Kaieteur News Online Edition of Guyana's Leading Daily 2015-08-31T06:08:52Z http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/feed/atom/ KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[NEW GPC and Hand-In-Hand own 50% of Berbice Bridge]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364123 2015-08-31T05:04:40Z 2015-08-31T04:55:46Z – Contractual agreements allow providers of 5% of capital to control the bridge and receive 23% annual return
By Kiana Wilburg  

The saga of the Berbice River Bridge Company Inc. continues to reveal even more interesting details as Kaieteur News understands from experts very close to the Bridge that the current contractual arrangements allow for two entities to control 50 percent of the company: The NEW GPC and Hand In Hand Trust Corporation.
New GPC, a company owned by Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop has close relations to former President Bharrat Jagdeo and, according to an article on chrisram.net some time ago, that company has two Directors on the Board.
The structure of the company allows equity shareholders whose investment is less than five percent ($400 million) of the total funds of the company to exercise controlling interest over the company. Of the $400 million, the Ramroop Group owns 40 percent and the Hand-in-Hand Group owns 10 percent.
The contract also provides for the equity shareholders to receive 23 percent on their investments. The coalition government, in the lead up to the May 11, 2015 elections, had accused the previous administration of hijacking the Berbice Bridge Company Inc. (BBCI), deliberately structuring operations in a manner that allowed investors and their close friends with disproportionately small investment to control the company.
To ease the burden on users of the bridge, Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, pursued the reduction of the tolls in a phased manner. The first phase sees the toll reduction for cars, from $2,200 to $1,900. This was announced during the budget presentation. It was set for implementation on Tuesday, (September 1). Jordan had also indicated a 10 percent reduction on other categories of vehicles.
But the Finance Minister at a recent post Cabinet press briefing revealed that the implementation of the reduction seems to be in limbo at the moment. He disclosed that the prescribed toll reduction was in limbo because BBCI’s Directors decided to take that matter to its shareholders.
Jordan believed that the Bridge Company was deliberately delaying the implementation of the toll reduction.
The reduction is estimated to see the Company collect annually about $120M-$140M less from commuters but with Government compensating them with an equivalent amount. For the remaining months of the year, the Government has allocated $36M.

New GPC’s owner, Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop

New GPC’s owner, Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop

Former President Bharrat Jagdeo

Former President
Bharrat Jagdeo

In a full page advertisement published in yesterday’s edition of Kaieteur News, the company is denying that it is deliberately delaying the reductions. “This is not so. The BBCI is as anxious as all other Guyanese to provide the best service to the Berbice Bridge commuters at an affordable price.”
BBCI pointed out that just as the government was forced to defer several of its campaign promises based on the need to comply with existing laws, so too are the Directors of the BCCI constrained by the Berbice Bridge Act and Regulations.
The Bridge Company said that it signed a legally binding contract with the PPP/C Government called a “Concession Agreement”.
The statement noted that at an initial August 12 meeting between the government and the Company, the Government proposed a schedule of subsidies to commuters based on the existing toll structure.
BBCI said that it stressed during the meeting with Government that it would like further discussions to take place on the proposal and an extension in the concession period from 21 years to 40 years: or for the Government to give consideration to an application for an increase in toll made to the PPP/C Government on March 15, 2015. The government said that no agreement was reached with BBCI.
“We cannot therefore understand why the Minister would suggest that ‘delaying tactics’ are being employed. Other discussions also took place concerning the timing of subsidy payments but the BBCI team made it clear that nothing could be agreed until the matter is discussed by its full board and stakeholders.

New GPC director,  Ravie Ramcharitar

New GPC director,
Ravie Ramcharitar

Director Keith Evelyn

Director Keith Evelyn

The company said that Government proceeded as if it was a done deal, simply to fulfill a campaign promise on the BBCI tolls. This was made without any consultations.
BBCI also claimed that it lost $1.2B because it has not been granted an increase in tolls. It could face insolvency if the process is not done right, BCCI added.
“Directors of BBCI have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the company. Any agreement to a subsidy without honouring the toll adjustment formula set out in the Concession Agreement will result in the BBCI defaulting on its obligation to repay debt in 2015 and possible insolvency.”
This year, over $500M in debt repayment to investors is required. Directors cannot change the agreements reached with the investors in the bridge as represented by the trustee for the debt and the shareholders for the equity. Such decision must involve an agreement with the trustee and the shareholders.”
Any change in the Concession Agreement and the Toll Order which is made by the Government –the last one was made in 2009 by the Minister of Public Works–requires the approval of the Trustee and the Shareholders, BBCI claimed.
The company said that it expects government to fully commit to honouring the legislation, concession agreement, and the rights enshrined in the various agreements related to the Berbice Bridge. “A subsidy divorced from honoring the BBCI Concession Agreement could very well result in bankruptcy for the BBCI.”
The current Directors of the Company are said to be Keith Evelyn, Ravi Ramcharitar, Avalon Jagnandan, Gillian Burton, Egbert Carter, Paul Cheong, Cecil Kennard, and Maurice Solomon. Jagnandan and Ramcharitar are both Directors in New GPC.
Government’s lead negotiator in the toll increase is Attorney-at-Law, Chris Ram, while for the BBCI, Ravi Dev, is representing New GPC on the Board.
Ram, earlier this year, wrote that Government, inclusive of the NIS, owns 76 percent of the issued shares of the company. NICIL, Ram said, owns what is called a Special Share in the company and according to the Articles of Amendment of the company “no action can be taken by the Bridge Company, without the affirmative vote” of NICIL.
The NIS has $950M in Preference Shares and is entitled to fixed dividends. The equity shareholders are Secure International Finance Company ($80 million); Demerara Contractors Limited ($40M); Hand in Hand Motor & Life Insurance Company ($40M), the Ramroop Group ($160 M) and the NIS ($80 M).
Ram, who has written extensively on the Bridge, has lamented the fact that despite having some 70 percent of the issued shares as well as a Special Share, control of the company is exercised by less than a handful of entities.
The lawyer has also written on various occasions noting the losses being made by the company due to its contractual arrangements.
Finance Minister Jordan had lamented on subsequent investments into the bridge by NIS. In the National Assembly on Friday, he described the investments as being “reckless” and “criminal”. He said that between 2009 to now, NIS has lost $1.8B and in spite of this, made another insane and suspect investment into the Berbice Bridge of nearly $1B to which they are still to collect income on.
Jordan said that NIS is at a point where it cannot give full benefits to its faithful contributors and believes that the Consolidated Fund at the end of the day may be asked to make good on this loss.

