Monday, March 31, 2014
See page 7
$20 vat included
Issue No. 018
Police making small dents in
Berbice ganja trade
See page 3
Police in Berbice said that they have been making small dents in crushing the large scale cultivation in the Berbice River
Skeldon glitches hurting private cane farmers See page 4
Rose Hall, Canje - A gem to behold
Computer laboratory commissioned at Bath Primary School
BABA wants some control over Vrymens Erven Basketball Court
MonDAY, march 31, 2014
Govt banks on Canje Basin’s Guyana needs new agriculture push more – allocates $1.5B for diversification
overnment has allocated the sum of $1.5 billion, as the country welcomes new large-scale private investments in the agriculture sector. Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh, during his presentation of Budget 2014 to the National Assembly last Monday, disclosed that the Canje Basin investment would join the Santa Fe megafarm investment, as the Government continues its focus on diversifying food production. The Finance Minister said potential crops under this new investment project will include rubber, acacia, corn, soya, quinoa, and legumes, with a focus on increasing exports to Trinidad and Tobago. The Santa Fe project, which is in Region Nine, in addition to the production of upland rice for export to Brazil, is also producing soya and corn, which are being grown to satisfy the Guyana and Caribbean markets.
Towards the development of the fishing industry, there will be in 2014 the promotion of sustainable development of inland fisheries and aquaculture, and support to fishermen in rebuilding cooperatives and simplifying the licence system for artisanal fishing. Minister Singh said that Government will also establish a Guyana Agriculture Research Oversight Committee (GAROC) to implement a national agriculture research agenda. Focus will be placed on enhancing milk production to reduce milk imports, along with promoting greater self-suffi-
The creation of sustainable food production systems within the context of climate change continues to be among Government’s main focuses. Government has been ensuring that all of the value-chain actors: farmers, agro processors and exporters, capitalise on the many opportunities available in the sector and are equipped to confront the threats they might face.
Dr Ashni Singh
ciency in the production of poultry and other meats, he said. Emphasis will also be placed on expanding the range of crops, to reduce importation with specific focus on carrots, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, turmeric, ginger, and black pepper with the aim of reducing import volumes. Government will also work closely with supply chain agents to lower transportation and transaction costs, and with farmers to ensure a constant supply of raw material. The Guyana Shop will extend its service to other locations across Guyana and overseas. In addition, the resilience of the sector will be bolstered with the launch of the Agriculture Disaster Risk Management Plan, Minister Singh said, even as there will be movement towards enhancing the Early Warning Systems (EWS) and commencing the execution of the Pesticide and Toxic Chemical Emergency Response Plan.
In 2013, Government spent a total of $2 billion on agriculture diversification initiatives. Activities undertaken include the continued strengthening of the legislative framework of the sector and bringing Guyana more in line with international trade requirements. In this regard, there was the completion of the drafting of bills for animal welfare, food safety, food, and exports. The drafting of a traceability regulation is ongoing, but veterinarian legislation was enacted. Other initiatives undertaken to strengthen the agriculture subsectors include the training of more than 200 persons in aquaculture production, and 5800 farmers in crop production. Improved breeds of ducks, sheep, pigs and cattle were also procured, and the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory was substantially completed and staff identified and trained for its operations. In 2013, a total of 17 communitybased organisations received financing for various agriculture-related developmental projects and more than $400 million was spent on seeds, fertiliser, planting materials, and extension services.
