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Monday, May 26, 2014



oday, politicians will be out in force, mouthing great phrases about “independence”. Last night, our Golden Arrowhead was raised at midnight, replicating that first time in 1966 when the Union Jack, flown over our land for a century and a half, was lowered for the final time. It was, not for the first time, a time of great expectations When “Emancipation” had come in 1834, the slaves who were freed, not unreasonably, must have shouted, “Free at last! Free at last!!” After all, their chains – legal and physical had been sundered, had they not? Queen Victoria had signed a proclamation. Cruelly, they discovered that the answer was, “Not really”. Theorists later were to distinguish between “negative” and “positive” freedoms and it would appear that that Emancipation (capitalised, even) was the negative variant, in that “constraints to freedom” were removed. As to “positive” freedom – to “be all that one could be” – that lay presumably down the road. But even Emancipation, promising the absence of constraints, was a hoax: a cruel hoax. There was, as the historian Hugh Tinker dubbed it, a new form of slavery with Portuguese, Indians and Chinese who were not only “bound” to the sugar plantations, but undermined the expectations of the freemen and women to obtain a “market” rate for their labour. The substandard wages earned by all the “natives”, combined with the underdevelopment of the colony, as the profits continued to be reinvested in the imperial metropole, stifled their humanity. And so the dream of “independence” was born. Out of the struggle for better working conditions, it dawned on the leaders that until they had political power in their

own hands, they would be unable to extend their freedom to its positive dimensions. The British had to go. The British, however, had determined that even after passage through their vaunted educational system, those leaders were not ready for full independence: there would have to be a period of “tutelage”. There would be the notion of “internal self-government” in which there would be a Premier and his Cabinet appointed from the winner of the first universal franchise general elections in 1953. External relations were to remain with the Governor, acting on behalf of the Crown. But the PPP Government’s ouster within a mere 133 days, indicated that the parameters of both negative and positive freedoms were still tightly demarcated. They could only be what the Imperial power wanted them to be. The democratically elected government was deemed too radical: they foolishly assumed that the lot of the people were to be improved quickly. And so we had a period of “marking time” during which the British and the US, sniffing the wind in their self-declared “Cold War”, plotted to ensure that whenever “independence” came to Guyana, their interests – strategic, trade and investments, ideological etc – would be protected. And they manoeuvred a fractured independence movement that fell on opposite sides of the ideological divide, but more germanely for our development, divided the nation into ethnic enclaves. So while the two leaders, Burnham and Jagan might have hugged on the stroke of midnight May 26, 1966, the gesture simply emphasised “what might have been”.  Guyana might have been declared “formally” indepen-

dent, but, because, at best, it was simply trying to increase the positive freedom for its peoples, the effort was doomed from the beginning because it was secondary to the interests of the Great Powers. It was only when there might be a happy coincidence of interests would the lot of Guyanese be improved. So we have had each of the two major parties at the helm of the country since independence: the first, PNC for 26 years and the other. the incumbent PPP for the remaining 22 years. We, therefore, have some basis for comparison, and while there are many who would echo Hamlet’s Mercurito and say “A plague on both houses!”  perchance, we may also learn something about real “independence” if we undergo the exercise. It would be foolish to assert that either the PNC or the PPP were, or are, not motivated to develop Guyana. So the question that has to be asked is: with all the best intentions why we are still so far behind all our neighbours by almost every measure?  While, we can be certain there can be no one “smoking gun”, we have to accept that the triumph of politics – the capture and retention of political power – over every other goal, is at the base of of our anaemic condition. As we commemorate the 48th anniversary of our independence, we must reflect that if our political culture stands between the Guyanese people's increased positive freedom, then it only stands to reason that we have to change that political culture. This will call for bold thinking and even bolder political will – qualities that most politicians are not seized of, in abundance. Ultimately, the people, in whom sovereignty is lodged, will have to make the choice.



monday, may 26, 2014 |

ICT Independence! Digicel: Guyana losing out with lagging broadband


t a time of cautious optimism after a long period of political uncertainty that has dogged this nation since gaining independence back in 1966. And while uncertainty in the global arena and the risks of political deadlock in our Parliament still persist, the role that information and communication technologies

(ICTs) can play to support economic growth and the creation of high quality jobs has never drawn so much attention and research. There had been some initial concerns about the risk, in some developed economies, that ICTs could accelerate the delocalisation of certain economic activities toward developing coun-

tries. But the benefits of ICTs are now widely recognised everywhere as an important source of efficiency gains for companies that will allow them to optimise their production function and liberalise resources toward other productive investments. Moreover, ICTs are also increasingly recognised as a key source of in-

novation that can generate increased economic growth and new sources of high-value-added jobs.

