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BRHA awards top health care workers

Monday, February 24, 2014

GUYANA

See page 4 Issue No. 013

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Berbicians returning home to invest ‌but keeping eyes on crime, corruption

See page 3

Berbicians mashing! The Region Six, Regional Democratic Council float during Sunday’s Mashramani Float Parade in Georgetown (Carl Croker photo)

GTU restates opposition to recruiting overseas teachers Page 2

WHAT'S INSIDE:

Lumber yards, sawmills feeling Tagore Memorial turning squeeze from construction shift heads in Corentyne Page 5

Page 6


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MonDAY, February 24, 2014

Simply the

Truth

GTU restates opposition to recruiting overseas teachers

Telephone manners E

very now and then, I have reason to call the people at Berbice Bridge Company Inc (BBCI) to find out when the bridge is scheduled to be closed. It always confuses me as to whether I should ask if the bridge is open or closed (if it is closed to road traffic, then it is open to maritime traffic; if it is closed to maritime traffic, then it is open to road traffic). Anyway, I call sometimes and stumble through asking when the bridge is scheduled to be “closed”. Each and every time, I get an answer. Each and every time, the person answering is courteous, polite, correct and precise. It has never failed. And each and every time, I am left wondering who trained these people to answer the phone with such

consistent excellence. The banks are almost as good as the Berbice River Bridge folks. Good telephone manners are not something we practise here, so when it happens, one is quite pleasantly surprised. What we get usually are examples of very poor communication skills, to use a big term. A school, you often get no answer or impoliteness. Call a business, you get the same. Call a police station and it is the same. Call a public sector office, and it is more of the same. Call the University of Guyana (UG), Turkeyen or Berbice, and you get worse. It is as if we have no idea of what it means to be serviceoriented. To be fair though, when I identify myself, the telephone attitude changes. The politeness shines

through. So it is not as if we cannot do better; it is just that we do not seem to take the time to do better. We tend to answer work phones the way we answer our personal phones. We simply do not take the time to realise the difference. When we answer workplace phones, we are answering on behalf of the organisation for which we work. If we are crude, rude, gruff, trite or downright impolite, it reflects on the organisation that pays us. But that does not seem to matter at all. This is true especially in the public sector, UG, Guyana Power and Light (GPL) and such places included. We could be as rude as we want and as often as we want to whomsoever we want (well, except the big ones!), there is no price to

…says Guyanese remigrants must be given first priority

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Professor Daizal Samad pay. At most but rarely, we would get a “letter”. The poor manners continue and get even worse. Maybe another “letter”. Then get a committee which is a sub-committee of a bigger committee. On and on and on. We thank the Berbice River Bridge personnel and the personnel at the commercial banks for treating us with courtesy and kindness. The rest of us would do well to follow their fine example.

resident of the Guyana Teacher’s Union (GTU) and Headmaster of Port Mourant Secondary School, Colin Bynoe says he is against the initiative of sourcing educators from overseas to work in the country. In an exclusive interview with Berbice Times Bynoe said that if it is the government’s decision to do so, then it should also be beneficial to citizens of Guyana. “As President of GTU, I want to clearly state that I am not in favour of this, but if the government is so desirous of doing this, I am asking the question that there must be a parallel of what they do for these persons they source from overseas to what is happening in the country,” he said, and extended a call for a level playing field for both Guyanese and overseas educators. “You source someone to come here and teach science, when we have residents here who are equally qualified, so my view is that whatever benefits and salary you give to the foreigner, the same should be applied to our own qualified Guyanese,” he explained. He added that a number of qualified Guyanese have left these shores and are doing well in other countries. He said they want to return home; however, the question still remains whether returning Guyanese would receive the same package as overseas educators. “So, that’s the question, let us make sure we encourage our people to return home, by offering them an equal package to work here, you would be amazed at how many of them would want to take up the offer and return home once the same benefit is derived,” he said. Bynoe maintained that it is critical that the country utilise its own human resources, since, according to him, there are many qualified unemployed Guyanese here and yet the country saw it fit to employ people from other countries to work and benefit here. Bynoe also took the opportunity to advise teachers across the country to be dedicated and committed to their jobs, to stay current with the trends of education, and to adopt new principles and methodologies in the delivery of education. Previously, the GTU had called for more teachers to be trained in the areas of mathematics and science, based on the decline of these skills, over the past few years, in the education system. GTU General Secretary Coretta McDonald had told

