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12-13 May, 2018 / Vol. 10 No. 21 / Price: $100

Internet: http: // / e-mail:

Charges against Singh, Brassington:

"Its not about corruption – Jagdeo - It is witch-hunting" SEE INSIDE


On the road to ruination PAGE 3

Financial crimes charges against PPP officials a clear indication of APNU-AFC ineptitude PAGE 3

Ramjattan defies his Party Leader over position “What we are witnessing is State bullyism, political harassment of the very worst kind on sedition …a travesty of justice” – Ashni Singh clause PAGE 6




Charges against Singh, Brassington:

"Its not about corruption - It is witch-hunting" – Jagdeo T

he Coalition Government continues to pursue outcomes promised during the 2015 elections campaign, subverting state institutions, harming Guyana’s longterm interests and damaging reputations, via the charges leveled against two more former officials who served under the previous PPP/C government – all without substantial evidence – according to Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo. “They are working according to plan. This was never about fighting corruption, it is about damaging reputations to say (to their supporters) look we are fulfilling promise,” Jagdeo, said today (May 9, 2018) during a news conference held at his Church Street office. He added, “We have witnessed a circus act…what happened here might be shocking to Guyana, to people who expected decency from this government, but for us who have been in the political arena, what played out in court yesterday is not shocking; it is not a revelation. APNU is operating according to plan.” POLITICAL NOT PROFESSIONAL Three charges were filed against former Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh and former NICIL Head, Winston Brassington. The charges stemmed from a forensic audit done by Annand Goolsarran, who prior to the May 2015 election had claimed that there was corruption under the PPP/C government.

The first charge stated that while acting in the capacity of Former Finance Minister, and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) respectively, back in 2008 they sold Scady Business Corporation a tract of land that is 4.7000 acres, lettered RU and XXX, being a portion of Plantation Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara which is the property of Guyana for the sum of $150M while knowing that the property was valued at $340M when valued by Rodrigues Architects’ asset valuation officer. The second joint charge alleged that while Singh was Minister of Finance and Chairman of NICIL, on December 28, 2009 by way of agreement of sale and purchase he acted recklessly when he sold to National Hardware Guyana Limited a

tract of land, plot letter LP, a portion of Area LPP of Plantation Liliendaal, Pattensen and Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara, that is 103.88 acres, property of Guyana for $598.659.398, VAT exclusive without having a valuation of the property from a competent valuation officer. The third joint charge alleged, Singh and Brassington were jointly charged for the sale of land to MultiCinema Guyana. The charge stated that on May 14 2011, while Singh was the Minister of Finance and Brassington was the Chairman of NICIL, they sold a tract of land of 10.002 acres, letter A-A being a portion of Plantation Turkeyen situated on the East Coast Demerara and property of Guyana for the sum of $185.037.000 without procuring a valuation of the said property from a competent valuation officer. Jagdeo noted that that

“so called forensic audit” fails to meet even basic accounting principles. He added that while the Government itself recognises the lack of evidence to substantiate ‘campaign talk’ about corruption, it continues to press ahead. “The audits, all 50 or so audits, did not generate the evidence they thought that was there…but in face of the fact that APNU is losing ground – it is mired it corruption scandals, a failing economy, loss of jobs, failing to keep its promises – they are now pushing to pursue a promised outcome at all costs.” NO THEFT OF MONEY Jagdeo stated that the charges against Singh and Brassington did not come about because they were found in possession of ill-gotten monies, or any other act of corruption; rather they were charged because

they implemented a Cabinet decision on the sale of state lands. The Opposition Leader explained that while valuations for the properties were done, the market and an open tender determined the sale prince. “All the sales of lands were done by public tender to establish market value…in the past (under the PNC) there was not been a public tender when state assets were ‘given away’,” he said. The former finance minister and Head of State argued that if state institutions can be subverted in the manner it is by the current APNU+AFC Coalition government to go after former government officials, average Guyanese, even potential investors, will be left to wonder about their fates at the hand of such a vindictive government. He added that the manner in which affairs of the state was handled by the former PPP/C government is in stark contrast with what is currently happening, given the level of caprice that leads to millions of taxpayers’ dollars being spent in “clear and flagrant” violation of Guyana’s financial laws – actions taken with the direct involvement of several Cabinet ministers. NO EVIDENCE The Opposition Leader also drew attention to the fact that SOCU prosecutors were instructed six times to make available the audit report on which the charges were based, but has failed to

do so. “They are worried that the audit report (on which the charges are based) will not support the laying of those charges,” he said. Notably, the Attorney for the duo, Anil Nandlall made an application for an Administration of Justice Act (AJA) to be placed on each charge. However, SOCU prosecutor, Trenton Lake, stated that he is not ready to disclose statements in the matter and that Nandlall’s application for the Administration of Justice Act will compel him to do so. Referring to this, Jagdeo stressed that the weakness of the cases. He also called attention to the fact that the prosecution has been silent on the 200-page response – which is normal in the conduct of audits – to the findings of Goolsarran’s audit. “This will show how shoddy on political Goolsarran’s work was. All you have to do is look at the 200 pages of responses to every issue that was raised in the audit,” Jagdeo said. Commenting on the fact that bail was set at $6M, Jagdeo stated that it is a travesty. “All of this fits into APNU’s plan…we have seen this over and over (in the last three years). They are all political cases…this is a sad day for Guyana, but we expect more of this and I have said to our MPs (Members of Parliament) that we will see more and more actions like this coming down to elections,” he said. Meanwhile, both men have expressed confidence that they will be vindicated.


My View T he events of the past week involving the charges laid against Dr. Ashni Singh and Mr. Winston Brassington should remove all doubts from anyone who still had doubts as to where the country is heading. The charges and handcuffing, finger printing and the ridiculous bail that they have been placed on, suggest that we are going down a very slippery slope to social and economic ruination. This regime, as the earlier PNC regime, seems unable to grasp the fact that there is a direct links between the base (economics of the country) and the infrastructure (the legal system, the various institutions). They constantly interact and affect each other.

By Donald Ramotar Former President

It is clear that Ashni Singh and Winston Brassington are victims of a vindictive regime that seems intent on subverting all our institutions to persecute those perceived as being unsupportive of the Granger regime. Much have already been said about the case. Singh and Brassington did absolutely nothing illegal nor corrupt. In fact, in one case they sold a plot of land way above the market value. This was in the case of Rusal sale. The market value of that plot of land was obtained by an open tender. It was sixteen million dollars. It was sold for some thirty million dollars per acre. The regime spoke about


On the road to ruination

the valuation by a Valuator. However, the most important determination of the market value is the market itself. That is best obtained from public bids. Indeed, many people feel that the charges are frivolous. That is why the lawyers for those two gentlemen have taken the matter to the High Court to rule on. The fact that the Magistrate refused to await the hearing of that case before proceeding with the charges against these gentlemen is most unfortunate and in the view of a large cross section of our population, unreasonable. If the regime and its investigators felt that any corrupt action took place, how come that none of the purchasers were questioned about the transaction? Moreover, if they are talking about market value then they are saying that almost all of the more than one hundred thousand house

lots that were sold during the PPP/C in office below market value. Are they going to charge all those who obtained those lots which were below the market value? Clearly, the regime intention is to harass people whom they felt made a major contribution to the glaring successes of successive PPP/C administrations. The negative attitude of the APNU+AFC to important projects of the PPP/C government was seen from the time they obtained the one seat majority in Parliament. They killed the Amaila Hydro project; they halted the Specialty Hospital project; they have drastically reduced the scope of the airport project; and we recall their determined efforts to damage the financial sector of our economy by voting against the Anti-Money Laundry Bill. On taking power they have set about to destroy the

sugar industry. Now, the persecution of the people who worked hard to push these projects has begun. These actions will lead us to disaster. In the first place it would lead to greater brain drain. Many professionals will seek their fortunes elsewhere. They must know that today it is the PPP/C that is targeted and tomorrow it will be others. With the deprofessionalisation of the police and other security forces and the subversion of the justice system, it is clear that that would impact on economic decisions. Business people would refrain from investing and taking risks. Our economy would flounder. As the bureaucracy grows bigger, as it is bound to do under such governance, revenues will decline, jobs would be lost, education; health and housing would be sacrificed to feed the bureau-

cracy and to satisfy the huge appetite of the corrupt. Already we see the growing deficits, the depletion of our foreign currency and gold reserves. At the same time the debt is rising. Guyana is on the road to returning to its Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) status. We have been on this road before and we know where it is taking us. That is why I am extremely disappointed at the deafening silence of the Private Sector. If they feel that by staying silent they would be spared the wrath of the regime they are sadly mistaken. Life has thought us time and again that is only a matter of time when they will be consumed. No one should remain silent by these unjust and vindictive acts. Anyone who thinks he/ she is safe must remember Ashni Singh and Winston Brassington.

Financial crimes charges against PPP officials a clear indication of APNU-AFC ineptitude

– a big difference between accounts & economics; running a country & a private business


isconduct in Public Office and Value for Money are two terms the APNU+AFC administration professes to hold in priority, and as such three years after launching investigations into billions upon billions in developmental transactions they have charged former Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh and NICIL Executive Director, Winston Brassington. The facts reveal, however, that the APNU+AFC government under the guise of good public management and accountability for the state’s resources is rather using the judicial system as a tool of silencing any voice of opposition. Attorney General Basil Williams, and President David Granger himself, though not a lawyer must be clear that the case against the two top financial officers do not hold water and will in fact be dismissed by any Magistrate worth their salt. In my view, said the Economic Advisor to the Political Opposition, there is no plausible reason to charge the two for any financial crimes since none was committed. What David Granger and those with some modicum of common sense in the Cabinet

and government are quickly realizing is that running a state is not the same as running a business where a profit margin is the primary consideration. Both Brassington and Dr Singh have essentially been charged with executing the decisions of the Cabinet Counsel of Ministers—it is not as if these two men arbitrarily took possession of pieces of state land, sold them and then pocketed the cash. Had this been the case then most assuredly the PPP would be in full support of their prosecution. Actions by this administration must not be seen in isolation of each other and as such, the sedition clause in Cyber Crime Bill, aimed at silencing the citizenry, has to be seen in the context of the Granger government’s apparent desire to silence elected representatives through fabricated charges. Remember while in opposition David Granger and his acolytes accused the PPP of siphoning 20% of the annual budget through corruption. Let us now examine what exactly Dr Singh and Brassington have charged for as financial crimes and labeled corrupt.

Let us also bear in mind that economists and professionals the world over sometimes are unable to appreciate the difference between serving the people and the state, in contrast to a private sector entity, obsessed only with increasing its profit margin. This appears to be the utter confusion of Guyana’s current finance Minister Winston Jordan, who each year in seeking only to increase government revenues has gone about implementing a number of debilitative policies—debilitative since in increasing the profit margin in the short term, has also led to the destruction of productive sectors. The Agricultural and Extractive Sectors are but prime examples where this has occurred —think VAT in imports and exports and their concomitant effects. But back to the examination of the transactions for which the two have been charged—Brassington because he was the Executive Director of NICIL executing the directives of Cabinet and Dr Singh, the NICIL Chairman, also doing likewise. Take the larger tract of land, 103 acres sold to National Hardware. Should this

land have been sold to a private person for private use then no doubt securing the maximum real estate value would have been the critical factor. This land, however, was sold to National Hardware for the development of a Housing project. It was not a case where land was sold cheaply to that company which turned around to make a gigantic profit. Under the agreement, National Hardware is mandated to fully develop the 103 acres into habitable communities. This means that in the agreement for the sale, National Hardware is obligated to invest billions into the land—billions the government could ill afford at the time. But according to Jordan, Granger, Williams and their acolytes, this is misconduct in public office. A second transaction— which coincidentally was grossly misrepresented in the media—involves the sale of 4.7 acres. What the government is deliberately not saying is that this transaction is in fact tied to the bailing out of the Guyana bauxite industry saving thousands of jobs in the process. “Misconduct in public office?”, I think not. This

transaction clearly was not predicated on the profits to be had from a single transaction involving 4.7 acres of land but rather from the perspective of the overall transformative impact on the economy, the jobs, saved, the continued revenue stream for government protected, in addition to the corporate social responsibility projects undertaken by that company in Guyana. A first year student studying economics would be able to differentiate for Minister Jordan the difference between an Accountant looking to sell a piece of property to maximize immediate profit and a government economist selling the same piece of land taking into account the overall developmental impact of such a transaction. The transaction involving Multi-cinema Guyana Inc, speaks for itself. One only has to take a look at the multibillion dollar development taking place for the creation of Movietowne. Each of the transactions for which these two officials have been charged, purportedly as misconduct in public office, has led to not only the preservation of government revenues and thousands of

jobs but also investments of billions in addition to the creation of more prime upscale housing real estate. Guyana is no longer a heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) and as such transactions undertaken by government must reflect this— physical development. If there is anyone guilty of misconduct in public office it is this administration which has paid millions to uncover its much touted ‘corruption under the PPP.’ So far the Granger administration successes as a result of the millions spentare to go after patriotic Guyanese serving their country, this in order to save face and to show their constituencies that the APNU+AFC Government is taking action. Nothing is further from the truth; the Granger administration is instead laying the foundation to eliminate members of the PPP from appearing on its 2020 Candidates list to contest the Regional and General Elections. Misconduct in public office would be the Durban Park Project or the blatant misuse of public funds to target members of the political opposition.


EDITORIAL Vindictiveness


he APNU/AFC coalition, dominated by the People’s National Congress die-hards, is in pickle. Having saturated the minds of supporters with accusations of corruption under the PPP/C administration, it is now hard-pressed to find credible evidence to support this huge 2015 campaign platform. Three years after taking office, the coalition’s supporters are harbouring suspicions that they were duped and being made suckers. They are now pressuring the regime to come up with concrete answers. The multitude of expensive so-called “forensic audits”, done by close friends of the coalition, has not produced the desired results. They cannot point to a single instance of government officials putting their hands in the till. They went into labour and brought forth nothing. The hype created by the PNC-ites, the WPA and the AFC, about corruption under the PPP, led to the expectation by supporters, that after bring in government for three years, there must be some information to give credence to this charge of corruption. The ordinary man is being told that some $300 billion was stolen from the treasury. To the man in the street this is a humongous sum and cannot be easily be stashed away and can’t be found by all the expensive experts they have hired. To appease their supporters, they are handing out propaganda about officials in the Rice Board not entering information in a ledger. They have not pointed to a cent being stolen. Every now and then they are picking on the former President, Bharrat Jagdeo, about his private residence, and raising suspicions. They used to raise the issue of PPP/C government putting monies in special bank accounts and created the impression that these sums were stolen. Nothing of the sort has been unearthed. All monies have been accounted for. Today they are not playing that tune, since they have found that it is quite legal to do so and they are in fact doing the same thing. They were so outlandish in their accusations that they the smuggling gold, drug dealings, the underground economic, and all manner of evils, to the PPP/C administration. The fact of the matter is that their supporters are being shafted for the second time. Not being able to pin point incidents of corruption, the coalition is grasping at straws. It is now dishing out feeble charges like “misconduct in public office” as in the present case before the courts with former Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh and Brassington, former CEO of NICIL. It is all a charade to hide their incompetence and the daily exposure of the corruption taking place in government. Only recently, the government made an-out-court settlement with a contractor for some $250 million. This has become a routine practice and in three years it has secretly made out-of-court settlement to the tune of billions of dollars. Many of the people involved helped the gov’t to get into office. Little wonder that most Guyanese see these transactions as occasions for kickbacks and payback time for political support. Not being able to fulfill all the many promises made to the electorate, not being able to manage the country and improve the well-being of Guyanese, not being able to provide answers to its own supporters, will see the government get even more vindictive and oppressive. Today, it is targeting the political opposition. Tomorrow all those who raise their voices against this incompetence and corruption will be targeted.


