By Dialogo July 13, 2012 A shipment of around 21.6 kg of cocaine, worth 1.3 million euros, was discovered in the port of Le Havre (in northern France), in a container of frozen mussels from Chile, the French customs service announced on July 12. According to the preliminary results of the customs investigation, the cocaine was introduced into the container without the knowledge of the shipper or recipient. The traffickers replaced the container’s original seal after introducing the drugs. This technique, which is being used with increasing frequency, according to the customs service, was employed to transport 113 kg of cocaine seized in this port in June. In that case, the merchandise, with an estimated worth of 7 million euros, was placed in a container of cans of tuna from Ecuador. Separately, on June 21, customs officials seized 3.5 kg of cocaine in the port of Le Havre in a container of personal effects coming from Surinam and destined for Holland. The drugs, hidden in thermos bottles and in the speakers of a computer, were discovered by a trained dog.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, urged the community leaders of Mahaica-Berbice (Region Five) to take their responsibility to their communities and fellow residents seriously as he noted that they have a duty to work with every community member to improve their quality of life.The State Minister was at the time delivering the feature address at the opening of the Community Leaders Leadership Forum on Sunday evening, at the Belladrum Secondary School.Minister Harmon said that community leaders and community development organisations play an important role in the consolidation of local democracy and governance through the local government administration, as well as fuelling the momentum towards development. Noting that the theme, ‘Working together for the upliftment of the community’ is most appropriate, he said that the community leaders must understand, appreciate and be committed to resolving the issues that the communities face.Minister of State, Joseph Harmon chats with members of the community“We, as Government, recognise that we cannot foster true development in communities across Guyana by the mere infusion of resources from the top but rather with the full and effective involvement of community based organisations that are mandated to undertake community initiatives for the benefit of all residents of the community, which makes them the best conduit through which information, resources and development activities can be channelled from the Government to the community. Simply put, community development organisations are the best channels for effective administration and communication between the Government, the Regional Democratic Council (RDC), the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) and the people,” the minister is quoted by the Department of Public Information as saying.Noting that Guyana has a rich history of people centred, people focused, and people driven community initiatives, Minister Harmon said that over the years, numerous self-help groups, cooperatives and community based groups have emerged as change agents within communities. These institutions have made and continue to make immeasurable contributions to the development of communities across Guyana, but Minister Harmon said that a more collective and cooperative effort is needed to address issues in the community.“I hope you will decide on a way to create greater synergy with central Government, RDC and the NDC in the area of policy, programmatic interventions and other activities that the community would like. I would also like this forum to reinforce the unquestionable virtue of collaboration for the use of limited resources to develop the community and to create the environment for a strong, effective, self-sustainable community through collective endeavours. It is important that at the end of this forum, you as community-based organisers should no longer see yourself as a mere community activist but rather, as developmental partners working in collaboration with all levels of Government to ensure the good life for all particularly the members of your community,” he said.Chairman of the NDC, Emile Wilson in an invited comment, said that community members are pleased with the progress that has been made in several of the villages since this administration took office. He noted that the cooperation and support that have been given to the communities in the Region by the administration must be commended and applauded.After the opening ceremony, residents were given the opportunity to raise their concerns with the minister, many of which were addressed on the ground.