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WEEK ENDING January 23, 2014

Barbadians rush to take up Canadian jobs H

undreds of hopeful Barbadians flocked the Diamond Global Job Fair, which was held over the weekend at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Barbados, to recruit people for employment in Canada. The first day of the event saw over 800 people signing up for jobs in a number of industries including construction, hotel and transportation. Majority of the contracts will, however, be for jobs in fast food chain restaurants and will run for either two or four years. The disappointing thing was that only between 35 and 45 people between the ages of 20 and 45 would be chosen from the group to fill immediately available positions. However, Benjamin Guth, vice-president of Diamond Global, told all attendees to leave their resumes for future consideration. And while some residents, who turned up were from other Caribbean islands, they were told only Barbadian citizens would be considered. Barbadian media spoke with some of the people who turned up and they expressed hope of finding employment through the recruitment programme. Melissa Carrington, 27, is about to finish her studies in nursing, but said she had experience in customer service and wanted the opportunity to work in Canada, adding that she thought she had “a great shot” at getting employment through the recruitment programme. Kirk Blanch, 29, a mason, said he was laid off six months ago and since then has been doing temporary stints that came to an end recently.


Meanwhile, Barbados’ Labour Minister Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo said efforts are under way to have Barbadians trained to work in the oil sands of Canada.

Barbadians signing up for Canadian jobs during the two-day Diamond Global Job Fair held over the weekend at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Barbados. (BGIS photo)

“We don’t have Barbadians who are certified to work the equipment and so on in the oil sands. We have entered into discussions with the Canadians, one of their college accreditation committees, we’ve entered into discussions with them so that we can see how we can take Barbadians who have general skills in a given area and get them certified,” she said. The minister noted that the desire is to get Barbadians who have acquired skills in such areas as plumbing or welding from local institutions, certified under Canada’s Red Seal Programme.

Bodies of Canadian pilot, Guyanese load handler recovered from crash site in Guyana - air carrier seeks int’l help to investigate incident The downed Cessna aircraft that crashed in Guyana’s forested Mazaruni region on Saturday. (Guyana Chronicle Photo)

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Suckoo explained that based on discussions her ministry has had with Canadian employers, the plan would be to give such persons the opportunity to enhance their skills in the classroom and also in the field, while they pursue the accreditation.

Lucrative work

“Those discussions have been ongoing for some time now and I look forward to that because it is quite lucrative work in the oil sands,” the Labour Minister indicated. continued on page 10

Trinidad beverage company denies involvement in Page 9 multi-million dollar U.S. cocaine bust

Big Canadian market for Jamaican marijuana, stakeholders told Page15



NEWS | week ending January 23, 2014

Banks DIH records Gy$2.5 billion in profits for 2013


everage giant Banks DIH posted Gy$2.543 billion in after-tax profits last year, a marginal decline of Gy$15 million compared to the Gy$2.558 billion achieved in 2012. The company’s profit before taxes was Gy$3.862 billion, compared to Gy$3.700 billion the preceding year, an increase of Gy$162 million, Banks DIH Chairman Clifford Reis said in his chairman’s report to be delivered at this weekend’s annual general meeting. According to Reis, included in the aftertax profit for the previous year was the one-off gain of Gy$167 million arising from the disposal of the Camp Street property to the conglomerate’s banking subsidiary. After deducting the impact of that gain, the company’s profit after tax increased by Gy$152 million or six percent. Reis said his report

Banks DIH Chairman Clifford Reis

comes against a backdrop of continued sluggish global economic recovery and tensions which continue to be manifested across the globe, especially in those areas which are prime petroleum producers. He said as a result of comprehensive planning and prudent management of resources, the overall performance of the group improved, with an operational profit before taxes of

Gy$5.340 billion compared to Gy$4.966 billion in 2012, a seven percent increase of Gy$374 million. Profits after taxes for the group attributable to shareholders grew from Gy$2.812 billion to Gy$2.930 billion, an increase of Gy$118 million or four percent.

Capital expenditure

Meanwhile, within the year under review, Reis said the company continued with

Breverage giant Banks DIH in Georgetown, Guyana

the implementation of the brewery modernisation programme, which is the second phase of its strategic capital investments for the period. Included in this programme to improve production capacity and availability were major capital works within the brewhouse and cellars’ operations, including the installation of Wort Kettle, CIP Plants, Brewhouse Control Systems, BOTEC soft-

ware upgrade and the new Unitanks. Reis said the installation and commissioning of the new 1.7 megawatt Hyundai generator to satisfy increased demand, and a new Cleaver Brooks boiler to increase steam generation for the production areas were started in the 2012/2013 period and will be completed within this year. In terms of construction work, the Stabroek

Sports Bar was opened for business in October 2012, and works were done on the sales office and the credit and internal audit departments. Further, Reis said over the past five years, shareholders’ equity value increased from Gy$13.721 billion to Gy$21.558 billion, a 57 percent spike of Gy$7.837 billion. Shares are currently being traded at Gy$20.00 per share. (Guyana Times)

Trinidadian schoolboys charged in TT$2 robbery


hree handcuffed students of the Chaguanas North Government Secondary

School were led by armed police officers into the Chaguanas Magistrates’ Court Tuesday to answer

of four charges—two for indecent assault of a female schoolmate and robbing her of TT$2, as well

as two other counts of robbery on other students. The three students, all boys, one of whom had a tattoo of a human skull on his left hand, were ordered to reappear in court Wednesday to answer their respective charges after being denied bail and remanded into custody by a Clerk of the Peace. The students appeared in court all dressed in their school uniforms. First of the trio to appear in the First Court before Clerk of the Peace Sandra Ramcharran was a 15-year-old student.

Ramcharran read a charge, which alleged that on January 7, at the school compound, the student committed an act of indecent assault on a female schoolmate. Ramcharran read the second charge which alleged that on the same date and at the same place, the student robbed the said female student of TT$2. Both charges were laid indictably and therefore the accused schoolboy was not called upon to enter a plea. The accused stood next to his father when the charg-

es were read out in the courtroom. Next to be called before Ramcharran were two students, one aged 14 and the other aged 15, who were jointly charged with two counts of robbery. Both charges were laid indictably and therefore they, too, were not called upon to enter a plea. Neither of the boys was represented by counsel. Ramcharran denied bail and remanded them into custody at the St Michael Home for Boys. (Excerpted from TT Newsday)

week ending January 23, 2014




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NAFTA and Mexico


his month marks the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA) which brought together the U.S., Canada and Mexico into a continent-wide trading bloc. With the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on the ropes due to the reluctance of the developed countries to accede to the concerns of the developing and emerging world, NAFTA might serve as a signifier of what might be ahead for the latter blocs in the mega-trading consortia, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), being pushed by the U.S. Closer home, it might also enlighten members of Caricom, such as Jamaica, that have expressed a desire for the aborted, hemispheric-wide Free Trade Association of the Americas (FTAA), to be resuscitated. When NAFTA was launched on January 1, 1994, it was a story of “great expectations” not so much for Canada, which was already developed, as for Mexico which was firmly in the ranks of the “developing” countries. It was going to be a bold experiment: a test case for the benefits of free trade towards development. As one commentator summarised: “Mexico would enter the First World of developed countries on the crest of rising trade and foreign investment. Its dynamic manufacturing sector would create so many jobs it would not only end the U.S. immigration problem, but absorb millions of peasant farmers freed from their unproductive toil in the fields. Mexico could import cheap corn and export electronics.” But as with the Dickens’ ‘Great Expectations’, it has actually been a story of dashed expectations. Not that there have not been changes in Mexico, but not what was promised. According the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC), poverty in Mexico stood at 52.4 per cent in 1994, but by 2012 it was statistically unaffected at 51.3 per cent. Foreign automakers in Mexico had increased auto-sector jobs by around 50 per cent since 1994. But those jobs are notoriously low-paying, and little progress has been made in closing the wage gap with the United States. Average manufacturing industry wages were about 15 per cent of U.S. wages in 1997. By 2012, that figure had risen only to 18 per cent. In some sectors, China’s wages have outstripped Mexico’s. This is a direct consequence of NAFTA’s effect on the agricultural sector, which is the dominant one in developing countries. Between 1994-2004 agricultural products, such as wheat, corn, meat and other staples from the U.S., flooded Mexico far below previous prices. Three million small farmers saw their income plummet by 66 per cent. While in theory, this justified free trade theory that Mexican consumers were benefitting from lower prices, the deleterious effect on Mexico’s farmers far outweighed the benefits. The U.S. exports might brevet have been dumped. For instance, U.S. corn exports which increased by 400 per cent during that time, was exported at 19 per cent below U.S. farmers’ cost of production. The same phenomenon occurred with other agricultural products. While Mexican vegetable exports also increased, it was a drop in the ocean compared to the fall in the production of staples. Mexico was now importing 42 per cent of its food, mostly from the U.S.  A change in the law on compulsory land ownership for small farmers demanded by NAFTA, caused millions of small farmers to give up their land because of the cheap U.S. agricultural imports. They joined the poverty-stricken jobless masses even as the U.S. further closed off the safety valve of the Rio Grande crossing for illegal immigrants. When the U.S. decided to divert corn in the mid-2000s into ethanol, prices of this Mexican staple rose precipitously pushing millions into more poverty. The financial crisis in the U.S. from 2008 drove financiers into commodity speculation, which drove food prices astronomically upwards. But the country was now structurally dependent on U.S. staples. The lesson of NAFTA might be that the benefits of free trade might not flow both ways when the trading partners are so unevenly positioned. Caveat emptor!

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, is invited to play on the drum by a student of the Genesis Academy, who was entertaining guests at the launch of Digicel Foundation’s 10th anniversary on January 15, on the grounds of the Stella Maris Foundation in St. Andrew. Enjoying the moment are Jamaica’s Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell (left); Digicel’s Regional Chief Executive Officer, Andy Thorburn (second left); and Chair, Digicel Foundation, Lisa Lewis (right). (JIS photo)

CGX restrains Repsol from farming out Kanuku licence – arbitration filed in London


GX Energy Inc has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, CGX Resources Inc, has obtained an injunction order from Guyana’s Commercial Court restraining Repsol Exploracion from proceeding with the 30 percent farmout of the Kanuku Petroleum Prospecting Licence to RWE Dea AG, pending the determination of arbitration proceedings filed late last year. On December 23, CGX Energy announced the commencement of arbitration proceedings under the rules of the London Court of International Arbitration against Repsol in connection with the expiry of the Petroleum Prospecting Licence (PPL) covering the Georgetown Block. CGX Energy Chief Executive Officer, Dewi Jones said the company was pleased with the decision of the commercial court and will continue to work towards protecting the interests of its shareholders by pursuing this claim against Repsol.


CGX and Repsol were part of a consortium that owned the Georgetown Block PPL, which was operated by the latter company. CGX publicly announced on December 23 that it was proceeding with arbitration against Repsol with respect to the Kanuku licence offshore Guyana. CGX Energy Co-chairman, Dr Suresh Narine noted that when the Georgetown Block partners decided to cease drilling and plug the Jaguar 1 well, due to safety consid-

erations, CGX Energy immediately indicated its intention to continue exploring the Georgetown Block. “This is because we strongly believe in its prospectivity, as we indeed strongly believe in the prospectivity of the Guyana-Suriname basin,” he said. “This latest step with the courts in Guyana seeks to further protect our shareholders’ rights with regards to the results uncovered by the Jaguar 1 well.” CGX expressed its interest in continuing in the licence with or without Repsol in accordance with the terms of the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA). Repsol, in turn, unilaterally decided not to pursue renewal of the licence and then seek a new licence on its own. Dr Narine had said then that Repsol allowed the jointly held Georgetown licence to lapse contrary to its obligations as operator of the block, and then in bad faith immediately applied for sole ownership of the Kanuku licence covering essentially the same area as the Georgetown licence, thereby excluding CGX’s shareholders from their rightful stake in the licence.

Important decision

On December 30, 2013, Repsol announced that it had reached agreement to farm out 30 percent of the Kanuku licence to RWE Dea, despite CGX’s legal challenge. However, regulatory approval from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) had not yet been procured. In view of Repsol’s an-

nouncement of an intended farm-out, CGX sought injunctive relief in Guyana to prevent Repsol from farming out the licence until the court of arbitration had ruled on the matter. Last Friday, Justice Rishi Persaud, sitting in the Commercial Court in Guyana, granted an injunction order upon CGX’s ex parte application, restraining Repsol from proceeding with its announced farm-out pending the hearing and determination of the arbitration proceedings. “This is an important decision as it not only ensures that no moves can be made by Repsol before the matter is resolved and therefore, prevents the situation from becoming complicated, but also it sends a strong message internationally that the legal landscape in Guyana is one which is in accordance with international law and that all companies can rely on a robust legal system to protect their operations and investment,” said Dr Narine.


Dr Narine said CGX is highly motivated to speedily resolve the issue so that it and its partners can expeditiously continue to pursue activities designed to realise the goals of its shareholders and the government and people of Guyana, namely, to find commercial quantities of petroleum in the basin. “It is, therefore, open to Repsol to negotiate a satisfactory and speedy conclusion to this issue,” added Dr Narine. (Guyana Times)

News week ending January 23, 2014

Vincentians to pay more tax


rime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has announced an increase in the excise tax on gasoline, as he insisted that the government’s fiscal policy for 2014 will continue to be a mixture of prudence, patience and enterprise. Gonsalves, delivering the budget statement on Monday evening in the wake of the devastating Christmas floods that have left EC$330 million in losses and damages, also announced lower gasoline price and increased diesel price as part of the government’s regular review of the retail prices of these fuels. Parliament on December 9 approved the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2014 totalling EC$911.57 million and Prime Minister Gonsalves said that the Christmas Eve floods have “altered profoundly the immediate socio-economic context of the 2014 budget. “The upshot of this is that the 2014 Estimates, which were approved in December 2013, and upon which the 2014 Appropriation Bill is based, has to be supplemented with the next four to six weeks or thereabout,” he told lawmakers. He, however, said that while the budget was interim in nature, “this does not mean it is provisional or temporising on fact or law. “This budget is aimed at strengthening our socio-economic base for recovery and reconstruction after a natural disaster in a context of on-going global economic uncertainty and downside risks,” Gonsalves told Parliament. He said that the supplementary estimates and appropriations bill to be brought before Parliament would contain “both altered and additional provisions to reflect the profoundly changed

St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves

circumstances of our country. “Altercations and additions are to be expected on both the recurrent and capital sides of the approved Estimates,” Gonsalves said. He Stated that preliminary estimates from the natural disaster, which left nine people dead and three others missing, tells “a horrendous story” as far as loss and damage to infrastructure and agriculture is concerned. The World Bank has estimated the damages and losses at EC$291.4 million or 15 per cent of gross domestic product GDP, but Gonsalves, however, said that the World Bank’s figure underestimates the damage to agriculture by nearly EC$5 million and does not include damage assessment to the forest. He told lawmakers that the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates the damage and loss to the agricultural sector at EC$8.4 million, and to forestry at EC$24 million. “It is a monumental blow to our society and economy; damage of between 15 and 17 per cent of GDP is huge and devastating,” Gonsalves said. (Caribbean News)



6 | week ending January 23, 2014

News week ending January 23, 2014



Bodies of Canadian pilot, Guyanese load handler recovered from crash site in Guyana - air carrier seeks int’l help to investigate incident


he bodies of the Canadian pilot and Guyanese cargo loader were removed from the dense Guyana jungle in the Mazaruni area Tuesday even as local air carrier Trans Guyana Airways (TGA) announced that it will be seeking international assistance to help with the investigation into the plane crash that occurred Saturday last. The announcement was made Tuesday at a special press conference held by the TGA management team at the Ogle International Airport (OIA). TGA Chief Executive Officer Michael Correia said his company will do everything possible to determine the cause of the accident that resulted in the death of Canadian pilot Blake Slater and local load handler Dwayne Jacobs. This process, he said has begun. “We are fully cooperating with the local civil aviation authori-

ties and we will request whatever international assistance may be required,” he added.

Search and rescue

Correia told the media conference that it took a little over 24 hours to locate the aircraft and another few hours to remove the bodies of the two dead men. Questioned as to whether there was any suspicion that the aircraft was overloaded, Correia said this was never the case. He noted that the aircraft weighed 2800 pounds and contained seven drums of diesel. Correia said the flight was taking fuel from Olive Creek to Imbaimadai, a regular operation. According to him, the company will be seeking answers about why the Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) was not activated on impact to allow the Search and Rescue (SAR) team to pin-point the precise lo-

cation, where the plane crash-landed. He told the media that records show that the Artex 406 ELTs, which is recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, have not emitted signals in a number of other crashes. The company, he said, changed from the less accurate ELT in 2009, to a device referred to as the Artex.


The TGA, he said has been cooperating fully with the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), and said it would also seek to encourage experts from the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System and the engine manufacturer to also investigate the incident. Meanwhile, as it relates to compensation for the victims, TGA’s Chief Finance Officer Nicole Correia said both the pilot and loader are covered by insurance. She

said the families of the victims will be able to access the scheme within a year’s time. In clarifying whether the company has sought to reach out to any of the victim’s family members, the chief financial officer said that both families were contacted and were told of the incident. The company, she said, stands ready to support both families financially and otherwise and have been in constant contact with them. The body of pilot Slater was found strapped to his seat while cargo loader Jacobs was discovered outside of the aircraft on Monday. He was not far away from the wrecked aircraft. The aircraft, a single engine, 13-seater Cessna Caravan with registration number 8R-GHS had disappeared out of the sky about 10:56h on Saturday. The last contact with the pilot of the aircraft was a “Mayday” (emer-

The plane as it was spotted in the forest of Guyana

gency call) which was transmitted to another aircraft within the area at the time. The aircraft had departed for Imbaimadai about 10:54h after overnighting at Olive Creek.


The plane was spotted on Sunday about 12:35h after an estimated 11 hours of searching by a GDF helicopter. The area is said to be in the vicinity of the Marikina Mountain. Slater had joined TGA three years ago as a junior pilot and became a command pilot on the

Cessna Grand Caravan in April 2013. He was born in Canada, but his mother is Guyanese. He had more than 3000 flying hours of which 2522 were on the caravan. Jacobs joined TGA as a handyman in July 2004 and was promoted to aircraft loader, as a result of his commitment to the job. The bodies of the pilot and cargo loader were taken out of the jungle late Tuesday morning. They are at a mortuary awaiting post-mortem examinations. (Guyana Times)  

Guyana to lead economic growth in Latin America, Caribbean according to WESP 2014 report


ike last year, the United Nations’ annual World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report 2014 projects that Guyana will take the lead in economic growth for Latin America and the Caribbean, followed by Haiti. Both countries are projected to grow by 4.5 percent this year. The report said that Guyana grew by 4.6 percent in 2013, while Haiti was pegged at 3.5 percent. Guyana has experienced seven years of consecutive economic growth. Overall in the Caribbean region, growth is projected at 3.3 percent for this year. Last year, growth for the Caribbean region was estimated at 2.4 percent in 2013, slightly slower than in the last two years. Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to hasten their growth to 3.6 percent and 4.1 percent in the next couple of years, up from 2.6 percent in 2013, according to WESP. The report attributes the positive growth in 2014-2015 to sound macroeconomic policies, re-

silient domestic demand and the gradual recovery in developed econo-

timated to have slowed down to 1.5 percent in 2013 from four percent

mies. However, it warns that economic growth remains subject to growth in other economies, mainly the euro area, the United States and China, which is now growing at a slower pace than in previous years. In 2013, although the region experienced growth, economic expansion was uneven. South America led with 3.2 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013, up from 2.5 percent in 2012, due to a rebound in Argentina and Brazil.

in 2012, in part because the Mexican economy has faced structural constraints and GDP growth decelerated significantly to only 1.2 percent. WESP is produced at the beginning of each year by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/ DESA), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the five United Nations regional commissions. A report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in December last puts Guyana’s economic growth close to WESP’s projections, that is 4.6

Slow down By contrast, in Mexico and Central America, economic activity is es-

percent in 2014. With regards to the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC said they are projected to expand by 3.2 percent in 2014, which is higher than the 2.6 percent from the end of 2013, a

Government Information Agency (GINA) release said. ECLAC stated in its annual preliminary overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean for 2013 that less buoyant external demand, greater interna-

tional financial volatility and falling consumption were the factors determining the more modest economic performance of countries in 2013, which brought down the three percent estimate put forward by the commission in July.

