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Berbice

Monday, December 16, 2013

GUYANA

Elderly home seeks Good Samaritans

See page 6

Issue No. 003

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FOCUS ON EDUCATION IN See stories on pages 3,4,6

Berbice

No buzz, little business at NA, Rosignol stellings Page 5

WHAT'S INSIDE:

New cycling club launched in Corriverton Page 8

Cold case or no case?

Page 8


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MonDAY, December 16, 2013

New Amsterdam Multilateral remains top school in Berbice – secures 183 distinctions at this year’s CSEC

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he New Amsterdam Multilateral School (NAMS) on Friday held its 26th annual graduation and prize giving ceremony. One hundred and ninety students received certificates asserting that they are equipped with the relevant academic skills to seek employment or pursue higher learning. At the 2013 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations, students were examined in 31 subject areas and the school recorded an overall pass rate of 84.5 per cent, grades one to three. That included 481 grade one passes, with 183 distinctions, as 89 pupils secured passes in 10 or more subjects. The school’s improved performance ensured that it remained among the top secondary schools in the country. This is according to acting Principal Narinedatt Dhanraj. He noted that the school has maintained its position as the number one secondary in East Berbice/Corentyne (Region Six). “This school has a proud history of committed staff, working to achieve the best results and with their support, we challenge the regional authorities to match this commitment with the

The graduating class of 2013

Professor Daizal Samad

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he most polite people I have met are from Thailand – the Thais. The Malays of Malaysia and Indonesia are close, as are the Zulu in Kwa-Zulu Natal (birthplace of Shaka Zulu, the great warrior). he people of Hubei Province in China are fabulous for their hospitality, as are the Moroccans, Tunisians, the Irish, and the good folk of the Maritimes in Canada. And yet, in my own mind, there is no hospitality as sublime as that which is offered by Berbicians. I do not say this because I am Berbician. This is simply the truth to me. It is easy for the rich to give, even though they give expecting nothing in return. But the greatest giving is from those who have little or nothing to give. In Berbice, the last cup of tea or plate of rice is given to the guest, even if a household goes without. It is the wish to give that matters, even if it is an enamel cup of water. We Berbicians are biased though. We say amongst ourselves: “Dem Georgetown people nah does affah abee nottin!” But we are wrong sometimes, because we are treated with hospitality in

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Best graduating student of the New Amsterdam Multilateral School, Michael Harris

much-needed resources that we crave and in return, we will provide the results that we know we can achieve.” Education Ministry School Boards Secretariat Coordinator Melcita Bovell, who delivered the feature address, said because government understands the importance of developing human capital, the education sector has the largest portion of the country’s national budget. “Guyana cannot be developed in parts; it has to be developed holistically.” She added that the high school graduates are at a crossroad in life and urged them to take full advantage of their recently acquired

skills and use them for the future development of the county and more particularly, the region. “The answers for many of the questions you have will determine the amount of effort that you are going to make in your lives; you are the people who are going to develop this country and we need to be assured that our country is in good hands,” she noted. The best student was Michael Harris who obtained passes in 10 subjects, with nine distinctions. Harris was one of the few students this year who got distinctions in mathematics and English A.

Professor Daizal Samad

all parts of Demerara and Essequibo. Grandmother Dundas of the Arawak People came from the deep interior. She brought for me cassava bread and did feed me with her fingers. Ms De Haan and Dr Desrey Fox, both of the first nations, were great in their generous giving. To me, a simple hug and sisterly kiss upon my cheek. Hospitality is a Guyanese thing! And it would be good if we Guyanese from different regions rival each other for the title of champion of hospitality! We do it in sports. This thing of giving generously and accepting grace-

