NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013 | ISSUE NO. 2
Justice for Whom? Making the System Work
Forging a Caribbean Jurisprudence A Career in Law The Guyana-China Connection Rough Economic Ride for Latam/Caribbean in 2014 Fun and Knowledge CornerNEW
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From The Desk of The Editor-In-Chief
SPOTLIGHT ON JUSTICE AND THE LAW
NSIGHT was launched in September with the aim of bridging several critical information gaps by providing more in-depth perspectives on current affairs issues of interest to readers in Guyana, the Caribbean and the Guyanese Diaspora.
Steve Maximay examines the region’s moves to more fully embrace the concept of intellectual property rights. This will be the first in a series of pieces that take an in-depth look at the issue. We also return to Guyanese activist, Glenyss James, and the role she continues to play at the Commonwealth Youth Programme.
In this edition, we focus heavily on Guyana’s judicial and legal system. We examine the way it functions, whom it touches and how it influences the broader social and political environment within the country. We embark on this excursion through the lenses of journalists, academics, jurists, students and persons with an interest in different aspects of the system.
Fittingly, we close this year with a review of selected issues, in the words of some of their chief protagonists. This section does not, by any means, capture all the newsworthy events of the year, but it does point out some of the bold, and sometimes a typical statements made by officials over the course of 2013.
We try to answer questions surrounding access to justice. We examine some key rulings both in domestic and regional jurisdictions and spend some time with students of law.
To complement this retrospective, Insight presents a look at the occurrences of the National Assembly in the year by parliamentary reporter Kwesi Isles.
To assist us in achieving this goal, Insight was privileged to have exclusive access to leading Guyanese jurists and other sources of valuable information and viewpoints.
This issue also sees the continuance of two regular features. Our Tech Bits section continues its observation of technical innovation and issues, this time with a focus on internet privacy and the Farm to Table column by nutritionist Penelope Harris takes a look at a particularly nourishing fruit – the avocado.
Special attention is also paid to the work of the Caribbean Court of Justice, Guyana’s final Court of Appeal and a sometimes contentious creature of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) process. For this, Insight gained exclusive access to President of the CCJ, Justice Dennis Byron, for a frank and open exchange.
In this edition we have included an activity section to challenge and entertain readers. Enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed bringing this edition of Insight to you.
We are also privileged to feature the views of Prof. W. Andy Knight, who currently heads the Institute of International Relations on the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies on relations between Guyana and China and, the CARICOM response to the crisis in Syria.
I wish, on behalf of the entire Insight team, to thank our readers, contributors, service providers and other supporters of this venture for their valuable support. We continue to look forward to your feedback. Write to me at email@example.com and keep in touch through our dynamic website which is always chock-full of new and exciting stories and information in multi-media formats at www. insightgy.com.
The international relations focus is also maintained through a commentary by editorial consultant, Wesley Gibbings, on the prospects for CARICOM membership by the Dominican Republic in the face of its controversial immigration ruling in September.
Engineer Bert Carter continues to look at outstanding architecture in Guyana with a revealing feature on the former prime minister’s residence, Castellani House, providing details about its gradual transformation into the art gallery it is today.
See our stories come alive in audio and video and read our stories ondemand. Best wishes for the New Year. See you in 2014
NAZIMA RAGHUBIR EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Insight November/December 2013
Insight PUBLISHED BY INSIGHT INC 62 Area “Q”, Turkeyen, ECD, Guyana, South America
INSIGHT TEAM Editor-in-Chief: Nazima Raghubir Editorial Consultant: Wesley Gibbings Editorial Assistant: Andrew Kendall Layout and Design: Tanika Van Sluytman Jones
Photography: Arian Browne, Neilon Dias, Nikhil Ramkarran, Wesley Gibbings
Contributors: Melinda Janki, Nazima Raghubir, Lenandlar Singh, Penelope Harris, Wesley Gibbings, Bert Carter, Steve Maximay, Sheila Velez Martinez, Prof. W. Andy Knight, Professor Justice Duke Pollard, Kwesi Isles, Andrew Kendall
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The Justice System
This issue of Insight focuses on the Legal System of Guyana and the Caribbean Court of Justice as it relates to Guyana.
06 | The Guyana/China Connection
14 | The Year In Review - Quotes 18 | Parliamentary Round Up 20 | Insight's Launch
40 | The Changing Faces of Castellani House
23 | Access to Justice 24 | Is the Justice System Working? 25 | A Broken Justice System? 28 | Who should dispense Justice? 29 | Gender is More than Sex 30 | At The End of The Day - Law Career or Not
32 | The CCJ: Innovation in Judicial Engineering 33 | Guyanese Land Law Cases and the CCJ 34 | Forging a Caribbean Jurisprudence 35 | Three Important CCJ Rulings 36 | Changing the Caribbean Intellectual Property Culture
44 | From Farm to Table - An Avocado Affair
Insight November/December 2013
In The Neighbourhood
08 | International Agencies - Economic Trouble Ahead 10 | The Dominican Republic and CARICOM Membership 12 | Deeper CARICOM Analysis on Syria Needed
05 07 09
38 | Internet Privacy and You
42 | Character Building for Youth
Facts & Fun
46 | Did You Know and Crossword Puzzle
Issues Happening At Home
The Evolving Guyana-China Relationship By Dr. W. Andy Knight
LAST FEBRUARY I PAID a courtesy visit to a number of diplomatic missions in Guyana and to CARICOM headquarters. This was my first visit to Guyana as Director of the Institute of International Relations (IIR), St Augustine campus of The University of the West Indies. On the way to my hotel in Georgetown, I saw a crowd gathered next to the construction site for the Marriott Hotel. They seemed to be chanting “No Guyanese, No Chinese”. There was one sign held up by a protestor that read: “Our Government is selling us out to China.” A view of the Marriot Hotel under construction from the Atlantic Ocean
It was only after speaking with some of the local Guyanese at my hotel that I discovered what this fuss was all about. The Marriott Hotel was being constructed using US$60 million of Guyanese taxpayers’ money. Yet, the Shanghai Construction Group, the entity that was awarded the bid to construct the hotel, was allowed to bring in Chinese workers for the project rather than utilise Guyanese labour. This issue of bringing in foreign Chinese labour, excluding local workers, for infrastructure projects in developing countries is something that has been dogging Chinese companies since the late 1970s when China embraced “capitalism with Chinese characteristics” and started on its road towards rapid modernisation.
President Donald Ramotar visits the site of the Marriot Hotel in Kingston in April 2013
There is no question that China has developed a special relationship with Guyana. Part of the reason for this is due to loyalty, solidarity and camaraderie. Another part of the reason has to do with pragmatic alliance politics. And a third part of the reason lies in China’s insatiable appetite for raw materials. When the United Nations was established in 1945, China was a founding member of the organisation. But it was the Republic of China (ROC) under Chiang Kai-shek, which was formally recognised as the sole representative of the Chinese people within the multilateral organisation.
President Ramotar, Minister Ashni Singh and Chinese officials look at plans for Marriot Hotel (GINA Photo)
Insight November/December 2013
In 1949, Mao Zedong declared the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) – a communist regime which would represent all Chinese on the mainland. His hope was to quickly re-unite Taiwan with the rest of China. The United States and its allies initially opposed the admission of the PRC in the UN, and as a result, Taiwan (the ROC), retained official status as the China
representative both in the UN Security Council and in the UN General Assembly. But this was untenable. There was no way that Taiwan with a population at the time of 15 million Chinese could credibly represent mainland China with a population of close to a billion Chinese people. Guyana was one of the developing countries that voted to admit the PRC to the UN on 25 October 1971, thereby expelling Taiwan from the world body. And, Guyana has always supported the PRC’s one-China rule, unlike several of its Caribbean counterparts which continued to recognise Taiwan as a distinct and separate government from China. In those early days, Guyana shared with China a commitment to socialism and a rejection of capitalism. Shared ideology was combined with the sense that both China and countries like Guyana – third world, developing countries – had much more in common than with countries of the Metropole (Europe/United States). In fact, from 1949 the PRC adopted anti-colonial policies, and expressed solidarity with newly independent states, many of whom were members of the Group of 77. Although China was not a member of the G77, its support for these developing states was evident. However, since 1978, China has moved away from its rigid ideological commitment to Communism; embracing its own brand of capitalism (a controlled capitalism – capitalism with Chinese characteristics). China, in its alliance with the BRICS, is now able to offer developing countries an alternative path to development that does not rely on the so-called Washington Consensus. And, it has emerged as a leading contender to replace the US as the world’s hegemonic power. In most economic categories, China ranks either second or third, and in some cases, it has overtaken the US. In terms of its overall economy, China (at US$9 trillion GDP) ranks 2nd to the US (at US$16.2 trillion GDP). Between 1979 and 2005 China’s GDP has been growing at an annual rate of over 9%. While its economic growth has slowed in the past few years, it is still managing to maintain an annual growth rate of between 7.5 % and 8%. This makes it, still, the fastest growing large economy in the world.
China’s trade volume is approximately US$419.9 billion and it has now replaced Japan as the third largest trading nation on the planet. The US and Germany are the two countries ahead. China has trade ties with over 227 countries, including Guyana. It has huge foreign exchange reserves, and foreign investment in China is helping to drive its rapid economic development. Today, China is an economic juggernaut with an insatiable appetite for raw materials to support its phenomenal economic growth. It needs Guyanese natural resources, as it does Trinidadian oil and gas. And, China is willing to support development in the Caribbean in exchange for access to those resources. So, it is not difficult to see why Guyana would want to hitch its wagon to China. But in doing so, Guyana has to be careful not to be rolled over by the juggernaut. While the Chinese government is pursuing a more client-friendly approach to development in the Third World, its “peaceful rise” strategy is not entirely altruistic. Yes, it is true that China does not intend to colonise foreign countries in the way the British and other European countries did in the 19th century – i.e. through invasion and occupation. But the relationship between China and Guyana is an asymmetric one. It is a relationship based on exploitation and exportation of Guyanese raw materials which will leave Guyanese in the same condition as they were under British rule – i.e., as hewers of wood and drawers of water, and in a state of dependency. This will be the case, unless the Guyanese government insists on establishing certain conditions in its relationship with Chinese companies. There is no question that Chinese companies try at every opportunity to bring in Chinese workers on projects in fellow-developing countries. But the empirical evidence shows that these companies are not always able to get away with such a plan. The percentage of Chinese to local labour in many infrastructure projects across Africa shows that the governments of countries in which these projects are being undertaken can, in fact, ensure that local labour is utilised. In countries like Angola,
Sierra Leone, Sudan, Zambia, Ghana, Mozambique, and Equatorial Guinea, the local labour used by Chinese companies far exceeds that of Chinese labour, in almost every case. Chinese companies will provide a number of justifications for the utilisation of Chinese labour over local labour. They will argue that skilled labour and workers with highly specialised skills are difficult to find in the local setting. They will make the case that the technology being used is unknown to the local population. They will utilise the communications card to argue that it is much easier and quicker to complete projects when the lines of communication are clear. Very few of the local workers will have a working knowledge of Mandarin or Cantonese. Chinese companies will find loopholes in local labour laws, or take advantage of the fact that local governments are just not enforcing local labour laws or work permits. The most compelling argument that Chinese companies raise is that Chinese workers are generally more productive and more willing to work under harsh conditions than local workers. (To my mind if there was genuine training of local workers under Chinese tutelage, with gradual introduction of locals, enforced, there could be merit to such a modified approach.) If China is really sincere about treating its fellow developing countries with the dignity and respect that its rhetoric allows, then it is important for the government of the PRC to rein in its multinational companies and instill in them the importance of following the labour laws of the governments in which they operate. But the onus is also on the governments of countries like Guyana to: develop clear and unequivocal labour laws that put the local community first; ensure that its local workers are highly skilled and willing to be trained in the use of unfamiliar technologies; provide language training in Mandarin for workers and, particularly, for students; and, most importantly; insist on the development of a productive local labour force, perhaps trained under Chinese tutelage, while adhering to labour standards for both local and foreign workers
Dr. W. Andy Knight is Director of the Institute of International Relations, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad & Tobago. He is currently on secondment from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Insight November/December 2013
In The Neighbourhood
News, Reports and Analysis From Our Latin American and Caribbean Neighbours
International Agencies Economic Trouble Ahead More moderate growth in global DESPITE THE RELATIVELY IMPRESSIVE performance of many trade is likely to feature lower demand for regional exports even as prices Latin American and Caribbean economies throughout the global crash of 2007/2008, international agencies More moderate growth concerned with the longin global trade is term picture are suggesting likely to feature lower that a confluence of largely demand for regional international factors may militate against sustained exports even as prices growth and stability. for commodity exports
In the first six months of the year, the regional economy only grew by 2.5%.
continue to decline or remain suppressed.
