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Monday, May 12, 2014

GUYANA

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Issue No. 024

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ur only aim is to eliminate drug dealers from our society and put an end to them destroying our community”, Commander of B Division Brian Joseph told Berbice Times in an interview. Joseph assured that the drug eradication exercise which was conducted recently up the Berbice River will continue and the division will do their utmost in its attempt to wipe out this illegal practice. On Friday last, based on intelligence gathering, a team of ranks attached to B Division, under the supervision of

Guyana to host Canadian agro-processors for “buyers” forum Page 2

Superintendant of Police Stephen Mansell, second in Command of the division, with the collaborative effort of the Police narcotics squad from Eve Leary, conducted a very successful drug eradication exercise at Gatory which is situated about 62 miles up the Berbice River (two and a half hours by boat).ccording to Joseph, approximately six fields, measuring 44 acres, of cannabis were raided and consisted of 144,000 plants ranging from one to 14 feet in height, 16 camps with 288,000 kg of green marijuana and over 8000 kg dried cannabis ready to be marketed. See full story on page 3

WHAT'S INSIDE:

105 graduate from Roadside Scouts - transforming the Baptist Skills Training Centre lives of youths in Corentyne Page 4

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five-company team of Canadian importers and distributors of fresh and processed agro-foods were due in Guyana on Sunday for a four-day Buyers Mission organised and funded by the Trade Facilitation Office of Canada (TFO Canada), with funding provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), formerly CIDA. The Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) will facilitate the buyers interested in agro-processed foods, while the local arm of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) is coordinating activities for local growers. Ten Guyanese producers including the Kuru Kururu Growers Cooperative Association have been participating in this project that began in 2012. The agro-processors include Tandy’s Manufacturing, Prestige Bottling Enterprise, and Jet’s Enterprise in Demerara; and Original Juices, Henvil Farms, Pomeroon Oil Mills, and Ramotar Investments in the Essequibo. Sterling Products, Mohan’s Fruits & Vegetables, and Nand Persaud Company in Berbice are also participating in the mission. Since the inception of this leg of the TFO Canada Trade-related Capacity Building Project, local growers and agro-food manufacturers have benefited from several interventions by Canadian agriculture and quality standards advisers. The most recent visits were conducted in August 2013 and January 2014.

Direct technical assistance During the process, the operations in each producer’s facilities were subjected to rigorous examinations and the owners received direct technical assistance, with the objective of improving the export capacity of their products. Post-harvest handling is another key element of the project as is Product Traceability, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), and acquisition of international certification, especially Organic and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certificates. This was the main reason for including the Georgetown-based Eureka Laboratories in the project. Eureka also operates a viable outlet in Charity, Essequibo Coast. This medical laboratory is being made ready to conduct vi-

able food and water analyses, which are a necessary component for local growers and food manufacturers to qualify for international quality standards certification without which they would be unable to access Canadian and other external markets. The DFATD has already committed funds to assist the entrepreneurs in this expensive process while ensuring that they could successfully bring the level of their operations up to international standards. During the most recent intervention by the Canadian advisers, the growers and processors came together for a crucial informationsharing session in the GMSA’s Boardroom. Representatives of the National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) were present along with the heads of the local IICA and CESO Offices, and representatives of the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) and the Trade and Commercial Department in the Canadian High Commission. The latter, Anand Harrilall, stated that this market-oriented programme, which is focused on sustainable economic growth, is part of the Canadian Government’s strategy to assist Guyana’s development. It is geared towards improving product quality, quantity, and marketability through credible linkages. He made reference to the High Commission’s ongoing interaction with local commercial banks in a bid to encourage them to increase their loan portfolios for small enterprises. The local banking sector is thought to be risk-averse. GMSA’s Trade and Investment Director, Clement Duncan, pointed out that testing facilities in Guyana are not at an optimum level, noting that growers and processors are forced to send samples to laboratories in neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago which is both time-consuming and costly. He lauded Eureka Labs for committing to investing in an extended range of testing services.

