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3,220 Guyanese overstayed ...from Oct. 2017 in US - Sept. 2018 ISSUE NO. 449


See story on page 12

Guyana eagerly awaits CCJ ruling Page 5

…questions raised as to how far Govt will go to hold on to power

Zaila Sugrim endured years of abuse See story on page 8

United States Ambassador to Guyana Sarah Ann Lynch and her husband recently visited the majestic Kaieteur Falls in Guyana. Since they arrived in Guyana, the Ambassador and her husband have been visiting various parts of the country in order to better understand the people, history and culture. (US Embassy photo)

Excitement building as world’s top T20 players enter CPL 2019 draft Page 51

…husband to face murder charge following discovery of body in shallow grave


WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |



AG Williams creating fear with “unrest” prediction, says GCCI boss


n light of a recent statement by Attorney General Basil Williams about “unrest” which might follow if the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) rules against the Government with regards to the validity of the No-Confidence Motion, President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Nicholas Boyer believes that the comment was a “dangerous one” and is seen as a tool to prevent the Government from going to the polls sooner rather than later. Boyer on Sunday related that the AG should be more cautious about using sentiments that are attributed to riot or other forms of unrest during an election period. “Some might say it

President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry Nicholas Boyer

could be self-fulfilling prophecies…Guyana has come a long way as a democracy and I don’t think the younger generations expect or will participate in elections violence, I think the younger generations if they feel a need to, will peacefully protest. I

think that the AG is trying to create fear using that as a weak means of supporting their claims of why elections should be further delayed,” he stated. According to the GCCI President, the proprietors and staff of businesses in Guyana

have not forgotten the physical destruction and crimes that occurred during some elections in previous years while noting that in today’s society, it is not expected that there will be such a repeat. “[Businesses] are expecting that as a democracy we have moved past riots. International investors will be looking on and I feel that the older heads who were the generations that rioted will have to be mindful and choose to change their modus operandi. If they want to see a new and better Guyana that we all look forward to.” On Thursday last, the AG had asked that the CCJ confirm the decision of Guyana’s Court of Appeal in relation to the question of the votes being required for the

validity of the passage of the No-Confidence Motion to be 34 votes in the National Assembly as against 33. In his submissions to the court on Thursday, he also reiterated that “the principle is, the majority cannot be the same for simple and in absolute”. In this argument, the coalition Government presented that given the fact that there is no half human or half vote, one had to be added to make it 34 for an absolute rather than a simple majority in Guyana’s 65-member Parliament. In relation to elections being held in Guyana, the AG noted that the country’s history has seen some unrest and aftermaths. He said that this could be repeated if an election is held

in Guyana without the proper steps in place. “That is the difficulty that we have. And which the Court, we are asking to take judicial notice of, that around elections if the list is not right, if there is a perception of people multiple voting, phantoms etc and the list is not a credible list, it is going to be difficult and that is the history of Guyana.” AG Williams added that the second highest court in the land had already spoken on this issue and, therefore, urged that the CCJ rule in that light as well. The Court of Appeal, in March last, had ruled in a 2-1 split decision, that a majority of 34 votes would have been needed to validly pass a motion brought against the Government.


WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |

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The hearings at the CCJ


he arguments made by the Government’s lawyers and others to the CCJ, seeking to deny that the no-confidence motion was validly passed by our National Assembly on December 21, 2018, forced one participant to observe that the Government is suffering from the misapprehension that it is ruling Guyana as a monarchy, rather than as a Republic. And it is this misapprehension that has brought us to the pass where even the august Justices had to wonder wistfully why the case had to be brought in front of them, and not settled through discussion and negotiation. Monarchs, after all, rule by Divine Right, and have no need to consult anyone before they issue edicts. This was brought out clearly when the Government’s lawyers insisted that the President’s discretion to appoint the Chairman of GECOM should be totally “unfettered” – not even having to offer reasons for rejecting names proffered by the Opposition Leader. The incredulous Court had to inquire as to the purpose of the change wrought to the Constitution after the Herdmanston Accord, when the extant unilateral and “unfettered” discretion was modified by Art 162 (2). This introduced the requirement that the President could only act unilaterally when the Opposition Leader did not submit a list of six names. The Government’s lawyers were not only engaging in some creative concoction to further their principal’s case, but in fact were faithfully representing President Granger’s position from the onset. In fact, the latter was even more extreme in rejecting the constitutional change away from unilateralism when he derided as “perception” the ruling of the Chief Justice (ag) in the High Court that the candidate for the position did not only have to be a Judge, as previously was the case, since the insertion of the phrase “or any other fit and proper person” irrevocably opened up the field of choice. This Government needs to be reminded — as the Justices of the CCJ each did by implication on separate occasions as they tutored the Government’s lawyers — that Guyana is a “democratic sovereign state” (Art 1), and that “sovereignty belongs to the people, who exercise it through their representatives…” (Art 9). And as the High Court and the Appellate Court asserted recently, our Constitution has a “basic structure” that demands only the “sovereign people” can alter the substance of the values enshrined by Art 1 and 9. And the President certainly could not do so, as he and his representatives were petitioning the CCJ to do. There was, for example, the insistence by the Government’s lawyers that the “representatives of the people” – the Members of Parliament, who were exercising the latter’s “sovereignty” – could not vote their conscience, but had to toe the party line like automatons. As one of the CCJ Justices had to ask pointedly: what, then, was the purpose of Art 106 (6), which was under question and which allowed a motion of confidence? If the MPs that constituted the Government’s majority were compelled to vote for it, would not the exercise be moot? The tradition of the Government retaining the support of the majority of the people’s representatives in the Assembly is a fundamental tenet of constitutional democracy, since it is only through their unfettered acts that they can exercise the people’s sovereignty to give or withdraw legitimacy to the Government. To hold that the party’s position takes precedence over the will of the people via their representatives is a retrograde position that is reminiscent of Charles I’s entry into the House of Commons to seize five MPs who had “remonstrated” him over his highhanded actions. The Speaker famously defied the King, who not long after literally lost his head. As both the High and Appellate Courts have held, the directive in Art 156 (3): that the representative disqualifies himself from holding his seat if he declares he would not support his party, only applies prospectively after the implicit or explicit act. To hold otherwise would be to deny the representative the right to use his conscience on behalf of his constituency.

Buxton’s oldest centenarian Evadney Talbot, was recently honoured and celebrated by Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally along with family and friends as she achieved a new milestone by turning 107 years old.

History has a way of repeating itself D

uring the recent hearings at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on matters relating to the December 21, 2018 Noconfidence Motion (NCM), the Attorney General was reported as issuing a warning of dire and catastrophic consequences if the decision goes against the Government. His warning was in the context of a possible decision ordering elections probably with the use of the current voters’ list. The Government is headstrong for a new list which would take months for new registration. They demanded it in what is believed to be a deliberate ploy to further delay the constitutional mandated elections which should have been held by March 21 this year. The Government backpedalled on its initial position of accepting the NCM and unleashed delaying tactics showing its desire to hold on to power with no regard for the Constitution; hence the journey to the CCJ. Many have rightfully questioned the purpose of the seemingly chilling warning by the Attorney General. The answer lies in desperation and within the wider context of the historical political nature of the party he represents; the People’s National Congress (PNC). While some may want to question the relevance of that party’s past, history has a way of repeating itself, especially when the seat of power is at stake. The PNC is the dominant party in the current Government; so much so that it is seen as the Government. Within its four-year rule since May 2015, the country has regressed economically; investments have dwindled; hardships have been foisted upon Guyanese; parliamentary democracy has eroded; the Constitution has been disrespected; Government’s extrav-

agance and party paramountcy have returned and thousands of jobs have been lost as a dictatorship burgeons. These, which unfolded even in these modern times, are no different from when the PNC was the Government for almost three decades prior to 1992. During that regime, law enforcement agencies were used as tools to instil fear and oppress. Freedom of speech was suppressed as free and fair elections. History is inundated with reports of massive electoral rigging to keep the PNC in office. That party was not unaware of its inability to win elections fairly. The BBC produced a documentary on aspects of the riggings and photographs of soldiers removing ballot boxes are frightening reminders. In addition, party thugs were always available to unleash violence and mayhem, sometimes just for emphasis. It was all part of a deliberate process of holding on to power as the country descended into poverty as physical and social infrastructure crumbled; food became scarce with some basic items banned and non-Government media entities muzzled. There was no regard for the devastating impact this had on the people and the country. All that mattered was staying in Government. When free and fair elections came in 1992 following robust efforts by the then Opposition, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and some from civil society, it was not without violence reportedly at the behest of some within the PNC. Many stores were looted and innocent citizens beaten and robbed. This featured in subsequent elections even when the PNC became the Opposition. The atrocities, of the 1997 and 2001 elections, reportedly at the beckoning call of the PNC,

can easily be researched. That is what drives fear of the PNC into Guyanese and are consequences when that party seemingly doesn’t get its way. One cannot help but ask if that’s the consequence the Attorney General was referring to during his presentation to the CCJ. This question has not escaped Guyanese and sections of the business community have already voiced concerns over the creation of fear through the prediction of unrest by the Attorney General who is the immediate past Chairman of the PNC. On the heels of taking office in May 2015, the Government gave itself a massive salary increase while firing thousands and removing critical subsidies for water and electricity for pensioners and education grant to schoolchildren. That is still seen as enriching and putting itself first at the expense of the Guyanese people. Its defiance of the Constitution to unilaterally appoint its Chairman of choice for GECOM and its outlandish mathematical theory for what it believes constitute a majority of voting members of the National Assembly, are just two examples within the past four years that exude shades of the PNC dictatorship in a show of scant regard for country and people. Is the Attorney General therefore giving some sort of reminder of what can possibly happen if the CCJ ruling is unfavourable to the Government? Therein lies the wider context and relevance of revisiting history so as to better understand why the warning may have been issued; the need to hold on to power. In its quest to keep power at the expense of the welfare of Guyana and Guyanese, many today have seen their lives decline. Déjà vu?



Guyana eagerly awaits CCJ ruling

…questions raised as to how far Govt will go to hold on to power


ven as the coalition Government fights for its survival in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), a Trinidad and Tobago (T&T)-based political analyst has opined that the Caribbean at large on a daily basis questions the reason Government even went to court in the first place. This is according to Dr Bishnu Ragoonath, a Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Political Science at the University of West Indies at its St Augustine campus in Trinidad. Dr Ragoonath was at the time making an appearance on a Globespan24x7 Town Hall panel discussion. According to Dr Ragoonath, observers of the case in the Caribbean have been questioning the reasoning behind the Guyana Government going to the courts, ever since they first approached the High Court. “For all intents and purposes, there was the feeling that ever since the matter went to the High Court, ‘why is this matter going to the High Court?’ Because as far as most of us were concerned, within the context of all our laws in the Caribbean, once you have faced a no-confidence vote and you have lost, it is anticipated that the Government will hand over or call elections within three months,” he said. “So it is something that most of us, as political scientists and lay people in the Caribbean, would have (asked)

date to take the Government forward for the next five years. But there is that concern, that maybe they’re not as confident as they should be.”

The courtroom

why is Guyana going down this route. Why are they not going and call elections when they should? And why is the Government now challenging this thing when initially they accepted it?” Indeed, on the very night of the no-confidence vote, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo had accepted that Government must follow the Constitution and call elections in three months, in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana. Article 106 (6) and (7) of the Constitution states, respectively: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.” Three of the CCJ Judges during the hearing And “Notwithstanding its

defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election.” According to Dr Ragoonath, the Government’s aboutturn has caused many in the Caribbean to question whether the Government is afraid of going to the polls and whether this fear stems from a lack of confidence in itself and its record. “I think the eyes of the Caribbean looking at Guyana believe that if the Guyana Government felt so confident in themselves, they should have gone back to the polls and let the people give them another man-

But Dr Ragoonath noted that the big question was how far Government would be willing to go, if the court should return a ruling unfavourable to it. He noted that the way the case has been progressing and the way the CCJ Judges have reacted to the State lawyers’ submissions in the two days the cases were heard is very telling. “While we cannot say what will be the verdict in this matter, the Judges did in fact ask some very telling questions, to the legal representatives of both the Government and the Opposition. For instance, they kept on asking the question of why did the courts in Guyana take so long knowing full well that there was a 90-day limit beyond the no-confidence motion, that the elections were to be held and the (Cabinet) should have resigned.” “The fact that the Appeal Court in Guyana went beyond the three-month deadline to give their ruling, thus pushing the whole issue back. The issue being raised about whether or not if a verdict does go in favour of the Opposition against the Government, how soon can an election be held in Guyana,” the scholar asked. He made it clear that he was not surprised by the ques-

tions the Judges put to the Attorneys. According to Dr Ragoonath, having sat and observed events in Guyana and how they were playing out, it was merely a matter of determining the next step forward. He also noted the fact that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has given the Government a November earliest date in which elections can be held. This is a date well outside the timeframe the Constitution of Guyana sets for holding elections. “I think if we are to follow the questions, I think there were serious concerns that the CCJ would have had about how the Government but also the institutions acted… the Elections Commission and the Court of Appeal in how they operated in this matter,” he said. The three no-confidence motion cases deal with Christopher Ram v the Attorney General of Guyana, the Leader of the Opposition and Joseph Harmon; Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo v the Attorney General of Guyana, Dr Barton Scotland and Joseph Harmon; and Charrandas Persaud v Compton Herbert Reid, Dr Barton Scotland, Bharrat Jagdeo and Joseph Harmon; the last of which deals with Persaud’s eligibility to vote in the House. The oral arguments concluded on Friday, with the whole nation awaiting a ruling.


WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |

The coalition has committed numerous atrocities against the Guyanese public to warrant this ‘divorce’

Dear Editor, Our Constitution, like that of any other country, is the supreme law and it not only provides the main governing laws in broad terms, which all other laws must be in consistency with, but it also provides vital checks and balances for those who are in authority to govern our country. In addition, the Constitution safeguards our principle and important rights and entitlements as citizens from each other and from our Government. Therefore, it is this Constitution which gives us the power through our elected representatives in the National Assembly to ‘divorce’ an elected Government and put in motion the elector-

al processes to elect a new Government. The coalition has committed numerous atrocities against the Guyanese public to warrant this ‘divorce’. This ‘divorce’ takes the form of a vote of confidence, commonly called a vote of no-confidence since it will be ridiculous to assume that the Opposition will vote in favour of the Government. This is exactly what took place on the night of December 21, 2018. The Revised Constitution of 2001 gave us this power through Article 106 of our Constitution and its intent or interpretation is quite clear and unambiguous. Article 106 (6) of our Constitution unambiguously states that “The Cabinet including the President shall re-

sign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence”. On December 21, 2018, all the elected members voted on the NoConfidence Motion and 33 of the elected members voted in favour of that motion. The Constitution makes it clear that 65 members constitute the National Assembly. That is crystal clear and conclusive. Therefore, when the foregoing Article speaks about a “majority”, it is in respect of these 65 members. The Caribbean Court of Justice’s President, Adrian Saunders, submitted that the main issue is to determine what constitutes an “absolute majority” albeit that the

term is not used in our Constitution. If the CCJ wants to differentiate this “majority” with the other majority needed to pass bills in Parliament and use terms such as “absolute” and “simple” majority in the process, then it is also clear that the Constitution itself provides the acid test for this differentiation. The main ingredient for this differentiation is the “vote of all elected members”. In case of the vote of confidence on December 21, 2018, all the elected members were, in fact, present and voted. The result is a majority of 33 against 32 of the elected members in the 65-member National Assembly. Therefore, there is a declaration that 33 votes of the members of the National Assembly

The APNU/AFC Govt has failed in every aspect of governance

Dear Editor, Four years after entering office with a slim but controversial victory at the May 11, 2015 polls, the APNU/AFC coalition Government has reversed the direction of Guyana into a failed state. The coalition Government’s failure to address numerous scandals is the reality, which is that this coalition Government is consid-

ered to be the most corrupt Government ever in the history of Guyana. The APNU/AFC coalition Government has failed in every aspect of governance in order to realise the good life for all Guyanese. In just four years of governance, our country has lost hope. The are many signs of discrimination, racial and political discrimination against critics of

the Government emerging, along with marginalisation, massive corruption in every section of the Government, the upsurge of crime is uncontrollable, taxation is the only form of revenue, unemployment of thousands of workers, no new investments or job creation especially for young people, etc. The list of failures of the Granger-led

constitute a “majority” of all the members of the National Assembly within the meaning of Article 106 (6) of the Constitution of Guyana. Chief Justice George in her ruling on January 31 was absolutely correct when she ruled that, “In our 65-member National Assembly a majority of all elected members, in accordance with the principle of ‘one over all rivals combine’, is the thirty-three (33) members”. On December 21, 2018, turn and twist as it

may, the “absolute” and the “simple” majority became indistinguishable since all the elected members were present and voted and in our odd number National Assembly no number of varied mathematical computations can negate this fact. I am confident that the CCJ will rule in favour of 33 and not the concocted 34 which can never be applicable to Guyana’s Constitution! Yours sincerely, Haseef Yusuf

Gangs pushing drugs in some of Guyana’s schools

Administration has outweighed the few achievements, if there are any. Guyana can only recover from the mismanagement of the coalition Government by a new PPP/C Administration. The coalition Government has not delivered anything tangible in four years. Regards, Zamal Hussain

Corrupt police officers must be dealt with Dear Editor, I have been a very regular visitor to Guyana, in excess of 30 years; and have had truly wonderful times experiencing all aspects of this land: people, flora and fauna. But all is never perfect. On three occasions within the last 14 years, I have witnessed instances in which

Policemen, representing the state, demanded bribes from registered taxi drivers, all for spurious misdemeanours. One that really raised my ire occurred on May 8th, during a 5-minute drive before Parika Stelling. The officer (name and regulation number stated), without any densitometer or oth-

er means of verification, deemed the car in which I was a passenger as having a tinted glass that was not legally acceptable. He then instructed the driver to meet him at Lance Bar in Parika, where the issue would be resolved. We did, in fact, wait at the stated bar, but left to return to Georgetown 25 minutes after. This

officer was still on duty, proudly dressed in national wear. This man, and others like him, are a national disgrace and should be penalised immediately. An example needs to be made of his type. Enough is enough. Yours truly, Concerned commuter

Who covered Compton Reid’s legal expenses? Dear Editor, Compton Reid, a private citizen, and a farmer from Berbice, took it upon himself to challenge the validity of the vote cast by former APNU/AFC MP Charrandas Persaud as a means of nullifying the December 21, 2018, motion of no-confidence which had ended the term of the Government.

