Dear Editor,The insistence of the caretaker coalition Government for the data from the un-scrutinised House-to-House Registration to be merged with the National Register of Registrants Data Base (NRRDB) – which has been updated through several cycles of Continuous Registration and used as the basis for the last several elections, including the 2015 General and Regional Elections that led to the APNU/AFC coalition taking office – must be rejected as a perpetuation of delay tactics.Any merger with the NRRDB is worrisome for several reasons. Firstly, the merger of the data with the existing National Register of Registrants will contaminate the database and it may take months to address any such contamination. Secondly, the data gathered is suspect since the gathering of said information was not scrutinised. Thirdly, the form used in the House-to-House Registration was not the statutory form required for such a purpose.Editor, it is clear that the push for a merger is premised on the caretaker coalition Government’s obsession with holding on to power – even if it means trampling of the Constitution of Guyana, which mandated that elections are to be held within three months of the successful passage of the No-Confidence Motion – that is by March 21, 2019.The fact that the caretaker coalition Government has a complicit partner within the Secretariat of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is also not lost on the Guyanese people, given the options that were presented on the way forward by the Secretariat. Only today we saw another statutory GECOM meeting concluded without any serious talk about preparations for elections.There can be no more delays, since Guyana is already over five months past the constitutional deadline for elections.Additionally, Editor, the comments by the Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, as quoted by News Room in an article on September 6, 2019, headlined “No ‘credible, practical’ alternative to merger of House-to-House data – Harmon”, is misleading at best. While Mr Harmon insists that opponents of the merger have provided no “credible, practical and efficient alternative” he selectively forgets that the time-tested option of Claims and Objections is available. This proposal we have been making will capture new registrants and sanitise the list of those who are deceased among other things.There is no reason why extraneous matters should be allowed to cloud the situation at hand. A Preliminary List of Electors should be extracted from the National Register of Registrants Data Base and a Claims and Objections exercise should commence almost immediately to allow Guyana to move toward an election and end the uncertainty plaguing all sections of society.Let’s all be reasonable and act with integrity.Sincerely,Bishop Juan Edghill,PPP/CParliamentarian
Dear Editor,I refer to a letter in a section of the media on October 18, 2019, captioned “The poor are invisible to the critics of cash transfers” written by David Hinds. While this idea from the WPA is something to reflect upon, the substance of the cash transfer models lies in the details.Mind you, I am not saying the idea is not a good one. I am on record recommending conditional cash transfers, albeit on a more economically feasible scale. At that time, my brand of conditionality placed a fixed cap of US$90 million on cash transfers being made to every tax registered resident of Guyana. I also advocated at that time for these expenditures to be only payable for long term investments in oneself like housing, education, transportation assets, etc rather than on rum and other consumables. Plus I applied an additional conditionality that you must register with the GRA for a TIN Certificate to ensure that the GRA and NIS have you on their radar.The way this model works is that if you repair your house (as an example), you can apply to a new Cash Transfer Unit in the Ministry of Finance for reimbursement up to your cash limit. Once the investigators confirm that these were bonafide purchases, the funds are transferred to a bank account of your choice. This does four things – puts everyone into the banking system, on GRA’s radar, in the NIS database and finally allows for cash to be transferred directly to the population.These cash balances are accumulative and can be withdrawn anytime. A child born in 2025 will automatically receive his cash transfer in his account because every Guyanese has to register at the GRA from birth. So by 2030, this child will have five years’ supply of cash available to pay for his education. At the retirement age of 65, whatever balance is left in your account, you will have the power to withdrawals any parts of it from the scheme for any purpose whatsoever (no conditions for the retirees).Since my interview with a section of the media, much has changed on the discovery front and the computations have evolved to a new distribution level of about US$400 million a year, which computes now to about US$600 per year per person starting in 2025. But this number is at great variance from the WPA’s proposal of US$5000 per year per household.If one is to read the Demerara Waves of September 29, 2019, it reported: “Thomas proposes to transfer 10 per cent oil revenues to households”. Using his statistics, he declared that there are approximately 210,000 households in Guyana. Is he saying each household will get one oil check per year? How fair