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[MPs turned National Assembly into a fish market]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364154 2015-08-31T05:36:49Z 2015-08-31T04:54:52Z …Opposition concedes

By Kiana Wilburg
“Thief…whore…son-of-a-b**ch”.
These derogatory remarks were not used during a recent “cuss-out” at Bourda Market or a rum shop brawl.
These terms came out of the mouths of Guyana’s respected Parliamentarians in the National Assembly during the 2015 budget debates and deliberations. pic
On several occasions, like an overworked boxing match referee, Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland, appealed to Members of Parliament to engage “in a clean debate.” At times, he was forced to slam his gavel to call the House to order, given the harsh trading of insults. Often he implored, “Members I am certain we can use better language, we can do better than that in this Honourable House.”
But it was like throwing the proverbial water on duck’s back, as even last Friday before the House moved into its one-month recess, this behaviour was on display again.
Members during the 2015 debates were so caught up in their trading of insults that they often forgot to extend the courtesy of being silent when the Speaker was addressing the House.
Several Parliamentarians throughout the debates expressed that they felt the Honourable National Assembly was transformed into a Fish market given the behaviour of some members.
Speaking to the issue, Prime Minister and Leader of the House, Moses Nagamootoo said that he believes that members on both sides could have done a better job in showing respect for the Parliament.
“I sincerely believe that we could have conducted ourselves in the House with decorum and respect for each other, in spite of the fact that we have a political divide and the fact that we belong to two different political blocks. Additionally, there are members of the House who just recently held positions in high offices such as Advisor to the President and ministers.  But while one might  forgive the Opposition backbenchers who are new for certain unparliamentary conduct, I cannot say the same for those who know what they are saying and intend to say what they are saying and the intention is to disrespect, demean and degrade members of the government,” said the First Vice President.
Nagamootoo believes that because he tabled the No-Confidence motion which led to the PPP administration being dethroned in the last elections, he and other members have been targets of abusive remarks from those in the Opposition benches.
“I am seen by the PPP as the one who took office from them and who triggered a process where they are in the Opposition and so they blame me…It’s a letdown and it hurts their ego and when egos are wounded it is not expected that they would have consideration for others ,” added Nagamootoo.
But the Prime Minister said that while he expected the heckling and statements that bordered on blatant disrespect, one comment from an Opposition member shocked him the most.
He said that he did not expect such “low” behaviour from the Opposition’s Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira who he has worked with for many years.
“She looked at me in the face and said “you are the son of a b***h” in the parliament …this is not heckling. It is a disease of the mind that would allow you to be so condemnatory in the House.”
The politician said that the posture of the Opposition is to “show that they are big and bad.”
The Prime Minister believes that while heckling is characteristic of most Parliaments, in his opinion, the Opposition went too far.
Kaieteur News spoke with Teixeira on the allegation which other members from the government’s side claim to have heard and she categorically denied it. The Opposition Chief Whip said that she would never use such terms as she believes that it is even disrespectful to women.
Nonetheless, former Attorney General Anil Nandlall is of the view that heckling is an acceptable aspect of parliamentary life. He did concede that both sides of the House were guilty of making disrespectful utterances in the House and going overboard. But what he found most disturbing was the “consistent shouting” from the government’s backbenchers, particularly from Junior Minister of Social Protection, Simona Broomes.
He said that the behavior of Broomes and those similar to hers “transformed the honourable House into a fish market.”
Nandlall said he even appealed to the government members to calm Ms. Broomes.
“I do my own heckling but I am complaining about Broomes and that particular group. Their behaviour bordered on disrespect for the House and the Speaker. Members from the Government side who called us thieves several times were also out of order and it was nothing but unparliamentary behaviour.”
The Former AG claimed too that there were racial slurs uttered by the Prime Minister against the Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo. He claimed that Jagdeo was referred to as a “coolie bully.”
Nandlall said that Nagamootoo tried to substantiate the use of the word by saying he was merely quoting a letter writer in the daily newspaper.
“Imagine if someone used the N-word in the Parliament and tried to give an excuse that it was a letter writer they are quoting. How would that make you feel? It is wrong. Racial slurs should not be encouraged at all let alone in the House,” added the former Attorney General.
Nandlall said that it is most unfortunate that the Speaker did not reprimand any of the Government Parliamentarians for their crude language in the House.
But for Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan, he believes that there will always be heckling as it is part and parcel of a robust parliament system.
Ramjattan said that while heckling should have limitations, he believes that it should be left to the Speaker of the National Assembly to determine what really constitutes “crossing the line.”
“Members should be allowed to heckle. We have freedom of speech. We have a right to say how we feel about the other side and there are strong personalities in the House and so you will find at times that we will cross the lines and reach some low levels when it comes to heckling. But I don’t think heckling should be curbed. We will only get to the subtle, witty and effective quality of insults with practice,” expressed The Public Security Minister.
As for government’s constant referral to the Opposition members as thieves during the budget 2015 debates, Ramjattan saw nothing wrong with this.
“This was not out of order. It was not unparliamentary for us to call them thieves. This is absolutely correct given what we know,” an impassioned Ramjattan exclaimed.