GTU President and Headmaster of Port Mourant Secondary School, Colin Bynoe

this newspaper that while little can be done to reduce the migration of these specialist teachers, serious attention must be paid to the issue. McDonald stated that the GTU has been in constant discussion with the Education Ministry to create avenues by which these skills could be retained and more persons trained in these subject areas. According to her, the GTU has been pushing to have an incentive given to teachers who want to be trained to teach mathematics and science. In the recent five-year agreement between the union and the government, 30 scholarships are offered annually to teachers who want to further their studies at the University of Guyana. Through this scholarship scheme, the GTU has been promoting the training of more maths and science teachers. “If we have 35 or 40 teachers who would have made application for the scholarship and we realise that 10 students are going for math and pure science, then we would make way for that, based on our consultation with the Education Ministry to have the 10 given priority,” she said. Back in 2011, government has announced that the national production of teachers is not keeping pace with demand for such resources, especially in the areas of maths and science, and as such it will be seeking to recruit teachers from overseas. “Cabinet cleared the way for the Government of Guyana, through the Ministry of Education and the Teaching Service Commission, to recruit graduate teachers from overseas. “The Ministry of Education explained the basis for revisiting an earlier model and identified mathematics and science subjects as the major but not the sole area to be targeted,” Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Lunchoen had said at the time.


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MonDAY, February 24, 2014

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Guyanese returning home to invest … but keeping eyes on crime, corruption

Jason Babulall’s investment

A multimillion -dollar hotel being constructed

business here to give back to his country, as according to him, things are improving all around. “Guyana is a great place and people here need to appreciate what they have… government doing a great job too encouraging us to invest here, but safety and security leaves much to be desired, bribery and corruption is a force to be reckoned with in the police force,” the businessman lamented.

BY SHIRAN RAMNAUTH

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e are waiting for the return of the rule of law. Businessmen need to feel their investments are safe. Investors want to feel comfortable, and that's the bottom line." This is the statement of an overseas-based businessman who has already invested millions of dollars in Berbice, but has serious reservations regarding the safety and security of his investments. Berbice without a doubt has seen massive developments over the past decade; however with the unchecked crime rate, overseas investors are becoming discouraged and hesitant. Another pressing issue they raised is that of the nonpassage of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Bill. The non-passage of this bill they opined, will not only affect all Guyanese but overseas investors.

Safety

In an exclusive interview with Berbice Times, several overseas-based Guyanese said that they have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the ancient county and are hoping that measures will implemented so as to guarantee safety for their investments and livelihood. In Port Mourant, obliquely opposite the Ophthalmology Hospital, a massive structure has been erected. The property, owned by Isaac Rohit, a Guyanese who resides in Canada, will

Victim

reportedly house a multiplex (movie theatre), food court and shopping mall among other areas of business. Another million-dollar investment is situated a stone’s throw away from this and will be used as a restaurant/snackette and serve as a learning centre to assist the less fortunate and school dropouts in Berbice. Jason Babulall, 31, of Canada said he is currently in Guyana assisting his father with their business investment worth over $67 million.

He told Berbice Times that notwithstanding the remarkable progress made by the country in terms of encouraging investments over the past two decades, there is a pressing need for better security for investors. He noted that an important component for this is the complete revamping of the Guyana Police Force. He asserted that law enforcement officers ought to prevent crime and arrest criminals and not to be involved in bribery and corruption. Babulall, who also

invests in shipping and marketing here, said the reason for the learning centre is a way of giving the needy a chance at success. “We are certain that coming back home to invest is an excellent move and we want to do so, but with the rise in crime and so many businesses getting robbed, people getting killed, with no arrests being made, it is getting a bit ridiculous,” Babulall said. Another businessman said that he chose to return home after 25 years living abroad and establishing a