Early-market contact mission The four-day Buyers Mission will take place from May 12 to 15. The Canadian team will also include quality standards expert, Yvon Bertrand and Agriculturist John McDonald who has conducted previous evaluations here. The buyers/distributors, based for the most part in Toronto and Montreal, expect to source sauces (pepper, seasoning, etc);

noodles; beverages, spices; preserves (jams and jellies); coconuts and coconut products; cassareep; fresh and frozen fruits; fresh fish; edible oil; and peas and pickles. This would be the first time that two of the five would import Guyanese products. They are M&M Twins Ltd and Atlantic Trade International. ANRA Imports Inc, Bedessee Imports Ltd, and Kiskadee Ventures Ltd had previously imported and distributed Guyanese craft and wood products, religious items, cooking pots, and agro foods. Most of the distributors have been purchasing products from countries in South and Latin America and the Far East, including Sri Lanka. This early-market contact mission includes site visits to the prospective exporters’ facilities. The TFO has committed to supporting the commercial negotiations during and after the mission, generating new market linkages, and for the local producers, further enhancing their awareness of international market requirements. After more than five interventions over the past few years, the GMSA anticipates that all of the local companies participating in the capacity building project would have improved their operating standards, enhanced their line production as well as their product range, and that this first Buyers Mission would generate new contacts in the Canadian market. TFO Canada has been working with the GMSA and IICA since 2009 to enhance exportreadiness and access to Canadian markets for Guyanese producers of fresh and processed agro foods. TFO’s support over these years has included training and advisory sessions on labelling and packaging, and product handling requirements. In May 2010, five Guyanese agro-processors participated in a trade mission to Toronto and Montreal, and the following year, six processed food exporters (condiments, jams, peanut butter, honey, juices) exhibited their products at the SIAL-11 Trade show in Toronto. Some of the local participants were able to establish joint ventures with Canadian distributors and others have generated new export sales, confirming their market potential. A 2013 TFO report stated that the earlier experiences exposed a number of challenges that had limited the opportunities for Guyanese agro-producers to do business in North American markets. (GMSA)

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hairman of the Shipping Association of Guyana (SAG), Desmond Sears, will represent Guyana and the Association at the Caribbean Shipping Association’s 13th Caribbean Shipping Executives Conference (CSEC) scheduled for May 12-14 at the Miami Marriott, Biscayne Bay, Florida. The three-day confer- SAG Chairman Desmond Sears ence this year is designed to offer participants deepcal community of importers and er insights into the latest shipping exporters have been advocating industry trends along with infor- for the dredging of the Demerara mation on recent developments in Navigational Channel to remove global shipping which are likely to over three metres of hardened silt affect maritime operations in this that prevents large cargo vessels as hemisphere. The Panama Canal well as cruise ships from coming to expansion project is expected to Guyana. The adverse effects on the come under the spotlight. business community and the end This expansion project (also users of all imported products could called the Third Set of Locks not be overstated. Project) is intended to double the A Public/Private Sector Working capacity of the 50-mile long Canal Group was established in 2012 to by 2015 by creating a new lane and source funding and facilities for allowing more and larger ships to the complete modernisation of the transit. The Panama Canal links Demerara Harbour with new navithe Pacific with the Atlantic Ocean. gational aids, security accessories, The Project was originally sched- and the acquisition of a Fire Boat. uled for completion in 2014, but This issue is likely to also be diswas disrupted twice, firstly over a cussed at the CSEC. dispute involving some US$1.6 bilAlso on the agenda are panel lion in cost overruns, then because discussions on the new marine gas, of a workers strike for increased the impact of the United States wages. Maritime Transportation Security These issues and the impact of Act (MTSA), and Maritime Domain the work delays on those Caribbean awareness. countries with deepwater ports, Guyana stands to benefit signifwhich are able to berth the mega icantly from the proposals for advessels that are now plying the vanced level maritime training for world’s seas and oceans, could take member countries of the CSA. centre stage at the conference. Shipping industry executives and key decision makers from Modernisation of Demerara Harbour Europe and North America, the Guyana is currently receiving Caribbean and Latin America are its bulk, break bulk and contain- expected to attend and establish erised cargo from small Feeder ves- connections with Terminal and sels that transship from Jamaica Port Operators, owners of Nonfor lack of a deepwater port here. Vessel Operating Common Carriers For many years, the Shipping (NVOCCs), Freight Forwarders, Association, terminal operators Shippers and Shipping Association in the Demerara Port, and the lo- administrators.


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ur only aim is to eliminate drug dealers from our society and put an end to them destroying our community”, Commander of B (Berbice) Division Brian Joseph told Berbice Times in an interview. Joseph assured that the drug eradication exercise which was conducted recently up the Berbice River will continue and the division will do their utmost in its attempt to wipe out this

concern of the illicit drug becoming more accessible to our youth, Joseph said both crop eradication efforts and the counter-narcotics infrastructure would receive broad participation, so that society would be safe and schoolchildren drug free. He stressed that the latest drug raid in Berbice demonstrated the division’s commitment to fighting the drug trade. “We will spare no effort to free our peoples from the

