Hydro power… more consultations with Amerindians neededTension is brewing over the Government’s lack of consultation with the Amerindian people of Moco Moco in Region Nine, even as the administration moves to resuscitate the hydro power station located in the community, which has been defunct for some time.Moco Moco Toshao James GeorgeThe resuscitation has progressed to the point where plans are apace to have a geotechnical investigation done into the site, where a landslide had occurred. Expressions of Interest (EoIs) were invited from local and foreign firms to provide this consultancy service back in April.According to Member of Parliament Alister Charlie, Government should avoid the mistake of insufficient consultations. He urged that Government have the Moco Moco Village Council included in the decision-making, since there is a prevailing argument that the site falls within its purview.“It was an election promise by the Government that the hydro power station would be resuscitated when they get in power,” Charlie said when this publication visited the Moco Moco site last week.“There is a little tangle within the municipality of Lethem, specifically the Mayor and the Village Council, with respect to who owns what and where. As rightly said by the Toshao, the hydro itself falls under the village council’s purview, and not the municipality of Lethem,” Charlie explained.“There is a small settlement there, which the municipality of Lethem governs within the Moco Moco titled land. So it would be good if Government can go back and consult with the Village Council and have them part-and-parcel of every decision-making process.”Going greenCharlie noted that if the country is serious about going “green”, then resuscitation of the hydro plant is a good idea. He however warned that the capacity would have to be increased, due to the changes from the time it was commissioned in 1999 to present day.“When we’re looking at the hydro, we have to be looking at the megawatt, because Lethem has grown tremendously. And with the coming of the Industrial Site and the hydro, it will be very feasible for Lethem, provided we are thinking ‘green’,” he explained.Moco Moco Toshao, James George, noted that consultations should be aimed at verifying what benefits would accrue to his village. And not wanting a focus to be exclusively placed on his village, he urged that the talks serve as a precursor to development in Lethem as a whole.“As a Toshao, I want to see development,” he said. “At no one time would the Village Council ever say ‘no’ to progress. But the village of Moco Moco should benefit one way or another, and they should have ‘one and two talks’ (between) the Village Council and the Government.”It is understood that the Moco-Moco hydro power plant will be operated under the Build, Own, Operate, Transfer (BOOT) arrangement. This aims to supply power to Lethem Power Plant under a negotiated and agreed Power Purchase Agreement.In 1995, the then Government, with assistance from the Government of China, had sought to develop the hydropower project. However, in 2003, the plant was significantly affected by a landslide. The project was since abandoned. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is currently in the process of assessing five of 69 possible sites which are proposed to house these hydro power amenities. The five sites under scrutiny are Tiger Hill, Kamira, Tumatumari, Amaila and Kumu. It is expected that their assessment will be completed in May of this year.At present, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has signalled its intention to grant an interim one-year authorisation to Tumatumari Hydro Inc (THI), which brings the special purpose private company one step closer towards its planned rehabilitation of the Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) Tumatumari Power Plant.To promote additional financial aid for the hydro power and renewable plan, the Government is partnering with its Brazilian counterpart. It is understood that Government, in this regard, intends to use the US$80M from the Norway Fund, already allocated to renewable energy development. Interested investors are also welcomed in this department. Finance Minister Winston Jordan has stated publicly, during an engagement with the Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association (GMSA), that the money is not sufficient for its plans. In fact, Jordan had spoken of difficulties being faced to access the funding.
PANORAMA CITY – With large, orange brooms and green rakes in hand, community members took to the streets Saturday morning to pick up 27,000 pounds worth of fast-food wrappers, beer bottles, mattresses, couches and even a pair or two of abandoned, dirty socks. As one of 70 coastal and inland communities across Los Angeles County participating in Coastal Clean Up Day, 400 concerned residents of Panorama City joined hands with Heal the Bay, the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce and local officials and organizations in an effort to clean up the county’s gutters, rivers and coastlines. Despite Panorama’s distance from the city’s beaches – about 25 miles – event organizers said the 44-square-block area’s trash poses serious hazards to the rivers and oceans on the coast. “What you do in your front lawns affects everything around you,” said City Councilman Richard Alarcón. “Today we are planting the seeds – when you see trash clean it up.” Panorama City’s trash made up about one-third of the total 74,000 pounds of trash collected throughout the day. More than 2,000 partially used spray cans turned up in Wilmington, an expired passport surfaced in Hermosa Beach and divers found a bridal gown near the Santa Monica pier. Police got involved in the clean up when what looked like .357 Magnum appeared in the sand at Dockweiler State Beach. Heal the Bay President Mark Gold said inland communities were added to the list of participating areas 10 years ago, after organizers realized how much of the ocean’s trash wasn’t coming from coastal areas. Last year more than 80 percent of the 70,000 pounds of trash collected during the Los Angeles county clean up came from inland communities. “All of L.A. County is in a watershed and all the trash on the ground goes into the rivers that then flow into San Pedro and Long Beach,” Gold said. “By focusing on the beach communities, we were missing the point.” Luella Eischen, an accountant for Heal the Bay and active member of the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce, helped spearhead the clean-up effort. For Eischen picking up trash in and around the neigborhood is about more than just clearing the streets of debris. “This puts Panorama City on the map,” she said. “We are not a drug haven or a ghetto.” Several young teens from the area’s local high schools and middle schools also seemed intent on cleaning up the neighborhood’s image. “This area is dirty and we want to see it clean so everyone can enjoy it,” said 12-year-old Eileen Castillo, one of almost a dozen students who volunteered from Bert Corona Charter Middle school. Ninth grader Mayra Mazariego was a little more blunt with her reasoning for giving up Saturday morning cartoons. “Hey it’s better than being home doing nothing,” Mazariego said with a smile. [email protected] (661) 257-5254160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!