It is publicly known that Reid was represented by a large team of lawyers at both the High Court and the Court of Appeal of Guyana and at the Caribbean Court of Justice – Rex McKay, SC, Robert Corbin, and Neil Boston, SC, and Roysdale Forde. It would not be an unfair question to ask how did Reid afford

to pay for this expensive undertaking. Was the State, in fact, the sponsor of this private action? Did the State pay for a private action brought by a private citizen? Available information appears to point to the latter. If that is the case, the Government, firstly, needs to inform the public of whether it is appropriate for the

State to use taxpayers’ money to pay for a private action. Secondly, the Government must also publicly declare how much monies have already been paid to represent Reid and his legal team including expenses, and, what is the total cost associated with representing this action. Sincerely, Gail Teixeira

Dear Editor, According to the media, “Officials within the school system are suspected to be culprits in the emerging issue of students using illegal drugs, says Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan”. Does he really have no clue? Surely the Minister is aware that drugs are becoming a big business in Guyana with a number of gangs operating in various parts of Guyana and being responsible, to a significant degree, in getting drugs in schools. Is he not aware that these gangs coerce kids, especially from rich families, to push the drugs in schools after either getting them hooked or taking pictures of them

in very compromising positions and then blackmailing them? Perhaps the Minister needs to talk to members of the Police Force who have their fingers on the pulse on communities or researchers from the University of Guyana student and staff population or even senior students in schools. Even if it is true that a few school staff are involved, they would be insignificant cogs in the wheel. So Minister Ramjattan, please do get the facts. The whole issue is an open secret really. Sincerely, Annan Boodram The Caribbean Voice

news 7


Opposition says law caters for election body to receive cash lump sum …as Govt tables G$3.4B supplementary paper


he Opposition P e o p l e ’ s Progressive Party on Wednesday slammed the Government for bad advice it gave to Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) when Finance Secretary Michael Joseph informed the body that the billions it received in the Budget last year for house-tohouse registration could not be transferred for normal election preparation. On Tuesday, Government appointed GECOM Commissioner Desmond Trotman said that lack of finances is responsible for the perceived sloth in elections preparations. While he noted that having GECOM in perpetual election’s mode would be nice, the reality is they can do little without money. GECOM received billions in the Budget last year. But according to Trotman, they were advised by Finance Secretary Michael Joseph that monies for house-to-house registration could not be transferred for normal election preparation. The Opposition was very critical of this piece of advice rendered by the Finance Secretary, in view of the fact that the law does provide for GECOM to do exactly this and statements from his boss, Minister Jordan, which contradict him. The Party pointed to Article 222A of the Constitution, which says: “In order to assure the independence of the entities listed in the Third Schedule – (a) the expenditure of each of the entities shall be financed as a direct charge on the Consolidated Fund, determined by a lump sum by way of an annual subvention approved by the National Assembly…(b) each entity shall manage its subvention as such manner as it deems fit for the efficient discharge of its functions, subject only to conformity with the financial practices and procedures approved by the National Assembly to ensure accountability.” It also noted that in 2015, President David Granger signed off on Act 4 of 2015 – the Fiscal Management and Accountability (FMAA) (Amendment) Act 2015. Section 80 B(8), states that: “The appropriation of a constitutional agency approved by the National Assembly shall be disbursed as a

Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan , Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman and Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence in Parliament on Wednesday (DPI photo).

lump sum by the end of the month, following the month in which the appropriation was approved.” Section 80 B(7) of the same act states that: “The annual budget of a Constitutional Agency approved by the National Assembly shall not be altered without prior approval of the National Assembly.” In line with the FMAA amendment, Finance Minister Winston Jordan on November 19, 2019, during the consideration of the 2019 Budgets of GECOM, a constitutional agency, in the National Assembly, said, “Mr Chairman, the sum of G$5,371,061,000 is given as a lump sum to GECOM to use as it sees fit and as it prioritises.” This issue of funding, the PPP said, has clearly become the last ‘holdon’ by elements within GECOM working to effectively set the stage for a delay of General and Regional Elections when they become due. According to the Party, in accordance with the Constitution and the FMAA, GECOM’s full 2019 budgetary allocation should have been transferred in a lump sum to the Commission by February 2019 latest. Moreover, the Party noted that the Finance Secretary had, via letter which was presented to the full Commission during its weekly statutory meeting on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, advised that the matter was outside of the remit of the Finance Ministry. The Party reiterated that the issue of funding is the latest hur-

dle thrown up by the Government-influenced parties at GECOM. This is despite the fact that the laws of Guyana are clear on funding for constitutional agencies like GECOM. House-to-house registration On the issue of GECOM’s push towards a new national house-to-house registration, the PPP noted that despite claims from the Commission that it can be completed by November, such a process cannot be credibly, nor accurately completed within six months. Further, the PPP said it has grave reservations about the planned move to de-register thousands of Guyanese voters who

will be subject to a registration requirement that is unconstitutional and illegal. “Moreover the unnec-

essary nature of a new national house-to-house registration, at this point, was underscored by none other than

GECOM’s Legal Officer, Excellence Dazzell. An opinion expressed by Dazzell, dated May 13, 2019, states that: “the use of the work ‘revise’ [in the Election Laws (Amendment) Act 15 of 2000] suggest that the process is not one where a ‘new’ list is generated, but one where the most recent list is updated or amended….I therefore advise that procedures be put in place to ensure the revision of the list, otherwise the Commission would be acting in defiance of the law and may prejudice any by-election that may become necessary.” Supplementary paper With the possibility that the Caribbean Court of Justice ruling that the No-confidence Motion against Government was validly passed on December 21, 2018, Government has moved to the National Assembly to request G$3.4 billion for GECOM. turn to page 9

8 news

WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |

Zaila Sugrim endured years of abuse …husband to face murder charge following discovery of body in shallow grave


he husband of 37-year-old Zaila Sugrim, whose body was discovered on Tuesday in a shallow grave at Crane, West Coast Demerara (WCD), has confessed that he shot his wife to the head and then set her body on fire before burying it. In his confession to Police on Tuesday, the businessman detailed how he killed his estranged wife. Sugrim’s body was found on a property near her husband’s home after she was reported missing on Saturday last. He is likely to be charged with murder soon. On Tuesday, Police swooped down on the businessman after they received information that he picked up his estranged wife at Vreeden-Hoop, West Coast Demerara, and that was

Residents at the scene of the crime

the last time she was seen alive. Investigators made a major breakthrough after an examination of the man’s car revealed blood in the trunk. Speaking with Guyana Times International, Sugrim’s borther, Ahmad Haniff, said his sister was burnt beyond recognition. Sugrim went missing on Saturday after she left her brother’s Golden Grove, East Bank Demerara (EBD) home to be picked up by her estranged husband at the Vreed-en-Hoop Stelling. The mother of five was reportedly visiting her estranged husband’s home to celebrate one of their children’s birthday. However, that was the last time she was seen alive. Relatives told this newspaper that Sugrim

The sugrims in happier times

suffered 15 years of abuse at the hands of her husband and was forced to stay away from

her relatives. In 2018, Sugrim had finally mustered up the courage to leave her hus-

band, the owner of a gas station, which is located in front of the house where they lived and a stone throw away from where her body was found. Relatives said Sugrim’s decision to leave her husband was made following a severe beating, which left her hospitalised. After contacting her family after years of no communication, Sugrim took the suspect to court where he was charged for unlawfully and maliciously causing her bodily harm. However, after informing the court that he was the sole breadwinner for his family, he was released on bail was ordered to not go within 100 feet of the now dead woman. On Thursday last, Sugrim’s brother said his sister had visited the

suspect’s home where she spent time with her children. That visitation was without incident and as such, Haniff noted that his sister informed him that she was going over again on Saturday. However, the family became worried when several calls placed to Sugrim’s phone on Saturday evening went unanswered. As such, on Sunday morning, a report was made at the Diamond Police Station. After relatives made additional reports on Monday at the said Police Station, a group of ranks swooped down on the suspect’s home. After much interrogation, the suspect finally broke down and confessed that he indeed killed his estranged wife and led Police to where he buried her body.

Accused in “cricket bat” murder to know fate soon

The two remaining witnesses in the murder of 40-year-old Deonarine Manbodh, also called “Ramesh”, on Wednesday took the stand at the Demerara High Court before Justice Navindra Singh and a 12-member jury. Twenty-two-yearold Jonathan Budhan is accused of murdering Manbodh on October 25, 2016. The accused is represented by Attorney Nigel Hughes in association with Kezia Williams and Ronald Daniels. Meanwhile, the Prosecutors are Tuanna Hardy, Teriq Mohammed, and Abigail Gibbs. The aunt of the ac-

cused, in her testimony, told the court that prior to Ramesh’s demise, she would frequently get complaints from her nephew about the victim’s offensive behaviour towards him. She noted that although this was the case, the accused did not retaliate. Meanwhile, under cross-examination the court heard that on the day of the incident, the accused arrived home in tears and related what had occurred on his way home. According to the witness, the accused related that he was embarrassed and assaulted by the now deceased man because he accompanied his niece

Murder accused: Jonathan Budhan

home. It was further disclosed that after that confrontation, the now deceased man, as he was annoyed by the incident, visited the home of the witness, which resulted in a scuffle between the accused and the victim. During the scuffle, Manbodh was lashed to his head with a bat by the accused. The witness also admitted that she was aware that the victim had died several days after the incident occurred. On the other hand, Meena Manbodh, 20, the niece of the now deceased man, admitted to the court that she and the accused shared a relationship. She further

stated that on the day of the incident, she witnessed her uncle embarrassing and pushing Budhan, but he did not retaliate and walked away. While under cross-examination, the witness hesitantly admitted that Budhan would complain to her regarding the names he would be called by her uncle; nevertheless, she denied that she ever witnessed any of these incidents prior to October 25, 2016. On conclusion of the testimony, both the defence lawyers and State Prosecutors made their final submissions to both Justice Singh and the empanelled jury. The case continues.



Gaskin, Roopnaraine retained in former ministries

…move seen as unnecessary burden on taxpayers


he Government of Guyana has created two new positions to accommodate the rehiring of former Ministers Dominic Gaskin and Dr Rupert Roopnaraine. On Tuesday, the Ministry of the Presidency announced that Gaskin has been appointed Director of Manufacturing and Marketing within the Business Ministry with responsibility for the enforcement of standards, providing assistance to small producers and access to markets, particularly Eastern Caribbean markets. Additionally, Dr Roopnarine has been appointed Director of Public Service Training within the Ministry of the Presidency with responsibility for training standards at the Bertram Collins College of the Public Service, Guyana Defence Force Staff College and Guyana Police Force Staff College. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge has been

Former Business Minister Dominic Gaskin

appointed Foreign Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with responsibility for the Department of Frontiers and Territorial Integrity and the Department of Trade and Economic Cooperation. Guyana Times International understands that both Gaskin and Roopnaraine continue to receive super salaries.

Former Public Service Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine

Gaskin, Dr Roopnaraine, Greenidge and former Minister Joseph Harmon, all dual citizens, resigned as Ministers and Members of Parliament (MPs) effective April 25. On April 30, Harmon, a United States citizen, was appointed Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency. Article 155 (1) of the Constitution of Guyana states that “No person

Opposition says law... from page 7

During Wednesday’s sitting of the National Assembly, Finance Minister Winston Jordan announced the tabling of a G$7.9 billion supplementary paper. Of that amount, G$3.4 billion will be requested for GECOM, which has consistently complained of being hampered by lack of finances. When asked on the sidelines of Parliament, Minister Jordan explained that the money

is just in case GECOM should need it. He added that if there are no elections, the money would not be used. According to the Party, in accordance with the Constitution and the FMAA, GECOM’s full 2019 budgetary allocation should have been transferred in a lump sum to the Commission by February 2019 latest. Moreover, the Party noted that the Finance Secretary had, via letter which was presented

to the full Commission during its weekly statutory meeting on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, advised that the matter was outside of the remit of the Finance Ministry. The Party reiterated that the issue of funding is the latest hurdle thrown up by the Government-influenced parties at GECOM. This is despite the fact that the laws of Guyana are clear on funding for constitutional agencies like GECOM.

shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who (a) is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state”. In February, Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George had ruled on the case filed by Compton Reid over the dual citizenship of former AFC MP Charrandas

Persaud. In the case it brought to the Chief Justice, Government had argued that Persaud’s dual citizenship status invalidated his vote in support of the No-confidence Motion that brought the Government down. The Court of Appeal later upheld the January High Court ruling that it is illegal for persons holding dual citizenship status to be sitting in the National Assembly. These latest appointments by Government have already received much criticism by sections of society as the move by the Administration is viewed as an unnecessary burden on taxpayers. From their job de-

scriptions, Gaskin and Dr Roopnarine have full control of several aspects of the Ministries, despite having a sitting Minister. With respect to Greenidge, he has gotten much support since he plays an integral role in the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy case. Last week, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo threw his support behind the retention of the services of Greenidge, saying “With all due respect, with our border case before the International Court of Justice, you need someone who has in-depth knowledge about the issue…he should be retained because of that concern”.

10 news

WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |

GECOM unmoved by criticisms from CCJ …Commissioner Trotman maintains elections cannot be held before Nov. 2019


ack of finances and advice given by the Finance Ministry’s Finance Secretary that it could not transfer existing finances, are being cited by a Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Commissioner against criticisms of the entity’s delaying tactics when it comes to election preparation. Commissioner Desmond Trotman, who was interviewed by the media after a statutory meeting on Tuesday, was asked about criticism from the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) regarding the perceived sloth of GECOM, despite the passage of a Noconfidence Motion and the possibility of early elections. But according to Trotman, persons must also consider the fact that GECOM does not have the requisite funds to speed up preparations. Trotman pointed out that money still has to be allocated for elections by the National Assembly and further explained that no less than the Finance Ministry’s Finance Secretary advised against transferring funds meant for house-to-house registration, for general election preparations. “The Commission cannot act in relation to an election, until it has money. So it’s all well and good to say the Commission should always be in a position to carry out elections. But one of the primary things for the Commission to

act towards elections is money. The Commission is only given money for elections when elections are held,” Trotman said. “We sought the advice of the Finance Secretary and the Finance Secretary said to us that the money given for a specific item has got to be used for that item and if it is you require money for elections, you have to go back to Parliament,” he said. He noted that there are preparations ongoing, including training persons for houseto-house registration. According to Trotman, more than 8000 persons are expected to be

Desmond Trotman taking the oath of office as a member of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) before President David Granger at State House

trained and the actual exercise is expected to start in the first week of June. “Well you know that in the 2019 programme, one of the things it has to deal with is the whole question of house-tohouse registration. So training is taking place. When the training is finished, they will be putting in place the mechanisms for holding house-to-house registration.” “In the meantime, there are other things taking place. Procurement of certain materials are happening. And whatever the secretariat can do outside of the Commission’s

permission, they are doing.” CCJ But asked about the possibility that GECOM may be called upon by the CCJ to hold elections before November, Trotman reiterated the GECOM Chairman, retired Justice James Patterson’s position that elections can only be held by November 2019. In a letter sent to President David Granger since March 19, 2019, the GECOM Chairman had explained that since the elections body is continuing with its normal work programme; that is, the holding of houseto-house registration, it would need some G$3.5 billion to host elections. In this regard, the GECOM chair said “no election date should be contemplated less than five months after these funds are placed at the disposal of and

under the control of GECOM.” And according to Trotman, this position has not changed. “The Commission has already said, based on information coming from the Secretariat, that elections cannot be held earlier than November, month-end. And the secretariat was hardpressed to arrive at that date,” Trotman said. The advice of Finance Secretary Michael Joseph, would fly in the face of the utterances of his own boss, Finance Minister Winston Jordan, who had declared to the Assembly that monies allocated to GECOM are lump sums. Last year, he had announced that G$5.4 billion has been allocated in the 2019 Budget for GECOM to hold the 2020 General and Regional Elections. It has also been suggested that the CCJ

could possibly recommend the extension of the life of the previous voters list, which expired in April. According to Trotman, however, it is unclear whether the CCJ can even do this. While Trotman indicated that GECOM gave the November timeline, this was in fact not a unanimous position. The Opposition nominated Commissioners have long contended that GECOM could work faster and compress activities, to hold elections way before November. At present, everything hangs in the balance of the CCJ ruling on whether last year’s No-confidence Motion against the coalition was validly passed or not. Should it rule that it was validly passed, it means that elections were constitutionally due since March of this year.

news 11


High staff turnover rate at Legal Affairs Ministry since 2015 W ith the resignations of 19 lawyers from the Legal Affairs Ministry/Attorney General’s Chambers since this Government took over in 2015, calls are being made for an investigation into the Ministry’s high turnover rate. According to staff who reached out to Guyana Times International, lawyers in the AG’s Chambers have to contend with a difficult and even toxic and abusive working environment. Pointing to the large proportion of cases being lost by the Chambers in the courts, the employees recommended an investigation into claims of mismanagement and bad legal advice being followed. “Donna Sulker’s matter in which the Police killed a young man,” the source gave as an example. “Donna Sulker was prepared to accept G$7 million… the court awarded in

Former Deputy Solicitor General Prithima Kissoon

excess of G$20 million after a full trial was concluded.” “The same level of incompetence was displayed in the matter concerning

Ambassador (Harry Narine) Nawbatt. The contract was not properly terminated and the Ambassador was prepared to accept approximately G$7 mil-

lion, which represented his gratuity and other benefits… on (the Chamber’s advice) the State has been ordered by the court to pay in excess of G$20 million in this case.” Those lawyers, who departed the Chambers include former Registrar and Solicitor General, Sita Ramlall, who was forced to move to the High Court last year over her pension and gratuity being withheld and former Deputy Solicitor General Prithima Kissoon, who sued for wrongful dismissal. The vast majority of the lawyers departing are female. Efforts to contact Attorney General Basil Williams for a comment on the issue proved futile. The Attorney General had come in for much criticism previously for his comments on Kissoon, with commentators bashing the manner in which he dealt with the matter.

