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A successful privatisation in Guyana: NEW GPC INC

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WEEK ENDING May 30, 2013

Caricom, U.S. seal deal to strengthen trade and investment ties

- after talks on deportation, illegal immigrants, trade

See story on page 5 U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, front left, Haiti's President Michel Martelly, front right, who's the current Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, centre, stand with other Caribbean leaders for a family photo during their meeting in St. Anns, Trinidad on Tuesday.

Page 3 Jamaica making changes to Trafficking in Persons Act

Peter Bunting

Guyana engages Page 12 Canadians to implement antismuggling markers on cigarettes, alcohol

Khurshid Sattaur


NEWS | week ending May 30, 2013

Barbados, Guyana to work on immigration issues B

arbados Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean, has acknowledged the need to work on immigration issues between Barbados and Guyana as an impetus to further deepen the ex-

isting bilateral relationship. She made this observation last Friday during a reception to mark the 47th Anniversary of Guyana's Independence held at its Consulate in Sefton Lodge, Brittons Hill, St. Michael.

Noting that the country had been able to solve a range of issues as they arose, Senator McClean said a special area of work needed to be undertaken at the Barbados-Guyana Joint Commission. "That pertains to the management of cooperation issues in the sphere of immigration on which a workable solution must be found. My ministry and the Consulate General, since its establishment here in July last year, have been in constant contact on immigration issues as they arise," Senator McClean pointed out. The foreign affairs minister further stated: "Like with all families and friends, relationships often suffer some strains. But, despite these, I believe that

Barbados’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, congratulates Consul General of the Republic of Guyana, Michael Brotherson, on 47 years of Independence last Friday night at a celebratory reception at the Consulate in St. Michael. (Barbados Advocate photo)

over the years, our countries have set an example to other countries on how bilateral relations between neighbours, should be conducted." Highlighting the positives in the bilateral relationship, Senator McClean alluded to the critical role played by Guyanese innovators and enterprises in the postIndependence development of the Barbadian private sector landscape. She contended that these investments had created an indelible mark on the country's development and singled out the achievements of Banks Breweries and Laparkan for special mention. She also mentioned the achievements of Barbadian businessman Sir Kyffin Simpson. "These are two companies with global reach of which both our countries can be proud. This is one

of the several features of the ties between our two countries. Today, we note Barbadian businessman Sir Kyffin Simpson, has made a major investment in Guyana. His 30,000 acre agricultural venture is about to harvest its first rice crop," Senator McClean underlined. The foreign affairs minister expressed the hope that the existing relationship would "continue to grow and strengthen and that together, we will continue to seize opportunities on issues of mutual concern to the benefit of our people". In attendance at the Independence event were members of the Barbadian Cabinet, members of the diplomatic and consular corps, Guyanese expatriates and other specially invited guests, who were welcomed by their host,

Consul General Michael Brotherson. In his remarks, Brotherson also made mention of immigration issues as he spoke on Guyana’s progress in the 47 years since its Independence. “Guyana is a passionate advocate for the merits of Caribbean integration, as well as the consolidation of the Single Market, especially those provisions and procedures that relate to the free movement of people,” he noted. Other areas of priority for Guyana were highlighted as food and energy security and sustainable development, including climate change, with Brotherson noting that Guyana has been recognised internationally as an advocate against the global effects of climate change. (Barbados Advocate)

COTED discusses single Caricom airspace


nhanced cooperation among regional airlines and the feasibility of providing a fast ferry service in the community to boost transportation were among the main topics Caribbean Community (Caricom) transport ministers discussed on Wednesday in St Vincent and the Grenadines. According to a release from the Caricom Secretariat, discussions were held during a special meeting of the Council of Trade and Economic Development

(COTED) on transportation which was mandated by the conference of heads of government at the 24th inter-sessional meeting held in Haiti in February. The ministerial session, which was preceded by a preparatory oneday meeting of officials, included discussions on a strategic transportation plan, as well as transportation for agriculture produce. The ministers also deliberated on the feasibility of a single airspace in Caricom, and sought agreement on a new

Caricom Multilateral Air Services Agreement. The Advanced Air Passenger System (APIS) was also discussed. In addition, the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS) reported to the day-long meeting on several matters. The recommendations of the special COTED meeting will be presented to the Caricom heads of government when they meet in Trinidad and Tobago at which a session would be devoted to transportation.



week ending May 30, 2013 |

Jamaica making changes to Trafficking in Persons Act T he Parliament of Jamaica is expected to make a number of changes to the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) Act this week. The bill, tabled by Minister of National Security Peter Bunting, is aimed at making the current Act more effective and consistent with Jamaica's international obligations under the United Nations' Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime (also known as the Palermo Protocol). According to the Bill's "memorandum of objects and reasons", the current Act is regarded as being fully compliant and consistent with international and United Nations' standards set by the Palermo Protocol. However, over the years, differences have emerged between the requirements of the Palermo Protocol, which is the approach taken by Jamaica, and the approach taken by "State parties" in their Country Report on Jamaica. As a result, the Act has been reviewed in order to make it more effec-

in sentencing a convicted person for an offence of trafficking in person, to take into account the aggravating circumstances stipulated therein, which resulted from the actions of the convicted person. These would include circumstances where the

Jamaica’s National Security Minister Peter Bunting tabled the bill to amend the country’s TIP Act

tive and consistent with Jamaica's international obligations. In addition, the Cabinet approved a number of other activities late last year, including revising the national plan of action for combating trafficking in persons, which will guide its response up to 2015. Cabinet also approved the establishment of a dedicated co-ordinating unit within the Ministry of Justice, and contracting an officer to carry out the tasks of the unit, as interim measures, as well as the amendments contained in the new Bill. The new Bill, for example, seeks to expand the definition of "exploitation", an element of the offence of traffick-

ing in persons, to include circumstances where a person is kept in bondage. Debt bondage in the Act refers to the status or condition of a debtor arising from a pledge, or the use by the debtor of his personal services or those of the persons under his control as a security for debt. In addition to increasing the penalties for the offences relating to trafficking in persons, the Bill also provides for a new offence of conspiracy to commit trafficking in persons, which is punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 20 years, or to both a fine and imprisonment. There is also a provision allowing the court,

convicted person has been previously convicted for an offence under the Act, or where he used, threatened to use or caused another person to use or threatened to use an offensive weapon, an explosive or a biological or chemical agent.

The provision regarding restitution in the Act will also be modified, to allow for restitution to be dealt with in the same criminal proceedings in which the person is convicted of an offence under the Act. (Jamaica Observer)


Views | week ending May 30, 2013

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In observance of Guyana’s 47th Independence anniversary, these little pupils of St Gabriel’s Nursery school dressed up in cultural wear to celebrate


Caribbean economies Nested paradigms must diversify or perish G – Dr Singh tells CDB forum

uyana’s very erudite and hard-working Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh recently delivered to the Caribbean Development Bank, a stirring defence of the proposition that the Caribbean must “diversify or perish”. Over the years, the Caribbean has had several other economic strategies suggested to us by the global financial organisations, ranging from the vent for surplus and capital deficit through the import substitution programme and finally the one it is finally enmeshed within – neoliberalism. Unless we factor in the impact of the ideological premises, the Caribbean local efforts can be subverted to our cost. The present crisis in the developed economies, which has crippled the Caribbean tourism industry, is rooted in the neoliberal economic paradigm that has guided economic policy since the late 1970s. Before this, after World War II, the economies of the U.S., Western Europe, Japan and Brazil, among others, were characterised by a “virtuous circle” Keynesian model built on full employment and wage growth tied to productivity growth. Productivity growth drove wage growth, which in turn fuelled demand growth and created full employment. That provided an incentive for investment, which drove further productivity growth and supported higher wages. Guyana, of course, chose to buck the above economic model that was followed by most of the Caribbean countries and devised the disastrous “cooperative socialist” model. After 1980, the virtuous circle Keynesian model was replaced by a neoliberal growth model that severed the link between wages and productivity growth and created a new economic dynamic. Before 1980, wages were the engine of U.S. demand growth. After 1980, debt and asset price inflation became the engine. The new model was rooted in neoliberal economics and can be described as a neoliberal policy box that fences workers in and pressures them from all sides. Corporate globalisation put workers in international competition via global production networks supported by free trade agreements and capital mobility. The “small” government agenda attacked the legitimacy of government and pushed for deregulation regardless of dangers. The labour market flexibility agenda abandoned the goal of full employments and consequently created employment insecurity. This model was implemented on a global basis, in both North and South, which multiplied its impact. The Washington Consensus which was enforced in Latin America, including Guyana (1989), Africa, and former communist countries by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank by making financial assistance conditional on adopting neoliberal policies. The new model created a growing “demand gap” by gradually undermining the income and demand generation process. The role of finance was to fill that gap. Within the U.S., deregulation, financial innovation, and speculation enabled finance to fill the demand gap by lending to consumers and spurring asset price inflation. U.S. consumers in turn filled the global demand gap. Luckily, this has not fully developed in the Caribbean as yet, with some notable exceptions. The policymakers in Guyana and the Caribbean have to be very careful as to what their policy response to the different perspectives will be. They could take the strong neoliberal position and further deregulate financial and labour markets; deepen central bank independence and the commitment to low inflation; and further limiting government via fiscal austerity. A watered down response might be to tighten financial regulation, but continue with all other aspects of the existing neoliberal policy paradigm. That means continued support for corporate globalisation, labour market flexibility, low inflation targeting, and fiscal austerity. A more radical approach would be to overthrow the neoliberal paradigm and replace it with a “structural Keynesian” paradigm that repacks the policy box and restores the link between wage and productivity growth. The goal would be to ensure that corporations and financial markets are regulated so that they are made to serve the broader public interest. That requires replacing corporate globalisation with managed globalisation, such as capital controls; restoring commitment to full employment; replacing the neoliberal anti-government agenda with a social democratic government agenda; and replacing the neoliberal labour market flexibility with a solidarity-based labour market agenda.


he Caribbean will remain vulnerable to external shocks if countries do not diversify their economies, Guyana’s Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh told governors at the Caribbean Development Bank’s annual general meeting, held recently in St Lucia. Singh said, as has been the case in recent years, the region mirrored the multi-speed performance, with Caribbean commodity exporters growing by 3.4 per cent in 2012 and projected to grow by 3.6 per cent in 2013, while tourism dependent Caribbean economies grew by 0.3 per cent in 2012 and are projected to grow by 1.2 per cent in 2013.


“As I have stated elsewhere, this striking dichotomy is reflective of the under-diversification of our region’s individual economies and the under- integration of the regional economy as a whole. Until these failures are resolved, our region’s vulnerability will remain chronic,” Dr Singh told the meeting. He said a review of recent global economic developments renders limited basis for optimism regarding the external environment in which we operate, relative to one year ago. The global economy grew by 3.2 per cent in 2012 and is projected to grow by 3.3 per cent in 2013. Underlying this, is growth of 1.2 per cent in the advanced economies in both years of interest, and growth of 5.1 per cent and 5.3 per cent in the emerging and developing economies in the two years respectively. Within the advanced economies themselves, the return to growth has been progressing at similarly asymmetric speeds, with modest growth in the United States and Japan contrasting with lingering contraction in the Euro area. Importantly for the Caribbean, the minister said the global outlook continues to be characterised by significant down side risks and conditions that

have adverse implications for small vulnerable economies such as the region, including persistent unemployment, faltering consumer and business confidence, and unpredictable commodity markets.


Turning his attention to Guyana, Dr Singh said this country has been endeavouring an aggressive approach to accelerating economic diversification and building greater resilience, with significant returns emerging from these efforts. “Gone are the days when our heavy dependence on the traditional products, sugar, rice and bauxite, left our economic fortunes to the vagaries and vicissitudes of these industries. Today, buoyant activity in mineral exploration and extraction, agricultural diversification, information and communications technology, construction and financial services, and adventure tourism, all form the basis for a broader-based and more resilient Guyanese economy.” In addition, he said aggressive efforts at migrating from dependence on fossil fuels to reliance on hydropower to meet the needs of the national electricity grid with increased generation capacity and improved reliability and affordability, establishing a framework within which the vast and pristine standing forests can be and are remunerated for the invaluable global environmental services they provide, along with cementing closer physical and economic integration with Guyana’s hemispheric neighbours including Brazil, all augur well for the medium and long term outlook for the country. “Mr Chairman, as a result of this dedicated focus, Guyana was able to record a seventh consecutive year of positive economic growth, with real gross domestic product expanding by 4.8 per cent in 2012.”

Banking system

He highlighted that credit by the banking system to the private sector grew by 20 per cent, the weighted average lending rate of the commercial banks declined by 60 basis points, the exchange rate remained stable, and inflation was contained to 3.5 per cent. The finance minister said the progress made in Guyana in strengthening the economy and improving key social indicators is not accidental, but instead is the result of a deliberate policy stance, exercising responsible choices when confronted with testing policy options, sustained implementation in oftentimes challenging circumstances, and the strong support of our development partners. Foremost amongst these, he said was the CDB, which continues to prove its worth as a reliable partner in Guyana’s development efforts, with investments “in our country’s physical infrastructure and education sectors featuring prominently in the bank’s portfolio in Guyana”.

Physical infrastructure

He noted that in the area of physical infrastructure, the bank approved last year a US$34 million loan to finance the rehabilitation of the West Coast Demerara Road; a major highway linking large residential, commercial, and agricultural communities. Incidentally, this was the single largest project approved by the bank in 2012. In addition, the US$16 million loan to finance improvement of community roads in several coastal villages is currently in an advanced stage of implementation and will significantly improve living conditions in the targeted villages. In education, the completion and bringing into operation of two new technical and vocational education training (TVET) centres under the US$7 million TVET project last year have already resulted to date in 390 young men and women commencing training courses, at least 50 per cent of whom will complete their training this year and immediately enter the workforce.



week ending May 30, 2013 |

Caricom, U.S. seal deal to strengthen trade and investment ties U

nited States VicePresident Joe Biden diplomatically described his discussions with Caricom leaders as “completely open, completely frank and completely straightforward”. Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar confessed that at times, it became “brutal”. Both leaders, along with current Caricom chairman President of Haiti Michel Martelly, made statements at the end of a 90-minute discussion between Biden and Caricom leaders at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Trinidad on Tuesday. There was the signing of a trade and investment agreement at the end of the talks. Persad-Bissessar said while there may be some who were of the view that the US was no longer interested in the Caribbean region, “the very fact that Vice President Biden is here in the region is testimony to the fact that the US remains a very strong ally of Caricom and we will continue to

- after talks on deportation, illegal immigrants, trade

be partners together in the development of the region.” Biden said he was in the region because President Obama wanted him to have a dialogue with regional leaders and because the US wants to become more deeply invested in partnership with all the nations of the Caribbean. “Our search for growth, jobs, affordable supplies of energy, our fight against transnational crime and the protection of our climate and the environment— all of these issues have no respect for borders and they affect all of our borders,” Biden said. He said both himself and Obama were aware that small island, nation states faced special difficulties as the cost of doing business can be higher and goods are more expensive. “And so through the Caribbean Basin Initiative, we eliminated tariffs on 85 per cent of your goods and now we are looking for additional ways— and you discussed some of them with me today—

Chairman of Caricom and President of Haiti Michel Martelly confirms the deal with United States Vice President Joe Biden while TT’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar looks on

to help create growth and diversity in the economies of the Caribbean,” Biden said. One of the ways the US is looking to create growth in the region is through the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement that Biden and Martelly signed Tuesday. Biden described the agreement as a vehicle to overcome “special, specific, practi-

cal barriers to trade and investment,” adding that the joint goal of Caricom and the US was not only growth, but growth that reaches everyone. The agreement would serve as a mechanism for the two sides to develop practical strategies on a wide range of trade, investment and economic cooperation issues, a Caricom Secretariat release stated.

Aside from trade, the talks focused on immigration matters. Biden said 3.6 million people living in the US are part of a hardworking diaspora who send US$8 billion in remittances back to their home countries in the Caribbean. He said the US government was enabling the 11 million undocumented (illegal) residents (from all over the world) “who live in fear” to “come out of the shadows” and be afforded the dignity they deserve. Biden said America needed its Caribbean friends. “Affording you people, who live in my country, respect, is part of how we will show respect for you. “We need you! And I hope you would find a place in your hearts, and your economics and your quest for civilisation that we can play a part in,” he said. In a reference to the problems being experienced by Caribbean rum producers on the US market, Martelly said

Caricom stressed the importance of trade being conducted on a level playing field and with respect for the rules established by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). He said Caricom asked the US to address, “in a sympathetic manner”, the region’s concern with respect to rum and Internet gaming. Martelly said Caricom pointed to the need for the US to use its influence on the multilateral financial institutions, to encourage a review of the decreasing access to concessional financing being experienced by Caricom countries categorised as middle-income. On the topical issue of deportees and immigration, he said there were repeated pleas for increased information and intelligence-sharing, with respect to criminal deportees. Martelly said on the issue of the US to reform its immigration policies, regional heads called for greater consideration for family unification.


News | week ending May 30, 2013

Canada-based Guyanese celebrate 47th Independence anniversary in Toronto By Ravendra Madholall


s scores of Guyanese living in Canada turned out on Saturday evening at the Elite Banquet Hall and Convention Centre in Toronto to commemorate the country’s 47th Independence Anniversary, Guyana’s High Commissioner to Canada Harry Narine Nawbatt reflected on the country’s rich history and progress marked over the years. Noting the event

as ‘a milestone for Guyana’, which gained Independence in 1966, Nawbatt said it was a very important occasion for Guyanese from around the globe to reflect on the country’s history and achievements. “As we congratulate ourselves on the occasion of Guyana’s 47th anniversary of independence, it is essential that we reflect on our past, our achievements, our successes, our failures, where our country is at present as well as its fu-

Guyana’s High Commissioner to Canada Harry Narine Nawbatt addressing the gathering in Toronto

ture,” he said. Nawbatt noted that ancestors brought from Africa, India, China and Europe all worked along with the original inhabitants of Guyana, the Amerindians, to achieve the status of an independent state. “They struggled both during colonialism and after, for us to achieve a better standard of life,” he said adding that, “Guyana has, over the past 47 years been able to build on those struggles and has created op-

portunities in almost all areas of our social, political and economic life.” Nawbatt highlighted that Guyanese in Canada have, at the individual level and through their respective associations, contributed tremendously to the developments of their native country, for which he expressed great admiration and gratitude. He also read a message from Guyana’s longserving Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, who Nawbatt said, wanted to congratulate Guyanese,

organised as part of the Guyana Independence Festival, will be enthusiastically supported. Guyana’s Honorary Consul General to Canada Sattie Sawh, in her remarks, expressed similar sentiments. “It [is] my honour to bring greetings to all Guyanese on the glorious occasion of Guyana’s 47th anniversary of the achievement of independence; our country is celebrating this milestone, we cannot help but reflect, recognize and rededicate,” Sawh stated,

a plaque for his contribution over the years. Oswald Reece, who has served in the Guyana Independence Festival Committee as ‘Sarge’ after migrating to Canada in 1970, and former Toronto Police Officer Elbert Ross, who has been living in Canada since 1971, were also recognised. Kris Sawh, a cricket supporter in Toronto, who came to Canada in 1971, was recognised for his contribution to the Independence Festival Cup over the years.

Guyana’s Honorary Consul General to Canada Sattie Sawh and others at the event (Photos courtesy of Bobby Ramlagan)

both living abroad and those at home, for achieving the unprecedented landmark, which is a manifestation of citizens’ continued hard work and commitment. Guyana’s Head of State Donald Ramotar also sent a congratulatory message to the Guyanese community in Toronto and expressed confidence that the gala affair, along with the activities that are being

adding that, “we reflect on the contributions of our fore parents to the establishment and development of our homeland and their efforts to maintain and accelerate our national progress.” The event included a raffle and presentation of recognition awards which took place before the toasting of champagne at midnight as businessman Albert Ramcharran was given

Former Consul General Dhanny Doobay collected a plaque too for his outstanding work during his time in service. Meanwhile, several outstanding Guyanese dignitaries were on hand to be part of the celebration and they were joined by Barbados Consul General Ferdinand Gill and Michael Willius, St. Lucia’s Consul General to Canada.

