Monday, April 7, 2014
GUYANA See page 6
$20 vat included
Issue No. 019
See page 3 President of the Berbice Chamber of Commerce Mark Roopnarine
See page 7
Residents of New Amsterdam and the Administration of Region Six are dissatisfied with the quality orf road works being done by some of the regional contractors
Schoolboy chopped during fracas at NA secondary school Page 2
Port Mourant businesses NA Hospital to embark on bemoan garbage situation midwifery training to fill void Page 4
NBS launches second Division 40-over competition Page 8
MonDAY, April 7, 2014
and we start getting into a fight. He cuff me and I cuff he back, and he choke me and dig up me neck,” the injured youth said. He revealed that after a short scuffle had ensued between him and his attacker, he felt a burning pain in his shoulder and saw his accomplice swinging a ‘cutlass’ towards him. “He had a small shine cutlass and he fired a chop at me and then the other students started to shout that …’boy look he chop you, you gotta go to the hospital’,” he explained. He further pointed out that after his attacker saw the blood flowing from his wounds he then hastily exited the building, jumped over the fence and disappeared.
By Shiran Ramnauth
16-year-old schoolboy of Vrymens Erven Secondary School in New Amsterdam was on last Wednesday morning chopped during a fight with another student. Simeon Sandiford, a fifth from student who resides at Lot 131 Bermine Housing Scheme, New Amsterdam sustained a deep wound on his left shoulder and several other minor injuries about his body after becoming involved in an altercation with a fellow student. The wounds were allegedly inflected by a fourth form student of the same institution. The incident occurred at about 10:00h last Wednesday. Speaking to this publication, the injured student who is currently writing his end of term examinations recalled that he was on his way to the canteen to get a snack after he had finished his test when he saw two other students involved in a fist fight and upon glancing in their direction out of curiosity, he became a target. “I see he slapping up a Indian boy and I watching the two of them and he turn to me and say, is wha you looking at, you want some too?” he stated, while noting that he politely said to the furious student “no boss” and went his way to the canteen. The sixteen-year-old further said that
The injured Simeon Sandiford
after purchasing his snack and making his way back to his classroom, his attacker ran after him and issued several threats. “I asked him, is what happen with you, boy?
Mother of the injured student Abigail Sandiford, 32, who is employed at a catering service in New Amsterdam opined that something drastic needs to be done by the relevant authorities as violence in schools is rapidly becoming a societal scourge and getting out of control. She said she was at work when she received a phone call from the school informing her that her son was injured. Upon reaching at the hospital she saw her son be-
ing treated by the doctors and seemed to be in much pain. “Violence in schools is only an extreme manifestation of disciplinary problems in general; wherever discipline is poor, there is a greater likelihood of violence getting out of control,” the woman stated. “Weapons being carried into schools are going unchecked and this scenario results in the loss of lives… something drastic needs to be done,” she said. The injured student was treated at the New Amsterdam Hospital, reportedly receiving approximately 14 stitches for the chop wound and additional medical attention for the other injuries he sustained. He was given an x-ray to determine whether he suffered any broken bones or other complications. He was then given the requisite medical treatment and sent home to return to the hospital for observation. Meanwhile, according to an official at the Department of Education in New Amsterdam, a full investigation will be launched shortly to determine the whereabouts of the teachers during this period of violence. “We visited the school and were informed by reliable sources that it was only when the teachers heard that someone had been chopped that they intervened,” the official said.
arch 27th 2014 marked exactly four years and six months since the nude body of Chitra “Chandra” Poonwassie was discovered at her Tain residence and to date no one has been charged for the crime. The family is dissatisfied with the level of investigation from the police as the case seems to have gone cold. The body of Poonwassie was discovered by her sister around 11:00h on September 27th 2009 after residents had tried contacting her but got no response. They notified her sister, Kawalah Dabidyol 52 who lived nearby and she along with her husband entered the premises. Upon entering they noticed that a board was missing from the enclosed stairway and suspected something was amiss. What they saw next shivers down their spines as they found the nude body of Poonwassie on her bed in a pool of blood with a gaping wound under her neck. A blood stained knife was nearby on the bed as well while her body was partly covered with a sheet. The sight caused her sister to rush out of the room screaming for her sister. Neighbours later recalled hearing Poonwassie crying out around 04:00h the said day but thought little of the noise as she was in the habit of drinking and making noise in the house. The killer/s gained entry through the enclosed stairway by ripping out a board. The subsequent post mortem revealed that the woman died as a result of manual
Dead: Chitra Poonwassie
strangulation. The body also bore signs of a struggle and rape. Since that fateful day the police had initially held four people for questioning who were all released without charge. The family on the other hand believes the killers are people from within the neighbourhood as Poonwassie was assaulted by persons in her yard and the matter was before the courts at the time of the incident. Her son 28-year-old Viren Verasammy is also of the opinion that it is more than one person who attacked his mother as she was a fighter and was tough so it would have been difficult for one person to hold her down and commit the act. The family is disappointed in the level of investigations carried out by the police and feels that if they had the financial means they would have taken matters in their own hands and place the killer/s before the courts by now. They are however optimistic that the killers will be brought to justice and they can have some level of satisfaction.
