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Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Spring Fashion & Empowerment Conference was held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) on April 7 and included a fashion show with a line-up of seven designers. In this photo, a model displays a beautiful hand-painted piece from Guyanese designer Vanda Allicock-Calistro (Photo by Samuel Maughn)

n o i h s a F g n t n e Spri m r e w o p m &E

Conference hosted to empower creatives to lead with confidence


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Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

Beating the odds – Karen Hall opens up about her life GETTING AN EDUCATION Initially, she attended the Linden Special News Centre and the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre. However, after years of lobbying the education authorities, Barbara got her daughter into the Ascension Primary School in West Ruimveldt at age 13. After successfully completing her primary education, Karen secured a spot at East Ruimveldt Secondary School and later moved on to the Government Technical Institute. “For the first 15 years of my life I had no prosthesis (an artificial body part), so she

THIRTEEN! That was the age at which Karen Hall was admitted into primary school. The society had “rejected” her because of her physical disabilities. From a tender age, Hall was diagnosed with congenital disorder, a birth defect that results in disabilities, either physical, intellectual or developmental and is divided into two types – structural disorders and functional disorders. In the case of Karen, she has a structural disorder. The formation of her arms and legs were disrupted during early development, as such, three of her limbs have been shortened. A MOTHER’S DEVOTION But Hall’s mother, Barbara Hall, was not prepared to let her child’s disability block her intellectual development. A single parent, teenaged mother, Barbara persevered. “It took her 13 years to get me out. I actually started attending primary school when I was 13,” Karen, now approaching 50, recalled during an exclusive interview with the Pepperpot Magazine.

jogged her memory. Today she is certified in Special Education. Through the Organisation of American States (OAS), Karen secured two scholarships, and now holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Disability Studies from the Ryerson University and a Master of Science in Education from the Walden University. Her studies were made possible through scholarships awarded by the Organization of American States.

AN EDUCATOR Karen now lectures at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Guyana. “I have been teaching there for six years. I teach two special needs courses at the university for those students pursuing a degree in education,” she explained. Karen Hall at the Ryerson University Measuring the developments over where she received her Bachelor of the years, Karen told the Pepperpot Arts Degree in Disability Studies Magazine that while there have been developments in the area of special needs, Unable to access or afford a wheelchair, she underscored the importance of havBarbara fetched Karen around in search of ing a specialised programme for Special help. She was determined to have her daughNeeds Education. It was explained that ter attend regular primary school as against a the university offers courses in special special needs school. needs education but there is no special “My mom was an ordinary woman, had programme targeting special needs lots of difficulties in her life, but she devoted education. According to Karen, there a lot of her time to me. A lot of people felt should be a Master’s Programme at the that I didn’t deserve her as a mother and that University of Guyana. she should have placed me into an orphan“This is something that we need in age,” Karen said, as she reflected on the life the country and it is necessary because of her mother. we are behind the world on this,” she “I am the woman before you because posited. of that strong input. She invested time and That aside, Karen hopes that there the little resources she could garner,” Karen would be more support for families of added. persons living with disabilities. She said As a child, Karen recalled living in many growing up, her mother felt alone in the places. According to her, she lived at 20 fight to get her higher education. locations between Regions Four (Demer“One of the most disappointing ara-Mahaica) and Region 10 (Upper Demerthings for me now is that families are ara-Upper Berbice) as her mother attempted still the only source of support for chilto escape an abusive relationship. dren with special needs. Mothers still “So it wasn’t an easy [period] but in spite have to work hard to get their children of all that she devoted her time to get me into schools and support them,” she educated,” Karen said. Without her prosthesis, Karen Hall enjoys a light explained. During her free time, Karen volmoment with one of the PYARG members who volunteers with students from Gifted Hands. unteers her time at various special needs schools in the country – Gifted Hands in Georgetown being one of took me by chair, or on her hip or her back them, and that includes teaching them to wherever I needed to go,” Karen said as she swim or offering that a smile or a hug.

Karen Hall enjoying a day at the pool


Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

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Uncovering that ‘creative spark’ Caribbean empowerment advocates encourage artists to tap into their creative potential By Vishani Ragobeer EVERY person you meet has a different story to tell. And every story can function to motivate or inspire people in some way. One Guyanese, one Trinidadian and one Jamaican joined a panel of women to share their story, as part of efforts to help Guyanese women uncover their creative sparks. As a young girl, Sebrena Kelly was always talkative. When her family members- most of whom were educators- would converse, as they say in Guyanese parlance she wouldn’t ‘tek leff’. Kelly, however, left Guyana and migrated to the United States of America. But never once did she forget her roots. Instead, she used these to ground herself and chart her life path. Kelly recounted that two events, perhaps, helped shape the path she blazes today. The first was that a friend of hers convinced her that she has a story to tell, and a voice to tell it with and as such, Kelly was able to get her own radio programme in the US. The second was that she attended a female only networking event, and realised that this is the field she wanted to align herself with. “I created the platform Caribbean and American Global business connections because I wanted to include diversity and multiculturalism in that network,” she explained. Here she hoped to integrate the rich cultural elements of the Caribbean with the global capital. “One of the things I notice I bring to the platform is that when you see a void you fill it. Your delivery is key [and] your passion is key,” she stressed. PROMOTING CREATIVITY Ain Earle, the Trinidadian, worked in the corporate world for almost 10 years before

(From left) Ain Earle, Krystal Tomlinson and Sebrena Kelly

realising that she wanted to do more. Her background is in Tourism Marketing, but she decided to push beyond that and tap into fashion as another facet of tourism. “After seeing that talent [for fashion] and that the talent we have needs that push and development, I took the leap,” she said, while highlighting that she created a branding and marketing consultancy in the twin-island Republic, which helps creative persons discover who they are and offer their skills and services to the community. She stressed that there are a lot of persons in the creative industry and who are doing

“serious and honest business” and not just doing what they do as a hobby, yet so many persons would view this work as just a hobby. “I grew up in a cultural home always surrounded by music, steelpan, Mas and everything Trinidad had to offer in terms of culture, [and] I think that helped me to where I am now in terms of understanding local and supporting local,” Earle explained. Earle also has alopecia, a medical condition that causes hair loss and she says that this has been part of her journey. This led her to create Bald Beauty Foundation, which is a hair loss group that seeks to raise awareness on the condition and helps to underscore that women are all beautiful in their own ways. TELLING YOUR STORY And then there’s Krystal Tomlinson, the Jamaican author, speaker, self-management strategist and importantly- mother, who spent some time on the wrong side of her tracks as a young woman but found the courage to rid herself of her fears and become an inspiration for others. “What I learnt by the time I got into university and started reaping success- knowing where I was coming from and nobody believed that I could get there and me not believing that I could get there- I realised that you don’t have to be who you’ve always been and when you start making different choices you will manifest differently in the world and you will attract different blessings,” she affirmed. “I think I just have a story,” Krystal contended. “We don’t understand just how powerful these stories connect human beings to other human beings. Everybody doesn’t care about my story or connect to my story, but for the person who it is meant to inspire, if

I don’t put it out there, they will never hear.” Right now, she is on her mothering journey with her six-month-old baby and contends with having a very public life with her spouse Moses ‘Beenie Man’ Davis and his two teenage children that have welcomed her into the family. These are but small glimpses into the lives of these three women- each of whom is intent on inspiring other women to become the best versions of themselves. “A lot of us think that whoever we are now is the sum total of who we will ever be,” Tomlinson opined. And that is why, through her book: ‘Kill Fear: The art of courageous living’, she advocates for persons to do just that- kill their fears and be bold in achieving their goals. “When it requires following the mould and going with the crowd- we deh ya fi it, but when it requires identifying in your unique self and believing in yourself and investing in yourself before anybody else invests in you, that’s when we become timid- because we like the company of the crowd,” she said. However, it in that moment of uniqueness that Tomlinson says the time is ripe to blossom. “A lot of people see success and they don’t see what’s going on behind,” Earle noted too. “That creative spark, we all have it but it’s really about owning it and putting it out there.” And for Kelly, being your authentic self is paramount to self-development. “I feel I am still growing as a woman, and every day we, as women, are growing… we’re finding voices...we’re owning spaces,” she posited. Each of the three women is cognisant of these ideologies and perhaps that’s why they know that they can use their words to help other persons discover this for themselves. And especially in the Caribbean context, they all feel that is important. For Tomlinson, being in the Caribbean can be both a blessing and a curse. She reasoned that the region is a small enough place to learn how you can climb fast enough, but on the downside, Caribbean persons might not see themselves beyond the Caribbean- as global movers and shakers. But Kelly stressed: “I don’t care what continent you’re from, we all have those things that are similar to us.” And this year, she will be launching the newest addition to her long list of endeavours: The Global Sister that speaks, through which she hopes to let women embrace their diversity and focus on entrepreneurial ventures. In the meantime, as she visited Guyana after so many years, she decided to help her country folks with the “upliftment” that they need. “The nation needs upliftment and I’m going to bring to the table how women should not only nurture others but nurture themselves,” Sebrena shared. In so doing, she was expected to speak to female officers of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to help build morale.


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Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

Aviation is a career choice for women By Francis Quamina Farrier

Then a 20-year-old, Capt. Beverley Drake and her GDF Britten Norman Islander GDF Plane

Guyana’s most celebrated female airline Pilot, Capt. Beverley Drake recently received an invitation to deliver a presentation as part of the International Woman’s Day 2019 activities in the USA. The presentation was held at the City Club of Washington, DC., and attended not only by Americans but nationals from other countries including Guyana. After being introduced to the audience as the Programme Manager at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the Office of Government Affairs, and also serving as the Federal Women’s Programme Manager, the retired veteran Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and Guyana Airways Corporation (GAC) pilot, spoke extensively about her long career as a woman in aviation at the presentation she entitled, “The Sky is the Limit - Visionary Women in Aviation”. Capt. Drake addressed her audience about her early interest in aviation, while growing up in Guyana, and about those who tutored her along the way. She told her audience about her fascination with flying since she was a young girl. With the theme of her presentation, she told quite a number of stories about her studies, first in her native Guyana, continuing in the United States, as she followed her life’s passion for aviation; to, as it were, get into the cockpits of a wide range of aeroplanes, and fly the skies of Guyana, the Caribbean and North America, while having the distinction of being Guyana’s first woman pilot. During her presentation, Capt. Beverley Drake told her audience of her early flying activities with the Guyana Defence Force, (GDF), and the way in which she was treated; not pampered in any way as a woman. “I was a woman in a man’s world in the army, and I had to do all the tough chores as the men did,” she said. One of the aircraft she flew with the GDF was the popular twin-engine Britten Norman Islander. After her stint with the Guyana Defence Force, (GDF) she continued her aviation career with the Guyana Airways Corporation (GAC), flying among others, her beloved Twin Otter aircraft, to many of Guyana’s far-flung hinterland communities. “The Twin Otter was very popular in Guyana

Guyanese, Capt. Beverley Drake, Federal Women’s Programme Manager, National Transportation Safety Board, (NTSB), in Washington, DC, USA

because it can take-off and land on short runways, of which there are many in Guyana’s hinterland,” she noted. From my own vantage point in the room, I observed the rapt attention of the audience as Capt. Beverley Drake spoke of flying internationally in the cockpit of the Guyana Airways Corporation (GAC) jet aircraft to destinations such as Miami and New York in the USA and Toronto in Canada, and of building a reputation of professionalism for which, years later, she was awarded by having her image being put on a Guyana postage stamp. She is one of just a hand-full of living Guyanese whose image graces a postage stamp. One other such Guyanese celebrity is the international superstar, Eddy Grant. “I would like to advise girls and young women, that aviation is a career choice,” she said as she concluded her very interesting presentation, leaving no one in the room any doubt that, the Sky is the Limit for Visionary Women in Aviation.