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[Dem boys seh…Eye pass ain’t got limit]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364143 2015-08-31T05:25:34Z 2015-08-31T04:51:02Z When fowl eye pass corn it really bad but corn does always stick up in he throat and kill am. Dem boys grandmother always use to tell dem that. Even grandfather Soulja Bai know that saying.
But it look like dem at de Berbice Bridge don’t know de saying and something gun stick up in dem very soon.
Jagdeo, de man who resemble de devil and who think he got de world of sense, and everybody else stupid, design de deal fuh de Berbice Bridge suh he best friend, Ramroop, and Brassington can enjoy de best of everything from de bridge.
He mek sure that dem put in li’l bit money and own de bridge. He set it up so that dem get de best fixed rate of return, whether de bridge mek a profit or not.
Jagdeo go so far as to mek sure that nutten disturb de money from going into dem pocket. He stop de ferry that was carrying passengers and vehicles, plus he stop all private speedboat from carrying school children cross de river.
He force poor people to spend more than dem can afford.
This new Govt, before de election, did promise to reduce de toll pun de bridge. Now when dem try to mek de promise a reality up come these greedy good for nutten SOBs refusing to drop de toll. Instead dem asking to increase de toll.
Dem tell Soulja Bai he got a choice. De Govt can pay de increase or extend dem 20 year contract to 40 years.
It mean that dem gun be collecting money till de bridge collapse because de bridge can’t live out 40 years. This, dem boys seh, is beyond eye pass and every other pass.
These few blood suckers tek dem eyes and pass de govt, de people, every dog, cat and lizard that have to cross de bridge.
Dem raping a child and de whole nation got to stand up and watch.
Dem boys seh that Soulja Bai, Moses, Li’l Joe, Rum Jattan and de whole pack of dem should show de country and de whole world that dem ain’t got pya pya and that dem got balls.
Lock up all de bridge owners, pay dem de money dem put in and tek over de bridge.
Every cane cutter, school teacher, policeman, nurse, Uncle Glenn and Uncle Adam would then want to put a dollar just to ease de burden pun de poor.
Talk half and dm boys watching wha de new kids on de block will do.

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[Should the State media only express positive views of a Government?]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364121 2015-08-31T05:43:36Z 2015-08-31T04:31:11Z – veteran journalist weighs in

Veteran journalist Bert Wilkinson believes that Government should appoint a Board of Directors to work along with editors at the State-owned Chronicle, to fix polices that the newspaper has been lacking for far too long.
Wilkinson, an international correspondent, was among several notable journalists who responded to a Kaieteur News query on the extent of control that the Government of the day should have on the State-owned entity.
The previous Opposition had condemned the tight grip that the PPP/C had on the State media, particularly during the recent General and Regional Elections, when only positive views of the Government were published, while the Opposition was portrayed in a negative light.
Concerns that this state of affairs is continuing under the new government arose after Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo allegedly expressed disappointment to a Chronicle reporter over a story about what transpired in the National Assembly.
The headline of the story was “Gov’t blunders on Budget Estimates…violates laws assented to by President Granger and was published on Tuesday, August 25.

Glenn Lall

Glenn Lall

 Adam Harris

Adam Harris

Sections of the media then reported that as a result of the publication of that article, editors at the Chronicle were ordered to have all headlines vetted by Director of Public Information, Imran Khan before publication.
But Khan has refuted the reports, while Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo also debunked this report in a Facebook post.
An editorial in the Chronicle subsequently stated that “ a State newspaper, like all other newspapers, has vested interests, politically and ideologically. Ours arise from the government’s thrust; there is no running away from that.”
The editorial also stated that The Chronicle, “is owned by the State, and is, therefore, expected to editorially support the general thrust of the government of the day.”
Wilkinson agrees that the state-owned newspaper should be one that gives the government a chance to highlight all its programmes.
“But the government should not abuse its privileges… the paper should be allowed to have other content and be credible enough to be purchased.”

Fredrick Kissoon

Fredrick Kissoon

Dennis Charbol

Dennis Charbol

Bert Wilkinson

Bert Wilkinson

Kaieteur News Editor-In Chief, Adam Harris who served in that same position for several years at the Chronicle said that the paper “can” indeed “support” the general thrust of the State as reflected in the Editorial. But lending support should not be the mandate of the newspaper or at least not the only mandate, Harris contends.
“A State newspaper or State media generally should also offer criticism when it is deserved.  If it is found that the government is working against the interest of the State then the State media has a right to, and should most definitely address this; as at the end of the day it is State media not government media.”
Harris pointed out that BBC is “state owned but not pro government.”  Like Burt Wilkinson, he also advocated for the speedy appointment of a Board of Directors for the Chronicle.
Fredrick Kissoon, columnist at Kaieteur News said that he holistically disagrees with what the editorial describes the role of the newspaper to be. He stated that a State institution is administrated by a government on behalf of the people.
“It just cannot, it simply cannot extrapolate itself and become an actor in its own right. It is a servant of the citizenry. This means that it must, at all times, serve the people.  The State doesn’t have its own interest; it looks after the interest of the people.”
Kissoon alluded to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) saying that “it is not an entity onto itself it is a servant to society; I would think that the State media should be no different.”
Weighing in on the issue, Kaieteur News publisher Glenn Lall said that State media across the world have always been seen as a mouthpiece of the government of the day.
“Of course there are a few across the world that are left to run on its own, like the BBC,  but from time to time you will notice a slant  towards the bosses of the day.
The newspaper publisher said that it is somewhat of an expected norm in third world countries for this to happen and that is why it is imperative to have private media houses.  “You would often see private media houses prospering and usurping the lead role in the media fraternity.”
Most of the time, Lall said, Private media houses do not have an axe to grind and do not take a political stance. “All they wish to see is a better nation.”
Like his colleagues, Dennis Chabrol, Editor in Chief and owner of Demerarawaves.com, said that the State media is owned by State and not the government “and therefore ought to reflect the views of all segments of society. The news should not be tailored to suit the party in power or the government of the day.”
Kissoon, Wilkinson, Harris and Chabrol all agreed that in principle there is nothing wrong with a government having an opinion and airing it in the State-owned news paper. They also said that they will look to see if the same privilege is extended to others with opposing views.
Harris pointed out that “Freddy, (Kissoon) from time to time, writes about things that we at KN might not agree with, but he is allowed to express his opinion. It is the same thing.”
However, Chabrol said that when all is taken into consideration including the Prime Minister’s recent action; it amounts to a creeping misuse of the newspaper. Chabrol said that he fears a repeat of a “vicious cycle” of what occurred under the PNCR and the PPP/C “when these governments misused the media for its own interest.”