Losing out

It is against this backdrop that Irish telecommunications giant, Digicel says Guyana is losing out in a big way with the lack of high speed broadband data

connectivity and is urging that stakeholders speed up the process so that citizens can benefit from this resource, as the country celebrates 48 years as an independent nation. Currently, Government is moving to introduce new laws to free up the telecommunications industry here, which when passed, will allow companies to apply for more spectrums to allow for more broadband connectivity. The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) has said that it

ture in the global industry are everywhere with live regional networks deployed, handset availability by major suppliers has increased with pricing trending downwards, but GT&T has not been afforded the appropriate spectrum allocation to make 3G/4G a reality for all Guyana. This is to the detriment of the sector and national ICT goals,� the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Radha Krishna Sharma had said. He added that an updated request for spectrum allocation was sent in 2013.

had submitted a request to Government in 2010 for spectrum allocation to facilitate a phased 3G/4G rollout. This submission included field test data, economic analysis and a macro Project Plan, inclusive of geographic phases for the planned rollout. “Regrettably, we are now in 2014, technology has changed and the rapid advances in 3G/4G architec-

A recent study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) revealed that Latin America and the Caribbean lag far behind developed countries in broadband penetration. But the study shows that Barbados, Chile and Brazil are in the best position to take advantage of this vital development tool. turn to page 11A



monday, may 26, 2014 |

In patriotism, FITUG’s 48th Anniversary a brighter Independence message future beckons T T oday, Guyana celebrates a cherished occasion: its 48th anniversary as an independent nation with much hope and fervour, though daunted by the setbacks created by divisive politics, fuelled by opportunistic politicians who seek to ensure their survival. It is a cherished moment, because gone are the days when Indians, Africans, Amerindians and people of the other races, with the exception, of course, of the Europeans, were treated as second-class citizens in a land their ancestors built from blood, sweat and tears and paid with their lives through slavery and indentureship. No longer are our children denied an education and employment in Government offices, because they are not a believer of the religion foisted upon them by their colonial master. There was a time when their marriages were not recognised because of religious discrimination and children born out of wedlock, though sanctioned by their traditional beliefs and practices, were deemed illegitimate. History reminds us that back then, if you were not white, automatically you were not bright, and all blacks (Africans, Indians, Amerindians and others) had to stay back. It is only through this stepping back, that one can truly understand the value of Independence and what it means to us. It would mean little if we are ignorant of our history, from where we came and what our ancestors endured. So as we celebrate, we need to reflect on where we were before Independence and ask ourselves: “Have we achieved what we envisioned 48 years after we gained Independence from our colonial master?” The answer to this is a point blank no. Independence heralded in a high spirit of nationalism; freedom of colonial impositions; pride; the hope for a Guyana for all Guyanese, living in peace, harmony and prosperity; the expectation of making Guyana into the real El Dorado; and the excitement of a new beginning. Guyana today has come a long way in achieving some of these lofty goals. It is a democracy, boasting a vibrant economy, robust economic growth, a modern health care delivery system, greater access to education and educational opportunities, a significant reduction in poverty, and media freedom, a critical component in any democracy. However, with all of

this, all is not well and some of the goals envisioned at Independence, notably unity and a Guyana for all Guyanese remain as elusive as ever. But why? The answer perhaps lies in the contention earlier that Guyanese cannot understand the value of Independence if they do not know their history. In the colonial days, with the advent of the East Indians, the Europeans thought that they had to find a way to control both the Africans and Indians to maintain their control over the plantations and the two groups. And the plan that was hatched out of their scheming was to create division among the Africans and the Indians, which they succeeded in doing. Even to today, this colonial trap has not been dislodged, and the evidence is there for all to see. Look at the current state of the National Assembly, listen to some political leaders and go back to the pages of history on some of the major upheavals in the country in the 20th century. Therein lies a pattern of a certain mentality linked to the colonial divisive scheming. It is not to say that people don’t fight among themselves, but our politicians too often engage in the fight that fuels division; they know little about compromise and embrace a selfish agenda even to the detriment of their country and their constituencies. It is this colonial divide mentality that is holding back progress in our country and probably the real reason why Guyana is not the Singapore of the Caribbean today. Citizens have a role to play in breaking this colonial shackle by demanding accountability from their leaders, but at the same time, resolving to make themselves better citizens of their country. After all, Guyana is a country for all Guyanese and it is our duty to embrace our fellow countrymen with love, pride and respect and strive in unity for the development of our country.   We all have a role to play. Often the question is asked: “Is Guyana better off since independence?” but the question we have to also ask ourselves as citizens of this dear Republic is, and as former US President John F Kennedy had asked: “What can we do for our country?”. Nation-building is not the work of one or a few, but the collective effort of all and only when this happens, we can truly have a better Guyana. As we celebrate our 48th Independence Anniversary, let us devote our energies in this regard. Can we do it? “Yes, we can!”

he Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) represents the bulk of the nation’s workers still fortunate to be registered with trade unions. FITUG congratulates Guyana on attaining the 48th year of political independence, wherein, post-May 1966 saw a people who had just experienced divisive national trauma, determined to unite for a citizenship of statehood characterised by co-existence. Our practical unity also witnessed democratic norms, though too many elections suffered from electoral malpractices. Nevertheless, democracy triumphed as Guyanese avoided the conflicts of separation which troubled other parts of the globe. One political party saw us through 26 years of Independence, the other administered for 22 years. While political commentators, scientists and scholars analyse their

stewardship, the workers assess their status, their quality of life after 48 years. FITUG must indict our leaders, those elected to represent our interests, while managing our natural resources and economic life. Those citizens still living within the Republic’s borders share a sense of unfinished business. We should, and could, have been better off in a national sense. The distribution of our wealth has not been near equal. The rich who gained by hard, creative, risky work must not be envied or despised. But systems and policies must be devised by Government, Parliament, local governance bodies, to enable the trickling down of the wealth for those who create from the bottom. From legislative compromise to political will, FITUG sees our salvation in the hands of leaders who must endeavour to abandon selfish agendas.

AFC Independence Day Message 2014


oday, Guyana celebrates the 48th beginning of the journey of self-governance. Across all 10 Administrative Regions and in the Diaspora, we will pay homage to the fortitude of those who bravely struggled to realise this dream.The Golden Arrowhead will be raised with

pride and in remembrance of that first poignant moment when for the first time it unfurled over our new nation. This year as our symbol of Independence is hoisted, it is well for us to remember the dreams of 1966 and the vision of that young nation. Let May 26th our solemn duty

to ensure Guyana lives up to its promise. Forty-eight years after achieving our independence we find ourselves in a struggle to preserve the very foundation of that independence – our Constitution. The fundamental human rights of many of our citizens are being eroded as reports of

abuse by the Police continue to increase. Our democracy is threatened and the right of citizens to be involved in the task of managing their communities has been denied. These are things we must struggle against in our 49th year. Long live Guyana! Long live the fortitude of the Guyanese people!



monday, may 26, 2014 |

Waiting Berbicians


ll of us in Berbice know that we have to travel to Georgetown for just about everything. Every small piece of official business has to be done in Georgetown, since Guyana refuses to learn what the entire civilised world already knows: that a significant amount of decentralisation must be in effect if there is to be parity of service for a nation of people. We all know of the long tortuous journeys that our First Nations or Amerindians have to make to get the most basic piece of paperwork done. Professor Daizal Samad People from Essequibo have to cross two large rivers to Georgetown and people in Berbice still have to leave in the wee hours of the morning to hope to get some small thing done in some office in Georgetown. We all know that, and we get bitter about it. The loss of time and money take its toll. Sometimes, in our anger or defeat, we speculate as to why we have to do all this travelling and spend all of this money to get things that we can only hope and pray will be done in one day. If the prayers are answered and we get our small piece of service done for us, we hold it up as a miracle. If we have to pass a little or a lot of “lunch” money, we do it to buy the miracle. We country bumpkins speculate that people in Georgetown just don’t care about anyone outside of that place. Almost all Government business is within the now famous garbage-walled city. We begin to reconcile ourselves to the idea that we are second class citizens in this minute nation of citizens. But what can we do – we spend our time and our money and we go bowing and scraping and hoping and praying. It is just the way things are, after all. The old foolishness: it was always so! Therefore, it must always be so. This has been my consistent experience and the experience of thousands of other Berbicians. We have some “meeting” in Georgetown set by town people (of course!) for 09:00h. So we leave Region Six or Region Five at 06:30h. We are on time!! We are the first ones there! This seldom fails. In the case of a place like UG, meetings are as long as they are futile. We travel for at least four hours back and forth then sit there for a four or five-hour meeting. That amounts to eight or nine hours – and does not include the perils we face on the roads. But, as a rule, our business comes dead last – so we have to sit there and endure the disrespect and thoughtlessness like good servants. I am not by any means saying that Berbicians have any kind of respect for punctuality. Not at all. But when we have to go to our real citizens in Georgetown, we buck up. Georgetown folks have to travel 15 or 20 minutes to get to a meeting in town. We have to travel at least two hours one way. We are on time; they make us wait. And we have to wait whether we like it or not.