In a letter to the Editor published in local newspapers in 2017, the former Deputy Solicitor General’s father, prominent Attorney Jailall Kissoon, pointed out that this is the first time in legal history that an AG has levelled such a blast of terror and fear upon the Judiciary or his own legal officer. “The fallout from this scurrilous blast has radiated its tremulous fear through the spinal cord of the entire body of the Judiciary in Guyana and elsewhere,” he pointed out. According to the senior Kissoon, there are recorded documents in court to support that the ruling against the State-sponsored appeal was a pure stream of justice flowing uninterruptedly; that is, until it was polluted by the Attorney General in an article published in the State-owned Guyana Chronicle newspaper. “Your prejudiced

perception is that the Chancellor, together with applicant Bharrat Jagdeo, his Attorney-at-Law, Mr (Mursaline) Bacchus and the Deputy Solicitor General Prithima Kissoon, all of common ethnicity, caused the Attorney General and the Editor to fall in the dark mud of malice and partiality that Jagdeo must receive the benefit from the court unjustly. But the law does not recognise skin colour, the law is the law,” the Attorney penned. He went on to say that, “the Attorney General, who has such legal wisdom and foresight, ought to have seen the unholy conspiracy of the bench and Bar and should have appeared in person, as leader of the Bar, filed his Affidavit in Answer, argued his case as a legal luminary and eminent counsel and crushed the Applicant’s case to smithereens.”

12 news

WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |

3,220 Guyanese overstayed in US from Oct. 2017 - Sept. 2018

Aerial view of the JFK Airport, one of the US’ premier airports By Jarryl Bryan


uyana has been red flagged by another United States (US) report and this time it is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which revealed in its 2018 Entry/Exit Overstay Report that some 3,220 Guyanese overstayed in the US on non-immigrant visas, after arriving for business or on vacation. This, according to the report, occurred over the period of October 2017 to September 2018, during which time 66,416 Guyanese were supposed to depart from the US. Guyana Times International understands that efforts are being made by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency and other US Government agencies to hunt these persons down who have breached the conditions under which their US Visa was granted. Over the years several Guyanese nationals who have been granted non-immigrant visas have resorted to overstay their time and some observers have

noted that this is making it very difficult for other applicants who apply for a holiday visa. According to this latest report, these figures represent a 4.85 per cent overstay rate and are an increase from the previous year, when 2,262 Guyanese also overstayed their time. Of the latest numbers, the report states that 3,065 of these Guyanese are suspected to have been hiding in the US during this period. It also states that 155 are out of country overstays, or persons who eventually left the country having already overstayed their time. In addition, the US has found that 45 of this amount were Guyanese students studying in the US and exchange visitors who overstayed the time they were given. There were 339 persons in this category who were supposed to depart the country during the one-year period, an overstay rate of 13.27 per cent. In the previous year, the amount of Guyanese students overstaying was 28. The report shows that 322 students were ex-

pected to leave but 11 departed after their time had expired and there was no evidence that 17 of them departed at all. Meanwhile, the report urges that identifying the offending aliens who overstay their time is important for national security, public safety, immigration enforcement and immigration benefits” purposes. “Over the years, DHS significantly improved data collection processes in the entry environment. These improvements include the collection of data on all admissions to the United States by foreign nationals, the reduction of the number of documents that may be used for entry to the United States, the collection of biometric data on most foreign travelers to the United States, and the comparison of that data against criminal and terrorist watch lists.” “Despite the different infrastructural, operational, and logistical challenges presented in the exit environment, DHS has been able to resolve many of the issues regarding the collection of departure in-

formation for foreign nationals.” Last year there was a significant decline in the number of visitors’ visas issued by the US Embassy in Guyana. According to a visa summary provided by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, a total of 4923 visitors visa were approved by the US Embassy here during the 2018 Fiscal Year, which runs from October 2017 to September 2018. This is a whopping 20,000 plus decline compared to the 25,338 visas granted in 2017. It was also significantly less than the 51,202 visas in 2016; 30,121 in 2015; and 17,284 visas in 2014. The last time these figures were below 5000 was in 2010 when only 4242 non-immigrant visas were granted. Counter-measures It states that further efforts such as partnerships with other governments and members of the private sector such as airlines, airports and cruise lines are ongoing and will continue in order to improve data integrity. “During the past four years, DHS made

significant progress in terms of the ability to accurately report data on overstays—progress that was made possible by congressional realignment of Department resources in order to better centralize the overall mission in identifying overstays,” it also states. “In FY 2018, new biometric exit tests and deployments in both the land and air environment enabled continued progress toward the fusion of biometric and biographic verification of travelers. While these tests account for only a relatively small percentage of all th e departure records for FY 2018, this is a significant increase from FY 2017 and a critical step forward towards implementing a comprehensive biometric entry and exit system.” Going forward, the report details that the DHS will continue to develop, test, and expand the entry and exit system during 2019. These improvements will pertain to both biometric and biographic traveler data. “This testing will improve CBP’s ability to capture and report

this data accurately. DHS will continue to annually release this overstay data to the public and examine trends over time and looks forward to providing updates to congressional members and their staff on its ongoing progress,” the report states. This report comes not long after the US President Donald Trump ordered his government to crack down on persons legally entering the US but overstaying their time. He signed a memorandum last month, in which he ordered the US State department and the DHS to submit their plans for cracking down on such illegal immigrants. This memo, issued on April 22, had suggested, among other things, measures such as “suspending or limiting entry of nationals of those countries who hold B-1 or B-2 visas; targeted suspension of visa issuance for certain nationals; limits to duration of admission, to be implemented by the Department of Homeland Security; and additional documentary requirements.”


Ramjattan says criminal charges likely in SOCU fraud probe

any recommendation out of the investigation it will be up to the Commissioner of Police first to initiate action and I’m sure, I’ll be advised by the Minister of Public Security,” President Granger said. A probe that was conducted into SOCU by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) had unearthed irregularities that included falsified records and missing documents. According to reports, there was even a case of an official who alleged his signature was forged. In addition, there are reports of listed expenditure being concocted and receipts being backdated.

SOCU’s file is with the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions, headed by Shalimar Ali-Hack


he recent revelations of fraud at the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), the orgainsation that is supposed to be investigating fraud, has prompted the legal advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) being sought by the police, with Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan revealing that criminal charges may be filed against officers. The minister made the revelations while speaking on the sidelines of the National Assembly on Wednesday. According to Ramjattan, the audit into SOCU made some damning allegations and legal advice will be needed on how to proceed. “It is not a nice report. It had some damning allegations. But these are operational matters now, the implementation of the recommendations is in the hands of the (Police) Commissioner. I understand the commissioner, because of the damning nature of the allegations, has decided to take it to the DPP Chambers and the Legal Advisers. That will take some time.” “I don’t know, I rather suspect there might be,” Ramjattan added, when asked if the seeking of legal advice from the DPP indicated the possibility of criminal charges being filed against the offending officers in the unit. However, Ramjattan refuted contentions that the tainted integrity of the unit necessarily affected the cases which it investigated… most of which involved former

People’s Progressive Party (PPP) officials. Some of these cases have already been thrown out by the courts for various reasons. “I don’t think it will affect the cases. In a unit, you have the police. Police are known to do grievous things. It doesn’t mean the entire police force and their investigations in other matters will be necessarily undermined.” “I doubt whether that will be undermined. Because what you find in these investigations, there are other witnesses dealing with certain offences that others might have committed,” Ramjattan added. Following the revelations against SOCU, the parliamentary Opposition – Peoples Progressive Party – had called for the shutting down of the unit. But according to Ramjattan, even a restructuring of the unit is not on the table. He noted that fixing SOCU requires that the recommendations from the fraud probe be followed. According to Ramjattan, they have not sat down with Sydney James to have him defend his unit against the findings of the auditors. M e a n w h i l e , President David Granger was also asked about the unit earlier on Wednesday. According to the head of state, whatever actions are taken in SOCU largely depend on Police Commissioner Leslie James. “I asserted that SOCU is an organic part of the Guyana Police Force so in terms of investigation, in terms of



WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |




WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |




WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |


‘One scandal after the other’

…Opposition MP slams Govt over ‘failure’ to tackle corruption

PPP Member of Parliament Juan Edghill


ith the coalition Government giving itself a pat on the back for its accomplishments over the past four years, a People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Member of Parliament has debunked claims that the coalition is addressing issues like corruption. In an interview with this publication, PPP Member of Parliament Juan Edghill pointed to several scandals that have rocked the Government during its four years in office, scandals which have gone largely unaddressed by the Government. “The APNU/AFC is living in a bubble of self-deception,” he said. “The standards they are measuring themselves by are not standards considered acceptable and normal. Their performance as it relates to governances and rule and law has been pathetic.” “As it relates to corruption, it has affected from the top right down to the bottom. And these are not mere allegations. These are real issues and no amount of playing it down will cause it to disappear. The fact that there was a Noconfidence vote against

them was a clear case that their scorecard was way below an F grade,” Edghill told this newspaper. According to Edghill, Government has been embroiled in trying to explain the unexplainable. He pointed to the lofty promises they made before they got into office, of their determination to fight for good governance and the rule of law and expressed disappointment in what has actually happened since. “They are incapable of regulating themselves. With the Sussex Street bond, they say they are doing an investigation. They put Government Ministers to investigate, they say better could have been done and after millions, better was not done.” “With D’Urban Park, they try to deceive the people of Guyana that no Government money was spending. Now the Auditor General can’t find receipts for millions. The very same things they say they are not guilty of; they are guilty of.” The Government heralded its four-year anniversary on Friday with a statement hailing its achievements over the time it has been in office.


20 news

WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |

300 teachers to benefit from duty-free concessions – Harmon T hree hundred senior teachers across Guyana

will be granted dutyfree concessions for the period 2016 to 2018.

This was announced by Director General of the Ministry of the

Presidency, Joseph Harmon at a post-Cabinet press briefing on

Trainee teachers at a recent forum

Joseph Harmon

Thursday. According to Harmon, headteachers and their deputies of Grade A and B schools, headteachers of Grade C, D and E schools and senior masters and Heads of Departments of the Cyril Potter College of Education and technical schools will be the primary beneficiaries. Following is a breakdown of the list of beneficiaries by region Regions Concessions 1 (Barima-Waini) 1 2 (PomeroonSupenaam) 24 3 (Essequibo IslandsWest Demerara) 58 4 Demerara-Mahaica

119 5 (Mahaica-Berbice) 18 6 (East BerbiceCorentyne) 48 7 (Cuyuni -Mazaruni) 7 8 (Potaro-Siparuni) 2 9 (Upper TakutuUpper Essequibo) 3 10 (Upper DemeraraBerbice) 11 9 additional concessions will be granted to the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) and the Government Technical Institute. DG Harmon explained that the decision was made following a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Education and the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU). The approval caters for the granting of concessions for motor vehicles with capacities up to 1800cc, outboard engines of 75 horsepower for persons in the riverine areas, and All Terrain Vehicles for eligible persons in the Hinterland. To qualify, the teachers must be members of the GTU for a period of at least three years and have at least three years of service remaining.

news 21


“No future for sugar under APNU/AFC”

‒ says former Agri minister


our years have passed since the APNU/AFC took office and the coalition, in a list of achievements, highlighted that some G$43 billion was given in bailouts and severance payments to Guyana’s failing sugar industry. The Government recently noted that it also “took drastic action to save and secure the jobs of over 10,000 workers”. However, former Agriculture Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy said that the present Administration has downsized sugar by more than 50 per cent in the past four years and that was its first step towards the goal of closing the sugar industry. “APNU/AFC is deliberately mismanaging the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), engineering its excuse to close sugar. While three sugar estates continue to operate, APNU/AFC is keen on finding an excuse to also close these

estates. For more than 300 years, sugar was the most important industry in Guyana, the potential for sugar being an important industry for many decades more in Guyana still exists…and it is foolhardy and reckless for anyone to give up on sugar.” According to Dr Ramsammy, the Government wishes to end sugar in Guyana for political reasons but this will have “horrendous consequences” resulting in the Guyanese populace being collateral damage. “For example, the starting of sugar closure, at the end of 2015, precipitated an unemployment problem. Four years into the APNU/AFC term in office, Guyana is mired in an unemployment crisis, a crisis that started in 2015 and catapulted in 2016 by the closure of the first of the four sugar estates that are now closed. The total closure of sugar, if the Guyanese

Thousands of sugar workers have been terminated since the APNU/AFC Govt took office in May 2015

people allow APNU/AFC to achieve this goal, will mean that the unemployment crisis will be sustained for generations to come, oil will not be able to rescue us,” the former Agriculture Minister recently stated. Dr Ramsammy elaborated that the past four years have not been “good news” for GuySuCo or for employment in the

country. “More than 37,000 jobs have been lost, according to conservative estimates, with sugar accounting for more than 7000 direct jobs and many thousands more indirectly. By then, business activities have dropped by as much as 50 per cent with hundreds being laid off… Meanwhile, Guyanese

are dismayed at the sustained ugly disinterest APNU/AFC has shown towards GuySuCo. This deliberate disinterest by the Government and, particularly, by the Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, has contributed to the overall mismanagement and incompetence in the operations of GuySuCo.” He added that the

Administration’s seeming disinterest is a “deliberate” strategy to end sugar in Guyana. “Clearly, APNU/AFC appears to have engineered an economic strategy in which oil is the new economic pillar and that Guyana’s economy will be an oil economy. There is no future for sugar under APNU/ AFC.”

Unemployment, mental health to feature prominently as Guyana observes Youth Week

From left: Ewin Enmore, Field Officer (PYARG); Adeli De Jesus, Senior Research and Planning Officer, Department of Youth; Leslyn Boyce, Director of Sport (ag); and Germaine Watson, Project Officer, Department of Youth


outh Week 2019 was launched on Wednesday and would involve the participation of some 5000 youths from across all administrative regions of Guyana. Youth Week will be observed from May 18 to May 25, 2019 under the theme “Inspire and Build Resilient Youth.” The Youth Week activities serve to create a platform for young people to participate in national events as equal and recognised citizens of this country. Further, the event seeks to promote among youths an awareness to remain steadfast in defence of territorial

integrity. Currently, the youth unemployment rate in Guyana stands at 22 per cent, as the end of 2018. Speaking at the launch at the Social Cohesion Ministry, Director of Sport (ag) Leslyn Boyce said that Youth Week activities were geared towards inspiring young people to commit themselves to pursuing the type of technical, vocational and entrepreneurial skills training to boost a green economy. She added that the Week further sought to provide an opportunity for youths across Guyana, regardless of

political preference or religion, to be united for a better cause. According to Boyce, the aim at the end of these activities is to ensure that young people are better informed of the importance of their role in national development and be inspired to become involved in meaningful activities and programmes aimed at development of themselves and communities. Further, she stated that Youth Week would also bring awareness of the various technical, vocational and entrepreneurial skills training that are available via the Department of Youth

and Guyana Youth Corps so the youths could make adequate use of these initiatives. She said too that the Department was working to ensure certification that was accredited and valuable for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme so that youths would be more confident in enrolling in these courses. Youth Week activities will kick off in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) on May 18 with a Youth Rally to spread awareness on issues relating to mental health. PYARG Field Officer Ewin Enmore said the Youth Rally would be held in

that region this year as it was one of the regions plagued with troubled youth. He said the aim of the rally was to sensitise youths about mental health and locations where they could access assistance as well as ensure that attention and love were shown to those suffering from mental health issues. He added that the objectives were to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, strengthen collaboration between the Department of Youth and other stakeholders, and reduce suicide rates in Region Six. D e p a r t m e n t of Youth Senior Research, Planning and

Development Officer, Adeli De Jesus, who outlined the activities planned, said this year’s Youth Week would focus heavily on unemployment among youths as well as their mental health and wellbeing. Some of the activities a youths’ roundtable discussion on unemployment on May 21 and a mental health activity on May 22. The Youth Department said that the activities were open to members of the public and encouraged interested participants to visit its Facebook page for updates or visit its office at Lot 91 Middle Street for any necessary assistance.


WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |

PM Candidate likely to be decided at next AFC national conference …Trotman says multiple candidates for slot counterproductive


eader of the Alliance for Change (AFC), Raphael Trotman, believes that having multiple persons vying for the position of Prime Ministerial Candidate would not serve in the interest of Government. In an interview with Guyana Times International on Sunday, Trotman revealed that he would not be contesting for this position in his party’s upcoming national conference slated for next month. “For the record, we have an incumbent Prime Minister and at least one person expressing interest in the same position. I don’t believe that it would serve the coalition’s interest if there were multiple aspirants for what is essentially one position,” he stated. In February last, Trotman publicly threw his support behind Nagamootoo becoming the AFC’s PM candidate at the next elections. He explained that the replacement of the present PM would be seen as an acceptance by the Government that it

has failed, and that the Opposition’s “no-confidence” motion against the administration was justified. “The no-confidence motion was a direct challenge on the Granger/ Nagamootoo leadership. In my view, if we were to jump to replace either gentleman in an emotive way, we would be openly conceding that the motion and vote were justified and valid,” Trotman had told the media at that time. The AFC Leader had reaffirmed his confidence in the David Granger/ Moses Nagamootoo leadership to guide the Coalition Government in the period ahead. Although other members of the AFC’s leadership have stated that it is unlikely that Nagamootoo would be proposed as the Prime Ministerial Candidate again, Trotman believes that Nagamootoo should remain where he is, as there is no other candidate to attract more votes than he can. “The AFC has not put forward an alternative name to Moses, and right now I am not sure

if anyone feels that he or she can do a better job by winning more votes nationally and has national acceptability. It is important to not only bear the ethnic factor in mind, but also to ensure that all groups feel a sense of comfort in the candidate, whether they vote for him or her or not,” he had added. However, less than two weeks ago, Chairman of the AFC, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, confirmed to the media that he would be challenging his colleague for the post of Prime Minister at the conference next month. According to the Public Security Minister, if elected, he is “up to the task”. He explained that the selection of leadership in the AFC is based on democratic principles, which are nothing new to political parties locally and internationally. “I have already indicated my interest. There are others, I am certain, who will indicate their interest; and so it is going to be interesting. And it is good to have, instead of political par-

Leader of the Alliance for Change Raphael Trotman

ties, the regular rivalry between leaders that you would have in the democracies… So, yes, we will be looking forward for it, and that will be decided there at the national conference,” Ramjattan had explained. Minister Ramjattan noted that the electoral process at the upcoming conference would be the deciding factor as to who would be running as the Prime Ministerial Candidate at the next General and Regional Elections.

“The Prime Ministerial Candidate is generally made at the National Conference. And I rather suspect that (at) our next national conference there will be a recommendation as to who will be the PM. The conference will be held sometime in midJune,” Ramjattan had declared. Earlier, in January, President Granger was endorsed by his party, the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R), to run for a sec-

ond term as President. In fact, the PNC/R – the largest party in the five-party A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) – officially threw its support behind its leader via a letter from General Secretary Amna Ally. In accordance with the 2015 ‘deal’ in the form of a Cummingsburg Accord between the two parties, AFC will have the Prime Ministerial position while the Presidential post goes to APNU.