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[Needle in infant…Public Health Minister to probe]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364115 2015-08-31T03:12:25Z 2015-08-31T04:29:34Z Minister of Public Health Dr. George Norton has promised a full investigation into the mishap that left 11-month-old Ethan Garnett with a broken syringe needle in his buttocks.
According to reports, the infant was taken to Fort Wellington Hospital a few weeks ago after developing a fever. It was while an injection was being administered to the child that the needle broke.
Dr. Norton on Saturday promised that the incident would attract sanctions should they be deemed necessary.
“It is not as if nothing will come of this, we are going to launch an investigation. And if sanctions are necessary, we will apply sanctions,” the Minister said.
“We don’t want this to happen again. It shouldn’t have happened in the first place and we sympathize with the family.”
Commenting on why such issues might occur in the first place, Norton said that on many occasions medical caregivers are faced with the dilemma of not having the appropriate equipment, in which cases they are forced to improvise.
It is this, Norton suggested, that will oftentimes lead to mishaps such as with Ethan Garnett. It is never an easy decision to improvise, according to the Minister, but in most cases there is no other choice.
The infant’s father, Carlos Garnett of Lot 7 Number 23 Village, West Coast Berbice said that his mother-in-law and sister had taken his son to the hospital after he developed a fever on August 08, last.

 11-month-old Ethan Garnett

11-month-old Ethan Garnett

The father explained that after the child was seen by a doctor at the health institution, a nurse was instructed to administer an injection to him.
According to the aggrieved parent, the child’s grandmother observed that the needle was missing when the syringe was extracted. When she asked the nurse what had happened to the needle, the nurse had informed them it fell to the ground. “So my sister told her to find it,” Garnett recounted.
Reports indicate that after some hesitation, the nurse called out for the doctor who then referred the infant to the New Amsterdam Hospital to have an X-ray done.
“He (the child) was admitted at that hospital for a night after the X-ray revealed that the needle was inside his buttocks, and then he was transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation,” the father said.
It is understood that another X-ray was done at the GPHC, after which the father was advised to take the child home and return two days later.
“I did not go back to that hospital; I went to a private hospital instead, because it was a lot of waiting,” according to Garnett
Kaieteur News was told that at the private hospital, Garnett was informed that if the needle is removed, it can result in further injury.
And this is a view that the Minister of Health has maintained, noting at a subsequent press conference that it was a medical decision not to remove the needle.
“In spite of all the different hospitals and medical doctors that they (the infant’s parents) have seen, all of them (doctors) coincided with the management of this case and the management is to leave it (needle) where it is – it was a medical decision,” the Minister had said.
The Minister had also announced that following the mishap, nurses would be placed under more supervision to prevent similar occurrences.

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[Sophia Indigenous Village ready for Indigenous Heritage Month festivities]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364107 2015-08-31T03:07:54Z 2015-08-31T04:28:47Z …as organisers beckon dawn of golden jubilee celebrations

By Nicholas Peters

Coming alive with architecture, culture and cuisine is the Sophia Exhibition Centre just in time for Indigenous Heritage Month, which officially begins tomorrow. The festivities for September are pushing to be recognised as the “dawn of Independence” celebrations next year.
When Kaieteur News visited the Sophia Indigenous Village yesterday, preparations were fast underway as contractors were putting the final touches on the renovated area. Performers for the month’s cultural shows were also rehearsing their presentations, which will be showcased at tomorrow evening’s opening ceremony.
The heritage buildings were originally constructed in 2008 for the 10th Caribbean Festival of Arts (Carifesta), contractors from the village of Moraikobai.
The village was given the name “Wamlan Paiku Lanau Pona” which is a Patamona term for “Whirl Wind Village”, after a serious squall disrupted the zinc roofing of buildings at the Centre, except the structures that were built with traditional Indigenous methods.
“The buildings that had leaf roofing and didn’t have any nails were largely intact,” recalled Logistics Officer for the Amerindian Development Fund, Ovid Williams. The official also explained that the cultural village will be going through some renovations as the country begins to embark on the “dawn” for Guyana’s golden jubilee next year.
Moreover, Williams explained that each structure in at the Indigenous heritage section was constructed in keeping with the traditional building methods of Guyana’s nine Indigenous tribes respectively: Arawak, Arecuna, Akawaio, Carib, Macushi, Wai Wai and Wapishiana and Warrau. He explained that the Totem pole at the entrance of the village was constructed by members of the Arawak Village of St. Cuthbert’s.

Cultural rehearsals underway at the Sophia Indigenous Village yesterday afternoon.

Cultural rehearsals underway at the Sophia Indigenous Village yesterday afternoon.

