Monday, February 3, 2014
Bara Cara hosts health centre day
See page 7 Issue No. 010
Corentyne drug houses to come down See page 3
– residents urge police to go after big fish
Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr Nicole Giles poses with officials of the Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development Association (BCCDA) at the organisation’s 81st anniversary luncheon on Sunday
Liverpool girl making it big in cricket Page 2
Back from the dead!
– survivor of suicide attempt says never again
Rice farmers looking forward to another harvest Page 5
MonDAY, February 3, 2014
Liverpool girl making it big in cricket
was named player of the match by grabbing one wicket in four overs with just six runs off my over,” she said. According to Campbell, her first match out Shemaine Campbell of Guyana was at the under-19 tournament in alive… It is getting better St Lucia, and she scored every day and we need to the most runs of the tour- keep it up... the men will nament. Campbell recalled have a great challenge, so
By Shiran Ramnauth
vercoming large odds to reach her goals, with commitment and determination, Shemaine Campbell has been in the game since childhood. “I’m a professional cricketer and I love playing for Guyana,” said the 21-year-old West Indies Women’s all rounder, who resides at Liverpool Village, Corentyne and is a member of the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sport Club. In 2012, she was adjudged female cricketer of the year by the club. Shy and reserved, it was a herculean effort to get this ambitious sportswoman to open up. Berbice Times visited the club where
Shemaine Campbell takes guard
Campbell diligently practises daily and managed to persuade her to share some of her experiences. The soft-spoken young woman who made her international debut in the cricket are-
na at the tender age of 16 is proud of her accomplishments thus far. “Since I can remember, I always wanted to play for Guyana and the West Indies… it was my dream…
In 2009, I made my international debut in South Africa, that was my first tour in the West Indies Team….we won the majority of our games… one of the games, a T20 match, I
Getting much needed practice at the Rose Hall Sports Club
her most successful career achievement. “My most rewarding moment was when batting at number eight, I scored 105 against Sri Lanka, it was my best performance,” she added. She revealed that she is gearing up to compete once again. “Basically , I have a rigorous schedule that I
I encourage everyone to come on board and render sponsorship to the female cricketers of Guyana,” she stated. She further advised young aspiring female cricketers “to seek challenges, take risks, pursue your goals with gusto, set boundaries, be patient and persistent,” she con-
Campbell walks off the ground after a hard day of practice
work with and I am currently working to improve my skills at all levels… as you know, there is always room for improvement… so I am trying my utmost to be on top and stay there,” she posited. “I think people need to recognise female cricketers for their worth, and the country should ensure that women cricket stays
cluded. She disclosed that a 15-member team will be competing against New Zealand and is slated to depart Guyana on February 4 for Barbados, where they will be partaking in some warm-up matches for two days, before proceeding to their final destination for the West Indies women tour of New Zealand.
MonDAY, February 3, 2014
Corentyne IDCE giving Berbicians a drug houses second shot at education to come down – residents urge police to go after big fish
BY NAFEEZA YAHYA
mid an upsurge in criminal activities on the Upper Corentyne, Assistant Commissioner Balram Persaud said that the many drug houses in the area would feel the heat, as the lawmen go after drug pushers. But residents urged the force to also go after the ‘big fishes’ who they say are largely untouched, while youths are being charged with small offences. Persaud was last week addressing, at the time, residents of Corentyne at the Number 48 Primary School. “I will assure that all those drug houses that come under number two sub-division will feel the full brunt of the law”, he said. He pointed out that the problem needs to be addressed so that communities can function properly.
He observed that many times, drug houses create an environmental problem that encourages lawlessness, the deterioration of the neighbourhood, violence, and fear. “Once there are drug houses in a community, there will be junkies and once they are junkies, there will be thieves, “he said. The assistant commissioner related that in combating this problem, a joint police community effort is needed. This will allow citizens to work closely with the police to take back their neighbourhood from drug dealers. In doing so, he highlighted that the eradication process may be hurtful for some, since they may have relatives who work along with drug dealers. On that note, he urged persons to come forward with information so that those drug houses can be closed. Persaud pointed out that, just as the Buxton gangs were able to reign for a period, but the Guyana Police Force (GPF) was able to bring then down, so eventually all drug houses in Berbice will collapse. One resident at the meeting said, most times, the youths appear before the court for drug-related offences, while the bigger fish remain untouched. However, Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell assured that in due time, they will be dealt with. “We start hitting from the bottom, then the top will fall,” he said. Further, Persaud related that one of the challenges faced in fighting the scourge of
crime is the fact that the force is operating at a reduced capacity, with 20 per cent fewer ranks, but the GPF is still trying it’s best to get the job done. Only last week, Coordinator of the Task Force on Narcotics and Illicit Weapons, Major General (rtd) Michael Atherly said that drug abuse and illicit trafficking are global occurrences which indiscriminately affect individuals, families, and all segments of society. He said apart from being a major public health concern, illicit narcotics are key generators of crime, including domestic abuse, theft, driving under the influence, other violent crimes, and money laundering.