monday, may 26, 2014 |

The new postindependence pioneers of change


National Assembly – 48th Independence Anniversary Message

By Michael Younge

here was never a time in the history of this country when the climate was right for young people to become the new pioneers of change who would lead Guyana to a brighter horizon and more developed state, than now. The truth is, Guyanese youth are resourceful, intelligent and enterprising. They understand, for the most part, the role they are expected to play in shaping a new post-Independence future for Guyana. Our youth also understand the importance of developing new strategies and projects to deal with some of the challenges that would impact their collective futures negatively. Therefore, it is not surprising that 48 years after Guyana gained independence from British rule, there is the proliferation of new pioneers of change in almost every sector of our economy and part of Guyana. These pioneers are youth who are breaking barriers in academic and non-academic areas. Young people have been accelerating in the areas of business, information communication technology, new media, health, education, sport, construction, and entertainment. Recently, the involvement of 55 youths from across Guyana in the Caribbean Development Bank’s “Vybzing” Forum, which discussed the mammoth issue of Climate Change among other developmental matters, is testimony to the role that these youths are willing to play. Additionally, youth in Guyana have proven, time and time again, that they also want to play a larger role in the post-independence political system, because they recognise that they will have to be part of the crafting of Government and legislative policies to create the change they want to see occurring in modern Guyana. In Guyana today, among youth, there is energy, zeal and renewed interest in moving our economy past the shackles of ethnicity and racism that have held Guyana captive since it gained independence. These pioneers want to build a multicultural and multiethnic society that will survive in the new world. The colour of one’s skin and the texture of one’s hair are becoming of lesser value to those youth who dare to pioneer change today. There can be no doubt that youth pioneers of change led the economies of China, the United States, Brazil, India, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa and United Kingdom to buoyant times and strong economic performances. The same will happen in the case of Guyana. But there exist many hindrances that stand in the way of the changes that these pioneers would like to make in Guyana. These include a stubborn and selfish adult population that refuses to give way to new blood, fresher thinking and non-traditional ways of achieving the same or better results. There is also the political party system which refuses to allow younger and brighter minds to take the horns of their leadership. These parties are saying one thing to win the support of youth, but are not rewarding them with deserving positions of authority internally and within the state. The growing digital divide and the lack of newer forms of technologies in Guyana also limit the youth’s ability to be more creative and innovative, both in the areas of entrepreneurship and Science. Crime and criminality are also eating away at the stock of available human resources in the form of youth. Youth crime continues to escalate in Guyana because of the lack of proper remedies to tackle the social ill adequately. There are several other hindrances which will differ based upon geography, ethnicity, culture, gender and age. Despite these challenges, young people are still willing to press on. After 48 years, these pioneers are ready to lead and are ready to build a more united and independent society because they have the willpower and resources to do so. Let them do so.


he National Assembly, comprising the Speaker and Members of Parliament, extend warmest congratulations and salute the people of Guyana, as we celebrate 48 years of political independence. This is that day on which we should reflect on the contributions made by all our past political and civic leaders, and all those whose determination, commitment, and collective and individual sacrifices contributed to the birth of this independent nation. It is the day on which as well we should assess our own stewardship of

the affairs of state to establish whether we are truly building on the foundation of our erstwhile leaders, or not. It is a time for introspection and a time for renewal of commitment and the hallowed spirit of nationhood. The foundations of freedom, justice and equality upon which the nation was established 48 years ago must remain immutable and it is everyone’s duty to guard against erosions to the structure and security of the State. Let us peacefully, purposefully, and in unity pursue our socio-economic development in a democratic pro-

cess that is best suited to our unique political environment, in a land endowed with natural resources, rich cultural diversity and religious tolerance. As we contemplate the future of our country and our relative roles and responsibilities as citizens and leaders, let us, like those who summoned that courage to fight and struggle for our independence, dedicate our energies to ensure the unity and happiness of all Guyanese and the future prosperity of this free and dear Land of Guyana.