The businessman said too that he has already been a victim of the alleged practice of the police who he said reportedly harassed him on several occasions, even soliciting cash and kind from him for no apparent reason. The businessman complained that they do not get to tell their side of the story and because policemen are in authority, they are prejudiced. He is also of the opinion that instead of police protecting innocent citizens, they are protecting the criminals since it was reported that he was robbed by an individual. However, he subsequently ended up becoming the victim. Meantime, over in New Amsterdam, another massive business investment is taking shape, this time local businessmen are taking the opportunity to invest in their homeland. Dave’s Building owned by a local Guyanese and TV veteran, Dave’s Television Channel 8 Incorporated, located at Chapel Street, New Amsterdam, was construct-

ed at an estimated cost of $200 million and still counting, as the edifice is not fully completed. Last Tuesday, Topaz, a unique restaurant and the brainchild of Ryan Rambarran, one of the directors of Dave’s TV was opened to the public and caters for breakfast and lunches. It is situated on the ground floor of the edifice and offers unique menus that cater for individual tastes in a relaxing environment. The first floor consists of four self-contained apartments, the second floor has a conference/reception hall and the top floor is a roof garden. Another huge investment is currently in progress in Berbice that will assist in the tourism sector. A state-of-the-art hotel at Theatre Ally in New Amsterdam will be completed shortly and will cater for tourists, as it will be on par with the first class hotels worldwide. These investments are paving the way to facilitate integration and sustainable development of the country, and will stimulate economic growth. Moreover, it will generate the employment needed as there are hundreds of unemployed residents in Berbice that are in dire need of jobs. However, the question remains, will investors be provided with the cooperation and security of law enforcement or will they be extorted, harassed and victimised by them.


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MonDAY, February 24, 2014

How to strike against greed and help out a fellow human being

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he trend in society today seems that people tend to be separated from each other and brutalising everyone so they can get ahead. People no longer greet each other, because cars have taken us off the streets and our workplace is no longer open concept, but rather in a cubical setting. Instead of going out with other people, television has a permanent place in our living rooms. Though helping a fellow human being can be inconvenient, it certainly has some advantages such as making you feel better about yourself and connects you with another human being. It also improves the life of someone else, at least for a little bit which can all help to make the world a better place, one kindness at a time. And if that kindness is contagious, it can multiply itself time and time again, so why not take a few minutes every day to do something kind for another person? It doesn’t have to be big. Remember, the Narine Dat Sookram smaller things in life are usually the most important. If you do not know where to start, here are some suggestions: Smiling and being friendly are all simple things that can put a smile and warm feeling in someone else’s heart. Give it a try and you will know how it feels. You can even donate something you no longer use or stop to help someone the next time you see someone on the side of the road with a flat tyre, or in need of other help. Do not be afraid to stop and ask how you can be of help. It could be that all they need is a little push or the use of your cellphone to call someone for assistance. Many of us have unique skills; consider taking the time to teach someone the skill you know. This could be teaching a family member to use email or teaching a child to ride a bike or even teaching your roommate how to clean the darn toilet. Do we ever realise how important it is to comfort someone in grief? Again it could be as simple as a hug, a kind word or just being there to listen, because this can go a long way, especially when someone has lost a loved one or suffered some similar tragedy. Though it is so easy to send an email, take the time to send a nice one. A quick message to tell someone how much you appreciate them and how valuable their contribution is can be exactly what he or she needs to hear. Let them know how proud you are of them and bold the words ‘thank you’ so they know they are appreciated. Public appreciation can do miracles. Taking the time to praise someone in front of a colleague or their best friend, is a great way to make them feel special about themselves. So take the challenge today and do something kind for someone, because in return, someone will do it for you too, especially when you need it most.

BRHA awards

top health care workers

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he Berbice Regional Health Authority (BRHA) last Friday evening hosted its annual award ceremony in the compound of the facility, honouring some 50 workers who performed exceptionally. Ten best workers, from the various health facilities across Regions Five and Six received certificates and overnight trips for two to Mainstay Resort sponsored by Meditron. The Chief Executive Officer’s Award sponsored by Greenage Refrigeration and Air Condition Services of a trip for two to Kaieteur Falls went to the Regional Environmental Health Officer, Marvin Dindyal. Champion Worker, Homechand Mohan of Skeldon Hospital received a trip for two to the United States. This award was made possible by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Inspire Inc, Yog Mahadeo, who facilitated the process through Fly Jamaica. In presenting the 11th report at the 11th annual event, BRHA CEO, Vishwa Mahadeo noted that 2013 was a year in which the institution came under much scrutiny and criticism, however, the authority continued to work tirelessly, doing its utmost under the motto “We care, we serve, we deliver” He said that he had no apologies and stands proud as BRHA has led the way in the delivery of health care. The CEO said despite the fact that 2013 was the first year in history that the institution fell short on its blood collection target and faced several other constraints, there have been great improvements in the system; however, there is room for further improvements. “We of the BRHA welcome criticism, constructive criticism, I want to publicly thank those who brought to our attention, our loopholes, mistakes and faults we will humbly try to correct these to the best of our abilities and the resources available to us,” he said. He said indiscipline, rudeness and a poor approach to work continue to dog the ser-