Farrier with Capt. Beverley Drake at the end of her presentation


‘Go the extra mile!’ Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

V Teacher Shirley’

Veteran educator urges teachers With her sons and their families.

grandparents, 10 minutes of your time is not too much to give to your children. Whenever a child wants to talk, stop whatever you’re doing and listen. Don’t put off. Our children are our treasures. Children need your presence, not your presents.” NOT RENEWING Madray’s contract will be up on June 2, and she has chosen not to renew her contract this time around. Instead, she said she wants to do different things that she never got an opportunity to do, such as pay more attention to gardening. She will, however, remain in the education sector as she will continue to be a trainer with the Management Programme at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD). She is also a practicum supervisor at the University of Guyana, a job that would see her visiting teachers on the job to ensure that they are in keeping with what’s expected of them. She has also promised to help out Trotman on a voluntary basis, when things get overwhelming in the ministry. Madray left Essequibo when she was about 22 years old, and attended the Cyril Potter College of Education, where she spent two years to become a trained teacher. Her first job was as an acting teacher in 1985 at the East Street Nursery, after which she went to the Precious Jewels Nursery School in North Road. During her 15 years there, she attended university and received her Certificate in Education in 2001, and her Degree in 2003. She eventually became the head teacher at Houston Nursery, and then South Road Nursery before it became defunct.

By Telesha Ramnarine A WOMAN who has dedicated 34 years of her life to education in Guyana would certainly know what she’s talking about, when she advises that teachers should go the extra mile in helping their students to understand that they are cared for and loved. Shirley Madray, 61, perhaps better known as ‘Teacher Shirley’, retired at the age of 55 as the Education Officer, Georgetown office. She was however asked to return as the administrative officer to Assistant Chief Education Officer Ingrid Trotman, who is now the deputy chief education officer. Speaking from experience, Madray, who was born and raised at Onderneeming, Essequibo, told the Pepperpot Magazine during an interview at her Brickdam office that a child’s attention may be elsewhere in class because of the circumstances in which they left their homes that morning. “Sometimes these little ones come to school and we don’t know what happened at home, and they’re sad and withdrawn. Sometimes we don’t know if they had breakfast, or if their parents had a fight. So the child can’t focus because his mind is somewhere else. We have to be there for them and find out what’s going on. We need to let them know that we care,” advises Madray. “We need to go the extra mile. For some children, a smile from the teacher can change their day; a hug from the teacher can change their day,” she added. But it’s not all the teacher’s job! Madray also has some words for parents, whom she said ought to fulfil their roles in training up their children. Parents today, though, are not like parents years ago who were friendlier, more cooperative and helpful. “You would see them often, and they would take responsibility. I don’t know if it’s the economic situation or what, but children now have become latchkey, because they are left to open doors and go home and take care of siblings. It’s disturbing,” Madray observed. Nevertheless, she said, “We have to be friends with our children and talk to them because shouting doesn’t change things, nor does punishment. If you’re a friend to your children, they will tell you any and everything.” A proud parent herself, Madray did all she could to help her sons, Michael and Carmichael, to get a sound education. Today, having both attended President’s College and studied in Cuba, Michael is an architectural engineer at the country’s major telephone company, while Carmichael is the project manager for the Timehri Airport expansion project. “Regardless of how busy or tired we are as parents or


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Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

Celebrating Good Friday and Easter By Wendella Davidson

GOOD Friday is revered as the most solemn day of the Christian year, it is the day on which Jesus was crucified and it takes on a note of solemnity. This sacred day is observed the Friday before Easter and it signals the culmination of Lent, a period of 40 days and 40 nights, when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. For the devout Christians, the Lenten season is a period when they observe the tradition of abstaining from eating red meat and eating only fish and vegetables becomes the rule, while those who partially practise Christianity make a sacrifice by giving up one of their hobbies, mostly drinking alcoholic beverages or swearing. Here in Guyana, the observance of Good Friday is ob-

tained the world over, as it is one day when there is a noticeable lull around the country, as traditionally the only people who are seen on the streets are those providing essential services, such as healthcare providers and members of law enforcement and some media agencies. On Good Friday the churches are usually packed to capacity. It is traditionally a holiday and the churchgoers are usually dressed in black and white, to be as sombre as possible. In addition, the services are usually longer than normal, lasting beyond three hours. Recently, however, it has been observed that some churches have been attempting to break the tradition, by donning other colours. Additionally, on Good Friday, in every Christian household can be found cross buns and cheese. The cross buns are

a specially made sweet bun-like dough, consisting of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg raisins and cherries. Atop the dough is a decoration shaped in the form of a cross that is symbolic of the cross on which Jesus was crucified at Calvary. The origin of the cross buns are as varied as the ingredients with which they are made and because of the tradition and its name, it is a profitable commercial business. Because of how popular cross bun eating has become, people are known to place orders at least two days before to ensure that they obtain the quantity of the commodity they need. And, it has become so commercialised in Guyana that some businesses have placed advertisements on air and in the print media so as to get their stuff sold. It is known though that not everything that looks like a cross bun carry the traditional taste. MYTHICAL BELIEFS As with everything, there are mythical or superstitious beliefs around Easter. One is that if a physic nut tree -- which would normally ooze a milky substance when cut-- instead gives off a red substance when an incision is made on its trunk on Good Friday, this symbolises the suffering and blood of Jesus Christ. Another myth is the breaking of a fresh egg in a container of holy water that is placed in the sun, at precisely midday on Good Friday. It is the belief that whatever pattern is formed by the white portion of the egg is a prediction of the future of the persons who undertook the act. Should the formation resemble a ship or anything resembling a boat, it means then that the person will be travelling. Some people have been overheard stating that they would have nothing to do with the egg activity, fearing that the formation may be in the form of something they dread. KITE-FLYING Kite-flying is a popular pastime which peaks on Easter Monday. On that day, the events take on more of a jubilant mood, as for Christian believers, it is symbolic of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave and ascension into heaven. Kite-making is serious business, as it is widely commercialised with kites, their frames or the completed product in all sizes and shapes with creative designs being sold at almost every street corner. A few years back, the Chinese plastic kites in various designs, for example, bird and box designs emerged on the scene, and immediately became popular, particularly with large families, as it is thought to be economical Typically, the Easter weekend, along with the wind that is known to be favourable, is ideal for a holiday atmosphere and to enjoy the weekend with family and friends. In addition, several locals have been known to use their creative efforts to build beautiful and artistic kites, which are used to enter competitions. These kite-flying competitions are most held on the seawall, the popular Number 63 Beach and the National Park. As these kites are kept in the air for the greater part of the day, families take the time to picnic and bond with each other playing games. This Easter, make the best of it-- go to church on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, fly a kite on Easter Monday and be happy.


Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

Pandit Jagmohan Persaud Launches ‘Arpan’ Book Encourages children to read

The book that was recently launched

By Indrawattie Natram LIVING by the concept of Hinduism, Pandit Jagmohan Persaud wants to give back to the Hindu Community particularly the children. He is committed to educating the younger generation on Hinduism and also to leave stories that they can read and inculcate the teachings of the various Hindu scriptures. The Pandit who is popularly known as “Pandit Jagmohan” is the Vice President of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha religious organisation in Guyana as has inherited most of his religious knowledge from the Late Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud. He is the priest in charge of several mandirs throughout the length and breadth of Guyana. Pandit Persaud, who commenced his religious education and teachings 33 years ago, recently launched his book “Arpan” which means “offering” in Hindu. The book is a compilation of stories which are rooted from various Hindu texts. During an interview on the book, “Arpan”, the Pandit said the Hindu scriptures have withstood the test of time and have paved the foundation of the values and morals that should be conspicuous in everyday lives. He said in order to sustain Sanatan Vedic Dharma, the morals and lessons embedded in the Hindu scriptures must be passed on to the future generations. “Arpan depicts lessons in simple story form when we understand them, we can start practising some of the life lessons learned,” Pandit said. He added that the book inspires Hindus how to live by the dharmic principles portrayed in the stories such as the power of prayers and love for God. He said the stories teach persons the essence of good conquering evil, dispelling darkness with light and demonstrating wisdom instead of ignorance. It is Pandit Persaud’s fervent hope that Arpan will be a special part of children’s lives. He said he enjoyed the experience he gained during the compilation process and hopes that persons can read and learn from the book. The book took him five years to compile and the stories were keenly selected especially those that are applicable to one’s life. The first story in the book is the “The Curse not for the Worse”. Pandit is urging children to get back into reading and to learn about the Hindu ways. The books will be made available in various regions and will be retail at a cost of $1,000. All proceeds gained from the selling of the book will go towards the reconstruction of the Ocean View Mandir on the West Coast of Demerara.

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Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

Rhoda Doxa launches makeup and handbag collections

By Tamica Garnett

THE Afro-centric Rhoda Doxa brand, owned by a Nigerian based in Guyana, Deborah Kehinde, and known for its striking African print fabric and clothing lines, has taken a major step of expansion to include a line of makeup products and ladies handbags, among other products. The make-up line includes a nine-shade eyeshadow palette (Rhoda Doxa Ankara Palette), lip gloss ( which comes in six different shades of nude) and eyelashes, while the bags range from chic work bags to cute little evening purses; “Our main focus is on the designer- inspired bags. We decided that fashion doesn’t have to be expensive, therefore we decided to provide bags inspired by top fashion houses around the world. They are not dupes, but inspired bags just in similar silhouette. We also have keychains shaped like bags and they are the most perfect accessories for any bag lover,”Kehinde noted. The 26-year-old businesswoman told the Pepperpot Magazine that the move was a huge investment for her and a lot of hard work, but she felt it was all worth it as she moves on expanding her business. “I had to use all my money but I don’t regret it. I want to provide quality beauty items for Caribbean women at affordable prices,” the young entrepreneur shared. “It’s a lot of work; it was challenging finding the right manufacturer to partner with. For the eyeshadow, [we] had to make sure [we had] the right formula, colour and everything.” She said it was last year that she had the idea to start producing her own brand of bags and make-up products because, like many young women in Guyana, she got frustrated with not being able to find the right quality at the right price when it comes to such products. “I developed a lot of interest in beauty, but then I realised that there wasn’t affordable quality stuff here and by the time I order online and it gets here, it’s more expensive. It’s difficult for me to put my hands on quality ones here, so I found solutions to that,” she explained. The handbags are retailing between $9,500 -- $11,000, while the palette goes for $4,000 and the lip glosses for $1,600, the eyelashes are retailing at $2,200. The products will be available at Amanda’s Bridal, Pieces & Things, and at The Little Black Dress store in Linden. The products come just as Kehinde has launched her fourth fashion collection “Morenikeji”. Kehinde, who has been in Guyana since 2013 studying medicine, has been designing since around the age of seven. The 26-year-old officially came out and began designing commercially in 2014, with the launch of her first collection. She has since launched three other collections, all dedicated to incorporating African print into everyday wear. Aside from designing and retailing African print fabric, Kehinde also runs a fashion blog (www.rhodadoxa. blogspot.com).


Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

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on the Village

Mon Repos, ‘My place of rest’ -but one of the busiest places on the eastern corridor

‘MON Repos’ is a French phrase which roughly translates to “My place of rest/my rest” and this week, the Pepperpot team took to the streets of this East Coast Demerara village to find that, quite ironically, the place is actually abuzz with activity. Stories by M. Margaret Burke. Photos by Samuel Maughn.

was left of it for them to construct the road, because the last time that thing was used was sometime in the early 80s or late 70s. It was a huge scale,” he said.

PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE Meanwhile, the market in the village continues to grow and expand, with people coming from various parts of Guyana to ply their trades, especially on Saturdays and Sundays. “These are the bigger days for the market, where you see a lot of activities all day, from early in the morning. And so it is a spillover from the market that services the tarmac; it was necessary for this tarmac to be removed, because of the road construction. [It] is now going to be taken to a reserved area identified to facilitate farmers,” Mohammed said. He informed the Pepperpot Magazine that because the market has continued to grow, with vendors coming from as far as Parika and Berbice, the NDC, with the help of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, has gone a far way in

where another koker is located. The village is also known for boat-building, because it is one of the areas where the fishing industry thrives in Guyana. There are also ice factories in the area of Mon Repos north, which is the area being used by the fishing industry to store some of the fish, along with some agro-processors in the area as well. ADVANCING WITH TIME “However, the Mon Repos area is very, very big now because of the new housing schemes that were established. Originally, when Mon Repos was established in the 1940s, it was to house the people who were working with the estate – mainly cane-cutters. Also, it was just three streets; there was also the Mon Repos squatting area and the pasture area, which was mostly for farmers, as well as estate workers,” Mohammed said. He informed this newspaper that originally the area was mainly for sugar cane and rice, but gradually grew out of

Ayube Mohammed, Chairman of the Mon Repos /La Reconnaissance Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC)

CHAIRMAN of the Mon Repos /La Reconnaissance Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), Ayube Mohammed, looking back a bit, told the Pepperpot Magazine that prior to 1974, there were Village Councils, where every village was responsible for itself, after which the NDCs were formed with the holding of the first local government election. Then it was a convergence of some villages, such as in the case of the Mon Repos NDC with the villages of Good Hope, Lusignan, Annandale and Mon Repos itself. Mohammed told the Pepperpot Magazine that while he was not born in Mon Repos, he started living there as a small boy in 1967 when he was six years old. He stated that in his opinion, back then Mon Repos was an “insignificant village” and the village that had the repute in those days were Annandale and Lusignan, that had a Health Centre and a sugar estate. He added that there was also a hospital which was owned by Bookers at the back of the village, where one of the Lusignan Prisons is now located. This hospital remained in place until 1982, when the Guyana Prison Service took it over. PUBLIC VEHICLE SCALE “In my view, Mon Repos being a small village, grew because of the market which made it famous. In 1967 when I arrived in Mon Repos, the market was already there, even though it just had a few stalls, with people selling on what was a mud street where the Bank of Baroda is, currently,” Mohammed said, adding that the selling took place on Saturdays. He said that the market at Mon Repos was further established following the removal of a public scale, which was out on the public road for weighing vehicles that traverse the road from Georgetown to Berbice. “That scale was placed there sometime in the 40s or 50s and only recently a part of it (the scale) was brought into the compound of the NDC office a few weeks ago, when the Chinese were excavating the road…all the superstructure was removed years ago, but the actual scale was there in the ground. It, therefore, became necessary to remove what

(From left) Chairman of the NDC, Ayube Mohammed; Sakina Nurse, Assistant Overseer; Parisram Ramkissoon, NDC Overseer and Kubjbharry Ramgopaul, Superintendent of Works

creating a tarmac on a reserve area just next to the market. As part of that service, most of the facilities offered in the market will be available to vendors and customers. These would include a sanitary block, potable water and other services, which, he assured the Chronicle, will soon be completed. BOAT- BUILDING AND FISHING Mon Repos is also known as a big fishing village, because there are two ports in Mon Repos – one at the junction of Triumph and Mon Repos, where the koker is. There is also one at the junction of Good Hope and Mon Repos,

what was the Booker’s Estate after they started giving out land the farmers. “It was like sometime in the mid-1940s, when the sugar workers came out of the logies and started building their own homes, after they were allotted these lots by Booker’s,” he said, stating that now the village is almost unrecognisable for those who may have left for a long time, because of the growth that the village continually experiences. Mohammed noted that all of the villages within the NDC have been seeing the same amount of remarkable strides, with new housing schemes, improved infrastructural works and much more.


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Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

A fisherman’s life and work

Taking it easy even in the most stressful situations

Some of the boats for repairs. Many of them would only reach this far, but still on the perimeter of the sea

SURROUNDED by the beautiful Mon Repos countryside way out at the seashore, with unlimited workshop space, as a boat builder, Balram Sookdeo, also known as Sean, seemed very relaxed and willing to just chat when the Pepperpot Magazine visited his work site by the seashore. Sean began his boat-building career when he was 15 years old; he is now 27; he got married at age 19 and has two children. “This is the business that I grew up seeing; my father and the older folks used to do it and so I just learnt what to do and how to do it from observing them as a small child,” Sean stated. He told the Pepperpot Magazine that he was born and raised in the village of Mon Repos. He added that from an early age he saw his father and other family members, along with others from the community, building boats right out by the seashore and grew to like the idea very much.

be no crease – every single crease must be sealed when the boat is finished; then it has to be left to dry off and so we does be glad for the sun to dry off good and faster,” he stated.

These two young girls are hanging around the boat-building area at Mon Repos, trying to raise a kite with the help of one of the builders

Balram Sookdeo, aka Sean, one of the youngest fishermen on the Mon Repos seashore

“Eventually from the age of 15, I started to work along with them [his father and others] and soon they would leave me to do some work on my own. Then more and more I was able to work on things such as repairing of fishing boats and other boats too; and then I advanced to making small and big boats, which are used for fishing and other things,” he stated.

INDUSTRIAL SCENE There were many men at the construction site, all of them working on different boats – some repairing, while others were building them from scratch. It was really an industrial atmosphere – boats being made or repaired; vehicles arriving to make sure they catch the first fishing boat in with their catch; while there were men at the Men Repos pumping station. There some were relaxing, while others were busy with whatever they felt the

need to work on, so as to ensure that the pump was in ready mode once there was a need. Sean explained to the Pepperpot Magazine that to build a boat is not a simple task, but with time it became easy for him. “Yet still there are some real hard ones sometimes for me to handle, but I do not back down and in the end, I would get through with it. The thing is that you must always get the right materials to make the boat and the wood is a main man. If you do not use the correct wood, then you can cause real problems for people who have to use these boats,” he reminded. RIVER, NOT THE ROAD He explained that the river is not the road and so if a boat develops problems way out at sea, it can end up being fatal. He added that a situation of what may be considered a simple leak may end up being a matter of life and death if the boatmen do not know what to do. In addition, consideration has been given to the distance away from where help could be sought, as well as the state of the water at the time – whether it was very rough or smooth. Sean further explained that the making of boats also has to do with the size and the kind of engine that it would have to use, adding that it is always important to double check the measurements on the boat so as to ensure that there is strict balance on every side. “Then again, because the boat is made strictly to go out into the water, there can

REPAIRS He stated that repairing a boat is just as hard work as building a new one from scratch. He added that each workman has his own way of approaching the building of any boat, and so when one has to do the repairs on a boat, it is sometimes not as straightforward. Further, he told the Pepperpot Magazine that many times they are not able to get the boat up on dry land and so have to go wait until the water goes down and then go into the deep mud to do the repairs. “This is no easy task sometimes, but it is part of the job and so we manage to get the work done. While some of the boats to repair are easier to manage because they may be smaller and lighter, others are sometimes not so easy, and then it also depends on what is wrong with the boat,” he related. DEDICATED BOAT BUILDER Nonetheless, Sean said that he has dedicated his life to building and repairing boats, noting that as a family man he is able to manage his business, personal life, as well as that of his family with much ease. He said that so far he has been able to make a good life for his family – the same way his father was able to do for him and the others within his household at that time. Just as it was with past generations, Sean stated that from his experience, boat- building and repairs are definitely doing well. He noted, however, that the boat business would only do as well as the fishing business is doing at the said time. Sean said that as boat builders they would not just be concerned with the making of boats and how good they can be made, but that they have to be concerned for each other; the fishermen out there and how safe they are; how they are managing with buying fuel; how they are able to sell their catches, and so on, while hoping for the business to continue to grow and get better.)


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The pros and cons of economic development When a market is caught in the midst of such evolving progress

Roberto Tiwari with his son (left), his wife (right) and another female vendor

Denise and Parbattie, two vendors, have said that because of being at the back they were not so badly affected by the dust

Meanwhile, most of the vendors said that they have been doing their best to control the dust by constantly dusting and wiping; and sometimes they sprinkle water around their stalls to keep the dust down.

A vendor wearing a respirator and dusting her stocks

WITH the commencement of expansions of many roads in Guyana, be it on the East Bank and East Coast Demerara, Sheriff Street or even Mandela Avenue, many Guyanese have been complaining about the inconvenience they quite often experience, especially for those who live within construction areas; also, for those travelling along the roads for one reason or another. A World Bank Report – ‘Let’s talk development,’ states: “Roads are the arteries through which the economy pulses. By linking producers to markets, workers to jobs, students to school, and the sick to hospitals, roads are vital to any development agenda.” THE MON REPOS MARKET The Pepperpot Magazine in a visit to the Mon Repos community recently paid a visit to the Mon Repos market and spoke with some of the vendors there. Dust “all over the place” was their major cry. This is added to their concerns about the main gates at the market, which they said they were informed would be closed, leaving them without access to the area. “We are happy that you were able to come and see what we are going through in this market where we come to sell every day. Look how we have to be dusting and wiping all the time; the dust is not only affecting our goods, but it is also affecting us,” one vendor said. Some of the vendors said that while they understand that coupled with such major construction there would be the creation of a

lot of dust, they still feel that a little more can be done to control the amount of dust being produced on a daily basis, especially for the market where all sorts of goods are sold. They explained that there are vehicles that traverse the road at intervals, spraying the road with water to keep the dust down. However, they are still insisting that more could be done to offer assistance to them. SPECIAL CONSIDERATION Roberto Tiwari and his wife told the Pepperpot Magazine that some people have been complaining that when they cough they spit “black stuff.” Added to that, he said that many vendors do not necessarily like to use the respirator all day, because it makes them feel as if they are suffocating; at the same time, he pointed out that the dust is also making them feel the same way. They suggested that in addition to efforts being made to curb the dust, some form of transparent ‘dust-resistant’ cover could have been used in order to help market vendors. In addition, the vendors feel that in specific areas such as the market, consideration should have been given by the contractors to complete that part of the road once they reach there and not do it in pieces. “I hope that the government would listen to us and take note, because these people are moving very slow around where we are,” one vendor Gaitri Persaud indicated, adding that while people are glad to see the road built, they are suffering a lot and so the work should be speeded up around them.

MORE MARKET GATES Many of the vendors, especially those immediately facing the road which is now under construction, expressed concern about the gates facing the road. They told the Pepperpot Magazine that they were informed that those gates will be “closed off” when the road is finished. “For us, having our stalls facing the road, and even for all the other vendors throughout this market, we are concerned about what we heard that all these gates (pointing to the gates) will be closed off, so that we will not be able to use them. We are therefore asking that the people in charge of this market and even the government to please consider three major

things for us: access in and out of the market for our customers; how we would be able to bring in our goods at the different points where we are located; and most important, in case of an emergency how we will be able to get out quickly,” Tiwari related. However, when the Pepperpot Magazine contacted the Chairman of the Mon Repos /La Reconnaissance Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), Ayube Mohammed, we were informed that the situation is still a work in progress. Further, he noted that while there will be “safety gates made of grills where those gates were, many other gates will be constructed on the southern side to ensure that customers and vendors have easy access and are always safe.” He also noted that the upkeep of the market demands constant work, so that places such as the sanitary block is never forgotten and are slated for monthly interventions.


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Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

Loving his work – regardless children, told the Pepperpot Magazine that he was born in Lusignan and is now living in the sister village of Good Hope, where he was able to acquire a house lot and build a home of his own. He said that his last child is still in school and is preparing to write the Secondary School Entrance Examinations next month. The others, he said, are older and are trying to seek jobs and make lives for themselves.