Gathering hut for Indigenous Heritage Month’s opening ceremony tomorrow

Gathering hut for Indigenous Heritage Month’s opening ceremony tomorrow

The official explained that the main gathering building at the Indigenous village was constructed using dalibana leaves, sugar wood and baroda trees among other traditional architectural materials. The village will also have an Indigenous themed beverage bar along with an eating house structure.
Recently, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe, had announced that the heritage village will be opened year round for the public to provide a leisurely alternative much in the same likeness as the National Park.

Preparations being completed on the Warrau building at the Sophia Indigenous Village

Preparations being completed on the Warrau building at the Sophia Indigenous Village

Totem pole entrance to Wamlan Paiku Lanau Pona/Whirl Wind Village

Totem pole entrance to Wamlan Paiku Lanau Pona/Whirl Wind Village

According to Williams, the village will be opened on a weekly basis and will incorporate cultural demonstrations that will touch on cuisine preparations. These demonstrations will be held for schools, tourists and raising cultural awareness with locals.
“All the buildings are ready for (Indigenous) Heritage month,” said the official, when asked the state of preparedness of the exhibit settlement. For the initial days of the month, the village is set to host a plethora of cultural events and performances.
While the structures are complete, William shared that rehearsals are ongoing, with some performers still making their way to the capital from far flung regions.
Kaieteur News got the chance to sit through one of the rehearsal sessions and have a preview of what’s to come for the opening ceremony. From what was observed, the opening will showcase the distinctive spiritual and linguistic traditions of the country’s first settlers, through spoken word theatrical pieces.
Speaking to an artistic coordinator for the performances, it was related that this year’s performers are looking to elevate their presentations to a more dynamic level, as they showcase a cultural truthfulness of the country’s Indigenous Peoples.

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[School built for $170M…Parents vow to lock gates over ‘dangerous’ conditions at One Mile Primary]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364118 2015-08-31T03:22:28Z 2015-08-31T04:27:04Z Schools across Guyana are expected to re-open today, and both children and parents eagerly anticipate the beginning of a new school term.
But that’s not the case at One Mile, Wismar, Linden, where parents plan to stage a protest today over what they claim are life-threatening conditions at a new school that has been built there at the cost of some $170M.
A casual glance shows an imposing, freshly-painted structure, seemingly poised for its grand re-opening.
The new structure replaces the old One Mile Primary, which was gutted during the 2012 unrest over the possible increase of electricity tariffs.
The contract for the construction of the new School was signed on December 31 with P.D Contracting Services, and the project was expected to be completed by February 2015.
But now, six months after the due date, and with another school term beginning, everything is still not in place for a smooth transition.

Some of the electrical wires (arrow indicated) that parents say pose a risk to pupils

Some of the electrical wires (arrow indicated) that parents say pose a risk to pupils

There are complaints that at least two classrooms flood whenever there is a heavy downpour of rain.
There are also other complaints of structural and engineering defects. But what parents are most concerned about are the electrical wires that are dangling dangerously within hand-reach of children. The wires are located near to several outdoor taps, which flow into wash-basins containing stagnant water. In addition, some of the electrical panels are uncovered.
‘’We are going to lock the gates to this school and protest because what exists here is very dangerous. These wires are live and look where they are located:  close to a water source. The relevant authorities have to look into this. We are not going to send our children to an environment where they are not safe,” one perturbed parent declared.
That sentiment was echoed by several others who adamantly stated that they will be protesting the re-opening of the school today. The parents also said that they will continue to protest until the necessary systems are put in place to ensure their children’s safety.
Region Ten Chairman Rennis Morian is also not satisfied with the present state of affairs at the multi- million dollar edifice.
He expressed concern about the dangling wires, and also condemned the attitude of a senior official from the previous administration, whom he said came into the Region and unceremoniously handed over the keys to the Head of the school.
The Regional Chairman said that he has had no official word about the opening of the school today.
“I am just hearing about these things by the way, and parents are calling me and expressing concern.
But I am not going to allow parents to send their children to a school where the environment is unsafe.
“This is children’s safety we’re talking about here, so how can you have electrical wires dangling and you hand over the school to the headmistress. This school is incomplete, and I will not allow its reopening until the necessary systems are put in place.”
Morian pointed out that the RDC has responsibility for the school, as it would be listed under its assets. As such, officials should have been present at its handing over to ensure that everything was up to standard.
“You can’t manage Linden from Georgetown. That is why we have a Regional Chairman.”
Morian described this action as an affront to Region Ten and ‘provocative’.
“This is a new dispensation and we are trying to do things in an orderly way, but these people thrive on disorder. And while we are striving for social cohesion in Region Ten and Guyana as a whole, there are still some people who are working contrary to that.
“I want this incident to be the last to happen because I don’t want to see parents and students in a picket line.”
Morian was at the time conducting an inspection of the school. He promised to conduct another today and said that should there be any issues as regard to safety regulations, he would not allow teachers, parents or students to access the facility.
The One Mile Primary was destroyed by arsonists on July 2012, following the month-long protest in Linden over increased electricity tariffs.
Over 800 students and teachers had to be housed at the Wismar Hill Primary and the Block 22 Multi-Purpose Hall.
The new building has 29 classrooms, capable of housing 1000 students, a sick bay, facilities for the disabled, an Information Communication Laboratory, administrative office and sanitary block.
Former Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon and a special committee had committed to rebuilding the school immediately after its destruction in 2012.
Funds and materials were subsequently obtained both locally and from the Diaspora to jump start the project and several volunteers commenced working on the site, which had to be later abandoned as the original foundation was deemed to be structurally unsound.

