NO CONSULTATION: 9-10 June, 2018 / Vol. 10 No. 25 / Price: $100
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Titled Amerindian Villages, other area made into NDCs SEE INSIDE
Murky dealings shadow US$150M arrangement for sugar sector PAGE 10
Latest GECOM concerns about fairness not race PAGE 11
The controversial order signed by Minister Bulkan
Move to change boundaries of Local Authority Areas will be resisted - Jagdeo PAGE 10
School PAGE 20 children forced to walk through slush in Mocha-Arcadia
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
Granger maintains rigid position Another local company closing its doors, hundreds on his pick for Chancellor expected to be out of jobs C
fter being in operation for over three decades, B.E.V Processors Inc. will be closing the doors to its Fish and Shrimp Processing Plant at Houston by mid-July. “If the market continues to go down, we stand to lose money quickly and I don’t want to end up eventually closing with a whole set of debts that I have to end up giving up my property to pay off,” the proprietor, Bruce Vieira, said. Over 380 employees are now on the breadline as a result of the planned closure, adding to the national unemployment woes. The staffers were told of closure last Friday, June 1, 2018. B.E.V began shrimp processing in 1984 and the first batch was shipped to the United States of America on
October 31, 1984. President David Granger maintains his position on self-employment, when asked about the job creation promised by the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition on the campaign trail, prior to the 2015 Elections. He has said, “Many of the jobs will have to come from self-employment, which is to encourage young people to become entrepreneurs, to acquire equipment, get into agro-processing, and to create jobs within their communities…there is no prospect or there is no possibility that the government could simply start to employ young people….we will not be able to provide jobs by the thousands…we have to get them (school drop outs)
back in school, so that we can depend on some form of self-employment.” APNU+AFC in its manifesto had promised an integrated employment strategy. “The APNU+AFC objective is an integrated employment strategy,” the manifesto said. In a message from Granger, the manifesto stated that the APNU+AFC Coalition will provide: “Employment opportunities in science, technology, engineering, mining, agro-processing and the arts to provide jobs and promote economic growth.” The manifesto also promised that public expenditure measures would be determined by related factors, which include: Stimulating productivity, investment, savings and growth of the economy; and the provision of jobs, among other moves.
RSF urges Guyanese Parliament to amend drafted Cybercrime Bill
eporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the Guyanese Parliament to amend its drafted Cybercrime Bill, which could have a damaging effect on press freedom. On June 7, RSF sent a letter to Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo outlining its concerns with the legislation. It noted that while the Guyanese government has a legitimate interest in regulating the internet to ensure certain criminal activity— such as computer fraud, identity theft, and child pornography—does not take place, RSF is concerned with several provisions of this proposed legislation that could have a deterrent effect on journalists’ reporting. RSF, added, for example, Section 9 criminalizes receiving data one is not “authorised” to receive, regardless of whether that person knows the data was obtained by “unauthorised” means from the sender. This could pose a threat to press
freedom if used to penalize journalists for publishing reports based on information from confidential sources. Equally alarming, Section 18 allows officials to prosecute online speech they believe to excite “disaffection” toward the government, and without a clear definition of “disaffection,” the range of punishable speech is effectively unlimited. Even worse, it could create a significant liability risk for journalists publishing articles that may be deemed critical of the state. The body said: “RSF has sent this letter to Prime Minister Nagamootoo because, as it exists, the proposed cybercrime legislation could have a serious chilling effect on press freedom in Guyana,” said Margaux Ewen, RSF’s North America Director. “Provisions like Section 18, the sedition clause, could pose significant risks for journalists publishing articles that may be deemed critical of the state or gov-
ernment officials, especially given the letter’s vague and subjective language. According to the group, these provisions are all the more dangerous because the Bill provides for wide-ranging jurisdiction and gives the police and judicial authorities broad authority to access the personal data of those under investigation. Section 37, for example, gives broad authority to a judge to “remove, or disable access to” user-generated content hosted or stored on their services, while Section 38 authorizes the use of remote forensic tools to intercept private data. When reviewed alongside the potential harm provisions like Section 9 or 18 may have on journalistic activities, it is clear that the Cybercrime Bill must be amended to include exemptions that allow reporting to continue to flourish in Guyana. Guyana ranks 55th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index.
ONCERNS were sparked that President David Granger may move to unilaterally and unconstitutionally appoint a Chancellor of the judiciary, as was the case with the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), after his comments on the issue on Wednesday (June 6, 2018). “I took my time in making that decision and I am not prepared to throw it out of the window,” Granger said. Granger’s nominees for the top posts in the judiciary are Justice Kenneth Benjamin as Chancellor and Justice Yonette Cummings-Ed-
wards as Chief Justice. Cummings-Edwards is currently the acting Chancellor. Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, who is constitutionally required to give his approval of the nominees before they are appointed stated that he is unable to offer his agreement to the nominees named earlier this year. He had also made it clear that he remains “committed to continuous engagement” on the matter. “I have given my position. He is president, he needs to get back to me on mode on engagement,” Jagdeo had said. It is not clear if there will
be a meeting between the two, nor if there is a timeline within which Granger will make such a move. Relative to the issue of having members of the judiciary acting in positions, Jagdeo noted that the PNC “likes this” since for 12 years they refused to agree to substantive appointments of members of the judiciary, under the former PPP/C governments. Notably, only last week, the Guyana Bar Association (GBA) passed a motion for the acting Chancellor and Chief Justice to be confirmed in those positions.
Reps from Guyana, Venezuela to meet with ICJ President
n a few days the question of whether Venezuela will accept the jurisdiction of the World Court on the border controversy with Guyana is likely to be answered. The President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has invited the representatives of Guyana and Venezuela to attend a meeting with him on June 18, 2018. After the application from Guyana was handed over to Registrar of the ICJ, Philippe Couvreur by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, who will function as Guyana’s Agent in the proceedings before the court, Venezuela rejected the referral dubbing any decision by the court as “unenforceable.” On Tuesday (June 5, 2018) Venezuela’s Ministry of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs, in a press statement, announced that on June 4, 2018, confirmed that it received correspondence from the International Court of Justice, informing that the President of the Court will receive the Representatives of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in order to know about its point of view, regarding procedural issues in Guyana’s move for a juridical settlement of the controversy. The Venezuelan Government maintains “its firm willingness to defend the territorial integrity of our country” based on the 1966 Geneva Agreement. “Venezuela will exercise all the actions before the corresponding legal, diplomatic and politi-
cal instances, privileging the high national interest and the permanent vindication of the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Venezuelan people,” the statement said. On March 29, 2018, Guyana filed an application with the ICJ requesting that it confirm the legal validity and binding effect of the 1899 Arbitral Award on the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela. The 1899 demarcation – the 1899 Arbitral Award – of the territorial limits considered the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela settled and made clear that the Essequibo belongs to Guyana. The Award was disputed and in 1966, Guyana and Venezuela signed the Geneva Agreement. This agreement took note of the fact that Venezuela was disputing the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award. While it did not take any position about Venezuela’s claim to Essequibo, it committed Venezuela, Britain and Guyana to ensure that “any outstanding controversy…should (be) amicably resolved in a manner acceptable to both parties.” The move to the ICJ was advanced there was no success with a further attempt, using the United Nations’ Good Offices process, to resolve the matter of Venezuela’s renewed claim to Guyana’s territory, the Essequibo County. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in 2015, charged that the signing of the 1966 Geneva Agreement rendered the
1899 Arbitral Award null and void. On January 30, 2018, the UN Secretary General, concluded that the Good Offices process which the two countries had engaged in for almost 30 years had failed to achieve a solution to the controversy and therefore chose the ICJ as the next means of settlement. THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, ON WEDNESDAY (JUNE 6, 2018) RELEASED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to report the following resulting from the filing of its Application with the International Court of Justice on March 29, 2018 requesting the Court to confirm the legal validity and binding effect of the 1899 Arbitral Award regarding the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela. The President of the International Court of Justice has invited the representatives of Guyana and Venezuela to attend a meeting with him on June 18, 2018 in The Hague for the purpose of fixing the schedule for the filing of the written pleadings in the case. This is part of the Court’s normal procedure following the filing of a case. The meeting with the President of the Court will be limited to the matter of the schedule. Guyana will be represented by its Legal Counsel.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
NO CONSULTATION: Titled Amerindian Village, other area made into NDCs
n order included in the Official Gazette, only made public on Thursday (June 7, 2018), and signed by Communities Minister, Ronald Bulkan, designates two Amerindian areas, including one Titled Amerindian Village as Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs). The two areas are: Aranaputa/Upper Burro-Burro; and Annai. Both communities are in Region 9. There were no consultations on this.
Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, when asked to comment on the issue, said: “First of all there has been no consultation. There has been no announcement on this. They have been silent on this. “Annai is a titled Amerindian village, with defined boundaries that have been demarcated. It cannot be made an NDC. This is in violation of the Amerindian Act.
“The one with Aranaputa they made it an NDC in October 2017 and even installed a Council without a by-election. Why the order was signed and made public now is what I do not understand…what needs to be examined is whether a larger area, more villages, has now been included in the Aranaputa/Upper Burro-Burro NDC.” The order was signed by Bulkan on May 30, 2018.
The controversial order signed by Minister Bulkan
Increase recorded in armed robbery and burglary, US report cites crime ‘threat’ in latest report T
he APNU+AFC Coalition Government continue to face criticisms about the poor handling of the crime situation in Guyana. This state of affairs is followed by the United States of America (USA) State Department’s release of its assessment of the crime situation in Guyana. And the report states that it has “assessed Georgetown as being a CRITICAL-threat location for crime” affecting its own government interests.
The “critical threat” description is a first, when compared to the 2017 and 2016 reports. The report, released earlier this week, adds that, “The general crime rate in Guyana is above” the country’s own national average. It adds that, “Drug trafficking is a serious problem” and states that “corruption is widely perceived to be commonplace in many government agencies.” Meanwhile, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) released
its crime statistics, as at the end of April 2018. The statistics show a 13 per cent increase in robbery under arms, where firearms were used, with a total of 230 reports at the end of April 2018. Reports of robbery under arms, where other instruments were used, numbered 79 at the end of the same period. There were 24 reports of other robberies, 52 reports of robberies with violence, 41 reports of larceny from persons, 345 reports of break
and enter and larceny, as well as a 17 per cent increase in burglary reports that numbered 84 at the end of April 2018. The statistics indicated that there were 26 murders at the end of April 2018 and 82 reports of rapes that were committed. Also, the Force said a total of 47 illegal firearms have been taken off the streets so far this year, compared to forty-six (46) for the corresponding period
last year. Among the illegal firearms are: 30 pistols; nine revolvers; six shotguns; one sub-machine gun; and one rifle. In the area of traffic management, the Force also said there was an 11.4 per cent decrease in Fatal Accidents recorded at the end of April, 2018. Serious, Minor and Damage Accidents have also been decreased by 13.3 per cent, 44 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, President
David Granger has revealed that the long-awaited Security Sector Reform report is currently before Cabinet, which is reviewing its findings and recommendations. The report was compiled by British security expert Russell Combe, who presented his final report since January 2018. He also admitted to challenges in the security sector. :As you know, there are some issues with security challenges,” he said recently.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
Infrastructure Decay: Another failure
he manifest decay of the country’s roads is yet another indication of the total mismanagement of the country by the APNU/AFC coalition. In a short period of time hundreds of roads, essential for everyday economic activities, have deteriorated to the extent that they are now virtually impassable. In every corner of the country, roads are deteriorating rapidly. In farming areas, no resources have been put in place to manage roads used by producers to get to the backlands. Now that the rainy season is upon us, the deterioration is compounded. In this period of the year, one has to pay tribute to farmers who cultivate the fields to produce food for the nation. Yet, the government has abandoned them by neglecting to upgrade far-to-market roads. Apart from the frustrations faced by farmers, the costs of producing and getting food to the market escalate to the point where they do not see farming as means of making a living. On an everyday basis, there are exposures by the media or by residents, on the state of roads in various communities. A graphic one appeared last week where a mother posted a photo of her little daughter wading her way through slush to get to school. The worry by parent of children using unsafe roads to get the school adds to their daily burdens they have to face under this government. In the new housing schemes, residents are face with muddy roads and entire streets are dotted with potholes and craters. Lack of maintenance is leading to massive structural failures that would cost enormous sums to rectify. Even the major roadways connecting the coastland are deteriorating. While there are some attempts to do patchwork here and there, the overall picture is one of decay as a result of lack of remedial works. In the interior, the situation is even more horrific. The road from Linden to Lethem has deteriorated to such a level that today it is life threatening. Massive sections of the road have been washed away and many bridges are seen as death traps. This vital link to the interior is becoming practically unusable. This would have severe effects on residents in the interior, especially Amerindians and those in the mining sector. In the city, it is a dreadful experience to get to some locations and many taxi drivers are refusing to ply certain routes for fear of great damage being done to their vehicles. The cash strapped city council, as is usually the case in other services, has literally thrown up its hands. The only noticeable effort of changing the landscape in the city by the government has been the roundabout in Kitty. Since taking office, the government made several promises to improve the roadways but like all the other promises made, this has not happened. The only major works being carried out currently are the ones that were started by the PPP/C administration – especially the ones on the East, East Coast and West Coast, Demerara. The government has signaled its intention to go ahead with the Sheriff Street rehabilitation and the project to link the East Coast with the East Bank, bypassing Georgetown. Both of these were initiated by the PPP/C administration. However, nothing is happening on the ground. Giving this uncaring nature of this government, and the mess they have made of the sugar industry, it does not need much imagination to have an appreciation of what is happening with the thousands of miles of back-dam roads and water ways that network the sugar belt. This government has not been able to put together any comprehensive plan to improve and expand the country’s infrastructure, especially those parts of it that are intricately linked to productive sectors. The result is decay all around in this sector which is adding to the decay evident in many other areas under the coalition government. Yet another failure!
Goolsarran fails in his attempt to diminish the government’s responsibility for the present economic situation Dear Editor,
HE column ‘Report on End of year Outcome 2017’ published by Stabroek News this week and written by Anand Goolsarran warrants a response, since what Mr. Goolsarran claims is out of sync with the substantiated views expressed by economists, like Mr. Sasenarine Singh and others. Only recently Stabroek News published comments from Mr. Singh, where he pointed out that Guyana’s exports had dropped by $615M in 2017. And this is the least of the worrying economic signs that have been pointed out. Another economist, Mr. Tarron Khemraj, in Stabroek News, pointed out that it is the Coalition Government that must take blame for the loss of investor confidence and the depreciation of the local currency. Mr. Khemraj also criticised this government about the economic performance by pointing out that is it unfairly suspicious of the private sector and that the budget 2018 presentation “gives the impression that not everyone in the APNU+AFC government fully appreciates the crucial importance of
stable macroeconomic forces.” Mr. Goolsarran is not an economist, yet he claims that, based on his supposed analysis, Guyana’s macroeconomic fundamentals reflect a stable economy. This conclusion by Mr. Goolsarran would be strange if it were considered on its own. But, Editor, it is an interesting coincidence that Mr. Goolsarran’s comments came days after Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, was making great predictions about the economy for 2018, as reported in the Guyana Chronicle. No one has forgotten that Mr. Goolsarran was an ardent advocate for the APNU/AFC Coalition Government. No one has forgotten that Mr. Goolsarran also benefited from millions in forensic audit contracts, all of which were awarded in breach of the law. One of those audits alone was for $2.3M. This was the man who, as a former Auditor General, presented himself as a champion for ensuring that the procurement laws were followed. Yet he accepted monies in breach of what he actually argued for. All the forensic audit contracts were given out to people.