uyanese youth need a larger influence of positive music so as to encourage better decisions and help to uplift them in their everyday life. These are the thoughts of Junior Forrester, Founder of Next Generation Entertainment. Forrester said that his promotion label focuses on providing “healthy, stimulating, positive family entertainment” to the Guyanese public and stated in an interview that with enough financial support, Guyana can see a much needed increase in gospel shows, which can provide that positive influence for youth. “It’s not all about the Jamaican and hip hop music. Gospel music is clean and uplifting and can provide spiritual encouragement for young people,” Forrester said. The U.S. based promoter fell in love with gospel music about eight years ago, and seeing the effect of the genre on those who attended international gospel shows, he decided to bring that joy
to Guyana. “I would like to see more gospel shows in Guyana. It can be just as entertaining as other contemporary shows, but there is a guarantee of clean entertainment for everyone who attends,” he said. He believes that within Guyana, local gospel talent abounds but their ability to perform is limited by inadequate financial support. “I also believe that the mindset of Guyanese needs to change as Guyana is very much behind when it comes to international gospel music and because they hardly get radio play,” he said. Forrester said that he does not believe that the interest in gospel music isn’t there, but that the lack of its presence on the airwaves makes it hard for persons to become acquainted with the music and come to support it. He said that corporate Guyana should definitely invest in international concerts as the benefits of gospel music are bountiful. As for the local artistes, he said that training and workshops should be provided so that these persons could hone their talent and help to spread the word. But these things come at a cost, and if these shows and training opportunities are to be made affordable for the public, then Forrester stated that investments should be made to help carry these costs. “I think every day and night of ways in which I can change the minds of sponsors to help support gospel music. I know that I am the new guy on the block in gospel promotion but I am not afraid to approach international artistes to try to get them to come here,” he said. Forrester is currently working on several projects which he hopes will bring gospel to the forefront of entertainment. He hopes that through continued advertising and request for sponsorship that corporate Guyana will support the gospel industry as much as they support any other other industry.
MonDAY, MARCH 31, 2014
Police making small dents in Berbice ganja trade – Joseph says drug fight must be won by citizens
Division Commander Brian Joseph said the police have been working to put an end to the largescale cultivation of marijuana along the Berbice River, but the fight against the narcotics trade must be won by citizens. In light of recent reports of a ramping up of cultivation, Joseph informed this publication that he and his ranks in the division are working assiduously to ensure the prohibited substance that is reportedly coming from the area does not become widespread and affect or impact the community. Guyana Times had reported last week that largescale ganja cultivation up the Berbice River, more specifically at De Veldt, Sand Hills, Tataballi and Gateroy, has caused much consternation among residents, with many expressing fear for their lives. According to information, some 800 pounds of marijuana cultivated there was off-loaded from a small boat along the Berbice River and transported to a larger vessel, allegedly bound for Suriname last week.
Sources say that the financial transaction for the prohibited substance took place a stone’s throw away from the police headquarters in New Amsterdam. The substance was reportedly bought by a Dutchman. Several residents are fearful for their lives as the illegal cultivation has been flourishing in the absence of eradication exercises for the past two years. One resident of De Veldt, which is some 50 miles up the Berbice River, said there is an excavator worth $10 million, acquired by a known
Divisional Commander of Berbice, Brian Joseph
“ganja entrepreneur”, reportedly from the proceeds of his illicit activities. Reports indicate that the excavator was purchased in Georgetown and taken to the Berbice village via river and road transport. The ganja cultivator in question has been arrested three times for the unlawful activity, but, in the absence of concrete evidence, he was subsequently released. In 2010, the suspected drug dealer was arrested and two speedboats and other articles were seized. Commenting on the issue, Joseph emphasised that since his installation as Commander of the Division, numerous raids have been conducted on various drug houses across Berbice in order to curb the selling of the illegal substance to persons. “We have been targeting several known drug houses across the division and even conducting raids when we receive information,” he said, pointing out that if one would look at media reports over the past two years, the division has made great strides in this area, as several arrests and convictions were
Ganja plants destroyed by police
“We are taking many concrete steps to protect our children and their future. We’re working to get hard-core drug users off the streets, to make sure they can’t commit crimes, and infiltrate our youths… We’ve put more police on the streets, but we cannot do it alone – parents, teachers and all other stakeholders need to take an active role in assisting to curb this illegal practice,” the B Division Commander said.
