It is now more than two decades since the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Administration announced in 1995 that henceforth, the month of September would be designated “Amerindian Heritage Month” and that the Guyanese State would launch a series of activities annually to bring to the consciousness and weave into the rich tapestry of Guyana, the heritage of our Indigenous peoples. Locked away in the hinterland from the plantation-colonised coastal region, it was a case of “out of sight, out of mind” to the 90 per cent of the populace resident here.Every year since 1995, Amerindian Heritage Month was given a theme, with “Guyana’s first peoples – Sustaining a rich cultural environment,” being the one for 2017. This theme is rather ironic since the “cultural environment” of the Indigenous peoples is inextricably bound up with their land, and their rights to the latter have been subjected to extremely gratuitous attacks from members of the present administration.Unlike the descendants of Columbus and those they colonised and hegemonised, the Indigenous peoples view the land they occupy as sacred since they are sustained in every way through the crops they can grow, the animals they can hunt or fish, the shelters they can build, the cotton fabric they can cover their nakedness with and the herbs from the forest that provide medicines to cure their ailments. Like most modern men, our coastlanders can learn the true meaning of “environmental consciousness” from our Indigenous peoples who have not been completely brainwashed as most of us are into believing the earth is to be raped and ravished.What the Government is attempting to undermine – through stratagems such as attempting to subsume Amerindian Land Rights under a Commission of Inquiry into “African Ancestral Land Rights” and wild claims that some Indigenous peoples are not actually “indigenous” to Guyana – is the authoritative legal acknowledgement of Amerindian Land Rights. Unlike what one presidential advisor asserted, the lands which Indigenous peoples have been given, can be given title to and are not “reparations” for any past actions of the departed European powers, but an acknowledgement of their rights over land to which they are spiritually and culturally connected. The Dutch, whose rights the British assumed, never conquered but made treaties with the Indigenous peoples.In 1965, the first Amerindian Member of Parliament, Stephen Campbell accompanied the People’s National Congress (PNC) delegation, headed by Forbes Burnham, to London to negotiate the terms of Guyana’s imminent independence. Annex C of the Independence Agreement stipulated that the independent government provide legal ownership or rights of occupancy for Amerindians over: “areas and reservations or parts thereof where any tribe or community of Amerindians is now ordinarily resident or settled and other legal rights, such as the rights of passage, in respect of any other lands they now by tradition or custom de facto enjoy freedoms and permissions corresponding to rights of that nature.”By 1976, the Amerindian Act4 passed by the then PNC Government to give effect to Annex C, resulted in some Amerindian villages obtaining title to their lands. But it was not until a new Amerindian Act was passed by the PPP Government in 2006 that the full meaning of Annex C was given meaning. Unlike the allusions as to when any particular Amerindian tribe arrived in Guyana, Article 60 (1) of the Act declares simply, “An Amerindian Community may apply in writing to the Minister for a grant of State lands provided – (a) it has been in existence for at least twenty-five years; (b) at the time of the application and for the immediately preceding five years, it comprised at least one hundred and fifty persons.”Emphasising the spiritual and cultural nexus with their lands, Article 62 (2) states, “In making a decision the Minister shall…consider the extent to which the Amerindian Village or Community has demonstrated a physical, traditional, cultural association with or spiritual attachment to the land requested.”It is hoped the Government will use the State apparatus to educate the Guyanese people on the above.
Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Rio’s unsafe Olympic Park ordered closed by Brazilian judge Olympic rings arrive in host city on barge into Tokyo Bay Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. All that after he had been out with a torn left quadriceps muscle sustained in Game 2 of the first round against the Clippers. Cousins didn’t even make his season debut until Jan. 18 at the Clippers following a nearly yearlong absence while recovering from surgery for a torn left Achilles tendon.RAPTORS SHOOTINGToronto went just 35 for 94 (37.2 in Game 2, compared to 50.6% while winning the series opener, including 11 of 38 from 3-point range. The Raptors’ missed shots and defensive stops are exactly what the Warriors count on to get out into their push-the-pace transition game.“It’s always a game of rhythm a little bit and you have to watch what’s happening. As you know, we talk a lot about our shot spectrum, the shots we’re trying to get,” Nurse said. “We have to get a certain amount of paint touches. We have to get the ball side to side. Those are things you just have to keep an eye on. I think we just had some lulls in those three areas in Game 2.”The Raptors were outscored 18-0 to start the third — “the quarter from hell” as Nurse called it — and that all but did them in before a late rally that fell short.GOLDEN DEPTHKerr prepares his role players all season to be ready for moments on the big stage — because Kerr was one of the backups in his day. At home, Quinn Cook, who scored nine points with three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, regularly resumes his shooting routine moments after the final buzzer sounds.With all the injuries, all the Warriors must be ready to contribute.“The way that we play, everybody feels involved on both ends of the floor and has an opportunity to impact the game, not necessarily scoring every possession but just playing within the flow and sharing the ball, moving, playing unselfishly,” Stephen Curry said. “Just a style where everybody is going to get touches and you just have to be confident and aggressive. So again, day to day it’s just whoever is healthy. Be ready to go, compete, have fun doing it. Whoever is out there on the floor, just feel like you can help us win the game.” Deandre Ayton shines as Suns pound Knicks Taal evacuees make the most of ‘unusual’ clothing donations, leaves online users laughing Revengeful Pasig Chooks, Balanga to go all out in Moscow Challenger MOST READ NBI, BIR , PNP raid Illegal cigarette factory run by Chinese in Pampanga Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday PLAY LIST 03:12Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday01:43Who are Filipinos rooting for in the NBA Finals?01:08Huge Toronto crowd celebrates Raptors’ historic win02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award03:05Malakanyang bilib sa Phivolcs | Chona Yu Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Don’t mind Kawhi Leonard’s limp. Like Thompson, little will keep Toronto’s star guard off the court on the NBA’s biggest stage. Not with no more than five games left.“A hundred percent,” Leonard said of his health. “I’m on the floor. There are no excuses. Everybody knows everyone’s banged up, bruised up at this moment.”Leonard is averaging 30.9 points this postseason.BOX-AND-ONE?Raptors coach Nick Nurse was still hearing about his move to use an old school box-and-one with Fred VanVleet on Curry.“In ninth grade a team played one against me,” Kerr joked. “Very proud to announce that. I had a box-and-one, just like Steph.”“Yeah, I know, everybody’s making fun of me for it, right?” Nurse quipped.COUSINS’ IMPACTDeMarcus Cousins shined during his first NBA Finals start and just the fourth postseason game of his career.The big man had 11 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots over 28 minutes while playing in foul trouble in the 109-104 Game 2 win Sunday. LATEST STORIES View comments Golden State Warriors Kevin Durant watches during basketball practice at the NBA Finals in Toronto, Saturday, June 1, 2019. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors will take the floor once more without two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant, counting on their depth and home court to carry them as they try to inch closer to a three-peat.Durant is out for Game 3 of the finals on Wednesday night, still not ready to return for the two-time defending champions as he works back from a strained right calf suffered during the Western Conference semifinals.ADVERTISEMENT 11 nabbed for shabu, drug den busted in Maguindanao Durant didn’t practice with the Warriors on Tuesday, and he has yet to get on the court for a structured session since getting injured May 8 in Game 5 against the Houston Rockets. Durant was set to some work on the court later Tuesday at the practice facility.Guard Klay Thompson practiced two days after sustaining a mild strain to his left hamstring that forced him out of Game 2. He is listed as questionable for Game 3.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsThe best-of-seven series with the Toronto Raptors is tied at 1-all.Thompson said his discomfort Tuesday was bearable — “the pain level wasn’t too crazy at all.” Solon urges Solgen to reconsider quo warranto petition vs ABS-CBN “It will be a game-time decision. But for me personally, it would be hard to see me not playing. Hopefully, I’ll feel much better tomorrow and be a go for tipoff,” Thompson said.Along with Durant, Golden State is also down backup big man Kevon Looney. He suffered a non-displaced cartilage fracture on the right side of his collarbone area and will miss the remainder of the finals.“He’s had such a great season, such a great postseason run,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Fortunately it won’t affect his future, but it’s a big loss for us.”Here are some things to watch for going into Game 3:KAWHI SORE? NAHADVERTISEMENT