A section of the gathering

Homechand Mohan receives his award from Yog Mahadeo, CEO of Inspire Inc

vice delivery of the authority, but asserted that these will not be tolerated. Mahadeo boasted about the achievements in area of primary health care services, vaccinations, and highlighted projections the BRHA will aim for during the year, including achieving 1500 units of blood, taking VIA to health centres as there is a need to deal with cervical cancer early, a plan to try and deal with suicide, the implementation of the care of the elderly programme; and the expansion of specialist clinics and home based care programmes. David Armogan, Chairman of Region Six, opined that the regime of benefits, awards and recognition will motivate the workforce to perform at a higher level and pointed out that great success was seen as a result of these award ceremonies. He also boasted about the region being able to sustain the award ceremony for 11 years. He extended gratitude to the various organisations that supported the award ceremony. Region Five Chairman, Bindrabhan Bisnauth also congratulated the awardees and took the opportunity to thank their Cuban counter-

parts for their roles in making the delivery of quality health care a reality. The Inspire Inc CEO emphasised that the BRHA has been exceptional in improving health services in the region. He commended the awardees for their hard work and noted that the private/public partnership has worked well and that his company will remain committed to its collaboration with the BRHA. CEO of Meditron Andrew Debidin highlighted that the partnership between Meditron and the country’s health sector which commenced over 30 years ago and has grown at a rapid pace and has yielded tremendous achievements totalling US$50 million worth in medicine and medical supplies. He also pledged his continued support in making the ceremony a success and congratulated the awardees for a job well done. Parliamentary Secretary in the Health Ministry Joe Hamilton commended the Siparuta Health Centre for achieving the best Health Centre Award and said that contrary to the negative reports and criticism the facility there continues to excel.


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MonDAY, February 24, 2014

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Lumber yards, sawmills feeling the From patient to volunteer squeeze from construction shift – the life of Adina – Berbice dray cart owners crying out

Construction in a new housing scheme

Business at lumber yards these days is bleak

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oss of jobs and reduced business for some are just a few of the repercussions felt by Berbicians involved in the local construction industry. Hundreds of house lots have been issued at the New Glasgow Housing Scheme, Fort Ordinance and Waterloo/ Bath, West Berbice in recent years resulting in a boom in the construction industry in some sections of Berbice. However, while the sector has been a main prop to the country’s economy for a number of years, changes within the industry are putting some on the breadline. The construction industry in Berbice has seen a shift from building the traditional wooden houses to constructing buildings made of concrete. This, some in the construction business say, is having a negative impact on them. Among those affected are certain classes of skilled workers, dray cart operators and those who run sawmills and lumber yards. Many have had to shift their trade as the changes in the industry take root. One carpenter who was in demand in the 1980’s and 90’s is now hardly being contracted to do carpentry. “What I used to do is build houses and when work hard, ah go and look fo lil painting wuk. Now I had to become a fulltime painter because no wuk ent deh.” Others have had to find different things to do to make ends meet. The situation, from all indications, seems to be getting worse as data from a major loan institution in New Amsterdam indicates that between 1990 and 2000, about 70 per cent of structures constructed with loans from that institution were wood. For last year, those figures had reduced to 10 per cent. Another category of persons affected are dray cart operators who have shifted their operation to a great extent, from hanging out in front of sawmills to the more popular lumber yards. Terrill Hartman who has been in the business for the past 10 years says business at the sawmills has become slow and so he moved to operate from a lumberyard in New Amsterdam. “I used to make up to 10 trips a day fetching wood for people, now sometimes you barely making one trip