8 News Guyana drafts wildlife importexport bill to counter smuggling A |

mid numerous cases of the smuggling of Guyana’s wildlife, some of which have been prohibited, government is considering tabling a wildlife import and export bill, which it hopes will provide a national framework and mechanism to govern the international trade of all species of wildlife in Guyana. Natural Resources and Environment Minister Robert Persaud in a recent interview with the National Communications Network (NCN) said an intensive public awareness campaign is planned to raise awareness of the issue which potentially impacts the lives of

week ending January 23, 2014

thousands of Guyanese. Several Guyanese had been cited in the past for exporting some of the country’s wildlife. Meanwhile, Persaud said the Management and Conservation Regulations (WMC) is a key tool in government’s effort to effectively regulate the sector. Technical and legal experts conducted interviews with stakeholders and submitted a report on the consensus positions reached by EPA and relevant stakeholder agencies on outstanding issues. The first draft was then prepared and circulated to relevant stakeholders (government agencies, NGOs, wildlife exporters, trappers and

transport associations, community development officers and relevant toshaos).


The second draft of the regulations was prepared based on feedback from the said stakeholders. The revised regulations were advertised in local newspaper, requesting comments on the document from the general public. A second stakeholder consultation was held and a third draft was prepared and submitted. In addition, the draft regulations were circulated to the members of the EPA board for review. All comments were addressed by the legal ex-

pert and re-submitted for EPA’s approval. The regulations were gazetted and tabled in Parliament, where it gained the full support of the House at the January 16 sitting. The regulations and guidelines will enable the development of systems, including penalties and mechanisms for enforcement for the management of local wildlife, Minister Persaud said.

Indigenous communities

The regulations will address these issues, as well as the needs of those indigenous communities which traditionally utilise various wildlife species, he added. The regulations also deal with the export of wildlife and exotic plant trade, said

Guyana’s Natural Resources and Environment Minister Robert Persaud

Minister Persaud. The rules will see those who engage in any aspect of the wildlife trade being subjected to licensing and certification requirements as it deals

with domestic trade regulation, as well as broader wildlife management issues; however, it does not make provisions for the regulation of international trade of wildlife.

Caribbean rum to make greater strides in U.S. T here might be a window of opportunity for Caribbean rum products to make greater strides within the United States market. Barbados Industry Minister, Donville Inniss, disclosed “that as recently as last November”, he lobbied before the U.S. Congress on behalf of local rum manufacturers to “level the playing field”, as the rum industry has been under immense pressure due to the high level of taxes imposed on their items going into the United States.

He said this was further compounded by the fact that the U.S. administration provides a subsidy to the industry which they call a ‘cover over’, where U.S. rum manufacturers, in particular Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, receive a high level of subsidies, thus placing local rum products at a disadvantage. Speaking at phase two of the Rums of Barbados Master Mix Competition on Monday, Inniss stated that “in order to achieve this it means that we must [always] have products that are export

Barbados’ Industry Minister Donville Inniss

ready”. He said: “…It means that greater attention must not only go to what is in the bottles, the quality of the rum therein, but also the style of the bottles, the labelling, all of those things that capture the eye readily. And, I want to commend those who have worked so diligently over the last couple of years to ensure that Barbados’ rum is well packaged and appropriately labelled, [so] that we can really now truly hold our own with any spirit coming from any part of the world.” Commending organ-

isers of the competition for utilising local resources, Inniss emphasised that there was an abundance of talent in Barbados “that we are really beginning to harness”. He told participants: “I really want to urge you the mixologists to continue the good work you are doing. You are at the forefront, you are the ones that the tourists interact with more readily, you are the ones who ought to know the history of rum and should be able to sell that story to the tourists who come before your bars…” (BGIS)

Bahamas defends policy to fingerprint foreign teachers


he Bahamas government has defended its policy of fingerprinting foreign teachers, saying it is necessary to ensure that people entrusted with the interacting with students do not have a criminal past.

The Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) said it was “very concerned” over the practice and that expatriate teachers were being threatened with job losses if they did not conform to the instructions. The union said that

over the past two weeks it had sought unsuccessfully to discuss the matter with the Ministry and Department of Education, Ministry and Department of Labour and the Department of Public Service. But in a statement,

Education, Science and Technology official, Jerome K Fitzgerald, defended the policy saying he would not entail any “compromise when it comes to protecting our ‘little darlings’ and making decisions, which are in their best inter-

est. “I have made it clear on numerous occasions…my first and most important responsibility is to the safety and well being of our students and teachers and also to ensure there is order on the school campuses

which promote and encourage excellence.” He said everyone who is responsible for children on school campuses are required to be properly and rigorously vetted by the Royal Bahamas Police Force. (Caribbean News)

St Lucia’s Opposition MPs vote for new leader


our of the six opposition Members of Parliament in St Lucia voted on Monday to remove Stephenson King as official leader of the parliamentary opposition and replace him with Dr Gale Rigobert, one of the deputy leaders of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP). Rigobert represents the Micoud North constituency in the House of Assembly, winning the seat in the 2011 gen-

Dr Gale Rigobert

eral election. She was formerly a member of the St Lucian Senate and a former lecturer at the University of the West Indies. Formal notification of the vote has been sent to Governor General Dame Pearlette Louisy, signed by Rigobert and three other members of parliament: Arsene James, Guy Joseph and Edmund Estephane. Section 67 of the St Lucia

constitution provides that the governor-general shall appoint as leader of the opposition the member of the House who appears most likely to command the support of a majority of the members of the House who do not support the government. If it appears to the governor-general that the leader of the opposition is no longer able to command the support of a majority of the members of the House who do not sup-

port the government, the governor-general shall remove the leader of the opposition from office. There has been no official word as to King’s reaction to the vote, but there is some speculation that he may try to form a new party with the remaining UWP MP that did not vote against him, Richard Frederick, widely regarded as a King loyalist. (Excerpted from Caribbean News)

News week ending January 23, 2014



Jamaicans promised Trinidad beverage company denies involvement in multi-million dollar U.S. cocaine bust 10,000 jobs from Goat Islands port


Little Goat Island. (Jamaica Observer photo)

fter months of speculation played out in the media and the public domain, the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) Tuesday confirmed that Goat Islands will indeed be the site of a Chinese seaport. The port, which will form a part of the much-touted logistics hub, will provide 10,000 permanent jobs, Professor Gordon Shirley told Jamaican media Tuesday. “It will be the Great Goat Island and Little Goat Island and some lands to the north of there,” said Shirley, chairman and CEO of the port management agency. The area to be developed will total 600 acres, he said. Shirley spoke briefly with the media, after making a presentation on the physical infrastructure of the planned hub on the opening day of the Jamaica Logistics Hub, Symposium at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston. Goat Islands are situated in the Portland Bight Protected Area, an expanse of 1,876 km from Hellshire in St Catherine to Rocky Point in Clarendon. The government declared it a protected area under The Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act, the Fishing Industry Act and the Wildlife Protection Act, in 1999.

Blow to conservation efforts

Portland Bight, which is the subject of two international conventions—The Ramsar Convention and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity—boasts a largely undisturbed dry limestone forest which scientists say is one of the few remaining in the region. It also features coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass,

and is home to several endemic species, including the Jamaican iguana, which was brought back from the brink of extinction under a programme managed by the University of the West Indies, Hope Zoo in Kingston and a host of others in the U.S. Confirmation of the planned transshipment port will no doubt be a blow to that programme, which had hopes of repatriating the critically endangered reptile on Goat Islands. It is also expected to be a blow to the work of conservationists, who have argued since the project was first hinted at last August, that a large-scale port development will decimate the already fragile ecosystem of Portland Bight. The Goat Islands port is to be developed by China Harbour Engineering Company, the same investors who are behind the Palisadoes Shoreline Protection Project and the North/South link of Highway 2000, at a cost of Ja$1.5 billion. The PAJ, in a document on its website, said locations other than Goat Islands were considered for the port, “however, it was determined that the suitability of those locations was limited based on the scope of the project, as well as other strategic considerations such as proximity to the North/South Highway”. In addition to the new port facility, other infrastructure development will include an expansion of the Kingston Container Terminal (KCT) by 80 hectares, the deepening of the channel between Port Royal and the KCT as well as the basin of the Kingston Harbour to a depth of 15 metres in order to accommodate larger ships. (Excerpted from Jamaica Observer)


The 332 kilos of cocaine in paste form seized from a container at the Norfolk Port in Virginia after it was shipped from the port of Port-of-Spain. (TT Newsday photo)

rinidadian beverage manufacturer, SM Jaleel & Co Ltd, Monday sought to distance itself from a multi-million drug bust in the United States insisting that it has had an “unblemished reputation around the world for over 30 years”. The company has launched a series of media advertisements to clear its name, as newspaper reports indicate that investigators from the United States have arrived in Trinidad to investigate the US$640 million cocaine bust. “SM Jaleel & Co Ltd is Trinidad and Tobago’s number one exporter of non-petro chemical products, employing over 2000 people in Trinidad and the Caribbean. Given that SM Jaleel ships over 6000 containers per year, along with the unblemished reputation around the world for over 30 years, SM Jaleel is a natural target,” the advertisements read, insisting that the company “did not export the container of juices with cocaine to the USA”. Last Thursday, Federal officials announced that they had found 732 pounds of cocaine last December 20 concealed in cans of fruit juice at the Port of Norfolk in Virginia. Investigators estimate the cocaine had a wholesale value of about US$12 million and a street value of up to US$100 million. Customs and Border Protection Area Port Director Mark J. Laria called the seizure a record for a single interdiction in the port of Hampton Roads. "This was a cold hit. There was no specific intelligence," Laria said. The cocaine was found inside a shipping

container that originated from Trinidad and Tobago. It was destined for New York.


Meanwhile, TT media has reported that a local whistle-blower has provided a detailed statement to local law enforcement and visiting Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials. Based on the whistle-blower’s information, three people who have been described as

“businesspeople,” have been identified as primary suspects in the case. A local broker has also been highlighted as a key person of interest in the ongoing probe. Investigators are also trying to determine whether Caribbean Sea Works Ltd, the company which requested an empty container from local transport company Basics Transport Ltd in order to ship what turned out to be illegal cargo, is a legitimate en-

tity. The situation developed Tuesday as DEA officers continued liaising with local law enforcement and customs officers trying to piece together the final details of the case. TT’s National Security Minister Gary Griffith has since made it clear that there would be no cover-up over the cocaine seizure with links to Trinidad. (Excerpted from TT Newsday)


News |

week ending January 23, 2014

Canada-funded phase of CSME project launched


he second phase of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Trade and Competitiveness Project on Harmonisation and Standardisation of Administrative Practices and Procedures (CTCP) was launched in Barbados on Monday, with a senior Barbados government minister emphasizing the need for Caricom to be successful, in order for the region to “successfully confront a globalised world economy.” Energy Minister Darcy Boyce spoke at

the launch of the initiative that has brought together government and other stakeholders to discuss how the Canadafunded CTCP, which began in 2007, would continue to assist regional nations in meeting their commitment to facilitate the free movement of goods, services and people throughout Caricom. Boyce said that following the launch of the national dimension of the CTCP in February 2012, Barbados had submitted its review to the Guyana-based Caricom Secretariat a year later.

Canada’s High Commissioner to Barbados Richard Hanley, said the Caricom Trade and Competitiveness Project is one of many initiatives supported by his country, that in 2007 announced it would support the region’s development with the allocation of Cdn$600 million in development assistance.

Increased opportunities

“The gradual progression of work undertaken through this project will result in a more

integrated Caribbean, creating increased opportunities for the average Caricom citizen,” he said, adding that this included the right for Caricom nationals to travel, live and work in a CSME state of their choice. “However, the benefits from the establishment and operation of the CSME will not materialise unless there’s full implementation and effective operation of the CSME,” he warned. Programme Manager of the Caricom CSME Unit Ivor Carryl, said

that the project was deemed necessary because “we discovered that, having reached agreements at the community level, often, the process by which agreements are given effect on a day-to-day basis was never taken to its logical conclusion.” He added that, “the person who is a wage earner doesn’t care that the treaty says he has a right…what he’s interested in is when he turns up at a place of government, he can get the facilitation that is required.”

Carryl said that because each member state “retains the right to implement the arrangements in its own image, it interprets the Treaty (of Chaguaramas) and implements the arrangements as such. “The consequence being, one could end up with 12 different arrangements for every agreement. And, if this is going to be an effective single market, than the operators in the market would expect that the arrangements would be as harmonised as possible.” (Caribbean News)

New funds needed to ensure independence of CCJ C aribbean countries are being asked to re-examine the US$100 million Trust Fund that had been established to fund the Trinidadbased Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). The Fund had been established amid concerns that judges of the CCJ would be paid by governments which could exert decisive informal pressure on them to deliver judgments favourable to regional governments. The Caribbean Court of Justice Trust Fund is administered by a Board of Trustees drawn from regional entities and as a consequence, the CCJ is the only integration court of its kind finan-

The Caribbean Court of Justice was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council.

cially independent of the largesse of governments and free from their administrative control.

Hundreds of Barbadians rush to take up Canadian... from front page


She stated that while all those persons will not be successful this time around, the names of those who have signed up will be entered into a database so that as the need arises, persons can be contacted. “I have indicated that as early as Monday we need to ensure that all of those [names] are in a database in a format that we can easily pull. Should then [Diamond] Global or any other recruiting agency, or any other firm have need, their information is going into our system as early as Monday. So we will be able to use them if the need arises,” she explained. Meanwhile, she added that the Canadian government, in an ef-

fort to attract persons to take up jobs which they cannot get Canadians to fill, have been offering a package where if they “stay clean” for their two-year employment period, they would be entitled to immigrant status, which she noted is quite attractive. With that in mind, she is giving the assurance that successful Barbadians need not worry about being exploited if they are chosen to take up employment in Canada. She pointed out that that country’s laws are very clear, such that non-nationals working there are guaranteed that they are treated the same way as Canadians doing the same jobs. (Excerpted from Barbados Advocate)

But now, Justice Ralston Nelson, one of the judges of the Port of Spain-based Court, said

the time has come for a review of the US$100 million initiative given the changing global economic and financial environment. “I think when the sum of 100 million US dollars was arrived at, obviously the data they had considered would not have included the collapse of interest rates and the collapse of a large part of the financial world in 2008. “So that any calculations you would have made prior to setting up that fund now have to be revised anyway so that there is that aspect of it…and I think truth to tell is that the operations of the court were not fully looked at,” Justice Nelson told Caribbean

media. He said “the whole question of the cost of having a Commission was never seriously looked at and those costs are real costs. “If you were to revive now those figures in light of what you now know, you will find that we do require a new injection, that’s my personal view. It may not be a painful injection in the sense that in the same way the CDB (Caribbean Development Bank) borrowed 100 million and allocated portions of each state and backed by a sovereign government, the same way that could be done,” he said. Justice Nelson said that the US$100 million borrowed in 2008 has

not almost been paid up “so that if there was a continuation of the loan with new funds, I don’t think it would put the governments under any additional pressure”. The CCJ, established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council, also acts as an international tribunal, interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement. The CCJ also has original and appellate jurisdictions, and while most of the Caribbean countries have signed on to the original jurisdiction, only Barbados, Guyana and Belize are signatories to the appellate jurisdiction. (Jamaica Observer)

TT’s AG pilots bill to abolish defamatory libel T he People’s Partnership government is seeking to defend the rights of the nation’s journalists by removing the offence of malicious defamatory libel from the statute books. So said Attorney General Anand Ramlogan in the House of Representatives last Friday, as he piloted the Libel and Defamation Amendment Bill 2013, which seeks to abolish defamatory libel. Ramlogan said in Clause Two of the bill, the Libel and Defamation Act is amended by repealing Section Nine. “It is through this clause, Mr Speaker that the offence of malicious defamatory libel is thereby removed from our statute books,” he said. Ramlogan, however, made it clear, that the government was not taking away the right of a person who feels they have been defamed by something which has been published against them. “Mr Speaker, a person who feels that their character has been defamed still has the right to seek redress before the civil courts,” he said


The AG said the existing law on malicious defamatory libel as contained in the Libel and

TT’s Attorney General Anand Ramlogan. (TT Guardian file photo)

Defamation Act, Section Nine states: “If any person maliciously publishes any defamatory libel, upon conviction thereof he is liable to pay a fine and to imprisonment for one year.” He said, “Taken together, Mr Speaker, the charge under Section Nine allows a member of the media to be charged with a criminal offence for something that they published, if someone alleges that the publication was made spitefully and that it contained an “untrue imputation against the reputation of the claimant. “Mr Speaker, the fact is that

many persons would be able to allege that the media published untrue things against them. A provision such as section nine, if it were to be strictly enforced, could have the effect of crippling the entire journalistic profession,” Ramlogan added. Noting that the laws relating to libel were first passed some 168 years ago, Ramlogan told the Parliament that the decision to pursue libel legislation came against the backdrop of the 2012 International Press Institute (IPI) World Congress which TT hosted in June 2012. He said Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar later took a decision to review the laws pertaining to libel in TT. The AG, in his contribution, dismissed criticism that government was removing all legal protections from individuals who may feel aggrieved by libelous publications. Ramlogan said the passage of the legislation would set a good example for other countries to follow “as there are still many countries which still have libel laws on their statute books pertaining to criminal libel.” (Excerpted from TT Newsday)

week ending January 23, 2014




Jamaican woman Trafficked women forced into marriages in accused of whipping, chaining Trinidad - study finds in-law to tree A


St Andrew woman who—along with the help of her son and another man—allegedly whipped her auntin-law then chained her to a tree, is scheduled to return to the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court later this week. Forty-five-year-old Pamella Burton, an auto body repairwoman of Gordon Town in St Andrew, is accused of carrying out the act after the complainant reported her to the police. The case was rescheduled last Tuesday on account of an outstanding medical report. Burton's bail was also extended on charges of destruction of property, housebreaking, wounding with intent and assault occasioning bodily harm. The court heard that the complainant reported the accused to the police, following an alleged incident on November 30 last year in which Burton allegedly threw stones at the complainant and

threatened to kill her. But following the report, Burton allegedly went to the complainant's Gordon Town home with the men, kicked off the door to her house and used a machete, baton and pickaxe to beat her all over the body, causing bruises and swelling. The complainant reportedly managed to run from the house, but was chased and held. She was then allegedly dragged to a tree to which she was chained. She was rescued and taken to hospital by police who were summoned to the scene. It was also reported that the accused smashed the complainant's glass-top centre table and stole her cellular phone. Burton was subsequently arrested and charged, but the other accused are still on the run. Investigators believe Burton's son may have fled to the United States. (Jamaica Observer)

recent study on migrant smuggling and human trafficking to Trinidad and Tobago reports that women are being trafficked for sex establishments in Central and South Trinidad, and they are being forced into marriages of convenience and businessmen, religious leaders, lawyers and law enforcement agents are linked to the illegal trade. The report, “Invisible Immigrants: A profile of irregular migration, smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons in Trinidad and Tobago” was commissioned by the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Observatory on Migration. In the report, one stakeholder identifies a lawyer who, with religious leaders, facilitates marriages of convenience to regularise the status of the trafficked women lured to TT with the promise of employment. Noting that the majority of victims are sexually exploited and psychologically abused, the

report says: “This is noteworthy, as several stakeholders referred to establishments in Central and South Trinidad, which bring in girls, particularly for the commercial sex trade, and request that they hand over their passports.” Brothels and nightclubs are identified as places where trafficked persons can be found. The report quotes unconfirmed findings of the National Security Ministry which states that victims of trafficking between June 2009 and August 2012 were 39 percent Venezuelan, 31 percent Colombian, 22 percent from Dominican Republic and eight percent from Guyana.

