The World Bank Group today unveiled a new plan that calls for US$16 billion in funding to help African people and countries adapt to climate change and build up the continent’s resilience to climate shocks, a release said yesterday. Titled Accelerating Climate-Resilient and Low-Carbon Development, the Africa Climate Business Plan will be presented at COP21, the global climate talks in Paris, on November 30. It lays out measures to boost the resilience of the continent’s assets – its people, land, water, and cities – as well as other moves, including boosting renewable energy and strengthening early warning systems. “Sub-Saharan Africa is highly vulnerable to climate shocks, and our research shows that could have far-ranging impact — on everything from child stunting and malaria to food price increases and droughts,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “This plan identifies concrete steps that African governments can take to ensure that their countries will not lose hard-won gains in economic growth and poverty reduction, and they can offer some protection from climate change.” Per current estimates, the plan says that the region requires $5-10 billion per year to adapt to global warming of 2°C.The World Bank and the United Nations Environment Program estimate that the cost of managing climate resilience will continue to rise to $20-50 billion by mid-century, and closer to $100 billion in the event of a 4°C warming.Of the $16.1 billion that the ambitious plan proposes for fast-tracking climate adaptation, some $5.7 billion is expected from the International Development Association (IDA), the arm of the World Bank Group that supports the poorest countries. About US$2.2 billion is expected from various climate finance instruments, US$2.0 billion from others in the development community, US$3.5 billion from the private sector, and US$0.7 billion from domestic sources, with an additional $2.0 billion needed to deliver on the plan. “The Africa Climate Business Plan spells out a clear path to invest in the continent’s urgent climate needs and to fast-track the required climate finance to ensure millions of people are protected from sliding into extreme poverty,” explains Makhtar Diop, World Bank Group Vice President for Africa. “While adapting to climate change and mobilizing the necessary resources remain an enormous challenge, the plan represents a critical opportunity to support a priority set of climate-resilient initiatives in Africa.”The plan will boost the region’s ability to adapt to a changing climate while reducing greenhouse emissions, focusing on a number of concrete actions. It identifies a dozen priority areas for action that will enhance Africa’s capacity to adapt to the adverse consequences of climate variation and change. The first area for action aims to boost the resilience of the continent’s assets. These comprise natural capital (landscapes, forests, agricultural land, inland water bodies, oceans); physical capital (cities, transport infrastructure, physical assets in coastal areas); and human and social capital (where efforts should include improving social protection for the people most vulnerable to climate shocks, and addressing climate-related drivers of migration). The second area for action focuses on powering resilience, including opportunities for scaling up low-carbon energy sources. In addition to helping mitigate climate change, these activities offer considerable resilience benefits, as societies with inadequate access to energy are also more vulnerable to climate shocks. And the third area for action will enable resilience by providing essential data, information and decision-making tools for climate-resilient development across sectors. This includes strengthening hydro-met systems at the regional and country levels, and building capacity to plan and design climate-resilient investments. “The plan is a ‘win-win’ for all especially the people in Africa who have to adapt to climate change and work to mitigate its impacts,” said Jamal Saghir, the World Bank’s Senior Regional Adviser for Africa. “We look forward to working with African governments and development partners, including the private sector, to move this plan forward and deliver climate smart development.” The Africa Climate Business Plan reflects contributions and inputs from a wide variety of partners with whom the Bank is already collaborating on the ground, in a coordinated effort to increase Africa’s resilience to climate variability and change. The plan aims to help raise awareness and accelerate resource mobilization for the region’s critical climate-resilience and low-carbon initiatives. The plan warns that unless decisive action is taken, climate variability and change could seriously jeopardize the region’s hard-won development gains and its aspirations for further growth and poverty reduction. And it comes in the wake of Bank analysis which indicates climate change could push up to 43 million more Africans into poverty by 2030.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