Superintendent of Works of the Mon Repos NDC, Kubjbharry Ramgopaul, AKA Rocky

WORKING as the Superintendent of Works for the past 19 years, within the Mon Repos NDC, Kubjbharry Ramgopaul, 55, fondly called “Rocky,” said he has had some memorable and interesting days, even as he continues to execute his tasks. According to Ramgopaul, his tasks are many, but because of having to constantly do many of the things that he has been doing over time, he began to see his work as less complicated. “I have gotten accustomed to rising up early in the morning, leaving home anytime around 05:00hrs, whether it is raining or not, so as to ensure that what has to be done is done and that there is no excuse…some people tend to think that I am “soft” and would try to take advantage on me when it comes to work, but this is not so. I just do not like to bully anybody or do anything to let them feel that I am this ‘big boss’,” he explained. Ramgopaul, who is married and has four

Strong memories Ramgopaul told the Pepperpot Magazine that life on the job could be very challenging at times and there are times when he is sure that it is only because of his love for the job, and also the need to take care of his family that he holds on. “I always try to do my best and always want people to feel that they can depend on me to carry out my tasks. For example, during the 2005 floods, we were really flooded out badly, but this did not stop me from going out there and getting the work done. So one morning during the flood time I went to work just on time to save a bundle of worries, because the water was creeping up to attack our files and other important records, which I was able to save and put in a safe place,” he related, saying that was one of many other situations that he was able to do on the job by always being there and on time. The Superintendent of Works of the Mon Repos NDC was quick to state that not all of his experiences were good, saying that one such experience stands out in his mind up to today, even though he is neither bitter nor fearful. He stated that some years ago (in late 2009) he had a really bad experience as he attempted to carry out legitimate work. “I was in the company of other staff members early one Sunday after attempting to clean up the Mon Repos market. This was not the first time I had such a task to perform, so I was quite aware of what I had to do. Part of it was to ensure that stalls

were not left in the market. Upon noticing that there a few left around, I decided to do what was expected of me, and that was to ensure that those stalls were impounded at the NDC office, where they were going to be safe,” he said. He explained that as he and his workers were attempting to remove the stalls, someone attacked him and did as much harm to him as they were able to do. He displayed to the Pepperpot Magazine a badly scarred hand that he said was also broken in three places.

This he said was the result of a beating with a piece of wood. Ramgopaul said he was also very sick at one time and even suffered a stroke, but he is very thankful for life; thankful for his family and also very thankful for the kind and understanding staff with whom he works on a daily basis. He said that he is not bitter or hateful, and so he would like to encourage all people to take it one day at a time and not allow anger to fill their hearts.


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The fatal, dangerous high IF WE pay attention, all things unfold. Thursday, April 4, I was with a team on my way to New Amsterdam. On the way up, the discussion about the two Chinese deaths at the then diagnosed suspected infection of histoplasmosis was central, though the media mentioned leptospirosis. I had never heard of the former infection, which upon seeking further clarification from my colleague who is a reliable source; I became aware that this infection was a result of coming into contact with ‘bat

like swine they carry and contain viruses that do not affect them but are carriers of infections that can infect and kill humans, so do other mammals and primates, but bats and pigs are in a special category. I decided that on my return to Georgetown on the evening of the 5th that that Saturday, I would ask friends about this bat dung manure business. By Saturday afternoon I was humbled in realising that I was completely sailing. I was assured that this was common knowledge in the Ganja business; that a

behind the then furnace to play football because the cholera victims were buried there. I ignored Bittle because what did he know about such things? Only that time he was right and worse, I also learnt that Cholera is one of the diseases that survive the grave; meningitis is another. So what can a plant grown from dung saturated with dangerous viruses do? A plant whose leaves are lit and then inhaled, what are the risks? Everyone over 50 agrees that the “Dounes” tree or any fruit tree near the wood-

cent research looking at Bat Guano suggests there are a number of viral agents we don’t have much information on, he said. [Tiny and nasty images of things that make us sick] Jamie Childs, a zoonosis disease epidemiologist, Yale University.” It is well known that infected organic manure can infect fruits, and likewise the humans that use these fruits. Bats are an integral species to the planetary ecosystem, most of them eat fruit, in the context of this article humans are the problem. In a Review from the

the advantage of Bat guano as phosphorous source and also as histoplasmosis outbreak for making the decision of whether to use Bat guano in phosphorous inadequacy issue as well as to present the safety and security policies for Bat guano collection in case of Bat guano will be used as phosphorous source.” This review though translated into halting English is very informative. It also cites a fungal form of histoplasmosis and other fungal diseases and emphasises that it is expensive to treat. Where

courage to even insert in a primary school booklet on addictive diseases the dangers of mind-altering drugs to compete with the exaggerated foolishness that is presented to our youth and even older folk on falsified magical positives of such substances. We are vulnerable because of the resource limitations, and more blatantly the lack of ‘Will’ to address what is considered a popular indulgence, upon enquiry several levels of responsible services know of this particular manure, that the farmers themselves are

dung’ and inhaling spores. This incident with the Chinese had its genesis at the resuscitation of the Manganese mines in the Region 1 Matthews Ridge (Barima/ Waini) district, a total of 13 persons were under medical supervision. What sparked my further attention and alarm is when he informed me that bat dung is widely used in growing Marijuana, what I know of these mammals, is that bats are

bag (the size of a small rice bag) of this stuff could cost as much as ten grand. With one brethren, I learnt that he had some of this bat dung stashed and it caused the polythene bag to rot after a while, but he wasn’t inspired and dumped it, that’s what he said. I immediately reflected on the advice a few of us got decades ago in a one-off chat with the late character ‘Bittle’ that nobody should use the space

en yard latrine bears the biggest and sweetest fruit. But, this is bat dung. The Bat is recorded as having a presence on earth of some 52 million years. This is a creature in many ways superior as a species to many others, and it’s a mammal that can fly and even more incredible it is the host of some 50 viruses that can infect humans. In research on bat guano (dung) studies have revealed that “Re-

Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University Thailand titled “Bat Guano as the component of Fertilizer or the Health hazard” they emphasise the potency of Bat Guano as a phosphorous source, and follow with this argument “ The objective of this review is to give information nowadays about the realisation of phosphorous scarcity, to manifest

the concern of this writer rests is in the prevalence of bat guano used in marijuana cultivation. While sourcing the bland academic medical articles, there are also numerous attractively packaged articles that insist on the usefulness of Bat guano for the excellent growth of Marijuana. Again I reiterate that from the prevalence of marijuana in this country, no government has had the

the more vulnerable to infection, yet this information is not out here. This popular indulgence has been allowed to grow into a social monster because the theory is incomplete that proposes that prosecution will alone defeat a creature that is also a sub-culture philosophy, an addictive enchantment, devastating to many, rewarding to others, that is now joined by Ecstacy.


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Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

FILES E S A C COURT

Judge usurps functions of jury by finding

By George Barclay

Murder accused not guilty on no-case submissions IN 1984 , the Guyana Court of Appeal found that a High Court judge usurped the functions of the jury in a murder trial when instead of sending the matter to them, he found murder accused Alvin Mitchell, not guilty, of the murder of 32-year old waitress Nastawantee Persaud on defence no-case submissions. He then directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty in favour of the accused, who he subsequently discharged. The then Director of Public Prosecutions believing that the circumstances of the case require the judge to send the case to the jury for a verdict , utilize the DPP power under the law to request the Appellate Court to review the matter. Sequel to this, the Guyana Court of Appeal, constituted by Chancellor Keith Massian and Justices of Ap-

peal Mr. Charles Fung-A-Fat and Mr. Frank Vieira, who carried out the review, was critical of the judge’s action, as being irregular It was pointed out by the appellate court that where the defendant in a criminal proceedings submits a plea of no-case to answer at (or before) the end of the prosecution case the trial judge ought to send the case to the jury if, in his opinion, there is sufficient evidence on which a reasonable jury (properly directed) might (in the judge’s view ) convict , if, however, the evidence is so unsatisfactory, or unsound that no reasonable jury could convict on it, or if the evidence, (even if all of it is believed ) is so weak, tenuous or insufficient that it cannot yield a lawful conviction, the trial judge should withdraw the case and direct the acquittal of the defendant.

Chancellor Massiah who noted that the evidence in the court supported the view that the jury should have been asked to decide the fate of the accused referred to 35 cases in support of the Appellate Court’s judgment including that of R.V. Hookoomchand and Sagur (1897) LRBG 12 . At the Review, Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Ian Chang, S.C. with Mr. Albert Baldeo, represented the DPP while Mr. David Wray appeared for Mitchell. Under the heading, ‘Reference by Director of Public Prosecutions,’ it was said that Alvin Mitchell was indicted with murder. At the close of the prosecution case he submitted that there was no case to answer. The trial judge upheld the submission and directed the jury to return a verdict of “Not Guilty”.

The Director of Public Prosecutions of Guyana referred the following question to the Court of Appeal: “Was the trial judge correct in law on the evidence led by the prosecution in this case in ruling that a case had not been established requiring the accused person to lead a defence? Setting out the facts in his judgment, Chancellor Massiah said: “At about 8 30 am.on Sunday, 7th February 1982, a party of policemen attached to the Bartica Police Station made a macabre discovery at 2 Miles, Bartica-Potaro-Road, There is a clump of bushes about ten feet from the road where they discovered the dead body of 33-year-old Nastawantee Persaud. The body, clothed in a blouse that was unbuttoned, face upwards, and was exposed from the waist down for the skirt was raised and the undergarment was missing. The legs were spread apart, and there oozed from the vagina what appeared to be blood. There was grass in the pubic area. Several injuries were seen. Shortly, before they made the discovery, the police party, about a half mile away , at one and a half miles , Bartica –Potaro Rod (a point nearer to Bartica than 2 Miles), had come across a number of articles which were identified as the property of the deceased by Lilapattie Romohan, the niece of the deceased . Among the articles found was a shoulder-bag which was lying on the road . On the bag were what appeared to be drops of blood . About five feet away, in a clump of bushes, a pair of yellow panties was found. Attached to it was a sanitary napkin. What appeared to be blood was seen both on the panties and the napkin. Nearby was a girdle. The police party which Lilapattie Romohan accompanied to the Bartica-Potoro road had been galvanised

into action when Romohan reported to the police station on the morning of 7th February 1982 that her aunt was missing from home . At about 3 o’clock that morning ,Romohan , one Waveney Gill and the deceased , together left the Nest Discotheque in Fifth Avenue, Bartica , where they worked as waitresses. (The word “discotheque” is popularly contracted into “disco” without any connotative loss, and that variant will be used in this judgment .) Romohan and her companions had worked the night shift and were on their way to the deceased’s home in Fourth Avenue where they all lived. On their way home they met Alvin Mitchell who was driving a Land Rover. Three other men were in the vehicle. Mitchell was a regular patron of the Nest, and the night before he was seen there at a dance. Mitchell offered to take them home on the vehicle. Gill and Ramohan declined he offer. After some apparent hesitation the deceased accepted , declaring to her companions that she would reach home faster than they. Her expectations never materialized , for when Gill and Romohan reached home on foot they discovered to their consternation that the house was securely locked and that the deceased had not arrived there. Overcome by tiredness they soon fell sleep. When Romohan awoke that morning at about 7 ‘ clock the deceased was still not there . Naturally Romohan became alarmed. She then went to her uncle.s home and inquired about the deceased but there she learnt nothing. She next wentto the Bartica Police Station and reported the matter. It was then about 8 a.m. The poliee left soon after for 1 ½ Miles, for Bartica-Potaro road, on the strength of what one Benjamin had told them, and they found the artricles already mentioned about; shotly afterwards

they discovered the dead body of the deceased. The cumulative circumstance led the police to conclude that the deceased had been murdered. Suspicion fell on Alvin Mitchell (the person last known to have been with her ) who by then had hastily fled to Georgetown. He was arrested there on 8th February, 1982 and taken to Bartica Police Station on 11th February where he was duly charged with murder. Mitchell was subsequently indicted with mrder and faced his trial at the criminal assizes in Georetown in January, 1984. The evidence against him was almost wholly circumstantial. At the close of the prosecution’s case counsel for Mitchell submitted that there was no case to answer. The prosecution vigorously contended that there was. The trial judge upheld the submissions and formally directed the jury to return a verdict of “Not Guilty” Mitchell was accordingly discharged. The Appellate Court in reviewing the case as requested by the DPP concluded that “When regard is paid to all those events and evidentiary circumstances it seems to me clear beyond peradventure that there is sufficient evidence on which a reasonable jury properly directed might have convicted Mitchell.” According to Chancellor Massiah, “ That satisfies me the test in Hookkoom chand and all the other kindred cases which explain the relavant Common law position , including, of course, the local cases that gave benediction to Hookoomchand. Whether the jury would have convicted Mitchell is not a consideration that properly comes within my purview. The evidence is sufficient on which they might have done so and that is enough for present purposes.”