He noted that unfortunately, Guyana is located within the hub of the trans-shipment routes of cocaine producing countries in South America, to its North American and European markets. “Drug cartels operating there seem to feel that profits gained from the North American and European demand far outweigh the risks associated with the illegal production and trafficking. Guyana is not spared the devastating consequences of this threat. In response to this threat and in keeping with the overarching development plans, the government has initiated a series of measures to combat the twin problem of demand and supply,” Atherly stated. According to the 2013 annual drug report, compiled by the government of Guyana, cannabis and cocaine continue to be the two main types of illicit drugs which are being trafficked and consumed locally, based on the seizures. However, confiscation of small quantities of ecstasy, heroin, and hashish over the past two years has been a new development. During 2012, CANU made seizures amounting to 103.660 kilograms of cocaine (with a value of $93,600,000) and 111.564 kilograms of cannabis (with a value of $20,160,000). During this period, 33 cases were made out and 36 persons were charged. Meanwhile, the Guyana Revenue Authority enforcement unit seized 561.780 kilograms of cocaine (with a value of $504,900,000) for which two cases were made and two persons were charged. In total, 151 people were charged for cocaine trafficking and/or consumption from 139 cases.
A care for the elderly class in progress at the University of Guyana’s Institute of Distance and Continuing Education
he Berbice Centre of the University of Guyana’s Institute of Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE), the sole institution offering foundation programmes for adult learners, continues to assist in the delivery of tertiary education to all persons at all levels. Resident Tutor of the institution, Janice John told Berbice Times that IDCE continues to expand the scope of its programmes both face-toface and by distance with the aim of equipping adults with the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to set and achieve their personal goals.
“IDCE has touched the lives of thousands in Berbice... women, especially those that would not have been able to complete their education due to marriage and children, can now access an education here,” she said, while noting that individuals across Berbice have been taking the opportunity to do so. John, who has been at the institution for more than four years, said the certificate obtained upon completion of any course is fully recognised in the United States and the Caribbean. She applauded those that would have already utilised the courses at the institution to enable them to widen their knowledge and achieve gainful employment, and underscored the importance of others doing likewise. “My advice to anyone desirous of expanding their educational vision is to follow your dreams and work to achieve your goal…. we at IDCE are conscious of the national goal of providing equality of access to education and recognise the natural right of all Guyanese to education… we are, therefore, dedicated to offering a relevant and effectively organised education
service for adults and out-ofschool youths,” she stated. She cited that the institute’s programmes allow adults to choose courses which are directly related to their needs, be they for personal development and enrichment, job advancement or higher academic pursuits. Some of the courses of-
fered at IDCE Berbice are; industrial relations and management, social work, supervisory management, marketing management, early childhood education, care for the elderly, home care nursing, pre-university English, pre-university mathematics, food and nutrition and cosmetology.
The IDCE launched its first distance education programme in Linden, Region 10, on November 7, 1992, the second in Region Six at the JC Chandisingh School on June 4, 1993, and the third in Region Two at the Anna Regina Secondary School, December 4, 1993.
MonDAY, February 3, 2014
Central Corentyne holds its leg of Truth the Children's Mash Competition Out there Simply the
ith the theme “ C u l t u r a l F o l k l o r e , Celebrating 44”, the Central Corentyne District, under the auspices of the Region Six Department of Education, last Wednesday held its Children’s Mashramani Competition at the Port Mourant Community Centre ground, featuring all the primary and secondary schools in the area. The event was the first lap of celebrations
ercise, Corrine Rose, the headteacher of Cropper Primary, said her expectations for the day’s event were met. “The competition was of a very high standard as all the competitors were enthusiastic and excited to perform,” she said, noting how overwhelmed she was at the turnout. She expressed gratitude to the business owners who donated trophies for the winners in the various categories. Rose dubbed the event a success and said she was
A solo dancer entertains the large crowd at the event
gory, the dramatic poetry contest was copped by Kildonan Primary, the group dance winner was
A group of students ready to perform during the competition
for Mash 2014 in Region Six and comprised several contests, including dance, calypso, poetry and a newly implemented hip-hop competition. Coordinator of the ex-
pleased with the day’s activities. In the age five to seven group dance category, Johanna Primary copped the top prizes. In the eight to 10-year-old cate-
Number 36 Primary, while the individual costume competition was won by Yakusari Primary, and the group costume competition,
Cropper Primary. The competitors for the 11-13 contests really put on a show. The physical display prize was copped by JC Chandisingh Secondary, dramatic poetry by Fyrish Primary, individual dance and group dance by Corentyne Comprehensive Secondary, costume by Mc Gowan Primary, and hip- hop by Lower Corentyne Secondary, In the 14-17 age group competitions, Lower Corentyne Secondary took the honours for dramatic poetry, Corentyne Comprehensive Secondary – individual dance, Winifred Gaskin Memorial – group dance and JC Chandisingh Secondary – hip hop. The winners of Wednesday’s Mash Competition will be competing at the regional level slated for February 5.
Berbician undertakes reading initiative “R eading encourages logical thinking, promotes better communication skills, and helps children to develop, grow and achieve academic excellence,” so said Eli Hazel, an official attached to the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company Berbice, who, in collaboration with the Region Six Department of Education, will be conducting a reading and explanation competition on February 11 at the New Amsterdam Town Hall. Speaking to Berbice Times, Hazel said this exercise target students between the ages of 10 and16 from primary and secondary schools across
New Amsterdam and its environs. It seeks to sensitise both children and adults on the importance of reading and understanding. The topics slated for reading and evaluation are: domestic violence, suicide, solid waste, and teenage pregnancy. “I am embarking on this venture, because many people tend to read and do not understand…. So, by doing this, we can encourage people to read and understand as it is vital to do so,” Hazel said. He noted that domestic violence is prevalent and citizens need to be sensitised about it. “Teenage pregnancy, on
the other hand, is also of great importance; lots of teens are going to school and getting pregnant,” he added. In terms of solid waste management, he said that the dumping of garbage creates eyesores and damages the drainage system. To successfully initiate and implement this programme, Hazel pointed out the assistance of business entities and other stakeholders is vital. “At this time, we are seeking your generous and kind donations, which can be monetary, trophies, snacks and/ or reading materials; your participation, contribution and cooperation will be greatly appreciated,” he said.