More than one hundred vocal protesters, who for the past days have been chanting outside Criminal Court ‘C’ in favor of indicted and dismissed National Port Authority (NPA), Managing Director, Madam Matilda Parker, yesterday suddenly vanished, following a strongly worded statement by Chief Justice Francis Korkpor that the court house should never be used as a place for protest. “Nobody should be allowed to use the courtroom or outside of the court house to stage a protest as doing so could influence the outcome of a case,” Chief Justice Korkpor scolded when he spoke with a group of protesting women at the Temple of Justice.Based on the Chief Justice’s warning, defendant Parker’s supporters abandoned their protest and quietly took their places in the courtroom, while the jury selection process continued. During the hearing both Parker’s legal team and state lawyers were able to successfully complete the selection of a 15 member jury panel that is expected to decide the economic sabotage case brought against defendants Parker and her Comptroller Christiana Kpabar Paelay.The jurors were selected following two days of intense examination by Parker’s lawyers and state lawyers. After the selection Judge Blamo Dixon set the hearing of the case to Tuesday, December 15.The jury was then sequestered (quarantined) underground at the Temple of Justice, where they are expected stay until the final determination of the case.Defendants Parker and Paelay are accused of duping the NPA of US$837,957 while they were serving in their respective posts, a claim they have denied.They were also accused, along with businessman Deneah M. Flomo, owner of Demar Enterprise.The prosecution claimed that Flomo connived with Madam Parker and Paelay to make over US$800,000 in illegal payments to his Demar Enterprise Company. Flomo is reported to have confessed during interrogations at the office of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), that most of the money was deposited in his company’s account at Ecobank.The LACC reported that Flomo received more than US$10,000 from the deal.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Flashback: a chess tournament in MonroviaThe Liberia Chess Federation (LCF) has recently participated in the West Africa 4-4 individual chess tournament in Monrovia with three of its players emerging winners, next to Nigeria and the Ivory Coast.Giving details of the competition and other happenings in the federation recently in Monrovia, the president of the LCF, Mr. Winston Ireland, said if they should stand tall among other nations, the game needs the support of those who love it.“It was an amazing experience under my leadership when we invited our colleagues in the sub-region to compete for something through our game,” Mr. Ireland said.M. Balogun Oluwafemi and Kigigha Borno of Nigeria came first and second in the West Africa Zone 4-4 Individual Chess Championship held from April 20-30 this year while Harmon Barcon and John Jallah (Liberia) emerged as third and fourth place winners.The LCF meanwhile announced that its team will travel to Algeria in July to participate in the African Chess Confederation Championship and it is seeking financial support from well-meaning Liberians.“We used to receive the sum of US$20,000 from our government but we are no longer receiving it due to some administrative reasons cited by the Ministry of Youth and Sports,” Ireland said.The LCF boss who was elected on January 6 with Omar Issa, Jerome Wilson, Lewellyn Brent and Godfrey Richard as his vice president, financial secretary, treasurer and chaplain respectively, said the Federation presently lacks office space due to their inability to pay rent.“We inherited an empty office and as such we have been unable to raise funds to pay rent and settle other problems,” he noted.He said his leadership has registered 11 active chess teams across Montserrado and is planning to launch the game in schools and communities for children as young as 6 years.When contacted, the Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Youth & Sports, Henry Nyonton, said the LCF was audited a year ago and discovered some flaws which the federation needed to have settled before it could be reconsidered for budgetary allotment.“There were some financial problems at that office and we have advised that the Federation puts its house in order by having an organized structure that will be willing to be accountable and transparent,” Nyonton said in a telephone interview.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Ganta revenue office says fines from accidents and other traffic violations in the area are not reported.The local office of the Liberia Revenue Authority situated in the commercial city of Ganta has been accused of not making payment of any traffic violation fine to the revenue office, since almost six months, the Ganta Revenue Agent has disclosed.During the visit of this reporter to the office of LRA in Ganta on September 14, to ascertain government revenue collection in and around the Ganta Collectorate, the Revenue Collector Morris Kiazolu explained that many institutions, including schools, stores, shops as well as other business places and institutions within his control were complying and paying their taxes on time. He however cautioned that the branch of LNP traffic division in Ganta had not sent any violators to their office since almost six months.“We hear about lots of accident cases, but the violators are not forthcoming like before to pay their fines as it used to be,” he said. “Traffic violators come to the LRA office to pay fine only when they are given tickets by the police, but if the police do not give them tickets, how will they paid the cost of violation?” he questioned.Accidents and traffic related issues in Ganta are rated high, but what becomes of traffic violators is yet to be established, leading many to believe that cases of such nature are compromised by police.When contacted, the Ganta Detail Traffic Commander, Martha Saylee, said she was not clothed with authority to speak to the press on the issue.Some of the many motorcycles plying the streets of GantaThe LRA also explained that they had not received any money from the Liberia Immigration Service from the issuance of “Border Crosser Passes” (a