December 25, 2017 - Vol. 1 No. 49
Guyana’s largest selling daily & New York’s most popular weekly
Online readership yesterday 97,031
Next edition on Thursday 28th Dec, 2017
Less gold, more - Gold Board revenue in 2017 Chairman Trading and deficits…
Christmas Message from the Publisher of Kaieteur News
President, PM celebrate Christmas Eve with shoppers
he publisher, editor, management and staff of your dependable newspaper, Kaieteur News, are pleased to extend Christmas greetings to all Guyanese. We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Christmas. Kaieteur News has continued to be at your service over the past year. We have been consistent in bringing the news which matters to you, our readers, and the nation. We would have ruffled a few feathers due to our reporting but that is the nature of our vocation. We will call a spade a spade and we will speak out against wrongdoing in society, even as we highlight the progress which is being made in some areas. We make no apology for exposing wrongdoing or reporting on the good things taking place within Guyana. Guyanese deserve a better life. The resources of this country cannot be siphoned off to a few foreign investors without regard to what will happen to our children and grandchildren. The government must work to ensure that Guyana gets the best deal when negotiating with foreign companies. It must ensure that consideration is given, whenever the government is making deals, to the interests of all of our citizens. Kaieteur News promises that it will keep the government's feet to the fire just as it did with the former administration. We look forward to Guyana obtaining the best deal for its resources, be it gold, oil or timber. On this Christmas Day, as Guyanese join the world in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, we wish one and all, a joyous Christmas. A Merry Christmas!
Four dead GFC reports 'Good morning, in separate slow year Good Evening' saves woman from accidents death in a freezer p. 11
See pgs. 3, 49, and 52
- gives new administration time to 'discuss' way forward with Norway
Guyana still in the dark about
contractual provisions for possible oil spill disaster by ExxonMobil …Chartered Accountant calls for more transparency
Monday December 25, 2017
Kaieteur News Printed and Published by National Media & Publishing Company Ltd. 24 Saffon Street, Charlestown, Georgetown, Guyana. Publisher: GLENN LALL Editor: Adam Harris Tel: 225-8465, 225-8491. Fax: 225-8473, 226-8210
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL Today, Guyanese from all walks of life are celebrating Christmas at home and in the diaspora. Christmas is a time of joy, peace and goodwill towards all mankind. It is a time to strengthen bonds with loved ones and within communities. In the Guyanese tradition, Christmas is a time to spread happiness with family and friends, enjoy the festivities, attend parties and partake in some of the finest Christmas dishes—pepper-pot, ginger beer, black cake, rum, ham, roast pork, cook-up etc. This Yuletide season should serve as a period of reflection on our lives and how we must redouble our efforts in the New Year and beyond to live in peace and harmony, and to build a better and prosperous Guyana. It is a time when Christians come together to sing carols in their places of worship as they joyously celebrate the birth of the “Babe of Bethlehem,” Jesus Christ. Christmas 2017 will greet some of us feeling on top of the world, happy to be alive, despite the various challenges facing the country. But it will find many others feeling down, some through faults of their own, while others are victims of circumstance––joblessness, poverty or personal illness. We hope that the less fortunate will get the opportunity to experience the joy of Christmas through the generous acts of kindness from those who are better off and are conscious of their obligation to their fellowman. On this festive occasion, we must all pray for those who are bed-ridden in hospitals and in nursing homes, the less fortunate, and those who have lost loved ones during the year. We must also pray for those battling depression and alcohol and substance abuse, and hope that their spirits will be lifted and that they will seek help and refrain from their bad habits. It is that time of the year when the poor feel, most acutely, the deep distress of not being able to provide for their families as they would like, particularly their children who are too young to even understand the meaning of poverty. We should show compassion to them as Jesus Christ did in an earlier time period. The nativity scene of Jesus’s birth essentially depicts the poor human conditions in Guyana, where those deserving of help are the poor, the elderly, the homeless and single mothers. Christmas is also a time for healing and to forget the hurt, animosity, persecution and bitterness, and to renew our love for one another; hold out a hand of friendship to neighbours and friends; to those from whom we have been estranged and have done us wrong. We must recapture the spirit of the message that brought joy to the world 2000 years ago by the Babe of Bethlehem. However, the spirit of giving has not been made easy for many who wanted to give but are not in a position to do so. Needless to say, the true meaning of Christmas continues to elude the poor and the downtrodden in Guyana. Too often, it is the greedy, not the needy; the rich and not the poor who enjoy Christmas. Perhaps the holidays will give the political directorate, but more so the opposition, a chance to reflect on themselves, to unite and recognise the importance of inclusiveness of all in society, so that they can make better decisions in the interest of the people. As a nation, we are hoping that the New Year will be a year of healing, atonement, cooperation, and genuine and competent leadership. Best wishes for a happy, enjoyable, peaceful and safe Christmas to everyone. Merry Christmas to all!
Editor’s Note; If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Congratulations to Kaieteur News for your outstanding investigative reporting! Dear Editor, Please allow me the honour of extending my heartfelt congratulations to you and the Kaieteur News staff on your professional and first world reporting on matters of vital importance to the Nation. Case in point, the Exxon Mobil involvement in oil exploration slated to commence in 2020 and their questionable environmental record around the globe and the possible negative effects this can have on our beloved country of Guyana. Your reporting has been stellar and no doubt eye opening to all as it should be. Any repeat of this company’s disastrous environment record around the globe can
have far reaching consequences for our country well into the next generation. The work your newspaper has done in shining a light on Exxon’s dark side is highly appreciated despite the passing grade they have received from some in Government circles. Your paper’s reporting, editor, is First World. The investigative effort is worthy of the efforts one would see from the US FBI detailed and conclusive and is indeed a wakeup call to Sleeping Guyana. The questions I am left asking myself (1) Are we even partially prepared to deal with the tried and true history
and expertise of this company in running rings around other countries? (2) What would make us believe we in Guyana would not suffer a similar fate? And (3) Are those in G overnment and civil society actively seeking advice and soliciting expertise from those countries that have experienced the shady side of Exxon in doing business both economic and environmental? One can only hope and pray that they are. I am also closely following your reporting and exposing of the GBTI banking fiasco. It would appear that once again, us gullible Guyanese are
swinging in our hammocks and expecting the tiger to change stripes. Once again, your fine work in digging and exposing these pernicious individuals is indeed commendable. Thank you so very much. I have lived and worked in the United States for the past 39 years (looking forward to returning home) and worked as a volunteer on air news reporter at WPFW 89.3 FM for a number of years. I can appreciate good and expert reporting when I encounter same. Once again, thank you Kaieteur News on a job well done as the Nations Watch Dog in a good sense that is! Claudedton Massiah.
South Turkeyen needs greater attention Dear Editor, The Guyana Police Force deserves our compliments for acting to ensure that Traffic Ranks are regularly posted in the South Turkeyen area. This follows two of my articles in midNovember highlighting chaos, disorder and misuse of the roadway, particularly at the Dennis Street, D-Field and UG Access Road Junction. The presence of the police has resulted in huge success in regulating the road usage. Some errant motorists have even been charged for non-compliance with road signs and markings in that vicinity.
Left to be seen are similar corrective actions by those at City Hall and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure. Roaming horses, along Dennis Street from the Eastern Highway to sections of the D-Field Road, continue to pose a hazard to road users. Lighting along most of the DField road from Dennis Street southwards to the Mosque also remains deficient, and there have been some allegations of robberies in that unlit corridor at nights. For months these issues have been ventilated, and failure by the relevant authorities to deal with
them are huge disappointments to those affected. The parapets along the D-Field road are unkempt and neglected, with some unscrupulous persons adding to the poor state by dumping garbage ad nauseum. Since members of the Guyana Police Force cannot be omnipresent. The least the authorities at M&CC and Public Infrastructure can do is clean the parapets and seek to correct the lighting situation, which will inevitably decrease the temptation and likeliness of criminal activity along that unlit portion of roadway at nights. Orette Cutting
Employers fleecing their workers is nothing new Dear Editor, I read the recent letter about employers fleecing their workers. In the past, employers from abroad did this in a big way, and their exploited workers were unaware of this.In the mid-1970s, in between permanent jobs, I had an agency placement in the Finance section of a nearby worldwide chocolate family firm. It was an eyeopener. Their servants got nothing near what the firm had earmarked and sent for them. The money intended for, say,
three servants were used to employ four or more, servants overworked and underpaid. This became the norm. I recalled, as a child, learning to crochet and knit (my mother was a champion at both) and I sometimes copied patterns from notebooks borrowed from her friends. These women, many of them Carnegietrained, competent and reliable, were snapped up by British staff - unaware that they were being exploited, but feeling privileged to be working for
‘white people.’ They were treated with courtesy by “the mistress”, and they seldom changed jobs and forever remained my mother’s friends. I felt fortunate to have seen both sides of the domestic picture. Recently, when speaking with a high school friend from the mid1940s, she told me that I ought to consider writing a book on my various experiences through life, good and bad, others might benefit. A sort of psalm! Geralda D
PPP Central Committee selecting Leadership smacks of cronyism Dear Editor, The current method that the PPP uses in selecting leadership must be changed from the current manner, whereby the 35 members of the Central Committee agree on leadership to the more democratic way of all members electing leaders. The current method used is selfserving to those on the Central Committee. It is too undemocratic.
To explain to Guyanese how the PPP selects it leaders, I would like Guyanese to ask themselves if they are happy with just 35 people selecting who should be President of Guyana? Or, would Guyanese prefer for everyone of voting age to have a say/vote in who becomes President? Of course every Guyanese would like a say in choosing their Leaders. This is the way that it should be. Only
35 people to select the PPP Leaders (hence, Presidential Candidate), in flawed and smacks of cronyism’ the system needs to be more open and democratic. But, I do understand that those members on the Central Committee would prefer to protect their turf as oppose to making the PPP more democratic for future generations. Sean Ori
Monday December 25, 2017
I was slandered in an open letter DEAR EDITOR, My name is Neilson Mc Kenzie. I worked for two years as the Legal (Assistant) and Business Liaison Officer at the Ministry of Business. My name is referenced in an article published “An Open Letter To President Granger”. The article alleges inter alia: 1. That I do not possess a law degree or LLB 2. That I claimed to possess a Master’s Degree 3. That I didn’t go to law school because I couldn’t afford it 4. That I demanded millions of dollars from scrap metal dealers for permits. 5. That the trade was closed because of a report to the Minister. 6. That I was caught selling permits and the police were called in and I am interdicted from duty. 7. That I was fired while working at Hits and Jams for doing something on camera. First of all, a perusal of the graduate rolls at the University of Guyana would indicate that I graduated from the University in 2015 with a Degree in Law. Second of all, my business card and my signature on emails indicated that I was a ‘Masters Degree Candidate’. In other words, that I was now in the process of acquiring a Master’s Degree. I had signed up for the University of G u y a n a ’s Law Programme which stalled after the death of the HOD Mr. Sheldon McDonald. (UG can verify this). I have never purported to be a holder of a Master’s Degree. This is a well known fact.
Our house as well as our vehicles were destroyed by fire in Timehri in 2012. This is the reason that I did not attend law school at the time. The claim that I demanded millions of dollars from scrap metal dealers is also false, as no licence for export has ever been or can ever be signed by me, only by the Permanent Secretary or Deputy Permanent Secretary, nor was I a member of the Commerce Department which processed licences. My engagement was at the level of drafting legislation, interacting with dealers for consultation purposes and verifying their source of metals. This was a free and clear process with multiple checks and balances. No monies was collected at the Ministry either, but paid directly to the Bank. The trade was reopened under specific considerations after the Cabinet approved the Ministers request for three months. After the three month period, the trade was then closed again. This had nothing to do with me or reports made as far as I am aware. The three-month period was published by your very newspaper. I have never been caught selling permits and I resent this accusation vehemently. An exporter was caught with photocopied permits and tried to implicate the Ministry by saying that he got it from the Ministry; he claimed specifically that he paid me for it but did not receive it from me. I was on leave and out of the country on the day in question. (The police are aware of this). As part of the
investigation into the matter, more than seven persons were held for questioning and placed on bail, myself included. Finally, I resigned my post at Hits and Jams Entertainment to further my studies, because the law programme became more demanding at the time. That too is verifiable. I only ask that the details be reviewed so that they can be verified by Kaieteur News and then a retraction can be made. This entire ordeal has been very damaging to me personally and professionally as it has shown me how quickly an accusation can cost you. It is not the first time that something like this has happened with the Ministry and scrap metal dealers, but given the far reaching ramifications, I could not sit back and have my name dragged through the mud. As for the actual legislation, more than eight consultations were held with the scrap metal dealers, GRA and other stakeholders and several changes were made. The document in its current formulation is sound and only those who are keen to continually illegally deal in scrap metal without checks and balances would be complaining. Finally, I recognise that this is a targeted smear campaign aimed at painting me in a bad light to make those accused look better. I implore them to print their names so that it can be dealt with in the Court of law. Neilson Mckenzie (Jnr)
Appalled at treatment meted out to workers at this lucrative gold mining firm DEAR EDITOR, From media reports, one of the premiere gold-mining companies in Guyana has been experiencing a great level of success. Hence, it is surprising to hear from employees, about the treatment meted out to them. Let me start with the Christmas bonus. Those employees work away from home for 28 days, no days off in between, yet the company saw it fit not to give them a Christmas bonus! Instead, they gave them a small portion of what is supposed to be their quarterly bonus, and promised to give them the rest in January 2018. Many of the employees received $20,000 on their salaries. What is $20,000 Guyana Dollars in this country at this time of the year? Those people sacrifice their families and friends to
work hard and yet they are unable to give their families a decent Christmas. Another issue is that of meals for employees on the night shift. They told the employees that once they are on the night shift they are not allowed to have lunch. They have breakfast, sleep through lunch, but return for dinner! Why? Because the employees are getting too fat and it’s too expensive to feed them three times a day! Have you ever heard of such foolishness? That’s modern day slavery. There is no union to represent employees’ rights. And if at any time an employee voices concern over the working conditions, they find a reason to terminate him. So they keep quiet from fear of victimisation. This company promised to give pay increases
based on appraisals. Only a portion of the workers received same, even though majority of them had excellent appraisals! Why? When the PSC recommended a 26% increase for private employees, this company didn’t even give 10. This is ridiculous! As for their payment day, that’s the biggest joke. They say that they pay on Wednesdays. Many times, there’s no money in the employees’ accounts until Thursday night or Friday afternoon! As long as the big guns are satisfied, to hell with the people who are really doing the work. They put on a front when visitors from the government and media are there. But the harsh reality is written in the hearts and on the countenances of disappointed employees. Concerned Citizen
Ongoing violations of human rights DEAR EDITOR On Tuesday 19 December 2017, the United Nations General Assembly called on Iran to end ongoing violations of human rights, including its persecution of members of the Baha’i Faith, the country’s largest non-Muslim religious minority. The call came in a resolution, adopted by a vote of 81 to 30, with 70 abstentions, that expressed concern over Iran’s ongoing violation of human rights. It was the 30th such resolution since 1985. Among other things, the five-page resolution censured Iran for illegal practices
including torture, poor prison conditions, arbitrary detention, and curbs on freedom of religion or belief to state-endorsed discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities as well as women. The resolution expressed specific concern over Iran’s treatment of Baha’is. It highlighted the economic and educational discrimination against them and called on Iran to release the more than 90 Baha’is who are unjustly held in Iranian prisons. That resolution urges Iran to cooperate with the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Iran. This
year’s report of the special rapporteur, Asama Jahangir, cited “serious human rights challenges” in Iran. A report to the Assembly from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres this year also expressed serious concern about a wide range of human rights violations by Iran. The Assembly’s Third Committee initially approved the resolution on 12 November 2017; this vote by the Assembly as a plenary body confirms its final adoption. The resolution was sponsored by Canada, and it had forty two co-sponsors. Rooplall Dudhnath
The pros and cons of Bitcoin DEAR EDITOR Whatever is Bitcoin, it seems a phenomenon that is just as a flash in the pan. It is obviously not something you can put your hands on. Unregulated and wildly speculative, the people who trade in it are doing so at their own risk. Much nefarious things can also be done with Bitcoin too. The people who trade in it, do so at their own peril. Some would
think let them. Sooner or later that ‘house of cards’ will probably collapse! Still, for some people —like Venezuelans plagued with a shortage of cash and those in China, where the government has restricted movement of capital outside of the country Bitcoin presents an attractive option to get a hold on cash. Yours faithfully Rooplall Dudhnath
Taking back our streets DEAR EDITOR, My heart was delighted when I read a report in the daily newspapers that publicspirited residents of Non Pariel, East Coast Demerara had pursued, captured and detained one of the bandits who attacked and robbed the daughter of a parliamentarian. According to one such report, the mother of four was making her way home on foot when the men armed with choppers accosted her. It is unfortunate that she lost some of her valuables but I’m grateful she escaped with her life.