here are people out there who write much about Berbice and what Berbicians think, and feel, and know. In a childish way, they would say things like “Berbicians cannot be that foolish to think” this or that thing or feel this or that thing. They would say the “Berbicians cannot be stupid enough not to know” this or that. They would quote percentages as if they were researched and make suppositions as if those “ifs” were facts. Then they Professor Daizal Samad would build on those “ifs” and suppositions a whole “argument” to support the nonsense. They bare-facedly speak on behalf of Berbice and Demerara and Essequibo. Some of them are good at spilling words (in the 1980s, we called it ink-shedding) upon pages. Many of them live outside of this country, but they know exactly what we think and feel. They know our pain more than we know our own pain. They know our suffering, through their words that drip through the Internet. And they are dedicated to this easy thing: condemn the government of Guyana. Those wordy fellows out there (man, dem people can spew out words to beat the days!) have a painfully obvious agenda. There is nothing constructive. There is simply the destruction of this current government. Bring down the government! But do not sit in the cold of Toronto (not Canada!) nor the chill of New York and tell us about our pain! Worse than these are our local fellows who tell us about what we feel, how we feel it and when we feel what they know we feel. These chaps do serious research. They go shopping every day! Abedees kyaan do dah bai. Abee nah gat de money, and abee nah gat cars fuh drive round. And dem can go to eat out too! But dem good at saying that dem was sitting and gyaffing and eating wid dis big one or dat big one. Some lawyer who is a genius or the best advocate that ever lived or the greatest freedom fighter in the history of fighting. All in opposition to the PPP/C, of course. Dem taak bout Africa and India and Eastern Europe because dem know those places intimately, but never went and never will go. They compare Guyana and Georgetown to war torn places, but never felt the burst of a bullet tearing through their flesh or the flesh of their children. Knowledge through a remote control or Google. Lawdo gawdo! But they are “social scientists” and “philosophers” and “academics”. To their credit, they have never referred to themselves as scholars. Respect for that! But we are born and bred in Berbice. And as Berbician, I know that with each passing day, we grow more and more bitter and progressively more frustrated. We are tired of the blackouts, the crime, the joblessness, the poverty, the hand-to-mouth existence. We here are tired of people thieving our voices and having our children go hungry. We are fed up of our good people going to waste and our children’s futures placed in darkness. The greatest darkness seems to engulf Parliament. Will you people wake up, please?
MonDAY, February 3, 2014
Back from the dead! R
Rice farmers looking forward to another harvest
– survivor of suicide attempt says never again BY ANDREW CARMICHAEL
ave you ever had the real fear of death, thinking that you were about to die? That is Deosarran Ramoutar’s experience as he lay in hospital and watched others who were in a similar situation, slowly losing their voices and lips beginning to peel. Movement was reduced and then there was no eye contact. Soon after, the porters would come and wrap them in a sheet and take them away. Ramoutar, now 42 years old, was on that trail. He, like the others, had ingested gramoxone and was taken to the New Amsterdam Hospital. “They had one guy who die and when we talk to the man next to he, he say that he de frothing and then he lip start to bust.” At that time, the farmer was not afraid and was of the opinion that he would survive. “I know people who survive so I didn’t frighten…” According to the Ramoutar, two persons had already died by the third day of his hospitalisation. Relatives and nurses gave him hope and he was confident. On the fourth morning, the male patient next to him complained that his lips were starting to burst and soon after, his vision became blurred and he started to lose his voice. Ramoutar woke that morning, realising that his lips were also cracking. Fear soon consumed him as he started to ask questions. “Is everybody who com fo see me, ah ask fo check me lip an tongue,” the man related. The patient next to him passed away and was wrapped in a sheet and taken out of the male ward. There were no other suicide patients left in the ward at that time besides himself. According to Ramoutar, he was, for the first time, convinced that he was next. As he told his story to Berbice Times of the incident
which occurred in October 2012, he was asked to describe what was going through his mind when he became the only suicide patient left alive in the male ward of the hospital. “Some people does only remember God when they in trouble,” he responded. Now two years later, the suicide survivor says he will never go down that road again. “Is problem me and me girl had and I just decide to drink it.” According to
Ramoutar, it was easy for him to access the poison because he was involved in farming since he was 12 years old. “Me and me girl still getting the same problems but if ah can’t take it anymore, I will leave I ain’t’ doing that again.”
After two years, he is still being affected by the damage done to his body as a result of his suicide attempt. “Ah can’t eat food with pepper and nuff nuff seasoning…”, he said. The truth is, according to Ramoutar, it was not his intention to kill himself. Ramoutar of Johanna, Black Bush Polder, Corentyne, like other suicide survivors who spoke with Berbice Times but requested anonymity, said the objective at the time
was not to die, but to make a statement and scare others while seeking attention. In the polders of Black Bush, there are scores of suicide survivors, while many homes have lost loved ones as a result of suicide. Meanwhile, asked whether the Mibikuri Hospital is fully equipped and staffed to deal with the high number of suicide cases that come from that community, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Berbice Regional Health Authority (BRHA), Dr Vishwa Mahadeo says yes. Despite this claim, most of the suicide cases that originate in the Black Bush Polder area are transferred to the New Amsterdam Hospital. According to the CEO, when persons ingest poisonous substances such as gramoxone, there is little the hospital can do to save the individual from dying. “The same thing that they do at the New Amsterdam Hospital is the same thing that they do at Mibikuri and the Port Mourant Hospital,” he said. So far for this year, there have been 43 attempted suicides cases in Berbice, with patients being treated at the New Amsterdam Hospital. Five persons succeeded in their bid to end their lives. Only one of the cases of attempted suicide was from the polder area and that person survived. New Amsterdam and the Upper Corentyne have reported the most cases so far this year. Public Relations Officer of the BRHA, Michael Itwaru says the authority is collaborating with the Human Services and Social Security Ministry to develop an approach to deal with the issue. While noting that the BRHA is the driving force, he says they are looking at a short, medium and long term approach.