The laws were not followed. In addition to not being an economist, wouldn’t such an action call into question his principles as an accountant too? Editor, Mr. Goolsarran has also not told the Guyanese people yet about the $28B that was ‘lost’ annually because of weak procurement systems. As recent as 2015, Mr. Goolsarran was talking about credible reports of corrupt behaviour in public procurement. But he has not said anything about this since then. Why? Editor, I submit that in the whole context, Mr. Goolsarran’s comments and his conclusion about a stable economy must be questioned. There must be some level of responsibility to the people when certain comments are made. After all it is the people, regular Guyanese people, who are feeling the squeeze caused by the present economic conditions. No amount of ‘dressing’ by people like Mr. Goolsarran will diminish the APNU/AFC Coalition Government’s responsibility for the present economic situation. SINCERELY, DAVID WILLIAMS
Red Thread’s silence on major issues is telling Dear Editor,
ED Thread’s involvement in the protest in front of the privately-owned Mae's School intending to advocate for the rights of Amerindians has been hailed as admirable work. However, the organization has now exposed itself to criticisms on inaction for similar causes – just consider its silence when the APNU/AFC assault on Amerindians over the course of the past there years. Where was Red Thread when 1,972 young Amerindians were fired and there was no effort or initiative since then to re-engage them in productive areas that see their welfare addressed? Where was Red Thread when a government Minister, Keith Scott, in no lesser place than the National Assembly, castigated thousands of Amerindians for being greedy? Where was the outrage when Minister Scott not only rose and told the National Assembly that Amer-
indians were avaricious in their request for more lands, but also refused to apologize for his comments? Editor, it is not only the silence on the attacks on Amerindian people that is objectionable, but Red Thread’s silence on the violation of liberties of women in the public sector. We have seen countless professional women in the public service bullied out of their jobs on less than substantial grounds. We have seen the despicable display of a pregnant woman being hauled before courts, accompanied by her lawyer, Nigel Hughes, on baseless charges and booted out of her post. Where was Red Thread then? The organization’s Karen de Souza had boasted some years ago about the focus of her organization and argued that Red Thread has three priorities, including protection and justice for women and increased visibility and voice for grassroots women, among others. Where were the protests when thousands of female sugar workers were callously fired? Where was Red Thread when the current Government blatantly disrespected and ignored the laws of Guyana, by failing to pay their full sev-
erance? Where was Red Thread when there were multiple calls for a decision of such magnitude to be based on solid information, not just based on a whim? Where was Red Thread when the Government ignored its own Commission of Inquiry Report, which made it clear that no sugar estate should be closed because of the consequences? Red Threat has repeatedly rejected associations with the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) by saying it is an ‘old story’ that is repeated. But how do you explain Red Thread silence in the face of actions taken by this Coalition Government, which the WPA is part of? How can the association between the WPA and Red Thread be discounted as an ‘old story’ when the organization is inconsistent in defending the causes it is supposed to represent? Editor, I would like to submit that credibility as an organization hinges on its consistency in fighting issues. But in this regard, Red Thread has been failing over the past three years. REGARDS, BALDEO MATHURA
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
A compromised Glenn Lall Dear Editor,
AVING projected himself as a ‘fearless fighter’, the publisher of the Kaieteur News, Glenn Lall, has moved to back down from his paper’s criticisms of ExxonMobil with news that he is being audited by a US state agency. A simple check would verify this fact. Is Glenn Lall just a victim here? Will Kaieteur News return to its criticisms of ExxonMobil regardless? Or is it that Glenn Lall has much to worry about? What will this audit turn up? While, it is speculated that the Coalition Government collaborated with its external
partners to make the move possible, what is interesting is the ‘clever’ switch made by the paper to go after Guyana Goldfields, pushing news that is critical of ExxonMobil on the backburner. The questions we must ask now is whether Kaieteur News will also back down from this endeavour considering that a major Coalition supporter, Eric Phillips, has come out to reject the ‘attacks’ on Guyana Goldfields. Where is this ‘fearless fighter’ that was talked about? SINCERELY, CEDRIC LORD
SARA’s officers continue to act in contravention of the law Dear Editor,
READ the report from the Stabroek News about the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) working with regional administrations to ensure that budgetary funds are properly spent and accounted for. This support role is a new turn when you consider what the SARA law is mainly focused on. The SARA law, when you read the reports from the Department of Public Information, stipulates the functions of SARA to include investigating whether state property was obtained through unlawful conduct involving a public official or any other person and the tracing and identifying of property wherever situated, suspected to be state property obtained from unlawful conduct involving a public official or any other person. But SARA isn’t talking about taking the Regional Executive Officers (REOs) to court over overpayment on contracts and that sort of action. All Guyanese have seen the unwillingness of SARA to investigate anything connected with actions of this Government, even the last week’s media reports about government ministers selling passports and work permits and setting up front companies to benefit from taxpayers’ monies. So if SARA isn’t going the government ministers, why would they go after these REOs who are
acting contrary to the laws, right? Or is it because most of the REOs were appointed by the same government that appointed the people running SARA? Aubrey Heath-Retemyer himself said that SARA is not in the regions to “run things,” but is there to “point out” where there are things that are going in the wrong direction. Or it is that SARA knows that if it takes cases against these REOs, or even government ministers, to court it would not win the case? The SARA Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) are in positions, despite what the law says about how appointments to these positions should be made. Everyone was of the view that a new Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) would be appointed, once the Bill was passed last year. Their functioning of Aubrey Heath-Retemyer and Clive Thomas is unconstitutional and in contravention of the law. Editor, these are serious issues that raise many worries for Guyanese people. The SARA law gives much power to the people running it and, since the people running it were handpicked by this APNU-AFC government, the SARA Bill gives much power to them. REGARDS, ATTIYA BAKSH
Who commissioned the Rystad report? Dear Editor,
AVING noticed what made the stateowned Guyana Chronicle’s headlines today, June 1, 2018, makes it necessary to lament the problem that is the ‘third world syndrome’ of accepting as gospel a report that emanates from the ‘North’ without examining the motivation driving such a publication. Must Guyanese simply accept this? Do we not, as a people, owe it to ourselves to raise questions? The featured article in ‘Stabroek Business, today, June 1, 2018, gives an insight into the need for these questions to be raised. The report pointed out that the company, Rystad Energy, which did the report advocating for the ‘pot to be sweetened’ for ExxonMobil, commonly works for “energy owners” and for “governments” as part of its operations. Who commissioned this report? Editor, it is worth noting also that the company’s Espen Erlingsen was quoted in the Guyana Chronicle as saying, ““In retrospect, one can argue that the government has succeeded in generating the activity they were hoping for.” However, ExxonMobil
was already in Guyana before the ‘pot was sweetened’ with the questionable renegotiated contract. ExxonMobil had already found oil before the ‘pot was sweetened’. There was no need to ‘kick-start’ offshore ambitions for this company. What is link between Rystad Energy and ExxonMobil, other than both have major offices in Texas, USA? Rystad Energy’s connection to a local company also raises eyebrows. TOTALTEC Oilfield Services Limited’s principal was previously connected to the foreign company Welltec A/S, which had links to Rystad Energy. It is a fact that TOTALTEC benefits from positive reviews of the oil industry and hence has an interest in the prospects of the local oil sector being talked up, since it means more business for them. What influence did TOTALTEC have on Rystad Energy doing its report? Is it all just a coincidence that Rystad Energy was engaged? Editor, these questions are ones that must be asked and answered. SINCERELY, D. WILLIAMS
Was the flag raising schedule changed to accommodate the ‘Stink and Dutty J’ouvert’? Dear Editor,
OW that the events have ended, permit me to comment on the ‘Stink and Dutty J’ouvert’ event that took place in the night of 25th May, 2018. Editor, this event was scheduled on what is usually the night that Guyanese witness the hoisting of the national flag to mark our Independence anniversary. Editor, was this event the reason that things changed this year? Was the event the reason that the midnight flag raising was cancelled? Why was the midnight flag raising really moved to 2:00PM in the afternoon? The reports in the local newspapers about emails from Basil Williams, the Attorney General, about promoting certain events come to mind. The email said that the PNC’s re-election committee decided to support several entertainment shows with foreign artistes to win back support especially from youth because the PNC believed that “this will help to motivate the younger voting population” at the elections. Is this why the midnight flag
raising was changed? I raise this question because the PNC were given scores of free tickets for distribution by the entertainers. The reports in the local newspapers also talked about Joseph Harmon, the Minister of State, engaging Churches on the need for the religious community to play a bigger role in society. He talked about “an increase in goodness and righteousness in our society, in moral re-armament” in Guyana. Was Joseph Harmon being serious about moral re-armament? How does something named ‘Stink and Dutty’ come in line with moral re-armament? But this is just my view. The main issue, Editor, is that the flag raising ceremony timings were changed. I, like many other Guyanese, expected better of President David Granger, since he is the kind of man who would prefer to be in Church on Old Year’s night instead of at a party. REGARDS, BRIAN AZORE
More workers have lost their jobs arising from current economic circumstances
he Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) was indeed disheartened when it learnt of the decision by Mr Bruce Vieira to shutter his BEV Processors Inc. For the approximate 390-person workforce, it was an unexpected, and certainly an unwelcome, shock when they learnt of the sad news that their jobs, in a few weeks’ time, would cease to exist. For nearly all of the workers, it probably was the last thought on their mind, if it were a thought at all when they entered the workplace and subsequently learnt that the Company was being closed. The workforce is largely made
of up females, many of whom are single parents, are already hard pressed with the circumstances of life. The GAWU relationship with BEV goes back nearly 25 years when the Union became the bargaining agent for the workers employed by the Company. Over the years, our Union and the Company have generally enjoyed cordial relations and through those relations were able to advance the workers lot. In fact just a few weeks ago, the Union and the Company concluded their 2018 negotiations which resulted in an eight (8) per cent pay rise, among other improvements. At that time,
there wasn’t the faintest of idea that a few weeks later that the workforce would be made redundant. The Company, in keeping with its obligations, as outlined in the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act and the Trade Union Recognition Act, and officially engaged the Union on its intentions. The GAWU was represented by its General Secretary, Seepaul Narine, among other union officials and members of the BEV GAWU Branch. The Company explained that several factors influenced its decision to close operations. Through the Union/Com-
pany engagement, apart from the statutorily required redundancy payments, the Company has agreed to pay workers for their full year’s annual leave, though the years’ service would be incomplete when operations cease. The workers would receive too their full incentive payment for July, 2018 though the Company would end operations around July 15, 2018. Also, the Company agreed to pay the workers 100 hours of their pay rates they would usually receive during the closed season despite the shuttering of the Company’s operations before the season commences. The closed season, which would
last from August to October, sees a temporary cessation of fishing operations to allow fish to spawn. Following the engagement with the Company, the Union met with the workforce and apprised them of the outcome of the engagement between the Union and the Company. The Union shared with the workers its dismay that the situation has reached such a sad end. Some workers lamented what life could become if they are unable to secure new jobs. The GAWU committed itself to ensuring that the workers’ rights were protected and vowed to stand in their corner. The workers obviously upset by
the sudden closure decision but were nevertheless, in the circumstances, heartened that the Union managed to secure additional payments on their behalf. The loss of jobs could not have more at a more distressing time. Over the last few months, several thousand sugar workers became jobless from an unwise policy to minimize the industry. Separately, more workers have lost their jobs arising from the economic circumstances that are prevailing at this time. Guyana Agricultural Workers Union
6 Only the list of 227 companies engaged during the first quarter of 2018 was released.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
Government claims that ExxonMobil spent $2.8B between January and March 2018 in dealing with the 227 companies.
Landfill site’, ‘Bourda Market’, 41 individuals listed among local companies engaged by ExxonMobil P
However, amid concerns about local content – essentially the development of local skills the expansion of local manpower and growth of local manufacturing, as well as the transfer of technology – new worries have arisen, given that 41 individuals were listed among the 227 ‘companies’ engaged. Other controversial listings include the landfill site and Bourda Market. Additionally, there were no details provided by government on the nature of ExxonMobil’s Rengagement E S S U R Ewith f rthese o m companies. t h e (Minister Raphael Trot- claims that ExxonMobil
Parliamentary Oppo- man’s) release of the names spent $2.8B between JanuThesaw issue the of ExxonMobil engaging locallocal companies has been debated some time now. sition release of of the companies. I aryforand March 2018 in dealSubject Raphael Trotman, it isfor up to ing ExxonMobil make the the list of Minister, local companies wishhad toinitially repeatsaid mythat call with theto227 companies. disclosure. Recently, ExxonMobil made it clear that Government holds that responsibility. engaged by ExxonMobil by the list of 309 local compaHowever, amid concerns the Coalition Government. nies used by ExxonMobil about local content – essenLeader, inbyhis comments Junethe 4, 2018, that the Guyanese have been of One The dayOpposition after comments in 2017 on and 227 made usedit clear tially development made aware that Government is in possession of the information and it has a responsibility to Opposition Leader, Bharrat during the first quarter of local skills the expansion of make the list public. Jagdeo, the list was made 2018 to be released.” local manpower and growth public. Only the list of 227 local has manufacturing, as Government in taking up its approach in addressing the issue of localofcontent said that 309 JGuyanese a g d e o , owned on M o n d a y were companies during well as the companies engaged inengaged 2017 by ExxonMobil and some $8Btransfer was spentof tech(Juneduring 4, 2018) said, the orfirst quarter of 2018 the year. It is“There unclear when, if, these 309 companies will benology named. – new worries have is nothing stopping his was released. Government arisen, given that 41 indiBELOW ARE THE 227 ‘COMPANIES’ NAMED:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56
57 58 59 60 61 62
2018 First Quarter List of Suppliers A. Ally & Sons Express Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Amethyst Marine Serivces Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Amy's Pomeroon Foods Inc. Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Andrew Pollard and Gigi K Macedo Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Andron Alphonso Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Anthony Cole Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Aromas Café Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Assuria Life GY Inc Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Atlantic Marine Supplies Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Auto Supply Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Automotive Art Tire Center Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana B.M. Soat Auto Sailes Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana BACIF Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Bartica Development Business Association Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Beharry Automotive Ltd. Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Bel Air Rubis Service Station Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Bounty Supermarket Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Bourda Market Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Branderz Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Brandsville Apartments Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Brasil Churrascaria Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Budget Supermarket Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Camex Restaurant Limited Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Carmichael Investment Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Carol Ann Correia Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Carribean Surgery Inc. Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Centurion Data Services Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Cevons Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Chontelle Sewett Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Chop Stix Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Christopher or Patricia Callen Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Correia & Correia Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Crucial Inc. Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Cyril's Taxi Service Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana D. Singh's Trading Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana DD Signs Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Dalip Trading Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Demerara Bank Limited Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Dennis Charran Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Dr. Balwant Singh's Hospital Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Dr. Shiwnandan Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana DSL Supermarket Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana DTS Trading Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Dwayne Air Condition Repair Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Dyrock Construction Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana EC Vieria Shipyard Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Eldorado Offshore Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana E-Networks Incorporated Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Engraving and Trophy World Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Environmental Management Consultants Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Eureka Labs Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Eusi Anderson, Attorney Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Evans and Sons Service Center Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Express Logisitcs Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana F.J. Camacho (Guyana Inc.) Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Faiaz Ali Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Falcon Logistics and Management Services Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Farfan and Mendes Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Farm Supplies Ltd Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Fix It Hardware Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Frontline Car Wash Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana FuzeArts Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana
Engraving and Trophy World
Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana
62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69
FuzeArts Gafoor's Apartment Gafsons Industries Limited GAICO Construction Ganesh Ajodha Garvin Gayadin Gary De Jesus GEMBABB Marine Survey Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry Germans Resturant Francios Catering Services Giftland Global Technology Inc. Gowkaran Persaud Grand Coastal Inn Inc. Green Leaf Solution Guyana Inc. Ground Structures Engineering Consultants GT Motorsports Inc. GTM Insurance Guyan Red Cross Society Guyana Energy Support Services Guyana Logistics and Support Services Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association Ltd. Guyana National Newspapers Ltd Guyana Power and Light Inc. Guyana Publications Inc Guyana Revenue Authority Guyana Shore Base Inc. Guyana Times Inc Guyoil Haagsbosch Landfill Hamid Hardware Hamson Hardware Hand-in-Hand Life Insurance Co. Hans Neher Harris Paints Hemraj Boudnauth Hermanston Lodge Hose N Bolts Houston Industrial Services & Company Hughes Fields and Stoby Iconic Marketing and Printing Impressions Industrial Fabrications Inc. Industrial Safety Supplies Inc I-Net Communications Inc Institute of Private Enterprise Development Limited Isabel Rahaman Nee Galvao T as Rent A Tent JAI Taxi Service Jaibogin Lodge (Region 2) Java Coffee Bar Jerome Khan John Ramator - Refigeration JPS Trading JSL International Guyana Inc. Jus Water Inc Kares Engineering King and Regent Service Center Knight Rider Bus Services K's Resturant Leon St. Marthe Linden Enterprise Network Inc. Lorraine Ince-Carvalhal Low's Shell M&M Investments
Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana
50 Environmental Management Consultants Guyanese-owned, registered in of Guyana viduals were listed among some time now. Subject possession the informaLabs Guyanese-owned, registered Guyana the51227 Eureka ‘companies’ en- Minister, Raphael Trotman, tion and itinhas a responsibil52 Eusi Anderson, Attorney had initially said Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana gaged. Other controversial that it is ity to make the list public. 53 Evans andthe Sons Service Center Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana listings include landfill up to ExxonMobil to make Government in taking up 54 andExpress Logisitcs registered in Guyana site Bourda Market. the disclosure.Guyanese-owned, Recently, its approach in addressing 55 F.J. Camacho Guyanese-owned, registered Additionally, there(Guyana were Inc.) ExxonMobil made it clear the issue inofGuyana local content Ali registered in Guyana no56 detailsFaiaz provided by gov- that GovernmentGuyanese-owned, holds that has said that 309 Guyanese Logistics andof Management ernmentFalcon on the nature responsibility. owned companies were en57 Servicesengagement Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana ExxonMobil’s The Opposition Leader, gaged in 2017 by ExxonMo58 these Farfan and Mendes Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana with companies. in his comments on June bil and some $8B was spent 59 Farm Supplies Ltd registered Guyana The issue of ExxonMo4, 2018, made itGuyanese-owned, clear that during theinyear. It is unclear Fix It Hardware registered in Guyana bil60engaging local compa- Guyanese have Guyanese-owned, been made when, or if, these 309 com61 hasFrontline Car Washfor aware that Government Guyanese-owned, registered Guyana nies been debated is in panies willin be named.
