In an effort to curb illegal fishing in Guyana’s waters, the Agriculture Ministry on Tuesday signed the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), which will see the implementation of measures to battle the scourge.According to the Ministry, the project, valued at US$500,000, is funded by the FAO and includes “technical assistance” and a “monitoring and evaluation process”. It is expected to be completed within the next 18 months.The Agriculture Ministry noted that once the measures were implemented, Guyana would “benefit tremendously” as the PSMA would ensure that the country maintained its fish stock.“Guyana will now be able to integrate and coordinate fisheries [and] related Port State Measures with the broader system of Port State controls,” a release from the Agriculture Ministry stated.Agriculture Ministry Permanent Secretary George Jervis was said to have expressed gratitude to the FAO, noting that the intervention was “timely”.“The fishing industry is one of the most important contributing sectors to Guyana’s revenue as the country exports more than 60 per cent of its catch. This industry is responsible for the livelihood of approximately 15,000 persons and their families,” the statement added.FAO Country Representative to Guyana, Reuben Robertson explained that the Organisation would be giving technical assistance in the implementation of measures against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.“IUU fishing hinders the growth of developing countries such as Guyana. This agreement is considered as one of the most cost-effective and useful enforcement tools for combating IUU fishing. It significantly reduces the need for surveillance and inspection of fishing vessels at sea in favour of inspections at port,” he stated.Earlier this year, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder had revealed that in 2015, the marine sub-sector produced “35,835MT (metric tonnes) of seafood, raised revenue to the sum of G$25,426,250 and recorded exports of 21,568MT or US$71 million (G$14.7Billion)”.With the implementation of this agreement, it is envisaged that the sub-sector would increase its financial contribution to the economy. To date, 33 States, including the US, Canada and France have already signed on to the PSMA.
Judge Johannes Zlahn, presiding judge of the Civil Law Court, has threatened to send lawyers he described as “money eaters” to jail if allegations are proven against them.It is reported that some lawyers are in the constant habit of charging hundreds of United States dollars as legal fees, but then fail to live up to the expectations of their clients and even abandon them. Such lawyers could face the wrath of Judge Johannes Zlahn.Against this backdrop, Judge Zlahn announced last Friday that he was prepared to send lawyers to jail for receiving money from clients and neglecting their cases.It all started when Judge Zlahn instructed his Clerk of Court to read the list of cases he would have heard last Friday, but when the list was called the judge noticed that lawyers, who should have handled those cases were not around.The lawyers’ absence annoyed him so much that he was openly heard saying, “It is disappointing that senior lawyers will receive money from clients and fail to represent them and this is unacceptable.”He added, “Any lawyer that asks for assignment and a notice is prepared in that direction, served, received and signed for but that lawyer fails to appear for hearing, will be held in contempt, fined and subsequently sent to jail.”According to the judge, the act by such lawyers not to honor court notices of assignment is contemptuous, unprofessional and unethical.The judge stated that when a person throws himself or herself at the mercy of a lawyer and relies on the lawyer to protect his or her rights, it behoves the lawyer to live up to the person’s expectation by effectively representing the person.According to him, failure of lawyers to follow through with their clients’ cases is among the reasons that are responsible for over-crowdedness of court documents.“This is why lots of cases have not been heard for the last five years. They are negligent in representing their clients,” he declared.He warned, “When it is time to hear their clients’ cases they often fail to appear without any justifiable reason. This will not happen in this court that I am presiding over, and if any lawyer would think they can receive money from their clients and refuse to follow their cases, let them try it.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)