ice harvesting for the first crop of 2014 is almost here and farmers across Berbice can expect excellent payments for their produce with yields predicted to be good, Mohindra Persaud, general manager of Nand Persaud and Company Limited, has said. Persaud said this is due to the stability of the export markets, mainly that of Venezuela. “So far so good, there has been a shortage of water, but the rains came and gave the farmers exactly what they wanted and some extra as well,” he said. He disclosed that based upon his visits to rice fields and speaking to farmers in the region, they are extremely happy at the moment. “They are expecting much more than the last crop… the cost of production is good because the rain has relieved farmers from the additional expense of pumping water, which is very costly,” he asserted. Persaud said based on what he saw during his visits to the fields, it is very encouraging as he dubbed this as being one of the highest acreages planted in
a single crop. “For us at Nand Persaud, we are doing extensive roundthe-clock work, so as to ensure that the intake of farmers’ produce is done without any hassle and I can assure you, we are equipped and will be able to handle their yield,” the general manage stated. The company’s biggest hope is that of the newly purchased factory in Black Bush Polder. “Buying 170,000 bags of paddy daily is really a small purchase and we have to triple that up this year... all the equipment have been put in place to achieve this,” he stated.
He said rice farmers can rest assured that despite this being a bigger crop, their paddy will be purchased at a fast rate, as millers are working assiduously to ensure their intakes are being done with less hassle. “I see it, as fast as the paddy is harvested, it will be consumed by a mill in the region, the said day or the day after,” he posited. Persaud said in terms of the price, once the Venezuelan market is there, he is expecting an approximate
amount of $57,000 a tonne for paddy. “Red rice is a major concern for both farmers and millers and this is due to the poor irrigation system in the region for the past decade or so,” he said, indicating that this scenario needs to be addressed so as to save farmers from additional expenses and ensure a better quality of rice. Persaud further advised farmers to continuously visit their fields and take control of the various pests affecting their crop specifically the ‘Gandhi bug’. “The rice industry always has a lot of future… I grew up with it and I think it does… but things like drainage, preparation of access dams… irrigation of water, have been serious issues that need to be addressed,” he said. Persaud added that these issues persist, owing to the negligence on the part of the regional administration. “We need more access roads for lands that are available and good for rice, so we can target an increase in production especially in the interior,” he commented.
Former sex worker struggles with guilt – says she did it to raise her children BY SHIRAN RAMNAUTH
single mother in Berbice is not only battling for her life but also for a secure future for her children, after she and the children were abandoned almost 20 years ago by her husband. “Go on the road and mek yo heights!” These were the words of the man to the mother of his children, when he put them out of his house almost 20 years ago. She was forced to be a sex worker to maintain her children and recently, she was given just days to live by a doctor. Shoba Ganesh (not real name), 39, of Portugese Quarter, Port Mourant, Corentyne said that there were moments when she allowed her thoughts to overcome her and she would cry, but added that she always got herself together and took care of her family the best she could. “Me husband put me out of the house with me pickney dem and nobody na want we, I did it to mind my pickney dem,” she said about her life as a sex worker.
Shoba Ganesh (not real name)
The woman said that in order to be able to carry out her job as a sex worker, she turned to drugs (marijuana) so as to make it bearable. “Me had to go on the streets and make a living for me children… me have no education… nobody hire me… the rich people get me fa slave and na want pay me,” she recalled, while maintaining that she was not ‘sick’, as is being circulated in the community by residents. She said that she has been
diagnosed with breast cancer and because of her lack of funds for treatment, the cancer spread and now it seems as though there is no avenue of escape from impending death. However, she is still hopeful that somehow God will intervene and allow her some level of happiness. “Me had a hard life… all me think of is to survive… now me daughter married and happy and me big sons working at estate… but look me… why this?,” she questioned, while noting that what she did was in an effort to take care of her children. While acknowledging that it was not the best choice, she added that at that time, it seemed as the easy way out. She said she was hooked on drugs but overcame her weakness and is trying to take life one day at a time. She is appealing to Guyanese for assistance, saying that “Me want find God and repent and be saved… and if people can help me with building up (nutrients) and food and tablets (medication)… me go be thankful,” she told Berbice Times.