and some days none,” the man said. Hartman explained that even though in the past he was hired to transport zinc sheets and other construction material, those items hardly get onto his cart now. “The canters dem plenty and they taking away all the business,” the man said. Another cart operator who has been in the business for the past two years, says that he is feeling the impact of the decreased demand for wood. On the other hand, canter truck operators are also being affected. According to one such operator, he would receive as much as $20,000 to $25,000 for about 15 trips on some days. “I have now had to park my canter because business is slow. “Most of the houses in the new scheme areas have been completed.” Another canter operator, Junior Humphrey says the business has slowed down slightly but acknowledges that there has been a shift from wood to cement. According to one sawmill operator who prefers to remain anonymous, the production of wood is not as prolific as it was in the past. “At one time I employed about 30 persons, now I have a staff of 10.” Asked where the others have gone to work, the businessman said he did not know but added that the entire wood industry now requires a smaller workforce. Meanwhile, one man who operates a lumber yard on the Corentyne coast explained that there are several factors which have resulted in the rapid shift in preference for concrete as against wood; the major one being the increases in the cost for wood. When oil prices started to escalate in 2006, the price for wood at the sawmill first jumped from $80 per board measurement (BM) to $100 per BM within days and three months later, it was $200 per BM. The price has since increased by another 50 per cent of the original price making it an overall increase of 300 per cent. Other factors include the practices of sustainable foresting implemented in Guyana. This results in less young trees being harvested and a longer time to harvest wood. According to one lumber yard operator, the only way to stay in business is to include the sale of other construction material at his lumber yard.

Sandvoort residents get $1.5M library

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Cumberbatch at the National Psychiatric Hospital

esidents of Sandvoort, West Canje, Berbice now have their own library, which was commissioned last Monday. The project is expected to benefit more than 200 residents of the community and costs $1.5 million. Peace Corps volunteer Matthew Cusimano who was instrumental in the realisation on the library said it is an essential facility. Cusimano told Berbice Times that despite Peace Corps Volunteer Matthew Cusimano and a Sandvoort Village not being student checking out the library part of a town or the hinterland, and is an in-between area, the idea of establishing a library is often overlooked in such communities. “Such projects can be executed anywhere in Guyana… my involvement was more of a liaison between resources in Georgetown and here in this village. There was a lot of communication on my part with personnel in the capital city and to bring resources out to Region Six. We know that a lot of assistance can be had from outside of Berbice and my job was to re-educate my superiors in Georgetown as to what is happening in this county.” The Peace Corps volunteer explained how the community was able to get the library up and running at such a low cost. “The cost of the project is US$5750. However, the value of the venture is US$70,000. Because so many people in this village came out to support this project, in terms of painting, cleaning, donating and shipment of materials, we need to take those factors into account… It comes out to US$70,000 in value.” Meanwhile, speaking at Monday’s commissioning, Literacy Officer attached to the Region Six Department of

Education, Simone Dainty stressed the importance of reading and noted that the establishment of the library will only enable better academic performances among the students in the village. The village has a primary and a nursery school. “It is so important for you to make full use of your community library and to ensure that your children occupy their time meaningfully by reading relevant materials that will improve their learning skills,” Dainty said. The idea of the establishment of a community library was the brainchild of Headmaster of the Sandvoort Primary School Madoda Alfred. The community library is located in the bottom flat of the Sandvoort Primary School.

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Fellow inmates and staff assisting with the cutting of the cake

dina Cumberbatch, born on February 18, 1919 celebrated her 95th birth anniversary at the National Psychiatric Hospital, Fort Canje on Tuesday. Public Relations Officer of the Berbice Regional Hospital Michael Itwaru said the woman came from East La Penitance, Georgetown, as a patient and eventually recovered from her psychiatric condition. However, because no relative ever visited her or came forward and acknowledged her, she became disconnected and therefore, became a resident at the hospital. “No one visited her over the years and she had nowhere to go, so she has worked for a number of years volunteering at the laundry until recently, when she got feeble and was subsequently bedridden,” Itwaru stated, while revealing that the facility is equipped with a chalet for patients who have nowhere to go. There were no records of what Adina Cumberbatch illness Cumberbatch suffered from and no date of when she was admitted to the psychiatric hospital. Last week’s celebrations marked her 50th since becoming a resident there. Itwaru said the care the 95-year-old received over the years and more specifically since she had been bedridden, was commendable and extended gratitude to the entire staff of the institution for their part in nurturing the elderly woman. “As you can see, she is bouncy and energetic today and not because someone has been institutionalised here, it means life is over. It could very well become a new beginning for them, they need to be loved,” he posited. According to the administrator of the facility, Leila Clark Daniels, when she commenced working at the institution in 1984 as a young clerk, the woman was a resident there assisting in several areas and from her recollection, the now senior citizen has been institutionalised for over 50 years but never received any visitors and she never ever displayed any mental illness. “When I started my career here, Miss Cumberbatch was working at the laundry and there was nothing mentally wrong with her as she would do her work every day, not as paid services but helping out,” she said while disclosing that the celebrations were made possible through the kind courtesy of the Berbice Regional Health Authority, spearheaded by Chief Executive Officer Dr Vishwa Mahadeo. As part of the celebrations, other patients at the institution were treated to a sumptuous meal and a cold beverage. Several of them were seen happily gyrating to the music played on the sound system, while the 95-year-old chuckled and cut her birthday cake with the help of her fellow colleagues and staff attached to the hospital.