The Daily Observer has been told that there are fewer than 10 law enforcement officers in Vahun District, Lofa County. Three Police and four Immigration (BIN) officers provide security for a population of 17,137 in the district comprising three clans.Vahun District is so close to the border with Sierra Leone that most of its residents conduct a majority of their daily business activities with the Sierra Leonean border town of Kenema.Most of the inhabitants have the Sierra Leonean accent and are predominantly of the Mende-speaking tribe. The Sierra Leonean currency is also legal tender in that part of the country and it is exchanged at 100 Liberian dollars to 5,000 Leones.Our reporter, who recently travelled with Vice President Joseph Boakai to the district, found time off to speak with both the police and immigration officers.A police officer (named withheld) revealed that they are only three officers assigned to the entire district. A look around in the police cell, housed within the head office at the far end of the city, took journalists by surprise and drew a question for the police officer.What happened that the cells are empty and the doors are open? They are even very clean.The police officer responded, “This is a very lawful district. We don’t have any trouble here. We work along with the youth leader who helps us to keep the peace among the young people. They respect him a lot and don’t cause trouble for us and themselves.”Further down the road toward the main border post with Sierra Leone, is the BIN office. It is housed in a thatched hut, which leaks profusely when it rains. The hut is at least a mile and half away from the main demarcation line dividing Sierra Leone and Liberia. At the time of the visit, Wednesday, May 20, only two BIN officers were on duty and one of them revealed that they were only four assigned in the district, which has more than 10 illegal entry points and at least one international crossing point.One of them stated: “We need good space to operate from. We are operating from this makeshift place as national security officers. This does not look presentable at all for us as a country.”He stated that they usually abandon their post whenever it begins to rain because the hut leaks.VP Boakai was last week in Vahun to tell Lofaians thanks for working together to flush Ebola out of the county. He promised “personally to fix” a particular bad spot on the only road that links the district with the rest of the country.During most of the 15 years of civil war, the district was completely cut off from the rest of Liberia, except by bush paths.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
As promised, US President Donald Trump embarked on a flurry of activities to limit immigration into the USA. He has done so through the issuance of “Executive Orders”. Executive Orders are issued by the President as Head of the Executive Branch of government. They have the full force of law, providing they are in consonance with the Constitution and the law. For Guyanese who have been well educated by current events here, this means Executive Orders are subject to Judicial Review.While he has not done so as yet, it is widely expected President Trump will issue an Executive Order on a special visa that has precipitated wide debate over the last decade in the US – the H-1B visa. Introduced in 1990 by then President Bush, it permitted US firms to sponsor foreign individuals, either studying in US Universities or residing in their countries of origin, for jobs in the US that needed specialised technical skills. President Bush justified the programme, through which 80,000 visas would be issued annually to allow the US to keep pace with technological changes driving industries, since the US educational institutions were not keeping up with demand. Following the introduction of the programme, some one million individuals with “expert’ skills have been allowed into the US and presently occupy quite senior positions in US corporations, especially in Silicon Valley. Interestingly, Melania Trump, the new US First Lady, obtained an H-1B visa in 1996 for modelling, in which she averred she was an “expert”.In the last decade, however, there has been sustained criticism of the programme, which introduced a new term to most Americans, but one that most Guyanese would be quite familiar with: indentured labourers. With the 100th Anniversary of the end of Indentureship in Guyana about to be commemorated on March 12 of this year, the present debate rehearsed many of the arguments that were floated during our experience with indentured labourers here. The irony, of course, is that the majority of Americans are descended from Indentured Immigrants that were shipped in from Europe in the beginning of the 17th century. The essence of the indentured labour relationship is the labourer is “bound” to the employer for a specific period of time, and paid at specified rates.In the modern US H-1B variant, the individual is recruited by the American firm – typically by recruitment firms that specialise in this area – and applies for the visa for the worker, which is valid for three years. It is important to note that like the indentured immigrant of yore, the H-1B immigrant could not change employers without the express consent of the original employer, to whom the visa is actually issued. The immobilisation of the H-1B workers is important as it was in the sugar industry, since the workers are needed for specific periods – in the former for projects, and in the latter for quickly processing the sugar cane.While it is acknowledged that the H-1B visa winners (there is an annual lottery) have given an invaluable shot in the arm to American high-tech industries, the gravamen of local concerns, incorporated in three Bills in front of the US Congress, is by paying them lower salaries than those of Americans, they have displaced some of the latter from jobs and more pertinently, have made qualifying themselves for such jobs not worth it. This is an argument that resonates with the Guyanese experience circa 1838.The underpayment is acknowledged by employers and employees – and confirmed by two Congressionally-commissioned reports – but it is legal: the Labour Department’s “prevailing wage” of US$60,000 is way above present day entre level salaries in the high-tech industries. Another inducement for the “new indentured labours” to work at below what Americans would accept is the H-1B visa holders can apply to become “Permanent Residents” and remain in the US – but only if their employers approve. This requirement ensures that H-1B workers toe the line at all times.