Undocumented workers

For overstayers by nationality, the overwhelming majority were Guyanese at 61 percent, followed by Jamaica with 10 percent. For undocumented workers, by nationality, Guyana and China tied for the highest at 35 percent, then Indonesia with 15 percent. In the area of smug-

gled migrants, the study quotes the Police Service Crime and Problem Analysis Branch (CAPA) statistics from 2007 to April 2012 which found that Colombians constituted the highest trafficked category at 57 percent, followed by 17 percent Venezuelans, eight percent Guyanese and Ghanaians, and five percent Nigerians and other. One major form of smuggling is described as a “loosely organised venture” with people, particularly fishermen, transporting migrants from the Venezuelan mainland to TT at costs ranging from US$120 to US$200. “Individuals entering through these means are dropped off at the ‘safest’ point and left to ‘fend for themselves’ in terms of accessing transportation, jobs and accommodation, etc,” the report states.


The other form of smuggling is recorded as an “intricately organised scheme” with key contact persons at every point

on the journey to facilitate the undetected entry and settlement of the migrant. One detainee cited in the report referred to an extensive network known as the “brotherhood”, which “puts everything in place” for African nationals seeking foreign opportunities, and also offer a support base when the migrant arrives. The study reports that in some instances, upon reaching Trinidad, smuggled migrants were forced to swim ashore. The fees of the smugglers are “consistently high”, and one irregular migrant in detention reported paying US$12,000. “Therefore, in an effort to finance this venture many migrants resort to selling off their assets and securing loans from family, friends and smugglers. Consequently, botched migration efforts usually left these individuals impoverished and bankrupt,” the study stated. (Excerpted from TT Newsday)


News |

week ending January 23, 2014

Climate-sensitive diseases Jamaica ranked fifth for economic affecting the Caribbean freedom in the Caribbean


aribbean countries, struggling to emerge from a slump in exports and falling tourist arrivals brought on by the worldwide economic crisis that began five years ago, have one more thing to worry about in 2014. Dominica’s chief medical officer, Dr. David John, said climate change and its

effects are taking a toll on the health of people in his homeland and elsewhere in the region. “You have seen what is happening [with] the effects of climate change in terms of our infrastructure, but there are also significant effects with regards to climate change on health,” John said, adding that “these ef-

fects relate to the spread of disease including dengue fever and certain respiratory illnesses.” John said the Dominica government would be seeking assistance from international agencies, including the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), to mitigate “the effects of climate change on health as it relates to dengue, leptospirosis and viral disease.” In late 2012, Barbados Health Ministry alerted members of the public about a spike in leptospirosis cases. Senior Medical Officer of Health-North Dr. Karen Springer said then that five people had contracted the severe bacterial infection, bringing the number of cases for the year to 18. In recent years, dengue has also been on the rise throughout the Caribbean with outbreaks in Dominica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico and the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, among other places. Professor of environmental health at the Trinidad campus of the University of the West Indies Dr. Dave Chadee said there is ample “evidence that climate-sensitive diseases are being tweaked and are having a more significant impact on the region”. (Excerpted from Caribbean News)

The Windalco Kirkvine bauxite plant in Manchester. Mining is one of the major sectors of the Jamaican economy. (Jamaica Gleaner file photo)


he respected Washingtonbased think tank, the Heritage Foundation in the United States, in partnership with the Wall Street Journal, said Jamaica is ranked 10th overall in the Americas and 56th globally. According to the index, which was published last week, Jamaica is the fifth economically free Englishspeaking Caribbean country behind St Lucia, The Bahamas, Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines, which have been placed at numbers 33, 36, 45, and 52, respectively. The Caribbean states, including Dominica at position 63 and Trinidad and Tobago at 73, were all described as moderately free economies. Hong Kong is consid-

ered the most economically free state according to the index. The publication’s authors say Jamaica maintained an economic freedom score of 66.7, which remained unchanged from last year because of combined improvements in five of the 10 economic freedoms, including labour freedom and the control of government spending. But these gains were offset by declines in financial freedom and fiscal freedom. Jamaica’s economic freedom score advanced by 2.3 points in the 20year history of the index. Regulatory efficiency, measured through business freedom, labour freedom, and monetary freedom, improved over the review period, according to the publi-

cation, and both trade freedom and investment freedom have recorded double-digit improvements. However, it says the gains have been affected by substantial deterioration in the rule of law, as assessed by property rights and freedom from corruption, as well as financial freedom. The researchers say the country’s critical development challenges include lingering corruption and high government spending. It also points to the country’s high public debt, which has surpassed 145 per cent of GDP, as a main challenge. It says reducing the size of the public sector; fulfilling plans to privatize loss-making stateowned enterprises, and enforcing expenditure restraint are essential for Jamaica to meet its fiscal targets. The index covers 10 freedoms grouped into four broad categories across 186 countries. The freedoms categories are: Rule of law; limited government; regulatory efficiency and open markets. It defines economic freedom as the fundamental right people have to control how they labour, consumption, production and investment, and says these freedoms impact greatly on a country’s prosperity. (Jamaica Gleaner)

Dad on 12 charges for rape, robbery, kidnapping in Trinidad


St James store attendant and father of a two-year-old boy was Monday denied bail by a Port-of-Spain magistrate after he appeared on 12 charges, which all stem from the alleged rape of five women, and the kidnapping of a sixth woman, between October, 2013, and January 2014. Kadus Manette, 29, of Upper Bournes Road, St James, appeared before Magistrate Melvin Daniel in the Port-of-Spain Four B Court, where the 12 charges were read out to him. The first three charges alleged that on November 30 at Ft George Road, St James, he raped and grievously sexually assaulted a woman, took away her mobile phone valued at TT$900 and TT$1,000 cash. The fourth and fifth charges alleged that on January 5, at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Portof- Spain, Manette raped

another woman after abducting her from Henry Street, Port-of-Spain. The sixth, seventh and eighth charges alleged that he abducted and raped a third woman on December 2 at Ft George Road, St James, and robbed her of TT$600, while the ninth charge alleged that another victim was raped on October 5 at Lady Young Road, Belmont. It was also alleged that on November 10, also at Lady Young Road, Belmont, a fifth woman was abducted and raped. The twelfth charge alleges that on October 24, he abducted a woman at Bergerac Road, Maraval. All of the 12 charges were laid indictably and Manette was not called upon to plead. His attorney Sterling John, asked that bail be granted as they were all bailable offences under the Sexual Offences Act. However, Daniel said he was con-

cerned about the plethora and serious nature of the offences and said he was not willing to accede to the request and advised Manette of his right to apply to a judge in chambers for bail. John claimed that Manette, who worked at Mathura’s Auto Supplies as an attendant, had received threats to his life and if he was remanded into custody, asked that steps be taken to ensure that his client was kept safe and not harmed. Daniel said while he did not want to interfere with the operations of the prison, he will nonetheless make a note of the concern raised on the Remand Warrant so that authorities at the prison will treat with the fear expressed by John. Manette was ordered to return to court on February 17, when the matter will be called in the Seventh Magistrate’s Court. (TT


News week ending January 23, 2014

US$25,000 reward for wanted Trini T

he United States is offering a reward of up to US$25,000 for information leading directly to the arrest of Trinidad and Tobago national Andre Neverson, who is classified as one of the U.S. Marshals Service’s “15 Most Wanted” Fugitives. He is also wanted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Division of Parole for New York State and the New York Police Department. Neverson is wanted for allegedly killing his sister and an ex-girlfriend in 2002. In a statement sent last Friday, the United States Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago, said Neverson is believed to have fled the United States and may be residing in Barbados or other Caribbean islands. Neverson, 49, allegedly murdered his sister by shooting her in the head and stomach on July 8, 2002. The next day, he allegedly abducted a former girlfriend. She was found dead two days later with a mortal head wound. At the time of both murders, Neverson was on parole in the State of New York for attempted murder in the second degree, assault in the first degree and criminal possession of a firearm. In November 2002, Neverson, armed with a handgun, allegedly entered the home of another ex-girlfriend in an attempt to visit his daughter. The woman’s brother interrupted the unan-

Andre Neverson

nounced visit, and Neverson fled with no further incident. The New York City Police Department searched the area for the felon, but never located him. Neverson is said to be about six feet, two inches tall and 240 pounds. He has brown eyes, black hair and a muscular build. He has a violent criminal history with a pronounced pattern of violence toward women. Neverson speaks several languages and is known to always carry a firearm. He usually keeps his head shaved, but has been known to wear wigs to disguise himself. Investigators believe that Neverson is computer savvy. (TT Newsday)



Guyanese-Canadian, son killed in car crash in Essequibo


G u y a n e s e Canadian man, who was vacationing in his native country, and his son were killed last Friday when a speeding car ploughed into them as they were walking towards their home on the Land of Plenty Public Road, Essequibo Coast. Dead are: Muntaz Baksh, 72, and Rafmat Baksh, 44, of Land of Plenty Village. Muntaz Baksh, a Canadian citizen, and his son were walking to their home from Anna Regina when they were struck down by the speeding car around 14:30h. The driver of HC 3460 is said to be in police custody assisting with investigations. According to police, the driver of the hire car claimed that the pedestrians walked into his path. The car was proceeding north and the pedestrians were heading south when the accident occurred. One eyewitness told this newspaper that he heard a loud crash while he was in his house. Upon checking, he saw one man stuck in the car’s windscreen with

Muntaz (left) and Rafmat Baksh in happier times

blood oozing about his body. The son was then pulled out from a nearby trench. Nureen Baksh, the dead man’s daughter, said her father and her mother, Zoorul, came to Guyana from Canada to spend Christmas with the family. She said her parents were expected to return to Canada in April. She explained that the family went shopping at the Anna Regina Market and was returning home when her father insisted that he wanted to walk home as a form of exercise. She said she allowed her father and brother to walk home, while she and other relatives continued on in the family

car. Nureen said her son then went out, but returned to inform her that her father and her brother were involved into an accident. “I was shocked, just half hour back I saw my father and brother walking home, they were just 20 minutes away from home,” the daughter said. The two men were taken to the Suddie Public Hospital in an unconscious state. They were pronounced dead on arrival. Both father and son sustained injuries to their head, hands and face. The men were described as very loving and shared a very strong father-son bond. (Guyana Times)


News | week ending January 23, 2014

Over 50,000 to benefit from Trinidad and Tobago moves to protect ‘brand TT’ following drug find IDB-funded sanitation I project in Guyana


he US$10 million Georgetown Sanitation I m p r o v e m e n t Programme (GSIP) is moving apace, Guyana Water Inc (GWI) Project Manager Orin Brown has disclosed. It is anticipated that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the government of Guyana-funded project will be completed long ahead of its May 2014 deadline. The project is approximately 80 percent completed. In accordance with the project design, 12 pump stations should have been installed by the end of 2013; however, the GSIP team successfully installed all 24 pump stations in December. “We have rehabilitated them to a modern standard, each being fitted with two need submersible pumps, one will be on duty and the other on standby in the event of failure,” Brown explained.

Delivery mains Additionally, under this component, more than four kilometres of the 5.5 kilometres of delivery mains have been installed, in the vicinities of Forshaw and Peter Rose streets; Light and Fifth streets; Hadfield and Smyth streets and Quamina, Camp and Waterloo Streets. Currently, the contractors are in the process of installing six kilometres of force mains (hydraulic/ring mains) which are considered to be the arteries of the sewage system.

seminars for hotels and restaurant owners. It was explained that these entities depend heavily on the sewage network, like all other entities, but create grease straps by pumping fats into the sewage networks, which is severely affecting the network.

GSIP Project Manager Orin Brown

According to Brown, this aspect is 60 percent complete. “We are on schedule and within the budget and we are confident that the project will be completed successfully,” he posited. It is anticipated that this first component of the GSIP project, which is designed to modernise the sewage network will benefit approximately 50, 000 persons. However, the repair of roads, which were tampered with to facilitate the first component of the project, is not yet completed. Brown said consultants are assessing the situation, adding that the inclement weather is contributing to the delays. He said GWI regrets any inconvenience caused. Component two focuses on strengthening GWI’s operation. As a result, an Asset Management Strategy is being formulated to effectively manage the upgraded network. This component includes the staging of

School workshops Workshops for primary and secondary schools within the city will also be conducted, with major attention given to proper sanitation and hygiene. Brown said the third component of the project includes an energy efficiency pilot study. It was explained that inefficient electromechanical equipment will be removed from 12 pumping stations and replaced with energyefficient equipment. Through a Mexican consultant, GWI is expected to experience a significant drop in the amount of energy consumed by the listed pumping stations. Meanwhile, the fourth component is being executed with assistance from the Health Ministry. During this aspect of the programme, there will be mass administration of DEC tablets for the next five years to reduce the prevalence of filaria in the region. Currently, health workers are distributing DEC tablets in Georgetown and on the East Coast and East Bank of Demerara. This is the second of five cycles of distribution. (Guyana Times)

n a concerted effort to address growing concerns over a drug find contained in goods manufactured in Trinidad and Tobago, the twin island republic’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Senator Vasant Bharath, met on Monday morning with senior executives of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) and exporTT Limited. Lengthy discussions were held on implementing measures that will mitigate against such reoccurrences, while in no way inhibiting trade, and ensuring that the reputation of local manufacturers is protected from unscrupulous criminal elements. Further discussions were held on the certifi-

TT’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment Vasant Bharath. (TT Guardian photo)

cate of origin with a possibility of more rigorous verification exercises by Customs and Excise, in instances when the commercial shipment is being exported by an agent other than the manufacturer. Another meeting will be held later in the week

with an expanded group, including representatives of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce (TTCIC) and the Comptroller of Customs. It is expected that at this meeting, a robust plan of action will be developed with a view for immediate implementation to protect the country’s local manufacturers and the country’s international image. The ministry of trade, industry and investment, through its agency exporTT Limited, confirmed that the shipment in question was not exported by a local manufacturer, Trinidad Juice Company Limited and reaffirmed its commitment in supporting the legitimate operations of all local manufacturers. (Excerpted from TT Newsday)

Sections of St Mary, Portland in Jamaica hit by flood


amaica’s National Works Agency (NWA) was Monday trying to clear roads in the parishes of St Mary and Portland, which were block by landslides, following heavy rains over the weekend that caused flooding in several areas. Stephen Shaw, the agency’s manager for communication and customer services, said the flood waters washed down silt, scoured surfaces and collapsed retaining walls. In Portland, the main road between Hope Bay and the Rio Grande Bridge was inundated in the vicinity of the Sommerset Falls. Operators of vehicles were advised to be extremely careful in using that corridor as vehicles

could stall in the body of water. Silt also affected the roadway from Boundbrook to St Margaret’s Bay, in the vicinity of Snow Hall, while the corridor from Schoolhouse Corner to Chepstowe was severely scoured. The NWA said it also received reports of landslides affecting the main road from Durham Gap to Hope Bay, while the Forty Acres parochial road was impacted by flooding due to blocked drains. In St Mary, the main road between Jack’s River and Little Bay in the vicinity of Jack’s River and the corridor from Trinity to Little Bay were impassable. Shaw said the Mason Hall roadway at Days

Mountain was also impassable after flood waters severely scoured the road, leaving deep trenches that could not be manoeuvred by motorists. Sections of the Airy Hill road that leads to Mason Hall were destroyed by flood waters, while the main road from Little Bay to Spring Head was also impassable up to late Monday because of a collapsed retaining wall. Sections of the corridor, said the NWA, were badly scoured. Shaw said NWA officers were monitoring the situation in the affected communities and have initiated response procedures in order to minimise the inconveniences to affected persons. (Jamaica Observer)

Remembering Karl: Capt Grantley Dick of the Cadet Force Division, signs the memorial book in honour of Karl Hudson-Phillips QC, former Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago, and former judge of the International Criminal Court. The signing took place at the former AG’s office on St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain. (TT Newsday photo)

News week ending January 23, 2014



Big Canadian market for Guyana, Guatemala to Jamaican marijuana, cooperate in sugar sector stakeholders told port. Our regulations are already in effect and we have passed everything except the security check, which we are expecting any day now,” Dowdle said. He noted that, “There are currently about four companies in Canada that are currently licensed to import marijuana for medicinal purposes.”

Blaine Dowdle, CEO of MedCannAccess, Canada, looks on as Wanda James, member of Cannabis Global Initiative out of Colorado, addresses the public session of the Cannabis Stakeholders Forum at the PCJ Auditorium, in New Kingston on Sunday. Colorado is one of two US states to have recently legalised the recreational use of marijuana. (Rudolph Brown/Jamaica Gleaner photo)


anada is willing to purchase marijuana from Jamaica, a lucrative deal that could potentially earn billions of dollars for the country on an annual basis. Blaine Dowdle, chief executive officer of Canada-based MedCannAccess, is urging Jamaica to act quickly and seize the vast economic opportunity that could come from legalising marijuana and establishing an export market for the product. According to Dowdle, his country is looking to engage in the potential Cdn$1.2-billion medical marijuana market. However, it is very expensive to grow marijuana in Canada, and hence investors there would be more than willing to import it from Jamaica. Noting that medical marijuana currently retails for approximately Cdn$7-$10 per gram in Canada, he said the product was in demand, which makes it a very profitable market. Dowdle, who was in Jamaica for Sunday’s Cannabis Stakeholders Forum that was staged at the PCJ Auditorium in St Andrew, said MedCannAccess is a leader in the medical cannabis field, working to improve access for patients across Canada.