Barbados gov’t to hold national consultation on economy


he Barbados government says it will host a national consultation on the local economy next month. Prime Minister Freundel Stuart urged the various stakeholders including the private sector and the trade union movement to be prepared for the June 28 discussion so as to ensure its success. Last month, the Central Bank of Barbados announced that the local economy had contracted by 0.4 per cent in the first three months of 2013 and urged the authorities to put “back on track” the fiscal consolidation strategy as well as a new medium term adjustment strategy to turn around the island’s economic fortunes. In its review of the Barbados economic performance for the first quarter of this year, the

Central bank said that on current trends there may be no real increase in the contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) from the tourism or international business sectors in 2013. It said that the forecasts for the rest of the economy are no better, with overall GDP expected to be virtually flat. Stuart, who addressed a meeting of the full Social Partnership, said it had served Barbados well over the past 20 years and had justified its existence. “In the absence of that kind of understanding and cooperation, I think the mountains which we have been called upon to climb would have been much more difficult to climb. We do not know when what we are going through will come to an end and we certainly cannot fold our arms de-

spairingly and just decide to wait it out. “We have to continue to battle our challenges and to try to come up with solutions to our problems,” he said, praising the work of the Social Partnership over the past two decades. He said when the Social Partnership was conceived in the early 1990s, it challenged people’s innovative instincts, their initiatives and selfreliance. “And, I suspect that we have to challenge those same instincts again because as we have had to acknowledge here in Barbados over and over again, nobody anywhere else in the world owes us a living, but we have a duty to live and survive on our little rock as best we can,” the prime minister stated. (Excerpt from Antigua Observer)



week ending May 30, 2013 |

CIOG honours top Islamic official in Guyana T

he Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG) President Fazeel Ferouz on Tuesday honoured Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) General Secretary Dr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who is currently on a visit to Guyana. Ferouz presented Dr Ihsanoglu with an award following his arrival in Guyana. The award was presented at the CIOG’s headquarters in Woolford Avenue, Georgetown. Dr Ihsanoglu is accompanied by a five-member delegation, which includes his wife, Fusun Ihsanoglu. Meanwhile, a release from the Foreign Affairs Ministry stated that, as part of his visit, Dr Ihsanoglu will pay courtesy calls on President Donald Ramotar, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett. Following a meeting with the president, the secretary general will be presented with a plaque

in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the OIC during his tenure. The secretary general will also meet with CIOG representatives and will have an interactive session with representatives of the Interfaith Community in Guyana. Dr Ihsanoglu, of Turkey, is the first democratically-elected secretary general of the OIC. He was re-elected for a second term of office in 2008. Since he took the office as the ninth secretary general in January 2005, he has taken serious steps to make the 57-member organisation a more effective body. Dr Ihsanoglu is known for his contributions to scholarly debates on inter-cultural dialogues and, with his institutional and personal initiatives, he has earned recognition at intellectual circles as a leading contributor to rapprochement among various cultures, particularly between the Muslim and Western worlds. Guyana was first

President of the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG), Haji Fazeel Ferouz presents an award to the visiting General Secretary of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu at a dinner hosted in his honour at the CIOG headquarters on Tuesday. Also present were former President Bharrat Jagdeo, Ministers Irfaan Ali and Dr Frank Anthony Member of Parliament Manzoor Nadir, and senior CIOG and OIC officials

granted observer status within the OIC on September 27, 1995 and became a member on October 1, 1998. Guyana and Suriname are the

only two countries in the Caribbean Community (Caricom) which are members of the OIC. Dr Ihsanoglu recently concluded a historic first vis-

it to Suriname to bring that country into the fold of cooperation under the OIC projects, particularly in the field of economic development. The CIOG

said it hopes that the visit to Guyana would help strengthen the bilateral relationship between the OIC and the country. The OIC is one of the world’s largest intergovernmental bodies involved in the promotion of global peace and harmony. It is a multilateral organisation of 57 countries from mainly Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The OIC includes many rich nations such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Brunei Darussalam, Gabon, Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia. The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is an organ of the OIC of which Suriname is also a member. Guyana’s ambassador to the OIC, Dr Odeen Ishmael said the visit of the OIC secretary general to Guyana is of great significance since it will place Guyana in the spotlight in all the member states of the organisation.

Toronto-based alumni associations of Guyana team up to boost membership, contributions financial donations to Canadian charities. The combined dollar value of their contributions to their alma maters since establishment total approximately Cdn$1.4 million in revenue derived from fundraising activities. “The pursuit of fundraising and non-fundraising activities of the associations helps to fos-


St. Stanislaus College in Guyana (Torontosaints photo)

he alumni associations of Bishops’ High School, St. Joseph’s High School, St. Rose’s High School, St. Stanislaus College and Queen’s College, all Guyanese secondary institutions, have teamed up to address membership growth and increased involvement by alumni. The associations have embarked on several joint strategies to meet this challenge and are encouraged by the success of their annual ‘Last Lap Lime’ event, a collaborative effort over the last 17 years. A joint press statement from the associations, reported that

new members to the associations will become part of the networks of friendship and personal support and join the efforts of fellow alumni in “giving back” to their alma maters, helping to make a difference in the lives of the children of Guyana.” It added that, “alumni newcomers to Canada will further benefit from interacting with professional alumni who can offer advice on settlement, the job market, employment and networking opportunities.” Over the past 20 years, these five associations have made invaluable contributions

to their alma maters to ensure continued high standards of excellence for which they are renowned. Many forms of assistance have been provided, such as educational books, computers, audio and musical equipment, classroom furniture, mentoring and personal support programmes. Some of the associations also offer scholarships and bursaries for children and grandchildren of their alumni who are undertaking postsecondary education in Canadian and similar institutions in other countries. In addition, the associations make annual

ter a sense of meaningful participation and a spirit of camaraderie among their alumni members,” the release stated. “The assistance to their alma maters and students is attributed mostly to the selfless and tireless efforts of a core group of die-hard, aging members who serve from year-to-year on the executive com-

mittees that plan and implement activities in support of this worthy cause,” it added. Looking to the future, the associations need more alumni to become actively involved in carrying on the work and enriching the contributions made to their alma maters. The associations also welcome new members.


News | week ending May 30, 2013

Grenada amends laws outlawing U.S. vessels to help Caribbean’s crime fight terrorist organisations

US Vice President Joe Biden, and TT’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar each hold a tenor pan stick, possibly planning which tune they should play either Ludwig van Beethoven’s ‘Minuet in G’, or Handel’s ‘Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah’. They looked pleased as punch exhibiting their pan sticks.


rinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar Tuesday announced moves which could see the United States supply de-commissioned naval vessels, as she affirmed the Caricom region’s commitment to relations with that country. “There is an offer from the United States with respect to naval vessels that are being de-commissioned and we are being asked to attend to on-site to see some of these vessels, to see whether they will be able assist us in Trinidad and Tobago or in the Eastern Caribbean,” PersadBissessar announced, addressing reporters at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s at a joint briefing with US Vice President Joe Biden and Haiti President Michel Martelly, the outgoing chairman of Caricom. On any other discussions which may have taken place in relation to regional security, Persad-Bissesar said, “At the moment, we are looking at several options in that regard and

we will share more with you at a later point.” In opening remarks for talks between Caricom and the US, Persad-Bissessar called on the US to sign the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) of the United Nations. “The harsh statistic is that 70 percent of homicides in our region are committed with illegal guns, which makes this treaty of particular significance,” she said. “The Treaty would be open for signatures and ratification next week – June 2, 2013 – at the UN General Assembly and will enter into force after it has been ratified by 50 States. We urge the US to support this treaty and use its influence to promote the signing, ratification and implementation of the treaty as well as providing technical and other resources to assist Caricom member states in the implementation of the treaty.” She also called for continued support on regional security initiatives such as the development of a Regional Counter Illicit

Trafficking Strategy; Caricom’s Crime and Security Strategy and the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CSBI). “We trust that in our deliberations today we would seek to have our ally, the United States of America, reiterate its firm support for our regional security initiatives,” she said. The issue of criminal deportees was also raised. “Colleagues as I close, I note another particularly important issue – that of criminal deportees,” Persad-Bissessar said. “We believe that ... be an increased focus should be placed on improved information and intelligence sharing with respect to criminal deportees, in particular access to complete dossiers on medical and criminal history.” Persad-Bissessar, who will assume the chairmanship of Caricom later this year, re-committed the region to the United States. “We too from the Caricom, rededicate and recommit,” she said. “We will continue to partner with the United States for the development of our countries and indeed of those in the region. Please take our greetings to your president and the people of the United States. We will continue to work with you. We look further to partnership in new areas.” The prime minister noted Biden had given a commitment to assist on information communications technology. “If we do not connect now, then we will never connect. We look forward to your assistance in that regard especially,” she said. (Excerpt from TT Newsday)

14-year-old Trinidad schoolboy stabbed to death over schoolgirl


he National Parent Teachers’ Association (NPTA) in Trinidad and Tobago has called for a “thorough investigation” into the death of a 14-year-old schoolboy, who was stabbed by a fellow student during a fight allegedly over a schoolgirl. “This is a police matter and we are calling for a thorough investigation. The suspect should feel the brunt of the law, because we need to send a message to our young people. There should be zero tol-

erance to violence and murder in schools,” said NPTA president Zeena Ramatali. Police have detained a 16-year-old fifth form schoolboy, who was due to write his Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) History exam on Monday, after 14-yearold Renaldo Dixon later succumbed to four stab wounds he received in the presence of his friends at the Waterloo Secondary School, in Central Trinidad. Another pupil, who tried to separate the two students, was cut on the

neck and treated. Media reports said that the fight was over a 13-yearold female, who is also a student at the school. Dixon’s mother, Camille Taitt, said her son was stabbed twice in the back, his wrist and abdomen. “The stab that doctors believed killed him was one in the left side of his back which is four inches deep,” she told reporters. She said her son, who would have celebrated his birthday in October, wanted to become an architect.


he Grenada parliament has approved an amendment to existing terrorism legislation so as to confiscate the assets of anyone once the attorney general is of the belief the asset was gained through terrorist activities. Previously, law enforcement authorities had to prove that the asset was directly linked to a terrorist group or gain through the group. “This amendment to the law has broader in scope to ensure that persons who assist, especially in the area of financial transactions, also have their assets be frozen,” said Gregory Bowen,

Grenada's PM Dr Keith Mitchell

leader of government business, as legislators approved of the amendment on Tuesday. Bowen said that the

Keith Mitchell government will also be outlawing a number of known terrorist organisations including Al-Qaeda; the Egyptian Islamic Jihad; Armed Islamic Group; the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam; Abu Nidal Organisation and Islamic Army of Aden. Under the legislation, a ‘terrorist act’ is defined as the use or threat designed to influence a government or an international organisation or to intimidate the public or a section of the public. It also notes the use of threat made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause. (CMC)

Clico probe cost TT$96 million


TT’s Attorney General Anand Ramlogan (TT Newsday photo)

he Clico probe, in the form of a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) has cost Trinidad and Tobago a staggering TT$96 million while the 1990 Attempted Coup CoI, which is ongoing, has so far cost more than TT$31 million. These figures were revealed Tuesday by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan as he responded to written questions in the Senate at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre in Port-of-Spain. The Opposition PNM, in its supplemental questions, targeted Coup inquiry commissioner Hafizool Ali-Mohammed

and questions over his credentials, including the veracity of items on his CV. Opposition Senator Terrence Deyalsingh asked that out of the TT$15 million paid to the commissioners, how much was paid to AliMohammed. Ramlogan requested that this be posed in a separate question. Deyalsingh then asked, “Would the Attorney General agree that the findings and recommendations of this Commission might be invalidated due to the poor qualifications of members?” Ramlogan said that was not a question but a request for a legal opinion which he

would be happy to provide if properly requested. Deyalsingh then asked about the mechanism used to determine the hiring of professionals for the Commission. Ramlogan responded that it was the same that was used for the Uff Commission which was, “competence, expertise, merit and ability”. Deyalsingh asked if any professional is found to be unsuitable for the purpose, would they be required to pay back to the State any money paid to them. Ramlogan responded: “As attorney general it would be improper for me to speculate and hypothesise on what would happen. It sounds a bit like a problem question in an exam paper. ‘What if’. What I can say is that...we will cross that bridge if and when we come to it. It will obviously have to depend on the circumstances on each particular case as the honourable Senator well knows.” Deyalsingh then referred specifically to Ali-Mohammed and asked “would he be required to refund any monies to the State?” “Any commissioner if they are found to be wanting or incompetent for the appointment, that will be a matter that we obviously will have to consider. But I am not aware that any of the commissioners appointed on the two commissions we have going have been so found,” Ramlogan replied. (Excerpt from TT Newsday)



week ending May 30, 2013 |

Jagdeo to join environmental panel in Toronto F

ormer president of Guyana Bharrat Jagdeo will be featured on an environmental issues panel organised by the Trent Centre for Biomaterials Research on June 3, in Toronto, Canada. ‘The Carbon Conversations: Charting a Sustainable Future’ discussion series, now in its second year, addresses the core of the planet’s crisis – carbon and the world’s dependence on carbon by-products. The Trent Centre for Biomaterials Research engages a broad spectrum of thinkers in Carbon Conversations – from students and scientists to philosophers and consumers – to generate discourse about carbonrelated sustainability issues and the future of the world. The panel will be focusing on the question: “Environmental sustainability and avoided climate change: mutually exclusive to development and for-profit commercialisation?”

According to a release from the centre, joining Dr Jagdeo on the distinguished Carbon Conversations panel are David Patterson, a Trent University alumnus and current chair and chief executive officer of Northwater Capital, a company that has invested significantly in green and clean energy technologies; and Annette Verschuren, a member of the Order of Canada, former president of Home Depot Canada and Asia, and chair of the Clean Energy Task Force for Ontario. Verschuren’s company ‘NRStor’ is focused on storage of clean and green energy. “Our planet’s dependence on carbon is interwoven into literally all aspects of our lives: energy, materials, culture, security, geo-politics, trade, development, and ultimately, our existence. How we manage it is therefore not a question that must be answered by a few isolated facets of our society, but frames

Former President of Guyana Bharrat Jagdeo

a discussion for all hierarchies of society,” said Dr Suresh Narine, director of the Trent Centre for Biomaterials and moderator of the Carbon Conversations panel. “This panel is particularly exciting because it brings together a third world leader, who has emerged as a global leader advocating that avoided deforestation can and should be linked to economic development, along with two captains of industry whose for-

profit companies have found growth opportunities in reduced carbon and cleaner energy technologies.” Jagdeo was named president of Guyana in 1999, taking on the role as one of the youngest heads of state in the world. He was re-elected twice, serving the maximum number of terms. During his presidency, Jagdeo led Guyana as the country embarked on one of the world’s most ambitious low carbon

Keith Clarke’s family seeks Ja$18 million from Jamaican gov’t


he estate of Keith Clarke, the accountant killed by Jamaican soldiers during the 2010 hunt for former Tivoli Gardens don Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, has filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit seeking damages over his death. The suit was filed in the Supreme Court last Friday by attorney Leonard Green and seeks Ja$18 million in special damages to the Clarke family home and motor vehicle, among other things. “The wider damages for the loss the family suffered and for pain and suffering is to be determined by the court,” Green said. “We are asking for exemplary damages and damages for Keith Clarke,” said Green, who noted that Clarke’s constitutional right to life had been breached. Clarke was killed at his Kirkland Heights home in St Andrew in May 2010 during the month-long search for Coke, who was wanted in the United States on drug and gunrunning charges. He is now serving a 23-year sentence in the US after pleading guilty to racketeering charges.

The police reported that shots were fired from Clarke’s house at soldiers on the scene. But, according to a statement given by Clarke’s wife Claudette, which was quoted from dur-

According to Mrs Clarke, her husband, armed with his licensed firearm, went on the cupboard while she and her daughter hid in the bathroom as they believed that their home was being

Keith Clarke, an accountant, was killed by Jamaican soldiers during the 2010 hunt for former Tivoli Gardens don Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke (Jamaica Observer file photo)

ing the Home Circuit Court bail hearing of the three soldiers charged with his murder, Clarke didn’t pose a threat to them when he was fired upon.

invaded by gunmen. Mrs Clarke said that she and her daughter tried calling the police 119 emergency number when she heard what seemed to be a power

saw cutting through the master bedroom door. They both then shouted, “Help, Help! If it’s the police, please help!” Their initial distress was brought on by what she said were loud explosions outside the house that awoke them from their sleep. Mrs Clarke said in her statement that about five or six soldiers in masks entered the house and kept asking for guns and gunmen. She said she identified herself and told the soldiers that neither gunmen nor illegal weapons were in the house. According to her statement, Mrs Clarke told them that she lived with her husband whom she identified as Keith Clarke. “Weh him deh,” she said a soldier asked, and she pointed to the cupboard. Mrs Clarke said further in her statement that her husband was climbing down from the cupboard when he was fired upon. She said it was only then that the soldiers turned on the light in the room. The soldiers to be tried for Clarke’s murder are Lance Corporals Greg Tinglin and Odel Buckley and Private Arnold Henry. (Jamaica Observer)

development strategies, while maintaining 99.5 per cent of its rainforest. Guyana is on track to become the world’s number one user of clean energy by 2017. Recognised as a global champion of the environment, TIME magazine named Jagdeo a “Hero of the Environment” in 2008. In 2010, he was a recipient of the ‘United Nations Champion of the Earth’ Award, and was asked to serve on the UN Secretary General’s High Level Advisory Group on Climate Finance. From 2005 to 2006, Jagdeo was chairman of the board of governors of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. In 2012, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature appointed him high level envoy for sustainable development in forest countries and a patron of nature. Currently, Jagdeo is president of the Global Green Growth Institute. Hosted by the Trent

Centre for Biomaterials Research, Carbon Conversations is a recurring discussion about climate change, environmental stewardship, economic development, culture, ideology and the consumption of resources. The Trent Centre for Biomaterials Research (TCBR) at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada is on the cutting edge of research and technology development that is changing the world. With the aim of creating a more sustainable future, the TCBR brings together the social sciences and humanities with science to develop and examine biomaterials within an ethical framework, focusing on agricultural utilisation and geographical, environmental and commercial impacts. One of only a handful of programmes of its kind in the world, the TCBR is a leader in this life-changing realm of research.

Antigua-Barbuda to benefit from major economic project with Qatar


Dr Baldwin Spencer

ntigua and Barbuda is positioned to benefit from the establishment of a major economic project with the state of Qatar. Dr Baldwin Spencer, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, recently held official talks with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, regarding cooperation for the new Azure Bay property development project. According to Spencer, the Azure Bay project when implemented will represent the largest high-end hospitality development opportunity in Antigua and Barbuda. The proposed property will include a five-star hotel, condominiums, 18hole championship golf course, a wellness clin-

ic and spa, a deep water marina, heliport, casino and luxury retail centre. Spencer further stated that Antigua and Barbuda has agreed in principal to signing an economic, commercial and technical cooperation agreement with Qatar designed to enhance the relationship between the two countries. During his stay in Qatar, the prime minister also held talks with the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al Thani, Minister of Business and Trade, Jassim Bin Abdelaziz Bin Jassim Al-Thani and Chief Executive Officer of the Qatar Development Bank, Mansoor Bin Ibrahim Al Mahmoud. (AB gov’t)


News | week ending May 30, 2013

Jamaican economy dipped 0.7 per cent in first quarter – PIOJ


amaica’s economy contracted by 0.7 per cent over the first quarter of 2013, with declines in the country's major foreign exchange earners, says the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ). The estimated performance over the January to March period would represent the fifth consecutive quarter of decline for the domestic economy. The Bank of Jamaica had earlier projected economic decline of up to 1.2 per cent during the same three months. The PIOJ's newly appointed Director General, Colin Bullock, said at the institute's quarterly press briefing last week that the out-turn for the January to March 2013 period largely reflected the impact of a weak global economic environment, particularly in Europe, on Jamaica's main export industries (hotels and restaurants and mining and quarrying); adverse weatherrelated conditions; and sharp declines in business (23 per cent) and consumer (38 per

cent) confidence. Against this background, agriculture recorded the largest decline within the goods producing industry, down 10 per cent, along with mining and quarrying, down 6.8 per cent, the PIOJ said. According to Bullock, the downturn in agriculture reflected "the lingering impact of Hurricane Sandy on crops having longer gestation periods; and drought conditions which prevailed during January to March 2013, as rainfall during the period was on average 61 per cent below the 30 year mean rainfall over the period." During the reviewed quarter, output of traditional export crops fell by 30.6 per cent, while other agricultural crops declined by 9.9 per cent and post-harvest activities were down 27.1 per cent, projected the PIOJ. Within the traditional export crops component lower output was recorded for bananas (down 67.3 per cent), cocoa (down 86.7 per cent) and coffee (down 3.0 per cent), but sug-

PIOJ's newly appointed Director General Colin Bullock updating the media

arcane production increased by 1.4 per cent. All nine crop groups within the other agricultural crop groups recorded declines, with plantains down 57.6 per cent, legumes down 10.8 per cent) and vegetables down 7.7 per cent. The performance recorded by mining and quarrying partially reflected developments in the Euro zone, which resulted in the downward revision in the forecast for global growth in industrial activities, Bullock said. Total bauxite production decreased by 1.3 per cent, reflecting a 10.4 per cent decline in alumina production, he said, noting that average capacity utilisation rate at alu-

mina refineries fell to 38.9 per cent, which was 4.2 percentage points lower than in the corresponding period of 2012. "However, crude bauxite production increased by seven per cent due to a six percentage points increase in the bauxite capacity utilisation rate to 95.5 per cent," said Bullock. There was better news for construction and manufacturing, which grew by two per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively. The PIOJ said the performance of the construction industry reflected increased activities in all three major components of the industry. Building construction is esti-

mated to have increased, with housing starts up 11.1 per cent; housing completions up 793.2 per cent and the volume of mortgages up three per cent For the manufacturing sector, there was a 0.1 per cent growth in the food, beverages and tobacco sub-sector. Within the services industry, the hotels and restaurants sector fell by 1.8 per cent influenced mainly by the impact of the prolonged debt crisis on the European market, the PIOJ said. According to the planning agency, total arrivals declined by 3.9 per cent, including stopover arrivals decreasing by 2.5 per cent and cruise passenger arrivals dropping by 5.5 per cent. Visitor expenditure is estimated to have declined by 1.4 per cent to US$607.2 million. The electricity and water industry recorded a decline in real value added of 1.3 per cent, reflecting lower electricity generation and water production. (Excerpt from Jamaica Observer)