70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107
108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126
Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana
Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
High Court judge says SOCU must produce forensic report or face 'permanent stay' of charges against former GRDB official
ustice Navindra Singh on Tuesday (June 4, 2018) ordered the prosecution to produce within five days a forensic audit report into the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) otherwise there would be a permanent stay of prosecution against fraud accused Madanlall Ramraj. Justice Singh in his order said that the failure of the prosecution to disclose a copy of the forensic audit report which was instrumental in investigations launched by the Special Organised Crime Unit and the eventual charge against Ramraj “constitutes 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177
a violation of Article 144 of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, more particularly, the right of the Applicant to be afforded facilities for the preparation of his defence and other protections of the law secured under and guaranteed by the said Article 144. Ramraj was represented by attorneys Anil Nandlall, Manoj Narayan and Rajendra Jaigobin while the Attorney General was represented by Oneka Archer-Caulder. The matter raises a number of questions since a similar application before
Macaela Siobhan Cameron MACORP Maggie's Snackette and Catering Matpal Marine Inc. Mattai's the Food Mart Maurice Solomon and Co. Mercure Signes Meshach Pierre Metro Office and Computer Supplies Mines Services Limited MMC Security Force Inc (Serviced via Falcon) Mode Trading Inc. Moenudin McDoom Mokesh Daby MP Insurance Mr. Colin Daniels Mr. Colvin Lockhart Mr. Kembleton Clyne Mr. Kurt Branker Mr. Ramesh Seebarran Mrs. Caretta Ross- Hopkinson Ms. Jamela A. Ali Muneshwar Limited Nabi Construction National Hardware National Insurance Scheme National Media and Publishing Co Ltd Nizam and Company NP Electronics NT Computeac O&P Properties Oasis Café Inc. Oliver Frazier OMG Oshana and Orlando Rogers Palm Court Restaurant & Bar Parmesar Chartered Accountants Paul Geer Pegasus Hotel Guyana Pest Pros Phillips General Store Pinnacle Safety Zone Poonai and Poonai Precious Metal Mines Incorporated Prem's Electrical Puran Bros Disposal Inc. Queensway Security Services Inc. R. Bassoo & Sons Construction Ram & Mcrae Ramchand Auto Sales Ramchan's Spare Parts
Acting Chief Justice Roxane George had been dismissed. Ramraj was one of six persons charged with fraud as a result of investigations stemming from the forensic audit report. Last Friday (June 1, 2018), Justice George dismissed applications made by two of the six GRDB fraud to have the charges against them quashed. The pleading were similar to those made on behalf of Ramraj. Former Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Prema Ramanah-Roopnarine and business consultant Badrie Persaud based
Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana
their applications before the Article 144 of the Constitu- Directors on the Board of the Chief Justice on the failure tion, and, in particular, the Guyana Rice Development of the prosecution to dis- right of the applicants to be Board (GRDB) – failed to close a copy of the forensic afforded facilities for the enter a total of $362M in audit report to them. preparation of their defence transactions into the Board’s In separate applications and other protections of the general ledger during the filed on their behalf by at- law secured under and guar- years 2012, 2013, 2014 and torney-at-law Sase Gunraj, anteed by Article 144. They 2015. Ramanah-Roopnarine and also asked the court to grant There was no claim that Persaud asked the court for a an order for a “permanent the money is missing or declaration that the failure of stay of proceedings,” quash- that it was misappropriated, the prosecution to disclose ing, vacating or setting aside only that it was not entered 167 Phillips General Store Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana a 168 copy of the report, which the charges of fraudulent the GRDB general ledPinnacle Safety Zone Guyanese-owned,into registered in Guyana was prepared by Chartered omission against them. The ger, which is the 169 Poonai and Poonai Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyanarole of the Accountant Nigel Attorney GeneralGuyanese-owned, of Guyana Board’s 170 Precious Metal Hinds Mines Incorporated registeredaccounting in Guyana officers, and formed the basis was listed as the Guyanese-owned, respondent. not the Directors. 171which Prem's Electrical registered in Guyana 172certain Puraninvestigations Bros Disposal Inc. registered Guyana being for The charge,Guyanese-owned, according After ininitially 173 Queensway Security Services registeredlast in Guyana launched by the Special Orto Inc. the Special Guyanese-owned, Organised charged, month, the six 174 R. Bassoo & Sons Construction Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana ganised Crime Unit (SOCU), Crimes Unit, is that the six persons were released on 175 Ram & registered in Guyana constituted a Mcrae violation of persons – whileGuyanese-owned, acting as GYD$500,000 bail each. 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208
209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227
Ramchand Auto Sales Ramchan's Spare Parts Rams and McRae Ray's Car Rental Regal Stationary Rennie Leow Rentokil Guyana Rooster's Grill Roraima Airways Inc. Royal Castle Inc RRT TIRE SHOP Ruben Sawmills Ryan Shivraj Safeway Security Sandhyad Prasad or Seu Prasad Sarjoo's Trucking Services Shanta's New Market Simran's Fuel Sleep In Hotel SOL Guyana Solomon & Co Somwaru's Travel Service Sonia Noel Special Auto Stan Gouveia Star Party Rentals Starr Computers Surendra N. Ramsaroop Survival Supermarket Sydney Qualis Taste of India The Boardroom The Garage The Hand-in-Hand Mutual Fire Insurance Co.Ltd. The Water Store Timothy Jonas TotalTec Trans Guyana Airways TSD Lal and Co Unique Universal Machining USA Global Export Guy Ltd V. Dalip Enterprise Visual 360 Creative VSH United Guyana Waldyke Prince Welfab Welding and Fabrication Services Yellow Mines Hydraulic Supply Youth Challenge Guyana ZECO Zhong Ya Hardware Zhongda
Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana
Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana Guyanese-owned, registered in Guyana
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
Gov’t continues to ‘obfuscate’ issues, not being forthcoming with Guyanese people – Jagdeo A
SCATHING response from the Office of the Opposition Leader, issued on Tuesday (June 5, 2018) exposed the APNU+AFC Coalition Government’s proclivity to secrecy, regarding developments in the oil and gas sector. After being called, on Monday (June 4, 2018) out for its failures to keep the Guyanese people updated, the Ministry of Natural Resources released a statement and charged that the Guyanese people are updated on the developments. “Nothing could be further from the truth. There is evidence that the Government, through the Ministry of Natural Resources, has been more open to sharing information,” the Ministry’s statement said. However, the statement from Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, pointed to 10 examples, saying it was a limited listing, to show the inaccuracy of the Ministry’s claim. “Guyanese are being kept in the dark,” Jagdeo said. The Ministry of Natural Resources has not yet countered the statement. BELOW IS THE FULL STATEMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF THE OPPOSITION LEADER: The Office of the Opposition Leader has noted the release by the Ministry of Natural Resources, which
purports to refute the criticism voiced by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, about the secrecy with which developments in the oil and gas industry are treated by the APNU+AFC Government. What is concerning is that Minister Trotman and his colleague Ministers may actually believe that they are keeping Guyanese updated and aware of developments in the sector. The mere listing of a few examples of what has happened in the last two years suffices to expose this notion as a fallacy. 1. Calls for the release of the ExxonMobil contract were met with several excuses; first Guyanese were told about “national security considerations” and then that the former PPP/C government changed the law to prevent disclosure. These were exposed as lies and public pressure saw the release of the contract, finally. 2. To hide their underhand dealings with the remaining oil blocks, the Government first claimed that there was “nothing left” because ‘Jagdeo have given out all the remaining blocks’. This lie persisted for several months, but was finally exposed. 3. Despite the fact that there are several remaining oil blocks, Guyanese are none the wiser about how these will be treated. Why has government failed to pay
attention to its own advisor, after he recommended that the remaining oil blocks be auctioned off? 4. Thirdly, on the issue of a signing bonus, the Government claimed that it never requested, nor received a signing bonus. This was the lie they told Guyanese people for over a year. This lie was exposed and only then did the government admit that it received a US$18M signing bonus, which it hid in an account outside of the Consolidated Fund and outside of the reach of the Auditor General. 5. For three years Guyanese have been told about legislation coming to the National
Assembly. The Sovereign Wealth Fund was supposed to come before the end of 2016, but it is now 2018 and we are still nowhere closer. The same goes for the promised Local Content Policy and we have seen responsibility for this shift from one minister’s desk to another. What is happening now is that Government is name-dropping titles of international agencies to somehow lend believability to the notion that they are addressing the matter diligently. Guyanese are still unaware about what the final drafts of these documents will look like and when they will be ready.
Jagdeo says Guyanese were failed in the renegotiation of ExxonMobil contract
XXONMOBIL has made it clear that it is willing to subject is pre-contract costs to review, raising questions as to whether these were not verified before being included in the renegotiated contract. As per clauses included in Annex C of the agreement, pre-contract costs from 1999, when the original contract was inked, to December 31, 2015 were set at US$460M. Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman has agreed that Guyana will pay. Meanwhile, a second set of pre-contract costs from January 1, 2016 to October 7, 2016, the date when the Petroleum Prospecting Licence was granted, is expected to be millions more.
Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, in comments on Monday (June 4, 2018) said, “I have noted ExxonMobil’s position in saying that audits of pre-contract costs are ‘expected and customary’ in the oil sector. “In doing so, I think it is clear, again, that the Coalition Government failed the Guyanese people in the re-negotiation of the oil contract. If ExxonMobil is open to an audit, why wasn’t this done? Why did the Coalition Government not audit the pre-contract costs, before including the cost in the contract? Why was there no verification done?” Jagdeo proffered the view that there was clearly no push-back from Exxon-
Mobil on this issue. “Given this state of affairs, there is reason for alarm regarding the quality of representation Guyanese received from the Coalition Government in this re-negotiation,” he said. The Opposition Leader added, “Last month I stated that fair questions had been asked by civic-minded Guyanese about the pre-contract costs and they should be answered. Today, I reiterate my call for the Government to resist its proclivity towards secrecy and ensure that the answers to these questions are given.” Local civil society groups and commentators have argued that the pre-contract costs are overstated. Meanwhile, contradicting
Minister Trotman, GGMC Head, Newell Dennison, has admitted that there was no audit or verification of the pre-contracts costs claimed by the oil company. Jagdeo has also repeatedly called for an apolitical approach to the development of the oil and gas sector. He has stated that the Parliamentary Opposition would be willing to engage the Government on this matter. “If they want to approach in a bipartisan manner, we will be willing to meet with them to talk about it,” he had said. To date, the Coalition Government has remained unresponsive, despite the criticism of its handling of the emerging oil and gas sector.
6. Guyanese were also told that the oil and gas sector will be treated in an apolitical manner, but were met with a Petroleum Commission Bill, which vests obscene levels of control in the hands of the Minster. The Bill allows the Minister to become the Board where he does not appoint one and perform the functions of the CEO if one is not appointed. The Bill also states that the Minister can give direction to the Commission regarding, size of the establishment, the employment of staff and the terms and conditions of employment, the disposal of capital assets; the application of the proceeds of such disposals 7. Guyanese were told another lie in December 2016, when Minister Trotman announced a US$500M onshore supply base that was supposed to be erected at Crab Island, in the Berbice River, in 2017. This deadline has passed and nothing has happened at Crab Island. 8. Guyanese were only recently told about another project, this time a natural gas project, despite the fact that a feasibility study had not been completed. When will project come on stream? The site for the project has become a state secret. These details are not available to Guyanese. 9. Until now, the Government has failed to brief the Guyanese people about what
took place during the Texas trip, where five ministers were present. What did they discuss? Was it related to the renegotiated contract? 10. The Government has failed to say who was involved in finalizing the renegotiated ExxonMobil contract. Was there a Cabinet-approved negotiating brief? Why was the IDB-funded Advisor, Dr Mangal, not included in the renegotiation? These are the facts and these are only a few examples. Guyanese have to determine who has been untruthful. Guyanese have to determine whether, as the Ministry of Natural Resources claims, they have been kept informed of developments in the oil and gas sector. Additionally, the Ministry’s comment regarding briefings provided by ExxonMobil creates the impression that there have been regular briefings provided to the Parliamentary Opposition, when there have been three, at most, in the last three years. During these briefings, often times, when questions are asked, ExxonMobil indicates that it cannot release the information and redirects the Parliamentary Opposition to the Government. The facts are clear. Guyanese have been kept in the dark. No amount of obfuscation will detract from this.
Central gov’t intent on ‘running the show’ – Local gov’t Commission members
eople’s Progressive Party (PPP) nominated members on the Local Government Commission had much to say about the workings of the Commission. Chief among their many concerns is what they term the usurpation of their powers and the direct interference of Central Government in the affairs of the Commission. Commissioners Norman Whittaker, Clinton Collymore and Carol Sooba were sworn in since October 2017. However, these Commissioners claimed that the body is being propped up as just a front, while Central Government essentially runs the show. They also complained that Government has been stymieing them A Former Local Government Minister, Norman Whittaker, explained that the Government has been written to on numerous occasions about the situation. However, the situation remains very much the same,
and when contacted by those desirous of making complaints, they cannot refer the complainant to an office. Communities Minister, Ronald Bulkan, has failed to respond on the issue in a detailed manner. The Commission was sworn in October last year, after a lengthy delay. The parliamentary Opposition had named its nominees to the Commission since 2016. However, since the Government did not submit its nominations until just before October 2017. By law, the Commission is to be made up of eight members. The members of the Commission include four nominated from the Government, one from the unions, and three nominees from the Leader of the Opposition. The Commission’s members also include, Mortimer Mingo, Clement Corlette, Marlon Williams, Jo Ann Romascindo, and Andrew Garnett.
STRAIGHT TALK 9
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
(This speech was first made public on February 18, 1968. Its re-printing is among several activities being undertaken during 2018 to mark the 100th birth anniversary – March 22, 2018 – of the founder of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Cheddi Jagan.)
Trade, Aid and Debts By Dr. Cheddi Jagan
HE underdeveloped rather mis-developed countries of the world today face a grave crisis in trade and development. The highly industrialized countries have been increasing their share of world trade at the expense of the poor thirdworld countries by high tariff walks, by discriminatory preference agreements, and by a two-price system of farm subsidies. Poor countries also suffer from price manipulating at the hands of the rich countries. They are forced to sell cheap and buy expensive. The USA has obstructed or delayed attempts at stabilizing prices of commodities which make up the bulk, about 85 per cent of the export of poor countries. The obstruction to commodities-agreements was noted as long ago as 1967 by the New York Foreign trade Bulletin. It stated that: “Most of the countries are heavily dependent on the production and exchange of one or two commodities… (which) provide most of the foreign exchange needed for the purchase of imported industrial goods…it is well recognised that market instability inhibits economic growth…Latin American countries have long and unsuccessfully tried to interest their consumers – that is the industrial countries in cooperative efforts to minimize market fluctuations… international commodity agreements to meet the problems of instability have consistently been resisted by the United States.” According to UNCTAD, between 1958 and 1965, mineral export prices from the rich countries rose by five per cent for poor countries and there was a price fall by seven per cent. Take another glaring example. Egyptian cotton, though better than US cot-
ton, fell in price by 30 per cent during the period 1955 and 1965, while the fall in price of US cotton was only 12 per cent. Bauxite producing countries have been particularly hard hit. Philip Bono, US economist, said that “from 1938 to 1959, the general US price level rose by 138 per cent. During these years, the price of bauxite produced in the United States doubled. Yet the price of bauxite imported from Suriname and British Guiana was almost the same in 1959, as it had been in 1938. That the companies were holding the price of imported bauxite at the dead level did not prevent them from raising the price of aluminum, which went up by 78 per cent between 1948 and 1959.” TRADE LOSSES Today, as compared with a decade ago, poor countries can get for the same quantity of exports about one-tenth of imported goods. Prices of exports of raw materials from poor countries declined by seven per cent since 1958, as compared with an increase of 10 per cent for similar exports from rich countries. By buying cheap and selling expensive, Britain alone was able to make from poor, exploited, countries, about GYD$3M a year between 1957 and 1963. This partially accounts for the high standard of living in Britain and the poverty of places like Guyana. EXTERNAL BORROWING Trading losses have to be met by external borrowing under onerous conditions. Between 1955 to 1966, when British Guiana became independent Guyana, the indebtedness of third-world countries increased four-fold from US$10M to $40M. Western aid has also fallen short of the 1 per cent of
about the amount that the Alliance For Progress has put into Latin America since the programme began. Latin America is therefore in the peculiar state of a man who is receiving a blood transfusion in one arm and donating blood through the other.”
national income, which was earmarked some years ago. From 0.87 per cent in 1961, it has declined to 0.62 per cent in 1966. And interest rates on some loans are high. Beside loans are tied. Strings attached to Western aid specify how the aid is to be spent. Commenting on trade and aid, Finance Minister, Jorse Mejia Palacio of Columbia said in 1962, that his country has lost two to three times as much foreign income from the falling coffee prices it had received in Alliance For Progress credits. He said the main thing the Alliance could accomplish would be a long-term coffee pact. He said: “Until this comes about, the help that is given us, however generous it may be, will not be blood to vitalize our economies, as was planned, but simply tranquillizers to avoid a total collapse.” Foreign aid, which now includes foreign private investments, is leading to a vast drain of profits and strangulating debt charges. Executive Director, Carlos Quintana of the Economic Commission of Latin America (ECLA) declared: “Considering the net glow of autonomous and compensatory foreign fund, deducting the interest on foreign debts, profits and other remunerations of direct foreign investment, the net foreign contribution to the region’s external purchasing pow-
er has been negative since 1962. The amount is 1965 exceeded the US$950M mark.” According to the Cuban delegate at the 1967 ECLA Conference, the net drain from Latin America alone was no less than US$1.567M. Former President of Brazil, Juscelino Kubitschek, writing on trade and aid under the Alliance For Progress, said: “Let’s be frank. The prices for Latin America’s basic food and raw material exports have depreciated so much that this area’s income has declined more than 500 million this year, in terms of the price paid for the same commodities when I took office in 1956. That 500 million was just
DEBT CHARGES Loan repayments now constitute a large percentage of the budgets of third-world countries. According to the World Bank, loan repayments in 1966 represented 40 per cent of all the loans made by the Bank. Repayments on the indebtedness of poor countries in 1966 amounted to an alarming sum that was an eight-fold increase on foreign debts of US$500M in 1955. Foreign debts are likely to swallow all inflowing foreign exchange up to 1970. India’s interest payments jumped from RS1.6 crores in 1951 to 1952 to RS.36 crores in 1961 and 1962. At the end of 1967, the Indian Government asked the ‘Aid India Consortium’ for additional time to pay debts falling die, estimated at US$400M. By 1956, Latin American countries paid out US$450M, almost the exact amount they received in aid. Interest on loans has now
jumped to about US$573M. Guyana’s debt charges jumped from GYD$5M in 1960 to GYD$15M in 1968 (16 per cent of budgeted expenditure). These debt charges would have been higher, but for the facility of deferred repayment on some of the loans. And while debt charges are likely to increase sharply, foreign aid – loans and grants – is likely to fall from the average GYD$24M for the last three years. This will mean that Guyana will soon reach the position where she would be begging and borrowing abroad only to be able to repay foreign debts. The Guyana Prime Minister declared in September 1968, during the second Aid Donors Conference, that for the past three years Guyana received an average of GYD$7M per year, and paid debt charged amounting to GYD$9M. There has been talk that poor countries must embark of a programme of self-geld. This is rather vague. What is necessary is to break the chains of neo-colonialism and state monopoly-capitalism, which bind the poor countries to the imperialist countries. This means radical changes and restructuring of the economy.