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fully is what ought to define us as a nation. It is not about regions and counties, not about coloration nor gender nor religion. We Guyanese that give with pure heart and receive with lofty grace are the stuff that should make us stand out in the globe of nations. We are married to each other, Guyana. Take my hand, place upon my finger your ring. Let us pledge “to honour always the flag of Guyana, and to be loyal to my country, to be obedient to the laws of Guyana, to love my fellow citizens…” Not SOME of my fellow citizens, but my fellow citizens – all of them! Not SOME of the laws until we are caught. It is not “let us use and abuse our fellow citizens and discard them when they are no longer of use”. When we stand at these ceremonies or in schools and say the national pledge, let us know what we are saying. It is a pledge. A pledge is an oath of honour as men and women of dignity. It is not just words to be babbled, like prayers in a language we do not even try to understand. And if we do not try to learn, we remain ignorant. A nation of loud and ignorant cannot take pride of place in the community of nations.


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MonDAY, December 16, 2013

Narine Dat Sookram

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s a passionate community builder, I strongly believe that increasing community awareness can have a tremendous impact on suicide prevention, since it helps to reduce stigmatisation and promote awareness of the risk factors for suicide. In addition, it also increases people’s capacity to intervene and engage in dialogue concerning suicide and mental health issues. And speaking of ‘mental health’, I think that it is unfortunate that society does not give the issue the full attention it deserves. I am actually saddened by how many young lives have been lost right here in Berbice alone. Some of whom I know personally. It makes me wonder what their contributions to life would have been. One of the key points we have to teach people too is that when something like that happens, it ruins families and the community as well. I remember when my own brother committed suicide way back in 1998, how challenging it was for us dealing with the loss and the guilty feeling that you could have done something to prevent it. I think that it is important to raise community awareness both in schools and in the community itself by offering training on risk factors and warning signs, because when I look back at my brother’s situation, some of the signs do ring a ‘bell’. For example, he wanted to give away his possessions. Organising public events, like walks and rallies, will also be beneficial in addition to publishing stories in the media that provide information about treatment and resources. We can never have enough resources for a topic of this kind. I also think that it is important to share local data related to suicidal behaviours, but most importantly, one of the best things we can do is challenge the community to get involved to keep the topic alive. And I know that this in itself can be very challenging, but the key point will be to recruit community members who are interested, knowledgeable and passionate about preventing suicide to serve in a community association. Once this is established, then it will be important to define everyone’s roles and responsibilities and find a way to meet regularly. I think that once members have an understanding of the issue of suicide in the community by looking at the data and available resources and service gaps in their own community, it will be important for them to understand who else in the community can be helpful and who might be an obstacle. Once all of this is identified, in order to act to make change, the ‘caring’ group must build an action plan and identify realistic goals that can be achieved within six months or a year, but I believe that it can be done. Remember to check out next week’s topic on immigration as suggested by one of our readers.

The trench residents want the regional authorities to clean

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esidents who utilise the Denmor Garment Factory Street as their entrance to Block 4 Clifton are calling on the Port Mourant/Johns Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) to clear the overgrown vegetation in the trench and entrance to the street as well as fix the street lights in that area. Presently, the street is the only access road to the scheme as the other bridge is under construction. The site at the entrance resembles a rainforest with large trees and unkempt vegetation. It is possibly a haven for various reptiles and criminal elements. The vegetation is so thick that it covers the street sign and obscures the line of sight for incoming traffic from the west. According to one resident, Rosina Singh, the NDC has not been doing anything to rectify the situation despite their pleas. “The trench needs to be cleaned, it is not safe, the lights are not working and it is really dark because of how high the bushes are,” she lamented. She recalled that a few weeks ago, a woman was robbed while on her way home. Singh related that someone pounced on the woman and stole her purse. She said the NDC would only do “some cleaning on the roadside when the president visits Berbice, but that’s all”. Another resident, Lilowattie

Persaud, a market vendor, expressed frustration over the situation. She is pleading with the relevant authorities to do their work.