is that if one household has 2 persons whilst the other has 8 persons? Which one is needier than the other?I have used the only credible data that I have seen on Guyana’s revenue stream from the oil sector (a comprehensive study done by Rystad). They had three estimates and in my world when you are doing financial planning, you pay attention to the most conservative option (in this case, an oil price of US$50 per bbl). Based at that level, Rystad found in August 2019, that Guyana will get closer to US$58 billion in profit oil over the next 20 years commencing in 2020 and peaking around 2033. Of course, this projection from Rystad is subject to change as more wells are discovered. But my elders always thought me, do not count your chickens before they hatch, so I shall stay grounded in the current data until more discoveries are made.Using the Rystad data, the computation illustrates that at the conservative level of US$50 per bbl, if 10 per cent of the oil wealth is distributed to 210,000 households starting in 2025, only US$1904 per year is available for distribution. Yet Clive Thomas spouts a figure of UDS$5000 per year. (see table below)Of course, the WPA argues that their estimated price for oil will be US$70 per bbl. But when I review the just-released EIA projections, the conservative oil price by 2030 will be below US$50 per bbl and this makes sense considering the rapid increase in available renewable energy options. So even this computed number of US$1905 using the WPA model seems high. What this entire exercise has revealed is that this WPA’s unsubstantiated figure of US$5000 is nothing but a “voodoo” number; totally bogus. This US$5000 number was designed as a cheap political trick to game the system as the silly season commences whereby the WPA seeks relevance as the PNC continues to assert itself in that group called the APNU. At least the more mature political parties (PPP and PNC) have rejected this insanity and have put out a more reasoned position on conditional distribution.I look forward to the reasoned positions on this debate.Regards,Sasenarine Singh
All doubts have been laid to rest after DNA testing confirmed the body found at Nurney Village, Corentyne, Berbice is that of British teen Dominic Bernard.Murder accused, Aaron HingMurdered teen: Dominic BernardCrime Chief Wendell Blanhum late Thursday evening confirmed that the DNA results were collected and proved to be that of the young man who went missing on the night he arrived in Guyana.He stated that although Krystal Thomas, Sinfinee Henry and Jameel Sinclair have been granted bail by the High Court, the two main perpetrators Aaron Hing and Staymon George are on remand.Now that DNA testing has confirmed that the remains are that of the teenager, the Police will hand over them to the family to make funeral arrangements.The 18-year-old was collected upon his arrival at the Cheddi Jagan international Airport (CJIA) in October last by Hing, his Godbrother, of Kildonan village, Corentyne, Berbice, but he vanished after that night.The relatives of the teenager made a missing person’s report three months later. Two days after the report was made, the Godbrother disappeared, raising suspicions.Hing was arrested at a house in Timehri, East Bank Demerara and Staymon George, who also became a person of interest, was arrested in Georgetown. One day after the arrest, a body suspected to be that of the missing teenager was discovered in a shallow grave at Kildonan.Following the discovery, they both confessed to robbing and murdering the teenager who had close to £2000 and a quantity of camera equipment. They admitted collecting the teen from the Airport on October 14, 2015 and on their way to Berbice, they stopped along Sheriff Street where they ate and drank a few beers.The confession led to the arrest of three other persons, one of whom was Jameel Sinclair who took investigators aback the Nurney Village where he claimed he was instructed to hide several components of the teen’s camera.Murder accused, Staymon GeorgeShortly after, the Guyana Police Force charged Hing, 22; George, 23; Thomas, 20; Henry, 39, and Sinclair, 20, for the murder. They were remanded to prison on the indictable charge.However, on Tuesday, Thomas, Henry and Sinclair were granted bail by the High Court after an application was filed on their behalf.The petition was heard and granted by Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry at the Demerara High Court in the sum of $300,000 each, and the trio was instructed to report to the Whim Police Station on a regular basis.
– gun, ammo foundPolice in the Mazaruni have arrested two armed bandits who on Sunday evening robbed a gold miner of a large quantity of raw gold after they brutally chopped him about his body.Police said that the men were arrested Monday evening. The Police said Neil Jordan, 42, a miner of Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), was at a mining camp at Farback Backdam, Mazaurni, when he was held up by two men who were armed with a firearm and a cutlass.During the incident, Jordan was chopped to his body by the men who took away a quantity of raw gold before escaping.Police responded to the report and managed to intercept the two perpetrators in the Mazaruni area.Law enforcement recovered an unlicensed 9mm pistol with seven rounds and a cutlass.The men remain in custody and charges are likely to be laid before the end of the week.
