Police are on the hunt for two gunmen who attempted to rob a grocery store in New Amsterdam, Berbice and who broke into a car and escaped with a bag.Bob and Sons grocery StoreThe car window that was smashedA bullet hole on the buildingThe attempted robbery occurred at approximately 19:30h at the Bob and Sons Variety Store situated at Strand and Chapel Streets New Amsterdam, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) on Monday evening.Reports are that five employees of the store were outside after the business place closed, while several others were inside when two masked men pounced on them.Speaking with Guyana Times, one of the employees said that he saw two masked men running towards them. He said one of the men started firing shots in the air.He told this publication that one of the gunmen fired a shot in his direction but he was not hit and immediately retrieved to the side of the building. According to the employee, upon seeing the gunmen, they rushed into the building. Realising that they could not enter the store, one of the bandits used his gun to smash the window of the owner’s car which was parked outside. The man then grabbed a bag from the vehicle and escaped. However, this newspaper was told that the bag contained personal belongings of a staff member but no cash.Only two days ago, the owners of the variety store opened a supermarket. It is believed that the bandits thought that the day’s sales from the new supermarket were in the car. Police in Berbice have since launched a manhunt for the two gunmen.
… as Govt gears to invest B in renewable energy projectsGovernment has announced allocations and concessions as incentives in order to pursue a ‘green agenda’ and one of its financiers is conspicuously among the front runners to immediately benefit from the measure.An artist’s impression of the 25MW Wind Farm at Hope Beach, East Coast DemeraraAlliance For Change (AFC) financial backer, Lloyd Singh and the Guyana Government have inked an agreement for development of a wind farm at Hope Beach and according to Finance Minister Winston Jordan, investments such as this will not only benefit from tax exemptions as a result of Budget 2017, but will also be granted a two-year tax holiday.The budgetary measure that immediately benefits financiers of the coalition A Partnership for National Unity/AFC (APNU/AFC) Government is reminiscent of last year’s measures which sought to place restrictions on the importations of used vehicle in favour of newer ones.Speaking to the measure outlined in the 2017 Budget, Minster Jordan told the House, “Government will be granting a one-off tax holiday of two years for corporation tax to importers of items for wind and solar energy investments, and for investors in water treatment, waste disposal, and recycling facilities.”He announced tax exemptions too for investment in, and construction of, water treatment and water recycling facilities, which will in addition, also be given a one-off tax holiday of two years for corporation tax for companies involved exclusively in such importation.Solar farmsSpeaking on Government’s role in pursuit of a green agenda, the Minster said, “Under the renewable energy programme, in 2017, we will install the first ever solar farm on a large scale in Mabaruma.”He said $264 million has been budgeted towards the installation of the solar farm, which when operational, is expected to supply some 400 kilowatts of electricity and will afford residents in the Region One (Barima-Waini) communities an additional 17 hours of electricity to the 3000 residents of Mabaruma.“Furthermore, our Government has also advanced the pursuit of additional solar farms with a capacity of 800 kilowatts at Lethem, 400 kilowatts at Mahdia, and 1.5 megawatts at Bartica,” Jordan further stated.Expanding on Government’s green state agenda, Minister Jordan said the strategy “encompasses environmental protection, citizen security, employment and value chain creation, energy, health, education, social protection, and resilience against climate change and economic shocks… It is about sustainable development, embracing a broad range of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aligning perfectly with multi-dimensional progress.”He told the National Assembly that as the Administration consolidates and builds on previous initiatives with a low-carbon focus, including the use of renewable energy sources and co-generation alternatives, the Government will review and expand the scope of alternative energy solutions.Electric vehiclesJordon said, “Some immediate measures that will be taken towards this expansion will be: The lowering of the excise tax on hybrid and electric vehicles; granting of tax exemptions to set up electric vehicle charging stations; zero-rating the excise tax on biofuel and specially designed refuse trucks; the restriction of used tyres; and a reduction of taxes on new tyres.”According to Jordan, “Our Government will prioritise evidence-driven and cost-effective options to determine our renewable energy choices across the country to successively transform the energy mix and reduce the share of non-renewable energy sources in the overall ratio.”He said that it is in this vein that Government will shortly be releasing the outcome of a review of the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric Project, which was undertaken by Norconsult, the Norwegian-contracted consultants, after the comments of both the Kingdom of Norway and the Cooperative Republic of Guyana are incorporated into the final document.One billionAccording to Minister Jordan, “In 2017, the Government has made a budgetary allocation of almost $1 billion to implement a series of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, following the charge given by His Excellency President David Granger for the Public Sector to lead the way in transitioning towards greater renewable energy use.”The, interventions, according to the Minister, will be channelled through and managed by the Guyana Energy Agency.Providing some insight on the agenda for 2017, Minister Jordan said the renewable energy programme for the upcoming year will entail the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on the rooftops of 64 Government buildings.“With a combined installed capacity of 1.36 megawatts (MW), these installations will result in: annual energy savings of 1.86 gigawatt hours (GWh) or 1200 barrels of oil equivalent per year; annual cost savings of approximately $140 million; and environmental benefits in the form of avoided carbon dioxide emissions of about 1116 tonnes per year.”Japanese aidAccording to the Finance Minister, Government’s energy efficiency programme will involve, also, the replacement of inefficient lights and the installation of 10,427 light-emitting diode (LED) lamps and 3766 occupancy sensors in Government buildings, as well as 360 energy efficient outdoor lights.This intervention, he said, will result in annual energy savings of 0.93 GWh or 600 barrels of oil equivalent, with an estimated annual cost savings of $54 million.The Minister announced too that in 2017, they will consider utilising the balance of the current Japanese Non Project Grant Aid facility to the private sector to procure 5000 energy efficient street lamps.“This endeavour will result in the replacement of the existing inefficient 250W street lights with 120W LED street lamps, resulting in energy savings of about $158 million annually.”