Valmiki Singh’s role in new Telecoms Woman faces court over alleged Agency “being explored” assault of Cop


ormer Managing Director of the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) Valmiki Singh has responded to reports that he did not apply for a role with the Telecommunications Agency, which will be replacing the NFMU. See full statement below: Statement by former Managing Director of the National Frequency Management Unit I wish to provide clarity and context to the statement from the Ministry of Public Telecommunications that the National Frequency Management

Unit (NFMU) CEO (sic) did not heed the recommendation and apply for a position in the Telecommunications Agency (TA). On March 27, 2019, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Telecommunications (PS, MoPT), along with officials of the TA first met with me and then the staff of the NFMU to officially announce the dissolution of the NFMU (on May 10, 2019) and positions within the TA which were of likely interest to the NFMU staff. As Managing Director of the NFMU (at the time) and given my 20 plus years of regulato-

Former head of NFMU Valmiki Singh

ry experience, one of the questions I asked the PS of the MoPT, was “Do you see a role for me in the TA?” His response was, “I need to discuss this

with the Minister.” After some discussion on this response, it was agreed that we would meet in two days. When we met on March 29, 2019, the PS of the MoPT informed me that he had not had an opportunity to discuss the matter with the Minister. To date, the PS of the MoPT has not indicated if he has since had that opportunity to discuss the matter with the Minister. During a brief discussion with the Director, Telecommunications Agency on May 10, 2019, the possibility of me having an engagement with TA was raised. This is currently being explored.

Guyana Carnival 2019 launched Guyana Carnival 2019 slated for May 17 to 27, is set to promote the Guyanese experience through showcasing its local food, music and culture with the support of the Government. According to organisers, the second year of this bigger and better event will demonstrate many firsts tailored for revelers and nonrevelers. Chairman of the Organising Committee Bobby Vieira said this year will not only highlight a colorful event but a unique one representing the Guyanese flavor. In photo are: Minister of Youth Affairs, Simona Broomes, Chairman, Guyana Carnival Committee, Bobby Vieira, Director of Guyana Carnival, Kerwin Bollers, Rawle Ferguson, co-founder of Hits & Jams Entertainment and radio personality, Stan Gouveia. (DPI photo)


eisha Burke appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts on Wednesday slapped with several charges of assault and disorderly behaviour. The 20-year-old woman, who resides at Meadowbrook Gardens, Georgetown, stood before Magistrate Faith McGusty and denied the charges which stated that on May 13, 2019 at East La Penitence, Georgetown, she assaulted and unlawfully wounded Police Sergeant Odecia Johnson, who was acting in the execution of her duties. It is alleged that while the defendant was at the East La Penitence Police Station, she unlawfully assaulted Johnson. The second charge stated that on the same day and location, Burke behaved in a disorderly manner. The third charge stated that on the same day and at the same location, she used indecent language. It is also alleged Burke resisted arrest from Sergeant Johnson, during which time she unlawfully assaulted her causing actual bodily harm. She was also accused of damaging spectacles belonging to Johnson valued G$40,000. The court heard

that on May 13, Officer Johnson was carrying out her duties at East La Penitence Police Station when she noticed a female standing in the building. Johnson then called a male officer, who was sent to enquire why the woman was standing inside the station and to inform the defendant to stand outside. Burke then began to use indecent language while leaving the station. Johnson after seeing the commotion attempted to arrest the defendant, during which time she dealt the officer several punches to her face, breaking her spectacles. Police Prosecutor Ceon Blackman objected to bail based on the seriousness of the offence. In a bail application on her own behalf, Burke told the court that she went to the station because she heard a friend was arrested. The defendant said she spoke to the officer at the station desk and they told her to wait outside. She continued by saying while walking outside the Virtual Complainant then approached her in an unpleasant manner and she got upset. She was released on G$80,000 bail. The case will continue on May 29, 2019.

24 news

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Cops still to make breakthrough in Albouystown businesswoman’s murder P

olice are still hunting for the perpetrators responsible for the death of Albouystown, Georgetown businesswoman, Nalini Persaud called “Nalo” who was murdered in her home in the presence of her husband on May 2, last. Commander of “A” Division, Marlon Chapman, told this newspaper on Monday that at present there is no one in Police custody for the murder but that detectives are still following leads. He stated that while no one has been charged for the crime, investigators are still aggressively pursuing the case, and it is hoped that a breakthrough be made shortly. On May 2, 2019, Persaud’s

Murdered Albouystown businesswoman Nalini Persaud, called “Nalo”

lifeless body was discovered in the upper flat of her Lot 161 James and Non-Pariel Streets, Albouystown. She was found with a rope tied around her neck. Reports are she was strangled to death, while her husband was beaten after four masked men armed with guns invaded their property. According information received, the incident occurred at around 03:00h when the couple was in the process of preparing to open for a normal business day. Reports were that the perpetrators entered the premises through a hole on the bottom left side of the house. After gaining entry, the men attacked the couple

and bound them with duct tape and rope before robbing them of an undisclosed sum of cash and jewelry. The now dead woman was then taken to the upper flat of the house where she was strangled to death with a piece of rope. The victim’s husband was assaulted and taken out of the bedroom into the lower flat of the premises, which housed a grocery shop, where he was bound to a chair and duct-taped. It is believed that Persaud might have been killed after she recognised her attackers. The couple was discovered by their son and daughter-in-law who were alerted of the robbery. An investigation is underway.

New Surinamese Ambassador to Guyana appointed …pledges to deepen cultural ties with Guyana


resident David Granger on Wednesday accepted a letter of credence from Ebu Jones at the Ministry of the Presidency, accrediting him as the new Surinamese Ambassador to Guyana. With the appointment of the new Ambassador, both Guyana and Suriname are seeking to improve their bilateral relationship through initiatives for sustainable development. In the presence of Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Karen Cummings and DirectorGeneral of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Audrey Jardine-Waddell, Ambassador Jones posited that his country is looking at deepening cultural ties with Guyana.

According to him, both countries have displayed mutual respect and understanding for each other since the establishment of their bilateral relationship in 1975, which has witnessed continuous collaboration in a number of sectors, including agriculture, fisheries, forestry and health. Going forward, Suriname is also seeking to boost trading operations with Guyana with the prospects of other collaborations. “The Government of Suriname believes that the main focus and cooperation should be placed on achieving sustainability and in the pursuit of the development of country and people. It is therefore important and necessary that an atmosphere of peace,

togetherness and friendship is being sustained. Emphasis should be placed on what binds us rather than what divides us,” the newly accredited Ambassador related. He added, “There is even more potential for collaboration in the sustainable use of our natural resources as well as exploring environmental tourism and agriculture opportunities both countries have to offer. Suriname also looks forward towards deepening the cultural relationship and intensifying economic trade activities.” President David Granger acknowledged his letter of credence, adding that the main focus will surround regional peace. This includes the elimination of illegal migration and money laundering among other issues

Ambassador of the Republic of Suriname to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, His Excellency Ebu Jones presents his letter of credence to President David Granger as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Karen Cummings and Director General of Foreign Affairs Ministry, Audrey Jardine-Waddell look on.

which are seen as threats. “Guyana is committed towards ensuring that the South American continent remains a zone of peace. Peace in our region could be endangered by transnational threats such as trafficking of illegal weapons, narcotics and people; illegal migration; money laundering, environmental hazards and territorial controversies,” the president said. The idea of eradicating these issues were

welcomed by both countries, who saw the appointment as an opportunity to combat difficult challenges faced in the past. As was mentioned, there is a large count of persons from the Guyanese Diaspora, who have been residing and contributing economically to Suriname. “Guyana looks forward to working with Suriname within the ambit of the Caribbean Community and the Guyana Suriname

Corporation Council, to continue to improve trade, to intensify cultural, economic, environmental and social cooperation to combat transnational threats.” The new Ambassador had previously held the position of Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of the Republic of Suriname in the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Next year, the countries will celebrate 45 years since the establishment of bilateral ties.


News 25


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PNC’s narrative…


…on corruption

he stench of corruption enveloping the PNC/ AFC Administration got so bad that even some of its fervent supporters can’t squeeze their noses any longer. Especially now it’s a cert the CCJ’s gonna mandate elections sometime later this year. The latest to join in the chorus of criticism is a dyed-in-the-wool PNCite, Kean Gibson, who teaches at UWI, Barbados. She doesn’t understand why Granger’s tolerating the “normalisation” of corruption!! After all, from the word “go!” on May 11, 2015, you’d think his Ministers had been champing at their bits and pawing the ground impatiently to get their hands into the nation’s cookie jar. You know the old saw that “the best way to rob a bank is to own one”? Well, it’s clear the PNC’s mantra was “the best way to loot a state is to govern one”!! After all, some of the skullduggery could now be passed off as “legal”, even though it’s not legitimate!! Like the 50 per cent salary raise for all Ministers; G$500,000 house rentals for some; G$3 million/annual scholarships while supposedly “working” full time; jetting to Texas to be wooed by big oil etc. etc. Then came the “off the books” looting, like the unaccountedfor G$500 million from the “Jubilee Park! And this just in the first few months! These were followed by so may “gates” – pharmagate, warehousegate, bonusgate, Bridgegate, contractgate, etc – that the term “gated community” got a whole new meaning: a Cabinet of venal ministers!! Oh, what a trail of sleaze it’s been! But hold it!! It’s not the PNC’s fault at all!! So why should Granger be asked to do anything? And whose fault it is? Well…duh!!! It’s the PPP’s, of course!! Well, at least that’s how the PNC explained the tsunami of corruption they unleased over the land during the last 4 years. “Emerging from a past that was characterized by ‘pervasive corruption’ and systemic political patronage, it had become a gigantic task for our Government to combat and reduce acts of institutionalized criminality, corrupt practices, and discourage conflict of interest situations”!! In the four years in office, they haven’t been able to prove a SINGLE CASE OF PPP CORRUPTION, even though they “shook up” the Police top brass; conducted 4 dozen forensic audits; boosted the Intelligence branches, and sicced SOCU and SARA at the PPP with the audit “findings”!! But yet the PPP Svengalis have been pulling the strings to make these poor PNC Ministers do all those dastardly corrupt deeds! “Political patronage”? The PPP must’ve hypnotised Volda Lawrence to say that her Government only has “wuk for friends and PNC members”!! Will no one rid us of the PPP? Hold it! They were thrown out 4 years ago!!

…in stirring up religious hate

Kean Gibson didn’t just call on Granger to clean up the Augean Stables of corruption in his administration, she excused him for being “naïve” on the issue. In her estimation, on the other hand, the PPP has a “religious” compulsion for corruption. Well…well…well!! The silly season has well and truly begun, hasn’t it? In addition to the “ethnic” dog whistle, we now have “religious” proclivities of the dastardly PPP!! What religion? Gibson doesn’t pull any punches: it’s Hinduism, of course!! And since “several PPP leaders control important Hindu organisations and institutions”, they HAVE to be controlling the corruption imperative!! Your Eyewitness supposes, by this logic, that Somalia and South Sudan – rated as the two most corrupt countries in the world – must be run by those conniving Hindus!! But never mind. The PNC’s fighting for huge stakes – control of the biggest windfall Guyana will probably receive for all times. The stakes don’t get higher than that. They’ll use ever dirty trick in the book to win. But it’s Guyana that’ll lose in the end.

…on crime

Crime rivals corruption as being on the top of Guyanese concerns. But guess what? The PNC’s ode to its “accomplishments” doesn’t even mention it!! And here they’d boasted so much about their “crime fighting” prowess! Cat got their tongue??



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other’s Day is a holiday honoring motherhood that is observed in different forms throughout the world, and Mother’s Day 2019 occurs on Sunday, May 12. The American incarnation of Mother’s Day was cre-

ated by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. Jarvis would later denounce the holiday’s commercialisation and spent the latter part of her life trying to remove it from the calendar. While dates and celebrations vary, Mother’s Day traditionally involves presenting moms with flowers, cards and other gifts. History of mother’s day Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.” Once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, this celebration fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful would

return to their “mother church”—the main church in the vicinity of their home—for a special service. Over time the Mothering Sunday tradition shifted into a more secular holiday, and children would

present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation. This custom eventually faded in popularity before merging with the American Mother’s Day in the 1930s and 1940s. Did You Know? More phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year. These holiday chats with Mom often cause phone traffic to spike by as much as 37 percent. Ann Reeves Jarvis and Julia Ward Howe The origins of Mother’s Day as celebrated in the United States date back to the 19th century. In the years before the Civil War, Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children. These clubs later became a unifying force in a region of the country still divided over the Civil War. In

1868 Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation. Another precursor to Mother’s Day came from the abolitionist and suf-

fragette Julia Ward Howe. In 1870 Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace. In 1873 Howe campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2. Other early Mother’s Day pioneers include Juliet Calhoun Blakely, a temperance activist who inspired a local Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan, in the 1870s. The duo of Mary Towles Sasseen and Frank Hering, meanwhile, both worked to organize a Mothers’ Day in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some have even called Hering “the father of Mothers’ Day.” Anna Jarvis The official Mother’s Day holiday arose in the 1900s as a result of the efforts of Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis. Following her mother’s 1905 death, Anna Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day as a

way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children. Anna’s mom really adored carnations, so when Anna created Mother’s Day she made red and white carnations the official Mother’s Day flower! People would wear a red carnation to celebrate a living mom, and a white one to honor a deceased mother. After gaining financial backing from a Philadelphia department store owner named John Wanamaker, in May 1908 she organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. That same day also saw thousands of people attend a Mother’s Day event at one of Wanamaker’s retail stores in Philadelphia. Following the success of her first Mother’s Day, Jarvis—who remained unmarried and childless her whole life—resolved to see her holiday added to the national calendar. Arguing that American holidays

were biased toward male achievements, she started a massive letter writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging the adoption of a special day honoring motherhood. By 1912 many states, and towns c h u r c h e s had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday, and Jarvis had established the Mother’s Day International Association to help promote her cause. Her persistence paid off in 1914 when President W o o d r o w Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. Anna Jarvis had originally conceived of Mother’s Day as a day of personal celebration between mothers and families. Her version of the day involved wearing a white carnation as a badge and visiting one’s mother or attending church services. But once Mother’s Day became a national holiday, it was not long before florists, card companies and other merchants capitalized on its popularity. While Jarvis had initially worked with the floral industry to help raise Mother’s Day’s profile, by 1920 she had become disgusted with how the holiday had been commercialized. She outwardly denounced the transformation and urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards and candies. Jarvis eventually resorted to an open campaign against Mother’s

Day profiteers, speaking out against confectioners, florists and even charities. She also launched countless lawsuits against groups that had used the name “Mother’s Day,” eventually spending most of her personal wealth in legal fees. By the time of her death in 1948 Jarvis had disowned the holiday altogether, and even actively lobbied the government to see it removed from the American calendar. Mother’s Day around The World While versions of Mother’s Day are celebrated worldwide, traditions vary depending on the country. In Thailand, for example, Mother’s Day is always celebrated in August on the birthday of the current queen, Sirikit. Another alternate observance of Mother’s Day can be found in Ethiopia, where families gather each fall to sing songs and eat a large feast as part of Antrosht, a multi-day celebration honoring motherhood. In North America, Mother’s Day continues to be celebrated by presenting mothers and other women with gifts and flowers, and it has become one of the biggest holidays for consumer spending. Families also celebrate by giving mothers a day off from activities like cooking or other household chores. At times, Mother’s Day has also been a date for launching political or feminist causes. In 1968 Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King Jr., used Mother’s Day to host a march in support of underprivileged women and children. In the 1970s women’s groups also used the holiday as a time to highlight the need for equal rights and access to childcare.


By Lakhram Bhagirat


oss will always be a part of our existence. It has the ability in wear down even the strongest of us and it also has the ability to catapult the weak-

est of us into a position of strength. However, there are some losses that are almost impossible to get over. No one knows such grave loss than a mother who has lost a child. The

pain of losing a child is something many cannot fathom and quite often shy away from because of the gravity of the burden of suffering such a devastating blow. David LaChapelle, an American artist, quite

perfectly said “there’s nothing that symbolises loss or grief more than a mother losing a child.” Hearing Shazella Mendonca speak about that unbearable loss is enough to reduce one

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to tears. The mother speaks with an emptiness that only the presence of her six-year-old child can fill. The emptiness is growing with every tick of the clock and not a moment goes by without her remember-

ing her Sherezer. Sherezer died at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) on January 24, 2019, after the wrong injection was administered to the child by the doctors at the medical institution. Sherezer and two other children were injected with an intravenous injection to their spine causing them to become paralyse, which then lead to multiple organ failures and their subsequent deaths. The drugs, Vincristine and Methotrexate, formed part of the children’s chemotherapy treatment. A probe by the Hospital found that malpractice resulted in the deaths of Sherezer, seven-yearold Corwin Edwards and three-year-old Roshini Seegobin. Since her daughter’s death, Shazella has been trying to find some closure because of the way in which her daughter died. Although she has two other children,

Michael and Miguel, Shazella still feels that emptiness because Sherezer was her first and precious little girl. This is going to be the first Mother’s Day in six years without the bubbly

es to see her bubbly little girl rush-

little girl who had given Shazella so many firsts. She remembers the first time she met her daughter as one of the happiest days of life and the last day she saw Sherezer’s face as the most horrible day of her 27 years. “This Mother’s Day I don’t know what to do with myself. It is like I am just going through life as it is and even though I have two other children there is this empty feeling. This year with Sherezer not being here and she was my first child, I will feel the brunt of it definitely. It’s like I don’t know man, I just don’t know,” Shezella said as she trailed off to compose herself. She is reminded of her baby every day and the memory intensifies at around 14:30h when school would dismiss for the day. She sits by and watches the neighbourhood children in their school uniforms returning home and only wish-

ing towards her. But she is confronted with a wave of sadness when she realise that her wish will never come true and she will only be able to see her little girl in the afterlife. Threading back to the last Mother’s Day with Sherezer, Shazella said that it was one that remains etched in her memory now that she knows it was the last. Sherezer made a card at school to express her love for her mother and was so excited to show Shazella that she could not wait to get home. As soon as she reached home, the beaming little girl pounced on her mother showering her with kisses and showed her the unique card. “When she bring the card home she was so happy. She was singing songs for me whole weekend and it was the best. I was happy to see her happy. She was the kind of child that it doesn’t matter if you are crying, she can make you

laugh because she was such a happy little girl.” This year, for Mother’s Day, all Shazella wants is to see her baby, to hug her, kiss her, hear her voice, feel her close. She says the thought of Mother’s Day makes her heart shatter because life is so much different. A piece of her is gone and will never come back. That piece of the puzzle of her life will forever be missing and will only be completed when she departs this life. “It is heartbreaking thinking about Mother’s Day. I don’t want to think about it and although I have my two boys, it is still so hard. I don’t feel like celebrating because she is not here. She will never be here. She is the first one to call me mommy and gave me the first feeling of a mother. I lost part of me when she went to sleep and never woke back up. It is just hard,” the still grieving mother said.