A Bishop Edghill never seen before Dear Editor


he Budda said "if you propose to speak ask yourself is it true, is it necessary, is it kind" My Attention was drawn to a letter published in the Kaieteur News dated May 4, 2018 captioned "A Bishop Edghill never seen Before." I will not attempt to defend my elder brother; Bishop Juan Anthony Edghill, since I am certain that he is capable of do so adequately. My response is based on an attack on my family the children who were raised by a hard working woman who taught us that there is honour in hard work, honesty and integrity and pushed us all with her limited means to strive for excellence. On reading the missive I was wondering the reason for the letter as it appeared to me to be an effort to create

mischief and I was tempted to ignore its contents but I am aware of the potential this letter has to create disaffection within our family and among friends and colleagues of the family some of whom are unaware of all the history of the family and may very well have varying political persuasions and as the dear "Bishop" Fisher state " may be swayed and misled by his utterings" In his effort to create whatever mischief he has in mind Bishop Fisher has failed to heed the advice of Budda and has sinned in his effort to create disaffection between people some of whom he has never met. Other than the letter being riddled with inaccuracies on events in Guyana and about the level of involvement of my mother with the PNC and my brother, I ask the question why now; was this letter necessary? it definitely is not kind,

not to my mother whom this "Bishop Fisher "has never met but seems to give the impression that she is driven by malice. She is not in Guyana to defend herself and I am unsure if she up to date with the politics of Guyana at present. But personal relationships can be damaged by these false utterances by Bishop Fisher. Even if I were tempted to believe that there was some truth in what he reported to have transpired he got so carried away with his lies that he exposed himself. Bishop Fisher I think you should do the decent thing and recall this letter and apologize for the mischief contained therein. Bishop Fisher you have failed to heed the 9th commandment. Rev'd Fr. Raymon E Cummings Youngest Brother of Bishop Juan A Edghill

The greatest disappointment to hit the Guyana Landscape? Dear Editor,


believe the greatest disappointment for Guyana was The WPA, joining forces with The PNC in a Coalition. I used the term "was" in describing The WPA because that entity is no more, they are a spent force, one which has lost its relevance and importance to society, the greatest casualty to hit national headlines. Can anyone tell me what importance this political association holds in society? The answer is none, because this rag tag grouping is now groping in the wilderness trying in every which way they can to utter a feeble voice of reasonableness before its deathbed. The reality behind Guyana's political coalition was that there was never an AFC, that party was an appendage or extension of The PNC. With Trotman being the main figure, he was the mover and shaker of everything in that grouping. That left us with The WPA who was the only stabilizing force where educated discussions was concern, or so we thought. The WPA is a party made up of educated people who should have lent a sobering balance to The Coalition, but we were mistaken in our assessment of the sensibilities of these gentlemen

in its midst. Subsequent events did substantiate our claim because that one real voice (The WPA) became no voice at all when The PNC's Juggernaut unleashed its bullyism. So, let us follow the sequence of events; When The WPA joined The Coalition, Dr Roopnarine was handpicked by David Granger to represent that party in government. A highhanded move, with the strong probability that Roopnarine was the most docile in that group and easy to manipulate. Granger was proven right because he stunned them into submission with that demotion that came on the death anniversary of its founder leader Dr Walter Rodney. What clearer message did the WPA want, than to have their point man in government fired and put into a humiliating place on the death anniversary of its party's leader? A gross display of crude dictator power politics. Further display of dictatorial prowess is the fact that when their party's representative at GECOM died and had to be replaced, Granger again picked a successor of his own choosing. Fantastic! The last straw was the ban on Dr Hinds from publishing in the government's newspaper The chronicle, further proof of the domineering attitude of The

PNC in forcing the lifeblood out of its subordinates. Yet Dr Hinds is prepared to absorb all of those atrocities, because he like The Nagamootoo's would rather hang on to power no matter the cost. He would have convinced his miserable self, that they can settle for the crumbs that fall from The PNC's table no matter the shame. In like manner he would not dare speak up of the debilitating failures of a Backward PNC Regime for fear of greater reprisals from the bigger, better and most brutal PNC. Finally, this "water-boy" mentality of Hinds was bound to show up sooner than later because he is a Black Supremacist who can do no better than make shameless apologies for his Black Supremacist friends. So, he keeps on churning out these meaningless diatribe of a PPP's alleged misrule. Although Hinds claims to be a "Freed Black" and one who speaks his mind, the gist of what he is saying speaks to the contrary. I hope Hinds and the other minnows in The WPA face the full reality that their party is a colossal failure and needs to carry out a requiem mass. Neil Adams



Fabrications against me

Foreign travel by ministers contributed to Guyana’s failing economy Dear Editor,


n the face of critical observations that the Guyana economy was underperforming and was being mismanaged, Finance Minister Winston Jordan, in May 2016, went on the defensive and told the people of Guyana that “the economy is in good shape”. Jordan said then: “It is not a doomed scenario. We are doing reasonably well, and we will continue to do well.” Between May 2016 and May 2017, Guyana’s gold reserves fell by almost $10 billion, from 14,498,200 to 5,219,500. Between 2015 and the present, the US dollar foreign reserve at the Bank of Guyana fell from US$800 million to under US$550 million. Recently, Finance Minister Jordan was forced to declare that the economy was in decline. Christopher Ram, financial analyst and political commentator, captured Government’s financial policy as one of “spend, spend, spend, borrow, borrow, borrow.” It was in this context that former Junior Finance Minister Juan Edghill noted that a huge demand for foreign currency to facilitate the travel of a Government consisting of 27 ministers and dozens of technical staff would lead to further depletion of the country’s foreign reserves. Referring to funding to meet the foreign travel of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo helps the average Guyanese person to understand the true import of Mr. Edghill’s comment. In October 2015, Prime Minister Nagamootoo, together with Minister Trotman and a Mrs. Tamara Evelyn Khan, was provided with approximately $660,000.00 for accommodation and meals for a three-day visit to Mexico. In December 2015, the Prime Minister and the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs travelled to Paraguay. The Prime Minister told the National Assembly, on the 17th November 2017, that the Government of Guyana paid all the expenses associated with the trip in the sum of US$3,900. Of this amount, the Prime Minister explained, the sum of US$2000 was approved for contingencies. That would leave a balance of US$1,900. Airfares, he explained, cost $699,603. But US $1900 could not yield $699,603. The Prime Minister’s figures did not add up, and the National Assembly did not detect his “Nagamatics”. (See Hansard, 72nd sitting of the National Assembly, Friday 17th November 2017.) In January 2016, the Prime Minister and

his wife, Lady Sita Nagamootoo, holding hands, attended the launch of the Golden Jubilee Independence Anniversary of Guyana in Queens, New York. A security/protocol officer accompanied them. Government paid all expenses, amounting to US$2,400, plus Gy$982,675. The Prime Minister was provided with US$4,200 for accommodation, meals and out of pocket expenses, plus US$1,000 as a contingency allowance. The total disbursement for this two-day trip approximates to almost $2,540,675. Of course, the Prime Minister does not have to account to the Ministry of Finance for the expenditure of this sum. In November 2016, accompanied by his wife, Lady Sita Nagamootoo, and his personal assistant, Ms. Deann Ali, the Prime Minister travelled to India for three days, and was provided with the sum of US$5,600 for in-transit accommodation and meals. That sum is approximately Gy$1,148,000. Allowing for in-transit accommodation of two nights by two rooms, that accommodation would approximate to about Gy$143,500. Even if that figure is doubled to Gy$287,000, that would leave the Prime minister, Lady Sita and Ms. Ali with the sum of Gy$861,000 for contingencies and food over three days !!!. Then in May 2017, when Prime Minister Nagamootoo visited Guadeloupe, he was accompanied by Lady Sita Nagamootoo. They were provided US$1,250 for out of pocket expense and meals. Allowing for out of pocket expenses of US$300, it would have left the Prime Minister and Lady Sita with nearly US$900 to spend over three days on food!! One recalls the public declarations of Prime Minister Nagamootoo: that he never travels first class, and never stays in five star hotels, because of his conviction that such expenditures could be applied to doing so much for the poor people of Guyana. I have identified only one Government functionary and the expenses related to some of his travels. Little wonder that our economy is in the state it is in. Now the expenses related to the Prime Minister’s travels are what he himself would describe as “Fat Cat-style living”. Now we understand that it is the privileged few who are in Government who are really enjoying the good life while the working class continue to beg the rulers to give them decent wages. Sincerely. Selwyn Persaud

Dear Editor,


he sacred text Exodus 20:16 states, “You should not bear false witness or testimony against your neighbour.” It forbids speaking falsely in any way whatsoever, lying, equivocating and speaking unjustly to prejudice the reputation of another. The letter appearing in the Kaieteur News on the 4th day of May 2018, titled “A Bishop Edghill never seen before”, is a fabrication and is carefully designed with ulterior political motives to prejudice my reputation. For the record, I, categorically, deny ever having a conversation with Bishop Joseph G. Fisher or anyone whatsoever about the alleged matters contained in this piece of mischievous narrative, in or out of Guyana. The only two statements that are of some

factual basis are publicly known, those are: 1. that I am indeed a member of the International Communion of Charismatic Churches (ICCC) since February 1995, and have travelled around the world attending conferences; 2. and, that my mother resides in the USA. Finally, this falsehood must be seen for what it is, that is, desperation on the part of political opponents on a smear campaign against me and the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C). My activism and political engagements are premised on positions of principle and morality. My prayers are with those who admire me awkwardly. Yours truly Bishop Juan A. Edghill, PPP/C MP

Nandlall sets the record straight for the second time T he Kaieteur News, on Sunday, May 6, 2018, carried an article under the caption ‘Three years, billions of dollars later, Attorney General tries to get a handle on outsourced state cases’. In that article, the following passage appeared: “It has been reported that under the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic government, several litigations that were brought against the state were outsourced to various private lawyers. This is while Anil Nandlall was Attorney General.” I served as Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs from December 5, 2011 to May 15, 2015. During my tenure in Office, I retained the service of

only TWO lawyers from the private bar, namely, Stephen Fraser and Roysdale Forde. Mr. Fraser was retained to represent the State in certain legal proceedings in relation to cricket administration. He also represented the State in the constitutional challenge filed by Cedric Richardson. Mr. Roysdale Forde was retained to represent the State in the trial of two cases: one filed by NH Construction Ltd and one by Dipcon Engineering Services Ltd. Both of these cases were filed over a decade prior to my assumption to Office. The above represents the entirety of the “outsourcing of cases” during my tenure

in Office. I briefed Attorney General & Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams on these matters at a “handing over” which took place on or about the 22nd May 2015, at the Attorney General Chambers , lot 95 Carmichael Street, Georgetown. I hope I have set the record straight, again. This is the second time I am clarifying these matters in the press as a result of the recklessly inaccurate information which emanates from that Ministry on a regular basis. Mohabir Anil Nandlall MP Former Attorney General & Minister of Legal Affairs



“What we are witnessing is State bullyism, political harassment of the very worst kind …a travesty of justice” – Ashni Singh


ormer Finance Minister, Dr. Ashi Singh has deemed the charges against him by the APNU/AFC government as “state bullyism, political harassment of the very worst kind,” he said. Nevertheless, the former Minister said both himself and Winston Brassington are cooperating with SOCU. Furthermore, he said that “everything we did we have a justification and an approval from Boards and Cabinet, so it is a travesty in justice,” He reiterated that the charges for which he and his former colleague were granted bail for, are not only baseless but irrational. Dr Singh again expressed confidence that the matter would be disposed of and promised to remain focused, explaining that he will not be intimidated by the matter before him. One day after being released on $6 million bail each, former Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh and former Chief Executive Officer

of the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) Winston Brassington were called in for questioning by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU). On Wednesday last , the two former Government officials, accompanied by their lawyers – Anil Nandlall, Mark Waldron and Sase Gunraj – arrived at SOCU’s headquarters in Georgetown at about 09:00h and left some four hours later with SOCU officials. Nandlall told the press, who waited patiently outside SOCU, that the two were questioned about 27 allegations of misconduct in public office, even on matters dating back to 1994. These transactions involve the following Guyana Stockfeeds; Marilyn Oudho; Clairan’s; Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry; Duke Lodge; Pritipaul Singh Investments; Hand-in-Hand; National Hardware; Twin’s Manufacturing; Old GPC;

Anthony Pierres; Property Holdings Inc; I Ali; Hicks, Linden; Sanata at Industrial Site; Mohabir, Linden and SOL (Guyana). The lead attorney noted that no allegation of dishonesty was made, nor are there any allegations that the duo has stolen public funds, or profited from these transactions. These transactions, according to him, had received the approval of Cabinet, and were one on the recommendations of the NICIL Board. “I maintain that these charges are intended to harass, humiliate and persecute these persons,” he asserted. Nandlall told Guyana Times that he was advised that the charges were recommended by advice received from Dr Sam Sittlington, who is assisting SOCU. “If these cases are tainted in criminality, are they now going to charge all the persons who purchased? That would even be more ridiculous.”

He said it amounts to unfairness and unequal treatment meted out to his clients. In addition to that, Nandlall is arguing that Government distributed over 100,000 house lots which were deliberately sold below market value “Are they going to charge the 100,000 persons who benefited from these housing programme?” Brassington also told the media that while being questioned, SOCU officials went through tonnes of files totalling over 20. “They are taking every instance where the valuation is above the

selling price and calling it misconduct in public office… cases even if we had a public tender,” he said. The former NICIL head noted that every single transaction received several layers of approval, first by the Privatisation Unit Board, the NICIL Board and then by Cabinet. “We have produced records showing what we did and there is nothing wrong in what we did. Everything we did we have a justification and an approval from Boards and Cabinet, so it is a travesty in justice,” he added. Singh and Brassington were taken to the Criminal

Investigations Department of the Guyana Police Force. They were fingerprinted and later released on $200,000 station bail each. The two former Government officials were charged on Tuesday for allegedly selling several plots of State land on the East Coast of Demerara to National Hardware Guyana Ltd for over $598 million; Scady Business Corporation at a cost of $150 million, and to Multi-cinemas Guyana at a cost of $185 million. The two will return to SOCU on Monday for further questioning.

Singh and Brassington to return to Court on June 5 F ormer Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), Mr. Winston Brassington last Tuesday made their court appearance at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court, having been residing overseas when the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) filed three charges against them on April 12, 2018, regarding the sale of three plots of state land. As they both stood in court, Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan directed them to stand within the prisoner’s dock, in a packed courtroom of PPP supporters and media operatives. She read the three charges to the accused, in-

forming them that they were not required to plead as they were all indictable. The court heard that while acting in the capacity of Former Finance Minister, and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) respectively, back in 2008 they sold Scady Business Corporation a tract of land that is 4.7000 acres, lettered RU and XXX, being a portion of Plantation Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara which is the property of Guyana for the sum of $150M while knowing that the property was valued at $340M when valued by Rodrigues Architects’ asset valuation officer. The second joint charge alleged that while Singh

was Minister of Finance and Chairman of NICIL, on December 28, 2009 by way of agreement of sale and purchase he acted recklessly when he sold to National Hardware Guyana Limited a tract of land, plot letter LP, a portion of Area LPP of Plantation Liliendaal, Pattensen and Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara, that is 103.88 acres, property of Guyana for $598.659.398, VAT exclusive without having a valuation of the property from a competent valuation officer. The third joint charge alleged, Singh and Brassington were jointly charged for the sale of land to MultiCinema Guyana. The charge stated that on May 14 2011, while Singh was the Minister of Finance and Brassington was the

Chairman of NICIL, they sold a tract of land of 10.002 acres, letter A-A being a portion of Plantation Turkeyen situated on the East Coast Demerara and property of Guyana for the sum of $185.037.000 without procuring a valuation of the said property from a competent valuation officer. Attorney for the duo, Mr. Mohabir Anil Nandlall made an application for an Administration of Justice Act (AJA) to be placed on each charge. An AJA provides for the charged persons to be provided with procedural protection in the form of the right to silence and the right against self-incrimination. However, the Prosecution objected to this application on the grounds that it was unnecessary at this

stage of the court proceedings, while noting that more investigations were on-going which could result in additional charges for Singh and Brassington. Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan acceded to the prosecution’s objections. As the case continued, Nandlall and Brassington’s Lawyer, Mark Waldron sought to make bail applications for their clients, informing the court that both were well grounded Guyanese with families, and many years within the working sector of Guyana. They also noted that neither had ever been charged with criminal offences prior to this event. As such, it was requested that the accused be released at their own recognisance. However, while the Pros-

ecution did not object to bail, they asked the Magistrate to have the sum set in a substantive amount stating that they could not accede to having the duo released at their own recognisance as they are the subjects of ongoing investigations by SOCU. Considering both sides of the arguments put forward, the Chief Magistrate ruled that bail be granted to Singh and Brassington in the sum of $2M per charge, eachamounting to $6M for each person. Nandlall sought to apply for a reduction in the bail amount, asserting that $6M was way above the affordability of his clients. However, his application was rejected. The case was adjourned to June 5, 2018.



Ramjattan defies his Party Leader over position on sedition clause C

haos has seemingly consumed the Alliance For Change (AFC), relative to the controversial sedition clause in the Cybercrime Bill. AFC Leader, Raphael Trotman, has made clear that the Party will not support the Bill because of the clause. However, AFC Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan, a day later contradicted his leader and charged that the sedition clause is necessary. “I can say that as presently constructed, I, as Leader of the AFC, cannot support Clause 18.1 in the Bill and will therefore be urging for an amendment, and if none is forthcoming, I will vote against it,” Trotman said on Tuesday. However, Ramjattan said, “It is necessary in my opinion.” OLD PNC LAW Meanwhile, Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, contends that Clause 18 is reminiscent of the old National Security Act, which was upheld during the Burnham era,

but repealed in the late 90s. He said, “The insertion by the Government of Guyana of (this) provision in the cybercrime bill could mean or could have grave implications for freedom of speech in Guyana. In fact, looking at the provision or that specific provision of the Bill, which was inserted in the Special Select Committee, is reminiscent of the old National Security Act that obtained in the period of undemocratic rule. “….that Act was, specifically, designed to stifle dissent and to take action against individuals who may disagree with the Government of Guyana. It was a repressive tool in the hands of a repressive Government. In Guyana, we have seen a trend towards unilateralism. We have seen a trend where the Government acts with impunity regardless of laws or provisions of our Constitution or in direct contravention of provisions in our Constitution. So, I see this insertion in this new Bill

as another tool available to a Government that is becoming increasingly undemocratic in its march towards a dictatorship.” NOT ABOUT PROTECTING PEOPLE Jagdeo argued that it was for these reasons that Guyanese must fight to ensure that “this retrograde step” to charge people for sedition, an “archaic” offence, is not passed into law. “If you look through quite a few elements of that provision, you will see that they are not so much concerned about people in Guyana or protecting their rights. “The entire cybercrime bill (as envisioned by the former PPP/C Government) was for a purpose, not to protect the Government of Guyana, but to protect our children against child pornography, to protect people against electronic assault on their privacy; it was to protect the people of the country in their business, so that their

data or their computers would not be compromised, that cyberspace in Guyana without overregulating, without affecting content of speech, that it would have some rules that people can’t act illegally in harming others. That was the purpose of the Bill.” He added, “They have converted this. By inserting this provision, the purpose and something all Guyanese would agree to, that is, protecting all of us and our children, they have converted it into protection for Government and the Ministers….we already have laws protecting all of our citizens and I would assume that the Prime Minister and the President and Ministers are citizens of Guyana and they too are afforded the same sort of protection that we all enjoy under certain laws against criminal acts. Why do they need a special provision in this Bill to protect the interest of only those categories of people?”