Barbados welcomes new TT to grow more rice rum agreement


he Barbados government has welcomed the agreement signed by Foursquare Rum Distillery to distill, blend and bottle a brand of rum known as “10 Cane” which officials say is expected to rake in Bds$100 million in foreign exchange. “Rum is a distinct Barbadian product and I believe that we are the home of rum, and that is

Distillery chairman, Sir David Seale, said the agreement had been signed with Moet and Hennessy of France to distill, blend and bottle the new brand of rum over the next five years. Sir David revealed that this particular brand of rum was first distilled, blended and bottled in Trinidad and Tobago. “This is very exciting because this brand,

Foursquare Rum Distillery chairman, Sir David Seale, said the agreement had been signed with Moet and Hennessy of France to distill, blend and bottle the new brand of rum in Barbados over the next five years.

something that I don’t think we have fully capitalised on as yet. There is still much more to be gained…I commend the chairman and management of Foursquare Distilleries for their work in getting us to this point today where we can really boast and celebrate this new contract being worked out with Hennessy,” said Industry Minister, Donville Inniss. Foursquare Rum

having been established worldwide, it has a track record, so we are not starting from zero, we are starting from a point that it is a guarantee amount that we can produce… Our sums will say that it is quite possible that we will earn in excess of Bds$100 million in foreign exchange over the next five years,” he said. Sir David added that “when we decided to build a distillery, we of-

ten said that we wanted to get into the export market in a meaningful way but we had no marketing funds to spend, so we felt that we would put in and put down a facility that when tourists and visitors came they can remember it. That is what is happening. “The word of mouth advertising has led to a massive increase in the exporting of our own brands both to Europe and the USA…I can only imagine that Moet and Hennessy came (to Barbados) because they are satisfied that they are going to get a quality product. “Once rum gets the real recognition it should get from the government of Barbados, it has the potential of earning about Bds$500 million a year,” Sir David added. Inniss said Barbados is not a low-cost location for manufacturing and as a result “we have to tap into the niche areas and rum is a product that is synonymous with Barbados and therefore, we have to exploit fully, the rum industry. “This means of course, as has been done here at Foursquare, making use of an ultra-modern plant distillery and creating niche products … but of course that can help earn revenue for the company and foreign exchange for Barbados.” (Antigua Observer)


The TT government resuscitated rice farming on 300 acres of land in Plum Mitan last year

he government of Trinidad and Tobago aims to significantly boost the levels of domestic rice production by 50 percent in three years’ time. TT’s Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj made this announcement at last week’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair. Identifying rice as a key staple which government is focusing on to help reduce the country’s food import bill, Maharaj said the objective is for domestically produced rice to comprise “50 percent of local consumption no later than 2018”. To achieve this objective, Maharaj listed a series of initiatives the ministry has done and others which it is currently pursuing. These included help-

ing the private sector to import “commercially certified seeds from Guyana to produce rice paddies in 2012”; helping the private sector to purchase additional rice seeds in the 20132014 period and finalising a public-private sector partnership for “the establishment of a modern state-of-the-art rice mill with parboiling facilities, with a capacity to mill 40,000 tonnes of paddy per annum”. Noting that the government had resuscitated rice farming on 300 acres of land in Plum Mitan and distributed 580 acres for rice cultivation and production to private sector investors last year, Maharaj was confident that by the end of 2013, some 5,000 acres of land will be under rice cultivation. Explaining that the government is exploring

the option of a contract farming system in the domestic rice industry similar to what obtains in the poultry industry, Maharaj said: “government will no longer be required to pay 100 percent of the guaranteed price to the local rice farmers for paddy produced (rice).” He said the new model will be based on world market price for the commodity as influenced by the market forces. Maharaj also said this development will result in the “termination of the operational and management fee of TT$4.8 million paid per annum to NFM (National Flour Mills) by the ministry since 2006”. He said when this happens, the State will accrue annual savings of approximately TT$112.8 million. (Excerpt from TT Newsday)

11 Guyana ripe with investment opportunities news

week ending May 30, 2013 |

- Minister Ali tells Florida forum

Acting Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister Irfaan Ali listens to a delegate at the forum


cores of business executives, investors, and other trade officials converged in Miami, Florida to be part of the Caribbean Trade Centre’s “Invest Guyana” Forum held last Thursday, with acting Tourism, Industry, and Commerce Minister Irfaan Ali telling them that Guyana is ripe with countless investment and unexplored market opportunities. Ali, who was the feature speaker at the event, explained that Guyana remains one of the strongest economies in the Caribbean and Latin America, boasting on average a 4.5 per cent annual growth rate between 2007 and 2012, along with stable fiscal and macroeconomic policies. The minister stated that the Guyanese economy has outshone others in several areas, specifi-

cally in the creation of a conducive labour, trade, business as well as corporate environment. He emphasised that notwithstanding the rapid expansion of the economy, government has been able to maintain singledigit inflation rates as well as stable exchange rates through carefully crafted and implemented macro-economic policies.

Fiscal incentives

Ali argued that the country has been deemed one of the most attractive investment locations because of a myriad of measures, inclusive of its fiscal incentives, access to regional and international markets, adequate and expanding infrastructure, as well as the availability of a wide range of natural resources. “Given the buoyancy of the domestic economy and conducive macroeco-

nomic environment, it is not surprising that the country has attracted unprecedented foreign direct investment totalling US$1326.4 million between 2006 and 2012,” said Ali. “Domestic investment also expanded exponentially over the same period, as reflected by the growth in credit to the private sector which increased from Gy$30.6 billion in 2006 to Gy$82.6 billion during 2012.” He said the fiscal incentives available in the country are aimed at attracting investment in the manufacturing, agriculture, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), tourism, and oil and gas sectors, while highlighting that investors can see themselves benefitting from zero customs duty and consumption tax on most plant machinery and equipment, zero customs duty and consumption tax on raw and packaging materials used in the production of goods by manufacturers and small businesses, and unlimited carryover of losses from previous years. Minister Ali also told the Florida forum that investments can also have access to specific incentives and benefits in various sectors depending on the venture they wish to undertake, listing the fisheries, forestry, tourism, mining, housing, ICT, and agri business as examples. He said the consumption tax waivers and tax holi-

Jamaica Court orders Ja$12-million payment to former senior cop J

amaica’s Court of Appeal last Friday ordered the State to make an interim payment of Ja$12 million to former Deputy Commissioner of Police Owen Clunie, pending the outcome of its appeal against the Ja$35 million in damages awarded to the former senior cop. The award was made by Justice Hazel Harris following an application by Clunie. "I'm very pleased with the decision of the Court of Appeal to award an interim payment," said Alando Terrelonge of the firm ‘Bailey Terrelonge

Allen’, which represents Clunie. "It sends a signal that there is great merit in the award that was made [in the Supreme Court] to Mr Clunie and I trust that good sense will prevail and the Attorney General's Chambers will forego the appeal as we are of the opinion that it is devoid of merit and designed to delay payment of the just award to Mr Clunie," Terrelonge added. "Mr Clunie and his family have suffered much embarrassment for 10 years," the lawyer stated. A date has not been

set for the appeal against the libel award that was made by a jury to Clunie in March 2012. Clunie, who is now a practising attorney, had sued the attorney general over defamatory comments made by then Commissioner Francis Forbes about him on the ‘Impact’ television programme on CVM TV, in 2002 and repeated in 2005. The television station was exonerated during the Supreme Court trial. Clunie was cleared of any wrongdoing during a departmental trial. (Jamaica Observer)

days are also part of the country’s investment regime.

Market access and opportunities

In terms of accessing markets and the availability of cheap inputs, Ali said Guyana has easy access to markets in Latin American and Caribbean – 33 countries with a collective population of 580 million individuals. He said the regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated at US$ 4.9 trillion (at current prices), while its annual merchandise trade bill is approximately US$ 1.6 trillion – six per cent of the world’s total merchandise trade. He said too that even as some countries in the world continue to fight for competitive market access, Guyana still has a wealth of unexplored opportunities which investors should seek to maximise. He assured that billions of dollars could be garnered by businessmen with the right concepts and attitudes towards maximising profits. The minister assured that the cost of do-

ing business in Guyana is also relatively low, while citing a recent report from the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation, which dubbed the prices for domestic electricity in Guyana was the fourth lowest in the Caribbean. He also shared details about Guyana’s move to construct the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project, which would be the flagship of its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), while explaining that with its commissioning and functionality, the cost of busi-

ness would be reduced dramatically. He also reported that Guyana has one of the lowest wage rates in the Caribbean and Latin America, with a workforce that is highly literate and trainable. The forum, which focused on trade opportunities, was held in partnership with the Consulate of Guyana in Miami. More than 150 business executives attended the event. Corporate sponsors included Seafreight Agencies, Laparkan Shipping and Caribbean Airlines. (Excerpt from Guyana Times)

12 News Guyana engages Canadians to implement antismuggling markers on cigarettes, alcohol G | week ending May 30, 2013

uyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Commissioner General Khurshid Sattaur said the agency is scrutinising the possibility of employing a stamp and marker system on alcoholic and cigarette products to cut down on the rampant smuggling of these in the country. Annually, the GRA estimates billions of dollars in losses occur due to smuggling; hence, the system will be put in place to deal with this situation. In a recent interview, Sattaur noted that currently, the GRA is engaged in discussions with the Canadian Bank Note and DeLaRue on either of their systems being used in Guyana.

He stated that the country lacks sophisticated equipment and systems to help it identify which items are subject to be taxed and which are not, and what is illegally acquired and what is legally acquired. The new system, he said, will address this problem. “I am hoping we can embrace these modern technologies that are available out there.” Sattaur highlighted that the GRA will have to invest tremendously in its enforcement activities and equipment; however, in the end, it will pay off since there will be a significant increase in the revenues collected. In 2012, the GRA collected Gy$1.3 billion in tobacco tax-

GRA Commissioner General Khurshid Sattaur (File photo)

es while it collected Gy$1.1 billion from foreign alcohol importation and Gy$3.1 billion

in domestic alcohol taxes. It is estimated that with the marker system in place, it could see a

10 per cent increase in revenue collection. He stated that the government is onboard with

the new system recommended. “It is very much keen on having any system that I recommend that would seek to not only stem corrupt practices… but stem smuggling, which directly contributes to the increase of revenue.” The commissioner disclosed that a senior official from Canada Bank Note will be shortly visiting the GRA to further discuss the implementation of the marker system. Sattaur stated that currently the GRA is examining the cost of implementing this system; however, he was unable to disclose the amount, adding that discussions and costing are still in the process.

Berbice can become major tourism destination in Guyana – GTA director


ead of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) Indranauth Haralsingh said the agency is willing to explore the potential of promoting tourism in Berbice by working along

with the private sector. Haralsingh is encouraging corporate businesses to invest in the development of the ‘Number 63 Beach’. However, he said government must play its part if the busi-

ness sector is to make an impact in the further development on the facility, and by extension, make Berbice a major tourism destination. “There are numerous opportunities for the pri-

vate sector to invest, but we do not have things like fresh water. While this is an opportunity for private investment, it is also an area where the regional administration could look into. I once spoke with the regional chairman for him to see if he can get the Ministry of Public Works to see if they could improve the access to the beach in

the ‘Ancient County’. One of the unexplored areas of opportunity is that of site trips to famous places and the homes of famous people in Berbice. “Cuffy came from Berbice and this year we are celebrating the 250th anniversary of the slave rebellion which was led by Cuffy. A few days ago, we celebrated the 175th

ism in the region. There is also a wide scope for river trips at places like Fort Nassau, while certain villages could be places of interest to visit. “The Berbice Bridge is the sixth longest floating bridge in the world and many people will like to come and cross the bridge and take photographs of themselves on the bridge. There is

Head of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) Indranauth Haralsingh

terms of the Number 63 and 60 entrances.” He said the Number 63 Beach was only one of several opportunities for investment in the tourism industry in Berbice. “Berbice has a number of famous people from Cheddi Jagan to Edgar Mettelholzser and so many famous cricketers along with a number of other people. Bird watching is also possible. Berbice is famous for a few waterfalls.” Indranauth noted that there are also tremendous opportunities for fishing in Berbice, which is referred to as

anniversary on the arrival of the first East Indian immigrants to Guyana and Highbury stands out; it is the first place where they set foot on the shores of the then British Guiana. It is a very historic place. People will love to go on tours. You could actually take people on a pilgrimage.” Indranauth said there is also great scope for agro-tourism in Berbice, noting that Berbice is home to the four top sugar estates in the country. He also noted that rice and cash crops have great potential for tour-

also a rich culture in Berbice… so Berbice has potential and there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs. Sadly though, Berbice only has one tour operator.” That tour operator only provides trips to the Upper Corentyne, Indranauth noted. He said GTA can work to help develop capacity, but it needs to work with entrepreneurs who see the opportunity. These opportunities are great since more that 70 per cent of persons who arrive at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport are going to Berbice.



week ending May 30, 2013 |

Guyana will not neglect ties with traditional partners – President Ramotar


resident Donald Ramotar said while Guyana strengthens its relationship with countries in Central and Latin America, it has no intention to diminish longstanding ties with the countries where traditional relations existed. Addressing a packed National Park gathering in Guyana on Saturday during his independence message, Ramotar said, “We aspire to be a responsible member of the international community and remain wholeheartedly committed to the objectives of the Caribbean Community and the eventual realisation of a single market and economy.” In the past, within the framework of the Union of South American Union (UNASUR), the leaders of South America took a decision some years ago to integrate the infrastructure on the continent. In putting this decision into practice, both Suriname and Guyana have approached multilateral institutions to undertake a feasibility study for the construction of a bridge across the Corentyne River. The bridge does not only seek to increase peopleto-people contact, but will make travel easier

President Donald Ramotar

while stimulating greater economic activities between the two neighbours. Presently, Guyana is working with Brazil on infrastructural integration, where a deep water port and a fully paved Linden-Lethem road, which would permit Guyanese products to be traded into additional and much larger markets, beneffiting many industries through higher export volumes. Ramotar revealed that senior-level teams from both countries are working diligently to accelerate the realisation of the projects. Meanwhile, over the years, Guyana has also enjoyed better relations with western neighbour Venezuela, where its trade relations have expanded to include improvements on future endeavours.

PNM changes coming - Rowley


ain did not dampen the People’s National Movement (PNM’s) family day in San Fernando Sunday, prompting political leader Dr Keith Rowley to announce to party supporters that review of the party constitution is nearly complete. Rowley did not say what were his ideas for a revamped constitution, but told hundreds of supporters who braved the inclement weather, that many things needed to be changed in the party. Last month, chairman Franklyn Khan announced a constitution review team had recommended changes to make the PNM more attractive. Speaking to supporters who represented various constituencies at the Skinner Park family day, Rowley said the sweet taste of victory in the Tobago House of Assembly elections, in January, was still being realised and he had noticed since then, younger people joining the PNM.

Rowley said, “The PNM would continue to review its constitution. A constitutional review has been completed and at its recent convention (December last), several amendments were finalised to put into effect those changes we wish to make.” Rowley scoffed at the People’s Partnership’s successful third anniversary rally in Chaguanas, last Friday, saying that were it not for his no-confidence motion against her, Prime Minster Kamla Persad-Bissessar would not have had much to say in her feature address. Rowley poked fun at government’s response to his revelation of emails, saying that one day government said, “It was the police who would investigate, and another day they agreeing for an independent investigation.” Rowley said, “We in the PNM will wait for the truth. Time and tide wait on no man.” (Excerpt from TT Newsday)

“Much of the improvement had to do with the visionary leadership of the late President Hugo Chávez and his close colleagues. Chávez was truly a citizen of Latin America and the Caribbean,” said President Ramotar. However, it is expected that the present development and other future developments will place greater demands on the need to improve local trade facilitation efforts. The president noted that the government of Guyana is moving forward on many fronts to reduce the time and cost associated with trade. One of the measures being pursued is a fully computerised state-ofthe-art Single Window Automated Processing System (SWAPS) – which is expected to bring major improvements and benefits to traders and citizens alike.

It took nearly a decade for UNASUR to finally come into legal force since the integration strategy of creating an institution that would cater to achieve overall development of the continent rather than simple economic integration, was first mooted by Brazil during the first South American Summit at Brasilia in August 2000. It was during the third Summit of Heads of State in Brasilia on May 23, 2008 that the South American nations signed the Constitutive Treaty to constitute UNASUR as “an entity with international juridical character”. The South American region has been experiencing various local as well as transnational security challenges including illegal drug trafficking, increased crime rates, illegal firearms, extreme levels of social

inequality and poverty. It is in order to develop a cooperative mechanism for resolving these challenges, UNASUR was created. The UNASUR is a regional organisation formed by 12 South American states that are united by shared history, religion, common culture and language. Over the years, UNASUR has had

some significant achievements to its credit: limiting defence expenditure, reducing crime, promoting democratic institutions, integrating energy and financial systems, handling constitutional crises in Ecuador and Paraguay, and settling dispute between Venezuela and Colombia. (Guyana Times)


News | week ending May 30 , 2013

Guyana to chair CDB board of governors - Dr Singh urges bank to scale up lending activity to borrowing member countries


uyana’s Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh has been elected to chair the board of governors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) over the next year, the Government Information Agency (GINA) has reported. In his capacity as chairman elect, Dr Singh addressed the closing ceremony of the CDB’s 43rd annual meetings, just concluded in St Lucia. He commended the bank for its contributions to the cause of Caribbean development and to improving the lives of the people in the region since its earliest years of existence. To sustain and increase the impact of this historical contribution over the years, he called on the bank to work to increase

the rate of loan approvals and disbursements for borrowing member countries in the year ahead. The minister said the bank must immediately arrest and reverse the recent decline in approvals and disbursements by taking all actions necessary to “rapidly” scale up and “accelerate” project identification, approval, and implementation in collaboration with all borrowing member countries. In addition, Dr Singh said the bank must reverse the phenomenon of negative net flows to its borrowing member countries which occurred in 2012 for the first time in several years. The finance minister urged the CDB to accelerate efforts to broaden

Guyana’s Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh

its membership, stating that it is important that efforts be made to widen the bank’s membership in the interest of growth and expansion for a bigger and better institution. He specifically identified Suriname and Brazil as hopefully

the next members of the CDB. “It should come as no surprise that I eagerly await the opportunity to welcome these two South American neighbours of my own country to membership of our own Caribbean bank, prid-

ing ourselves, as we do in Guyana, as the bridge between South America and the Caribbean,” said Dr Singh. “I trust that we can conclude the processes involved to secure full membership by these two countries before the current year is over, and that we can advance discussions with other potential new members, both within the region and from beyond.” Dr Singh emphasised the importance of the bank reversing recent downgrades to its credit rating. He said the bank must ensure a restoration of its credit rating and continue to guard “jealously” its credibility among the lending and rating community. “Specifically, the removal of the negative outlook, at the very

least, should be a specific target for this year, while we still aim at a return to the higher rating of recent times,” he said. The minister also called on the CDB in the coming year to ensure implementation of all aspects of the reform agenda it has set itself within the timelines identified, thereby, securing a more effective development institution. Dr Singh succeeds St Lucia’s Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony as chairman of the CDB’s board of governors. The finance minister also previously chaired the Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting in 2007 and the Commonwealth Ministerial Debt Sustainability Forum from 2008 to 2009.