pass issued by Immigration at the border to a traveler) on the charge of over L$ 200.Citizens as well as some ordinary security officers are concerned about the fees collected from issuance of the Border Crosser Passes and are curious to know whether the intakes are deposited in the government revenue.This reporter has observed that immigration officers assigned at the Ganta border taking the passes from the travelers, upon their return to Liberia, and destroying them immediately.However, the LIS in Ganta has denied collecting any fee for the issuance of Border Crosser Passes. However, one of the officers, who spoke on the condition anonymity said, what is collected from travelers for the issuance of Border Crosser Passes is considered as ‘processing fee’ and the pass is only issued to those who do not travel with a passport, though he could not state the amount collected.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Dr. Gbollie (3rd from left) celebrates with some of colleagues.…Wins academic excellence awardFor many young Liberians and some individuals across the world, particularly in Africa, earning a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) remains a challenging sought-after dream. But for Charles Gbollie, a young Liberian scholar, it is a well-accomplished dream with distinction.The former independent Star Radio’s producer and presenter was on Thursday, June 20, 2019, formally awarded the enviable doctorate degree in Developmental and Educational Psychology. Charles Gbollie also worked at the Ministry of Education’s Basic Education Division as a director.The ceremony, according to a dispatch from China, was followed by an elaborate excellence award night on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, by the College of International Cultural Exchange (CICE) of Central China Normal University (CCNU) at which time Dr. Gbollie was a proud recipient of the Academic Excellence Award.According to the college, the honor was bestowed upon Dr. Gbollie in recognition of his academic diligence and excellent behavior at the university. The excellence award was also informed by favorable reports from the Academic Supervisor and foreign examiners of his scholarly works, including doctoral dissertation and international peer-reviewed journal publications.“Charles is an inspirational international student with great plans and clear goals. He is an active learner and a critical and innovative thinker with other exciting skills. He is a good communicator and team-player. His Ph.D. research is novel; the research design is more rigorous; the research process is standard; the statistical analysis method is scientific; and the research results are reliable.” Dr. Gbollie’ Supervisor, Professor, Dr. Shaoying Gong, wrote on the university’s website.Prof. Gong’s evaluation was further validated by foreign degree and research examiners, as one reported: “This research is a study with great practical and international significance. The theoretical foundation of the research is solid.“The research method is correct, the sampling is representative, and the tools used are appropriate. The relatively large workload also shows the researcher’s ability to independently conduct research design and implementation, with reliable results and correct conclusions. The writing of the paper is logical and the description of the problem and the conclusion are concise and clear,” the foreign examiner reported.The independent excellent evaluations both internally and externally earned the young Liberian scholar an enviable place for his doctorate and his 3rd Academic Excellence Award from the prestigious Chinese Normal University, particularly dedicated to training educators and other professionals.It can be recalled that Dr. Gbollie was in 2014 and 2018, also awarded “International Excellent Student Award and Academic Diligence Award,” respectively from the university.Dr. Gbollie expressed profound gratitude to God, the Liberian and Chinese governments and his family for making his educational sojourn a resounding success.He added, “This could not have been possible without divine arrangement and empowerment.”Dr. Gbollie, who is also president of the Liberian Student Union in China, said that his Ph.D. journey was mind-changing and life-transforming, expressing fervent confidence and hopefulness that his education and experiences overseas would go a long way in promoting societal transformation, especially for Liberia.According to Dr. Gbollie, there were a countless number of impactful developments in his life, far beyond his imagination. “During this doctoral journey, I transcended from being a student to a mentor, and coach for hundreds of people from all backgrounds. I transcended from not only submitting academic journal articles for review and publication, but became an international journal peer reviewer with excellent certificates. I transcended from having two academic peered review journal articles published to over five and three in queue, awaiting publication. I transcended from not only reading books written by others, but also ready to contribute to the knowledge economy with two books being launched this month. I transcended from being a member and committee chair to president of the Liberian students in China, and a role-model for many individuals,” Dr. Gbollie wrote on his Facebook page.On his post-doctoral graduation plan, Gbollie expressed strong passion to addressing critical issues related to human, social, and educational development of all individuals, especially youth and students.According to him, various programs are currently being planned under his two institutions: Foundation for Research, Education and Empowerment (FREE) Liberia, a Liberian-based NGO devoted to improving lives and interventions through research, education and empowerment programs; and the Youth Champions Alliance Network (You-CAN), which is being founded to focus particular attention on holistic youth empowerment and development.Dr. Gbollie used the medium to admonish his fellow young people to remain hard-working, devoted and persistent in their dreams, noting, “If God can change my name and history, He can also do it for you. The Heavens and Earth are on your side—keep pursuing your dreams.”He expressed the hope that many young Liberians will emulate the good example he has set and that government would make use of its best brains to drive the much-needed transformation and change in the country.