Some of the ganja seized by ranks in Berbice during their many raids
made. Numerous persons have been charged for the possession of marijuana; more recently, a Sophia woman caught during one of the division’s exercises against this scourge was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. Joseph also disclosed that in 2013, several eradication exercises were conducted in the upper the Berbice River. On January 31, 2013, he said ranks in Berbice conducted an eradication ex-
ercise at Morgeston, Upper Berbice River, where they found one field measuring about five acres containing approximately 12,000 cannabis plants between one and 10 feet tall, two nurseries with about 10,000 seedlings, 27,000 kilograms of dried cannabis and a camp measuring 20x12 feet in size. Police ranks destroyed the drug. Additionally, on February 15, 2013, another eradication exercise took place at Kimbia
BBCI donates water system to Brickdam Police Station
he Berbice Bridge Company Inc (BBCI) has upgraded the water distribution system at the Brickdam Police Station Complex. The company said it has been supporting the Force over the past years. According to a release from the BBCI, two pressure water pumps will be installed at the Brickdam Police Station Complex and will be used to supply water to the male and female barrack rooms respectively and other areas. In a release, the company said on February 1, 2013, A Division Commander, Assistant Commissioner George Vyphuis requested assistance
in the form of two pressure water pumps and these were handed over to Vyphuis at the Brickdam Police Station Complex in the presence of Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell. The company noted that for the year 2013, it donated 25 sacks of cement to the Fort Wellington Police Station to construct a canteen and training facility, 25 yards of fabric for the said station to participate in a women’s concert, monthly free passes to the Community Policing Group; and cleaning materials to the Blairmont Police Station. The company also helped the New
up the Berbice River where two fields, measuring about two and a half acres with about 5000 plants ranging from one to 10 feet, and an estimated 12,000kg in cannabis were found and destroyed. The same day ranks also targeted the De Veldt area where one field, containing 450 plants ranging from one to three feet in height, and an estimated one kg of dried cannabis were found and destroyed.
Joseph noted that parents must speak firmly to their children about the dangers of the drug. “We must ensure that all Guyanese send a strong message to our children – that ganja is harmful. The fight against drug abuse must, in the end, be a citizens’ campaign because every citizen has a direct stake in the outcome,” he said. Joseph pointed out that eradication exercises will continue; however, the division is only equipped with one boat that is operable and this is causing a setback. He asserted the Guyana Police Force (GPF) will bring down all the drug houses in Berbice.
Amsterdam Prison to construct their steel pans and provided stationery for 200 less fortunate children. “The company will continue to support the Guyana Police Force subject to the availability of funds,” it said in the release. The BBCI said it does not only play the role of collecting tolls and facilitating vehicles crossing the Berbice River Bridge and vessels transiting through the Retractor span and under the High Span, but also discharges its corporate responsibilities and more im- BBCI Chief Executive Officer Omadat Samaroo handing over the portantly, has played an integral part water pumps and accessories to A Division Commander, Assistant Commissioner George Vyphuis at the Brickdam Police Station in other aspects of society.
MonDAY, march 31, 2014
Skeldon glitches hurting private cane farmers
Babu John, Hope Town
n March 9, there were two noteworthy events in Berbice. One had the sirens and police and media and fanfare. The other was quiet. The first, of course, was the commemoration of the death anniversary of Dr Cheddi Jagan at Babu John in Port Mourant. The second was at Hope Town in West Coast Berbice. At Babu John, there were fewer than 500 people to remember one of the founders of contemporary Guyana. There was no President there (even presidents cannot be Professor Daizal Samad two places at once). People spoke. There were “cultural” dances. And “poems”. All good. People went away feeling good. At the other event (same time!) in Hope Town, there were just 52 people. It seems as if APNU had brought together a set of NGOs to make tangible contributions to the lives of people. Things like alternative farming that could start tomorrow, like starting economic ventures as private citizens, like trying to get a graduate teacher (ill after maternity leave) back into the job. Concrete things! No song, no dance. Like the PPP/C thing, people went away feeling good. The difference is that in Hope Town the people can actually DO something after they go away. With Babu John, people go back to the same as what obtained yesterday. We here in Berbice can still be flushed with the remembrance of the Honourable Dr Jagan. But that man knew well that practical things matter! Bread and butter mean much to real people living real lives. In 1978, in Bel Air, Cheddi’s niece and her husband (Doreen and Ivan Sukhai) had a Jhandi. There were hundreds of people. There was the usual torrent of voices. It was a grand and joyful event. The noise, I tell ya! The front gate was some 40 metres away from the bottom of the house where the guests had gathered. A car stopped at the front of the gate. The noisy conversation continued unabated. A man got out from the car, his hair silver. It was Cheddi. The “big ones” there and we little ones there fell silent. Cheddi entered through the gate, smiling. His nephew in law and his niece rushed to greet. Dr Jagan smiled, hugged wordlessly, and went past them. By-passing the throng, he went straight into the back yard kitchen where the cooking was taking place. He shook every single hand that cooked the food that we later put into our mouths. This gentle, smiling man placed the people at the back, first. He gave his attention to the “low” and placed them high. No arrogance, no self-seriousness. It seemed as natural as breathing. Three people were asked by the officiating Pandit to place their right hands on the bamboo pole that would carry the Jhandi flag: Ivan Sukhai, Cheddi Jagan, and myself. Holding the pole, Cheddi turned to me and said quietly: “It is not every day we find a Muslim doing this.” It was just a simple statement, a mere observation. There was no hidden meaning. It would not have been important whether Dr Jagan remembered me. It is important that I remember him and this simple thing.