Jamaica needs business- Jamaica, TT among Caribbean minded leaders — Mahfood countries that discriminate against

Wisynco Managing Director William Mahfood addressing Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange. (Jamaica Observer photo)


anaging director of the Wisynco Group, William Mahfood, believes Jamaica's economic and social woes would be greatly eased if business-minded persons served in positions of political leadership. Mahfood's statement, made at this week’s Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange, comes on the heels of similar views aired on the weekend by Richard Byles, Sagicor president and CEO, who is also co-chairman of the government's Economic Programme Oversight Committee. “What we have lacked over the development of our leadership is business-minded people running the country. Not only have the leadership in the political constituency been at fault, but [also] the lead-

ership in the private sector and the leadership in civil society, because we have sat back and allowed it to continue. So we are as much at fault as to where the country is today," he said. When asked if his cousin Andrew Mahfood, whom he described as one of the best financial minds in the country, would serve as a finance minister if the Constitution was amended, William Mahfood replied in the affirmative. "I have said many times that I think Andrew would make one of the best finance ministers in Jamaica," he said. Under the current Constitution, only an elected member of parliament can serve as finance minister. Monday, William Mahfood indicated that he was confident that,

despite the country's current economic stagnation and limited growth, the pendulum can swing in a positive direction if the proper measures are implemented. "There are problems, there is no question. From a leadership point of view, from a political point of view, from an economic point of view, we do have social problems, violence and crime, all of those things are problematic, but there is nothing that cannot be fixed," he said. He pointed to Wisynco's positive economic turnaround from the financial doldrums in 1992, when the company was almost insolvent, as proof that Jamaica can recover. "We were so indebted then that our combined debt payments were greater than our entire wage bill, and it was, for me, a very, very depressing time," said Mahfood. "I looked at it and said we were working exclusively for the banks and interest rates [were] trending up. So we said we had to make a move to reverse our debt position. We did that, we changed the strategy of the business, and the rest is history. So it can be done. It takes time and you have to apply the correct principles and you need the proper determination, and you have to have the right people to manage," Mahfood said. (Jamaica Observer)

Rastafarians, Muslims - U.S. report


he United States says several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Haiti and the Bahamas, are engaged in discriminatory practices against Rastafarians, voodoo practitioners and Muslims. In its International Religious Freedom Report for 2012, the Department of State says, while there were no reports of abuses of religious freedom in Haiti, some members of the voodoo and Muslim communities “complained they did not enjoy the same legal protections as Christians”. Voodoo, which is widely practiced in Haiti, is often blended with elements of other religions, usually Catholicism. In Jamaica, the State Department says there were reports of societal discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice, stating that Rastafarians alleged the overwhelmingly Christian population discriminated against them, “although there were signs of increasing acceptance”. “Rastafarians said that elements of their religion, such as wearing dreadlocks and smoking marijuana, presented serious barriers to their ability to find employment and achieve pro-

fessional status in the official economy,” the report states. It cites a Rastafarian group, the Church of Haile Selassie I, which it said is seeking religious incorporation “for the 15th year without success”. The report also says that Rastafarians continued to allege that law enforcement officials unfairly targeted them. However, the report says it was not clear

ligious affiliation, belief, or practice in Jamaica. During a threemonth state of emergency in Trinidad and Tobago, the State Department report notes that authorities in Port-of-Spain arrested 16 Muslim men who were allegedly plotting to assassinate the prime minister and three other cabinet ministers. The report said that the government never charged the men with

The United States says Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Haiti and the Bahamas are engaged in discriminatory practices against Rastafarians, voodoo practitioners and Muslims.

whether the reported discrimination was based on religious belief, or was due to the group’s alleged illegal use of marijuana as part of religious practice. With the exception of the concerns raised by Rastafarians, the State Department says there were no other reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on re-

any crime and released them after one week. It said Muslims have referred to this incident as “an example of bias against the Muslim community” and that several of those arrested claimed to be pursuing legal action against the Trinidad and Tobago government for wrongful arrest. (Excerpt from Jamaica Observer)



week ending May 30, 2013 |

Caribbean needs to PM Hinds hails review its educational Guyana’s Petrocaribe policies - TT minister membership


here is an urgent need for Caribbean territories to review their educational systems and policies, with greater focus on developing the skills and techniques for creative thinking and adaptation. So says, Trinidad’s Tertiary Education and Training Minister Fazal Karim, who believes that the region’s traditional method of thinking cannot suffice in a growing information age and technological world. Karim highlighted the crucial role that education and culture could play in encouraging innovation, and the necessity for a new skill set for competitiveness and development. During the recent opening ceremony of the 24th meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) that focused on education and culture, Karim noted that Caribbean leaders must pause to address this important issue that is fundamental to the sustainable development of the region composed of small, vulnerable economies. “The economic woes currently experienced can be linked to a multiplicity of causes and the solutions are no less complicated. What is clear, however, is the increasingly global and complex environment in which we operate.” Karim pointed out that based on the economic, social and environmental challenges facing the Caribbean, the only sustainable path to development is grounded in the region’s ability to be creative, innovative and competitive in implying commitment to knowledge development. He stated that a defining feature in the global knowledge economy is the centrality of Information Communication Technology (ICT) embedded within the education system which has re-


Fazal Karim

shaped all aspects of the Caribbean life. Karim said there is a great awareness of the importance of investment in highly skilled workforce through education and training within this context. “It is important to note that employers are continually changing and the mere accumulation of skills and knowledge is no longer sufficient, as these can become quickly outdated,” the Trinidadian minister said. Karim stressed that what is more imperative is the ability to adapt, relearn and seek creative solutions and ways of doing things. This, he said, will determine the value of an employee, emphasising the importance of digital literacy, laptops in schools, vocational education and ICTs. According to Karim, he was heartened at the commitment of University of Trinidad and Tobago to the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) in development of a new curriculum in these areas. Only last week, Trinidad signed a contract with the largest software company in the animation industry. Karim said the region needs a greater focus on entrepreneurship and “what a better way to do this than promoting young animators in the world of entertainment”. A critical role also exists for the private sec-

tor in skill identification and in supporting career development through job fairs in science, technology and the creative arts. Karim applauded the regional policy on Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLR) which was approved at the recent COHSOD. This policy will be undertaken through industry development and competency standards. Some 62 standards were approved at the COHSOD meeting. The tertiary education and training minister related that major assets for a regional economy is not different from what is required around the world which is skilled workers at the technical and managerial levels, who are adaptable and creative with good attitudes towards lifelong learning and creativity. This is a precondition for innovation that will lead to the development of new products and services and is a key determinant in the success of schools and businesses. Among the key components Karim identified in the quest towards competitiveness, was a greater focus on entrepreneurship, an examination of the educational and pedagogic techniques to ascertain whether it was relevant in the current digital milieu, and the development of “muscles” within national education systems for creative and innovative thinking.

uyana has been benefitting significantly as a Petrocaribe member state, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds said during a special programme on the National Communications Network (NCN), the Government Information Agency (GINA) has reported. Petrocaribe, the brainchild of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, is an oil alliance of many Caribbean states with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment. It was launched in June 2005. The prime minister, under whose purview the energy sector falls, explained that this initiative came at a time when many Caribbean countries were having difficulties in purchasing petroleum. At that time, crude oil prices on the world market were moving up from US$30 per barrel and peaked at about US$150 per barrel. A table was established at a certain price for petroleum. The government of Venezuela will offer a portion on credit (co-financing) and a portion that will have to be paid for in cash immediately. Through this mechanism, a 50 per cent co-financing is offered for oil sold at US$80 per barrel, US$100 per barrel — 60 per cent co-financing, and over US$150 per barrel — 70 per cent of co-financing. According to the prime minister, Petrocaribe was established to be a cushion; giving countries time to adjust their rates of consumption, make lifestyle changes, and move towards renewable energy sources. It also created a mechanism, whereby a fund could be established to be used for the development of the energy sector as well as other

areas. “Our total fuel bill was about Gy$400 million per year and at 50 per cent co-financing, we could be developing a debt of about US$200 million per year. So we took the position that for every shipment, payment has to be made available in full.

This led to Guyana’s rice trade agreement with Venezuela. Only recently, Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy signed the official 2013 agreement in Venezuela, which will see the continued export of rice and paddy. The prime minister explained that the

Guyana’s Prime Minister Samuel Hinds

The fuel company that is buying has to pay the full price to the Guyana Energy Agency, which acts as the agent to purchase and at the level of the government, we put aside the financed portion in a special account and the Ministry of Finance issues a promissory note,” the prime minister outlined. The money that accumulated in this account has been used to finance two power plants for the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Incorporated; while some went towards the financing of the Hope Canal. The intention behind Petrocaribe was also to promote trade among member countries; whereby some of the fuel cost would be met by supplying goods and services.

rice and paddy supplied to Venezuela is discounted against what Guyana owes on fuel. Chevon Wood, an economist attached to the GEA said under the first round of agreement signed with Venezuela, Guyana was able to cancel over US$100 million of fuel debt; this was completed in December 2012. In the coming months, it is envisioned that a similar amount will be negated through this export agreement. Wood said “fuel is a very important input in any economy, and given that Guyana’s economy is rapidly expanding, there is a greater need for fuel. Petrocaribe provides a significant opportunity for South to South relationships and it also provides a unique mechanism in order to pay for the fuel.”

Teachers rack up Ja$1.7 billion leave bill in Jamaica


igures from J a m a i c a ’ s Ministry of Education have shown that the cash-strapped government forked out at least Ja$1.8 billion to pay teachers, who left classrooms to embark on either prolonged study leave or vacation leave of

up to eight months during the 2011-2012 financial year. Nine-hundred-andsixty-five million dollars from that amount have been accounted for. However, the Portia Simpson Miller administration was, last year, required to scrape anoth-

er Ja$800 million out of the government’s coffers to pay teachers who went on vacation leave, bringing the total amount to in excess of Ja$1.7 billion. A memorandum which was released to parliamentarians Monday, stressed that

the figure could be much higher as hundreds of names of teachers who ventured off on prolonged leave have not been accounted for. The memorandum from the ministry, dated May 25, 2013, detailing the cost of study and vacation leave granted to

teachers, comes amid a raging debate that was precipitated by an announcement last week by education minister Ronald Thwaites, that such privileges would be discontinued. Study leave for teachers is not an entitlement and has to be ap-

proved by the Ministry of Education. The minister with responsibility for the public service Horace Dalley has intervened in the dispute between the Jamaica Teachers’ Association and the education minister. (Jamaica Gleaner)


News | week ending May 30, 2013

Georgetown-Lethem PM Simpson-Miller urges road proposal to be stronger bonds with Africa presented by June J


etailed proposals of the long awaited road construction project from Georgetown to Lethem in Guyana are to be unveiled by June, Presidential Adviser on Governance Gail Teixeira told Region Nine residents over the weekend. She made the announcement on the eve of Guyana’s 47th independence anniversary at the St Ignatius benab, following a cultural presentation ahead of the hoisting of the Golden Arrowhead at midnight. “There are two major teams now between Guyana and Brazil, and Venezuela that have been meeting over the last few months… for the development of the road from Brazil to Georgetown, and in June, what is called the infrastructural team will be reporting to the presidents of the two countries on what are their proposals and designs and other issues,” Teixeira said. The highly anticipated project is one that former Brazilian President Luis Inacio- Lula da Silva had assured would be the next major undertaking to follow the Takutu River Bridge that was commissioned in 2009. When complete, the stretch of road will significantly reduce travel time which from Georgetown to Lethem takes about 12 to 13 hours at present, and

Presidential Adviser on Governance Gail Teixeira

make business more efficient, particularly the transport of goods and services. The Guyana government, through the Public Works Ministry, has over the years been responsible for maintenance works on the long stretch of road, which in the rainy season poses a challenge to commuters, particularly heavy- duty vehicles. The paving of the road is also necessary given the large scale plantation type agriculture in the Rupununi Savannahs. In 2010, harvesting of rice in the Rupununi commenced at Moco Moco, Region Nine. The Georgetown to Lethem road was chief among the priorities of a meeting between officials of Guyana and Brazil that led to the establishment of a border committee to focus on a regime for the frontier territories; Lethem and

Bonfim. The stringing of the 560 kilometres of fibreoptic cable from Brazil to boost Guyana’s Internet connectivity was also part of the agenda. The project that began in the third quarter of 2012 has reached the stage where it is expected to be operational by September this year. Teixeira told residents to be optimistic about this project, and the opportunities that will be provided for communities in the hinterland, where the cable passes through. “Connectivity in terms of Internet is critical in this modern world of technology… young people want Twitter, BlackBerries and Facebook… the Internet is the gateway to information and also the possibilities and opportunities for this country to develop more industries and to create more jobs for our people,” Teixeira said. She also announced ongoing discussions with the Venezuelan government on the purchase of fuel at a cheaper price to assist with the reliable supply of electricity in Region Nine. Teixeira’s address also focused on developments in Amerindian communities under the current administration since 1992, and the opportunities which Amerindians have, quite unlike other countries’ natives.

amaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller returned to Jamaica Tuesday after participating in the 50th anniversary events of the African Union. A government statement said that Prime Minister SimpsonMiller, accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister A J Nicholson, held bilateral talks with the Presidents of Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and South Africa on a range of strategic cooperation issues including airlift, trade and investment. Earlier, she told the 50th anniversary Summit of the Organisation of African Unity that “Jamaica and indeed the entire Caribbean community are proud of our African heritage and the strong links that we have forged with many African countries”. She took the opportunity to renew Jamaica’s commitment to the nations of Africa, recalling the role Kingston played in the non-aligned movement and the anti-apartheid struggle. She told the summit that although separated by distance and water, the countries and people remain connected by the blood bonds of ancestry. She said Jamaica was firmly committed to ensuring that the relations with the African Union become a stronger priority on the CARICOM (Caribbean Community) agenda and that “the commonality of our shared African history

Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller

and legacy must now be channelled into tangible projects that will harness the energies of our peoples to build our societies and economies”. She said that the tune ‘Redemption Song’ by the late Jamaican reggae superstar, Bob Marley “is for us in the African Diaspora, a reminder of the dehumanising experiences our ancestors suffered and evokes the spirit of Pan Africanism and the African Renaissance. “When people of African origin were seen as less than human and deemed only fit for domination, Marcus Garvey saw (them as) people with a rich history and

culture, and a people with a bright future,” she added. Prime Minister Simpson-Miller, who was in Africa since last Friday, met with members of the Jamaica Diaspora, many of whom journeyed over 150 miles away from the town of Shashamane, where members of the Rastafari movement and other people from Jamaica and the Caribbean have settled. In 1948, Emperor Haile Selassie I, donated 500 acres of his private land for the purpose of creating the town of Shashamane in central Ethiopia. (Jamaica Observer)

Royal Caribbean cruise ship forced to dock in Bahamas following fire


oyal Caribbean Cruise Lines says all passengers on its 917-foot ‘Grandeur of the Seas’ cruise line were safe after the ship was forced to dock in The Bahamas on Monday following a fire on board the liner. The US Coast Guard and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines said all 2,224 guests and 796 crew members had been accounted for and were being accommodated at hotels. The US Coast Guard said that the ship has since been evaluated in Freeport. It said it received a call on Monday of a “Class A” fire, meaning that the items on fire were wood or other combustible materials. Officials said at the time of the fire, the ship was 35 nautical miles northwest of West End, Bahamas, and that the fire, which began on the third deck of the aft mooring area, was quickly extinguished, The cruise ship had depart-

The US Coast Guard and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines said all 2,224 guests and 796 crew members had been accounted for and were being accommodated at hotels

ed last Friday from Baltimore, Maryland, on a seven-day cruise to Royal Caribbean’s private island, CocoCay, in the Bahamas.

Officials said the Carnival cruise ship, Sensation, and a motor vessel from the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue (AMVER), the

Hagen, were diverted from their paths to help. The US Coast Guard and the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), as well

as the Bahamas, whose flag the ship sails under, said they will conduct a joint investigation to determine the cause of the fire. The fire onboard the Grandeur of the Seas is the latest incident to rock the cruise industry in the past year and a half. In January, 32 people died when the Costa Concordia capsized off Italy's coast and one month later, an engine room fire left the Carnival Triumph adrift in the Gulf of Mexico, with passengers reporting overflowing toilets and human waste running down the walls in some parts of the ship. In March, the Carnival Dream lost power and some toilets stopped working. Earlier this month, cruise officials said a man and a woman on the Carnival Spirit fell overboard off Australia's coast and are presumed dead. (CMC)



week ending May 30, 2013 |

“My hands are clean” - PM Kamla says she’s not afraid of any probe P

rime Minister Kamla PersadBissessar last Friday night declared that she was not afraid of any form of investigation — whether by the Police Service, the Integrity Commission, foreigners or “anybody” – into email trail allegations, as she turned to a massive crowd at Mid Centre Mall, Chaguanas, to get their vote of approval, as her administration marked a third year in governance. “My hands are clean and my heart is pure. I have nothing to fear,” Persad-Bissessar told the crowd at the PP government’s third anniversary rally at UNC heartland in her feature address. “It is before the police, it is before the Integrity Commission. Whoever else they want to send it to, I have no

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar as she addressed supporters last Friday

problem with that. They cannot distract your government. I tell you, I have no fear.” Of calls for the email trail to be investigated by foreign experts, she said, “Now they are saying bring somebody from abroad, bring somebody from anywhere. I have no problem with who is brought in, who is not brought in. Just investigate it! I do not care,

investigate it. From outside, from inside, investigate. Integrity Commission, Police. ” Persad-Bissessar observed that on the very day the allegations were made by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, the matters were referred to the police. “When Dr Rowley came to the Parliament and it came into my hands, I did not wait one minute. I sent it straight to the Commissioner of Police for investigation,” she said. “The allegations made this week by the Honourable Leader of the Opposition in Parliament are false, malicious and reckless. We reject every single one of them! The spin on this issue stops here.” Last Friday night’s event saw PersadBissessar turn to the crowd, seeking and receiving their vote of confidence.

“Thank you for coming here tonight, thank you for showing full confidence in your government!” Persad-Bissessar said. At the same time, Persad-Bissessar tabled a motion of her own on the Opposition Leader who last Friday continued to face pressure over his widely-criticised presentation during his noconfidence motion in Parliament on Monday. “Tonight I ask you, do you have confidence in the Leader of the Opposition?” she asked. “No!” the crowd replied. “Do you have confidence in Dr Keith Rowley?” she asked. “No!” was the response. She said, “His motion has backfired. Today I say we have no confidence in the Leader of the Opposition.” Opting not to present political “goodies” or report on the achievements of her govern-

A section of the gathering at the PP government third anniversary celebrations

ment as she had in anniversary speeches past, Persad-Bissessar instead sought to capitalise on developments of the past few days, focusing on continuing to heap pressure on Rowley over his widely-criticised email trail allegations which alleged a conspiracy to

murder, pervert the course of justice and illegally spy. With Local Government Elections due later this year, the Siparia MP waded into the Opposition for walking out on the vote on their own no-confidence motion last Wednesday night. (Excerpt from TT Newsday)

No alternative to Caricom Jamaica: IMF bills - St Kitts’ trade minister being prioritised


t Kitts international Trade Minister Ricky Skerritt is dismissing claims that the regional integration movement, the Caribbean Community (Caricom), is no longer relevant to the development of the region. "There is no alternative to Caricom. Until I see what the alternative is, I really don't see why we should be thinking about disbanding Caricom. I think we should continue to see how we can make Caricom more effective," Skerritt told Winn FM radio in St Kitts. He said that in each Caribbean country, government leaders face "their own particular challenges in the context of regionalism and the vision for one Caribbean state". Skerritt added: "But

Ricky Skerritt

I think it's well known that the individual countries have a tendency towards insularity, and where that is hindering Caricom effectiveness, it has to be dealt with."

Last month, Jamaican immigration attorney Ronald Mason evoked widespread response from across the region after suggesting that Jamaica should give six months' no-

tice and then pull out of Caricom, whose main purposes are to promote economic integration and cooperation among its 15-member grouping. Skerritt said that he was encouraged by the positive changes being developed within the region over recent months, adding that "the spirit that I saw in the (Caricom) Haiti meeting a couple of months ago was a spirit for change". He said he was also willing to support the recently appointed secretary general, Irwin La Rocque, who is heading the changes. "I believe that we have to give it a little time, but we have to keep the pressure up for change," Skerritt said. Caricom leaders will gather in Trinidad from July 1-4 for their annual summit. (Jamaica Gleaner)

France blacklists TT, Dominica


wo Caribbean C o m m u n i t y (Caricom) countries, including oil-rich Trinidad and Tobago, are included in a list of countries blacklisted by France that do not help investigate foreign aid fraud. French officials said

the list, which also includes Dominica, was drawn up after Paris decided that it would also be banning the use of their banks to help distribute development funds. Aides to Development Minister Pascal Canfin was unable to say how

much French foreign aid currently transits via banks in the countries featured on the new blacklist. The blacklist expands on an alreadyestablished register of eight "non-cooperative states and territories" that already includes

Botswana, Brunei, Nauru, Guatemala and the Philippines. The list now includes Switzerland, Lebanon, Panama, Costa Rica, the United Arab Emirates, Dominica, Liberia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vanuatu. (Jamaica Observer)


n aggressive legislative agenda to satisfy structural benchmarks under the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Extended Fund Facility, could delay other critical pieces of legislation being crafted by the Jamaican government, for promulgation this parliamentary year. Justice minister and chairman of the legislation committee of the Cabinet, Senator Mark Golding, says the administration will be seeking additional help from the Commonwealth Secretariat to assist with personnel in drafting legislation. Senator Golding says if the draughtsperson is retained, this will bring to two, the number of technical persons from the Secretariat who are providing assistance to the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel. Last week, the Economic Programme Oversight Committee raised concern about the government's capacity to complete legislative reforms linked to the IMF programme. In a newspaper advertisement, the committee said the programme of work may exceed the government's capacity to draft legislation, thereby endangering the deadlines set in the structur-

Jamaica’s Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding (Jamaica Gleaner file photo)

al benchmark schedule. The justice minister sought to assure that measures are being put in place to allow the office to meet the task. Parliament has already passed three pieces of legislation, this year, in support of structural benchmarks under the IMF programme. The three pieces of legislation are the Tax Administration Jamaica Act, 2013, The Tax Collection (Amendment) Act, 2013 and a law to harmonise the treatment of charitable organisations for the purpose of taxation. Senator Golding says there are about 12 pieces of legislation linked to the IMF agreement, to be passed during this legislative year. (Jamaica Gleaner)


News | week ending May 30, 2013

McLeod Police reports rise in Trinidad: distances himself drug use in Barbados from MSJ


arbados has become a very high consuming country in terms of marijuana use!” This declaration from Head of the Drug Squad of the Royal Barbados Police Force, Superintendent Grafton Phillips, who has suggested the need to look at the existing programmes and systems currently in place that are aimed at demand reduction. “The current system and programmes are not working and they need to be reviewed,” he told Barbadian media, in a recent interview. “It might be a case where they [these programmes and systems] were not necessarily designed for our Caribbean culture because they were in place for quite sometime and still we have a high consumption level [of marijuana] in Barbados.” Superintendent Phillips noted that this pattern has continued over the years, adding that a check over the past few years would show that seizures made by the squad have been on the increase over the

TT’s Minister of Labour Errol McLeod (left), and Minister of Legal Affairs Prakash Ramadhar at the third anniversary celebrations of the People's Partnership last Friday night at Mid Centre mall, Chaguanas. (TT Newsday photo)

F Head of the Drug Squad of the Royal Barbados Police Force Superintendent Grafton Phillips (Nation News file photo)

years. “Currently the year is not half yet, and we are ahead in terms of seizures. If you look at marijuana plants, last year there were 21 030 seized, while so far [up to the time of this interview] there are 12 334… and if we were to get the figures from the other stations, those numbers would increase as well,” he revealed.