41st anniversary…as Granger urges respect for territorial integrity, international lawBy Jarryl BryanA special commemorative ceremony, attended by an entourage of Government and diplomatic officials, was held at the University of Guyana on Friday, paying tribute to those who lost their lives 41 years ago in the Cubana airline bombing.At the ceremony, which saw wreaths being laid at the ‘Cubana 455’ monument that was unveiled in 2012 on the campus grounds, President David Granger lauded theCuban Ambassador to Guyana, Julio Cesar Marchante also laid a wreathmemory of the 73 passengers.“Guyana remembers today the victims of the Cubana terror attack. We assembleannually before this monument to memorialise the human cost of international terrorism. Guyana honours the memory of the martyrs,” he said.He also noted that the only way to ensure the Caribbean remained a zone of peace was to maintain respect for international law. Granger reinforced Guyana’s opposition to terrorism and paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the bombing.“The Caribbean must become a zone of peace, but this objective can only be realised if international law and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of smallPresident David Granger as he laid a wreath at the base of the monumentstates are respected.“Guyana rejects totally the use of force to settle international controversies. Guyana abhors the crime of international terrorism, whenever and wherever it occurs. Guyana reassures the world of its commitment to (make) the Caribbean a zone of peace.”Also addressing the gathering was Cuban Ambassador to Guyana, Julio Cesar Marchante. Expressing regret for the overall loss of lives, the diplomat noted that aspiring medical students were part of the group. He also expressed thanks for those responsible for the erection of the monument.The Ambassador said that the act of terrorism perpetrated against Cuba was responsible for the mourning and pain of numerous families, as well as the destruction of property. Giving statistics, he reminded that terror attacks in CubaSome of the victims of the 1976 Cubana bombingresulted in the death of 3478 people and over 2099 were maimed and/or disabled.“Cuba rejects double standards and unilateral actions contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and to the principles and norms of international law,” the diplomat said.“May it serve this commemoration, to reiterate Cuba’s unwavering will to fight against terrorism and to state its firm rejection and condemnation of all terrorist acts, methods and practices in all its forms and manifestations regardless of their motivation,” he added.On October 6, 1976, Cubana de Aviación flight CU 455 exploded just 11 minutes after take-off from the Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados.Those who perished were 57 Cubans, five North Koreans, and 11 Guyanese — Ann Nelson, Jacqueline Williams, Sabrina Harripaul, Rita Thomas, Margaret Bradshaw, Violet Thomas, Rawle Thomas, Raymond Persaud, Harold Norton, Gordon Sobha and Seshnarine Kumar.Four men were subsequently arrested for the bombing. Two men, Freddy Lugo and Herman Lozano, were later sentenced to 20 years in prison in a trial held in neighbouring Venezuela. Another accused, Orlando Bosch, was acquitted.Territorial integrityGranger’s comments on respecting sovereignty are opportune, as they come at a time when the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy has very much been in the news. The controversy centres on Venezuela’s claim to Guyana’s territory, despite international rulings reinforcing Guyana’s sovereignty.Venezuela has staunchly been against oil exploration in Guyana’s Stabroek Block, where multiple oil discoveries have been made by ExxonMobil. In fact, Venezuela’s National Assembly had approved an agreement to reject the oil exploration activities earlier this year.Back in 2015, the Spanish-speaking country had purported to claim more than half of Guyana’s territorial waters off the Essequibo Coast, and has steadfastly maintained that it did not recognise the 1899 Tribunal Award – which it agreed to respect – that settled its border with Guyana.It has a territory that is several times bigger than Guyana’s, and a population that is almost 40 times that of Guyana’s. But Venezuela, in 1968, claimed the entire territorial sea of Guyana by means of the Leoni Decree, which has never been withdrawn.For decades Venezuela has occupied the Guyana side of Ankoko Island, objected to the development of hydropower stations in Essequibo, and has been staunchly opposed to Guyana exploring for oil offshore and onshore its Essequibo territory.The Venezuelan Navy had, in 2013, intercepted and detained a Malaysian seismic vessel that had been conducting surveys in an offshore concession granted by Guyana to the United States-based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, causing that company to leave and never return.There have also been incidents inland Guyana, with Venezuelan aircraft attacking vessels operating on the portion of the Cuyuní River that the arbitration court has awarded Guyana.Guyana has sought relief through one of the options in Article 33 of the United Nations Charter – arbitration and juridical settlement of the issue.