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Is your breath fresh? WHILE many dental patients are ashamed to complain about bad breath, what are some of the conditions and circumstances which can cause or aggravate this totally preventable situation? Regular readers of this column should know that the most common fundamental source of bad breath is related to the presence of oral bacteria. The smell comes from volatile sulfur compounds There are, however, other factors which also influence the odour of one’s breath. In fact, the quality of a person’s breath is multifactorial. Let’s look at some details of specific issues and conditions related to the presence of bad breath. Take notice of the fact that many of them directly correlate to: Oral bacteria Conditions which promote the growth of oral bacteria such as not cleaning, or not being able to clean, those areas where oral bacteria reside. Later on, we will discuss the specifics of why bacteria cause odours, and specifically how to clean these bacteria away, for right now at this point in our discussion, just realise that anything which promotes oral bacterial growth will most likely promote bad breath too. How do foods cause bad breath? Everyone knows that certain foods have a reputation for causing bad breath, possibly the two most notorious ones are garlic and onions. Incidentally, alcohol is included here. When foods are digested their component molecules are absorbed by our bodies and subsequently carried off in our bloodstream. Some of these molecules, which can have very unique and unpleasant odours, will be released into our lungs as our blood flows through them. As we exhale our breath will carry these offending molecules out of our bodies. While this type of bad breath can be annoying or embarrassing this is not the type of breath problem I consider to be clinically critical. Bad breath related to the

to become more of a problem. It seems that with age, our salivary glands tend to work less effectively, and the composition of our saliva changes also. Both of these

consumption of certain foods will resolve on its own in a day or so as your body completes the process of breaking down and utilising or else excreting the offending molecules. You can control this type of bad breath simply by avoiding or avoiding or minimising your consumption of these foods. You are probably familiar with people who have “ smoker’s breath”. While the odour associated with smoking is multifactorial, a great part of it is related to the tar, nicotine, and other foul-smelling substances derived from tobacco smoke which accumulate on a person’s teeth and the soft tissues of the mouth (tongue, cheeks, gums). Once again, this is not the precise type of bad breath we address on this site’s pages. Short of quitting smoking there is no effective way to totally eliminate smoker’s breath, although immaculate oral hygiene can help reduce it. As a contributing factor, the act of smoking does have a drying effect on oral tissues. Decreased moisture in the mouth limits the washing and buffering effect of saliva on oral bacteria and their waste products. Mouth dryness is addressed as a topic just below. It’s a known fact that persons who smoke have a tendency to have problems with periodontal disease (“ gum disease”) than those who don’t. The causative agent of periodontal disease is bacteria. Gum disease, as it relates to bad breath, is discussed in more detail below. Even if you don’t have significant problems with bad breath you probably have noticed that your breath is least pleasant when you first wake from a night of sleep. This is because while we rest

our mouth dries out, due to our body’s natural tendency to reduce saliva flow when we sleep. The result of this mouth dryness is “morning breath”. This same souring effect is often noticed by teachers and lawyers whose mouths have become dry after speaking for prolonged periods of time. Along these lines, persons with chronically dry mouth, a condition term “xerostomia”, tend to have more difficulty keep there breath pleasant. Moisture in our mouth helps to cleanse it. The presence of moisture encourages us to swallow. Each swallow we take washes away millions of bacteria, as well as the debris and food particles on which they feed. Moisture also dilutes and washes away the waste products created by the bacteria which live in our mouths. Saliva is a special form of mouth moisture, It’s the body’s natural mouth rinse. Beyond the washing and diluting effect that any moistness will produce saliva, saliva also contains special compounds which kill oral bacteria and other ones which buffer the effects of bacterial waste products. When our mouths dry out, all of the benefits which moisture can produce are lessened. The net result is that conditions for bacterial growth are enhanced while the neutralisation of bacterial waste products is reduced. Some persons have chronically dry mouth, this condition is termed “ xerostomia”. Xerostomia can be a side effect of the medication a person is taking. Antihistamines ( allergy and cold medications), antidepressants, blood pressure agents, diuretics, or anti-anxiety medications are each known to produce xerostomia. As a person ages, they may find mouth dryness

factors result in less effective salivary cleansing and buffering. Compounding the problems associated with mouth dryness, long term sufferers

of xerostomia are known to have an increased susceptibility to periodontal disease ( gum disease). Periodontal disease is a causative factor of bad breath.


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Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

XVII

Development in Mahdia JUST this past week, I travelled to Mahdia, Guyana’s newest town, which is nestled in the heart of the country, in Region Eight ( Potaro-Siparuni). And while I can’t speak about what Mahdia was like before, or how much the community has changed because it has become a town, I can share all the ways the residents have affirmed that the community has improved. Mahdia is a central mining location, and it has been for many years. It connects about 19 other communities in the region and just this year, it was officially declared a town. I think it bodes well to say that Mahdia ascending to township status is not a mere ceremonial rite or anything of the sort. In fact, ascending to a township is filled with a litany of benefits. First of all, it allows the people of Mahdia to become actively engaged in their governance by way of the decentralisation of government responsibility, which fosters the development of a local government system. What this means is that they elect other people in Mahdia to represent their interests and work towards developing the town.

As a town, Mahdia has the ability to now set up a town council (which it has done); this council should be able to generate revenue by way of taxes, etc to engage in developmental projects in the community. Moreover, there is more leeway for the community to lobby for and execute these development projects.

During my recent visit, the council was getting itself together in preparation for when it would start all the work to develop the community. The Mayor of Mahdia, David Adams, indicated that the council also has so many plans to improve the community-through better waste management practices, to improved access to technology and even bolstering economic activity. Additionally, Mahdia being a town also means that various critical government services would be made available here. That provides easier access to the citizens. And as

a town, it is expected that economic activities would be stimulated given all that changed. And again, while I can’t personally vouch for infrastructural development, all the residents I spoke to indicated that Mahdia has received a huge facelift in recent times. Of particular importance would be the development works done to the many roadways. Before I get into the roadways, let me just ascertain that Guyana is nice-- without a doubt—nice, bad. But the travelling? In some instances, it can be just a bit too strenuous. And getting to and fro Mahdia, by trail instead

of flying, is definitely an experience. It took about eight hours to drive from Georgetown to get to the town. That was enough time for me to catch a decent amount of sleep-- except that I couldn’t because I wasn’t accustomed to the trail. But it turned out that I was travelling at a time when the trail had been significantly improved and there were so many new bridges built in place. Even when I was travelling around Mahdia to the Denham Bridge, it was evident that developmental works had recently been done to the roadways. I mean, the black and yellow paint on the bridges were still bright! And imagine, all the while I was complaining about the twists and turns and humps and bumps of the bus ride to and fro- much less if I had travelled previously. I share this to say that what these new developments present, are opportunities for Mahdia to move from being just a mining spot to a vibrant town bustling with economic activity. I think infrastructural and institutional developments are key to the community mobilising and developing itself. And what is pleasing is that ‘Mahdians’ have seen this and have decided to play a role in this. Few of these people, including the mayor himself, have opted to invest into the town and make it a more developed place-- instead of leaving it as is. I think it is no coincidence that the people of Mahdia elected business persons from within the community to serve on their town council.

The young digital creative Akeem King

H E c a n t a k e an ave r a g e person walking and make them seem as though they’re your favourite comic book superhero in action. You can say, that among people his age, 18-year-old Akeem King is seen as a ‘tech genius’. “It started off with my love for superhero movies and special effects, so I always wanted to do that myself,” King explained. “I started off using an app called viva video on my Icemobile phone, back when I was in Form Three (about four years ago) and I found the whole experience a fun one, so I kept doing it.” And in keeping at it, he decided to check out what software the ‘pros’ would use and got them for himself so he could develop skills of his own. “The first one was Adobe After Effects which is [sic] used for video compositing and special effects and did my first video with my brother flying into the air,” the young man recounted. When he made that video, he also recalled that his family and

friends thoroughly enjoyed it and that was the fuel he needed to drive him down his creative path. Noticing the talent that he had, his mother got him involved with local tech company, Intellect Storm and that company’s graphic designer, Sadé Barrow-Browne, taught him the basics of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator --- both digital creation programmes he was interested in. “After this period had passed, I kept to graphic designing, photo editing and drawing just practising and getting better,” he said. Aside from his affinity for digital creation, he likes movies and pop culture in general and has a fondness for fashion shows and social events. Currently, he’s pursuing a Degree in Computer Science at the University of Guyana (UG)- with the intention of refining his skills in this field even more. Though only in his first year here, the experience has been a good one. He hopes to broaden his scope, however. “I want to be multifaceted in that since I know a little about design; it would also be nice to implement said knowledge in areas

such as web and app designing,” Akeem explained. “And that’s what this course that I’m doing in UG will lead to.” The goal, as of now, is to lend his skills to better target industries in Guyana like news and media, advertisement, inter alia, since he believes the current approach to media production in Guyana leaves a lot to be desired. And maybe one day, he’ll start his own branding, designing, and filmmaking business in Guyana. As of now, he’ll continue focusing on his studies and making cool video clips and designs- posted on his Instagram account@akeempowers. It’s here that his friends would shower him with their support, but have also helped him to improve his work by critiquing it and hyping and promoting it so more people would be able to see and appreciate it. He’s also partnering with 592Tees just to make some extra money. King joins the evolving cadre of young people who are getting involved in the development of the local tech industry and opined that young people bring a “fresh outlook” to this industry.


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Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

Fighting TIP: preventing, protecting, prosecuting and partnering

First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, flanked by, from left to right, International Consultants, Ms. Linda Eriksson Baca and Ms. Lori Mann, former United States Ambassador to Guyana, Mr. Perry Holloway, Mr. Robert Natiello, Minister of Social Protection, Ms. Amna Ally, and Vice President and Minister of Public Security, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan.

THE Trafficking in Persons Act defines Trafficking in Persons (TIP) as, “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of threat or use of force”. Trafficking in Persons is simply modern slavery. Guyana, in 2017, was elevated to Tier I status in the United States Department of State’s annual TIP Report and retained that status in 2018. According to the Report, this means “that the Government of Guyana fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of Trafficking in persons” and, that “the government demonstrated serious and sustained efforts by increasing funding for victim assistance, identifying and assisting more victims for the third consecutive year, and opening and operating a trafficking shelter outside of the capital area.” Through a Ministerial Task Force of stakeholder agencies, which fall within the purview of the Ministry of Public Security, TIP is addressed through an action plan that guides all of its activities and initiatives by dealing with the issue mainly, in four strategic areas: Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnership (the ‘Four Ps’). PREVENTION Awareness is integral to the prevention

of Trafficking in Persons. The Task Force and the Ministry of Social Protection, therefore, have conducted several awareness activities, including radio programmes, out-

reaches to communities and schools, special competitions, production of videos, public engagements, mounting of banners, and the distribution of branded material, such as hats

Representatives from the Ministry of Social Protection during an anti-trafficking outreach activity held during Linden Town Week, 2019.

and bags. It is also imperative that capacity building be done to strengthen the relevant institutions to proactively prevent possible cases. In 2018, Coordinator of the Task Force (Ag) Mr. Oliver Profit, and five members of the Guyana Police Force attended a TIP training at the International Academy of Law Enforcement in Roswell, New Mexico, USA. “These different training courses that we have been able to receive as members of the Task Force, from different international organisations… [have] enabled us to ensure that whatever we learned is passed on to our local experts, especially the frontline officials. So, from 2016 all the way through the last action plan period, we would have been able to do a lot of training programmes that were not available in Guyana before that period,” Mr. Profit said. Through the Task Force, Police Officers, mines officers, wardens attached to the Ministry of Natural Resources, medical practitioners, the media corps, and other stakeholder agencies have benefited from several trainings on how to address TIP related to sector-specific issues. PROTECTION The Government, through the Ministry