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ihil Sine Labore (Nothing is achieved without labour!) That’s the motto of the Tagore Memorial High School located at Number 63 Village, Corentyne, opposite the entrance to one of the largest Caribbean beaches. The school stands testimony to that motto as it has worked hard to get where it is today. Established on January 12, 1942 and named after Poet Rabindranauth Tagore of India, the school today boasts a student population of 780. Its first Principal was JR Lathchmansingh and the school’s population is dominated by girls who account for 447 of the total student body, while boys account for 332. They are managed by 39 teachers, three ancillary staff and four janitorial staff. The school has 25 classrooms, three laboratories, one library, one staffroom and a headteacher’s office which beautifully displays all of the school’s achievements. The catchment area spans from Black Bush Polder (BBP) to Crabwood Creek with students from BBP accounting for 15 per

beamed with pride at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) where the school secured 90 per cent passes in English Language and 76 per cent passes in mathematics and above 90 per cent passes in the other subjects areas. In 2012/2013 there was a decline in

A section of the Tagore Memorial High School

passes in English and mathematics. However, in the other subjects areas the school managed to remain successful with an average of 95 per cent passes overall. The school also produced two of the region’s top students namely Omadai Balram who secured 13 subjects including 10 Grade Ones and three Grade Twos and Vinay Punwa who secured 10 subjects inclusive of eight Grade Ones. One hundred and six students sat the examination in 2013 while 93 will be sitting it this year. “With [the] innovative methods we have put in place, we are hoping to increase the performance way above the previous, especially in English and mathematics... we already having extra lessons whereby the students would spend an extra hour working past CSEC papers and by utilising the Ministry Chairman of the Board of Governors of the school, of Education pilot project Charlie Ammar materials,” Ammar said. Besides education, the school also places emphacent of the study body. Thirteen subjects are sis on extracurricular activities as they feel offered in the sciences, business and litera- they are necessary for all-round developture. The school’s goal is to assist every child ment, especially discipline. “While being edto develop their fullest potential, not only ucated can land you a good job, you need academically but socially. other skills to be able to interact socially and During an interview with Berbice Times, be a well rounded individual, Over the years Chairman of the Board of Governors of the we have been participating in sports activischool, Charlie Ammar said over the past ties competing with schools from Number 43 few years the school has secured its place to Orealla”, Ammar outlined. among the top performing institutions in the In addition, the school also participates country. In the Year 2011, Tagore Memorial in chess competitions, debate, impromptu

A teacher checks the work of two of her students

speech and cricket and they also hope to participate in music competitions with the school’s steel pan that was recently donated by the Culture, Youth and Sport Ministry. He added that during the assembly session, they would teach and instil values in the students so that when they leave school, they will able to face life in every possible way.

Incentive

Meanwhile, as part of its initiative to encourage students, the school awards each child that tops their class at the end of each term with US$25 and the best all round students also gets a stipend of US$10 donated by the said NGO. They have also given top performing teachers incentives. The chairman related that as a former student, his dream was to see the school among the top in the country. “In 1957 at the age of 12, as a barefoot boy going to school, I did not know what the future held for me, however, after spending five years at Tagore and after successfully passing my GCE exams, I started as a teacher at the New Market Anglican School... it was Tagore that gave me the foundation, I then moved on to the University of Guyana in 1965. In 1976 I was the principal at the Central Corentyne Secondary. In 1983 I migrated to the United States where I taught in a Junior High in New York”. “Tagore School gave me that opportunity,” he noted. He is urging youth to take a serious approach to education; to use it as a stepping stone to break the cycle of poverty so that you can move on with your life. “The PTA relationship with the board and the administration is amicable, there is a lot of consultation where we bond and plan to execute plans.” He said he would like to see more active sport programmes in the school,