Compressed marijuana found in a camp

illegal practice. On Friday last, based on intelligence gathering, a team of ranks attached to B Division, under the supervision of Superintendant of Police Stephen Mansell, second in Command of the division, with the collaborative effort of the Police narcotics squad from Eve Leary, conducted a very successful drug eradication exercise at Gatory which is situated about 62 miles up the Berbice River (two and a half hours by boat). According to Joseph, approximately six fields, measuring 44 acres, of cannabis were raided and consisted of 144,000 plants ranging from one to 14 feet in height, 16 camps with 288,000 kg of green marijuana and over 8000 kg dried cannabis ready to be marketed. Reports are that all of these were destroyed, however, because of the constraint of time, ranks were forced to forgo the destruction of other unearthed cultivated fields, since the more the ranks ventured into the surrounding areas, the more they discovered other fields under cultivation. Therefore, the commander assured that there is a pressing need to continue this drug eradication exercise as the smaller plants are allegedly yet to be destroyed as similar operations are planned with aerial recon. Underlining the growing

scourge of drugs... We will also seek to eliminate the dangers posed by weapons inclusive of unlicensed firearms,” Joseph posited. According to inside sources, Police are on the hunt for two persons known as the “Mojo” brothers; one is called “Lion” and is allegedly the owner of an excavator worth over $25 million that in currently somewhere up the Berbice River. The source also disclosed that a wanted bulletin will soon be issued and that the recent eradication exercise is testimony to the Force’s dedication and will be conducted on a monthly basis. Just a few days ago, a flyover operation was conducted over the Kwakwani area, where the next eradication exercise is expected to be conducted. Additionally, it was also noted that the ranks in B Division only have jurisdiction covering certain areas up the Berbice River, however, with the input of the ranks from Georgetown, eradication exercises will be conducted shortly in those restricted areas. According to reports, the drug trade is flourishing up the Canje River, specifically up the Torani Canal since raids are not carried out in that area and therefore more emphasis needed to be placed on that particular area. In keeping with this, Joseph reiterated his com-

MonDAY, MAY 12, 2014

mitment towards the fight of this scourge; however, due to the seasonal blockage of the Canje River, it is difficult to access the area. Farmers up the Berbice River praised the ranks of B Division and the Government for their support in assisting in the much needed eradication exercise. Information reaching Berbice Times indicates that one of the boats was loaned by a Government agency to render support to transport ranks during the exercise. It was also alleged that the drug dealers were alerted via a landline telephone situated at De Veldt; a village about 50 miles up the Berbice River.

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Simply the

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ew Amsterdam is permanently imprinted on my imagination. No matter where I went in the world, New Amsterdam (NA) always seemed to be with me. A sound or smell or sight anywhere would bring New Amsterdam back with full force. The town has a potency that I have not encountered anywhere else. It is the most unique town that I have visited in terms of the impact on one’s mind. As a child, I was Professor Daizal Samad taken every weekend from Rose Hall to NA to “learn” to “read” Arabic from my grandmother. It was an exercise in learning to be a monkey: learning what symbols required what sounds, but not understanding what is meant by the sounds. That still goes on, unfortunately. The only thing I learned was to fear the tyranny of the tamarind whip. I learned to speak Arabic in Africa and the Middle East, although I am losing huge chunks of it after being in Guyana for five years. Back in the day, New Amsterdam ended in the north with the mental asylum; in the south, there was a burial ground. It was caught between the twin symbols of insanity and death. To the west, the town’s shoulder drooped into the violent murkiness of the Berbice River; to the east, the other shoulder rose up in the forms of thick stands of trees. At nights, the sound of crickets and frogs emphasised the silence that descended upon the town. The darkness of night dropped like a hammer. There were street lights along the road. They shed pools of weak orange light in small circles under the street lamps. Within the orange circle of light on the tarmac of road, there were hundreds of beetles, black, hard-shelled. Walking along the road to buy a loaf of bread, one had to step on them. It was like walking on peanut shells, with that sickening crunch. The light was always defeated by the darkness. At night, people would put down their wooden louvered windows, held open during the day by lengths of sticks. Mosquitoes raged. And on some nights, once a week or so, the town would have teams of people spraying plumes of cloudy stuff to keep the insects at bay. I enjoyed running into the fumes, less concerned about the poison they contained and much more concerned that I seemed to be hidden away in some kind of cotton wool comfort. During the day, freshly painted buildings seemed to peel before your very eyes, and dilapidation seemed just a blink away. But people walked along the roads, going about their business, shouting their good day greetings to each other. They belonged to the town and to each other. If you took six steps, you would pass by individuals of different ethnicities; six more steps would have you pass the people of mixed heritage. On the surface, they seemed different; just beneath the surface, they were all the same. There was a good library. The Town Hall was unique and attractive. The playgrounds were safe havens for children. There were the best milk shakes and pastries in Berbice. The manners of the people seemed like something from a good book. If you meet the “old time” New Amsterdam folk, you would know what I mean. The politeness and social grace was unerring. Maybe I learned something more than the sting of tamarind whips.

