Arowak village in District Para.
“The District Commissioner has told the villagers that the highway will bring development, but development is better achieved when the target group is involved. I share the concerns of the community of Wit’ Santi; they should have been involved earlier on in the plans for the highway that will run through their village,” Kensenhuis said.
Construction of the new highway started in August; the 12 kilometer four-lane road will connect the Kennedy Highway (which currently leads to the JAP airport) to the Afobaka Highway that cuts through Brokopondo. Contractor Dalian has already pushed open the track for the four-lane road to almost near Wit’ Santi limits, surprising villages who say they were not informed properly.
Village elder Patrick Mande told journalists last week the road will form a barrier that will lock villagers from their traditional hunting grounds. He also said he is concerned about “outsiders” who will now have access to previously isolated areas, claim them as their own and push out villagers. Mande wants Government to carry out a study on how the road will affect his village.
PARAMARIBO—Wit’ Santi, a village of Arowaks in District Para feels threatened by a highway Chinese contractor Dalian is building constructing for Government to the Johan Adolf Pengel (JAP) Airport. It seems the four-lane road will cut straight through village territory. “It seems we will not be allowed to cross, so we might as well forget about hunting or fishing on the other side,” village elder Patrick Mande told journalists. He also expressed concern about “outsiders” who will now have access to previously isolated areas, claim them as their own and push out villagers. Despite assurances that the new road will bring his village development, Mande wants Government to carry out a study on how the road will affect his village.
Construction of the new highway started in August. The new road is projected to take motorists from a nearby highway to just before the airport, straight through Wit’ Santi territory. The Arowak village is located at a 50 kilometer drive southward from Paramaribo.
Mande said what irks him most is that the people in his village had not been informed that the construction had started; villagers only found out two weeks ago when they heard the menacing roar of heavy equipment nearing their houses through the forest. By then Dalian had cleared the entire track for the road and only had but a few hundred meters to go before it reached Wit’ Santi boundary. The contractor has meanwhile reportedly put further clearing of the track on hold, giving project supervisors time to inform the villagers.
PARAMARIBO – Suriname has offered to host the thirteenth edition of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA). The offer was officially made last Friday by Abigail Lie A Kwie, Junior Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, during the special meeting of Caricom’s Council for Trade and Economic (COTED), which took place in Georgetown, alongside the twelfth edition of CWA that wrapped up on Saturday.
“Suriname, Belize and St. Lucia have not yet hosted this event, and I have indicated on behalf of our Government that we would like to be the host of the next CWA in October 2014,” Lie A Kwie said. She underscored that hosting such a mega event can be demanding; Government thus still will still have to see to what extent the offer fits within the budget. When the final decision will be made is unclear, but Grenada’s Agriculture Minister Roland Bhola said that in the meantime Suriname’s offer has been accepted, tentatively. Grenada is the current chair of COTED.
GEORGETOWN – Suriname could play an important role in making the Caribbean self-sufficient as far as stock feed and poultry are concerned, Guyana’s Agriculture minister Leslie Ramsammy has said. Ramsammy said at the Caribbean Week of Agriculture that both Suriname and Guyana have the landmasses for large scale production of soy and corn. He disclosed that his country is already rolling out a plan to produce all stock feed the Caribbean currently imports. “The Caribbean can produce its own corn and soy and therefore reduce the cost of feed. Guyana can do it, Suriname can do it too,” minister Ramsammy said.
Ramsammy found a like-minded soul in Hilson Baptiste, Minister of Agriculture of Antigua and Barbuda, who said that the costs of the Caribbean’s poultry industry can be reduced and the sector can even become only more profitable and sustainable. According to both Ministers stock feed is the main problem, because corn and soy have to be imported from outside the region at very high rate. Both spoke at the 12th Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) in Guyana, which on Friday saw the launch of the Caribbean Agricultural Extensive Providers’ Network (CAEPnet).
Ramsammy said that as part of the Jagdeo Initiative, Guyana has embarked upon a program to produce all of the corn and soy that the Caribbean presently imports. “We are going to transform the poultry industry into an industry that can compete financially with those of the more developed countries,” the Guyanese official said. He said Guyana believes that it can “provide the answer to high cost of stock feed in the region.”
GEORGETOWN– The 12th Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) took off on a high note in Guyana last Tuesday. It saw a call for recognition of women’s role in the agricultural sector’s transformation and heard small farmers in the region urging special loan arrangements to help them survive. Speakers also floated ideas to revive the region’s potent coconut sector.
The CWA, the Caribbean’s premier agricultural event actually got underway on October 4th, but opened formally on Wednesday October 9. It is themed “Linking the Caribbean for Regional Food and Nutrition Security and Rural Development.”
The writer of this article, Journalist Ivan Cairo, was one of the facilitators who on day one conducted a cross-learning segment discussing with the region’s media practitioners what are the issues that affect agriculture in general in the Caribbean, how they can be addressed, what has been done so far, and what the missing links are. Suriname’s Center for Agricultural Research CELOS is also in attendance.