Among the main factors responsible for this less than optimistic outlook is a noted downturn in global trade, “moderation in commodity prices” and what these agencies describe as “the increased uncertainty surrounding global financing conditions.” There is concern as well that the weak performance of the Euro together with a slowdown in Chinese growth statistics and the “normalisation of US monetary policy” will have an impact on international capital markets which countries of Latin America and the Caribbean will not escape.
Insight November/December 2013
report published by ECLAC and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) – “The Employment Situation in Latin America and the Caribbean” – which is predicting that hemisphere-wide, urban unemployment is unlikely to move considerably from rates of between 6.2% and 6.3%.
“The slowdown in the region’s economic growth in the first half of 2013 resulted in lower demand for labour,” the report says. “More specifically, this took the form of lower generation of wage employment.”
Cause, Effect and Impact
The recently-released Latin American Economic Outlook, 2014 published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Latin American Development Bank (CAF), for example, concludes that “the external scenario is less favourable for the region” post-2007/2008.
financing will steadily become more expensive and capital outflows to the region will probably fall, resulting in
for commodity exports continue to decline or remain suppressed. Hemispherically, this has been manifest via deterioration in trade balances with huge gaps between current-account balances involving the non-energy producers and those countries, such as Trinidad and Tobago, that are net oil and gas exporters.
greater uncertainty and more volatile capital markets.” It is likely, the report suggests, that increases in domestic demand could “partly compensate for the slowdown in external demand” but it is noted that many economies of the region “are converging towards their potential GDP following an expansionary phase of the business cycle.”
There is also a view expressed in the 2014 forecast that if the United States tightens its monetary policy, “external
The unfolding impact of these developments is noted in a separate 8
The joint OECD/ECLAC/CAF report meanwhile concludes that though many economies of the region “have some monetary and fiscal space for an additional stimulus to compensate for temporary external shocks, the region is faced with a more permanent, widespread economic slowdown that makes it difficult to provide this kind of stimulus.”
Several countries, it was observed, are “converging towards their potential GDP from an expansionary phase of the business cycle, and some are also faced with supply-side bottlenecks, making them vulnerable to domestic and external imbalances if there is an additional stimulus.” “Previous episodes of economic instability in the region are a reminder to be vigilant of expanding domestic credit and changes in fiscal aggregates,” the report says
Insight November/December 2013
The Dominican Republic and CARICOM Membership By Wesley Gibbings
THE OUTRAGEOUS SEPTEMBER 23, 2013 ruling of the constitutional court of the Dominican Republic on birthright citizenship and ensuing action taken against persons of Haitian descent should signal to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) an unwillingness of the Dominican authorities to accept the sense of fraternity which serves as the fuel which keeps the integration movement, however disabled, very much alive. The ruling, and oppressive official actions that followed, came only two months after renewal of the DRâ€™s application for membership of CARICOM â€“ a process set in train since 2005 when it was found that the various bilateral and multilateral attempts at forging more meaningful trade and economic integration between the Spanish-speaking country and CARICOM had borne considerable fruit to the benefit of all Insight November/December 2013
concerned; the DR in particular. Between Haiti and the Dominican Republic alone, there is a more than US$1 billion trade deficit in favour of the DR while just 2.4% of all CARICOM exports land in the DR. Since the judgment, the government of Haiti has launched an aggressive campaign to bring greater awareness to the Community of the serious challenges this development presents to a neighbouring republic already buckling under the stresses of persistent economic hardship and a rocky ride with the international aid community. Advancing the facilitation of Dominican membership of CARICOM can only be viewed as a slap in the face for Haiti – a country whose courtship by the Community over the years led to a slow and arduous ascent from provisional to eventual full membership between 1998 and 2002 and full compliance with the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) in 2006. There also remains the anomaly of visa-restricted travel within CARICOM for Haitian nationals. This requirement flies in the face of CARICOM Summit pleasantries and member countries have been slow to lift the restrictive barrier, with only partial allowance made for selected categories of Haitian nationals. One diplomat has already opined that such a situation can be contested at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). One of the difficulties with regional engagement of the DR immigration assault is the fact that some of CARICOM’s own member states appear to have engaged programmes of their own to discourage greater levels of intraregional movement. The Bahamas is yet to join the common market system and is unlikely to do so in the near future and several countries have sought temporary stays on the obligation to facilitate the free movement of Caribbean workers in selected areas.
Insight November/December 2013
The Shanique Myrie judgment delivered by the CCJ on October 4, for example, found that the authorities in Barbados had displayed open disregard for regional decisions made in keeping with the requirements of the Treaty of Chaguaramas; the right in question being the entitlement of national to enter CARICOM Member States “without harassment or the imposition of impediment, and to stay for up to six months.”
nationals are known to suffer disproportionately from such a breach by regional immigration authorities.
Advancing the facilitation of Dominican membership of CARICOM can only be viewed as a slap in the face for Haiti
None of this, of course, amounts to the focused attempt by the Dominican Republic to transact a purge of children and grandchildren born to Haitian and other immigrants since 1929. However, it is difficult to envisage the shaping of a common Caribbean space committed to according equality of treatment to all nationals of the region under such conditions.
Myrie was a Jamaican national who was detained, subjected to a cavity search and deported from Barbados on March 14, 2011 because she was “untruthful about the identity of her Barbadian host.” A specific CARICOM decision on the movement of regional nationals had been made four years prior to the incident and regular travelers would attest to its non-compliance in several countries. According to the CCJ, the Treaty establishes a
Additionally, virtually all CARICOM Associate Members have travel restrictions, including visa requirements for some full members of the Community. Certainly, this should militate against any application for full membership.
For the DR to become a member of CARICOM, it would have to sign on to a treaty which pronounces very firmly on the matter of free movement. The Myrie CCJ judgment does not speak to the question of birth rights, but it operates under the assumption that freer, not more restrictive, conditions for accepting CARICOM citizenship as a lived reality are part of broader integrationist aspirations. In the end, jus soli (citizenship by place of birth) and jus sanguinis (citizenship by blood) may just have to be considered within the context of a single Caribbean space, as opposed to individual nation states.
The region might be some way off from Jamaican and CARICOM National Shanique Myrie with family after the CCJ Ruling (Stabroek News Photo) achievement of such a scenario, but the requirement to give a person refused entry written whole-hearted embrace of a member moving in the reasons for the refusal and also to advise them of opposition direction is not likely to accelerate the their entitlement to access meaningful judicial process. review. The right may be denied only where the receiving state establishes that the visitor is an Membership of the Dominican Republic, through “undesirable person” or one likely to become a endorsement of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, has charge on public funds. the potential to activate landmark adjudication by the CCJ to settle what appear to be discriminatory This judgment has the potential to dramatically actions against a so-called “fraternal” state change Immigration Hall treatment of some CARICOM travelers. Guyanese and Jamaican
killed in Syria. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, this war has taken the lives of 41,000 civilians, including 6,000 children and 4,000 women. Over 2 million Syrians are now refugees and displaced persons. Furthermore, chemical weapons have been utilised in this civil in contravention of the 1925 Geneva Protocol and the United Nations Chemical Weapons Convention.
ON SEPTEMBER 6 2013, the CARICOM Secretariat issued a press statement on the situation in Syria. In that statement, the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) called on the international community to make a “valiant effort” to help parties involved in the two year civil conflict in Syria to reach a “negotiated political settlement”. This came on the heels of criticism that Caribbean countries were not taking a collective position on the Syrian conflict and ought to.
This is a horrific, brutal and bloody conflict in which the many factions are committing major atrocities. Core crimes, which are detailed in the Rome Statute which brought into being the International Criminal Court (ICC), are being committed by both government forces and the many opposition groups that are trying to overthrow the Assad regime. When this war is over, the International Criminal Court should investigate the war crimes and crimes against humanity that were committed and indict and bring to trial those responsible.
Professor Brian Meeks of the University of the West Indies had implored the leaders of the Caribbean region to adopt a common position on the situation in Syria and to endorse the United Nations’ view that a US military intervention should be eschewed. The hope expressed in the CARICOM statement is certainly desirable. A negotiated settlement is preferred to trying to settle the conflict using military means. Already, over 115,000 people have been
Deeper CARICOM Analysis on Syria Needed By Dr. W. Andy Knight
Refugees in Lebanon, Copyright Sadik Gulec Dreamstime.com
Insight November/December 2013
Free Syrian Army fighters take a break from fighting with forces loyal to Syrian President Assad in downtown Aleppo Reuters
People searching through the debris of destroyed buildings in the aftermath of a strike by Syrian government forces, in the neighborhood of Jabal Bedro, Aleppo, Syria AP Photo/ Aleppo Media Center AMC
So, the call by CARICOM for a valiant international effort to resolve the Syrian crisis ought to be applauded. The hope behind this statement is similar to what the United Nations Secretary General has expressed, i.e. that somehow this situation should be resolved through dialogue, mediation and conciliation rather than through the recourse to the use of military force, as the United States had threatened. The problem with military intervention, even for humanitarian purposes, is that, more often than not, it puts those in need of protection at greater risk of harm and suffering. But, such a motherhood and apple pie statement belies the complexity of the conflict in Syria. Not all conflicts can be resolved using diplomatic means. The CARICOM statement assumes that the Government of Syria and the Opposition Forces can be coaxed into sitting down at a bargaining table and negotiating a settlement that would be acceptable to both sides and ultimately bring the conflict to an end. The problem with this assumption is multifold. First, neither the Syrian government nor the opposition forces are monolithic. While the Assad regime in peacetime was able to hold together various factions in the government – Alawite and Sunni, Christian and Muslim, Kurds and Arab, keeping this multicultural melting pot together during times of civil war is much more difficult. And, the opposition forces are far from uniform in their Insight November/December 2013
opposition to the government. The Syrian political opposition is a fractious force with competing interests and divergent ideologies. This opposition comprises the Syrian National Council, the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, the National Coordination Body for the Force of Democratic
The CARICOM statement assumes that the Government of Syria and the Opposition Forces can be coaxed into sitting down at a bargaining table and negotiating a settlement that would be acceptable to both sides and ultimately bring the conflict to an end. The problem with this assumption is multifold Change, Building the Syrian State Movement, and a number of Jihadi factions – some linked to al-Qaeda. Second, both the Syrian Government and the many opposition groups are supported by outside interests. It is clear that Russia supports the Assad regime, as does Iran and Hezbollah. But the opposition forces have several different backers. 13
The U.S. supports some of the more moderate opposition groups, but others are supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The competition between the foreign interests involved in this conflict makes the situation in Syria even more complex and more difficult to be resolved using diplomatic means. Third, there might have been a chance that the Assad regime would be willing to go to the bargaining table when it was being weakened by the various opposition forces. But, of late, the forces loyal to Assad have been gaining ground and the government is now gaining in strength as one rebel stronghold after another is being captured and brought under the government’s control. If this trend continues, Assad’s position would be strengthened to the point where he might not want to make any concessions to the opposition. The weakened opposition might therefore prefer to continue the armed struggle rather than take part in a negotiated settlement that would see Assad remain in office. Basically, it is easy to express the hope that the international community should try to bring this brutal conflict in Syria to an end using diplomatic means. But the devil is always in the details. The conditions in that country may not be ripe for a negotiated settlement. It is important that CARICOM leaders base their collective foreign policy statements on much deeper analysis than what we have seen to date
The Year in "QUOTES" “
AMAILA FALLS PROJECT
Insight looks back at some of the major issues that led the news during the course of 2013 through the words of some leading agencies, authorities, politicians and personalities. HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Guyana is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. Guyanese nationals have been subjected to human trafficking in other countries in the Caribbean region. Cases of human trafficking reported in the media generally involved women and girls in forced prostitution.”
It is indeed mystifying to say that a large investment project is profitable without a due diligence report being available for public scrutiny…this is unheard of in financial markets.”
Only when people have the ability to elect or reject local officials will they have … that power and that authority to ensure that those who are in charge at the local level support a clean and healthy environment.”
Dr. Kenrick Hunte, former head of the Guyana Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank (GAIBANK)
This is simply an acknowledgement that, after US$16 million and six years of intense effort by Sithe Global to progress the project, the country is not prepared to proceed.”
Brian Kubeck, President of Sithe Global at the time of the company’s withdrawal.
Even Burnham had said that if we don’t get hydro power we will get hydrocele and again, we are at a precipice where we are choosing hydrocele instead of hydropower.”
US State Department 2013 Report which placed Guyana on Tier 2
Unlike some who live in the North, the position of the Government of Guyana is that we do not see trafficking in persons as a major social issue in the country.”
United States Ambassador D. Brent Hardt
Attorney General, Anil Nandlall
Marriott takes place and everyone is up in arms and it is now stink because it smells of racism. It smells of anti-nationality, we don’t seem to have that problem with companies that are coming in which are non-Chinese who are also bringing in foreign workers. Do we have a problem with that?”
BILLS! BILLS! BILLS!
