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– new quota starts OctoberThe last shipment of paddy, part of a historic deal signed with Venezuela last year, is expected to leave as early as today, paving the way for Guyana to begin its next quota.Yesterday, some 5,000 metric tonnes (mt) of paddy was being loaded in the MV Saltina.Officials of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) also confirmed that just over 5,000 mt of white rice remains to be shipped to conclude the previous contract which was signed last year October.In that contract,Chicago Bears Throwback Jersey, brokered by President Bharrat Jagdeo and Venezuela’s Head of State, Hugo Chavez, Guyana for the first time was to ship rice and paddy to that neighbouring country – some 40,000 mt of paddy and 10,000 mt of white rice.Initially, because of sanitary and other health requirements,Bobby Orr Bruins Throwback Jersey, including that of the vessels used to ship the rice, there were delays, with the first shipment leaving late December and the second in May.However, the white rice had to be shipped in containers, with 171 of these leaving Guyana for Venezuela since early July.With Guyana less than a week away by ships, Venezuela had been more than happy for the rice deal, agreeing to pay more than US$18M,Celtics Throwback Jersey, then following negotiations, raising this to US$21M.In late July, following a visit to that country by President Jagdeo and a team, including Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, Guyana managed to seal another agreement to the tune of US$35M, significantly increasing the amount to be shipped there for the next year.According to the new agreement signed between Persaud, and his counterpart, Felix Osorio, Venezuela’s Minister of People’s Power For Food, some 50,000 tonnes of paddy and 20,Dallas Mavericks Throwback Jersey,000 tonnes white rice, will have to be shipped within the next year.The first shipment for this new agreement is expected in October, Kaieteur News was told.The agreement will also explore the possibility of shipping other food products from Guyana to that country.With rice prices low on the world market,John Randle Vikings Throwback Jersey, the Venezuela deal has been tagged as highly lucrative because of the preferential prices.Following the recent Venezuela trip, President Jagdeo had said that Guyana is also exploring the possibilities of shipping fertilizers, including urea, from Venezuela.While Venezuela had been experiencing a fertilizer shortage, the reality is that prices are much cheaper and there is an opportunity for Guyana there, the President said.In June, Government, in an attempt to entice rice millers and exporters,Cincinnati Bengals Throwback Jersey, had met with several of them offering them an opportunity to ship rice to Venezuela.A high-level delegation of the factory owners and other stakeholders had met with Minister Persaud, to discuss mechanisms to meet the quotas being demanded by Venezuela.Government had been hoping that the better prices offered by the Venezuela deal would have filtered down to the farmers but there have been widespread complaints.Since the historic deal signed last year between Guyana and Venezuela, millers and exporters have been slow to come onboard.**********************************WPA clearly misunderstands AFC’s position – Ramjattan “… no victory could come with PNCR partnership”Alliance For Change (AFC) Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan, in responding to Executive Member of the Working People’s Alliance Dr David Hinds as it relates to an alliance with the People’s National Congress Reform, says that Dr Hinds misunderstands the AFC’s position.Ramjattan is adamant that the PNCR has not changed its fundamental positions, pointing to examples such as the recent incidents emanating from challenges to the party leadership and the fate that befell members such as Dr Richard Van West Charles,Babe Ruth Braves Throwback Jersey, Winston Murray and Vincent Alexander, among others.Ramjattan said that the PNCR is yet to apologise to the nation as it relates to the numerous rigged elections or even to the WPA over the death of Dr Walter Rodney.The AFC Chairman says that his party is “in it to win” in the upcoming General Elections, a feat that Ramjattan says cannot be achieved with any partnership with the PNCR.Ramjattan said that for any alliance to succeed in the 2011 General Elections it must be able to win over some Indian votes,Deion Sanders Falcons Throwback Jersey, something which he opined also cannot be done with the PNCR as a partner.As it relates to power-sharing, Ramjattan said that any such arrangement will have to be discussed post-elections,Carl Yastrzemski Red Sox Throwback Jersey, but for him personally, that would eliminate a critical element of democracy. He said that there is need for a strong opposition despite which grouping is in power and if everyone shared power, there would be the absence of scrutiny.Dr Hinds’ comments emanated at a recent public consultation forum that was held with key leaders in society, at which there was a discussion as it relates to coalition building for the 2011 elections.At the forum, the decision by the AFC was discussed, and while it was recognized that the political party was correct in its conclusions as to why the current administration must be removed from total control, it was emphasized that the PNCR has changed from the 1970s. It was pointed out that for the PNCR to agree to free and fair elections was a critical starting point of the change within the party Dr Hinds was insistent that the exclusion of the People’s Progressive Party was not an option, in that they must play a role in moving the country forward.The WPA executive said that what would be the ideal outcome of the 2011 elections would be power-sharing.Dr Hinds stressed that the AFC preaches healing, but added that it must be recognized that healing means forgiving and reaching out.**********************************Guyana Music Festival renamed, launched for 2011 – Acclaimed pianist Ray Luck expected Acclaimed Guyanese pianist Ray Luck is expected to perform at the Guyana Musical Arts Festival in April 2011. The Guyana Music Festival for 2011 has been launched, albeit with a different name, and organizers are making arrangements to host world acclaimed Guyanese pianist Ray Luck.In addition, the organizers hope that the festival could help to arrest social vices in society.Dr Erv Janssen, a child and adolescent care specialist, said music could help young people steer their minds in the right direction and avoid bad influences such as drugs.Janssen has been working in Guyana since 1996, and was influential in getting the Lutheran Church to support the Guyana Music Festival. He said that music aids in a child’s social, cultural, intellectual and spiritual development.The 16th Guyana Music Festival is billed for April 26-30, 2011. The opening and closing ceremonies are slated for the National Cultural Centre, while the competitions would take place at the Bishops’High School.The name of the Festival has been changed to the Guyana Musical Arts Festival, because someone had already registered the name “Guyana Music Festival” for another purpose, said David Dewar, who chairs the organizing committee.The Festival was launched at the Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown, where plans to bring Ray Luck were announced. The Festival is credited with having produced some of the best musicians in the country, Ray Luck included.Ray Luck holds music degrees from the University of London and Indiana University as well as performing and teaching diplomas from the Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, Trinity College, London, and First Prizes in Piano and Chamber Music from the Paris Conservatoire, among other accomplishments.He has performed on five continents and has given master classes in the USA, Canada, Caribbean, Bulgaria, Greece, Singapore, Japan, and China.  He is a frequent visitor to the St. Lucia School of Music. This is the third year of the International Piano Workshop that has attracted participants from Canada, USA, Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, St. Vincent, Tobago, and St. Lucia.  Dewar said that with the government’s support and that of local businesses, a visit by Ray Luck could be secured.Director of Culture Dr James Rose said that the Festival has the government’s full support, even though he did not want to go into specific details.Speaking at a press briefing, Rose said that music is important in multi-cultural Guyana, and said that the government was happy about the resuscitation of the Festival and its expansion.Rose said that the government sees as important the workshops that will precede the Festival.The Guyana Music Festival started in 1952 and was held bi-annually until 1973, Dewar said. It was resuscitated in 1992 when the Woodside Choir celebrated its 40th anniversary. The Festival was held twice after in the ‘90s and stopped.It was held again in 2008 through an effort of the Guyana Music Teachers Association, which is also largely in charge of next year’s event.