MonDAY, April 7, 2014
Outgoing President of the Berbice Chamber of Commerce (BCC) Mark Roopnarine says that the smuggling of goods across the border is not only affecting Berbice business people but also “robbing” the economy of a whole lot of revenue. He maintained that smuggling of goods should not only be a concern of the BCC but also of the wider community at large. While noting that he is satisfied with the work being done by the police and the anti-smuggling unit as the fight against smuggling in- President of the Berbice Chamber of tensifies in the ancient Commerce, Mark Roopnarine county, Roopnarine uncommunication between derscored the need for more businesses and police officers work to be done in the fight is improving. He also mainagainst the illegal activity. tained that contrary to reHe opined that as long as ports, businessmen and pothere is development, there lice officers are not afraid to will also be an increase in take action but rather they illegal activities. This phe- lack the resources to pursue nomenon, however, he not- the offenders in such cases. ed, can be curbed with work “So much has to be from not only the police but done to fight crime” said also businesses. “Once peo- Roopnarine. He further ple are secure, once busi- stated that the chamber of nesses are secure, there will commerce has held several be growth and development” meetings with the Berbice said Roopnarine as he urged Divisional Commander the businesses to take ad- Brian Joseph which has been equate security measures in successful in that they have the protection of their estab- made consistent headway in lishments. how they will go about tack“It is not just the fight of ling the issue and providing the Guyana Police Force and sufficient security for busiGovernment of Guyana but ness establishments in the also that of businessmen” ancient county. the outgoing president of Officials at the Berbice the BCC said. On that note, Anti-Smuggling Squad Roopnarine related that (BASS) recently told Berbice while there are reports that Times that goods and othmembers of the business fac- er types of smuggling in the tion and the Police Force are Upper Corentyne area are aware of whom the offenders not as prevalent as before are in the instances of smug- and they credited this drop gling, this was not the case. in the illegal trade to greatHe maintained that the er cooperation from affected Police Force though it hier- businesses. Courts Guyana archy in the Berbice division Inc and several other has continuously reaffirmed Georgetown-based businesshis commitment to the fight es were forced to close heir against smuggling. He fur- operations on the Corentyne ther posited that it is not a Coast, owing to rampant case where the police officers smuggling of goods across are not willing to tackle the the largely unmanned backissue of smuggling in the an- track route to Suriname. cient county but rather that However, in an exclusive inthey are inadequately re- terview with Berbice Times, sourced to tackle what has an official attached to BASS become a major problem for speaking under the condition businesses in the area. of anonymity had said that The President of the smuggling has decreased Chamber also related that drastically in the region, al-
though acknowledging that the issue will never die. He said, however, because of the avid interest of businesses in their welfare, they have taken stock of any illegal activity and have been reporting suspected cases to BASS. As such, the official said BASS has been able to respond and confiscate smuggled goods, as well as carry out raids. “When a businessman notices that his product is not selling as it used to and his colleague is selling the same for a lower price, then he takes note and informs us. We then stake out and catch the culprit in the act, so because of businessmen input, we are now able to put pressure on smugglers and it is more manageable now,” the official asserted, while noting that although BASS has been making strides in relation to the interception of illegally imported goods, it would be impossible to curb smuggling due to the closeness of the Guyana/ Suriname border. “Ports of entry are all along the sea shore, from Number Seven, Canje, Manchester, Number 43, name it, throughout Crabwood Creek, all of these are ports of entry for smuggled goods. It is impossible to stop it completely, and as long as a man can make a profit when he smuggles, he will continue to do so by both taking and bringing illegal goods,” the official explained. He said that smuggling is a way of life for some people but noted that contrary to what some may say; smuggling is not as rampant as it was years ago. The major concern for BASS now, the official stated, is the smuggling of tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, pesticides, home appliances and fish and shrimp into Guyana from Suriname. The official said that fishermen too are sometimes affected but regarding the issue of home appliances, residents are no longer purchasing them as they are sold without a receipt and this is very risky, since if stolen or broken, they are without any form of ownership.
Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Member of Parliament (MP) and Region Five representative Jennifer Wade told the National Assembly that Government’s financial plan and policies for 2014 will not help the region in any meaningful way. Addressing the House during the 2014 Budget debates, Wade took the opportunity to highlight the difficulties faced by Region Five residents, pointing out that year after year, Government continues to increase the national budget, but the standard of life for residents in the region remains the same. She reminded the House of her remarks in the 2013 National Budget presentation, about the conditions faced by Region Five residents. The parliamentarian said the situation from then to now remains the same, noting that “while persons are
APNU MP Jennifer Wade ment has created an army of beggars, drug addicts, and destitute people, wandering boys and girls and street children. University graduates, talented teachers, nurses, and thousand of talented people are racing to migrate from their homeland,” Wade told the House. She said while the issues require urgent attention, Government continues to turn a blind eye to the troubling situation. Wade cited
Rice farmers inspecting their crops
paid a large sum of money to do house to house campaigns to find out people’s problem, Mr Speaker, the problems are before us so what is the purpose of that exercise,” she asked.