Just like time has resolved the three, I assumed that time will resolve the fourth.” Dr. Roger Luncheon, Cabinet Secretary
I am making it very clear that I will not assent to any bill that they carry unless it is with the full agreement of the executive and the full involvement of the executive.”
Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee it’s a crime which has been “a Unfortunately beset by the denial syndrome… There is syndrome of dodging the problem and pretending that the persons who are being trafficked have voluntarily entered into a state of prostitution.”
Opposition Leader David Granger tabling a motion in the National Assembly calling for the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry into TIP Insight November/December 2013
Presidential Adviser Gail Teixeira 14
President Donald Ramotar www.Insightgy.com
The Ramotar/PPP administration is determined to frustrate the holding of local government elections under the reformed local government system.” Opposition Leader David Granger
If I stay on any longer, I will die from a stressdriven stroke…I never experienced so much frustration until this Tenth Parliament.”
I can easily identity many local writers of merit and as an Ambassador of Guyana, Dabydeen is only limiting his attention to one thing. Over the past ten years, at the Guyana Prize for Literature, I have noted that some of the submissions needed improving but at the same time, many of the judges have pointed out the works of many writers who reflect impressive potential.”
We are concerned that not enough (licenses) were given to Independent media and the diversity of those who were chosen, but what is adding insult to the injury, people feel that they are not getting a good enough reason for distribution and how candidates were chosen.”
Al Creighton, Critic and Secretary of the Guyana Prize for Literature
Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Isaacs
CITY HALL DILEMMA
Caricom is in danger.”
The reason why those compactors were not fully utilised again is a result of the obtuse behaviour of the acting Town Clerk.” Mayor of Georgetown, Hamilton Green
Where would we be as a people; where would our youth be, if there was no Caribbean Community? A group of disparate countries each seeking to make its own way into a world incredibly hostile to small and micro states.” International Press Institute Executive Director, Alison Bethel-McKenzie
GUYANA ELECTIONS COMMISSION
Every day, there is someone referring to Boodoo’s action, in his preparation of the results of the 2011 elections, as a mistake. There was no mistake. Mr Boodoo was singularly responsible for converting the vote count into seats.” GECOM Commissioner Vincent Alexander
Quite difficult, displeasing, unfair and even odious to be placed in a position of having to make the final decision about renewing Mr. Boodoo’s contract.”
“With all contracts and Council resources we still cannot adequately offer garbage collection to all communities and areas. Imagine what will happen if the contract is to be terminated.”
CARICOM Secretary-General, Irwin LaRocque
Deputy Mayor Patricia Chase-Green
LITERATURE IN GUYANA
Sorry to say, most of the poetry sent to me by resident Guyanese writers is doggerel or puppyrel. The Press can set up all the committees it likes and issue grand policy statements, but dross is dross is unpublishable dross.”
I think it’s a pack of hogwash and these people are just bitter… Enrico Woolford and them are just bitter, not just over the issuance of radio licences, but for the many other things these people are bitter about… I think their time should be better spent.”
Gecom’s Chairman Dr. Steve Surujbally Attorney General Anil Nandlall
Photo Info : 1. Gail Teixeira Guyanatimesgy.com; 2. Irwin LaRocque Caricom.org; 3. Alison Bethel-McKenzie Freemedia.at
Insight November/December 2013
Clockwise from Left to Right: 1. Attorney General Anil Nandlall gesticulates during a debate 2. APNU Member Joan Baveghems 3. Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Isaacs 4. APNU Back Benchers 5. Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy makes an offer from his seat during a debate 6. Deputy Speaker Deborah Backer in discussion with PPP Chief Whip Gail Teixeira and Natural Resources Minister Robert Persaud 7. APNU Member Jaipaul Sharma 8. APNU MP Desmond Trotman 9. APNU Member Arif Bulkan 10. APNU Chief Whip Amna Ally 11. AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan 12. Education Minister Priya Manickchand 13. Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai 14. Alliance for Change Member Moses Nagamootoo on the floor 15. APNU Front Bencher Basil Williams takes on a debate 16. AFC Member Valarie Garrido-Lowe 17. A casual exchange between Speaker Raphael Trotman and Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh
Parliamentary roundup By Kwesi Isles Insight November/December 2013
Clockwise from Left to Right: 18. Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsarran holds up a copy of PPP's Mirror during a debate in the House 19. Prime Minister Sam Hinds 20. Junior Finance Minister Juan Edghill 21. Sergeant-at-Arms Etwaroo Jaggernauth about to remove the Mace 22. Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee 23. Human Services Minister Jennifer Webster 24. Local Government Minister Ganga Persaud 25. New APNU MP Rennita Williams takes the Oath 26. Natural Resources Minister Robert Persaud throws out a challenge 27. PPP Chief Whip Gail Teixeira 28. Opposition Leader David Granger and Housing Minister Irfaan Ali during a break in the House 29. Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues 30. Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh makes a point 31. Opposition Leader David Granger 32. Prime Minister Sam Hinds listens to a point being made by APNU Member Carl Greenidge
26 GUYANA'S NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEALT with more than 20 bills in the period January to August before proceeding on its annual twomonth recess. Of that figure, three were Private Members’ Bills brought by an opposition Member of Parliament. January saw six bills being passed in the House, including two Private Members’ Bills. The Former Presidents (Benefits and Other Facilities) Bill in the name of the A Partnership for National Unity’s Carl Greenidge was passed with the opposition’s majority but with early warning that President Donald Ramotar would not have assented to it. The bill sought to cap the benefits to which former presidents would be entitled and had been a major electoral plank of the opposition parties during the hustings for the 2011 General and Regional Elections. The other Private Members’ Bill, the Fiscal Management and Accountability (Amendment) Insight November/December 2013
Bill which was also in Greenidge’s name, was passed with amendments and sent to a Special Select Committee. It would later emerge from the Committee and be passed in May but that too failed to attract Presidential assent. The other bills passed in January were the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2012, Business 17
Names Registration (Amendment) Bill, the Music and Dancing Licences (Amendment Bill and the Supplementary Appropriation (No. 2 for 2012) Bill. They were all assented to by President Ramotar. February saw the passage of another Supplementary Appropriation Bill,the Supreme Court of Judicature (Appeal) (Amendment) Bill, www.Insightgy.com
the Local Authorities (Elections) (Amendment) and the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2013, the third private member bill in the name of Greenidge. But while the other bills attracted presidential assent, the last word on the fate of the proposed constitutional change was that it was still at the Office of the President. Also of note in February was Speaker of the House Raphael Trotman’s ruling on the right of Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee to speak in light of moves by the Opposition to bar him from participating under that portfolio since July 2012. The opposition parties contended that Rohee was incompetent to hold the post with the charge coming soon after the July 18, 2012 shooting of three protesters at Linden, Region 10. The APNU subsequently tabled a Motion calling on the Minister to resign or that the president strip him of the post. But when that failed they subsequently passed another blocking him from speaking. In November 2012, Speaker Trotman directed that the Motion be sent to the Committee of Privileges to determine the validity of the Opposition’s move but the government moved to the High Court to challenge the constitutionality of his decision. In a subsequent ruling, Trotman stated that the minister would not be allowed to speak until the outcome of the constitutional challenge. That ruling by acting Chief Justice was delivered in January. The Speaker in a 19-page ruling in February noted the Judge’s ruling and stated that he also drew from experiences in other jurisdictions to aid him in arriving at his decision. “Because all executive power vests in the President, a person designated by him as a “Minister” is for all intents and purposes, his “representative”. It is my considered opinion that refusing the right to a Minister to address the House is tantamount to refusing the President the right to speak in the House; a very unconstitutional and untenable situation. The National Assembly can refuse to listen, but it cannot restrict the right of the President to speak, or that of his representatives, to speak and to fully participate in the business of the National Assembly,” Speaker Trotman stated. The Speaker further ruled: “I firmly believe that in its efforts to enforce its rights, the National Assembly cannot, except as provided for in the Constitution, and the Standing Orders of the National Assembly, derogate from the rights of any individual Member of Parliament; irrespective of what the opinion of the others Members is of that individual Member. The continuation of a restraint by the Speaker, on the Hon. Minister Clement J. Rohee, M.P. to speak, and to present Bills, Motions, and Questions, will constitute a serious derogation Insight November/December 2013
of his rights - both as a Member of this august House, and as a Minister of Government.” But Trotman’s ruling was not the end of the minister’s woes. The Firearms (Amendment) Bill, the Evidence (Amendment) Bill 2013 and the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2013 were all defeated at their second readings in March. The opposition parties had signalled their intention earlier not to vote in favour of bills or motions appearing in the name of Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee as those three did. A similar fate was dealt to the Fire Service (Change of Name) Bill 2013 and the Customs (Amendment) Bill 2013 in May, and the Police (Change of Name) Bill 2013 in June. The firearms amendment sought to plug a loophole in the extant Act in order to make trafficking in firearms and components of firearms a crime. “The rejection flies in the face of all decent-minded people who say they are opposed to crime and want to live in a safe environment. If it is that they opposed merely because the minister was the person opposed to this, that is the height of puerile, childish, little boy behaviour in a playground as far as I’m concerned,” Government Chief Whip Gail Teixeira remarked after the vote. But according to Leader of the Opposition David Granger, it was more dangerous to have Rohee remain as Minister Home Affairs than to support the Bill. Meanwhile, the Appropriation Bill, or the Budget Bill, was introduced in April after almost a month of clashes in the House at end of which the budget estimates had been slashed by some GUY$31.3B. The bill reflected the controversial cuts and was passed and assented to by President Ramotar. And like the preceding year’s budget cuts, that matter also ended up before the High Court. The accompanying Fiscal Enactments (Amendment) Bill was also passed and assented to. As in 2012, the Opposition’s main contention was that the GUY$208.8B estimates failed to take into consideration the issues they had raised in what they deemed unsatisfactory pre-budget consultations. Funds were also slashed for entities they said were acting unprofessionally such as repeat casualties the National Communications Network and the Government Information Agency. The parties also voted down allocations for several major projects, notably the Cheddi Jagan International Airport expansion and construction of a Specialty Hospital. They raised concerns about the transparency surrounding the projects and their feasibility. The government maintained that the National Assembly could not amend the budget and it had fallen to Speaker of the House Raphael Trotman to make a ruling prior to the start of the consideration of the estimates. 18
“It has been suggested in this House that because the word amendment is not included in the constitution’s language that the National Assembly cannot amend the estimates. This in my humble opinion is quite a quantum leap to take. If taken to its logical conclusion its manifest absurdity is immediately evident,” the Speaker said in handing down his ruling. The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2013 had its first reading in May and was sent to a Special Select Committee the following month. That too was the subject of heated debate with the opposition accusing the government of trying to ram through unpalatable legislation at the last moment even though it knew what had to be done for some time. The government had indicated that the bill had to be passed by the end of the month or Guyana would face sanctions from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) and external business would be hampered. In November, a week shy of meeting the deadline set out by CFATF, the report from the Select Committee was presented in the House. The Opposition criticised it for not representing all the changes envisaged and vowed to send the Bill back to the Select Committee. The Bill was eventually voted down. June also saw the introduction of the Hydro-Electric Power (Amendment) Bill 2013 which was not passed until August at the final sitting before the recess. However, there has been no word on assent of the bill since it had been intended as support for the now discontinued Amaila Falls Hydropower Project. After years of back and forth three of the four local government bills said to be critical for the hosting of the next local government polls were finally passed in August. Those were the Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2012, the Municipal and District Council Bill 2012, and the Fiscal Transfers Bill 2012. The Married Persons (Property)(Amendment) Bill 2013 and the Land Surveyors (Profession) Bill 2013 both had their first readings that month. When the House resumed sitting in November, it was informed that the Head of State signed into law three of the four Local Government Bills. In November also, the long awaited Telecommunications Bill was debated and sent to a Special Select Committee. The 2013 sittings of the House were marred by discontent on both sides. The government continued to grapple with its minority position and the Opposition with 33 seats continues to face a battle with the Executive’s non assent to legislation passed
Insight November/December 2013
Magda Pollard and Pat Dial launch Insight, looking on is publisher Yog Mahadeo
Welcome to Insight Issue #1 INSIGHT LAUNCH THE INAUGURAL ISSUE OF Insight was launched at the historic Cheddi Jagan Research Centre in the heart of Georgetown on September 17, 2013. The Insight team joined with professional colleagues, dignitaries and other supporters of the effort to welcome the new public affairs magazine into the world of high-quality publishing. Members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of the government, political parties, academics, the media, friends and family assembled in a semi-formal environment to be introduced to Insight, its goals and its team of professionals. The gathering was addressed by publisher, Dr Yog Mahadeo; Editor-in-Chief, Nazima Raghubir, and editorial consultant, Wesley Gibbings. Dr Mahadeo said the publication was the embodiment of a longstanding vision to provide a platform for informed commentary and analysis on contemporary developments. This, he said, would bridge the gaps between Guyanese at home and abroad and other Caribbean nationals interested in a variety of development Insight November/December 2013
issues. He said he also hoped Insight would become an authoritative source of material for researchers and students with an interest in the subjects covered. Ms Raghubir said among Insight’s main missions was to initiate a dialogue on crucial issues facing the country, particularly those which have not been given as much attention as they should have. The high-point of the evening was the unveiling of the inaugural cover which featured a portrait of Guyanese stalwart Magda Pollard. Ms Pollard had been interviewed for the first edition and was cast as a vibrant senior citizen in an analysis of the issues posed by Guyana’s ageing population – the main theme of the first edition.
