In light of recent reports of “illegal” flyovers by Venezuelan aircraft of Guyana’s territory, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon disclosed that this country was currently enlisting international help to monitor its airspace for any further violations.Reports from the neighbouring country state that the aerial operations are being done to map Essequibo for a new Venezuelan atlas. This action follows on Venezuela’s claim to most of Guyana’s territorial waters off the Essequibo Coast.However, Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge recently confirmed that the matter was brought to the attention of outgoing United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who is expected to pronounce on the border controversy between the two countries next month.Meanwhile, Harmon, during Thursday’s post-Cabinet briefing, explained that Guyana was part of a United Nations system and once there was a violation of its airspace, it had a duty as a member of that system to report these violations.However, the Minister of State pointed out that sometimes, as in the case of the alleged “mapping operation” by Venezuela, the aircraft fly so high that they cannot be detected by the naked eye. As such, he noted that the country has to largely depend on international cooperation, ie other countries, to detect such violations of its airspace.Moreover, he noted that Guyana has recognised the importance of reporting and registering concerns at the appropriate fora, internationally.“Certainly, what we have recognised is that it is important to report any violation of our air, land or sea space to the United Nations to ensure that we have a record of these things and that is the course of action we have taken,” he stated.On the other hand, the Minister of State outlined that while it was a major task to monitor the 216,000 square kilometres of the country’s land space, there were certain steps being taken by the Public Infrastructure Ministry in collaboration with the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and airport management for a number of things to be done to ensure security at the country’s borders and within its airspace.“We believe that the safety of our travelling public is important and there are several issues in that regard, so we are focusing heavily on safety,” he remarked.Harmon also acknowledged that there were major issues with the monitoring of smaller airstrips, particularly in the country’s hinterland region. To this end, he stated that Government was seeking international help to ensure that it can detect any aircraft which violates Guyana’s airspace and more so, lands on any of its airstrips.“It’s quite a challenge, because of the vastness of our borders and the huge amount of space that is there for the small amount of aircraft to actually get below the radar and land in these areas. We have to depend quite a bit on human intelligence, that is, people in communities to report and our own limited resources in so far as surveillance is concerned,” he explained.This comes on the heels of the discovery of an illegal aircraft just off of the Yurupukari Airstrip in the Rupununi, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo). Nevertheless, Minister Harmon disclosed that Cabinet has approved the rehabilitation of several hinterland airstrips which will ensure better security exists.Among the airstrips to be upgraded are: Eteringbang, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) at the cost of .6 million with the contract awarded to STP Investments; Kurupung, Region Seven at the cost of .9 million, awarded to MMC Inc; Paramakatoi, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) at the cost of .9 million, awarded to N&A Construction; and Kato, Region Eight at the cost of .6 million, awarded to Colin Talbot Contracting Services.Also to be rehabilitated in Region Eight are: the Kopinang Airstrip to the tune of .7 million, awarded also to Colin Talbot Contracting Services; Monkey Mountain Airstrip to the tune of .8 million, awarded to KP Thomas & Sons Contracting Inc and the Annai Airstrip at the cost of .9 million, awarded to Syms General Contractor Inc.
The Mayor and City Council (M&CC) has embarked on a new project to rehabilitate Bourda Street, which has been in an execrable state for quite some time. As such, while some vendors believe that this is a good initiative, the views of others differ.Some of the works being undertaken at Bourda StreetThe works are being done in collaboration with the Public Infrastructure Ministry.A vendor, who requested to be anonymous, revealed that due to the works being done, there has been a significant reduction of customers in that particular area as they cannot access the street. In the past days, business has been ‘slow’ and sometimes, the produce is not being sold so she incurs a loss. She believes that they should’ve been advised not to sell in the area until the rehabilitation of the street is completed.Meanwhile, a number of other merchandisers expressed their satisfaction with the new asphalt street and stalls; and have given their full cooperation until this project is completed.This, they said, will be an improvement and the market will see more customers and sales in the future, as the appearance of the area will be much better than it was before. They also think that the infestation of rodents will also be eradicated.“Excellent. I believe they’re doing an excellent job and they need to continue what they’re doing. There will be new stalls and they will be doing it in concrete so we won’t be having rats and these things no more,” Alfred Mack related.For now, the entrances to the stalls have been moved to the western pavement and vendors were asked not to use their current stalls after these works are completed.Vendors were told by M&CC Town Clerk Royston King, that new stalls will be constructed as per the M&CC’s specifications, as it relates to the dimension of each stall.As a result, taxes will also be increased on the upgraded stalls, to improve the services and facilities such as water, lightS and security being offered.