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of Social Protection, has increased its sub- trainings for a more victim-centred approach PARTNERSHIP rican, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States ventions to non-governmental organisations so we can understand how better we can reach The Government has partnered both in- (ACP) and the European Union (EU), diathat manage victim care facilities, to ensure their needs… but we also understand that ternationally and locally to address issues of logue on migration and peer to peer exchange the protection and safety of victims and to there are other needs… in terms of helping TIP. In 2017, Government facilitated the Af- meeting on Trafficking in Human Beings at guarantee that they are given the necessary them to have a temporary stay in Guyana,” counselling and other resources to move for- Mr. Profit said. ward with their lives. It has also increased Minister Felix added that “the police overall, the number of care facilities, adding [are] playing a special role in monitoring and transitional facilities, and creating a space for taking actions where we get reports of illegal male victims. activity. So, if the police have recorded an Mr. Profit explained that the transitional increase [in cases of trafficking], it has come facility is important to protect the identity as a result of the vigilance we are showing in of persons who were already confirmed as suppressing illegal acts committed against the victims, while also providing a facility for Venezuelans… So there are two things, how suspected cases until those cases can be con- we receive them and how we record them, firmed to be instances of trafficking. and secondly, the fact that we are protecting Often, persons seeking employment and as much as possible against these ills in the looking for a better life can become vulner- society.” able to TIP if they are unaware of red flags in the recruitment process. In that regard, PROSECUTION political tensions in neighbouring Venezuela The Task Force will soon be launching has caused an increase in migrants from that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for country to Guyana, making Venezuelan mi- prosecution that are aligned with international grants a vulnerable group of persons. best practice. Additionally, the SOPs will Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston ensure that best practice is followed with Felix said recent reports have revealed that regard to interviewing victims and suspects, there are over 5,600 Venezuelan migrants investigating the crime, ensuring that prosecuwho have arrived in Guyana. As part of the tions are done in a way that will legally build Coordinator (Ag), Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking Government’s policy not to criminalise them stronger cases and taking care of evidence. in Persons, Ministry of Public Security, Mr. Oliver Profit for immigration offences, Guyana has accepted them without passports, the Marriott Hotel. The meeting was once they have presented their A section of participants at the African, Caribbean and Pacific Groups of States (ACP) and the European Union (EU), dialogue on migration and peer to peer national identification cards. facilitated by the International Orexchange meeting on trafficking in Human Beings at the Marriott Hotel, 2017. “We do not criminalize ganisation for Migration (IOM), and them for immigration offences attended by First Lady, Mrs. Sandra and we do not return them to Granger. It featured representatives Venezuela from where they from 20 countries. fled. We understood clearly Locally, Government has partthat many Venezuelans had nered with non-governmental orfaced economic stringencies ganisations to assist in achieving in the country to the point its mandate in fighting against TIP. that they were driven to seek One such organisation is the Guya better life in the countries ana Women Miners Organisation bordering theirs,” Minister (GWMO), which has done a lot of Felix said. work to identify cases through its At the same time, the Govnetwork of regional women minernment is making provision ers. The GWMO is represented within the system to address on the Ministerial Task Force for their needs. “We realise that Trafficking in persons and several these cases require more interother inter-agency groups such as preters, so we had a training the National Networking Group on for interpreters; an introducTrafficking in Persons. tory training which included GWMO Co-Deputy Coordinator, foreign missions, local priSocial Services Committee, Ms. vate companies that provide Reisa Roberts, said that collaborating interpretation services, and with the Government has advanced now we’re looking forward to their work. following up on those types of “We were able to provide a more substantial programme with our girls. We were able to send them off to school; we’re able to provide health care as well as counselling for them, our counselling comes from the Ministry of Social Protection… For all of the rescues that we go out to and for all of the persons that we bring in, we work with the Ministry of Social Protection to ensure that those victims are given the proper care when they get to town to ensure their statements are taken in a timely manner from the police force… even while within our care, Ministry of Social Protection still continues to give them the psycho-social support that they would need,” she said. Ms. Roberts also said that her organisation collaborates closely with the Ministry of Public Security to ensure that due care is given to ensure that cases are prosecuted. “As it relates to even some of our victims who would have been rehabilitated if at any point in time they would have had any problems as it relates to prosecution within the system, we have an open way with Ministry of Public Security… so that we can appeal for them, on their behalf.” Through Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnership, the Government continues to fight against TIP and is comRepresentatives from UNICEF, the Guyana Police Force, and the University of Guyana, mitted to implementing programmes to among a myriad of other organisations attend the Strengthening Guyana’s Capacity to sustain and improve efforts to combat the Effectively Combat Trafficking in Persons and Assist Victims of Trafficking Project launch. crime.


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Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

Your child’s mental health

FOLLOWING last week’s article, I hope that all parents now consider their own

mental health a first priority. Now that you’ve done this, I’m going to advise on

how you can support the mental health of your children. Firstly you have not failed in your parental responsibility if your child is diagnosed with a mental illness. According to the World Health Organisation, 1 in 10 children are diagnosed with a mental health disorder. For so many reasons, parents shutter at just the thought that their children may be vulnerable to mental illness. The feeling of helplessness and the stigma attached are just a few. But not to worry, there are things that can be done to prevent or minimise the progression of ill mental health or a disorder. One of the most important is to talk openly about mental health. This allows you both to acknowledge the commonality and provides a platform for comfortable and safe sharing of thoughts, emotions or difficult situations. You may not understand or even agree with what they have to say but you listen and empathise anyway. Let them do most of the talking in the beginning because if you voice too many opinions from the get-go, they tend to only tell you what they think you want to hear. When faced with difficult or uncomfortable information, do your best not to judge or become angry. Receiving honesty is a privilege, not a right and if you handle the newfound knowledge badly, that privilege will be taken from you. Try asking questions such as “were you happy with the decision you made? How would you deal with it differently? Give them a chance to recognise, acknowledge and come up with their own solutions to their problems. Of course in certain situations, punishments may be required but try and ensure that your reaction is appropriate for the situation. If you’re nervous about starting the conversation, find an activity that you already enjoy doing together and casually bring up the topic then. Whether it’s artwork or cooking, it’s an easier platform to begin any conversation in a more comfortable and less seemingly intrusive way. Model good behaviour. One of the most efficient ways of learning is through observation. That popular phrase “do as I say and not as I do” is just noise. Show your children what healthy habits and coping skills look like. If you’re having a bad day and reach for cigarettes or alcohol, do you really think it’s fair or realistic to expect something else from the person you are moulding? You are their guide on how to deal with future situations. Good mental health also requires a good environment which is free of any abuse and supportive of any situation. Monitor unhealthy behaviours that have seem to become normalised. Try not to encourage too many indoor activities such as social media and video games. I’m not saying to take them away altogether but make sure it’s balanced with physical activities. Create and keep routines which are good predictors of mental health. Whether it’s bedtime, wake up time, days for certain ac-

tivities or chores, it helps to keep a positive balance in the child’s (as well as your) life. Incorporate social interaction with healthy friends and family members as routine. It is important to keep in mind that children and adolescents, like any adults, will have good and bad days with the occasional unusual behaviour. This should not rush in judgement of poor mental health just yet. Are they just over stressed or over stimulated? I can’t say this enough, timing is everything so in stressful situations, you should allow your child some space to calm down and gather themselves. Imagine that you’re in an overwhelming situation, needing space to calm down but is instead greeted with an intrusion of personal space and more distress coming from someone else. Parents often forget that children are people too and reserve the right to space. Watch your words as these can have a profound effect on your child’s mental health. Your words help increase their self-esteem, self-confidence and self-love. I read a study the other day that claimed children around the age of 13 were five times less likely to have suicidal thoughts and seven times less likely to attempt suicide if their parents simply told them they were proud of them. Five little words made that much of a difference. A time for intervention would be if you notice any long term changes in your child’s thoughts, feelings or behaviours. These include voiced frequent negative thoughts, persistent irritable, angry or sad moods or isolation with changes in eating or sleeping patterns. If your child is displaying these symptoms for a period of a month or longer, professional intervention is advised. However, if any thoughts of self- harm or suicide are mentioned, intervene immediately. If you feel as though you’re not equipped to handle the situation presented, do some research on what professional mental health resources are available within your community or online. It’s much better to have a list of options prepared and given to the child so they feel they have some control in their own recovery. If they are too young for this, I’m sure you’ll make the most appropriate decision. If there is a diagnosis, research the condition so both you and the child can better understand what is happening or what may happen. Finally, understand that improvement or recovery does not happen overnight. There may be lots of trial and error before you figure out what’s right. I know you may feel overwhelmed or even helpless but trust me, a loving, supportive and stable environment can go a long way when it comes to supporting your child’s wellbeing. Thanking you for reading. Please keep sending any topics you’d like to talk about to caitlinvieira@gmail.com Suicide Prevention Helpline numbers: 223-0001, 223-0009, 623-4444, 600-7896 Say Yes to Life and No to Drugs! Always


Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

NAREI offers tips on methods of fertilizer application

IN this week’s column, the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) will provide some tips when it comes to fertilizing plants and the methods of fertilizer application. When fertilizers are applied, care must be taken to ensure that the fertilizer is placed near enough for the roots to readily absorb it while at the same time the concentration is not so high enough to cause injury to the roots. The soluble constituents of fertilizers diffuse through the soil vertically and only slightly in a lateral direction. The method of application, therefore, must ensure distribution to reach the plant roots. There are three methods generally used for fertilizer application. These are broadcast, placement and foliar application. BROADCAST In this method, the fertilizer is spread as uniformly over the field as possible. This is commonly referred to as “shying.� This method is suitable for crops whose seeds are broadcast. The fertilizer is usually broadcast after the land has been ploughed and then mixed with the soil ploughs or cultivator. PLACEMENT Placement is when the fertilizer is put in a small area close to the plant or seed. This could be done in spots or as bands. For the spot placement, the fertilizer is put approximately two inches away from the seed and five centimetres below the soil. The fertilizer should not be left exposed on the surface of the soils. This will lead to the loss of fertilizer. This method is useful for crops such as corn, pumpkin, squash, melons and cucumber which have large seeds. In band placement, the fertilizer is placed in and on one side or both sides of the row, about five centimetres below the seed and five centimetres away from the seed or plant. This method is useful for crops which are sensitive to direct contact with fertilizer. Band placement is also used for tree crops such as citrus, coconuts, avocado and papaws. In this case, the fertilizer is put in a circular band around the tree. Trees are usually treated individually, the fertilizer being applied around each tree within the spread of the branches, but beginning a few metres from the trunk. Generally, the fertilizer is placed around the drip line of the plant canopy. The fertilizer must be worked into the soil as much as possible after application. FOLIAR APPLICATION This is the application of fertilizer directly to the foliage of the plant as a liquid spray. The nutrients can be absorbed directly by plant leaves although only in limited quantities.

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Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

SCOTIABANK SALE TO RFHL REVISITED ON April 2, 2018, the CARICOM Competition Commission (CCC) based in Paramaribo, Suriname, issued a release pertaining to the sale of the Scotiabank branches in the various Caribbean territories to the Trinidad-based Republic Financial Holdings Ltd (RFHL). RFHL has branches throughout the Caribbean and its Republic

Branch is the largest bank in the country. The sale was announced in November last year and the territories affected were Guyana, St Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines. The total sale price was US$123 million.