Unfinished morgue the only recent state-funded infrastructure work done in Wakenaam
esidents of Wakenaam, Region Three, are lamenting what has been called the “discriminatory” manner with which the community is being treated. Several residents, speaking to the Mirror Newspaper, noted that the work of the People’s Progressive Party-led Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) is being frustrated, while the Regional Administration continues to neglect the Island. Among the concerns are that roads around Wakenaam are in a terrible state of disrepair, villages such as Ridge are completely cut off due to impassible roads, rice farmers have not been paid since January
2018, and crime is on the rise. Meanwhile, the plantain chips factory built by the former PPP/C Administration, to bolster job creation and assist the local plantain farmers, was immediately closed down after the APNU/AFC took office in 2015. There has been effort to counter the impacts of the closure. Residents also decried the absence of any significant investment or developmental works in Wakenaam since May 2015, with the exception of another morgue, which remains incomplete, and greening of government buildings.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
From the desk of Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo...
Guyana Under Review
Several issues were addressed a weekly news conference held by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, on Thursday (June 7, 2018), ranging from developments in the sugar sector to concerns about the actions of the Coalition Government in relation to the Local Government Elections expected later this year.
Murky dealings shadow US$150M arrangement for sugar sector T
here is still no functioning Board of Directors to manage the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo). And Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, has questioned who the decision makers are. “It is the SPU (Special Purposes Unit)? Is it NICIL (National Industrial & Commercial Investments Limited)? Is it Jordan?” he asked. Referring to the move to issue US$150M bond – US$85M (GYD$17B) having already been issued – Jagdeo made it clear that the manner in which this matter is being dealt with raises serious concerns for the future. VESTING ORDER The state of affairs currently is that the GYS$17B bonds were issued to investors, who paid money to NICIL and GuySuCo’s
assets were used as security for the money received from the Bond holders. Jagdeo pointed out that the assets, listed in a Vesting Order, include not only the four sugar estates that were closed, but also 100 per cent of Government’s shares in GuySuCo. “The entire GuySuCo was transferred to NICIL, contrary to the view that it is only the four estates,” he said, adding that the transfer was done “free and clear” of all liabilities. SHELL COMPANY According to him, with such a transfer of assets, all that is left are the liabilities of GuySuCo in what is essentially a shell company. “It is a bit confusing. Who owns the liabilities now?” he asked. The Opposition Lead-
er noted that the liabilities included the GYD$32B of pension liabilities. “Who will assume responsibility for this? This needs to be urgently clarified. We are in the dark,” he said. CONSEQUENCES Additionally, the Opposition Leader expressed concerns for the future, given the lack of a clear plan to deal with the US$150M once it is secured. He said, “The GYD$17B that they have already received will disappear…if this fails the banks will seize assets used to secure the bond…the first call of bond holders will be on the assets of NICIL….the assets will include not only the GuySuCo assets, but other NICIL properties too…if they sell those assets and they still cannot come up with enough
money, they will then have recourse to the treasury… what will happen is that taxpayers will be left with the burden.” Jagdeo has since stated that bond holders have some responsibility. “We have to say to bond holders, if you are engaged in something this murky and we find that no due diligence was done… we will not honour deals that were done secretly and corruptly…it will not happen simply because you have a government guarantee,” he said. NO POLICY The Opposition Leader noted too that many actions are being taken in the sugar sector, without a clear policy. “There are many policy issues to deal with before you even talk about privatisation,” he said.
He explained that Guyana has a quota in some foreign markets and a policy decision on how that quota will be filled has to be made. “If you privatize one or two estates, how will you allocate the quota?” Jagdeo asked. The Opposition Leader also asked, “How are you going to deal with the GuySuCo’s land? Is it going to be leased to estates? Who will take care of drainage and irrigation in areas that estates are privatized? What tax regime will be given to the privatized estates? How are you going to value properly the estates you are looking to privatize, if they are closed, since that will mean that they will be valued lower? He also questioned Government’s policy on pricing. “I am not even sure that they
are dealing with these issues…the approach has to be a complex one,” Jagdeo said. Critics like former Auditor General, Anand Goolsarran, was put on blast for silence on the US$150M arrangement, given that he, like others, was vocal in opposing what was a transparent plan for the Berbice River Bridge. “We don’t see all these ‘big analysts’ talking about this…decisions were made and there was no studies, no prospectus or detailed plan issued about the spending,” he said. Developments on this matter, according to him, will be closely monitored by the Parliamentary Opposition. “Guyanese have to understand, if we are not careful, we will bear burden of all of this, because of incompetence and corruption,” Jagdeo concluded.
Move to change City Hall must be audited boundaries of Local Authority A Areas will be resisted
oncerns were expressed about attempts to change the boundaries of Local Authority Areas (LAAs), ahead of the Local Government Elections (LGE) expected later this year. Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, noted that there have been reports of Government’s move to “gerrymander” some of the boundaries. In the 2016 LGE, one year after the APNU+AFC Coalition took office, the difference of votes was close to 30,000 – not counting the areas where there was no contest, meaning only the PPP/C fielded candidates. Of 1,166 seats up for
grabs, the PPP/C won 754 of those, while APNU+AFC won 375 and the remaining seats went to independent candidates and groups that contested the elections - in other words the PPP/C won 65 per cent of the seats, while 32 per cent went to APNU+AFC. The PPP/C also won 48 of Local Authority Areas (LAAs) out of the 71 areas. The APNU+AFC won 16 and the other seven areas are tied between the PPP/C and APNU+AFC. Jagdeo proffered the view that because of the “crushing defeat” in 2016, the Coalition Government is attempting to create 10 new Local Authority Areas
by splitting existing ones. “They want to go to places, where they had pockets of support, and split those… they are trying to ensure that the optics are different this time around,” he said. The Opposition Leader added that the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic will continue to keep a close eye on the issue. “We are watching. We are concerned about this,” he said. Meanwhile, only days ago, Communities Minister, Ronald Bulkan, met with the controversial Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), James Patterson, on issues relating to LGE.
ny audit of City Council will result in several persons in tops positions finding themselves before the courts and imprisoned, according to Opposition Leader Jagdeo. He charged that spending in breach of the law continues, with millions being given to ‘family and friends’ of top City Hall officials. “And then they say they are short on revenues,” Jagdeo said. In addition to questionable spending on contracts, concerns have also
been raised about the use of taxpayers’ monies to fund overseas trips of the Mayor and Town Clerk, as well as certain Councillors. The Town Clerk, Royston King, in response, had said, “The Council does not view the mayor and councilors’ travel overseas as trips, but as important and necessary socio-cultural, political and economic interactions, particularly in circumstances where Guyana and by extension Georgetown are part of
the global village. In most cases, expenses are paid for by the host cities, organisations or agencies.” The Opposition Leader reiterated his call for City Hall’s books to be subject to an audit. However, he acknowledged that Government may be reluctant to push such an undertaking, given the state of affairs at City Hall. “They will not audit of spending at City Hall from the time they took office,” he said.
PPP/C remains opposed to parking meter project
don’t care where the by-laws (parking meter by-laws) go. We are opposed to the parking meter project in its current configuration… it is premised on a corrupt act,” declared Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo. Communities Minister,
Ronald Bulkan, made the disclosure and added that following the presentation Government will make a final determination about the project going forward. On April 4, 2018, the Mayor and City Council approved the amended parking meter
by-laws. PPP/C Councillors, Khame Prakash Sharma and Bishram Kuppen, voted no. Last March, under mounting pressure, Cabinet suspended the project, which had already commenced and saw persons charged for (Turn to page 11)
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
Latest GECOM concerns about fairness not race O
ver the past few days concerns were expressed about the employment of persons by the Guyana Elections Commission. And Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, has made it clear that the issue is about fairness not about race. “The issue here is about diversity, fairness and equity,” he said, “The right of all Guyanese to be treated fairly. If you apply for the position, then you must be treated fairly,” he said. Earlier this week, Executive Member of the People Progressive Party (PPP) and PPP Election Committee Member, Dr. Roger Luncheon, said, “It has been
brought to my attention from several sources that the PNC commissioners at GECOM are apparently engaged in a process to eliminating candidates for advertised position at GECOM secretariat. It would seem that the PNC Commissioners are aiming at such an objective by resorting to the following: 1. Giving low to zero scores to candidates of Indian origin who are short-listed during the interview process while providing high to 100% scores to their preferred candidates; and 2. Finding extraneous reasons for eliminating top rank candidates of Indian origin from appointment to positions at the GECOM
secretariat. If these disclosures are confirmed, it would reveal that the practice continues of excluding some ethnicities form GECOM secretariat.” At a meeting on Tuesday (June 5, 2017), PPP-nominated Commissioner, Robeson Benn, attempted to bring the issue up for discussion at the GECOM statutory meeting, but was prevented from speaking by GECOM Chairman, James Patterson. This led to a walk out by the three PPP-nominated Commissioners. One PNC-nominated Commissioner, Vincent Alexander, then tried to justify the Chairman’s position by
saying that GECOM does not keep information of employees’ ethnicities and the concerns of PPP could not be substantiated. However, the GECOM Chairman, later the same day, released a detailed breakdown on the ethnic composition of the staffers employed. He said the representation is: Afro-Guyanese (46%), Indo-Guyanese (21%); Amerindians (12%), Mixed (20%) and Others (1%). The Opposition Leader has since called out the two men on the contradictory positions. “Who is lying?” he asked. Jagdeo pointed out that multiple reports indicate the
persons who score high and are qualified for certain positions are passed over and in many cases, because of their race, they are required to take another test. “This is about fairness,” he reiterated, adding that employment should be offered based on merit, not based on the fact that the PNC-nominated Commissioners are intent on employing persons sympathetic to the APNU+AFC Coalition. Relative to the latter, he charged that the skewed employment practice may be intended to facilitate tampering with the election machinery. “We believe that GECOM has a critical role to play in the future and we will not
let up on ensuring that we expose every single breach that could lead to an election process that is not free and fair,” Jagdeo said. The Opposition Leader also encouraged all aggrieved persons to approach the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC), if they feel discriminated against. The next General and Regional Elections are slated for 2020, while Local Government Elections are expected sometime later this year. Already, GECOM is mired in controversy, with President David Granger, unilaterally and unconstitutionally, appointing Patterson as the GECOM Chairman.
Specialist briefs Jordan expects a ‘flow chart’ to calm concerns about SWF failures to improve representation “A at Parliamentary Committees
cknowledging the need to step up representation at the level of the standing Parliamentary Committees, Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, disclosed that plans are in place to have PPP/C Parliamentarians supported by specialist briefs. “They are clever people, but not all of them are specialists in certain areas,” he said. According to him, this will improve the work of the PPP/C Parliamentarians sitting at Committees that have a mandate to ensure accountability from the current Government. When asked about the last meeting of the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources, he stated that is “happy” with the work done, but not satisfied because more could have been done.
“There will be a caucus before every meeting… the members of the various committees will seek guidance from other MPs (Members of Parliament)… we can also have specialist assessments to guide the questioning of government officials who come before the Committees,” Jagdeo said. He added, “The work done in all the standing committees will be stepped up.” Among the major standing Parliamentary Committees are: Sectoral Committee (Natural Resources); Sectoral Committee (Economic Services); Sectoral Committee (Foreign Relations); Sectoral Committee (Social Services); Sectoral Committee (Security); and the Public Accounts Committee.
PPP/C remains... (From page 10) parking, to allow for the review of the agreement. The actual implementation of project on Tuesday, January 24, 2017, saw many drivers opting to park outside of the parking meter zones in protest of paying the parking tolls.
The agreement was reviewed and the by-laws were amended. However, under the new by-laws persons are still being charged what are seen as exorbitant amounts. Protest actions are expected to continue.
fter three years, this is supposed to calm the concerns about the Sovereign Wealth Fund?” Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, posed this question with reference to a flowchart circulated by government’s Department of Public Information (DPI). He added, “Imagine, after three years, we get a flow chart…a flow chart is supposed to be a sign of progress.” Jagdeo made it clear that none of the critical questions surrounding the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund, promised over a year ago, have been answered by the Coalition Government. On the Sovereign Wealth Fund, he noted that a statement of principles, such as the Santiago Principles, on which the establishment of the Fund would be based
would have sufficed. As he has done on previous occasions, he stressed the need for there to be: an apolitical approach to setting up the Fund; a clear definition of the purpose of the Fund; clearly defined rules on spending from the Fund; clarity on what share of oil proceeds will go to the Fund; and the conditions under which the government can access the Fund. The Fund was promised to be in place since 2016. In 2015, Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman, said, ““Government envisions that before the end of 2016, model legislation will be laid in the National Assembly for scrutiny and debate. Nationwide consultations will ensue, before and during the process of finalising this policy through the necessary legislation.”
Gov’t acceptance of list from ExxonMobil exposes its failure G overnment’s latest ‘draft’ Local Content Policy has been circulated, amid the furor over its failure to ensure that ExxonMobil commits to the principle. The furor has been stirred by Government’s release of the list of 227 local companies engaged by ExxonMobil for the first quarter of 2018 Asked about his position on the fact that Government accepted the list of 227 as evidence of ExxonMobil’s
commitment to Local Content, Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, noted that the question itself exposes the problem – the problem is that government accepted the list. “It is not ExxonMobil. It is our government that is the problem. It was the government that accepted the list,” he said, adding that it is the Coalition Government that must clearly define its policy on local content and hold companies accountable
on that. A total of 41 individuals were listed among the 227 ‘companies’ engaged by ExxonMobil. Other controversial listings include the landfill site and Bourda Market. Additionally, there were no details provided by government on the nature of ExxonMobil’s engagement with these companies. Jagdeo maintains the view that a strong local content policy will allow Guyana
to safeguard opportunities for locals and not allow locals to be crowded out in the sector. The Opposition Leader reiterated the need for an apolitical approach to the sector’s development and stated that the Parliamentary Opposition would be willing to engage the Government on this matter. “If they want to approach in a bipartisan manner, we will be willing to meet with them to talk about it,” he had said.
Controversial parking meter project back in spotlight, by-laws with Cabinet
he Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) is expected to make a presentation to Cabinet next week in relation to the controversial amended parking meter By-laws. Communities Minister, Ronald Bulkan, made the disclosure and added that following the presentation Government will make a final determination about the project going forward. “The contract that is engaged in, has to be one that is not burdensome to the population. The benefits have to be equitably shared between the concessionaire and the Council,” Bulkan said. He added, “…it is our hope that the amended contract satisfies the concerns that were expressed by the Ministry of Finance and by the Attorney General’s Chambers… this review and assessment will be done by
Cabinet at its next meeting following a presentation by the Georgetown municipality.” Based on a unanimous decision taken on April 4, 2018, the M&CC approved the amended parking meter By-laws. However, only two Councillors opposed the By-laws at the time. Khame Prakash Sharma and Bishram Kuppen argued that the By-laws were in support of a contract that still remains unfair to citizens. The amended By-laws were then presented to the Minister in May 2018 for consideration. The amendments proposed that persons pay $150 per hour and $800 for eight hours of parking in Georgetown. Meanwhile, residents of the city would be issued with a restricted residential pass for free parking from 17:00-19:00h Monday to
Friday, while parking will be free on Saturdays. Under the modified contract, both parties had agreed to have an oversight committee set up to monitor, review, and manage the project. The committee is expected to have three representatives from M&CC, three from Smart City Solutions (SCS), and one third party also involved in the process. During renegotiations between M&CC and SCS, the subject of shared profit and contractual obligations were discussed, and it was agreed to have it remain the same being the 20/80 for a period of 20 years. It was also disclosed that in the event of arbitration, the proceedings would be held in Miami, instead of here. City Hall’s move to re-introduce the parking meter project continues to face opposition from civil society.
Fare hike proposal to be sent to the Business Ministry
s protests continue among minibus drivers, a major grouping in the public transport sector, due to the increased fuel prices, moves are being made to increase fares for commuters. The Georgetown-based United Minibus Union
(UMU) is expected to submit to the Ministry of Business a proposal containing a new fare structure. The Union is also expected to detail its operational expenses to justify the increase. Once reviewed by the ministry it could see the
commencement of negotiations between the two parties. The aim is for the proposal to be completed and submitted to the Ministry of Business, for review by the Minister, by the end of this week, at the very latest.
More ‘gaffe’ coming from Ministers while current issues not being addressed – Jagdeo I n December 2016, Minister Raphael Trotman announced that an onshore supply base will be erected at Crab Island, in the Berbice River, in 2017, to the tune of US$500M. Halfway into 2018 and Trotman has gone silent on the issue. Minister David Patterson is now following in Trotman’s steps to talk up a project “as if it is happening tomorrow” when the reality is very different. This was pointed out by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo. His comments, made during a news conference at his Church Street office, were in response to a state-media report that more than 200 Guyanese are to be employed during the civil works and construction phase for natural gas and liquid petroleum plants. According to the May 28, 2018 report, Patterson stated that the use of natural gas for GPL to generate
electricity was deemed feasible and an East Coast Demerara village has been identified for the laying of a pipeline that will transfer the fuel to shore. He added that a site has been identified and is about 475 acres, part of which will be dedicated to an industrial park. Jagdeo raised several questions, given Patterson’s comment. He asked: When will project come on stream? Where will it come on stream? Which village has been identified? Which East Coast Village has 475 available acres? According to the Opposition Leader, ExxonMobil has clearly said that there was a feasibility study on natural gas has not been completed. He charged that even if it was one, production does not begin until 2020. “After 2020 when production starts, you then have to lay a pipeline and even it if was feasible, what Patterson is talking about now will not hap-
pen until 2022…he is talking about this as if it will happen tomorrow,” Jagdeo said. In December 2017, Patterson also came under fire for saying that the Guyana Government has identified two sites in Regions Four and Six for the construction of a new power generation facility, utilizing natural gas to be had from offshore oil production activities. “Government has been actively engaged in discussions regarding the commercial use of natural gas from our offshore resources as a transitional fuel for Guyana’s economy,” the Minister had said. “This is another gaffe. Just like Trotman and Crab Island facility,” Jagdeo said Patterson’s recent comments. Meanwhile, public outcry continues on the performance of the Guyana Power and Light Company, among other major areas of concerns – concerns that are still to be addressed.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
RPA calls on gov’t to lower fuel taxes
s many producers in the agricultural sector continue to face challenges in sustaining their means of livelihood, the coalition Government is once again being urged to review its tax policies on fuel with a view to easing the “burden” on the productive sector. This was the call on Wednesday (June 6, 2018) by the Guyana Rice Producers Association (RPA), which reiterated its stance that rising production costs were lowering the earning power of producers. “We are calling on this Government to re-implement the sliding rate on taxes to cushion the impact of international price increases. To do nothing, but collect exorbitant taxes will stifle production and affect thousands of lives,” the Association observed via a statement. The RPA posits that farmers, who are currently harvesting, have been experiencing an increase in transportation costs from an average of $200 to $800 per bag, because access to their farmlands is poor.