monday, may 26, 2014 |

Private sector urged to take advantage of Berbice investment opportunities

GTUC urges Guyanese to shun re-colonisation D G uyanese mark another milestone in our political independence. This should be a major landmark in removing the shackles of domination in our pursuit for self-determination. A nation initially formed through the subjugation of some of its peoples, we must take seriously our quest to forge a nation’s might soul, construct a nation’s frame, where freedom remains our everlasting goal, courage and truth our aim. The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) urges the people of this nation to remain unyielding in our quest for peace, like ancient heroes brave, to strive and strive and never cease, with strength be-

yond the slave. To remember that peace forms the foundation for equality, justice and fair play. In 2014 and onwards, independence must not only be marked by merrymaking, flowery speeches or regrets, but more importantly, a recommitment to renew the conviction of our ability to hold high the torch bequeathed us. Ours is a nation to build, pregnant with hope and possibilities. Nation building can only be realised when every Guyanese is allowed unfettered access to explore, embrace and unearth this nation’s bounty. Efforts at re-colonisation, whatever form it takes, be it foreign interest should not be allowed

to disrespect the laws of the land or given preferential access to the nation’s resources, the people’s indomitable spirit must rise. Any move to deny the deepening and strengthening of the process of self-determination, be it the right to elect our local representatives, or any threat to fundamental rights and freedoms, must be met with the appropriate response. On our 48th anniversary, the GTUC urges all Guyanese to remember freedom isn’t free. Freedom can only be retained with eternal vigilance, which is its price. For this nation’s political independence to have true meaning, we, the people, must be prepared to pay the price. A sustained in-

irector of the Guyana Tourism Authority Indranauth Haralsingh is calling on private investors to take advantage of the many investment opportunities that Berbice has to offer. Haralsingh made the comment while delivering the feature address at the launch of Berbice Expo and Trade Fair 2014 last week. He explained that Berbice has a unique culture, unspoilt beauty, significant venues and attraction. However he said there is a need for more private investors and tour operators to market this 'Berbice Experience'. “For example, the 1763 Slave Rebellion; Fort Nassau; Highbury; 63 Beach; The Shri Krishna Mandir located at Gay Park, Greater New Amsterdam; Orealla, an Indigenous community are all places that have global recognition...” Haralsingh said. Orealla is located some 50 miles up the Corentyne River



G of li se w li d a n

of C h b a th p Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority Indranauth Haralsingh

and has a population of over 1500 residents. Over the years, it has become one of the most sought after place to visit in Berbice. Its pristine beauty along with its lush vegetation is a hot spot for eco-tourism. The Number 63 Beach is an-

other breathtaking venue in the ancient country and is considered the Caribbean’s longest stretch of beach. Additionally, Haralsingh pointed out that sport tourism in Berbice is another avenue which can be explored.

co w m a th p b



in nst ly, at nx-



monday, may 26, 2014 |

Berbicians reminisce as Guyana celebrates its

48th Independence anniversary


s Guyana celebrates its 48th Independence Anniversary today, Guyana Times, in observance of this auspicious occasion, solicited comments from several senior citizens in the county who would have experienced life during the pre-independence days under British rule, as well as life in the post-colonial era to present day. Christina Mc Kenzie, 81, of Lot 17 Kildonan Village, Corentyne Coast, expressed her happiness for her country being an Independent State and pointed out that during the days of Colonialism, people suffered much. “We na had no good living conditions and no good food… we wuk hard and we punish much,” Mc Kenzie said. She added that she was ecstatic that her country gained independence and was no longer in bondage under colonial rule. Additionally, the elderly woman pointed out that with

– by knowing about our past, we can appreciate the present the significant development taking place now, Guyana is poised for even more economic growth. However, she opined that there is still room for improvement in terms of employment and opportunity for youths. Budhoo (only name given), 69, from Lesbeholden, Black Bush Polder, said during the colonial rule before Guyana gained its independence, the country was in an impoverished state and the living conditions were unhealthy and deplorable. “Guyana has seen major progress and we have come a far way… I am happy that we gained independence… because of this we can move forward and build a nation that is taking its place in the world,” he boasted. Former Mayor of Rose Hall

Town William Hendrax, 83, who has been serving the region for over 50 years, said that after Guyana gained independence, there have been major improvements in every aspect of the country. “Going back to the colonial times, it was really terrible, we had no drinking water and other basic necessities to live properly… it was horrible, gone are the days when we had to drink trench and backdam water… we had to go to kettin for water,” he said. He added that back in those days, persons would use buckets to carry water to their homes from miles away and the state of the country left much to be desired. “From stand-pipe to stateof-the-art well and pump stations… we have seen significant development in in-

frastructure, education, and [in] various other fields; we have been making strides and we will continue to do so,” the former Mayor said. “Agriculture has also played a pivotal role in escalating the economy, rice and cane cultivation especially… what I would like to see is that more acreage of lands be cultivated and the implementation of a canning factory in Berbice so that we can further advance in the agricultural sector,” he said, explaining that agriculture has had a major setback and there is need to grow more in Berbice. He explained that preindependence, there was no drainage and irrigation system in the area and residents were forced to live in floodwaters and insanitary conditions. “We had no drainage pump,