It is indeed commendable when communities can band together to defend their territories and counter any type of assault on one of their own. These callous, heartless robbers operate with impunity and without sympathy and have no value for life or limp. These criminals must know that everyone will not condone their anti-social behavior and stand idly by while they pursue their nefarious agenda. It is time we take back our communities from these miscreants. The Guyana Police
Force cannot do it alone nor can the Community Policing Groups. While it is not always advisable to approach and confront these armed and dangerous men, whenever the opportunity presents itself, residents must capitalise on it. It requires an all-encompassing approach but until thenGuyanese can come together to take back these streets from criminals by displaying the real meaning of community spirit. Once again, kudos to the residents. Danielle Campbell-Lowe
The Beacon Foundation expresses thanks DEAR EDITOR, The Beacon Foundation would like to record its appreciation for the attendance of one of your reporters at our recent Open House, and also for the related article entitled “Beacon Foundation opens hostel for the terminally ill” in your 18 December 2017 issue.
However, we would like to make one correction for the benefit of those who support our charitable work - Beacon Foundation does not currently operate any snackette or catering business. In fact, we closed our Carmichael Street snackette five years
ago, and have absolutely no connection to any similar business operating under the same name. With best wishes to you and your staff for the Christmas Season, Clairmont Lye Secretary
Seriously now… DEAR EDITOR, I am responding to Ms. Gillian Burton-Persaud on the assumption that the remarks attributed to her in the Saturday December 23 edition of the Kaieteur News, under the caption ‘Gov’t needs to take tourism more seriously’ are a true and accurate reflection of her statements. Also the statements made directly refer to the period of time of my stewardship as Director General in the Department of Tourism and as such I am very close to the issues addressed (or mentioned) by Ms. Burton-Persaud. The most charitable inference that I draw from the statements of the honourable MP is that tourism is a sector that needs to be regarded with seriousness at every national level because of its ‘potential economic benefits.’ With that few would take issue. However, a number of murky and inaccurate assertions follow that weaken the quality of the contribution of the honourable MP. These I shall address in detail. Possibly with more of an interest in light-hearted banter rather than truth, Ms. Burton-Persaud asserts that “the only bird watching is along the East Coast with the men standing at the corner with their bird cages.” Local Birding enthusiasts / guides such as Wally Prince, Ron Allicock, Nadir Allie, Gary Sway, Andy Narine and Luke Johnson, with their birding tours to the Botanic Gardens, up the Mahaica and Abary rivers, Iwokrama, Karanambu, Sloth Island, Canje creek, just to name a few, must be aghast and mortified at such an utterance in Parliament. There are colleagues of Ms. Gillian Burton-Persaud on the Opposition benches who know better than she asserts in her presentation. With another broad sweep of the brush, the honourable Member declares “Eco-tourism, adventure tourism, community-based tourism, wildlife, sports tourism, yachting, heritage and cultural tourism were all initiatives in the 2015 budget, but again, nothing happened.” In other words, Ms. Gillian Burton-Persaud would have us believe that for the past two years our green destination attractions were neither marketed and promoted internationally nor vis-
Monday December 25, 2017
ited; that yachts have stopped coming; that a Sports Tourism initiative that produced a Sports Tourism Guide and influenced the very successful Pan Am Hockey tournament in October never happened; or that the communities of Surama and Warapoka have been slumbering in hammocks and not hosting tourists, as indeed they have been; or that Guyana was not declared ‘among the 12 emergent travel destinations in 2016’ by Business Insider. One continues to be astonished. In similar loose vein the honourable MP reminds us that “There was $329M set aside for tourism in 2017. It was intended to fund the implementation of the National Tourism Policy; promote the Guyana Shield as a tourism production; strengthen Diaspora relations; develop and exploit tourism opportunities and intensify training in hospitalities.”The implementation of the Tourism Policy is not a project that ends in calendar year 2017 rather it is a 5-year Policy that sets the parameters within which tourism development would take place. Tourism in the Guiana Shield (and please bear in mind the soon to be signed Tourism Accord between Guyana and Suriname), Diasporic Tourism (do ask the Guyanese-Canadians about the recently formed GuyanaCanada Tourism Council) and Hospitality Training (land finally identified for the Hospitality School) are some of the aspects addressed in the Policy document. Mr. Editor, I have spent more time than I intended on the statements of the honourable MP, but I do believe that being serious about tourism obliges us to be as close as we can to the truth and the realities as they exist and unfold on the ground. Parliamentary privilege in no way weakens or diminishes that responsibility. Further, this critique will indeed strengthen the commitment of the Department of Tourism and the Guyana Tourism Authority to deliver the kind of Destination Guyana envisaged by the National Tourism Policy. Donald Sinclair Director General Department of Tourism
Guyana still in the dark about contractual provisions for possible oil spill disaster by ExxonMobil …Chartered Accountant calls for more transparency By Kiana Wilburg Earlier this month, the Ministry of Natural Resources in collaboration with ExxonMobil Guyana held a public lecture on oil spill preparedness. In the profusion of technical information that was made public, there remained one area which had little or no coverage. It is the contractual provisions in place for a possible oil spill by ExxonMobil. While this was absent from the presentations made at the symposium, pointed questions from Chartered Accountant, Chris Ram, did not solicit any favourable response. Ram said, “I was disappointed with the lecture. I asked about the contractual provisions in place should an oil spill occur…I did not get a favourable response. “I think we have two years left (before we head into production of oil) but I believe our advanced planning (for the possibility of an oil spill) should have been far greater. The real problem is, we have a Minister of Natural Resources (Raphael Trotman) who is completely lost. He is absolutely clueless.” The anticorruption advocate added, “Now, you would think that the Minister responsible for the environment would play a prominent role in such an exercise. It perhaps will come as no surprise that the Ministry of the Presidency missed this opportunity to show not only that it was aware of the dangers but to reassure the public.” Additionally, Ram also recalled an article published on Sunday which speaks to how five companies exaggerated their capability to respond to an oil spill. ExxonMobil is one of those entities. The Chartered Accountant said, “I don’t think ExxonMobil is irresponsible to not take the environment seriously. But I think they are only concerned with an oil spill and its direct implications and not the broader issues such as the livelihoods of people onshore, the implications for persons who are in the fishing sector etc.” Ram added, “I don’t think there is sufficient data on what would happen if an oil spill occurs and oil is being expelled into the ocean on a daily basis; what it would do to the fishing population and what it would do to endangered species such as turtles in that region.” He insists that ExxonMobil’s oil spill response plan should be made public along with documents crucial to the petroleum sec-
Chartered Accountant, Chris Ram tor. He insists that the Environmental Protection Agency as well as Conservation International really ought to be doing some more on this front. OIL SPILL RESPONSE PLANS Every country is expected to have in its possession, an oil spill response plan that the operator/company would implement in the event of such a disaster. ExxonMobil will be hitting the start button on production in 2020 and Guyana is yet to see such a document from the company or the Government. It is important, however, that citizens are given ample opportunity to examine any oil spill response plan which would be submitted by this company. In that document, ExxonMobil is expected to state the possible worse case scenarios that could occur during an oil spill in Guyana’s waters and how it would respond to it. But an oil spill response plan does not necessarily mean that a company is fully prepared to deal with such a tragedy. In 2010, the heads of some of the world’s biggest oil companies were grilled at a congressional panel which focused on the mistakes made in the infamous Gulf of Mexico oil spill. This was recognized as the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Within days of the April 20, 2010 explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, underwater cameras revealed that a pipe was leaking oil and gas on the ocean floor about 42 miles off the coast of Louisiana. By the time the well was capped on July 15, 2010 (87 days later), an estimated 3.19 million barrels of oil had leaked into the Gulf. Rex Tillerson, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ExxonMobil, was one of the
witnesses. He tried to distance himself from the mistakes of his counterpart, BP Oil Industry Company which was deemed responsible for the spill. Tillerson had informed the committee that the blowout would not have occurred had ExxonMobil been drilling the well. Tillerson explained that his company would have done the job differently. But members of the panel were not impressed by his mere words. Tillerson was attacked by some politicians for being unprepared for a similar disaster. A member of the committee pointed out that ExxonMobil’s oil response plan for the Gulf of Mexico was written by the same contractor used by BP. BP relied on Marine Spill Response Corporation. The Congressional panel pointed out that the disaster saw a spill of up to 40,000 barrels per day which was overwhelming at that point. Yet, the oil spill response plan for ExxonMobil said that it could effectively deal with 166,000 barrels of oil per day in the worst case scenario. Tillerson said, “When these things happen we are not well equipped to deal with them…There will be impacts as we are seeing. “We have never represented anything different than that. And the emphasis has always been on preventing these things from occurring because when they happen we are not well equipped to deal with them,” At another hearing in 2010, the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment in the USA had a session entitled “Drilling Down on America’s Energy Future: Safety, Security, and Clean Energy.” The hearing came on the heels of the infamous Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. The witnesses included Rex Tillerson, former Chairman and Chief Executive Of-
ficer of, ExxonMobil; John Watson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chevron Corporation; James Mulva, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, ConocoPhillips; Lamar McKay, former President and Chairman, BP America, Inc; Marvin Odum, former President, Shell Oil Company. The Chairman of the Committee at the time was Representative Edward Markey. Markley noted that the Gulf of Mexico Response Plan by ExxonMobil, Chevron, Conoco Philips and Shell were virtually identical to that of BP’s. Markey pointed out to Tillerson that like BP on page 116, his plan lists walruses – an animal whose range is confined to the Arctic Regionunder sensitive biological and human resources. “As I am sure you know there aren’t any walruses in the Gulf of Mexico and there have not been for three million years. How can Exxon have walruses in the response plan for the Gulf of Mexico?” After going around in circles, Tillerson acquiesced that it was unfortunate and embarrassing that that was included. Markey also asked the other companies how they would respond to having walruses in their plan. Like Tillerson, they agreed that it was an unfortunate mistake. The Chairman also pointed out that in the response plan, there was reference to a Dr. Lutz who is referred to as a technical support person. However, that person died four years before the plan was even produced by the operators. Tillerson tried to justify having a person who has been dead for four years in the response plan. He said that the person may have passed on but the importance of his work did not die with him. Markey then questioned if this is the case, then how one can justify including the phone number of the person in the said response plan. The Chairman stressed that if this could be done then Tillerson and others could not have taken such a responsibility seriously. The worrying part was that the other companies had the same person included in their plan. Markley said it would appear that the only technology the operators relied on to put together their response plan was a photocopying machine. Markey said that there wasn’t enough effort put together to ensure that if an oil spill occurred they would be able to respond.
Monday December 25, 2017
2017 was hectic year for ICT development – Minister Hughes …says most targets achieved The Ministry of Public Telecommunications is continuing its mission to transform Guyana into a knowledge-based, well educated society with people and businesses that are productive and globally competitive. Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes, stated that ICT has become the main ingredient for development all over the world so it was imperative that Guyana and all of its peoples become proficient, and able to participate in the exciting future that lies ahead. “2017 has been a hectic year in the Ministry of Public Telecommunications. We continue to face a few challenges but by and large, the Ministry has achieved most of the benchmarks we had set ourselves,” Minister Hughes stated. Based on a very detailed survey that was completed in December 2016, the Ministry designed a 5-year project to take the Internet and Government’s e-Services to Hinterland, Poor and Remote Communities. This project is being executed under a U.S $17 million fund through the Guyana/Norway Agreement and will be managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). According to Hughes, the programme has had the benefit of public review and consultation in June of this year, and earlier this month they were able to sign on the dotted line with the requisite funding now intact. The project will now set to start in January. “The benefits for our people in the identified communities are tremendous. Over 89,000 residents in approximately 170 communities will have access to more than 200 ICT hubs to be created over the five-year period. They will have access to online public eServices such as filing tax returns and applying for business compliance certificates,” the Minister stated.
Another benchmark achievement was the completion of the restructuring of the National Data Management Authority (NDMA) which was merged with the executing arm of the Ministry, the eGovernment Unit. “This was to enable us to satisfy government’s commitment to improve the delivery of public services as well as citizen-to-government interaction,” Hughes stated. She noted that the re-purposed NDMA is tasked with executing all eGovernance programmes; leveraging eGovernment as the platform for sustainable economic and social development; and developing an information-led, transparent society in which most citizens will have access to the internet – improving inclusiveness, accountability and good governance The NDMA, according to the Minister was able to achieve the operating, expanding and securing the national eGovernment Network – which provides internet connectivity Utilizing this network, the Ministry has provided free internet access to 53 Government ministries and agencies, more than 95 secondary schools, the three campuses of the University of Guyana and the Cyril Potter College of Education. Additionally, free internet access has been provided to over 37 technical/vocational institutions including the Carnegie School of Home Economics; to the offices of Regional Education Officers, and to several non-governmental organisations. “The NDMA has worked closely with communities and villages in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Nine and Ten and has set up 86 ICT Hubs with computers donated by Government thus providing nearly 200,000 citizens with access to the worldwide web,” Minister Hughes noted. She added, “Drop in to any of these hubs and you will see a flurry of children and teenagers rushing to com-
plete homework or just to play. So rest assured this was achieved in 2017 and is not fake news. Also connected were Regional offices, public hospitals and airports. After some construction delays, Minister Hughes noted that the NDMA has completed the rehabilitation of the Center for Excellence in Information Technology with support from the Government of India in the amount of $70 million. Located on the University of Guyana campus we are preparing to commission it by
March 2018. The Centre of Excellence in IT is expected to bridge the gap between academia and industry providing specialised ICT training to develop competencies among Public Sector ICT professionals “Even though it has not yet been commissioned, it has begun to fulfil its purpose. So far, three training courses have been conducted,” Hughes stated. Once fully commissioned, the Centre will offer a range of industry related and Over 100 students are expected to graduate in 2018.
Ministry of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes
Bagotville Bridge completed two weeks ahead of schedule
Monday December 25, 2017
Taxi, minibus fares double this festive season
The completed Bagotville Bridge.
Residents and commuters can now travel in and out of Bagotville, West Bank Demerara with ease following the re-commissioning of the Bagotville Bridge on Saturday. Ministers of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson and Annette Ferguson; Region Three Executive Officer (REO), Dennis Jaikaran, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GAICO Construction, Komal Singh, unveiled a plaque at the bridge commemorating its opening on Saturday. Minister Patterson told the gathering that a $92M contract for the emergency project was signed with GAICO Construction and General Services Incorporated on September 15, last. He said works commenced on September 21 and were completed at the end of November, two weeks earlier than the scheduled December 15. Two additional $7M contracts were also signed for
the provision of steel. The Public Infrastructure Minister urged the residents to take great care of the new bridge especially during the holidays. He cautioned them not “to drink and drive.” Minister Ferguson also appealed to the residents to care the bridge which she observed, carries new safety features. “We at the Ministry of Public Infrastructure are aware of the discomfort you experienced over the past months but, nevertheless, you stayed with us and you ensured the reality of the new bridge here in Bagotville. “I know that the previous bridge did not serve you well but you made your plea and the Ministry delivered,” she said. Minister Ferguson noted that the bridge allows for easier mobility, free travel and less discomfort. She disclosed that the construction of the bridge also created employment for over 12 persons from the
community. REO Jaikaran described the event as a significant one for the region noting that the government not only promises new and improved infrastructure but delivered on its’ promises. He said that “a bridge like this was able to be completed within six months, not only because of the effectiveness of the contractor but because of good governance of the government in the country.” Jaikaran said that the bridge new features are important because “we are moving in a direction where safety comes first.” The REO used the opportunity to highlight other infrastructural projects slated for 2018. He said that the region will benefit from $470M in capital works which would include roads, bridges and buildings. “Between capital and recurrent next year, we are going to benefit from at least $5B investment…. We were in
a state of distress now we are in a state of happiness in two years. Our government has been supporting this region tremendously and we have had many interventions from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure apart from our regional budget,” Jaikaran explained. GAICO’s CEO, Komal Singh who is also a son of Bagotville, praised the government for responding promptly, after conducting a review of the bridge with his team. “The Minister (David Patterson) was able to represent the case to the government who responded timely,” Singh said, adding “…I am sure we have many more developments in our community that we will see from the government so we can have a better life.” The CEO noted that from the 12 villagers employed for the bridge construction, ten are currently employed with GAICO.
From left: Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson; CEO – GAICO, Komal Singh; Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson; and REO, Region Three, Dennis Jaikaran at the unveiling of the plaque.