WHITTIER – Maureen Dickson had no thoughts about moving from her Arcadia home when she fell hard for a run-down house for sale in Whittier’s historic district. It was love at first sight. She immediately jumped at the opportunity, and $560,000 later, Dickson was the proud owner of a Crafstman-style home built in 1914. That was in 2002. Now, after four years of restorations totaling more than $250,000, the 92-year-old house at 6303 Painter Ave. is worth over $1million. Dickson’s home and four other restored dwellings in the historic district will be on display for the Whittier Historic Neighborhood Association’s sixth annual Home Tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. Although the house was built in 1914, the first owner, a local surgeon named Herbert Tebbetts, did not move in until 1917. Tebbetts was the son of Charles Tebbetts, the first president of Whittier College, and of Imelda Painter, the daughter of John Painter, founder of the Whittier College Auxiliary. People interested in taking the tour must pick up maps and purchase the $18 tickets at 6318 Washington Ave. For more information, call (562) 464-9543. firstname.lastname@example.org (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John Phillips“I really appreciated the style and workmanship of the house,” said Dickson, 54, who is a real estate appraiser. “It’s of a much higher quality than you see today. Now they use cheaper materials and slap things together. This house withstood the 1987 Whittier earthquake with no cracks to the walls or ceiling.” Some of the home’s Craftsman characteristics include recessed bookshelves, hardwood floors, wide mouldings along the baseboards and ceilings and large plate-glass windows. Dickson, who is the home’s fourth owner, said the previous owner had made changes that were not in keeping with the original style. “They had put wall-to-wall carpeting over the hardwood floors and even replaced the big beautiful windows with the modern aluminum sliders,” Dickson said. One of the three other owners had also replaced the wide mouldings with narrow ones along the floor and painted over all the light fixtures, cabinet handles and exposed woodwork, she said.
1 Bale was jeered by sections of the Bernabeu crowd on Sunday against Valencia Gareth Bale is ready to silence his Real Madrid critics and fire Wales’ World Cup dream, according to Chris Coleman.Bale has had a difficult start to the season in Spain after a summer of transfer speculation and was jeered by sections of the Bernabeu crowd in Sunday’s 2-2 LaLiga home draw with Valencia.But Bale is always welcome in his homeland and the 28-year-old – who has again been linked with a move to Manchester United before Thursday’s transfer deadline – will have a huge role to play as Wales seek to keep their 2018 World Cup qualification hopes alive.Wales are at home to Austria on Saturday and away to Moldova three days later as Coleman’s men seek to cut the four-point gap on Group D pace-setters Serbia and the Republic of Ireland.“Knowing him for the last five or six years, he won’t be any different,” Wales manager Coleman said in response to the latest criticism Bale has faced.“People wondered how he would handle it when he went to Real Madrid because you are like a film star there, but he absolutely cruised through it.“He’s answered all the critics. He’s matured in the last four or five years and come through it with flying colours.“So this latest episode won’t faze him at all.“He was disappointed to miss the Serbia game (through suspension), but he looks good and wants to help us qualify.”Real boss Zinedine Zidane backed Bale to succeed in Madrid after the Valencia game, saying he is a “key player” in his squad.But Marco Asensio scored both Real goals on Sunday and, with the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo due to return after the international break, sections of the Madrid press want the young Spanish foward to keep his place at Bale’s expense.“There’s been a couple of periods where he has been under a lot of pressure, but all he needs to do is put his medals up,” Coleman said.“Yes, he’s had one or two injuries but he’s won three Champions Leagues.“No one else has ever gone to a foreign club from this country and done that. Absolutely nobody can doubt him.“He’s always a story, he’s one of the best players in the world. Things will be said and that’s the way it is. He knows that.”