Rice farmers pumping water out of the canal leaving the cane farmers without enough to haul their punts
overnment’s call for private farmer can survive in the industry cane farmers to assist and with that.” This, another farmer said, produce cane for the Skeldon is because there is no way that you Sugar Factory has been met with a fa- can grow in the industry with that vourable response from farmers in the kind of production. According to these farmers, an acCrabwood Creek area, but they canceptable CT/TS is 11 or 12 tons. “The not get the output they want. More than 400 acres of rice lands business is not lucrative because of have been transformed into cane fields. that reason. You can’t make money The farmers are currently reaping with the current CT/TS,” the said. just over 75 tons of cane per hectare. The farmers say more troubling than This is considered good when one con- that is the fact that GuySuCo does not siders that the average of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) in 2012 was only five tons of sugar per hectare, while the recent 30-year average was 6.17 tons sugar per hectare. One hectare is equivalent to 2.47105 acres of land. However, the problems affecting these farmers make it almost imA dried up canal in the cane field possible for them to survive in the industry. One of the biggest issues affecting private cane farmers is the factory at Skeldon. One farmer who converted a large portion of his rice land to cultivate cane, said: “We produce cane with a good yield, purity and everything but the factory is not performing to the best. In fact the factory is not performing well at all.” The farmer explained that the average production coming out of Skeldon Sugar cane in a private farm at Crabwood Creek is 18 tons of cane to one ton of sugar (18 CT/TS). GuySuCo in have the required amount of harvest2011 had a CT/TS of 19.79 tons. “No ing equipment. These farmers rent equipment and personnel from GuySuCo. “They have limited harvesters and related equipment such as punts and cane loaders,” a farmer said. There are two crops of cane each year –
the first, a spring crop, has about 35 opportunity days which are the dry days, so all the cane has to be harvested within that period. In the second crop, the average is about 80 opportunity days, one farmer explained. “In the first crop, we go more than 35 days, so we go into the rains [and] it becomes extremely difficult to do crop husbandry because we end up going into the rainy season. And that is because of the limited amount of machinery,” one farmer lamented. These issues have been raised at the highest level and with top GuySuCo officials but there has been no improvement. Another issue affecting the farmers is that of inadequate water. According to them, not having enough water in the canal so that they would be able to do water transport within a faster period of time has proved to be costly to them. There are about 4000 acres of land shared among rice and cash farmers in the Crabwood Creek area. They depend heavily on water. The only source of water is from the conservancy. Sometimes the water there becomes too low for cane farmers to transport their cane by punt. “What happens instead of moving seven to eight tons of cane you can only transport five to six tons at a time and the cost goes up because we rent the punts from GuySuCo and we are charged per trip,” another farmer said. “The farmers pay a rental of $4000 per trip with the punt and loose up to one third of weight per trip when the water is too low. I think basically GuySuCo is not properly arranged. I know that they have financial problems but at the same time, you cannot survive in the industry with the company [being run] like that.”
MonDAY, march 31, 2014
$6B subsidy to modernise Ways to improve your community sugar sector – Ramotar
GuySuCo’s LBI Estate
resident Donald Ramotar said most of the allotted $6 billion for the sugar industry will be directed towards the modernisation of the sector. He was at the time speaking at a news conference last Thursday when he made the comments. The sugar industry is the backbone of the Berbice economy and Government said it is committed to saving it despite the many challenges. Ramotar noted that from 2005 to present, there has been a significant reduction of opportune time to do various activities such as land preparation in the industry; as such, measures have to be put in place to deal with these issues. He pointed out that one of the major downfalls of the sector is the lack of sufficient labour. He disclosed that on Wednesday there was a demonstration of a harvester at the LBI/Enmore Estate area to help supplement labour. The President added that the availability of labour at the Uitvlugt Estate is “extremely low”, noting that the average turnout is approximately 43 per cent. It is because of this, he stated, that Government has been allotting more lands to farmers so to plant more canes.