According to figures, the squad also seized 4587.476 kilogrammes of cannabis and 19.426 kilos of cocaine in 2012. So far this year, 3 025.826 kilogrammes of cannabis and 30.49 kilos of cocaine have been seized. “This is an indication that the programmes that are being pushed are not getting through to the general communi-

ty, including the youth. I stress youth, but it is not only them that are using drugs. It is also adults, the general community,” the senior officer disclosed. Speaking to the successes of the seizures, Superintendent Phillips noted that it was an indication that the Force’s enforcement strategies were working. (Barbados Advocate)

Dominica PM says “no” to changes to buggery laws T

he Dominica government says it has no intention of changing the present buggery laws, even as the advocacy group, Minority Rights Dominica (MiriDom) said it was seeking talks with the authorities on the matter of equal rights. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, speaking on the state-owned DBS radio Sunday, said his administration's position on the matter is stated in law “and this matter is still on our books and will remain there for the foreseeable future”. He added: “I respect the views of this new group. I understand from persons they intend to write to the government. We welcome their writing to government, we welcome meeting them as a matter of fact... they are citizens of this country and they would like

to express their views. But one has to look at the broader context of this request and it will be dangerous for the country to move in the direction of repealing laws against buggery.” Prime Minister Skerrit said “as it is now, anybody who wants to engage in what whatever activities can do so in the privacy of his home. But one should not believe that the government is prepared or thinking of wanting to make this a public affair.” Skerrit said he has not heard “any compelling arguments for it to be repealed and I don't think any compelling arguments can be made for it to be repealed.” Spokesman for the group, Daryl Phillip, told radio listeners that Dominica's laws making homosexual acts a criminal offence have fuelled negative perceptions about people engaged in

the practice. "Over the last 20 years, there began to be a developing hatred and some physical abuses targeted towards those people and that's our concern. It is targeting homosexuals, it is not about telling people it is okay to go in public and make out, all we want is for that law to be removed and then we can go on an educational drive," Phillip said. Earlier this month, the group said it was also calling on the Roman Catholic Church to make its position clear on the issue, saying that the buggery laws fuel homophobia in countries where they are still on the law books. Bishop Gabriel Malzaire, in response, said that the Catholic Church in Dominica adheres to the call by the Holy See. “The Catholic Church maintains that free sex-

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

ual acts between adult persons must not be treated as crimes to be punished by civil authorities. The Vatican specifically objected to the declaration's use of the term sexual orientation and gender identity, which it said had no established meaning in international law,” the Bishop said. (Excerpt from Jamaica Observer)

or the first time since the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) severed ties with the People’s Partnership government a year ago in Trinidad and Tobago, Errol McLeod has finally broken his silence. And he did so in a strongly-worded attack on the organisation he “gave birth to”, telling a massive People’s Partnership crowd last Friday night at Mid Centre mall, he is not associated with the MSJ. The MSJ was one of the parties in the coalition People’s Partnership government, but its leader David Abdulah, severed ties last year and has since been campaigning against the PP. McLeod, who launched his political career in 2010 on the MSJ’s platform, remained in the government, however, and often acts as prime minister in the absence of Kamla PersadBissessar from the country. Speaking at last Friday’s third anniversary celebrations of the PP government, McLeod distanced himself from the MSJ, saying that he was never a founding member of that organisation. He said, “I am not a founding member. I have not so described myself. My colleagues are trying to honour me; I know I gave life and birth to it. As for the MSJ, the truth of the matter is, I don’t know if it is alive or dead. I claim no ownership.” McLeod, who estimated the Mid Centre crowd to be over 30,000, then went on to tell the PP supporters that he was not in the least bit concerned with his name being renounced from the MSJ. Then, to a thunderous applause, McLeod said, “One thing I assure you, is that they can-

not remove my signature from the Fyzabad Accord.” McLeod, who is the minister of labour and micro enterprises, apologised to supporters for the mistakes of the PP government. He said that the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago were better off than under the former People’s National Movement which was defeated in the 2010 general elections by the PP. Unemployment in the country, he said, was below six percent. He also said of 75 unsettled industrial disputes that had been gathering dust in his ministry’s office, 49 were resolved upon his assumption of the labour portfolio. Additionally, McLeod told the crowd, he removed several injunctions that had been taken out against certain trade unions, whose ability to pursue the rights of workers were stymied as a result. He also noted that government has raised the lending ceiling for small business enterprises from TT$100,000, to TT$500,000. Also addressing the rally was Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran, who heaped praise on PersadBissessar for keeping the PP unity intact after three years. He described Persad-Bissessar as a “magnet of unity”. Dookeran said that the PP will win the next general elections resoundingly. Tobago Organisation of the People’s leader, Ashworth Jack, also spoke at the event. He praised the Partnership and recalling his defeat in the recent Tobago House of Assembly elections, promised that like the Bliblical Job, he will rise again. (TT Newsday)



week ending May 30, 2013 |

Guyanese lawmen undergoing FBI training in TT T

hirteen Guyanese law enforcement officials are attending a series of training courses spanning from May 13 to June 28 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, at the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) Police Academy. According to a U.S. embassy statement, in these courses, participants developed their skills relating to criminal gang and organised crime investigations, intelligence gathering for law enforcement and crime scene investigations. This was the first time Guyana has sent students to the Trinidad-based academy. Instructors from the United States Federal

U.S. Ambassador to Guyana, D Brent Hardt poses with some of the local lawmen attending the course

Bureau of Investigations (FBI) conducted the training course. U.S. Ambassador to Guyana, D Brent Hardt toured the TTPS Police Academy and met with the first group of Guyanese law enforcement officials participating in the

training, as part of a recent visit to Trinidad and Tobago. The ambassador expressed appreciation to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Academy leadership for facilitating Guyana’s participation in the training. The ambassador

pointed out that the expansion of regional training programmes and regional centres of excellence is a primary goal of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) – the ongoing security partnership between the Caribbean

and the United States. Such training allows for more capacity building training to be delivered at lower cost. More importantly, it helps build personal connections among Caribbean law enforcement agencies that are essential to combating transnational criminal activity. The ambassador told participants that “criminals operate across borders, and law enforcement agencies must be equally nimble if they are to remain effective in combating criminal activity”. CBSI partners agreed on the importance of expanding regional training and developing regional centres of excellence. This FBI-provided training reflects the U.S.

commitment to implement the CBSI and develop region’s capacity to enhance training in a broad range of areas for law enforcement officials throughout the region. This partnership exemplifies the regional cooperation that is at the heart of the CBSI’s success and sustainability. The CBSI partnership with the Caribbean was launched by U.S. President Barack Obama at the fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago in April 2009 and is a cornerstone of an integrated, multilateral hemispheric security strategy that seeks to enhance citizen security, promote social justice, and combat illicit trafficking.

No prison for Jamaican kids with behavioural problems - gov’t moves to change laws


government group in Jamaica says it intends to push for a change to the law that gives judges power to commit children with behavioural problems to correctional centres. "The recommendation is that the state should end the institutionalisation of children in correctional facilities for so-called "uncontrollable behaviour" and put the systems and facilities in place for therapeutic treatment of the underlying causes," Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna told journalists Monday during a press conference at Jamaica House in St Andrew, attended by National Security Minister Peter Bunting and Justice Minister Senator Mark

Golding. "It is our intention to place this recommendation before Cabinet as soon as workable alternatives, including sufficient psychological and psychiatric support, physical facilities and suitably trained staff, are in place," she said. Last Monday, Cabinet considered and approved several recommendations it received in a Joint Cabinet Submission from the ministers of youth and culture, national security, justice, and education. The submission was the work of the InterMinisterial Working Group on Children in Detention, which comprised representatives from several ministries and agencies. Monday, Hanna said

the designation of children as "uncontrollable" had been wreaking havoc in the justice system. "One of the problems that we face is that many parents now take their children to police stations and other agencies for uncontrollable behaviour and many of them claim they are no longer able to control them and when the police take them in custody and they are brought before the court, the court will issue a corrections order with the consent of the parent," she explained. "What we are seeing now is that the majority of the children who are there, are there for uncontrollable behaviour — not murder, not drugs, not shooting, not robbery, but because they

have been deemed uncontrollable," the minister said, adding that these children "really deserve to be treated as victims rather than perpetrators". "Many of them come in with mental health issues and have been sexually abused and acted out, and ended up in prison and they really should not be there. So my ministry... will be submitting another set of initiatives to Cabinet that will look at how we amend the legislation so that uncontrollable children do not end up incarcerated. That is a major challenge we are having and children get lost in the system," she noted further. Bunting said there was some amount of er-

ror in the placement of those experiencing psychological challenges. "One of the things we should point out is that often in the correctional system, both adult and juvenile, the courts send people to us that ideally should be dealt with in the mental health system, and really, when they get to the correctional system it's an inappropriate facility," Bunting said. "It really should be the violent persons and those who represent a risk to themselves and society that should really be incarcerated," he pointed out. Senator Golding said the current approach is "unacceptable". Under the 2004 Child Care and Protection Act,

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

the court has the power to make a corrections order for a child who is deemed uncontrollable, but that order is given only with the consent of the parent. (Excerpt from Jamaica Observer)

Foreign expert for TT email probe D

e p u t y Commissioner of Police in Trinidad and Tobago Mervyn Richardson Sunday said foreign expertise on cyber crime is being sought in the investigation of emails alleging a conspiracy involving Prime Minister Kamla PersadBissessar and senior government officials. “Securing an international expert on matters of cyber crime and information technology is actively being pursued and discussed,” Richardson told TT media when

asked about the status of the investigation into the authenticity of the emails. Asked whether those named in the emails, disclosed in the House of Representatives by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley last Monday, have been interviewed or given statements, Richardson said, “all I am prepared to say at this time, is that the investigations are continuing apace and we are moving ahead.” As of Monday, Attorney General Anand

Ramlogan and Security Adviser to the Prime Minister Captain Gary Griffith, who allegedly communicated via the emails, were not invited by the police for interviews or to give statements. Both told TT media Monday they were “ready and willing” to subject themselves to interviews or to give statements to whoever is investigating the matter. They said they were willing to answer any question, and to turn over computers,

Blackberry cellphones and other items that might be seen as necessary. “The most important thing at present,” Ramlogan said, “is to ensure that experts in information technology with experience in cyber crime, be engaged to investigate the issue.” At this stage, Ramlogan believes the police were trying to ascertain whether the emails were authentic before they could move to the stage of interviews.

Griffith is also ready to be interviewed; “I am even willing to give authorisation through my Hotmail or MSN provider to have full access to my account to ascertain all information of emails whether sent, received, deleted or archived, to show beyond a shadow of a doubt that at no time did such emails come into my account or leave my account,” he said. Printouts of the emails, allege communication between PersadBissessar, Ramlogan, Griffith and Local

Government and Works Minister Dr Suruj Rambachan. Persad-Bissessar, who referred the emails to police, has said she will cooperate with investigators. Rambachan on a television talk show last Wednesday also said he will cooperate. The emails, laid in the Parliament by Rowley as the basis for a no-confidence motion against Persad-Bissessar, allege conspiracy to murder a journalist, pervert the course of justice. (TT Newsday)


feature | week ending May 30, 2013

Thousands witness ‘Independence’ showcase in Guyana

President Donald Ramotar being saluted by the guard of honour shortly after arriving in the National Park in the presence of Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Culture Minister Dr Frank Anthony and Chief of Staff, Commodore Gary Best

Fireworks lit up the skies, marking Guyana’s 47th Independence anniversary


he night sky was illuminated with a spectacular fireworks display by the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) symbolising the dawn of Guyana’s 47th Independence celebration, minutes after the Golden Arrowhead was hoisted Sunday morning. This was only one of the many other side attractions witnessed by President Donald Ramotar, First Lady Deolatchmie Ramotar, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Culture, Youth and Sport Minister Dr Frank Anthony, members of the diplomatic community and thousands of Guyanese from

all walks of life at the National Park Saturday night. Prior to the hoisting of the Golden Arrowhead, the nation heard a message from a GDF officer who led a team to Mount Ayanganna; the highest point in the country, to hoist the country’s flag at 00:00h to mark the 47th Independence anniversary. The hoisting of the Golden Arrowhead and the magnificent fireworks had left the huge crowd in awe, but before that, the National Park was made a lively theatre with five hours of cultural extravagan-


The annual celebration kicked off with a musical instrumental rendition by the National Steel Orchestra and was subsequently followed by some very energetic stage performances by the ‘Nrityageet’ dancers. Captivating the crowd’s attention were the talented Randolph Critchlow and his colleague who, through poetry, addressed not only the road to Guyana’s Independence, but also highlighted the challenges Guyana still faces as a nation. Dressed in the co-

lours of the Golden Arrowhead, Guyana’s reigning chutney/soca monarch and three-time calypso king, ‘Young Bill Rogers’ graced the stage and dished out one of his favourite songs from his collection of calypso music. This was followed by an interlude of dance and then a march past by the Guyana Defence Force. Members of the Guyana Police Force also put on a spectacular physical display show. The National Steel Band and Choir belted out several national songs, including “O Beautiful Guyana”.

Soca artistes Roger Bowen and Kwesi Edmonson were among the other performers who graced the occasion as they ushered in the country’s independence. On May 26, 1966, the Union Jack was lowered for the last time signalling the end of colonialism in Guyana and simultaneously paved was for the hoisting of the Golden Arrowhead, which marked the birth of a new nation; an independent nation. Independence brought an end to centuries of struggles by the inhabitants of the country at the time, unforgetta-

bly the slaves, the indentured labourers and subsequently the working people and leaders who fought strenuously to end colonial domination. “Tonight, we recall May 26, 1966 and the soaring hopes and intense pride it brought to us as a people. Independence meant that at last we had created the most fundamental condition necessary to pursue the aspirations of those who came before us, those who dreamt of building and living in a free and prosperous country,” President Donald said in his address.

Culture, Youth and Sport Ministry dancers perform during the celebration

The Golden Arrowhead being hoisted in the presence of President Donald Ramotar, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Culture Minister Dr Frank Anthony and Chief of Staff, Commodore Gary Best

Lawmen stand at attention as President Donald Ramotar inspects the guard of honour



week ending May 30, 2013 |

Independence for me

Guyana’s WPO marks 60th anniversary - President Ramotar salutes organisation’s fight for women’s liberation



By Anu Dev

or me, “Independence” is more of a personal concept than anything ‘national’. Sure I understand that on May 26, 1966 we received independence from Britain. But as far as my Caribbean Studies have shown, it was more the adopting of a flag, a constitution, a motto and a pledge, than anything else. I mean, when I look at our economic standing (I dare not call it ‘economic development’) we’re just about where the British left us back in 1966. Is that what being independent is all about? When my parents and grandparents wax nostalgic about the “old days”, they seem to feel things were much better then. I don’t know about that. Their bases of comparison were obviously quite limited. Today we have access to information 24/7 streaming into our consciousness about how far ahead other countries are. And we have to stop insisting that we’re not to be compared with the ‘developed nations’. Why not?? We’re weaselling out. Look at South Korea. When we received independence we were far more developed than they were. Somehow they were able to get their act together and get on with the business of creating wealth for their people and they’re as developed as you want to get. Surely you can’t get more developed than Samsung. It’s South Korean. Well, maybe Apple can (I’m the ultimate Apple fan-girl)…but look where they make all those lovely iPads and iPhones. China…which was even more ‘backward’ than us back then. And now South Korea and China produce almost everything you can think about …and then some. Through that achievement they’ve lifted most of their people out of poverty. Now that’s independence!! Look, I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m sure it wasn’t a breeze getting those economies to where they are today. Recollecting (rather dimly, if the truth be told) my snippets of history, there was a whole deal of struggle waged. Even at my age I know that nothing is achieved without struggle. Wasn’t it Fredrick Douglass, the U.S. ex-slave, who said that even crops can’t grow without the earth being rent apart? But it seems to me that “independence” is just a word to a lot of our leaders and another reason to have a party for most others. I mean, I have to come to Georgetown five days a week to get to school. There’s garbage everywhere!!! How can we call ourselves “independent” when we have to allow an American diplomat to start cleaning up our capital?? Have we no shame??? So I return to independence being a personal notion at this time. I believe that we just can’t depend on those who are getting paid to “develop” the country. You and I – and all of us – are the country. If we promise to do our best to develop ourselves, our country will eventually be developed. Provided we remain here, of course. And that’s what I’m recommitting myself to do this Independence Day: to remain in this country until death do us part. My family could’ve been living in the U.S…probably at a much higher standard of living. But I’m proud they’ve made a decision to be here. I don’t have a green card, and don’t intend to get one.

he Women’s Progressive Organisation (WPO) of Guyana was last Saturday saluted by President Donald Ramotar during a cultural ceremony to mark its 60th anniversary. In the presence of a packed audience at the Natural Cultural Centre, President Ramotar hailed the WPO for its outstanding contributions to the lives of Guyanese women and the integral role it played in the economic, political, social and educational development of the country. “They were a part of the struggle for independence, the women’s movement for independence and they were a part of the fight not only for independence, but even in the conditions of colonialism, led the fight for social improvement and economic gains.” He said the WPO fought vigorously against prejudice and inequality, not only for its members, but women across the country. He singled out former President Janet Jagan for her sterling contributions in the fight for democracy and equality. Reflecting on the past, President Ramotar said Jagan faced many

These two young ladies performed a classical Indian dance at the Women’s Progressive Organisation cultural event to mark its 60th anniversary at the National Cultural Centre

challenges and attacks, first from the colonial powers at the time. “Unfortunately, she was demonised by the same people she fought for, but indeed, she was a force for the PPP.” The hardship endured by the WPO’s founders and members during the mid-50s did not go in vain as today, 60 years after, women have progressed in all aspects of society. He said the conditions for the advancement of women are far more favourable with all being granted the opportunity to be educated, noting that more women are graduating from the University of Guyana

than men. It was also pointed out that in an effort to empower women in Guyana, the Housing and Water Ministry has allocated 15 per cent of the houselots distributed over the past five years to single mothers. WPO President Indra Chandarpal in her lengthy presentation reflected on the history of the organisation, and emphasised its achievements.

Positive change

She said prior to the formation of the WPO, its forerunner, the Women Political and Economic Organisation (WPEO) was formed in

1946 before the advent of the first political party; the People’s Progressive Party (PPP). “Even though it lasted two years, it had already provided a catalyst for women, especially for those who were living in the city in abject poverty.” Following the staging of the first elections held under adult suffrage in April 1953, the WPO was formed 26 days after, notably by the first three women parliamentarians, Janet Jagan, Jane Phillips-Gay and Jessie Burnham. At the time of the formation, many women were uneducated because many of them had dropped out of the school at an early age to care for their families. However, realising the importance of education in development, the organisation initially lobbied for all girls to complete school. “This was done through the medium of newspaper articles and various types of meeting.” The ceremony at the National Cultural Centre marked the beginning of one year of activities to celebrate the WPO’s jubilee anniversary. The organisation currently boasts a membership of approximately 5000 persons.