She did the honours by unveiling the cover and complimenting the Insight team on a job well done
1. Julia Johnson Managing Editor, Prime News; Consultant, Wesley Gibbings; Capitol News Editor Enrico Woolford / 2. Bibi Narine and Demwaves Editor Denis Chabrol / 3. Ms. Pollard autographing her portrait / 4. Ms. Pollard / 5. Canadian High Commissioner, Dr. Nicole Giles, Engineer Bert Carter and US Embassy Chief Economics, Political Officer Michael Fraser
Insight November/December 2013
Feature 2013 Roundup
A LOOK AT THE JUSTICE SYSTEM IN GUYANA AND THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY
23 | Access to Justice 24 | Is the Justice System Working? 25 | A Broken Justice System? 28 | Who should dispense Justice? 29 | Gender is More than Sex 30 | At The End of The Day - Law Career or Not
32 | The CCJ: Innovation in Judicial Engineering 33 | Guyanese Land Law Cases and the CCJ 34 | Forging a Caribbean Jurisprudence 35 | Three Important CCJ Rulings 36 | Changing the Caribbean Intellectual Property Culture
Insight November/December 2013
Queen Victoria Statue situated in front of the High Court
High Court Building on the Avenue of the Republic opened on May 24th, 1887
Access to Justice The Critical Difference By Melinda Janki, LLB, BCL (Oxon), LLM, attorney-at-law
WHEN YOU TAKE A step into the halls of the High Court it feels as if you have taken a step into the past. The old and elegant wooden structure is a stark contrast to the crass American-style concrete buildings that disfigure Georgetown’s once elegant skyline. Lawyers hurry past, dressed in the austere, long black gowns that English barristers adopted in 1714 when they went into mourning for Queen Anne. The archaic language and esoteric court proceedings are rooted in previous centuries. What does any of this have to do with law, justice and the bewildered citizen? One of the first things you learn as a law student is that law and justice are not always the same. Justice requires citizens to respect each other equally as human beings, with dignity. Without that respect, justice disappears, and the law becomes oppressive. Segregation – tantamount to an American version of apartheid – was lawful in the United States of America for decades despite its cruel injustice to African-Americans. Even when rights are legally recognised, they will not mean much, unless the citizen can get redress when those rights are violated. Access to justice only exists if every citizen can go before an impartial judge and know that s/he will get a fair hearing and a reasoned decision. Insight November/December 2013
This system of access to justice depends almost entirely on the legal profession. It is the lawyers who present the arguments in court. It is the lawyers who will become judges. The quality of the judicial process depends completely on the quality of the individuals who make up the legal profession, an entity defined by Lord Templeman, (in a case before the House of Lords), as “an organisation which controls entry and membership, provides educational and training qualifications, insists upon a standard of work and behaviour, imposes disciplinary sanctions for misconduct and, above all, acknowledges and enforces a duty to the public over and above the duty common to all of obeying the law.” “Profession” does not indicate greater status in society. “Profession” demands higher standards of behaviour and greater responsibility towards the public. The men and women in their outdated costumes are what stand between the ordinary citizen and the abuse of power by the State. If lawyers do their job well, executive abuse becomes unthinkable. If lawyers abandon their responsibility then society begins to crumble. The rule of law, not the arbitrary rule of men, is what creates civilised societies and stops them from sliding back into the dark ages. An attorney who does not respect the rule of law is not fit to practice.
The importance of the rule of law is reflected in the rules of the Guyana Bar Association which state that one of the Association’s objectives is “to uphold the rule of law.” But lawyers cannot do it alone. The public must believe in the rule of law and enforce the limits on State power. This is immediately problematic. Lawyers cost money. Legal aid is currently inadequate for the needs of the poor and pro bono legal representation cannot cover the gap. Justice delayed is also justice denied. When you get to court, cases drag on. Some judges take too long to give their decisions or do not give them at all. When lawyers let things drift, the client suffers. Access to justice also depends on persons knowing their rights. A constitution is a useless bit of paper unless people know how to use it. The legal profession has a duty to educate the public on their rights and on the importance of the rule of law. A passion for justice, duty to the public, integrity and a sense of honour distinguish the true lawyer from the mere jobbing attorney, hanging about for money, power or status. As Charles Houston, the African-American attorney said: “A lawyer is either a social engineer or a parasite on society”
This edition of Insight critically examines the role and functions of Guyana's judicial and legal system. It seeks to answer questions related to the effectiveness of the system in delivering justice through wholesome interpretation of the country's laws. Elsewhere in this publication we look at issues related to international law and specific interventions in civil and criminal jurisdictions. For this section, Insight's Nazima Raghubir sat with two jurists who offered their insights into the functioning of the system, with particular emphasis on the role of the judiciary. Ronald Burch-Smith is President of the Guyana Bar Association and Bryn Pollard S.C, is a former Chief Parliamentary Counsel. NR: Mr Burch-Smith, can you define what you mean when you use the word ‘justice’? RBS: In the civil context, justice is the provision of a system for the settlement of disputes through the courts. In the criminal sense, justice is obviously much wider. It depends on one’s perspective. It’s balancing the rights of persons who are accused of crimes. It’s balancing the rights of victims. It’s balancing society’s need to protect itself from dangerous persons and dangerous practices. NR: Is the justice system working? RBS: There undoubtedly is an enormous gap between what we ought to have and what we need and what we presently have. I will start with the criminal sector. The amount of offences that are being prosecuted overwhelms the current system, magistrates are overwhelmed … overworked. They are coping with prosecutors who work hard in the magistrates’ court. Matters are prosecuted mainly by police prosecutors. On a rare occasion there may be a private prosecutor, an attorney and on an even rarer occasion the state may prosecute. By and large the system is intended to work for some summary offences. Serious offences are not adequately prosecuted under the current system. There is an effort to change the system from one of preliminary inquiries to paper committals, this has had very limited success. We are still in the very early stages. I think we need more resources. I don’t know how the state manages its review processes. Any system requires controls, management reviews, audits, both financial audits and also performance audits. I don’t think you can just pass legislation and let it go and hope that the actors in the system will figure out what to do. NR: So, would you conclude that the system is delivering? RBS: To (some) extent I don’t think it is yet delivering to its full potential. But there is certainly a need for management of the paper committal process, even if the paper committal process were to work perfectly Insight November/December 2013
you still have the problem at the s t a g e of an
Is The Justice System INSIGHT INTERVIEW Working? the judicial system.
indictment where you have a limited number of judges, who are doing criminal matters. For smaller summary offences, it usually takes too long to have them completed. Magistrates have been making serious efforts to speed up how they deal with summary matters by being more rigid about whether or not they grant adjournments, for whatever reason, which affects both the prosecution and the defence. On the civil side, there is an enormous backlog. There are two courts that are fairly expeditious the commercial court and the constitutional court. I have some reservations in the manner in which those courts are administered. I think it … unfair to have two individual judges who are bogged down with a disproportionate amount of work. All judges are overwhelmed but these are two courts where there is enormous work and there is intense pressure. Some types of civil matters are dealt with expeditiously - divorces, matters brought up on originating summons, petitions and so on. One of the things I think the State should consider urgently is appointing temporary judges who would sit for a period of two months or three months to deal with matters. It is easy to verify interests, eliminate conflicts of interests, I am satisfied that there more than sufficient persons with integrity and experience who would be willing to serve as a temporary judge for limited periods, two months, three months, probably six months. Most of these matters are two hours of evidence. NR: For whom is the system working? RBS: Nature abhors a vacuum, if we have a system we inherited from colonial days that says that if you misbehave you are prosecuted by the police, the presumption is that it is done successfully and eventually you’ll stay in prison. If you do bad things in business, there are civil penalties and you’re punished, you are required to pay and do the right thing. But when that system that we have acquired starts breaking down, persons will find some other way to resolve their disputes. In the civil context, you have the same thing. If the state allows this vacuum to continue, the State is encouraging people to settle their issues outside 24
Bryn Pollard SC, Former Chief Parliamentary Counsel. NR: Is the legal system working? BP: The point is that it doesn’t seem as if you are having speedy trials. It is obvious the system is clogged up and when you look at the list of cases which are published annually by the Director of Public Prosecutions, you have no less than 250 cases. Now, when is that list going to be brought under control? Is it a question of having more judges or it is a question of the judges not working hard enough? You’ll see in the Demerara Assizes, Berbice Sessions, they are only assigned two or three judges, In days gone by, there were no less than five judges doing the criminal work. NR: Would resources solve the problems? BP: If you compare us with Trinidad, the argument is that Trinidad has a lot of judges with a population of more than a million but our population is far less. If you take our voting population, less than ¾ million then the question is how many judges do we need at the level of the High Court? In our time, when I was Crown Counsel in the AG’s Office and my contemporaries were Kenneth George, Bertie Van Sertima, and so on, Gilbert Farnum was Solicitor General. He gave us six depositions to walk with to go to court and the reason for that is that you may get a guilty plea, therefore you do the next case. Jurors use to be empanelled and the judge used to be brought back from home to take a verdict and what not. There was a Saturday morning when they had a prison break with Charles James, but that case was tried on a Saturday morning before Justice Phillips. That case was heard on a Saturday morning. The judges nowadays don’t keep those hours. If you walk the corridors after 3 o’clock, hardly anything happens. NR: But how can you how can a judge keep those hours in a system with so many limitations and challenges? When they already have to be managers themselves? BP: Part of the problem is that, he (a judge) is in charge of his court. He can adjourn anytime. The answer rests in the Judicial Service Commission and the Chancellor and to some extent the Chief Justice. Management and rules are key
Opening of Demerara Assizes
Justice System? By Nazima Raghubir
ACTS OF VIOLENCE AND other heinous acts often generate an outcry for what is often described as “justice.” “We need justice!” is often the admonition. Justice, and the cry for it, is something Guyanese are very familiar with. It is, for example, the title of the late Father Andrew Morrison’s 1998 book entitled “Justice: The struggle for democracy in Guyana.” “Justice” has also been the cry since the police killing of Shaka Blair in 2002 which was followed by a slew of murders and other alleged extra judicial killings. The needful call for justice continues to ring out daily. It resounds each time a woman is murdered at the hands of her lover, each time a child is sexually assaulted, or each time a business is robbed and criminals caught.
INSIGHT FEATURE Insight November/December 2013
The rise of social media and its ability to bring us information on a timelier basis from over the world has provided a platform for greater national and 25
international exposure to injustice in Guyana. The justice system comprises a variety of institutions. In the pursuit of justice, critical institutions include the Guyana Police Force, with its investigating capabilities and ranks whom we expect to be the upholders of the laws. Then, there is the judiciary, an arm of government separate and distinct from the executive. Magistrates’ Courts sit across the country, in each county, Demerara, Berbice and Essequibo, with courts sitting sporadically in Regions 1 and 9. They hear small criminal and civil matters like assaults, theft, preliminary inquiries into murders and matters involving tenants and landlords. Then, there is the High Court. The High Court is presided over by the Chief Justice and several judges and is where serious matters are heard, including rapes, murders and acts of treason. “The Law and You” - a public awareness brochure of the Georgetown Legal Aid explains that both the Magistrates’ and High Courts are bolstered by the presence of the Court of Appeal “where both criminal and civil appeals from the High Court and from the Full Court and Magistrates’ Courts are heard”. The dispensing of justice is dependent on a working legal system, one which is complemented by an efficiently working penal system. In Guyana, there are holding facilities across the country.
In addition, there are the Mazaruni Prisons which house persons serving long sentences and the New Amsterdam Prisons for women. Sitting in the cells of at least three of these prisons are more than 40 persons on Death Row. In this edition of Insight we have set out to examine whether or not the legal and judicial system is working, particularly when it comes to the fair and timely dispensing of justice. In October, Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh described the performance of High Court
THERE ARE TWO FULL TIME CRIMINAL JUDGES, WHO ARE ROTATED IN EACH ASSIZES. THERE IS ONE IN BERBICE, ONE IN ESSEQUIBO BUT THERE ARE MORE THAN 200 INDICTABLE MATTERS AWAITING TRIAL justices as “inadequate” when he spoke at the closing session of the IDB-funded Modernisation of the Justice Administration Programme. “The performance of the judges in the Supreme Court is woefully inadequate and criticism in that regard is justified,” Justice Singh said. Senior Counsel, Bryn Pollard, when interviewed by Insight, however contended that the system itself is “broken.” This is a sentiment reminiscent of Justice Roxanne George’s call in May 2010 on all stakeholders to help “fix the system.”