Wade disclosed that some of the issues faced by residents include the exorbitant toll to cross the Berbice River Bridge, the unavailability of jobs, improper drainage and irrigation, daily threats to human safety, incidents of murder, robberies, abuse, suicide, lack of proper healthcare facilities, lack of electricity and irregular supply of potable water in some areas, lack of access roads to farmlands, flooding and poverty. “Mr Speaker, unemploy-
the words of the National Assembly Prayer, which she said “speaks of dealing justly with many causes that come before us, laying aside all private interest”. She said it is the residents’ hope that for this year, the words of the prayer are remembered by all. Focusing her attention on rice production in the region, she said while Government continues to boast of its excellent performance in the industry over the years, it continues to plummet under the ever increasing crises. According to Wade, rice farmers continue to suffer under a system that was supposed to assist them to make things better. She highlighted the current issue with rice farmers who
are owed millions of dollars for paddy supplied to millers. “Where is the payment plan,” she questioned. Given the state of affairs, Wade described the situation as “digging a hole to fill another hole”. The drainage problems in Region Five, Wade said, are extensive. She pointed out that farmers at Strath Campbell and Washclothes in the Mahaicony area are still awaiting the continuation of work to link the Perth/ Baibu Canal to Botonabi Creek, a move that would help to alleviate the drainage problem in the area. She related too that the mouth of the Abary River still needs to be desilted so as to assist those farmers south of the main canal.
Wade, turning her attention to the farming community of Barakara in the Canje Creek, Region Six, said the area has a genuine problem with marketing its produce. “There are farmers there who plant all kinds of crops. Corn, bora, ochro, pumpkin etc... But, Mr Speaker, it is amazing that the farmers down that river do not have anywhere to market their crops. They are cutting their pumpkin by the hundreds, laying them in the field. But after that, they have to dump them in the river, all of those pumpkins, down the river, because there is no way to market the produce.” Wade said problems like these could be easily addressed if each region has a marketing agency. The APNU MP also blasted the housing and water sector for its inability to work towards regularisation of squatter settlements in Region Five. She pointed to residents of Number 22 Bel Air, who have been squatting in the area. Wade said they have been clamouring for years, pleading with the Government to regularise the area, since there is a desperate need for electricity and potable water. “Mr Speaker, these are concerns for the people, these are things we’re talking about, so I don’t know why we are paying people to go and solicit concerns, I am bringing the concerns here in this National Assembly,” Wade said.
MonDAY, April 7, 2014
ut of great compassion from tender people, I was coaxed out of my rented house and taken for a drive from Rose Hall towards Skeldon side. Good people gave the car, good people drove, and good people did not down me for rent. The intention was simple: get me out of this place and let me breathe the air of Berbice in the late afternoon light! But the excuse was that I MUST see a clean, well tended place, the Number 36 Baptist Church. It was as Professor Daizal Samad if these good people knew that I needed to be saved from suffocation. But as I went, I was told that they would buy chocolate cake from Spready’s for me. Rather like a child being coaxed. I remembered that the best of adults are those that retain the child within their breasts. We then drove through Rose Hall Town, Corporal Gobin upon the instructions of Superintendent Calvin Brutus, vigilant. All is well, then. Good men doing a complex job as if it was so easy. We travelled along the ribbon of road from Rose Hall to Number 36 Village. I am easy because I know that I am heading in the direction of the Felix Austin Police College (FAPC) at Adventure. We pass the FAPC, and I immediately become subject to worry. I am outside of my rented house! I am tempted to tell my companion to turn around and take me back home. But that would not have been manly, so I remained quiet and listened to her voice. After Nand Persaud Rice Mill, there is a road block. We are pulled over and respectfully we wind down the windows. A constable asks about the tint, and I inform him that it is regulation stuff. I ask if they are going to take up my time. The Constable said, politely: “Sir, we just doing police work.” The accompanying detective came across the road, asked my name, recognised it, and asked us to proceed. I asked my habitual question: “Sir, are you being safe?” The answer came: “Yes, Sir!” We shook hands as good citizens would, and the journey continued. Good police! We got to the Number 36 Village Baptist Church. It is burgundy and white, a clean well-appointed place. There is a “trench” in front covered in duck weed and “shame bush”, like a carpet. The church is simple, the glass windows whistle clean that I can see the pews through the slanting sunlight even from the road. The driveway is clean, and the Church surrounded by level pewter-coloured concrete. The iron-wrought gate is painted white. It is closed but not locked. There is a padlock, rusted, open but clasped within the latches. Rather like safety and welcome at the same time. To the west of the Church, there is a pond, covered in clean green. The evening sun slanted, creating half shadows and half light. I could hear birds. In such a place, I would be honoured to be invited to bow to the Creator! We drive back towards Rose Hall Town. But, refreshed from the beauty of the Number 36 Village Baptist Church, I insisted on turning into the compound of the FAPC “B”. The recruits were about to have supper, Inspector Davidson training without effort. The recruits braced as if it were the most natural thing in the world. The kitchen staff was polite and jovial. The place was clean, manicured. Force Training Officer Williams, be proud! Mr Clinton Conway, your work continues! Berbicians are grateful. And I can breathe easy.