Although it has become a norm for minibus and hire car operators to hike their fares around the festive season, commuters continue to criticise and accused them of being exploitive. This was the case on Christmas Eve as persons flocked Georgetown to do their last minute shopping. Persons hurrying to get out of hustling and bustling are being greeted with some “outrageous” prices by transporters. There has been a hike in fare at almost every bus and car park around the capital city. Specifically, this fare hike was observed with cars not operating through a taxi service. Persons using taxis for short drops complained of the fares doubling. In some instances, taxi drivers charged $700, $800 and even $1,000 for short drops, when the regular prices are usually around $400 and $500. “Driver how much to go to La Penitence market?” one woman asked a taxi driver outside the car park at Demico House, Stabroek, Georgetown. The taxi driver responded $1,000. The woman said, “$1,000 to go right down there. Man every year is the same thing with you guys. You people over doing it.” In a serious tone, the taxi driver asked the woman if she had observed the heavy traffic around town and the time it is taking to make a drop-off. Nevertheless, there was some negotiation between them; the fare was reduced to $900 and the woman boarded the car to her destination. Another passenger, a student, complained of having to pay $1,500 to travel from Stabroek Market to Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown when the fair on a usually day is $1,000. The student said, “Is only because I have these bags mek I taking a taxi. These road cars, really overdoing it. When I call my usual taxi service, the dispatcher told me that no cars were in Georgetown and I didn’t able wait because I came to town since early this morning to do my last minute shopping.” It was observed that persons, who were carrying
plenty baggage preferred to travel in taxi so as to avoid the constant moving and stops to put off passengers when travelling in minibuses. Waveney Johnson, an elated shopper explained that she would rather travel in taxi than minibus because she would be dropped off in front of her home. “You see all them bag I have? I can’t catch a bus because I will have to walk through a street when I get drop off at the road head. When I catch the car I will get drop off right in front my home plus the taxi driver will help me carry in these bags. But not every shopper is like Johnson. There were shoppers whose preferred mode of transportation was minibuses because it was cheaper. However, some of them were left shocked when minibus operators demanded $100 for all short-drops, which on any regular day would be $60 and $80. Over at the route 42 bus park, Georgetown to Timehri, the standard $100 fare remained for persons travelling directly to Diamond/Grove. Persons stopping short of these locations were also required to pay the same fare, which would normally be between $60 and $80. “Passengers all shorts drops are $100. It don’t matter where you coming off even if it is right at Parliament Buildings,” one bus driver informed before he drove off from the Route 42 Bus Park. When asked the reason for the increased fares, a taxi driver explained, “Is the heavy traffic congestion around town during this time. It’s taking too long to make a drop off in this confusion. But some taxi man taking advantage of people. I hear some of them charging $1000 for a short drop. I can’t do people that because when this holiday done, I still got to get customers. I don’t want no customer remember me after the holidays as the taxi man who charged them expensive.” The taxi driver related that fares will go back to normal after the holidays. “Remember persons will want to go partying and so on...So they will need a taxi to go home because bus does hardly run.
Monday December 25, 2017
THE DIPLOMATIC DEBT-TRAP Today, Christmas Day, will find Guyanese homes soaked with various aromas – black cake, sponge cake, ginger beer, pepperpot, picnic hams, baked chicken and turkeys, you name it – and the smell of food is all around. The aromas of Christmas should drown out the nasty smell of betrayal which has become a feature of Guyanese politics. They will not, because of one singular act of rankness whose stench is so strong that it is likely to stay around way into 2020. The deal which the government signed with Exxon Mobil is stinking up the whole country. It is a rotten
deal, made more foul by nondisclosure, at least to Guyanese – who were in the dark until they were forced to do so or face embarrassment. Instead of firing those involved in deceiving the Guyanese people, the President took responsibility for the signing bonus being deposited in what he believed to be an escrow account, but which has turned out to be a foreign exchange account. The mouthpieces of the government, masquerading on social media, were daring enough to suggest that because government officials were signatories to the account, monies could not be
DEM BOYS SEH
illegal withdrawn. It is precisely because the signatories of the foreign currency account are government officials that the nation should be worried, because that means that they can be instructed at any time by political officials, as to how the funds should be deployed. If the contract with Exxon had been made public, there would have been no need for any account. The placement of the monies is illegal, since the monies are supposed to be placed into the Consolidated Fund, an extrabudgetary fund or a deposit fund. We have not heard of any
Because we will be off the road for two days dem boys decide that you shouldn’t miss nutten suh dem give y’all two dem boys column.
Woman play wid parrot balls fuh Christmas Yesterday, Christmas Eve, a young man run into a pet store looking for an unusual Christmas gift for his wife. De store owner suggested a parrot, name Chet, which could sing famous Christmas carols. This seem like the perfect gift. “How do I get him to sing?” the young man asked, excitedly. “Simply hold a lighted match directly under his feet,” de store owner seh. The store owner hold a lighted match under the parrot left foot. Chet began to sing: “Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells! ...” The store owner then hold another match under the parrot right foot. Then Chet’s tune change, and the air was filled with: “ Silent Night, Holy Night...” The young man was so excited he pay de store-keeper and run home as quickly as he could with Chet under ee arm. When de wife see she gift, she was overwhelmed. “How beautiful!” she shout out. “Can he
talk?” “No,” the young man replied, “But he can sing. Leh me show yuh.” So the young man tek out ee lighter and put it under Chet left foot, as the store owner show him, and Chet crooned: “Jingle Bells! Jingle bells!...” De man then move the lighter to Chet’s right foot, and out came: “Silent Night, Holy night...” De wife, very curious, then ask, “What if we hold de lighter between ee legs?” The man did not know. “Let’s try it,” he answered, eager to please his wife. Suh dem hold the lighter between Chet’s legs. Chet screw up he face, twist ee mouth, then clear ee throat, and the little parrot sing out loudly like it was the performance of his life: “Chet’s nuts roasting on an open fire...” Talk half watch how woman does mek serious joke wid man property. Merry Christmas to all you wicked and evil folks.
Roach and rat had a feast pun politicians gifts Christmas Eve two workers at de Waterfalls paper outsmart de boss man. Dem walk in de office wid grapes in a plastic bag. De boss man see de grapes and ee mouth run water right away. He beg fuh a couple and ee get it. De grapes taste suh good dat he ask de one wid de grapes how much she buy. She tell him she buy a pound fuh $600. De boss man give she $2,000 to buy three pound suh he could share round de office. De worker lef she one pound pun de desk by she computer. To dis day, de boss man still looking fuh she and de grapes. Almost de same thing nearly happen at Freedom House, yesterday. Rohee send a box of nuts neatly wrapped to de Opposition Leader. He decide he gun share de box of nuts Christmas Eve, something he never accustom to because he always selfish, greedy and always want everything fuh heself. But dis time de only reason he decide to share, according to de Chat-3, is because he ketch a rat in de box. De rat did done start eat
and nibble up some nuts. Jagdeo sit down and pick out all dem nuts dat de rat nibble up and then share de rest to he colleagues. Dat is wha de Chat-3 tell dem boys he do. Rohee was one who end up eating de same nuts. Dummy was de odda one. Soulja Bai hear how Jagdeo share nut suh he send to ee baker fuh some mixed cakes to share out to he people. De cake come late Christmas Eve and Moses collect dem. When Moses open de box wid de cakes he see a set of roach run out. He nah seh nutten. He just cut out de piece wha de roach nibble and give Soulja Bai to share out. When Soulja Bai see how de cake jib up, he realize something wrang wid de cake suh he ask Moses wha happen? Moses seh nah nutten to worry about. Is some fine roach run out de box when it come. Soulja Bai get more speed to share it out to he people. Talk half and enough said here; don’t think about trusting any politician. HAPPY BOXING DAY TO ALL!
objections, from the signatories, insisting that the monies pass through the Consolidated Fund. What comfort? The fact that there are signatories to the account is of comfort only to the foolish. If the contract had been made public, all this controversy would have been avoided. It is now being made public that the International Monetary Fund was given access to the contract and has made some comments on its contents. The IMF is often viewed as an extension of the American government, and therefore would most likely be predisposed towards supporting an American viewpoint. Yet the IMF is reported to have found loopholes in the agreement, which can reduce the benefits which are to be paid. This past week, the government went with its begging bowl to Brazil. Two major agreements were signed. The first had to do with water control in the south of Guyana and the second,
which is the more substantive agreement, was concerned with the road from Linden to Lethem. The Brazilians are not providing the financing for the actual construction of the road. They along with the Guyana Government are hoping that China will foot the US$500M plus to build the road which will link Georgetown to Lethem. Guyana will no doubt have to borrow that money from China. That borrowing will come with interest which has to be repaid. This loan will be the biggest investment made by Guyana ever. It will be bigger than the Skeldon Sugar Factory. China is a smart nation. They will insist that the road be linked to a port, as they have done controversially in Sri Lanka. China will offer to build the road and to build a sea port linked to the road. And like in Sri Lanka, the road and the port will run into repayment problems, and then China will come and seize the road and the port, thereby controlling more than one-
third of Guyana. Sri Lanka recently handed over a port which was constructed with Chinese loans to China, and for which it could not repay. China has gobbled up the port. It is all part of what is being described as the debt-trap diplomacy pursued by China. The leaked comments of the IMF, concerning the Exxon deal, suggest that Guyana may have some problems with interest, with Exxon. Guyana may end up in a situation where it finds itself over-indebted to both China and to Exxon. Guyana could end up becoming colonised by the Americans and the Chinese. So as to enjoy the aromas of Christmas today, consider the possibility that this could be the last time Guyana can have a Guyanese Christmas. If Guyana falls into the debttrap, it could end up being taken over by the Chinese and Americans.
Monday December 25, 2017
THE FREDDIE KISSOON COLUMN...
Christmas 30 years later Next year marks three decades that I have been a newspaper columnist. It should be a difficult task writing about Christmas every year. What do you write about Christmas every year? Aren’t you supposed to run out of things to pen? No! Not in Guyana. I doubt I am going to be alive another thirty years but if I am, I bet I can compose a new topic different from the Christmas columns I would have done sixty years ago. A columnist can do three pieces each day because in this country, we live in a vortex of senselessness that generate so many disasters and catastrophe that three
commentaries may not even do. So what’s new to write about Christmas that I have done since 1988? The sugar industry is the best place to start. I cannot accept that thousands of sugar workers have been put out of employment at this time of the year. It is unconscionable and inhumane. Maybe in another time of the year but not during the Christmas season. The reason is obvious – children have huge expectations as Christmas approaches. I did when I was a tiny tot so I knew the pangs and pain of not having a Christmas gift. My only gift was a light-green water-gun my mother bought for me at
Christmas when I was six. It was the only time I got a Christmas present from my parents. The next year there was no money. My parents had spent all their savings on the wedding of my brother who later became famously known in Guyana as Lightweight Kissoon. I cherished that gun, hid it each year at the top of my parent’s bedroom window and it became my recurring Christmas present each year. I kept that gun for 28 years at which age I met my future wife. It was one of the first things I showed her when she visited my home on Durban Street, Wortmanville. Soon after marrying her, we left for Canada to study, and months later our Durban Street house fell down and I never saw my green watergun again. An unpleasant encounter left me sad on the eve of Christmas Eve (Saturday 23rd). I was looking for Sensun Blue dandruff shampoo for my daughter. All the mainstream pharmacies were out of it. I stopped at New Market and East Streets where there is a recently established pharmacy at the eastern side of the junction. As I walked in, on the road outside the pharmacy was this little boy and his mother.
He was sobbing while she was trying to console him with the words, “I do not have money for that; you will get one next year.” I don’t know what the situation was but it reminded me of myself when I was his age. I have no idea why those sugar workers had to be made redundant at the holiday season but it should not have happened. Couldn’t the government have waited until the festive period was over? No matter which set of politicians comes into power, my experience living in Guyana is that the poor never wins. I don’t see any difference this Christmas with all the others gone by in terms of improvement of our poorer classes. I was overflowing with anger when those seawall vendors told me that Minister David Patterson was about to
evict them in this period of the year (see my November 14 column captioned, “A telephone call from the beach to the Minister.”) I shouted into the phone as I was speaking to him; “You cannot do that at this time of the year.” Can you imagine the depth of cruelty of our government that you would evict vendors from selling on the seawall at Christmas time? At the time of writing the same Minister is in Brazil with President Granger. They can travel the world but poor vendors have to do without an income in the festive season of December when every adult citizen has additional expenses. I believe in the removal of authoritarian regimes. When I was very young I did few conspiratorial things against the Burnham Government of
Frederick Kissoon which I have no regrets and would do them again. My youth is gone but if I was at that age I would have engaged in unorthodox activism to remove the sadistic regimes of Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar and this neoliberal administration we have in 2017. Poor people deserve a decent life; successive Guyanese governments must stop denying them their livelihood. I have seen too much poverty in 2017 in our country to make me think the poor will have an enjoyable Christmas today.
Teachers’ salary negations...
Task Force misses December 20 deadline, looking for extension Teachers from all indications will have to continue to wait for a new remuneration package, since according to reports reaching this publication, not only has the Task Force appointed to negotiate the way forward failed to complete its discussion, but it is currently seeking an extension to continue. The Task Force, which was brought into being based on a directive of President David Granger to appease concerns of the Guyana Teachers’ Union [GTU] about a lax negotiation process, was mandated to complete the negotiation process on December 20 last. Information reaching this publication suggests that the work of the Task Force could be stalled until approval is granted by President Granger to extend the life of the body. Reports suggest that the Genevieve Whyte-Neddheaded Task Force has thus far been able to complete and agree on the non-salary aspect of a proposal presented by the GTU. Discussions have since commenced on the salaried aspect but, according to reports reaching this publication, the inability of the Task Force to complete the process at the stipulated deadline has resulted in the process essentially being stalled. What is interesting about this dilemma is that this is the exact state of affairs that
evoked the concerns of the public school teachers, and by extension their union [the GTU], which had proposed strike action. It was following several missed negotiation dates and what has been described by some stakeholders as outright disrespect for the negotiation process, that the GTU decided to agitate its 6,000odd membership to strike. Strike action was in fact slated for November 2 and 3, last, but was cancelled after fruitful discussions between the Head of State and union executives a few days earlier. The Union in its threat to engage strike action had indicated that it would only abandon a move in this direction if a swift and meaningful response was forthcoming from the relevant authorities. To avert the strike action, President Granger had mandated the institution of the Task Force. This publication has not been able to ascertain whether the union has contemplated taking any action, since it is yet to see the work of the Task Force helping to fast-track the inking of a Memorandum of Understanding for a new remuneration package for its membership. In its proposal, the union has asked for, among other things, a 40 percent across the board increase for teachers for last year; 45 percent increase for this year and 50 percent for the
following three years (20182020) for all categories of teachers. Based on information this publication had received, the outcome of the Task Force’s deliberation will have to gain the attention and approval of Cabinet before it becomes payable to teachers. In the interim, Government had announced that teachers, like other public servants, would benefit from six to eight percent increases retroactive to January 1, 2017. In addition to WhyteNedd, the members of the Task Force are: Mr. Marcel Hutson, Chief Education Officer, Ministry of Education; Ms. Adele Clarke, Permanent Secretary (ag), Ministry of Education; Ms. Jacqueline Simon, Human Resource Manager, Ministry of Education; Ms. Kelly-Ann Hercules, Legal Officer, Ministry of Education; Mr. Frederick Mc Wilfred, Political Advisor, Ministry of the Presidency ; Ms. Gail Williams, Senior Personnel Officer, Ministry of the Presidency Department of Public Service; Dr. Hector Butts, Finance Secretary, Ministry of Finance; Mr. Emil Mc Garrell, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communities; Mr. Mark Lyte, GTU President; Ms Coretta Mc Donald A.A., GTU General Secretary; Ms Samantha Alleyne, GTU Treasurer and Mr. Lancelot Baptiste A.A., GTU Administrative Secretary.
Monday December 25, 2017
Monday December 25, 2017
‘DEVIKA TINSARRAN: THE CANCER WARRIOR Devika Tinsarran with a smile receiving the 5th cycle of chemotherapy.