in keeping with the President’s vision of promoting a “green Guyana”, Minister of Education Rupert Roopnaraine has proposed the introduction of “green classrooms” which would bring the country closer to achieving its goals by placing more emphasis on climate change within the school curriculum.The minister was at the time delivering remarks at an awards ceremony for outstanding educators at the National Cultural Centre on Monday.While noting that the ministry is mulling a review of the curriculums offered in Guyana, Roopnaraine informed that it is their aim to not only focus on the central activities offered in schools but rather to integrate environmental learning.Since climate change and greening the environment is one of the more topical issues currently trending worldwide, being that its effects are not limited to specific countries only, Roopnaraine called for much thought to be given in introducing green classroom learning.This he believes would place Guyana at a better point of accomplishing its vision of having a country that is more sustainable and green through initiatives for this cause.Nothing that classroom learning is fundamental to effecting changes in a nation since education is the gateway to development, Roopnaraine mentioned that this would be a step forward for the country as it relates to educating the population about safe environmental habits.“President Granger talks about a green economy and greening Guyana and we know to create a green Guyana we have to green our classrooms, which means that we have to elevate climate change, climate literacy, and environmental literacy” the minister stated.He added that work has already began to this effect as the ministry is aiming to have climate change education become a more crucial part of the national curriculum as they believe this would be a valuable method of relaying information that would bring about transformation.Alluding to recent programmes by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) known as the Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development, Roopnaraine called for Guyana to take pattern of this since it would ensure a more central role of the environment in classroom teaching.This, he said, would also make the topic more crucial as part of the country’s global response to climate change.“We need to enhance and intensify the programmes in the classroom to increase climate literacy among young people and the only way that we can do this is by encouraging innovative teaching projects that would integrate climate change into the schools” the minister noted.To make this possible, he stated, the country should “work hard on building networks, partnerships” since “we need to understand the work of greening the classroom and greening Guyana is going to be the most important work that we can do in the years to come”As climate change has arrived on top of the agenda for immediate worldwide intervention, UNESCO had initiated its COP21 Conference in Paris which saw leaders from across the world signing up to become advocates in their country for promoting a green environment.President David Granger had signed on to this indicating that he would introduce initiatives that would promote a green world.
Of recent, calls have been made for both constitutional reforms to be effected and social cohesion to prevail without much examination of the correlation between the two issues.Anil Nandlall, Ravi Dev and David Hinds on ‘The Factor’, aired on TVG Channel 28During a recent interview on local television broadcast, ‘The Factor”, which airs on TVG Channel 28, three prominent political commentators have explored the concepts of constitutional reform and its nexus with social cohesion, sharing ideas of how both concepts can be integrated into the Guyanese society in order to move the country forward in a more inclusive manner.Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall agreed foremost that social cohesion is important to any society but in Guyana, he does not see the constitution as a major mechanism in achieving that objective.He contended that the urgent need for constitutional reform is not necessarily to achieve social cohesion, as there are other factors that must be involved for unity to prevail among the citizenry.Nandlall explored the concept of inclusive government and how it relates to promoting social cohesion, and in conclusion noted that with Guyana’s current political atmosphere, progress can never be made in this regard.Speaking generally, Nandlall said the political system is not dysfunctional but rather, it is not being allowed to work: “If the Opposition was allowed to function conceptually in the effective role it is supposed to function in, in terms of given powers we ought to have as Opposition, the regions won being allowed to have the autonomy entitled to, allowed to function with that independence, then it would not be a winner take all situation.”He further explained that the executive government which wins the election would have the executive power however, civil society and other arms will have the independence to exercise the power in which they were entitled.On the other hand, David Hinds believes the constitution has an integral role to play in the fostering of social cohesion in Guyana.He argued that while reforming the constitution will not directly bring about social cohesion, it will “free up” the people from the various insecurities that affect or impact their decisions: “It will free up the notion that I have to vote for this party, that I have to keep out the other party.”Hinds emphasised that need for inclusionary government, positing that there needs to be constitutional reform in this area in order for social cohesion to follow.“When the government hogs the power, it is in the context of the constitution,” he stated, explaining that the constitution gives way for abuse to easily prevail.In this regard, he contended that the winner-takes-all system must be abandoned: “The system of governance, where whichever party wins, wins the entire government, then social cohesion goes through the window because it means that those who are not in the government are effectively excluded from exercising real tangible powers.”Ravi Dev also agreed that the constitution has an important role to play in promoting social cohesion in Guyana. He contended that if people do not see themselves or their rights being represented by those in the government, then they will never accept the realities around them.On this note, Dev posited that constitutional reform needs to take place in order to address the fundamental cleavages in the society.