MonDAY, February 3, 2014
Major transformation for Port Mourant Hospital – director BY NAFEEZA YAHYA
ften criticised for its poor healthcare delivery, the Port Mourant Hospital is to undergo major transformation with the aim of rebuilding citizens’ confidence in the state-run medical facility. During an interview with Berbice Times, director of the hospital complex, Dr Vinashri Khirodar said her main focus is to rebuild the confidence of the people, so that they can utilise the services of the hospital. “Patients would come, but, for some reason or the other, they do not want to be admitted, or even if they do, they would take selfdischarge and that tells me something is wrong… at that time, I sat down with the staff and midwives of the various health centres and discussed how we will boost the image of the hospital…
“It’s a confidence problem we need to fix, we need to put that confidence back into the people so that patients can utilise the services of the hospital”. She outlined that her focus is also on expanding the medical services of the hospital. Since Dr Khirodar took up the post in mid September as director of the Port Mourant Hospital, several new services were added. These include the gynaecology clinic, the high risk clinic and a diabetic/nutritional school. She related that the high risk clinic was implemented so as to reduce the number of patients going to New Amsterdam Hospital to attend their high risk clinic. A patient can now visit Port Mourant and save time, as well as spend a maximum of 30 minutes with doctor. In addition, Dr Khirodar said special emphasis will be placed on the maternity unit. “We found that over the years deliveries at the hos-
pital declined,” she said. In 2013, the hospital recorded a total of 17 deliveries. In addition, surgeries were also done for these patients. The hospital’s target for 2014 is 250 deliveries, a number the director is optimistic they can achieve. The hospital is now equipped with a fully functional nursery and incubator which can cater to the needs of up to three newborns. One of the challenges faced was expectant mothers going to New Amsterdam or Skeldon Hospital to deliver their babies; however, midwives who would usually do deliveries will now take the patients to the Dr Vinashri Khirodar Port Mourant Hospital for deliveries and in casthe patients would be sent es of complications, the hospital would utilise an am- to the hospital. A managebulance to transfer the pa- ment committee comprising tient for surgical interven- several influential persons in the community was set up to tion. help manage the hospital. The institution’s x-ray deSurgeries Dr Khirodar noted that partment, which was built in she is also hoping to restart 2013, is now completed and surgeries at the hospital lat- will be opened shortly. The er in the year. The hospital laboratory department has also has a new batch of nurs- also extended its services to es and eight doctors who are cater for malaria testing, veworking tirelessly to ensure nereal disease research labothe needs of patients are well ratory (VDRL) testing, dentaken care of. “These nurses gue and biochemistry testing. Previously, the laboratory and midwives will be helping only catered for basic tests. me, this year will be better. Each health centre has a In addition, the hospital also nurse/midwife... what these conducts chronic, diabetic nurse would do is take the and hypertensive clinics evepatients to New Amsterdam ry Wednesday and Thursday, so what we will do now is we while the angiology/ diabetic will bring them here, once it’s foot care clinic is conducted not high risk or do not need every Monday. Plans are also currenttheatre services... the delivly in place to open a visual ery will be done here.” During the last year, the inspection with acetic acid hospital’s extensive home- (VIA) clinic and a geriatric based care programme saw clinic. Further, the hospital 84 patients being treated from the Eversham to Fyrish plans to train a number of people from the community area. According to the director, to do basic testing. The hospipatients can have as many tal plans also to host a blood as three visits per month and drive, where a total of 300 if there are cases where peo- units of blood is expected to ple require hospitalisation, be collected.
Bonding with our children through everyday reading
hether or not we have children, most will agree that reading opens the door to a child’s early academic success and imparts a love of learning, which can lead to a higher grade in every subject. When a child learns to read at an early age, he/she has better overall knowledge and become more fluent readers which is essential in today’s world. Children also tend to have a better attention span and better concentration as well. And when early readers are able to recognise a larger number of words by sight, it enables them to learn about their surroundings. When young children are engaged in reading, their proficiency enables them to comprehend more of what they are reading. And in so doing, they have the potential to become knowledgeable researchers, with the capability to study effectively information from a variety of sources, such as from magazines, websites, etc. According to special education teacher Jennifer Brannon, early reading can help your child develop critical Narine Dat Sookram thinking skills. She says, “Preschool through kindergarten is primarily focused on letter/sound recognition, which means developing phonemic awareness skills and in kindergarten, phonics.” Children are reading in kindergarten and in the first grade, they are expected to start thinking critically and answering questions about what they read. One strong way of fostering these critical-thinking skills is to ask questions when you read to/with your child. For example, ‘why do you think (that character) did that? What would you do? What do you think will happen next? Why?’” For those reasons, we are thrilled that the staff at the Kingston Nursery in Skeldon, Berbice have taken the initiative to open their first library at the school, with books that were donated by a Canadian charity, Active Vision Charity Association, an organisation that was founded by yours truly with one of its missions to help provide the schoolchildren in Guyana with textbooks and other school supplies. When children learn effective reading strategies, they can pick up the necessary knowledge and information, which will enable them to excel in whatever they do. The interesting thing is that early readers tend to become lifelong readers and lifelong learners as well. This is essential in our everyday living. So why not take that leadership role where our children can have that opportunity, so that they can grow up to be champions in society? Parents can be a vital part of this whole learning process, where they can read, talk and sing to their child every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time. It is probably a good idea to make reading our “go to” activity when we are waiting or in between activities. In other words, take books with our children everywhere we go, because this will build a relationship with us and our children by snuggling and talking as we read. It makes both us, and reading, an important part of their life.
Who killed Joshua Chunilall? BY NAFEEZA YAHYA
oshua Chunilall, a 12-year-old of Letter Kenny Village, on the Corentyne Coast was like any other child his age; he was jovial, full of energy and very kind-hearted. He was reluctantly taken out of school early by his parents to enter the world of work, so that they could make ends meet. He worked on his family’s small watermelon farm in the nearby village of Johns, just before the seashore. He was very friendly with everyone and was always willing to give a helping hand and would even stand guard at the farm to keep animals from destroying the crop. The lad also performed other chores associated with farming. On Tuesday, August 21, 2012, like any other day, Chunilall left home to go check on the farm to ensure no cattle were in the farm. As it got late and he did not return, his family decided to venture to the farm to see if he was still there. They searched, but did not see him there and as night fell, they figured he had probably returned home.