Dangerous

She described the situation as very dangerous, filthy and unsightly. Persaud plies her trade at the Port Mourant Market and she would usually leave home around midnight. She fears passing by the bridge. According to Deochand Persaud, he left the country six months ago and recently when he returned, he noticed that the bushes have grown taller. He lamented that the area is unsafe for children. He added that he would usually clean the surroundings, but said this is not enough. The drains in the area have not been cleaned in years and when it rains, the area would flood, he said. Chanranie Sukdeo, a student of Berbice High School, said she would take extra lessons and would usually be home around 06:30h. “The surrounding to the entrance is really dark at that time, I have been living here for the last 14 years and this is by far the worse.” She noted that the matter was reported several times, but nothing was done. Sukdeo is pleading for help. The residents are asking that the NDC take swift action and remove the overgrown bushes. Mangawattie Sukhdeo said it is

Tain resident Mangawattie Sukhdeo said she is frustrated over the situation

tiresome to take the other route and most times they have no other choice. She said since the scheme was built, the NDC has forgotten about the residents. Meanwhile, when the Port Mourant/Johns NDC was contacted, Assistant Overseer Nalini Deonarine promised to send workers to get the area cleaned by Friday. However, that day, nothing was done and the situation remains the same.


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By Alexis Rodney

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he long walk along Matthew Allen Road can be lonely and tiresome. The frequent honks of cars and occasional laughter of schoolchildren become alien to the ear. Overgrown bushes have enveloped dilapidated roadside shops. Friends who gathered for their usual drinks have found new “liming spots”. The few seen taking a drink or reading a newspaper are mostly bus drivers waiting for their buses to be filled. The ambience speaks volumes, revealing that sometimes a step towards national development can have its share of disadvantages. In 2008, major operations at the New Amsterdam Ferry Stelling ceased, leaving behind a string of unemployment. The new multimillion-dollar Berbice River Bridge became the main way of crossing the river for commuters travelling between the East and West Coast of Berbice. Five years on, businesses that have been in operation for decades are still feeling the sting of this massive change. Many have concluded that although the bridge’s service has significantly reduced travel hurdles, their businesses have suffered immensely.

Berbice Bridge

Even while praise is showered on the government for its move towards development, there are still concerns over the amount of money one must pay to cross the bridge. One shop owner posited that some persons are even avoiding crossing the bridge because of the high fare. “If you look at the people of Rosignol, they have to pay $300 to come across with the bus and $300 to go back, which is $600. And if you calculate the government’s minimum wage to the $600-a-day for somebody that has to come to New Amsterdam, it’s like less movement for them.” The situation would prob-

MonDAY, December 16, 2013

ably be better, he said, if the government reduces the bridge toll and raises the salaries of public servants. People’s inactivity has also affected business in New Amsterdam, the economic hub of Berbice. Another businessman suggested the reintroduction of public transportation. This will ease the “pressure on those who cannot afford the high fare” in a major way. Another of the businesses feeling the squeeze is the outlet of the Avinash chain of stores located on the ferry road. The New Amsterdam Ferry Stelling has been serving Berbicians for as long as the living could remember. According to the few business owners left, they were making a decent living prior to December 2008. Businesses included hair salons, barber shops and a variety of snackettes and bars. Just about five food shops are open for business on Matthew Allen Road. Over at Rosignol, there are far fewer. The ferry operates four times per day, beginning at 06:30h and ending at 17:30h. The pontoon is frequented more by children attending schools in New Amsterdam, while residents travelling from the West Bank of Berbice continue to utilise the services of the ferry launch.

Tolls

The main opposition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) last Thursday tabled a motion in Parliament calling for a reduction in the tolls charged for the crossing of the Berbice River Bridge. The motion was moved by parliamentarian Joseph Harmon and seconded by Amna Ally. Harmon said the Berbice bridge was built with significant investment by the government of Guyana on behalf of the people of Guyana and that it is owned and operated by the Berbice Bridge Company Inc (BBCI) — a company incorporated un-

The New Amsterdam Ferry Stelling is usually very quiet these days

der the provisions of the Companies Act No 29 of 1991 of the Laws of Guyana. According to Harmon, government, through the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), is a pref-

erential shareholder and a member of the board of directors of the company. Harmon noted that since its commissioning in December 2008, the Berbice bridge has facilitated the crossing of more than