Garbage dumped on the shoulder of the public road BY NAFEEZA YAHYA
everal businesses in Portuguese Quarter, Port Mourant, Corentyne are accusing residents and other businesses in neighbouring Rose Hall Town of the illegal and improper disposal of garbage on the western side of the public road. When this publication visited the area, there were piles of garbage on one section of the road with a strong stench emanating from the site. According to Yudesh Armogan, the Manager of Ram’s Office Supplies, whose business is obliquely opposite the dump said he has bitterly complained about the situation to the Port Mourant/Johns Neighbourhood Democratic Council on numerous occasions but was told the NDC does not have the equipment to deal with the collection of garbage. Armogan pointed out that they are even losing customers because of the foul smell coming from the area. He added, when persons set the garbage alight the smoke would get into the store and that would also drive customers away. “The customers complain about the smell, it’s not good for us each day, we have to hire someone to clean our area and the drain because some of the garbage would fly over and block up the drains and even build up in front of the business making it look nasty even though we clean”. The manager is adamant that businesses utlise the services of junkies to dump their waste and in doing so, the junkies would dump the garbage on the road shoulders. He noted that on one occasion he had confronted a businessman after seeing someone dumping their garbage at the area but was told, “… Everyone is dumping there so we dump there too, if you want us to stop, tell the whole Rose Hall”. Raj Churman of Raj’s Motorcycles and Spare Parts said the garbage site is an eyesore and not only is it bad to look at but it is unhealthy. He noted too that dead carcasses, shrimp and fish are thrown there with most of the acts of dumping being done at night. “Sometimes we would get persons to clean it in the afternoon... by the next morning it’s the same thing, it’s really frustrating, schoolchildren have
to pass there every morning, it’s not healthy for them”. According to a food vendor who plies her trade in close proximity to the dump site said “I been selling here for years and this is the worse I see this has been happening for months. I believe that the relevant authority should look into this matter seriously and soon, this is a terrible situation for us all. Sometimes it is cleaned in the day however by night the place full up with garbage again.” When contacted the Overseer of Port Mourant /Johns NDC, Satyanand Pooran said once persons are found guilty of the act, they will be dealt with according to the law. He acknowledged that it is indeed a terrible situation and promised to put measures in place to try and curb the situation such as erecting signs notifying persons not to dump garbage there. When quizzed about the fact that people pay no heed to signs as is evident across Guyana, he promised to address the situation with the relevant authorities and come up with a workable solution. The nearby town of Rose Hall has a garbage collection system that utilises the services of a private garbage collector. While this service is available it is still baffling as to why businesses would opt to dump the garbage in the neighbouring village and not pay a small fee to dispose of the waste. Recently Government implemented The Litter Prevention Regulations which will be shortly enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency. It is an offence under these regulations to (a) place litter in a public place, (b) permit or cause another person to litter in a public place or (c) have litter on private premises that pose a health risk. If the act is committed, the person found responsible would be charged. The fine for an individual found littering in a public place is $50,000 while corporate businesses face a fine of $100,000 or three months’ imprisonment. It is also an offence to cause littering from a moving vehicle trailer. Citizens are optimistic that with the proper enforcement, residents and businesses alike will refrain from the improper dumping of garbage. Of recent, many persons were brought before the courts and charged for littering.