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By Lakhram Bhagirat


mother is quite often compared to the likeliness of God because she, and only she, has the ability to carry her child in her for nine months. She goes through immense pain to bring that child into this world and spends her entire life nurturing that child, preparing that child for the challenges ahead. For many of us, we cannot begin to fathom the thought of growing up without a mother, much less having to live the reality of our mother being snatched from us at a young age. When she was just two years old, tragedy struck in the life of Latoya Marques. She lost her mother at the hands of her father. Latoya’s mother, Susan Cozier, and her father were having an argument which resulted in a physical altercation. During that altercation, Cozier was brutally chopped by her husband and her throat slit resulting in her death. However, in order to prevent that her mother is dead, Latoya’s father then proceeded to burn Cozier’s hands and breasts. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison. After her mother was brutally murdered, Latoya’s grandmother was granted full custody of her and she went to live with her. She recalls this as one of the happy periods of her life. However, she was separated from her brother who was six at that time. During the altercation between her parents, her brother received a chop to his head requiring several stitches and after that, he was placed in the State’s care at the Plaisance Orphanage. Growing up with her grandmother allowed Latoya to somewhat fill the void that was left after her mother’s death but according to her, a mother is irreplaceable. Now 23,

Latoya looks back at her life and admits that she made some questionable choices which she would not have made had her mother been alive. “There were times whereby I would have missed my mom a lot, especially Mother’s Day, birthdays, Christmas and certain occasions, such as graduation and these things. It was hard not having her there but I managed enough to put my best foot forward,” she said. Latoya became pregnant at the age of 17 and subsequently gave birth to her son, Teon. As fate would have it, Latoya’s baby's father walked out on her, leaving her to raise their son all by herself. Not one to easily accept defeat, Latoya took up her role as a single teenaged mother and made it work. She began blazing the path of self-development and placed the needs of her son above everything else. “His dad walked on us and I am a strong independent mother making the best and making sure that what happened to my mom doesn’t happen to me and what happened to me don’t happen to my son in terms of I don’t want him growing up without me. Growing up without a father is fine but that mother figure and not having her there is some-

thing I cannot see for my son,” Latoya notes. turning back If the hands of time was something she could have accomplished, Latoya says there is so much she would have and could have done differently if only her mother was present. However, Latoya’s story does not only revolve around the loss of her mother but also the constant abuse she subsequently suffered at the hands of her father. As she was preparing to enter secondary school, her father was released from prison after serving eight of his 10-year sentence. As he came home, he immediately began a campaign to regain full custody of Latoya and her brother. Because of age, Latoya’s grandmother was not able to fight the lengthy custody battle, so she eventually threw in the proverbial towel, resulting in her convict father gaining full custody of her and her brother. “She (my grandmother) was not able with the fatigue and going through the stress of running up court steps just to sort that out so she just decided okay fine (let him have her). I used to go over on weekends and eventually that turned permanent and it wasn’t nice. It was fun at first because he was trying to buy his way back in and he used to take us out every weekend and

so on and then after a while things started to change.” The change she speaks about was a drastic one. It was one that no child should be made to endure. After a few months of living with her father, Latoya became the subject of intense beatings at the hands of the man who killed her mother. At times, the beatings were so severe that she could not have sat down for days. It affected every aspect of her life and her school work began to suffer. There were days where she could not

have held a pen to write her notes and this drew the attention of her teachers. However, because of the reputation of her father, both the neighbours and teachers were fearful of reporting the abuse to the authorities so the neighbours kept quiet and the teachers counselled her. “He used to beat us severely. Persons in the area knew and they were afraid of him because of his status. My grandmother didn’t really want to involve herself and the teachers at school used to talk to me and so on.

The system then to the system now was different. Now you when you scold your child and the teacher sees a brand, they call Child Welfare and these kinds of thing and back then, where were all of these people, where were they?” she questioned. When she became pregnant at 17, the physical abuse stopped and turned verbal. “He became verbally, emotionally abusive and it was worse so it was pretty bad, like really bad. That is why I guess most persons when I sit and tell them exactly what happened, they be like you would never know you been through all of that because of the person you are today and it is not like you allow it to affect much of your decisions as you grow.” Now her focus is making a better life for herself and her son. She recently completed her level one certificate in electrical installation and is pursuing her level two certificate. “If my mother was here I would have made a lot of different choices and when I think about it, I just sit and cry. Whenever I think of her, I cry but I am doing my very best to make her proud of the woman I have become.”


By Lakhram Bhagirat


hen life thought it had knocked Verna Hercules down, it was in for a surprise when like a phoenix she rose from the proverbial ashes and began soaring – not because she wanted to, but because she had no other choice since she is both mother and father to her four children. Verna was born and raised in the riverine community of Ibini, Berbice River, but after she got married and had her four children, she moved upriver to the village of Kwakwani so that her children could have access to a better education. When she moved to Kwakwani, her husband stopped supporting her and the children and she had to act fast and she did. “After we came here to Kwakwani, I had to start making things to sell and so on, because I had to send my children to school and I wanted the best education for them. It was real rough and now seeing

what they accomplished makes me so happy,” Verna says. Let us go back a bit to when and where first encountered Verna. Last October, I had to go to Kwakwani on assignment and upon arriving and settling in, I noticed that almost everyone was armed with a bright red icicle. As I have not had an icicle in so long, I set out to find the source, but before I could, I heard loud laughter from a crowd of both young and old people which obviously sparked my curiosity. Upon investigating, I noticed this petite woman armed with a pink laundry basket and a red cooler and the jokes streamed out of her mouth with ease after which she cashed in. “You can’t laugh on a dry throat and you need a plantain chip to go with this lovely icicle. I make the best one you will get,” she tells me. But by now I was the least interested in getting an icicle, rather I was more interested in getting to know this

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woma n with a personality larger than life. After her crowd dispersed to the venue of my assignment, I approached her and we began chatting. “I like making people happy. I like telling jokes and having people laugh, because just like what you did just now people do that a lot. When they hear the laughing, them come to see and that is when I would offer them the icicle and plantain chip to buy. Most of the times them does buy and yeah, that is my marketing strategy and it works,” she said and all I could have done was laugh at how effective it is as well as how unique her thinking is. Just after she finished telling me that, one of the women nearby said, “Yes, Plantain Chip

Girl a l ways m a k ing people laugh and she thing does taste nice, tuh.” At 50 years, Verna explains that life has been more cruel than good to her, but because of her belief in God she has been able to persevere and win every battle that came her way. She said that her children were all grown now and the sacrifices that she made while younger were all worthwhile, since her children were all now excelling in life. “I don’t regret moving to Kwakwani, because I made sure that my children them get the education that they needed and now they are

all doing well for themselves. My eldest is a twin and they are 31 years old, then I have one that is 30 and another is 29. One of them is a doctor, one is an environmental officer and one is in the Guyana Defence Force and another one is working with an insurance company,” she beamingly said. Taking a walk down memory lane, Verna said that sometimes their economic situation was so tough that her children would use the same uniforms and sneakers to attend school for two consecutive years. They were tattered and torn but her children understood that education was the only way to get them out of their tough economic situation so they persevered and excelled. “It was very rough because I had to be going and making a lot of seasoning to sell, making plantain chips, make mittai and just to raise money, because their father wasn’t support-

ing them. I am thankful that they are doing great, because as single parent it was very, very tough. They are doing so good now that they are taking care of me,” Verna said. I asked her why she sells now given that her children are taking care of her, and the response was one I somewhat expected. She informed me that she wanted to be a role model for her grandchildren and show them that if they put in the hard work, then the result would be one they would relish. “Everybody knows me and they like the icicle, because it is always fresh and made with fruits and they enjoy it, so I can’t stop now. Business is good and I get an income as well,” she said. With such a unique marketing strategy I am pretty sure that Verna will have no issues attracting more customers. For now, she is satisfied with what she earns and is happy that her children are all doing well.

‘I need justice’ …Mother expresses frustration in slothfulness of Cops in solving son’s murder almost 1 year ago

By Kizzy Coleman


he mother of 15-year-old Ricardo Singh, who was found lying in a gutter with a stab wound to his body at Soesdyke, East Bank Demerara (EBD), on July 9, 2018, has renewed her call for justice to be served almost one year after the incident. Singh, called “Cardo” of Diamond, EBD, a former student of the Diamond Secondary School was reportedly arrested by members of a Community Policing Group (CPG) after he was involved in a brawl at a wedding house in Soesdyke. Reports surrounding the incident indicate that the teen had left home to hang out with friends at the LindenSoesdyke Highway junction but, however, journeyed to the wedding house which was a short distance away.

Whilst there, a gang of men attempted to rob the now dead teen’s friend of a gold chain that he was wearing and cash, which caused Singh to intervene. A huge fight broke out which was caught on camera, showing the teen and a group of others involved in a fight. The footage, which was seen by Guyana Times International, showed two young men throwing bottles in the direction of the group that Singh was a part of. However, shortly after, a police pick-up pulled up to the scene and a Rural Constable, later identified as 28-year-old Troy George, was seen wrestling with Singh before he was thrown into the tray of the vehicle. George climbed in after the teen and the vehicle quickly sped away, reportedly headed for the Timehri Police Station. That was the last time Singh was seen alive.

Shortly after, the teen was found lying in a gutter with his innards protruding and panting for breath. According to an eyewitness, who lives close to the scene of the crime, he heard a commotion and upon inspection saw the Policing Group van parked. As such, he ventured outside and questioned George, who was at the time outside of the vehicle, as to what was transpiring. “The guy that was outside of the van, he turned to me and he seh well man this man behaving bad at the wedding house and they carrying he to lock he up but he jump off the van and he gone running” the man relayed. He recalled that he questioned the officer as to which direction the teen had escaped and was pointed in the direction of the wedding house.

“The direction he looked and he point, I see back to the wedding house side, so I looking and I ain’t see nobody from that timings that I heard the van and thing. So I seh nah man, this ain’t looking right so like two to three steps I took headed to the wedding house side and so there I see this person down in this drain, his face down and so on” the man explained. According to another eyewitness, he parked his vehicle to enter his yard when he saw the police vehicle stop. The man recalled that while looking on, he saw the deceased jump out of the vehicle followed by George. “The bigger person who was in the back, jumped out and go around to the driver and was talking to the driver. But when this boy jumped out heading back to the wedding house, within like four,

five steps, he fell. He get up again, like two, three steps after, he went down again, that happened like three times and that is when the neighbour opposite came out” the man revealed. He noted that after observing that others came out, he ventured over to the vehicle to make inspections but was surprised when the police vehicle sped away, leaving George at the scene. “They just drove away. So when we try to figure out what really happening with this young man, when we take him out from the trench and roll him over, then we actually saw what state he was in. One of the neighbours jumped into his car and went to see where the police van went” the man explained. The eyewitness recounted that shortly after, the police van showed up at the scene

with several other police ranks. “The guy that was at the back, they were holding him so he had to know what was happening” the man speculated. Three months after the crime, Constable George was taken before the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts after he was charged with the murder of Singh. Police Prosecutor Simone Payne had contended that the accused and another male Rural Constable were on their way to the police station when George allegedly stopped the vehicle, exited with the teen and reportedly told the driver to leave. It was further alleged that upon returning with several other officers, the police driver found the teen with a stab wound to the abdomen and George looking on in the presence of residents. continued on page 37


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Everyone must be entitled to equal treatment, justice – US Ambassador tells LGBT community

United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch on Wednesday reminded that persons from the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community are subjected to equal treatment, while mentioning that justice and protection must be for all. She shared these words during the celebration of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) at the Pegasus Hotel, in the company of Government and Opposition members and other officials from the diplomatic corp. IDAHOTB is celebrated on May 17 and is seen as the day to raise awareness on the violation of LGBT rights. As such, the Ambassador shared that there must be inclusivity with individuals from the LGBT society. “Gay rights are human rights. I cannot emphasise this enough. If we as a community are committed to ensuring that all people are respected and treated equally, then it is imperative to remember that this in-

cludes the LGBT community as well. Justice and protection must be for all. LGBT individuals, as well as other marginalised people, are entitled to a full measure of dignity and rights,” Lynch expressed. She called out the Caribbean, where persons have been victimised because of their affiliation with the LGBT community. Others, on the other hand, have been faced with other forms of inequalities. It was mentioned that Guyana has developed this atmosphere for persons to be comfortable but some challenges are still observed. “In the Caribbean, many LGBT youths face social, economic, educational and other disparities. Though Guyana has made a measure of progress in this regard, some issues persist,” the US Ambassador stated. She later added, “We know that the human rights obstacles that people in the LGBT community experience sometimes arise from deeply held personal, political, cultural and religious beliefs. While those person-

US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch

ally held beliefs must be respected, so must the basic rights of our brothers, sisters, parents and children who are gay.” Lynch asserted that her Government remains committed towards protecting the rights of all LGBT persons. She mentioned organisations which advocate for gay rights and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) was listed as one of the

frontrunners. Founder of SASOD, Joel Simpson, shared that Guyana is making small strides in moving towards a safer place for LGBT individuals. Last year, the first pride parade was held and for this, he explained that small achievements must be celebrated. “This is an occasion to celebrate the small wins and the progress that we have made. We are well aware that there is a far

Hard Rock Café opens in Guyana


ard Rock Café, an international franchise, on Friday opened its doors to Guyana at the Movietowne Mall, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown. Promising an unforgettable experience, management is offering food, drinks, entertainment and lots of side attractions. The café is known for its exciting collection of memorabilia, such as an original piece worn by Michel Jackson that decorates the walls. Rock star fans can now indulge in mouthwatering dishes and perfectly priced cocktails prepared by trained and enthusiastic staffers, while sitting among guitars and other musical instruments signed by legends such as Elvis Presley, Bon Jovi and pieces worn by Rihanna, Katy Perry and Elton John among others. Guests can look for-

ward to fresh, high quality items from the Hard Rock’s menu, including a selection of legendary burgers. The café also boasts an award-winning drink menu which includes Hurricanes and Margaritas with collectable glassware. The entity has already hired 75 Guyanese who are being trained by persons from across the world in preparation of the grand opening of the 4600 square-foot, state-of-the-art café this weekend. The Vice President of Hard Rock, Tom Perez, told the media that the Café is already in 75 countries, as he explained why the brand was brought to Guyana. “We saw the potential in Guyana and we thought now is the moment. This country is about to blow up. We think it’s gonna be very successful economically and I think

Vice President of Hard Rock Cafe, Tom Perez

this is the time for the brand to come,” Perez explained. Hard Rock Café also promises non-stop entertainment with a stage already set for locals to showcase their talent as well as foreigners. The Café also has a mini store where music-inspired items as well as Hard Rock

merchandise, such as T-shirts and key rings and other items can be purchased. Guyana Times International caught up with Perez who revealed that the brand has plans already for future expansion. According to him, Guyana’s main airport may see a Hard Rock Café soon.

way to go,” he stated. Last November, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled in favour of striking down Guyana’s laws against cross-dressing, saying that the colonial-era law was unconstitutional. After gaining independence from Britain in 1966, Guyana adopted many colonial-era laws, including the 1893 Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act that effectively banned men

or women from wearing clothing conventionally worn by the opposite gender for “improper purposes”. This section was never clearly defined leaving the door open for constitutional challenges which appellants Quincy “Gulliver” McEwan, Seon “Angel” Clarke, Joseph “Peaches” Fraser and Seyon “Isabella” Persaud mounted against their February 9, 2009 arrest, detention and conviction in Georgetown. After they appealed the law banning their mode of dress, former acting Chief Justice Ian Chang in September 2013 said that while the act of cross dressing was not a crime in itself, when for an “improper purpose”, it constitutes an offence. That ruling was also appealed at Guyana’s Appeal Court, but their case was similarly dismissed in 2017. This year, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia will be celebrated under the theme “Justice and Protection for All”.

‘I need... from page 36

George was remanded to prison on the charge and made two appearances, that is, before the murder charge against him was suddenly withdrawn. On Sunday, Singh’s mother explained that on November 5, 2018, she and other relatives sat in court for hours awaiting the matter, which was scheduled for hearing, to be called. However, after noticing that relatives of George, who were always present in court, were not there, they proceeded to question the Police Prosecutor. It was then that the Singh family was informed that the matter against the accused was withdrawn – an order from the Director of Public Prosecutions office. This reportedly occurred on October 31, 2018, without any notice being sent to the family. “The Prosecutor said that he didn’t know what happen, but that the DPP order that the police got to do more investigation” the woman revealed. The family further proceeded to the Timehri Police Station where they were told by a CID rank that he would be unable

to help. “The man, his name was Singh, he said that he can’t do anything because another rank was in charge when the matter had happened” the woman stated. The woman and the teen’s father are calling for justice and for their son’s case to be reopened. “We want the matter to be reopened…this year Cardo would have been writing CXC but he dead and nothing ain’t coming out of the matter! All we want is justice, there are people that know what happen, people that see what happened and up to now the police didn’t interview them…I feel like I have a hole in meh stomach without my child” the grieving mother cried. The woman revealed that since then, questions directed to the investigating ranks regarding the investigations have not been favourable. This newspaper made several attempts to reach out to the Divisional Commander through contact numbers provided by the Police Public Relations Officer, however, all calls went unanswered.

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Guyana becomes 1st eco-tourism country to join Travel Council T he Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) recently announced that Guyana has become the first eco-tourism country to join the transformational travel movement through a pioneering partnership with the Transformational Travel Council (TTC). The Council’s partners include tour operators, media organisations and travel suppliers from around the world. Guyana is the first member to illustrate the destination’s ongoing commitment to transformational travel, and its overarching belief that travel should be a relentless force for good. This new partnership

GTA Director, Brian T. Mullis

will now see the country becoming involved in a community of like-

minded organisations which show interest in networking, sharing,

learning, and collaborating with one another on how to shape the future of travel around these tenets, ultimately positioning Guyana as a destination thoughtleader and early-adopter. GTA Director, Brian T. Mullis, explaining that the country holistically believes in transformation, expressed the agency’s commitment to learning and practising the philosophy of the movement. “We, at the GTA, are excited to learn more about the philosophy and how we can take it from theory to practice in a way that aligns with our destination’s strategic goals and initiatives. We

have invited the TTC to come to Guyana and conduct a workshop for our destination’s key stakeholders, tour operators, accommodation providers and indigenous communities,” he declared. TTC Co-Founder Jake Haupert shared that, as an emerging dynamic destination, Guyana is one country wherein the TTC philosophy should be integrated. He underscored the country’s uniqueness. “Guyana is an emerging and dynamic destination (that is) rich in biodiversity, cultural heritage, but yet (is) also raw and real at its essence; making it a prime destination to start integrating the TTC philos-

ophy and guiding practices into (its) entire tourism ecosystem and truly enhance (its) already unique, powerful and burgeoning story.” The ‘transformational travel movement’ provides an opportunity to transcend from a consumptive form of tourism to a responsible form of travel that has a sustained impact on travellers. These travel experiences should empower people to make meaningful, lasting changes in their lives. Guyana’s commitment to this ‘movement’ is part of a larger strategy to continue to develop the destination in a sustainable and socially conscious way.