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[Cops embrace social media as crime-fighting tool]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364102 2015-08-31T03:04:25Z 2015-08-31T04:26:33Z By Romila Boodram

We all leave small clues about our lives all over the internet like fingerprints.
Take Kevin Fields for instance, the 21-year-old gunman who was shot dead during a botched robbery on July 14, 2014 at Ramchand’s Auto Spares on Sheriff and D’Urban Streets.
The Agricola, East Bank Demerara (EBD) resident had posted public photos on Facebook that showed him flashing ‘gangsta signs’, guns and ammunition and even large wads of cash.
In one photograph, Fields’ face tied with a handkerchief, held a gun to another man’s head.
The person in the photograph was on his knee with his mouth gagged and hands and feet bound.
There were also incriminating posts, including references to past violent crimes and threats against others.
As a result of this post, the Guyana Police Force subsequently introduced their Facebook page which has garnered over 2000 followers in less than a year.

Photo taken from Field’s Facebook page, shows him splurging large sums of money

Photo taken from Field’s Facebook page, shows him splurging large sums of money

Commander of ‘A’ Division, Clifton Hicken

Commander of ‘A’ Division, Clifton Hicken

Since then, the Force has been using the social media site to monitor the profiles of various persons, to showcase their work (outreach programmes) and also to associate with the members of the public.
However, in a recent interview, Commander of ‘A’ Division, Clifton Hicken said that he believes that the Force’s social media site is not being utilized as it should be.
He is therefore calling on the public to take advantage of the site.
“Members can give information on Facebook. We not only use it to monitor but to do association,” the Divisional Commander said.
With reference to the smashing of a terror gang in Craig, East Bank Demerara (EBD) last month, Hicken said that, “We had a recent collaboration with CID Headquarters and they were able to put a dent in the notorious gang.”
He further explained that by using Facebook, they could have accessed the gang members’ profile to see who they were associated with.
“If you look at their Facebook, you can see who they are linked to and this can assist the police in their investigation.”
Kaieteur News understands that when the video of a man attacking Carmen Ganesh started to circulate on social media, users began comparing the killer’s image with individuals that they knew.

A snapshot of the Guyana Police Force’s Facebook profile

A snapshot of the Guyana Police Force’s Facebook profile

Due to these Facebook comparisons, several persons who shared similar identity to that of the suspected killer were called in for questioning. A suspect was eventually caught and charged with murder.
Not only is the Force using Facebook to combat criminal activity, but police are also using the site to inform the public about what they are doing in various communities.
This newspaper was told that it was the Commissioner of Police, Seelall Persaud’s initiative for the Force to tap into social media.
“What he (Commissioner Persaud) noticed too is that the work we were doing in Albouystown (Impact Albouystown Project) wasn’t reaching members of the public, so he felt it was necessary to do a website,” Hicken said.
The public is once again being urged to utilize the social media site.

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[Guyanese musicians lobby for copyright, more airplay]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364091 2015-08-31T02:48:59Z 2015-08-31T04:24:43Z By Desilon Daniels

“Enough is enough,” is what the Guyana Music Network (GMN) is maintaining with its launch of a petition for more airtime for local music and modern copyright laws the norm in Guyana.
The petition was recently launched by the body which currently represents over 500 artistes, ranging from musicians to designers. It is hoped that with its success, Guyanese musicians will be better represented and respected both nationally and internationally.
In an interview with Kaieteur News, GMN Board Member Kwesi ‘Malachi’ Gilbert emphasised the importance of the petition in allowing the voices of Guyana’s artistes to be heard.
He explained that the petition is a call to the people in radio stations to play more local content. He noted that this call was particularly directed towards the National Communications Network (NCN) which is mandated to promote all things Guyanese. The petition seeks to get 50 percent of Guyanese music played on private radio stations while 100 percent for NCN. He emphasised that NCN must be the leader in this new undertaking, since it is owned by the Guyanese people and should therefore represent them.
“We’re demanding that our people do more,” Gilbert said before adding, “We’re not forcing the private entities to follow this petition, but we’re respectfully calling for a change in the landscape.
“We saw the need over time to do something like this. Yes, people are saying that Guyana’s musicians are moving towards an international level so we need copyright to ensure that our people’s rights are promoted and protected.”
The petition also seeks to not only have modern copyright laws implemented, but to have these laws enforced.
According to Gilbert, there is a paragraph on copyright legislation covered in the Laws of Guyana. However, he said, there is an issue of enforcement.

The GMN petition

The GMN petition

Kwesi Gilbert

Kwesi Gilbert

“It’s all about enforcement and updating the laws that are currently there. We need to see the laws upgraded and enforced,” Gilbert stressed. “It’s about protecting our musicians’ music so that when they go abroad they can also be protected there,” he added.
He further said that Guyana is a nation that has a lot to offer in terms of its culture and cultural identity. However, he said, without proper mechanisms in place ‘Guyanese-ness’ will easily be stolen and become a form of profit for someone else. He said too that Guyana lacks an enabling environment, which also makes it difficult to enforce copyright legislation. He indicated that people, particularly businesspersons, are wary of getting on board for fear that with legislation, they will be forced to increase the cost of their products, while their income will decrease.
Gilbert stressed that this would not be the case and businesspersons would instead have to adapt their prices in a way that works for them, the musicians and the customers. He also opined that there was a need to change the mindset of the average Guyanese. He emphasised that there is need for greater appreciation of Guyanese music and talent.
He noted Jamaica’s multibillion dollar music industry and attributed this success to a better framework and enforced laws.
“We need to understand the importance of something like this. As Guyanese, we’d be contributing to the development of our people and country by supporting our artistes. If we support them they will stay right here in Guyana and contribute meaningfully to our economy,” Gilbert said.
He further stressed that the entire creative industry in Guyana and not only musicians must come out and call for enforced copyright legislation. “We all need to be represented; this isn’t just about music,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gilbert indicated that the response to the petition thus far has been favourable. He indicated that at least two radio stations have indicated their willingness to support it. However, both stations expressed concern over modern copyright laws.
Gilbert also said that the GMN has met with Minister of Tourism Cathy Hughes who indicated that the body’s concerns would be articulated to the Government of Guyana. The GMN is also looking to meet with Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo to share its views.
Gilbert also suggested a “cap off” which would see Guyanese music being aired months on end in the lead-up to Mashramani 2016. He indicated that this technique is employed in other Caribbean countries and has been working well in the promotion of local and regional music.
Rupert Roopnaraine, Minister of the Ministry of Education, which now has responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, recently indicated the necessity of modern Intellectual Property legislation.

