Georgetown, Guyana – (September 1, 2016) As Guyana continues in preparation for the benefits and challenges that will come with oil production off its shores, Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon said that government is committed to ensuring that policies and legislations are in place to effectively manage the environment in keeping with its mandate of sustainable development.
The Minister made these comments, today, at the launch of an environmental management lab owned by Kaizen Environmental Services (Guyana) Incorporated (KESGI), in Kingston, Georgetown. KESGI is an extension of Kaizen Environmental Services, a Canadian company, which specialises in environmental management services and also has a branch in Trinidad and Tobago.
Minister Harmon toured the Laboratory and was given demonstrations by lab technicians as to the functions of the lab. The Minister is accompanied by Chief Executive Officer of KESGI, Mr. Douglas De Freitas (right) and Principal of the Critchlow Labour College, Mr. Ivor English
Minister Harmon lauded the company for its foresight in setting up office here, and stated that its intention to work with the government, members if the local business community and other stakeholders to contribute to effective environmental management in Guyana is one which is well aligned with the Government’s plan for the sustainable management of the environment.
“The environment underpins our very existence through the provision of an appropriate set of conditions to sustain life…. But we are constantly reminded that due to the current global realities of climate change, food loss and economic crises, that the environment is always in flux,” he said. It is with this recognition, he said, that government is on the threshold of policy making that responds to the changing conditions of the environment. “We are working on defining policies and programmes to effectively manage the environment for the benefit of all Guyana,” he said.
One such policy, he said, is the Green Development Strategy. “The overall aim of this strategy is to contribute to the sustainable development of the country by leveraging Guyana’s vast natural capital and biodiversity wealth in an environmentally sound manner,” the Minister said. The development of this strategy will be strengthened with the creation of an enabling environment and the involvement of all stakeholders. “This cooperative approach will foster integrated planning, close coordination, strong collaboration and effective communication across key environment sector agencies and related partners,” he said.
Advisor to the Minister of Education, Mr. Vincent Alexander presents Mr. Stefan Ageda with a Bursary Award from KESGI for gaining high grades in Chemistry at the CAPE Examinations.
The Minister added that Government has already initiated this process by establishing the Department of the Environment under the Ministry of the Presidency. The Department has the responsibility for entities such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Protected Areas Commission, the National Parks Commission and the Wildlife Commission. “Our primary focus will be to lead Guyana’s efforts in formulating policies on present and emerging environmental initiatives in line with the sustainable development agenda through effective leadership in environmental management and conservation,” the Minister said.
From the stakeholders’ perspective, therefore, the Minister said that companies such as KESGI have a responsibility to proactively safeguard the integrity of the environment in keeping with established environmental rules and procedures and to ensure that they are in adherence with the existing regulations and framework of the country.
Chief Executive Officer of KESGI, Mr. Douglas Defreitas, gave a brief history of the company from its beginnings in Alberta, Canada to its expansion in Trinidad and Tobago. He said that the company is now looking to further expand and sought to make Guyana one of its homes as it sees Guyana as part of its future. KESGI will offer laboratory services, air quality testing, noise monitoring services and will work on the development of a world class waste treatment facility similar to one which is established in Trinidad. Moreover, the establishment of the Laboratory will open up jobs as it will seek to employ Guyanese to fill its local staff complement.
As part of its launch, KESGI also presented bursary awards to two top performing Chemistry students and announced that, later this month it will commence classes for a Certificate Programme in Environmental Management, which will be offered through the Critchlow Labour College. The company intends to include Diploma and Associate Degree programmes in the same field, in the near future.