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Participants pose after the opening of the IMS training workshop organized by LiMA.The Government of Liberia through the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA) in partnership with Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa (GI WACAF) on Monday, April 29, 2019 embarked on week-long national training workshop on Oil Spill Incident Management System (IMS) for marine environmental specialists.The event, which brought together representatives from LiMA, Environmental Protection Agency, National Port Authority, National Coast Guard, will provide Liberia with the opportunity to have an effective Incident Management System that will strengthen its national oil spill preparedness and response system.Daniel Tarr, LiMA Director for Marine Environmental Protection, told participants at the opening of the IMS workshop that the event will provide a complete overview of the incident management process with the opportunity to test the learning through an exercise.“The exercise should allow the delegates to validate their new skill set and exercise the country’s national incident management plans,” he said.Mr. Tarr, who is also the National Focal Point, said GI WACAF was launched in 2006, between the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and IPIECA, the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues, to enhance the capacity of partner countries to prepare for and respond to marine oil spills.He said the mission is to strengthen the national system for preparedness and response in case of an oil spill in 22 West, Central and Southern African Countries in accordance with the provisions set out in the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation, 1990 (OPRC 90).To achieve its mission, Mr. Tarr told the participants that GI WACAF project organizes and delivers workshops, seminars and exercises, that aim to communicate good practice in all aspects of spill preparedness and response, drawing on expertise and experience from within governments, industry and other organizations working in this specialized field.He said to prepare and implement these activities; the project relies on the project’s network dedicated government and industry focal points.“Promoting cooperation amongst all relevant government agencies, oil industry business units and stakeholders both nationally, regionally and internationally is a major objectives of the project during these activities,” he added.Mr. Tarr said that GI WACAF operates and delivers activities with contributions from both the IMO and seven oil company members of IPIECA, namely BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Eni, Shell, Total and Woodside.Ms. Emilie Canova, GI WACAF project coordinator, who spoke on behalf of IMO and IPEICA, the global oil and gas association for environmental and social issues welcome participants to this year’s national training on IMS in Monrovia.“Today it covers 22 countries in West, Central and Southern Africa. Since its inception, significant progress has been made in improving spill response capabilities by raising awareness through national and regional workshops and training,” she said.Ms. Canova acknowledged the engagement of Liberia in the GI WACAF project.She said the collaboration between the Liberian government and GI WACAF is not new by any means, and “I would like to recall a few steps taken together because the attendance of GI WACAF regional conferences by the national focal point, in 2010, a first National Workshop for the Development of the National Contingency Plan was organized; and more recently in 2016 a National Workshop on Contingency Planning and Sensitivity Mapping was held in Monrovia, which recommend to further include IMS in the NOSCP.”Ms. Canova said the present workshop will focus on the planning aspects of the IMS. “We will thus build upon the advancements already achieved by the Government of Liberia and consolidate the knowledge acquired in recent years.”She told the participants that the workshop is currently being facilitated by two consultants who are experts in the field of oil spill preparedness and response, namely Richard Sims and John Tulloch from Ambipar.Ms. Canova therefore encouraged participant to interact with experts as much as possible during the workshop. She also thanked the Liberia Maritime Authority for facilitating this workshop.LiMA’s Deputy Director, Cllr. Charles A. Gono, who gave the keynote addressed on behalf of Dr. James F. Kollie, said the principles of IMS organization were developed in the 1970s by the fire service as management method for clarifying command relationship and making use of mutual aid for large scale incident involving multiple stakeholders.Although originally developed to address fires, the IMS concept is now applied to many other types of emergency events or