Sexiest bathrooms in the Caribbean W

hat's in a bathroom? Lots! And the global cognoscenti are demanding and getting bathrooms that are as opulent as their preferred spa destinations. The Huffington Post and travel website named the ‘Sexiest Bathrooms in the Caribbean’, with seven hotels making the coveted list. With hundreds of über-sexy bathrooms to choose from in the region, the newly renovated GoldenEye in Oracabessa Bay, St Mary, Jamaica got the nod along with Viceroy Riviera Maya in Mexico, Hotel Guanahani and Spa in St Barts, The Somerset on Grace Bay in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Eden Roc at Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic, Elbow Beach in Mermuda and Isla Mujeres Palace in Mexico. GoldenEye, Jamaica - Boasting 21 rooms and dubbed Jamaica's hippest and most luxurious resort, the bathrooms with outdoor showers hidden from curious eyes by lush foliage have just given you one more reason to check in. Eden Roc at Cap Cana, the Dominican Republic - This hotel features 34 suites and villas, all with their own private pool. Their gorge whimsical bathrooms that feature coral stone whirlpool tubs set against glass walls definitely get the 'sexy' nod. Elbow Beach, Bermuda - The rooms at this hotel have private patios with full or partial views of the ocean. Hotel Guanahani & Spa, St Barts - This beachfront resort and its exquisite views make it one of the best in St Barts... and it’s gorgeous signature suites with massive bathrooms, white, wooden ceilings, large frosted-glass sliding doors and jetted tubs and

GoldenEye, Jamaica

serene ocean views. Isla Mujeres Palace, Mexico - This white-sand couples-only boutique hotel offers swim-up bar and balconies with ocean views and double jetted tubs for two. The Somerset Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos Islands- Imagine marble bathrooms, granite countertops, travertine floors and, in the master bathroom in the higher-end villas, deep soaking tubs and large windows. Viceroy Riviera Maya, Mexico - Looking for the perfect quiet getaway? The luxe villas with thatched roofs will provide that escape in luxury and the bathrooms with stylish walk-in showers and outdoor showers might keep you in seclusion all vacay long. (Jamaica Observer)


feature | week ending May 30, 2013

Guyanese diplomat records Guyana’s historical events New book follows Guyana’s history from earliest settlement to independence


he Guyana Story: From earliest times to independence” by Odeen Ishmael traces the country’s history from thousands of years ago when the first indigenous groups began their settlement in the Guiana territory, to our independence in 1966. In an exclusive interview with Guyana Times Sunday Magazine Dr Odeen Ishmael, recalled how “The Guyana Story”, started: “It all came about when I realised that very little was known of our history of the many years before 1950,” he said. “When I began writing short essays on our history, I concentrated at first on the period of Dutch colonisation of Guyana. After these were posted on the web, I received numerous email requests from students – Guyanese and non-Guyanese – for other aspects of our history.” The essays he speaks of, form a serialised edition on a webpage, also called The Guyana Story (From Earliest Times to Independence) on the website, copyrighted in 2005 that features a collection of short essays which, according to the site, the author hopes would “build an awareness among young Guyanese in particular, of the rich heritage of the people of

Dr Odeen Ishmael

Guyana.” It appears to have done just that, and the result,” Odeen continues, “was that after a period of almost seven years, I managed to put together more than 180 chapters from the earliest period of our history to the attainment of Independence. In doing my research, I was able to examine thousands of documents housed in Spanish, Dutch, and British archives, as well as the Library of Congress.” Ishmael is described as a veteran Guyanese diplomat, and is currently Guyana’s ambassador to the State of Kuwait and the State of Qatar, having previously served as ambassador to Venezuela (2003–2011) and to the United States of America (1993–2003), where he was also Guyana’s permanent representative to the Organisation of American States, and

was dean of the diplomatic corps for Latin America and the Caribbean in Washington DC. He has written extensively on Guyanese history, education, and culture as well as political developments in Latin America and the Caribbean, and particularly on the political integration movement in South America. He was decorated with the Cacique Crown of Honour in 1997, and honoured with the Martin Luther King Legacy Award for international service in the USA in 2002. Divided into six parts, “The Guyana Story” first examines the “earliest inhabitants”, before leading to the period of early European exploration and Dutch colonisation and the forcible introduction of African slaves to work on cotton and sugar plantations. In a March review, the book was described as also scrutinising the effects of European wars, and the final ceding of the territory to the British who ruled it as their colony until they finally granted it independence in 1966. It includes the Indian, Chinese, and Portuguese indentured immigration, showing how the cultural interrelationships among the various ethnic groups introduced newer forms of conflict but at the same time, brought about co-

operation in the struggles of the workers for better working and living conditions. The final part describes the roles of the political leaders who arose from among these ethnic groups from the late 1940s and began the political struggle against colonialism and the demand for independence. This struggle led to political turbulence in the 1950s and early 1960s when the country was caught in the crosshairs of the cold war resulting in joint British-American devious actions that undermined a democratically elected pro-socialist government and deliberately delayed independence for the country until a government friendly to their international interests came to power. “As I point out in the book's introduction, I make no claim to perfection and urge others to do research and their own writing of our history,” Dr Ishmael noted, which recalls the always contentious issue of recording Guyana’s history and the fact that there is always more research to be done of our past, and the need for more researches to take up the cause. The picture on the book cover, Odeen revealed, is a depiction of Fort Nassau on the Berbice River during the 18th century. It is

‘The Guyana Story’ book cover

a reproduction from an oil painting done by his wife, Evangeline, with whom he has two children: a daughter, Nadeeza Ishmael and a son, Safraz Waseem Ishmael. Ishmael is also the editor of the book, “Cheddi Jagan - My Struggle for Guyana's Freedom” and has written the foreword to the book “From Bondage to Deliverance - Indentured Labour in Mauritius and British Guiana”, (2006) authored

by Indian historian Dr Saroja Sundararajan. Additionally, Ishmael is editor of the online GNI Publications, and has published a series of documents on Guyanese history, including “The Campaign for Socialism and Democracy in Guyana (1965-1992)”. “The Guyana Story” (2013) has 688 pages and is fully illustrated. A twovolume British edition will be published later this year.(Guyana Times Sunday Magazine)

Bigger, better Emancipation planned for TT this year S everal high-profile persons will be participating in various events at this year’s Emancipation celebrations in Trinidad and Tobago, including a Grammy award winner, and a former United States Congress woman. Emancipation Support Committee Chairman, Khafra Kambon hinted this at the launch of the 2013 Emancipation celebrations on Sunday at the Lion’s Civic Centre in Port-of-Spain. The theme of this year’s celebrations is “Institutionalising the African Agenda in the Global Future”. The first of the events would be the annual Yoruba Village Drum Festival, which is scheduled to take place June 15, at the Yoruba Village on Besson St, Port-of-Spain. The event usually features drumming groups, poets, rapso artists, and dancers.

This will be followed by the opening of the Kwame Ture Lecture Series on June 16, at the Central Bank. Feature speaker would be former congresswoman and strong political and cultural activist, Cynthia McKinney. The lectures would take place every week until the opening of the Emancipation Village on July 26. Kambon noted that, this year, the Village would be held at the Northern side of the Grand Stand, and expanded with many more booths. “It’s going to be a larger space which gives us a lot more scope for a beautiful, professional, more spacious layout and decor,” he noted. Another highlight of the celebrations would be the Pan-African Spectacular at the Emancipation Village on July 31. One of the featured acts would be Grammy award winner Angelique Kidjo, a

Emancipation Support Committee Chairman in TT Khafra Kambon (TT Guardian file photo)

highly rated Beninoise singer-songwriter and activist. Kambon said there would also be local and regional artistes that “reflect what we are about”. Kambon noted that, at

the launch, Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism, Dr Lincoln Douglas, promised the Emancipation Support Committee the ministry’s support. He said the committee is expected to meet with the minister soon. Firstly however, the committee would have to discuss the amount of funding necessary, based on the needs for this year’s festival. In addition, Kambon said that the ‘Travel Professionals of Color’, a US-based organisation, will hold their annual travel conference in Trinidad this year. The conference would focus on Heritage Tourism. He said the committee expected at least 400 persons to attend the event, including 300 travel agents. “With the cooperation of the Tourism Development Company, we were finally able to get them to have their annual conference here, to coincide with the Emancipation

celebrations,” said Kambon. “We therefore have to put on a programme that will really sell the Emancipation Festival so they could advise their clients that TT is the place to be.” While the travel agents are in the country, they are also expected to look into other cultures and sites of interest in the country. Kambon said he was confident the committee would put on the type of Festival that would “make a big impression” on the visitors. “It is going to be something fantastic. The best so far in terms of quality of entertainment,” exclaimed Kambon. He said the committee also expects “prominent guests” to fly into the country for the occasion, and assured that further details would be announced with confirmation of their attendance. (TT Newsday)



week ending May 30, 2013 |

A successful privatisation in Guyana: NEW GPC INC


he Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (GPC) started out as part of the Bookers Group of Companies, which apart from owning most of the sugar industry in colonial Guyana, also had wide commercial interests. Not without much truth, the common name for the colony, “BG”, was said to be an acronym for “Bookers Guyana”. In the 1920s, Bookers Drug Store was formed to manufacture medicines, which, up to then, had all been imported into then British Guiana. It expanded to encompass a wide range of over-the-counter drugs, such as Limacol and Ferrol, which earned wide brand recognition in the Caribbean. After the parent company was nationalised in 1976 – and renamed the Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation Limited – it became the major supplier of pharmaceuticals to the government of Guyana and the health sector. But as with all the other commercial enterprises, the government had nationalised, the company was run more on political rather than commercial lines. Like the others, it inevitably began to shrink and lose money.


As part of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme imposed on Guyana under the People’s National Congress (PNC) in 1989, the GPC was scheduled to be privatised in the second phase –under the new People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government as it happened. Unlike those conducted by the PNC in phase one, the sale of the GPC was advertised locally in 1999. The PPP/C had moved very forcefully to make the privatisation process more transparent. According to the Privatisation Unit, “of the six bids received, three were shortlisted for further evaluation. The other three were eliminated due to the failure to respond and submit much of the required information. Overall, the one bidder who has been consistent and the most honest in the submission of all information was AntiRetroVirals (ARVs) produced by NEW GPC

tical plan to counter an outbreak. On this point, it is useful to highlight the importance of having a vibrant pharmaceutical producer in Guyana. In the event of an emergency, the NEW GPC has expertise and inventory that could make a big difference. This was made clear a few years earlier, during the floods of 2005, when the company manufactured Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and a number of critical medicines to bring relief to those affected.

NEW GPC INC, Farm, East Bank Demerara

Queens Atlantic Investment Inc (QAII).” The company was headed by a local doctor, Dr Ranjisinghi Ramroop.

Privatised in parts

The sale was consummated in December 1999 when QAII paid Gy$458 million for 60 per cent of the shares of the company, which it renamed NEW GPC INC, and incorporated under the Companies Act 1991. In addition, onto the NEW GPC was foisted “loans” extended to the old GPC by the New York financier Warburg Group to the tune of some Gy$200 million. The PNC government had used this “loan” facility to cover all sorts of secret deals made by their political directorate. According to the IMF Report of 1997, the total GPC asset base was valued at Gy$706 million, but what is often overlooked is that, as the latest report by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) concedes, “GPC was privatised in parts”. The GPC property at 201 Camp Street, Georgetown, which housed Sijan Plaza, was sold to what became Citizens Bank for Gy$247 million. The GPC’s head office at Ruimveldt Public Road, Georgetown, which had manufacturing facilities for Limacol, among other products, and most importantly a shipping wharf, were also stripped from the company and sold to the Guyana National Shipping Corporation (GNSC) for Gy$344 million. It was clear in retrospect that the new company had bought a “pig in a poke”. It is ironic that when the government sold a further 30

per cent of the company for Gy$200 million to the NEW GPC, which exercised its first option clause, there were some complaints. Based on how the assets were stripped, the NEW GPC should have received a refund. The remainder of the 10 per cent shares is held by the government in trust for the employees. But unlike what some others have done with their privatised companies, the NEW GPC owners buckled down to create one of the most successful private companies in Guyana. It demonstrated that a well run private enterprise company can be successful in Guyana.

Building a NEW GPC: people

The NEW GPC was given six months to vacate the Ruimveldt property, which necessitated immediate huge capital injections at the Farm, East Bank Demerara Plant to install a new manufacturing line, a warehouse as well as offices for staff. Three new buildings had to be constructed, as well as every one of the older ones, refurbished. Overall, the new owners were to inject some Gy$600 million after it acquired the company. In making the move from Ruimveldt, the company used the opportunity to rationalise its structure. One of the problems with government-run enterprises is their top heavy management structure with numerous levels of executives and line staff. The NEW GPC reduced the overall staff, especially from the management strata at Ruimveldt, for example through retirements, from 300 to a present 200, approximately. Very interestingly, however, the overall salary scales and total labour costs have increased due to profits generated from increased productivity. The company was able to increase its productivity by focusing on visionary human resource practices. Training of staff at all levels is paramount and salaries and fringe benefits offer incentives for staff to become trained and remain with the company. Staff receive up to four weeks vacation – six in some instances – annually with pay after just four years employment. Less than four years vacation is graduated based on number of completed years.

Staff also receive leave passage, meals, uniforms, bus transportation for employees in East Coast Demerara, West Coast Demerara and South Ruimveldt, Georgetown. Safety gear and other equipment are standard. The relations with the unions, Clerical and Commercial Workers Union (CCWU) and Guyana Labour Union (GLU) are, not surprisingly, excellent. Through these and the overall atmosphere of creating a collegial environment, the NEW GPC has been able to buck the trend of migration of qualified Guyanese and retain its staff. The corporation maintains one of the largest internship programmes with the University of Guyana (UG) for students of chemistry and pharmacy.

Building a NEW GPC: products

Since it took over the original company in 1999, the NEW GPC has added over 60 new products to its line. The most famous was launched within two years of its acquisition when it started to produce generic HIV/ AIDS Anti-RetroVirals (ARVs) in 2001 at below US$360 annually to treat one patient – compared with the US$5000-10,000 then being charged by U.S. companies. It was able to do so by partnering with Indian companies such as Matrix. This facility allowed the government to treat Guyanese AIDS patients free. The company remains the only Caribbean company to produce ARVs. Another pioneering venture, which earned the country international accolades, was its partnering with the Children Hospital of Toronto, Canada and the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) to develop the “Sprinkles Programme” to deal with the major problem of micronutrient deficiencies among children and women in Guyana. The programme reduced overall cases of anaemia by around 30 per cent among pregnant women and children under five years old. The IDB was presented with an award by the U.S. Treasury for its role. In addition, when the threat of bird-flu arose, the company manufactured “Flumavir” (Oseltamivir Phosphate) and that made Guyana one of only a few countries that had a prac-

Pharmaceutical supplier

The NEW GPC was able to retain its old position as the largest supplier of pharmaceutical products to the government’s health sector. In recent years, this has been criticised by some with short memories who forget that very few of the dozens of companies privatised by the government in the 1990s survived, much less prospered. The NEW GPC continues its bequeathed Guyanese tradition. The NEW GPC invested billions into the most extensive and modern warehousing facility for the government’s pharmaceuticals, which it offered free of charge to them. It is not appreciated how complex was the infrastructural network to man the pharmaceutical supply chain for the government. With the announcement that the government has constructed its own warehouse, it shall have a basis of comparison. No other private pharmaceutical company and in our estimation, the government, is in a position to offer the services of such a facility.


Another major problem with the old regime under which GPC operated and which helped to kill it was its protected market that eschewed competition and its attendant productivity gains. The NEW GPC is not only forced to compete locally against global producers, but has pursued a vigorous exportled strategy which forces the company to lift its products to the highest international standards. The NEW GPC is “good manufacturing practice” compliant – the gold standard in the highly regulated pharmaceutical industry and has been able to compete with the best in Caribbean as well as U.S. and Canadian markets. Its packaging and other marketing demands have been met – including the ones where most other local companies flounder – on time deliveries. In short, the NEW GPC has very well been the most successful privatised company in Guyana and is registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is poised to go on to make the country and its shareholders proud.



Guyana’s economy at Independence | week ending May 30, 2013


hen we look at the economy of Guyana at the time of independence there are a few facts that the modern reader must bear in mind. The first is that most economic activity was geared to produce primary products for the "home" colonial power or its proxies generally foreign, for further processing. The result is that the economy was classically "underdeveloped", that is, our natural resources and manpower remained un-utilised or under-utilised on account of lack of economic development fostered by the colonial power. It must be understood, however, that while the general economy might have been underdeveloped, the facilities to produce the primary products were quite highly developed. The economy was therefore not very diversified. The second was that the PPP government that had regained power in 1957, after being ousted in 1953, in addition to governing under colonial tutelage, faced the additional burden of being considered too 'radical'. After winning the 1961 elections, the PPP earned the ire of the new US president, Kennedy, who had been humiliated by the Cuban Bay of Pigs defeat. Between 1961 and 1964 when the government was ousted, the US waged a CIA covert operation that brought the economy to its knees.

Quest for development funds

Back in 1953, the World Bank, which was supposed to be providing development funds for the poor nations, recommended the development of "more agricultural land through D&I and the improvement of the transportation system". When Jagan applied for a loan on these recommendations in 1958, while in London, he was rebuffed. A visiting World Bank expert repeated the recommendations and Jagan applied again. Another rebuff. He'd also asked the British for a loan but was rebuffed. When he secured a Swiss bank commitment for a loan of £6 m, the British refused

the red flags to the US. The PNC, in opposition at this time, dubbed the PPP government a "coolie rice government".

Farming, livestock and fishing

to stand guarantor. Passing through Washington, he was told to wait. The following year, a US economic team did visit but nothing materialised. Ditto with West Germany and a second request for the US to include BG in its agriculture surplus programme. A request for loans to establish a flour and feed mill also fell on deaf ears. Finally, the British did agree to a five-year $110m 1960-64 development plan.... but came up with only $5 million of the $24 million for the first year. In 1961 Kennedy succeeded Eisenhower in the White House and the destabilisation of the PPP government was set into motion. Jagan visited Canada after his US visit yielded no loans. The west had shut the door on Jagan but he was denied access to friendly socialist countries since he had no control over foreign relations. Hobbled as he was, Jagan left a country to the PNC/ UF coalition, granted power by the US/UK combined, which was in as good a shape as any of the neighbouring Caribbean countries and other British colonies in Asia and Africa. Sugar was still dominant in the Caribbean, and in fact, Barbados was even more dependent on that crop than Guyana. In literacy rates, Guyana with its 83 percent was poised for takeoff on the solid foundations of its basic industries, especially in sugar, rice and bauxite, even though they were in private hands.


At independence, sugar was still "king" as it had been from the formation of the colony three centuries before. Most of the arable prime coastal land was owned by two companies: Bookers and Demerara Sugar Ltd- which consistently produced over 300,000 tonnes of brown sugar annually, which was shipped to Britain for refining. The sugar companies did not mechanise the field operations of sugar cultivation beyond tillage, and employed almost 28,000 workers for tasks such as cutting and loading canes, which were consequently extremely labour intensive. They were the largest employers in the country and their labourers were the most ill paid. The struggle of sugar workers for better wages and working conditions were the dominant features of industrial relations in the colony. The companies used molasses, the by-product of sugar, to produce rum, which was another import product, for export. Bookers were also involved in a wide range of commercial activities ranging from pharmaceuticals, car imports, department stores and travel agencies, to shipping and stock feeds.


The second most important product was bauxite, mined by the Canadian company ‘Alcan’ through its local subsidiary DEMBA at McKenzie, Christianburg and Wismar (now Linden) in the Upper Demerara Region, and the US

company ‘Reynolds’ in the upper Berbice region. Bauxite production reached 3 million tons annually in the 1960's. Bauxite was the most capital intensive industry in Guyana. By then, Guyana had become one of the largest producers in the world and the highest producer of calcined bauxite that was used to build industrial kilns. From 1961, a new plant to convert bauxite to alumina was built at a cost of $57 million, and in 1962 started production, which soon reached 300,000 tons. An additional $8 million was spent on housing for bauxite workers, who now received electricity free of cost from the excess capacity

of the alumina plant. Bauxite workers averaged about 6,000 and were the most highly paid workers in Guyana.


Rice was one of the brightest spots in the pre-independence economy. The mission from the UN had reaffirmed that agriculture should be the foundation of developing Guyana. A five-year development programme of 1956-1960 was launched, and the government initiated two of the most ambitious rice farming schemes up to that point: the Black Bush Polder scheme in Berbice and Tapacuma in Essequibo. The Boeraserie project in East Bank Essequibo was also launched. The total acreage under rice was doubled between 1957 and 1964, with production also doubling to 155,000 tonnes. The traditional West Indian Markets could not absorb this increased production, and Jagan secured a more lucrative market in Cuba in 1961 - the year of the Bay of Pigs. This was one of

In the post-slavery era, Guyana established a very entrenched peasantry that was augmented by the East Indian immigrants for the sugar industry, who decided to exchange their return passages for small plots of land. The farmers have always kept the population supplied with ground provisions and vegetables, a small amount of which was exported to the Caribbean islands. The Rupununi was famous for its massive cattle ranches that rivalled those of Texas, and cattle brought up to the coastland on an overland cattle trail, but increasingly by air after being slaughtered at Lethem. On the coastland, farmers reared cattle, sheep and goats that kept the country self-sufficient in meats. Small fishing boats went out to sea and kept the populace well supplied with protein from fish and shrimp.


By the time of independence, Guyana was self sufficient in the supply of lumber to build homes. Some timber,

especially greenheart, which was world famous for piles for wharves, was exported.