Devika Tinsarran after the first cycle of chemotherapy By Tiana Cole Devika Tinsarran, 32, who was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer will be celebrating Christmas just like any other Guyanese despite her illness. Two years ago, Tinsarran was experiencing excruciating pain in her breast, tiredness and weight loss. These signs and symptoms led her to the doctor’s office for a medical check-up. These days, she spends her time sharing her experience and her lifestyle which she believes is the reason for her being called “the Guyanese Vegan” on Instagram and Facebook. And to whoever will listen, she is a breast cancer advocate in Guyana through various foundations by promoting healthy lifestyle and dietary habits that can change people’s life. Tinsarran is also an animal lover, who enjoys travelling. She stated that she will be spending half the day with her husband’s side of the family in Georgetown. She will spend the remainder of the day with her family in Wakenaam. “For me, family is important. On November 2016, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and my family took it very hard. I was away from them for Christmas and we were very uncertain as to what this year would bring, but in it all, we never gave up hope.” Tinsarran continued, “When I was given only six months to live, I refused to believe that Christmas 2016 would be my last Christmas. I wanted to be with my family for many Christmases to come. I’m forever grateful that I’m alive to spend another Christmas with my husband and family.” “I do not need anything else in
this world, I do not care that I can’t have all the festive foods and drink everything with sugar; all that matters to me is that I’m here another year to celebrate with the people I love... “It doesn’t matter how we do it, as long as we do it together,” she added. DO’S FOR CHRISTMAS Devika noted that she and her husband go all out with decorating the home for Christmas. “I’m in charge of the interior and my husband does the exterior; we take pride in decorating our home. The display we have is being referred to by some as “Kitty’s Christmas Village”. It brings us joy to see smiles on people’s faces when they walk past our home. “If we can put a smile on someone’s face, it is all worth it. It is hard work but it brings not only us but so many people joy at this time of year.” She added that she and her husband include the real reason for Christmas in their decorating plan. “We have a nativity scene in the interior and one on the exterior. I love to bake although I don’t eat what I bake, but I enjoy wrapping it up and sharing with my neighbours. “As a little girl, I remember growing up in Wakenaam. After church on Christmas morning, my mom would wrap cake and make a little goodie bag and send us to distribute it to every family in the village. It was one of the things I enjoyed doing, and now it brings me so much joy to do that for my neighbours.” DON’TS “Since I’m a vegetarian, I do not eat most of what’s known as your typical Christmas Day food and treats like pepperpot, black cake, ham, garlic pork, sauce and so on.
Of course, we still make them; everyone else has and enjoys them but I don’t. Eating the way I do is my preferred lifestyle; it’s not just something I do on occasions. And it’s part of the reason why I’m still here, I believe. We don’t do the whole sporting and drinking alcohol at Christmas time. The most we will have is Shandy. The gathering of families to celebrate, to fellowship, it doesn’t matter what happens throughout the year. On Christmas Day, families forget their troubles, their differences and enjoy each other. Everyone is happier at Christmas time, I believe. I think Jesus would be happy with us celebrating His birthday that way.” THE NEWS When asked how she reacted the first time she was diagnosed with cancer, Tinsarran said, “I froze; I became numb; I couldn’t feel my legs. There were so many things running through my head all at once. “As (the doctor) kept on speaking, I heard myself say to him, “Stop! Whatever you’re about to say right now, I wouldn’t hear or remember. Please give me a few days; I’ll come back and we’ll go from there.” Tinsarran said that her family and friends were devastated by the news, since no one expected it. The news was a shocker because her family does not have a history of breast cancer. But she said that her family was confident that she could fight this battle. She noted during treatment, it was the little things that made the most difference to her. According to Tinsarran, “My
Devika Tinsarran standing next to an ice sculptured Christmas tree.
Devika Tinsarran and her husband on their 8th wedding anniversary. husband was my arms and legs. I felt as though I couldn’t function without him. There were days when I couldn’t walk on my own or even get out of my bed.” She added that every day before her husband left for work, he would make her breakfast and fill her tea flask to last her throughout the day. “My mother-in-law would go with me to every doctor ’s appointment, every treatment sessions and she did all the cooking when I couldn’t.” While noting that her parents and her uncle live in Wakenaam, she said that they visit her very often. She stated that they would bring her lavish amounts of coconut water and organic vegetables which were an essential part of her diet. “My mom and dad called me every day and prayed with me; they still do to this day. My brother and sister made it their duties to come see me every day after work and did whatever they could to make me more comfortable,” she recounted. Tinsarran added that her friends would message her regularly just to lend support. This, she said, was extremely important to her. CHEMOTHERAPY Tinsarran did eight cycles of chemotherapy and 33 sessions of radiation therapy. Each has its own struggle but with the support from her family and friends, she made it through. She said that her faith in Jesus helped in the fight. Whenever she felt overly anxious, Tinsarran would listen to her playlist of healing scriptures. This calmed her. “It gave me added strength and Jeremiah 29:11 became my anthem.” She continued, “So I held strong on those words and it got me through the most horrible and damaging treatments you can put your body through.” “Because what chemotherapy is really, it’s basically poisoning your body and hoping to live after. Along with killing the cancer cells, it also kills every cell in your body that is attached to the cancer cell.”
Although Tinsarran wishes she could reverse doing treatment, she said the experience has made her a better person since she believes everything in life happens to teach us something. THE BATTLE “I would not lose the battle, not one day. And even today, I still believe that I will one day overcome this. I will live and not die because my work here on earth is not yet finished.” She would recite this whenever she felt scared. According to her, there was a point in her life when she “stopped freaking out”—it took her a couple of days. Recalling that time, Tinsarran stated that she woke up one morning to her husband gazing at her. She recalled that before she could have whispered a word to him, he told her, “Promise me that I’ll get to do this every day until we’re old and gray.” It was in that moment she realised that she had to fight with everything, not only for herself, but for her husband and everyone who was rooting for her. “They often say that the person fighting cancer is strong; but I believe the partners of those fighting are the epitome of strength,” said Tinsarran. Those persons have to watch you go through this horrible experience, watch you helpless and can’t really do anything to assist you, other than be your support system. She disclosed, “It’s very important for family and friends to be around you. Cancer takes a toll on you, not only physically but emotionally and mentally as well.” She added, “You need people to be there to keep your company, to make you laugh even in your pain. You need help with daily activities and chores around the house. It’s nice to know that people are there with you through your journey.” Last November, Tinsarran was informed by her doctor that the cancer has spread to her liver.
Monday December 25, 2017
By Feona Morrison
he Christmas season is most importantly about reflecting on the birth of Jesus Christ. It is also a time for family and other social gatherings, gift gifting, feasting and symbolic decorations. Christmas is undoubtedly the most wonderful time of the year. And what's better than having a Guyanese-style Christmas. In Guyana, the Christmas season usually rings in around October when stores begin displaying tantalizing decorations in their store fronts. Not to be forgotten are the brightly-coloured dolls, police cars, fire trucks and numerous other toys for the children which are bound to appeal to the eyes. Some housewives wait until this season to purchase new kitchen appliances, sofas, carpets. Those who could not have afforded to purchase the items cash, opened hire purchase accounts just to steal the show. Also in November, the radio stations would begin playing Christmas tunes. Songs like "Frostee the Snowman", "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" and "Hark The Herald Angels Sings" were bound to put anyone in the Christmas spirit. Frosty the snowman Was a jolly happy soul With a corncob pipe And a button nose and Two eyes made out of coal... Members of the Salvation Army, Masqueraders, drummers and flautists took to the busy streets of Georgetown to solicit monies from passersby. Ringing a bell, the Salvation Army members who possessed something similar to a "puzzling cup" would politely asked for donations of any amount. Dressed in brightly-coloured clothing, the masquerading men dance to the engaging rhythms. The Masquerade band cause traffic jams as members must receive tips from motorists before they are allowed to carry on. Regent Street, Georgetown where all the wholesale and retail stores are found is shopping central. Counting down to Christmas, the crowds begin to build up. So large are the crowds, the "pickpockets" could go unnoticed removing your wallet from your pants or handbag. Here is where the vendors assembled cause much confusion in their effort to sell out their commodities. Some of them shout: "Girls come get yuh curtain rods, yuh fairly lights. They going cheap, cheap, cheap." Others shout: "Come get yuh meat for the pepperpot. Yuh pork for the garlic pork. Yuh fruits for the black cake." Before "putting away" the house as many would refer to it, a little cobwebbing, wiping of the walls and scrubbing of the stairway is done. Some people would even add a fresh coat of paint in some areas. Decorating, including hanging up the fairy lights, putting up the curtains and plaques on the walls and laying the linoleum/carpet
Masqueraders just outside Kaieteur News on Saffon Street, Georgetown on the floor, are annual rituals. Some persons do the bulk of the decorating on Christmas Eve which would usually run into early Christmas morning when housewives/mothers would be busy preparing the lavish breakfast. This is when all the expensive wares from the cabinet would be taken out - the tea cups, saucers, jugs, and plates to name a few. Garlic pork, pepperpot, fresh homemade bread, ham and eggs, ginger beer and turkey are among the mouthwatering delicacies to choose from. The Christmas morning breakfast is probably the only time of the year that persons sit
around the dining table to eat as a family. After eating breakfast, it is time to open the gifts and exchange greeting cards. This is the most exciting time for the kids. Apart from the entire Christmas greetings broadcast on the television and radio, a popular Lord Kitchener song heard on Christmas morning goes like this: Drink a rum and a punch a crema, drink a rum. Is Christmas morning. Drink a rum and a punch a crema, drink a rum. Mama, drink if you drinking! The Christmas Day lunch which
includes baked, stuffed chicken and some sort of fancy rice is followed by dessert - ice cream, a slice of black cake, apples, grapes and walnuts.Most persons do not leave their homes on Christmas Day, unless it is to go to the Christmas morning service at their respective churches. With all that said, as we celebrate Christmas today, let us not forget the reason for the seasonâ€”the Birth of Jesus Christ. His birth is a special and miraculous event. Let us give to the poor and needy without expecting anything in return. Let us be merry and spend time with our loved ones as we reflect on 2017.
Christmas Eve shopping on Regent Street, Georgetown
Monday December 25, 2017
'AH PIECE AH PORK’ By Gordon French
…FROM THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
he first day of December 2007, I found myself sitting on the concrete steps of a colourfully-painted small colonial-style jewellery shop along the sidewalk of a curvy, narrow street in Road Town, the capital of the British Virgin Islands. It was a Saturday; my very first day on the main island of Tortola, having just arrived from Guyana, in pursuit of new opportunities just like so many other Guyanese before me had done. I had accepted a journalism offer with a weekly newspaper. The Virgin Islands (the official name) are nestled in the cluster of Leeward Islands, between Puerto Rico and St. Maarten. There are also the United States Virgin Islands which are nearby. I arrived at the British Territory via a small twin-engine aircraft from St. Maarten because, as I discovered, the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport, the main port of entry for aircraft, is similar in size to the Eugene F. Correia International Airport at Ogle. The Virgin Islands are home to about 2000 Guyanese. They are known as the sailing capital of the world because their scattered cays are submerged in turquoise waters that are a huge draw for tourists seeking untouched natural paradise destinations. Although mostly self-governing, the British still maintain some powers. The main revenue generators are tourism and financial services. The publisher of the newspaper, Elton Callwood, collected me at the airport, drove through the hills, which should really be classified as mountains, and into Road Town. Our first stop was the shop along Main Street. My suitcase was in the tray of his pickup truck. Despite my pleadings, I was told that the suitcase was safe in the open and I did not have to worry about it being stolen. An annual event, 'Christmas on Main Street' was in full swing. There were stalls set up along the middle of the street, with dozens of buyers searching for festive items. The event ushers in the Christmas season on the island and coincides with the Lions' Christmas tree lighting, an event that sees performances from children and groups across the main island. After an 'island handshake', Elton introduced me to 'the boys,' who appeared to instinctively gather outside the shop. It soon became clear that the shop was an annual meeting point, because chairs were brought onto the street, followed by an assortment of alcoholic beverages. As the newbie in the midst, the
Vendors line the street for the Christmas on Main Street in the BVI
conversation naturally shifted to the best Christmas experience in the Caribbean, specifically, who can boast of having the 'crème de la crème' of Christmases. Surprisingly, everyone was familiar with pepper pot and its connection with Guyana. They knew that Guyanese loved to 'lime' and the liquor flowed freely at Christmas. We all agreed that Christmas was about celebrating the birth of Christ, spending time with family and friends. Virgin Islanders would travel home. Similarly, because the BVI is populated by mostly expatriates, Christmas sees many persons returning to their home country to celebrate with loved ones. Elton wanted me to get as much local experience as possible on my first day. He encouraged me to ensure I tasted some Guavaberry liqueur, the islands' staple at Christmas, made from the fruit of the Guavaberry Tree, rum, sugar and spices. Luckily for me, Christmas on Main Street showcased a variety of locally made produce, including Guavaberry wine. The spices and the fruity flavour hit
The recipe for making guavaberry rum is often a family secret passed down through generations. The mixture is very popular in the Virgin Islands at Christmas. immediately, which drowned out any hint of rum. It was poured by an elderly seller and from a large brown bottle which was used to cure the liquor for several months. As I walked along the event, I came to learn of Fungi music, once produced from a unique blend of homemade instruments, including a wash pan. Then a parang song came blaring over the sound system. It struck me
immediately as a song I had never heard. The lyrics went something like this; “Ah want ah piece of pork, ah want ah piece of pork, I want a piece of pork for meh Christmas, I doh want no Manicou, Yuh could keep the Callaloo ah want ah piece of pork for meh Christmas Continued on page 44
Monday December 25, 2017
GuyaneseChristmas’ 'There's no Christmas like a
By Rehanna Ramsay
- Overseas- based Guyanese share their favourite holiday traditions
t is often said that “there's no Christmas like a Guyanese Christmas,” and for many of our nation's citizens scattered across the globe, this saying certainly proves true as the feeling of nostalgia deepens, particularly during the holidays. This year's Christmas special, features a few overseas-based Guyanese who shared their candid views about the holiday traditions of their adopted homelands and what they miss most about Christmas in Guyana.
UNITED STATES Given her experience travelling to various parts of the world on duty as a serving United States-based army officer, Wanita Caleb, a mom of two, explained that her family is exposed to a wealth of culture and traditions. Caleb, a Sergeant First Class, (SFC) has served in the US army for the past decade. She currently works as a human resource specialist, where she helps to process the paperwork of army officers. Currently stationed in the deserts of California, Caleb has worked at army bases in South Korea, Iraq, Italy, Rwanda, Turkey, and Hawaii. “Travelling to these places, you would be surprised at how different we are yet very similar. Like South Korea, for instance, there's a meal that is included at all festivities called Kimchi. Kimchi is a meal of fermented cabbage, so it smells really bad, but surprisingly tastes really good.” “Just like pepperpot and black cake in Guyana, it's a must-have for the holidays. And in most places, Christmas is spent with family and friends.” In Italy, their holiday meals are made up of a lot of meat. Their diet is largely meat- based, then there's bread, a lot of fruits and wine.” In some places people would decorate their homes and places of work just like in Guyana. However, I think, what I miss most about Guyana is the food. For instance, while I was serving in Hawaii, we made pepperpot, because my husband and I try to expose the kids to Guyanese culture as much as possible, but we couldn't make black cake because there were no fruits for the black cake.” Hawaii is like paradise, it's warm there, so Santa doesn't have a red suit and beard. He has a surfboard and wears an unbuttoned shirt. He's surfer claus. CHINA For Tanza Mc Almont, a Guyanese student living in China, Christmas is nothing out of the ordinary, since Christmas is more of a western thing. “When you're a student, you still go to class on Christmas Day because most Chinese are not Christians, the season is an event to sell their products and make money. There's no spirit of coming together and having a feast.” “If we didn't have social media to remind us its Christmas Day, we would
forget, because it's just a normal day in China, just school and work. “There are no Christmas carols in the streets or coming from people's homes…you might only hear a few in the big malls and see a few lighted Christmas trees, there. For me personally, I put up some lights in my apartment and do my
Tanza Mc Almont is a Guyanese based in China
Wanita Caleb, her husband Tyrone and two children.