Last December, the CCC issued a preliminary release to the effect that they were taking cognisance of the sale. Now they have issued a fuller release: Acting under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas the CCC “reminds national competition authorities and member states of Article 175. The commission also informs that it shall approach those national competition authorities and sector regulators. . . for the conduct of preliminary examinations of proposed transactions between the enterprises.” The enterprises referred to are of course Scotiabank and RFHL. In its release, the CCC further went on to point out that in accordance with Article 175(2)(a) of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC), “ it would continue to monitor these developments in the banking and insurance sectors and that any impact to the CARICOM Community by the proposed transaction would be assessed in accordance with the provisions of the RTC. It went on to state that it has now completed a preliminary assessment and that such assessment indicates that the proposed transaction or parts thereof would possibly have anti-competitive effects in at least three member states of the Community.” Important for consumers, the CCC emphatically declared that “in furtherance of its commitment to fair and transparent processes for both the business community and consumers, it will continue to monitor the activity in the Community and will inform as appropriate in the further progress of this matter in affected member states.” The sale has had several ramifications, among the two most important being its effect on the employees of Scotiabank and its effect on the consumers and business, and particularly the banking sector. The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Mr Gaston Browne, was the first CARICOM leader to react. He declared: “In the case of Antigua and Barbuda, we are not giving Scotiabank any vesting order. They are not going to get it. We are firm on that. However, in the unlikely event they were successful in selling this Antiguan branch to Republic Bank, they will have to pay the severance . . . the staff will be given the right to exercise options of taking severance and continue to work, take the severance and leave, or if they wish to commute their service.” Guyana is one of the three states identified by the CCC as being adversely affected. The Guyana Consumers Association had expressed its disquiet in this column at the time the sale was first announced. If Republic Bank were to take over the local Scotiabank, Republic Bank would control over 60 percent of the banking business in Guyana. With such control over the banking sector, the other smaller banks would be at a disadvantage and none of the locally owned smaller banks would wish to have such a scenario. The consumers could very well suffer the effects of monopolistic control. For one, credit they could access would be controlled and some consumers may find themselves in difficulty, because of denial of loans. The interest rates, both at saving and lending levels, would be against consumers’ interests. At the present time, from a consumer’s perspective, it is bad enough -- savings interest is two per cent to three per cent, while lending is 12 per cent to 15 per cent. With monopolistic control, it may be even less favourable to the consumer. With regard to the workforce, Scotia, so far, has said that the present staff would be absorbed into Republic Bank and would enjoy the same conditions and facilities as they do at present. The formula put forward by Antigua’s prime minister would seem to be the fairer option. It is expected that the Competition Commission, the Bank of Guyana and the Ministry of Finance would now be involved more positively and engage the issue publicly. To consumers, if Scotia sells its Guyana branch, it should be sold to one of the smaller locally owned banks or a consortium of such banks. In every case, it must be ensured that a substantial proportion of the shares is sold to the Guyanese public.


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#SupportCreativity

By Subraj Singh

Guyanese writer shortlisted for 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

THE Commonwealth Short Story Prize is arguably one of the most well-known short story prizes in the world. After all, its reach does extend to every nation that makes up the Commonwealth. Therefore, the fact that 24-year-old Guyanese writer, Kevin Garbaran, has been shortlisted for the prize this year is something that should be celebrated by all Guyanese. His place on the shortlist, along with 21 other writers from around the globe, is a massive achievement and one to which the reading public should pay keen attention. Garbaran was shortlisted for his story, “The Ole Higue of Market Street.” The tale is of a young girl named Devika, who is growing up in a village on the Essequibo Coast (where Garbaran is also from), where she eventually becomes intrigued by the old woman who is perceived to be an ole higue. Garbaran’s story is metaphorical, with the ole higue standing in as a representation of violence in Guyanese society, particularly domestic violence. The story also addresses themes of growing up and aging and the passing on of stories and traditions. The writer has said that his own knowledge of Guyanese folklore comes from the community in which he grew up, where stories flowed, particularly from his aunts and uncles and his schoolmates. Garbaran has said that securing a place on the shortlist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize took a long time to sink in, because he initially entered the competition to gain experience and to validate himself and his writing. In his own words: “I wanted to make sure that I was good.” The writer says that the response so far has been overwhelming, particularly from the Guyanese public on social media. He believes that this support , coupled with his place on the shortlist, has enabled him to see that, even though he may not be able to make a living off of writing right now, it can still be regarded as a serious endeavour, something out of which he can make a future out . Garbaran has a Degree in Environmental Science, but he does intend to prioritise his writing, despite his love for writing in the future. He has also said that he is immensely proud to be able to represent Guyana on such an international level and despite all the attention, he does not feel much pressure, because his writing process is one that does not rely on pressure. His process involves a single idea that he allows to develop in his mind for a month or two, then he starts writing down a few scenes. He then creates a basic plot structure before sitting down to complete the writing. He also pointed out that the greater part of the story comes together in the moments when he is actually involved in writing. Garbaran knows that there are some elements within the Guyanese society that are necessary for anyone to have a truly successful literary career, and he also acknowledges that while a publishing house in Guyana might be too much to ask for, he is also aware that some incentive, created by the government or NGOs to support writers. He pointed out that he was once part of a writing group that had difficulties finding a space to meet, and if such small accommodations can be made in support of writers, then even that would be a welcome step forward. Arundhati Roy and Emily Bronte are some of the writers who inspire Garbaran. He also highlighted talented young writers in Guyana, all of whom have stories to tell – writers who he believes will lead to the renaissance of Guyanese writing in the coming years. When asked why he wanted to become a writer, Garbaran had this to say: “I write because it’s something I feel I have to do. Because I have something to say. And if people are willing to listen, then I have to say it. From a young age, I have always liked to come up with stories, create characters, etc. Reading and books have enriched my life and I want to have that effect on someone else’s life. For me, this is the best reason to write.” Garbaran’s achievement is significant, because it emphasises the fact that there are talented writers in Guyana. The fact that he has managed to beat out about 5,000 other writers for a spot on this shortlist is a testament to the often-ignored prowess and marketability of Guyanese

writing. If local avenues such as the Department of Culture refuse to see this as another notch in a long line of recent, independent developments in Guyanese literature, then they will continue to be regarded as a dead arm of the gov-

ernment that does nothing to facilitate writing in Guyana. Congratulations to Mr. Garbaran, and I hope that he is only one of many Guyanese writers who will be shortlisted for this prize.


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Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

You can compliment a woman by respecting her

WORDS do cut deeply, no matter what the situation is. However, we always have a say on the effects our words may have on people. It matters not the time nor place, especially on our streets. I say that to now say that street harassment is an actual problem in Guyana. We get so immune to the slangs, dirty talk and whistling on the streets, that we might not recognise it to be an issue, but it is. In fact, were it not for my mentor from the Youth Ambassadors project, Rosheni Takechandra, then I would not have been as aware as I am today about street harassment. She is a part of the ‘Witness Project.’ According to its website, “Witness Project International is an arts-based initiative of The Margaret Clemons Foundation (MCF), a New York City-based non-profit organisation. Its mission is to stop the cycle of violence against women and children by using integrative counsellor/teacher training, education, expressive arts therapy, and community/youth arts initiatives.” As part of their efforts to fight social ills targeted at women and children, one of their targets was street harassment. If you, as a woman, roam about your town/village, minding your own business or are probably out for a walk to catch a bit of fresh air in Guyana, you are bound to encounter at least one male who will blurt some unnecessary statements your way. I cannot even get past the first junction of my street without feeling like prey. I have been told I am unmannerly because I refuse to ‘give them a minute.’ I have been told, “you ain’t even that nice,” after not replying to a “you’re beautiful” comment. I have even been cursed at because I refused to even look in the direction of men on the streets, many of whom are old enough to be my father-- possibly grandfather. I refuse to accept it as a form of ‘culture.’ Let us not forget that there are also men who face this by other men, especially gay or transgenders; and we should also keep in mind that a small percentage of women would engage in such behaviour. However, from a woman’s perspective, we are deeply affected by this. ‘Stop Street Harassment,’ a group based in the United States explained, “Catcalls, sexually explicit comments, sexist remarks, homophobic slurs, groping, leering, stalking, flashing, and assault. Most women and some men will face gender-based street harassment by strangers in their lives. Street harassment limits people’s mobility and access to public spaces. It is a form of gender violence and it’s a human rights violation.” Great, all of these are labelled as forms of street harassment and maybe we can take matters to the police. But what do I do when many of the officers on the road fixate their eyes on you, their slangs on you and not on safely guiding the traffic? I have encountered numerous police officers who misuse and abuse their title, thinking it’s okay to engage in this human rights violation. My heart skips a beat every time I pass a group of males who make catcalls and sexually explicit comments to me, because I do not know if their words will soon turn into action. “I really want to marry the guy who whistled at me from his car,” said, no woman ever. This is something that we all can relate to. To my fellow ladies, look out for each other on the streets. To the male readers, your words have weight and women have feelings. In fact, I don’t think I can stress enough how this issue is already a human rights violation. All in all, you can compliment a woman by respecting her.


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Stretching sets you apart from others Too many people are willing to settle for average in life. Average is what the failures claim to be when their family and friends ask them why they are not more successful. Average is the top of the bottom, the best of the worst, the bottom of the top, the worst of the best. Which of these are you? Average means being runof-the-mill, mediocre, insignif... Inspiring lives through fashion icant, and also a nonentity. Being average is to take up IN January, some of the content of this column was about personal growth and I did space for no purpose; to take a trip through life, promise I will be placing a lot of emphasis but never pay the fare; to return no interest for on that. John Maxwell, who is one of my God’s investment in you. To be average is to be forgotten once you favourite mentors, wrote the book 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, and that book has pass from this life. The successful are rememshifted my mindset. I now host mastermind bered for their contributions; the failures are remembered because they tried; but the average, sessions on these laws. Recently, I have been intensifying the” law the silent majority, is just forgotten. To be average is to commit the greatest of the rubber band” and I am seeing results. Please allow me to share the content with you. crime on can against one’s self, humanity, and Growth stops when you lose the tension one’s God. The saddest epitaph is this: “Here between where you are and where you could lies Mr. and Mrs. Average – here lies the remains of might have been, except for the belief be… Rubber bands are useful only when they that they were only average.” Nobody admires average. The best organiare stretched. That can also be said of us. sations don’t pay for average. Mediocrity is not worth shooting for. 1. Few people want to stretch Most people use only a fraction of their 2. Settling for the status quo ultimately ability and rarely strive to reach their full leads to dissatisfaction potential. If there is no tension in your life to Most people are naturally tempted to settle grow, there is little desire to stretch.

Beyond the Runway with Dr. Sonia Noel

into a comfort zone where they choose comfort over potential. They fall into familiar patterns and habits, doing the same things in the same ways with the same people at the same time and getting the same results. If you have ever settled for the status quo and then wondered why your life isn’t going the way you hoped, then you need to realise that you will only reach your potential if you have the courage to push yourself outside your comfort zone and break out of a mindset of mediocrity. 3. Stretching always starts rom the inside out Reaching your potential starts from the inside. Most people have dreams. For some, it’s on the tip of their tongues, and for others, it’s buried deep in their hearts, but everyone has one. However, not many people are pursuing it. Instead of wishing, wanting, and waiting, people need to search inside themselves for a reason to star Find a mentor who can help you see yourself for who you could be, not who you currently are. And then use that image to inspire you to start stretching. 4. Stretching always requires change You can’t improve and avoid change at the same time. It’s difficult to focus on your past and change in the present. Yesterday ended last night. To grow you must be willing to let your present and future be totally unlike your past. Your history is not your destiny. If you want to grow and change, you must

take risks. Innovation and progress are often initiated by people who push for change. 5. Stretching sets you apart from others Forget some of the most basic habits you learned in school. Once you are in the real world – and it doesn’t matter if you’re 22 or 62, starting your first job or your fifth – the way you get ahead is to over-deliver. What do you pride yourself in, average or excellence? Do your daily actions reflect your thoughts? 6. Stretching can become a lifestyle When we stop stretching, I believe we really stop living. We may keep on breathing. Our vital signs may be working. But we are dead on the inside and dead to our greatest possibilities. Too many people are dead, but just haven’t made it official yet. If you won’t be better tomorrow than you were today, then what do you need for tomorrow for. 7. Stretching gives you a shot at significance Significance is birthed within each of us. If we are willing to stretch, that seed can grow until it begins to bear fruit in our lives. Do you think that you can be significant in life and stand out from the pack? Join me for my upcoming mastermind by emailing your interest to livingwithintention11@gmail.com as we continue to celebrate this beautiful journey called life BEYOND THE RUNWAY.

Echoing the call to protect our species-Earth Day 2019

EVERY year, Earth Day is a timely reminder to each of us that the Earth and its vast ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance. This day also recognises a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity. Overcoming the many challenges to celebrate this day required collaboration and participation from key players at all levels. Fast forward 49 years later, even though much has changed, increased efforts and emphasis are still needed to overcome new and emerging environmental threats and challenges. History of “Earth Day” On April 22, 1970, in the United States, millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development. This was a time when smog was becoming deadly and

evidence was growing that pollution led to developmental delays in children. Biodiversity was in decline as a result of the heavy use of pesticides and other pollutants. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. “Environment” was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news. Although mainstream America largely remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller, Silent Spring, in 1962. The book represented a watershed moment, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries, and beginning to raise public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and links between pollution and public health. The global ecological awareness was growing, and the US Congress and President Nixon responded quickly. In July of the same year, they created the Environmental Protection Agency, and robust environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, among many. Earth Day 1970 gave voice to that emerging consciousness, channelling the energy of the anti-war

protest movement and putting environmental concerns on the front page.