Two former state employees take gov’t to court


ormer Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Prema Ramanah-Roopnarine and business consultant Badrie Persaud have filed applications in the High Court asking for the intent to defraud charge against them which arose out of the forensic audit of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) quashed due to the failure of the prosecution to disclose a copy of the audit report to them. In separate applications filed on their behalf by attorney-at-law Sase Gunraj, the duo is asking for a declaration that the failure of the prosecution to disclose a copy of the report which was prepared by Chartered Accountant Nigel Hinds and which formed the basis for certain investigations launched by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) constitutes a violation of Article 144 of the Constitution more particularly, the right of the applicants to be afforded facilities for the preparation of their defence and other protections of the law secured under and guaranteed by the said Article 144. The duo is also asking the court to grant an order for a “permanent stay of proceedings” quashing, vacating

or setting aside the charges of fraudulent omission against the applicants and which are pending before Georgetown Magistrates’ Court 2 in the Georgetown Magisterial District. The Attorney General of Guyana is listed as the respondent. The two were charged separately on May 19, 2017 and placed on $500, 000 bail each but in June 22, 2017 the Ad-ministration of Justice Act was applied and the applicants opted for a summary disposal of the matters. It was alleged that with intent to defraud, they and others between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011, at Lot 116 to 117 Cowan Street, Kingston, being members of the GRDB, a body corporate, omitted or concurred in omitting from the organisation’s general ledger any entries particular to the sum of $52,000,000 in the Republic Bank (Guyana) account for its Agriculture Life Skills Programme. They both entered not guilty pleas. The two were directors of the GRDB. They were jointly charged with Madanlall Ramraj, Dharamkumar Seeraj, Nigel Dharamall and Jagnarine Singh. It was argued that after

several callings the matter was on July 31, 2017 transferred by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan to Magistrate Leron Daly. On July 11, 2017 the prosecution served about 18 statements from various persons upon the applicants and a perusal of the documents found that the audit report was the basis upon which charges were proffered. Magistrate Daly, the applicant said, proceeded with two of the matters and stayed the others until the completion of the hearing and following the commencement of the trial four witnesses including Hinds were called by the prosecution to testify. On each occasion that testimony was given, an application was made for an order directing the prosecution to disclose the forensic audit report. . “On each occasion, the Prosecution responded by proffering various reasons for their failure to disclose the said Forensic Audit Report. Initially, the Prosecution stated that they were not in possession of a copy of the said report and therefore could not provide same”, the applicants averred in their court documents. It was stated that even-

tually the magistrate after hearing arguments from both the defence and the prosecution, ordered that a copy of the report be delivered to the defence. The applicants stressed that the criminal justice system is based on the principle of open and fair justice as is outlined and as such the report in question is “integral to the Prosecution’s case and as a consequence, is equally integral for the preparation of my defence and cross-examination of Prosecution witnesses”. It was stated that it is clear that the prosecution is not prepared to disclose a copy of the document and as such they, the applicants are being denied a fair and adequate opportunity to properly prepare their defence. “In consequence, I will not have a fair trial and my right to a fair hearing and to the protection of the law guaranteed under Article 144 of the Constitution of Guyana is being, and will continue to be contravened. In the circumstances, unless the said trial is aborted, my constitutional rights to a fair trial and to natural justice will be violated and there will be a massive miscarriage of justice against me”, they each said in their applications.

NO SUPPORT Additionally, Jagdeo also expressed disappointment at the fact that despite being categorical about the position of the parliamentary Opposition on the Cyber Crimes Bill, “falsehoods” are still being peddled to convey the impression that the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) supported the increasingly controversial Bill, which includes a section on sedition. He reasoned that such acts were either reflective of an unwillingness to directly criticise the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition Government – part of the balancing act employed by some commentators – or an effort to mislead Guyanese. At his Monday (April 30, 2018) news conference, Jagdeo acknowledged that the parliamentary Opposition “dropped the ball” in addressing the Cyber Crimes Bill, given the absence of PPP/C Members of Parliament

(MPs) at the meetings of the Select Committee dealing with the Bill. “You can blame us and some of the MPs for not attending the meetings (of the Parliamentary Select Committee) and it would be justified… the PPP, and I speak for the PPP, does not support this inclusion, this undemocratic inclusion, in the cybercrime bill. “In fact, we are opposed to it…the fact is that several MPs on our side were members of the Special Select Committee, which met several times to consider the provisions of this Bill, and were absent sometimes. However, their presence alone, being named to that committee, does not elevate to support by the PPP.” The coalition Government has remained silent on these criticisms of Clause 18, particularly the comparison to the National Security Act under the former People’s National Congress (PNC) Government.

'Unjust' US Blockade Has Cost Cuba Over $130 Billion, UN Says


he United States' "unjust blockade" has cost Cuba's economy and its people over US$130 billion in economic activity over the last five decades according to the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). “We evaluate it every year... and we know that this blockade costs the Cuban people more than US$130 billion at current prices and has left an indelible mark on its economic structure,” Alicia Barcena said. She told the biennial meeting in Havana: "This country which welcomes us today .. is testing its own ways to face the brutal human costs that it has sustained during an unjust blockade." The figures quoted by Barcena are similar to the economic impact the Cuban government has repeatedly cited in arguing against the measure. Cuba is currently hosting ECLAC’s 37th session, which brings together representatives from its 46 member States and 13 associate members to debate the main chal-

lenges for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the region. Over the last few years, the U.N.'s General Assembly has approved several non-binding resolutions calling for an end to the financial and trade blockade imposed on Cuba by the U.S. government since 1962. In 2014 former U.S. President Barack Obama eased the embargo, which can only be fully lifted by the U.S. Congress. However, last year president Donald Trump tightened travel and trade restrictions again. Earlier this week U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met with former president Raul Castro and the newly-elected Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel. During the meeting, the Cuban president vowed to continue to focus on development goals. “Despite the difficulties the Cuban economy is faced with, particularly due to the intensification of the blockade imposed on Cuba… we will continue to focus on the development goals set,” Diaz-Canel said.




Local Government and You!

he Coalition Government’s approach to addressing local governance matters is one of disruption rather than problem solving and developmental, when one considers the treatment of legitimately elected Councils in most Local Authority Areas (LAAs). The interference and disorder created by this line of attack is one of forceful suppression, instead of working to win the confidence of citizens and residents. The repercussions will be significant as slavery is long over and attempts at conditional and prejudicial bondage MUST and will be strongly rejected. The most significant of the many reasons which lends to this approach, is reflected by their worrying disposition about its one seat majority in the National Assembly, together with the PPP/C massive victories in the 2016 Local Government Elections. The Ministry of Communities has been manipulative and busy, making all efforts to control the administra-

tion at all levels of the Local Government system. A ransom laden, destabilizing and deliberate delaying tactic has been employed, together with considered efforts to do all the employment in the Local Authority Areas. They have positioned many party ‘thugs’ to assist their clandestine intent and many expected problems have resulted as a consequence. Numerous frauds are taking place in the Local Authority Areas have been reported and these must be fully investigated. The Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs), have full responsibilities to monitor and over-look all financial transactions that are taking place at the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs), in the absence of the full activation of the Local Government Commission. The Overseers, Tax collectors and the entire Administrative staff at the NDCs are currently working under tremendous influence of the Ministry of Communities. It is indeed sad that the

Minister have taken steps to minimize the monitoring role of the Councils, by removing the council’s capacity to discipline staff. Meanwhile, administrative officers are being directed to prioritize the Ministry’s agendas against that of the councils. Under such conditions, many Administrative staff has become ‘power drunk’, and are fast becoming the monsters that even the Minister will be unable to stop. This is evidenced by the now numerous occurrences across LAAs. Recently, the Chairman of the Grove/ Diamond NDC’s Finance Committee, perused the financial records of the council and discovers the massive fraud. The seriousness of the matter cannot be understated since it is alleged that the Tax Collector and District Development Officer (DDO) from the Region #4 Office, are the persons who were involved in questionable transactions. The fact that the APNU/ AFC sought it fit and proper to take an Overseer from

Mocha to work in the office at Grove NDC’s office speak volumes. Notwithstanding, it is the DDO from the RDC who conduct checks several times weekly at the Diamond Grove NDC’s office, to ensure that the receipts and expenditures of the NDC are properly validated. It is indeed disgusting to learn that both the DDO and the Tax collector resign abruptly and disappeared. Many questions are not being answered and although the police were called in, there seems to be a measure of slothfulness in dealing with the matter. However, the police took action at the miss-appropriation for a much smaller sum and locked up the victim over in West Demerara and the money was re-paid. The Grove Diamond NDC’s Councilors are calling on the Auditor General Office and Local Government Commission to investigate the twenty-one million dollars fraud at the NDC. Another massive fraud occurred at the Herstelling/

Little Diamond NDC and again the Overseer is the questionable person. Further, the 2016 subvention from the Government is on hold and yet to be spent. The 2017 subvention is in limbo as the Region took over the tendering process for the works to be done. To date, the NDC is waiting the ‘Crusher’ ‘run’ to do the patching of the very bad streets and roads. The battle over the use of subventions between NDCs and the RDC continues to lead to many frustrations as planned activities within LAAs are being influenced or stifled. The Caledonia/Good Success NDC is experiencing another glaring example of this shortcoming. This NDC use their 2016 subvention to purchase heavy duty equipment which was received in December, 2017 after a keen struggle. It is sad to know that the NDC cannot get the permission to employ an operator to date. Further, this NDC advanced to the RDC, plans to have four community projects

completed with their 2017 million dollars’ subvention. However, the RDC administration’s reply, informed the NDC that the money can only do two of the projects. After months of discussions and deliberations, the NDC was given the opportunity to do the four projects which they completed to the community satisfaction. With the same amount of money that the NDC tendered for. It is clear that the Regional Officers are keen on allocating work projects at very high cost to their friends and families. The NDCs are following this weekly-view and they are now engaging us with their numerous issues. This column will continuously visit, investigate, engage the appropriate agencies; and follow-up in the interest of good governance of our Communities. We would like to see the Local Government Commission investigating these matters. By Neil Kumar , Mr. S& Mr. A.

MAY DAY- The International Division of Labour, A Perspective


nternational Workers Day 2018 could be compared to the decisive shift away from the unionism of Syndicalist as well as ‘pragmatist’ laborism of Centre-right labour aristocrats. This trend has emerged particularly in Germany as well as in France and Brasil where powerful left wing workers contingents have demonstrated and mobilized against job cuts; in opposition to production deals of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron. (see Guardian and Reuters May, 02 2018, reports on workers marches, Paris, Rome and Havana), 02 2018, reports on workers marches, Paris, Rome and Havana). In Brasil the Confederation of Brasilian workers remain mobilized against the austerity project of Michel Temer. The empiricist evidence underlining the industrial proletariat’s struggle against the ‘denizens’ of oligarchic finance/industrial Capital can be verified by a cursory analysis of the degree to which the Administrations

of Theresa May and Justin Trudeau have reacted as the organised workers movement on both sides of the Atlantic mount challenges to the imminent job cuts that will be inevitable over the next one or two ‘cycles’ as President Trump’s imposition tariff taxes on steel, aluminum and other nonferrous material imports into the United States market take effect. The globalized character of this emerging crisis for International imperialism is also reflected in the rhetoric of Japanese Premier Shinto Abe and the Israeli revanchist prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. All of these political power brokers have pursued anti labour projects. Invariably as a camouflage (Netanyahu) the bureaucracy elevates the presence of immigrants or refugees (often times unfortunates from Sub-Saharan Africa) to centre stage; manipulating these marginalized groups historically branded as aliens. Against this backdrop there has developed in Guyana a discourse principally at

the level of workers organisations linked to the (‘salariat’ or), the Public Service, where the whole concept of job security and statutory rights (e.g. workers in the Deeds Registry, the ‘magistracy’ as well as the broad based social services), are being urged to “fight for their rights” by no other than veteran trade unionist Mr. Lincoln Lewis. (Ref Stabroek News May 2 2018, item, Union leaders urge workers to fight to protect rights, Thandeka Percival). So far as the large amorphous community of non unionized workers would enter the equation Article 147 of the constitution defines a relationship with the regime of Industrial Rights. The crisis impacting upon the sugar industry coupled to the increasing unemployment levels amongst the Indigenous sectors as well as the majority of afroCreole youths has also manifested a real time influence with renewed demands for the establishment of a Labour Ministry by the APNU-AFC administration – a demand

emanating from the ranks of the opposition strata, mainly the organised workers movement. For the entire period since the installation of the APNU-AFC in 2015 there have been repeated calls for the political elites to recognise labour as a social partner (articles 38 and 149C) of the Guyana Constitution. SOLIDARITY OF PRODUCTIVE/EXTRACTIVE AND ESSENTIAL SERVICES EMPLOYEES May Day 2018 identified a strong tendency amongst general workers to engage with the political decision makers. This tendency is not new and the majority of Guyanese associate the pro Labour vision of Cheddi Jagan, particularly after the restoration of Democracy in 1992, with a phase characterized by the empowerment of substantial sectors of the working people. Jagan went to the work sites. He toured the Kingston Power Plant, visited the Shelter Belt, met with Workers

representatives and instructed Prime Minister Samuel Hinds to focus on the issues concerning the mining communities of McKenzie and Kwakani. Last week according to one media report President David Granger visited the union offices of the Guyana Public Service Workers Union (GPSU), the Guyana Local Government & Government Officers Union (GLGOU), the Clerical & Commercial Workers Union (CCWU), the Guyana Postal and Telecommunication Workers Union (CPTWU) and held conversations. He also referred to his interaction some months ago with the Guyana Agricultural & General Workers Union (GAWU). Labour Day 2018 also occasioned a comment attributed to President David Granger in which he noted that in the contempary context trade union-Government relations should be determined by collaboration and not confrontation. This paradigm essentially is a ‘radicalisation’ of the pre

‘structural adjustment’ influenced (1973) socialitisation of former President Hugh Desmond Hoyte. Mr. Hoyte presented a ‘historical’ address on the theme during August 1973 at the Critchlow Labour College during the tenure of GTUC president Joseph Pollydore. This perspective in fact recognised the class and economic rights of the working class based on ILO and other regulations including those associated with the Caribbean Labour Community (CLU). Complex labour/industrial relations themselves equate a relative structure (see Guyana Review. Vol 2 – Issue 1; April 2018, article, Industrial Relations, Lincoln Lewis). It may well require appropriate legislation that would reinstate workers’ rights especially that of Collective Bargaining to stabilize the labour environment, create a more durable basis for economic growth and qualitatively transform productivity technology and the social empowerment of the working people.






victims of political vendetta By: Mohabir Anil Nandlall, MP Attorney-at-Law


his week, the nation witnessed, first-hand, how the law enforcement agencies of the state and the criminal justice system can be used by the authoritarians against the citizenry. The offence of Misconduct in Public Office has never been instituted in Guyana’s recorded legal history, until now. Dr. Ashni Singh, the former Minister of Finance and Mr. Winston Brassington, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), were charged with these offences two weeks ago. I have received information in confidence from sources, which I have no reason to doubt that these charges and similar charges, which are to come, are based upon advice received by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) from Dr. Sam Sittlington. The role of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, in recent times, has become quite ambivalent, to say quite the least. These charges allege no dishonesty against the accused persons; they allege no fraudulent conduct; they allege no misappropriation of funds; they do not allege that the accused persons obtained any personal gains from these transactions; neither do they allege any

missing funds from the proceeds of the sales in question. All that they allege is that the sales were done without obtaining a certificate of valuation. There is in the public domain, irrefutable evidence that these sales were conducted via a public tender and the prices, at which the properties were sold, were generated by market forces. I resolutely maintain that selling a property at a price generated by market forces can never amount to criminal conduct under any civilised legal system. It is of note that these sales occurred over a decade ago. They were audited by the Auditor General, who never queried them. These audited reports were examined by a Public Accounts Committee (PAC), chaired by the Parliamentary Opposition, now in Government, who never questioned them. EXCESSIVE BAIL It is common knowledge that both of the accused persons were overseas when the charges were filed. The summonses for them to appear in Court on the 8th of May 2018, at 1:30pm, were only served at their respective addresses in Guyana around mid-day of the 7th of May 2018. These summonses were obviously not served personally upon them. Notwithstanding, they both appeared with their attorneys-at-law at the Court to which they were

summoned, promptly at 1:30 PM. The Prosecution did not oppose bail. These persons have impeccable personal records and reputation; they are prominent in society; they have no criminal antecedents; as soon as they were summoned, though not personally and although they were on another continent, they appeared at the place, date and time when summoned. Once the Prosecution did not oppose bail, it means that the Prosecution was satisfied that the men were not flight risks and that they will turn up for their trials. The offence is a bailable one. Upon conviction, it carries a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment. In those circumstances and after reciting to the Court, all the aforementioned matters, I applied for the accused persons to be released on their own recognisance. My Application was rejected. Bail was imposed in the sum of $6M each! I submit with the greatest of respect, that the quantum of bail imposed was punitive and excessive. What followed next convinced the objective by-stander that extraneous influences were at work. Everyday, persons of no known profile pass through the very court system without being handcuffed, nor moved from the upper flat to the lower flat of the Magistrate’s Court building without resorting to the infamous schute; nor are

they placed in the “holding cell” while arrangements are being made for their bail to be lodged. However, these facilities were not extended to a former Minister of Finance, who served in that capacity and in the National Assembly of Guyana for almost a decade! Singh and Brassington, for absolutely no good reason, were handcuffed and transported through the schute, making them available for the flashing cameras of the large contingent of reporters present. It was simply done to humiliate, degrade and publicly embarrass them. Were it not for a generous few, who pooled their resources together to raise the whopping $12M imposed as bail, a few persons would have been, presumably, more than joyful because Singh and Brassington would have had to spend, at least, overnight, in prison. However, the saga did not end there. REPUTATIONAL DAMAGE They were invited, the following morning, to visit SOCU’s office to assist in further investigations. You will note, I said “invited.” I accompanied them to SOCU’s office. When we arrived there, the phone calls started to come. A different tune begun to play. Suddenly, I was informed that the men were under arrest! Brassington was questioned on over 25 transactions, involving sales dating back

to the early 90s. However, it is interesting to note that they are certain transactions done under identical circumstances that were not the subject of these investigations. This must militate against the integrity and impartiality of these investigations and those who authorised them. The details of these transactions will be released in due course. Current Minister Carl Greenidge purchased a property located in Bel-Air Gardens from NICIL while the PNC was in Government. There was no resort to public tender. I doubt that there was any valuation done. That transaction is not being investigated. The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government sold over 100,000 house lots to ordinary Guyanese, as a matter of policy, below market value. Will these transactions become the subject of investigations? Hundreds of plots of lands were sold at the various industrial estates, intentionally, far below market value, to encourage investments in the manufacturing sector. Will these transactions be investigated? Hundreds of lease-hold titles for agricultural lands were converted into free hold titles and distributed across the country without the resort to valuations. Will these transactions be investigated? The PPP Government also gave to the Burnham family Transport for five acres of

land, east of the Botanical Gardens, would this transaction be investigated? I can go on, but I believe I have cited sufficient examples. I want to make it explicitly clear that I draw attention to these matters, not to advocate that the recipients of these lands be charged. I do so only to illustrate by analogy how preposterous the current charges and the ongoing investigations are. I am prepared to bet my bottom dollar that none of these charges will be successfully prosecuted. They cannot. I believe that those advising their institution know this full well. Their intention is not to secure convictions. It is merely to engage in political persecution, to publicly humiliate political opponents and to do untold reputational damage to those who worked with the last administration. However, I wish to remind that we are governed by a legal system, which guarantees a remedy to every wrong. Those who believe that they can shelter under the protective cloak of the state, must be reminded that the cloak of protection upon which they rely does not cover actions by Public Officers that are accentuated with and by malice. It would be extraordinarily easy to establish the malicious intent that have inspired these and similar charges. Millions will have to be paid by a few at some stage.