However, Ramotar acknowledged the gravity of the situation and state of the industry; as such, he explained that most of the $6 billion grant will go towards implementing measures that will seek to assuage the labour shortages with modernised equipment. “All over the industry, I don’t think there is any one of the estates where you can talk about an 80 per cent turnout so a lot of this money will have to go on how to change the layout of the land to make it machinery-friendly and also to use other new technique in planting, in harvesting etc” he stated. The allocation was disclosed by Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh on Monday during the 2014 Budget presentation. He stated that the some
120,000 persons and their families would benefit from the injection of funds into the sector. The budgetary measure for the sugar sector is being undertaken at a time when calls were initially made for a closure of the industry, so that its resources could be better utilised to produce ethanol. Singh had reported to the Parliament that non-sugar Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 6.3 per cent in 2013. As expected, sugar production suffered a contraction of 14.4 per cent in 2013 to 186,770 HE President Donald Ramotar tonnes of sugar. of the year, it moved to the National Assembly to approve another $4 bilSugar export In 2013, Guyana’s sugar export ac- lion. At the commencement of this year, counted for 8.3 per cent of total exports GuySuCo owed more than $10 billion to valued at US$112.2 million. The indus- creditors. try managed to contribute 3.9 per cent In 2012 alone, Government providof the GDP for that year, as the sector ed $4 billion in subsidy to GuySuCo remains the largest employer in the na- to assist the industry. On average, the tion despite the labour woes. Government has been injecting between Last year, GuySuCo was also able to $4 and $5 billion yearly into the indusmeet 50 per cent of the demand in the Berbice area for electricity through co- try which is haunted by downward production trends. generation. On another note, he admitted that developments on the global and regional economic markets have led to massive problems for the industry. “Sugar prices have been on a declining trend over the past two years,” Dr Singh noted, projecting that the abolition of the production quotas for beet producers in the European Union in 2017 may impact on the volume and price of sugar imported into the EU by Guyana. Minister Singh has also revealed that Government has transferred a total of US$195 million to GuySuCo over the period 2005 to 2013 as part of support for restricting and turnaround activities. “This exceeds the total of US$145.9 million received from the EU under the accompanying measures programme since its introduction,” Singh disclosed. Last year, Government budgeted $1 billion for the industry and before the end
A cane harvester at work
ne should realise that making a difference in the world is a lot more than just writing a cheque to an organisation. Giving back to your community by volunteering your time and talent can be just as important to any organisation. There are many worthy causes out there, and they could be as simple as volunteering at an after school programme, tutoring for free, working in a disadvantaged area or visiting an elder person Narine Dat Sookram who otherwise may not have any family/friend to do so. One of the best ways to improve your community is by setting a good example of your own behaviour and not by concentrating on the faults of others. Trust me on this one; it will not hurt you to be friendly and outgoing to the people in your neighbourhood. It is a good practice to keep your home and surrounding clean, get your trash picked up, and mow your lawn and try not to be too loud or disruptive in the neighbourhood. Another way to get people involved in the community is by coming out and get to know each other. This will show visitors to your community that it is a pleasant and friendly place to live. Let us not forget that planning social activities in your community such as ball games, barbecues, festivals and other annual events are all things we can do to improve our community. The message here is to be active in your community by taking part in as many local activities as possible such as church events as well. Though one person can make a change, one person himself cannot do everything, but if a group of people can come together, then change is possible. Sometimes people are afraid to share their ideas and give their input, because of language barrier or sometimes they might think that others will laugh at their idea. The best advice I can give is to not hold back yourself from saying something, it could be the thought that changes your community. There are situations too where some people are not so outgoing and waiting for others to show them. However when this happens, it is holding you back, because you will never get anywhere. It is important that people get on their feet to find their friends or someone they trust to discuss the idea with them and then take it from there. It is somewhat the same old saying by Abraham Lincoln, “It is not what the country can do for you, but what you can for your country.” And so the same thing goes for us too in smaller ways perhaps, where we should not worry about what people have to say, but we just go and do what needs to be done in our community to make and everlasting impact.