Earth Day 2019 As Guyana joins the rest of the world in raising awareness of this year’s theme, “Protect Our Species,”which has been modified to include “Safeguard Guyana’s natural wealth.” This modification aims to further raise awareness of the importance of our many plant and animal species to achieve our green and inclusive agenda. Even though we boast a variety of plant and animal species, the unprecedented global destruction and rapid reduction of plant and wildlife populations are directly linked to causes driven by human activity: climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, unsustainable agriculture, pollution and pesticides, to name a few. The impacts are far-reaching. The Environmental Protection Agency The Environmental Protection Agency has responsibilities for the management of Guyana’s natural environment. Anyone planning to do development or exploitation of natural resources must apply to the EPA for a permit. If the activities

are significant, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) must be completed that will evaluate the potential risks of the activity to all existing resources and species, and ways to reduce the risks must be followed. EPA also monitors on-going activities such as logging, mining, oil exploration and drilling, road-building, etc. in order to identify and regulate any unexpected damage to the environment and human health from these activities. Specifically, we recognise the importance of local, regional and international research efforts in supporting biodiversity protection and conservation. This is why it is necessary that persons carry out such research and apply to the EPA for a permit. This will help us to ensure that the access to and the benefits of these resources are equitably shared. Join the celebrations This year the EPA with guidance from the Department of the Environment will be teaming up with other environmental agencies such as the Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Protected Areas Commission and the Office of Climate Change to commemorate Earth Day by safeguarding Guyana’s and the rest of the world natural wealth. A number of public and private engagements

are planned all across the country. So be sure to look out for these events at public spaces across the country. In addition, other NGOs will be coordinating their own events to celebrate this day. If you are unable to attend any of these events, you can organise your own activities to educate and raise community awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of this phenomenon. Community cleanups and beautification, school talks, tree-planting or any other activity that will build and activate a global movement to embrace nature and its values. Be sure to also check out our social media campaign on Facebook and Instagram. Join the single-use plastics free day on April 22. Refuse plastics bags and take your own reusable bag when shopping. Remember, the change begins with you! Let’s help to protect out species by saying NO to single-use plastics. You can share your ideas and questions by sending letters to: “Our Earth, Our Environment”, C/O ECEA Programme, Environmental Protection Agency, Ganges Street, Sophia, Georgetown, or email us at eit.epaguyana@gmail. com or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.


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What it means for Guyana being awarded the world’s No. 1 Eco-Tourism Destination By Elvin Carl Croker VIEWED as a “vote of confidence,” Director-General of the Tourism Ministry, Donald Sinclair, declared that “it’s about time,” when it was announced that Guyana was named the number one eco-tourism destination in the world and one of the top 10 sustainable destinations in the world. The director-general’s view that “it’s about time” derives from President David Granger’s numerous reminders about Guyana having the largest freshwater fish in the world, the Arapaima; the largest raptor in the world, the Harpy eagle; the largest river otter in the world; the largest anteater in the world ; the caiman and many more, at almost all of his public engagements. His Excellency has even created an exercise book which illustrates, in bright, colourful photos on the cover, what is called the ‘Giants of Guyana.’ The awards were received by Guyana on March 6, at the ITB Global Travel Trade Fair in Berlin, Germany. The two awards place Guyana ahead of many very well-known and experienced destinations in the world. Sinclair said that he thinks the awards are a badge of honour for Guyana, which the Tourism Ministry intends to ‘milk’ to its advantage. He notes that with Guyana now recognised as the number one Eco-tourism Destination, two things should happen: the first is to have the understanding diffused throughout Guyana explaining what the award means, and second, to ensure that measures are taken to upgrade the product, noting that it’s a two-pronged effort. “What it means for Guyana is that there will be a lot of curious people coming to Guyana to find out why we’ve been named the number one Eco tourism destination. We can see an influx of visitors and we are making ourselves ready for it. People must know that we’ve been identified by a reputable International tourism organisation as the number one Eco tourism destination,” he emphasised. He attributes the awards to a combination of efforts made by Surama and Rewa in Region Nine; and that the Tourism Ministry will affix the award to some of its materials, which will read ‘Guyana – World’s Number one Eco-tourism Destination.’ Meanwhile, President of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG), Mitra Ramkumar, describes the awards as a grand accomplishment to all tourism stakeholders, especially the persons involved in community and Eco-tourism. “I see it as a victory for all Guyanese, because tourism is a fragmented industry in that you have to get every stakeholder from the airport taxi drivers with the transportation, market vendor, everyone should be involved, that’s why everyone should be proud of this achievement,” he said. He said the awards should be used to encourage more people to enter the industry and ensure that everyone aligns with best practices. The aim of the award is to recognise and showcase success stories and good practices of both emerging and developed or established destinations. Leading destinations are based on government strategies, policies and plans, as well as business and community-level commitments to sustainable tourism. Guyana was recognised because of its approach to sustainable destination management and development from a community tourism enterprise in Surama and Guyana’s national policy for persuading a Green State Development Strategy. Guyana has a legacy of efforts to support the protection of its rich biodiversity through environmental policy, sustainable forestry and the establishment of a national system of protected areas.


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English

STUDY SUCCESS Dear Student, The paragraph may have a lead sentence that gives general knowledge, with the remaining sentences providing the details. The lead sentence does not have to come first, but quite often it does. It helps the other sentences fit together. By arranging sentences carefully, adding words and phrases that help combine them, the structure results in a smooth-flowing paragraph. Be wise. Love you LETTER-WRITING ACTIVITIES Read the letter that follows, then interact with what is after it. Address Date

Dear Mr Wilson, Do you remember how pleased you were when you learned that you did not have to wait to buy your Toshiba video recorder set? Value Shop Electronic Networks was willing to let you (a new customer) purchase the equipment through a monthly payment plan with only minimum carrying charges. For the past 11 months, you have been able to record your favourite TV programmes and view a combination of old-time and modern movies – all because you were able to acquire your Toshiba video on easy credit terms. We want our customers to have the convenience of an easy-payment plan so that you do not have to defer the pleasures present-day technology offers. In turn, we expect them to respect us by following through on their extended payments. So far you have made 11 payments on your Toshiba video recorder set, but two

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

additional payments (equalling $3,280) are past due. We have sent you two reminders and a letter asking if something was Where observation is concerned, wrong. All our corresponchance favours only the prepared mind. dence has gone unanswered. How would you feel if you had LOUIS PASTEUR (1822-1895) Address givdone a favour for a friend and en on the inauguration of the Faculty of Science, then that friend ignored you? Put yourself in our posiUniversity of Lille, 7 Dec. 1854. tion, Mr Wilson, and renew our confidence in our offering holding his hat in his hand, was simply this; you Value Shop’s deferred payment plan. Send us your cheque for that the passions remain as strong as ever, but $3,280 in the enclosed envelope today. one has gained – at last! – the power which While you are at it, why not include your next adds the supreme flavour of existence – the power of taking hold of experience, of turnpayment for $1,640, which is due April 27. ing it round, slowly in the light. Sincerely yours, What a terrible confession it was (he Enclosure put his hat on again), but now, at the age of What You Must Understand 1. Value Shop Electronic Networks has a 53, one scarcely needed people any more. new customer in Mr Wilson who purchased Life itself, every moment of it, here, this ina video recorder set for a set sum with mini- stant, now, in the sun, in Regent’s Park, was mum carrying charges. He paid some money enough. Too much, indeed. A whole lifetime down and made 11 instalments, but has not was too short to bring out, now that one had made any further payments. He has ignored acquired the power, the full flavour; to extract every ounce of pleasure, every ounce all correspondences. 3. The above letter is subsequently written of meaning; which both were so much more to Mr Wilson. It displays company ethics. It solid than they used to be, so much less peracknowledges that something unknown is the sonal. It was impossible that he should ever cause for non-payment, but since no word has suffer again as Clarissa had made him suffer. been received, it assumes that the merchan- For hours at a time (pray God that one might dise is satisfactory, and that the client is not say these things without being overheard!), for hours and days he never thought of Daisy. in any financial difficulty. Could it be that he was in love with 4. Note that the letter states facts about Mr Wilson’s transactions. It is also posi- her, then, remembering the misery, the tortively worded but firm in its appeal to Mr ture, the extraordinary passion of those days? Wilson’s sense of duty, fair play, and respect. It was a different thing altogether – a much The company tacitly does not want to lose pleasanter thing – the truth being, of course, further business with this customer. Look that now she was in love with him. And that how Mr Wilson is asked, at the end, to send perhaps was the reason why, when the ship a cheque for the overdue balance to clear up actually sailed, he felt an extraordinary relief, wanted nothing so much as to be alone; the account. 5. At this time you are reminded about was annoyed to find all her little attentions – cigars, notes, a rug for the voyage – in his what was particularly taught last week: i) It takes much practise with writing let- cabin. Everyone if they were honest would ters which have, overall, a specific function say the same; one doesn’t want people after such as making an apology (a complaint, fifty; one doesn’t want to go on telling woman excuse), sending congratulations, giving en they are pretty; that’s what most men of fifty would say, Peter Walsh thought, if they directions, etc. ii) Today’s letter is of business. It deals were honest…. (Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway”) with a difficult situation. All these kind of letters shows how much you will require very ABOUT THE PASSAGE different uses of language on different occaIt is an excellent opportunity to experisions, and in particular how these depend on the relationship between you and the person ence the literary technique called stream of consciousness, which depicts a flowing of you are addressing. 6. Try this letter of business. Three thoughts in a character’s conscious mind. Partners has received a $350,000.00 cheque This famous English writer (a modernist of from Mr Simmons, owner of Auto Magic, the twentieth century, and writing during the 815 Independence Avenue, Diamante, East interwar period), Virginia Woolf, frequently Bank, Berbice, in partial payment of a long used it; and here it is found in one of her earoverdue account for $700,000.00. Write Mr lier novels called “Mrs. Dalloway.” Here in “Mrs. Dalloway,” Woolf lets Simmons, thanking him for the cheque and her readers into the impressions and memoinquiring tactfully when you may expect to receive the balance. Allow your study ries within the conscious mind of her peculiar partner to read and make comments on your character, Peter Walsh. Indeed, this chosen passage allows readers into the character’s tactfulness. point of view, by experiencing a continuous range of thoughts, feelings, and reactions. THE PASSAGE Read carefully and observe that ….And now Elizabeth was ‘out’, prePeter is aware of the intricacies - minute sumably; thought him an old fogy, laughed at her mother’s friends. Ah well, so be it. The details - of his loose, streaming internal compensation of growing old, Peter Walsh monologue. Discuss his reactions to events, thought, coming out of Regent’s Park, and with a close partner.


Chronicle Pepperpot April 14, 2019

Cross Buns

INGREDIENTS

1 lb flour 1 oz instant yeast ½ tsp salt 3 tsp sugar 2 oz lard or margarine ½ – ¾ pt lukewarm milk 1 tsp mixed spice 1 oz candied peel 2 oz currants

PREPARATION Sift the flour then mix together with spice, salt and sugar; Rub the lard or margarine into the mixture; Add the candied peel and currants; Add yeast and enough milk and mix to a soft dough, just firm enough to be shaped after it is risen; Knead the dough well until it is smooth and elastic; Put to rise until it is twice its size â⒚¬’ this will take about 45 minutes; Knead and shape into buns. Flatten slightly and make a deep cross on top with a knife; Allow to rise again for 15 minutes; Bake in a hot oven for about 20 minutes,lowering the heat slightly after 5 minutes; Rub over with butter to glaze.

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Profile for Guyana Chronicle E-Paper

Guyana Chronicle pepperpot Epaper 04 14 2019  

Guyana Chronicle pepperpot Epaper 04 14 2019