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[Minister promises to make Indigenous Village all-year venue]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364085 2015-08-31T02:47:25Z 2015-08-31T04:23:19Z – during handing over ceremony

THE 2015 Indigenous Heritage Month was given the green light on Saturday afternoon when contractor Colin Andrews officially handed over the new Indigenous Village to Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valerie Garrido-Lowe. The village, based at the Sophia Exhibition Complex, will house most of the activities of this year’s celebration.
Andrews delivered on his 21-day promise which he had made prior to starting construction.  He told the gathering that with his staff of 21 they were able to refurbish several benabs, while building three new ones.
The workers, who travelled from Moraikobai, Region Five, also constructed a benab where persons can sit and eat comfortably, and an indigenous bar at the northern side of the village.
Minister Garrido-Lowe was ecstatic with the village and promised to maximise its use way beyond the Heritage Month celebration.
She said she was extremely impressed with the level of craftsmanship that has gone into the buildings, especially since it continues to represent all the indigenous peoples of the country.

Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valerie Garrido-Lowe gives contractor Colin Andrews a ceremonial handshake for delivering the new village.

Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valerie Garrido-Lowe gives contractor Colin Andrews a ceremonial handshake for delivering the new village.

One of the refurbished buildings at the Indigenous Village.

One of the refurbished buildings at the Indigenous Village.

“This is truly a remarkable village; I have never seen the Indigenous village look so good. All credit must go to Andrews and his team who worked tirelessly over the last three weeks.”
ALL-YEAR VENUE
Minister Lowe said that her Ministry aims to make the Indigenous Village an all-year venue. She pointed to it becoming a weekend getaway for people in the city who want to experience Indigenous life.
“We will have Indigenous experiences every weekend.  Sometimes it might be making cassava bread, making of hammocks, indigenous crafts or the cooking of delectable indigenous meals.”
She pointed out that in the near future the aim is to dredge the canal that runs through the village, so that persons can experience canoeing in the city.

Performers from Sand Creek, South Central Rupununi, going through rehearsals on Saturday afternoon. Indigenous performers have come from various regions for the celebrations.

Performers from Sand Creek, South Central Rupununi, going through rehearsals on Saturday afternoon. Indigenous performers have come from various regions for the celebrations.

The Indigenous bar is one of the new attractions at Heritage Village.

The Indigenous bar is one of the new attractions at Heritage Village.

“The Indigenous culture should be experienced by all Guyana, it is not just meant for the Indigenous population.”
“Having this Heritage Village in the capital promotes the Indigenous way of life; the tranquillity that resonates in Indigenous Communities can now be experienced in Georgetown. This village will promote nature and the environment in a very sustainable way.”
There was also a prayer ceremony by Catholic Priest Father Jerry Dias, who blessed the village.
Heritage Month activities start today with an Inter-Faith Service, followed by the official launch on Tuesday at the village in Sophia which begins a six-day cultural extravaganza with performances from notable Indigenous groups. Also on the cards will be a Stephen Campbell symposium (September 10), an art exhibition at the Castellani House (from September 7), a fashion show, a beauty pageant slated for the National Cultural Centre, a charity dinner at the village and a sports weekend.

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[GPL disconnection crew raids Vendors Arcade]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364080 2015-08-31T02:44:44Z 2015-08-31T04:22:15Z – finds illegal connections that pose fire hazard, risk of electrocution

It definitely wasn’t Sunday shopping as usual at the Vendors’ Arcade yesterday.
After a long period of enjoying free electricity, some were defiant, while others got word and hurriedly shut or abandoned their stalls, when a Guyana Power and Light, GPL team from the Loss Reduction Department, Field Services Section conducted an early morning raid at the popular vending site.
There, the disconnection team unearthed over 25, craftily hidden illegal electrical connections to stalls, which a GPL official said posed potential danger to vendors and were also fire hazards. Yesterday’s raid unearthed illegal risky connections, rerouted and by passing of meters.
The 25 illegal connections were only a fraction of the scores of similar connections at the Arcade. Because of time constraint and lack of police personnel to ensure security during the raid, only some were removed.
While one stall holder will have to face the courts for electricity theft (possibly being fined $50,000 or imprisoned for a year), others escaped by abandoning their stalls.

GPL crew on a roof at Vendors Arcade

GPL crew on a roof at Vendors Arcade

A Loss Reduction Department  crewman removes an illegal connection

A Loss Reduction Department
crewman removes an illegal connection

Some view the operation as harassment but there was no major verbal or physical confrontation as wires that were craftily secured above sheds and aback of clothing were removed.
“We does sub with other stall holders who got meter and pay because things tight,” was a commonly expressed sentiment.
“Is not we fault that we ain’t got meters; we rent the stall just so,”one man said.
In some sections of the arcade that adjoins Regent Street, some women hurled obscenities at the team while labeling some of their fellow stall holders as “kochores.”

