Even as thousands of sugar workers are being made redundant, President David Granger is seeking to assure that the Special Purpose Unit’s negotiations with investors will bear fruit and a plan for the Guyana Sugar Corporation’s (GuySuCo’s) massive land holdings will be developed.Granger gave the assurance on Friday during his first press conference in two years. When asked why there were no plans in place for workers before the divestment, Granger noted that Government, the unions, and the corporation itself must be factored in.“There are four major institutions to be considered. One is the corporation itself, which has not been dissolved, and it still has responsibility for the industry. The other is the Government, and the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for reporting to Cabinet and the National Assembly. Third, you have the workers and their representatives, particularly GAWU and NAACIE”; and, of course, you have civil society and other agencies who are concerned with providing services to the sugar workers.“But as far as retrenchment or termination benefits are concerned, the Government is responsible for ensuring that the sugar corporation fulfils its obligations to the workers,” the President explained.He emphasised that the Special Purpose Unit (SPU), which is under the Finance Ministry, has recently engaged an internationally rated accounting firm — PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) — to value the land it will sell.“As far as the plan is concerned, there needs to be a lot more work from the fourth agency — what you can call the Special Purpose Unit, which comes under the Finance Ministry. That is the agency that will ensure the smooth transition of those parts of the industry which will not remain in production,” he explained.“So I would say that the work of the SPU is still being done. They are in negotiation, not only with the sugar corporation, but also with foreign investors. And I expect that, before too long, we will have a plan which will explain in greater detail how the land will be disposed of,” he detailed.Out of the three firms that had made submissions to the SPU, the United Kingdom-based PwC was selected to valuate GuySuCo. This is as Government moves ahead with efforts to privatise and diversify the sugar industry.According to the SPU when it announced the selection, all negotiations with PwC have been completed, and a contract is expected to be signed by December 18, 2017.Following the valuation exercise, PwC is expected to develop an investment prospectus which, through the SPU, would be distributed to all interested investors.The Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic had previously called the move by the SPU to select the firm for the valuation process a vehicle for corruption that completely bypasses the established privatisation procedures and the sale of State assets.In order for the process to be underway, almost 4,000 sugar workers have had to be fired from the Skeldon, Enmore and Rose Hall operations of GuySuCo. This move by the Government have been slammed by the Opposition as a “callous decision”.Still viableDuring a meeting with the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), SPU Head Colvin Heath-London informed the delegation that, following his assessment of the estates identified for closure and sell out, he is of the opinion that the estates are viable.He outlined that when certain costs are excluded from the estates’ overall expenditure, the overhead of their production is generally in keeping with international norms.In fact, the SPU Head has described the Skeldon sugar estate as a ‘gold mine’, a term which is far different from the phrases used by GuySuCo to describe the facility.
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23 May 2006South African wheelchair racing athlete Ernst van Dyk won the Laureus Sportsperson of the Year Award for an athlete with a disability at a gala function in Barcelona on Monday.The “Oscars of sport” are awarded annually, chosen by 42 sporting greats who make up the Laureus World Sports Academy.Van Dyk won the title ahead of five other nominees: German swimmer Kirsten Bruhn; Hungarian fencer Zsuzsanna Krajnyak; Finland’s Leo-Pekka Tahti, a previous winner and also a wheelchair racer; wheelchair tennis player Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands; and Kenyan athlete Henry Wanyoike.Magnificent yearThe award put the seal on a magnificent year for South Africa’s Disabled Sportman of the Year 2005. During the course of the year, he won the Boston Marathon wheelchair race for an unprecedented fifth year in succession, as well as the New York, Paris, Seoul and Oita Marathons.He also showed himself to be versatile by winning the 400 and 800 metres in Atlanta’s Meet in the Heat.In handcycling, he won the South African Championships, the Argus Cycle Tour, the EHC Circuit Race at Spijkernisse and the Saddlers Ultra Challenge in Alaska. He also finished runner-up at the European Championship road race and time trial.Van Dyk holds the world record for the marathon. He became the first person in history to crack the magical one hour 20 minute barrier when he won the Boston Marathon in 2004.He also represented South Africa as a swimmer at the Barcelona Paralympics way back in 1992.Greatest achievementDespite this, Van Dyk rates earning a degree in sports science from the University of Stellenbosch as his number one achievement, because it made him the first disabled sportsperson to graduate with it.Van Dyk was born with congenital birth defects which resulted in him having a double amputation from the knee down.SA’s sport laureatesTwo other South Africans have won Laureus awards. The first, extreme adventurer Mike Horn, was named Laureus World Alternative Sportsperson of the Year in 2001.Horn made history in 2000 by completing the landmark Latitude 0° project, making a solo circle of the globe at the Equator without the help of motor power – covering 8 400 kilometres on foot and mountain bike and 16 142 nautical miles by trimaran for a combined total of 40 000km.Gary Player, one of the greatest golfers of all time and one of only five professionals to have won golf’s grand slam of all four major championships, became SA’s second Laureus award winner in 2003 when he was presented with a Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award.And in 2004, disabled swimmer Natalie du Toit was a Laureus nominee in the Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability category.Du Toit, whose left leg was amputated below the knee in 2001, holds disability