650,000 vehicles, resulting in annual revenues of over $1,500,000,000 ($1.5 billion). He also outlined the various toll rates for each category of vehicles. Harmon contended that the tolls are exceedingly high

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when compared to those for crossing the Demerara River via the Demerara Harbour Bridge and represent a significant devolution of wealth from the people of Berbice in particular, to the benefit of a private company. He added that in recognition of the high tolls, the BBCI, for a specific period over August 1-12, reduced the tolls. As such, Harmon is calling for a resolution by the National Assembly to call on the government of Guyana to instruct its representative on the BBCI board of directors to demand an immediate reduction in tolls charged. On Friday the BBCI announced, in celebration of its anniversary, that several toll charges would be reduced for the period December 15 to January 12, 2014.


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MonDAY, December 16, 2013

Professor Daizal Samad is calling for more academic programmes to be offered at the University of Guyana Berbice Campus

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ormer director of the University of Guyana Berbice Campus, Professor Daizal Samad has lauded the private sector in the ancient county for its unswerving support to the institution and its students. In an exclusive interview with Berbice Times, the academic also renewed his call for more degree programmes to be added to the university’s curriculum. He said the campus, which has a critical role to play in national development, has developed a strong link with the private sector. Samad explained that just three days before the recent graduation, the campus did not have a stage. However, contact was made with the business community in the Upper Corentyne and a stage worth $1 million was erected in

less than six hours. The professor said the support of the combined chambers of commerce has also been overwhelming. Meanwhile, at a recent forum with the sub- committee of the council held on campus, several issues were raised by students and members of the community. Among them was the longstanding addition of more degree programmes. Students had highlighted the fact that travelling to the capital city to continue their programmes, not only pressures them financially, but inadvertently affect their family lives. Professor Samad during the interview pointed out that the issue had been among the many challenges the campus faced during his four year tenure. While degrees in agriculture, education, English, public management and

most recently, social work were brought to the campus, Professor Samad still believes that the campus needs proper administration. At the launching of the social work degree a few months ago, UG Vice Chancellor, Professor Jacob Opadeyi had made a promise that the remaining degree programmes would soon come on stream. Professor Samad commented: “Well, if it happens, it will be good, but we have been working on it for years now. The degree in biology is problematic. It was turned down by the academic board.” Samad said he was told that the reason for this is inadequate staff. “We have a situation where if you don’t have a programme, you don’t have a staff. If you don’t have a staff, you don’t have the programme and that is the kind of thing that paralyses us.” Students had proposed ways in which the university could move forward, benefiting both themselves and society at large. Some 37 years after its establishment, Guyana’s premier university extended its services to the Berbice County, at Port Mourant, Corentyne in 2000. At its embryonic stage, the campus offered two-year undergraduate certificates in education, diplomas in accountancy, English, marketing, public management and social work. The Berbice campus has two locations: the main campus at Tain and another at Johns, which houses the Faculty of Natural Science. Over 200 students graduated last month from the campus in various disciplines. (Alexis Rodney)

Parental support key to top students’ performance

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he top National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) students in Berbice have credited their successes to strong parental support. Former Cropper Primary School student Renee Bisnauth is now happily attending the Berbice High School after topping the region at this year’s NGSA, while former Skeldon Line Path Secondary student Kelvin Tekram is employed at a bank in Corriverton. According to Bisnauth, who gained 540 marks at this year’s NGSA, her parents played a big role in helping her prepare for the examinations. She said, apart from her former head teacher, her father also worked with her. “My mother will wake me up in the morning when I have to study and my parents did not allow me to do house work once I started to study for ‘Common Entrance’,” she

in the country, obtaining 12 grade ones, two grade twos and eight distinctions, including distinctions in mathematics and English A and B.