Justice George’s famous statement came as a prisoner, Justin John, an Amerindian who was remanded in 2003 for murder appeared before her along with 20 other prisoners requesting an early trial. That year, in the June Assizes, Justice William Ramlal freed John. His lawyers had argued that John’s constitutional right to a fair trial within a reasonable time was violated since he had been awaiting trial for so many years. In May 2008, Chief Justice Ian Chang granted bail to Hemchand Persaud who was charged, along with another man, for the 2000 murder of James Sancharran and six year old Afraz Khan. The other man, Rohan Singh was in 2006 sentenced to 36 years in jail while Persaud had a new trial ordered. Upon the prospect of a fourth preliminary inquiry, Persaud’s lawyer asserted that his client’s fundamental rights had been infringed upon having waited eight years for a trial. The Chief Justice, citing Article 139 of the Constitution, said there are provisions for bail and ordered that Persaud be granted $200,000 bail on the condition he report to the police station each week. President of the Guyana Bar Association (GBA) Ronald Burch-Smith has however recognised that the repair work to the system goes beyond the granting of more resources. “In Demerara,” he said in an interview with Insight, “There are two full time criminal judges, who are rotated in each assizes. There is one in Berbice, one
Two Prisoners make an appearance in the High Court
A large prison in the capital city, Camp Street Prison, is complemented by holding facilities in Lusignan on East Coast of Demerara and Timehri Prisons
in Soesdyke. There are strong criticisms about overcrowding in these facilities - overcrowding that has stemmed from a backlog of cases in the courts.
Insight November/December 2013
Case List 2012 Demerara January Assizes • 112 matters listed • 6 cases completed • Rape, Robbery Under Arms, Murder Demerara April Assizes • 234 Cases listed in Essequibo but there are more than 200 indictable matters awaiting trial,” the GBA head said. “Practically, what happens is that the only trials are done are murder trials, on rare occasions you may have a few of the rapes that are pending that are called up for trial, predominantly murders, because those persons are on remand, but rape is a very serious offence, its prevalent, it’s obviously after murder one of the most serious offences.” Burch-Smith said that there is an enormous backlog of rape cases, in particular. An Insight check revealed that in the 2012 lists from the Assizes alone there were more than 120 rape matters. “The hallmark of a working system must be the timely dispensation of justice,” Burch-Smith said. “The problem that is pervasive in our system is that delays affect from the Magistrates’ Court to the Court of Appeal. I find that from the point of view of the public, getting justice, if you file a matter, you have to tell you client not to get excited and they may have to wait up to ten years.” Managing Attorney of the Guyana Legal Aid Clinic and President of the Guyana Association of Women Lawyers Simone Morris-Ramlall believes the major issue is a shortage of personnel. “The main problem is having human resources, having judicial personnel, including magistrates,” Morris-Ramlall told Insight. Insight November/December 2013
Morris-Ramlall feels that a better working system with more resources, particularly human resources, could aid with dispensing justice in a timely manner. Among her recommendations is the need for “tools” physical and otherwise within the system, recording devices to help legal officers, judges and magistrates when taking statements and evidence, research assistants and a rule that makes mandatory, legal education for judicial officers. Burch-Smith however explained that new rules are to be introduced soon. An IDB Funded Programme towards the Modernisation of the Justice Administration System, which was implemented in 2007, actually attempted to address several issues plaguing the system. Attorney General Anil Nandlall has pointed to the enactment of a number of new pieces of legislation, the training of legal officers, plans to have court rooms equipped with voice recordings and the digitisation of law reports and court records.
• 5 of these were completed during the Assizes, four completed were for murder, one for rape and robbery under arms Essequibo May Assizes • 18 Cases listed • 1 case heard, Murder Berbice June Assizes • 43 cases listed • Six completed • 3 for murder, 1 for manslaughter, 1 for carnal knowledge and 1 for abduction Information found on http://www.dpp.gy/
Nandlall said that through the programme there has been the installation of management information and file management systems for the easy transfer of files at the High Court adding that visible infrastructural changes have also been made. The Attorney General feels that the programme is a viable attempt at reforming of the legal and justice sector in a way which will precipitate the speedy delivery of justice
IN 2013, TWO KILLINGS bearing the mark of vigilante justice forced the nation to ask if such a modus operandi had become the preferred mechanism for citizens to have their matters addressed. Is it a question of citizens’ lack of belief in a system constitutionally set up to deliver justice to them or is it their belief that justice is better delivered by their own hands? In May, Nigel Lowe’s badly-beaten body was found tied to a utility pole in the former squatting area of Sophia in Georgetown. It was alleged that Lowe had stolen from someone in the neighbourhood and was beaten as a result. The police investigations met a dead end since no witnesses came forward.
Who should dispense Justice? By Nazima Raghubir
Weeks later, six men appeared in court in another part of the country, Corentyne, charged with the murder of Alfred Monroe. Monroe and another man were allegedly beaten to death for a suspected theft.
A PATTERN IS EMERGING IN WHICH TWO SEPARATE JUSTICE SYSTEMS ARE BEING ALLOWED TO OPERATE IN GUYANA Curiously, Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell, had in September, following the death of a businessman at the hands of bandits, directed residents of MetenMeer-Zorg to take back their communities from criminals. “I must not be a firearm holder and there is a robbery and I just peep and that’s it. I expect firearm holders don’t be selfish in their communities. I expect them to come forward,” he had said. The Police themselves have been blamed since the early 2000s for several instances of shooting, maiming and the killing of armed and unarmed persons. They still find themselves accused of playing the roles of judge, jury and executioner as allegations of extra judicial killing continue to surface from the killing of an unarmed youth Shaquille Grant in Agricola in 2012 and the South Road shooting that left three young men dead in 2013. This is a perplexing state of affairs that perhaps points in the direction of a claim by the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) in 2009. “A pattern is emerging in which two separate justice systems are being allowed to operate in Guyana,” the association had said.
Hopefully, this is not the case
Insight November/December 2013
Gender is More Than Sex
A Commentary on McEwan, Fraser, Clarke, Persaud and SASOD vs. AG of Guyana By Sheila I. Velez-Martinez
ON SEPTEMBER 6, 2013, the High Court of the Supreme Court of Judicature of Guyana released an important decision regarding the country’s law prohibiting cross dressing “for an improper purpose.” The decision and order in McEwan, Fraser, Clarke, Persaud and SASOD vs. AG of Guyana includes both encouraging and troubling elements. In the case, the High Court was called to address a constitutional challenge to section 153(1)(xlvii) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act. Section 153(1)(xlvii) makes a criminal offence of a man wearing female attire, and a woman wearing male attire, publicly, for any improper purpose. Chief Justice Ian Chang decided that section 153 (1) (xlvii) is immune from the constitutional challenge brought by the four transgender litigants and their supporting organizations. As an 1893 law, pre-dating Guyana’s independence, the Chief Justice stated “legislative rather than curial action is necessary to invalidate the provision.” In as much this provision was covered by the “savings clause” of the Guyana Constitution. I join Inter American Human Rights Commissioner Rose-Marie Belle Antoine in her criticism. The savings clauses inserted in the independent constitutions across the Caribbean serve to perpetuate laws that were not products of the independent nations’ own desires; not the result of deep reflection about the nature and direction of the new Caribbean societies. In a way the saving clause perpetuates legislation that is more foreign to the current Caribbean that the conducts they proscribe, which as Commissioner Bell Antoine has said “is quite ironic”. The High Court in this decision decisively engaged in a discoursive change regarding the transgender community. Discourse elucidated by courts can be as important as the decision inasmuch as it can have democracy enhancing consequences as social movements move forward. Chief Justice Chang went to great lengths in the tone and style of his opinion to distance the High Court from the conduct of the Chief Magistrate who handled their cases after the initial
detention. According to the Decision, the Former Chief Magistrate Melissa Robertson told them that they were “confused about their sexuality and they were men and not women and that they must go to church and give their lives to Jesus Christ.”
IT IS NOT CRIMINALLY OFFENSIVE FOR A PERSON TO WEAR THE ATTIRE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX AS A MATTER OF PREFERENCE OR TO GIVE EXPRESSION TO OR TO REFLECT HIS OR HER SEXUAL ORIENTATION
The court referred to the plaintiffs consistently as “a transgendered person” - who although possessing male primary sexual characteristics, was identifying with the female gender. Because of his orientation, he was not conforming to masculine sex stereotypes such as the manner of dressing and comporting himself.” In rendering the decision, the court recognised the existence of transgender identities, declaring that the law “does not proscribe trans-gender dressing per se.” The High Court went even further, stating, “it is not criminally offensive for a person to wear the attire of the opposite sex as a matter of preference or to give expression to or to reflect his or her sexual orientation”. As the decision articulates the transgender right to self it also demonstrates the inherent limitations of a formal equality framework for facilitating meaningful critical engagement with concepts of sex and gender. Although formal equality – treating trans-people the same as non-trans-people despite gender non-conformity – may reduce instances of blatant discrimination, it also serves to conceal and perpetuate the underlying stigmatisation of nonconformity to gender norms. This is evident in the failure of the High Court to understand another crucial point raised by the plaintiffs. That in its application Section 153 also discriminates against the transgender plaintiffs inasmuch as because of their expression of their sexuality they are subject to additional criminal penalties if engaged in conduct vaguely labelled “improper”. The High Court reasoned that since the “prohibition is against persons of both genders for doing the same kind of acts; it cannot be successfully
argued that the provision discriminates on the basis of gender”. It is commendable that the High Court opens the door to the possibility of challenging discriminatory acts based on gender under the anti-discrimination provisions of article 149(2) of the Constitution. Unfortunately, the analysis of the High Court conflates the concepts of sex and gender. Gender is not merely the cultural manifestation of one’s biological sex. In order for gender to be understood as a topic for legal and political reform, it cannot be understood as flowing from one’s inclusion in one of two biologically determined sexes. In other words, sex denotes the biophysical aspects of personhood associated with man and woman while gender denotes the social constructions understood as “male and female” or “masculine and feminine”. Gender tends to signify the personal appearance, personality attributes, and sociosexual roles that society considers to be “masculine” or “feminine,” and which society imposes on individuals on the basis of sex assignments. Gender non-conforming people challenge this binary and expose the infinite possibilities of gender identities. If we aspire to a system of justice that operationalises the protection of human rights and the principles of anti-subordination then, the formal binary articulation of gender rights will be incompatible with the complete protection of the rights of the gender nonconforming. Protecting this community requires acknowledging the ontological incompleteness of gender essentialism in representing the relational dynamics in our societies
Sheila I. Velez-Martinez is Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
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At The End of The Day Law Career or Not
Department of Law, University of Guyana
By Andrew Kendall
CONVERSATIONS WITH UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS pursuing degrees in English, Communication Studies, History or Sociology reveal an intriguing trend in the direction of a growing attraction to the practice of law.
department, in addition to the adults heading there. They don’t all make it, but oftentimes their hopes are not dashed. They try again the next year. Their enthusiasm is impressive but their reasons for it seem occasionally illusory.
through the elimination process ended up in the law department. Or, people would tell you, You’re good at arguing, so be a lawyer. Or, they watched a lot of Matlock growing up. And, ultimately, they settle on law because it provides a stable career,” she said.
Insight was not out to perform a complete empirical study but in each of the four disciplines mentioned at least two students from each confessed that they were only pursuing a year’s study in these respective faculties.
Why do so many young people seem hell-bent on a career in law?
Saudia Edghill, in Second Year at the University of Guyana says, “I do believe that many students enter the law department because they were influenced from a very young age by people who expressed the financial gains of being a lawyer.”
