UBC Focuses on Guyana


Guyana was recently featured in the University of British Columbia’s “COUNTRIES IN FOCUS” series.

The series showcases a specific country every month, shining the spotlight on countries that, while inadequately represented at campus, students have shown a particular interest.

Students organize social and academic activities to highlight different areas; ranging from food and music to research and community involvement opportunities. The goal is to spark conversations and enhance students’ understanding of countries that are usually not easy to learn about at UBC.

The “Countries in Focus: An Evening in Guyana” was organized by the International Forestry Students’ Association and the International Students’ Association of UBC. It took place March 22, 2013 at the Centre for Advanced Wood Processing at the Faculty of Forestry at UBC, and featured Caribbean food and four speakers that talked about forestry, gold mining, waste management solutions, and the Guyana-BC connection. Over 85 people attended the event.

For further information see IFSA and ISA Teams Facebook Page.

As part of the same series, students also hosted a Guyana movie night earlier in the month, with a screening of “The White Diamond” which can be viewed HERE 

Program Hi-Lights


Dr. Janette Bulkan, Department of Forest Resource Management made an excellent presentation on “Logging in Guyana” and “The giant sucking sound of Asia”.

Dr. John Palmer, Coordinator – Master of International Forestry (MIF) Program Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia (UBC), gave the presentation “Is Gold a Good”.

Production and price data showed the lure of gold mining; who gains and who loses were suggested; and the environmental and social hazards were mentioned. Questions posed to the students included –

➢ Can a country afford to leave gold in the ground under forest? – like Yasuni’s oil in Ecuador?

➢ Need for integrated land use planning – allocation system, pre-clearing land use, restoration after mining for future sustainable land use, employment of ex-miners?

➢ Benefit sharing – on what bases? 20% of royalties back to Amerindian Villages means 1% of sale value

➢ Revenue capture of a wasting asset – why does not Guyana create a sovereign wealth fund?



Clyde Duncan, President Guyanese Canadian Cultural Association of British Columbia, presented information about Sir James Douglas, (August 4, 1803 to August 2, 1877). Popularly known as the “Father of British Columbia,” James Douglas served as the Governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island from 1851 to 1864. He became the first governor of the newly founded Colony of Vancouver Island on November 19, 1858 during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush in order to assert British authority which had the potential to turn the B.C. Mainland into an American state. Without a doubt, he was one of our province’s most influential figures in the nineteenth century. His wife, Amelia, is often overlooked by historians, but she was a woman of distinction in her own right. Amelia was born in 1812 in what is now northern Manitoba. Her mother was Miyo-Nipiy, a Cree woman, and her father was William Connolly, an Irish-French-Canadian fur trader. MORE HERE

affordable_housingLeyland Williams, President Canada Plastisol Inc and member of the Guyaness Canadian Cultural Association of BC, spoke about  “Responsible Stewardship of Plastics – A Guyana Opportunity”. The presentation dealt with the possibility of turning waste plastic into affordable housing for the impoverished sector of the Guyanese population. Poor housing infrastructure and high land costs are major issues contributing to the country’s poverty crisis. 35% of the population live below the poverty line and19 % live under conditions of extreme poverty.

Those Attending Included:

dr_john_farley dr_bert_allsopp attendance2
Dr. John Farley, a leading CanadianInfectious Desease Specialist Dr. Herbert Allsopp, CEO,
Smallworld Fisheries Consultant Inc.
 85 people, including about 30 members of the
Guyanese diaspora in Canada

GCCA-BC would like to offer a sincere thank you to Olivia Sanches and her team of dedicated students who organized a wonderful event. Well Done!