As Guyana prepares to observe National Breastfeeding Week from Sunday, a series of events have been planned to sensitise the public on the importance of breastfeeding. Beverage giant Banks DIH Limited has already made a warm donation towards the cause. The series of events are planned by employees of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).The programme will begin on Sunday at 07:00h with a Breastfeeding Awareness Walk for all staff of the institution, commencing at the junction of Vlissengen Road and Lamaha Street and ending at the Maternity Unit Car Park.In support of this year’s activity, Banks DIH has donated bottles of Rainforest Water and Well J Juice drink for Sunday’s event. The beverage company’s Brand Manager, Clive Pellew, made the presentation during a simple ceremony held on Friday at the GPHC. Denise Marks, Departmental Supervisor of the Maternity Unit, received the donation on behalf of the medical institution. Also in attendance were Keith Alonzo, Director of Nursing Services (ag); and Banks DIH Communications Manager Troy Peters.Marks thanked the beverage company for supporting the walk, which she said is one of the main highlights of the week of activities; while Peters said his company was very appreciative in supporting the venture which promotes the importance of breastfeeding in Guyana.According to the Departmental Supervisor, there will be an educational programme on Monday for anti-natal mothers at the Anti-Natal Clinic, while on Wednesday, new staff of the institution will attend a lecture on the importance of breastfeeding.The GPHC was recently declared a baby-friendly institution by the World Health Organisation/UNICEF.
Guyana-Venezuela border controversy… as Venezuela issues “vituperative statement”The Foreign Affairs Ministry in Guyana on Tuesday condemned a statement by the Venezuelan Government on 117th anniversary of the 1899 Arbitral Award handed down in Paris regarding the border controversy between Guyana and that country.A statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Guyana said Venezuela marked the occasion with an insulting statement unworthy of a law abiding member of the international community.“Its statement is a reaffirmation of Venezuela’s disrespect for the rule of law among nations. It is a frenzied display of ill temper from forces with whom history has caught up, revealing the tangled web of falsehoods on which their specious claims to Guyana’s Essequibo were built,” the Ministry’s statement said.It added that Guyana on the other hand marks the occasion by the issuance of a booklet in English and Spanish – The New Conquistadors/Los Nuevos Conquistadores – which gives an account of the Tribunal’s Award and Venezuela’s sixty-year recognition and respect for it. The booklet commemorates the award of one of the most prestigious judicial tribunals ever assembled under its most eminent Russian Chairman.“The Venezuelan statement of October 4, 2016 perpetuates the falsities that have marked its predatory campaign and have continued in relation to Guyana’s maritime space. Its greed for territory has added a new dimension of Guyana’s maritime resources,” it said.According to the Ministry, the New Conquistadors offers to the entire world the true account of these events and illustrates the urgency of the need to bring this egregious Venezuelan misconduct to an end as the international community grapples for the supremacy of law and order worldwide.“Guyana continues to uphold and respect the Arbitral Award of 1899. It will defend its validity in the world’s highest courts and expose Venezuela’s sordid efforts to besmirch Guyana’s development agenda. The New Conquistadors tells the story of these unworthy actions and the threats they continue to pose to Guyana, the Caribbean and beyond through their attack on the sanctity of treaties on which human civilisation depends,” it added.Outgoing United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pledged to assess the border dispute between Guyana and Venezuela before he leaves office.During a meeting with Guyana President David Granger on the sidelines of the just concluded UN General Assembly, Mr Ki-moon said his assessment will most likely be given in November.Granger, who accepted the timetable, has committed to providing the Secretary General with any additional information needed to complete the assessment. “We have been very impressed with the seriousness with which you have approached the problem and your own sincerity… We have been personally convinced that you want to bring closure to this matter,” the President said.