“I’m here from Canada representing 50,000 sick patients right now who don’t have access to safe, reliable, inexpensive medicine. Lots of the people using medical marijuana in Canada are disabled, they are literally sick and don’t have a lot of money, and they do need lowercost cannabis in Canada,” he told Jamaican media. Patients doubling yearly He noted that in Canada, the number of patients under the medical marijuana programme has been doubling in size annually. “We are expecting it to continue along that trend. That means within the next four to five years, we should be able to supply between 400,000 to 500,000 patients,” Dowdle said. He noted that MedCannAccess is currently becoming a licensed producer in Canada, which would enable it to produce and distribute medical marijuana within the Canadian market. “There is an import provision within our new regulations which we are becoming licensed under. Hence, we would be able to import marijuana to Canada from any country in the world that has a medical marijuana product that is ready for ex-

Market opportunity He said these companies currently import marijuana from a company in Holland; however, it would be cheaper coming from Jamaica, because of the cost for the growth of the plant in Holland. He also stated that the industry was not restricted to Canada alone, as the Dutch company also exported marijuana to Germany and Italy, among other European countries. He said that in Canada, growing marijuana was phenomenally expensive. They have to do it indoors, use lights, nutrients and very expensive ventilation systems he said, describing it as a complicated system. He added, “Jamaica has probably the best environment in the world. With the help of small farmers, you would be able to set up smallerscale and lower-cost production spaces that would ideally fill a need in the Canadian market.” “I hear everyone talking about Uruguay bypassing Jamaica and becoming the first Southern Hemisphere country to get into the Canadian medical marijuana market. However, Jamaica still has that opportunity.” Uruguay legalised the use and sale of marijuana last December. “If the weather is there, the determination is there and the people want it, then it’s yours for the taking, as there is a great need in Canada for lowercost medical marijuana of higher quality,” Dowdle added. (Jamaica Gleaner)

TT, El Salvador resume partial scope talks


rinidad and Tobago has started a second round of negotiations with El Salvador for partial scope trade agreements (PSTA), a bilateral investment treaty and a tourism co-operation agreement. The talks, which are taking place in Port-of-Spain, started Monday. In late October 2013, the first round took place in El Salavador. There,

discussions centred on the text of the PSTA between the two countries. Topics discussed included market access, trade remedies, dispute settlement and services. Speaking at the opening plenary Monday, TT’s Trade Minister Vasant Bharath said the agreements will open up new avenues in trade. He said TT cannot attain economies of scale if it is selling only to 1.3 million

people in the country. Bharath noted that TT has negotiated agreements with Panama and Guatemala, and “on our books agreements with Venezuela, Costa Rica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic”. “We intend to negotiate agreements with other countries in this part of the hemisphere to deepen and widen the markets for our manufacturers,” he added. (TT Guardian)


uyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister C a r o l y n Rodrigues-Birkett made a two-day visit to Guatemala at the invitation of her counterpart, Luis Fernando Carrera Castro, on January 1516. The local envoy discussed tourism, sugar and handicraft, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement. Guatemala Sugar Association President Fraterno Vila expressed a keen interest in working with Guyana in the sugar sector. Himself a private miller and farmer, Vila has more than 35 years’ experience in sugar and owns one of the most efficient and productive companies in the sugar sector. According to the ministry, he guided Minister Rodrigues-Birkett on a tour of his operations. Guatemala is the fourth largest sugar exporter in the world and third in terms of efficiency and productivity. Guyana will continue to engage Guatemala in cooperation on this sector.

Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and her Guatemalan counterpart Luis Fernando Carrera Castro signing an agreement to enhance political consultation

Guatemala also boasts a developed handicraft industry, which is closely linked to the tourism sector. At a meeting with officials from these two sectors, assistance was offered to Guyanese women in particular, as Guyana seeks to develop its handicraft industry. Guyana and Guatemala established diplomatic relations in 1992, but bilateral relations have not been very active. In an effort to strengthen these relations, Minister Rodrigues-Birkett had invited Minister Carrera to Guyana and he paid a

working visit in August 2013. During her visit, Minister RodriguesBirkett and Minister Carrera signed an Agreement on Political Consultations, which would provide a mechanism for Guyana and Guatemala to develop coordinated positions on several matters, as well as allow regular exchanges on issues of common interest on the regional and international agendas. Minister RodriguesBirkett was accompanied by Foreign Service Officer Jevon Rodrigues.


News | week ending January 23, 2014

Guyana’s E-governance American man enjoying healthy lifestyle after weight project slated for loss surgery in Jamaica April completion T he Gy$32 million e-governance project, which is being piloted and implemented by the government of Guyana, is on track and is scheduled to be completed by April this year, before officially being handed over in August, despite several challenges faced at various levels of the advanced stages of its roll-out. In fact, the minor setbacks have resulted in Guyanese being able to benefit from a highly technological and advanced e-governance project that will revolutionise the manner in which government offers critical services to the public, while reducing tremendously the time associated in accessing information and doing business with the government. This is the position of the project manager Alexei Ramotar, who also fended off several attacks and misinformation being spread about the project and his competence to carry it to completion.

Mathew Robinson after dropping 50 pounds (then) A side view of Robinson, who moved from a pants size of 45 inches to 38 inches in five months. (Jamaica Observer photos)


Personal attacks

Ramotar, in an exclusive interview on Television Guyana’s (TVG 28) flagship ‘Current Issues and Analysis’ show, explained that he had no problems with questions being asked about the project by any stakeholder in society, including parliamentarians. He did, however, express disappointment at what appeared to be personal attacks being made on his credentials and a project which would advance the information communication technology sector of Guyana. “We have had a few delays in which we have changed technologies,” he explained, stating that other challenges to this component of the overall project ranged from adverse weather conditions and the “usual project issues”. “We have pushed it back, the handing over to August 2014. However, we expect all the parts to be finished by April 2014, we are on track for that and the April to August period is where we will be doing a lot of testing, and optimisation of the network and so forth. These are very standard

Guyana’s E-governance project manager Alexei Ramotar

things that happen in telecoms,” he stated. Asked whether that decision was expected to cost the taxpayers of Guyana any additional funds, he responded in the negative, stating that the project was well within its budget. He opined that there appears to be a lack of understanding about the project, its design and the overall complexities that implementing such a diverse project would entail, on the part of some critics.

Minor challenges

Meanwhile, Ramotar has revealed that there is another component to the overall project which is the dense wavelength division multiplexing aspect that comes at a cost of US$5 million. Some setbacks were experienced with this part of the project, and the shortcomings are currently being addressed. This component of the initiative aims to provide Internet access. (Excerpted from Guyana Times)

DR, Antigua agree on visa waiver


new agreement between the governments of the Dominican Republic (DR) and Antigua and Barbuda will make it easier for citizens of the Spanish- speaking country to travel to the twin island state. The visa waiver agreement was discussed during a controversial trade visit by a nine–member delegation headed by Ambassador Colin Murdoch last week. Murdoch, who is also permanent secretary in the Ministry of Trade, told Antiguan media that the waiver will apply to only some Dominicans. “This will be an arrangement where any national of the Dominican Republic

who has a valid U.S. visa or Green Card or a valid Schengen visa, the requirement for entering Antigua and Barbuda will be waived,” the diplomat said. Murdoch did not indicate when the waiver will take effect, but said some of the measures agreed to in the DR will be implemented “almost immediately.” The January 15-17 visit also initialed an air services agreement and discussed cooperation in tourism and education. “There are a number of very good universities in the Dominican Republic and we would like Antigua and Barbuda to also be able to tap into scholarships for our young people, and we are working on a mechanism for how that

can be funded,” Murdoch said. In the area of hospitality training, the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute executive director, Calvin Ambrose, is said to have had discussions on “a student exchange programme and a faculty exchange programme.” Results coming out of private sector discussions have also been described as “very positive.” They discussed the promotion and attraction of investments, strengthening of business ties. Officials have said they want the deepening of political and diplomatic relations between both countries. (Antigua Observer)

any people come to Jamaica for sun, sea and sand, but when 57-yearold Mathew Robinson came to the island in mid-September last year, it was for a new lease on life. The Manhattan architect told his brother he was coming to Jamaica on vacation, but instead, he spent three days at the Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston, where he underwent an hour-long weight loss surgery that has drastically altered his eating patterns. Robinson did a sleeve gastrectomy, which was carried out by local obesity and laparoscopic surgeon Dr Alfred Dawes and his team. In just five months Robinson has managed to lose almost 50 pounds and has reduced his pants size from 45 inches to 38 inches, as a result of the surgery. “I am happy as a punch,” said Robinson, who, prior to surgery, weighed in at 268 pounds. “When I look at the life I have now, my life is completely different,” he told Jamaican media. A sleeve gastrectomy is an invasive surgery whereby doctors remove a part of the stomach so that an individual will eat less. The procedure is one of the fastestgrowing weight loss surgeries in North America and Asia. Robinson, who is a self-professed “soda junkie”, said his eating habits have completely changed since the surgery. One of the hardest habits to kick was his heavy consumption of Mountain Dew, but he said he drinks mostly

Dr Dawes (left) and his team during the hour-long sleeve gastrectomy on Mathew Robinson.

water these days. The sacrifice he has made to achieve a healthier life has paid off. He is happy he can now tie his shoe laces, he no longer has knee or back pain, and his self-confidence has gone through the roof— so much so that he now feels comfortable flirting. Robinson now enjoys cycling and he also swims, walks and jogs to stay in shape. His ultimate goal is to lose another 22 pounds in the next three to six months and to maintain his new lifestyle.

Cost factor

But while he knew he desperately needed to lose weight, it was the cost factor that made him choose to do the surgery in Jamaica as opposed to in the United States. He said that whereas doctors were going to charge him US$22,000 in New York, he got the surgery done for US$8,000 in Jamaica. Dr Dawes, who is the

managing director for Mahogany Health and Fitness, explained that people who have a sleeve gastrectomy done could lose up to one pound daily for the first three months after the surgery. The recovery time is also short, as within two days after doing the surgery, patients are allowed to go home. The surgeon said he did a number of these procedures while he was working in Brazil, however, this option is fairly new to Jamaica. In addition to doing the surgery, the patient is guided on the necessary lifestyle changes he or she needs to make in order to see the optimal results. Besides the sleeve gastrectomy, there are other weight loss surgeries that are being offered by his team. This includes the gastric balloon and the gastric bypass. The gastric balloon procedure is non-invasive and can be done in just 30 minutes. (Excerpted

from Jamaica Observer)



week ending January 23, 2014 |

Jamaica’s relations with Trinidad a work in progress — Nicholson


amaica’s Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister AJ Nicholson says relations with Caricom partner Trinidad and Tobago "is a work in progress" following bitter controversy late last year over the deportation of Jamaicans from that country. Nicholson and his Trinidadian counterpart Winston Dookeran had a hastily arranged high-profile meeting in Kingston last November to avert what was being described in some circles as a "trade war". Jamaicans had responded angrily— threatening to boycott Trinidadian goods—after 13 Jamaicans were

Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs Minister AJ Nicholson. (Jamaica Observer photo)

turned back at the Piarco International Airport in Trinidad in what was said to be a breach of Caricom rules relating to free movement. Though the meeting between Nicholson

and Dookeran reportedly went well, with the two men arriving at a mutually acceptable understanding on the movement of nationals, Dookeran was publicly criticised by a Cabinet colleague on his return home leading to more disquiet. However, in a question and answer session following a presentation to lay magistrates in Mandeville last Thursday, Nicholson played down the problems. "In every integration movement, whether it is in Europe and South America or anywhere, you are going to have challenges," he said. "We could never ex-

pect that after that dialogue (with Dookeran) everything was going to be honky dory, but it is a work in progress," Nicholson said. He confirmed that "dialogue" with TT would continue at the beginning of March when he visits the twin-island republic. Jamaica/TT trade

Jamaica is the second largest importer of Trinidadian goods behind the United States and has a trade deficit with its Caricom partner in excess of US$2 billion, mainly fuelled by petroleum, lubricants and related products. Trinidadian companies also hold a huge stake in the Jamaican

economy and employ thousands. Nicholson argued that it was the duty of Jamaica, TT and other Caricom partners to iron out the difficulties and to ensure that Caricom citizens are given due "respect" at points of entry. "It is our duty to keep on and I intend to keep on with my Trinidad counterpart and other foreign ministers within Caricom to make sure that what is to be given at the airports is respect," he said. He referred to what he described as "bellyaching" and "quarrelling" regarding travellers being searched at airports including Piarco International. But ac-

cording to Nicholson, Jamaicans needed to accept that "searches" at points of entry was an ongoing reality globally. "Searching of travellers is something that happens all over the world every minute of the day and night," Nicholson said. "The problem is when you are treated in (a disrespectful) way and you are turned back; and that is a very serious thing," he said. He urged Jamaican travellers who believe they have been treated badly to make reports to the relevant authorities rather than simply going to the news media. (Excerpted from Jamaica Observer)

TT gov’t mulls performance-based remunerations for doctors


he People’s Partnership Administration is considering introduction of performance-based remuneration packages for medical practitioners in Trinidad and Tobago. Public Administration Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan made the announcement during the installation ceremony of the TT Medical Association’s incoming president Dr Liane Conyette, at Soong’s Great Wall, Circular Road, San Fernando on Saturday night. Conyette is the 82nd president of the Association. Delivering remarks

in the absence of Health Minster Dr Fuad Khan, Seepersad-Bachan said the health care system remained a major issue for the population based on periodic surveys conducted by the ministry. She said physical infrastructure such as the Children’s hospital, the San Fernando Teaching Hospital and the Point Fortin hospital, while necessary, was not enough in the recruitment and retention of medical personnel. “How do we bring health care into the 21st century, some would say infrastructure such as the San Fernando

Teaching Hospital and the Couva Children’s hospital,” she said, adding, “we are considering performances-based remuneration packages for medical practitioners.” She also noted that the ministry was also considering offering scholarships in a “bloc” of subjects in the specialist medical field. Meanwhile in her inaugural address, Conyette said medical practitioners had to “try to be on the cutting edge of knowledge, information and technology” as it relate to all aspects of the medical profession. Conyette also outlined

New president of the TT Medical Association Dr Liane Conyette flashes a healthy smile on Saturday night during her installation ceremony at Soong's Great Wall, San Fernando. (TT Newsday photo)

a number of plans for the Association which included a drive to increase the Association’s membership which was less than 50 percent of the 1,800 registered doctors in Trinidad and Tobago. She said another goal was to continue medical education and research as well as to start a mentoring partnership prorgamme between the younger doctors and their senior counterparts. The other members of the Association’s executive are Dr Austin Trinidade; Dr Edmund Chamely and Dr Stacy Chamely. Two senior doctors were also awarded the

Association’s “scroll of honour” for their outstanding contribution to local medicine-Dr Sandeep Kumar and Professor Samuel Ramsewak. Also attending the function was President Anthony Carmona and Reema Carmona; Zalayhar Hassanali, wife of former president Noor Hassanali; deputy San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello and former Education Minister, Hazel Manning who represented her husband, San Fernando East MP, Patrick Manning. (Excerpted from TT Newsday)

passes bill to regulate Three friends meet Parliament Guyana’s land surveying sector fiery end in Trinidad T A Friday night after-work lime ended tragically for three co-workers in Trinidad following a vehicular accident along the M2 Ring Road in Debe early Saturday morning. The charred remains of the three were found inside a burning blue Daewoo vehicle. After extinguishing the blaze, firefighters found the remains of Lauren Lochan, 24, Rick Nash and Reynold Manoo, 42—all employees of Trinrico Steel & Wire Products Ltd (Trinrico). The bodies of all three—Lochan and Nash, both of Reform Village near Gasparillo and Manoo of Williamsville, were burnt beyond recognition. According to police reports, Nash was the driver of the vehicle

while Lochan and Manoo were passengers. Police reports said that about 3 am Saturday morning, Nash was proceeding south along the M2 Ring Road, Debe when he crashed into a lamp post. The vehicle then exploded into flames off the roadway. The co-workers had been employed as machine operators at Trinrico in Reform Village and had developed a close bond among themselves. Their remains were Saturday identified by relatives at the San Fernando Mortuary. Lochan, Nash and Manoo were last seen liming at a bar in Reform Village before leaving for Penal to visit a friend of Lochan. The accident occurred while they were returning home. When TT media visited the families, relatives were still in a state

of shock. At Cottage Village in Reform, Nash’s sister, Ann Marie Downey, said she was heartbroken by the news of her brother’s death. She said Nash was always a careful driver, but believed that he (Nash) was drinking while liming. Nearby, at Lochan’s home, relatives were seen comforting each other. Four years ago since the passing of her father (Ramoo) from cancer, Lochan had been the sole breadwinner in her family. Along Garth Road in Williamsville, Manoo’s brother Nigel Manoo said his brother had spoke of “changing his life”. “He and his co-workers were very close. They were like a family and always together and it is how they died,” a tearful Nigel said. (Excerpted from TT Newsday)

he National Assembly endorsed the Land Surveyors (Profession) Bill 2013, clearing the way for the establishment of A Land Surveyors Board in Guyana. The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) arrived at a welcomed consensus, following a brief debate last Thursday. In presenting the Land Surveyors (Profession) Bill 2013 for the second reading, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Robert Persaud told the House that the surveying sector has been grappling with serious issues, which the bill will address when it becomes law. He argued that while the surveying sector has been contributing significantly to the nation’s development, it is currently unable to meet the demands of the public and private sector as Guyana’s economy continues to evolve. “We have a situation in our country where we do not have land surveyors… we don’t have the full complement to meet the developmental needs of the public sector… and the private sector,” the minister explained to the National Assembly. It was further pointed out that the shortage of land surveyors has resulted in persons infiltrating the sector illegally. “…we found too over time there have been complaints about the quality of work, complaints about ethics and even complaints about persons professing and pre-

senting themselves as land surveyors… and they have been misleading individuals and that has led to a whole host of other problems.” The five-man Land Surveyors Board will address many of these problems. The board will consist of the commissioner of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC), three land surveyors with at least 10 years of local experience and one other person. Additionally the board will prescribe any additional qualifications necessary for registration as a land surveyor, adopt procedures for the review and approval of the courses of study in land surveying at institutions of higher education based on prescribed educational requirements and examine the qualifications of persons holding a certificate of competency in land surveying and desiring to practice in Guyana.