and as such, he will be asking the school board which has been very supportive for a full time Physical Education/Sport master as well as a visual arts teacher. Ammar noted even though the school has an active library, more books are needed as they want to introduce English Literature to the curriculum. At present, the school has managed to raise some funds locally to purchase some of the books, however, more is needed. In addition, the school boasts one of the best canteens in the country where you can find pretty much anything you are looking for – from your hygienic needs or stationary items, right down to mouth watering pickled mangoes, gooseberries and golden apples. Reflecting on the history of the school, Ammar related that in the early days, the student population was very small and when the school began receiving government aid, its enrolment started to grow. Ammar – himself a former student – said during his time in 1957, the school fee was $12 per term, it was an old single building. “From then to now, there has been a dramatic transformation in the physical outlook of the Tagore School. Today it is now housed in a state-ofthe-art building equipped with all necessary amenities for modern day learning.” He stated that in 1952, the school was merged with the Oriental High School in Number 60 Village, since not much was happening at the time. The school in 1957 solicited the leadership of Principal Bharat Chariya who headed the school successfully. Since then, Tagore Memorial High has gone through several principals until today. The current acting Principal is Miss Odetta Johnson and the acting Deputy is Rajkumar Ramjiewan.


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Topoo Cricket Club Aspiring boxer aims to gets timely donation make it to world stage W

Faizal Jaffarally presenting the cricket gear to President of Topoo Cricket Club Majeed Khan Mohamed at the Topoo ground

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ewly formed Topoo Cricket Club on the Corentyne Coast recently received a boost when the People's Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) donated a number of sporting gear to help the club in its second division cricket. The presentation was made by PPP/C Member of Parliament Faizal Jaffarally and followed a request by the club. At a simple presentation ceremony, Jaffarally spoke of investments that the government of Guyana is making towards sport. "I would like to emphasise that the government is committed to the development of sport throughout Guyana and

our pledge is not only to focus on one particular sporting discipline, our focus is broadbased and we would like you to acknowledge our contribution by making full use of what is offered to you," he said. The club received a kit of gear which included bats, batting and wicket keeping pads, stumps, batting and wicket keeping gloves and balls. "Players, you need to remember that discipline plays an integral role in anything that you do and cricket is no exception; your attitude will determine how far you go in emulating cricketing heroes such as Rohan Kanhai, Basil Butcher and Alvin Kallicharran, who all hail

from the Corentyne area. “For there to be progress in your club, you all need to unite for a common cause and once there's development, you will grow into becoming a strong team," Jaffarally said to the 26 club members who attended the presentation. President of the club, Majeed Khan Mohamed, who accepted the gear on behalf of his charges, expressed gratitude to the PPP/C and vowed to make full use of their gift. "I must express profound gratitude to the PPP/C for acknowledging our needs, these gears are much needed and we will try our best to maintain them and give our best performance on the field," he said.

Who killed “Uncle Tulu”?

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ohamed Shaheed Hamid called ‘Uncle Tulu’ of Maida Farm Coretyne lived alone with his wife, Nazmoon Amin. As is customary of people of the older generation, they prefer to use an outhouse latrine to relieve themselves even though they have modern toilet facilities. So on December 3, 2012, it was no different as ‘Uncle Tulu’ decided to relieve himself at the outhouse. According to his wife, he was up listening to cricket on the radio when he decided to get up and go to the latrine at Mohamed Shaheed Hamid approximately 02:40h. When he opened the door he was breathed his last breath. heard saying “What the… yall The family and neighbours doing here” and then called for were puzzled as to the series of his wife by his pet name for her events that led to Hamid’s death “Naz Come”. as he was described as a very There was an explosion and humble, pious, hardworking his wife ran downstairs, she man who, even though he had immediately noticed the place no children of his own, was was dark and thought the light like a father and grandfather to was broken and that was why many in the area. her husband called out. She He was always seen with got a flashlight and ventured a smile on his face and had a outside to find her husband in kind word or joke to share with a crouching position. everyone. Hence it was a total She enquired what surprise as to who would want happened but got no response to hurt a poor old man. He was and then noticed that he was 76 years old at the time of his clutching his chest. It was then death. that she saw the blood oozing The police arrived on the from his chest and started to scene a few minutes later and scream, attracting the attention had initially arrested a few of neighbours. But by the time persons - mainly the usual they arrived, Hamid had already