With no new cases to report in the past few days, the dust seems to be gradually settling around the ebola virus scare which literally rocked the nation in the month of April. This could not have been achieved without the effective response of Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and other national and international stakeholders; as well as the immense support received from friendly nations such as the United States and the People’s Republic of China. For the good health we continue to enjoy, every Liberian owes you great debt of gratitude.Although service providers continue to wear their gloves in various businesses and individuals continue to use hand sanitizers after every handshake, one can safely say, that if nothing at all, the ebola threat clearly reawakened Liberians to increased hygiene and personal responsibility.Looking back, we realize that throughout the entire month’s episode, health care workers were at the forefront of it all: attending to patients, following up on supposed rumors, assisting in efforts to quarantine suspected cases, collecting blood samples for analysis, raising awareness, etc. In an effort to contain the situation, this close range contact exposed health care workers to disease risks several hundred times more pronounced than that of the average citizen. Just think about it. The nurse on duty at the time could have been your mother. The doctor could have been your uncle. The physician assistant could have been your friend. But yet, their health and safety was continuously placed in clear and present danger, all in an effort to perform their sacred duty of preserving the sanctity of human life-yours and mine.While health care workers, by virtue of training, are generally the most cautious of all professionals, religiously wearing gloves and appropriate protective clothing as well as washing their hands before and after attending to patients, in general, people’s exposure to communicable diseases, harmful substances or high risk environments tend to be directly proportional to their occupation. For lifetime miners, it’s susceptibility to some forms of cancer, for farmers using pesticides, it’s possible respiratory distress, for construction workers, it’s injuries and falls and for health care workers, as we saw in the ebola outbreak in neighboring Guinea in which many medics contracted the disease and lost their lives, it was increased risk of exposure to a deadly communicable disease.As we revisit the drawing board and attempt to extract the lessons learnt and perhaps define the way forward following such a drastic disease scare, the often forgotten field of environmental and occupational health demands a careful revisit. According to the National Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, “The Government of Liberia is legally obliged and committed to ensuring a healthy and safe working environment for all employees in both the public and private sectors of Liberia. How we ensure the health and safety of Liberia’s recovering workforce across all sectors of society is crucial.The case of the recent ebola threat is just a resounding reminder of just how interconnected our lives really are and a reflection of just how susceptible we each are to the workplace exposures of our loved ones. Most importantly, it is reawakening to the consciousness that in the fragile national public health puzzle, we too, as employers or employees, decision makers or advocates, policy formulators or enforcers, young or old, rich or poor, male or female, play major roles by the things we do or fail to in our individual lives as well as in the workplace.So, before we close this rather dramatic chapter and move on to other more appealing ventures, as is so common in the face of victory, let’s be reminded dear reader, that the recent ebola threat along with the many other workplace hazards we each encounter each day—potential fire incidences, falls and strains, injuries and fractures from handling heavy duty equipment, exposure to communicable diseases, possible cancer risks from handling harmful substances—are just more reasons why environmental and occupational health must be revisited and prioritized.Author’s affiliation: M. Sc., Environmental Health-Harvard School of Public Health, Cyprus International Institute B. Sc. Zoology, emphasis Public Health-University of Ghana-Legon, 2012 Harvard Cyprus Program FellowShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
LPRC Oilers and Mighty Barrolle over the weekend leveled the marks in the ongoing ‘Best-out-of-three’ basketball matches, dubbed semi-finals at the Open-air Sports Commission on Broad Street.The triple basketball champs LPRC-Oilers narrowly pinned NPA Pythons, 76-75 points on Friday to rotate the score, having suffered in the first derby 85-69 to Pythons.On Saturday, Mighty Barrolle thumped Timber Wolves 58-56 points to redeem the score after being defeated 54-49 points.Both Friday and Saturday’s games were described by spectators as pulsating victories.In the second division, Georgia Blazers and Heats crossed over to the finals, known as the ‘best-out-of-five,’ which is expected to kick-off Friday, June 27, 2014.The Blazers and Heats qualified when they won their two last games against Uhuru Prince and Bushrod Bulls; 80-77 and 55-54 points respectively.In the female division, K-Delta also qualified after winning her last match 50-26 points, while Timber Wolves are at the verge, beating Supreme Sister, 72-26 points.Meanwhile, up to press time yesterday, Mighty Barrolle and Timber Wolves as well as LPRC Oilers and NPA Pythons were scheduled to clash to decide the winners for the grand finals.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)