When they arrived home, to their dismay, Joshua was not there and instantly, they became more worried. They attempted to lodge a missing person’s report at the police station, but were advised that a 24-hour period must elapse before the person can be considered missing. As such, they left and continued the search. The next day, they continued searching for the lad because he did not return overnight as they had hoped. By this time, 24 hours had elapsed and a formal report was lodged. Continued search efforts proved futile, since the child was nowhere to be found. Eventually, on Thursday – two days after Chunilall went missing – around 13:30h, the search party stumbled upon his badly decomposed body in a nearby canal. The body bore several marks of violence and was found face down in the canal. His head, feet, and hands bore marks of violence and his tongue appeared to be burnt. There were also several cuts about his
body. A post-mortem examination performed on Chunilall revealed that there was mud in his lungs, suggesting that his face was forced into the canal and kept there until he died. The family members were inconsolable and were in a state of shock, as they tried to come to grips with the child’s tragic death and to figure out who could have committed such a cruel and vile act against a little boy. His mother, Kowsilla Chunilall couldn’t bear to view the body of her son, and fainted several times as a result of shock. She started to recall incidents leading up to that fateful day and recalled seeing two boys whom her son told her were shooting birds out at sea, not far from their farm. She also recalled giving them a piece of rope after her son insisted. The same two lads were seen accosting her son over a missing gun a few days earlier and asking questions regarding who was at the site where they usually shoot birds. She then related this information to the police who arrested the two youngsters, and during police investigations, they named five other persons who were subsequently arrested; however, they all were released.
The grieving mother is of the opinion that her son was tortured and murdered over something that he saw while tending to the farm and strongly believes the two prime suspects at the time of her son’s murder are involved or know who committed the act. She also accused the police of taking bribes, since nothing more came out of the matter after the suspects were released. The Chunilall family made several enquiries at the station, but always got the same answer “we nah have no new information as yet”. They are pleading for anyone with information to come forward and inform them as they want justice to be served, so that they can feel a sense of closure. What was it that Joshua saw or did that could have caused someone to torture the 12-year-old lad and eventually kill him, remains the question on everyone’s minds.
MonDAY, February 3, 2014
Inside the court
Bara Cara hosts Unlicensed scrap metal dealer health centre day Number 51 Village Magistrate’s Court
on $15,000 bail
– to get electricity, running water
father of two was placed on $15,000 bail for being an unregistered and unlicensed scrap metal dealer when he appeared at the Number 51 Village Magistrate’s Court last Wednesday. Thirty-eight-year-old Marcus Ward, of Number 53 Village, Corentyne, pleaded not guilty to the charge during his arraignment before Magistrate Rhondell Weaver. The allegation is that on June 8, 2013, at Number 44 Village, Corentyne, he operated as a dealer for scrap metal, knowing that he is unlicensed and unregistered. According to the prosecution’s case, a report was made at the Number 51 Village Police Station by Moontas Ali, who resides in the United States. Ali claimed that on several occasions on his return to Guyana, he would discover items missing from his rice mill bond located at Number 44 Village, Corentyne. The report states that on the day of the incident, Ramesh Persaud, who was employed along with Denise
The Number 51 Village Magistrate’s Court
Purhai as caretakers of the said rice mill bond, made a call to the virtual complainant (VC) in the United States informing him that while they were doing checks on the property, they noticed two men loading items onto a truck which was parked in the compound of the rice mill bond. The prosecution’s case also revealed that after loading the items onto the truck, the truck left and made its way into the Black Bush Polder
area. The caretakers then made their way into the rice mill bond where they discovered that an excavator owned by their employer was demolished and other metallic items missing from the bond. The matter was reported and based on the investigation carried out, the accused was arrested and charged. Ward is expected to return to the Number 51 Village Magistrate’s Court on March 19 for the commencement of trial.
Case against man who assaulted and threatened wife dismissed
man appeared before Magistrate Rhondell Weaver charged with assault and threatening language. Sahadeo Shaw, of Number 55 Village, Corentyne, pleaded not guilty to both charges which read that on January 26 at his home, he assaulted his wife, Neeta Devi Benette. On the same day, he also made use of threat-
ening language against the woman. However when the woman appeared in court, she told the magistrate that she did not want to proceed with the matter, claiming that they had a misunderstanding which led to the threat and assault. After hearing the case, the magistrate placed the accused on a bond to keep the peace for six months.
Man in court for noise nuisance
wenty-year-old Mahendra Singh of Number 45 Village, on the Corentyne made his first court appearance at the Number 51 Village Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday charged with noise nuisance. The former trainee welder pleaded guilty to the charge when it was read to him by Magistrate Rhondell Weaver. It is alleged that on January 23 at his home, he operated a music set in a loud and continuous manner, to the annoyance of Nandranie Bharrat. Attorney Radwell Jagmohan represented the accused and begged for the magistrate’s leniency to his client.
The attorney said his client was employed as a trainee welder and recently lost his job. As a result, he suffered mild depression and after engaging in an argument with his parents, the defendant turned up the music to drown out the argument between himself and his mother. However, police prosecutor Althea Solomon told the court that on the day in question, about 09:30h, the virtual complainant was at home when the accused operated a stereo set in a loud and continuous manner. The prosecutor said that the complainant became annoyed and reported the matter at the Number 51 Village
Police Station after which the accused was arrested and charged. Before making a decision on the matter, the magistrate asked the accused if he had anything to say and he told the court that he was sorry for what he did and that it will not happen again. The magistrate then warned the accused and fined him $10,000, adding that if he refused to pay the fine, he would have to spend seven days in jail.