Insight asked one young lady in the Sociology department if she wasn’t enjoying the time in the faculty. “Yes, sociology is nice. But, it’s law I wanted to do at U.G (University of Guyana). So I’m doing this as a pre-Law course.” When pressed as to why law she paused. Then she replied, “Law is a good career.” It’s an isolated incident but intriguing nonetheless. Year after year, teenagers leave high school brighteyed and bushy-tailed ready to enter the law Insight November/December 2013
Tiffany Jeffrey, a third year law student at University of Guyana weighs in. “On the first day of classes at University the criminal law lecturer usually asks students why they are in the law department and everybody has a reason, sometimes it just ends up being a frivolous reason.” Tiffany chuckles as she relays a story of a girl who said she focused on law because her aunt always had a dream of her in black and white. “Sometimes it’s just a matter of elimination. Some people saw what they did well in at high school and 30
It’s a recurring statement, law gives you stability. When I left high-school, faced with the options of a degree in English or a degree in Law the incessant advice from countless adults was to choose law – it leads to a ready career, not so much for English they argue. It is true, a law degree arms one with the semblance of a certain idea of a career path more than some other disciplines. Ralph Ramkarran S.C writes, www.Insightgy.com
“The opportunities for newly qualified lawyers are expanding rapidly. Private practice is still the most attractive option. But wide opportunities now exist and continue to open up in other state sector areas and in the private sector.” Approaching a university major with a career choice in sight is not a new one. Or even one peculiar to Guyana. The UK Guardian, in a piece Do students choose subjects for love or money? found more and more college students were entering fields not for passion but for the hopes of a good job. But, with the law degree so incessantly seen as one of the most arduous undergraduate degrees by students and lecturers it seems unlikely that someone with only an incidental inclination for the law would last too long at law school. For example, the law programme at University of Guyana is a notably competitive one. Each year sees approximately sixty students entered and at the end of the three year programme the top 25 with the highest GPAs are offered a place at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad to complete the final two years. It would seem the cream rises to the top, but because of love of the trade or just hard work? Milassa Benjamin, is not studying at University of Guyana but pursuing a law degree in her first year at a private university, School of the Nations University. But even there she admits: “I am not sure whether persons are driven by passion for the law though or just passion for doing better than their peers
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and making their resumes look good for future job prospects. I think of those who do well some do excel because they love it but doing well for its own reward is a major part, too.” If the students are succeeding, though, one wonders if the reasons why are important. Students may be working assiduously in hopes of attaining a partnership at a good firm at the end of the program, but is that such a bad thing? Jan Ginter Deutsch of Yale Law School in a paper “Corporate Law as the Ideology of Capitalism” considers a number of issues on the relationship between law and economics. Her issues are not the same as ours in Guyana, but if the relationship between law and economics is close, is the lawyer fight for his client urged on only by economics, an expressly bad lawyer? The argument has been turning for centuries, philosopher John Dewey contended: “Economics has been treated as on a lower level than either morals or politics. Yet the life which men, women and children actually lead, the opportunities open to them, the values they are capable of enjoying, their education, their share in all the things of art and science, are mainly determined by economic conditions. Hence we can hardly expect a moral system which ignores economic conditions to be other than remote and empty” Lauren agrees that a future battery of lawyers in
it only for the economics is not ideal but then she points out. “A carpenter might not love his job but he still has the skill to make good furniture. At the end of the day I don’t have a problem with people being driven by money as long as they do their job competently and justly. Still, it would be a sad future if people just go through the system as is without really looking to see change and development.” And, perhaps, therein rests the crux. Because lawyers exist in such a public sphere the moralistic roots of their assertions are almost always in question. Students may be flocking to the law department with zeal but if they’re doing well and performing their duties assiduously does it matter why they’re entering the field? Or, maybe we should be worried if an excess of them are not in it for the love of the law. At the end of the day Tiffany says she is not too worried about the profession she hopes to call her own in a few years. “I think every profession has a few or more than a few people that have become jaded but there will always be those intrepid few that are compelled to excel for the love of the job itself. And even if it’s just one in ten, those few with their hearts and minds in the right place will lead the way.”
Perhaps, Tiffany is right. At the end of the day, those with the vested interest might end up being the ones leading the way. At least, that is the situation one hopes will transpire
The Caribbean Court of Justice
The CCJ: Innovation in Judicial Engineering By Professor Justice Duke Pollard IN THE PRESENT SUBMISSION, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is probably the most innovative international judicial institution in the international community today in terms of its composition, financing arrangements, jurisdiction and the legally binding nature of its determinations. In this connection, it is important to note that the judges of the CCJ are not appointed by political surrogates as in the case of the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Justice and similar international judicial institutions existing today but by an impartial, apolitical Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission representative of important regional stakeholders.
Caribbean Court of Justice, Trinidad
The financing arrangements of the Court operate to ensure its financial independence from the Governments of States participating in the regime. The jurisdiction of the CCJ is also unique in as much as the Court is the body of last resort for appeals in municipal law matters and also serves as an international court applying rules of international law in the exercise of its original jurisdiction in interpreting the constituent instrument of the Caribbean Community, to wit, the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing the Caribbean Community including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. In this latter capacity the Court has deemed itself the guardian of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. Finally, the determinations of the CCJ constitute legally binding decisions for parties appearing in proceedings before the Court unlike the decisions of comparable international tribunals which bind only the parties to a dispute in respect of the issues falling to be determined by such tribunals, for example, the International Court of Justice (Article 59 of its Statute).
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In this latter context, the CCJ has recently delivered a transformational judgement in Shanique Myrie v The State of Barbados which is likely to be determinative of the structured development of the regional economic integration movement known as CARICOM
THE DETERMINATIONS OF THE CCJ CONSTITUTE LEGALLY BINDING DECISIONS FOR PARTIES APPEARING IN PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COURT 32
Guyanese Land Law Cases and the CCJ THE CARIBBEAN COURT OF Justice has played an important role in offering clarity, legal certainty and stability to the Guyanese community on a number of land related issues. Guyana’s legal system for adjudicating land matters has been described as a “hybrid” one which is based on a mixture of RomanDutch law and English common law.
EQUITABLE INTERESTS IN IMMOVABLE PROPERTY In the case of Ramdass v Jairam and Others (2008) 72 WIR 270, the Court had to determine the much debated issue of whether equitable interests in land in Guyana were recognised or could be acquired. The Court clarified this situation by definitively stating that equitable interests in immovable property are not recognised and cannot be acquired in Guyana. The Court explained that where a purchaser acquired no equitable interest in the land which he bought, he merely had a right to sue for specific performance before title was conveyed to a third party for value.
did not sue, the third party purchaser would obtain an indefeasible title which could only be declared void by a court upon proof of fraud. In Jassodra Ramkishun v Conrad Ashford Fung-KeeFung and Others (2010) 76 WIR 328, the Court built on the foundation laid in Ramdass v Jairam and answered an array of other issues. The Court discovered and applied a Roman Dutch doctrine that “volunteers who acquire a real right, in whatever form, are bound by an undertaking of their predecessor with regard to the thing to which the real right adheres whether they have knowledge of that undertaking or not” and ruled that in Guyana a purchaser for value of land can obtain an order for specific performance against a volunteer who is not a party to a contract.
ADVERSE POSSESSION In Toolsie Persaud Ltd v Andrews James Investments and Others (2008) 72 WIR 292, the Court clarified the Guyanese law of adverse possession.
The Court cautioned that where such a purchaser Insight November/December 2013
In its ruling, the Court identified the criteria for establishing a claim of adverse possession. A claimant had to show that for the requisite period he (and any necessary predecessor) had: a sufficient degree of physical custody and control of the claimed land in the light of the land’s circumstances; and an intention to exercise such custody and control on his own behalf and for his own benefit, independently of anyone else except someone engaged with him in a joint enterprise on the land. In its exposition of the law, the Court found what is required in a claim of adverse possession is the intention to make full use of the land in the way in which an owner would, whether he knew he was not the owner or mistakenly believed himself to be the owner. If a dispossessed landowner wishes to stop time running in favour of the person in the undisturbed possession of the land, he must bring proceedings against that person who is in possession of the property.
The case further decided that it was possible for the State to acquire land by adverse possession www.Insightgy.com
President of the CCJ, Sir Dennis Byron
Forging a Caribbean Jurisprudence INSIGHT INTERVIEW IN THE MINDS OF many, the landmark October 4, 2013 judgment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), in the case of Jamaican national, Shanique Myrie versus the State of Barbados firmly entrenched the independent role of the Court in adjudicating upon matters in its original jurisdiction. The court found that Myrie had, in March 2011, been wrongfully denied entry into Barbados, subjected to a humiliating cavity search and unlawfully detained overnight in a cell and later expelled from the island. The ruling was especially noteworthy since Barbados is fully subscribed to the CCJ both in its original jurisdiction and as its final appellate court while Jamaica has retained the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as its final court of appeal. The Myrie case also re-opened public discourse on the value of the CCJ and its place as a symbol of regional juridical sovereignty. To date, however, only Barbados, Belize and Guyana subscribed to the Court as their final court of appeal. In this timely, exclusive Insight interview with President of the CCJ, Sir Dennis Byron, we look at the role of the CCJ in affirming the integrity of the process which gave birth to the idea of an indigenous court of final appeal and a mechanism for addressing breaches of the Treaty of Chaguaramas. Insight sat with the CCJ President at his office in Port of Spain. Insight: There is a belief that in small countries such as ours, it is difficult to Insight November/December 2013
develop a truly independent jurisprudence. How do you respond to such a view? DB: Any concern is a concern that must be addressed. It is clear that there are elements in our society who think this way. But I donâ€™t think that it is justified at all. In a small society the judges are very visible. Everybody knows the judges â€“ their background, their lifestyle, their behaviour, the way they operate. I think the standard of judicial behaviour of judges in small communities must perforce be of a higher standard than judges in large communities where they are largely anonymous. When you live in a big community, nobody knows you at your home, at your church, at the supermarket, when you are partying. But in a small community, the judges are constantly in the public eye. So I take the view that our judicial demeanour is with us 24/7. I am not aware of very many instances where there has ever been a clearly discussed accusation of corrupt behaviour. I would imagine that over all these
WE HAVE ESTABLISHED A VERY INDEPENDENT COMMISSION, A REGIONAL JUDICIAL AND LEGAL SERVICES COMMISSION WHICH IS APPOINTED INDEPENDENTLY OF THE GOVERNMENTS OF THE REGION www.Insightgy.com
years, there have been less than a handful of instances that people can point to. It is extremely strange that this is something which should feature so prominently in the Caribbean Community. When the CCJ was being established, much attention was paid to these issues and steps were taken to ensure that the institutional arrangements guaranteed that there was no interference with the selection … of judges. So, in the first instance we have established a very independent commission, a regional judicial and legal services commission which is appointed independently of the governments of the region, in that the major appointing authorities are regional institutions such as the bar associations, the law societies, the Council of Legal Education, the universities and so on. This selection process is a transparent and open process. Whenever there is a vacancy for the Court, it’s advertised and the applicants can come from anywhere. The process is governed by selection criteria which are published and during the operations of the Court the selection of the judges have reflected an international flavour of high quality. The idea that seven judges who have established independent reputations in different parts of the Caribbean and different parts of the world would be amenable to corrupting influences and biases is unthinkable. Insight: Given the makeup and performance of the Court so far, what do you think has been its impact on Caribbean jurisprudence at the national and regional levels, with particular reference to its final appeal court? DB: One would have to look at the three countries that have come on board with the final appellate jurisdiction – Guyana, Barbados and Belize. Guyana is a special case because … before it joined, it did not have a second level of appeals. When you look around the world in countries that have a good justice system, the structure of justice was a trial, then an appeal, where the issues were sifted, and then there was an appeal to an appeal court. The CCJ provided that for Guyana, putting it in line with modern countries that have a justice system they are proud about. When you look at it theoretically, having that third level of appeal is really important for the final analysis and development of jurisprudence in a country. Guyana, for example, has a hybrid land law system Insight November/December 2013
which is a mixture of Roman Dutch law and English common law which is fairly unique and complex. So this mixed land law system has for many years existed but it created a number of jurisprudential problems. Although I suppose the situation is ripe for legislative reform, in the meantime ordinary folk have disputes which require resolution by the judicial system. [He cites the landmark cases of Ramdass v Jairam in 2008 and Ramkissoon v Fung Kee Fung and 2010 in which the principle of “equitable interest” was explored by the CCJ]. I think that (these cases) clarified and developed important issues that were troubling the jurisprudence in Guyana for some time. There had been several cases which had been settled before the court in which the judgments were not consistent with one another. Insight: There is a view among many Guyanese that ordinary folk do not enjoy equal treatment within the court system. Do you think the performance of the CCJ can address such a perception? DB: When you look at the number of cases that have come from Guyana, it demonstrates that people have had an opportunity to reach a second level appeal which they never had before. It’s also very fascinating when you look at the litigants, because many people had thought that the CCJ would have been a court only for criminal matters, but there has only been one criminal case coming from Guyana. And when you look at who the litigants are, they have comprised many ordinary folks. It has not only been the state or corporations or wealthy people. The CCJ has as part of its rules special provision for appealing as a poor person. The Court is able to make orders which will make it easier for people who fall in that category to access the Court’s activities. [He cites Elizabeth Ross v Coreen St Clair in 2008, involving “two poor ladies” over the right to occupy a condominium]. The CCJ heard it “in forma pauperis” (a phrase that indicates the permission given by a court to an indigent to initiate a legal action without having to pay for court fees or costs due to his or her lack of financial resources) and two members of the Guyanese bar agreed to represent these ladies pro bono. These ladies were able to have most of the hearings done by teleconferencing. The Court used its technology to allow them not to have to expend money to leave their home base to access the Court. They could stay right in Guyana and appear the Court that was here (Trinidad)
Three Important CCJ Rulings THREE SEPARATE RULINGS OF the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) between 2006 and 2011 pronounced authoritatively on important questions of human rights and international and constitutional law. The CCJ had to rule on the legitimate expectations of citizens when it comes to the impact of international law on national jurisdictions; the enforcing of the right to a fair trial in criminal cases and the duration of pre-trial detention. In the Barbados appeal related to Attorney General and Others v Joseph and Boyce  69 WIR 104, the island had become a party to and ratified the Inter American Convention on Human Rights but not yet incorporated it into domestic law. The Court considered that although individual citizens derived no rights under treaties agreed to between states, the promotion of universal standards of human rights showed a tendency toward a confluence of domestic and international jurisprudence. In this event, the Court suggested that a ratified but unincorporated treaty could give rise to “certain legitimate expectations.” In the end, the Court reasoned that in balancing the competing interests of the individual convicted of murder and sentenced to death to pursue a petition to the Inter American Human Rights Commission, and that of the State to refuse to await the completion of the process, the principle of legitimate expectation prevailed. In 2010, the CCJ ruled on Frank Errol Gibson v the Attorney General of Barbados CCJ 3(AJ); 76 WIR 137 on the question of the enforcement of the constitutional guarantee of fair trials in criminal cases. Among the issues that came before the Court in this appeal, which involved a murder accused, was whether the obligation in the constitution to provide adequate facilities for the right of the accused required the State to fund the instruction of a forensic expert, and if so, whether the accused was obliged to disclose any report obtained from the expert. On these questions, the Court ruled that the “inequality of arms” was so serious that failure to provide the expert investigator could adversely affect the fairness of the trial. It also concluded that although an accused did not have any general duty to disclose, if the defence proposed to call the www.Insightgy.com
expert to give evidence, they would be obliged to share the report with the Crown.
is that full credit should be granted for time spent on remand.