MonDAY, march 31, 2014
Rose Hall, Canje
– A gem to behold
to the community centre to play cricket after school and work but a significant amount of the older males would be engaged in imbibing after work while the more matured men take care of their kitchen gardens. Those who work in the field on the estate turn in (sleep) very early, and so do their wives, who are said to start their day as early as 03:00h – an hour before their husbands. “All yu does gaffo do is pull on woking cloth an leff House,” said Imran (only name given) who is employed as a cane harvester. He explained that breakfast is not taken until he sits with the ‘boys’ in the field before sunrise. According to him, he collects his breakfast, lunch and other food to take to work. In families where there is no one em-
ployed on the sugar estate, those early hours are only applicable when someone is studying. On Fridays, the village is a hive of activity when workers receive their wages. A decade ago, they were paid at the estate pay office and as a result there was the Rose Hall Friday Market right there. Today, the majority of the workers receive their income through the commercial banks. However, the market still survives even though it is scaled down. The unique British architecture is evident in the estate compound which takes up almost half of the village. The village is also noted for the lack of garbage on the parapets. A visit to that village by a stranger will be something to cherish.
A popular Mandir at Rose Hall
ecently the village of Rose Hall, East Canje made headlines when President Donald Ramotar unveiled a monument to honour the 15 sugar workers who were killed 101 years ago while protesting for better working conditions. With a population of more than 200, most of the men of that community are employed at the sugar estate while a few have set up businesses in the community. The most popular are liquor establishments (rum shops) which are frequented by the menfolk. With a population so small, there are four liquor establishments and two grocery shops. The Rose Hall Community Centre, which now offers skills training and is the chosen venue for several big stage shows coming to East Berbice, is one of the features of the village. There is also a nursery and primary school along with two religious buildings; a church and a Hindu temple.
About 30 per cent of the working population are employed out of the village. Many of those who one might consider unemployed, etch out a livelihood by searching for scrap metal and catching fish. However, the scrap metal job is quite risky since most of the abundant lands belong to the estate. That is where most of the metal is found and pretty often, scrap metal hunters are ‘raided’ by security personnel attached to the estate. If caught, they are taken to the Reliance Police Station and locked up. Seldom are they charged. The metal is, however, confiscated and somehow gets into the hands of persons who purchase scrap metal. Whenever this happens, the boys on the estate always get a ‘drink’ from the security. Of the females who are employed out of the community, about 80 per cent are either employed as nurses or teachers. Life in Rose Hall is very quiet with most of the boys going
Housing in Rose Hall, Canje has been trasformed over the years
Independence Arch at Rose Hall, Berbice
MonDAY, march 31, 2014
esidents of Brothers Village, East Bank Berbice were out in their numbers to celebrate the community’s Health Centre Day which is held annually to enlighten residents on activities done for the year. The health centre serves 21 villages along the East Bank of the Berbice River and offers services in many aspects of health care such as diabetic foot care, chronic disease services, antenatal clinic, post-natal clinic, family planning, disease prevention, vaccination, extended home-based care, prevention of mother to child and voluntary counselling and testing, basic nutrition programme, among many others. The residents expressed gratitude to the staff for delivering quality health care, but pleaded for a permanent doctor to be stationed in the village. Eula Sama, 72, said while they are grateful for the visiting doctor, it would be easier on residents, especially the elderly in cases of emergency, if a permanent doctor can be placed in the community.
Resident, Eula Sama making a point at Brothers Village Health Centre Day
One resident lamented, it is costly to take a taxi to New Amsterdam due to the state of the access road. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of
the New Amsterdam Hospital, Dr Vishwa Mahadeo in addressing the concerns raised by residents, promised that by early next year, a doctor
Trevor Sobrian and Education Minister Priya Manickchand teach a student how to use the computer
of ways of cooking healthy foods. However, the plants withered. This did not stop the staff as they promised to continue to grow the vegetables so as to achieve its intended purpose. Park said medical outreaches were conducted by staff and doctors along villages on the east bank of the Berbice River. She boasted that the centre achieved 100 per cent target for immunisation while 18 shutins were visited by staff. In addition, she reported that a total of 31 pregnant women were seen at the prevention of mother-tochild transmission (PMTCT) clinic and an increase in the numbers of male partners utilising the services of the centre. The centre intends to host a blood drive this year where 35 units of blood are expected to be collected. In addition, they also plan to host community fun day outreaches to increase more partner testing and at the same time, continue to work closely with residents. The centre hopes to be ranked among the top in the region.