he Roadside Baptist Skill Training Centre (RSBSTC) located at Number 68 Village, Corentyne, continues to provide opportunities for young people to improve their lives. Last Friday, the Skills Training Centre successfully hosted its 21st graduation ceremony, where 105 persons graduated in various disciplines including: Information Technology, English, mathematics, garment construction and catering. Minister within the Ministry of Finance Juan Edghill while addressing the gathering congratulated the graduates for successfully completing a part of their education which will now take them into the world of work. He urged them to continue dreaming so that they can be the agents of change. “See yourself not just like another youth who came to RSBSTC and learn something. See yourself as a world changer – all the

things you wish you were dreaming that you wish your family had. You can now have it because that’s the reason why you have been trained to empowered to give you opportunity to enter the world of work, the world

of reality”, Edghill remarked. He implored the graduates to use the principle; “if you can change the way you think, you will change the way you live” as it is a powerful statement that will take them a far way in their endeavours. “You can get out of poverty, you can move out of

By Alexis Rodney

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esidents of De Veldt Village some 50 miles up the Berbice River are hoping that a new intervention to help them plant rice on a large scale will help the community’s economic viability and the country, to a larger extent. A new idea to plant rice on a large scale, residents claim, will do something new for the community, which has been on a downward spiral in its economic activities in recent times. A boat driver and farmer, Lucien Christopher sat with this publication on Saturday evening and dished out some ideas farmers in the community have to aid in their economic sustainability. He said several farmers in the community have come together to form a committee, which will be seeking government’s support. According to him if government “catches on” the plan will see both parties benefitting “The land in De Veldt is fertile land, if the government assists us, they would not have any reason to provide manure and fertilizer and all those things. We have what you call “maiden land” in Develdt there”, Christopher told this publication. And with the non use of fertilizers, Christopher said there will be no reason to spray the land for paddy bugs. He continued that if government, through the ministry of Agriculture, should become interested in the idea, transporting machineries to the area for land grading will not be a difficult

hopelessness, you can elevate the living standards of your entire family, you can turn things around for your generations you can help with

parents with the way you chose to think and the way you apply that thinking for your transformation in your own circle…I want you to be an example to others”, says Edghill. Also present at the graduation ceremony was Labour Minister Nanda Gopaul, Honorary Consul of Guyana to Japan Kashir Khan, Deputy Chief Education Officer Donna

task. “If they want carry up things like combine and so on, those things are not hard to go in, because there is the barge going up there, it’s nothing hard”, he said. Christopher said that farmers came up with the idea, after many successes were had when done on a small scale. “Some of us planted rice, very small acres of rice just for our families, and we see how this thing works man. Rice in abundance and don’t talk about quality, it was real good, real good”, he emphasized. He said that rice millers themselves will benefit immensely. Christopher plies the Berbice river route almost every week, since he is among the few large boat owners in the village. And while his job entails transporting cattle in and out of Develdt, he claims there is a lot more that can be done for the community. He noted that before the idea o f r i c e

Chapman, among others. The other speakers spoke about the importance of education how it will take a person to greatness and at the same time praised the organization for its work in helping to make a difference in the lives of many in the Upper Corentyne area. The Roadside Baptist Skills Training Centre opened its doors in 1995 and has been providing opportunities for the empowerment of women, men and children. They view education as providing a basis for a society to develop its human resources and for individuals to recognise their full potential. Among its programmes offered include Adult Literacy and Remedial Education, After School Elementary English and Mathematics, CXC English and Mathematics, Gender based Violence and HIV/AIDS Prevention, Income Generating Skills Training, Organisational Development, among others.

cultivation came to the fore, pumpkin cultivation and exportation had become the main source of income for many families. However, recent incidents of cocaine found in pumpkin have seen a major reduction in the practice. He has again, on behalf of residents in the area, sought government’s intervention. “The residents there now need new markets for the pumpkin. People are planting lots of pumpkin and not getting markets for it”. He said because of the type of soil and the growing market for the vegetable, pumpkin had become the main vegetable planted in the village. However, other food such as corn, pine, and banana had subsequently taken prominence. He said farmers are now suffering because of the practice of those who market the product. “It’s not the farmers you know, it is the exporters who put the cocaine in the pumpkin and because of that the farmers are losing”. Christopher continued that the village, with its mixed culture and race, has been receiving insufficient attention from the government. He said the village is by passed by government officials especially those representing the interest of Amerindians, and head up to villages where there is a higher presence of pure Amerindians. “These Villages like Sand Hills and Kimbia get all of the attention. And Kimbia, which is considered a very far village from New Amsterdam is just 25 miles farther from here”, Christopher complained.