Grouper with Johnny Cake is part of the Bahamian spread on Christmas Day
Carrol Ramsay Adams
baking and cooking.” “In some cases she explained that foreigners, (non-Chinese) would gather with friends. They might go clubbing or hang at a friend's place, cook, eat and drink and that's Christmas.” THE BAHAMAS Much like Guyana, Christmas in The Bahamas, centres on family and friends. Errie Samaroo and his wife, Meena, both school teachers, are residents of the Island paradise. They explained that much like Guyanese, for Christmas, Bahamians
paint their houses, change curtains and rearrange or buy new furniture. “Lots of emphasis is placed on appearance of the home and a well-kept lawn. Bahamians also shop late at night to get the best bargains. A few families do exterior decorating of lights, though. The Christmas meal centres on ham, turkey, baked macaroni, candied yellow potatoes, peas and rice, fish, lots of sodas, and alcoholic beverages.” He added that as a matter of tradition, families participate in potluck. “This is where families gather at
grandparents' home and each person brings something different or unique to celebrate Christmas.” Strangely enough, Mr. Samaroo shared that a Bahamian Christmas breakfast consists of boiled grouper (fish) with Johnny cake and bush tea. “This is different, since (boiled) fish is not considered something to eat at a Guyanese Christmas. Guyanese living in The Bahamas, prepare pepperpot, black cake, home-baked bread, and cook chowmein, fried rice, and cook-up rice.” Continued on page 43
Monday December 25, 2017
GuyaneseChristmas’ 'There's no Christmas like a
By Rehanna Ramsay
- Overseas- based Guyanese share their favourite holiday traditions From page 42 “Guyanese prefer to spend Christmas at their homes, but would celebrate Boxing Day with other Guyanese eating and drinking, potluck style. Thousands of Bahamians go to bed early (older ones) so that they get enough sleep to prepare for Junkanoo celebrations, (Boxing Day).” “We don't feel the Christmas vibes like Guyana, where Christmas music is constantly playing in the minibuses, street corners or even blaring from homes. Despite the difference, it's still beautiful. Christmas in The Bahamas is more Christ-centered and quiet.” ANTIGUA Carrol Ramsay-Adams has made St. John, Antigua her second home. She explains that certainly Christmas in Antigua cannot be compared to the festivities in Guyana. “I have been here for like thirty years and it's nothing like home. Guyanese over here miss home very much, especially at Christmas time. What you'll find Guyanese will do is come together, invite their friends over and have one big celebration. We try to keep the tradition together, like with the food and so on.” But for Antiguans, Christmas is very simple; they shop and decorate, but it's nothing like Guyana. In Antigua, people do most of their shopping at late Christmas Eve but not as much as back home. Carrol says that if it weren't for the coming together of Guyanese in Antigua, “I think that Christmas in Antigua for Guyanese would be quite bland. That's one reason why Guyanese would return home for the holidays.” BARBADOS Donella Stuart has seen several Christmases in St. Michael, Barbados. “As a working mom I hardly have time to partake in the holiday traditions, but what I can say is that the Bajans observe the holiday quite differently.” “It is quite simple, you do your shopping, take the children to see Father Christmas, (Santa) at the mall and
exchange gifts with friends. There might be craft fairs, house parties, street limes and so forth, but generally Christmas in Barbados is pretty quiet.” The mother of two noted that “during this time of year, Bajans meet up at Queen's Park. There's usually a big celebration there. People get all decked out and head out early Christmas morning, for a concert and lime. The crowds are entertained by the Royal Barbados Police Force Band. In some cases, folks would attend Church on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day”. A lot like Guyanese, Donella explained that Barbadians get together with their families and friends to celebrate the holiday. “There are massive feasts with baked hams and lots of liquor.” TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO Tony Evans is among quite a few Guyanese living in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T). He explained that quite
similar to most festivities in T&T, Christmas involves a lot of parties, liming and rum. Steel pan renditions of your favourite Christmas carols will most likely be heard by shoppers in downtown, Port-of-Spain. “There is not much difference to me with the way Christmas is celebrated in T&T compared to other holidays, because Trinidadians like to party and that's what they do best.” He explained that Trinidadians have a special type of music that is played throughout the season. The Christmas music called the Parang; an upbeat Spanishstyle music. The season usually kicks off with Parang music festival. “Trinidad is certainly a nice place, but there no place like home for the holidays. So for me, I would trade de li'l rum for some nice Guyanese-made pepperpot and garlic pork any day.”
A traditional Parang group from T&T
All decked out: Christmas in the Park is a Bajan tradition (Mekkaman films and Images)
s a m t s i r h C Kaieteur News
By Akeasha Boodie
Monday December 25, 2017
through the eyes of a blind person
Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes does not mean he lacks vision”- Stevie Wonder There are some of us who can get to enjoy the Christmas season by admiring the Christmas trees and decorations, fairy lights and light ups that happen across Guyana. There are also some of us who do not appreciate the scenery around us during the festive season. Then there are some of us who cannot see the garlands in the house nor the lights outside, but we can use our creative vision and understanding to appreciate our surroundings. Twenty-one year-old Ceion Rollox happens to fall into the third category. Ceion learnt that he was blind at the age of 14. “I grew up in a family that had little in the way of financial assets, and as a result, struggled from time to time.” “It was April 2011 when I went to bed quite normally and woke up completely blind. It was my worst fear come to life. I was devastated! After countless doctor visits, examinations and disappointments, I became depressed, as I was unsuccessful in regaining my eyesight.” “After a short while, I began to accept my new reality, and decided that being blind will not stop me from achieving my goals and becoming successful in my life.” At school, the Sophia resident encountered challenges, because he had lost his sight. But with his drive to be successful and reliable persons there to help him achieve his goals, he worked his way to becoming successful at school. “At some point during this period, I was deemed a hopeless student. Nevertheless, with the support of the dedicated tutors at the Blind Society, I was able to defy the odds and achieve what many thought was impossible. I was fortunate enough to obtain five Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) subjects. After this achievement, I felt very optimistic about my future.
Ceion Rollox Following my success at the CXC exams, I was granted a scholarship from the government of Guyana to attend the University Of Guyana; where I am currently pursuing a BSC in International Relations.” “I am pursuing a tertiary education at the university, to attain the level of education needed for me to obtain a career that will afford me financial stability, to give my mother and myself a better life.” He also joined the Blind Cricket Team, where he says he “became a fine cricketer with the drive to succeed
and the desire to “prove everyone wrong who dared to say I will fail”. I became a real asset to my team. I was later selected to represent my country at the Blind Cricket Tournament that was held in St. Lucia.” His passion for empowering youths led Ceion to founding a youth group in his community of Sophia. The name of the group is Sofia Independent Youth Movement (SIYM), it was founded in 2016. The aim of the group is to empower youths between age 14-30 through sports, recreation and social activities. For Ceion, Christmas has always been good before and after losing his sight. Christmas is special to Ceion, despite not being able to see. He enjoys all the activities that take place during this period. He recalled that before he lost his sight he enjoyed Christmas, because it was at this time that he would get to see his family and friends. The unity was the most significant part of Christmas for him. Now he still enjoys when family and friends come together. “Christmas means a lot to me, even after losing my sight [because] I get extra gifts from my friends.” He also noted that “the part I still love with the season is a lot of drinking, dancing and eating.” Some of us know that Christmas is approaching when we see the decorative lights, the Christmas trees and persons wearing the traditional red and green colours to celebrate the season. Ceion explained that he knows Christmas is coming “when Home Alone is streaming on the TV, and cleaning is going on in the home.” He also explained that the aroma of food in the house also heightens his senses and excites him. “I get excited when I smell the Christmas food it makes me get hungry and ready to eat; my favourite Christmas dish is Pepper-Pot.” This year Ceion plans on spending Christmas with all of his family and friends and having fun with them. He has one true wish that he wants to be fulfilled. “My one true wish for Christmas this year is for the coming year to be good and blessed for me.”
'AH PIECE AH PORK’ …FROM THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS From page 41 ah want ah piece of pork, Ah want ah piece of pork, ah want ah piece of pork for meh Christmas,'. The artist was Trinidad's Scrunter, whose real name is Irwin Reyes Johnson. Maybe it was the Guavaberry, but that song has stayed with me ever since. Funny enough, I have never eaten pork, largely because of my Adventist upbringing. That first Christmas in the Virgin Islands, I was alone, away from my family who I had left in The Bahamas and my fiancée at the time, Melissa. I longed for a Guyanese Christmas, even though I must admit that Christmas has become too commercialised. Over the next eight years, I spent another seven Christmas Days in the Virgin Islands. Those holidays were merry, because I met some incredible people, including Guyanese. Away from
home, we leaned heavily on each other to make the season bright. Due to our busy schedule, my wife and I often ordered cake from Cheryl Winter, a Guyanese. I looked forward to my Rotary Club of Road Town's annual roundabout light-up, assisting the elderly and other community projects in December. There were times when we gathered at friends. Vance Lewis, Nelcia St. Jean, Quincy Woolford, James Harris, Shan Mohamed and Pati Romney, the daughter of former Chief Minister, Cyril Romney, were all integral part of my Christmas experience in the Virgin Islands. My Rotary family was also special to me. And then came September 2017. Hurricanes Irma and Maria whipped the Virgin Islands into a scene that is best described as a bomb decimating a large swathe of inhabited landmass. I returned to Guyana in August, a
month before the ferocious category five Irma struck. Five persons died, including a Guyanese, as a direct result of the hurricanes. Many more have died since due to health-related complications, including my friend Pati's mom. We will never know if the post-hurricane stress contributed to these deaths. I believe they did. I have seen photos and videos of the places I once visited. Buildings toppled and blocked parts of Main Street in the days following the storm. Many who have not rebuilt their homes now live in temporary tents. Families were separated. Parents were forced to send their children to live with relatives off-island, because the aftermath posed a great risk to the young and elderly. There was a rush to re-open the tourism sector, recognising that the activity would help jump start the economic recovery. Small private jets
and boats customarily bring thousands of tourists to the island for the New Year's celebrations. The islands are slowly returning to normalcy. In Tortola, the Main Street event was held on another street and the Lions' Christmas tree light-up was shifted to another location. My Rotary Club held its annual roundabout light-up. Christmas in any part of the world is about family. It is also about giving and sharing. I was happy when Guyana assisted the Virgin Islands following the storms. Christmas offers the opportunity to rekindle relationships which may have drifted apart during the year for varying reasons. This Christmas, whether you plan to enjoy guavaberry wine, ginger beer, a piece of pork or pepperpot, remember to celebrate humanity, because life may take you on a different journey next Christmas. From my immediate family and the Kaieteur News family, Merry Christmas.
Monday December 25, 2017
TRADING AND DEFICITS…
Gold Board basks in turnaround year, despite lower declarations The year 2017 is coming to an end, with a few days of trading and declarations left for the Guyana Gold Board (GGB). But despite lowerthan-projected declarations, overall, it has been an excellent one by any means. And the performance is due to prudent stewardship of buffer stocks on the international trading market, along with work to improve trust with stakeholders. Speaking with Kaieteur News last week, Chairman of GGB, Gabriel ‘GHK’ Lall, explained the board inherited a tough situation, with over $14B in deficits racked up at the Bank of Guyana. He said that prior management could be likened to hunting elephants, expecting big returns from rising prices, with Guyana left holding the bag when prices fell. After a heartening run of a few years, with prices reaching almost US$1,900 per ounce, the prices started tumbling in 2012. It was reported that between 2012 and 2013, the Gold Board borrowed large sums from the national treasury to trade in gold, which resulted in massive losses from lower
Gold Board’s Chairman, Gabriel ‘GHK’ Lall and GM (ag.), Eondrene Thompson. prices. Lall explained that there were no effective downside protection hedges, with players operating over their heads and out of their depth. As a result, Gold Board was saddled with the fallout. This year has been good for Gold Board on all accounts. It is not expected that the 700,000-plus ounces of last year, a record-breaking one, would be repeated.
As of this past week, excluding Thursday and Friday, the declarations were about 620,000 ounces. There were a number of exports, by dealers, involving thousands of ounces that are not included in that figure. But the declarations are not really bad news. In fact, GGB is expecting foreign currency earnings for the industry from exports to be in excess of US$700M, even
GFC reports slow year - gives new administration time to ‘discuss’ way forward with Norway The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFS) recently made public its sixth annual performance report on Interim Measures for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD+), under Guyana’s Monitoring Reporting and Verification System (MRVS). Among the subjects that were highlighted in the report for the period January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2016, it was noted that Year six’ (2017) accommodated slower MRVS to permit the new administration of Norway to discuss options for the way forward on Guyana’s MRVS with the Government. The government of Norway held their elections in September 11, 2017. Additionally, this publication understands that changes in the forest were being monitored during this period using Landsat and Sentinel images (these are images of various satellites that are used to gather data of Earth’s land surface and coastal regions). As such, the report noted that only areas
Chair of the Guyana Forestry Commission Board, Jocelyn Dow of deforestation were mapped. However, the report went into detail explaining that between the periods of January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2016, “several areas have been progressively improved over the period that interim measures are recorded”. Additionally, the resolution of the technology used, hindered it from conducting the national scale monitoring of the impact of forest degradation.
As a result of this, further investment in data analysis, reporting tools and methodologies to monitor changes are planned for Year 7 (2018). The GFC has already drafted a vigorous MRVS that can spatially account for the area of deforestation and degradation. The Commission had planned for the refinement of methods to quantify afforestation. This was since the regenerating of nonforest areas and studies showed the carbon accumulation rate on abandoned mining sites. According to the report, “This work links in with Guyana’s planned mining reclamation project and the consideration of appropriate emission factors”. Additionally, the Guyana Forestry Commission had an integration of new satellite sensors into the MRV. These included ‘Sentinel 2A’ which was proposed prior to the integration of the future of MRV reporting and ‘Planet Labs’ in addition to RADAR.
higher than last year, despite lower declarations. This is how Lall described the turnaround: “There was prudent, patient stewardship of our buffer stock, and we were able to improve our monitoring, advancing positions, pulling the trigger and content with conservative gains. From a position of over $14B in deficit, the Board and management managed to pull back the situation by a remarkable 65 percent, to $6.7B. The Chairman is not taking kudos for himself and board. “Ms. Eondrene Thompson, General Manager (ag) and her staffers managed with considerable skill, and deft moves to bring us to where we are at. She is a main performer in the deficit reduction. We at the board level have to commend her.” However, the official was not unimpressed with the
There is likely to be lower declarations this year for gold, but earnings are up because of better prices. challenges facing that stateowned entity. There have been talks about a reduction in the mandate from buying to one of more monitoring. However, the current board has made it clear that the Board should continue buying from miners and dealers to ensure the stabilisation of the market. “There is still a way to go. We are working on a combination of revenuegenerating measures and cost management exercises. It is the vision for Gold Board to stand on its own feet and be self-sufficient. In fact, the board and management are working assiduously to enhance trust and confidence in the sector. This entails constant engagements with partners, and of course the public.” Lall made it clear that the
Gold Board is not unaware of the challenges and hurdles that remain. These include both technological and human challenges. The Gold Board has been facing a tough year. In a major scandal this year, that involved the police, three senior officials were sent home for allegedly being in collusion with a gold dealer. The licence of the gold dealer was yanked. The police are handling that matter. A few weeks ago, two officials, the accountant and a clerk, were sent home for allegedly manipulating assay records for miners. The gold trade has been the biggest foreign currency earner for the country over the last few years. A number of concessions were announced recently for miners.
Monday December 25, 2017
Govt. working to improve Miami Consulate - Greenidge FOR RENT
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Government is making moves to boost the services offered to some Guyanese living in Florida. Several Guyanese residing overseas, particularly in Miami, Florida, have been complaining about the poor services being offered at the consulate in that district. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge has said that an investigation was done. He said that the Chief of Protocol was also asked to liaise with Honorary Consul, Ramzan Roshanali, to make him adequately aware of the concerns that have been raised. Greenidge said that Roshanali will work to better the services in ways he can and “we will work with him on bettering other areas where he needs our help.” Greenidge cited the concern raised by some who sought consular services is that the phone is seldom answered. He said that that may be no fault of Roshanali’s. “He is a private businessman; he is supposed to provide a service but only to the extent that it is possible. He may have been at the airport to meet me or another official.” Greenidge continued, “The wife may or may not be able to answer the phone. What I have asked them to do is to see whether he uses internet. He is not keen on text but he has a daughter. We do not pay her, but she can assist him.” Greenidge said that improvement will be made in little or no time.
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Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge Persons have long been complaining about the issues with the Miami Consulate. Guyanese living in Florida, specifically all of Southeast and Southwest, must travel to Miami to conduct business with the Consulate in relation to passport renewals, affidavits and life certificates, he said. “But it seems that the Government of Guyana has not seen it fit to set up a formal Consulate and maintain an Honorary Consul who is disinterested in the job.” Smith said that his brother recently sought the services of the consulate. He called, got no response; left messages and his number, but was never contacted. Smith said that after hours of driving he arrived “in the bowels of the ghetto” where the consulate is located to be greeted by a closed office. He said
that there was no sign indicating whether the closing was temporary as in “out to lunch”. Smith said that because it is such a long drive from where his brother resides, the citizen decided to wait. “After a long while, a car pulled up and a female exited and walked over to the door. He inquired and she told him that she ran the office which he noted was a part of a furniture store… “The address was disingenuously displayed on the façade of a furniture store, protected by iron gates, and void of any symbol/ flag designating the location as a consulate representing a country, and in this case, Guyana. “The entry door read Guyana Consulate; no Golden Arrowhead. On the inside, there was no Guyana flag; yet an American flag was proudly displayed.”
Monday December 25, 2017
Today we join our Christian brothers and sisters to celebrate Christmas in observance of the birth of Jesus Christ. We pray that today will see those celebrating today will do so with love in their hearts. We wish a Happy Christmas to the entire nation, especially those who will partake in the associated festivities.