The bill also paves the way for the registration and licensing of land surveyors and the overall regulation of the sector. APNU parliamentarian Rupert Roopnaraine said the bill is a step into the right direction. “It’s worth noting that the 2013 bill breaks new grounds in setting out the laws in which land surveyors are expected to develop some similarity.” Roopnaraine told the House that the bill will also address the legion of vexatious issues surrounding land tenure in Guyana. (Guyana Times)


News | week ending January 23, 2014

Guyana Defence Force promotes 348 officers, other ranks


ommander-inChief President Donald Ramotar has approved the promotion of 88 officers and 260 other ranks of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), the army confirmed last Friday. Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips made the announcement in accordance with the Defence Act Chapter 15:01 of 1977. The promotions took effect from January 1. According to a GDF statement, 42 officers and 96 other ranks were confirmed in their rank while 46 officers and 164 ranks were elevated in rank. Leading the promotions list are Lieutenant Colonels Sherwin Anderson and Godfrey Bess who were confirmed in their rank. Lieutenant Commander Orin Porter of the Coast Guard was promoted to acting commander, while Majors Dwain Jervis, Trevor Bowman and Kenlloyd Roberts have been promoted to the rank of acting lieutenant colonel. In addition, four majors, including one female, have been con-

The newly-promoted senior officers with Chief-of-Staff Brigadier Mark Phillips

firmed in their rank, while substantive captains Dwayne Carter, Mark St Claire, James Fraser, Julian Archer and Drumson Mc Caulay have been promoted to acting majors. Seventeen acting captains, including three females, are now confirmed in their rank, while Substantive Lieutenant Jocelyn Mc Allister has been promoted to the rank of acting captain with effect from January 1, 2012. Ten other substantive lieutenants, including one female, are now acting captains. Ten acting

lieutenants have been promoted to substantive lieutenant, while 10 second lieutenants have been promoted to acting lieutenant. In the Coast Guard, acting lieutenants (CG) Nigel Backer and Wayne Richmond have been confirmed in their rank, while substantive sub lieutenants Paul Castello and Travis Morgan have been promoted to acting lieutenant (CG) and seven acting sub lieutenants have been confirmed in their rank. Further, the GDF said Midshipmen Derrick

Johnson, Rudolph Singh and Rondel Douglas are now acting sub lieutenants. In the GDF Reserve, Substantive Captain Earl Edghill has been promoted to acting major, while 10 second lieutenants have been promoted to acting lieutenant. Two hundred and sixty other ranks have been promoted. Of this number, 96 have been confirmed in their rank, while 164 have been elevated in rank. Heading this group is Staff Sergeant Christopher Harmon, who has been

promoted to acting warrant officer class two. Warrant officers class two; Dwayne Layne, Marcia Williams, Sherlock Rigby, Dyanor Wilson, Leyland Liverpool and Hesley Craig were confirmed in their appointment. The remaining 253 other ranks were promoted through ranks ranging from acting warrant officer class two, to acting lance corporal. Other promotions in the Coast Guard saw Substantive Petty Officer Dexter Fraser being elevated in rank to acting

senior petty officer. Meanwhile, three acting petty officers were confirmed in their rank, while five substantive leading ratings are now acting petty officers. Six acting leading ratings are now confirmed in their rank. Additionally, three substantive able ratings have been promoted to acting leading ratings while five acting able ratings have been confirmed in their rank. Ordinary Rating, Collis Parkinson has been promoted to acting able rating/substantive able rating and four other ordinary ratings have been elevated to the rank of acting able rating. Soldiers confirmed in their rank have earned the substantive (Sub) in that rank, after previously holding the acting rank. At a simple badging ceremony, the recently promoted senior officers were decorated with their new badges of rank by Brigadier Mark Phillips, who was assisted by Deputy Chiefof-Staff, Colonel Kemraj Persaud. (Guyana Times)

Jamaica’s ganja stakeholders to step up campaign


annabis stakeholders Saturday expressed the need for a more aggressive campaign to push Parliament to move further and faster towards legalising the growing, distribution and use of ganja (cannabis, marijuana) in Jamaica. Ganja Law Reform Coalition (GLRC) chairman Paul Chang felt that a more robust campaign and show of support would encourage parliamentarians to make fundamental changes to legislation affecting the use of the drug, and suggest-

ed the need for a young parliamentarian to step up and take the lead, with strong public support, including street demonstrations from stakeholders, including the GLRC. "We need a young MP to break the party ranks and put forward proposals for more meaningful legislations than the half steps that they are taking," Chang told the opening session of the Cannabis Stakeholders Conference, held in the multifunctional room of the main library of the University of the West Indies (UWI) at Mona.

Chang said he is hoping that increased agitation would show a groundswell of support for more substantial changes, and lead to a conscience vote in Parliament. But he insisted that it required young MPs being more forceful inside Gordon House. "Government only works when you make them work," commented Louis Moyston, lecturer and researcher, who was the main speaker at the opening session. Potential

"I am saying to them (government), we are going to inform you about

Chairman of the Ganja Law Reform Coalition (GLRC) Paul Chang (left) listens attentively to a discussion involving (from 2nd left) – Professor Archibald McDonald, principal of the UWI, Mona Campus; Courtney Betty, advocate and attorney; and Professor Rupert Lewis, political scientist — prior to the start of Saturday’s Cannabis Stakeholders Conference at the UWI, Mona. (Jamaica Observer photo)

what is taking place; we are going to inform you about the potential; and we would like you to work with us, so we can achieve a better future," he stated. Dr K'adamawe K'nIfe, strategic planning and entrepreneurship specialist in the Department of Management Studies at the UWI, noted that Jamaica spends over Ja$100 million each year fighting ganja use, while some 2,000 youth are being arrested annually for smoking it. He suggested a more formal approach to the

programming of the use of ganja in the future, which would examine its role in the agriculture sector, its bio-diversity and the development of business models. The forum Saturday examined a range of issues touching on the legalisation of ganja and was to weigh in on the options, in light of global developments. Its decisions will be published in a communiqué and position paper. A position paper, developed by a Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Task

Force, led by Delano Seiveright, was also discussed. The paper outlined the products and business opportunities that could be developed from a cannabis industry, including food, personal care, wellness, beauty, clothing, travel and leisure, spirituality, construction-paper fibres, seed oils, essential oils, seed nut, leaf, wholeplant, charcoal, environmental-soil rehabilitation, spas, restaurants, coffee houses, shops, guest houses and clinics. (Excerpted from Jamaica Observer)



week ending January 23, 2014 |

Construction advances on Guyana’s power station at Vreed-en-Hoop


he blackoutplagued electricity sector in Guyana is expected to get a boost with the completion of the US$30 million power plant under construction at Vreed-en-Hoop, West Bank Demerara. It is expected to increase power capacity in Demerara from a current 87 megawatts to 106 megawatts, the Government Information Agency (GINA) said. Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, along with Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Chief Executive

Officer, Bharat Dindyal, Chairman Winston Brassington, Project Coordinator Lennox McGregor and Divisional Director Narvon Persaud inspected works ongoing at the power station last Friday. During the visit, Prime Minister Hinds expressed satisfaction with the progress that has been made despite the challenges the contractor encountered.

Commercial operations

The Region Three plant is expected to begin commercial opera-

tions by July, and will be connected to nearby power stations. Persons residing as far as Berbice are expected to benefit. Prime Minister Hinds said the needed equipment is on site and buildings are going up. He added that there is a lot of work still to be done, but generally works are improving. Chief Executive Officer of the power company Bharat Dindyal disclosed that technically, 98 per cent of the materials needed for the construction are on site,

Work in progress at the Vreed-en-Hoop power station in Guyana

Guyana's Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and GPL’s CEO Bharat Dindyal inspecting works ongoing at the Power station

but due to challenges with storage, the rest of the materials are being stored at the John Fernandes Wharf. Dindyal pointed out that thus far, 20 per cent of the plant is complete. “There is still a bit of work to be done. On the western side, we are still working on the foundation for two large bulk storage tanks which will have the capacity of 2000 cubic metres each,” he explained. A new port is also being constructed at the northern side of the plant to receive fuel and part of that contract was awarded to BK International.

Behind schedule

This project is behind

schedule due to challenges in terms of the foundation being laid. The CEO explained that the soil at the construction site is very poor and almost 900 piles, the longest GPL has ever used, had to be driven under the foundation, and these were difficult to acquire. “When the contractor came here, as soon as the equipment came off the dam, it started to sink and they started to dump sand and the sand would be disappearing overnight… eventually they had to bring in geotextile materials to allow for some consolidation,” Dindyal added. Rain and high tides have also stalled works.

The chief executive said a revetment wall will be constructed around the perimeter of the site and two pumps will also be installed to drain water. There were also some delays with the Golden Grove and North Ruimveldt sub-stations which are currently under construction, and the expansion at the Onverwagt power plant. Dindyal added that there were some issues with the contractors who made some claims for additional payments, which are in excess of US$3 million. These claims are currently being processed and these works are expected to be completed by March. (GINA)

Trinidad’s oil spill clean-up going ‘extremely well’ — Petrotrin


lean-up operations along the La Brea coastline in Trinidad has been described as proceeding “extremely well” by Petrotrin officers, who have observed that residents have restarted using the beaches for recreational activities. A number of La Brea beaches including Coffee Beach, Carrat

Shed Beach and Point Sable Beaches were badly affected by an oil spill which carpeted the sand on December 18. Fisherfolk, who also anchored their vessels along the beachfront, were also unable to ply their trade as their boats were covered by the oil slick. However, at a media conference earlier in the

week, Petrotrin president, Khalid Hassanali said approximately 10 miles of the beachfront had been cleaned while approximately one half mile remaining. He said the company was now focusing on the mangrove areas. An AP story last Friday reported the TT government as saying that Petrotrin cleaned

up some 4,200 barrels of oil from the spill, but that a mangrove section remains contaminated. The report said a total of 7,500 barrels of oil were spilled along nearly 18 kilometres of beach, the majority of which has been cleaned, according to Allan Bachan, chairman of the Environmental M a n a g e m e n t

Authority. Bachan was reported as saying that Petrotrin officials indicated the remaining oil has either evaporated or was dispersed by the ocean. Government fined Petrotrin TT$3 million for violating what it said are several environmental and reporting standards. Petrotrin said it sus-

pended several workers on full pay while it investigates the cause of at least 10 spills over the span of a week. The AP story also reported that Bachan said he has requested help from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to finalise the clean-up and rehabilitate affected areas. (TT Newsday)

Jamaica’s Adoption Act under review J

amaica’s Adoption Board is conducting a review of the country's Adoption Act in its bid to make the adoption process in Jamaica less tedious and conform with international standards. Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna said the review is being conducted with the help of consultants engaged by the Child Development Agency (CDA). Among the issues being looked at are the right of a parent to place a child up for adoption and the circumstances

which would be considered; what constitutes relinquishing the right to parent; and what qualifies a country to be on the schedule of countries whose citizens are allowed to adopt Jamaican children. According to Hanna, several other steps are being taken to improve the efficiency of the adoption process in Jamaica. Among them is the placement of additional staff in the regional offices to facilitate the clearing of a backlog of adoption applications. Currently,

Jamaica’s Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna. (Jamaica Observer file photo)

there are some 311 requests awaiting matches, some dating as far back as 1999. Chairman of the adoption board, Tricia Sutherland, said about 50 per cent of the outstanding cases were made prior to 2012. "The first thing that the CDA and the board has agreed on to clear that list to make sure that those persons are still interested in adopting," she added. The chairman noted that since 2012, the Board has asked the

CDA to give preference to those applicants who have been on the waiting list the longest. Sutherland also revealed that in 2013, the Board approved the placement of 10 children with families on the waiting list. She pointed out that once those placements are successful, the law prescribes a minimum of three months of follow-up before the applications are approved, after which the adoption can be finalised by the Court. The CDA will also

be implementing a major public education campaign to inform Jamaicans about the adoption process and what it entails to improve the system. The current Adoption Act was implemented in 1958, and under the law, any child over the age of six weeks and under 18 years old is eligible for adoption. Also, any person 25 years and older can adopt a child or children, and persons who are 18 years old and older can adopt younger relatives. (JIS)


feature | week ending January 23, 2014

Pastor Everett Brown, president of Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, addresses the large gathering at the launch. (Jamaica Observer photos)


ingston, the largest urban populated region in Jamaica, is the city targeted by Jamaica Union Conference (JAMU) of Seventh Day Adventist for 'Hope for the Big Cities', which is part of the Global Seventh-day Adventists' campaign to evangelise the major cities of the world. The Union, through its East Jamaica

Forty-seven-year-old Vinette Green (in wheelchair) celebrates God’s goodness despite being physically challenged. Green was among thousands of Seventh-day Adventists members and commuters who gathered in Half-Way-Tree, St Andrew last week Sunday for the launch of Metro Mission 14 (MM14)—Hope for the City.

Conference, launched the mega-city campaign dubbed 'Metro Mission 14, (MM14)—Hope for the City' last Sunday, in Half-Way-Tree. President of JAMU, Pastor Everett Brown said the assistance of the more than 730 congregations will be sought to execute the various projects to reach members of their community. "We seek through

this initiative to address the spiritual needs of people in the city of Kingston and in the major urban centres right across Jamaica, from Montego Bay in the west to Morant Bay in the east," said Brown. She continued; "We believe that it is our duty as a church to address not only the spiritual needs of people, but to address the so-

cial, emotional and the physical needs of people. Through these programmes, we will be using the financial and human resources to get into the communities and touch the lives of individuals." The areas of focus for MM14 are capacity building—meeting the physical demands of needy individuals by giving them clean clothes to

wear or improve their present living condition; health and wellness— giving medical attention to those in need and educating them on health and nutrition; counselling— through the provision of assistance to resolve family issues and conflicts among individuals; reintegration and rehabilitation—assist those who may have been on the wrong side of the law to regain a normal life, as well as helping marginalised youths in an attempt to prevent them from becoming of-


uyana will be the host of the largest Islamic conference as it partners with the Islamic Organisation for Latin and the Caribbean (OIPALC) and the Islamic Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO). OIPALC and ISESCO have agreed to partner with the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG) for the staging of the Islamic Conference in Guyana on February 9. Under the theme “Promote the initiative of the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in dialogue between different faiths and cultures of Latin America and the Caribbean”, Islamic leaders will strive to present Islamic culture and its role of improving the correct understanding of Islam. Additionally, they will open dialogue between other cultures and religions for peaceful coexistence. The conference is expected to attract more than 35 leaders from Latin Caribbean Islamic organisations, in addition to officials from the Islamic Development Bank and the Kuwaiti Islamic Affairs Ministry. ISESCO Director General Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri will be

fenders, and education and training. "We want to reach every person in Kingston," Brown emphasised. "We want to reach every home and so we are calling upon the members of the church—each one to reach one. No home must be left untouched, no street, city or town in Jamaica must be left untouched. We want to turn Jamaica upside down and make it a better place for people to live by sharing Jesus Christ with them." (Jamaica Observer)

in attendance, as well as Under Secretary of the Islamic Affairs Minstry of Kuwait Dr Adel AlFalah. President Donald Ramotar, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, ministers of government, members of the Diplomatic corps and leaders of local Islamic organisations are also expected to be in attendance during the grand opening ceremony. OIPALC is an arm of ISESCO in Rabat, Morocco. Additionally, ISESCO is also an arm of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. OIPALC is made of 35 countries within Latin America and the Caribbean. The last conference was held in Chile in February 2013. ISESCO was founded by the OIC in May 1979. ISESCO is one of the largest international Islamic organisations and specialises in the fields of education, science and culture. It aims to promote and consolidate cooperation among member states of OIC in the fields of education, science, culture and communication. Additionally it develops applied science and the use of advanced technology within the framework of Islamic values and ideals. (Guyana Times)



week ending January 23, 2014 |

can’t do a whole lot of things good; I can’t paint...I can’t even tackle girls good, but I could sing. That I can do. And I think God gave me that talent to use it and if I don’t use it he will take it away from me.” During his 25 years as a performer, Douglas took a hiatus to open a grocery store in Canada in 2004 then returned to the stage, left again and tried opening a farm a few years ago, but once again came back to music.

By Joan Rampersad


s he seeks to reintroduce himself in a grand way on the local scene, Anslem Douglas has been nominated for a Canadian Black Award for Best Caribbean Style Artiste. An excited Douglas told TT media that out of 20,000 persons screened for the award, he has been chosen among the final six, and has also been invited to attend the awards function on March 1, 2014, at the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, one of Canada’s largest proscenium theatres, with over 1,000 guests in attendance. However given that the awards ceremony will fall on Carnival Saturday in TT, Douglas may not attend and may instead send a representative. Other nominees are Ammoye, Jahsmin Daley, Shalli, Soca Emperor and Ms Paige. The songwriter of the internationally acclaimed and Grammy award-winning hit, “Who Let The Dogs Out”, was sent a plaque with the Grammy Emblem embedded in it in 2001 while in Trinidad

New Anslem

Canada-based Trinidadian songwriter Anslem Douglas (TT Guardian photo)

for Carnival by the Grammy Foundation. Asked why he thought he needed to reintroduce himself to the local entertainment industry at this time, Douglas, who has lived in Canada for several years said, “I honestly believe everyone was put on this planet for something. I

He said, “It seems as though music is the only thing that has been in my life constantly. Wife is no longer in my life, but music remains. So I think that is the reason why I really need to reintroduce myself and give TT a little bit of the old Anslem and a lot of new Anslem.” While into his farming venture, Douglas was called to go Israel to perform for the UN. Douglas said the reaction in Israel to his “When Ah Dead Bury Meh Clothes”, “Who Let The Dogs Out” and “Ragga Poom Poom” was absolutely amazing. The three-week gig also took him to New York, USA, Germany and Toronto, Canada.

'Three Little Birds' turns musical

A scene from the musical Bob Marley's 'Three Little Birds'. (Photo:


he musical, Bob Marley's ‘Three Little Birds’, written by the reggae legend's daughter, Cedella, opens at the New Victory Theater in New York on February 7, one day after what would have been his 69th birthday. "This is going to be the best birthday ever for Dad," Marley told the Speakeasy magazine. "There will be a lot of children around celebrating." The musical is based on Marley's children's book, 'Three Little Birds' which she says was inspired by her three sons. "That was the song that could put them to bed at night and wake them up in the mornings," she said. "My middle son was getting bul-

lied at school. He would come home crazy sad and I would hum the song to him." The ‘Three Little Birds’ musical originated in Washington, DC, last year, and Marley remembers bringing her children to opening night. "To see the little children in the audience singing along--I thought maybe they would know 1-2 songs, but they knew so many," she said "I was like, 'wait a minute!' They were singing 'One love'." In addition, the musical includes the title song “Jamming”, “Roots Rock Reggae”, “I Shot the Sheriff” and “Is This Love”. The show will play at the New Victory until February 23.


Designer Marcie De Santos

nown for her bespoke and creative designs, designer Marcie De Santos has proven to be a force to reckon with in the fashion industry. Now, she is preparing to showcase her talent at the New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2014. Marcie started designing more than five years ago. She always had a passion for unique clothing, so she started by designing for herself and soon realized that she had a flair for designing. She specializes in cotton and linen garments, enhanced by unique and exquisite fabric painting. She prides herself in the uniqueness of the colour blends that she uses. Her target is mainly women whose desire is to exude femininity in unique, exuberant, eye-catching styles. The Guyana Fashion Week (GFW) 2008 was her debut runway show where she presented her line ‘Contours’, which won her the award for the most promising designer. She continued to impress at GFW 2009 with her line ‘Mosaique’ and in 2010 with

Getting favourable airplay thus far for his “Bom Bom” and “Broughtupcy”, the riddim song “I Want To Know” and the pan song “Big In De Dance”, Douglas is still contemplating if he should release an album this year, as he is currently working on another track and pondering doing a remake of “Ragga Pom Pom.”