Others arrested on unrelated charges:Kaitlyn Brooke Price, DOB 02/10/1993, 2nd Degree Trespassing at the Dollar General On February 9, 2015 at approximately 1120 hours, the Jackson County Dispatch center received a call regarding an armed robbery at the Dollar General Store on Highway 441N. Deputies arrived on scene and within a few minutes and close to the scene, took three females into custody on unrelated charges but were in the vehicle that was used to flee the armed robbery location. A fourth person, identified as Stephen Russell Dean McCoy of Cherokee has not been arrested at this time. McCoy was armed with a knife and is currently being sought by law enforcement for charges related to this robbery.Stephen Russell Dean McCoy, DOB 02/12/1987WANTED: Charged with Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon Natasha Leigh Swayney, DOB, 06/06/1984, Driving while license revoked; Fictitious information to officer; Possess Drug ParaphernaliaJosie Michelle Owl, DOB 01/30/1985, Resisting a Public Officer
Share This!©Raglan RoadMake sure you’re wearin’ your green as you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this weekend at Raglan Road’s Mighty St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Disney Springs!This year’s event will last from March 16 through March 19 and the celebration will feature great Irish cuisine, live music, Irish dancers, complimentary face painting, and more!The highlight is the music courtesy of the fantastic bands that will take one of two different stages. This year, bands will include the very best of native Irish talent – Young Dubliners, The Byrne Brothers, HanaLena Band, The Raglan Roots Coalition, Swingin’ On the Gate, Rollickin’ Rua, and Jennifer Lyons. Guests will also be able to catch performances by the award-winning Irish dancers.The full schedule of events can be found here: This authentic St. Patrick’s Day celebration also features inventive cuisine by Irish celebrity chef Kevin Dundon. So if you’re looking for a great and traditional Irish meal, this is the place to visit!Celtic Face Painting is available for guests to enjoy from noon – 8:00 p.m. daily during the festival.On thing to keep in mind is that Raglan Road will charge a cover charge of $10 that will apply to each guest 18 and over on March 17th only.Also, do keep in mind that the event schedule is subject to change without notice due to inclement weather. Guest should also allow extra time for parking. Raglan Road guests can celebrate the holiday from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. each night.If you’d like to find out more information about the event, make sure to check out www.raglanroad.com.
16 September 2013 Norway-based Scatec Solar announced on Monday that it had completed its 75-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Kalkbult in the Northern Cape three months ahead of schedule, making it first project under South Africa’s renewable energy programme for private producers to be grid connected and operational. Scatec Solar was one of 28 independent power producers that signed contracts with the government late last year, in the first round of a programme that will see an initial 1 400 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy being added to South Africa’s energy mix, while bringing an estimated R47-billion in new investment into the country. The Department of Energy aims to bring 17 800 MW from renewable sources online by 2030. Scatec Solar has been awarded three projects with total capacity of 190 MW under the government’s programme. Construction of its next two projects, located in the Northern and Eastern Cape, has started and completion is expected by the middle of next year. The completed Kalkbult plant consists of more than 312 000 solar panels mounted on 156 kilometres of substructure, inverters, transformers and a sub-station. Kalkbult’s electricity will be sold to state company Eskom through a 20-year purchase agreement. According to Scatec Solar, the annual production of 135-million kWh will cover the electricity demand of 33 000 households, while reducing the country’s carbon dioxide emissions by almost 115 000 tons per year. “The South African authorities are committed to implementing an ambitious renewable energy programme, and we find great satisfaction in being able to contribute to its success through our own projects, which we have actively been developing in South Africa over the last four years,” Scatec Solar CEO Raymond Carlsen said in a statement on Monday. “This country boasts some of the best conditions for solar power in the world, and the annual output of 135-million kWh produced at the Kalkbult plant will benefit both the region and the local community in which we operate.” SAinfo reporter