incidents, including oil spill response.Mr. Gono said IMS is absolutely important because many incident happen with little or no advance warning, and require and immediate response by the industry operator and supporting response organizations.According to him, major incidents, which are rare, may require a response involving many organizations, including governmental entities across multiple jurisdictions and experts from many disciplines.Such incidents, he said, may also involve numerous parallel activities such as search and rescue, ensuring the safety of the public and responders, source control, fire suppression, protecting the environment, securing property and infrastructure from damage, and providing timely communication.Therefore, an IMS is an essential tool for overcoming many of these challenges; it provides clarity in command and control, improves resource coordination and communications, and facilitates the cooperation and integration of responding organizations.Mr. Gono said an effective and successful response requires a clear set of objectives. The objectives should be based on ‘SMART’ principle and they should be Specific, Measurable, Action oriented; Realistic; and Timely.The event, which started yesterday April 29th, will be climaxed on May 2nd, 2019 at the Monrovia City Hall.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
By Jemima HolmesThe family of a recently deceased ex-fisherman has indicated that they do not believe the man died as a result of foul play. This statement comes after questions were raised as to the circumstances surrounding the elderly man’s death.Dead is Sanchara Kawall, also known as “Basil” of Seawall Road Montrose, East Coast Demerara. Reports are the man may have been intoxicated when he slipped and fell into the trench that is just outside the shack in which he resided. Guyana Times spoke with the man’s daughter, Samantha Mahabal, who expressed that the dead man’s relatives do not suspect foul play as they are not aware of any valuables that he might have had, nor was anything missing from the man’s home.Dead: Sanchara “Basil” Kawall“I don’t know is what, but like he de drunk and fall in the trench,” the distraught woman shared. Mahabal noted that she has known her father to be a drinker for as long as she can remember but the habit worsened when his wife passed away some three decades ago.The elderly man who was once a fisherman had stopped working a number of years ago but would usually assist a friend of his with vending at the Plaisance Market. The man who was described as “quiet” and “good” was known for his hefty drinking habits. Relatives of Kawall told Guyana Times that the man would get by on food from his daughter and monies that he received from a son living overseas.Mahabal noted that suspicions were raised when a neighbour went to take food for the man on Friday morning. However, the neighbour was greeted by the man’s radio and a hat on the ground. “It was very strange that it left so cause he really like listening to the radio. He does sit down and listen to the radio all the time,” she told this publication. The woman went on to say that she was subsequently informed of the man’s disappearance and the search began.At around 13:00h, those in search of the man noticed a piece of fabric floating in the trench near his home and his daughter was summoned to identify the body. “Is just a piece of fabric they see and they call me to confirm is he,” she stated.Mahabal mentioned that the last time she saw her father was on Thursday. However, reports are that neighbours saw the man sitting on the bank of the trench outside of his home at around 19:00h on Thursday night. These reports are what led persons to believe the man was intoxicated when he fell into the trench and subsequently drowned.The Police have visited the family in order to collect statements and a post-mortem examination is expected to be conducted during the upcoming week.
Seventeen-year-old Andrew Gittens, who allegedly murdered his cousin Leon Anthony Richie over a $440 loan to buy bread in January 2017, was committed to stand trial at the Demerara High Court by Magistrate Rushell Liverpool at the Wales Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. He was represented by Attorney Ravindra Mohabir during the Preliminary Inquiry (PI).Deceased: Leon RitchieMagistrate Liverpool at the conclusion of the PI ruled that the prosecution has made out a case against the accused. She informed the defendant and his attorney that it will be left for a 12-member jury to determine the accuracy of the evidence in the caution statement.Gittens remained silent as he was not legally bound to make a statement or a plea at this stage. His plea will be made when the matter comes up in the High Court.Ritchie, who was 17 at the time of his death, was killed at his Lot 20 L’Oratoire, Canal Number One Polder, West Bank Demerara residence after the accused reportedly came up to him and demanded that he repay the money. Reports were that an argument ensued between the two over the $440 Ritchie had borrowed two weeks prior.It was stated that after a scuffle, Gittens, who was only 16, allegedly stabbed his cousin to the chest. An injured Ritchie reportedly collapsed and upon realising what he had done, the alleged perpetrator raised an alarm and the injured teen was taken to the West Demerara Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.When interviewed back in January 2017, Gittens’ father said his son lived at his grandparent’s house along with his other cousins. Their grandfather, who had supervised the boys, passed away in 2016 and ever since then, the young family members had lived alone.