By Dr. Leslie Ramsammy

Political witch hunt not only reinforces dictatorship, it haunts us for generations I

stand with Dr. Ashni Singh, I stand with Winston Brassington, I stand with all those who are being victimized, I stand against political victimization. I reject the policy of belittling political opponents. I will not let apathy be my solace. I will raise my voice to say unequivocally, political victimization is wrong. There can be no dispute, no vacillation, APNU+AFC is on a mission to harass, intimidate, embarrass, humiliate and victimize their political opponents and any citizen who dares to stand up and speak out. The charges of public misconduct against Dr. Ashni Singh and Winston Brassington, two dedicated and distinguished Guyanese public servants, are appalling, disgusting and nauseating. Parading them in handcuffs to dehumanize is the stuff of petty despots. Whatever may be our differences, whatever

our political affiliation, our country's freedom is far more precious than blind loyalty to a group of persons who blatantly disregard the civil liberties of citizens. We must stand up, we must speak out. Our rage must be evident, loud and unbending. Martin Niemoller, a prominent Protestant Pastor in Germany emerged as a formidable public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in various concentration camps. He believed that decent Germans, in particular, the leaders of the Protestant churches, had been complicit through their silence in the NAZI imprisonment, prosecution and murders and genocide of people. He wrote these famous words: First, they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade

Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me. Niemoller's words were a lyrical manifestation of the evils of apathy, arguing that the only way to stop evil is for the moral connectedness of people. Like it was during those brutal NAZI days in Germany, so it is today in Guyana, no time for decent people to opt for silence. The right thing to do now is to band together in collective rage. While President Granger and his Cabinet smiled with wicked glee as Dr. Ashni Singh and Winston Brassington were handcuffed and paraded through the prisoner's chute, even after they had voluntarily entered the

courtroom, clearly intending to embarrass, humiliate and dehumanize them, the majority of Guyanese people responded with absolute rage. Far from humiliating these distinguished Guyanese public servants, the standings of Ashni and Winston were elevated among their sisters and brothers. Granger and APNU+AFC took joy in treating Ashni Singh and Brassington as hardcore criminals, but in the eyes of a majority of Guyanese, they were heroes, holding high the badge of honor and courage. They are criminally charged for serving their country well, for doing their jobs. They are not charged for stealing any money or for gaining any benefits. This the prosecution has made clear. They are charged for public misconduct, APNU+AFC claiming they could have sold government properties

for higher prices. If what they are charged with has any legitimacy, there are ministers in the present Cabinet even more guilty of public misconduct. Indeed, if these charges have any legitimacy, Carl Greenidge should be handcuffed and jailed. One example suffice here. Under Greenidge's tenure, Demerara Woods was sold for about $US8 to Lord Beverbrook. Three months later, Beverbrook sold Demerara Woods for about $US62M and the new owner then sold it one month later for about $US74M. Between 1992 and 1997, Cheddi Jagan was under intense pressure to scrutinize transactions like the Demerara Woods sale. It was only one of a long list of questionable and obviously corrupt deals that also included the sale of GTT. But Cheddi insisted that we

must not follow the example of pettiness and political victimization. He agreed there were pressing concerns and valid reasons to hold his opponents accountable. But his view was that we must turn to a new page, focus on economic and social welfare needs of our people, build a fee, democratic state and reduce poverty. Even for those who may still be strong supporters of APNU+AFC, it is time to draw a line and reject political victimization. For while today is for people like Ashni Singh and others, we do not know whose turn it might be tomorrow. Apathy might seem like a safe thing to many, but apathy only provide encouragement for our tormenters. Remember, evil is not simply because there are evil people, but mostly because good people remain silent.

Guyana loses billions $$$ worth in concessions to Troy Resources, Aurora Gold Mine annually


uyana’s looming oil industry has given birth to a profound opportunity for reflection on the extractive industry. On an annual basis, foreign companies are given billions of dollars in tax breaks while locals are made to pay the full cost of duties charged on equipment, vehicles and fuel needed to support their operations. For example, a 4×4 four door Toyota Land Cruiser costs $14M. It attracts duty of $32M. Foreign entities like Aurora Gold Mine and Troy Resources Limited would only pay $14M. But local mining companies must pay $14M plus the $32M duty. Furthermore, if the owner of a small mining company hopes to get at least one duty free concession, he or she must satisfy 13 benchmarks, one of which is the production of over 5000 ounces of gold which is worth more than U$5M. Only five Guyanese have the potential to do this. Significantly, while billions of dollars worth in concessions are given to these foreign entities, little is known about how many indigenous companies are used to provide them with goods and services in contrast to the foreign conglomerates contracted to provide same. In an exclusive interview with

Kaieteur News yesterday, Commissioner General of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), Newell Dennison said that there is an imbalance between the concessions granted to foreign companies and those granted to locals. Dennison was asked if there has been any monitoring of local content in the mining sector by the Commission, he responded in the negative. HEAVY DUTY EQUIPMENT USED IN MINING The Commissioner General said, “In their (Troy Resources and Aurora) reporting, there is a section that speaks to employment; how many are Guyanese etc. But I don’t recall seeing that for this quarter, the company has expended x dollars using local companies versus foreign companies. Part of the reason I suppose, is that in the context of the mining sector, it has been considered easier to integrate one’s self into the value chain…” He added, “But I agree with the point that you are making. There

is no evaluation in this regard. I would have to check back with the reporting format again to see if this is done at the level you are speaking of…I don’t recall ever seeing Troy or Aurora saying that they used about 40 companies for the year to provide so and so but it is worth investigating. I am sure that is something that can be evaluated. And I do agree that this is something we should be doing on

a more immediate basis…” Table showing a sample of the heavy duty machinery acquired by Aurora Gold Mines this year, and the worth of the tax breaks given to this company. Locals do not enjoy these benefits. Chairman of the Guyana Gold Board, GHK Lall told Kaieteur News that the Guyana Gold Board is also unaware of the details regarding local content efforts by

foreign companies in the mining sector. He stressed that it is indeed a matter which needs more attention, especially when one considers the magnitude of the concessions which are granted on an annual basis. Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Godfrey Statia also bemoaned the fact that there continues to be gross distortions between the concessions granted to local mining companies as opposed to foreign ones. The tax chief said that he has considered time and again, just how much the nation is benefitting from the billions of dollars in concessions granted yearly. He said, “There is a distortion to big miners versus small miners…But the story of gold is a web of problems and many unknowns which I agree should be highlighted.” The Commissioner General said that being the patriot he is, he can certainly understand anyone’s call for equal opportunity in the mining sector as well as a strong dose of transparency and accountability. (KN)



Sedition clause inserted in Cybercrime Bill reminiscent of PNC’s National Security Act – Jagdeo O

pposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, has expressed disappointment at the fact that, despite being categorical about the position of the Parliamentary Opposition on the Cybercrime Bill, “falsehoods” are still being peddled to convey the impression that the PPP/C supported the increasingly controversial Bill, which includes a section on sedition. In an interview with this publication, he reasoned that such acts are either reflective of an unwillingness to directly criticize the APNU/ AFC Coalition Government – part of the balancing act employed by some commentators – or can be summed up purely as an effort to mislead Guyanese. At his April 30, 2018 press conference, Jagdeo acknowledged that the Parliamentary Opposition “dropped the ball” in addressing the Cybercrime Bill, given the absence of PPP/C Parliamentarians at the meetings of the Select Committee dealing with the Bill. “You can blame us and some of the MPs for not attending the meetings (of the Parliamentary Select Committee) and it would be justified… the PPP, and I speak for the PPP, does not support this inclusion, this

undemocratic inclusion, in the Cybercrime Bill. In fact, we are opposed to it…the fact is that several MPs on our side were members of the Special Select Committee, which met several times to consider the provisions of this Bill, and were absent sometimes. However, their presence alone, being named to that committee, does not elevate to support by the PPP” he said. The Opposition Leader was categorical in reiterating that the PPP/C is not supportive of the controversial Bill. “This provision has no place in a democratic Guyana, in a free Guyana. In a Guyana where free speech is an important part of our democracy, where freedom of expression is defined and protected by our Constitution. This Bill has no place,” Jagdeo said. According to Jagdeo, after being tabled in the National Assembly on August 4, 2016, with no hard copy made available to Parliamentarians, the Cybercrime Bill was sent to a Parliamentary Select Committee. At the February 15, 2018 meeting, the controversial Clause 18 about sedition was fashioned, according to the minutes of the Committee’s report, which also made clear

that no PPP/C MP was present for the meeting. REMINISCENT The Opposition Leader posited that Clause 18 is reminiscent of the old National Security Act, which was upheld under the Burnham era, but repealed in the late 90’s. “The insertion by the Government of Guyana of (this) provision in the Cybercrime Bill could mean or could have grave implications for freedom of speech in Guyana. In fact, looking at the provision or that specific provision of the Bill, which was inserted in the Special Select Committee, is reminiscent of the old National Security Act that obtained in the period of undemocratic rule. “….that Act was, specifically, designed to stifle dissent and to take action against individuals who may disagree with the Government of Guyana. It was a repressive tool in the hands of a repressive Government. In Guyana, we have seen a trend towards unilateralism. We have seen a trend where the Government acts with impunity regardless of laws or provisions of our Constitution or in direct contravention of provisions in our Constitution. So, I see this

insertion in this new Bill as another tool available to a Government that is becoming increasingly undemocratic in its march towards a dictatorship” said Jagdeo. He argued that it is for these reasons that Guyanese must fight to ensure that “this retrograde step” to charge people for sedition, an “archaic” offense, is not passed into law. “If you look through quite a few elements of that provision, you will see that they are not so much concerned about people in Guyana or protecting their rights. The entire Cybercrime Bill (an envisioned by the former PPP/C government) was for a purpose, not to protect the Government of Guyana, but to protect our children against child pornography, to protect people against electronic assault on their privacy; it was to protect the people of the country in their business, so that their data or their computers would not be compromised that cyberspace in Guyana without over-regulating; without affecting content of speech that it would have some rules that people can’t act illegally in harming others. That was the purpose of the Bill.” He added, “They have converted this. By inserting

this provision, the purpose and something all Guyanese would agree to, that is, protecting all of us and our children, they have converted it into protection for Government and the Ministers….we already have laws protecting all of our citizens and I would assume that the Prime Ministers and the President and Ministers are citizens of Guyana and they too are afforded the same sort protection that we all enjoy under certain law against criminal acts. Why do they need a special provision in this Bill to protect the interest of only those categories of people?” AN ABOUT TURN Meanwhile, touching on the position taken by AFC Leader Raphael Trotman who indicated that if the sedition clause is not amended AFC Parliamentarians will vote against it, Jagdeo said the “about turn” is similar to the one taken by the AFC against the controversial parking meter project, in that “despite having been discussed at Cabinet, where several AFC Members sit, the Party’s Leader has now indicated that his AFC Parliamentarians on the government side will vote against the increasingly controver-

sial Cybercrime Bill.” Trotman’s comments comes after the Parliamentary Opposition, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, sections of the trade union movement, the Guyana Press Association and other civil society groups have objected to the Bill over the sedition clause. According to Jagdeo “like the parking meter project, widespread objections preceded the AFC’s shift in position.” Clause 18 of the Bill states that: “A person commits an offence of sedition if the person, whether in or out of Guyana, intentionally publishes, transmits or circulates by use of a computer system, a statement or words, either spoken or written, a text, video, image, sign, visible representation or other thing, that: a) brings or attempts to bring into hatred or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in Guyana.” Disaffection, according to the Bill, includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity. A person who commits the offence under this clause is liable on conviction on indictment to serve up to five years or as much as life in prison.

GAWU reflects on significance of Arrival Day 2018


s our country once again observes Arrival Day, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) takes the opportunity to extend greetings and best wishes to the people of Guyana. The observances always serve to remind us of the rich diversity and the unique multi-cultural composition of our nation. Indeed, it adds to the specialness of Guyana that people of different backgrounds can co-exist in harmony and unity as they all seek to improve their lives a goal linked to building our country which will surely augur well for the future generations. While Arrival Day – May 05 – though largely associated with the arrival of East Indians, the day reminds us of all indentured immigrants brought to our land. Our research advises

us that outside of the East Indians, the Madeiran Portuguese came in May 1835, the Chinese in 1853, as well as a few other ethnicities during that phase of colonialism. We are aware that the colonialists brought also labourers from Malta, Ireland, Germany and England. Arrival Day also reminds us of the reasons for the indentureship system. The then immigrants who replaced the emancipated slaves were made to toil in the fields of the sugar plantations to enrich the foreign owners of the plantations. Indentured labourers and their families were forced to exist in inhumane and atrocious conditions. And, like their compatriots, they were forced to engage in several struggles, which gave us several martyrs, in order to bring about small improvements and meagre

benefits in their lives and work conditions. Today as we celebrate Arrival Day, the GAWU cannot fail to observe that the industry that occasioned our diversity is under severe threat. We are disheartened to note that the sugar industry, a large source of sustenance for thousands of Guyanese, has been minimized. For the workers and their families, the cane farmers, the shop owners, the market vendors, the bus drivers and others, the Sword of Damocles hangs over their heads as they are thrown into a state of great uncertainty and anxiety as the Administration, without remorse, closed the doors of several estates. It is disturbing that, at this time, that their heirs of the labourers along with other fellow workers are forced to contend with harrowing circumstances

arising from closure. It is especially disturbing for the Union that such thoughts are entertained especially when they are unnecessary. Sugar, we reiterate, has all possibilities of success but, among other things, requires the active and material support and confidence of the powers-that-be. As we celebrate Arrival Day, the GAWU urges all Guyanese to spare a moment to reflect on how far as a people we have come, the challenges we overcame, and the successes we have recorded. At this time, when we ought to looking to be reach new and higher plateaus we see concerted efforts that will very likely reverse much of the progress we have made and rightly can take pride in. Let us resist such efforts and get back on the development track. (Press Relese)



Gov’t to pay Guytrac Bar Association concerned about “directions” being given $226M in out of to judicial officers court settlement T


ttorney General, Basil Williams has caused yet another multi-million dollar burden on Guyana. The APNU+AFC Coalition has agreed to pay a hefty $226M to Guyana Tractor and Equipment (Guytrac) in an out of court settlement. Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan has already approached the National Assembly’s approval of the sums to be released in a Supplementary Paper. This situation is reminiscent of when the Coalition was more than willing to pay millions of dollars to BK International simply because the company sent a lawyer’s letter threatening legal action. Citizens’ Report understands that under the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government, Guytrac was awarded a contract by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) for the sup-

ply of heavy duty equipment to the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA). However, the Cabinet subsequently withdrew its no objection after it reportedly learnt that the equipment had arrived in Guyana even before the contract was awarded. Officials told this online publication that Guytrac may have been informed about the need for the equipment and was perhaps assured that it would have been able to secure the contract. After learning of this development, the then administration went through the legal procedure to get the contract rescinded. A Cabinet memorandum to that effect, dated 17th December 2014, was sent to NPTAB and NDIA. But after the contract was terminated, Guytrac took NPTAB to court. The PPP was prepared to defend the case in the

courts but the APNU+AFC Administration was willing to just pay off the company. Citizens’ Report understands that Basil Williams took over the case but he never made a court appearance on behalf of the State. It was the former Deputy Solicitor General, Prithima Kissoon who had to eventually represent the State on the matter which was lost because she never got to complete the case after Williams sent her on administrative leave and ordered that she cease all work on behalf of the State. As such, a judgment was handed down last year and the court ruled in favour of Guytrac. Guytrac was awarded just over $300M. The State then appealed the case. However, soon after, a settlement was reached and the appeal was withdrawn. The settlement agreement is for $226M and Guytrac will transfer the equipment to NDIA.

Region 9 pensioners given “fake” coupons


ld Age Pensioners from various communities in Upper Takutu Upper Essequibo district have been unable to retrieve their pension owing to a defect in the coupons they received from the Ministry of Social Protection. Citizens’ Report understands that the pensioners, some of whom travelled for hours, only to be turned away by the Post Master at the Lethem Post Office. This incident occurred on Thursday last as the elderly citizens were about to encash their May 2018 old age pension. The disappointed pensioners related that the Post Master told them that the silver seal on the coupon was tampered and

appeared to be fake, hence it was rejected, and no payments could have been made. People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament (MP), Alister Charlie said a pensioner from Sand Creek explained that his January, February and March 2018 coupons were encashed without a problem. “And now there is a new Post Master, we (pensioners) are being turned away while some pensioners encashed their May coupons,” the pensioner explained. The pensioners also complained of the harsh attitude of the Post Master towards them. The Parliamentarian

explained that on a monthly basis, pensioners across Region Nine travel long distances to encash their monthly old age pension coupons at the Lethem Post Office, and rely on their monthly pension to offset transportation costs. He is now questioning whether the Ministry of Social Protection distributed fake Old Age Pension Books to some pensioners in Region Nine. He called on the Ministry and the Government to correct this injustice meted out to the pensioners. “Why do our senior citizens have to be treated and handled by a servant of the state with such a harsh attitude at the Lethem Post Office?” he further asked.

he joint training of Prosecutors and Judges – an initiative led by Attorney General, Basil Williams – has raised some concerns about the public confidence in the local judicial system. The Guyana Bar Association (GBA) has written Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonette Cummings-Edwards objecting to the initiative. The Association argued that the event could have the appearance that the Judiciary is taking directions from the Executive.