While Bookers had established several light manufacturing ventures successfully, by the time of independence, Peter D'Aguiar, who was to become the leader of the UF, has launched the very successful Banks Brewery, with some ancillary industries. The PPP government set up the Ruimveldt Industrial Estate in an effort to spark local investors to increase the manufacturing capabilities of the country. Several contacts were made with eastern bloc countries to assist, but these were soon aborted in the polarised ideological climate set adrift. It was intended that the entrenched mentality of the local business class to only engage in commerce in imitation of the British import agents be broken, and they could appreciate that they could make quite healthy returns from manufacturing. (Guyana Times sunday Magazine)



week ending May 30, 2013 |

Priyanka building muscles to play Mary Kom

Anil Kapoor, Tabu team up once again A

ctress Priyanka Chopra's looks may not have any similarities with boxer Mary Kom, but she is working hard to get into shape to play the Olympic bronze medallist in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film. "I don't believe in size zero. Yes, I have lost weight as I am training myself for my next film. I am working hard to build muscles for my character, which is inspired by Mary Kom," said Priyanka, in an interview with IANS. The 30-year-old actress, who doesn't shy away from shedding her glamorous image to try different characters as she did in ‘Kaminey’ and ‘Barfi!’, finds the journey of Mary Kom, a girl from Manipur who went on to become fivetime world champion, inspiring. "It's not a biopic but it is a film. which is inspired by her life. I personally find her journey very inspiring. This film talks about how to grab the right opportunity, work hard and how sheer hard work can bring success. I am very nervous about the film as it is


hey have previously worked together in hit films like ‘Virasat’ (1997) and ‘Biwi No. 1’ (1999), but since then, the two National Award-winning actors have never been cast in a film together. Now, over a decade later, Anil Kapoor and Tabu will return to the big screen together in director Abhishek Sharma’s next comedy, titled ‘Sharmaji Ka Atom Bomb’. The film is expected to go on the floors by the end of the year. “It is a comedy-drama, on the lines of the Italian film, ‘Life Is Beautiful’ (1997). Both Anil and Tabu were hooked to the storyline the moment Abhishek narrated it to them. And they have substantial roles to play in the movie,” said an insider close to the development. When contacted, Kapoor confirmed the news, saying, “It’s a small film that has the potential to become an atom bomb at the box office. Abhishek is one of the most talented directors around. It will be great fun to work with him.” (Hindustan Times)

‘My dad is my hero’ - Sunny Deol

Mumbai bomb blast inspired Nikhil Advani F ilmmaker Nikhil Advani, who is gearing up for his film ‘D-Day’ says Mumbai bomb blast “affected” his life and that inspired him to make the film. “It’s fictional characters. We have taken events from India’s history and used them as triggers. I am particularly obsessed with the fact that I was 21 when the bomb blast happened in Mumbai… it affected my life, quite a lot and I wanted to make

very close to my heart," Priyanka said. The 30-year-old Mary Kom was honoured with Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honour, this year. (Times of India)

a film to that particular event and that’s why

this film was made,” Advani told IANS reporters during the first Look and trailer launch of ‘D-Day’. ‘D-Day’ is the story of four unassuming protagonists, all with varying back stories and a common mission that brings them together on foreign soil to execute one such mission. It explores their journey, their choices, their loss, their victory. The film is slated for release July 19. (Bollywood Celebden)


e enjoys a huge fan club and many would be idolising him, but for Sunny Deol, his "protective" father Dharmendra, Bollywood's 'He Man' of the 1960s and 1970s, is his all-time favourite hero, Sunny told IANS in an interview recently. "My dad has been my hero since my childhood. Parents rub on to their children. You have that identity with little bit of your father, mother and granny. What a man turns out to be is a reflection of what he has absorbed from the family," he added. Launched by his father with hit movie ‘Betaab’ in 1983, Sunny proved his mettle with films like ‘Ghayal’,

‘Damini’ and ‘Gadar - Ek Prem Katha’. The 56-year-old says Deols are happy in their own space. "We don't indulge with anybody, we don't interfere with anybody, we are happy with what we are doing. We have

our own space and we just do what we want to do. We are very honest people and we don't mess with anybody. Dad has been here for over 50 years now and that is the kind of respect that the family has," he said. (Times of India)

Aishwarya Rai to walk Madhuri nervous about performing with her Kathak guru runway for ‘amFar’


adhuri Dixit, who would be performing with noted classical dancer Birju Maharaj, feels honoured that she would dance with him but is nervous at the same time. The legendary Kathak guru and his disciple will soon be seen in a special ‘jugalbandi’ act on the dance reality show ‘Jhalak Dikhla Jaa’. "I am happy and honoured that I will be dancing with him...I am afraid...getting butterflies in my stomach. I am nervous if I would be able to match up to him. I will treasure this moment," Madhuri told PTI reporters at the launch of the show. The two will perform together for the first time on television. The classical dancer choreographed Madhuri's songs in ‘Devdas’ (2002) and ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’ (1997), and recently did a song for her upcoming film ‘Dedh Ishqiya’. (Hindustan Times)


ollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who was recently busy with the 66th Cannes International Film Festival, has extended her stay in the French Riviera to attend a fashion show for amFar (The American Foundation for AIDS Research), IANS recently reported. ‘The Ultimate Gold Collection Fashion Show’ for AIDS research will see Aishwarya walking the red carpet dressed in an exquisite gold-themed outfit designed by Tarun Tahiliani. Aishwarya, who is at Cannes as the ambassador of leading cosmetic brand L’Oreal Paris, has

been a supporter of AIDS research and has attended the amFar event at Cannes a couple of times now. She has made arrangements to extend her stay at the movie extravaganza so that she could attend the fashion fundraiser. Aishwarya will also participate in the auction, proceeds of which will go towards AIDS research. Aishwarya has been asked to wear a goldthemed Tarun Tahiliani outfit for the gala since he is going to be the only Indian designer showing his creations at the Ultimate Gold Collection Fashion Show. (Bollywood Celebden)


hollywood | week ending May 30, 2013

Angelina Jolie to bond Alec Baldwin falls with mother-in-law victim to twitter hackers A A lec Baldwin's twitter account was hacked for the second time this year, on Monday. Internet pranksters, who also troubled the '30 Rock' star in February, illegally accessed his account and posted messages of diets promotion on his behalf, Contactmusic reported. Baldwin wrote in a series of posts: "This f**king hacking weight loss s**t. Gooooooddd!!! Ignore this weight loss trash. I mean, I'm all for weight loss. But Damn!!!"

Jennifer Lawrence’s alleged stalker arrested A man accused of stalking 'The Hunger Games' actress Jennifer Lawrence and her family has been arrested. Zhao Han Cong, 23, of Vancouver, Canada, was taken into police custody last month after contacting her sibling Blaine Lawrence with over 200 phone calls, emails, and text messages, where he claimed to be Jennifer's "husband for life", Contactmusic reported. Court documents have revealed that Cong also asked Blaine to put him in touch with the 'Silver Linings Playbook' star in order to "protect her''. However, Jennifer's family was left terrified when he threatened them that "bad things" would happen. He added that he "wouldn't kill anyone for sure", but ''all hell's going to

break loose''. FBI agents in Louisville, Kentucky have charged Cong with interstate stalking and repeated harassing phone communications. (Times of India)

Johnny Depp offers roles to homeless people


ctor Johnny Depp has reportedly offered two homeless people a chance to feature in his forthcoming sci-fi film ‘Transcendence’ after spotting them in Albuquerque, Mexico. They have been offered short roles. "Johnny always likes to help out the community when on location. While scouting out the area around Albuquerque, he came across these two char-

acters. He was straight on the phone to the casting director," fema- quoted a source as saying. It is not the first time the actor has helped out people living on the streets. In 2011, he had bought a hat from a homeless person. His film "Transcendence", is directed by Wally Pfister. Releasing April 2014, it also includes actors like Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy and Rebecca Hall. (Times of India)

ctor Brad Pitt and his partner Angelina Jolie are keen to move in the ‘Moneyball’ star's parents into their French home. They want their family close to them. Pitt and his partner Jolie currently live with their six kids. They want Pitt's parents - Jane and William to join them at their Chateau Miraval estate in Provence, France, after the family bonded following Jolie's decision to have a double mastectomy to prevent her from getting breast cancer, reported Jane has been a rock to the actress throughout the ordeal. "Angelina's illness has brought the whole family closer together. Jane has really been there for Ange. They never used to spend a lot of time together,

‘Courtney Love is the ugliest woman I've ever seen’ - Bynes


manda Bynes has raged a twitter war against Courtney Love, calling her "the ugliest woman she has ever seen". It all started when the rocker, 48, who has been plagued with personal problems in her own life, offered some words of wisdom to Bynes. Love tweeted: "@ AmandaBynes pull it together dude".

Bynes then replied, "Courtney Love is the ugliest woman I've ever


But she is keen to start her own underwear line, and she has sent Aniston a box of lingerie made out of her creativity. "It's hand-stitched, one-of-a-kind! It's virgin-

al white, sexy yet classy, too - and absolutely beautiful," quoted a source as saying. Aniston has already given her close friends a sneak preview and she can't wait to wear the lingerie on her wedding night. "Jen loves it so much that she's going to wear it on her wedding night," added the source. (Times of India)

seen. To be mentioned by her at all makes me and all my friends laugh!," the New York Post reported. Amanda caused outrage after appearing to tweet a racist remark at popstar Rihanna and suggesting she was assaulted by Chris Brown because she "isn't pretty enough" - but later denied the posts and claimed it was fake. (Times of India)

Miranda Kerr strips naked to promote skincare range


iranda Kerr has posed nude for the new ad campaign for her skincare range KORA Organics. In the new ad, the former Victoria's Secret Angel poses naked with waves crashing behind her and her skin dripping wet, the Mirror reported. In the image, Kerr is seen wearing only simple silver jewellery and lets her hair fall down around her shoulders. (Times of India)

Dwayne Johnson calls surgery a welcome break

Supermodel gifts lingerie to Jennifer Aniston

u p e r m o d e l Miranda Kerr, who used to model for luxury lingerie brand Victoria's Secret, has gifted custom-made innerwear to actress Jennifer Aniston ahead of the ‘Friends’ star's wedding. Aniston is engaged to Justin Theroux. Kerr, who has twoyear-old son Flynn with husband Orlando Bloom, recently quit her role as Victoria's Secret Angel.

but now Ange is really keen to have her close by ... The shock of Angelina's experience has really forced them to bond," said a source. Pitt and Jolie were said to be getting married this summer. (Times of India)


restler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson went through a hernia operation recently and says it was a blessing in disguise. The 41-year-old star's surgery gave him a break from his work schedule

and he calls that a blessing. The Scorpion King actor was busy promoting his latest films ‘Fast and Furious 6’ and ‘Pain and Gain’, but work came to a halt last month when he underwent a procedure to treat three hernial tears, reports femalefirst. Johnson, who missed ‘Pain and Gain’ premiere to undergo the surgery, admits he saw the positive side of the health scare as he was able to spend more time with his family. He said: "My little girl (11-year-old daughter Simone) was so happy that I was able to come home. I said, 'Well, you know daddy's still superman, right?' It was a really nice blessing to slow down." “It was almost god's way of saying, ‘Well, now you're gonna take a break'," he added. (Times of India)



week ending May 30, 2013 |

Gov’t OLPF opens learning horizon for visually impaired persons in Guyana T

he Guyana government continues to work through its One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) initiative to ensure that every Guyanese becomes imbued with Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills to contribute to the socio-economic development of themselves and Guyana as a whole. Such an opportunity was last Friday provided to 34 visually impaired persons. They were supplied with user friendly laptops appropriate to their disability when the OLPF Secretariat continued its Region Four distribution drive at the Guyana Society for the Blind (GSB) at St Phillip’s Green. The laptops possess the computer software; Job Access with Speech (JAWS) that allows for the visually impaired user to read the screen of the laptop using either a text-to-speech output or a refreshable Braille display. A keyboard and a headphone each were also given to the beneficiaries. Guyana’s Human Services and Social

Security Minister Jenifer Webster was present during the distribution. In 2012, during the first phase of the OLPF countrywide distribution, the GSB was supplied with just over 20 laptops. Minister Webster said the provision of a second round of laptops to the GSB showed, “gov-

Human Services and Social Security Minister Jenifer Webster presents a laptop to one of the 34 visually impaired recipients at the OLPF distribution exercise at the Guyana Society for the Blind

Visually impaired persons at the OLPF distribution exercise at the Guyana Society for the Blind

ernment’s commitment to ensure that all those persons in our society who are vulnerable, have access to facilities that we are offering”. “I think that it is time that vulnerable persons

have more exposure, and this is an area where I feel there are more training opportunities being provided to the vulnerable to be able to do a lot more. We are happy, and we are proud to

be providing, and to be given these opportunities through the OLPF project to the Guyana Society for the Blind,” she said. She challenged the recipients to make good use of the opportunity afforded to them, and pledged the government’s commitment to working in whatever ways possible to support them, and other vulnera-

ble people in the society. She said the ministry will be looking at other innovative ways of working with the GSB and committed to support financially its literacy programme. “I feel that it is one of the programmes that we can further help those vulnerable persons, to be able to contribute to our society,” she said. The GSB has been associated with the OLPF initiative since its inception and President Cecil Morris said that the collaboration has made the work of the organisation much easier and more successful. As a spin-off from the laptops supplied and the training provided, the GSB began offering Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) classes in various subject areas for visually impaired students. This relationship also supports their literacy programme. These recipients will be provided with 30 hours of training (two hours per day) instead of the normal 10-hours mandatory training. Ganesh Singh of

the Guyana Council for Persons with Disabilities will conduct the training in the use of the laptop. He explained, “The reason that it is more than the mandatory 10 hours training is that we would teach them the keyboard so they learn to touch type, so we take about six hours to teach them the keyboard, then we get into Microsoft Word and Internet use,” he said. One of the recipients is Desiree Noel Harniss, who expressed her pleasure at being supplied with the laptop and the opportunity to gain the skills to use it. “I am happy to be here and to receive my laptop. I was born blind, and I think this would be good for me, I never went to school, that is why I am happy to receive it.” Another recipient, Rudolph Andrew Wickham expressed similar sentiments: “What I am actually glad about is that I would get to learn how to use a computer. I’m glad about getting to chat with friends abroad and in Guyana,” he said. (Excerpt from Guyana Times)

Mystery damage to house triggers talk of ghost in Jamaica M onday was Labour Day in Jamaica. But instead of working on a project or heading to the beach, in keeping with tradition, approximately 200 persons gathered at a house in St Elizabeth. They wanted to see for themselves what so many have been talking about for weeks — the torment of one family by a 'duppy'. They came in chartered buses, from as far as Kingston, Annotto Bay in St Mary, Montego Bay, Bull Savannah and adjoining communities to sit on blocks, stones, half-finished buildings, waiting patiently for action. A vendor seized the moment, walking through the crowd selling biscuits, cheez trix, Schweppes and white rum complete with ice. Within an hour, her goods were sold out, her transparent plastic bag bulging with her earnings. Happy with the sales, she sent for more goods. Whether persons believed that story or just enjoyed the taste of the alcohol, a number of

A section of the crowd gathered at the home in St Elizabeth where it is believed a ghost is haunting the family.

them held plastic cups with rum on ice. "How nothing not happening?" some questioned anxiously. A sharp sound sent a number of persons jumping to their feet in an attempt to flee the scene. But loud laughter erupted after people realised that it was only a piece of zinc disturbed by one of the watchers that had caused the sound. So anxious and tense was the atmosphere that any sound brought a question and the shout of "duppy!". But while those on the outside were enjoying and capitalising on

the situation, the five occupants of the house, which included a girl aged 12, had nothing to smile about. Later in the day, one man who identified himself as a son-in-law to the owners, said that the house is stoned constantly and items inside destroyed and burnt without the perpetrator being seen. "You don't see who stoning the house, the house is burnt and you don't see who burning it. That is what is going on," he said, as he sat beside his mother-in-law under a tree. "It throw bottle, it

throw crockery, anything it can catch and you don't see who is throwing it or where it is coming from," he said. "Anytime a day, anytime a night. Anytime it feel to do it, it do it. I'm here 24/7 so I see what is going on." But, he said, the cause still remains a mystery. "It's a puzzle, and if we knew what is the puzzle then we would solve the problem," he said. According to the man, the damage to the threebedroom house over the past month was running at more than Ja$2.5 million. Last Thursday, when the Jamaican media went to the house, the father was seen on the side of the dirt road leading to his home with his daughter who was applying vinegar to a bleeding cut on his head. Their intention, he said, was to get to the hospital for treatment, however, no one wanted to take them in their vehicles. The cause of the cut? He had just been hit by a rock, could not say from where it came. The family say they have been tormented by

a mysterious fire within the house, which has left them with only the clothes on their backs, nowhere to sleep and a house bare of furniture. Last Thursday afternoon, Richard Parchment, the member of parliament for South East St Elizabeth, visited in the family, bearing three bags of groceries. "I hear that things start happening again, so I come to see what is happening, to be told what is happening and to lend our support," he said. "I am not a scien-

tist, I am not a magician, I am not a preacher, but I just want to come and be with the family as the political representative." Regarding the destruction of property, Parchment said that he planned to do a number of things to try to rectify the situation. "We plan on assisting them. We brought some groceries for the time being and we want to assess the situation to see what we can do to help them out," he said. (Excerpt from Jamaica Observer) All that remains in this room is a burnt bed frame after it mysteriously caught fire recently.

28 feature Caribbean launches project to enhance teaching of poetry T | week ending May 30, 2013

he Caribbean Poetry Project was officially launched in Guyana on Monday at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC), with the aim to boost teachers’ poetry teaching skills in schools. Some 55 teachers from secondary schools, the Cyril Potter College of Education and the University of Guyana will be participating in a course “The Teaching of Caribbean Poetry” . The Caribbean Poetry Project is a pioneering collaboration between the University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education; the Centre for Commonwealth Education and the University of West Indies (UWI) Mona (Jamaica), St Augustine (Trinidad) and Cave Hill (Barbados) campuses. The three-year proj-

Guyana’s Education Minister Priya Manickchand speaking at the opening of the threeday Caribbean poetry workshop

ect, first launched in 2010, has seen the School of Education, UWI, Cave Hill Campus, in collaboration with the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC), making available to teachers of English at the secondary level and tertiary level, a short strategic course. At the opening of

Guyana’s first course, Guyana’s Education Minister Priya Manickchand said poetry can be a pathway for better English grades as understanding poetry would lead to persons having a better understanding of the language. According to the minister, schools that teach

English B perform better in English overall and expressed optimism that the poor performance of students in English at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination, can be reversed. “This seems to be a regional problem… it is something we have to face head on and conquer and I believe that we can.” On this note, the minister told the teachers that the workshop provides an opportunity to equip them with the requisite knowledge to enhance students’ performance. “We stand here, we will support you, we are ready to hold your hands, we are ready to provide the resources you need, let’s know what they are but it is up to you… to determine what Guyana’s tomorrow will look like.” The workshop fa-

cilitators are Cave Hill Campus, School of Education Director Dr Jennifer Obidah; University of Cambridge, Caribbean Poetry Project chair, Professor Morag Styles, Dr Georgina Howell of the University of Cambridge; Poet Mark McWatt; Poet John Agard; Poet Grace Nichols; Poet Esther Phillips; Caribbean Poetry Project Research Assistant Gina Burnham and Caribbean Poetry Project, UWI, Cave Hill Campus Coordinator Dr Sandra Robinson.

The aim of the Caribbean Poetry Project is to develop joint research with the University of Cambridge and the University of the West Indies on Caribbean poetry and to enhance knowledge, understanding and creative engagement with Caribbean poetry among secondary school students, aged 11–18. It is also aimed at supporting teachers in developing knowledge and understanding of Caribbean poetry and the teaching of the subject.