suspects from the village but no one was charged or brought before the courts as there was no evidence linking them to the murder. Speculation was rife with the most common being that the man had stumbled upon a gang of bandits who were in the area and they were taken by surprise as he enquired of their actions. They were afraid of him raising an alarm further or possibly identifying them. As such, the persons shot him and fled the scene leaving him to die. According to his wife, since the day after his death no police nor anyone came by with any new information nor offered any new details on the case. She, however, is very optimistic that God will have the final say in who is responsible for his death. She is also positive he is in a better place as he was very God fearing and was a regular at the mosque. Who and what was the motive behind his death remain a mystery, as robbery was never considered an option because the couple were both pensioners and did small scale cash crop farming to make ends meet. Further, no attempt was made to gain entry into the home nor did anyone demand money.

hile we all may have some inner desire to lead and represent our country at the highest level, very few of us have that discipline to train and pursue our dreams to make it one step closer to being a reality. One of those very few is 23-year-old Keshawn “Special K” Simon, better known as “Mark” by his friends, who hails from Rose Hall Town, Berbice. Mark’s dream and goal is simple: he wants to be the next world champion boxer for Guyana. He started boxing at the age of 14 at the Rose Hall Gym after looking at “Sugar Shane Mosley” and wanted to be just like him. He stuck to the task and joined the gym. He was good and had the natural talent but as anyone who interacts with Mark will notice, he is also very educated and smart. He took a break for a short period to focus on his studies at Berbice High School, where he achieved 11 subjects with Grades One to Three at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination. After school he resumed his career as an amateur and soon got the nod to become a professional boxer in Guyana at the age of 22, becoming one of the youngest and most educated boxers in the history of the sport locally. However, like everyone else, he has had his fair share of ups and downs. In his first professional fight, where the winner would have had the opportunity to represent Guyana in St Martin, he made it to the finals but lost on a controversial decision. The crowd and Mark felt he was the winner, however, the judge’s decision was not in his favour. This made him upset and he was tempted to quit, however, the support of his coach and mentor, Howard “Battersea Bomber”

Keshawn “Special K” Simon and a supporter Eastman convinced him otherwise. Victory was soon on the charts as he faced his next opponent wearing a pair of gloves given to him by Eastman. In an exclusive interview with Berbice Times, Simon who fights under the name “Special K” in the welterweight category, hopes to become the next champion after Clive Atwell. He spoke deeply and passionately about his experiences. He feels he is being overlooked and cheated because he is not like a typical boxer who has one fighting style. He likes to mix it up and because of this, it has caused him to lose points in his bouts. He also is tired of being seen as a nerd because of his education in the sport. “A lot of the officials making reference to my academic achievement, as if being educated is a limitation that prohibits me from following my dreams. “But to see me give up won't happen, my education and being exposed to different environments is what helps me to deal with the extreme arrogance that most bring to the table, helping me to develop tremendous self-control and stand

Keshawn Simon is looking to make it big

out from the mass that are caught in a web of immature and irresponsible actions. I'm a multi-dimensional individual, I'm talented and gifted, but with all the challenges, I see this as me having to work harder and use all the adversity to build character and achieve my goal,” the young boxer said. While it’s obvious selfconfidence is not lacking, Simon is a very humble, simple, down to earth guy who can always be seen joking around with children, or dancing and krumping. He plans to change his fight name to that of “Jaguar Paw” as he shifts into high gear to achieve his goals. He chose that name because it would be synonymous with his representation of the green land of Guyana and South America. Simon, who hails from a family of gifted athletes from both sides of his family, such as basketball players, an American football player, athletics etc is no slouch himself and is a natural athlete that could have chosen any other sport or career, but he believes that “the only limitation to me is the one I put on myself. If I allow those trying to oppress me to have the upper hand and winning in any aspect, I will fail, so I have to stay true to myself and continue my quest to supremacy.” He wishes to express thanks to God Almighty, Kezia Rambharos, Syeda Quyyam, and Devendra Bishoo for always being there to support him through thin and thick. Simon also expressed profound gratitude to Howard Eastman, who he says has been instrumental in his life since he was in his teens – being more than just a trainer, and more like a father figure in his life. He also wishes to thank YOR Health Premium Quality Products from the U.S.A., Lewison General Store, Poonai Pharmacy, Homeline Furnishing and most importantly, his family in Guyana, Brooklyn, NY, UK and Canada.


Berbice Times February 24, 2014