The GBA stated: “the perception which will be created by the joint training of Judges and Prosecutors by the Government of Guyana and others …is that the Bench is being directed as to what has to be done to support the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regime.” The Association explained “while we appreciate that the bench may be sensitized to legislation, it is our respectful view that great care must be taken as to who the Bench is seen to be in association with and/

or taking directions or guidance from.” Already, the APNU+AFC has caused the erosion of confidence in several independent bodies after it would have passed directions to them. These are the Police Service Commission and the Public Service Commission. The recent decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to quash legitimate charges against ministers has also raised concerns about the independence of that office.

GRA seizes vessel with foreign chicken, mosquito coils


sting operation by the Law Enforcement and Investigation Division (LEID) of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), intercepted a vessel in the Atlantic Ocean, which contained hundreds of boxes of foreign chicken and mosquito coils on May 2. A statement from GRA noted that the Captain and two Sailors, who were on board the vessel, were apprehended and placed into custody. According to the GRA, these were first time offenders. “Second-time offenders will be liable to pay three times the duties and taxes as a fine. Thirdtime offenders may be prosecuted and/ or be allowed to pay three times the value of the item as a fine, as compensation in lieu of court proceedings. These offences in many cases also result in seizure of the goods and confiscation of the vehicles involved,” the GRA statement noted. It was further explained that from January 2018 to date, LEID has been able to

recoup hundreds of millions of dollars in Customs Duties, Excise Taxes, Environmental Levy and VAT, and fines, and confiscated significant quantities of commonly smuggled items which include alcohol, foreign chicken and mosquito coils. “The LEID operations exemplify the GRA’s commitment to deter, disrupt, and prosecute individuals who

attempt to import prohibited items, and evade the payment of their fair share of duties and taxes.” According to GRA, whistleblowers have significantly improved LEID’s performance, the agency’s revenue collection, “and the general public must be complemented in aiding the Authority efforts in stamping out this activity.”



PPP Outreach to St Cuthbert’s Mission


n Sunday May 6, 2018, Members of the Party Regional Committee along with members of the PYO visited the Community of PAKURI (St Cuthbert ‘s Mission). Activities held

were : • A Tape Ball match between Grove Diamond PYO and the St Cuthbert PYO Team (ST Cuthberts won) • Female Football Match between members of the St

Cuthbert PYO • Distribution of Sports Gears to the St Cuthbert Sports Club , Compliments of Mr Mohamed Khan (Teach) • House to House work done to identify persons who need

Cde. AnjanieNarine (1st Secretary Region 3 B) Presenting the winning Trophy to the Captain of the St Cuthbert PYO Cricket Team and Presenting sports gears

to be registered or transfer. The Team comprised: The Team also interacted with residents on issues affecting them. Central Committee members, Ricky Ramraj (Organ-

ising Secretary) , Majeed Hussain (Region 4 Party Supervisor , Lower East Bank Demerara District Chairmen) , Derrick Kissoon, AnandPersaud, Other included :Mo-

hamed Khan (Party Region 4 A Chairman) , Ronald Harsawack (Georgetown District Chairman) Tony Jadoopat Regional Committee member.

Members of the St Cuthbert’s PYO Football Team

Checking the Voters list

Syria war: Rebels leave last major besieged enclave


yrian rebels have begun withdrawing from the last big, besieged enclave that they held in the war-torn country. Hundreds of fighters have been boarding buses along with their families in a pocket of territory lying in central Syria, between Homs and Hama. Under a deal with the government's Russian allies, the militants have been given safe passage to opposition-controlled territory in northern Syria. It is the latest rebel enclave to give in after a long siege.

The only significant areas of Syria still in rebel hands lie along its borders in the far north and the far south. Terms were hammered out at marathon talks between Free Syria Army factions and Russian generals in the Homs countryside on Wednesday, Reuters news agency reports. Rebel heavy weapons are being surrendered but rebel fighters are being allowed to leave with light arms, on buses going to rebel-controlled Idlib province in the north-east. Russian military police are meant to guard the buses

and protect the mainly Sunni Muslim civilians who remain in the former enclave from sectarian revenge attacks by Alawites living nearby. The enclave, which includes the town of Rastan, was heavily bombed by Russian aircraft before the deal was agreed, according to local people. "They left rebels with no option after bombing civilians and giving them no choice either to submit or obliterate their areas and make civilians pay the price," Abul Aziz al Barazi, one of the civilian opposition negotiators, told Reuters.

The evacuation is expected to take two days and see thousands of people leave on the buses, which snaked out of Rastan on Monday. Where does this leave the war? After seven years of war, the Assad government, backed by Russian and Iranian military muscle, controls much of central Syria again, including the second city, Aleppo. The fall of the enclave between Homs and Hama secures for the government an important highway which was closed for years by the war. The M5 links Alep-

po to the capital Damascus through Homs. Rebel forces are now concentrated in Idlib, where tens of thousands of fighters and their families arrived from the former Eastern Ghouta enclave last month. Rebels also still control parts of Deraa province in the far south-west. Elsewhere in the country, Turkey, alarmed by the growth of Kurdish influence in Syria, recently seized the north-western Afrin region controlled by the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia. Nearby, the US continues

to support the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces in their continuing operation against the Islamic State group. Over seven years of war, more than 400,000 people have been killed or reported missing, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. More than half the population of 22 million have been driven from their homes with at least 6.1 million Syrians internally displaced, and another 5.6 million living abroad, the vast majority of them in neighbouring countries like Lebanon.



PPP leaders meet Guyanese in Suriname – Jagdeo dubs recent acts of piracy as “terrorism”


eader of the Opposition and General Secretary of the PPP, Mr Bharrat Jagdeo and Member of Parliament Anil Nandlall last week met in Paramaribo, Suriname with hundreds of Guyanese, including the families of those who perished at the hands of pirates recently. Also in attendance were several survivors of these ordeals. The families and the survivors explained in great details the horrors that they have endured at the hands of criminals and expressed great fears that these atrocities will be repeated unless the perpetrators are arrested and brought to justice. The Leader of Opposition expressed condolences on behalf of the PPP to families and relatives of

those who perished and expressed the Party’s solidarity to all those affected by the tragedy. He described these attacks as acts of terrorism and called upon both the Government of Guyana and Suriname to work collaboratively and swiftly in addressing these horrific incidents fully and comprehensively. He urged that the full force of the law be used to bring the perpetrators to justice. He emphasized that these are exceptionally criminal acts which require an exceptional response from the Government of Guyana and not the lukewarm, run-of -the mill approach, thus far, adopted. The Opposition Leader also committed that the PPP will do all that it can,

both in and out of Parliament, to assist , including working with the Government to bring reprieve to this situation. Mr Nandlall, who spoke also condemned the horrendous attacks and pointed out that these are appropriate cases for Government to use “special prosecutors” to prosecute those charged in an effort to secure convictions. SECOND DEADLY PIRATE ATTACK OFF SURINAME'S COAST WITHIN ONE WEEK Pirates attacked another fishing boat in Surinamese waters killing one man on Wednesday, even as the authorities are still searching for victims and recovering bodies from last Friday's

deadly attack on four fishing boats. According to Mark Lall, secretary of Visserscollectief, a local fishermen's association, the captain of the boat was killed. The whereabouts of his crew members is uncertain. On Thursday, several fishing boats, the Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies headed to the area near Matapica Canal where the latest attack allegedly took place. “When we arrived at the location we will Suriname pirates - body recovered know more about what has happened," Lall told local media. Meanwhile the body of one of the victims of Friday's attack has been recovered last evening from the Wia Wia mud flat and brought to the capital. Early Thursday last

week the Coast Guard sailed out to recover two more bodies that where spotted in the same area. Recovery attempts on were hampered said Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Slijngard, who is coordinating the rescue and recovery operations. “The mud is very thick and rescue workers had to crawl on their belly to reach the location”, said Slijngard, who is also director of the National Coordination Center for Disaster Management (NCCR). He further noticed that the recovered body bore marks of violence. Today, 16 fishermen have been reported missing following last week's attack. Only four of the crew members, including a captain of one of the boats, managed to reach shore after they were rescued by

other boats. The rest are believed to have died. According to reports there is strong evidence that the latest attacks are not random acts of criminals robbing fishermen of their catch or other valuables. Several sources indicate that a turf war between Guyanese fishermen over fishing grounds. According to Slijngard there is credible intelligence that a gang of nine to 11 criminals led by two Guyanese brothers are responsible for recent attacks on fishermen. One of the brothers is based in Guyana while the other has residence in Suriname, said Slijngard. In the meantime the Surinamese authorities passed the names of several suspects to the Guyanese police in a bid to bring them to justice.




Basil Williams’ incompetence on full display – Jagdeo T

he recently published advertisement by the Ministry of Legal Affairs, where Attorney General, Basil Williams, is seeking written reports from Attorneys-at-Law on cases where they represented the State – all of this three years after the Coalition Government took office – puts on display levels of mind-boggling incompetence, according to Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo. Addressing the issue at his news conference today (May 9, 2018) held at his Church Street office, he noted that all governments are charged with defending the interest of the State. He referred to the move by the former PPP/C government, after taking office in 1992, in inviting former finance minister under the PNC government, Carl Greenidge, to support the State in defending a case. “Contrast that with what is happening,” he said, adding that even his offer to President David Granger to have briefings on major cases was ignored. That said, he called attention to other questionable moves that have opened up the treasury to major losses, including taking the DDL case that the State had a strong chance of winning out of court to settle. As a result of that settlement, another major company, Banks DIH, has filed a case against the

government. Jagdeo charged that with one act the PNCled Coalition Government exposed the treasury to almost $80B in losses. He pointed out that no media house has been successful in getting the government to answer for its actions involving the DDL case; asking questions like: Why settle?; What drove the move to settle the case?; and Who authorised the settlement?” As if the questionable and large settlements were not a major enough issue, the Opposition Leader noted that every time the State loses a case, Williams is quick to blame the PPP/C government. “I don’t believe he is totally unaware…I have information that the talked to Toolsie Persaud Limited on this matter before….he is not unaware of the matter that led to the award against the State….I wonder if peo-

ple are benefiting from these incidents…it is a conduit for corrupt activities,” Jagdeo said. According to him, even if one were to believe Williams’ tale about not knowing about certain cases, the fact is any official that has a “one percent level” of competence would have asked staffers at the Attorney General’s Chambers for a briefing on all the cases outstanding upon taken office. “You go to your desk, you ask for an update? The representation of government in many of these cases are not secret, they are recorded. They are not locked away,” Jagdeo said. He reiterated that the PPP/C offer of a briefing on major cases to the APNU+AFC Coalition Government was ignored. Jagdeo concluded that in almost every government ministry the ineptitude and incompetence is puzzling.


So called ‘activists’ more dangerous to ethnic harmony in Guyana than anyone else – Jagdeo


ismissing the firings of David Hinds and Lincoln Lewis from the stateowned Guyana Chronicle, after comments about his silence, Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, proffered the view that the entire matter was contrived. He noted that with the Guyana Chronicle having a limited circulation, the PNC-led Coalition government needed its ‘apologists’ to get wide reach hence the contrived affair. “It was a contrived situation, where they were fired, they became heroes, they gain some credibility…they joined the Kaieteur News…they excuse this government…it was a storm in a teacup designed to make these people who they are,” he said. His comments came at a news conference held at his Church Street (May 9, 2018), where he added that Hinds’ recent publication makes clear that so called ‘activists’ are more dangerous to ethnic harmony in Guyana than anyone else. Among other claims, Hinds charged that there were no policies implemented to support the advancement of Afro-Guyanese. He questioned Hinds’ absence when 41 Afro-Guyanese had lands taken away by the current administration, when Lindeners faced hardships, when loggers from Region 10 communities were forced into a situation where they cannot ply their trade.

he recent comment by President David Granger about the substantive appointments of a Chancellor and a Chief Justice in Guyana has opened him up to scathing criticisms by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo. Granger, last week, said, “The ball is in his (Jagdeo’s) court.” He was asked about the next move on the appointments by local reporters. At a news conference (May 9, 2018), Jagdeo noted that Granger’s comments are strange, given that his February 7, 2018 letter makes clear his position on the matter. Referring to the contents of the letter, the Opposition Leader, underscored the fact that he is “unable to offer his agreement” to Granger’s nominees

– Justice Kenneth Benjamin as Chancellor and Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards as Chief Justice – but remains “committed continuous engagement” on the matter. Jagdeo quipped that Granger seems to have just “woken up” and forgotten the February 7, 2018 letter, as well as all the developments between then and last week, which seems the reason for him saying that the “ball is in” his court. The Opposition Leader noted that following Granger’s receipt of the letter, the President stated that he will be seeking legal advice, but is still to update Guyana on what that legal advice is. Granger was also expected to write Jagdeo for another round of consulta-

tions before the appointment of a substantive Chancellor and Chief Justice. “I have given my position. He is president, he needs to get back to me on mode on engagement,” Jagdeo said. At a prior news conference, the Opposition Leader made it clear that he is prepared to meet with the President to “settle on a process” that will allow nominees to be named, in the interest of securing agreement on both sides. 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.

whereas for every term the PPP/C won a term in office there were internationally certified free and fair elections in Guyana. Jagdeo said, “These are the people who benefit from the government…them and their families…we have to fight against this (distortions) constantly.” He added that Hinds’ ramblings seem evidence of the worry in the APNU+AFC camp over a position that the PPP/C has been publicly speaking about – that it is working in all communities to reconnect with its support base, strengthen it and also broaden that base to ensure that the Party’s membership is even more reflective of Guyana’s diversity. The Opposition Leader and General Secretary of the PPP had acknowledged that majority of the Party’s support comes from Amerindians and Indo-Guyanese and stated that the PPP/C will continue to work in all communities. “This must be hurting the PNC…we have talked about this openly and they know that what they are doing now is destroying opportunities for Afro-Guyanese, as well as everyone else,” he said. Jagdeo made clear that the PPP/C will not be deterred from its efforts and will continue to expose the PNC-led Coalition Government, as well as its apologists, each time it attempts to play the ‘race card’.

Charges against Singh and Brassington are nothing but a mere attempt to ’embarrass, humiliate and dehumanise them’ – Nandlall

Granger ‘still sleeping’ on H major issues – Jagdeo T

“Where was he? When are they (Hinds and others) even on the ground dealing with the concerns of ordinary people?” an impassioned Jagdeo asked. The Opposition Leader declared that any review of the standard of living of Afro-Guyanese under the former PNC government and the current PNC-led Coalition Government comparative with that under former PPP/C governments will show that Afro-Guyanese, as well as all other Guyanese, fared better under the PPP/C. “Compare the periods and on every single count, land ownership, business ownership and employment opportunities, Afro-Guyanese fared better under us,” he stressed. The former President also took issue with Hinds’ comment about the PPP/C maintaining a “façade” of democracy, when in fact Indo-Guyanese represent the majority of Guyanese. Rubbishing this comment, Jagdeo noted that the 2012 Census showed that Indo-Guyanese were not the majority of Guyanese population and during the 2006 elections the votes showed that 23 per cent of persons in Region 10 voted for the PPP. Hinds also charged that the PPP/C felt it had a “god given right” to govern Guyana. To this, Jagdeo noted that he seems to be confusing the PPP/C with the PNC, which stayed in power for 28 years by stealing elections,

andcuffing and directing the former Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh and former Chief Executive Officer of NICIL, Mr. Winston Brassington through the prisoner’s chute of the Georgetown Magistrates Court is nothing but a mere attempt to “embarrass, humiliate and dehumanise them.” These were the words of former Attorney General, Mr. Mohabir Anil Nandlall following the arraignment of Dr. Singh and Mr. Brassington on Tuesday afternoon. “There was absolutely no reason for a Former Minister of Government and a Former Top Public Officer who have both served their country with distinction and discharged their functions of their office with distinction to be treated in this degrading and dehumanising manner,” he said.

Nevertheless, Nandlall maintained that “this world is a revolving world” while noting that as soon as his clients are vindicated of the charges of “misconduct in public office” brought against them by Government with regards to the sale of three plots of state land, there will be “reputational charges” filed. “This world is a revolving world. Today is someone’s day, tomorrow, it will not be the same and somebody will have to pay at the end of this process. Someone will have to pay for what they are doing to people in this country. The reputational damage that is being done to educated young people who have dedicated their lives to the service of their country,” he assured. Probed to comment on the large amount of $6M bail granted to each of the

defendants, Nandlall asserted that it was an unreasonable amount. “Bail must always be reasonable and must always be accessible to the accused persons. If you fix a bail that is beyond the financial reach of the accused person then it is tantalum to no bail,” he said. “These persons are no flight risks. They have never committed an offence. They have no criminal records. They were not even served with a summons to come to this court. They came here voluntarily. The summons was served at their homes. They were not there. They were told and they came here voluntarily.” Nevertheless, according to him, due to the assistance of good Samaritans, Dr. Singh and Brassington were able to pay their bail via manager’s cheque.



Leader of the Opposition meets guests


he Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, MP, maintained a hectic schedule this week, among which, included discussions with India's Minister of State for Human Resources Development, Hon. Dr, Satya Pal Singh, on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. The Opposition Leader also held discussions on Thursday, May 10, 2018, with the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Mr. Akbar Khan, at his Church Street, Queenstown office.





By Jagnarine Somwar


ethem is the hub of activities in the Rupununi but Lethem is not the Rupununi, only a part of it. Rupununi is basically the almost seventy villages and satellite villages that dotted the Region. Lethem is mostly a multi-racial community with a strong Brazilian influence whereas the rest of the Rupununi is home to our First People whose traditional and cultural lifestyles are unmatchable and unique. The Rupununi Savannah is a plain in the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo Region. It is an Eco region of the Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and scrublands. The Rupununi Savannah is located between the Rupununi River and the border with Brazil and Venezuela. The Rupununi forms the southwestern wilderness territory of Guyana, situated on the Northeastern littoral of South America. The savannah is dissected by the Kanuku Mountains. The Rupununi Savannah encompasses 5000 square miles of virtually untouched grasslands, swamplands, rain-forested mountains. The Region usually floods in the wet season (May to August). Early European explorers believed

that the Rupununi floodplains were the legendary Lake Parime. The area is inhabited by some 15,000 Amerindians and a growing percentage of mixed and other ethnicity. The savannah is divided north from south, by the Kanuku Mountains, Guyana’s most biologically diverse region. According to Conservation International, the "area supports a large percentage of Guyana’s biodiversity", including 250 species of bird life, 18 of which are native "only to the lowland forests of the Guianas." The savannah is teeming with wildlife, including a large variety of bird species. The savannah is also home to the jaguar as well as the Harpy Eagle, the world’s most powerful bird of prey, an extremely rare and endangered species which once ranged the forests of South America and is found in the Rupununi/ Kanuku mountain range. The Rupununi is the home of the Wapishana, Macushi, Wai-Wai and Patamona peoples. A recent survey recorded a population of 14,689 Amerindians. The Wapishana live mainly in the south savannah, the Macushi in the north. Some 280 WaiWai live in near isolation in the remote southeastern Region bordering Brazil virtually untouched by modern life.

