Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
By Dr Kumar Mahabir
In Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname in the Southern Caribbean, National Budgets were read in their Parliaments recently (October 5th, and September 9th and 29th respectively).
In all three countries, the budgets were presented in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic and were based largely on expected oil and gas revenues. Citizens, analysts and stakeholders have been paying close attention to see what would be the government’s plans for their individual countries.
Follow NewsGram on Instagram to keep yourself updated.
Trinidad, Guyana and Suriname are multi-ethnic countries in which there is rivalry, competition, tension and even conflict among tribal groups. It is, therefore, logical and legitimate to critically examine the expected impact of these budgets on the economic sectors in which Indians/Hindustanis pre/dominate.
No analyst in any of these countries has taken an ethnic approach in reviewing the individual budgets. None. The budgets have been conventionally studied to determine their impact on youths and women. But why ignore race? Is it a taboo topic be discussed only behind closed doors? Is race not an aspect of human demographics such as age and class? To refuse to discuss race in an objective, dispassionate, scientific and intellectual manner, is like refusing to see the elephant in the room.
High expectations in Guyana
Guyana is set to receive the highest estimated total income from its multi-billion-barrel oil and gas resources when compared to neighbours, Suriname and Trinidad, under various oil price scenarios. Sonya Boodoo, Vice President of Upstream Research, said that three major offshore discoveries have been made in Suriname to date.
The following are EXCERPTS of a ZOOM meeting held recently (11/10/20) on the topic “The 2020-21 National Budgets in Trinidad, Guyana and Suriname in relation to oil and gas revenues, and The Budgets’ impact on the Indo-Caribbean community in their respective countries. The Pan-Caribbean public meeting was moderated by anthropologist DR KUMAR MAHABIR from Trinidad and was hosted by the Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre (ICC).
The speakers were DR INDERA SAGEWAN (Trinidad), an economist, policy analyst, lecturer, and former Senator and Member of Parliament; DHANRAJ SINGH (Guyana), the Executive Director of the Guyana Budget & Policy Institute; and DR STEVEN DEBIPERSAD (Suriname), a medical doctor and economics lecturer at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname. The discussant was DR INDIRA RAMPERSAD, a lecturer of political science and international relations in the University of the West Indies (UWI).
DHANRAJ SINGH of Guyana said, in part:
The Budget 2020-21 Budget will have a significant impact on families of all backgrounds in Guyana. Significant funding has been earmarked for core services such as health and education to ensure all Guyanese can get access to affordable healthcare and a good education.
Additionally, the budget adopted many of the funding, taxation and revenue measures that are system-wide and not demographically targeted. For example, the budget rolled back more than 100 taxation and revenues measures that were adopted by the previous administration that brought tremendous hardship to families living in poverty and on low incomes such as VAT taxes on electricity and water.
Indo-Guyanese represents roughly 45% of the 750,000 population. This means Indo-Guyanese, like everyone else, stands to benefit tremendously from these taxation and revenue measures. The new administration also returned investment to agriculture by increasing allocation over previous years and reopening the sugar estates that were closed by the previous administration.
The agriculture sector (sugar included) is dominated by Indo-Guyanese, although all races contribute to the sector. This reprioritization of the sector and the reopening of the estates, therefore, will benefit Indo-Guyanese tremendously. Finally, the new administration has prioritized infrastructure construction, particularly farm to market access roads.
A significant number of Indo-Guyanese live, and are employed, in the rural agriculture sectors. Investing in farm-to-market access roads, therefore, would open more opportunities for these families by connecting them to markets and the urban centres.
DR STEVEN DEBIPERSAD of Suriname said, in part:
There is a bright light on the horizon in Suriname. I am talking mainly about the off-shore oil discoveries of the Maka, Sapakara and Kwaskwasi oil wells in block 58 of operator Apache-Total. Of these, the Kwaskwasi well has be most potential, probably even more than the Liza well in Guyana.
Suriname doesn’t have figures of Indians/Hindustanis by sector. But overall, it could be inferred that this group is more active in trade and agriculture compared to other ethnicities. In agriculture, these activities are seen as informal, resulting in little assistance from the government. Since austerity measures will result in a price effect, less social support (via the COVID-fund) to mitigate these effects is expected for informal work.
The lower-income groups as well as those involved in informal work (mainly Hindustanis) will suffer more. Oil revenues should not be expected within five years, so local current productivity must be supported by the government for the economy to get back on track. This will be a challenge, given the current conditions.
Amitabh Bachchan is adored by the public for his unforgettable on-screen performances as well as his magnetic demeanour. Not only do fans love Amitabh Bachchan's outstanding performance, but the actor's heartwarming words are also highly regarded. A much moved Amitabh Bachchan, during his speech to the crowd of over 80,000 people at the Reliance Industries' annual event, said that the legacy left by Dhirubhai has had a positive impact on millions of people's lives worldwide.
When Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan became bankrupt in the late 1990s, Dhirubhai Ambani stepped forward to give him financial assistance. In his speech, Bachchan remembered that Dhirubhai had sent Anil Ambani to offer him financial assistance during the crisis, which he had respectfully declined. Lenders began knocking on his door, losses mounted, and his bank account dwindled to nothing. He said, "Dhirubhai's money might have gotten me out of the problem quickly. However, I respectfully declined his offer and gradually began to find work again, which let me pay off my debt."
