MonDAY, january 20, 2014
Probe launched into death of Bath Settlement dancer T
he Berbice Regional Health Authority (BRHA) has launched an investigation into the death of a Bath Settlement dancer which occurred last year November. According to BRHA Public Relations Officer (PRO) Michael Itwaru, an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Varshanie Devi Persaud has commenced. He said when completed the findings and recommendations will be sent to Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shamdeo Persaud. The 11-year-old died at the Georgetown Public Hospital on November 21 last under questionable circumstances, forcing her parents to call for an investigation. She had left home the day before she died with her mother to visit the Fort Wellington Hospital after complaining of a tummy ache. At the time, it did not seem serious. After being examined by doctors at Fort Wellington Hospital, her mother was advised to take her to the Mahaicony Hospital to get a blood test. The doctors had suspected that she had leptospirosis and sickle cell. The
tests were done and the results were all negative. According to Bassmattie Persaud, she and her daughter then returned to the Fort Wellington Hospital where Varshanie was given saline. “About quarter past three in the afternoon, they tell us to go to New Amsterdam Hospital. I had to catch a car and carry she till to New Amsterdam,” she said. She said when she got there, another blood sample was taken. “Up to then she was alright, and walking and talking alright.” Without confirming a diagnosis, the doctors told her mother that they were admitting Varshanie for the night. By the following morning, she noticed that the girl’s right eye was getting red and inflamed. Persaud said when he went to the hospital to visit his sick child, he asked the doctors if they had a diagnosis and they responded, “Suspected sickle cell. They keep giving her injections.” Later, as her condition deteriorated, they told her that they suspected something else and were transferring her to Georgetown. By then, they had her on
Varshanie Devi Persaud
a stretcher. She was then transferred to the GPHC Intensive Care Unit. Later that day, she died. According to her father, Fathel Persaud, the medical personnel at the New Amsterdam Hospital seem not to be aware that they could have utilised the services at the lab to find out what was wrong. He is also of the view his daughter may have received an injection which led to her demise. The 11-year-old was considered one of the better dancers in Region Five.
More scientific approach needed to fight crime in Berbice – Joseph
afety and security is everybody’s business and not the police alone…police cannot do it alone we know for a fact we cannot…. so we need the support of the residents.” These were the words of B Division Commander Brian Joseph as he addressed the measures and strategies being implemented to make Berbice safer. Though boasting a dip in reported crime last year, Berbicians are still wary of the constant home invasions and street robberies. Joseph said crime analysts at the Guyana Police Force (GPF) constantly review all police reports, with the goal of identifying patterns as they emerge. “Those reports are sent to us so we are aware of the specific areas where crimes are rampant and we put our human and other resources into those areas and it is bearing fruit,” he explained. He noted that the number three subdivision, West Berbice has been very quiet recently, but the number one subdivision, New Amsterdam, has been problematic, along with Corentyne. “We have put a number of initiatives in place as we recognised through our analysis on areas affected and we placed much emphasis on those areas primarily, hence there has been tremendous reduction of criminal activities there,” he remarked. He also said support from the Community Policing Groups (CPGs) has played a pivotal role in curbing crimes and safeguarding residents. “They (CPGs) have been coming out in full support when called upon… some members of the various communities in Berbice have also been assisting the police and giving much-needed information and
B Division Commander Brian Joseph
this is most welcomed in our efforts to fight crime and ensure security,” he disclosed. He said too that the ranks of B Division continue to render their support and protection of business owners and rice farmers.
“Whenever we are informed of financial activities being conducted in certain areas, we tend to send out people there to stake out the area to ensure all activities are conducted in a safe manner and persons are safe…. other than that, we are advising persons doing financial transactions to go plastic or use cheques and desist from moving around with excess cash,” he stated. The commander said he recognised that there have been a few minor problems within the force; however the ranks
have been working assiduously to rectify the same. “Regarding safety and protection for residents, we have a lot of patrols out there on a 24-hour basis and we have been advising members of the public at our various community outreaches that during the hours of darkness or when at home to secure their home and surroundings. “We know in the country area when we get home at night, we want to get breeze as we say, so we leave our homes open and there are a lot of the crimes and home robberies are committed in Berbice, perpetrators come in through the open doors and commit the acts, so we have been advising them to ensure their homes are secured at all times,” he emphasised. Joseph also appealed to residents to alert the police if they notice any strangers in their area so they can investigate. “We have had incidents of persons complaining about response time, police taking long to respond and we have recognised that in some instances, it was true and we are working to address all those issues,” he said. Joseph acknowledged that there are problems with the 911 system; however, discussions and recommendations have been made at the ministerial level and with GT&T. He advised Berbicians to assist in stamping out the issue of corrupt police officers. “Yes, definitely the police will continue to work to protect you and serve you, but we want to advise you that if you notice any policeman involved in any illegal activity to report it to the nearest police station or speak to any senior officer within the division…,” he added.
t is important to have students go beyond the textbook to study a good mix of topics based on real-world issues. It could be as simple as the water condition in their communities or even the history of their village. This can be done by analysing information on the Internet and perhaps doing interviews with professionals. Project-based learning calls for more time compared to traditional bookbased instruction, where students are just memoNarine Dat Sookram rising facts from only one source. However, with hands-on learning, students apply original information just like learning principles covered in traditional courses, but they are learning them in more meaningful ways. And presenting the student’s work to audiences beyond the teacher, including parents and community groups, is very empowering to the students. When students work together in a team setting and directed by trained teachers, students get the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to collaborate and resolve conflicts among themselves. It is also important to have each member of the group responsible for learning the top of the course as well as helping other teammates to learn, because we have to look at the big picture and realise that not everyone will get the same academic support from home. In fact, cooperative learning will develop a good sense of social and emotional skills for the student, which will provide a valuable base for the students as they move forward with their own individual lives in society regardless of what profession they have chosen. Also partnering with different community organisations, including business, other educational institutes and government agencies can be of benefit, because they can provide needed materials and experiences for both the students and the educators. This way, students will be exposed to the world of work through school-to-career programmes and practicums. It is not a bad thing to have schools recruit professionals to act as instructors and mentors for students. Everyone can benefit from this, especially the students, because they will get to see what is happening in the ‘real’ world. The student’s assessment should be expanded beyond just test scores and they should be provided with a more detailed academic profile of their strengths and weaknesses. This should be happening on an ongoing basis as well. The assessment should be utilised by both the teachers and the parents, including students as well, where they can use the assessment to monitor academic progress to focus on areas that the students need improvement on. The ideal tests should be an opportunity for students to learn from their mistakes and retake the test if possible to improve their scores. This in itself can help to boost the student’s confidence. We cannot ignore the fact that when schoolwork involves parents, students tend to learn more. There is an old saying that “parents are a child’s first teachers”, which can surely instil values that encourage school learning. Encourage the schools to build strong relations with parents and welcome their active participation in the school. Teachers should also inform parents of the school’s academic goals and the significance of high expectations for every student and if possible some ideas in assisting the students with their homework and coursework lessons, because, after all, it takes a village to raise a child.
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