Renee Bisnauth (left) and Kevin Tekram with their awards on Friday

said. “I will get up at 05:30h and study for an hour before going to do what I have to do and prepare for school.” She said there were free lessons held after school five days a week during which they revised work done dur-

ing regular school time. She was expecting to do well and top the country, but she is not disappointed. Bisnauth is the 2011 national spelling B winner and placed fourth in the regional competition. Tekram was 39th overall

Support He said preparing to sit 14 subjects was difficult, but determination led to his success. He told this publication that he always viewed assignments as a challenge. “My parents supported me throughout both financially and emotionally. Whenever I had to stay up to study, one of my parents will always be there with me. My sister who wrote exams in 2011 was always there to assist me.” Tekram is still undecided as to his career and says that he is now taking it easy until he makes up his mind on what he really wants to do. “I don’t want to rush into anything and then after wards I have to say that I am not prepared for this. I want to be sure of what I am going to do.” continue on page 7

Residents of the benevolent home are looking forward to a bright Christmas

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y its very name, it should be a benevolent home – taking care of the less fortunate and helping to care for the elderly – but the Good Samaritan Home in New Amsterdam is in dire straits, with the handful of residents there running short of some of the basic necessities and the building rapidly deteriorating. The home located at 41 Stanleytown, New Amsterdam has been in existence for quite a number of years and assists with caring for and providing a home for elderly, desolate women in society. Currently, the home has 10 residents with the eldest being 94-year-old Rampattie Ramkarran. According to reports, the home was previously managed by a group of churches in New Amsterdam, but this no longer obtains as the Roman Catholic Church is the only one continuing to upkeep the home. Residents do not pay for lodging in the home and the utility bills are covered by the St Vincent de Paul Society, a Catholic non-profit organisation, which manages the day-today affairs of the home. However, the residents continue to be in dire need of assistance.

Optimistic Speaking to Berbice Times, the matron of the facility, Irma Hughes said she was forced to take over duties from Joan Veronica Fredricks, who is ill. Hughes said there are several basic needs unmet at the home and she is optimistic that God will intervene for the Christmas season and speak to tender-hearted citizens to donate generously to the home. “We always in need of groceries and we really need milk and a sink to wash our kitchen utensils in,” she said, while lamenting the fact that the snacks (biscuits) the home was receiving from Banks DIH Limited are no longer forthcoming since they were told that their contract had expired. “We do want we lil snacks and if anyone can give us some biscuits, we will be so happy,” she said. She added that the residents would love to have a television for the Christmas season so that they can have some form of entertainment. According to Hughes, there have been promises from several residents to assist them, but so far they are still awaiting the fulfilment of those promises. Meanwhile, Fredricks said she is praying to God for a Christmas tree and some nice curtains for the home. Rude She also told this publication that both of her feet are now heavily infected with elephantiasis and due to this, she is very uncomfortable doing her daily chores. “I used to go New Amsterdam Hospital for treatment and when the nurses see me, they does make up dem face,” she lamented, disclosing that she was once told by the nurses there that they cannot tend to her feet and she will have to do it herself. Fredricks said with the little money she has and with advice from persons, she is forced to take care of herself. “I really need help with my sickness and I beg if a doctor can help me take care of it. I am really suffering and feel neglected and unwanted by people that look at me differently,” she said tearfully.


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MonDAY, December 16, 2013

Parental support key...

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hree sloppy contractors have dogged the Region Six administration’s road works programme this year, Regional Chairman David Armogan said. Speaking during an interview with Berbice Times last week, Armogan said that major road projects are being executed under the Public Works Ministry. The projects were awarded last December, but not executed until the beginning of this year. Works on approximately 92 roads were awarded in blocks, most of which are completed. The chairman said the ones are outstanding are mainly projects given to three contractors whom he feels should not be awarded future works in Berbice. They are Sham Lurick Construction, Dhary Tulsie, and Narendra Latchman. According to the chairman, these three contractors have been a source of frustration for the administration as they dug up the roads and left them in a terrible state, causing more inconvenience to residents. Meanwhile, Armogan said that the administration has completed some 86 per cent of its capital works for the year and is optimistic that it will wrap up the other projects before year-end. He said there are several projects to be closed in another week or so, while there are some that are completed, but contractors are yet to receive payments. Region Six received a budget allocation of $383 million for capital expenditure. Armogan disclosed that the region saw works done in the areas of sports and recreation to the tune of 40 million. Thirty sports grounds in the region were rehabilitated. He noted that his administration places great emphasis on youth development, and as such, with proper working recreational facilities, youth will engage in meaningful activities rather than gambling, smoking or drinking rum.