“Many have been forced to use a combination of poor dams and weed-infested waterways and this increase in fuel prices might very well be the proverbial last straw. Additionally, most farmers are currently involved in land preparation exercise and sowing of their fields and in the latter case, [the] most fuel is being used compared to the crop duration, so the increase is coming at a really bad time for the farmers,” the RPA noted. The fuel woes are compounded by challenges of readily accessing fertilizers owing to financial challenges. Many farmers who accessed fertiliser on a credit system with the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) were defaulting on their loan repayments, which were due in part to millers not paying off the producers. Before the cancellation of PetroCaribe (the rice-for-oil) deal by Venezuela in 2015, farmers were obtaining premium rates for their paddy. In April 2017, Mahaica farmers, whose main source of income is rice, along with cash crops, said
that the taxation measures were “harsh” to them. The farmers said then that the Government has removed the list of exempted and zero-rated Value Added Tax (VAT) items, causing them to have to increase their cash crop prices, much to the dissatisfaction of their customers. The cost of production, they noted, extended to an increase in payment for fertiliser, insecticide and weedicide. Given that spare parts and machinery all now attract VAT, that “makes it more difficult for us to make ends meet as a farmer”, this newspaper reported them as saying. The Opposition – the People’s Progressive Party – had made several calls for the removal of taxes and duties on fuel for the industry, and the removal of all taxes and duties on machinery, equipment, and spares. The RPA has since said that the “good life” that the A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Government promised was wanting, adding that the Administration’s inaction on the matter was not an option.
‘People smuggling’ has ramifications for Suriname, French Guiana and for Guyana – Jagdeo
week later after being put on blast by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, the Coalition Government has remained silent. Jagdeo was no holds barred today when he put the Coalition Government on blast. “We have a criminal enterprise in Guyana that is the government,” he said at a recent news conference. He reiterated that the 2017 and 2018 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), produced by the United States of America’s (USA) State Department, are markedly different, in that “government corruption” is cited as a major source of money laundering in Volume 2 of the latest report. Giving details of eight massive ‘kick-back schemes, which he referred to a “bribe collecting syndicates” made up of government officials, Jagdeo charged that one in particular has several consequences for not only Guyana, but for other countries. According to him, false documents, including birth certificates and passports, are being sold for US$6,000 per person and the illegality is being facilitated by the
Ministry of Citizenship. “We have said that we are aware that Haitians are trafficked through Guyana; that it is supported by this government…the evidence of this is that often groups are met airside by government officials,” he said. Jagdeo detailed immigration numbers of Haitians entering Guyana and revealed that close to 7,000 Haitians entered Guyana between 2015 and 2018, to date. However, immigration records show that over 5,000 of those persons are still in Guyana. He said the number show that: in 2015, some 770 Haitians arrived, 136 left; in 2016, some 722 Haitians arrived, 451 left; in 2017, some 3,515 Haitians arrived, 291 left; and in 2018, some 1,238 Haitians arrived, 85 left. The Opposition Leader noted that Guyanese would be aware of Haitians setting up residence in Guyana. “Guyanese, all of us, live here and we know that 5,000 Haitians are not living here…it is clear that most of these people left, but they have done so illegally. We believe that they are being
moved through Suriname and French Guiana….there is a big people smuggling racket going on, aided by this government,” he said. According to the Opposition Leader, the matter will be brought to the attention to the international community, including agencies like the UNDP. “We will bring it to their attention because we believe that this is people smuggling,” he said. He added that Suriname and French Guiana will have to be put on alert for this also. Jagdeo noted that in addition to the fact that the act is illegal and corrupt, there is also a worry that the issuance of false documentation will be used to pad the voters’ list. He explained that the Party is checking in a detailed manner all the new registrations that are being made. However, he proffered the view that this racket is essentially a “massive corrupt practice” involving the Coalition Government. “We have a titular president and in three years we have become the most corrupt country in western hemisphere,” Jagdeo declared.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
Real Time Economic Insights Effective Tax Rate
The tax rate has increased from 2014 to 2018. The effective tax rate could be interpreted as the average amount of money the government takes from an individual for every dollar earn as income. A quick comparison, in 2014, for every dollar earn as income, the government took $0.33 in the form of tax. In 2018, that figure is now $0.43. Hence, within 4 years, this government took away in excess of $45 billion from the ordinary Guyanese person. In other words, on average, the government took away in excess of $60,000 form the pockets of every citizen in this country.
Foreign Direct Investment
Foreign direct investment has been on the decline since 2014. To finance investment, government continues to rely heavily on domestic credit. Supporting this argument is the decline of foreign assets in our commercial banks.
Impact on Banking Sector Private Consumption
On average, revenue collection increased by 39% when compared to 2014. During similar period, growth in GDP increased by 20%. The impact is lower level of private consumption. Higher tax means lesser disposable income for the people. As such, arguments by Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, in his 2017 Budget Speech, are not substantiated. Jordan had stated that a reduction in VAT, while expanding the tax base will reduce tax burden on consumers. There are many impacts of low consumption. First, businesses may likely downsize due to reduce demand. In the long run, the level of employment may reduce along with private investment. As businesses shrink, while some may even close, non-performing loans will increase, which will reduce return on equity amongst our commercial banks. What this means for small businesses is less sales as consumers disposable income dries up.
Impact on Private Investment
A corollary of low private consumption is reduced private investment due to low demand. This graph illustrates the reduction in investment in some of the major job-supporting sectors. For example, forestry sustains in excess of 24,000 direct jobs, and is a major source of income in most Amerindian communities. Construction, which is an outcome of consumers’ confidence, and growth in personal wealth, is also on the decline. When compared to 2014, investment in these key sectors has contracted by more than $8.9billion.
This graph shows the relationship between non-performing loans and return on equity amongst major commercial banks and retail lenders (Republic Bank, GBTI, Bank of Nova Scotia, Demerara Bank, Citizen Bank, and NBS). Data obtained from the latest Financial Indicators of Commercial Banks, dated March 2018, was used to compare to against the base year of 2014. It is evident that non-performing loan among our major commercial banks has been on the increase, consistent with the data on low private consumption and investment. Return to equity has decline sharply when compared to 2014. In excess of 55% on average are loans to business enterprises.
No action on CPA’s comments regarding investigation of police presence in National Assembly
he Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s (CPA) Secretary-General, Akbar Khan, last month, indicated that the matter of police officers being called into the National Assembly Chambers should be investigated. However, there has been no move to act on these comments. In December 2017, ranks of the Guyana Police Force were summoned to the Chambers to remove Opposition Parliamentarian Juan Edghill. To date, it is unclear who summoned the police officers. Notably, acting Police Commission, David Ramnarine, had stated that the ranks “ought not” to have been in the Chambers. After that incident, there was another that raised eyebrows, in December 2017. Ranks of the Criminal Investigations Department, armed with camera equipment that was being used, were placed as the media desk in the Cambers. Questions
were posed to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs, who had indicated that he is unaware about CID ranks being positioned in the Chambers. He said: “Police is there? But that is the press table…no they can’t do that…police can’t get there….the press is there with the permission of the Speaker. Anyone there should be there with the permission of the Speaker.” The Clerk of the National Assembly moved to call senior ranks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to have clarity on the matter. The CID ranks were eventually removed. The presence of ranks of the Guyana Police Force in the National Assembly Chambers represented a first for the House in contemporary history. The Parliamentary Opposition has said that it is supportive of an investigation of the matter. Government has remained silent on the issue.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
APNU+AFC gov’t in
…a snapshot of headl
Jordan promises transparent spending of oil monies, signing bonus remains outside of Consolidated Fund Acknowledging, comments from critics that suggested possible misuse of monies placed in the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) - particularly that the monies will be diverted or allocated for politically directed projects, Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, sought to give an assurance. However, he was unsuccessful, given Government’s continued failures in treating appropriately with the US$18M signing bonus. Jordan said, “All the monies go to the SWF. Withdrawals from the fund will be in accordance with fiscal rules that will be embedded in the legislation and approved by Parliament. The amount to be withdrawn is then placed in the Consolidated Fund and appropriated in accordance with existing accounting rules.” The Finance Minister has still not moved to place the US$18M signing bonus received from ExxonMobil into the Consolidated Fund. The monies remain outside of the Consolidated Fund and outside of the reach of the Auditor General.
Gov’t now acting on mercury poisoning issue One week after the urgings of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) to address the issue the harmful effects of mercury emissions, the Coalition Government has now moved to act on the issue. Two teams from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) will be investigating mercury emission at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) Brickdam complex. Four Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) staffers - Mr. Dwayne De Jonge (ranger), Mr. Latchman Chiti (surveyor), Mr. Leroy Green (carpenter) and Mr. Clement Proffith (lab technician) – died in recent months. The staffers were documented to have been affected by mercury poisoning.
Gov’t response to protest from transport operations is more regulation The establishment of a regulatory body for minibus drivers, boat operators and other forms of public transportation is on the cards, according to Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson. He said, “It’s something that we have decided is needed so that they could regulate fares not only for the minibus drivers but other areas. So, there is a more organised framework for us to do it.” The Minister could not say, definitively, if the supervisory body would come under purview of either the Public Utility Commission (PUC). The move comes after minibus drivers protested government’s inaction to curb the impacts of increasing fuel costs, despite the fact that action had always been taken in the past. The rising cost of providing a service, according to the drivers, necessitate an increase in fares charged to commuters.
Pressure at the pump continues with high fuel prices Prices at the pump are at all-time highs, hitting almost $250 per liter at some service stations, but Government maintains its passive stance. The Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, has said that the Coalition Government has the fiscal space to make the adjustment with the tax regime to allow a reduction of gas prices for local consumers. Meanwhile, Minister Patterson said he has engaged Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin and a larger and more comprehensive discussion on transportation will be pursued.
No action to increase salaries, govt pushing for licensing of teachers Last November, a high-level task force was set up to address issues affecting the thousands of public school teachers across Guyana. Since then, there has been no substantive report on progress made by that Task Force, which was hurriedly set up after the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) scheduled a massive strike. Now, the Coalition Government is moving towards the licensing of teachers. Chief Education Officer, Ministry of Education, Marcel Hutson, has said that the move is expected to improve the level of service the educators provide. Hutson noted that licensing teachers is necessary since the system will guarantee greater discipline and management of educators. Consideration is being given to the renewal of licences on a five-year basis, once “certain criteria for professional development, mental and physical assessment are fulfilled.” Meanwhile, a wide cross section of public school teachers are worried that system of ‘licences’ – not properly managed – could work against public servants, given the many reports of political and other forms of discrimination that are publicly reported to have occurred under the APNU+AFC Coalition.
Granger plays to GPSU
Despite the fact that the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) has decried Government’s stalling of negotiations on allowances for public servants, there was no substantial response from the Coalition. Over the weekend, President David Granger issued a call for greater cooperation between the Government and the GPSU. “We need to establish among ourselves some form of social compact,” he said. Critics have noted that Granger may be mouthing more rhetoric, given his Government’s failure in responding to the GPSU in the past.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
n-action this week
lines making the news Granger continues to avoid the local press corps Questions on pressing issues can only be put to President David Granger, when he and members of the media corps are at the same event. Granger has failed to continuously engage members of the media corps, despite his promise to do so.
Indigenous peoples feel disrespected by Coalition gov’t – NTC The Indigenous peoples of Guyana believe the Coalition Government has no intention or the capacity to address issues affecting them, which is highly blatant in their unsuccessful efforts to have a follow-up meeting with President David Granger, whom they say is “unwilling” to meet with Indigenous leadership. This is according to Vice Chairman of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), Lenox Shuman, who in a letter to the media, said they can no longer be silent on the “increasing level of disrespect” being meted out to the Indigenous peoples by the Government. “We have been trying since our meeting last year to get a follow-up meeting with President David Granger. Imagine, the collective leadership of all the Indigenous peoples of Guyana cannot get to see the President of Guyana. Instead, we are sent from ministry to ministry to see other members of the Cabinet,” he posited. The NTC and other Indigenous organisations met with President Granger last year.
Granger presiding over the collapse of health sector President David Granger used a recently held ‘Health Expo’ to discourage abuse of alcohol and fast food, but came in for criticisms for his inaction to act – or press his Ministers to act – on major issues affecting the local health sector. Subject Minister, Volda Lawrence, had stated revised drug procurement system which will bring resolution to the ongoing drug shortage throughout the country is expected to be implemented by the month of June 2016. This was almost a year ago. To date, reports of drug shortages continue to surface. Just weeks ago, doctors and pharmacy staff are currently engaged in a sit-in at the Skeldon Hospital over shortage of drugs and medical supplies. Reports are that the over since last three months “chronic” shortages of drugs and medical supplies have worsened, despite multiple attempts by staffers to have the matter addressed by the Ministry of Public Health. After taking office, the APNU+AFC government scrapped the old method used to procure and deliver drugs and medical supplies across Guyana, despite the fact that it worked.
Gov’t silence on ‘corruption label’ in US report persists The 2017 and 2018 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), produced by the United States of America’s (USA) State Department, are markedly different, in that “government corruption” is cited as a major source of money laundering in Volume 2 of the latest report. However, the APNU+AFC Coalition Government remains silent on the issue.
More pressure for pensioners: Fixed water fees likely to come on stream Having lost the government subsidies on water rates, pensioners countrywide may soon be paying a fixed sum for water consumption. “We have proposed that pensioners pay a fixed amount,” said Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) Head, Dr. Richard Van-West Charles. The proposed sum will be for 10 cubic meters of water, which amounts to 10,000 litres of water. However, Dr. Van-West Charles highlighted that pensioners who live with family members and consume more than the 10 cubic meters of water, they will have to pay the difference in the billed amount.
Quarry owners still grappling with cease order A cease order was recently issued to the owners of a stone quarry in the Mazaruni River and a Bartica sand pit. Government has defended the move by saying that a review of all natural resources is currently being done. A defense was mounted despite the fact that the action has been criticised as having been done after an attempt to ‘shakedown’ a Bartica businessman failed. On Saturday May 19, 2018, Minister Simona Broomes was on site when at least one operator was given a cease order. Meanwhile, a team from the Bartica Neighbourhood Democratic Council will be visiting the sandpit to address resumption of operations.
Coomacka residents still to receive help for flooding issues The residents of the mining community of Coomacka, in Region Ten were recently told that the erosion and flooding issues affecting the community will be addressed, but at some point in the future. Currently, the Demerara River running through the community is almost impassable due to erosion. A huge beach has been formed across the river bed, making it almost impossible to pass. Additionally, the community is prone to flooding. However, following some self-help work done by residents a few weeks ago, in preparation for the May/June rains, this has been temporarily avoided. Coomacka is home to approximately 2500 residents, predominantly Amerindians, and the river is not only used for transportation purposes, but also for domestic and recreational purposes including washing, fishing, swimming, bathing and sourcing water.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
Rupununi residents under financial strain because of deteriorating Linden-Lethem road B
attling the poor condition of the Linden-Lethem road, residents in the Rupununi areas are now facing increasing hardships, including increased maintenance costs of vehicles and reduced flow of resources and goods to the area. Among the complaints is that the cost of food supplies trucked in from Georgetown are more expensive. Also, residents in the area lamented the ‘double-knock’ of the increased fuel prices, accompanied
with the added mark-up on because of the problems, due to the bad road conditions, with transporting fuel from Georgetown to the Capital. Aside from truckers who move goods into the area, passenger transporters are also being affected. Drivers have complained that what usually a 12-hour journey from Georgetown to Lethem is now an 18-hour trip. Vehicles, then, have to be serviced after every trip. Persons affected contend
that the road has to be regularly maintained, something that is not being done. Meanwhile, reports indicate that trucks have toppled and caused severe damage to two bridges, one of which is seen as the key access bridge to the South Rupununi. The Government has since said that $640M has been allocated for works on the Linden-Lethem Road. These works, however, will not commence until the end of the rainy season.
Access roads serving Belle West, Canal No. 2 almost impassable In the absence of regular maintenance works the access roads servicing two major West Bank Demerara communities – Bell West and Canal No. 2 – have deteriorated. Residents and public transportation drivers have lamented the state of affairs. However, Government has made no indication of whether the area will receive attention.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
Village Elections ongoing in Amerindian communities
lections are ongoing in 178 Indigenous villages across the ten Administrative Regions in Guyana, with more than 90 completed so far. To be elected as a Toshao, a person must be eligible to stand as Councillor and should not have held the position for the two terms immediately preceding his or her nomination. This process of Village Council Elections began on May 15, 2018 and will run until June 15, 2018. These elections are held every three years.