MonDAY, April 7, 2014
fficials at the New Amsterdam Hospital say that they will be commencing midwifery training at the institution in the near future. Chief Executive Officer of the hospital Allen Johnson told Berbice Times that the programme was being undertaken to offset the shortage of midwives at the institution. Johnson explained that the shortage is principally due to nurses who have been trained in the field requesting transfer to return to their home administrative region and in particular, Region Five, after citing issues with transportation. On that note, Allen also told this publication that the nurses in the institution are currently undergoing training in Supervisory and Managerial Skills in an effort to improve their relation with patients and others who visit the institution from time to time to access medical care. He said that the training programme is being conducted in conjunction with the Georgetown Public Hospital and officials from Vanderbilt University located in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A. Through the working relations with the GPHC and the university, the CEO explained that the New Amsterdam hospital has been able to expand its Accident and Emergence (A&E) Unit, to now include 12 beds and a triage area. This area ascertains the priority of patients treatments based on the severity of their condition. This rations patient treatment efficiently when resources are insufficient for all to be treated immediately. The CEO highlighted that there is a doctor in the triage area who ascertains the severity of a patient’s injury and whether the patient should be referred to the Outpatient Unit or whether they will proceed into the A&E unit. On that note, the Medical Superintended of the hospital, Dr Vishalya Sharma related that for the year 2013, some 95,000 persons have been treated at the institution’s A&E unit of the hospital. She also underscored that for the period the institution has recorded a significant decrease in maternal fatalities, with only one maternal death for the period. This marked decrease she attributed to extensive training conducted with the delivery room personnel. Further, she related that out of the 1654 babies delivered by hospital staff, only seven per cent of those deliveries were neonatal fatalities, which would equate
Medical Superintendent, Dr Vishalaya Sharma
to 11 neonatal deaths at the institution. Dr Vishayala further related that the hospital had recorded some 23 still births. She maintained that a large percentage of the still births could be attributed to transfers to the hospital from other hospitals in the ancient county and its environs including the Mahaicony Hospital, Fort Wellington, and the Skeldon hospital. This publication was also made to understand that for the past few years, the hos-
Chief Executive Officer of NAPH, Allen Johnson
pital has been having issues as it relates to the supply of medication and medical necessities. As such, the management of the hospital has taken steps to buy the medical supplies that they are in constant need of. It was explained that the board has included provisions in the last budget and the current budget being debated in the National Assembly to provide for the purchase of the medical supplies.
hen leaders stand for openness, diversity, and inclusion, it sends an essential message to the public. It is saddening that too many organisations have a lack of role models for women, people of colour, and the LGBT community. There is definitely a problem here most will agree. We should not be too concerned about the colour, the race, the gender or gender preferences of those around us. The most important thing is everybody should work as one unit and use their utmost best to get the job done. Narine Dat Sookram It is not uncommon though that you will find people still profiling other people in the darkest ways possible. Whatever conclusions people may arrive at, we all should understand and consider it a natural necessity in every life, but should not let it get to you. If you really think about it, when everyone feels included, they are far more likely to engage fully and enjoy satisfaction in whatever they do. The important thing to keep in mind it to be aware of different backgrounds, cultures, and personalities when managing a diversity group; it is key to maximising the contributions of every person in every group. Diversity and inclusion is a lot of hard work which requires a large commitment from everyone regardless of their socio-economic status, but at the end, it pays off. Education is probably the key here, because by investing in learning about diversity, you are taking the step necessary to bring your team or the people you manage into the modern world. There should not be any surprise and you probably heard it many times, but here you go again: One of the ways to improve morale in anyone is to treat each one of them with respect. In other words, people should be recognised for who they are as individuals by valuing their input and making them feel valued. The reality is, the more any group focuses on creating an inclusive culture, the better opportunity they have to break all barriers. This comes through fresh thinking and experience of course. The big challenge today though is about knowing everything that contributes to diversity. As mentioned earlier, but also people understand diversity as it relates to ethnicity, race, gender, sexual preference and religion. However, there are other things to be taken into consideration as well, such as physical handicaps, generation gaps, stereotypes etc, because as the organisation continues to grow, it will attract and keep the best talented employees.
MonDAY, April 7, 2014
BY SHIRAN RAMNAUTH
he three orphaned teenage girls who resided at Camal International Home in Corentyne, Berbice and were sentenced to four years at the New Opportunity Corps (NOC) on the charge of wandering are in their final stages of recovery from the trauma faced during the appalling time spent behind bars at the Albion Police Station and the alleged maltreatment meted out to them at the home. In an exclusive interview with the guardians of the three teens, Berbice Times was told that the girls are on the road to recovery and are “extremely happy.” The three girls (names given) aged 16, 14 and 12 were last December sentenced to four years at the NOC on the charge of wandering. They were accused of running away from Camal International Home. The16and 12-year olds are sisters. An aunt of one of the 14-year old said that it was never her intention to leave her niece at an orphanage since she cared for her from birth. The woman who sells groceries on a large scale at the Skeldon Market told this publication that circumstances and a particular person attached to the Child Care and Protection Agency department in Berbice forced her to comply and send her niece to the Camal
Two of the girls
Home. The woman said on numerous occasions she had petitioned the agency to get the young girl back, but instead she was insulted by the head of the home. The incident of her being placed in the home stemmed from allegations of molestation. She said that although she visited her niece at the home and kept begging for her to be released into her care, no one saw fit to inform her of her niece’s plight and it was not until a family member that resides overseas saw the article on a social network were they informed of the incident of her niece being in police custody. The niece herself seemed quite jubilant when Berbice Times spoke to her. She ex-
he best singer in New Amsterdam should be known on April 26 when the final of the Banks Premium Beer Karaoke Competition is held. The competition commenced on March 26 and runs for one month. Twenty-five
plained that at this point in her life, she felt blessed and happy. “Me happy with me aunty… me deh good and me feel nice,” she shyly said, while noting that the incident no longer affects her as she has moved on. She said that she goes to church twice weekly and is also learning to cook and hopefully someday she will own a restaurant. When questioned about her experience at the Camal Home and of being subsequently held at the Albion Police Station for almost a week, she said she is almost over that because she is shown love and kindness by her family. She felt confident that God would bless her. Meanwhile, the siblings are residing with their un-
contestants have entered the competition with 15 remaining, the others are knocked out. The competition is held twice weekly on Wednesday and Saturday nights at the Harmony Restaurant and Tavern on Republic Road.