Grounds upgraded

Among the grounds that were upgraded are Burnham Park; Burmne, Chesney, Letter Kenny, Fryish, Number 79 Village and Canje grounds, Whim Cricket Ground, and Area H Ground. The regional chairman noted that significant strides have been made in the housing sector with the opening of several new housing schemes. He noted one of the major schemes in Berbice is the Kilcoy/Chesney scheme, where recently more than 1500 house lots were allocated. He observed that the overwhelming response has caused the administration to start looking at the second phase of Fort Ordinance and the Number 76 and 77

areas earlier than expected. Armogan pointed out that works have commenced on making better use of the Belvidere Industrial Site. “At the moment, works are being done on pipe laying for water supply as well as streets for access, when completed, electricity and telephone services will be installed.” He is urging the business community to take full advantage of these facilities and get a head start as he predicts with the current rate of development in the region, it would not be long before the sites become fully occupied.

Great opportunity

“Investors have a great opportunity to benefit as most of the basic facilities are being provided beforehand by the administration, all they have to do is invest and set up their factories without having to worry about access, electricity, water, etc,” he said. In the area of health, all health centres across the region were refurbished. Residents of Port Mourant and Angoy’s Avenue also benefited from new health centres. In addition, works were also done on the doctors’ quarters located at New Amsterdam. Armogan disclosed that a total of 30 new doctors were dispatched in the region to further boost the delivery of health care to residents. According to the chairman, major works were done across the region to cater for maintenance and development of drainage and irrigation. At present, all pumps across Region Six are working, and it is well prepared for the upcoming rainy season. At present, Armogan said six small machines are working in six NDCs to ensure that community drains are cleaned and dug. He is appealing to residents to cooperate with the machine operators and not to dump garbage in trenches. In the area of education, Armogan disclosed that rehabilitation works were done on several schools; these include the Lower Corentyne, JC Chandisingh, Black Bush and Skeldon Line Path secondary schools. A new nursery school was built at Albion to cater for the increasing number of students. The chairman noted that previously children were housed at the Albion Sports Complex. A new nursery was also built at Edinburgh, East Bank Berbice. In addition, the dorm that houses students from Orealla was extended. He noted that the numbers of students writing the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations has been increasing and they have been doing well.

Region Six Chairman David Armogan

Last Friday, both top students were honoured by a former New Amsterdam resident who now resides overseas. Satishwar Persaud had made a promise to honour the top students in Region Six. The pair are also the top students for Berbice. At a simple ceremony at the Church View Hotel, Region Six Chairman David Armogan noted that the grades in the region continue to improve. He said that in order to ensure this was sustained, the education department had to take a well-thoughtout decision and dismiss some teachers. “Because over the last 15 years they refused to be

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trained… Today, as more teachers are coming out of the trained system those teachers who are sitting there and didn’t want to upgrade themselves, they now have to make way for these new teachers coming into the system,” he said. The chairman also spoke about the importance of parents in children’s education, saying that there was much emphasis placed on teachers and infrastructure, but the parental role seems to be undervalued. “It is very important that parents play a more meaningful role in the education of their children and that is seen in the results being produced at these schools,” added Armogan.