Woman freed of domestic worker’s murder J

ustice Simone Morris-Romlall has ordered that one of the accused in the Tain domestic worker murder be set free. The ruling came following submissions from Attorney-at-Law Murseline Bacchus challenging the committal of Nazeema Permaul to stand trial in the High Court for murder. The action was filed against the Director of Public Prosecutions, the police and the Director of Prisons. Bacchus quoted a number of authorities, both local and overseas, and cited a number of deficiencies in the prosecution case. The businesswoman was committed in

set free by Magistrate Charlyn Artiga last year. Mohamed was killed execution style when two masked men broke into her home and demanded money under the pretext of a robbery. She was shot at close range to her head. It had been reported that Nazeema Permaul was the mastermind of

Nazeema Permaul

November last to stand trial for the execution style killing of domestic worker Lelawattie Mohamed at her Lot 149, Sixth Street, Tain Settlement, Corentyne, Berbice home on February 7, 2017. Following the com-

Lelawattie Mohamed

mittal of Permaul, her husband, Oliver Permaul, Andre James and Rohan Johnson, Bacchus filed a writ at the Berbice High Court asking for a review. According to the writ, there is no direct evidence against the 42-year-

old woman for the murder. The Magistrate at the committal proceedings did not hold a usual Preliminary Inquiry. She held one by way of paper committal. The writ noted that the function of a Magistrate is to ensure that no one is sent to trial unless a prima facie case is made out against them. “I urge that you bear in mind that for the Magistrate to have lawfully committed the applicant, she had to use the statements tendered by the prosecution and nothing more, as those statements stand in the place of sworn testimony normally given at a regular Preliminary Inquiry”, the attorney stated. The writ called on the Judge to order that Permaul be released from prison. During the Preliminary Inquiry into the execution of a domestic worker on the Corentyne, Shabikie Albert, one of the five accused, was set free by Magistrate Charlyn Artiga at the Whim Magistrate’s Court. Permaul was alleged to have been hired by Indira Outar, the alleged mastermind, who was

a plot to kill Mohamed. It was also reported that Permaul allegedly paid G$400,000 to have the woman executed. Mohamed was involved in an extra-marital relationship with Permaul’s husband. Following the application to have Permaul released, Justice Simone Morris-Romlall ordered she be set free.

Elderly man jailed for sexually assaulting differently-abled child


61-year-old man was sentenced to four years in prison for engaging in sexual activity with a differently abled child. Octavius Williams stood before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan, who handed down the sentence at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts on Wednesday. The prosecution’s case stated that the man engaged in sexual activity with the 13-yearold girl on January 31, 2019, at the child’s East Ruimveldt, Georgetown residence. According to the

prosecution’s case, the elderly man was seen entering the child’s bedroom by a neighbour. After hearing a strange sound, the neighbour called the child’s father and informed him. The neighbour was given permission to enter the home and upon entering the child’s bedroom, saw the elderly man pulling up his trousers. A report was made to the East Ruimveldt Police Station, and the child was taken for a medical examination. Williams was subsequently arrested and charged.

WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |

TIP, illegal immigrants among major concerns in Region 10


Social and Gender Specialist Vanda Radzick

oncerns have recently been raised by officials over the issues of human trafficking and illegal immigrants entering Guyana via the Kurupukari settlement on the Upper Essequibo River in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) from neighbouring Brazil. The issues were brought to the fore during a consultation between officials of design consultancy company Beston/SRKN’gineering and the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) which was hosted in Linden. These among other security issues were highlighted by the region’s officials during the engagement with the company which has been contracted by the Public Infrastructure Ministry to conduct feasibility studies and detailed designs for the major rehabilitation of the Soesdyke-Linden Highway and upgrades to the Linden-Mabura Hill road in addition to the construction of a river/bridge crossing at Kurupukari. During the discourse which was hosted at the office of the RDC, Regional Councillor Owen DeSouza pointed to the issue of monitoring illegal immigrants suspected to be entering the country, especially through Kurupukari. Project Director and team leader attached to SRKN, Stuart Hughes said while this is not necessarily a part of the company’s Terms of Reference, the issue has been highlighted before. The existence of the issue was confirmed by Social and Gender Specialist Vanda Radzick, who is currently attached to the team of experts working on the project. According to Radzick, she is aware of the issue where immigrants

are being brought from Brazil through Kurupukari under the pretence of coming to Guyana for betterment. She also pointed to a recent case where she noted that 17 boys have allegedly disappeared without a trace. Radzick noted that there is a fully apprised police outpost at Kurupukari which manages its barriers, as she explained that the company will soon be meeting with officers there and checking their records. Radzick added that there is also an existing trend where young boys are trafficked for cheap or free labour. As such, she made the call for stricter monitoring systems to be put in place to ensure that the social well-being of everyone is protected. Regional Chairman Renis Morian pointed to the removal of 18 Indonesians from Christianburg, Linden, who were reportedly in the country illegally. Morian questioned the security measures as it relates to the opening up of new roads which will be directly linked to Brazil. “Whatever we have right now… the security arrangement is not working…The fact that we’re finding illegals in Linden means that they’re coming there so whatever system [is being put in place], that system needs to be a part of this whole thing,” he noted. Radzick further explained that the company will be making recommendations based on social impacts as she stressed the need for strong recommendations. Project Manager attached to the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Dionne Amsterdam assured that the feedback

and concerns given by stakeholders will be recorded.



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WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |

‘We need justice’

– family of fisherman killed in hit-and-run accident not satisfied with police investigation

Stanley Bronne’s wife, Alicia, with her baby and her mother-in-law, Sharmilla Bronne, and grandmother-in-law


hree weeks after a driver collided with a Berbice fisherman, causing his instant death and fleeing the scene, family members are calling for justice. It was on April 23, 2019, that Stanley Bronne met his demise. The 30-year-old fisherman was hit in front of his Lot 7 Number 11 Village, East Coast Berbice home. The driver, a 37-year-old businessman of Diamond, East Bank Demerara, did not stop at the scene after the impact. Villagers pursued him with a car. The car they stopped was being driven by an off duty policeman. He was apprehended five villages away. The dead man’s mother, Sharmilla Bronne, said that the family is not satisfied with what has been happening as it relates to the investigation. “When we go to the police, the police tell us that the documents gone to the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions] and when we go to the DPP they tell us that no documents are there,” she told Guyana Times International. D i v i s i o n a l Commander, Assistant Commissioner Paul Langevine in an invited comment said that the police are investigating the mat-

ter. Commander Langevine said he was unaware that the driver is an ex-policeman. The dead man’s grandmother told this newspaper that what the family is being told does not add up and they are concerned about the integrity of the investigation. “We went to meet the Commander and I told him what happen and he call someone at the station when I told him that the vehicle is not at the station. He called two times. I don’t know who he spoke with but the Commander was made to understand that the vehicle is there and where as we saw that the vehicle is not there,” the woman related. She said they were informed that the police officer who drove the vehicle which was involved in the accident was out of the station compound. Meanwhile, the dead man’s wife, Alicia, noted that Bronne died leaving her and two children – aged two and twomonths-old. She explained that she is not working and because of having a young baby it is difficult to go out to work. Meanwhile, his mother is calling on the Police Commissioner and the Public Security Ministry to intervene in the case to ensure justice is served.


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Economist questions whether ordinary Guyanese will benefit from oil and gas industry with the people to ensure some of these risks are mitigated and that some dollars are reserved exclusively for the poor and the working class. “That is why I put forward this proposal that 20 per cent of the oil earnings payable should be reserved as cash vouchers allocated directly to all the people who are registered on the Guyana Revenue Authority and National Insurance Scheme systems. The economist urged that these cash vouchers should only fund deposits to an escrow savings account that can only be accessed to buy new homes, pay mort-


Economist Sase Singh

n economist, trained in macrofinancial planning believes that Guyana’s oil and gas industry is shaping up to be one that will see only the elite, rather than the working class and the poor, benefitting from the oil wealth. This view was expressed by economist Sase Singh, who on Monday noted that Government has so far failed to produce plans that meaningfully cater to include the majority of Guyanese and their interests into the benefits of the sector. “The current modus operandi in the incoming Guyanese oil industry will affect how the poor and the working class respond to it. Today across Guyana, this oil industry is seen as an elite project. It is seen by the population as those guys in suits who jet off to Houston to strike deals for themselves,” Singh said. “The question on the minds of many single mothers and housewives remains – what is in it for me and my children and my family?” He noted that the remaining hundreds of thousands of Guyanese are trying to come to terms with the reality that very little of the oil wealth will flow directly into their pockets. He likened their feelings to the feelings that drove the rural workers of the United States who threw their support behind President Trump. This situation brings out the stark reality that has plagued the nation for generations –

the breach between the “haves” and the “havesnot”. This sense of inequality in Guyana has never been worse and the perception is that these oil investments will only make it worse for the working class. “Firstly, Team Granger with their heavy doses of policy paralysis played a major role in setting the scene to widen this disparity between the two groups. Take for example the renegotiation process on the oil agreement. There was no scope for the social engineering of the revenue to better impact a wider cross-section of Guyanese.” “When the mathematics is done, Guyana will have no more than 8 per cent of the revenue from these oil investments in the first 4 years. Without a plan, all of this money will be in the hands of politicians who do not have a history of doing what is best for the Guyanese people. For example, when the US$18 million sign-on bonus was provided, it was hidden from the people. Why would you hide information that should be shared with the people?” Proposals Singh warned that the ordinary people have no interest in empty platitudes like the illusionary “good life” but that they want answers to the tough questions, such as what is in it for them and their families. According to Singh, any responsible Government must have adequate emotional common sense to create the framework to engage, reconnect and collaborate

gages, repair said homes, fund education expenses, healthcare expenses, purchase of hybrid and green motor cars, or bicycles or boat engines, purchase of solar panels, and even purchase of shares in publicly traded companies. “The idea is that this oil money must work for all Guyanese families not just the one per cent atop the pile. The remaining 80 per cent of the cash should be split evenly between the Sovereign Wealth Fund and the mega infrastructure projects as identified in a National Development Strategy (NDS) similar to the one developed with the help of the Carter

Center in 1994.” This NDS, he added, should be developed jointly by the Government, the Opposition and civil society. This NDS shall be committed to by law so that if there is a change of Government, it cannot be de-funded because of partisan political reasons. Some transformative projects Singh suggested were the Amaila Falls Hydro Project, which he noted would bring low cost and reliable electricity. He also suggested the paving or railing of the transportation link between Linden and Lethem, which he said would connect to a newly

built Deep Water Port to facilitate more Brazilian containers destined for the world. Another suggestion was the construction of an Oil Refinery, which would create hundreds of new jobs to refine Guyanese oil for the Guyanese and Caribbean Community (Caricom) markets. “With more than 60 per cent of the population under 40 years of age, it is hoped those who are reading this publication properly understand the consequences for pretending it is business as usual. For Guyana’s sake, I am hoping for good sense to prevail on all fronts,” he said.

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EBD man to stand trial for murder of co-worker


ajesh Roopnarine called “Popo”, a logger of Timehri, East Bank Demerara, on Monday made his appearance at the Demerara High Court facing a murder charge. A 12-member jury was empanelled before Justice Navindra Singh, as Roopnarine’s fate will be determined at the end of the trial. Roopnarine’s trial is set to commence on May 16, 2019, after his attorney requested an extended time to prepare for the trial. However, at Monday’s court session, the accused denied the indictment which detailed that on December 6, 2014, at 14 Miles Mabura, Upper Demerara River, he mur-

Accused: Rajesh Roopnarine

dered David Campbell. The accused is being represented by Attorneyat-Law Nigel Hughes while the State is being represented by Teriq Mohammed, Abigail Gibbs and Tuanna Hardy. According to reports, at about 17: 30h, Roopnarine set alight a mining camp with four occupants. While three persons managed to escape the blaze, Campbell was trapped in his hammock and sustained third-degree burns. Campbell, who was a chainsaw operator, died at the Georgetown Public Hospital seven days after he was reportedly set alight in the mining camp.

Back to square one…


…on meaning of “majority”

he PNC/AFC Government insisted on playing hopscotch over our Constitution; so, not surprisingly, we’re back to square one!! To wit, why wasn’t the NCM passed, when the Speaker and the National Assembly affirmed on Dec 21 that it was; and it was then accepted by the President? All was going hunky dory, excepting Amna Ally, the Government’s Chief Whip, who was ruing the day she taunted the PPP by saying, “Bring it on, baby!!” The PPP did bring it on, and before the night was over, “some a dem a hallah and some a dem a bawl!!” Cries of anguish, “No, Charrandas! Noooo!!” filled the airwaves from one distraught PNC female MP from the interior, while the PNC MP from Linden viciously elbowed the said Charrandas from the AFC, who had the temerity to vote his conscience. The Government had bragged about “democracy working” in Guyana with the NCM! PM Nagamootoo even boasted the PPP had cogged his phrasing of the NCM he’d brought in 2014! Then thrown a straw about cutting MPs in half to calculate an “absolute majority” of 65, the PNC/AFC desperately clutched at it and headed to the courts. Knowing they never had a leg to stand on – much less a legal theory – they fell back on the mathematical concoction that had been invented for totally different circumstances. And the High Court – in the person of none other than the Chief Justice (ag) – threw them out on their ears!! But winning the case was not the point; delaying the elections from the constitutionally mandated three months was what they now wanted, so that their plan to “fix” the election could kick-in. Enter the tag-team tactic with GECOM – now controlled by the Granger unilaterally appointed Chairman, Patterson – to wrestle the PPP to the ground over house-tohouse registration till 2020, when first oil would start flowing!! They therefore trooped over to the Appellate Court, where some chips were called in and two of the three Justices – including the Chancellor (ag) – shockingly ruled in their favour. These two were definitely falling on their swords, since they’d never be able to regain any credibility in the Commonwealth judicial fraternity for accepting the cockamamie argument to declare that 33 wasn’t greater than 32 – when it was on this basis that the Government WAS the Government!! The CCJ’s already repeated the point made by the Chief Justice earlier: that any so-called “absolute” majority was defined by the Constitution as the majority of ALL 65 members voting; as opposed to a “simple” majority, which is the majority of whoever are present. So, next week, the CCJ will tell us 33’s greater than 32!! And then on to elections on square two!!

…on naked threats

Once again, Basil Williams demonstrated to the worldwide legal fraternity – thanks to the new communications technology – what a mediocre lawyer he is. One wonders why he was awarded silk by Granger. Surely it couldn’t be for being possessed of any legal acumen, since he’s the losingest AG in our history. This was painfully evident in his presentation to the CCJ panel. But he took cover among the battery of highpriced lawyers from foreign, whom they’d hired. They were just as clueless as he was! Your Eyewitness wondered where the five old heads were, who’d been hired to whisper legal maxims into Williams’s ears when he was flummoxed, as he frequently was. One of them had even sat on the CCJ benches, and – unlike the five cheerleaders – might’ve warned Williams when he was entering choppy waters. As for instance, when he asked the Bench to ignore legal precedents, since that would torpedo Government’s case. He pleaded that that would lead to “unrest”. Sounds like a threat, since PNC has a monopoly on “unrest”! …on corruption On its 4th anniversary, the PNC/AFC Government issued a panegyric to itself. It insisted, “No government before has done more within such a short span of time.” Done more what? Looted more per annum that any other administration?

WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |



WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |

CARICOM denounces new US moves on Cuba S

T GEORGE 'S, Grenada (CMC) The 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping has denounced moves by the United States to strengthen the decades old trade and economic embargo against Cuba. In a statement issued following the two-day CARICOM Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) meeting here, CARICOM said it is “concerned by the new measures under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act announced by the Government of the United States of America which would strengthen the US economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba. “The community de-

nounces the application of laws and measures of an extra-territorial nature that are contrary to international law.” The Helms–Burton Act seeks to impose international sanctions against the Cuban government, to plan for support of a transition government leading to a democratically elected government in Cuba, and for other purposes. The Trump administration announced last month that it would end the suspension of the law that allows American citizens, including naturalised Cubans, to sue companies and subsidiaries in Cuba that benefited from private properties that were confiscated by the Cuban government.

It said that the legislation, which was previously suspended by the Obama administration and by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, will be fully implemented and enforced. The move by Washington is seen as retaliation for Havana's continued support for President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela,

where the United States is leading an effort to oust him from power. Cuba has said the nationalisations of the companies were conducted in full compliance with Cuban and international law and the Association of Cuban Residents in Toronto (ACRT), Canada, has denounced Washington's move saying the first impact will

be suffered by investors who currently have commercial relations with Cuba and those who intend to do so in the future. ACRT president Julio Fonseca said the objective of the move is to intimidate, discourage and close doors to the island. In its statement, CARICOM said it “notes with the greatest concern that the application of these new measures will also have a greater adverse impact on the socio-economic development of Cuba and the well-being of the Cuban People. “The community reiterates its endorsement of the principles of international law as well as its strongly-held view that economic development

and stability in the region contribute to international peace and security,” the statement added. The CARICOM Secretary General told the COFCOR meeting that next month; the 15-member grouping will host the Sixth Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of CARICOM and Cuba. “Cuba has been a long-standing, supportive partner particularly in building the region's human capital in fields such as public health and sport. Our Community reiterates its call for the lifting of the unwarranted economic embargo and sanctions on Cuba which were strengthened recently,” he added.