“I believe as an entertainer you have to be versatile and you have to understand that we have a festival to put on. Carnival is real, it is about the food, music, colour, jump and wave, wine, fete, family, everything. So we have to do music for the festival. But outside of the festival, when people come back to a state of normalcy we gave fans something to think about,” Douglas said. He added, “I don’t want to be known as a carnival artiste. While I don’t object to the milk run (New York, Toronto, Jamaica, etc.) but you are still preaching to the same audience. What I would like to do is spread the gospel of soca and the culture of TT to places unknown.” And how does he propose to do that? Douglas said the internet

‘Rhapsody in Grey’. Her talent and impressive showings did not go unnoticed; she was featured numerous times in the local and international media. In 2009, Marcie was a member of the Guyana’s delegation led by CEO and founder of GFW, acclaimed designer Sonia Noel, which participated in the 13th Ningbo International Fashion in Ningbo, China, one of the biggest fashion and trade fairs worldwide. In 2011, she showcased her talent regionally through participation at the USVI Fashion Week, and the Bridgetown Barbados Fashion Weekend in October, and in the Antigua and Barbuda Fashion Weekend in November. April of the following year saw her participating in the Tobago Fashion Weekend. Her work received excellent feedback at all regional runway shows. Her latest line, ‘Evolution’, debuted at the Tobago Fashion Week 2013. This line was later showcased at the Dominicana Moda 2013 in the Dominican Republic, through the sponsorship and support of Caribbean Export. Despite her schedule and the competitive nature of the fashion design business, Marcie ensures that she finds time to give back. She is a permanent fixture in various charity shows and events organized by GFW. Marcie is currently the treasurer of the recently formed Guyana Fashion Design Council, which is gearing to significantly move the Guyana fashion industry forward. (Photos by Obrey James)

Anslem Douglas performs on stage

is “an amazing thing.” “By social media, networking, my Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram, Reverb Nation, SoundCloud, YouTube channel are all working. It is non-stop and I have good management handling that from Toronto and in Trinidad, working in collaboration with each other, keeping them up to date and well maintained. So the social media is going to work it because the world is online now. I think that is a good place to start,” he explained. (Excerpted from TT Newsday)


feature | week ending January 23, 2014


olonel Noel Prehay of the Scott's Hall Maroons in St Mary, Jamaica, has declared that Maroons should come together to make representation to the British government to honour an over--two centuries-old debt. "Today I am declaring to the people, the Maroons, that we all should make representation or a presentation to the (British) government on behalf of all the Maroons that we can receive these monies to educate our people and to take care of our children and various families. "Maroons should be given what is theirs...and what is truly theirs," said Prehay at the annual Maroon celebration in Accompong recently. The monies, he said, were part of the commitments made when a peace treaty was signed in 1738 to end years of guerrilla warfare between Maroons and the British colonisers. Prehay said that based on the agreement at the time, Maroon leader Kojo (also spelled Cudjoe) was slated to benefit from 300 pounds per year to maintain roads in sections of Trelawny, St


uyana made an indelible mark at the annual Barbados music awards, now coined the Barbados Music, Fashion and Film Awards, which was held last weekend. A barrage of talent from the land of many waters hit the stage at the prestigious Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Barbados at what has become a must-see event on the Bajan entertainment calendar. A contingent of Guyanese talent–Lisa Punch, Ernesta Nelson and Travis Bowen– created quite a stir at the packed hall of creative arts enthusiasts and practitio-

Jamaica’s Culture Minister Lisa Hanna (second right) and Principal Director of Culture Dahlia Harris (left) join members of the Charles Town Maroon Village on the dance floor. (Jamaica Observer photos)

Elizabeth and St James. In Scott's Hall, he said, 100 pounds per year was to be given for the maintenance of the families living there. The Maroon colonel said that payments would have been made on the report of three "white" superintendents who are supposed to be in each of the Maroon communities in Jamaica to give updates on the conditions of the residents. "Who are the superintendents?" We don't know because we have never seen

one," said Prehay. Jamaican Maroons are identified by historians as descendants of slaves who were left behind by Spanish colonisers when they fled Jamaica following invasion by the British in 1655, as well as runaway slaves from British plantations. David Fitton, British High Commissioner to Jamaica who was at the Accompong event, commended the Maroons for maintaining a close-knit community and one which is said to have a non-existent crime

ners. The Nation headlined that Lisa was the “Punch Line” at the event, belting out a powerful rendition of “Secret Admirer”, serenading the receptive front row attendees as she descended the stairs to access an intimate connection with her admirers. Ernesta delivered one of her soca hits to the delight of the receptive audience while Travis Bowen, the winner of Gold Coast Record Talent Search in Guyana, courtesy of Guyana Fashion Week, was a breath of fresh air performing an Enrique Iglesias pop hit.

Dream come true He was received with much enthusiasm and he is now being groomed, in Barbados, for international work and a record deal. “This is a dream come true for me and I must thank Guyana Fashion Week and Gold Coast Records for this opportunity,” Bowen said. In the fashion department, Sonia Noel lived up to her reputation, presenting a stunning line up of Caribbean signature ensembles and separates that proclaimed that Guyana is a significant stakeholder in the development of the Caribbean fashion industry.

Guyanese fashion icon Sonia Noel poses with Barbadian supermodel Lene Hall, CEO of CAN Audio, Canada, Nouse; GFW’s Richard Younge; Barbados Music award executive Ronnie Morris and Travis Bowen after being presented with the Life Achievement AwardAchievement Award in fashion

Colonel Noel Prehay (right) of the Scott's Hall Maroons greets Colonel Ferron Williams of the Accompong Maroons at the annual celebration. Other attendees look on.

rate. He encouraged Maroons to market the business opportunities of their "long and distinguished history" to attract outsiders and tourists. "I think I want to look forward, not back, because I think your history has a lot which can teach us here in Jamaica and in my country and in the other countries overseas," Fitton said. An impassioned Prehay also expressed dissatisfaction with how the treaty was introduced to the Maroons.

"The British did not consult the Maroons or have dialogue with the Maroons about the treaty that they were making. They go ahead and make this treaty and carried it to the Maroons. Maroons could not read English. They just tell them what they want to tell them and expect them to comply," he said. Prehay believes that the move made by Maroons for freedom is also significant because it began the fight for an independent Jamaica. (Jamaica Observer)

Sonia Noel being awarded with the Life Achievement Award in fashion

To top it off, she was awarded a Regional Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to fashion in the Caribbean. Her line was highly appreciated and indeed, prompted extensive interest from entrepreneurs in carrying her line at their shops."It is a great feeling to be appreciated for your work", said Noel. Regional integration The Barbados music awards opened up its ambit to include fashion and film, all part of a regional campaign of integrating the region through the creative industries and ultimately promoting the Caribbean brand as an alternative on the global agenda. Guyana truly represented at this occasion, and certain-

ly proved that its talent and creative energies can make a distinctive mark on the international scene and are a force to be reckoned with. Ronnie Morris, producer of the award showcase and a director of Guyana Fashion Week, was elated about the inclusion of Guyanese style and asserts “this is just a beginning of remarkable things to come, in terms of collaborating with Guyanese artistes.” He also commended Sonia Noel for facilitating the growth of dynamic inter-regional networking endeavours in this hemisphere. Brutal Tracks and Mystic were also in attendance. Mystic was scheduled to perform, but was unwell. (Guyana Times)

feature week ending January 23, 2014



Jamaican-Canadian teacher making a difference in the lives of students, teachers at her alma mater


t took the vision of one past student of Whitehall Primary in St Thomas, Jamaica, to make a world of difference in the lives of the 178 students and six teachers at the rural institution. Through the Only Protecting Another Life (OPAL) Foundation, Opal Robinson has made it her life's mission to raise funds to purchase much-needed supplies for the school and its students. Over the last three years, Robinson, who resides in Canada, has not only brought cheer to the students by presenting them with gifts, but has outfitted the school with computers, an overhead projector, a scanner, a laminator and a public address system. But her generosity has extended beyond just donating items, as she is now seeking to raise funds to construct a perimeter wall at the institution. There are also plans to build a resource centre, a computer room, a library and an office for the principal. Principal Icyline Davis-Taylor said the foundation's assistance is particularly meaningful since it is com-

Teacher Tresha Passley-Powers (left) displays the medals which were donated by the OPAL Foundation and which will be presented to students at the school’s next sports day, while guidance counsellor Hazel Richardson looks on. (Jamaica Observer photos)

ing from a past student, who felt the need to say thanks by investing in the lives of current and future students.


"My passion and drive for doing this comes from watching my mom; how she would give back to the community and the way she raised us to always be giving," said Robinson, who is a teacher in Canada. In addition to that, the benefactor, who was also taught in Jamaica before migrating 23 years ago, explained that she made a promise to God that she would

give back to her community if she made something of herself. "I prayed about it and I got this vision and I spoke to my mother about it. I went back to visit (Whitehall) one year and single mothers kept coming to ask me for a $100 here and there to give their children for school as they had no money or shoes for the children to go back to school, and so I decided then that this is how I could help," she told Jamaican media via telephone from her home in Canada. Robinson said she immediately started by dis-

tributing plastic bags to some co-workers asking them to donate whatev-

she solicited donations within her community and was again blown away by the generosity. She also gets inspiration from the children themselves. "Just to see their faces and to hear them say, 'thank you, miss'. The second year we didn't have things for everyone and so when the things ran out, one little boy came up and I could just find a few little things to put in a plastic bag for him and he was just so thankful for that little bit, and that was just heartbreaking," she said. For last year's donation, Robinson said she

stated, was the biggest as all 178 students received a new backpack of items, compared to previous years when only the most needy would be gifted. "The children were so happy because come January morning all of them were able to come out to school with their new bags," she said. Some of the students were also presented with items of food and clothing after being fêted at the annual treat. The teachers also received gifts and the recently retired former principal was presented with a plaque in appreciation of her more than three de-

These students were eager to take their new bags to school.

er they could for a child. "It was overwhelming to see how they were giving and so that first year I was able to pack a couple barrels," she recalled adding that her mother, who has since died, was there to see her vision become reality.


This student examines his new school bag moments after it was presented to him at the annual treat held at the school last December.


rinidad and Tobago will take a significant step in establishing key relationships in the international world of fashion. On January 26, the Trinidad and Tobago Creative Industries Company Ltd (CreativeTT), will host editor/producer, Marilena Borgna and her team from VOGUEItalia magazine–one of the most influential publications in the world, which enjoys a monthly

readership of close to one million. Under the purview of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment (MTII), one of CreativeTT’s critical objectives is to develop a fashion industry in TT and connect the country’s design talent to the international marketplace. As a first step toward this goal, CreativeTT confirmed VOGUE-Italia to include Trinidad and

Tobago in its Spring/ Summer Issue, which will be published in May 2014–featuring a fashion layout photographed in locations throughout Trinidad and Tobago. In addition to this exclusive editorial photoshoot, the Vogue-IT Team will view a Designer Showcase for editorial content by Borgna and VOGUE-Italia’s stylist, Giulio Martinelli, featuring clothing and accessory collections from both

Robinson said her friends Szussana Vass and Carol Hamilton, her husband Clive and their adopted daughter Deidre Smith motivated her to make the initiative even bigger. As a result, in the second year

TT’s established designers, as well as the country’s newest talent, including graduates from the University of TT’s Fashion Academy. Additionally, this visit launches the first in a series of “building block” events and programmes. CreativeTT’s Industry Event for Fashion and Design, titled “Masquerade” will host Vogue-Italia with a “living lookbook” of TT’s designer collections.

Tresha PassleyPowers, who is a teacher at the school, explained that the donations have been extremely beneficial. Last December's staging of the event, she

cades of service to the institution. "This year, she even ended up giving food and backpacks to some community members, as she came with a total of 250 backpacks," PassleyPowers said. In addition to the backpacks and supplies, top performing students in the grade four General Achievement in Numeracy test Tyrick Powers and Tamarly Laing were each awarded a Ja$10,000 scholarship. (Excerpted from Jamaica Observer)

The programme planned for Vogue-Italia rests on meaningful partnerships between the Ministries of Trade, Tourism and Culture— together constructing a dynamic platform that combines some of the best in our islands’ locations, fashion and design, culture, and the showmanship of Carnival— All building blocks of TT’s creative sector. Vogue-Italia hits Trinidad at the

end of January; the Industry Event for Fashion and Design– the “Masquerade” happens on Sunday January 26, 2014. According to CreativeTT’s directors, this relationship with the house of Vogue-Italia is the starting point for key industry relationships from which our designers should take advantage, and through which a fashion industry can grow in earnest. (TT Newsday)

organised a fund-raising dinner to ensure that every child would be able to get a backpack consisting school supplies and toiletries. This year, Robinson said there are people who are lining up to come to Jamaica with her to assist with the construction of the fence.



feature | week ending January 23, 2014

‘Fidel Castro is Dead’ A book review by Sharmistha Bhattacharya


tale of frustrated love, family ties, and the immigrant experience during the last quarter of the 20th century and the first few years of the new millennium. In this debut novel, author Pradeep Persaud, a world traveler (as you will be if you read this book) takes you on a romantic odyssey spanning thirty years while telling the story of Abhi and Pam, two childhood friends with an unrelenting attraction for each other. Beginning in Guyana, this extremely fast read carries readers to New York City, then California and Canada, with stints in Mexico and Europe, before climaxing on a secluded beach off the coast of Thailand. Readers will enjoy following Pam and Abhi around as they enter adulthood, embark on successful careers, and pursue a complicated romance, all against the backdrop of notable events from the era: the end of the Cold War, El Nino, the birth of the internet, the dot-com bubble, and 9/11 with its catastrophic effect. The central narrative begins in the summer of 1975 when adolescent Abhi returns with his parents from New York City to his native Guyana and falls in love with his former childhood classmate, Pam, who he hasn’t seen in five years. As the two ramble through the countryside and seaside together they have a wonderful time, but sinister images appear, like the turningup of a dead dolphin’s head on the beach, which casts a shadow throughout the book . As that pivotal summer ends, the pair separate, each going their own way, though they never stop thinking about each other. Pam emigrates to the United States, settling on the West Coast and working as an electrical engineer through the dotcom boom, while Abhi remains in New York City and works on Wall Street as an investment banker. Almost two decades passes before the two reconnect, then magic happens. As if racing to make up for the lost time, the two former classmates embark on a passionate love affair. But…what awaits them? Persaud adds sus-

pense–which, becomes unbearable–as he weaves a posterior timeframe into the text where readers encounter an adult Abhi in the year 2004–2005 suffering amid diminished circumstances. Persaud then slowly reveals the series of misfortunes that brought his protagonist so low. During this trying

acter and his obsession with the longevity of the Cuban leader ties nicely into the title of the book. A novel of rare wit and humor, ‘Fidel Castro is Dead’ is not a simple boy meets girl story. Instead, it is comprised of several complex layers including the hand of fate. As the story unfolds, you realize the book is a series of vignettes about life it-

Return of a native daughter

shell banks in Guyana, night skiing in Lake Placid, etc., this novel contrasts the simple life in the homeland with the comparative opulence of America where “everyday is Christmas.” Some scenes will drive you to tears while others will have you bubbling with laughter. If the scenes of romance don’t sweep some overboard, the love

By Anu Dev

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” – Nelson Mandela


period, Abhi imagine himself to be the unwilling participant of a reality TV program which simply put, some readers might not get. The descriptions of Abhi’s wretched existence are powerful enough though; his outbursts directed toward the all-seeing producers, cameras, and audience members might prove a minor distraction from the main love story for some. Abhi’s volatile relationship with his father, Tulsi, is another bright spot. Along with Tiny, his forgetful friend, Tulsi always has another moneymaking scheme in the works. He is probably the most entertaining and resilient char-

self, with all its glory, pathos, irony, and struggle for survival as well as a dash of philosophy. Persaud skillfully produces realistic dialogue and substantial character development. Told in both the second and third person points of view, this travelogue has vivid lyrical descriptions of places visited– “Vines of Karaila entwine then strangle wooden fences.” New York comes alive startlingly well with its skyscrapers and stinking underbelly. So much so that the City assumes the importance of a character in the book. Peppered with many memorable scenes, e.g. chucking birds on the

scenes will grip them by the throat. Persaud keeps his chapters short and ends them well. Those who are looking for something unusual, or a book with a soul, should immediately pick up this book. Summary, ‘Fidel Castro is Dead’ is not a boring novel. It is available in ebook format or paperback on Author Pradeep Persaud is also the creator of the educational website: R e v i e w e r , S h a r m i s t h a Bhattacharya, holds an M.A. in English Literature and currently resides in Chandigarh.

ow don’t get me wrong after you read the quote above. It’s not as if I spent the last 27 years on Robbins Island. Or even that I was locked away for the four months I was away in Trinidad – with armed guards patrolling the perimeter of the UWI Medical School! But I’ll tell you what: like prisons, medical schools (and all schools for that matter) are also institutions that seek to impart a new way of looking at the world on its inmates. And they have more than a few things in common. There are no guards clanking on bars to wake you up (I’ve seen this in prison movies, in case you’re wondering!) in medical school, but those early classes that are mandatory pretty much have the same effect on you. And if you detect a note of chagrin in that sentence, it’s quite heartfelt – coming from a person who enjoys a late morning snooze. So you end up, after four months, waking up early. I’ve also heard about the prison “slop” – and seen it in the aforementioned movies – and I’ll tell you something. The people who run cafeterias in medical schools probably graduated from the same culinary institutions as their compatriots in the correction facilities. So, I’ve ended up pretty much doing my own cooking. Not that I have anything against cooking – in fact, I happen to actually like the experience. I can let my creativity pour forth in the kitchen. But when you return home to your dorm room and have to whip up your vittles, it does take the sheen off even the old favourites. So I’ve resorted to cooking pounds of puttanesca and gallons of dhal and sequestered them in my fridge. And you appreciate like you’ve never done before, the effort your mother made to whip up all those concoctions (effortlessly, you’d thought!!!) to deal with your finicky eating habits. So yes, I can emphasise with Mr Mandela when he conceded that you are inevitably altered by institutional rules and regulations. So how was it to return to a place that was unchanged? Well I’ll tell you…it wasn’t that unchanged. The four-lane exit from the airport’s coming on nicely and there was a new hotel near the stadium. I thought they should’ve put up a facade around the roof, though – the present one makes the place look too ordinary from the outside. See…I told you I’ve changed. Moving around Trinidad (which could fit into half of my native West Coast Demerara) that’s so oriented towards tourism makes one much more aware of the amenities demanded. But I’ll tell you what hasn’t changed – the garbage situation. I’ve written before about my school bus manoeuvring through the flotsam and jetsam from floods that have receded; and almost retching on my way to Queen’s. But this time, in my newfound freedom where I could go shopping, the old revulsion was intensified from seeing gorgeous new malls rising from the same garbage. But this time, I was much more outraged – at the Mayor and City Council, at the people dropping their garbage so nonchalantly and at all the political gamesmanship. But one thing that was unchanged was the love from my family, friends and old nexuses. I dropped in to the birthday of an old school friend and was able to re-connect to most of the old gang. Like me, they’ve moved on…but the old bonds are still there. So unlike what Tom Wolfe said, you CAN go back home.



week ending January 23, 2014 |


egastar Amitabh Bachchan says at 71 he finds dancing "incongruous", but nevertheless, he enjoys it only if the retakes are within "tolerable limits".

