Guyanese Sabga recipient, Shyam Nokta, sets up foundation to work with youth on environmental issues

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Guyanese recipient of the Anthony N Sabga award, Shyam Nokta receiving his award from President Dr Irfaan Ali with Suriname’s recipient Anusksha Sonai in the background

Guyanese businessman and environmentalist Shyam Nokta, who is the recipient of the prestigious Anthony N Sabga award, has established a foundation to work with young Guyanese on issues relating to the environment.

The award is meant to recognise and reward excellence in the Caribbean region, and create an awareness of the significant work done in the region that benefits Caribbean people, and all people worldwide.

Launched in 2005, prizes are awarded in the spheres of Arts & Letters, Entrepreneurship, Science & Technology, and Public & Civic Contributions.

Nokta, an environmental protection consultant, is one of five recipients this year. He was recognised as a leading player in the environment and natural resources sectors.

At the award ceremony hosted on Friday at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown, Nokta pointed out that there is a growing recognition that the private sector has an important role to play in the global response to the climate crisis.

He noted that this award now provides him with a new platform to promote what his company, Environmental Management Consultants (EMC), has been doing already but also to raise awareness on the environment and issues surrounding the environment, especially among young people.

“They are the next generation of environmental leaders, conservationists and entrepreneurs. In this regard, working with several prominent Guyanese environmental leaders, I’ve set up the EMC Foundation that will be working especially with young people and those who are passionate about the environment on issues realting to environmental awareness and education,” Nokta disclosed.

The Guyanese environmentalist used the opportunity to expressed his appreciation to persons who have contributed to his success over the years. He especially recognised his father, former Local Government Minister Harripersaud Nokta, who aroused his passion for nature and the environment from an early age.

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President Ali with the two Anthony N Sabga award recipients and officials from the Sabga Committee

He also mentioned persons in his professional career including former President and now Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo under whose tenure he got the opportunity to work in the area of climate change and played a role in the creation of Guyana’s historic Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) as well as the 2009 deal with Norway.

“I’ve had the opportunity to make a career and successful business, working in an area that I’m passionate about – the environment,” he posited.

According to Nokta, his company has grown far beyond what was envisioned and he credited this largely to his staff.

“The work that we do, providing environmental services and promoting green growth is relevant to Guyana but also the wider Caribbean. Today, as we look at how our countries are approaching development, the different issues that we have to grapple with on the development agenda but at the same time, how we prepare ourselves for certain global challenges such as climate change, it requires us to all work together,” he noted.

At Friday’s ceremony, President Dr Irfaan Ali presented the Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence to Guyana’s recipient Shyam Nokta and Suriname’s recipient Anusksha Sonai.

The Head of State lauded Nokta for his selflessness, describing him as a “contributor to society”.

President Ali also outlined that recognition such as the Anthony N Sabga award drives people in the region to excellence.

“There is something in the region that regional citizens can work towards. There is something in the region that recognises and celebrates the accomplishment of excellence, and that is the value that these awards bring,” he asserted.

While Nokta was awarded the prize in the category of Entrepreneurship, Sonai, who was awarded the prize in the category of Public and Civil Contributions, shared her award with Dr Kim Jebodhsingh from Barbados.

The other laureates included Marlon James for Arts and Letters from Jamaica and Professor Christine Carrington for Science and Technology from Trinidad and Tobago.