and Uncle get up and cook and send us to school morning time, he make we do our homework and he always give us advice and we are happy,” one sister said. The girls said that they have put the experience behind them and are concentrating on their studies as their intention is to be successful in their endeavours. The three are also grateful for the intervention of Attorney General A n i l Nandlall who had secured their release from the NOC. Human cle on the S e rvices Corentyne M i nister Coast. The J e n i f e r uncle, a farmW e bster er, was in full last week praise of his told the nieces. The The uncle of one of the sisters N a t i o n al sisters are A s s e m b ly currently atthat discitending a secondary and according to a plinary action will be takteacher, both girls are doing en against officers of Camal Home in exceptionally well in their International Corentyne, Berbice, for neacademic work. Having no children of his own, he as- glect of duties. The Corentyne orphansured that he will continage came into the spotlight ue to educate the girls and in December 2013, followensure they are well taken ing allegations of maltreatcare of until marriage. ment of orphans residing When Berbice Times at the institution. Webster spoke with the sisters, they both assured that they are said the disciplinary achappy and content living tions stemmed from recomwith their uncle and his mendation emanated from wife. “We are treated well a committee which was ap-
pointed to investigate the allegations, which were made by three teenage girls. She said that the Minimum Operational Standards stipulate that children’s homes “must ensure that all children within their care are protected and their rights respected”. The Human Services Minister did not specify whether the home had breached the established standards; she simply outlined the recommendations tabled by the committee. In addition to the institution of disciplinary actions, it was recommended that a management committee be established to review and have oversight responsibility for the operations of the home. Additionally, that managerial body will be tasked with the responsibility of developing and implementing procedures that would protect the rights of children residing at the Corentyne orphanage. Training was also recommended for officers operating within the home. Minister Webster said it is critical for persons operating in orphanages to be acquainted with the relevant laws for the protection and rights of children in Guyana. Personnel will also be recruited to assist the children with their homework and assignments.
performing night, two persons will leave the competition and the final five will perform on the final night to decide a winner. Previous performances are not taken into account, though the judges have been referring to them in offering comments. Among those who have been impressing the audience are the Caesar brothers Julian and Julius who have contrasting styles. Julian thrilled scores when he performed ‘If Tomorrow Comes’ made popular by Ronan Keaton while his brother seems more comfortEloise McAlmont performing able with songs like ‘Funny Julius Caesar pulling a high ‘‘Please Think It Over’ note Familiar Forgotten Feelings’ originally performed by The event is the brainchild of Christopher Holder of Matrix Video Engelbert Humperdinck. Another performance which is considProduction. He says the objective is to unearth talent and allow persons to move to ered one of the best by viewers was Lauren the next level. “What we hope is that pro- Hill’s version of ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of ducers will be able to spot talent and maybe You’ which was done last Wednesday night by Onika “Diamond” Vieira. give them a break…” Another performer to watch is Byron According to him, it is hoped that persons will be able to start producing their Forde who is very versatile. George Cush own music. The way the competition is be- has also been getting good reviews from the ing run allows for the panel of three judges judges as well as Moria “Miss Kim” Thomas. It will be action again on Wednesday to offer comments and make suggestions afwhen two more competitors will be knocked ter each performance. The judges are Alfred Petty, Shane out of the competition. At stake for the winner will be $25,000 Lindie and Amanda Bethel. One of the more exciting evenings was Saturday when con- and a night for two at Signature Inn along testants were expected to randomly choose with a trophy. The second prize will include a partner and perform a duet before return- $15,000 cash while the third prize will ining minutes after to perform a solo. Each clude $10,000 cash.
MonDAY, April 7, 2014
PPP/C MP Faizal Jaffarally
Road works being done at Alexander Street, New Amsterdam By Andrew Carmichael
embers of the Regional Works Committee in Region Six have expressed fear for their lives and those of their families after allegedly being threatened by a local contractor whose work they did not approve. The contractor from Crabwood Creek is alleged to have threatened to shoot someone if he does not receive payment for a canal cleaning contract that was awarded to him. In March, a $933,550 contract was awarded to Sheik Mohammed to clean the Crabwood Creek Facade monthly from then until the end of the year. The Regional Works Committee recently checked the canal and was not satisfied with what they saw, and as such, they did not sign the approval document which would allow for payment.