Guyana gets ready for CFATF 4th round evaluation … AG Chambers to hold training for lawyers, auditors


he Attorney General (AG) Chambers has announced that it will be organising Anti Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) training and sensitisation workshops for attorney-at-laws, accountants and auditors, This comes even as Guyana prepares for the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) fourth Round Mutual Evaluation, scheduled for the first quarter of 2022. According to a notification from the Chambers, the workshops will be held on Friday and Saturday of this week. The first one, will cater specifically for the Lawyers. The second training session, for the Accountants and Auditors, will last for three hours. Both sessions will be conducted at Cara Lodge hotel. “These engagements are critical as Guyana prepares for its CFATF evaluation, and more so, given that the Money Laundering vulnerability levels for Attorneys-at-Law and Accountants/Auditors are generally considered to be high, based on AML/CFT trends globally.” “The workshops are intended to highlight the obligations of the Attorneys-at-Law and Accountants/Auditors, who are classified as Designated NonFinancial Businesses or Professions (DNFBPs) under local AML/CFT legislation. These cat-

being backdated. “If an important arm of the state is deemed to not be efficient at doing its job, in the anti-money laundering architecture, it means that the country is not meeting the international standards to be efficiently implementing the FATF recommendations,” Wilson had explained. “It means when the country is assessed, the report by the assessor will say exactly what (the headlines about SOCU say in the newspapers. It will identi-

Attorney General Basil Williams

egories of DNFBPs are required to report suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit.” The chambers went on to explain that this is done only when, on behalf of or for a client, they engage in financial transactions as outlined under Section 18(11) of the AML/CFT Act 2009 (amended). “Further, in keeping with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Standards, these DNFBPs should be effectively supervised, to ensure their effective compliance with their obligations to assist in protecting the international financial sector and playing their part in combating ML and TF in Guyana and worldwide.” It was only recently that Calvin Wilson, a former Executive

Director of the CFATF, had expressed concern over the negative effect the troubles at the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) could have on Guyana’s international status on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) watch list. The state of SOCU, Guyana’s main money laundering investigation arm, came to light when information was leaked to the media from a probe being conducted by the Guyana Police Force (GPF), which had unearthed irregularities that included falsified records and missing documents. According to reports, there was even a case of an official who alleged that his signature was forged. In addition, there are reports of listed expenditure being concocted and receipts

fy the deficiencies and based on the ratings in the report, potentially the country can go back into the review for having the shortcomings.” He had given examples of Trinidad and Tobago and the Cayman Islands, who he noted are being reviewed with their systems having been found wanting by the task force during their evaluations. Wilson also spoke of the effects Guyana being blacklisted would have on the economy. “Potentially, if Guyana

continues in this area, if there are no prosecutions, if there are deficiencies in other parts of the architecture, it means potentially the country can be placed on this (review) list.” Wilson had referenced Recommendation 19 of FATF, which urges countries and financial institutions to exercise greater diligence when dealing with countries deemed as higher risk. These recommendations including limiting business transactions with such countries.

Child rapist to spend 29 years behind bars


rape victim’s desire of having her abuser put away became a reality on Tuesday after her abuser was sentenced to 29 years in prison on four rape-related charges by Justice Brassington Reynolds at the Demerara High Court. Fifty-two-year-old Gingesh Khan also called “Links” was recently found guilty by a 12-member jury on three counts of indecent assault and one count of carnal knowledge on a child under the age of 15 years. The offences were committed between August 1 and 31, 2008, at Vergenoegen, East Bank Essequibo. Khan’s sentencing was handed down on Tuesday to accommodate a probation report. In court on Tuesday,

Accused: Gingesh Khan

the report presented by a senior probation officer revealed that Khan was unemployed prior to his incarceration as he de-

pended on financial support from a sibling, who is a businessperson. continued on page 47


WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |



…in the house?

t seems that in addition to Charrandas Persaud being a “Judas”, a “bribetaker”, a gold smuggler etc, he’s also a “usurper”. The former appellations were bestowed by the PNC/AFC combine right after the NCM vote, while the latter was uttered in the final appeal as to the validity of that vote in front of the CCJ by the Govt’s lawyer, one Courtenay, a former AG of Belize. If the latter gentleman is representative of Belize’s legal talent, then it’s clear we don’t have to hang our heads or be sheepish about us having Basil Williams as our AG!! After being hauled over the coals by the CCJ bench the day before on the matter of Granger’s unilateral appointment of Patterson as GECOM Chair, the fella repeated his bumbling performance as he concocted theories to rival the PNC/AFC’s contention that 33 isn’t greater than 32!!! Being a dual citizen makes Persaud a “usurper””!! A usurper, of course, is someone who seizes or occupies a position either by force or without any legal right. The Belizean probably didn’t realise that we Guyanese know more than a thing or two about usurpers. We experienced Burnham rigging elections to be Prime Minister and then President and dictator from 1968 to 1985, and then Hoyte from 1985 to 1992!! Now, on this dual citizen business, of course Persaud knew he was a dual citizen; but then, so did his party leaders. If he occupied his seat illegally, didn’t his party leaders conspire with him to do so? More pertinently, if Persaud’s vote was invalid, weren’t those of the other Govt MPs — Greenidge, Roopnaraine, Gaskin, and Harmon — also invalid? And since the PPP had only 3 dual-citizen MPs to the Govt’s 5, wouldn’t they have won the NCM in that rump Parliament in any case? The Belizean Basil-doppelganger, in his desperation to earn his mega fee, also didn’t worry that all the Government business, including its budget, would’ve been vitiated if dual citizen votes were “null and void” as he insisted!! Grilled on the issue by the CCJ, he blithely suggested that the courts could issue “temporary orders” to save budgets etc, out of “necessity”!! Well, didn’t the lower courts validate Persaud’s vote by that same doctrine of necessity?? Courtenay also insisted that, in Guyana, MPs ALWAYS have to vote the party line because of the ‘crossing the floor’ rule; and NEVER THEIR CONSCIENCE!! Well, if that were so, what’s the purpose of Art 106 (6) when, with Govt MPs being merely rubber stamps, it could never kick- in to force the President and Cabinet to resign?? The man had the temerity to say that “debate in Cabinet” – which merely “advices” the President – suffices!!

…and charlatans

A “charlatan”, we’re told, is a person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill; a pretender, quack, mountebank, sham, fraud, fake, humbug, impostor, masquerader, hoodwinker, hoaxer, cheat, deceiver, dissembler, double-dealer, double-crosser, trickster, confidence trickster, cheater, swindler, fraudster, racketeer; rogue, villain, scoundrel; phoney, sharp, shark, con man, con artist, hustler, flimflammer, flimflam man; grifter, etc. There are so many synonyms for the charlatan because there are so many of them in the world. Now, there’s not much wrong when you puff yourself up a tad; everybody does it, since we all think we’re better than we actually are!! But when people who’re in charge of our country — as the PNC/AFC are right now — go along with charlatans, then they guarantee disaster for our nation. Just look at the Minister of Agriculture who was foisted on us for four years and you begin to get a glimmer of what’s at stake. The question, of course, is why?? And the answer is: those in Government are also charlatans!!

…and handlers

Folks are wondering why Pres Granger sent 5 ministers to the CCJ hearings – Sydney Allicock, Nicolette Henry, George Norton, and newbies Tabitha Sarrabo-Halley and Haimraj Rajkumar. To keep an eye on the charlatan Basil and his doppelganger Courtenay?? Didn’t work!

Being a (hyphenated) Guyanese By Ravi Dev


n his remarks last week at the dedication of the Indian Arrival Monument, President Granger emphasised that “the nation is multicultural”, and that “little attention was paid by those who brought us together (as) to how these various groups with different cultures would coexist cohesively. It is the challenge of the present generation to overcome those differences and to continue to construct a cohesive country.” But he ignored the insight of MG Smith, who pointed out that if the different cultural segments were ‘differentially incorporated’ into the power relations of their societies, this fact would inevitably precipitate conflict as groups struggle to achieve “equality”. As citizens of a Guyana state that promises equality, our lived experiences inevitably determine how we feel about the attainment (or not) of that egalitarian promise. These experiences, after all, are filtered through our cultural lenses, and it should not surprise any that if our several groups (defined cultural) are differentially incorporated into the power structure, political consciousness would cleave along cultural (read ethnic) lines. Whither, therefore, the cohesiveness? After decades of focusing on an economistic notion of equality, there is still not an appreciation of the need for cultural equality also. So much for the politics of ‘identity’ and ‘recognition’ in Guyana. There are some who posited that if we had (or have) economic equality among the various ethnic groups, our troubles would be over. I’d like to vehemently disagree. “Man does not live by bread alone”; there are many other “goods” we compete over, include cultural self-worth, even as we always measure our “deprivation” relatively. An indicia of the ‘power relations’ is who gets to define what is the “national culture” to which all groups have to genuflect? And

it is the differential incorporation of the various cultural groups in this equation that our policies on “multiculturalism” have to address. But “multiculturalism demands that society presents a full range of prospects, membership, and respect to all its members, regardless of cultural and religious differences; while also creatively accommodating them in a fashion that is both morally persuasive and practically effective for the majority of society.” Can Granger honestly say this is the case in Guyana today for Indian Guyanese? It’s positive the “Ministry of Culture” has been jettisoned. The name itself – CULTURE – suggests pushing a singular, monolithic, overarching “culture” as a stalking horse for assimilation through the back door. We suggest our motto be changed to “Unity in Diversity through Equality in Diversity”. One definition of ‘multiculturalism’ suggests that it is “a systematic and comprehensive response to cultural and ethnic diversity with educational, linguistic, economic and social components and specific institutional mechanisms”. This suggests areas in which we initially pursue equality.

Now, we want to stress that we certainly are not emphasising any ‘separatist ideal’ in which each group lives in hermetically sealed enclaves. We are suggesting that the ‘equal treatment in culture’ imperative, if implemented and becomes real, would eliminate the barriers of hauteur and exclusion that set off inevitable reactions of resistance. We believe that when we deal with each other as equals, there would be the inevitable crosscultural fertilisation (in all directions) and not one-way; that is, seen as top down. With the state out of ‘culture’, the Government should focus on promoting a feeling of “Guyaneseness” among our people through the conscious construction of a democratic state – the creation of conditions wherein we are all treated as one, equally, by the state. Equality of opportunity; human rights, encouragement of diversities, due process; justice and fair play and rule of law may seem dry compared to the warmth of the blood ties of “nation”, but they can engender the unity of public purpose and the recognition of individual worth, wherein we can be proud of our common citizenship. Citizenship of Guyana has to become something that has concrete meaning to all of us. It is not under the present discriminatory policies of the coalition Government against Indian Guyanese, and this has been the greatest failure of the coalition Government. If we were all treated equally by the state, our ethnicities would be defined outside our “Guyaneseness”, and to be African-Guyanese or IndianGuyanese would not be contradictory in any sense. The first part of our identity would be specific, while the latter would be universalistic. The “national” will now be a space where ethnically imagined communities can live and share. To be “Guyanese” would be to share moral precepts – norms, values and attitudes – rather than shared cultural experience and practice.

Child rapist to spend 29... The court was further informed that persons in the community described Khan as disorderly when he is intoxicated but is otherwise a quiet person. The court also heard that the accused is also known for being involved in sexual acts with cattle as residents voiced that he was not a “positive influence” in the village. The report was followed by an emotional statement written and presented by the victim, who was nine years old at the time

of the incident. The statement revealed that she had much respect and trust for the accused but what he did to her caused suicidal thoughts, which eventually led to the victim’s parents moving her to a different community since she was hurt, embarrassed and ashamed. “I felt hurt, ashamed and embarrassed about what he did to me…. I had trust and respect for him and I can remember having suicidal thoughts, everyone in

the village know what he did to me,” the victim said in her statement. Meanwhile, Defence Attorney Ravindra Mohabir in his plea of mitigation told the court that his client has been unemployed due to a back injury sustained on his previous job, thus, he needs physical therapy. Mohabir further divulged that his client was charged for bestiality but the charge was later dismissed. Justice Reynolds, in handing down the

from page 46

sentence, told the accused that he breached the trust of both the victim and her family, and groomed and defiled her in the vilest way. On this note, the Judge described Khan as a “sick man”, while handing down the 29year sentence. Khan was ordered to benefit from the appropriate treatment while being incarcerated. The State’s case was presented by Prosecutors Seeta Bishundial and Lisa Cave.

48 Bollywood

WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |


icky Kaushal, who is in New York, visited friend and Sanju co-actor Ranbir Kapoor’s parents Rishi and Neetu Kapoor on Tuesday. The actor spent some quality time with the actors, and the trio even posed for a picture together. Rishi and Neetu have been in New York since the last eight months for the former’s cancer treatment. The duo has had many visitors during their stay. From Deepika Padukone, Anupam Kher, Priyanka Chopra, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan among others, all were photographed with the veteran actors. H o w e v e r , Manmarziyaan actor


y u s h m a n n Khurrana is enjoying a golden phase in his career. The actor had a splendid 2018 with Andhadhun and Badhaai Ho, and is all geared to have a great 2019 as well. Khurrana is all set to act alongside Amitabh Bachchan in director Shoojit Sircar’s upcoming film Gulabo Sitabo. This marks the first collaboration of Big B and Khurrana. Khurrana called this opportunity a ‘dream come true’ and said, “I have grown up on Amitabh sir’s movies and like every Indian boy, idolised him, followed him and wanted to be like him since my childhood. Like millions of Indians, I am a

huge fan of the legend so it is a dream come true for me to get the opportunity to share screen space with him and learn from him.” “It is really a surreal moment for me. It is a moment that I have always wished for ever since the time I wanted to become an actor but now that I am going to finally act

with him, I think it is going to be extremely overwhelming for me,” he added. Ayushmann Khurrana made his film debut in Shoojit Sircar directorial Vicky Donor and has since carved a niche for himself, picking up quirky projects with strong storylines. The Bareilly Ki Barfi actor said, “It is a real honour for me as an actor to be able to go through this experience and an incredibly proud moment as an artiste that Shoojit da thought of taking me in this film that has an icon like Bachchan sir. I am excited to start this journey and become a better actor in the process.” Gulabo Sitabo has been written by Juhi


ikitin Dheer impressed all with his character Tangaballi in Rohit Shetty’s Chennai Express. The actor is now set to play a baddie in the filmmaker’s forthcoming cop drama Sooryavanshi. Nikitin is all praise for Rohit. In a statement, he said, “I have utmost respect for Rohit bhai. I look up to him. I have immense faith in him as a filmmaker. He brings out the best in me. When I saw Chennai Express for the first time, I remember hugging him and crying like a baby. Tangaballi has been the best role of my career so far. I felt immense pride being part of such a wonderful film.” Talking about his role in Sooryavanshi, he added, “Being a part of this cop universe created by Rohit bhai is an absolute privilege. Who can forget Jaykant Shikre (played by Prakash Raj), one of the most iconic villains

of recent times, who received as much love as Singham. In Simmba again, the magic was recreated. That’s the beauty of this universe. The villains have left big boots to fill and I hope I can do a job that keeps the legacy going.” The film stars Akshay Kumar in the lead role. Nikitin Dheer shared screen space with Khiladi

Vicky Kaushal has flown to New York to take a break from his hectic work schedule. The actor, who turns 31 on May 16, plans to ring in his birthday there with his college friends who will be visiting him from Boston and New Jersey. He has planned a reunion of sorts at the villa he has rented in New York. If reports are to be believed, Vicky might also be watching the awardwinning Broadway play Sleep No More. After returning from the vacation, Vicky Kaushal will resume the shoot of Shoojit Sircar directorial Sardar Udham Singh and might also start shooting for Karan Johar’s Takht soon.

(Indian Express)

Chaturvedi who has previously written films like October, Piku and Vicky Donor. Ayushmann Khurrana already has some interesting projects in the pipeline. He will be seen in Anubhav Sinha’s Article 15 where he plays a cop. Ekta Kapoor’s Dream Girl has the actor playing a man who can sing in both male and female voices. Khurrana will also be seen in Dinesh Vijan’s Bala with Bhumi Pednekar and Yami Gautam. He also has Aanand L Rai’s gay love story Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan in his kitty. Gulabo Sitabo is scheduled to release in November 2019. (Indian Express)

Kumar in Housefull 3. Nikitin is also excited to work with Akshay Kumar again. “My father (Pankaj Dheer) did seven films with him at the start of his career. I remember watching him on set as a kid and observed the fire and passion he had. Then, I got a chance to work with him in Housefull 3 and it was a lot of fun. While that was a comedy film with a hint of action, this is an all-out action film. So, for me, it will be like going to school and taking lessons in the craft from teachers. I can’t wait to learn more from him. The best part about working with actors of his calibre is that one walks away richer in values, work ethic and experience. I am looking forward to it,” the actor said. Sooryavanshi is produced by Reliance Animation and Rohit Shetty Picturez in association with Dharma Productions & Cape of Good Film. (Indian Express)


tudent of the Year 2 (SOTY 2) makes me feel more human. In this movie, I’m kind of stripped off my powers. If I’m punched, I’ll bleed. If I’m bullied, I’ll probably cry,” says actor Tiger Shroff lounging in a chair in Dharma Productions’ Andheri office. Ever since the 29-year-old made his debut with Heropanti (2014), he has earned the reputation of being an action hero. Movies that followed — Baaghi, A Flying Jatt and Munna Michael — further consolidated his reputation of “a tough guy”. With SOTY 2, a teen romance and drama produced by Karan Johar, Shroff has pushed his boundaries at the cost of feeling “uncomfortable and alienated”. By his own admission, Shroff felt like “an outsider” on the sets even though he has been part of the industry for five years and is born into a film family. “This is so unlike any of the films I have done before. I know all about the 2012 Student of the Year (featuring Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra). I had big shoes to fill,” says Shroff. Eventually, he got a hang of his SOTY 2 character Rohan Sachdev. “After that, I started enjoying myself,” he says. SOTY 2 has a completely new storyline even though the school (St Teresa’s) where the characters study, remains the same. While Tiger Shroff has five releases under his belt, his co-actors Tara Sutaria and Ananya Panday are making their big screen debuts. “The girls are amazing. They don’t even come across as newcomers. They are so well prepared and focused that at times I have had to up my game on sets to keep up with them,” says

Shroff, who is also known for his dance moves. “When I joined the film industry, I was desperate to impress people and do the right thing. As a result, I often wasn’t at ease. SOTY 2 has taught me to loosen up a bit and be myself. I’m still anxious during action and dance sequences since I try to meet the audience expectations. However, I enjoyed shooting the scenes where I had to act as a normal student. I also loved the romantic scenes. My takeaway from the film is that I needn’t be uptight all the time.” So, who is the real Tiger Shroff? “Someone who does not like doing film promotions and answering the same questions again and again. However, I know it is part of the job and I respect it,” he says. When he is not working on a movie, the actor enjoys watching superhero films, being at the gym, playing football or practising martial arts. “When I was four, I watched a Bruce Lee movie for the first time, I was fascinated. My parents enrolled me into a martial arts class. There has been no looking back,” says Shroff, who mentions that the Spiderman series featuring Tobey Maguire is among his favourites. Shroff affirms that he will continue doing action movies. “As long as my legs do not give up on me,” he says. In his next movie, an action thriller produced by Yash Raj Films, Shroff will be seen alongside Hrithik Roshan. The SOTY 2 actor is thrilled. “I have always been a fan of Hrithik sir. It’s a privilege working with him. His work ethic, focus and determination are second to none,” says Shroff. Their yet-to-be titled movie is likely to release in October. (Indian Express)


WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |



ctor Will Smith says the Disney’s live-action feature, Aladdin, where he plays the fan-favourite character of Genie, has been the most fulfilling experience for him since his 1990s breakout sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The 50-year-old actor said the film offered him the “great opportunity” to employ all of his skills in order to play the character. “This was the first project since ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ that has used so many of the things that I like to do. In this film I get to sing and

dance and rap and perform and do comedy and drama, so it was a great opportunity to use myself fully as an artist,” Smith said in a statement. The actor described his version of t h e be-

loved character as both “trickster and a mentor”. “He is trying to guide Aladdin to the truth of the greatness that’s already within him and I love that idea… to be yourself. For me at this point in my life, I love playing a character that is trying to help a young boy become a man,” Smith added. The Guy Ritchiedirected film, which also stars Naomi Scott as Pricess Jasmine and Mena Massoud as the title character, is set to release on May 24. (Indian Express)

eorge Clooney has ruled himself out of the 2020 US presidential race, saying he does not have the appropriate “skill” for politics. The actor-activist’s frequent and public criticism of US President Donald Trump ever since he assumed the post in 2016 had led people to believe he could run for office in the 2020 elections. However, the 58-year-old star said politics does not seem to be a logical place for him. “I am not going to get into politics. It doesn’t seem like a very logical place for me to be able to apply what skills I have. I don’t have to make compromise for the things that I stand for and the things I believe in like politicians do. So it is not something that interests me,” Clooney said. According to FemaleFirst, he was speaking at the “Catch 22” press conference in Rome on Tuesday. He has starred in, co-directed and produced the Hulu series. Clooney said he is “nervous” about people rotating towards “authoritarianism” in present times. “It is a very nervous time around the world. People sliding towards authoritarianism, it is something that


piece of the Star Wars puzzle has just fallen into

place. Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger said on Tuesday that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are working on the new Star Wars film expected in theaters in December 2022. Iger revealed the information at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit in New York. He also said he would not be


commenting further. The company had previously announced that The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, separately, and Benioff and Weiss were working on new Star Wars films but it wasn’t clear whose would come first. Both, however, are expected to be separate from the Skywalker saga which will wrap up this December with J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

(Indian Express)

aniel Craig, who was injured on the sets of Bond 25, is reportedly expected to resume shooting on the film “within the week”. The new James Bond film hit another roadblock after Craig fell while sprinting on the film’s sets in Jamaica last week and was flown to the US for X-rays. The shooting, which was scheduled to take place at London’s legendary Pinewood Studios, was suspended till further notice. According to The Sun, the actor will be able to resume production while being careful not to aggravate the injury. Citing an unnamed source,

eter Jackson says he turned down an offer to direct Aquaman because he is not a “superhero guy” and does not see himself doing a new feature film for a year or two. Jackson, whose last project was the final film in The Hobbit trilogy in 2014, directed a World War I documentary They Shall Not Grow Old and has announced another untitled project about


ctor-director Mel Gibson is set to team up with Shia LaBeouf for the black comedy, Rothchild. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film will be directed by Jon S Baird, best known for movies such as Filth

and Stan & Ollie. The story follows Becket Rothchild (LaBeouf), who was cast out from the family. As an adult, the charismatic Becket hatches a plan to get back into the family and claim his birthright. There are nine

is nerve-wrecking and that we should constantly monitor. The press do a very good job with that. I happen to be an optimist and I think that things turn around and it will hopefully head that way in the next election cycle.” The “Ocean’s Eleven” star has served as one of the United Nations Messengers of Peace since 2008 and is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is married to human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. (Indian Express)

The Beatles, Empire reported. The director said former Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara contacted him twice to direct Aquaman, which eventually went to James Wan. “(Kevin) said, ‘Are you a fan of Aquaman?’ I said, ‘No,'” Jackson said. “Six months later: ‘Peter, are you a fan of ‘Aquaman’?’ I said, ‘No, Kevin, I already told you this.’ I’m not a superhero guy. I

read Tintin… “Films are hard. I only want to make something that I have a deep passion for. I don’t really anticipate making another theatrical film for a year or two,” he told Empire. Lord of the Rings is getting a series treatment at Amazon but Jackson, who is credited for popularising JRR Tolkien’s work in cinema, is not involved with the new adaptation.

Rothchild family members who stand between him and his fortune including Whitelaw (Gibson), the family patriarch and villain of the piece. Rothchild is being produced by Unified Pictures. Keith Kjarval and Tyler Jackson will

produce alongside Black Box Management’s Lowell Shapiro and Mike Dill. HanWay Films recently boarded the project and will be looking for international buyers at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival. (Indian Express)

the publication stated that Craig’s injury was not as bad as initially feared. “Things were deemed to be a disaster at first. But the injury is not as severe as believed, and he will be able to film while not overexerting his ankle. He will be back on set within the week,” the source told The Sun. The new film in the Bond franchise has had a tumultuous journey. It was previously set to be directed by Danny Boyle with a release date of November 8, 2019. After Boyle dropped out of the project over “creative differences”, along with frequent

collaborator, screenwriter John Hodge, the film’s release date was moved to February 14, 2020. Cary Joji Fukunaga is now attached as director, with Scott Z Burns hired by MGM studio to pen a new script. Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have already drafted a version of the script but it is being reported that the studio is unhappy with their story. Recently, Fleabag creatoractor Phoebe Waller-Bridge came on board the movie to “polish” the script of Bond 25. The release of the film was recently pushed back to April 8, 2020. (Indian Express)


WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |

GFF embarks on uniform deal with Capelli Sport


hen Guyana finally qualified for the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the first time in the country’s football history on March 23, Guyana Football Federation (GFF) President Wayne Forde promised that the Federation would do everything within its power to ensure that the senior men’s national team, the Golden Jags, are ready for the biggest games of their lives. With just a month before the Golden Jags take to the Allianz Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota for their first game against the USA on June 18, Forde disclosed that the Federation has made good on its promise and to this end, revealed some of the plans for the national team. At the moment, the biggest announcement is the Federation’s collaboration with sport gear company Capelli Sport. The company specialises in the production of topquality football apparel, inclusive of uniforms, shoes, bags and balls. Although the

GFF President Wayne Forde poses alongside one of the Capelli Sport Golden Jags uniforms

Federation still has some kinks to work out with the well-established company, the GFF President prematurely announced the collaboration, which entails the company pro-

ducing Guyana’s Gold Cup uniform. “We’re still working out the pieces of the final agreement with Capelli Sports, but no doubt there’s a commitment on

both parts for an agreement and we will announce some of the key details once the dotted lines are signed off,” Forde said. Hinting at continuous conversations with the apparel company, Forde was confident that the GFF already has a solid relationship with Capelli Sport. “We believe that we have been able to establish a remarkable working relationship with Capelli Sports; the fact that they’re here displaying some of their products, interacting with some of the other members and engaging with the local football fraternity, is a demonstration off their commitment to working with the GFF,” he said. As such, the GFF boss revealed that an official announcement with added information about the deal would be done soon. “We’re very pleased so far with all of the engagements we’ve been having with Capelli

Sport and we look forward to a fruitful couple of years. We will make the final announcement on the deal in one week’s time,” he stated. Now focusing on Gold Cup preparations, it was confirmed that the Golden Jaguars will be playing an international friendly before they get to the tournament. “We already have one international game locked in. One of the countries that we’re likely to be playing for the second international game is here (at the FIFA Conference) so we’ll be having those discussions on the margins of the Conference,” Forde shared. However, a Guyanabased camp looks dismal at the moment and Forde was not shy in sharing the reason for this. “The preparation plan as it is, sees us doing a camp in New Jersey, flying to another country, playing a game and then to Minneapolis. So, we have abandoned the idea

of doing the home camp, because we couldn’t find a worthy opponent that is willing to absorb the cost to travel this way for a game,” the GFF President said. He had cited limited resources as the reason for other CONCACAF nations being sceptical about travelling for friendlies. Being drawn in Group D, the Golden Jaguars will have to battle with Panama, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States of America in the preliminary stage of the Gold Cup. The boys hailing from the “Land of Many Waters” will play their first game on June 18 in Minneapolis, against hosts USA. Their second game will be on June 22 with a matchup against Panama in Cleveland, Ohio. Their final game will be against Caribbean counterparts and long-time rivals Trinidad and Tobago in Kansas City, Kansas. (Jemima Holmes)

Archery Guyana edges closer to Olympic qualification


Devin Persaud competed at the U.S Nationals 2018

rchery Guyana has announced the participation of 29-year-old member Devin Persaud, who will be competing at the Hyundai World Archery Championships 2019 in the Netherlands. Persaud has his roots in Rose Hall, Berbice but is currently residing and

training in Canada. He has been involved in the sport of archery for the past five years, during which time he has become so passionate about the sport that he has started Canada’s first online Archery Shop. This is a platform from which he shares his passion while assist-

ing with the continued growth of the sport as he continues to pursue his passion of representing Guyana at the highest level. This world competition represents his first opportunity to secure a spot for Guyana in the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.


WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |

Excitement building as world’s top T20 players enter CPL 2019 draft


he final list of players who have made themselves available for the 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League has been sent to teams ahead of the draft which will take place in London on 22 May 2019. The number of players that have put their names forward for the draft has increased yet again in 2019, as has the

number of countries from which the overseas players are from. A record 536 players from 20 overseas countries and the West Indies are available to be picked by the six Hero CPL teams. Included in the list are some of the best T20 players in the world with the likes of Alex Hales, Rashid Khan, Shakib al Hasan,

Jofra Archer and JP Duminy putting their names forward along with Caribbean stars such as Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope. Prior to the draft, each franchise will have the option to retain and/ or acquire a maximum of six players, although there is no obligation to do so. The players they

can potentially retain are as follows: • Minimum of three (3) West Indian players, a maximum of four (4) • Maximum of one (1) overseas player, reduced to none if four (4) West Indians retained • A Marquee Player whether retained or acquired • An ICC Americas Player, whether retained

or acquired All retentions will be announced during the live broadcast of the player draft which will be broadcast on the Hero CPL social media channels from 2pm GMT on 22 May. Speaking about the player response to this year’s draft, Michael Hall, Hero CPL Tournament Operations

Director, said: “The fact that so many players have registered for our draft is a testament to the stature of our league. Playing cricket in the Caribbean is something that all players look forward to, and the CPL combines that allure with a high standard of cricket. We expect that this year’s tournament will be no different.”

Bumrah 'the best bowler in the world at this stage' – Tendulkar J

asprit Bumrah "is the best bowler in the world at this stage", declared Sachin Tendulkar, the Mumbai Indians icon, after the paceman had returned 2 for 14 to star in their IPL 2019 final win over Chennai Super Kings on Sunday. His returns - not a boundary hit off his 24 balls, and 13 dot balls thrown in - were incredible all right, making him a straight pick for the Man of the Match award too. Chatting with Tendulkar for after the match was Yuvraj Singh, who played a few matches early on in the season for Mumbai but was subsequently benched. Asked by Tendulkar what made Bumrah so difficult to face, Yuvraj said that apart from an "awkward" action, it was "very tough to understand at what pace he is coming". "I think he is bowling the best I have seen in his career," he added, and Tendulkar agreed: "Let me go on record and say that he is the best bowler in the

world at this stage. And the best is yet to come, hopefully." Bumrah was the toast of the Mumbai team, and their fans. Not for the first time either. Forget the past, just this year, Bumrah came on at the toughest of moments for Mumbai, and delivered almost without fail. Among bowlers to have sent down at least 60 overs, only Rashid Khan had a better economy rate for the season - 6.28 - than Bumrah's 6.63. For two fewer wickets - Bumrah ended with 19 and Rashid 17. Expand that list to bowlers who have bowled at least 40 overs, and Bumrah's economy rate stands at No. 4, with Ravindra Jadeja (6.35) and Chahar (6.55) slotting in between Rashid and Bumrah. Bumrah still ended with the most wickets among them. Let's look at more numbers. Bumrah bowled 172 balls in the death overs (17 to 20), 52 more than the next on the list: Kagiso Rabada. And how did he do in them? His economy rate in

Jasprit Bumrah

that period was 7.67, by far the best among bowlers to have sent down at least ten overs at the death. Next on the list is Chris Morris, with an economy rate of 8.61. And Bumrah's 13 wickets at the death was also second only to Rabada's tally of 17. But Bumrah was -

is - more than just his numbers. It's the effect he has had on opposition batsmen, coming it at crunch moments and making sure liberties were kept to a minimum. "Phenomenal", Zaheer Khan, the Mumbai director of cricket, called Bumrah - he's been doing it year in and year

out, for Mumbai and for India. "Just trying to be calm, always learning from all the legends of the game that we have over here, trying to execute, trying to keep things simple whenever I'm trying to bowl … so that's probably it," Bumrah told Zaheer

about his agenda out in the middle. Those are words one hears often - not much there. But Zaheer did give away a bit of inside information about Bumrah: he is "stubborn", and he takes "a lot of convincing" when new plans are discussed. But, at the same time, chatting about bowling with Bumrah can make for "great conversations". One such conversation - more than once, actually - was apparently about bowling more outswingers, which Bumrah did against MS Dhoni in the final. Only three balls Bumrah got to bowl at Dhoni on Sunday night. The first was an awaygoing delivery, angling in and holding its line, leaving Dhoni poking at thin air. "He's been behind [after] me for the outswingers since the tournament's beginning," Bumrah said of Zaheer. "I told him I'd bowl it, but he was behind me all the time 'you should bowl it more often'. So after bowling it today he was very happy." (ESPNCricinfo)


WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |

Meet Lakshmi, first female ICC match referee Who is GS Lakshmi?


n outswing bowler for Railways, the most successful team in the women's domestic circuit in India,GS Lakshmi shared a dressing room with the likes of Diana Edulji, the former India captain, and Hemlata Kala, the former India allrounder who's currently the India women chief selector. Lakshmi never played for India, but was part of the national squad during India's tour of England in 1999. Born in Rajahmundry in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, Lakshmi grew up in the steel city of Jamshedpur (in present-day Jharkhand) where her father was posted. Due to "terribly poor marks" in her 10th board examinations, Lakshmi was denied direct admission at the Jamshedpur Women's College, in 1986. Upon trialling at the college nets, at her father's behest, the institution granted her admission under the sports quota, convinced she could be their frontline fast bowler. The most memorable phase in her career On her wedding day in

1991, Lakshmi received a call-up to the Rest of India team. "As a girl born in a Brahmin family, even if I wanted, I could by no means have gone and played just after my marriage," Lakshmi recounts. After taking a sabbatical, Lakshmi resumed her cricket career and played a key role in South Central Railways winning the interRailways title for the first time. "That was one of the most memorable moments of my playing career." How did she end up as a match referee? After retiring in 2004, Lakshmi moved to coaching, taking charge of South Central Railways until 2014. In 2008, the BCCI introduced female referees, albeit only in women's domestic games, for the first time. Lakshmi was among the pioneering group of five female referees to make their debut that season, the other four being former India cricketers Rajani Venugopal( also Lakshmi's best friend), Rajesh Nayyar, Nilima Joglekar and Gargi Banerjee. In 2014, the BCCI conducted a first-of-its-kind qualification exam for 120 match referees. Lakshmi, along with the other four women referees, was shortlisted in a pool of 50, from

GS Lakshmi with captains Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur ahead of the final BCCI

where she qualified to stand in boys' and men's domestic games. Laksmi has since officiated in the Under-19 Cooch Behar Trophy - where she issued her first ever Code-ofConduct penalty in a game between UP and Bengal - and women's domestic games across all categories, has overseen three women's ODI matches and three women's T20I matches, and was the match refreree in all four games at the recently concluded Women's T20 Challenge.

The challenge of being a female match referee "Prejudice about the cricketing acumen of women is the biggest and the only challenge," Lakshmi says. "You could sense that apprehension among the boys and the male match officials. Something like, "Aurat hain‌ kar payegi bhi ya nahin (She is a woman. Can she even do the job)?' But after observing me in the first few games, and how I go about my job, all those doubts dissipated. I don't think now when I walk out to officiate in men's

games, I don't sense that "aurat-mard" (man-woman) kind of discrimination." Lakshmi also says there are no special perks for being a female match official. "Whether you're a man or a woman, doesn't matter. It's all about how well you're doing your job. I have had nothing come easy to me just because I'm a female match referee." What is her next ambition? "I want to officiate in the Women's World Cup, both the ODI and T20I tournaments, especially in the final. Cricket, and more specifically women's cricket, has got me to where I am today, so my heart is still with the women's game. But having refereed in men's games, too, I'd also love to officiate in a men's multi-team tournament run by the ICC." That's not all. Lakshmi has a "bigger goal" too. "Through my example, I want girls to realise that there's a life after marriage, after childbirth, and retirement. There are several opportunities for women to explore even after curtains come down on their playing career. If the passion remains alive, nothing can stop you from achieving your dreams." (ESPNCricinfo)

WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |



WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |

Nicolas Pooran named GAW’s Marquee player N

icolas Pooran has been signed by the Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW) as their Marquee Player for the 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) which will take place from 4 September to 12 October. The Trinidadian wicket-keeper batsman played for the Barbados Tridents last year but in a big move for him and the franchise he will be playing for the Guyanese team in 2019. Pooran has played 11 T20 Internationals for the West Indies and has become a fixture in T20 tournaments around the world. He is also a member of the West Indies squad for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. This will be the third CPL team that Pooran has represented having started his career with the Trinbago Knight Riders before moving to the Tridents. Omar Khan, Team Operations Manager, for

Nicolas Pooran

the Amazon Warriors, said: “Nicolas is amongst the very best T20 batting talents in the world and we wanted to bring him into our team as we push to go one better than last year where we finished as runners-up.” “He is explosive and exciting, and we are very

pleased to be able to have such an impressive young talent representing the Guyana Amazon Warriors this year.” The rest of the Amazon Warriors squad will be decided at the Hero CPL Player Draft which takes place on 22 May 2019.

WEEK ENDING MAY 19, 2019 |


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Guyana Times International 17-May-2019  

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