PRESIDENT GRANGER The sacred festival of Christmas that celebrates Jesus’ birth – in a lowly manger, a long time ago in the obscure little town of Bethlehem – was a sign of the divine desire for worldwide peace and of compassion for the common folk. Jesus’s birth brought a message for mankind that is recounted in St. Luke’s gospel in the Holy Bible which proclaims: “Glory to God in the highest and, on earth, peace, good will toward men.” Christians and non-Christians alike can
observe this festival by promoting peace and goodwill between each other – in our homes, factories, fie l d s , o f f i c e s a n d schools and in our neighbourhoods and communities. Let us embrace the universal values of peace and goodwill and extend to everyone the Guyanese tradition of hospitality this year and in the future. Let us all work together towards creating a culture of peace and goodwill. Happy Christmas!
PEOPLE’S PROGRESSIVE PARTY CIVIC The season of Yuletide is here, a time when families gather in affectionate embrace, friends and neighbours warmly share the joy of the season by celebrating in different ways. Our children especially look forward to the treats, the gifts, and of course the special dishes. It is in this spirit, that the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) extends Christmas greetings to all Guyanese and more particularly our brothers and sisters in the Christian Community. The birth of the Christ
child, was meant to revive hope, turn sorrows and mourning into celebration, knowing that the world would no longer be in darkness because that bright star did appear to guide mankind to new hope. In the journey of Jesus’ life from abject poverty and a mere unknown; born in a manger, to a life of becoming an ineffable figure he crossed barriers, broke down walls of prejudice, embraced the outcasts, defended the voiceless and engaged the powerful and by doing so, he brought salvation to the whole world.
Our wish is that in this season, our elderly, differently-able, and underprivileged will be specially remembered, and in our caring and sharing, our arms be extended to even the stranger. In the true Guyanese spirit, as a multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, the message of love is apt. The People’s Progressive Party/Civic joins with all Guyanese in the celebration of the birth of the Christ child, while reflecting on its true meaning and significance. Merry Christmas!
GUYANA AGRICULTURAL AND GENERAL WORKERS UNION Christmas, as we know, is associated with the birth of Jesus Christ. His religion – Christianity – has survived many trials in his history and is known for many values humanity embraced. Among these are peace and empathy for the poor and vulnerable of the workers. Today, in the Middle Eastern lands where Jesus Christ was born and where he lived we see continuous conflict and turmoil. Thousands are losing their lives, losing their homes and meagre possessions and forced to contend with dire circumstances. In our Guyana, at the present time, we are witnessing political intolerance and persecution whilst on the ground the stark fear of unemployment and high-handedness stalk many communities. In this season, we see the heartless measure whereby sugar workers have been handed dismissal notices without any accompanying intimation about how their new status will be
mitigated. We are fully apprised of the critical condition among very many workers of Wales Estate who are still jobless following the closure of that estate. Really, this will be the most challenging Christmas for the Guyanese working-class. The human spirit, however, knows how to o v e r c o m e a d v e r s i t y. Ways and means – buttressed by the will to overcome– are found to deal with misfortunes brought about by some. However, this season of hope that Jesus inspires, there is greater resolve to never give up. Christ’s teachings provide us and all the downtrodden with optimism in the future.. It must be noted that the Jesus is regarded as a type of Religious rebel who confronted courageously the Roman rulers on behalf of the oppressed. Hope dwelt amongst them. Wi t h t h e f o r e g o i n g sentiments uppermost in our thoughts, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) joins the Chris-
tian community in celebration yet again this season of Christmas. We wish the Christian comm u n i t y, i n d e e d a l l Guyanese, a joyous season. This season now transcends its origins as all Guyanese seem to be caught up in some aspect of the twelve-day celebration whether in church, home or community. Christmas signals the closure of 2017 a year of severe challenges for the masses of Guyanese. It also brings us to the threshold of a New Year, which if it is to be a better year requires our united struggles by the will to triumph over our evildoers as Christianity embraces. The celebration of Christmas 2017 embraced by so many, presents the opportunity for togetherness to prevail over selfishness political highhandedness and discrimination and set out nations for the path to harmony and goodwill among men and women. A joyful Christmas and a New Year of Hope from GAWU – to all Guyana!
PEOPLE’S NATIONAL CONGRESS REFORM The miraculous birth of Jesus Christ – celebrated by most Christians on the 25th December – is recorded in the Gospel according to St Luke as heralding an era of “peace on earth and good will toward men.” Jesus’ humble birth took place in a common manger in a tiny town in an obscure country. He was able, nevertheless, with a small band of disciples, to preach a gospel that transformed the world in a most fundamental way and created a remarkable Christian civilization of which we are all heirs. Guyana being a multi-religious and multi-ethnic society is in a unique position to benefit from the teachings of the religions of all of its peoples. Christmas is, therefore, not only for members of the Christian community but for all Guyanese
in a very real sense. There is abundant evidence that the teachings of Christianity and its practices have influenced the lives of all of our people. In other words, this country has seen the benefits of the policy of allowing all religions to flower in Guyana. Christian beliefs go well beyond the religious and have had a notable effect on all aspects of life in Guyana, in terms of the production of Art, Literature, our way of living and our objective of building a harmonious and tolerant society. The Christian spirit of charity continues to inspire Guyanese of all religions. Ordinary people everywhere reach out with compassion and generosity to help their brothers and sisters in distress. We call to mind the plight of the aged, the poor and
other vulnerable citizens. We remember our servicemen and soldiers who will spend this joyous festival separated from their families at sea and on our far-flung frontiers. We recognize the service of our nurses, servicemen, technicians and working people who maintain our utilities, sanitary facilities and security services to ensure that citizens could be safe and that the nation could be secure. The biblical promise of peace on earth and good will toward men, however, remains unfulfilled. Guyanese are urged on the occasion of this sacred festival – through thought, word and work – to make Jesus’ message of mercy and his ministry to the poor and needy the main motifs of their celebration. Happy Christmas to all Guyanese!
INDIAN ACTION COMMITTEE The Indian Action Committee (IAC), during this holiday season, regarding the national holidays of Christmas and Boxing Day, wishes to send greetings to all Guyanese, especially those who are adherents of Christianity. The IAC recognizes that hundreds of millions of persons across the globe venerate Jesus Christ, a Jewish carpenter and member of the local working class and preacher who was one of many teachers throughout history who brought the message of peace, unity and brotherhood among all peoples regardless of their ethnicity, nationality, class and whose birthday is traditionally celebrated on Christmas day (December 25). The IAC also recognizes the historical tradition of Jesus Christ being venerated
as the prophet Isa by adherents of Islam and ShriYesuBhagwan was adherents of Sanatan Dharm. The IAC understands that Christmas in Guyana has been celebrated since the advent of colonization of this land by the Dutch in the early 1600s. The IAC also understands that these holidays are marked by excessive consumption of alcohol and therefore is calling upon all Guyanese who imbibe to do so with caution and to maintain appropriate and acceptable behaviour while obeying the laws of Guyana, especially while driving on the roadways. The IAC is aware that many persons have criticized the commercialization of Christmas, but the organization recognizes that tens
of thousands of Guyanese businesses, large and small, depend on the holiday season for enhanced sales which, in turn, allows tens of thousands of citizens to be gainfully employed. The IAC is aware, also, that the current serious economic problems in Guyana, very likely, will significantly affect business negatively, thus, leading to increased poverty and a concomitant increase in crime during the holiday period, and so the organization calls on the citizenry to remain vigilant and careful in financial transactions, especially where large amounts of cash are carried around, and to be on the lookout for carjackers. The IAC wishes all Guyanese a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Boxing Day.
Monday December 25, 2017
North Korea says new U.N. sanctions an act of war BEIJING/SEOUL (Reuters) The latest U.N. sanctions against North Korea are an act of war and tantamount to a complete economic blockade against it, North Korea’s foreign ministry said yesterday, threatening to punish those who supported the measure. The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Friday for its recent intercontinental ballistic missile test, seeking to limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil and its earnings from workers abroad. The U.N. resolution seeks to ban nearly 90 percent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year and, in a last-minute change, demands the repatriation of North Koreans working abroad within 24 months, instead of 12 months as first proposed. The U.S.-drafted resolution also caps crude oil supplies to North Korea at 4 million barrels a year and commits the Council to further reductions if it were to conduct another nuclear test or launch another ICBM. In a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency,
North Korea’s foreign ministry said the United States was terrified by its nuclear force and was getting “more and more frenzied in the moves to impose the harshest-ever sanctions and pressure on our country”. The new resolution was tantamount to a complete economic blockade of North Korea, the ministry said. “We define this ‘sanctions resolution’ rigged up by the U.S. and its followers as a grave infringement upon the sovereignty of our Republic, as an act of war violating peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and the region and categorically reject the ‘resolution’,” it said. “There is no more fatal blunder than the miscalculation that the U.S. and its followers could check by already worn-out ‘sanctions’ the victorious advance of our people who have brilliantly accomplished the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force”, the ministry said. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Nov. 29 declared the nuclear force complete after the test of North Korea’s
largest-ever ICBM test, which the country said puts all of the United States within range. Kim told a meeting of members of the ruling Workers’ Party on Friday that the country “successfully realized the historic cause of completing the state nuclear force” despite “short supply in everything and manifold difficulties and ordeals owing to the despicable anti-DPRK moves of the enemies”. North Korea’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). South Korea’s foreign ministry told Reuters it is aware of the North Korean statement on the new sanctions, again highlighting its position that they are a “grave warning by the international community that the region has no option but to immediately cease reckless provocations, and take the path of dialogue for denuclearization and peace”. The North Korean foreign ministry said its nuclear weapons were a self-defensive deterrence not in contradiction of international law.
Monday December 25, 2017
Venezuelan leader wants Brazilian, Canadian diplomats out CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Officials in Venezuela took the first step on Saturday toward expelling top diplomats from Brazil and Canada who have been accused of meddling in the country’s politics. National constituent assembly president Delcy Rodriguez declared both Brazil’s ambassador and Canada’s charge d’affaires as persona non grata, a move which does away with their diplomatic credentials. Officials from both countries and the United States have been increasing critical of President Nicolas Maduro’s government for consolidating power and isolating the country’s opposition parties ahead of next year’s presidential elections. Brazil said in a tweet from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that it intends to respond with equal force. The government had not yet received official notification from Venezuela. “If confirmed, this decision demonstrates, once again, the authoritarian nature of the Nicolas Maduro administration and its lack of willingness to engage in any type of dialogue,” Brazilian officials said. Venezuela drew international condemnation on Wednesday when its progovernment constitutional assembly effectively stripped three of the country’s most influential opposition parties of the right to participate in next year’s presidential election. It followed a threat by Maduro to punish the opposition groups for boycotting recent mayoral elections, pro-
Delcy Rodriguez testing what they considered an unfair, rigged system run by a dictatorship. The constituent assembly passed a decree requiring the parties to reapply for legal status. It comes ahead of presidential elections next year when Maduro is expected to seek a second term. Rodriguez targeted Brazil’s ambassador, Ruy Pereira, and Canada’s charge d’affaires, Craig Kowalik. She accused Kowalik for a history of tweeting “rude and vulgar” comments about Venezuela. Canadian officials said in a statement that they have met with the United Nation’s Secretary General and the country’s international partners to discuss a strategy for restoring order in Venezuela. “Canadians will not stand by silently as the Government of Venezuela robs its people
of their fundamental democratic and human rights, and denies them access to basic humanitarian needs,” said Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Natasha Nystrom. “Our resolve remains unchanged.” The move to send home the two diplomats comes shortly after the government sparred with U.S. envoy Todd Robinson, who arrived days before Venezuela’s measure blocking the opposition parties. The U.S. Embassy in Caracas strongly rebuked the assembly’s latest decree. “The Venezuelan government and its illegitimate National Constituent Assembly are inventing rules as they go,” the embassy said in a tweet. “This is not democracy. Differing political views make strong democracies.”
A&V calls for mediation with Petrotrin Trinidad Guardian - Senior Counsel Reginald Armour, the former president of the Law Association, is one of three nominees that attorneys representing A&V Oil and Gas Limited has named as possible mediators if a proposed conference to resolve their “dispute through amicable negotiations” with Petrotrin fails. The other nominees are John Dowse of Resolution Chambers and Helen Alves, the sole proprietor of Alves Clarke & Company and of Resolution of Disputes Limited. On Friday Petrotrin announced that it was terminating A&V’s contract arising out of discrepancies in its reported oil production and actual receipts by its Internal Audit Department earlier this year. Last month, Petrotrin re-
ported that its Audit Department’s findings had been confirmed by an independent, Board-commissioned, forensic audit conducted by Canadian consultancy firm Kroll Consulting Canada Company. Another report from global oil and gas consultants Gafffney Cline had also advised that the reservoir from which the oil had been produced was incapable of yielding the reported volumes. However, a letter from A&V’s attorneys Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj and Company to Petrotrin’s Vice President Stephen Awah dated Friday said the company was not accepting Petortrin’s decision. A&V is now requesting that “the parties attempt to resolve their disputes in good faith”. Among the disputes are
Petrotrin’s retention of $76.6 million as at November 30 belonging to A&V because of the alleged overstated oil figures. A&V is also disputing that it owes Petrotrin $8.6 million for the same period. “A&V contractually require Petrotrin to convene an urgent conference of the parties and their respective legal counsel on a without prejudice basis to resolve the dispute through amicable negotiations in accordance with the negotiations phase of the dispute resolution provision,” the letter stated. A&V has proposed the conference be convened on January 2 next year at 1 pm at Petrotrin’s conference room. In the event that the negotiations do not resolve all of the disputed issues, A&V proposed Armour, Dowse and Alves as mediators.
Monday December 25, 2017
Federal judge partially lifts Trump’s latest refugee restrictions
People protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban outside of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle, Washington, U.S. on May 15, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder/File Photo WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge in Seattle partially blocked U.S. President Donald Trump’s newest restrictions on refugee admissions on Saturday, the latest legal defeat for his efforts to curtail immigration and travel to the United States. The decision by U.S. District Judge James Robart is the first judicial curb on rules the Trump administration put into place in late October that have contributed significantly to a precipitous drop in the number of refugees being admit-
ted into the country. Refugees and groups that assist them argued in court that the administration’s policies violated the Constitution and federal rulemaking procedures, among other claims. Department of Justice attorneys argued in part that U.S. law grants the executive branch the authority to limit refugee admissions in the way that it had done so. On Oct. 24, the Trump administration effectively paused refugee admissions from 11 countries mostly in the Middle East and Africa, pending a 90-day security review, which was set to expire in late January. The countries subject to the review are Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. For each of the last three years, refugees from the 11 countries made up more than 40 percent of U.S. admissions. A Reuters review of State Department
data showed that as the review went into effect, refugee admissions from the 11 countries plummeted. Robart ruled that the administration could carry out the security review, but that it could not stop processing or admitting refugees from the 11 countries in the meantime, as long as those refugees have a “bona fide” connection to the United States. As part of its new restrictions, the Trump administration had also paused a programme that allowed for family reunification for refugees, pending further security screening procedures being put into place. Robart ordered the government to re-start the programme, known as “follow-to-join”. Approximately 2,000 refugees were admitted into the United States in fiscal year 2015 under the programme, according to Department of Homeland Security data.
Putin critic Navalny clears first hurdle in bid for Russia presidency MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny cleared the first hurdle yesterday towards taking part in next year’s presidential election, even though the central election commission has previously ruled him ineligible to run. Navalny, 41, is a fierce opponent of President Vladimir Putin, who is widely expected to win re-election in March, extending his 17 years in power. Yesterday Navalny, a veteran campaigner against corruption among Russia’s elite, won the initial support of 742 people at a gathering in a district of Moscow, above the minimum 500 required to initiate a presidential bid. “There is no large-scale support for Putin and his rule in this country,” Navalny told the gathering, describing himself as a “real candidate” for the election and threatening a boycott of the vote by his supporters if he is barred from running. But Navalny now needs to be officially registered as a candidate by Russia’s central election commission, which has previously said he is ineligible due to a suspended prison sentence that he says was politically motivated.