Speaking at the Regional Democratic Council’s (RDC) statutory meeting on Thursday, Regional Councillor Rohan Jaggiswar said they were told someone will die if a contractor is not paid for work he is claiming to have done. “I gon shoot somebody and kill them if I don’t get my... money,” the contractor allegedly said according to Jaggiswar. He said the matter was reported to the Superintendent of Works. According to Jaggiswar, he is now fearful for his life and those of his immediate family. Similar sentiments were expressed by another Works Committee member Kevin Crawford. “Such a threat should not be entertained by this Region.” Crawford called for all the other con-
tracts given to that contractor to be withdrawn. Acting Head of the Works Committee Zamal Hossain referred to the incident as an insult to the entire RDC. Regional Chairman David Armogan said the administration will be taking stern action to ensure that the lives of members of the Works Committee are not put at risk. “We can’t allow people to eye pass Regional officials… if we allow it to pass, we will be in trouble.” According to Armogan, they will be calling in the contractor who allegedly made the threats. Jaggiswar referred to the said contractor as rude, noting that the day before the incident, he had stormed out of a meeting with the Committee.
Meanwhile, the Region Six Administration says it will not be accepting sloppy work from contractors and has threatened to withhold payments to those in default. Already the administration has put under scrutiny works carried out by H Nauth and Sons Civil Engineering Construction in New Amsterdam. H Nauth and Sons Civil Engineering Construction has been receiving most of the major road contracts in Region Six. They are currently contracted to carry out a $40 million rehabilitation project on the East Bank of Berbice main access road. Nauth also recently completed a US$8.5 million project to resurface the East Canje main accessroad. The construction firm is also currently executing a multimillion-dollar contract to rehabilitate several streets in New Amsterdam. The administration was recently forced to pay more at-
Coburg Street is one of the few roads that were done properly
tention to the project after residents complained about the shoddy work being done by the firm. The Public Works Ministry last year had awarded ‘Maintenance of Community Roads’ project to H Nauth and Sons Civil Engineering Construction. The project commenced in March and would see rehabilitation to Chapel, Kent, Pope, Asylum, Alexander, Critchlow, Philadelphia and New Streets, along with Lad Lane and Howard’s Ally. At Lad Lane, the residents say that when work was done the contractor did not have a roller to compress the asphalt. “They leave all the side here just like this… When the rains come, the side will flood and just now the street gonna break up again,” one resident told Berbice Times. The residents are comparing the execution of the project with recent rehabilitation work that was done by the same company to Coburg Street. “Look at Coburg Street where the Regional Chairman living… Look how that street do… They cover the whole street.” Another resident, Joyce Fung-a-Fat speaking of work done to Alexander Street said that the contractor executed the project at night. According to her much of what she expected was not done. Despite not
having a project document which stipulates the work that the contractor is being paid to do, Fung-a-Fat is basing her expectations on past experiences.
The project document states that the contractor should scarify the existing carriageway, shape and compact along with cleaning pot holes before placing a mixture of reef sand and white sand and then place four inches of crusher run. The first part of the job should be as directed by the Engineer, however Regional Engineer Rupesh Persaud said that he was unaware that the contractor had commenced work. According to residents, the only part of the project that has been as to specification is the placing of the prime coat bitumen and sand bitumen. Deputy Mayor of New Amsterdam Harold Dabydeen has also expressed his disgust over the project. He is calling on the regional administration to exercise more oversight. Region Six Chairman David Armogan said the Regional Engineer will have to investigate. “If it is that he did not do as he was asked to then he will have to go back and do it over or we will not be paying him.”
epairs and extensions to the Canje Secondary School, construction of a bridge at Black Bush Polder for rice farmers, construction of revetment at Orealla and Siparuta, and rehabilitation of a street at Edinburgh, East Bank Berbice are only some of the projects that will be undertaken this year in Region Six from its 2014 budgetary allocations. People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament Faizal Jaffarally in his presentation to the National Assembly last week said that budget 2014 is yet another people-oriented budget, and rebuked the Opposition for decrying lack of consultations when they themselves chose to ignore invitations to do so. He also reminded them that preparation of the national estimates of expenditure is the responsibility of the Executive. He said that all the criticisms that are now coming from the Opposition benches are nothing new, as the same is being said budget after budget. Jaffarally said that the housing sector in Region Six has seen unprecedented growth and this year’s budget proposes a further allocation of $310 milion to be spent in areas such as Bloomfield, Cumberland, Williamsburg, Adelphi, and Number 77 Village. This will benefit about 14,350 residents. Thus far, more than 10,500 ordinary, working-class Berbicians have
managed to acquire their own homes as a result of the Housing Ministry’s robust housing plan where 14 schemes and 24 squatter settlements have been established across Region Six. These beneficiaries include sugar workers, nurses, vendors, hire car drivers, policemen, and teachers. Additionally, last year, the Ministry undertook a massive infrastructural development programme in the region (which included the laying of pipelines, rehabilitation of internal streets, etc). This programme benefited 13,530 residents. He also spoke of the remarkable successes recorded in the education sector as a result of the massive investments. In 2013, a total of 11,452 students wrote the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations; achieving a pass rate of 81.93 per cent and out of the 2305 students who wrote the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA), 93 per cent were awarded places in secondary schools in the region. Moreover, all of the secondary schools and 40 per cent of primary schools in Region Six are equipped with IT laboratories. Responding to AFC MP Veerasammy Ramayya’s criticism of the state of playgrounds in the region, Jaffarally informed that the Whim Sports Club was fenced, a new pavilion was built, the land was filled and a new pitch was laid. This facility, he reminded, is just a ‘stone’s throw’ away from Ramayya’s residence. A total of 39 recreational grounds were rehabilitated across Region Six at the cost of $68.9 milion, and these include works at Burnham Park in New Amsterdam, Bermine Cricket ground and Young Warriors Cricket ground. With regards to the funds budgeted for the sugar industry, Jaffarally said that “the sugar workers’ concerns will always be a concern of the PPP/C Government.”