Berbice Regional Health Authority Chief Executive Officer, Dr Vishwa Mahadeo in discussion with residents of Bara Cara
he Bara Cara Health Centre, located some 50 miles up the Canje River, on Tuesday last celebrated its annual health centre day. In 2013, the health centre treated over 1000 patients and conducted two outreaches to neighbouring communities, namely Takuba and Ikuruwa. In addition, the centre also delivered eight healthy babies. Speaking at the event, Berbice Regional Health Authority (BRHA) Chief Executive Officer, Dr Vishwa Mahadeo disclosed that the health centre would be facilitated with electricity and running water. Mahadeo, recognising the importance of these amenities, made it a priority to have this project come on stream once the 2014 budget is approved. He also implored residents to make full use of the facility. In addition, the health centre will also be equipped with solar panels. Meanwhile, Senior Health Visitor Terri Davis said that, over the years, the health centre has seen improvement. She congratulated the Medex and staff for deliver-
ing quality health services to residents of the riverine communities. Davis, however, expressed disappointment in residents leaving the services offered by the health centre and travelling to New Amsterdam to access medical attention. She explained that the health centre is there to provide a more comfortable life and to offer medical attention, and as such, should be utilised to its fullest. Dr Mahadeo also echoed the same sentiment as Davis, stating that when the medical facility was without a Medex, residents were constantly asking for a Medex. “Now you have a Medex and you are not using the Medex,” he stated. He noted that the health authority understands that tests and x-rays are needed from time to time, “but large laboratory equipment cannot come to these facilities... but we can organise a day for you to come out to the New Amsterdam hospital and have all your tests and checkups done”. Medex of the Health Centre, Carl Amsterdam remarked that on a daily basis, general outpatient clinic is
held. He noted that on weekdays, special clinics are also facilitated. Monday is designated infant and preschool clinic day; Tuesday is family planning day; Wednesday is hypertension and diabetic clinic day; Thursday is antenatal clinic day and Friday is reserved for home visits, he explained. At the annual health centre day, residents are given the opportunity to have open discussions with officials from the government. One of the main focuses for the health centre in 2014 is to deliver 100 per cent better health care to Bara Cara and the two satellite areas (Takuba and Ikuruwa). A shed was also erected on behalf of the Bara Cara Health Centre through the support of the management committee. It was also noted that during the year, a generator was gifted to the health centre, since residents had requested a generator in 2013 to be used at nights. Also in attendance was Member of Parliament Dharamkumar Seeraj, along with regional health officials.
MonDAY, February 3, 2014
League spending reaches new Focus on a promising Premier high this season sports personality! P
– Veeramootoo Senwasnie
he Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club (RHTY&SC) over the past 23 years has produced numerous cricketers for Berbice, Guyana, and the West Indies. These include Assad Fudadin, Royston Crandon, Esuan Crandon, Shenarine Campbell, and Erva Giggings. Now 14-year-old Veeramootoo Senwasnie, the current RHTY&SC Under-15 captain, is set to join that illustrious list. Senwasnie, who attends the Lower Corentyne Secondary School, joined the club at the age of nine and is a product of the club’s ScotiaBank Cricket Academy. He has represented the club at the U-13, U-15, U-17 and second division levels. He is a promising middle order batsman and a useful spinner, whose bowling figures are 5 for 26. He represented Berbice at the Under-15 level in 2013 and his favourite overall cricketers are Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara. His future goals include playing for the Veeramootoo Senwasnie receiving the 2013 Most Improved Player award West Indies like his hero Brian Lara. Over the RHTY&SC, which he describes not only the years, he has won numerous awards at the RHTY&SC, including most promising as the best in Guyana, but also as a closeknit family unit with every member looking player and most disciplined cricketer. Senwasnie is proud to be a member of after the other.
Hearts of Oak defying the odds in football
espite the Berbice Football Association being dormant, the Hearts of Oak Masters Football Club continues to ensure that young players keep active. For last year, the club organised a total of 15 football related activities. Among the activities were the Annual Hilbert “Old Beef” Humphrey Memorial U-13 Primary School competition and the Annual TT and Guyana Sports Club Outreach U-13 Inter Secondary School tournament. Members of the Hearts of Oak Masters Football Club In August, the club orBerbice and assisted teachers, students and ganised a U-15 inter-club knock-out tournaother interested persons with syllabuses and ment and also organised the annual past and school-based assessments (SBAs) in physical present student football, as well as cricket education and other sports-related activities matches between Berbice High and Berbice in schools and other institutions. Educational Institutes. The first-ever Council An open day was also held while the club for Friends in New Amsterdam (COFONA) was also involved in self-help activities in and five-a-side football tournament was also held around New Amsterdam. during the month. This was followed by the Wilbur Hope Disappointed Memorial Inter Secondary School Knock Out Despite its success, the club is not pleased Tournament; an inter-secondary school U-15 with the way the sport is being administered football tournament; the Guyana Teachers in Guyana. In fact, it is very disappointed with Union (GTU) New Amsterdam Branch interthe operations of the newly-elected Guyana primary school female football tournament all Football Federation. in September. The group, which is based in New October saw the playing off of the prison Amsterdam is made up of a number of former service’s annual football tournament, and national stalwarts, and has strong claims to an inter-ward senior football tournament. In being one of the top organisers of football acNovember, the club organised an inter-ward tivities in Guyana recently presented a review U-15 football tournament, while in December of its accomplishment for the past year. it ended the year with the playing off of the With former players like Adrian “Sugar Inter Primary School football tournament. Foot” Forde, Philip “Pine” Carrington, Neil Humphrey, Sam Jones, Kenrick Bowry, Veteran teams All of the activities were held at the Scot Sherwin Forde and Kurt Alphonso among othChurch Ground at Princess Elizabeth Road ers, the group did achieve much. However, it in New Amsterdam, which is one of the few is blasting the GFF for not doing much since venues in Berbice with permanent lighting its ascension to office. They said that particular body, which has fixtures. There were a number of other activities been in place for less than one year and came held that the club members participated in into being with much fanfare and promise to including hosting veteran teams from other take the sport to higher heights, has not lived up to expectations and seems heading for disparts of the country. The club members also participated array with resignations and suspensions highin coaching at the various schools around lighting its achievements so far.