they had to buss the dam and road and drain out the water, the whole place does flood out”, he said, and noted that only recently, a $40 million drainage and irrigation pump was commissioned at Rose Hall. “By knowing about our past, we will be in a better position to understand and appreciate the present,” Hendrax opined, while adding that more job opportunities and educational facilities need to be provided. “Educate you human resource and equip them with the necessary skills and training needed… Education can translate into benefits for everyone and greater strength for our nation,” he said. Guyana became an independent nation on Thursday, May 26, 1966, but the independence celebrations began

four days before and continued until May 29. On achieving independence, Guyana became the 23rd member of the British Commonwealth. Throughout the early part of 1966, preparations for Guyana’s independence celebrations were well underway. A special committee, appointed by the then Government, designed the new coat of arms and selected the Canje Pheasant as the national bird. The design and colours of what is our national flag, appropriately called “The Golden Arrowhead”, had already been chosen from entries submitted through an international competition. The winning five-coloured design was submitted by an American, Whitney Smith. The name chosen for the independent nation – Guyana – was also chosen early (since 1962 by a select committee appointed by the House of Assembly).


monday, may 26, 2014 |




monday, may 26, 2014 |

Hits and Jams defying the odds …says still not where it wanted to be By Alexis Rodney


o-owner of Hits and Jams Entertainment Group, Kerwin Bollers says that while the company has taken a quantum leap from where it was in the beginning, there is

Ferguson, he said produced Hitsville while he hosted the Jamzone programme. Put together, Bollers said, the duo formed the new name.   However, according to him, complete success has not yet been achieved. “There is so much more that we want to

ality. We want to have Hits and Jams not only in Guyana but the major entertainment networks known worldwide”. Contrary to some public criticisms that the company does little to assist fellow African Guyanese through the promotion of their mu-

two weeks ago the company made some hefty donations; however, “these things are not published a lot”. Bollers said that the company is very much satisfied with the level of work it has been doing and is still seeking out other avenues to assist the less fortu-

Kerwin Bollers and Rawle Ferguson

From left: Hits and Jams director Rawle Ferguson, acting Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali, international R&B singer R Kelly and concert promoter McNeal Enterprise’s head Odinga Lumumba

still so much more that can be done for it to reach its fullest potential. It was during an exclusive interview with this publication on Friday that the co-owner of the entertainment group in Guyana revealed that the time was a bit too “premature now to say it’s a success”. According to him, the company has not yet reached the place where it should be.  Some 16 years ago, Kerwin Bollers, Rawle Ferguson, Dwight Ferguson and Troy Mendonca blended their exquisite talents together doing what they all love. He explained that the name “Hits and Jams” came about from two simple radio programmes aired on the National Communications Network by himself and colleague Rawle Ferguson.

do. I think for people on the outside, they might be seeing the success so far, but for us, maybe to an extent, but I think that we’re pretty just about maybe 50 per cent or less than what we want to achieve,” Bollers related.

Best in the business

He said that the company hopes to one day “be amongst the best” in the business. From the inception, Bollers noted, the team of entertainers had a vision of taking entertainment beyond the shores of Guyana. That goal, he related, was now being realised. “This year is the first year we’ll be hosting Jamzone outside of Guyana which will be held in the US. So I think that dream or that drive iodds s becoming a re-

sical skills or humanitarian aid, Bollers said the company had stood by a policy to not boast about its many humanitarian works. According to him, Hits and Jams is guilty to some extent, for not making its work public. And while the company is “big” on promoting the major events, helping humanity will not, at any time, be placed in the spotlight. He said that the company will not be changing that attitude any time soon and critics who take offence will just have to deal with it. “We still believe that whenever you do something, you do it from the heart and not for the publicity. We’re not really big into doing a lot of public work as it relates to our humanitarian drive, but we have been doing work”.  He said just over

nate. In terms of promoting young Guyanese talent, Bollers noted that since the birth of the Hits and Jams radio, it is “un-debatable” that local Guyanese music has been taking over the airwaves. According to him, “Guyanese music has never been so exposed the way it has been in the last year.” He said the radio station has been receiving much praise for its launch on the airwaves since Guyanese music is now being appreciated. He maintained that like in everything, there is much room for improvement. He said the company is still at a very young stage as the team is still trying to “craft” the station. “It’s only a year. And you can only get better,” Bollers told Guyana Times.