world records for the 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle, 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley.Perhaps her greatest achievement, however, has been bridging the gap between able-bodied and disabled athletes.At the 2003 All-Africa Games, competing against able-bodied swimmers, Du Toit won gold in the 800 metres freestyle. At the Afro-Asian Games in the same year, up against able-bodied swimmers once more, she took silver in the 800 metres freestyle and bronze in the 400 metres freestyle.In the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, 18 years old at the time, she qualified for the 800 metres freestyle final – the first time in history that an athlete with disability had qualified for the final of an able-bodied event.Laureus Sport for Good projectsThe Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in South Africa is headed up by former Springbok rugby captain and Rugby World Cup winning manager Morne du Plessis. It is a proactive body that works in a funding and consultative capacity with other organisations.In South Africa, the Foundation is involved in a number of projects, including the Helderberg Partnership Project in Cape Town, Starfish Sport in Gauteng, Playing for Peace in Kwazulu-Natal, Project Sozo in Paarl, and the Little Champs Academy in Gauteng.The Helderberg Partnership Project, established in 1999, is a joint initiative of the Helderberg Sports Academy and Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse in Helderberg.Children between 10 and 18 receive sports coaching at the Helderberg Sports Academy, irrespective of their ability to pay, while social workers use the opportunity to raise awareness of the problem of juvenile sexual abuse.Playing for Peace’s focus is combating problems of racism and discord. The message of the project is: “Children who learn to play together can learn to live together.”Philosophy of the FoundationThis fits in perfectly with the philosophy of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which holds that people’s attitudes and prejudices can be changed by the power of sport.Starfish Sport provides holistic care for children who are orphaned as a result of HIV/Aids, with Laureus taking responsibility, along with Discovery, for funding.Project Sozo aims to counter problems of gangsterism in Paarl by providing children with an alternative source of excitement and stimulation by focusing their attention on sport.The Little Champs Academy is a national project that began in 2000 to teach children from a young age basic sporting skills and at the same time improve their learning skills.Du Plessis and Gary Player are members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, which includes some of the greatest sports personalities ever to grace the playing arenas of the world – among them Franz Beckenbauer, Sergey Bubka, Ian Botham, Sean Fitzpatrick, Miguel Indurain, Jack Nicklaus, Martina Navratilova, Edwin Moses, Jack Nicklaus, Tony Hawk, Dan Marino and Viv Richards. 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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday directed Haryana Chief Secretary to review the inspection policy of industries in the State. Further, he was directed to submit a report on the same within one month.A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also noted that the current policy is not in consonance with the mandate of the principles of the precautionary and sustainable development of environment laws. According to the principles, the highly polluting industries, as defined by the Central Pollution Control Board, are to be inspected once in three years.Directing the State pollution control board to revise the policy in consultation with the CPCB, the Bench said, “Constitution of the State pollution control board without effective functioning amounts to failure of law enacted for protection of the environment.”Dissatisfaction Further, the green panel expressed dissatisfaction over a report submitted by a committee comprising of representatives from the CPCB, Haryana Pollution Control Board, Central Ground Water Authority and the district administration on pollution caused by industries in Sonipat and Panipat.“The report can hardly be held to be satisfactory. The gaps in the report be revisited under the supervision of the Member Secretary, CPCB, by a team of two senior officers nominated by him. The committee may also assess the illegal withdrawal of water,” the Bench said.The directions came when the green panel was hearing a plea by Delhi resident that sought directions to close industrial units which are operating without requisite consent under relevant rules.“It is submitted that even though action has been initiated by CPCB on the ground level there is no compliance and even out of the units which have been directed to be closed, some are still working in the same manner,” the plea had said.
Malaika Arora Khan is back in the limelight with her risqu number in the film Dabangg. Cashing in on her re-established item queen tag, she was in the Capital for a fashion show by diamond jewellery brand ORRA at the launch of their flagship store.The glamorous fashion show displayed collections of jewellery crafted by ORRA’s design centers in London, New York, Tokyo, Antwerp and Mumbai. ORRA is a part of Rosyblue – one of the largest diamond manufacturing companies in the world.While Carol Gracias, Indrani Dasgupta, Krishna Somani and other international models showcased the jewellery on the runway, Malaika was the showstopper at the event in a dazzling bustier worth a million euros (approximately Rs ix crore) that was crafted from more than five hundred carats of the finest Belgian diamonds.These multi-million dollar “one of a kind” creations have only been seen on lingerie giant Victoria Secret’s runways sported by supermodels such as Heidi Klum, Marissa Miller, Miranda Kerr and Alessandra Ambrosio.Unlike her international counterparts, Malaika’s glittering ensemble was in fact not a bra but a bustier that she wore with a sari.She may be adventurous on screen but off it the lass knows how to flaunt her style without overly offending Indian sensibilities.While most of the models wore cocktail gowns that showed off the jewellery, Malaika’s sari hid most of the glittering bustier. The Bollywood siren might have chosen an Indian ensemble to stay true to her current “munni” image.Commenting on the launch, ORRA CEO Vijay Jain, said: “India is now ready for a whole segment of luxury shopping and ORRA’s diamond boutique offers the customers just that.”advertisement