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hough a mother’s role is not an easy one, a mother should be supportive, and never laugh at her child’s hobbies, interests or friends. But rather, help her child follow their dreams by providing as much support and encouragement to do so. There is always that high hope that your child would study medicine and become a doctor, but if that is not the case, do not get angry, because this is your child’s life and it is okay to have them make some choices of their own. It is crucial that a mother understands that a child may not think exactly like her and that is okay. A mother should not get mad because her opinion is different from her child. Narine Dat Sookram When you really think about it, no one really cares if your child listens to hip hop music and wears an excessive amount of makeup. She/he is still your child. A mother might not do what her child does, but that is their decision, and not the mother. A mother usually already has a big impact on her children and by that I mean, she chooses what school the child goes to and when they eat breakfast etc, so do not over do it. A mother should take an interest in her child’s interests. For example, if your child likes music, buy him/her a piano and watch them play. Do not be afraid to ask questions, like what you like most about music and what drives you to be so passionate, etc. Another thing a mother should consider is to not to be too tight about money. By no means am I saying that blowing money day after day is the best thing to do, but automatically saying no to everything a child desires is probably not the thing to do. Even offering to purchase some candy or any other simple item at the store can make a huge difference. And the odd times you can go a little further by purchasing something big that you are sure your child really wants. A good example will be an iPod or even a nice computer if the child is a teenager. It is totally okay too to admit that something you did may have been wrong, so don’t be afraid to apologise if you have to. It probably will be hard, but the truth is, it is better for both parties if you just admit to your mistakes and apologise. Do you ever realise how important it is to make your child feel special and worthy? It does not take much, giving them a goodnight kiss and a hug can go a far way. It is no different to letting them sit on your lap and showing your love by sharing some good stories because by the time you know it, they will be grown and gone to start their own life, but at least they will be ready with their mother’s teachings.

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s a child, I loved reading and still do.  My inspiration for writing children’s books developed through my passion of books and reading.” These were the words of Renate Moore, a Berbician born and raised in New Amsterdam. Moore who now resides in the United States is an established author of several children’s story books, including A frog in Grandma’s Cup and Mystery Picnic on Stone Mountain. In an interview with Berbice Times, she spoke of how she became inspired to become an author. “The thought came about because my mind would always go to creativity and the desire to become a writer.  So I pursued that passion and that has led to me writing and having two published story books.  One of the books – Mystery Picnic on Stone Mountain has a background of one of my favourite places my parents took my brother and I to in Corentyne, Berbice – Bunton Farm, when we were children. We always enjoyed going there for family picnics.  So I used some of those cherished memories and incorporated them with some other settings for that story,” she noted. This vibrant writer pointed out that she owes her success to her parents, George and Sheila Khan, for always making education a major part of her upbringing and challenged other parents to do the same where their children’s educational pursuits are concerned. “They encouraged daily readings of newspapers, books and magazines, any periodicals we could find to extend my knowledge and regular visits to the public library of which I ended up doing my high school work study programme with,” she explained, as she encouraged other parents to take avid interest in their children’s education and not to depend solely on the teachers. She said the love of reading and education has led to her successful career today and called on her fellow Berbicians to utilise the various libraries in their areas and read as much as possible, especially newspapers and magazines.

– say it’s a challenge to keep their heads above water

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ash crop farmers across Berbice and more specifically in Black Bush Polder are at their wits end regarding the marketing of their produce. This and other concerns were raised by residents on Friday when Minister within the Agriculture Ministry Alli Baksh, along with MP Faizal Jafferally, visited the area to check on the progress of the various shade house projects across the region. Black Bush Polder is traditionally a large cash crop area and most of the livelihood of residents is derived from this practice. However, according to these residents, their produce are selling at such a Renate Moore ridiculously low price that it is a challenge to create a Along with being an author and writer, living out of their crop, since she also serves as a mentor to young girls, there is currently a large ineducating them about self-esteem, self-conflux of greens and vegetafidence and the importance of education, bles flooding the market. and participates in events to raise literacy Farmers’ spoke of low awareness in children. crop prices at harvest time “I give proceeds of my sales to educationwhen they have to sell their al charities and abused animal charities.  crops to pay bank loans and Also, I send charities from time to time to at the same time, maintain the orphanage in New Amsterdam – espetheir home and send their cially the Berbice Anjuman and when I was children to school. in Guyana in January, I made a visit there According to farmers, to meet the children,” she disclosed. peppers are sold at $20 per This proud Berbician continues to make pint-cup, tomatoes $10 per an impact overseas as she is now the owner pound and cabbage $20 per of a gourmet bakery, a member of several pound, while some vegetacharitable organisations and a part of the bles for example; squash Girl scouts of America. and egg plant are some-