Star of the Week

Devi Teluckdharry


eet the charming Devi Teluckdharry, born on October 12, 1988, in Lusignan, Guyana. Born into a family with two older pageant winning sisters, it was no surprise when the confident young woman impressed the judges at the Miss West Indian Canadian 2011 pageant and took home the crown. “I don’t usually have insecurities. My sisters are always there to encourage me. They taught me to love myself. I am, who I am,” Devi says, reflecting on her journey to success. Devi migrated from Guyana 10 years ago, finished her high school studies in Canada, and pursued a number of certificates to reach her current position as a financial service manager at a financial institution in Canada. She has already spent over five years in this position, changing the lives of her clients, and aspires to operate her own branch. Undoubtedly, Devi’s passion for helping others was evident as she listed the many charities and events she has supported; the Salvation Army, run for the cure, and Scott mission, to name a few. “Giving back to and developing our community” is Devi’s overall objective.



week ending May 30, 2013 |

Guyana’s Christopher Barnwell relishes IPL experience T

he sixth Indian Premier League ended on Sunday. Defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders did not make it to the playoff stage of the league this year, as did Chris Gayle’s Royal Challengers Bangalore – the only franchise to have bought a Guyanese player. The all-rounder Christopher Barnwell was bought for US$50,000 by the franchise at the auction earlier this year, but warmed the benches for the entire tournament. Guyana Times Sport journalist Avenash Ramzan sat down with the Demerara Cricket Club and West Indies cricketer, who shared his experience of being part of the largest T20 league in the world. The following in an excerpt of that interview. Avenash Ramzan (AR): “Briefly, tell me about your experience in the Indian Premier League.” Christopher Barnwell (CB): “It was a wonderful experience, being in India. I didn’t get a

Caribbean connection! Christopher Barnwell shares a moment with teammate Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo (

chance to play, but I did make the most of the opportunity, being around the senior players, learning a lot from them, picking their brains and learning more about the game that could make me better. It was a wonderful experience all in all.” AR: “You must be disappointed not to have played a game?” CB: “Well, that’s the game of cricket, you know. You could only play four overseas players per game, so although

I wanted to go out there and showcase my ability, at the same time everyone cannot play, so I had to just go out there and support the team and wish the guys well.” AR: “You were sharing the dressing room with some modern day giants of the game: Chris Gayle, AB deVilliers, Muttiah Muralitharan, Tillekaratne Dilshan, Daniel Vettori and the list goes on. That must be an experience you’d cherish for the rest of your life.” CB: “Yes, it was a

wonderful experience. Growing up and watching those players on television and now actually being there with them at the same time was a wonderful feeling for me.” AR: “I’m sure you would have used the opportunity to get some tips from these players. How did that go?” CB: “Well, basically I asked them how to go about the game. One thing all of us have in common is to play basic cricket. In T20 cricket you have more time

than you think; just look at Michael Hussey, he’s a perfect example… just pick the balls to hit and he goes about Test matches, one-days and T20 in the same manner. [As a batsman] I learnt that you must play it as you see it and don’t put yourself under too much pressure…as bowlers you have to be on the ball all the time because T20 is a game where one [bad] over and your whole spell could go wrong, so it’s important you concentrate on every spell.” AR: “RCB’s batting was clearly the strength of the team, consistently putting up huge totals, but the bowling was a major letdown…did you at any point put your hands up and say “I think I can do the job”, because you’re the type of player who can contribute to both departments?” CB: “Well you know that’s not my call whether I should be playing or not; that’s up to the coach and captain to come up with the best eleven to go on the field. I don’t think we bowled bad either, it’s just that we didn’t execute our plans, because

some of the games the bowlers did a fantastic job and brought us back in the game. But then again they were not as consistent as they should be.” AR: “What was the mood like in the camp when Sunrisers Hyderabad were playing and the equation was if they won, it would effectively end RCB’s campaign? Darren Sammy, as it turned, out won the game for Sunrisers with consecutive sixes and that was the end of RCB’s run in the IPL. It must have been a terrible feeling.” CB: “Yes. Coming down towards the end there we knew the situation, we didn’t have our fate in our hands. We were depending on Sunrisers to lose and it didn’t happen.” AR: “What went wrong for RCB this year, six tournaments now without a title? CB: “I think in some of the games we lost key moments and as you can see towards the end there we had to pay for those mistakes.”(Excerpt from Guyana Times)

Jamaica dominate CMRC at Dover T he Jamaican team marvelled the thousands that gathered at Dover Raceway on Sunday to earn valuable points in the first leg of the Seaboard Marine Rubis Caribbean Motor Racing Champions (CMRC). Douglas Gore, in his unbeatable Audi TT, dominated both CMRC Group Four races, and beat his rivals in the Grand Finale Thundersport 2 race. Gore belted the ATL/ Petcom-sponsored Audi through the chicane, after accepting a challenge from Barbados' Douglas Maloney to start from the back of the Thundersport 2 race. Maloney was hot on Gore's heels in his fire-breathing Audi A4 Quattro, but Gore showed the might of his Audi TT by passing all the drivers to grab the chequered flag. It was Audi versus Audi as the Bajan hounded Gore, but could manage only second in what can be described as the clash of the Titans. Andre Anderson placed third. "The car has been unbeatable since its arrival on the island. I'm so glad for all the support from

Doug Gore in his Audi TT takes the chequered flag after one of his wins in the CMRC Group Four races in the first leg of the Seaboard Marine Rubis Caribbean Motor Racing Champions at Dover Raceway in Jamaica on Sunday.

the fans this year and for all the sponsors coming back on board 100 per cent. It feels good to give Jamaica maximum points for the CMRC," said Gore. Guyanese Kevin Jeffery, who was driving Gore's former Mitsubishi Evolution, was second in the CMRC Race 3, with Maloney securing third place. Suriname and Cayman also contested the CMRC races. In his Total/Andersons Auto Parts-sponsored Mitsubishi Mivec, driv-

ing sensation Andre Anderson put pedal to the metal and secured three first-placed and two third-placed finishes, including the CMRC Group Four races. Anderson suffered a broken rear suspension in the second CMRC race and his Mivec was thrown into nearby bushes as it spun out of control. "I am okay and we were able to rectify the suspension. I did what I came to do in the CMRC races and helped to contribute points to team

Jamaica. The wins in the other races were like icing on the cake, so it was a good day," said Anderson, who was Meet Champion for the April 2013 meet. Anderson showcased some very impressive racing and despite being hunted by the pack, put the Mivec to work and had a very successful day. His Team Total partner Kyle Gregg, in a Total Honda Civic, also gained valuable points for Jamaica with wins in all three CMRC Group Two races, alongside compatriot Sebastian Rae, driving his Firestick Mitsubishi Mivec, also winning races. Alan Chen, Kyle's arch-rival, was very competitive on race day and grabbed the chequered flag for the indomitable Thundersport 1 race, in his Allied Toyota Starlet. Chen also earned points for Jamaica by placing second in one of the CMRC Group Two race. Natasha Chang suffered engine problem during the qualifying day and her Honda Civic was ruled out of the CMRC. David Summerbell Summerbell Jr's Total Mitsubishi Evolution 8

also suffered mechanical problems on race day and after placing first in the Modified Production race 4, spun out of control on the track, which rendered the car incapable of completing the race day. On his return to motorcycle racing, after missing a few meets, Stefan Chin was victorious in all ‘Motorcycle A’ races contested, with Robert McDonald and Dennis Chin Quee placing second and third, respectively. In ‘Motorcycle B’ action, Caswell Lewis, the rider who was flung from his motorcycle, won race one and his nemesis

Jason 'Ratty' Campbell won race two. Lewis placed second in race two behind Campbell. Caswell is now recovering nicely at home after being treated at hospital after the accident. Rhon Gayle also experienced victory as he stamped his mark in the Bracket 38 race, ahead of Brian Shor and former MP Othneil Lawerence. Lawrence, however, put his foot down and grabbed the chequered flag in race number two. Ocran David and Dwight Spence were winners in the Bracket 45T and Bracket 45N races, respectively. (Jamaica Observer)

Andre Anderson in his Mitsubishi Mivec leads Barbados’ Douglas Maloney in his Audi A4 Quattro at Dover on Sunday


sport | week ending May 30, 2013

Bravo wins Caribbean cricketers perform Purple Cap for well in opening round most wickets N S Toronto & District Cricket Association Elite League…

By Ravendra Madholall

everal Caribbean cricketers put in splendid batting and bowling performances in the opening round of the 2013 Toronto and District Cricket Association Elite 50-over League over the weekend at various venues across the city. Former Guyana firstclass skipper Damodar Daesrath scored an attractive, unbeaten 70 to lead defending champion Brampton Masters Tranzac Cricket Club to a handsome victory over Gujarat at King City. West Indies one-day player Royston Crandon chipped in with both bat and ball for Vikings Cricket Club who had mixed fortunes winning only one of their two encounters while Guyana’s first-class opening batsman Rajindra Chandrika, also representing Vikings, stroke an impressive half-century. Off-spinner and Trinidadian Afzal Dean was also in the wicket column for Brampton Masters, nabbing two wickets from his economic spell, while former Guyana Under-19 batsmen Dominique Rikhi and Riaz Kadir chipped in with valuable scores for Victoria Park Cricket Club. Chandrika, Rikhi and Kadir are in their debut

Rajindra Chandrika

Gary Mathurin

overseas season and are optimistic that they will do well in the next three to four months. Chandrika, who played in Canada in 2010 representing Sagicor High Performance Centre team, which was organised by the West Indies Cricket Board, believes he can continue from where he left off in Guyana. He related that his experience for the West Indies combination side three years ago will be vital for his involvement for Vikings Cricket Club and his half-century (52) that led his side to victory, has given him the impetus to start off with. “I ‘am’ thankful for the guys to have me in Canada; it is a great place to play cricket and I am confident I will do well on this first trip for a club; I was here in 2010 and that really gave me greater motivation to make an impression now, so hopefully I can

fulfill my promise,” the 23-year-old right-handed batsman stated. He featured in 23 first-class matches for Guyana while he donned the prestigious maroon colour at the under-19 and ‘A’ team levels. Like his Guyanese colleague, Royston is making his fourth trip to Canada and again is very optimistic to dominate the game as a versatile all-rounder. He related that the atmosphere here is fantastic and the cricket is also very competitive. His representation for the West Indies team at the international level is always in his memory and he is eager to don the colour again in the near future. He reckoned that as a cricketer, coming and playing in North America with a number of players from around the world always inspires him to do greater things on the field.

Both Rikhi and Kadir were anxious to begin the competition on a high note and eventually made an immediate impact with the bat. Kadir scored a fluent half-century in his first game before he missed the second, scheduled match on Sunday owing to an injury. Rikhi chipped in with scores of 32 and 29 and stated that he wants to score more heavily and consistently to put his team in a winning position to lift the cup. “It is my first season over here but I am really looking forward to it; the competition seemed very stiff and that is one of the reasons I am in North America-to improve the standard of my game in all areas,” Rikhi, who plays for Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club in Berbice, Guyana, divulged. Meanwhile, Jamaican and former West Indies Under-19 skipper Andre Creary and West Indies and St. Lucian limited-over player Gary Mathurin are expected to begin their stint this week in Toronto. Mathurin scored a century last year. Guyanese and West Indies batsman Ryan Ramdass is already in Canada to commence his career. The action is set to resume on Saturday with a number of matches in Toronto.

ewly appointed West Indies O n e - D a y International captain Dwayne Bravo has won the Purple Cap for taking the most wickets in this year's Indian Premier League which ended Sunday. Bravo, who will lead the Caribbean side in the Champions Trophy beginning next week in the United Kingdom, was on song throughout the tournament and ended up claiming a staggering 32 wickets this season. Bravo has attributed his success to bowling more overs at the death. "This year what I did different was bowl more overs at the death. I have to give credit to Mahi (MS Dhoni) for having faith in me. I always love the challenge of bowling in the latter stages of the game when batsmen tend to go for it," said Bravo in an interview with "So, I change the pace and use variations. I am happy that I was able to produce results with the ball for the team at crucial moments." Bravo grabbed an impressive four wickets for 42 runs in his four overs for Chennai Super Kings, who lost to Mumbai Indians in the final of the IPL on Sunday. He was among several West Indians who struck form during the

Dwayne Bravo

sixth season of the multimillion-dollar tournament. Others included Darren Sammy for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, Sunil Narine with the Kolkata Knight Riders, and Chris Gayle's recordbreaking batting performances with the Royal Challengers Bangalore. "It is a good tournament for us West Indians, and we hope to continue doing well and are looking forward to the next IPL. Right now, it is good to have so many West Indians in form ahead of the Champions Trophy," said the West Indian captain. "The shorter formats really suit us. And we just hope to come together as a team and try and bring these individual talents together and hope they perform." (Jamaica Observer)

TT beat Barbados for volleyball gold T rinidad and Tobago expectedly claimed the gold medal Sunday night in the second leg NORCECA (North, Central America and the Caribbean) qualifying tournament for World Women’s Volleyball Championships at the Sports & Physical Education Centre (SPEC) of the St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies. Despite the fact that they were not at their best and ended up losing their only set in the tournament, the hosts defeated fellow Caribbean powerhouse Barbados 25-18, 20-25, 25-17, 2520 in the final. Both teams have already advanced to the penultimate stage of

NORCECA qualifying early next year for the World Championships, which will be staged in Italy late in the year. TT crushed the Bajans in less than an hour in the very first match of the tournament in the round-robin phase the morning before, but this victory took 87 minutes. Krystle Esdelle was the first to admit that the four-time defending Caribbean champions struggled when the captain stated: “Tonight our key players did not perform and we made too many errors.” Still the left-hander, the Most Valuable Player when TT captured the gold medal in their group in the first leg of qualifying last year in Suriname, pounded

Members of the TT women’s volleyball team show off their broad smiles, medals and trophies won after beating Barbados 25–18, 20–25, 25–17, 25– 20 in the final of their NORCECA Women’s Second Round Group I qualifier to the 2014 FIVB World Championship at the University of the West Indies Sports and Physical Educational Centre, St Augustine, on Sunday night. (Anthony Harris/TT Guardian photo)

18 kills and two aces to be the game’s leading

scorer with 20 points. Esdelle’s fellow

Poland-based players Channon Thompson and Sinead Jack were this country’s others to reach double figures, contributing 19 (13 kills, five aces) and ten, respectively. For Barbados, veteran captain Shari Matthews, who is based in Serbia, had 24 kills and 14 points all told, one more than the Spain-based Anicia Wood. Just before the final, Honduras picked up the bronze medal by beating Anguilla 25-9, 25-18, 2518 in just over an hour, the day after also whipping them in straight sets in the round-robin phase. The Barbadians had beaten both Honduras and Anguilla in straight sets in the group phase

and TT were undefeated in their four matches over the weekend. TT were represented by Esdelle, Jack, Thompson, United States-based Samantha Prescott, Finland-based former national junior captain Darlene Ramdin as well as Abby Blackman, CountneeMae Clifford, Renele Forde, Abigail Gloud, Andrea Kinsale, Rechez Lindsay and Kelly Billingy, one of the leading players in the Caribbean for over a decade. The five-time Caribbean champs were eliminated in the third and penultimate round of NORCECA qualifying for the previous World Championships, the 2010 edition in Japan. (TT Express)



week ending May 30, 2013 |

Shelly-Ann, VCB Guyana-born cricketer Samlall in, Jeter missing Singh dies on field in Toronto from Oregon 100m By Ravendra Madholall

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce


ix of eight women from the London Olympic 100m final will face-off at the Diamond League meet in Oregon, U.S. Saturday. The provisional list includes the two Jamaicans, ShellyAnn Fraser-Pryce and Veronica CampbellBrown, who finished first and third at the Games. American Carmelita Jeter, who finished between the two in London, will miss out on the showdown after suffering an injury at the Shanghai leg of the athletics series on May 18th. The race is expected to be between Fraser-Pryce,

who leads the world with a 10.93 seconds run in Shanghai, and Campbell-Brown, popularly called VCB, who ran 11.01 seconds at the Jamaica International Invitational earlier this month. Also in the lineup are Americans Tianna Madison and Allyson Felix who placed fourth and fifth in London with personal bests of 10.85 seconds and 10.89 seconds respectively. Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast and Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria are the other two finalists from London who will compete in Oregon. Ahoure finished seventh (11.00) in London while Okagbare was the final woman across the line in 11.01 seconds. Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste, sixth in London, is the other finalist from those Games who will not run in Oregon. Instead, Jamaican Kerron Stewart, silver medallist from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, will complete the field. One other Jamaican, Kaliese Spencer, is down to compete in the 400m hurdles. Spencer, twotime Diamond League winner in the event, has finished fourth at the last three major championships. (Jamaica Observer)

Jamaica drops leading scorer ahead of qualifier


amaica has dropped all-time leading goal scorer Luton Shelton ahead of two important home games in Concacaf World Cup qualification scheduled for next week. Shelton, who has scored 35 goals in 73 appearances in national colours, was not named in a 26-man squad for a ten-day training camp in the Bahamas. The camp was cut shortly after a warm-up game against Bahamas scheduled for Friday was cancelled. “Luton Shelton was a decision by the coach to drop him,” said Alfredo Montesso, Jamaica men's senior team assistant coach. “We have four strikers in the team, and that is enough. We

have Ryan Johnson, Darren Mattocks, Theo Robinson and Jermaine Beckford.” Since its return on Sunday, the team has held a training session with only nine players at the Jamaica Football Federation Training Centre at the University of the West Indies. Some of the overseas players who were in The Bahamas, returned to their clubs for various reasons and were expected in Jamaica from Wednesday with the full squad expected to be available on Friday. Jamaica tackles Concacaf giants Mexico next Tuesday before taking on the United States of America next week Friday and Honduras in an away game on June 11. (CMC)


e was considered a great gentleman and his profound passion for cricket will always be remembered.” These were some of the words expressed by a representative of the Ontario Masters Softball Cricket League, following the sudden death of over-40 player Samlall Singh. On Sunday many of his colleagues were shocked to hear of his demise when he collapsed on the field when his team ‘Miracle Cricket Club’ was opposing ‘Pegasus Cricket Club’ in the continuation of the major league over-40 25over round robin tournament in Toronto. He was 54. Singh, a right-handed batsman scored an aggressive half-century before he died and his teammates stated it was a sad and unforgettable day for them. Born on the East Coast of Demerara in Guyana, Singh came to Canada over two decades ago and immediately took up the sport, representing Miracle Cricket

Samlall Singh died on Sunday

Club over the years and his performances were also impressive. “He will definitely be missed for his wonderful personality and friendliness; I know he was a great ‘lover’ of the game’ but seeing him die on a cricket field certainly [is] devastating,” Krisho Singh Ramnarayan told this publication via telephone on Sunday afternoon’ after his team won

by 22 runs. President of the Ontario Masters League, Azeem Khan, was also saddened by the player’s passing and expressed sincere condolences to his relatives and friends and revealed that the league has lost a true player. “Over the years we have played against Singh, and always enjoyed the friendly com-

petition he offered; indeed without his effort – he top scored with 52Miracles would probably not have won the game (Sunday),” he expressed. He continued, “The League’s most enthusiastic cricketer, Samlall, brother of Henry and Ron Singh, has gone to a more peaceful, restful world and on behalf of the Masters League, we offer our sincere sympathies and condolences to his family and friends; words alone cannot express the hurt and shock being experienced by his fellow cricketers, family and friends.” Singh worked for parking arrangements with the Enforcement Officers where he lived while he coordinated placement of tents for Paul Party Rentals at his backyard in Scarborough. His wife, Indira Singh, was saddened by the news, while their three daughters Ashley, Brittany and Chattel were in a state of shock following his death. They declared he was a great father and always supported cricket since their migration to Canada in 1983.

West Indies coach says England is the team to beat


est Indies coach Ottis Gibson has picked out host England as the team to beat in this year’s Champions Trophy because of its familiarity with conditions in the early summer. “England would be the best team to play in England in these conditions at this time of the year,” Gibson said. The tournament will be played between June 6 and 23, and James Anderson and Stuart Broad have found form in the ongoing Test series against New Zealand. “To my mind, they are the favourites and for the rest of the seven teams, it is who gets settled and used to the conditions quickly enough. “And that’s what our aim is—to get there and get ourselves acclimatised as quickly as possible,” Gibson said. “We know that we have a lot of guys who have played in England before in those conditions, but it is all about gelling as soon as we can and making sure that when the main event comes on June 7, we are ready for that.”

Members of the West Indies team doing warmup drills at the Swalec Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on Monday morning (WICB Media photo/Philip Spooner)

West Indies, who won the Champions Trophy the last time it was held in England in 2004, squares off against Pakistan in its first match at The Oval. Gibson’s prediction and wariness of English conditions were not unfounded. At almost the same time last year when West Indies toured England, their sole victory was in a one-day game against Middlesex. Though Marlon Samuels racked up a century and three fifties, England won the three-Test series 2-0 and then wrapped up the three-ODI series 2-0, and lone T20 as well.

West Indies, however, rounded off 2012 by becoming the T20 world champions, beating host Sri Lanka in the final. “Winning major events gives the confidence,” Gibson said. “There will be some pressure of course, but the fact that we have won the last major event means that we get confidence from it also, and there is a lot of belief among the players.” Gibson said the conditions might also impact the playing eleven, saying, “It might be that we think when we are playing subcontinental teams that play

spin very well, we might want to play an extra fast bowler or whatever the case may be. We don’t know that yet.” West Indies, who had their first training session in Cardiff on Monday, targeted repeating their 2004 victory despite being in a group featuring India, South Africa and Pakistan. “Getting out of the group is our first challenge and getting to the quarterfinals and semifinals, and then our aim is to be playing on the 23rd, in the finals. I think we have a pretty good record in finals.” (TT Guardian)

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


Pressure on to make CPL ‘the envy of the world’


s excitement continues to build for the upcoming Caribbean Premier League (CPL), the league’s newly appointed committee has been urged to use CPL to develop the Caribbean brand and make it, ‘the envy of the world’. The committee met for the first time earlier this week in Jamaica under chairmanship of former Prime Minister PJ Patterson and discussed CPL plans and progress as well as the inaugural tournament which starts on July 30 in Barbados. Patterson, in his remarks, said he did not hesitate when asked to chair the CPL Cricket Committee since he, “truly regard cricket as pivotal to the

Caribbean process”. He also declared that “…chairing this committee is of utmost importance to me because I believe sports entertainment is big business.” In this regard, he stressed the need for everyone to work together to ensure the CPL gets off to a good start. “We must be the envy of the world and use this tournament to develop the Caribbean brand,” Patterson urged. The committee discussed a request from the Sri Lanka Cricket Board for CPL to change its tournament dates , but agreed unanimously that this could not and would not be done at this stage when all arrangements have been put in

place. Additionally, the committee decided that although there is an anti-corruption clause in the player’s contract, there is always a need for the players and the league to be more educated on what constitutes corruption and the ways in which they may be approached. Hence, all CPL franchise teams are required to attend a presentation on corruption to be facilitated by the WICB anti-corruption officer. The first ever CPL, sponsored by Digicel, gets underway on July 30 with 24 matches played in six franchise countries namely - Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad and

Tobago. Six top West Indies stars have been confirmed as franchise players – Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels. Also confirmed are six overseas franchise players – former Australia captains Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting, ex-New Zealand captain Ross Taylor, Pakistan Twenty20 International captain Mohammad Hafeez, Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa and Sri Lanka spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan. A total of 90 players will be contracted to play in the CPL. Each of the six franchise teams will comprise of a 15player squad. All teams are re-

Former Prime Minister of Jamaica PJ Patterson, chairman of the Caribbean Premier League cricket committee

quired to have a minimum number of local players from their franchise country and at least two of them must be under the age of 23. Teams can also field a maximum of four international players. The remainder of the team must consist of regional and/or local players.

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