Students and parents at Thursday’s commissioning of the Nadia Sobrian Memorial Laboratory
U.S.-based Guyanese donated a multimillion-dollar computer laboratory to Bath Primary School last Thursday. The project was a joint effort between Trevor Sobrian and his family, and the Education Minister. Speaking at the commissioning of the laboratory, Minister Priya Manickchand in thanking the donor noted that in Guyana, much emphasis is being placed on information technology. She said establishing computer labs in primary schools exposes students at an early age to technology. In addition, she said teachers will also benefit from the lab, as the use of it will expose them to a magnitude of information. “During his budget presentation the Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh spoke of online learning for University of Guyana; that is, you don’t have to go to the university at Turkeyen or Tain, you can stay wherever
will be placed at the living quarters of the health centre. He noted too that electricity will be provided to houses shortly as well as other amenities. The decision was met with applauses by the residents. In expanding the Berbice Regional Health Authority (BRHA) Geriatric Care Programme, the CEO also assured the residents that persons 65 years and older will be seen by a doctor on the last Monday of each month. He challenges the males of the communities to take advantage of the services provided by the health care facility. He also congratulated the staff for surpassing the targets for immunisation and urged them to continue providing quality service. Delivering the centre report for the 2013, Midwife Aileen Park highlighted that targets set out by the health care facility was met amid challenges. One such challenge was the kitchen garden where vegetables were to be planted. This was supposed to be used for demonstrations
Students in the new Nadia Sobrian Memorial Laboratory
you are and do online courses… You can get an entire degree by doing this online.” She said shortly the ministry will be training teachers using the same method of training online. “This lab will allow you to modernise your methods, to learn new methods and to come and deliver those in the classroom and then to test and see how your children and coping when compared with others, not only in Guyana but across the world,”
Minister Manickchand said. For the students, she said very soon her ministry will have on its Facebook page curriculum guides, text books, revised text books and past examination papers. “We will also be doing exam papers so children will be able to go onto the computer and answer these questions… It sends an email back to them to say what they got right, what they got wrong and what they need to do… These are all features
that we will be introducing shortly.” The Minister noted that the donation could not have come at a better time, adding that over the next five years, Government will only be able to put computers in about 50 per cent of all primary schools in Guyana. “So this is a great avenue for overseasbased Guyanese to assist,” she said. The Ministry spent $6 million to build the lab while the 15 computers were donated by Trevor Sobrian, a former student of the primary school who has also been involved in the development of the school’s library. The former Bath Primary School student now runs ATS Engineering Inc in Canada – a packaging company that was set up 20 years ago. Sobrian said that the project started five years ago when he approached his now deceased wife with the idea.
A very emotional Sobrian said that the lab was being donated in memory of Nadia Sobrian who passed away last December. The lab will be known as the Nadia Sobrian Memorial Laboratory. Sobrian told the students of the school that the sky is the limit and urged all of them to do their best. “Opportunities are tremendous. There are thousands of opportunities each day and all you have to do is to reach out and grab it… you have to study very hard. Nothing comes easy; once you put your mind to something, you can do wonders for this community and this country,” he said. Emphasising the importance of being able to develop Guyana, Sobrian said this can only be done if they educate themselves. Sobrian who became too emotional to continue his address managed to thank the Education
Ministry for the opportunity to be able to give back to the community he came from. Meanwhile, Regional Education Officer (REO) Region Five Owen Pollard noted that technology is an important tool in today’s world as it is rapidly growing. He noted that although emphasis in the past was placed on technology at the secondary level, it cannot be overlooked at the primary level. “At the primary level we have various forms of literacy programmes being executed using various forms of technology. Today we want to go a step further in the use of technology in our schools and that is by providing computers in our schools,” he said. Having the students exposed to computers at the primary level will make them more equipped for the secondary level, Pollard concluded.