…say mercury level alarmingly high in their systemsEmployees attached to the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GTT) are raising concerns over the alarmingly high mercury levels found in their systems, due to a mercury spill in April last at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).Employees from both GGMC and GTT were affected by the spill, which caused several workers to seek medical attention.According to the workers, in May last, a colleague complained of feeling unwell, and discovered that his body had an alarming amount of the metal (mercury) only when he visited a private health institution.Another employee stated that after the incident, an email was sent out by the Human Resources Department of GTT, but it failed to explain the severity of the spill and the potential harm that spill can cause to the human body. “There was no indication from management that persons should have testing done to ensure that the metal did not affect those who work in the building. There was one individual who voiced their concerns about the incident with the HR Department, but (the concerns were) quickly dismissed by management, who told the individual that noSections of the GTT building can be seen with the thick black substance (mercury) several months after the spillone else (had) made any complaints, and as such, that person should not raise an alarm amongst other staff”, an employee told the Guyana Times.Recently, the workers noted that after receiving several other complaints from staff members about feeling unwell, six workers were randomly selected and sent for testing at a private laboratory.The blood samples were sent overseas, and when the results were returned, it confirmed that the workers had mercury in their systems.The workers are claiming that the company’s Health & Safety Officer asked that the information be kept secret, so as not to cause panic among their colleagues.Recently, it was reported in sections of the media that the company has been urging its staff to get tested; but this, they claim, “is far from the truth”.“There was no email sent to the employees of the company encouraging them to be tested. There was a meeting held to inform employees with regard to the hazardous material that was spilled”, it was contended.The GTT employees are also contending that they had received no financial assistance from the company in their moment of distress; but it was reported that “through its company’s medical plan, GTT continued to provide assistance to employees”.“The cost of a mercury test is $20,000, the medication is $31,000, and lab tests $39,000. There are persons who are on medical leave, receiving treatment for mercury toxicity, which was paid at their own expense. There was an individual who was hospitalised, and another was fired,” Guyana Times was made to understand.When Guyana Times contacted the company’s Public Relations Specialist, Jasmin Harris, she noted that they are fully aware of the situation and are working along with the Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Social Protection, Department of Labour and Ministry of Natural Recourses to return the situation to normalcy.Harris also noted that an investigation has been launched. (Yanalla Dalrymple)
…can lower child abuse in hinterlandIn an effort to lower the alarming rates of child abuse cases in the hinterland region, the Child Care and Protection Agency (CC&PA) will be launching advertisements in four different Amerindian languages as early as next month during the observance of Child Protection Week.This is according to Director of the Agency, Ann Greene during a recent interview with Guyana Times.According to Greene, the rates of child abuse in Amerindian villages are alarmingly high. In fact, she said most of the 481 cases of child sexual abuse occurred in Regions 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) and Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).She explained, “The most challenging thing for us is this sexual abuse in Hinterland communities. If you look at the stats, our data shows out of the 481 (cases of sexual abuse) the rate of abuse is highest in Region 10 followed by Region Seven so we want to concentrate heavily on that in our programmes”.Greene said she is aware that in some communities, underaged sexual activities are accepted, although it is against the law, and so awareness, especially inCC&PA Director, Ann GreeneAmerindian communities, is crucial.“There is a gap between culture and law. There are some things that are social norms and cultural practices but it’s not in keeping with the laws of the land… in some communities there is a high tolerance level for under aged sexual activities. Sixteen years is the age of consent, but it doesn’t say that grown men should be having sex with 16-year-olds. They may be paedophiles,” she pointed out.Important to note, the Director said, is the laws of Guyana were not only crafted for the children on the coast, but also for those in the hinterland regions.She added, “So we can’t hear people (are) getting charged here (on the coasts) for various acts and (in) another group things are happening there and nothing is not happening”.The Agency, according to her, has been exhausting several efforts to educate and re-educate citizens on the issue of cultural practices. She said, although persons are entitled to their culture, the practices put children at risk.This year’s Child Protection Week will commence on September 23 under the theme ‘Supporting families to prevent child abuse through education and community involvement’.Several other major activities and programmes are being finalised and prepared for the much anticipated event. Among the major plans, the CC&PA will be launching its child abuse registry, which will be helpful in providing information in relation to a person’s biography.Greene pointed out that the perpetrators of sexual abuse will be publicised and exposed to the public, who will be able to access the requisite information on the Internet.She explained, “People were clamouring for that and so I gave a commitment to launch the child abuse registry. It is really to put online the persons who would have commit offences against children. If anybody wants to employ anybody, you could run the child abuse registry”.“A lot of information will be made available through the registry (like) the type of abuse, the person’s age, their name, where they’re from and so on, because when we set up this database we can do drafts and look and see where the abusers are. We can pull up the map and see where they are,” she related.As of June 2018, Guyana recorded an increase in reported cases of sexual abuse against children. Greene went on to explain that she believes the high number exposed itself only due to intensive work by the Department.According to her, “It’s not an increase to say it is more now than what it was before because we got more awareness, we got more channels to report. We encourage persons to report more so when we do all these programmes and all these awareness and so on, put in a hotline and all of that, the reports would increase, but it does not signal that there is more child abuse this year than last year”.She sought to point out that she believes the figure exposed is just a ‘tip of the ice berg’ since abuse, especially sexual abuse, is often hidden and goes unreported.