Amitabh was last seen on the silver screen in ‘Satyagraha’ and is currently shooting for his upcoming film ‘Bhootnath Returns’, a sequel to the 2008 horror comedy film ‘Bhootnath’. "It’s been a while, since I shook my body to dance on camera. Now at 71, it does seem incongruous. But truth be told, it's exceedingly enjoyable, so long as the number of takes are within tolerable limits," Big B posted on his blog. He also appreciated the work of choreographer Ganesh Acharya, and said that he is the "one that has created some of the most unusual moves in the movies, and the one whose dance moves look incredibly graceful, despite his enormous girth". Amitabh then said Acharya informed him that he was one of the group dancers in his 1990 film ‘Agneepath’ during the sequence where he takes Lord Ganesha for immersion. (TOI)

‘Will become a singer if I fail as an actress’ - Alia Bhatt


lia Bhatt, who has lent her voice to a song in her upcoming film ‘Highway’, says if she fails as an actress, she will turn to singing When director Imtiaz Ali asked her to croon a number in ‘Highway’, she jumped at the idea. "I am not a singer...I think I am a bathroom singer. When I was asked to sing, I was excited and thought of trying it (singing) out. A.R. Rahman sir was very patient with me. If I fail as an actress, I will become a singer," Alia told reporters. When the team of ‘Highway’ was travelling since it is a road movie, Alia would often sing Rahman’s song ‘Jiya Re Jiya’. That's when Imtiaz thought of exploring her singing talent. Music maestro A.R. Rahman told her to practice and that if she learns singing for two years, she could have her album. According to Alia, who is geared up for the highway journey in a deglam avatar with Randeep Hooda, both acting and singing are difficult.


and instead asked, "Am I dating him ?" Sometime back, the pictures of Ranbir Kapoor and his rumoured girlfriend Katrina Kaif were published by the magazine. And now Deepika's pho-

"I am just two films old when it comes to acting and it's my debut as a singer with ‘Highway’. For me both are difficult," she said. (TOI)

John Abraham wants to play with the Hockey India League team

ctor-producer John Abraham, who has bought a stake in the Hockey India League team


ctress Deepika Padukone, who has been romantically linked with her ‘Ram-Leela’ co-star Ranveer Singh, says that she is very much single. Apparently, Deepika, who turned 28 on January 5, spent her birthday with Ranveer and they were spotted together in New York. In an interview recently, she had denied rumours of a relationship with Ranveer, but evaded the question on the issue this time saying that all this talk is not true. When asked if she was single, she said, "Yes ...yes. You are happy (now)," she told reporters. Earlier, the actress sidestepped queries on Ranveer on filmmaker Karan Johar's chat show ‘Koffee with Karan’ when she was prodded about her supposed boyfriend

Delhi Waveriders, says he decided to become a co-owner as he wanted to be more than just a face and contribute to important team decisions. "Being just an actor and endorsing the team would mean just sitting in the dugout or probably in the stand wearing dark glasses or dancing to an item song. That's exactly I didn't want to do. I wanted to practice and play with the team, decide the strategy and pick players," the 41-year-old said. "The WAVE group approached me and said they want me to be a part of the Hockey India League and endorse the Delhi Waveriders. We both came to a conclusion that I need to co-own the team to run it and do more than just being a face," he added. John is also producing a film on football titled ‘1911’, which revolves around two popular football clubs Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. The film will be directed by Shoojit Sircar and goes on floors in October this year. (TOI)


ewcomer Daisy Shah, who is making her de-

but as Salman Khan's leading lady in forthcoming film ‘Jai Ho’,

tos with Ranveer are going viral, but the actress is not worried about the pictures getting published. "It doesn't matter as it is part of what I do. When the issue releases I will buy the copy to read it," she said. (TOI)

describes her co-star as an ‘emotional person’, who is often misunderstood as being ‘impulsive’. "He is a very wonderful human being and people think that he is very impulsive, and that he gets very angry. I would say that it's not his anger, but his love, which he wants to express because he is a very emotional person," the 28-year-old told reporters Saturday. Daisy was a background dancer until Salman spotted her. ‘Jai Ho’ is set to release Jan. 24. (TOI)


ctress Bipasha Basu, who is reportedly dating Harman Baweja, refused to speak on her relationship status, but said that she will have a typical Bengali wedding. "Whenever I get married it will be a Bengali wedding. If I won't have a Bengali wedding my mother won't come. She has warned me. So, I am going to have a Bengali wedding for sure," Bipasha, known for films like ‘Jism,’ ‘Corporate’ and ‘No Entry,’ told IANS. "But the only condition is that nobody will dance at my wedding, everybody will only exercise," added the 35-year-old, a fitness freak who has launched the third volume of her fitness DVD titled 'Unleash'. Her ex-beau John Abraham recently got married to Priya Runchal, an investment banker.

When asked about her views on John's wedding, she said: "I am not answering that." (TOI)


hollywood | week ending January 23, 2014



ollywood star Ryan Gosling says he never thought of pursing an acting career, but feels grateful for making a mark in the industry. The 33-year-old actor has starred in several hit movies like ‘The Notebook’, ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’, ‘The Place Beyond The Pines’ and ‘Gangster Squad’, reported Contactmusic. "I never thought about being a film star. But I came further than I ever thought. I have done incredibly well. I have had the same manager from the age of 14 and the same agent since I was 16," Gosling said. "Now I can repeat and work again

with the directors I like," he added. (TOI)

eira Knightly has admitted that she is tired of her characters dying in movies and she has now decided to take a "fun" part in ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’. She said that she got to the end of ‘Anna Karenina’ and realized that she had either been dying in every film or something horrific was happening to her character, the Mirror reported. The ‘Never Let Me Go’ star insisted that she wanted to do something where that didn't happen. Knightly added that her upcoming film is wonderful and a "totally pure Hollywood entertainment", which she fancied, and that her ‘Can A Song Save Your Life’ 'Laggies' are incredibly positive and fun. (TOI)

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson gifts housekeeper new car Julia Roberts still swoons over husband


wayne Johnson has bought his housekeeper Esperanza a new Ford Edge. The former WWE wrestler turned actor took to Twitter saying that for 10 years, she has cared after their home with the love of a mama and an eagle's eye, reported. He wrote on the micro blogging site that he just surprised her with a new ride, with a hashtag saying "we love you". (TOI)


ulia Roberts still swoons over her husband after 11 years of marriage. The ‘August: Osage County’ star


omedian Joan Rivers has called Kim Kardashian's daughter "ugly" on her show. The 80-year-old joked

about the seven-monthold North as part of her latest stand-up comedy. According to, Rivers told her audience: "That baby is

ugly...I've never seen a six-month-old so desperately in need of a waxing." When Kim first revealed a photo of her child on social media in mid-December, she was inundated by comments that she had waxed the baby's perfectly groomed brows. The 33-year-old then took to Twitter to defend North's appearance. River's joke is unlikely to go down well with Kim's fiancé, rapper Kanye West, who is very protective about his daughter. (TOI)


ctress Scarlett Johansson is in no hurry to tie the knot with fiancé Romain Dauriac. The ‘Her’ star got engaged to Dauriac, a journalist, in the summer of 2013, reported Digital Spy. "I'm busy planning ‘Avengers 2’ right now. That's my main focus. I've never been a big planning kind of person," she said. "I'd never share it with anybody, but I think more than anything, I feel really fortunate to have had this amazing year professionally. And I think when all that smoke settles I'll be able

‘I don't rate my talent’ - Jennifer Lawrence


scar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence does not think she is a good performer. The ‘American Hustle’ star always thinks she has "got away with it" when she gets a good review for her performances, reported Contactmusic. "I always feel like I'm pulling the wool over everyone's eyes about my acting. When I get good reviews I think 'Alright-got away with another one.' I watch my performance and I think,

C 'Yeah, it's sort of alright,' but then when I read the reviews I don't quite get what the big deal is, I really don't," she said. After a busy 2013, the

23-year-old beauty, who is believed to have reconciled with on-and-off boyfriend Nicholas Hoult, is hoping this year is much quieter so far. (TOI)

can't believe it's been over a decade since she wed cameraman Dany Moder---with whom she has nineyear-old twins Phinnaeus and Hazel and six-year-old Henry---and still feels as though the couple are in the Honeymoon phase. She said: ''11 years feels like 11 minutes. It's just gone by in the blink of an eye. It's really only all these kids in our house that show that a lot of time has gone by. Otherwise it feels like, you know, me buckling and swooning still.'' The 46-year-old screen icon has slowed down her career since becoming a mother and refuses to let her children watch her movies, including family film ‘Mirror, Mirror’, in which she plays an evil queen who bullies Snow White, played by Lily Collins. (TOI)

hat show host Oprah Winfrey will produce a new movie titled ‘Selma’, based on the life of Martin Luther King. The 59-year-old has confirmed she will help produce the upcoming film, which will see David Oyelowo, who played her son in ‘The Butler’, play the historical figure. The film tells the story of a group of black marchers who attempt to walk from Selma, Alabama, to nearby Montgomery in order to gain the right to vote in 1965. However, the protesters find themselves in the crosshairs of the police, reports Winfrey will co-produce the movie with Brad Pitt. (TOI)

to (plan)," she said. Johansson, 29, recently shifted to Paris with fiancé. (TOI)



week ending January 23, 2014 |

Book launched in observance of UG’s 50th anniversary - published by University of Guyana Guild of Graduates- Ontario, Canada


niversity of Guyana: Perspectives on the Early History’, a book compiled by former Vice Chancellors Harold A Drayton, Alan Earp and Dennis Irvine was launched last Thursday at the Umana Yana, Georgetown, as celebrations of the institution’s 50th anniversary continue. Speaking at the launch was Dr Paloma Mohamed, head of the Centre for Communications Studies and chairperson of the UG Central Planning Committee for the 50th anniversary. She said the university’s jubilee was a remarkable milestone,

not be what it is today, noting that much more improvements are in the pipeline.


Acting Vice-Chancellor Phillip Da Silva (centre), Guyana Prize for Literature Management Committee General Secretary Al Creighton another staff and member of the university at the launch at the Umana Yana in Georgetown

particularly for those who have worked tirelessly over the years to see the tertiary organisation flourish.


he King has no honour in his own country,” declares reigning TT’s Calypso Monarch Eric “Pink Panther” Taylor, lamenting what he sees as the poor treatment that continues to befall exponents of the artform in Trinidad and Tobago. Just weeks shy of his bid to retain the crown, Taylor, 53, believes that “monarchs in this country are not treated like monarchs” and called on the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Association (TUCO), the representative body for calypsonians, to take a stand on the issue. “TUCO has to lead this initiative. This is supposed to be the land of steelpan and calypso and the calypsonian continues to be disrespected by both the public and private sectors,” he said in a recent interview. His year-long reign as monarch, he said, brought into sharp focus the need for those in authority to do more to encourage a greater appreciation of the artform across the board. “The year 2013 was very nice because I got a lot of opportunities abroad and the people respected me. Overseas, they treat you like a monarch, but by the time you get to Piarco (International Airport), you realise it is back to basics and, imagine, you are back from representing your country as an ambassador. A national calypso monarch should be afforded certain privileges,” Taylor contended. He recalled that fellow calypsonian, Winston Henry (Explainer), had also noticed the disturbing trend when he sang, “Not Me And the Monarchy,” some years ago.

Overseas tours

Taylor, who toured several countries in the


he Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and MMGY Global presented the “Caribbean Hotelier of the Year” award to hospitality veteran George Markantonis, president and managing director, Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas at the annual Caribbean Travel Marketplace held recently in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Markantonis is the 34th recipient of this prestigious award, which is the highest professional honor bestowed in hotel and resort operations in the Caribbean. The award recognises excellence in all areas of operations, as well as a commitment to the training and development of staff, contributions to the community, and a demonstrated commitment to sound environmental practices. The award also acknowledges each recipient’s active role in both national and regional issues affecting Caribbean tourism.


In 2005, Markantonis assumed the leadership of Atlantis, Paradise Island as president and managing

Dr Mohamed said past and present students of the university should be proud. She stressed that without the significant

contributions of the past chancellors, vice-chancellors and lecturers, the university, which was established in 1963, would

Also speaking at the book launch was acting Vice-Chancellor Phillip Da Silva, who officially declared the book launched. In lauding the book, he said reading the stories written, “it’s like reliving a part of history.” Da Silva noted that the book, published by the University of Guyana Guild of Graduates, Ontario, Canada, contains a wide range of information on the University of Guyana that one can learn and share with others. He urged the gathering to vi-

cariously get a first-hand experience of the university and to take a deeper look from the inside rather than just the outside of the structures “and making assumptions”. With only 75 copies of the historical text available, persons were urged to visit the university’s library to get their copies at a cost of Gy$4000. The event was attended by staff and students of the university, and members of the diplomatic corps, among others. The book launch is among many activities planned for UG’s 50th anniversary. Celebrations will last one year, from October 2013 to October 2014. (Guyana Times)

Caribbean, North America and Europe during his reign this year, also observed that calypsonians were being sidelined when it came to advertising and promotional projects. “You ever see Pink Panther on a Digicel or BMobile advertisement. They will have Bunji (Garlin), Machel (Montano) and Dil-E-Nadan, but there is never a calypsonian,” he complained. Noting that he was omitted from the selection of artistes for Carifesta in Suriname last August, the veteran calypsonian contended that, as reigning monarch, he should have also been given the opportunity to attend the funeral of South-African antiapartheid icon Nelson Mandela, with the local contingent, last December. The fact that he was left out of the line-up to perform at last year’s Dimanche Gras show, mere days after his win, has also left a sour taste in his mouth. “I won the crown on the Thursday before the Dimanche Gras and I was not invited to perform. They keep saying that it was an oversight, but that is something I will never forget,” he vowed. After labouring in the calypso vineyards for more than three decades, Taylor finally won the National Calypso title, last year, with his tunes, “Travel Woes,” which dealt with the missteps of the People’s Partnership government and “Crying In The Chapel,” a song calling on Basil, the Angel of Death, to preserve the nation’s cultural icons. This year, the Sangre Grande bard said his selections will live up to its usual high standard. Saying he was pulling out all the stops to again win the crown, Taylor said he already had about eight songs. However, he is yet to decide which tunes he

will sing for the calypso monarch competition. (Excerpted from TT Newsday)

director and has overseen its rapid expansion into the iconic and most successful destination resort in the Caribbean. Atlantis boasts 8,000 employees and 3,400 rooms in six hotels, including the 1,100 room Cove and Reef hotels, a 100,000 square foot convention center, over 50 restaurants, bars and lounges, a 140 acre water theme park, two marinas, a variety of retail facilities and the largest casino in the Caribbean. Markantonis has orchestrated the introduction of innovative themed restaurant concepts such as Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grille, Nobu, Virgil’s Real Barbeque, and Todd English’s Olives. Many of the resort’s restaurants incorporate Bahamian cuisine in their menus. He has also implemented extensions of the resort’s gaming operations with poolside gaming, a state of the art sports betting facility, and mobile gaming. Under Markantonis’ leadership, Atlantis has also supported training and educational programmes for employees.

As vice chairman of the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, Markantonis has also helped guide several successful destination promotional activities. He has supported major promotional efforts directed at the growing Latin American market and increasing convention business from both sports and religious groups. In 2011, Markantonis was honoured as the Bahamas’ Hotelier of the Year, receiving the prestigious Cacique Award in recognition for his outstanding commitment to the industry and the further development of tourism in The Bahamas. Markantonis’ 35-year hospitality career began in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the Carlton Hotel, an international flagship of Westin Hotels and Resorts, where he started as a front desk clerk and was soon promoted to key management positions at other Westin properties in Texas, Florida and Canada. Markantonis has also held various positions at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and was recognized as Nevada’s Hotelier of the Year in 2004.

Eric 'Pink Panther' Taylor sings 'Crying In the Chapel,' during his second round performance at the Calypso Monarch finals at the Queen's Park Savannah in Portof-Spain in February 2013. (TT Newsday file photo)


feature | week ending January 23, 2014

Fifteen in quest for Guyana’s Chutney title F

ifteen chutney artistes are expected to create a whirlwind on January 25 at Bath Settlement Community Centre ground, West Coast Berbice as they vie not only for the coveted title of Chutney Monarch, but a place to represent Guyana at the International Chutney Soca Monarch in Trinidad and Tobago. The international competition is slated for February 15 at Skinner Park, San Fernando with at least 15 persons vying for TT$2 million and the title. The 15 talented artistes are all ready to compete for the first time on the West Coast of Berbice. The reigning chutney monarch, Roger Hinds, also called “Young Bill Rogers” will defend his title with his tune “Ge Me Mo Chutney”. The finalists include Pooran Seeraj with her tune “Under the Maaro”, Steven Ramphal with “Indian Queen”, while Joel Pharous also called “Prince JP” will dish out “Indian Drums”. Also entering the competition are two Aamir Khans; the first performing “GT and Trini Girls” while the second will perform his entry “Leave Me Alone”. Danny Bholaram also called “Dante” will be singing “Wedding Crasher” while Uuvin Sukho called Waterflow will be performing “Leh Me Talk to You” and Berbician, Bunty Singh is expected to get the crowd support with “Me Wife Quarelling”. Goonwattie Persaud will take to the stage with “Boy You are the One for Me”, while Paramdai Willi also called “Vanita Willi” will be performing “Tremble It”. Savitri Li aka “Lady P” will sing “Celebrate” with Fiona Singh performing “Blow”. Another Berbician, Haresh Singh entered the competition with “Chutney in Guyana” while Michelle Gobin will sing “Young Gal” and topping off the list is veteran Chutney Singer, Harvey Gobin with “Sangina Darling”. (Guyana Times)

Haresh Singh

Fiona Singh

Steven Ramphal

Bill Rogers

Harvey Gobin Prince JP

Vanita Walli

Star of the Week

Jonathan Foo


onathan Foo, born September 11, 1990, is among a rare breed of West Indies cricketers with Chinese descent. The young Guyanese all-rounder who hails from Berbice, a region which has produced household names such as Alvin Kallicharran and Rohan Kanhai, was one of the stars to emerge from the inaugural Caribbean T20. He helped Guyana snatch victory in the nailbiting final against Barbados, hitting a 17ball 42 under immense pressure. Foo had not appeared for Guyana at the highest level in any form before the tournament, thereby making him an unknown, and surprising, commodity to the opponents. A hard-hitting lower-order batsman and leg-spinner, Foo will be one of the stars to look out for. (ESPN Cricinfo)



week ending January 23, 2014 |

Jamaica’s bobsledders looking to make mark at Sochi Winter Olympics


truggling to contain his excitement, veteran captain and driver of Jamaica's Sochi 2014-bound bobsled team, Winston Watts, is hoping that the team's return to the Winter Olympics will inspire a new generation of bobsledders and breathe new life into a sport that has not always enjoyed the Jamaican spotlight. Watts also made it clear that the team will not be satisfied with simply making up numbers at the marquee winter sport event. "We are not going there to bring up the rear, I hate losing. We are all going there to work hard, and if we execute, you will see a good result," Watts said. The former army man came out of retirement to steer

Jamaica back into the Winter Olympics---a stage they have missed since 2002, following successive qualifications after the nation's historic appearance in Calgary in 1988--an appearance lionised by 1993 Disney comedy 'Cool Runnings'. The 46-year-old, who learnt of the team's qualification in the early hours of Monday, is hoping that their latest success will trigger greater support for the sport here.

Serous team

"In terms of impact, we want the business community to see that the Jamaica bobsled team is serious like other athletes are, and I would want them to come on board so that we can dominate the world like track and field. It can

Veteran captain and driver of Jamaica's Sochi 2014-bound bobsled team Winston Watts. (Jamaica Gleaner photo)

happen, we have the athletes, we just need the help," Watts told Jamaican media from his Evanston, Wyoming home and training base. "It's just a lot of emo-

tions," Watts continued. "The last qualification was in 2002, and I knew we didn't have the funding, and we have been going through this crisis for many years now. We really scraped through to qualify." He added: "As Jamaicans, we are dedicated to whatever we put our hearts to, and that is what myself and my teammates did with little or no funding, and we are all very emotional right now." The 1994, 1998 and 2002 Olympian, who shared that he was home when he heard the news of the team's qualification, said the other team members---Marvin Dixon, Wayne Blackwood and coach, Wayne Thomas---were all extremely excited about the qualification.

He also had a message to the team's millions of supporters across the world. "We won’t give up, and I would love for you guys to back us to the very end. We are diehearted like Usain Bolt and our other great Jamaican athletes, so we are there to do our best and represent Jamaica. It's a different sport, and it's very hard, but just bear with us and share in this with us," said Watts. The team is expected to arrive in Sochi on February 5 ahead of the February 7 Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics. The team will compete in the two-man bobsled competition, which will take place on February 19 and 20. (Jamaica Gleaner)

TT’s rugby men, women off to Las Vegas


he Trinidad and Tobago men and women national 7s rugby teams were scheduled to fly out to Las Vegas, USA on Wednesday to participate in the Las Vegas Invitational 7s rugby tournament from 23-25 January.