And while the company has the promotion of Guyanese music and talent at heart, the issue of royalties that has been looked forward to with great anticipation, is a critical one. Bollers said that the Government has a significant role in assisting artistes in receiving financial value for their hard work. “There must be a structure in place, where copyright is in place. There must be a body that is responsible for monitoring and the collecting of royalties. He explained that artistes would work through companies that will take on the responsibility of registering and attaching them to radio stations. He said the legal aspect of the pact would see artistes being paid for their music whenever it is aired. “It's not like one radio station could say, we have 50 artistes and we decide we’re going to give them x amount of money, it doesn’t work like that.”

Rising legally

Meanwhile, Bollers said it is a difficult time for young African Guyanese, especially those who have their hearts on legally rising above their financial crises. He said that

a lot of persons are filled with the perception that a young person who has achieved much might have done so doing the wrong things. “They really don’t see the amount of hard work and dedication you put in to make these things happen. What they see is the finished or refined product …it is customary in Guyana that for someone to own something they must be a certain age or they have to come from a certain background. But as a young black person, all eyes are on you. So these are some of the challenges we are faced with as young black people.” He said a lot of young, talented African Guyanese make up a high percentage of the staff at the radio and television stations. He said that while he cannot speak for the other races, he feels the issues attached to race and success in Guyana need to be addressed.  Bollers said: “For any young black person out there, if you want to succeed in any business in Guyana, it is something that you have to prepare yourself for mentally and physically”. Hits and Jams Radio was launched on March 16, 2013.



monday, may 26, 2014 |

Rose Hall Arch – A symbol of a nation’s independence R

ose Hall Town, situated 14 miles from New Amsterdam on the Corentyne Coast, Berbice, boasts a historic landmark representing Guyana becoming an Independent State in 1966. This landmark is none other than the “The Independence Arch”. Passengers in taxis and minibuses will often tell the drivers to “stop at the Arch” or “put me down at the Arch” as a landmark stopping point.. The Arch or Archway or the Rose Hall Town Independence Arch as it is famously called is one of the town’s most important and historic landmarks. The Arch straddles the northern side of Independence Avenue and is the landmark to the busy market. “The Arch”, as it is familiarly called by residents, was erected as a gift to the village and more so, a challenge that so many things could be done to uplift the standard of the community. Berbice Times spoke to Bridgette Benn, the daughter of the man who played a pivotal role in establishing arguably the most imposing and famous structure

The Rose Hall Town Arch, Independence Avenue

in the township and she disclosed that her late father had a passion for development and a drive to uplift the standard of his community. The construction of the Rose

Hall Town Independence Arch was the brainchild of Oswald Fitzgerald Benn, who hailed from Rose Hall. Born in August 30, 1925, Benn was at the time an instructor in the automotive sec-

tion of the Apprentice Training Centre at Port Mourant (Bookers Sugar Estate at the time) who would, from time to time, act in the capacity of welder and fitter. After permission was given to erect the Arch in 1966 as a teaching exercise in welding for apprentices, the process of pipe bending and fitting began. Scrap materials obtained from metal heaps at Albion Estate with the one inch thick walled galvanised pipes from the then Pure Water Supply Department (GUYWA) were used. The design of the Arch was of the cathedral window style, built in two sections and joined together at the apex. Each section consisted of four-inch thick walled galvanised pipes of 30 feet in length bent to a curve; each welded to a base plate measuring 20 inches by 20 inches and an apex plate measuring 12 inches by 12 inches, forming a taper at the pinnacle. Additionally, at the base plates were drilled four holes to accommodate one-inch bolts whereas in the top plates, the holes were three-quarter inches. Holding the pipes in shape are half-inch rods welded in hose formation with pieces diagonally reaching

each hose. Filigree works were done using one-inch mild steel flat and this decorated the top part of the arch. A socket cut from two-inch galvanised pipe and 12 inches long was attached to the apex and a thick walled aluminium pipe, eight feet in length, was inserted in the socket to form a flag pole. The construction of the arch took one week with four eager apprentices (15-16-year-old boys) assisting at the training school. The removal of the finished arch painted in aluminium from the training centre to the village was done with the kind assistance of Abdool Rahaman, famously called “Dool”, who transported the finished structure for erection in 1966. The town was first owned by Dutch planters, and served as a housing settlement for persons working on nearby plantations. Following emancipation, the settlement was purchased by field slaves, thus making it today an area that is predominantly inhabited by Afro-Guyanese. Rose Hall received village status in 1908, and became a township in 1970. The town, which has a population of about 8000, is divided into three wards: Middle Rose Hall, East Rose Hall, and Williamsburg.



monday, may 26, 2014 |

ICT Independence! From page 2A

of Cuba and Haiti however Haiti has 4G services. Dean stated that there are investors and companies who are willing to invest and take the sector forward. “It’s not a situation where we are saying look the Government has to make a substantial investments, it’s a situation where you have investors who are willing to offer these services. I think you should let innovation and give freedom to these investors,” he explained.

