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Guyana New Brief -- 22 March, 1997

A Release of the Embassy of Guyana, Washington DC

Janet Jagan Appointed as Prime Minister

Mrs. Janet Jagan, widow of the late President Cheddi Jagan, was on Monday (March 17) sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Guyana, succeeding Samuel Hinds who was sworn in as President on March 6. Mrs. Jagan has also been named First Vice-President while, Mr. Reepu Daman Persaud, the Minister of Agriculture, was appointed Second Vice-President.

Mrs. Jagan is a co-founder of the People's Progressive Party (PPP), and in previous PPP administrations during the period 1957-61, she served as Minister of Health and Minister of Home Affairs.

New Power Stations

The new 22 megawatts power station at Kingston, Georgetown, will be commissioned later today (Saturday March 22). Prime Minister Janet Jagan will declare the plant open. The new power station will replace the old pre-1960 station and is expected to drastically improve electricity supplies in Georgetown and other parts of the country. On Tuesday, March 18, President Samuel Hinds declared open a new 325-kilowatt power station at Wakenaam, island in the Essequibo River, and another at Garden of Eden on the East Bank Demerara which will add 5.7 megawatts of power into the national grid. The new Garden of Eden diesel generating set was installed by Japanese and Guyanese engineers under a US$8.5 million Japanese grant aid program to Guyana. The Wakenaam station costs US$183,000.

Meanwhile, Government is spending another US$4.4 million during 1997 to instal a new electrical system for Leguan, another island in the Essequibo River, and on the electrification of 17 villages in East Berbice. Since the advent of the PPP/Civic Government in 1992, power supplies in Guyana have doubled.

Rallies to Honor President Jagan

A number of public rallies will be held today (March 22) in various parts of the country to honor the memory of Guyana's late President Cheddi Jagan. Today is the birth anniversary of the legendary leader. The main rally will be held at Damon Square in Anna Regina, Essequibo Coast, and will be addressed by Prime Minister Janet Jagan and Minister of Agriculture Reepu Daman Persaud. In Georgetown, women organizations will hold a joint cultural activity on the lawns of State House.

CDB Funding to Repair Linden Highway

A Trinidadian company, Seereeram Brothers Limited, has been contracted to repair the Soesdyke/Linden highway. This project will begin in April. Under the deal the Trinidadian company will rehabilitate the 43-mile highway in two years at a cost of US$6,575,000. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is funding the project which will include the overlaying of 12 miles of highway with asphaltic concrete and the remaining 31 miles with slurry seal, and the building of four parking lots, each capable of accommodating 50 cars, to facilitate hazard-free picnicking at eco-tourism creeks along the highway.

OMAI to Prospect New Areas

Omai Gold mines Limited (OMAI) is preparing to expand operations in Guyana's mineral rich hinterland following its signing of a prospecting agreement with the Guyana Government last month. The agreement, the first reached with a mining company since Government released its Exploration and Development of Minerals and Petroleum Resources Policy in January, gives OMAI the licences to carry out pre-prospecting studies at Quartz Hill and the Omai River, two adjacent properties 150 miles south east of Georgetown believed to be rich in large deposits of gold.

Bauxite Workers Get Wage Increase

Bauxite workers at the Linden Mining Corporation have been granted a 20 percent wage increase with effect from January 1997. The agreement to grant the increase was reached following negotiations between Linmine and the Guyana Mines Workers Union which represents bauxite workers. The workers reinforced their demand for the increase last week when they staged a one day strike at the bauxite operations in Linden.