The Calypso Warriors are registered to play in the Las Vegas Invitational men and women Elite 7s division. This division is for national teams not in the IRB HSBC World Sevens Series tournament and top professional and select

sides from around the world. The TT women will battle with teams from Canada, Japan, France and the USA, while the men will face national teams from Belgium, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Cayman Islands and select sides from Canada

and USA. Kerchelle Hinkson, Mark Roberts and Aasan Lewis will make their international 7s rugby debut in Las Vegas. TT Rugby Football Union (TTRFU) president Leslie Figaro, said the Las Vegas Invitational is a pre-

mier tournament. He pointed out the invitational while separate from the prestigious IRB World Sevens Series USA 7s, is an excellent opportunity for the TT players. According to Figaro the TT players “will benefit no end” while

at the same time being able to watch the world’s best sevens players and national teams compete in the USA 7s--round four of the International Rugby Board (IRB) HSBC World Sevens series in Las Vegas. (TT Guardian)

Barnwell, Permaul only Guyanese in World T20 squad


he West Indies Cricket Board on Saturday announced the provisional 30-member squad for the ICC World T20 tournament in March and April. West Indies are the defending world champions in this format. They won the title with victory over Sri Lanka in the final at the R Premadasa Stadium back in October, 2012. The ICC World T20 will be played in Bangladesh from March 16 to April 6. The Windies will play

Veerasammy Permaul




round matches at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur. They open against India on March 23 and two days later take on one of the ICC Qualifiers. The third match will be against Australia on March 28, followed by a clash against Pakistan on April 1. The semi-finals are slated for April 3 and 4, with the grand final on April 6. Hard-hitting allrounder Christopher Barnwell and left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul are the only two

Guyanese in the 30-man squad. The squad reads: Christopher Barnwell, Sulieman Benn, Tino Best, Samuel Badree, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Kevon Cooper, Sheldon Cottrell, Fidel Edwards, Rayad Emrit, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Delorn Johnson, Nikita Miller, Sunil Narine, Ashley Nurse, Veerasammy Permaul, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell,

Christopher Barnwell

Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Krishmar Santokie, Lendl

Simmons, Dwayne Smith and Chadwick Walton. (WICB Media)

TT’s Kwesi Browne ninth at World Cup T rinidad and Tobago’s lone representative at the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico, Kwesi Browne, finished in a credible ninth place in the Men’s Keirin event on Saturday night. Browne, who made his debut at this leg of the World Cup series, rode valiantly to hold off some of the world’s best riders in this tightly contested event. After progressing through the opening rounds and winning his repechage heat,

the Arima Wheelers cyclist lined up against 2013 Olympic Keirin bronze medallist Simon van Velthooven (New Zealand), Benjamin Edelin (France), Lewis Oliva (Great Britain), Joachim Eilers (Germany) and Matthijs Bucli (Netherlands). However, the promising athlete was edged out on the line and then forced to face the starter in the 7-12 final, which rode off at 11.15 pm. In this race, Browne squared off against van Velthooven, Edward Dawkins (New Zealand),

Kwesi Browne. (TT Newsday file photo)

Francecso Ceci (Italy), Cristos Volikakis (Greece) and Benjamin Edelin (France). He went on to finish third in the 7-12 final and ninth place overall. Beating him to the line were Van Velhooven and Volikakis respectively. The effort was still highly commendable and impressive from the World Cup debutant. In the earlier stages, Browne placed fourth in Round One Heat Four and was forced to contest the repechage heat. The Round One

repechage saw Browne win his race and advance to the semi-finals. Sunday's proceedings in Guadalajara concluded the final of three legs of the 2013/ 2014 World Cup season, which began in Manchester, England, and continued in Aguascalientes, Mexico. The next major meet on the global track cycling calender will be the World Track Cycling Championships which rides off in Cali, Colombia, on February 26-March 2. (TT Newsday)


sport | week ending January 23, 2014

Canada-based Guyanese re-elected as president of Scarborough Cricket Association By Ravendra Madholall


anada-based Guyanese Deo Samaroo returns as president of the Scarborough Cricket Association (SCA) after being re-elected unopposed on Sunday when the Annual General Meeting was held at the Agincourt Community Centre. The Guyanese has been at the helm of the association for the past four years, and has assured that he and his executives will continue to work hard for the betterment of the game. Long-serving treasurer Vish Jadunauth has also committed to ensure rapid growth particularly with the addition of the T20 competition. Apart from Budhave Anandjit, who was vying for the presidency, but failed

Executives of the Scarborough Cricket Association (SCA) after their election on Sunday.

to challenge Samaroo, only Mahesh Raghuram did not seek re-election for his secretary position. Bisham Singh has been retained as the vice-

president. Eon Gunraj will serve in the capacity as the secretary now with Mohammed Ahmed as his assistant while Shiv Persaud is once again

the registrar/statistician and the veteran Richard Ramlall as the Public Relation Officer. The two ground coordinators are Usman Patel and Abdool Quddoos-Khan as the head and assistant respectively. Meanwhile, Jadunauth noted that the team of executives has been very proactive to ensure steady development of cricket in the Scarborough League. “I want to congratulate everyone for being elected again and Samaroo for retaining the position. We at the SCA have one thing in common, to promote the game and also to ensure we have good competitions and organisations. Yes, the guys had done well in 2013, but we [are] expecting to have a better year,” Jadunauth stated. Since the formation of the association, focus has been

predominantly on the 50, 40over and under-19 cricket, but Jadunauth announced that a T20 competition would be officially inaugurated this year. “We just want to keep improving in all aspects of the game and I think the T20 version will definitely see some good turnout of fans, and I am sure the players themselves will be glad to have this form of the game being introduced,” Jadunauth indicated. Last November, the association held its annual presentation and award ceremony at the Eastown Banquet Hall, where a large number of players received trophies, plaques and other incentives for their outstanding, individual performances, and according to Jadunauth, that was one of the SCA’s highlights as the association commemorated 33 years of existence.

Barbados’ junior surfers for world meet


welve of Barbados’ top juniors have been chosen to carry the flag at the International Surfing Association’s (ISA) World Junior Surfing Championships in Ecuador in April. And an executive member of the sport’s local governing body feels it’s the best team the island has put together in recent years. The eight boys and four girls represent a dash of youth mixed with international experience. Leading the field in the Under 18 division are Dane Mackie and Joshua Burke, both fresh off suc-

cessful overseas forays; Daniel Edghill who is no stranger to ISA surfing competitions and newcomer to the international stage Dylan Downie. The Under-16 boys also represent a strong tour de force with “veterans” of the international surfing scene Che Allan, Zander Venezia and Andrew Rose. Rounding out that field is another newcomer Lance Blades. The new faces in the girls’ divisions are Giselle Allan and Olivia Warden representing the Under 16 Girls and Roma Bellori and Gabriella Gittens in the Under 18 Girls. The reserve for

the Under 16 Boys is Caleb Rapson; Caelum Blanford is the reserve in the Under- 18 boys, while Jodie Burke is the reserve in both the Under-16 and Under-18 Girls. The surfers were chosen from points garnered from last year’s Surfer of the Year (SOTY) series. Treasurer of the Barbados Surfing Association Louis Venezia feels the 12 surfers represent the strongest team the island had fielded in recent times. “Our Under 16 team ranges from boys as young as 12 in Zander and the older boys are 14, so it’s a very young

team and it will give them some experience while, with our Under 18 team, all of those boys, with the exception of Dylan (Downie) have been to the World Games two or three times already so they have experience already,” Venezia told Barbadian media. “So it’s looking like it’s going to be a good team. Our kids are definitely making a mark around the world and we want to continue this on a world level,” he said, adding that the international experience would stand the surfers in good stead. When the team jour-

neys to Ecuador in April, the surfers will be competing against athletes from 27 surfing nations, including powerhouses United States, Hawaii and Australia. With hundreds of surfers expected to descend on the South American country, the organizers will run simultaneous heats from two different podiums. One of those podiums is long left point break, similar to Soup Bowl, while the other is a beach break reminiscent of Cattlewash, both in St Joseph. As a result training might be concentrated

on the East Coast, said Venezia. “Our kids are very, very good on point breaks because we have so many of them. It’s the beach breaks we need to train with,” he said, adding that emphasis would also be placed on physical training to prepare local surfers for the long left point break which can limit surfers to two waves a heat. Training is scheduled to begin in February and Venezia revealed the BSA was looking to raise sponsorship so it could fully fund the surfers to Ecuador. (Barbados Nations)

Guyana Amateur Boxing Association starts year on high note By Treiston Joseph


he Guyana Amateur Boxing Association (GABA) started the year with a knockout blow after successfully hosting a judges and referees programme on Sunday following a visit from International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) qualified referee/ judge James Beckles. The course, which lasted the duration of five days at the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) headquarters in Kingston, has made Guyana one of the first Caribbean countries to implement and train personnel to operate the new computerised 10-point system of AIBA, according to Beckles.

Among the first




the first Caribbean countries to have used and to have trained on this new computerised 10-point system. Countries such as Jamaica and Aruba are having difficulty with it and it is nice to know that your referees worked the system and got it correct,” Beckles stated. Guyana now has 14 qualified judges/referees and president of the GABA Steve Ninvalle was pleased with the success of the workshop. “Today I think boxing has scored a knockout in Guyana, it is very important we have such seminars because we need to widen our information base, we are also happy that every time we have such programmes [we] add to our females. “However, we need to make sure that we are constantly being fed in-



From left sitting, Steve Ninvalle, Neil Kumar, James Beckles and Shawn Richmond pose with all the participants of the course displaying the certificates (Treiston Joseph photo)

formation so that we can develop, so I want to congratulate all the participants on their success,” Ninvalle stated. Further, Ninvalle revealed that with the Goodwill games coming up, an invitation was sent to Cuban boxers to participate. He also invited Beckles to return for the Goodwill games scheduled for February 14.


Secretary of GABA Shawn Richmond at the final day of the seminar noted the relevance of Guyana learning the new system. “The relevance of this course is quite high because we are able to build capacity and brings us to a global capacity in boxing. “For us to reach the highest level in boxing

our referees/judges and boxers should be aware of high standards and with this I see a progressive onward movement,” Richmond mentioned. Director of Sport Neil Kumar, who has been in full support, believes that the programme will take Guyana to the next level, while revealing that GABA will be in for a new ring, as he congratulated the par-

Meanwhile Beckles issued a challenge to GABA to ignite the flames of the Caribbean Amateur Boxing Association (CABA) championships, which has been non-existent for four years. Participant of the course Elton Chase thanked Beckles for his knowledge and said he hoped that he (Beckles) would return soon. Beckles was presented with a plaque of appreciation from the participants by Romona Agard. Participants were Nicola Yhap, Paulette Nurse, Romona Agard, Leonard Wilson, Wayne Harris, Mark Drakes, Jermaine Craig, Eustace Cuffy, Colin Waddle, Marcelle Dainiels, Nigel Hope, Keith Norville, Richard Braithwaite and Elton Chase. (Guyana Times)



week ending January 23, 2014 |

Worries for WIBC

Guyanese trio – as ICC threatens Windies Test status aims for...


he West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) appears to have called an emergency meeting to discuss proposed changes to the International Cricket Council (ICC), which some officials in the region believe could have devastating consequences for West Indies cricket. The proposed changes are contained in a working paper for a revamped ICC, which will come before members as early as the quarterly meeting in Dubai on January 28 and 29. A WICB release said the board of directors met by teleconference and discussed the issue on Monday and were scheduled to reconvene, again by teleconference, Wednesday to continue the discussion. "We have not set the date for our next ordinary meeting, but an emergency meeting may be called," declared WICB director, Baldath Mahabir, in an earlier interview. "This is very seri-

A WICB release said the board of directors met by teleconference and discussed the issue on Monday.

ous as with West Indies playing second-tier cricket, we may lose interest among the fans and this could prove detrimental."

Two-tiered system

The WICB release lists the issues being discussed as ICC group structure governance, financial model, bilateral cricket and ICC events. The ICC working paper is proposing that Test cricket be played under a two-tiered system in which England, India and Australia will not be demoted, while teams like West Indies and New Zealand would find them-

selves in the second tier. "Anytime you have a situation where people are looking to divide and rule it could never be good. Looking at the proposals, this is a situation where power-broking and sharing will go to three of the members, and this cannot be healthy," said Mahabir, giving his personal view. "We are at a point where we need to expand the game, and bringing a model that is not inclusive would do damage to the sport down the road. This model would only lead to monopolising of the sport, and I cannot

see how this could be good for cricket." Another major recommendation is that the major power brokers of the revamped ICC be England, India and Australia. Former New Zealand captain, Martin Crowe, has criticised the proposals, arguing that it would not be good for West Indies who have been showing signs of returning to their glory days. "Cricket is cyclical, and to ask the West Indies to play second-tier cricket will be unfair. They had ruled the sport for quite a while and now, although they are not doing that, they have shown glimpses of getting back over the last year," Crowe told Cricinfo. "They have fallen away a bit over the last few months, but a nation that has done so much for cricket to suffer that fate now will be cruel. That is their national sport and to receive a blow like that would hurt the game in that region." (Jamaica Gleaner)

TT’s U-20 women praised for brave showing


rinidad and Tobago’s National Under 20 women’s team has been showered with praises after placing fourth in the 2014 Concacaf Under-20 Women’s Championship in the Cayman Islands on Sunday. President of the Republic, Anthony Carmona, and Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee have led tributes for an

outfit that was on the brink of becoming the first team to represent the Caribbean at the Fifa Under-20 Women’s World Cup. The Trinidadians were five minutes away from securing a 3-2 win against Costa Rica when an equaliser forced them into extra time which the Central Americans exploited to win 7- 3. President Carmona said the Under-20 women “displayed grit and

determination to become real contenders in the Cayman Islands qualification tournament.” The TT Soca Princesses led 3-1 at the half and seemed on course towards creating history after two first half goals from captain Anique Walker. Tim Kee said the women played hard and the defeat will give an indicator to the technical staff and coaches about what needs to be

done to ensure the team remains competitive in the future. The United States recorded a 4-0 win over Mexico to capture the Concacaf Women’s Under- 20 Championship for a third straight time. Both teams already had qualified for the Fifa U-20 World Cup and will be joined by Costa Rica for the event to be hosted in Canada this summer. (TT Guardian)

from back page

Gudakesh Motie

Tagenarine Chanderpaul

On the other hand, Motie said his expectations of the tour are high, as his aim is to use it to take his game to the next level. “I’m really looking forward to it, because bowling on different turfs will definitely help me to improve on my game and move to the next level,” he said. The three joined the rest of the squad on Tuesday in Barbados for a one-week camp at the Sagicor High Performance Centre, before departing for Dubai. The team will be led by Jamaican off-spinning all-rounder Ramaal Lewis, while vice-captain is Nicholas Pooran, the left-handed wicket-keeper/batsman from Trinidad and Tobago (TT). Head coach is Roddy Estwick.

Their opening preliminary match is against the Proteas on February 14 at the Dubai International Stadium. The second match is on February 16 against Zimbabwe at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, while the third game is two days later against the Canadians at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium Nursery Ground One. The full squad reads: Ramaal Lewis (Jamaica; captain), Nicholas Pooran (TT; vice-captain), Fabian Allen (Jamaica), Tagenarine Chanderpaul (Guyana), Bryan Charles (TT), Tristan Coleman (Jamaica), Jonathan Drakes (Barbados), Shimron Hetmeyer (Guyana), Jerome Jones (Barbados), Ray Jordan (Windward Islands), Brandon King (Jamaica), Preston McSween (Windward Islands), Marquino Mindley (Jamaica), Gudakesh Motie (Guyana) and Jeremy Solozano (TT). (Guyana Times)

Fixture and squads

This year’s tournament will feature 16 teams in four groups. The Windies have been drawn alongside South Africa, Zimbabwe and Canada in Group C.

Jamaica confirmed for International Goodwill boxing in Guyana


he Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) has revealed that Jamaica is the only county that has so far confirmed participation at the upcoming International Goodwill boxing championship, organised by the GBA in collaboration with the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA). Billed for February 14-16 at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, the three-day event is slated to attract boxers from Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and St Lucia. However, according to GBA president Steve Ninvalle, only Jamaica

and Guyana have confirmed their participation, while officials are awaiting word from their counterparts in Trinidad and Tobago and St Lucia. Ninvalle stated that boxers from Barbados were also invited to compete at the event, but they opted out since two competitions are billed around the same time on that island. The GBA boss indicated that each country was invited to produce a team of seven boxers, inclusive of one female to compete at the event. Ninvalle further divulged that the GBA will be using the event as

preparation for the country’s boxers who would be competing at the South American championship, which is slated for March in Chile. “Right now the Guyanese boxers are in training and they are expected to be encamped shortly,” Ninvalle said. The Jamaican team, which is expected to arrive in Guyana on February 13, comprises head coach Carl Grant, coach Godfrey Collins, lightweight Patrick Sahadeo, light welterweight Anthony Clarke, welterweight Kestna Davis and middleweight Michael Gardner. (Guyana Times)

President and head coach of Jamaica’s Racers Track Club Glen Mills (left), along with the club's most valuable asset, Usain Bolt, (centre) attending their annual thanksgiving church service at the Webster Memorial United Church on Half-Way-Tree Road in St Andrew Sunday. Sharing in the moment is general secretary and former principal of Camperdown High, Cynthia Cooke, as other members of the club look on. Bolt read a lesson and Mills brought greetings at the service. (Bryan Cummings/Jamaica Observer photo)

Sports is no longer our game, it’s our business


Guyanese trio aims for consistency during ICC U-19 World Cup

By Rajiv Bisnauth


hree emerging West Indies cricketers, opening batsmen Shimron Hetmyer and Tagenarine Chanderpaul and leftarm spinner Gudakesh Motie say consistency will be their main aim during International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 Cricket World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The three Guyanese are among the 15-member squad announced by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) on Saturday. They were part of the regional Under-19 side that played the Bangladesh Under-19 team in a seven-match one-day series in Guyana last October and also part of the team for the return series in Bangladesh. However, that series was shortcut after the WICB withdrew from the tour for safety and security reasons, following an explosion near the team hotel in Chittagong. Meanwhile, in interviews with Guyanese media, the players say they are elated with their selection,

Shimron Hetmeyer

adding that consistency will be their watchword during the tournament. “It is a great feeling to represent West Indies at a youth world cup. And all I am looking for is to stay focused and live up to the expectations,” Hetmyer said. A left-handed opener, Hetmyer who plies his trade with the Young Warriors Cricket Club in Berbice, added, “I want to use this tournament to develop my game; it’s a big step in my career, so I am looking forward to it.” Chanderpaul, who along with Motie was encamped with the national senior squad, preparing for the upcoming WICB’s NAGICO-sponsored Super50 competition starting next week, said he is looking forward to the tour. “I am thrilled to be named in the West Indies U-19 World Cup team; I am really looking forward to the series and want to make Guyana and the region proud,” said Chanderpaul. turn to page 31

Worries for WIBC – as ICC threatens Windies Test status

Jamaica’s bobsledders looking to make mark at Sochi Winter Olympics Page 29

President of the West Indies Cricket Board Inc. Dave Cameron.


(Jamaica Gleaner file photo)

he West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) appears to have called an emergency meeting to discuss proposed changes to the International Cricket Council (ICC), which some officials in the region believe could have devastating consequences for West Indies cricket. See full story on page 31

From left: Jamaican bobsled team members Wayne Blackwood, Marvin Dixon, and coach, Wayne Thomas, pose at the MorningStar Veggie Burger Bar in Park City, Utah on Monday as the team, bound for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, arrives at the Sundance Film Festival to raise funds for travel and equipment for their Olympic quest. (AP)

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