No prospects for major future investments – Jagdeo W ith the three-year mark passed, since the APNU+AFC Coalition Government took office, former President and current Opposition Leader decried the fact that there are “no prospects” for major future investments in Guyana. “Isn’t it shameless that all of the things they criticized the PPP for and they have done nothing major…. can they point to a single major investment that they brought to Guyana. The answer is no…they are latch-
ing onto the investments brought by the PPP,” he said during a recent press conference. In three years, among several other trips made, there were three massive excursions between 2015 and 2017 – excursions that Guyanese were told focused on securing investments. To date there has been no details on the outcomes of those trips. In October 2015, a highlevel ministerial delegation to Canada included, First
Vice President and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson and Minister of Business and Investment Dominic Gaskin. The intention was to address investment possibilities. Despite multiple queries, to date there has been no update on what materialised from this trip. In June 2016, there was a New York investment (Turn to page 19)
Manifesto promises made should be kept – Jagdeo P
romises made to the Guyanese people ought to be kept, declared Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, in response to comments from Government quarters that the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) is only now commenting on the issue of decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana. During a news conference, held at his Church Street office, last week, he pointed out that the issue of reviewing possession of quantities of marijuana that attract mandatory minimum jail sentence was included in the PPP/C 2015 manifesto. “This did not happen yesterday…we believe that when we put promises in our manifesto they must be kept…check to see how many promises they have kept,” he said. Currently possession of small amounts of marijuana attracts a minimum, mandatory, jail sentence of three years.
The Opposition Leader also made it clear that the PPP/C is not in favour of legalizing marijuana – that there is no support to legalise production and sale of marijuana. “We are opposed to this,” he said. Jagdeo reiterated that decriminalization will only address removing the minimum, mandatory, jail sentence of three years for possession of small amounts of marijuana. “When they are caught, instead of three years in jail, there should be alternative sentencing,” he said. The APNU+AFC Coalition Government has not been unified in a single clear message on this issue. Former AFC Chairman Nigel Hughes, with the help of Attorney Mark Waldron, compiled a draft Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances (Control) (Amendment) Bill 2015, which seeks to soften the penalties for marijuana possession. In December 2015, AFC
Parliamentarian, Michael Carrington, tabled a motion, which calls for the Bill to be read the first time. To date this has not been done and the motion remains on the National Assembly’s agenda. The actual draft bill has not been made public. Notably, soon after Carrington’s motion was tabled. President David Granger stated that the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana is not a priority of his Administration. “This is not something that is a preoccupation of the Administration at the present time… I would not counsel the use of marijuana by young people or anybody,” he said in a broadcast of ‘The Public Interest’. The President’s comments ran contrary to a position of the Alliance For Change (AFC) faction of the coalition Government, which has been strongly advocating for the decriminalization of marijuana.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
Coalition gov’t continues to display lack of commitment in addressing needs of Amerindians
he failures of the APNU+AFC Coalition Government, in the context of its treatment of Amerindians since taking office in 2015, demonstrate the “enormous disrespect” with its Guyana’s first peoples have been treated. Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, proffered this view during a recent press conference, held at his Church Street office. He pointed out that the US$10.7M was monies earned by the former People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) government, not ‘given’ to Guyana, and left for the purpose of completing the Amerindian Land Titling (ALT) programme. In 2010, MoAA together with UNDP and the Office of the President has initiated a Land titling Project that sought to process applications for titling and demarcation. Under the Guyana REDD + Investment Fund (GRIF), the former People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Government in 2013 signed a US$10.7M document for the implementation of the Amerindian Land Titling and Demarcation project.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources, earlier this week, Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Sydney Allicock, admitted that he failed to make progress with the ALT programme, which gave the indigenous people legal rights to their communities. “I have not been able to title any village,” he said. Jagdeo dubbed Allicock’s presentation to the Committee as “pathetic” and charged that several of the issues the Minister addressed related to work done by the former PPP/C government. Notably, after taking office, the Coalition Government, sent home the entire unit dealing with the Amerindian Land Titling programme. The Project Management Unit was ben established in June 2014 to support the implementation of the project. The Opposition Leader made clear that progress with the ALT project is “about commitment” and the will of the Coalition government to get things done. However, he lamented the fact that
such a commitment has not been displayed. He referred to the comments by Junior Minister, Keith Scott, who called Amerindians “avaricious” for wanting security of land ownership – comments that he has refused to apologise for and has not been condemned for by President David Granger. The ALT project seeks to achieve three major goals: completion of land titles issues and demarcation process for all Amerindian villages that submitted requests, increased use of existing and alternative mechanisms to resolve land titling disputes and thirdly a communication strategy including a handbook describing the process of titling, demarcation and social economic impact of secured land tenure. While Indigenous people in many Countries have right of use of the Land only, in Guyana where the Indigenous People account for approximately 9.7% of the population, Amerindians own land including the forests resources within their Titled Lands.
Another successful District Conference held
he resuscitated Wakenaam District Committee, held its a Conference on Sunday (June 3, 2018). Central Committee member, Vickram Bharrat, joined over 50 delegates and observers. The members made clear their commitment to ensuring that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) is returned to office at the 2020 General and Regional Elections.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
APNU+AFC ‘sweetened pot’ for ExxonMobil after the fact – Jagdeo
overnment’s new line to defend the renegotiated ExxonMobil contract – by saying that Guyana’s policy to “sweeten the pot with favourable fiscal terms” has worked in kick starting an industry – was questioned by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo. Referring to the report from the Department of Public Information (DPI) on May 29, 2018, he pointed out that ExxonMobil was already operating in Guyana and had already found oil, before the renegotiations took place. “They sweetened the pot afterwards…the company was already here,” he said.
Jagdeo has repeatedly said that Guyana was not best served in the renegotiations, a clear failure on the part of the Coalition Government. Two weeks ago, the Opposition Leader noted that responses from Minister Raphael Trotman to questions raised during a meeting of the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources indicate that the renegotiation of the ExxonMobil contract was not based on national considerations or what is good for Guyana and the Guyanese people. “I think all of Guyana paid careful attention to the
hearing convened by the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources. At that meeting, Trotman sought to explain the thinking behind the renegotiated contract signed with ExxonMobil. All of Guyana was hoping that the Minister would explain some of the very contentions clauses and how they managed to find themselves in the contract. I must say I was disappointed,” he had said. Jagdeo stated that the circumstances surrounding the signing of a renegotiated contract with ExxonMobil remain very murky based on the Minister’s explanations.
Regional Stakeholders Consultation opens in Guyana
he Regional Stakeholder Consultation for the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) opened in Guyana on Friday (June 8, 2018) at the Ramada Princess hotel and will see the participation of Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and former Jamaican Prime Minister Mr. Bruce Holding. The two-day consultation will be hosted by CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque on behalf of the lead Head of Government for the CSME), a Stakeholders consultation on the CSME. It will see the examination of CSME and its implementation as currently configured and identify what is necessary to
make it more effective. CARICOM Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque. Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. Former Jamaican Prime Minister Mr. Bruce Golding. The findings and recommendations from the Consultation are intended to be considered by the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) and also to inform the review of the CSME being undertaken by the CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government which will continue in a Special Session at its upcoming meeting next month. The consultation will also, through a series of panels, determine what CSME objectives and priority mea-
sures should be; a more and effective CSME; the Free Movement of Persons, Public Awareness, and Labour and the Private Sector. The first session will be facilitated by Dr. Gonsalves and Mr. Golding who will engage in a high-level session focused on making the CSME more effective. Following the high-level session, a series of panels will discuss whether the CSME as currently configured sufficiently supports sustainable growth and development and the free movement of skills and persons as an integrating measure among other areas. The consultation is facilitated with the assistance of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
No prospects for major... conference, which saw the participation of a 16-member delegation, including four ministers and ‘honorific’ advisors. Here too, there has been no work of what investments proposals materialised from the two trips – if any. In May 2017, a 12-member Guyanese team, including Business Minister, Dominic Gaskin, were on a Trade and Investment Explanatory Mission in Brazil, and were slated to participate in several rounds of discussions with
investors in Boa Vista. As with the first no, no outcome statement detailed progress of the undertaking. In the meantime, Guyana’s economy continues to perform poorly. The performance of major sectors according to final 2017 figures, which were revised in February 2018, show that: the agriculture sector only grew by 0.4% (projected to grow by 5.2%); the sugar sector contracted by 25.2% (projected to grow
(From page 17)
by 13.7%); other crops sector only grew by 2.4% (projected to grow by 4.4%); and that the mining and quarrying sector contracted by 8.8% (projected to grow by 0.7%). Initially, Government had projected that Guyana’s economy would have grown by a 3.8 per cent growth rate for 2017. This projection was reduced to 3.1 per cent. It was then revised downwards again to 2.9 per cent. The actual performance, 2.1 per cent, was recently disclosed.
PPP URGES YOU TO GET REGISTERED NOW!
● The Registration Cycle (Claims and Objections) starts on Monday May 21st 2018 and ends on Sunday July 15th 2018. Persons can make claim /register to get onto the list during this period. (New Registrant, Transfers, change to particulars and corrections to ID cards. NB .ID cards can be uplifted during this period and also after the cycle closes.) ● The Objections part of the Registration Cycle (Claims and Objections) starts on Monday May 21st 2018 and ends on Thursday July 19th 2018.Persons can make claims against the inclusion of persons onto the list during this period. (Persons who have died or persons who are already on another list). ● Opening hours of the GECOM offices : ► Mondays –Thursdays 08:00 hours -17:00 hours ► Fridays-08:00 hours -16:00 hours. Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays 10:00 hours -16:00 hours. Offices will be opened during the lunch hour Types of transactions that can be done during this period ● New Registrant (Category A, 18years and over). Persons should be born on or before 31st October 2000. ● New Registrant (Category B, above 14years but below 18 years). Persons should be born on or before 31st October 2004 but not before 31st October 2000. Source documents required to be registered: Original Birth Certificate or valid Guyana passport ● Transfers: This is for persons who would have been registered at another address (another LIST), that is persons who have moved to a new address. A transfer is needed, so that they can now be included in the division/list where they are living. Document required for a transfer: ID card ● Corrections to particulars on your ID Cards : This is for persons who already have their ID cards and now need to make correction to their particulars such as : ► wrong spelling of name, ► wrong date of birth, ► defaced pictures Documents required for Corrections to particulars on your ID Cards: Original Birth Certificate and ID card ● Change to particulars on your ID Cards: This is for : ► Married women who now want to have her husband name (Name change). Document required for Name change: Marriage Certificate, Deed Poll etc. ● Replacement of lost ID Cards: This is for persons who have lost their ID cards Document required for Replacement of lost ID Cards: Fill out a Statutory Form from the GECOM office and have it sign by a Commissioner of Oath. ● Uplifting of ID Cards: This is for persons who have previously been registered.
GET ON THE LIST DON’T DELAY – GET REGISTERED NOW!
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
Potholes developing along the East Bank of Demerara highway Lack of maintenance of major roadways is creating hazards for drivers. Several locations along the East Bank of Demerara four-lane highway have developed potholes. There has been no move to take corrective actions.
School children forced to walk through slush in Mocha-Arcadia The main access road in serving the Mocha-Arcadia area are deteriorated to the point that school children are forced to walk through slush to get to classes. Residents are pleading for intervention to alleviate their suffering. Government continues to be non-responsive.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
Prices to increase with GRA’s Proposing a confirmation of ‘further dip’ ‘Social Compact’ demands Government of Guyana dollar sincerity – FITUG T
he Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) has said that President David Granger in his remarks about a social compact, on the surface, seem reasonable. In a statement, FITUG said, “Indeed, all the stakeholders have a vested interest in our country’s progress and development and undoubtedly need to have a place at the decision-making table. On that score, we know that the notion of a Social Compact, which is not by any means new to Guyana, seeks to encapsulate such an arrangement. We recall, over the years, the issue has reared its head on several occasions. We are also aware that a Social Compact has been negotiated in Barbados involving the tripartite partners – the Government, the Workers Movement, and the Business Sector – since the 1990s. At the same time, we are not unaware of the view
that the fruits of progress have not flowed equitably, especially from the workers point-of-view. “That being said does not mean we should throw cold water on the initiative. But we recognise too that for there to be any real movement on this front, fore mostly there must be equity among the partners. On this score, we have seen the President ignoring the request of the trade unions to meet him on several matters of concern. Then, we cannot forget that the Government has, seemingly, closed its mind to the sustained calls for the establishment of a Labour Ministry.” FITUG said another important element to the realization of a ‘Social Compact’ is the fulfillment of commitments. “This is an area which the Government has fallen woefully short on. For instance, the promise of Collective Bargaining remains
unfulfilled. The commitment to safeguarding the sugar industry was thrown under the bus. And, the undertaking of giving us all a ‘Good Life’ has so far proven itself to be elusive. Quite clearly, the Government has to do a lot on this front if it is to really be serious in its utterances,” the Union said. It added that it is unwise to throw the baby out with the bath water, but at the same time recognizes the difficulty of Unions to engage in meaningful discussions, if indeed the President is serious, given the actions of the Government. “We believe that there is a great need to find common ground and workable solutions to the pressing matters that affect all Guyanese but the Government must demonstrate its sincerity to listen and to act in a fair and equitable manner and with the working-people’s interests uppermost in its mind,” the Union said.
Questions raised about contraband items in Mazaruni prison
search conducted by the authorities at the Mazaruni Prisons unearthed a number of prohibited items including mobile phones , improvised weapons and homemade wine among other items. The search was conducted on Wednesday by members of the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Prison Service. Five cellphones , twenty-two improvised weapons, fifteen improvised
smoking utensils, four (universal serial bus) USB cables , chargers and home made wine were confiscated by the authorities . The search was conducted in the dormitory , workshop , condemned section and the Sibley Hall. Questions have been raised, once again, about how the contraband items made its way into the prison.
Pirate leader “Sanbad” captured
man suspected to be the head of a piracy gang which carried out the gruesome April 27, 2018 piracy attack in Suriname waters was arrested by the police in Berbice. The man identified as Premnauth Persaud called ‘Sanbad’, ‘Sinbad’ and ‘Boy’, was captured by the police on Tuesday at Number 68 Village, East Berbice Corentyne. His arrest is seen as a major breakthrough for local law enforcement since he was being sought on both sides of the border since the attack. Persaud is said to be the ring leader who carried
out the gruesome attack on four fishing vessels with combined 20 member crew. To date 11 fishermen remain missing and are presumed dead. According to a source, Persaud is believed to have travelled back to Guyana on the ‘Cristina-1 SK-1221’ shortly after the attack on the fishermen. Reports are that the man and the other men allegedly took fisherman Gowkarran Outar called ‘Gavin’ as a hostage when they boarded the Cristina-1 on their journey back to Guyana. As they neared their destination, they allegedly killed
Outar and threw his body overboard. The body of the fisherman was discovered at Number 63 Beach on May 10. So far, Surinamese Police have apprehended ‘Crackhead’ and ‘Bolo’ ,two other suspected members of the piracy gang. Another suspect has been identified by the alias ‘Dick’. It is unclear whether he is custody in the neighbouring country or is being sought. The men were among the suspects identified by survivors in the gruesome massacre in Suriname waters. Investigations are ongoing.
he Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has issued a notice announcing the a further dip of the Guyana currency versus the United States (US) dollar; which will see increases being borne by businesses when paying customs duties. According to a notice taking effect from May 1, GY$208.05 is to be exchanged for US$1. In the case of the British currency, GY$287.19 is to be exchanged for £1. The changes have not gone unnoticed. Concerns have already been expressed by some that this change will have an adverse impact on business. According to former Minister within the Finance Ministry and Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Juan Edghill, the increase will likely be passed down to consumers. “If the GRA put out an exchange rate that is higher than before, it means that when they’re calculating the value of an item, for instance if they’re calculating the duties and the taxes at the new rate, you will end up paying more,” he explained, during an interview on Tuesday. “If you pay more, the business person will have to pass that cost on to the consumer. So, the consumer would end up paying more. And that is the exchange rate that would be used for the currency in the acquisition of
fuel, all other commodities. That will be official in all matters of taxation.” According to Edghill, it was therefore important for the GRA to issue its notice, as this will be its new modus operandi. The former Minister within the Finance Ministry noted that this latest development is an indication of what is taking place on the market. “That rate is fixed and driven by what is taking place; the demand, as well as the availability. The dollar has to be backed by some commodity, in our case its gold. The movement of the rate is determined by what is taking place in the market. And once that rate goes up, prices will go up.” FOREIGN CURRENCY Following last year’s reported crisis regarding the availability of foreign currency in the local market, the Bank of Guyana (BoG) Governor, Dr Gobind Ganga had stated last month that the bank now has over US$75 million in foreign currency. “Currently, we have almost US$75 million of excess supply of foreign currency in the market with commercial banks, and we are hoping that this excess supply will drag the rates down further than where it is. So, it is not in shortage; there is excess supply of 75 million or more US dollars in the market,” Dr Ganga
had asserted. While both the Central Bank and the Government had maintained that there was no foreign currency crisis, several commercial banks and cambio dealers had insisted otherwise, jacking up the exchange rate for US dollars. In fact, business owners had also complained about the apparent foreign currency shortage, saying that they were unable to readily make overseas payments by draft or wire transfer for products and services from overseas. Even citizens had borne the backlash of the crisis by paying high exchange rates. Government, through the Central Bank, issued a circular to cambios and the local banking sector informing them of the regulated rates for foreign currency trade. According to the circular seen by Guyana Times, nonbank cambios must reduce the spread between the buying and selling rates on foreign currency transactions to no more than GY$3. During his 2018 Budget presentation back in November, Finance Minister Winston Jordan had said that the Bank of Guyana’s exchange rate for the Guyana Dollar to the US Dollar is expected to remain stable at $206.5 throughout this year, while adding that the US Dollar had appreciated by 1.6 per cent against the Guyanese dollar.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
Gov’t borrows almost $50B from Central Bank, reserves being depleted S
ince November 2015, the Central Government of Guyana borrowed some G$48.8B from the Bank of Guyana – a threat to Guyana’s economy. A Central Bank is a lender of last resort in an economy, according to Financial Analyst Sasenarine Singh. He noted that, when the banking system seizes up, it is the function of the Central Bank to prevent the financial system from failing. “It can only do this if its balance sheet remains stable and strong. If one is to observe the balance sheet of the Bank of Guyana, it has been losing value for a while now under this Granger administration. This is a major economic threat and is a key indicator of an incoming economic meltdown if not addressed promptly by the authorities,” he said. Singh added, “…this is
exactly the financial strategy used by the Burnham regime in the 1980’s and the outcome can be predicted if this strategy is continued – ‘un-creditworthiness’ and financial bankruptcy”. He noted too that this act reveals that the authorities have already spent two years of the oil revenue before even a drop of oil is pumped. “This is administrative recklessness. What if the oil price changes? What if the world demand flattens and another source of oil floods the market leading to a slow up in the production in Guyana? It is imperative that the authorities commence a program of repaying all of this G$48.8B borrowed from the Bank of Guyana,” he said. Despite the concerns raise, the Coalition Government has failed to address them.