MonDAY, march 31, 2014
BABA wants some control over Vrymens Erven Basketball Court T he Berbice A m a t e u r Basketball Association (BABA) is seeking to have control over the Vrymens Erven Basketball Court in New Amsterdam as it makes plans to have the facility resurfaced. The project which is going to cost several million dollars will also include the construction of bleachers and changing rooms. However, the BABA is concerned of the upkeep of the facility and is seeking to have some amount of official control of the court. Vrymens Erven Basketball Court Two years ago, the court was fenced and Times that the sponsors who thieves subsequently re- are overseas have already moved some of the fencing. It submitted a design but are is believed that it was taken reluctant to fund the prointo Angoy’s Avenue. ject if the New Amsterdam President of the BABA, Mayor and Town Council Keith Myers told Berbice
(NAM&TC), through its Parks and Playfield Committee has total control over the court. “Could you imagine that after spending millions to develop the bas-
ketball court so that it comes up to international standards, that we will then have to apply to the council to have games played on [it] and more than that, if they disapprove of our application then we can’t use it,” Myers questioned. He said BABA will have to implement a system for the facility’s security and also have to find ways to raise funds for that. “We can hold gates when we have matches which will bring in funds but before anything is done we have to be given some authority over the court,” he said. A letter has been penned to the NAM&TC and some amount of discussion started. However, BABA is still to convince the council that
partnering with the BABA will bring benefits to the town. “We don’t want to own the property, we just want to have an arrangement with them whether it is a 50-50 or even 30-70,” Myers told this publication. Recently, President of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federating (GABF) Nigel Hinds also expressed concerns over the state of the court in New Amsterdam. He said that the federation cannot take clubs from
Georgetown and ask them to play on the New Amsterdam court. According to him, some players will refuse to play on that surface. Hinds said that the GABF would like the Berbice players to get more exposure but this can only be done effectively if there is a court that is up to the required standard with all the needed support facilities which include accommodation for spectators and stats for the teams.
BEI top points table at Scotiabank/Pepsi Schools Football Academy
Educational Institute (BEI) is at the top of the points table after the first round of the Scotiabank/ Pepsi Schools F o o t b a l l Academy. BEI togeth- The winning BEI team er with New Amsterdam Multilateral School (NAMS) and Tutorial Academy Secondary School (TASS) is locked on three points each but BEI holds a two plus goal advantage against the other two schools. Canje SecondarySchool (CSS), Vrymens Erven Secondary School (VESS) and Berbice High School (BHS) are all pointless. However BHS are at a two minus goal disadvantage, putting them at the bottom of the points table. VESS should not be too worried about their position because apart from TASS, none of the other teams have displayed the skill that they have when they went down to TASS 3-2 in their game last Thursday. Meanwhile, when action continues on Tuesday in the competition, BHS will take on NAMS at the Esplanade Park. BHS will have to up their game and create more passes if they are to hold out against NAMS who will be starting as favourites. The other game for this week will bring together CSS and VESS. That game promises to be the feature game for the week with the latter starting as favourites. Both teams will be looking to register their first point in the tournament. The top team after the round robin stage will advance to the national semi-finals and will meet either the winner of the Georgetown or Linden zone. In scores from matches played in round one, BEI beat BHS 2-0 while NAMS squeezed past CSS 2-1 and TASS overpowered VESS 3-2.
Upper Corentyne Cricket Association launches U-17 School 20/20
he four secondary schools in the Upper Corentyne Cricket Association (UCCA) will battle for the Parbatie Jaggai Memorial 20/20 trophy which opens next Friday. The competition will be played at the Crabwood Creek Community ground and the Number 69 Red Rose Community ground. At a simple presentation ceremony held recently, two trophies and the sponsorship cheque were handed over to the UCCA. Son of the late Parbatie Jaggai, Steven Seeraj made the presentation to the Treasurer of the UCCA Vicky Bharosay. Seeraj noted that his mother who was a big fan of cricket passed away five years ago. Bharosay thanked Seeraj on behalf of the board for the much needed sponsorship for school cricket and promised that the board will run the competition to the best of its ability. The participating schools are: Tagore Memorial Secondary, Skeldon Annex, Skeldon High (Lutheran) and Skeldon Line Path Secondary. On Friday Skeldon High (Lutheran) will take on Skeldon Linepath Secondary at Crabwood Creek Community ground while Tagore Memorial Secondary will play Skeldon Annex at Number 69 Red Rose Community ground. Both matches start at 13:00h. The competition will be played on a round robin basis with the top two teams advancing to the final.