times dumped, since they are not selling and this current situation is taking its toll on their livelihood. “The price of vegetables in the market is pretty low and farmers are complaining… sometimes the cost attached to harvesting their crop is more than that of selling their produce,” Jafferally pointed out, while noting that while it is an advantage to the consumers, it is unrealistic for farmers since they would have incurred major expenses during cultivation. To tackle these challenges, the Minister encouraged farmers to cultivate in a sustainable manner so as to ensure that vegetables are in the market at an affordable price to consumers and at the same time, being profitable to farmers. “Not everyone should plant pepper and cabbage at the same time, but they should work in collaboration and cultivate their crops in a more sustainable and consistent manner, thereby they will be able to obtain a better price for their produce in the market,” he pointed out. While underlining the importance of the cash crop farmers across our country of providing food for the country, the Minister encouraged them to perse-

vere and assured that the Ministry will continue to work with them so as to ensure the sustainability and production of high quality produce. The current lack of irrigation water was another major issue affecting the cash crop farmers in Black Bush. This, the Minister said, has its genesis in the rice fields as the rice farmers are utilising the very same irrigated water. Since the area is predominantly into rice production, the water tends to reach the rice farmers first, putting the cash crop farmers at a disadvantage. This issue has been promised to be raised with the Regional Chairman and his administration so as to alleviate the hardships currently being experienced by the cash crop farmers. Cash crop farmers are also faced with the constraints relating to what types of insecticides should be used to prevent diseases from affecting their crops. In line with this, Minister Baksh promised to dispatch a technical team to the area shortly to sensitise the farmers on the appropriate usage of insecticides regarding their crops and also to ensure the availability of such at a reasonable price.


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ernadette Persaud is a revered Guyanese artist, educator and writer who was born and raised in Bush Lot Village, West Coast Berbice. After completing her primary education, she moved to Georgetown where she attended St. Joseph’s Secondary. After high school, she taught at the Charlestown Secondary and attended the Art School. She is also a graduate of the

days, but then afterwards in Guyana at that time you couldn’t think about a career in art, my father wanted me to be a Lawyer …if someone wanted a rice field I would paint a rice field, I did wedding scene, Maticore scenes.” Persaud’s painting career began in the 1970s when she felt the need to express her feelings through art. It was during that time Guyana was faced with political oppression and at the same

ing landed her several awards, in 1985 she was the winner of Guyana’s National Art and Visual Competition as she continued to express beauty, love, political turmoil, freedom, repression, nature, death, life, and culture. She went on exhibit her pieces in the Caribbean and around the World. In 2012, she was inducted into the Caribbean Hall of Fame for Excellence. A few of her paintings are “Gentlemen Under the Sky (Gulf War)”; “Lotus in the time of the Arab Spring”; “Reading from the Quran”; the Glimpse of India series; the Rainforest series including “Rainforest 1 – Kali and Prithvi”, “Rainforest 3 – Ganga in Shiva’s Hair”, “Rainforest 6 – The Sharp Edge of Seasons”, and “Rainforest 7 – The Bitten Tongue of Memory”. In the Rainforest series, two more paintings are to be added to the collection. Persaud explained that in the Rainforest series,

is beauty and there is a treachery of the rainforest, there is its paradoxical beauty. The Low Carbon Development Strategy was also an inspiration to focus on the forest.” She explained that she is intrigued by colours and the painting “Gentlemen Under the Sky (Gulf War)” was one which depicted an array of colour and the stars, the constellation, and in that, an image of a man holding a gun. “As an artist, colour really captures me; it’s an energy and when you see beautiful colour of nature, being transported, so in your painting box, you have colours of the rainbow and you can make so many beautiful things with the rainbow; for example, I was painting the “Water Lily on Sheriff Street” and while I am doing that, the Egyptian Revolution is going on and I transfer the gun and the bullets in the Arab Spring into the painting.” Persaud’s message to

Bernadette Persaud University of Guyana and the Burrowes School of Art. At the age of 10, Persaud found her love for painting when she was gifted with a tin of oil paint by her father. She vividly remembers him returning from England with a beautiful bronze box. During her youthful days, Persaud recall painting mostly cartoons. She smiled saying during that time her love for art was inspired by mischievousness. “I used to love playing around with colours so I started doing little pictures for fun. I was doing a lot of cartoons to provoke a lot of people, so you can say I was inspired by malice in my youthful

time, her father and uncle passed away. She painted a piece called “End of Season”, a painting she cherished dearly. “My very first painting was of political issues and it was at around that time I lost my father and an uncle. I am not a very religious person: death was a very terrible thing to face. Painting is a way in investigating life and death and the mystery of life; all my work deals with that dominant issue: what happens in the afterlife, the theme of mortality, ephemerality, transience, so what was happening in Guyana and the death both were portrayed in the painting.” Her passion for paint-