Amitabh Bachchan is adored by the public for his unforgettable on-screen performances as well as his magnetic demeanour. | Flickr
Later, after Bachchan had recovered from the bankruptcy, one day he was invited to an event at Dhirubhai's residence; Bachchan added, "Dhirubhai was standing and having a chat with his industrialist friends when he saw me there, he called me, firstly I felt shy even to present myself in front of such big industrialists but then, I went there, and Dhirubhai declared in front of all of them that 'This young man had fallen but managed to get back up on his own, I have a lot of respect for him because of that.' Those words of his were worth much more to me than any amount of money that he could have offered me."
It was the "Reliance Family Day" event and was attended by members of the Ambani family from all generations. The event commemorated the company's 40-year journey since its inception. It also celebrated the 85th birthday of the late Dhirubhai Ambani, RILs (Reliance Industries Limited) founder.
Keywords: Bollywood, Reliance, Amitabh Bachchan, Dhirubhai Ambani, event
In comparison to adults, children are prone to getting traumatized by troubling events easily, and this makes it important for parents to help their children when the times are tough. It could be a brutal accident, an unprecedented pandemic, a violent crime, or other disasters but with the right parental support, children have a higher chance of coming out stronger from an awful situation.
Anuja Kapur, Psychologist shares few tips wherein you can assist your child when tough times comes calling:
Every child responds differently to disturbing events: What children feel about a current disaster in their life and how they react to it can come and go in waves. Children can act moody and withdrawn at times, struck with sorrow and fear at other times. There's no absolute "right" or "wrong" way to feel after a traumatic event so make sure not to dictate what your child or how your child should feel and react to the event.
Children can act moody and withdrawn at times, struck with sorrow and fear at other times. | Photo by Kat J on Unsplash
Encourage your child to be transparent: Just make sure you let your child know that whatever feelings they're experiencing is normal. The unpleasantness will pass if your child opens up about it and that the phase is temporary. While many teens may be reluctant to talk about their feelings with a parent, encourage them to confide in another trusted adult such as a family friend, relative, or a counselor and teacher. It's important to talkeeven if it's not with you.
Just make sure you let your child know that whatever feelings they're experiencing is normal. | Photo by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash
Deter your child from reliving the disturbing event: Dwelling over, watching the footage, or imagining the event can be overwhelmingly stressful for children and this stress can even block their nervous system. However, to negate such things from happening encourage activities that keep your child's mind occupied so they're not obsessive about the event. You could encourage your children to read, play games together, or simply watch an uplifting movie.
Dwelling over, watching the footage, or imagining the event can be overwhelmingly stressful for children and this stress can even block their nervous system. | Photo by Юлія Дубина on Unsplash
Cocoon your child with warmth: In order to reassure your child that they are safe with you and feel secure, that the worst is over your physical affection is important in making them feel safe again. Teens may try to be tough through it and avoid being held, but they still need the proximity.
In order to reassure your child that they are safe with you and feel secure, that the worst is over your physical affection is important in making them feel safe again. | Photo by adrianna geo on Unsplash
Maintain routines. Establishing a predictable structure and schedule for your child's life can help to make the world seem more stable again. Try to maintain regular times for meals, homework, and family activities. Make sure your child accommodates time and space for rest, play, and fun. Keeping up with a schedule can help countercheck the obnoxious feeling of stress and worry in children about the future being dark, hopeless, and unpredictable.
Try to maintain regular times for meals, homework, and family activities. | Photo by Paico Oficial on Unsplash
Acknowledge and validate your child's concerns. The disastrous events in life may give place to unrelated fright and concerns in your child. However, understanding and accepting your child's present state is a comfort for the child. If at any point the child blames himself for the event make sure to make it clear and crisp the event was not their fault, you love them, and it's okay for them to feel upset, angry, or scared but not guilty.
Understanding and accepting your child's present state is a comfort for the child Photo by Jeremiah Lawrence on Unsplash
Irrespective of the age of your child, it is vital for parents to offer that extra support and assistance following an unsettling event. The traumatic event may bring up unrelated fears and issues in your child. However, by accepting their thoughts and replacing their fear with your love and direction, the ominous feelings will start to fade away. Eventually, the child will be able to return to a normal and healthy life. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Kids, Help, stress, cope, routine, warmth, understanding, encourage, psychology, children
The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union (EU), has announced plans for smartphone and other electronics manufacturers to fit a common USB-C charging port on their devices in an effort to reduce waste. In addition to phones, the rules will apply to other devices like tablets, headphones, portable speakers, videogame consoles, and cameras, reports The Verge. The decision will have a huge impact on Apple, as the company still uses its own Lightning connector to charge iPhones. The proposals only cover devices using wired, not wireless and a USB-C port is only mandatory for devices that charge using a cable.
"Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices | Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash
"Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices. With more and more devices, more and more chargers are sold that are not interchangeable or not necessary. We are putting an end to that," the report quoted EU commissioner Thierry Breton as saying.
The Commission also wants to unbundle the sale of chargers from the sale of electronic devices, which it says will improve the consumers' convenience. "With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics - an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste." In addition, the Commission will require manufacturers to provide relevant information about charging performance. (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: Electronic Devices, Chargers, Cable, smartphone, Adapters, Charging Cord