MonDAY, April 7, 2014
BY ANDREW CARMICHAEL
he New Building Society (NBS) is committed to the development of cricket in Guyana and has for the tenth successive year sponsored the major second division cricket competition in Berbice. This commitment was made known last Wednesday when the 10th Annual NBS Second Division 40-over Cricket tournament was launched at the New Amsterdam branch of the bank. Speaking at the launch, Branch Manager Anil Beharry said close to one hundred teams will benefit from the sponsorship worth $684,000. The Branch Manager referred to the tournament as one of the most important in the development of cricket in the Ancient County. “Over the years this competition has played a major part in the development of community grounds and people within the communities that the competition is played.” Over the past nine years, the NBS Second Division 40over has attracted more than 100 teams, making it the largest cricket competition in the Caribbean. “The New Building Society is very cognisant of its role in giving back to the society in which we operate and at the same time the society also enjoys excellent advertisement and popularity through this tournament,” he added. Beharry noted that his company will always try to put back into the community, from which it garners its support. “At NBS, our mandate is to house, but we also recognise the importance of sport, particularly cricket, as it is a unifying sport in our society, in a country that is as diverse as Guyana. We would like to see the development of sport throughout the country and we are prepared to play our part... Cricket is part of Guyanese culture and we are happy to join hands once again with the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB).” Manager of the Bank’s Rose Hall Branch Rana Persaud, who handed over the cheque to the BCB noted that the support the bank receives from Berbice has been tremendous and they feel compelled to give back in a big way noting that cricket is a good way to do so. Cricket he said covers a wide cross section of the popu-
Manager of NBS Rose Hall Rana Persaud handing over the cheque to Vice President of the BCB Hubern Evans
lation and involves persons from all walks of life. “I can assure you that my bosses will agree to further sponsorship of cricket in Berbice.” Persaud said that he was confident that the competition will be played with the highest standards and conducted with good accountability, which he added the BCB is noted for. In accepting the cheque, Vice President of the BCB Hubern Evans stated that the board is grateful to NBS for their continued and unstinted support over the years. He is pleased that the business community continues to support the BCB and more so a prestige company as NBS. Evans gave NBS the assurance that the competition will be played at the high standard that is expected. Meanwhile, Chairman of the Competitions Committee
Carl Moore said already 85 teams have signalled their intention to participate. Teams will come from the New Amsterdam/Canje area, Lower Corentyne, Central Corentyne, Upper Corentyne, West Berbice, Canje River and Berbice. According to Moore, additional entries are expected to come in from the Berbice and Canje River areas. “Sixteen zones covering the length and breadth of Berbice stretching from Abary on the West Coast of Berbice to the East Bank Berbice to Crabwood Creek in the Upper Corentyne area…” Young Warriors Cricket Club is the defending champion. The competition bowls off on Sunday with matches in most zones. According to Moore, play in the Canje and Corentyne rivers is expected to start next month.
One of the ten teams vying for top position in the Scotiabank/Pepsi Schools Football Academy
ryman’s Erven Secondary School (VESS) is holding a very slim lead on the points table in the Berbice zone of the Scotiabank/Pepsi Schools Football Academy. VESS moved to the top after inflicting a 6-0 win over bottom of the table Canje Secondary School (CSS) on Thursday. VESS are now on three points levelled with Berbice Educational Institute (BEI) together with New Amsterdam Multilateral School (NAMS), Tutorial Academy Secondary School (TASS) and Berbice High School (BHS). However, VESS holds a superior goal advantage, but that lead will be short lived as TASS and BEI will meet on Tuesday to
end round two. While TASS will go into the match as strong favourites, BEI will be hoping for at least a draw which will leave the competition wide open. TASS have already gotten pass the feared VESS and now are only expected to receive meagre challenges from BEI and less when they take on BHS in the final match of the zone. VESS will be hoping that TASS loses one of their games and then the winner may have to be decided on goal averages. Tuesday’s game at the Esplanade Park is of vital importance towards the overall placing of teams. Meanwhile BHS also proved that they could be a team to reckoned with when they beat NAMS 2-0.