remier League spending this season has set a new record, despite a relatively quiet transfer deadline day. Since the summer window opened on July 1, English topflight clubs have spent £760 million, breaking the record of 2008-09 by £90 million. Accountants Deloitte confirmed the 20 top-flight teams collectively shelled out about £130 million in January, compared to £120 million for the Juan Mata joining Manchester United from Chelsea same month last year. It is the fourth highest of the 13 sixth transfer of the window. mid-season transfer windows to date. The It was a day of expected big-money moves, record is 2011’s total of £225 million. which never came to fruition. Liverpool Deadline day spending was about £35 had been expected to sign Ukraine forward million, a similar amount to last year. Yevhen Konoplyanka in a £15 million deal The biggest moves were Chelsea’s £12 that fell through late on when the Dnipro million signing of defender Kurt Zouma, who owner did not sign the paperwork. was immediately loaned back to St Etienne, Manchester City were interested in FC and Fulham’s £11 million recruitment of Porto pair Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando, Olympiakos striker Konstantinos Mitroglou. but decided they were not willing to pay in The biggest signing in Scotland was Leigh excess of £40 million for the duo. Arguably Griffiths’s move to Celtic from Wolves for an the most high-profile transfer was midfielder undisclosed fee. The largest moves happened Kim Kallstrom, who joined Arsenal on loan earlier in January, with Juan Mata joining from Spartak Moscow. Manchester United from Chelsea for a clubrecord £37.1 million and Chelsea buying Big names Nemanja Matic from Benfica for £21 million. Meanwhile, some big names left England’s top flight. Fulham forward Dimitar Berbatov Big money went to Monaco on loan and Southampton’s Deadline day was largely dominated record signing Dani Osvaldo, currently susby struggling Premier League teams and pended by his club for fighting a team-mate big-money deals that never materialised. in training, went on loan to Italian table Fulham went big and spent £11 million on toppers Juventus. A few days earlier, Paris Greek striker Mitroglou. St-Germain paid £19 million for Newcastle They also signed Tottenham midfielder midfielder Yohan Cabaye. Lewis Holtby on loan, Everton defender John The mid-season transfer window is usuHeitinga on a free transfer and Manchester ally bigger in England than on the continent United youngsters Ryan Tunnicliffe and and again that showed this year. Brazil midLarnell Cole for undisclosed fees. fielder Hernanes went from Lazio to Inter Crystal Palace also signed five players. Milan for a reported £16.5 million, but he Blackpool winger Tom Ince joined on loan, was the only big-money switch across the Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey came in for continent on deadline day. £3 million, and they paid undisclosed fees for The second-highest spending division in Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley, Southampton Europe over the month was France’s Ligue midfielder Jason Puncheon, and Blackburn 1, although they only spent about £52 mildefender Scott Dann. lion, 40 per cent of what the Premier League West Ham signed Napoli defender Pablo did. Armero on loan until the end of the seaTeams in Italy’s Serie A spent about son, while Sunderland spent £3 million on £39 million (30 per cent) and Germany’s Brighton midfielder Liam Bridcutt, their Bundesliga, which provided last season’s fifth transfer of January. Cardiff City contwo Champions League finalists, £26 million firmed the recruitment of Manchester (20 per cent), while Spain’s clubs spent even United winger Wilfried Zaha on loan, their less. (BBC)
Mash Cup launched for Canje teams – over $600,000 up for grabs
econd division cricket teams in the East Canje/East Coast Berbice area will have a chance to prove their worth when they meet each other in the Mashramani Cup. The Mashramani Cup, which is organised by the Young Warriors Cricket Club, is being promoted to develop young cricketers and as a fund-raising event for the club. The second edition of the competition will be held on February 23. Ten teams will once again vie for the top price of $60,000 plus a trophy. The top four teams will all receive prizes: second place will collect $30,000 and trophy; the third-place finisher will collect $15,000, while the fourth place team will be presented with a trophy. There will also be incentives for the man of the match in the final. Speaking at the launch of the tournament, Young Warriors Cricket Club Secretary/ Treasurer Anil Beharry explained that the proceeds from the first competition were used to purchase a number of items to spruce up the venue and improve the facility – including acquiring a large cover for the pitch and square.
This year, he added, the club hopes to continue improving the facility, which is being touted as the best ground in Berbice, second to Albion. Ten teams have accepted the invitation to participate in the tournament: Gangaram Strikers, Betsy Ground Triple Stars, Goed Banana Land, Young and the Restless, Rose Hall Community Centre, Canefield, Young Warriors, Bristol Warriors, Number two Cricket Club and Number 19 Combined. Seawall Cricket Club will not be participating this year and their place was taken by the Rose Hall Community Centre which has been recently resuscitated. “I am suggesting that when you receive your prize money, at least some will go back to the club to purchase new gears and help develop your clubs.” Berry told captains of the various clubs who attended the launch. The tournament will be played on a fiveover-per-side basis and teams will be allowed to field one first division player. “We will be using the Berbice Cricket Board rules which do not consider a player over the age of 40 as a first division player.” (Andrew Carmichael)