By Gomatie Gangadin

When God set the world in place, He sat back and saw all that was good, He saw things to be as they should. Just one more blessing He had in store; He created a mother, but whatever for? He knew a mother would have a special place to shine His reflection on her child’s face. A mother will walk the extra mile just to see her children smile. She’ll work her fingers to the bone to make a house into a home. A mother is there to teach and guide, a mother will stay right by your side. She’ll be there through your pain and strife, she’ll stay constant in your life. A mother will lend a helping hand until you have the strength to stand. She’ll pick you up when you are down, when you need a friend she’ll stick around. A mother is one who listens well, will keep her word; will never tell.

One of Persaud’s paintings from the exhibition she inspired by Guyana’s lush greenery. “I remember my own experience flying over the forest there’s this beautiful carpet and in the midst of the carpet, there is this brown space. You see the contrast, the bountiful nature, the forest follows you. It sits very treacherous, so there

aspiring artists is, “Paint how you feel spontaneously don’t follow propaganda, follows what captures your imagination. The danger of a small society ... messages and slogans dominate your consciousness. An artist has to be beyond that you have to paint with sincerity.”

A mother will poke and pry but stands quietly by your side, giving you the strength you need, encouraging you to succeed. Her smiles can brighten any moment, Her hugs can put joy in all our days, Mom’s love will stay with us forever and touch our lives in precious ways. The values you’ve taught, the care you’ve given, and the wonderful love you’ve shown, have enriched my life in more ways than I can count. A mother is one who can be strong when you need someone to lean on. I’m glad that you chose to be all this and more to me. You share a love that knows no end, you’re more than my mother, you are my friend. And that’s the reason why I love you.

A painting from Persaud’s Lotus series


guyanatimesgy.com

MonDAY, MAY 12, 2014

By Nafeeza Yahya

T

he operations of the recently launched Bal Nivas Centre for battered women and abused children will commence in July and Berbicians have embraced the initiative as a right step in curbing the scourge of violence. Often times children end up back at the home of their abusers and have to endure continued suffering because of the lack of a safe place. However with the opening Bal Nivas in Ankerville, Port Mourant, children and women who are abused can be housed temporarily until they are empowered and can make it on their own again. The multimillion-dollar facility which was declared opened by President Donald Ramotar and Bollywood playback singer Sonu Nigam on May 5 was as a result of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha’s (GHDS) vision to create a centre where children and their mothers whom are victims of domestic abuse can be housed temporarily while receiving the necessary psychological support to deal with the issue.

ing to house victims of abuse but after months of deliberation and securing the plot of land from the Government at Ankerville, the plan was unveiled at the Pegasus Hotel in 2012 by President Ramotar and Sonu Nigam. The plan included a skills

attended to. The centre will also have to capacity to offer training to empower women so that they are able to provide for their children when necessary. According to the GHDS, abuse is quite rampant in the Berbice area and quite often victims are with-

Last Monday, Berbicans from all walks of life turned out in their numbers to offer support and welcome the opening of the first shelter for vulnerable women and children in the Ancient County. Many expressed satisfaction, and gratitude to the GHDS for taking up the mantle and hope that other organisations can do the same. It all started in April of the year 2010 when the GHDS launched its “Voices against Child Abuse” campaign to combat the ever growing problem of child abuse. The brain child of the project, Dr Vindhya Persaud said the project came about as a result of the calls from their membership and many outreaches. It was initially supposed to be just a build-

training and counselling centre within the facility. What followed was intense fundraising by the group led by mega concerts that featured international artists such as Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal and Alka Yagnik, among others in addition to corporate Guyana as well as local and overseas donations. The 10,000 square foot building when completed with fence and all other facilities will run up to approximately 86 million dollars. Looking at the facility with its intricate interior design, one would get a feeling the cost would have been a lot more than that. The building is fully air-conditioned, tiled, modern kitchen, its houses 12 rooms, and another room where health care will be

out any sanctuary as they don’t have any place to turn to where they can get away from their abuser. Most times they are forced to return to the same conditions and many times subjected to more abuse as they are deemed rebellious. As such, the idea for the facility was birthed; the spanking new facility includes a counselling and rehabilitation wing, skills and literacy training centre, computer lab, and library. President of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, Dr Vindhya Persaud said that in addition to those mentioned, the GHDS will partner will with the Human Services and Social Security Ministry and the Child Care and Protection Agency. She noted also, that persons who are victims of sui-