A judgment in 2011 also pronounced on the duration of pre-trial detention. In Romeo Da Costa Hall v The Queen  CCJ6 (AJ), the CCJ ruled that while a court does have discretion, the primary rule
The CCJ, however, pointed out in this appeal which came from Barbados that some elements would justify exceptions to the primary rule. This would include situations where a court concludes that
a defendant deliberately contrives to expand the time on remand, and the entire or part of the pretrial custody was unconnected with the offence for which he is being sentenced, and where the custody or part of it is also caused by other offences for which he had been convicted or was awaiting trial
Changing the Caribbean Intellectual Property Culture By Steve Maximay
THE COUNTRIES THAT COLLECTIVELY constitute the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) all enjoy worldwide acclaim as having exotic cultural forms. Their cultural expressions run the full gamut from Reggae in Jamaica, Queh-Queh in Guyana, to Carnival in Trinidad. Historically, the Caribbean was infamous for swashbuckling pirates who successfully plundered European shipping concerns especially from the 1660s to the 1730s. There are significant intersects with regard to the “New World” as exemplified by the Caribbean, and globalization as determined by the “new” World Trade Organisation (WTO). Most of the Anglophone Caribbean countries enacted Intellectual Property legislation to satisfy compliance requirements under the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) Agreement as part of their membership in the WTO. Intellectual property refers to the “expressed creations of the human mind” and, as in the case of any other type of property, it can be owned, sold and protected by law. Intellectual property exists in two main forms, industrial property and copyright and related rights. Any creation of the human mind that is expressed in tangible form is someone’s intellectual property. If the creation happens to be a piece of machinery, Insight November/December 2013
a distinguishing mark, material made by a process, a device, or a tool, it would fall into the category of industrial property. Industrial property would be protected and recognised under the headings of Patents, Utility Certificates, Trademarks/Brands, Industrial Designs, Geographical Indications, Layout Designs (topographies) of integrated circuits and the protection of New Varieties of Plants (plant breeders’ rights). Copyright refers to creations involving written, visually displayed, performed or recorded works and would be afforded protection under that designation. Copyright has been the most dominant reference to Intellectual Property (IP) in the Anglophone Caribbean. Whilst the TRIPs-inspired legal and administrative structures within CARICOM are enviable, enforcement is often only a feature of Industrial Property Rights protection. Flagrant copyright infringements are not subjected to the legislative penalties. Unfortunately, music and video piracy has been the public platform upon which IP has been most extensively discussed and in many ways circumscribed. Copyright infringement with regard to so-called music and video-piracy has been the most widely reported connection between the Caribbean population and IP. There is widespread public and 36
private agreement that copyright protection is an aberration and reflective of capitalistic greed, especially on the part of producers of movies and music. It has become so ingrained in the various denizens that IP immediately conjures up images of infringement and the resultant legal implications. The documented but oft non-pursued penalties for piracy has entrenched the view that IP is about law. A confluence of circumstances has engrained the public perception that “IP is about law”. The WTO compliant IP legislation, the fact that the IP Office is often within the remit of a legal Ministry or headed by an Attorney, and the requisite need for lawyers to protect the accrued rights have cemented the perception of IP being about law. Steps taken by CARICOM governments or rights holders to promote better understanding of IP have been sporadic and generally from a “rights protection” perspective as opposed to one of “goods creation”. The Caribbean has not learnt how to make the IP system work for locals as an intrinsic aspect of national development. The majority of the population sees IP as a legal consequence rather than an economic imperative. The pervading culture is one of preoccupation with the protection or avoidance of IP Rights. That culture must perforce change to one of exploring the benefits to be www.Insightgy.com
derived for Caribbean nationals, some of the most creative people in the world. What is needed to change the culture is a thorough and factual public analysis of what the IP System really means. Intellectual property is the great equaliser; it can bestow rewards on its creator, independent of any other resource or factor of production. Creative, innovative and talented people can reshape the world by leveraging their IP from the comfort of their home, modest office or favourite “liming spot”.
The IP System has shown that even when landspace is limited, headspace can be expanded. The business journals are replete with analyses of the economic significance of owning “the process” rather than the factory that manufactures the product. The Caribbean, by dint of its host of talented individuals from all spheres of activity in the arts and sciences, is poised to be a force in the world of IP, in much the same way as it astounds the world in culture.
to find creative and innovative ways to leverage their IP. Economic gains can accrue through copyright remittances for literature, visual works, performances, recordings or other forms of expressed creativity. Concurrently, the region should more systematically review its ability to own processes, build brands and profit from the technological genius of a small corner of the globe that was able to develop the only new acoustic instrument of the Twentieth Century
The new mantra for the modern inhabitants of the New World ought to be grounded in a desire
Steve Maximay was a member of the Cabinet appointed Committee responsible for the Intellectual Property Policy of Trinidad and Tobago.
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Technology and The Internet
Internet Privacy and You By Lenandlar Singh
PRIVACY AND THE PROTECTION of personal information is one of the most debated and discussed topics online. Privacy, at its core, is the right of individuals to decide what personal and private information to share, with whom, and for what purposes. However, on the internet, there is no guarantee that information shared privately with service providers or other internet users will remain private. Tensions between the need to share private information in return for services and oneâ€™s personal privacy values oftentimes arise. For example, signing up for an email address may mean supplying a mobile phone number for verification; internet banking service may ask for a date of birth and age; a medical service may ask for medical history. Inevitably, some amount of personal information must be shared in return for services. In cases where offline services are moved online, users have limited choice but to adopt online services. Users are invariably left to trust service providers with the role of protecting their private information from illegitimate access and use. Internet users are partially responsible for protecting their privacy on the internet. The first steps toward privacy protection online are about knowing what risks exist and what steps to take to minimise these risks. The following are good practices to follow in order to protect your privacy online.
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Do not share information that you wish to keep private. Any information shared online, privately or otherwise remains online and can be accessed and shared by others either maliciously or legitimately. Minimise personal information sharing. Do not save personal and private information such as credit card numbers online. Anticipate possible ways in which your personal information can be used and decide whether sharing your personal information is worth the risk. Think before you post any information online. Read privacy statements and policies of all online service providers used. This can be a tedious as privacy policies are often lengthy and technical. Learn about and use privacy features provided by online tools such as web browsers and web sites. For example, social networking sites such as Facebook have features that allow users to share information with selected users.
Do not share information about others. You are responsible for the privacy of others that are accessible to you. Develop good email habits. Use a separate email for private and for public communication. Use email providers that support strong privacy and security measures. Exercise care when opening suspicious emails. Practise good password habits. Password protect all tools (mobile, computers) and services (email, social networks). Use strong passwords and remember to sign out of all services when you are finished. Do not use one password for all of your online services. If one is compromised, the chances of others being compromised are greater. Use online validated online services. Check for trademarks to verify the authenticity of websites.
Use Antivirus programs to protect against malicious software that could steal personal information
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A Look At Historical Architecture
The Changing Faces of Castellani House By Bert Carter and construct a residence for Superintendent Jenman who, as it turned out, was dissatisfied with the original design and so refused to move into the residence.
19th Century Image of Castellani House
He demanded that certain changes be made and only occupied the structure after the changes were completed in 1882. After he died, the building was used as the residence for future Directors of Agriculture, one of the last of whom was Gavin Kennard, who was a Minister of Agriculture. Castellani House is a large 19th century building located in the southwestern corner of the Botanical Gardens. It can be accessed by the public from the entrance located at the corners of Home Stretch Avenue and Vlissengen Road. Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Univ. of Guyana, Prof. Lennox Hernandez, describes the building at the time of construction as having two floors only. That is a ground and first floor only, with high gable end roofs punctuated by gable dormer windows. The main body of the house had a centrally placed entrance to the west side with galleries along the north and east sides at the first floor level and an open porch below the northern gallery.
CASTELLANI HOUSE IS A LARGE 19TH CENTURY BUILDING LOCATED IN THE SOUTHWESTERN CORNER OF THE BOTANICAL GARDENS.
Over the years the building has undergone some major changes.
CASTELLANI HOUSE, as it is known today, came into existence in a rather indirect way because of a botanical and horticultural interest expressed by the British Guiana branch of the Royal Agricultural and Commercial Society at a meeting held on 3rd June, 1877 in Georgetown.
In 1937 Gordon Groves joined the British Colonial Agricultural Service in London, England and took up an overseas appointment in 1942 in the Department of Agriculture, British Guiana. During his tenure he also served as Curator of the Botanical Gardens.
The result was that the Government of the day purchased from the estate of the late Joseph Bourda 276 acres of the backlands of Pln. Vlissengen. This was an area whose frontlands were bounded on the west by what is todayâ€™s Avenue of the Republic, on the north and south by North St/Rd and South St/ Rd respectively, and to the east by present day Vlissengen Road. The Botanical Gardens, as we know it today, comprise of 185 acres of these lands.
It was during this time that the design of the original building was altered with the addition of a third floor. This alteration saw the enclosure of the open porch and the raising of the roof in order to create the second floor
A great deal of work had to be done before planting could commence, as the original condition of most of the land was that of the swampy pastures so dominant in that part of the coast at the time. In 1879, Mr. J. F. Waby arrived from Trinidad to lay out the gardens. This was based on a plan prepared by a Mr. Prestoe, who had come the year before for the purpose of examining the site. Mr. George Samuel Jenman arrived in 1880 having been appointed as Botanist and Superintendent.1 In 1860, a Maltese architect by the name of Cesar Castellani who was attached to the Society of Jesuits arrived in the colony as a Lay Brother. He turned out to be one of the most prolific and sought after architects of that era. He was attached to the Public Works Department and so was commissioned to design Insight November/December 2013
It was during this time that the design of the original building was altered with the addition of a third floor. This alteration saw the enclosure of the open porch and the raising of the roof in order to create the second floor. The ridge line was then made higher than the tower and the dormer windows replaced with Demerara shutters. Of course, when the structure was originally erected there was no water borne sewage system in place and so it is presumed that sewage disposal was by way of a soakaway/ septic tank. In 1928, under the supervision of the Georgetown Sewage and Water Commission, the present disposal system was installed and so it is presumed
that the building, even though located on the extreme eastern boundary of the water borne system, was hooked into the system as evidenced from the sewer pipes featuring very prominently in the top left corner.
son, Kamana, of the Burnham family who was playing with matches in the attic. Fortunately, quick action by the Household staff and the Guyana Fire Service avoided injury and a conflagration.
This expansion eliminated the uppermost northern and southern windows of the tower and saw the mounting of a weather vane along with an anemometer on the walkway around the tower as the Meteorological Department was then housed on the ground floor.
After his death in August, 1985 the building was left unoccupied for a while. The incoming President, the Hon. Hugh Desmond Hoyte, chose to remain and reside in his own home. The building was still being properly maintained and so were the lawns and adjacent environment.
In 1965, the newly elected Prime Minister, the Hon. L. F. S. Burnham commissioned the local architect, Hugh McGregor Reid, to draft plans for the further modification of the building to accommodate a residence for the PM and his family; and which should also be a centre for entertainment of both local and overseas guests as well as foreign dignitaries.
