Over a month after dredge “Draga” sank at Pieremap Falls, Mazaruni River, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), efforts are now moving apace to salvage the wreckage.The vessel bearing registration number SD 3398 and owned by Crown Mining is expected to be removed from its present position in a matter of days.The operation is being untaken by the Natural Resources Ministry and several agencies including Crown Mining, to have the wreckage removed from the Mazaruni River since it is dangerously positioned.According to a statement issued by the Natural Resources Ministry, a crew of workers has built a specialised pontoon which will be used to bring to the surface the partly sunken dredge. The pontoon has three hydraulic winches and is 28 feet wide, 68 feet long and four feet deep. It has 18 compartments.“The plan is to fill the pontoon with water and then secure it to the sunken barge. The water will then be pumped out of the pontoon, which will cause it to rise up, taking the Draga with it. The pontoon when empty will have a lifting capacity of 180 tonnes,” the release stated.However, while the crew is at the site attempting to execute the plan, several challenges are now being encountered.The officials explained that the speed of the water at the top of the Pieremap Falls, coupled with a prolonged rainy season, is making the job even more difficult since the works entail underwater cutting.The works will soon be executed as the water levels drop, making the operation less dangerous. “The Ministry of Natural Resources will continue to monitor the situation in collaboration with the Maritime Administration Department,” the release added.
After several protestsFollowing recent protest action, part-time sweeper/cleaners of public schools in Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara/Berbice), have welcomed a decision to have their positions regularised. Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) Regional Representative Maurice Butters related the news to several workers, who were happy that their plight had finally been addressed by Government.Butters shared information from a circular which was sent by Permanent Secretary within the Education Ministry, Vibert Welch, dated March 8, 2018, which indicated that consequent to the review of the hours of work for sweeper/cleaners, aFlashback: Sweeper-cleaners during the protest in front of the Education Ministrydecision has been taken to regularise the employment of part-time workers employed in public schools across the 10 Regions.It stated that approval was granted for sweeper/cleaners to be paid the minimum hourly wage rate of $312 each hour they work; that they be guaranteed 12 months’ pay; that their working hours will not exceed 8 hours per day and five days per week, and that they will be allowed to work at least 20 days per month for the entire calendar year.The sweepers/cleaners will be granted at least 12 working days annually as paid annual leave, which will be utilized during school breaks. Prior to the decision, the sweeper/cleaners were paid $24,740 monthly, and worked four to six hours per day.Butters said while he is happy with the decision, the circular is vague and does not specify when or how the system of regularisation will be implemented. He stressed that there has been no word on same from the Region 10 Democratic Council (RDC), although he personally delivered the circular to the office since Saturday last. Butters said despite several attempts, he was unsuccessful in getting word from the Regional administration as to the way forward, as he stressed that new employment letters are now necessary for the workers, in moving forward. The employees also indicated that they wished for all these to be sorted out before the start of the new term, as Butters emphasized that he will continue to press for a meeting with the regional administration.Sweeper/cleaners from Linden and Georgetown have been protesting Government for better wages since last year. The workers went as far as staging a protest at the Ministry of the Presidency, Finance Ministry and the Education’ Ministry’s Department of Culture Youth and Sport, demanding that their cries be heard.