Guyana for first time to host regional water conference
DPI/GINA, GUYANA, Friday, June 02, 2017
Guyana will in October host what is considered the premier event in the Water and Waste Management sectors in the Caribbean.
Under the aegis of the Ministry of Communities, the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) will host the Caribbean Water and Waste Water Association’s (CWWA) 26th conference and exhibition at the Marriott Hotel from October 16-20, 2017.
This is the first time in the 27 year history of CWWA that Guyana will be hosting the conference. Delivering remarks at the launching ceremony at the Marriott Hotel today, Minister within the Ministry of Communities, with responsibility for water, Dawn Hastings-Williams noted Guyana’s continued delivery of firsts in the sector.
“GWI has a lot of first times… everywhere I got to speak or go to commission a new well or new water distribution system, I keep hearing, this is the first time. ‘For the first time, residents at Moleson Creek, for the first time residents of Silver Hill will be receiving potable water to their home…and you know this motivates me,” the minister said.
The conference will bring together 400 participants from the Caribbean, Latin America, North America and Europe.
The participants of experts, researchers, and professionals will come together under the theme, “Promoting Innovation and Creativity in Water, Waste Management and Waste Management.”
They would be given an excellent space for networking and coming up with a multi-sectoral approach to addressing some of the challenges that threaten the region’s water sources.
For a country like Guyana that is still facing several challenges in meeting the promised equity of service to all its citizens, the conference is a life line, Minister Dawn Hastings-Williams said.
“I am very happy that we are going to host the conference here in Guyana …it will give us an opportunity to develop and to interact with each other…to gain knowledge, to exchange views on how best we can move our water system forward,” the minister said.
The conference is expected to cover such topics as climate change, drought management, and integrated water resources management.
A number of the individual experts, professionals and researchers will present their research findings on these various subjects.
Managing Director of GWI, Dr. Richard Van West-Charles, noted the impact that being privy to such information could have on the work of the water company, which by itself has been able to compile its own research journal aimed at guiding its future endeavours.
“Sometimes in many of our developing countries, research is seek as luxury, but in essence, when we look at the thrust for development in the developed world what drives development is knowledge, and hence relevance of this conference to what we are doing in Guyana as we seek to make the change, as we seek to impact of the lives of many of our citizens,” Dr. Van West-Charles said.
Meanwhile, Executive Director, CWWA, Patricia Aquing promised that given the water stress in the Caribbean, and given the significance of water as a development issue, the conference is in no way a “jamboree for the boys and girls.” She explained that at the national level, what CWWA is seeking to do is build a synergy between the conference itself, and all that goes towards organising it with the local and national population. “When we leave here in October, hopefully our school children, our people in the medical sphere, our business communities and others will better understand and appreciate some of the aspects of winning water, delivering water and what are the challenges,” she explained.
An important aspect of the conference will be the convening of the 13th High Level Forum of Caribbean Ministers Responsible for Water which brings together Ministers from all Caribbean countries, water utilities and development partners for two days as part of informing new developments in the water sector, and to help shape policy. GWI is also planning a series of activities for the participants of the conference that are centered on highlighting the culture of Guyanese. This includes opportunities for the participants to venture out on technical field tours to visit places of interest.
Meanwhile over 60 exhibitors are expected to participate in the exhibition aspect of the conference. Executive Director of GWI’s Commercial Services and Customer Relations, Marlon Daniels explained that there is still time for Guyanese businesses to get involved, and be provided with the opportunity to showcase their products and services and intermingle with utility companies and other participants.
Whilst a number of companies including Diehl Metering of Germany has already committed to sponsorship aspects of the events, Daniels explained that there are still packages available that local businesses should also seek to take advantage of.
By: Macalia Santos