The major occupations or industries in the Rupununi Savannah are cattle ranching for beef, Balata bleeding to extract latex; farming groundnuts, maize (corn), cassava, and vegetables; fishing and hunting; and craft work such as the manufacture of hammocks, leather articles, nibbi furniture and beadwork. There are Amerindian villages dotted throughout the Rupununi Savannah, as well as many ranches worked by vaqueros (cowboys), some of whom are descendants of 19th century Scottish settlers. The main town is Lethem, located beside the Takutu River, on the border with Brazil. Owing to the savanna's remoteness from the rest of the country most trade is conducted with Brazil and most people speak Portuguese and English. The Rupununi region caters towards Eco tourists. It is designated a "protected area" by the government of Guyana, housing some 80% of the mammals and 60% of the bird life found in Guyana’s tropical forests and savannahs. Several Lodges welcome guests, for example Dadanawa Ranch or Karanambu Lodge. The Rupununi is accessible by small aircrafts and some helicopter flights regu-

larly available from Georgetown on the Atlantic coast. In the dry season it is accessible by an unpaved "all-weather" road using trucks or 4x4 vehicles and mini buses. It takes about between 10 to 14 hours of tough driving. Heavy flooding makes this drive unpredictable and dangerous in the rainy season during the months of April to June. The North Rupununi is an extraordinary natural area in southern Guyana that, for the last thirty years, has been isolated from the public eye. The North Rupununi extends from the Siparuni River to the Kanuku Mountains and from the Essequibo River to the Brazilian border. The area was well known in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when it received visits from David Attenborough, Gerald Durrell, Evelyn Waugh and Charles Waterton; all of whom wrote eloquently of their experiences. The North Rupununi is today recognized again as an astonishing haven for wildlife. However, neighbouring Roraima State – with one of the fastest growing human populations in Brazil – now economically dwarfs the Rupununi. The recent upgrading of the Georgetown-Lethem road and completion of the Takutu Bridge opens new

economic opportunities that may bring rapid change to the highly sensitive savannah, forest, and wetland ecosystems of the Rupununi. Over the coming years, it will be important to effectively marry development and conservation interests in the Rupununi to ensure culturally, socially and ecologically sustainable development that builds on the unique natural and social capital of the area. This will only be possible if all involved parties work together towards the same shared dream of the future. “The Rupununi Savannah is one of Guyana’s most unique and diverse ecosystems and among the last great wilderness areas on Earth. It is home to more than 9,000 species, including about 2,000 vertebrates and many species that are highly endangered globally. The Rupununi Savannah has been the home to and the source of livelihood for indigenous peoples for millennia, as well as dozens of cattle ranches beginning in the late 19th century. Until recently, the region’s ecosystems have been protected by its isolation. Increasing interest in the region for gold mining, petroleum extraction, and large-scale agriculture, however, is beginning to threaten

the spectacular wildlife and natural habitats of the Rupununi.” “World Wildlife Fund-Guianas (WWF-Guianas) and Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) carried out the Southern Rupununi Biodiversity Assessment Team (BAT) expedition to get a snapshot of the region’s diversity, collecting data on seven taxonomic groups (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects and plants) as well as water quality and natural resource use. This information establishes a baseline that stakeholders including the Government of Guyana, the University of Guyana, NGOs, local communities and businesses can use to make informed decisions about sustainable management of the Rupununi’s resources.” The People's Progressive Party’s support in the villages is massive because of the care shown to the people, a commitment the Party has made to the people, whether in Government or in Opposition. The Party continues to engage the residents of the villages to address their concerns and give assistance in any way possible, thus the yearning of the people for the return of the PPP to Government in 2020.

PPP on the occasion of Arrival Day 2018: Guyanese must ensure Guyana is a place for all


he People’s Progressive Party (PPP) takes this opportunity to extend greetings to all Guyanese on the occasion of Arrival Day, observed on May 5. It is a day of much significance and one that has been designated to commemorate the arrival of all Guyanese ancestors who came to our nation’s shores at various points of our history.

Arrival Day also affords us the opportunity to be imbued with a tremendous sense of pride and reflect on the selfless and invaluable contributions our ancestors and their descendants made to the development of our nation. Their untold sacrifices and resoluteness, which must not be allowed to be forgotten, led to the building

of a strong nation and to led to improved standards of living for future generations. The determined efforts of our ancestors, despite the hardships they faced, to remain steadfast and to preserve their cultural traditions have led to the creation of a rich and colourful mosaic, which is our multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cul-

tural Guyana. This diversity has become our hallmark. As we all observe this day and to pay homage to our ancestors, who braved dark seas during their arduous journey, our Party urges reflection of their valiant efforts so that we can all continue to be inspired and be better able to contextualize the value of our gains.

Inspired by the sacrifices and achievements of our ancestors, we must remain determined to build upon the gains that have been made to: ensure that our country remains a place for all of it sons and daughters; to safeguard our hard won freedoms; to ensure that peace is not compromised; and to ensure that the safety of our

people is paramount. Our Party would also like to commend all those who have worked steadfastly over the years and those who continue to do so in the promotion of activities designed to foster greater awareness and preserve our history, values and cultural traditions. Happy Arrival Day to all! (PPP Statement)



Region 6 RDC lashes out at Govt for not having Palmyra monument ready A

s the Indian government has stepped in to take over the Indian Arrival Monument in Palmyra, East Berbice, officials of the regional government these have been harsh in their criticism of the government’s handling of the collapse of the monument. It seems as though the government has washed its hands of the matter and the contactor is not being brought to book. It is understood that soon a government Minister from Indian will be visiting the country. After the monument collapsed due to faulty construction, the government promised to have it ready fopr Arrival Day, 2018, but nothing was done. The current state of the site for the Indian Arrival Monument at Palmyra is being considered an embarrassment to not only East Indians but all Guyanese. This is the view of Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) Vice Chairman Dennis DeRoop. The site was a topic of discussion at the Region Six Regional Democratic Council (RDC) meeting on Thursday last. DeRoop posited that the Government has little recog-

Vice-Chairman DeRoop

nition of immigrants to Guyana. In referring to the site at Palmyra where the base for the monument crumbled while still under construction, the Vice Chairman said he was personally embarrassed at what has transpired. As such, he referred to the fact that the Indian Government found it necessary to commit itself to providing the funds for the project since it seemed that the funds the Guyana Government had made available were all it was willing to put into the project although the project

fell through after paying the contractor. The project was initially estimated at $97 million. “To me that is a true reflection of how much this government has recognised the immigrants to this country… A contract of $97 million and almost $80 million was paid …and I can’t see $8 million there and that is the reason why the Ministry of Public Infrastructure cannot find another contractor to go and complete the work,” the Vice Chairman said. Regional Councillor Zamal Hussain related that it seemed as though the Guyana Government was doing nothing to ensure it got back the money already paid. “What is so shocking is that not that the Indian Government will be doing the project now, the whole issue here is what will be done to recuperate the funds that were paid out to the contractor and the Government is telling taxpayers that it is the PPP [People’s Progressive Party] that should be blamed for the design. Every single thing in this country has a [Commission of Inquiry] CoI or it is being rejected. Why is there not an investigation

The collapsed monument

into the project?” Hussain asked. On April 26, 2017, the Indian Arrival Monument base at Palmyra crumbled two days before a three-ton $35 million bronze monument could have been erected on it. The $97 million construction was unveiled by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Indian High Commissioner to Guyana Venkatachalam Mahalingham in March last year. The bronze monument, which was built in India, arrived

in Guyana in May 2016 and was expected to be in place in time for Arrival Day 2017. The six-foot statue depicts six bronze figures – three men, two women and a child – illustrating Indians in their everyday life. Last month, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson led a team, which included two other Government Ministers and a representative of the High Commissioner of India, to the location. However, DeRoop believes that Minister Patterson

was very bold in his actions. “I am surprised that some of our Ministers accompanied the Indian High Commission officials there. They don’t have no pride to see what a mess they have made here and to go with the Indians and to say that the Government of India will now complete this project. If I was Minister Patterson, I would have buried my head in the sand there. He has no pride and then going and speak with the press; he should have been hiding from the press,” DeRoop told the RDC.

Region 5 rice farmers suffering Govt rakes in more in taxes for 2017 as a result of increased costs A


bout 300 rice farmers from Region Five, Berbice are facing tremendous difficulties plying their trade as they are struggling to pay increased land fees yet they are not seeing evidence that the authorities are putting the fees to good use. Last year, the Government unilaterally raised the land rent fees from $1000 to $7000 per acre while the drainage and irrigation charge went up from $2500 to $8000, making the overall hike exceedingly more than 100%.

Rice farmers expected that at least with the fee hike, the authority which is the MMA/ADA would provide proper services. However the General Secretary of the Rice Producers Association, Dharamkumar Seeraj told Citizens’ Report that for the last three years, the MMA has not maintained the roads and the drainage canals. This has resulted in added expenses for the farmers who now have to pump additional monies into ensuring their operations run

smoothly. For example, Seeraj explained that because of the condition of the roads, transportation costs have increased from $200 to about $600 per bag of paddy. He labeled the situation as unfair and unacceptable since the farmers are being forced to pay increased fees yet the services they are guaranteed are not being provided. The RPA General Secretary said they are in talks with the farmers with a view of taking the matter to court.

s a result of a host of new tax measures introduced by the government over the last three years it is now collecting more taxes from an already over-taxed population. It has also been dishing out huge tax concessions to foreign companies. Government’s 2017 end-of-year outcome report states that tax revenues accounted for $171.2 billion of the $194.7 billion that it collected overall for that year. At the heart of this increase in tax revenues, which account for 87.9 per cent of total revenue, is the Government raking in more taxes than ever. There was a $1 billion or 1.4 per cent increase in the collection of income tax; $600 million or a 3.5 per cent hike in import duty collection and a $300 billion or 0.4 per cent hike in Value Added Tax (VAT) and excise tax collection. “Total non-tax revenues were projected at $23.6 billion; actual non-tax revenues

for 2017 were, therefore, closely in line with the projections at the time of Budget 2018. The Guyana Revenue Authority remitted $49.2 billion,” the report states. According to the report, this is equivalent to 28.8 per cent of tax revenues, compared to 27.9 per cent in 2016 ($42.3 billion). It is also $2.2 billion more than the estimated sum quoted in Budget 2018. While tax collection is up, however, other aspects of the report indicate some troubling patterns. For instance, the same report shows that the deficit in Guyana’s balance of payments, an important economic indicator, is on the rise. Balance of Payments is the record of a country’s fiscal transactions, including imports and exports. To therefore record a deficit, Guyana would have had to spend more on imports, among other things, than it gained from exports. “Imports were slightly more than the US$1.59 bil-

lion projected at the time of the presentation of the 2018 Budget. As a result, the merchandise trade deficit of US$196.2 million was considerably higher than the projected deficit of US$147.2 million.” “Notwithstanding, the deficit on the services account was lower than estimated. The improvement in the services account more than offset the weaker balances on both the non-factor services and unrequited transfers accounts,” the report states. According to the report, Guyana’s overall balance of payment in the 2017 fiscal year showed a deficit of US$69.5 million. This is a hike when compared to US$53.3 million the previous year. The parliamentary Opposition had previously expressed concern over the increasing deficit in the country’s balance of payments, which it had said would continue to have serious implications for the local economy.



Canadian diplomat accused in interfering in Barbados internal affairs A

senior government minister has accused the Canada’s High Commissioner to Barbados Marie Legault, of interfering in the internal affairs of the island and that she should be asked to leave immediately. Education Minister Ronald Jones told a meeting of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) attended by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart over the weekend that the Canadian diplomat and others should refrain from getting involved in the country’s domestic affairs. Jones told supporters that while he liked Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “I ain’t going up there and tell anybody to vote for he”. Political observers said the comment was directed at Leqault even though he did not name the Canadian diplomat and was also in apparent

reference to Legault’s direct challenge to political commentator Maureen Holder over the readiness of Barbados for a female Prime Minister. Holder, regarded as a supporter of the ruling party, has called for a national debate on whether the country was “seriously ready for a female Prime Minister”. But as she addressed a function here last week, the Canadian diplomat said the Caribbean had already produced four female heads of government and five heads of state, including the current Governor General, Dame Sandra Mason, and there was room for more females in top positions. “Given the history, I have to say that I was taken aback when in January I saw political analyst Maureen Holder asking if Barbados was ready

for a female Prime Minister and advocating for a national debate on it. I think every country is ready for a male or female prime minister. Gender does not have an impact,” Legault said, referring to progress made here and the Caribbean on women in politics. But she also noted that women’s participation continued to be limited. “In terms of women’s participation in politics, Grenada has led the way with 33 per cent women in parliament and Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago at 31 per cent. On the opposite side of the spectrum, currently Belize only counts with 9.4 per cent women in parliament, and St Kitts, Antigua and Barbuda and St Vincent and the Grenadines, between 11 and 13 per cent. “In terms of Cabinet, Grenada, Dominica and St Lucia

account for 27 to 36 per cent, while Antigua, Barbados and St Kitts have seven to 11 per cent and St Vincent has no women at all in their Cabinet,” she said. But Jones in his fiery address to supporters said that diplomats residing here should respect the sovereignty of Barbados and refrain from demonstrating any particular leanings that could influence the political process. “To think that you can come into my country and because you want to cuddle and cunoodle, you want to have nostrils clean or clear, you say to the people of Barbados to vote for that person. How dare you? You should be asked to leave or your government should tell you to come home because ‘you have interfered in the domestic political affairs of Barbados.

Miners killed because they were assumed to be GDF informants


he Lindo Creek miners were killed either in the execution of a robbery or because they were assumed to be informants to the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), according to the findings of an investigation by the GDF into allegations that its ranks were responsible for the 2008 murder. The Lindo Creek Commission of Inquiry (COI) Public Hearings continued on Monday with testimonies from three GDF officers who were somehow involved in the mysterious incident. First to take the stand was Major Andy Pompey who was at the time attached to the Military Police Department, which is responsible for conducting internal investigations. He said an investigation into allegations that GDF ranks were responsible for the murder concluded that the claims were unsubstantiated. According to Major Pompey, the allegations only surfaced because the owner

of the mining camp, Leonard Arokium claimed that someone told him that persons in camouflage attire were in the area. Major Pompey further revealed that the motives for the murder of the miners were either a robbery or because they were suspected to be informants of the GDF. Pompey explained that he questioned the two teams that were deployed to the area after the confrontation between ranks of the Police Force and the Fineman Gang at Christmas Falls. He said the men claimed that they never visited Lindo Creek during that period; however, he did not make attempts to ascertain whether this is true. Major Pompey also did not question anyone else and this raised some concerns for the COI Commissioner, Donald Trotman. Justice Trotman found it odd that no civilians were questioned, not even the man who made the allegations against the Joint Services

ranks. Major Pompey responded to say “it was a tense time and we were instructed to conduct interviews and do an investigation with persons of the teams.” Nonetheless, Major Pompey said the report he compiled recommended that the allegations could have been avoided if the Joint Services ranks had ordered that all civilians evacuate the area. He said the allegations surfaced after the owner of the mining camp, Leonard Arokium claimed a woman living nearby saw men in camouflage clothing in the vicinity. Also, at the scene of the crime were spent shells similar to weapons in the GDF’s arsenal. However, Lieutenant Colonel Omar Khan, who was second in command of the Joint Services operations, told the COI that intelligence gathered showed that members of the Fineman Gang had military tactics,

they were clad in camouflage uniforms and were in possession of guns which went missing from the GDF sometime in 2006. Colonel Khan provided the COI with visual representation of the trail in the area in question, including the distances between key locations such as Lindo Creek, Christmas Falls, Ituni and Kwakwani. The eight miners were killed and their bodies burnt sometime in June 2008. The

incident occurred at a time when Joint Services ranks were in high pursuit of the notorious Fineman Gang. The police have since blamed the gang members for the crime but family members have alleged that it was the Joint Services that may have mistaken the miners for the criminals and killed them. The Office of Professional Responsibility of the Guyana Police Force has since found that it could neither

confirm nor deny whether its ranks were at Lindo Creek during the period. However, around June 6, 2008, a team led by the then Crime Chief SeelallPersaud visited Christmas Falls where they had a confrontation with the Fineman Gang. After the shootout, that team treated and the Joint Services members were subsequently deployed. On June 21, 2008, the burnt remains of the miners were discovered.

Man stabs brother to death during drinking spree A man is now being hunted by Police of the “F” Division after he reportedly killed his brother on Saturday night. Dead is 34-year-old Clinton Henry of Yambay, Eclipse Falls Top, North West District (NWD). He was reportedly stabbed to death. According to reports, the now dead man and his brother were imbibing in front of their parent’s home. However,

after some time had elapsed, the now dead man’s wife went to make check on them but instead, she found her husband with a stab wound to his head. He was picked up and taken to Port Kaituma Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The suspect has since gone into hiding. A manhunt was launched with the aim of apprehending him.