Bank of Guyana gold reserves plummet to record low T he Bank of Guyana’s latest Statement of Assets and Liabilities are out and it shows the bank’s total assets are on a slide, with several indices ranging from the bank’s gold holdings to its market securities showing reductions when compared to previous years. The statement was only recently released. According to the bank document, its total assets as of March 28, 2018, were $206.4 billion. This includes $1.9 billion in gold reserves, $82.1 billion in capital market securities and $5.6 billion in money market securities. This is a reduction from the gold reserves the bank recorded in June 2017.
According to the bank’s Half Year Report last year, it had $4.8 billion worth of gold in its foreign holdings as assets. The gold reserves have steadily been declining with each passing year. The levels of gold reserves were: 2014 - $25B; 2015 $14.2B; and 2016 - $7.4B. Also, in the case of total assets, that has also seen a marked decrease. At the end of 2014, total assets were $207.9 billion. It reduced in 2015, being recorded at $188.7 billion in December of that year, before recovering by 2016 year end and being recorded at $220 billion. At June 2017, total assets were $221.8 billion, before the
drop recorded in this year’s figures. The practice of countries selling the gold it held in reserves is not an uncommon one. Many countries hold billions of dollars in gold as a “back up” in time of inflation or economic downturn. It is usually in these cases that the gold is then sold. At present, gold prices are approximately US$1,350 per ounce. It has fluctuated over the years, at one point hovering around the US$1,000 per ounce mark in 2016. In Guyana’s case, observers are likely to worry whether the State received the best price the world market could offer.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
Australian government rushing through foreign interference laws ahead of elections
U.S. sending 1,600 immigration detainees to federal prisons (Reuters) - U.S. authorities are transferring into federal prisons about 1,600 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees, officials told Reuters on Thursday (June 7, 2018), in the first large-scale use of federal prisons to hold detainees amid a Trump administration crackdown on people entering the country illegally. An ICE spokeswoman told Reuters five federal prisons will temporarily take in detainees awaiting civil immigration court hearings, including potential asylum seekers, with one prison in Victorville, California, preparing to house 1,000 people. Officials of a prison employees’ union said the influx of ICE detainees, who were arrested at the border or elsewhere in the United States by immigration officials, raises questions about prison staffing and safety. Union leaders at prisons in California, Texas and Washington state who spoke to Reuters said they had little time to prepare for the large intake of detainees. At Victorville, the prison getting the largest number of people, workers are moving about 500 inmates in a medium-security facility to make space, said John Kostelnik, local president for the American Federation of Government Employees Council of Prison Locals union. “There is so much movement going on,” said Kostelnik. “Everyone is running around like a chicken without their head.” In addition to Victorville,
other prisons that have received or will receive detainees include ones in Washington state, Oregon, Arizona and Texas. ICE spokeswoman Dani Bennett said ICE is “working to meet the demand for additional immigration detention space” due to a surge in illegal border crossings and a U.S. Department of Justice zero-tolerance policy. “To meet this need, ICE is collaborating with the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), private detention facility operators and local government agencies,” she said in a statement to Reuters. In April 2018, nearly 51,000 people were apprehended at or near the southern border, up from about 16,000 in the same month a year earlier. A new agreement between ICE and the Justice Department makes about 1,600 prison beds available and is expected to last 120 days, giving ICE time to secure more space for detainees. It comes amid a crackdown by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on both illegal border crossings and people seeking asylum. Recently, Sessions said the Justice Department planned to prosecute every person who crosses the border illegally and to separate migrant children from their parents. President Donald Trump in the spring signed a memorandum ending “catch and release,” in which illegal immigrants were released from detention while await-
ing court hearings. According to ICE data, the average daily population of detainees in its facilities as of May 26 was 41,134, up from the 2017 daily average of 38,106. Immigration advocates immediately decried the news of sending detainees to federal penitentiaries. “Our federal prisons are set up to detain the worst of the worst. They should not be used for immigration purposes,” said Ali Noorani, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “Federal prisons are for hardened criminals. They are not physically set up for immigrant landscapers looking for a job or fleeing violence,” Noorani said. ICE detainees awaiting civil hearings in immigration courts are usually housed in ICE detention facilities or county jails. Kevin Landy, a former ICE assistant director responsible for the Office of Detention Policy and Planning under the Obama administration, said the move to house so many detainees at once in federal prisons was “highly unusual” and raises oversight concerns. “A large percent of ICE detainees have no criminal record and are more vulnerable in a prison setting – security staff and administrators at BOP facilities have spent their careers dealing with hardened criminals serving long sentences for serious felonies, and the procedures and staff training reflect that,” he said. “This sudden mass transfer could result in some serious problems.”
(Reuters) - The Australian government on Friday (June 8, 2018) wound back its controversial proposed foreign interference laws as it urgently tries to win parliamentary support for the bill ahead of key “super Saturday” by-elections that are critical for the ruling coalition. The proposed espionage laws have already strained Australia’s relations with China, with Beijing perceiving itself as a direct target. The government said on Friday that the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme would focus on people acting on behalf of foreign governments and political organizations, including state-owned enterprises. That means that executives and lobbyists connect-
ed to private multinational companies would be spared from requirements to register as foreign agents. Andrew Hastie, a member of the ruling Liberal Party and the chairman of parliament’s joint intelligence and security committee, said it was critical to get the proposed laws in place ahead of a series of federal by-elections on July 28. Hastie pointed to Australia’s membership in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, saying that made the country a “soft underbelly” for authoritarian regimes seeking to steal U.S. secrets “We should consider ourselves a target and it’s really important we build resilience into our political system,” Hastie told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio.
“It’s really important we have these laws passed, enacted and operational.” While Hastie denied the bill targets China in particular, previous comments by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop about China’s influence have angered Beijing. Trade Minister Steven Ciobo last month became the first elected Australian official to travel to China in more than seven months, but he was largely shunned during his three-day visit. The diplomatic freeze is also affecting big business. Australia’s major winemakers earlier this week held crisis talks, urging Turnbull to visit China to resolve the tension, which they blame for export delays.
Rescue work at Guatemala volcano suspended, death toll hits 100
he search for survivors from deadly eruptions of Guatemala’s Fuego volcano was temporarily suspended on Thursday (June 7, 2018) due to dangerous conditions for rescue workers, as the death toll from the disaster reached 100, authorities said. Rescue workers carry poultry at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes, Escuintla, Guatemala 7 June, 2018. REUTERS/ Carlos Jasso Residents should stay away from the still-dangerous area, said David de Leon, a spokesman for national disaster management agency CONRED. The toll of dead from the most violent eruption of the volcano in four decades has been gradually rising and now stands at 100, police said. Guatemala’s public prosecutor said on Thursday it would open an investigation into whether protocols were followed to inform proper decision-making in the handling of the disaster. Rescue teams have been searching frantically for sur-
vivors and victims in the lava-ravaged landscape. Beginning Sunday, the eruptions showered volcanic ash over nearby towns and spewed pyroclastic flows throughout the area. Alex Ruiz looks for the family of Alex Cortez at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes, Escuintla, Guatemala 7 June, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso The U.S. government expressed its “deepest condolences” to the victims on Thursday and said it was sending emergency aid at Guatemala’s request, including an unspecified amount of financial resources to help with food, water, and sanitation. The White House said in a statement it was also dispatching aircraft to transport burn victims for treatment in Florida. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) raised concerns about the economic cost of the disaster in the poor Central American country. “We should not under-
estimate the scale of this disaster. Critical, emergency needs are still enormous, and affected communities will need sustained and long-term support,” IFRC President Francesco Rocca said in a statement on Thursday. Rocca noted that ash had fallen across more than half of Guatemala, covering areas where agriculture is crucial. “We hope it will not mean a secondary disaster,” he said. The IFRC has pledged more than 250,000 Swiss francs ($253,000) to support rescue efforts, and said those worst hit would need at least a year to recover. The suspension of rescue efforts around the volcano may be lifted if conditions on the ground improve, CONRED said. Fuego, or “Fire” in Spanish, lies about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of the capital, Guatemala City, near the picturesque colonial city of Antigua, a UNESCO world heritage site. The 3,763-meter (12,346feet) peak is one of several active volcanoes among 34 in Guatemala.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
Gov’t buckles under pressure over altered national flag F
ollowing a major backlash over the six-colour, altered, Golden Arrowhead that was hoisted to mark Guyana’s 52nd Independence anniversary, finally the Ministry of the Presidency proffered a response, which worsened the issue and found the Coalition Government at the receiving end on scathing criticism. Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, defended the hoisting of an altered flag by saying the sixth colours – dubbed a PNC-green – was added to flag because the edges were frayed. The altered Golden Arrowhead featured a suspicious green border along the edge of the national symbol in direct contravention of the descriptions of Guyana’s flag, which are featured in Schedule Two of Guyana’s Constitution. Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, when asked, said, “His explanation is nonsensical. Is it just a coincidence that the colour is the same as the PNC’s party colour? It is another lame excuse from Harmon.” The altered flag was taken down the day after the PPP/C publicly condemned the act. The Party in a statement said: “The PNC-led Coalition Government seems intent on trampling on Guyana’s national symbols. Guyanese have witnessed national symbols being treated as the property of this Administration – the latest such act evidenced in the seizure of the national flag from the Corriverton Town Council on the anniversary of our Republic. “The Party wishes to make it clear that with regard to alteration of the national flag, the Second Schedule included in Guyana’s Constitution devotes two pages (pages 260 and 261) to the heraldic description of Guy-
ana’s national flag. The description makes it clear that there are five distinct colours – not six – and defines their proportions. “The fact that the unauthorized alteration of the national flag connects one of Guyana’s most significant national symbols to the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), via the inclusion of the PNCR’s party colour along the end of the Golden Arrowhead, is reminiscent of the repressive regime of the PNC pre-1992. The practice of the PNCR flag being flown above Guyana’s courts has not been forgotten by the Guyanese people. “Guyanese have not forgotten Granger’s utterances in 2016 at the PNCR’s 19th Biennial Delegates Congress, where he hailed his Party’s Constitution as “supreme law”. Guyanese have also not forgotten that it was at a similar meeting held by the PNC in 1974, where Burnham promoted the principles of party paramountcy, when he said: ‘It was decided that the Party should assume unapologetically its paramountcy over the Government, which is merely one of its executive arms’. The PPP also made clear that such actions much be rejected by all Guyanese.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
Murder-suicide rocks Woman trailed from bank, Region 6 community robbed of under $1M A
woman was on Wednesday (June 6, 2018) last robbed of approximately $900,000, along with other valuables, in a popular city café, The woman was reportedly trailed from a City bank. According to reports received, as soon as the woman entered the business premises, a young man reportedly
followed closely behind and snatched her handbag. The suspect immediately walked out of the café and escaped with his accomplice who was waiting on a motorcycle. Police in A Division (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara) are currently investigating the robbery.
Car stolen during Craig robbery found stripped in Guyhoc Park DEAD, from left, Dindamattie Behari, Jainarine Seetaran and Surujdai Khan
Glasgow, East Bank Berbice man murdered his wife and daughter on Wednesday (June 6, 2018) morning and then hung himself. The country’s second town, New Amsterdam was under shock last week Wednesday after news spread of a double murder and suicide in the settlement of Glasgow. Jainarine Seetaran, called Radoo, reportedly killed his wife, Dindamattie
Behari, and her daughter, Surujdai Khan, in gruesome fashion and later committed suicide by hanging. The double murder was witnessed by the couple’s 11-year-old son, who escaped when he ran to the home of a nearby relative Behari’s body was found in a hammock, while her daughter, who was stabbed, died on her way to the New Amsterdam Hospital. Seetaram was found hanging at an abandoned house.
Bindomattie’s body bore a gash on the right side of her head and a slit on her throat, while Khan’s body bore a gash on her head and a cut on her forehead. Residents and relatives, who reside nearby, had rushed to the scene after the commotion. Khan, who was still conscious, was picked up and rushed to the New Amsterdam Public Hospital, where she succumbed, minutes after her arrival.
Gang raids Cuyuni Camp, carts off with US$13M worth of gold
gang terrorized a mining camp in the Black Water Backdam, Cuyuni Region, leaving one person injured. They also carted off over US$13M worth of gold and two guns. This incident is the third reported attack on mining camps in the area within the last two months. The gang was said to be comprised of four armed and masked men who spoke Portuguese and Spanish. Reports indicate that a security guard was making his way from the kitchen to the office when the four gunmen emerged from the bushes and held him at gunpoint and relieved him of his weapon. Two of the perpetrators reportedly stood
guard with the security officer while the other two made their way towards the office where the other men were stationed. They opened fire on the workers, striking one of them on his middle finger. The gunmen then gathered the crew and instructed them to burn the gold. The gang members also raided the office where they discovered a rifle.
After collecting the gold and the two guns along with other valuable items, the gang escaped. Earlier this month, four gunmen raided a mining camp at Baboon Backdam in the Cuyuni River. Last month, a Dominican miner lost his life after three armed men invaded a mining camp at Black Water Backdam, also in Cuyuni.
The stolen car
he Silver/Grey Toyota Premio car bearing registration number PTT 502, which was stolen during a robbery at Craig, East Bank Demerara (EBD) was found stripped of several parts at Guyhoc Park, East Ruimveldt, Georgetown. At the time of the discovery that car was carrying a fake registration
number, PRR 8349, with its lights, front bumper, mirrors and other accessories missing. The car was later identified as belonging to that of Lalbeharry’s Poultry Farm, of Craig, East Bank Demerara, which was invaded and robbed on May 24. On May 24, four armed men invaded the head office of
the poultry business located at Buzz-Bee-Dam, Craig, EBD at about 04:14hours. The 56-year-old owner identified as Patsy Lalbeharry called Lalita was robbed of a large quantity of cash, along with the motor car, which belongs to her son. Investigations are ongoing.
Farmer shot during home invasion A father of three was hospitalised with a gunshot wound, following an early morning attempted robbery on the West Bank of Demerara, perpetrated by two armed and masked men. Peter Mangal, a 38-yearold farmer of Lot F Bordeaux, Canal Number One, was shot once to his right arm after two bandits entered his two-storey concrete home. According to a police report, Kevin Mangal, 68, the father of the now wounded man, was in the bottom flat of the house when the gunmen pounced on him and dealt
him several lashes to his head and body with a handgun. The men then ordered him to take them upstairs where they demanded cash from Peter Mangal. According to a Police statement, “the two men headed upstairs escorting Karan where they met Peter Mangal and they began de-
manding cash; as a result, Peter began to scuffle with the suspect who was armed with the handgun and he received a gunshot injury to his right arm above his elbow.” After the shot was fired, the suspects fled the house without taking any valuables. Investigations are ongoing.
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
Corruption, breach of financial laws, spending irregularities and more….