Monday December 25, 2017
Mohamed’s Enterprise/New Era Entertainment Futsal Tourney
NK Ballers and Hard Knocks set to contest Boxing Day final Come tomorrow night, either Nk Ballers or Hard Knocks will be $500,000 richer when they contest the final of the fourth annual M o h a m e d ’s E n t e r p r i s e / N e w E r a Entertainment futsal competition at the Mackenzie Sports Club (MSC) hard court. This is so following their victories in the semifinals on Friday night. Hard Knocks defeated Spaniards 6-3 in the first semifinal which saw Dexter Adams emerging the star of the encounter after scoring a helmet-trick. Adams was assisted by Trenton Lashley and Clive Nobrega who both scored a goal each. On the score sheet for the losers were David Chimda who bagged a brace and Curtez Kellman who scored one goal. The feature semifinal was a goal fest that produced 28 goals. NK Ballers outscored Silver Bullets 15-13 to come out victorious in that encounter. Rawle Gittens netted five times for the winners, while Darrel George finished a hat-trick to assist the victory push. Omar Williams scored a helmet-trick,
while Damion Williams found the back of the net three times but their efforts were in vain as Silver Bullets fell short by two-goals in the very exciting feature match. Apart from the half-million purse the winners will walk away with, the second place finishers will receive $150,000 and the winners of the third place game that will be competed between Silver Bullets and Spaniards will pocket $50,000. Fans are being reminded by the promoters of the Bakewell promotion that will see two lucky futsal patrons winning a Flat screen television and a Refrigerator on the day of the final. According to the organizers, for a chance to win the prizes, patrons must submit three Bakewell bread or tennis roll plastic bags with their name and telephone number in envelopes and submit them at participating stores. However, in order to win, participants must be present at the drawing tomorrow night, during the futsal finals at the MSC hard court.
Monday December 25, 2017 Aries: Mar 21 - Apr 19 It may be hard to come to grips with your emotions today. You may be flightier than usual. Realize that this is to your advantage. Taurus: Apr 20 - May 20 Your words may get you into trouble today, so be careful of what you say. Try to keep a lid on hasty comments fueled by intense emotions. Gemini: May 21 - Jun 20 Other people's actions may send you into a whirlwind of conflicting emotions. Cancer: Jun 21 - Jul 22 Communication is key today. Make your intentions known right away to avoid unnecessary confusion. Leo: Jul 23 - Aug 22 Look to where you can make important connections. There's a fine line between helpful suggestions and manipulation. Virgo: Aug 23 - Sep 22 Restrictive forces may come into conflict with you today. The good news is that you should be able to find a space of peace within your emotions.
Libra: Sep 23 - Oct 22 A planned, disciplined approach works best today. One thing to keep in mind is that it's important to connect with others now. Scorpio: Oct 23 - Nov 21 Things should be flowing your way, and there's an instinctual knowing that will help you navigate through whatever rough spots may come your way, if any. Sagit: Nov 22 - Dec 21 Strong opinions may crop up, and you should take the time to listen. Don't force things to come out if they aren't ready. Capri: Dec 22 - Jan 19 Communication is a big theme of the day for you. Every time you speak, a large audience is listening to every word. Aquar.: Jan 20 - Feb 18 Try to take a lighthearted approach to the situation, and don't get too serious about anything. Pisces: Feb 19 - Mar 20 You should find that your general mood is excellent. You'll have the perfect thing to say in every situation.
Australia plot another Boxing Day blow against England MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia will look to extend their Christmas cheer into the dead rubber Boxing Day test by subjecting a demoralised England to a fourth consecutive loss in the Ashes at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Anchored by the brilliant batting of captain Steve Smith, the hosts have barely put a foot wrong in the five-match series and will head to the MCG confident of pushing England towards a second successive whitewash on home soil. However, they will have to do it without their pace spearhead Mitchell Starc, who is nursing a heel injury and has been replaced by Jackson Bird. While Starc’s absence is a big relief for the tourists, Tasmania paceman Bird has been in impressive form in the domestic Sheffield Shield. Right-armer Bird also has ample MCG experience, having made his test debut against Sri Lanka at the Melbourne colosseum and also bowled in last year’s Boxing Day test against Pakistan. More of a line and length bowler, Bird’s inclusion robs Australia of the express pace, swing and left-arm variation of Starc, however. “They’ve had three bowlers who can all bowl 90 miles an hour (144 kph),” England paceman James Anderson told the BBC of Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. “But you look beyond that, they’ve got problems.” England have a few of their own issues to deal with, not least the worrying form of their senior players. With opening batsman Alastair Cook and paceman Stuart Broad both enduring a
Hours before show time... From page 63 the newly inaugurated Savannah Boxing Gym (SBG) and clashes with Abiola Jackman (FYF). Joan Williams (GDF) will also square off with Aleema Arokium (RHJ) in a female elite flyweight battle. Bell time is 20:00hrs and fans should endeavor not to miss a punch as the many sons regurgitate the fistic days of their fathers. Admission fee is $1,000 for stands, $1,500 for ring side and $2,500 FOR VIP and can tickets can be bought at the elegant Wind Jammer restaurant in Kitty.
poor series, pundits have called on selectors to be ruthless and start the regeneration of Joe Root’s team now rather than later. The calls are almost certain to be ignored given the players’ long service and lofty standing, but the pair will hope to prove they still belong at the highest level in the final tests in Melbourne and Sydney. England’s pace stocks have been gutted by injuries and they are another man down with Craig Overton ruled out of the Melbourne match with a broken rib. The tourists’ lack of pace has been exposed on Australia’s flat wickets, so selectors might opt to recall Durham fast man Mark Wood rather than pick the slower Jake Ball. Queries over Moeen Ali also linger, the all-rounder struggling with the bat and his
off-spin doing little to support England’s fast bowlers. Uncapped Mason Crane, a legspinner with an average of 43.98, is in reserve in the squad but battling Australia’s pressure-free batsmen in front of a huge Boxing Day crowd could prove a harrowing debut for the 20-year-old. England’s last trip to Melbourne was a miserable one, as Michael Clarke’s Australia thrashed Cook’s tourists by eight wickets to take a 4-0 lead in the series. Dead rubber aside, the Boxing Day test is one of the great carnivals of Australian sport but a heavy security blanket at the MCG will add a sombre tone. A driver with a history of mental illness but with no known extremist links injured 19 people in the nearby CBD on Friday when he ploughed through Christmas shoppers.
Monday December 25, 2017
Ravens hang on to beat the Amy Grant cops gold in 1500m Free, eclipses Colts, Vikes blank Packers own LC 50m National Fly record at ASATT
Minnesota Vikings Stefon Diggs catches a touchdown pass in front of Green Bay Packers Josh Hawkins during the first half of an NFL football game Saturday in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer) (The Sports Xchange) - Joe Flacco threw a pair of touchdown passes and the Baltimore Ravens held off the Indianapolis Colts for a 2316 victory and took over the sixth playoff spot in the AFC on Saturday night. Colts linebacker Anthony Walker blocked a punt with 2:36 left in the game, giving his team the ball on the Ravens’ 27-yard line. However, on fourth-and-10, Baltimore cornerback Maurice Canady knocked down a pass from Indianapolis quarterback Jacoby Brissett to seal the win. The Ravens (9-6) overtook Buffalo (8-6) in the postseason race, and Baltimore currently has a better record against common opponents, which would be a tiebreaker. The Bills play at New England on Sunday. Flacco was 29 of 38 for 237 yards. Baltimore was able to move the ball against the Colts’ 30th-ranked defense, but struggled to find the end zone. Justin Tucker’s third field goal of the game increased their lead to 16-7 to open the second half. Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri kept his team in the game with 48- and 38-yard field goals and Indianapolis trailed just 16-13 with 1:34 left in the third quarter. Two penalties — a hold and pass interference — proved to be costly for the Colts (3-12) on the Ravens’ next drive. Flacco made them pay with a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Maxx Williams — his first score of the season. That put Baltimore ahead 23-13 Vinatieri’s 30-yard field goal pulled the Colts to within 23-16 with 4:33 left in the game. That gave Indianapolis just enough life to put itself in position to win the game. In Green Bay, the Minnesota Vikings’ defence dominated the short-handed Packers. The Packers, with quarterback Aaron Rodgers on injured reserve, receiver Davante Adams inactive and receiver Jordy Nelson lost for the second half, simply lacked the horses to challenge the Vikings. Minnesota won for the 10th time in 11 games by knocking off the rival Packers 16-0 in a game played in sub-10 degree temperatures. For the fourth time in their last six games, the Vikings (12-3) allowed fewer than 10 points. It was their first shutout victory since 1993. Harrison Smith’s second interception of the night preserved the achievement. Green Bay (7-8) was blanked for the second time this season, also losing at home to Baltimore 23-0 on Nov. 19. Brett Hundley, making his eighth start for Rodgers, was ineffective, going 17 of 40 for
130 yards and two interceptions. He wasn’t helped by a handful of drops, a makeshift offensive line and the lack of two of the team’s top weapons. Case Keenum threw a first-quarter touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs, and running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon combined for 111 rushing yards for Minnesota. Green Bay trailed 10-0 midway through the third quarter when it faced a fourth-and-7 from the Vikings’ 36-yard line. Without Adams, who ranks second in the NFL with 10 touchdown catches but was out with a concussion suffered last week, and Nelson, who exited late in the second quarter with a shoulder injury, Hundley threw the ball to Michael Clark. Clark, an undrafted free agent, recently was promoted from the practice squad. A former college basketball player, he played one year of football at Marshall. The ball was sailed over Clark’s head. The Vikings tacked on a 20-yard field goal by Kai Forbath on the ensuing possession to extend the lead to 13-0. The key play on the drive came when Keenum ran toward the line of scrimmage, backpedaled and threw a short pass to tight end David Morgan, who broke three tackles for a gain of 23. On fourth-and-4 from the Vikings’ 14 early in the fourth quarter, Hundley threw a backshoulder pass to Clark in the end zone but Xavier Rhodes was in position to prevent the touchdown. Late in the fourth quarter, on fourth-and-10, Hundley went deep to Clark but was incomplete against cornerback Trae Waynes. The Packers pleaded for interference but the only flag was for unsportsmanlike conduct for arguing the noncall. Set up with a short field, Forbath booted a 27-yard field goal to make it 16-0 with 2:56 remaining. Smith’s second interception, on fourthand-1, put the game away. The Vikings struck first, taking their opening possession and getting a 49-yard field goal by Kai Forbath. Minnesota’s defence forced back-to-back three-and-out punts from Green Bay. After the second, Minnesota extended its lead to 10-0. Three consecutive runs totaling 23 yards by Murray set up a play-action pass to Diggs. Diggs got behind cornerback Josh Hawkins and drew an interference penalty for a gain of 39 to the 6-yard line. One play later, Case Keenum lofted a pass to Diggs in the back of the end zone, with Diggs getting both feet down for the touchdown and a 10-0 lead.
Amy Grant receiving the Girls 18 & Under Champion trophy for the 2017 National Schools Swimming Championship from Mr. Charles Corbin, Vice President of the GOA. For the second year in a row, Guyana’s young female swimming sensation Amy Grant has taken gold in the 1500m freestyle, this time swimming in the Girls 15 & Over category at the recently concluded Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad & Tobago (ASATT) Invitational Swim Meet hosted by the Marlins Swim Club at The Aquatic Center, December 14-17. The competition was also a FINA sanctioned qualifier for the 2018 Commonwealth Championship as well as the
2018 FINA Youth Olympics. This year saw ten swimmers swimming in a heat instead of the usual eight swimmers In the 1500m freestyle, Grant took 40 seconds off her entry time to do a new Personal Best (PB). Grant also did another PB in the 800m freestyle and achieved a seventh place ribbon. According to information, it is challenging to get into the 1500m and 800m freestyle events because it is only the top sixteen entry times received by the host of the competition that form the two
heats for a maximum of 16 swimmers in both events. In the 1500m and 800m freestyle events the top 16 swimmers can be either male or female as long as the swimmer is in the top 16 times entered. If a swimmer enters the events with the qualifying times but fails to achieve the stipulated qualifying times then that swimmer has to pay a monetary penalty fee before he or she is allowed to swim in any other events for the competition or other competitions hosted by Trinidad and Tobago. Grant placed 9th out of 21 swimmers in the 100m freestyle while doing another PB on the evening of the 15th. Later that evening Grant swam in the 50m butterfly in the fastest heat and just missed out on the bronze medal by 500th of a second and the gold by 84 hundredth of a second; placing 4th of 17 swimmers. Grant eclipsed her 50m Long Course National Butterfly record of 31.66 to post a new time of 31.35 in the Girls 15-17 age group. On the final day of the competition, Grant placed 10th out of a total of 25 swimmers in the 50m freestyle event. Twenty year old Dorien Butter Flying Fish Swim club won the gold. Amy Grant said that she wishes to express thanks to her uncle, Eddy Grant for his belief in her performance as well as his sponsorship whilst noting that despite competing against much older swimmers, the experience gained is invaluable.
Penalty Shootout and King Domino competition on Boxing Day The South Turkeyen Sports Committee (STSC) and New Level Sports Bar is set to host Penalty Shootout and King Domino oneday competitions at Sadam Place, located at 8 Dennis Street Sophia, Greater Georgetown. These competitions are set to get underway tomorrow (Boxing Day). The Football tourney kicks off 09:00hrs, while the Domino
will hit off at 14:00hrs. Interested teams will have to pay a fee of $1000 a player to register. The event which is organized by Johnny “Overseas” Barnwell and “Sadam” will have trophies that were donated by Trophy Stall, Bourda Market and Sadam and Sun Shop, in addition to the cash prizes. Food and drinks will be on sale at the event.
Delyon Josiah elected Pouderoyen FC President Delyon Josiah was recently elected President of the Pouderoyen Football Club (PFC) following elections held at the West Demerara Secondary School, West Bank Demerara. Kenneth Thomas will serve as First Vice President with Adrian Giddings as Second VP. Travis Bess will perform duties as the Secretary, while Delroy Benjamin is the Treasurer. Cornel Hunte is the Assistant
Secretary/Treasurer with Patrick Barrington as Club Manager. The respective Coaches are Bess and Josiah with Marvin Frank performing duties as Club Captain, Sherwin Bernard is the Deputy. Members were informed that the Disciplinary Committee will comprise of Denzil Boyce, Delroy Benjamin and Adrian Giddings
Monday December 25, 2017
NOC Select XI triumph but Wakenaam take Trophy Stall U19 series 2-1
The victorious Wakenaam U19 side following the series win.
Despite going down by 59 runs to New Opportunity Corps (NOC) Select XI in the last of three matches, Wakenaam emerged champions of the Trophy Stall U19 50-over tournament which concluded recently. Wakenaam registered comfortable victories in the first and second matches which were played on a home and away basis, but the lads from the Essequibo Coast salvage some pride in the third game which was contested recently at Golden Fleece. Batting first, NOC Select XI managed 184 all out in 35 overs. Azim Fredericks made 45, Orlando Jailall 38 and Shane Wong 36. Beesham Moses captured 3-24 and Mahase Ramnarine 3-31. Wakenaam responded with 129 all out in 29 overs. Reon Fredericks struck 37 and Ramnarine 15. Matthew Chaitram had 221 and Sheldon Anthony 2-24. The tournament was organised by Coaches Forbes Daniels and Nandkishore Andrews as part of cricket development in Essequibo. Coach of the Wakenaam U19 side Andres said the tournament has exposed young talent and wants to see more cricket of this nature being played. He added that the players showed that they what it takes to excel and urged them to remain committed. NOC Select XI Coach Daniels stated that this tournament will motivate the youths and expressed gratitude to Ramesh Sunich of Trophy Stall while adding that he is looking forward to his continued support. Both teams received trophies, while Moses was named man-of-the-series.
India beat Sri Lanka to Former GCF President George wrap up T20 series sweep Humphrey to be laid to rest on Saturday Mumbai (Reuters) - India completed a 3-0 series sweep against Sri Lanka yesterday following their five-wicket victory in the final Twenty20 International at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Chasing a modest 136 for win, the hosts lost opener Lokesh Rahul early but stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma made 27, Shreyas Iyer chipped in with 30, and Manish Pandey topscored with 32 to set India on course for victory. Sri Lanka’s bowlers did manage to inject some excitement towards the end, leaving India needing 15 runs from the last 12 balls. Dinesh Karthik, who remained not out on 18, then hit Nuwan Pradeep’s final delivery in the penultimate over for a six to tilt the balance in the hosts’ favour. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who made 16 not out, sealed India’s victory with four balls to spare when he sent Thisara Perera’s miscued yorker to the leg-side fence. Earlier, India’s bowlers laid the foundation for their win by restricting Sri Lanka to a modest 1357 after Sharma won the toss and opted to field. Jaydev Unadkat was the pick of the Indian bowlers claiming 2-15, while Hardik Pandya also claimed two wickets. Asela Gunaratne made 36 and Dasun Shanaka scored 29 not out down the order but Sri Lanka could not put enough runs on the board to give their bowlers a fighting chance against their hosts. India, who beat Sri Lanka 1-0 in the three-test series, prevailed 2-1 in the one-dayers before stretching their domination in 20-overs. Scores: India 139 for 5 (Pandey 32, Chameera 2-22, Shanaka 2-27) beat Sri Lanka135 for 7 (Gunaratne 36, Unadkat 2-15, Pandya 2-25) by five wickets.