15-y-o ‘Fine Man’ gang Businessman robbed T member told Police that gang killed miners

– Lindo Creek CoI hears T he Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the June 2008 massacre at Lindo Creek heard that a then 15-year-old member of the notorious ‘Fine Man’ gang told Police investigators that the gang was responsible for murdering the eight men at their mining camp. Special Superintendent of Police Trevor Reid takes the stand before the Lindo Creek Massacre COI When special Superintendent of Police, Trevor Reid, took to the stand, on Tuesday before Commissioner retired Justice Donald Trotman, he testified that he was the one who took the caution statement from then 15-yearold gang member, Dwayne ‘Small Friend’ Williams. Despite failing to produce the original statement to the CoI, Reid was allowed to read a photocopy. Williams, who is now 25 years old and is currently on remand for several murders, in July of 2008 told

investigators that they had escaped the Police in Ituni area when they stumbled upon the Arokium’s mining camp at Lindo Creek. He related that the gang consisted of himself, Cecil “Magic” Ramcharran, Robin ‘Chung Boy’ Chung and leader Rondel ‘Fine Man’ Rawlins. Williams’ statement also revealed that following the incident at Lindo Creek the gang left the site and whilst walking they encountered another Joint Services Checkpoint which they eluded. It was further related that the following night Chung, Rawlins and Ramcharran left him behind after which he was captured while hitching a ride out of the Lindo Creek area. Also during his testimony, Reid told the Commission that based on his investigative experience he felt that the investigation by the Office for Professional Responsibility was incomplete and needed much more work

to be done. Meanwhile, taking the stand was, Lieutenant Colonel Lloyd Souvenir who testified that he was a part of the Joint Services Taskforce stationed at Kwakwani and on June 16, 2008 they engaged the men in the Goat Farm area. After disarming the men, they were taken from the site to Kawkwani where they were identified as ‘Chung Boy’ and ‘Magic’. It was also disclosed that they also found a series of ammunition and two AK 47s belonging to the Guyana Defence Force among other items. Sometime between June 12, 2008 and June 24, 2008, miners Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres were shot and killed, and their bodies burnt at the Upper Berbice River mining camp, which was being operated by Leonard Arokium.

Home Court Man accused of defrauding NIS charged


avid Alli, the man who is accused of fraudulently providing false information on a check given to him by the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) was on last Wednesday slapped with two charges for the offence. The 45-year-old, Suriname national who currently resides at Bagotville, West Bank Demerara (WBD) denied that between February 13, 2018 and May 7, 2018 at Georgetown he forged one NIS voucher dated May 7, valued $9,695 in favour of himself purporting to show that it was valued $90,695

knowing same to be false. On May 7, 2018, and while at Brickdam, Georgetown, with intent to defraud, Alli allegedly uttered to Saskia George the same forged NIS voucher knowing same to be false. He also denied that he committed that offence. According to the alleged fraudster, he doesn’t have any money in Guyana to maintain himself. Despite denying the offences, he apologised for committing the act and begged for forgiveness. Police Prosecutor Sim-

one Payne had no bail objections, however, Alli indicated to Magistrate Fabayo Azore, whom he appeared before, that he cannot afford bail as he has no family living in Guyana. Azore granted him bail in the sum of $25,000 each for the two charges and told the defendant that she would not be releasing him on his own recognisance as the charges against him are serious offences. He is expected to next appear in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts on May 16, 2018.

he storage bond and minibus of an Annandale, East Coast businessman were in the wee hours of Monday last broken into, and over $400,000 in items were reported to have been stolen. The bond is located at the side of the businessman’s home. The victim, 28-year-old Andrew Rampersaud, told Guyana Times that he arrived home with his family at about 22:00h on Sunday, and retired to bed following a power failure and heavy rains. He recalled that the bond was secured with padlocks; and his minibus, which also had some items, was locked.

However, at about 06:45h, his tenants frantically informed him that his bond was broken into, as well as his minibus. He rushed to the area, only to find that not only the locks to the bond were damaged. He noted that, as based on checks, he realized that a quantity of costume jewellery, kids’ games, clothing, DVD players, Bluetooth boxes and other items were stolen. In addition, the tenant’s motor car was also broken into. The perpetrators removed the car’s music deck, a quantity of liquor and other valuables. A screwdriver was re-

covered lying on the top of the fence, which gives the indication that the bandits had scaled the fence to gain entry into the yard. “They left a screwdriver on the fence top, and there was a slight bend on the grill work,” he recalled. The Police were summoned and an investigation has commenced. The area was dusted for fingerprints. “The detectives took fingerprints. We already gave a statement, but we gotta go [to the Vigilance Police Station] to give a formal statement,” the frustrated young businessman told the Guyana Times.

Gunmen snatch $5 million …1 nabbed in escape bid


businesswoman and an employee were on Monday held at gunpoint at Land of Canaan, East Bank Demerara, and relieved of a bag containing more than $5 million in cash. The woman, who operates a service station in Soesdyke, EBD and lives as Land of Canaan Gardens, was on her way to a commercial bank to make a deposit when the robbery occurred. Reports are that while on her way to the Diamond, EBD bank, the woman stopped at a business place in Land of Canaan to drop

off an invoice, and as she was about to re-enter her car, two men on a CG motorcycle confronted her. One of the bandits, who was armed with a handgun, grabbed her and forced her into the car, after which he grabbed the bag containing the money. After collecting the bag, he handed it over to his accomplice who was on the motorcycle. The gunman then exited that car, hopped onto the motorcycle, and the bandits rode away. As the men rode off, an alarm was raised and persons in the area went in pursuit of

The bandit who was caught following the robbery

the men. One of them was reportedly nabbed, while the other made good his escape with the bag containing the cash. A relative of the traumatised businesswoman explained that he received the telephone call informing him that his daughter-in-law was robbed, and that one of the bandits was apprehended by public spirited citizens who went to her aid. He noted that the money contained in the bag was from sales at the service station over the weekend. The businessman further stated that after reviewing the CCTV footage at the service station, it is believed that the robbery was executed with the assistance of an employee. He stated that the man who was arrested was seen in the footage speaking with someone at the business place. The man added that the CCTV footage was handed over to the Police as they continue their investigations and hunt for the second suspect. He, nevertheless, was happy that his daughter-inlaw and the employee were not injured when the robbery was committed. He, moreover, thanked the Police for their prompt response to the distress call. Guyana Times understands that the employees at the service station were questioned in connection with the robbery.


Iran's top leader, lawmakers lash out at US on nuclear deal


ran's supreme leader chastised President Donald Trump on Wednesday over his decision to pull America out of the 2015 nuclear deal, while lawmakers lit a paper U.S. flag on fire inside parliament, shouting, "Death to America!" The government backlash reflected broad public anger in Iran over Trump's decision, which threatens to destroy the landmark agreement. While Iranian officials, including the parliament speaker, say they hope Europe will work with them to preserve the deal, many are pessimistic. In comments before school teachers, Khamenei told Trump: "You cannot do a damn thing!" The exhortation from Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, follows a pattern of Iranian leaders declaring their nation's ability to resist foreign pressure or interference. Khamenei described Trump's speech as having "over 10 lies," without elaborating on them. He also said Trump's remarks threatened both Iran's people and its theocratic government. Earlier Wednesday, the lawmakers, including a Shiite cleric, held the flaming flag alight as their colleagues joined their chants. They also burned a piece of paper representing the nuclear deal and stomped on the papers' ashes. While U.S. flag-burning is common in Iran and harsh

criticism of America has been a staple of Iranian parliamentary politics for years, it was the first time political observers could remember anything being burned inside the parliament itself. The 2015 agreement imposed restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in return for the lifting of most U.S. and international sanctions. However, the deal came with time limits and did not address Iran's ballistic missile program or its regional policies in Syria and elsewhere. Trump has repeatedly pointed to those omissions in referring to the accord as the "worst deal ever." Proponents of the deal have said those time limits were meant to encourage more discussion with Iran in the future that could eventually address other concerns. Late Tuesday night, President Hassan Rouhani said he'd be sending Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the countries still in the deal — China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom. Iran hopes the European Union will pass laws to protect European firms from any potential U.S. sanctions. EU officials have suggested they'll do what they can to salvage the agreement. Still, Rouhani made a point of stressing that Iran, at any time, could resume its nuclear program. "So if necessary, we can

begin our industrial enrichment without any limitations," the Iranian leader said. "Until implementation of this decision, we will wait for some weeks and will talk with our friends and allies and other signatories of the nuclear deal, who signed it and who will remain loyal to it. Everything depends on our national interests." Wednesday morning after the flag burning, parliament speaker Ali Larijani said responsibility for saving the deal fell on the EU and other world powers still in the accord. "The period is only a window in which the EU can prove if it has enough weight for settling down international issues or not?" he said. Larijani also urged the country's nuclear department to prepare for "resumption of all aspects of nuclear activities." Many Iranians are worried about what Trump's decision could mean for their country. The Iranian rial is already trading on the black market at 66,000 to the dollar, despite a government-set rate of 42,000 rials. Many say they have not seen any benefits from the nuclear deal. Iran's poor economy and unemployment sparked nationwide protests in December and January that saw at least 25 people killed and, reportedly, nearly 5,000 arrested.


New York state attorney general resigns after report he abused women N

ew York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned on Monday after allegations of physical abuse by four women were reported in an article in the New Yorker magazine. Governor Andrew Cuomo had called for Schneiderman’s resignation within hours of the article’s publication, and only slightly more than an hour later Schneiderman, a Democrat who was running for re-election, said he was stepping down. “In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time. I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.” In the article published late on Monday, the New Yorker reported that four women who said they had had romantic relationships or encounters with Schneiderman said they had been subjected to nonconsensual physical violence. “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity,” Schneiderman said

in a statement issued by Stu Loeser & Co before he announced his resignation. “I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.” Cuomo, in his statement calling for Schneiderman’s resignation, referred to “the damning pattern of facts and corroboration laid out in the article,” and said he did not believe it was possible for Schneiderman to continue to serve as attorney general. The New Yorker reported that two of the women who spoke to the magazine “alleged that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent.” The two women who were named in the article both called the abuse by Schneiderman “assault,” the magazine reported. One of the women said Schneiderman slapped her across the

face after she rejected his advances and that when she told him she wanted to leave, he said, “A lot of women like it. They don’t always think they like it, but then they do, and they ask for more,” according to the article. A spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said the office is opening an investigation. Schneiderman is not the first top-ranking New York politician who was forced to resign following media reports about his personal life. Eliot Spitzer resigned as New York’s governor in 2008 after a New York Times report revealed that he was caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet a prostitute in a Washington hotel room. Spitzer, a Democrat who as the state’s attorney general before becoming governor once broke up prostitution rings, was married at the time. He faced intense pressure to resign and impeachment threats from Republicans. The front page of Schneiderman’s re-election campaign website on Monday night displayed his statement denying the accusations reported by the New Yorker, along with copies of news stories about his fight for abortion rights and a battle with the Trump administration. His statement of resignation was not posted.

US pulls out of Iran nuclear agreement


S President Donald Trump says he will withdraw the US from an Obamaera nuclear a agreement with Iran. Calling it “decaying and rotten”, he said the deal was “an embarrassment” to him “as a citizen”. He said he would reimpose economic sanctions that were waived when the deal was signed in 2015. The move goes against advice from his European allies and some military advisers. In a statement, France, Germany and the UK – who are also signatories to the deal – have said they “regret” the American decision. The European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, said the EU was “determined to preserve” the deal. But Israel’s Prime Min-

ister Benjamin Netanyahu says he “fully supports” Mr Trump’s “bold” withdrawal from a “disastrous” deal. And the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said the president had “absolutely made the right decision”. “This was a terrible deal that only allowed Iran’s bad international conduct to worsen,” she said. Mr Trump had previously complained that the deal only limited Iran’s nuclear activities for a fixed period; had failed to stop the development of ballistic missiles; and had handed Iran a $100bn (£74bn) windfall that it used “as a slush fund for weapons, terror, and oppression” across the Middle East. The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) saw Iran agree to

limit the size of its stockpile of enriched uranium – which is used to make reactor fuel, but also nuclear weapons – for 15 years and the number of centrifuges installed to enrich uranium for 10 years. Iran also agreed to modify a heavy water facility so it could not produce plutonium suitable for a bomb. In return, sanctions imposed by the UN, US and EU that had crippled Iran’s economy were lifted. The deal was agreed between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, UK, France, China and Russia – plus Germany. Iran insists its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful, and its compliance with the deal has been verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).


The Other View


Free Media Under Threat Globally B

uoyed on by the likes of United States’ President Donald Trump, a growing number of political leaders are encouraging hostility towards news media and journalists across the globe are finding it harder than ever to do their jobs. This is among the main findings in Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) annual World Press Freedom Index which examines 180 countries and their relationship with the media. While launching the report, RSF’s Secretary General Christopher Deloire reflected on the erosion of one of free societies’ most treasured principles: a free press. “The unleashing of hatred towards journalists is one of the worst threats to democracies. To dispute the legitimacy of journalism today is to play with extremely dangerous political fire,”

Deloire said. U.S. RANKING DROPS According to the report, the U.S. is partly responsible for the downward trend of the media’s image globally. The report highlights the impact of Trump’s “Fake News” slogan- a reference used to discredit and deny news reports. “Trump’s ‘fake news’ phenomenon has certainly had a global impact. Leaders of countries both democratic and authoritarian have taken advantage of this language to conflate any critical news coverage with false news coverage or misreporting,” RSF’s North America Director Margaux Ewen told IPS. Trump’s method of dismissing media has been picked up by a growing number of world leaders, the report found.

“More and more democratically-elected leaders no longer see the media as part of democracy’s essential underpinning, but instead as an adversary. Trump himself has called reporters ‘enemies of the people,” Ewen said. “It’s sad that the U.S. – often seen as a shining beacon of press freedom and democracy is slipping, it’s no longer the gold standard,” she continued. Unsurprisingly, this year’s report saw the United States drop to number to 45 in the index, down two spots from its 2017 rank. EUROPE “NOT PERFECT” Whilst European countries Sweden and Norway ranked the freest media environments in the world, the region as a whole had more nations drop down the list than any other.

Wider Views for More Equal Societies By Oscar A. Garcia


nequalities are on the rise. Since 1980, 1% of the richest people have received double income than the 50% of the poorest. After several years of decline, hunger is also on the rise. The report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World estimates that the number of chronically undernourished people in the world increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016. If we go deeper into the analysis we observe that three-quarters of the world’s extremely poor and food-insecure people live in rural areas. Poorest and excluded Along the path to economic growth, millions of people are excluded. They are individuals who belong to groups that are discriminated against and excluded within their own societies. This discrimination may be on grounds of religion, ethnicity, gender and/or disability. Inequalities are multi-dimensional, multi-layered and cumulative; untangling such complexities is a challenge we must act on. Without

understanding the root causes of inequalities, we cannot remove the inequalities themselves, along with the immense barriers they create and which prevent the world’s poorest – those at the “bottom of the pyramid” – from thriving. Without transforming the restrictions that reinforce the deep-seated causes of chronic poverty, substantial progress is unlikely. Comprehensive analysis to enlighten the path The discourse needs to shift its focus to the structural issues of inequality, whether economic, political or social. Why is it that tens of millions of people are without clean water? Why is it that poor women do not have access to land? Why is that millions are without food and adequate living conditions? The answers and the realities go far deeper than the issue of poverty alone, and we must arrive at the last corner of those realities and the spaces where people are discriminated against. • Why Does Rural Poverty Equal Invisibility? Countering inequalities

requires robust evidence and more disaggregated data. It also requires going beyond traditional approaches. We need to improve our analytical frameworks, ask the right evaluation questions, talk to poor people and understand their needs, based on which a revitalized development agenda on inequality will emerge. High levels of inequalities can be brought down if we are able to create redistributive policies geared toward shared prosperity, social justice, and democracy for all people. Oscar A. Garcia, is Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, a specialized agency of the United Nations.

European nations such as Malta, Slovenia, Czech Republic, and Serbia all fell considerably. “With the rise of populist politics and strongmen leaders, Europe’s downward trend will likely continue,” the report stated. In Europe, recent high profile journalist killings – the murder of Daphne Galizina in Malta and the Jan Kuciak in Slovakia – have been attributed to the region’s dip in rankings. The report highlighted several cases where countries have slid in the ranks due to ‘strongmen’ leaders. For example, Philippines dipped to 133 on the list largely due to its President, Rodrigo Duterte, who often justifies the killing of journalists. Last year, four journalists where killed in the country for their work, earning it the reputation of the

most dangerous country in Asia for journalists. Turkey also fell in this year’s ranking to 157. Its president, Recap Tayyip Erdogan has long held the media in contempt. The country now has more reporters in jail than anywhere else in the world. Similarly, Eritrea came in at at the bottom of the ranking. The report noted that the media are subject to the whim of President Isaias Afeworki who has overseen a deterioration in human rights and global freedoms. After questioning the government’s authoritarian tendencies, Swedish-Eritrea journalist Dawit Isaak was arrested in 2001. He has been detained for the past 17 years without ever being brought to a court. The UN has since called on his release, and RSF recently submitted a report to the African Commission on

Human and Peoples’ Rights with concerns over the state of press freedom in the East African nation. However, RSF found that press freedom in Africa has improved—though the variation from country to country is still considerable. Whilst Ewen admitted that there was not many positives to draw from the report, she says a silver lining is the future appointment of United Nations special representative for journalists. “That will mean that we can immediately coordinate international efforts for the press when a journalist is in danger. That’s something RSF has been leading for the past few years, along with more than 130 supporting NGOs and media outlets,” Ewen told IPS. “That’s something we can look forward to,” she continued. (IPS)

Vladimir Putin sworn in for fourth term in Kremlin ceremony


ussian president promises to serve people faithfully amid tensions with west and domestic discontent over poverty Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during his inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Vladimir Putin has been sworn in for a fourth presidential term in a lavish Kremlin ceremony as tensions with the west rise and domestic discontent over poverty and wealth inequality simmers. State television began its live coverage of the inauguration on Monday with Putin, 65, apparently hard at work in his Kremlin office. He then walked down a long, red-carpeted corridor to a black limousine that whisked him to the nearby Grand Kremlin Palace, the former throne room of Russia’s tsars. Putin was applauded by about 5,000 guests as he entered the palace’s ornately decorated Andreyevsky Hall through colossal doors flanked by Kremlin guards. Among the guests were Gerhard Schröder, the former German chancellor, Steven Seagal, the former Hollywood action star who has

become close to Russia’s political elite, and Alexander Zaldostanov, the leather-clad, tattooed leader of a pro-Putin motorcycle club. With his hand on a gold-embossed copy of the Russian constitution, Putin swore to serve the Russian people faithfully. He also hailed Moscow’s ability to stand up for it interests in the international arena, and what he called Russia’s traditional values. Despite the pomp, the ceremony was relatively low key compared with Putin’s return to the Kremlin in 2012, when his black motorcade sped through deserted streets that had been cleared of residents by heavy-handed security forces. A Kremlin banquet to mark the inauguration was reportedly scrapped over fears it would lead to public criticism. Barring a change to the constitution, Putin’s fourth term is likely to be his last as president. He recently laughed off suggestions that he could return to the Kremlin in 2030, when he will be eligible to stand again. Government officials have not discussed the issue of his successor publicly, and analysts say the issue is taboo

within the Kremlin walls. Shortly after the inauguration, Putin put Dmitry Medvedev forward to continue as prime minister, a position he has held since 2012. Allegations of high-level corruption against Medvedev, 52, triggered large opposition protests last year, and 57% of Russians said they were dissatisfied with his work as prime minister in a recent opinion poll. Some analysts suggest Putin’s continued support for Medvedev is due to his usefulness as a scapegoat for economic failures. Since his last inauguration six years ago, Putin has seized Crimea from Ukraine, triggering western economic sanctions, and ordered Russia’s military into Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad. Just weeks before his election victory in March, Putin presented what he said were Moscow’s invincible new nuclear weapons, his bellicose speech accompanied by an animated video that showed Russian warheads falling on Florida. Fyodor Lukyanov, a political analyst who sometimes advises the Kremlin, has described the current standoff with the west as a state of cold war.