APNU+AFC gov’t has racked up over 50 scandals in less than three year
he Parliamentary Opposition has been monitoring the APNU+AFC government’s use of public funds and the levels of transparency and accountability. From June 10, 2015 to date, over 50 scandals have been uncovered – an average of one scandal for each month. 1. The cost of the inauguration ceremonies at the Parliament Buildings and, more particularly, the one at the National Stadium has never been revealed. 2. The removal of 8 containers containing steel by BK International from the Ministry of Public Health’s compound worth millions of dollars - in the first week after government changed in violation of a court order. The government did nothing to retrieve the containers and has been silent. 3. The dismissal of 1,972 Amerindian community service officers at “one stroke of the pen” with no cause by the third (3rd) Vice-President and Minister of Indigenous Affairs. Despite a promise by VP Allicock in the National Assembly, during the 2015 Budget debate that the government would create a new programme to hire Amerindian youths, they instead replaced this programme with the Hinterland Entrepreneurial Youth Skills Programme (HEYs). HEYS is a sixmonth training programme with no entrepreneurial or employment component, which is under severe duress as there are complaints that the facilitators and students have not received their stipends despite the budgetary provision of $1Billion. 4. The appointment of 33 foreign honourary advisors to assist the government and the appointment of a top heavy bureaucracy of Presidential and Ministerial advisors, which have only been partially disclosed in the National Assembly in response to questions to Ministers in 2016. The total numbers are approximated to be nearing 100 advisors
(local and foreign) at a huge cost to the taxpayers. 5. India/GoG funded Speciality Hospital – the government gave a contract to Fedders Lloyd (VP Ramjattan was its lawyer) without going to tender at a price yet unknown and in violation of the procurement laws. Despite public outcry, the government refused to terminate the contract for the Speciality Hospital. The company was delisted by the IDB and the Indian government and Eximbank withdrew the money for the loan. There has been no disclosure as to how much Fedders Lloyd was paid and what work had been done when the company was delisted and the project halted. 6. The first act of the government was to give themselves enormous salary increases between 50 -100 % of what the former government ministers received. This was quietly done in September 2015 and the parliamentary opposition had to wage a struggle in Parliament to bring a motion to reverse this. When the motion was finally heard in December, it was defeated by the government’s one-seat majority. It should be remembered that the media, having leaked the fact that the government was embarking on increasing the salaries of the President, VPs and Ministers, Minister Trotman, on behalf of the government, denied that the government was contemplating any salary increases for the Ministers. This was also denied during the debate on the 2015 Budget in August 2015. Having gone into recess mid-September, the government stealthily published Order No. 6 of 2015 in the Official Gazette, dated September 25th, 2015, increasing their salaries and making it retroactive to July 1, 2015. Contrast this act with the government’s refusal to increase the salaries of the public servants in accordance with their campaign promises. 7. Durban Park Development Project for the Jubilee
celebrations - The government has refused to provide information on the “private company,” which was in charge of the preparations of the Durban Park prior to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure’s “take over” of the project on the orders of the President. It is estimated that the costs, when finally exposed, will be close to $1Billion - for a one-day event. 8. The President pardoned over 100 convicted felons in 2015 and stated that this would be done annually. He promised that these would be felons with non-violent crimes and juvenile offenders. In fact, this was not true. A number of these persons had been sentenced for violent crimes and a number of them are back in prison. 9. The Rudisa case at the CCJ and the pay out to Rudisa - The APNU and AFC, while in Opposition, twice caused the defeat in the 10th Parliament of attempts by the PPPC government to amend the Customs Act in order to pre-empt the case going to the CCJ and save the country millions of US dollars. The APNU+AFC Coalition government settled to repay the entire amount of the Rudisa USD$16M claim without any negotiations for a debt repayment schedule and despite the fact that the company owed and appears to still owe millions of dollars in taxes to Guyana. The first payment was made late last year and the second budgeted for in the 2016 Budget. 10. Hundreds of millions of dollars spent by the Government and the Georgetown Mayor and City Council on the “Clean Up Campaign” in the city with no public tendering and handpicked companies. In some cases, new companies were created with no experience to facilitate this corruption. There has been no accountability of the amount of monies spent and the Mayor and Town Clerk have rebuffed efforts to allow the Auditor General’s office to do a forensic audit.
11. The write off of debts owed to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the nation by DDL worth billions of dollars (April 2016). If DDL had not issued a press release announcing the write off, this would not have been known. 12. Other write-off of debts by the GRA for other companies who financed the APNU+AFC Coalition electoral campaign, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Minister Trotman said these companies have to be compensated for their financial investment. 13. Following the March 18, 2016 Local Government Elections, Minister Bulkan in violation of the statutes governing the local government system, appointed the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, and the 5 Chairpersons and vice chairperson of the 5 NDCs in the 6 tied LAAs. All of these persons were APNU, although there was a plurality of votes in 3 of the 6 tied LAAs for the PPP and 3 for the APNU+AFC. 14. Write-offs by the APNU+AFC dominated Georgetown Municipal Council to many companies for millions of dollars owed in rates and taxes for undisclosed amounts. This is a City Council that is now cash-strapped and cannot pay contractors for garbage collection nor timely payment of salaries of its employees. The cost to the Treasury of these write offs by the GRA, the Georgetown City Council and other Local Authority Areas alone earmarked in this list of scandals is estimated to be between 23% to 36 % of the total 2016 Budget. 15. Parking meters contract with no public tendering, no involvement of the Georgetown City Council, no consultation with the citizens – the scandal deepens, even as the APNU+AFC Georgetown Mayor is being advised to do some damage control by attempting to amend the 49-year contract and make it less embarrassing for the
government. 16. The three-year Pharmacy Bond contract between the Ministry of Public Health and the Linden Holding Company was not tendered for by Minister Dr Norton’s own admission on the floor of the National Assembly. The PPP/C will be submitting its motion of privilege, calling for the Speaker to send the Minister of Public Health to the Privilege Committee for wilfully misleading the National Assembly and the nation. 17. The GoG/BK International settlement of $1.17 B for Haags Bosche - The Ministry of Communities’ settlement of $1.17B to BK International for the Haags Bosche project came to light as a result of a Supplementary Financial Paper on August 8th where the country learnt that this settlement was made and would be paid in three tranches, even though the court did not award costs to BK Int’l. The government paid BK Int’l the first third of the payment in January 2016, which begs the question - where did this money come from? It was not provided for in the 2015 budget, nor was there any SFP in the interim nor in the 2016 Budget or since to cover this first payment of G$500M. The August Supplementary Financial Paper covers the payment of the second tranche of $501M to BK int’l from the Consolidated Fund. The third payment the Minister stated would be reflected in the 2017 budget. This is a scandal like the RUDISA and the DDL write offs. Interesting and of note is that BK International is being paid the entire $10M USD for the contract though BK Int’l only worked for 3 of the 5 years of the contract at substandard work. The PPP/C government had terminated the contract due to substandard work and delays. Ministers Bulkan and Patterson late 2015 both publicly stated that BK Int’l had done substandard work on the project! 18. Two fuel scandals relat-
ing to the issuance of fuel licenses for the importation of fuel to companies that are made up of persons related to top officials or who are top officials themselves in the government, who have no fuel bonds, no storage facilities and no offices. The withdrawal of the fuel importation license to the Chinese company, which has invested millions of US dollars for storage facilities, appears to have been calculated to make room for these alternative importers. In August the second set of fuel licenses came to light regarding licenses issued to Dr. Van West Charles, CEO and other officials in GWI under a private company. It should be noted that an applicant for a fuel license has to acquire an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and 4 additional licences - provision of a bond under detailed specifications, transportation, storage, importation, and restrictions on where fuel storage can be located. It normally takes a long time for an applicant to obtain all these licenses---impossible to do so in 9 months. The licenses were issued in the month that Van West Charles became CEO GWI and, therefore, he had ample time to remove himself from the company. At a parliamentary opposition weekly press briefing several months ago, this gentlemen’s role in soliciting donations for pipes for the wells in Region 9 was exposed. It was reported that the Brazilian contractors hired by GWI to dig 8 wells in the Rupununi region were unable to pay their workers as they allege that GWI is not paying them (the contractors). 19. Consistent and frequent violation of the Procurement Act by line ministries - e.g, the Minister of Agriculture admitted that the MOA nor the NDIA had gone out to tender for works totalling $234M due to emergency works for El Nino and flooding in regions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10. In fact, these monies should have been provided for in the Supple(Turn to page 27)
WEEKEND MIRROR 9-10 JUNE, 2018
APNU+AFC gov’t has racked up over... mentary Financial Paper # 2 of 2016 for the Consolidated Fund. 20. Requests for information during questions to Ministers and questions during the debate on the two Supplementary Financial Papers on August 8th revealed that the government ministers’ will not release contracts unless they have the permission of the other person/company/ party to the contract. This is unheard of and a violation of the role of the legislature under the constitution to hold the government accountable. 21. Undermining the judicial process- the establishment of a Presidential Tribunal to inquire, investigate and recommend whether Carvil Duncan, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, should be removed from office for inability to discharge his duties. Since the charges against Mr Duncan are still pending before a Magistrate of the Georgetown Magistrate’s court, the establishment of this tribunal is premature, pre-emptive and repugnant to the very “due process” to which the President says that his Administration is committed. 22. Auditor General’s special audit of GECOM expenditure in 2015 prior to the general and regional elections—this is on-going, with the use of sole sourcing by the GECOM estimated to amount to $700M in the months prior to the May 2015 elections. However, unlike other investigations where the heads were sent on administrative leave such as the Head of NICIL, Head of the NDIA, PS of the Ministry of Legal Affairs, head of the Public Hospital Georgetown, to name a few, this CEO has not been sent off on administrative leave. 23. $240M spent on refurbishing the Kitty Market. Photographic evidence exposes the corruption by City Hall. There are no scope of works, estimates, etc that is available and the project was not put to tender as the city has hired the workers and is implementing the works itself. This project is still not completed.
24. The awarding of the contract for boxed juices for the school feeding programme to a Surinamese beverage company owned by RUDISA that was not the lowest or even the second lowest bid. The impact on the local farmers and manufacturers will be felt. DDL has come out publicly to criticise this, so too, has another company Guyana Beverages. 25. Award of the contract for quarry stone to a Surinamese company for the CJIA will have tremendous impact on the local quarries. Toolsie Persaud, one of the stone producers, has protested. There is more to come to light on this issue and this we have earmarked an emerging scandal where government needs to provide answers. 26. The discriminatory dismissals of hundreds of employers in the public service and in the state entities on the basis of their ethnic and assumed political affiliation which started in June 2015 is continuing unabated. 27. Some $1.64B was spent regionally on health, plus an additional added $2.5B that was spent on pharmaceuticals and medical supplies at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) without tender – a massive total $4.17B that was spent by the Coalition Government in breach of the procurement rules. 28. Not satisfied with the huge increases in salary and benefits, some Ministers are greedy and the reports of paying off Ministers for licenses, contracts etc., is astounding. The government has got into the habit of putting out tenders in the press and then cancelling them repeatedly until their chosen contractor wins the tender. 29. Chicken importation licenses to non-existent/ non-registered companies as well as another company in the name of the CEO, GWI, Van West Charles. 30. The Removal of 6,000 solar panels purchased for the Hinterland Household Electrification Programme
and re-allocating them for use at the Ministry of the Presidency and State House. 31. The Wind Farm project being done by Lloyd Singh, an AFC financier. Minister Trotman has said that it is “payback time for one of their election financiers”. 32. Antinfek in drinking water purchased by GWI without tender and without warnings of the health hazard by a CEO who was employed for years by the PAHO. Only after questioning by the Opposition in the National Assembly has the government provided minimum disclosure. 33. Contract for GPL Prepaid meters, awarded after 3 re-tenders to a contractor whose bid was the highest of all bids; in fact, $ 1 B more than engineers’ estimate. 34. Contract for the Water treatment plants- tenders cancelled twice before finally being awarded to their preferred contractor, who was higher than the other tenders. 35. Tendering for the GOG/ IDB Sheriff St road project was repeatedly done and no awards made until we lost that part of the IDB loan of $20M USD while at the same time paying penalty fees. 36. Procurement of drugs and medical supplies, in breach of procurement laws. 37. Consistent and on-going violations of the Procurement Act, financial rules and the Fiscal Management and Enactment Act are pervasive. The most recent examples were exposed during the August 3, 2017 debate with regard to funds for the State Assets Recovery Agency and constitutional bodies including the Public Procurement Commission and the Public Service Appellate Tribunal. 38. The on-going saga of the Durban Jubilee Park. It is estimated that expenditure has reached $1.5 B. Auditor General Deodat Sharma aims to wrap up his special audit into the controversial Durban Park Project before
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the end of the year even if he does not receive certain financial records which appear to be missing. Mired in controversy, millions more are being spent in preparation for the flag raising ceremony to mark Independence. 39. Contract for CCTV cameras for the Ministry of the Presidency- not delivered and paid for since 2015. The company has been declared bankrupt. So where is the taxpayers’ money? 40. Purchase of the Prime Minister’s SUV- bullet proof, latest model, extraordinary extravagance for a poor developing country. Noticeable is the acquisition of a fleet of new vehicles for every Minister yet many have not been budgeted for in the annual budgets. 41. Secret COI targeting constitutional rights commissions, in particular the Public Service Commission and the Ethnic Relations Commission. This is a form of intimidation. No report available. 42. President’s instruction to the Police Service Commission to halt police promotions in contravention of the constitution. 43. The COI into the Police with regard to the way it investigated the intention or plot to assassinate the President. The real plot behind this move appears to be the decapitation of the Guyana Police Force leadership. The President’s instruction to the Police Service Commission to halt these promotions appears to give credence to this theory. 44. The Georgetown Prison Camp Street Jailbreak and fire on July 9, 2017 and the Lusignan escapees coming after the March 2016 riots and fire that lead to 17 inmates being burnt to death. The COI of the March 2016 prison disturbances and fire has been kept secret but more evidence coming to light indicate that the government did not act on those recommendations, including the establishment of a multi-agency multi-sectoral
body being appointed by the President to implement the recommendations. Budgetary allocations for the Prisons, especially capital works to increase the inmate accommodation at the Mazaruni Prison in the 2016 budget was unspent and rolled over to 2017 and as of July 2017 these works are still not complete. The new request for $753M appropriated in Parliament on August 3 2017 cannot account for $ 153 M requested. 45. The Amendments to the Broadcasting Act passed in the National Assembly by the one seat majority government are an infringement on the freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Despite public appeals to the President by reputable international organizations such as Reporters Without Borders and the International Press Institute as well as denunciations by the Guyana Press Association, private sector, broadcasters, civil society, and the Parliamentary Opposition, the President as of August 17, 2017 denied requests to defer his assent and hold consultations. 46. The Commission of Inquiry into Lands – communal, joint and individual lands and any other lands – with specific focus on Amerindian land titling and land of Freed Africans. There was no prior consultation with the National Toshaos Council (NTC) or any Amerindian communities on the establishment of this COI. The NTC, five Amerindian non-governmental organizations and the Parliamentary opposition protested the appointment of this COI as it threatened Amerindian land rights which are enshrined in the constitution and in the Amerindian Act. The Parliamentary Opposition brought a motion in parliament calling on the President to revoke the COI or at least the component which is treating with Amerindian land titling which was defeated by the government’s one seat majority. The government 4 months after it established the COI held its first consultation with the NTC. This COI is a recipe to drive rifts and strife between
different ethnic groups in the country. 47. Repossession of lease and transported lands and property - the revocation of 30 MMA farmers leases by the President, the Central Housing and Planning Authority ( CHPA) repossession of transported houses and land and its CEO’s recent renewed threats to take away land from private developers are all unconstitutional. The judiciary in early August 2017 ruled that the President’s revocation of the leases of the farmers in the MMA was unconstitutional. In another instance the court issued a conservatory order to prevent the government from seizing and taking possession of the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre until case is properly heard. 48. Rental of residences for Ministers- $500,000 each to 2 junior Ministers and one Minister $ 1.5 M. This has been exposed in detail in the media and by members of civil society and the Parliamentary Opposition. 49. The appointment of the Chairman of the GECOM in violation of the constitution and the ruling of the Chief Justice. 50. The US$18M signing bonus from ExxonMobil placed outside of the Consolidated Fund. 51. Painting state properties in APNU colours. 52. Reduction of constitutional bodies budgets 2016, 2017, 2018 in violation of the 2015 amendment to FMA Act. These scandals, not limited to this list, have been uncovered and expose a level of corruption and discrimination that has not been seen since the Burnham era. The APNU+AFC government lacks transparency and accountability, and is prepared to undermine and even violate the procurement and financial laws of this country, as well as other constitutional provisions and statutory provisions.
‘Mad scramble’ by APNU+AFC to grab as much as they can before 2020 – Jagdeo decries unprecedented levels of corruption under Coalition
orruption has been made an “institutional endeavour” under the APNU+AFC Coalition, with a “mad scramble” by government ministers to accumulate “as
much as they can” before the 2020 General and Regional Elections. This was the view proffered by Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo. And he charged that more
agencies, including TIGI, should be involved in exposing the corruption that is taking place, not bending backwards to strike for a balance in comparing the former
PPP/C and current governments, which does not exist. He noted that of among the eight massive ‘kick-back schemes, which he referred to a “bribe collecting syndi-
cates” made up of government officials, are the sale of work permits. According to him, in 2017 there were 44,700 Cubans who arrived in Guyana, only 37,000 of whom have left. The permits he noted are being sold for as much as US$1,000. Gun licences are also being sold at exorbitant costs, $1.2M for shotgun licences and $600,000 for 6MM pistols. Licenses for security company, he disclosed, are going for millions more. Jagdeo added that government ministers are also involved in a rental scam, where properties are rented at inflated prices, part of which goes back to the minister in question. The establishment of front companies is another corrupt practice, with government officials using names of friends or family members to set up companies, which then benefit from massive government contracts – all of which is given out in breach of Guyana’s procurement laws. The gold mining sector, according to him, is in chaos, with prime lands being given to parties linked to government ministers, who are ensured a return on the operations. “One day we will wake up and find out that all the lands given out are controlled by a particular Minister,” he said. Additionally, he added, that despite the fact that certain court cases can be won by the State, settlements are inked for a price. “We are hemorrhaging billions in revenue because of fuel smuggling,” he said too, adding that the Coalition Government is fully aware of the players involved in the racket. He noted that Guyana only recently saw the example of individuals implicated in massive fuel smuggling managing to get off with a fine of $36M, which was paid to the Guyana Revenue
Authority (GRA). The boat was released and no charged were filed, whereas usual procedure would have seen a different course of action being taken. Following reports that authorities, on April 19, 2018, took control of a vessel – the Jubilee – because it was suspected to have been involved in fuel smuggling, documents linking the vessel’s operations to prominent local figures were released. Company documents for entity, SBF International Inc., names Attorney-at-Law, Roysdale Forde, Anand Sanasie and Dorwain Bess as Directors. Another document, a leaked agreement, names SBF International as the company that engaged the services of Sia Regulus, which owns the Jubilee. That agreement was signed by Forde in May 24, 2016 and one, Captain Alexander Kilmanskiy. The misuse of state funds on the construction of homes for government minister is another sore issue. According to Jagdeo, had such an act been perpetrated under the PPP/C government, the resulting consequences would have been different. “We have one minister building four houses right now,” he said. The Opposition Leader made clear that given the numerous breaches of financial laws, the Procurement Act, etc. – and the many underhand dealings that have been exposed, the APNU+AFC Coalition government is one of “the most corrupt” Guyana has seen. Notably, the 2017 and 2018 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), produced by the United States of America’s (USA) State Department, are markedly different, in that “government corruption” is cited as a major source of money laundering in Volume 2 of the latest report.
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