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MonDAY, December 16, 2013

Sports briefs

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new cycling club last month officially opened its doors to members of the public, specifically youths in various parts of Berbice. The club, which is based at 142 Baljeet Street, Corriverton, Berbice, is operating under the name “CorrSkeld Trackers” and will cater for youths between ages 12 to 17 years old, but will allow younger and older persons interested in being a member of the club. During an interview with Berbice Times, club President Zaman Djameir noted that he is pleased to be a part of such an initiative which is aimed at keeping youths off the streets and from getting involved in criminal activities. He posited that the

youths will be gainfully occupied in cycling, a sport which is beneficial but not properly promoted in the Upper Corentyne district. “The cycling club currently has 16 strong cyclists and anyone can be a member of the club… we have only male riders at this time, but will be happy if female riders can come forward and join the club, ” Djameir added The president of CorrSkeld Trackers is also asking members of the public, especially the business community to support the club in any way possible. Djameir said although he is willing to provide the riders with the basic materials for the sport; he will still need contributions from the public in

By Alexis Rodney

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Errol John

Some of the members of CorrSkeld Trackers pose for Berbice Times

order to maintain the club and provide other equipment necessary for the riders. The CorrSkeld

Trackers presently has one coach and is being run under the Motto “Live life, ride on”.

wenty-seven-yearold Errol John was among the best in his engineering battalion. He was so well-disciplined that when Grenada was devastated by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, he was among the first to be chosen by the Guyana Defence Force to provide aid. He was a tower of strength for his family, especially his younger brother, Phillip, who was dependent on his financial assistance for school. But the changes came rapidly, and everyone was saddened. Two days after his birthday on October 8, 2004, the community of Sandvoort Village, West Canje Berbice was plunged into shock when news of his sudden death spread.

Lonely road

It was around 05:30h on October 10, when John, along with two females, was walking along the “lonely road”, to separate destinations. John was hurrying on his way to catch the 06:30h ferry which would take him to Rosignol. There he would join the force’s bus to take him to Base Camp Ayanganna. The two females suddenly realised that they had forgotten something at home and so they turned back, leaving him to continue on. John was approaching the Sandvoort Bridge when he was cornered by an assailant. Two persons who were standing on the bridge said they heard screams coming from a clump of bushes near the cane field. It was very dark at that time, so it was impossible for them to see what was actually happening. After a while, the noise ceased and someone was seen running from the area. The two females, who had resumed their journey, saw fellow villager Allan Joe running past them. They then saw John sprawled on the ground near the cane field. He was trying to say something, but the words never left his bloodied lips. It was later revealed that the lance corporal had suffered

three stab wounds, including one which pierced his heart. From all indications, he was attacked from behind. John’s younger brother, Phillip, recalling the incident, said Joe had been accusing his sibling of being in a relationship with his wife. According to the younger brother, after committing the act, Joe ran home in haste and also attacked his wife. Luckily, the woman’s parents were there and warded off the accused, getting physically assaulted in the process. Joe fled to the backdam, but was later captured by police. Villagers said Joe was very outspoken and had, on numerous occasions, threatened to kill the deceased. But according to Phillip John, his brother was not the kind of person to be involved in such a lifestyle. He said rumours were carried by some villagers and accepted by the accused, who worked mostly outside the village. The accused was taken into police custody. At the preliminary inquiry in 2004, it is recorded that Joe confessed to killing the soldier. He was also charged with attempted murder, and assault, causing grievous bodily harm for the attacks on his wife and her family. He was committed by the magistrate to stand trial in the high Court; however, that case never left the magistrate’s court.

Case discharged

In 2009, after spending five years behind bars, Joe walked out of the New Amsterdam Prison – as his case was discharged. John’s family members were distraught over this new development. When they contacted the police, they were told that the case jacket had been misplaced, and there was no evidence to see the case through The younger John brother said his father and sisters were gravely upset, as the accused walked out a free man and they were left to suffer the angst of losing one they loved so dearly. Phillip wondered about the possibility of the case being reopened, since, according to him, it was not properly solved. “My brother and mentor was brutally murdered and no one is paying for it,” the younger John said, even as he professed to have forgiven the accused. He has even spoken to him on several occasions. However, “while he may have gotten a free pass by man, God is the final judge”, he said.


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