The change in government in 1992 saw the appointment of Dr Cheddi Jagan as the new President. Dr Jagan chose to live at State House thereby allowing The Residence to be utilised for other purposes. Major internal alterations to the structure were undertaken by the government and completed between 1997 and 1999. The architectural details were entrusted to Rodrigues Architects Ltd, headed by Albert Rodrigues. The building was subsequently renamed Castellani House and was designated to be the National Art Gallery where the nation’s collection of arts and craft would be on continuous display all year round, under one roof and in one location.
The final product, adequately maintained at the time, was indeed befitting of a national residence for the Prime Minister and so the nomenclature “The Residence” was no doubt deemed appropriate. The Burnham family was then, presumably, easily and readily accommodated in the extension which was done to the second floor. Subsequent additions to the site included a swimming pool with ceramic tiles designed and made by the English artist, Leila Locke, and an asphaltic concrete lawn tennis court. With permission, members of the public were allowed to use these facilities. When the Prime Minister became President of the Cooperative Republic in 1980, the presidential insignia, the Cacique Crown, was mounted on the balustrades around the highest level of the tower. The shingles that adorned the roof up to the early ‘80s had to be replaced along with repairs which were executed to the northern portion of the roof as a result of a small fire set by an adopted
“Historically, with respect to the Botanical Gardens and the Castellani House and outbuildings, this property has been regarded as a single, collective and contiguous site, the physical divisions as appear today arising out of the varying utilitarian function of the area”. Such was an extract of the petition on the part of the National Trust to the Office of the President suggesting that the site be declared a National Monument in November 2001. The site, inclusive of the building, was subsequently declared to be a National Trust Monument with the bronze interpretive marker securing this privilege being affixed to the said building
Modern View of Castellani House
The Story of Georgetown by James Rodway (Reprint Edition) / 2 Heritage Trail, Trust News 2004 Pg 3 by Lloyd Kandasammy and Nirvana Persaud / 3 http://www.kewguild.org.uk/media/ pd Ref: Gordon R. Groves / 4 Very informative discussions with Ms. Elfreida Bissember, Curator, National Art Gallery, and Major General (Ret’d) Joseph G. Singh, M S S.
Insight November/December 2013
Personality Profile Persons of Interest
IN OUR FIRST EDITION OF INSIGHT WE PUBLISHED THE FIRST PART OF AN INTERVIEW WITH GLENYSS JAMES, THE ACTING REGIONAL DIRECTOR AND PROGRAMME MANAGER OF YOUTH WORK AND TRAINING AT THE COMMONWEALTH YOUTH PROGRAMME (CYP).
Insight November/December 2013
MS JAMES STANDS OUT as an outstanding Guyanese woman both for her work at CYP (for a decade) and her work with NGO’s where she has been active in making attempts to improve conditions for youths in Guyana. Insight: You’ve spoke about your work at CYP. How did you come to this position? Have you always had a passion for youth issues? GJ: After working at the Revenue Department (Guyana Revenue Authority) for 17 years and coming off when I was getting my son I stayed home for five years. During that time I looked around the community, observed the issues that were abounding and I formed an NGO to begin to address the whole concept of helping children with literacy and it made me realise that despite the fact that I’d worked in taxation for seventeen years, my heart really was in helping people find and maximise their potential. So after that break whilst working at CARICOM as an Administrative Assistant I saw this opportunity and the job was advertised was a two year-plus stint with the Inter-American Development Bank/University of Guyana and it was a Regional Non Traditional Skills Training Project for low income women who did not have any qualifications. And, that really appealed to my interest in giving back, so I resigned from CARICOM to start up this project which was for 30 months and I just had a wonderful time working with these women seeing them coming to know their worth, helping them to recognise their potential. And when that project was finished I begun working with CYP and it’s that same ability to help persons reach their potential that I find so attractive in this current position. Insight: You’ve spoken about the frameworks CYP has been putting in place for youths. But what about the youth themselves? Have they been enthusiastic? GJ: It’s an interesting thing because when CARICOM did a research on the youths, the 2010 report suggested that most of the young people in the Caribbean are looking outside of the Caribbean. I don’t think we have done enough to really engage that younger generation in the issue of community
development. In every single study we have done the unemployment issue comes up. So we have to begin to look at whether, how serious is the mismanagement that’s being alleged between education and actual jobs, look to see how significant underemployment is as well as unemployment, look to see to make sure that the right skills are there and look to make sure that we’re actually creating opportunities for the youths. How can we go about creating a culture of entrepreneurship among young people so that instead of them waiting to get a job they would look to create jobs and make jobs for others? All of that in aid of bridging relationships among sectors. I was reading in the newspapers recently, a student from The Bishops’ High wrote a letter in the papers. He said the older ones are not getting involved, they as youths have not seen the older ones getting involved either because all students are being asked to do is get good grades and get a “big wuk”, he said. We have to change to make sure it’s not all rush, rush, rush, rush to classes to get grades but at the end of the day they understand even as they are coming to school they are given opportunities to apply some of the learning they are getting in everyday life, so that giving back to their country will become a natural part of the process. Insight: I’m glad you brought up your work on the Bishop’s High School Board. Because you’re an old student, something you’re always proud to say. How much did your exposure to the Bishop’s environment contribute to the quality of the work you now do?
I don’t think we have done enough to really engage that younger generation in the issue of community development. In every single study we have done the unemployment issue comes up. GJ: If I had not come here (BHS) I’m not so sure what I’d be doing at this point in my life because we never had a subject here called community development or national development but every single thing from
the school hymns that we sang in the morning and everything else seemed to suggest that you were not coming in here just for an education. The very focus that we had, we had to work together to do stuff. I learned a lot of the team building stuff here. I learned the whole concept of a holistic education so even in my work now when I’m thinking about youth development I’m always coming back to my experiences at BHS. Mrs Jarvis (Former Head Teacher) would say to us all the time that YOUR CONDUCT MUST BE EXEMPLARY. She realised even then that we were lucky to be at a senior secondary school and we would always do well because of our education – we would always have openings in our lives because of that but she was more concerned about whether or not we’d be able to stay at the top of the game or to be able to maintain the positions that we had risen to and that was through character. Character building, that’s something I want for our young people. Insight: You’re making significant efforts at putting frameworks in place for youth-building at CYP. Any closing words on general issues that need help to complement your work? GJ: I said it before and I’ll say again – there can be no national development without youth development and if you don’t develop the youth sector you might as well forget the airport, the big hotels and everything else you think is important to Guyana’s development. It makes no sense. Paying teachers a decent salary – and not just paying the teachers that we currently have but to attract those who have long left the system, those who have migrated unwillingly and those who are right here but cannot afford to not provide for their households in a way that they see fit. Because their peers who are outside the education system earn more than they do, it’s a known fact and so a lot of them have had to choose not to teach. So, to me, as we go forward that’s one thing that’s a priority – for governments to understand that it’s imperative to find that money because it’s a vital investment, to ensure that the education system attracts the best. Youth development is imperative because if we don’t develop them then we will literally be financing ways for skilled and qualified persons to come in from other countries to take over us.
TRUE TO HER REPUTATION AS AN INDUSTRIOUS WORKING WOMAN, MS JAMES LEFT THE INTERVIEW WITH INSIGHT TO HEAD DOWN TO THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION TO DO SOME BUSINESS ON BEHALF OF THE BISHOPS' HIGH SCHOOL BOARD. SHE QUIPPED UPON LEAVING, IF I CAN FIND THE TIME TO DO SOMETHING, I DON'T NEED TO WAIT FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO DO IT. I'M GOING TO MAKE SURE I GET IT DONE
Insight November/December 2013
From Farm to Table
Have An Avocado Please By Penelope Harris, Nutritionist
PERSEA AMERICANA IS COMMONLY known as avocado. This pear shaped fruit is grown in several parts of Guyana. It has a high fat content of mostly monounsaturated fat and is very healthful. In Guyana, it is commonly called pear. In other parts of the world it is known as alligator pear. In the culinary sense, avocados are mostly used as a vegetable and are a favourite with chefs to be used in salads. Mexican guacamole is also a favourite with chefs and prepared from mashed avocado, chopped onion, lemon juice, salt and chili pepper. Botanically, avocados are classified as a fruit. Avocados have an unusually high percentage of fat for a fruit or even as a vegetable; however the quality of fat contained in avocados is quite helpful. They contain triglycerides, phospholipids and free fatty acids. The fats in avocados are of high biological value and they are primarily unsaturated. They also contain no cholesterol as is the case with all plant-based foods. Avocados have ironically been found to lower blood cholesterol in at least two studies. Studies have shown them to be useful in treating circulatory disorders. They have also been recommended for adolescent girls suffering from anaemia. Normally, the iron found in plant-based foods or non-heme iron is absorbed with greater difficulty than heme iron from animal sources. However, the iron from avocados is absorbed relatively easily. Linoleic acid, another fatty acid present in avocado is very useful to the metabolism of the nervous system. They are also rich in vitamin B6, which is important for proper neuron function. Because of their alkalinity, they are very gentle on the stomach for persons suffering from stomach irritations, or soreness of the mouth or tongue. Since they have good quality fats and are also rich in vitamin E, avocados are highly recommended for children and adolescents during periods of rapid growth, athletes, stressed out adults, and elderly persons intent on increasing their vitality. Persons who are losing weight due to various disease conditions, or anaemic adolescents in particular, would benefit from using avocados in shakes, smoothies and spreads in addition to using them in salads or as a snack.
Persons who are on a weight loss diet should use avocados as a butter or spread as in the case of guacamole or sparingly in tossed salads. Since the fat content in avocado is high, the dressing may be left out and just a sprinkling of lemon juice added to improve flavour and add moisture
Insight November/December 2013
Nutrient Composition of avocado per 100 grams raw edible portion: Energy Protein Carbohydrate Fibre Vitamin A Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Niacin Vitamin B6 Vitamin C Vitamin E Calcium Phosphorous Magnesium Iron Potassium Zinc Total Fat Saturated Fat Sodium
161 KCAL 1.98 g 2.39 g 5.00 g 61.0Âľg RE 0.108 mg 0.122 mg 2.27 mg NE 0.500 mg 7.90 mg 2.30 mg 11. 0 mg 41.0 mg 39.0 mg 1.02 mg 599 mg 0.420 mg 15.3 g 2.44 g 10.0 mg
Insight November/December 2013
Facts & Fun Did You Know These Facts About The Caribbean? The region takes its name from that of the Carib, an ethnic group present in the Lesser Antilles and parts of adjacent South America at the time of European contact.
More ships cruise the Caribbean islands than any other region in the world.
Barbados is the only country outside the present United States that U.S. President George Washington visited. The George Washington House in Bridgetown is the house he stayed at, named after him.
The deadliest Atlantic Hurricane in history was 4 the Great Hurricane of 1780 which killed more than 25,000 persons
St. Lucia is the home to the world’s only drive-in volcano, La Soufriere.
Grenada was the first country to issue a commemorative postage stamp in honour of Elvis Presley.
Three Caribbean cities boast populations above a million: Santo Domingo, Havana and Port au Prince.
Jamaica has more churches per square mile (1600 in all) than any other nation in the world, earning it a spot in the pages of the “Guinness Book of Records.”
St. Maarten’s airport, where planes approach the runway just feet from a popular beach, made the top 10 of the world’s most dangerous places to land in Wonders World, and the Daily Telegraph’s World’s Scariest 10 Airport Landings list.
A Dog's Life Crossword
Only about 2 percent of the Caribbean’s numerous islands are inhabited. 7 AIREDALE, ALSATIAN, APPENZELLER, BASSET, BEAGLE, BEDLINGTON, BLOODHOUND, BORZOI, BOXER, BULLDOG, CHIHUAHUA, CHINOOK, CHOW CHOW, COLLIE, CORGI, DACHSHUND, DALMATIAN, DOBERMAN, GREAT DANE, GREYHOUND, HUSKY, JACK RUSSELL, LABRADOR, LANDSEER, MAGYAR, MASTIFF, PEKINGESE, POINTER, POMERANIAN, POODLE, PUG, ROTTWEILER, SAMOYED, SANSHU, SETTER, SHEEPDOG, SPANIEL, TERRIER, WHIPPET. Copyright Puzzle Choice
Can you find the dogs hidden in the box? They may be horizontal, vertical or diagonal, forwards or backwards.
Many movies have been filmed in Jamaica, including the very first James Bond flick, Dr. No released in October 5, 1962.
Graham Greene’s The Comedians, a novel about the macabre days of Papa Doc in Haiti in the 1960s, was made into a movie starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Much of it was filmed at the 12 Oloffson Hotel, a gingerbread-trimmed Victorian fantasy in Port-au-Prince, which has also hosted Anne Bancroft, Charles Addams, John Gielgud and Marlon Brando— all of whom had suites named for them. Insight November/December 2013