President Donald Ramotar, Bollywood playback singer Sonu Nigam and Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha President Dr Vindhya Persaud share a moment at the launching of Bal Nivas

cidal tendencies and who are abused will also benefit from physiotherapy and counselling. Dr Persaud during her address to those gathered for the opening, pointed out that the building was constructed to serve the people of Guyana. “Is it a sad day when our children need these kind of

facilities because you would like to think every child has a safe place to be. However we are aware of the realities of life, we are not blind to those realities and because of those realities, because of the fact that our children need safety and security, because of the fact that we feel the sense of responsibility”.

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President Ramotar for his part congratulated the Sabha while noting that the facility will benefit all Guyanese. The President highlighted that even though legislation is in place to deal with domestic violence and child abuse, “At the level of Government we have introduced legislation, new laws of sexual offences, laws against domestic violence and human trafficking but are very clear that passing this legislation is not enough we need more in order to enforce them. It is facilities like this that help to create an atmosphere in this country where everyone will speak out and when that would have happened we would have gone a very far way to eradicate these antisocial behaviours from our society”. Guest of Honour, the Legendary Bollywood Playback Singer Sonu Nigam who was there from the beginning of the project expressed his appreciation to the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha for allowing him the opportunity of being part of this historical event in Berbice. Operations of Bal Nivas will commence in July 2014.


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guyanatimesgy.com

MonDAY, MAY 12, 2014

Scouts building a camp for their overnight activity

P

arents and villagers alike are enthusiastic about the role scouts are playing in transforming the lives of young people in the Corentyne district. Established just over two years ago with just 50 children ages 8 to 18, the Tain/Clifton Scouts

group is definitely changing the lives of youths in the area. The group is the brainchild of the founder of the Tain/Clifton Humanitarian Society, Seeram Thakurdeen and Chairman of the Humanitarian Society, Bhagwandin Mukhram with the help of philan-

thropist Mustapha Ali who came on board two months ago and has been involved in numerous activities to get the youths involved. Ali explained that the group is open to boys and girls. He said since its establishment a number of the members have become more disciplined, noting

they have showcased varying abilities to plan and have better relations with family and friends, volunteer and work with others. “We have seen remarkable improvements from the children: attitude, behaviour, conduct, the way they dress.We’re training in pioneering, camp-

ing, first aid. The other discipline are taking care of themselves. We currently have over 80 members. Practice is done on Saturdays and Sundays.” The group recently participated in a health march. Meanwhile, Mukhram disclosed that the group is registered under the Guyana Police Force Scouts Club. “In 2012, we formed a group with the help from the Police at Felix Austin College, Adventure. We had some awareness sessions in the neighbouring villages and eventually the parents start sending their children. We started with over 50 children and so far, it’s going great the kids are loving it; the only challenge we have is that the kids would drop in and

school, some would be in the streets, but now it’s different.” During the Easter vacation, the group held a successful Easter Weekend Camp and a Kite Flying Competition – an event that was welcomed by parents and community members. “Scouts had an overnight camp and a Kite Flying Competition, villagers and parents came out in their numbers to support the event .There were winners in the three categories: decorative, theme and largest; the experience was good for them”. When Berbice Times visited the group, students were paying rapt attention to the leadership session and basic survival techniques facilitated by instructor Mustapha Ali. Thirteen-year-old Tusha Shivmangal said she joined the group for fun, noting that she enjoys challenges, having new friends and discovering new things. Another student, a 16-year-old boy, said he enjoys being part of the group as it takes up his spare time. Before he got involved, he would “lime on the road”, but now

Some members of the Tain/Clifton Scouts

out then start again, We would like them to be stable and we are working on more programmes to get them in… Since Mustapha Ali came on board, we have seen lots of improvement: the children now get to understand what it is about,” Mukhram said. He noted despite the minor setback, new faces are coming on board each week. The group currently has more than 80 persons with two coming from as far as Number 48 Village. “Every Saturday, we would take them to Adventure and the Police would meet with them. They have been on tours and also involved in meaningful activities. They have changed a lot: when they would get home from

he prefers to be with the group. He said he loved the adventure and one of his favourite activities was the overnight camp. Plans are on stream to further promote the group and parents are encouraged to send their children. “We are working on a one-year plan, to sell the idea to other communities, including our own, because children love outdoor activities... in our community, culturally, people don’t know what scouting is about. We are picking up now, hopefully, with a plan and persistence we will be able to succeed and, hopefully, create this change not only in this community but in the entire region,” Ali related.


Berbice Times