George Humphrey (2nd right) seen presenting the sponsorship cheque to RBC President Brian Allen in 2013 in the presence of Raymond ‘Steely’ Newton (right) and George Cumberbatch.
India’s bowlers were all over Sri Lanka again. Jaydev Unadkat has a message for Niroshan Dickwella upon dismissing him ©BCCI
The home going service for the late Guyana Cycling Federation (GCF) George Humphrey will take place on Saturday at the Brickdam Cathedral, Brickdam from 12:00hrs. Viewing of the body prior to the service would be held at the Humphrey’s Bakery and Farm Products, Charlestown from 08:00 – 11:00hrs. Meanwhile, a wake would be held at Humphrey’s residence, Meadow Brook on Thursday evening and at the Humphrey’s
Bakery, Charlestown on Friday. ‘Georgie’, as he was fondly known, passed away one week ago following a brief period of illness, his transition was a shock to many whom he would have associated with and helped during his journey in this world. The former committed administrator and founder of the Roraima Bikers Club (RBC) not only touched many in the cycling fraternity but in even more huge proportions, through the form of the popular Humphrey’s bread, on a daily basis.
Monday December 25, 2017
Tabatinga, Paiwomak Warriors claim Surama Cup male and female titles
Champions! Members of the Tabatinga (male) and Paiwomak Warriors (female) teams with their prizes following the presentation ceremony.
Tabatinga FC and Paiwomak Warriors FC were crowned male and female champions respectively when the Surama Cup football tournament concluded recently in Lethem. Watched by a large and colourful crowd which included the Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs Valerie Garrido- Lowe, Tabatinga FC defeated Gladiators FC 4-0, while Paiwomak Warriors overcame Surama FC 1-0 in an exciting match to bring the curtains down on the tournament which attracted a number of
Guyana All Style Martial Arts Federation host awards and accreditation ceremony
top teams from the region. Meanwhile, the Tabatinga year end show down tournament continues tomorrow with semi final action. Tabatinga FC will face Rush Saints FC in the male division while Gladiators FC will take on Rush Saints FC in the female category. The competition will continue on December 28 with Paiwomak Warriors playing Snatchers FC in the male and female segments. The final will be played on January 1 at Lethem Community Centre ground.
Baijnauth Sawmills /UCCA 20/20 Champion of Champions Competition
Baijnauth Sawmills sponsors 20/20 competition in Upper Corentyne President of the Upper Corentyne Cricket Association (UCCA) and former Berbice Cricketer, Mr. Hamant Jagdeo, has announced that Mr. Roy Baijnauth of Baijnauth Sawmills and former President of the Berbice Cricket Board will be sponsoring a 20/20 competition for Clubs in the Upper Corentyne Area commencing January 7th, 2018. The Competition will be played on a knock-out basis and will include all Member Clubs of the UCCA. Mr. Jagdeo, in an invited comment, declared that he intends to take the Association fast forward, in an effort to bring the level of cricket in the area to the glorious state it used to be in the past. “I intend to deliver on all my promises to the members. Cricket will be played at all levels and will include all clubs who come under the UCCA.” He thanked Mr. Baijnauth for his support of the Association, and for his sponsorship of the competition. This he said, will definitely boost the morale of players in the area, and encourage them to forge ahead
with their cricketing careers. He is appealing to members of the business community and to the general public to support the UCCA, and help to mould the young and aspiring cricketers in their game. Secretary of the Upper Corentyne Association, Mr. Vadanand Sugrim, is appealing to all Clubs to get themselves in order for the competition. A committee is being set up to manage the Competition and Clubs will be informed shortly of the details. Mr. Sugrim is asking all Clubs to prepare their list of 14 players who will represent them in the upcoming competition. He further stated that plans are in place for an Under-17 competition in January 2018, which will seek to shortlist players for trials in the Berbice Under-17 team. Prizes for the competition include: Cash & Trophies for Winner and Runner Up Team, trophies for the Man of the Match in the finals, Most Valuable Player of the Competition, Best Bowler and Best Batsman.
The Guyana Mixed Martial Arts Karate Association awardees display their awards at the recently held event. The Guyana Mixed Martial Arts Karate Association was invited to the Guyana All Style Martial Arts Federation awards and accreditation ceremony where students of the association were given the opportunity of a lifetime to receive awards for their commitment and dedication towards martial arts. The awardees were: Aliya Ramnarine best student of the year Zafar Ramnarine ambassador of martial arts Shiv Ferriera ambassador of martial arts Raul Joseph ambassador of martial arts Mahendra Gorakh ambassador of martial arts Somesh Ram Banasar ambassador of martial arts Dominic Doodnauth ambassador of martial arts Miss Shanta Sukhu ambassador of martial arts Master Lloyd Ramnarine was given the privilege to be upgraded to the Godan ranking (fifth degree) in the art of Shotokan Karate. The participants were elated for being given the awards that they received.
Monday December 25, 2017
Road to Mecca IV
Colts and Royals set up final after easing through their semifinal matches By Calvin Chapman Bounty Colts of the Georgetown Amateur Basketball Association (GABA) have been on fire for the past two years winning the first, second and under-23 league titles within their association in 2016 and 2017 and they look poised to retain the most prestigious b’ball title in Guyana, the National Club Championship (Road to Mecca IV) after dismantling Kobras (GABA) 98-43 in their semi-final match on Saturday. In the feature semifinal on Saturday at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH), Kobras were without their captain and best player Travis Burnett who was ejected in their previous match but many may say that his presence would’ve just reduced the margin of defeat which was 55points, more than double the 43 points Kobras scored. Shelroy Thomas scored a team high 23 points in the collective Colts’ win, while their center, Shane Webster was most impressive as he recorded a double-double (18-points, 12 rebounds). Carlos Edwards sunk a game high 24 points, more
th an h alf o f h is team miserable 43-point performance. The first semifinal of the night was contested between Dyna’s Ravens who lost to Victory Valley Royals of the Linden Amateur Basketball Association (LABA). The game finished 72-66 and the losers Ravens never saw a glimpse of the lead despite their final quarter 30point blitz. C h r i s Wi l l i a m s w a s superb with a double-double for the finalists scoring 21 points and leaping to 10 rebounds, he was supported ably by Orland Glasgow (18points) and Harold Adams who also recorded a doubledouble (16 points, 13 rebounds). Ryan Stephney scored a game-leading 24 points for Ravens in a losing cause. The finals were played last night at the CASH between Victory Valley Royals and defending champions Bounty Colts, while Kobras and Ravens battled the third place playoff, the results of that game will be brought in a subsequent issue of Kaieteur Sport. The cash prizes for the 1st,
West Indies pacer Beaton reported for suspect action ESPNcricinfo - West Indies pacer Ronsford Beaton has been reported for a suspect bowling action during West Indies’ second ODI against New Zealand on Saturday. Beaton sent down eight overs in that match and picked up 1 for 60. As per the ICC’s regulations pertaining to suspected illegal actions, Beaton’s action will now be further examined. He will have to undergo testing within 14 days. Beaton can continue to bowl, though, until the results of the test are known, which means West Indies can continue to use his services in the third and final ODI against New Zealand in Christchurch tomorrow. Even so, Beaton’s suspect action is now an added cause for concern for a West Indies side that has struggled in ODIs this year. West Indies have already conceded the ongoing series 2-0 and have lost 15 out of the 21 ODIs they have played this year. The setback comes early in Beaton’s international career. He made his debut in the current series against New Zealand, and in his first two ODIs conceded 102 runs in 17 overs, while picking up one wicket.
2nd and third placed teams amount to $600,000, $400,000 and $200,000 respectively. Individual prizes totaling $200,000 will be shared between the MVP, player scoring the most points and player with the Most Rebounds. In addition, $100,000 will go to Guyana Basketball Officials Council (GBOC).
Semifinal action between Dyna’s Ravens (white) and Victory Valley Royals on Saturday night.
Monday December 25, 2017
Law reads Windies the riot act CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, CMC – Head coach Stuart Law has instructed his West Indies team to put up or shut up in the remaining matches they have on this tour. Law was speaking after the Windies slumped to a 204-run defeat in the second One-day International against the New Zealanders on Saturday at Hagley Oval. West Indies trail 0-2 in the three-match series, after the Black Caps also won the first ODI two days earlier at
Cobham Oval by five wickets. The final ODI is on Boxing Day, Tuesday, also at Hagley Oval, and will be followed by three Twenty20 Internationals against the same opponents this coming Friday at Saxton Oval in Nelson, and New Year’s Day and January 3 at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui. “As I said to them before they left (the ground) and I mentioned it, words are cheap, we’ve got to see actions now,” said Law.
“There’s so much talent in this squad of people. I don’t think what we saw in the first two games is a fair indication of how well these guys can play. People talk about poor execution, but if it’s the same dismissal over and over again it rivals lunacy.” Law came down hard on his side, after this were bowled out for 121, chasing 325 for victory, as Windies suffered their heaviest defeat in ODIs against New Zealand.
“The batters know they made mistakes and we’re far better than what we showed,” he said. “Hitting balls into the wind, it’s not very smart, particularly when we spoke about it leading into the game. “We were trying to get 300 in 25 overs, when we had 50 overs to get it. Our guys want to be positive and play an attractive brand, but you can’t be reckless with it. You’ve got to be smart in the way you go about it.”
The performance did nothing to restore confidence in Jason Holder’s side and build momentum ahead of the 2019 ICC World Cup qualifying tournament next March in Zimbabwe which West Indies have been forced to play, due to missing out on direct entry because of a lowly World ranking. “We need to settle on a group of players to take us forward,” said Law. “The earlier we can come up with those names (for the World Cup qualifiers) and come up
with a plan for those guys leading up to that tournament (the better).” For now, Law is looking for his side to sign out of the ODI series with a victory, avoiding a clean sweep, and hoping that talismanic lefthanded opener Chris Gayle can return to the line-up following injury and give them a spark. “Fingers crossed, he should be right for the next one,” said Law. “I saw him at breakfast and he seemed to have a little bit more life about him. It’s moving in the right direction.”
Justice Navendra Singh
On December 20, 2017, Kaieteur Sports reported on the High Court ruling on the Berbice Cricket Board elections. The caption read, ‘High Court rules Berbice Cricket Board election illegal.’ People attached to the Berbice Board had moved to the court in the wake of the elections. Justice Navendra Singh ruled that the elections were illegal. However, the report stated, erroneously, that “The decision by Direndranauth Somwaru, Godwyn Allicock and Anand Sanasie to prevent Mr. Hilbert Foster, a potential candidate for the post of President, from entering the Annual General Meeting was unlawful, unfair and was done with the clear intention to influence the outcome of the election and to ensure that there would be no other candidate for the post of President other than Somwaru.” The report continued that judge ruled that “the participation of Anand Sanasie at the elections held on 8th October, 2017 was improper and unauthorized, (and was not) being sanctioned by Schedule III of the Guyana Cricket Administration Act.” “The conduct of Somwaru, Allicock and Sanasie rendered the entire election process manifestly unfair, unlawful and contrary to Schedule III of the Guyana Cricket Administration Act. The election of Somwaroo is unlawful being contrary to Schedule III of the Guyana Cricket Administration Act and the rules of fairness,” the report continued. In fact, the Judge’s ruling never mentioned Anand Sanasie, Direndranauth Somwaru and Godwyn Allicock in any condition. They were listed as Respondents but were never named in the ruling. The Judge never named them as being directly culpable of any illegal act. Kaieteur Sports would like to correct that report. The naming of Anand Sanasie, Direndranauth Somwaru and Godwyn Allicock actually stemmed from the order sought by the petitioners, Albert Smith in his capacity as President of the Guymine Sports Club; Desmond Conway in his capacity as Vice President of Fort Canje Hospital Club, and Jaipersaud Hardeo as Treasurer of the Mount Sinai Cricket Club.
Monday December 25, 2017
Sons of Champions Boxing Showdown
Hours before show time boxers don’t plan to pack pity with their gear The popular poem, “First Fight” clearly denounces sympathy and empathy when it states that ‘Fighters don’t pack pity with their gear’ and indeed boxers, who share cuddly relationships outside the ‘square jungle’ have been known to transform into vicious forces from the first gong. Keevin Allicock and Clairmont Gibson are staunch pals and would do anything for each other but when they were matched against each other in t h e Te r r e n c e A l i O p e n Championships, they simply refused to pack pity with their gear. The logical outcome was a ‘no holds barred’ fistic encounter that had the crowd wild with delight. The bout was very close and up to the time of its second round stoppage in favour of Allicock, but that was not before ‘Vybz Man’ Gibson had delivered a stunning left-right combination that forced referee Maynard Wilson to give a standing eight count to the Youth Commonwealth silver medalist. A young soldier of immense talent, Gibson retreated to the dressing room disappointed with the verdict, while promising to avenge the loss. Allicock was heralded as the Prince of Albouystown’ and went on to accrue other international accolades, a silver in the Bahamas at the Youth Commonwealth Games and his most recent, a gold medal at the Caribbean Developmental tournament in St Lucia. The organizers of the Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) believes that Gibson ought to be given an opportunity to ‘back his chat’ and for the second time in as many months the two gladiators will square off in what is expected to be a humdinger of a fight in ‘Sons of Champions,’ slated for the National Gymnasium, Mandela Avenue, tomorrow night. Indeed, Gibson, the taller of the two, will aspire to bulldoze his man and weaken him with body punches. This is an automatic presumption since Allicock likes to jab and move while sticking in the occasional combinations. If Gibson could destabilize his man early in the fight he could very well weaken him and go on to win. However, the situation is not that cut and dried; the raging soldier would have to first compel Allicock to get off his bicycle to accommodate his attacks and since Allicock will realize that his strength lies in boxing and moving away,
Gibson will have his work cut out to dictate the pace. Notwithstanding, this is all conjecture as Allicock would have had a taste of Gibson’s power and choose to employ classical tactics which could offset his man while Gibson might just decide to change his approach. These are the variables and considerations that add that bit of intrigue to the fight which presents the stage for a fistic encounter fans would not want to miss. On the outside of the ring, the soldiers will be well equipped with tassa drums, bugles, horns and every conceivable device to gain the psychological edge, while Allicock will depend heavily on the support of his ‘ghetto’ crew. Ten more bouts will provide added entertainment but the Dennis Thomas/Desmond Amsterdam bout had to be cancelled after Thomas expressed too late a notice to prepare for the contest. Amsterdam will now be furnished with a replacement Aluko Best. Otherwise, the card is packed with several other worthwhile bouts, all expected to entertain the usual Boxing Day crowd. Junior boxer, Shamar Morrison of the Forgotten Youth Foundation (FYF), matches gloves with Emanuel Pompey, while Shaquincy Wright of the Vergenoogen Boxing Gym (VBG) takes on Kami Kami Yayah of the Pocket Rocket Boxing Gym (PRBG). Exciting flyweight pugilist, Julius Kesney of the Rose Hall Jammers (RHJ) will tackle Kelvin Moore (VBG) in an Elite flyweight contest while Junior boxers, Travis Inverary (FYF) and Jaden Graham of the Young Achievers (YA) will battle to establish who is the better. Guyana Defence Force representative, Colin Lewis, is Andrew ‘Sixhead’ Lewis’ nephew and is truly a crowd pleaser. The lad has only recently returned from St Lucia with a gold medal in the Caribbean Tournament and has dominated all of his opponents in a goodwill tournament in Suriname last year. Lewis is an exciting fighter and fans can be assured of another of his exciting displays. He will be sizzling hot and ready to square off with Marlon Darryl (FYF) in a junior welterweight elite matchup. Two GDF representatives, Aubrey Headley and John Mars will oppose each other in a
battle for bragging rights as well as championship honours, while Alex Murray (FYF) will attempt to keep the (Andrew) Murray legacy alive when he squares off with Akeem Crandon of the Pocket Rocket Boxing Gym. The card will be graced with two female bouts and in the first, Alicia Rodney represents Continued on page 57
Keevin Allicock (left) on his way to winning silver at the Youth Commonwealth Games earlier this year. (Getty Images)
rt o p S
Road to Mecca IV
Colts’ top scorer Shelroy Thomas prepares to sink a three-pointer during his team’s huge semifinal victory over Kobras, Kevin Evans marks him.
Colts and Royals set up final after easing through their semifinal matches
Sons of Champions Boxing Showdown
Hours before show time boxers don’t plan to pack pity with their gear
Law reads Windies the riot act
West Indies pacer Beaton reported for suspect action
Ronsford Beaton has his appeal turned down. (Getty Images)
West Indies coach Stuart Law addresses a press conference, November 2, 2017. ©WICB
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