am going to share a little exercise to help you take advantage of this extra boost of energy from the stars. But first, I want you to take a few moments to imagine something you would really like to bring to fruition in your life. Do it right now! Spend three to five minutes just imagining a dream coming true. Now, that was the first part of the exercise. I hope you were able to let your imagination go as you envisioned that dream coming to life. Now, let us take a few moments to think about that dream? Where were you? Did it involve people you know? How did it play out? Think about the direction your imagination took. Did you focus on the positive aspects of your dream, or did you end up thinking about the things that could go wrong? If you found that this was constructive for you, my good Readers, then my hat goes off to you! Visualization is an important step to making things happen. Now, I want you to do this exercise again, but this time; see yourself experiencing your desire in detail, imagining the events, sights, smells, and feelings around it. Regardless of what happened, I don't want you to be down on yourself. You might be surprised at how many of us are automatically in the habit of imagining the worst possible scenario as opposed to the best. It is said that energy flows where the attention goes, my comrades, and this is the key to getting positive results in any situation. When you can visualize exactly what it is that you want, you fuel the energy of your creation by seeing all the wonderful aspects of it coming to life. So this time, see yourself experiencing your desire in detail, imagining the events, sights, smells, and feelings around it. If you find that a negative thought creeps in to your mental scenario, simply erase it, replacing it with the thoughts of what you want to have happen instead. In addition to visualizing, there are other things that can help to reinforce the positive outcome you desire. For example, think about keeping a daily journal and write what you desire to have happen in your life. This is a very good way to keep your focus. Another technique is to create a picture poster with images of what you want to realize. It could be pictures of a place you would like to visit or explore, a job you hope to land, a house to buy . . . the list is endless! It is whatever your heart desires! You can cut out photos from magazines, draw pictures or even use inspirational sayings. Once you have completed your little poster, put it in a place where you will see it frequently and where it will serve as a regular reminder of the goal or dream you are working toward. Just seeing these visual suggestions regularly will stimulate your imagination! Comrades, by making a point to regularly reinforce the positive things you want to bring your way, you will attract wonderful things into your life. Not only will you experience more success in your life, but you will also feel more confident and in charge of your own destiny, and that is my goal for you! This spring is about focusing on the life you want with the changes you want to bring about and the changes that are within your reach! What are you waiting for! Happy 68th Anniversary to the People’s Progressive Party (PPP). Remember to purchase and read your copy of the Mirror Newspaper and tune to Freedom Radio, streaming on 91.1 FM in GT and its environs, 90.7 in Essequibo and 90.5 inBerbice. Streaming online freedomradio Follow us on Facebook at freedomradiogy. G.Persaud


Children’s Corner


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t a time when the West Indian sporting public endures disappointment after disillusion, defeat after humiliation, bowlers like Lancelot Richard Gibbs remind us of the cricketing legacy, professionalism and pride players like him bequeathed to the Caribbean nation, and indeed, to the world-so sadly lacking today. It is a testament to his greatness and professionalism that Lance would have been an asset in any form of the game today. He proudly held the World Record for the most Test wickets in cricket history from 1 February 1976 to 27 December 1981, an achievement lost on many people today, with 309 wickets at an average of 29.09 in 79 Tests, statistical confirmation to his value and the present paucity of players of his caliber, pride and work ethic today in the West Indies team. He was one of the great spinners of all time, the first spinner to reach 300 test wickets, and had an exceptional economy rate of under two runs per over. He added the arm-ball to his repertoire, and reminisces how he always “thought out” batsman, like when he outfoxed and bowled the great Sir Viv

Spinning the web around another batsman!

Richards with it after deceiving him with 4 consecutive off-breaks and forced him to play down the wrong line in a regional first-class game. He never bowled the same delivery twice in the same over, always varying his spin, flight, line and length. Gibbs took three wickets in four balls at Sydney and a hat-trick in the next Test at Adelaide in West Indies’ historic 1960-61 tour of Australia, snaring KD Mackay, ATW Grout and FM Misson

at Adelaide. This double feat was emulated amongst West Indian players only by another great bowler, Wesley Hall, of “Pace like Fire” acclaim. Hall’s hat-trick victims were Mushtaq Mohammad, Fazal Mahmood and Nasim-ulGhani of Pakistan at Lahore in the 1958-59 series, and his three wickets in four balls was done at Port-of-Spain, Trinidad in the 1961-62 series against India. After these heroics by Wes and Lance, only Jer-

maine Lawson has taken another test hat-trick for the West Indies, when he captured the wickets of Brett Lee, Stuart MacGill and Justin Langer for the West Indies against Australia at Bridgetown, Barbados, in the 2002-03 series. Sylvester Clarke is the only other West Indian bowler to get 3 wickets in 4 balls, a feat he performed against Pakistan at Karachi in the 1980-81 series. Lance also spun one of

the game's greatest spells at Bridgetown, where he single-handedly destroyed India, despite their batting strength against spin bowling. Against his combination of guile, flight and spin, India collapsed from 149 for 2 to 187 all out, with Gibbs taking eight wickets in 15.3 overs at a total cost of just six runs! His final innings return of 8 wickets for 38 runs was his best in a Test match. His career culminated in his inclusion as one of Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year in 1972, a deserving accolade. Lance Gibbs was the master of spin, flight and accuracy, and always bowled 6 different balls in every over to keep the batsman guessing. PA Photos credit. His fame immortalized him on the covers of many magazines and memorabilia, such as World Sports and Carr’s Biscuits Trade Cards, which was saved by many cricket collectors like me since boyhood days! EDDIE NICHOLLS-AN UMPIRE WHO DID IT ALL! Last Sunday, we had the pleasure of renewing acquaintances with a world class umpire, and a Guyanese brother who made it to the top in his field-Eddie (Edward) Nicholls, now 70 not out. Now officially retired, but still giving back to the game he loves so much and which made him a house-

hold name. He officiated in 17 Tests from 1997 to 2001 and 46 ODIs from 1995 to 2005. Nicholls was one of four West Indian umpires on the International Cricket Council's elite panel of international umpires, and umpired international matches throughout the Caribbean and in many famous grounds across the globe, including the Oval, Wellington, Brisbane, Bulawayo, Colombo, Cape Town, Manchester, Nairobi, Sharjah, and Melbourne. A former police officer, who rose to the rank of an Acting Assistant Superintendent with the Guyana Police Force, Nicholls played club cricket for the Guyanese police force cricket team. He is married and has a son and two daughters, was a senior cricket coach in Guyana from 1990-1997, a Committee member of national umpires' association 1992/193, 1996/97/98; treasurer 1994 and 1995, and played club cricket for the Guyana Police Force and Demerara. Nicholls is part of a respected group of Caribbean umpires headed by umpires like Steve Bucknor (“Slow Death”), Douglas Sang Hue, Ralph Gosein, Stanton Parris, Compton Vyfhuis, Lew Kow, Cortez Jordan, Errol Gillette, Ralph Gosein, David Archer, Cecil Kippins, Lloyd Barker, Clyde Cumberbatch, Tulsi Kumar and others.

Independence Track and Field Bravo signs for Middlesex Meet: 85 athletes to compete T20 matches


reparations are in final stages for the much-anticipated Guyana’s Independence Track and Field Meet scheduled for May 19 and 20 at the Leonora Synthetic Race Track, West Coast Demerara. The event which was created to celebrate Guyana’s 50th Independence Jubilee, is now in its third year and will attract approximately eighty five athletes. The event is opened to any athlete as young as 8 years old.

Thus far, the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) has received entry forms from 13 of the nation’s top clubs and it has also reached out to a number of schools across the country. The event is being hosted through the collaborative efforts of the AAG, the Guyana Overseas Based Sports Association and the Department of Sport (Ministry of Social Cohesion). A budget of $10,000 USD has been injected into the project.

President of the AAG Aubrey Hutson is urging parents and sport enthusiasts to come out and support the event. Meanwhile, President of the Guyana Overseas Based Sports Association, David Thomas, disclosed that plans are in the pipeline to expand the event in 2019 to include international athletes. The entrance fee is set at $300 and athletes will receive medals and cash prizes.


est Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has signed for English county side Middlesex for this year's Twenty20 Vitality Blast. Bravo, who has helped West Indies win the global T20 tournament on two occasions, will represent Middlesex in the first six matches of the campaign, making his debut against Surrey at Lord's on July 5. "I've been fortunate enough throughout my career to have played all round the world and Lord's in London is a place that really excites

me," said Bravo. "Dwayne is one of the most exciting and best T20 players in the world," said

Middlesex managing director of cricket Angus Fraser. "He can win games of cricket with bat or ball."



Sport View by Neil Kumar A

s the West Indies team commences preparations for the Sri Lanka series, the West Indies Cricket Administrators are trying to do some amount of window dressing before the tour. Hence, they are presently organizing a five-day batting camp. The Camp will be held at the UWI Cave Hill Campus under the watch-full eyes of West A Team coach Floyd Reifer. It is amazing to see some of the names of the players that are included for special training at this Camp which is supposed to be of the highest level. Devon Smith a player who already played thirty-eight test matches over a period of more than one decade is now been called up to play for the West Indies. More laughable is the fact that he played in his last test match more than three years ago. I am not willing to let our readers know his age and how many times he was selected and dropped from the West Indies Test team. We must say ‘shame’ on the West Indies test selectors.

Instead of considering this ‘pensioner’ Devon Smith, certainly a much younger player should have been given the opportunity to get a call-up. Again the selectors under the chairmanship of a Barbadian are on record to be totally ‘insular’. Several players from Barbados are selected to be in this special batting camp. Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Raymond Reifer along with Shane Dowrich, all Barbadians are selected to be in the Camp. The others are Sunil Ambris, Jahmar Hamilton, Kieran Powell Jermaine Blackwood and golden boy from Guyana Shmiron Hetmyer. The players selected are certainly a farce. Imagine there are four wicket-keepers in the Camp and the Wicket-keeper batsman with the highest score in the West Indies just concluded for-day tournament ‘Bramble’ from Guyana is not selected. There are two magnificent wicket-keepers batsmen in Trinidad and

Tobago and none of them were considered. Puran and Ketwaro are just been discriminated against. As for the most successful batsmen in the just concluded West Indies four –day tournament again several batsmen such as Jasman Mohammad, Leon Johnson, Vishal Singhj and the best batsman in the Caribbean Darren Bravo are not considered for selection. The big question is who will support this team? The Coach, the chief selector, and most of the players are all from Barbados. West Indies will be playing Sri Lanka in three test matches during next month. The first test match will be at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad, the second at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in St. Lucia while the third and final test match will be at the Kensington Oval in Barbados. The West Indies bowling attack will be most interesting to look at. It is clear that the best players in the Caribbean will not be representing the West Indies.

Australia cancel hosting Bangladesh later this year


ustralia have called off hosting Bangladesh later this year for financial reasons, arguing that it no longer makes sense to play top-end matches, usually played in north Queensland and the Northern Territory, out of season because they get “swamped” by the major football codes. The ICC’s Future Tours Program (FTP) had Australia down to play two Tests and three ODIs at home against Bangladesh in August and September 2018, the latter’s first bilateral tour down under since 2003. However, the trip was scrapped because Australian free-to-air broadcasters are understood to be uninterested in televising the series in the middle of the football season. Cricket Australia communicated to the BCB that the tour was not “commercially viable”. Such a decision, which mirrors the BCCI’s refusal to play a day-night Test in contravention of CA’s wishes, sums up the ad hoc manner in which bilateral tours have been organised and cancelled at various points in recent history, invariably at the expense of the less financially strong countries. ESPNcricinfo has learned that one of the alternative options discussed was Australia touring Bangladesh after the 2019 World Cup. The BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury stated: “We have

proposed some options and are now waiting for their response.” James Sutherland, the CA chief executive, explained the cancellation was related to the timing of the series, plus the fact that apart from India, England and South Africa, the rest of the world’s cricket nations including Bangladesh only play Australia sporadically, particularly during the southern summer. “The way in which everything works in cricket is that it’s really at the home team’s discretion to work things out as to how much they want to host and what they want to host,” Sutherland had told ESPNcricinfo earlier this year. “There’s obviously an element of reciprocity between what we do, we do that with England, India South Africa. “We commit to content in other parts of the world under the previous or current cycle, every six years you are at least committed to playing away, but we don’t have to play at home or we can vary the programme at home according to our needs and I think we just got squeezed a little bit. “To be honest it hasn’t been a great success, playing in the past as we have in northern Australia. Even more so now with the rise of the profile of the football codes, particularly NRL and AFL, it just means we get swamped and it

doesn’t make sense. Besides the huge cost to play up there and getting broadcasters and what have you to pick it up, just makes it difficult.” However, Sutherland said that such arrangements will no longer apply when the Test Championship whirs into life in the second half of 2019. From that point, Australia and all other nations will be compelled to host the teams they are drawn against. “If we get drawn to play [Bangladesh], and we’re drawn to play it at home, once you’re in a championship situation, the context puts you in a position of wanting to win every game and needing the points and not compromising. So you need to play at home and to try to win because those points count for something that at the end of the day might really matter to finishing one or two and qualifying for the final.” The call to scrap the tour was made before CA finalised an A$1 billion television and digital rights deal with the Fox Sports and Seven networks. It is not clear whether or not Fox was offered the chance to broadcast the series on its pay television network. Final details of the FTP to feature the World Test Championship, set to begin with the 2019 Ashes in which England hosts Australia, are expected to emerge soon. (ESPNCricinfo)

Jagdeo disappointed at govt’s ‘routine’ response to massacre of fishermen – says exceptional measures needed to address situation


pposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, said he was disappointed with the “routine” manner in which the government is trating the massacre that took place on the Corentyne River and called for “exceptional measures” to be

taken to deal with the situation. He stated that more was expected of the Coalition Government in its response to this attack, since President Granger described it as a “massacre” of Guyanese. Jagdeo said, “I expected that once he described

this as such, then the entire government would treat this as major issue…what we saw was a government operating in routine manner.” The Opposition Leader added, “…he (Granger) used the occasion to score political

points. So he talked about his government being successful in curbing piracy in the past three years…the President is hopelessly out of touch with this issue.” According to him, at the Friday (May 11, 2018) sitting

of the National Assembly, the matter will be raised, with specific questions put to the Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan. Jagdeo disclosed that among the issued to be raised are: 1. What is being done on both sides, relative to the level of collaboration between the security forces in Guyana and Suriname? 2. What is being done collaboratively to ensure the safety of people at sea? 3. What is the level of assistance that the government of Guyana is prepared to give? 4. What is being done to address the numerous concerns of Guyanese living in Suriname, many of whom are legal, law abiding, tax-paying residents, who expect fair representation from Surinamese law enforcement? 5. What work is being done by Guyana’s embassy in Suriname, relative to its remit and the extent of work done to address the interest and needs of Guyanese in Suriname? 6. What arrangements are in place, or can be put in place, to provide persons to relay, in a confidential manner, information that can support law enforcement officers, without risk of exposure? He said, “We want to be sure that the security forces are collaborating on highest level…we want assurances from minister….I am raising this so minister can know what is in our motion long before we get there, so he is well prepared to come and address these issues.” ACT OF TERRORISM The Opposition Leader added that former Attorney General has been asked to review the provisions under Guyana’s anti-terrorism laws to ascertain their applicability to this attack. “Under any criteria, this must qualify as terrorism,” he said. Jagdeo related that relatives reported that the attackers’ intent was not theft, since engines and other assets were left. “The purpose of the hijacking was not to steal…the

relatives said to me that the fish, engine, seine remained in the…the purpose of going out there was a sole one, to kill people.” According to him, because of the difficulty in Guyanese securing permits to fish in Surinamese waters, many have migrated to Suriname. “Some 95 per cent of fishing in Suriname done by Guyanese,” he said. Given the seriousness of the matter, Jagdeo reiterated his disappointment over the “routine” response from Government. He referred to the fact that it was more than a week after the fact, that Minister Ramjattan saw it fit to merely say to the Surinamese authorities that Guyana will collaborate. “If this doesn’t represent negligence and lack of care, nothing does,” he said. OUTREACH Meanwhile, updating the media on his visit to Suriname over the weekend, Jagdeo noted that his engagement with hundreds of Guyanese affected, both directly and indirectly, support his view that the matter is not being treated as seriously as it should,. “If they had gone and met with Guyanese on the ground, then they would have realised how serious this matter is. And we would not have routine statements coming from the government in addressing this matter,” he said. Notably, while Jagdeo lead a team from the Parliamentary Opposition to Suriname, Minister Ramjattan flew to Suriname on Saturday night to meet with Surinamese authorities and met with some relatives of victims at Guyana’s embassy in Suriname. The Opposition Leader stated that this tragedy will affect families, will fuel fear among other fishermen and will result in economic consequences. “Our presence in Suriname was intended to lend solidarity to them (those affected) and secondly, we wanted our presence there to raise the level of awareness in our government and push them to act in a manner befitting crime of this nature,” he said.

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Weekend Mirror May 12-13, 2018  
Weekend Mirror May 12-13, 2018