Full communications

The IDB study also found that a 10 per cent increase in penetration of broadband services carries with it average rise of 3.2 per cent in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 2.6 percentage points in productivity. Speaking with Guyana Times during an exclusive interview, Chief Executive Officer of Digicel Guyana, Gregory Dean posited that the price of international communication can be improved which will not only help the common man who has family overseas, but also be of great assistance to local businesses. However he opined that the major benefits would be access to data and the pricing of data, noting that even though that data is available, it takes a lot of time to access certain information.

Waste of time

Dean said that Guyanese waste a lot of time on accessing slow internet services, which he stressed was causing many industries to suffer, since the data service available is not a cost effective way to meet their needs. He pointed out that small businesses are particularly suffering in this regard. He said too that the use of ICT, especially in call centres, requires affordable access to data, which has the ability to travel out of Guyana, since the country is part of a global village as it will affect both the country’s ICT ability and economy. “So all the statistics you can look at in terms of development and GDP, they are all pointing to the fact that in this world that we’re living in, if you don’t have a high enough broadband or even Internet penetration… you are putting your economy at serious disadvantage,” he said.

Cheap bandwidth

Dean highlighted that there are many benefits of having access to cheap bandwidth and Internet, noting that even students will stand to benefit from this since they are some who are yet to use and explore the Internet. He

pointed out that Digicel is unable to deliver the service that is required by its customers. “I don’t think we are happy in 2014 providing an EDGE service. We believe that we should be providing something a bit better and faster for the customers out there and we would like the chance to do something about it as soon as possible,” Dean said. The CEO pointed out that in 2004, there was probably five per cent access to broadband in Guyana and this had to be shared among all the business and residential homes. He continued that in the 21st century for Guyana to have a situation where much of its population is without access to broadband, is an indictment and will pose critical problems for the country’s development. He referred to several researches and studies done by institutions such as the IDB, which show the benefits of having access to broadband and how it affects the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the development of a country, while noting that it is a major issue. “If we are going to catch up, I think we have to do something about data and that means data improvement on the phone. I think in 2014, Guyana is probably one of the only countries in the Caribbean that still has EDGE. I mean, anyone who uses a Smartphone in Guyana knows the days of EDGE are pretty much hot and as a service provider we are not happy that we are providing this service in a Smartphone. It’s not what our customers all want our customers want 3G.LT, 4G. and we know there is a demand out there for those services, so I think, as a service provider we would like the opportunity to offer those services as well as other players and have certainty in terms of our investment,” Dean expressed. The Digicel CEO stressed that Guyana has an issue of being left behind. He pointed to the example of 4G, noting that while studies have shown that Guyana’s economy is ahead

Dean recalled that when Digicel first came to Guyana, it made an application to provide international services along with other services as a full communications operator and had even requested that spectrum be included in any new regime so that it

can provide all those services whether its Internet or landline services. The CEO explained that he wanted to have the licence so that from the day liberalisation legislation is granted, they would be licensed a full communications operator and would not have to wait until it becomes law to get their licenses. He added that should this be done, then there would be no room for ambiguity as to who can provide which services. Dean went on to say that despite all the challenges, Digicel will go on with it advancement. He said however, having liberalisation will take the company to heights, where it ought to be. The CEO disclosed that Digicel is already prepared so that in case the liberalisation legislation is granted this year,

Chief Executive Officer of Digicel Guyana, Gregory Dean

then it would be set to roll out the plans. “I don’t think its going be a long period of guessing what Digicel is going to do next once liberalisation comes. For us, it’s not a guessing game it’s the most logical and obvious thing for us,” he said. In

addition, he mentioned that the company is also actively engaged in the development and training of its staff. He reminded that Digicel is no longer just a phone service provider but it also takes its staff on that journey of development.



monday, may 26, 2014 |

Dr Cheddi Jagan, Janet Jagan and Forbes Burnham with other members of the 1953 Cabinet

The hug – Burnham and Jagan – Independence Night, 1966

Former President Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham in Parliament

Stamp designer Victor Whitley receives his copies of the new Independence Day stamps – for the first time in its stamp form

Guyana Times Independence and Positive Freedom  
Guyana Times Independence and Positive Freedom