Clipping an illegally installed wire

Clipping an illegally installed wire

One woman openly declared “the blood of Jesus” after unleashing a volley of obscenities when the crewmen removed her connection.
However, her lines were reconnected after the crew realised that she was among the vendors who had metered legal connections and she was reconnected.
Sheldon Wickham, a senior investigator (Ag) supervised the operation. He said the disconnection exercise is the second of its kind conducted so far around Georgetown to signal the resumption of the removal of all illegal connections.
“People may say all manner of things, but we are actually saving lives and limbs because these connections can prove costly to life, limb and property,” he stated.
The one stall holder arrested yesterday joins five others nabbed on Saturday since the disconnection operation intensified.
He said it is the company’s belief that there would be less fraudulent diversion of electricity.
In the arcade some vendors were happy as they say they pay their bills on time and viewed the illegal connections as unfair and a risk to their livelihoods.
Others complained that the move hinders their earning power because “the place in darkness and we not making money.”
The power company is encouraging persons to desist from electricity theft as it does not only affect others but can ultimately affect the culprits through fires and electrocution.

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[Port Kaituma centenarian Ursula Lowe passes away]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364077 2015-08-31T02:42:56Z 2015-08-31T04:21:52Z Days after she had celebrated her 100th birth anniversary, Ursula Philoemeena Lowe died after losing her vision and battling with various ailments for more than three years.
The centenarian died last Friday at Port Kaituma, Region One, 11 days after celebrating her birthday with her nine children, Winifred Prince, Jean Matthews, Sheila Lowe, Vera Doris, Leslie Lowe, Lester Lowe, Francis Lowe, Juliet Daniels and Una King.
She was blessed with 60 grandchildren, 166 great grandchildren and 30 great-great grandchildren.
Mrs. Lowe was not the only one in her family who was blessed with longevity. One of her sisters made it to 103. Sadly, she passed away a few years ago.
Life was not always a bed of roses for Mrs. Lowe as she suffered major childhood losses and was also robbed of quality primary education due to the death of her parents.

Ursula Lowe and one of her grandsons

Ursula Lowe and one of her grandsons

She was born on 17th August, 1917 at Aruka, Region One, and briefly attended the Hososoro Primary School.
After the passing of her parents, she was raised by her older siblings.
Ursula, then 19, tied the knot with Mr. Lowe, who was the Toshao for Oronoque, Port Kaituma at that time. The couple farmed while raising their nine children.
But Mr. Lowe died at the age of 79, leaving his wife in the care of their children. The couple’s daughter, Sheila Lowe, said that three years ago her mother lost her vision and had been suffering from various ailments, including asthma and arthritis.
Despite her age, relatives were still shocked at her death, especially days after attaining such a rich milestone.
Her great great grandson, Devon Lowe, said that he was blessed having had the privilege of spending time with Ursula. He explained that she not only displayed a caring nature to her family but also to others.
“She was a very caring and jovial person,” Devon stated.
Mrs. Ursula Lowe was laid to rest yesterday in Port Kaituma.

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[At 103, Aurora Imam still going strong]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364074 2015-08-31T02:30:34Z 2015-08-31T04:20:45Z His birthday was set aside as a day where due gratitude and thanks were expressed to God in the form of a resounding religious service for attaining the coveted age of 103.
Mohammed Ram John Khan reached this milestone on August 16, and spent his special day in the company of his children, relatives, grand and great- grand children at his Aurora, Essequibo residence,
The senior Khan is still agile at his age and does small chores around his home. Family members said Khan remains in reasonably good health and he is not a burden to anyone. Khan was born in Aurora Village, in 1912.
The Imam, who served in that capacity for some 43 years, came to the then British Guiana as an indentured labourer and worked in the rice fields on the Essequibo Coast  during the year 1898.

 Mohammed Ram John Khan

Mohammed Ram John Khan

At age 12, Khan had to leave school to find work to help his parents, Faqueer Baksh Mohamed Khan and his mother  Bibi Woulfath.
However, when Khan turned 24, he married his second wife Mable Khan, also known as “Betty”. That marriage produced twelve children. Khan, however has two other children from his first marriage.
The well loved Imam lived for sometime in Canada and is the recipient of several International and local awards from Parliamentarians and politicians.
The Essequibo centenarian has some 67 grandchildren and over 120 great grandchildren
Khan speaks fluent Urdu, Hindi and Arabic.

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[Positives vibes youth gives back to community]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364095 2015-08-31T02:51:12Z 2015-08-31T04:19:18Z While it is said that youth is wasted on the young, Andre July, 23, is proving that this adage doesn’t apply to him.
Over the past two years the young police constable has organized an event that falls during the month of emancipation at Pouderoyen, West Bank Demerara.
With him in the lead, last year his group presented 40 village elders with hampers as a way of saying thanks for their work to develop the community.

Positive Vibes Andre July, a Police Constable and promoter, hands over some of the 140 bags to children in his community

Positive Vibes Andre July, a Police Constable and promoter, hands over some of the 140 bags to children in his community

This year, during the three-day event held on Middle Street, the young Presidential Guard and others presented children, aged five to 16 with 140 new school bags as well as other school supplies.
The young man says his group acquired the school supplies through funds raised during the Pouderoyen Village Day. They also received financial support from Minister of State Joseph Harmon, Sandy’s, Amral and Sons Auto-mechanic shop and Cheddi’s Sawmill.

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[GCA’s NBS 40-Over…Burnett spurs MSC to win; Singh and Azeez help TSC to victory]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364184 2015-08-31T06:08:52Z 2015-08-31T04:18:04Z In the two opening matches in the Georgetown Cricket Association’s (GCA) New Building Society (NBS) 40-overs division-two cricket tournament played yesterday, Malteenoes Sports Club (MSC) defeated Muslim Youth Organisation (MYO) and Transport Sports Club (TSC) got the better of GNIC.

Mark Smith is about to be dropped by Kareem Naughton to deny Edwin Burnett a 5-Wkt haul at MSC yesterday.

Mark Smith is about to be dropped by Kareem Naughton to deny Edwin Burnett a 5-Wkt haul at MSC yesterday.

At MSC, the hosts were spearheaded by a useful all round performance from pacer Edwin Burnett (38 & 4-17) beat MYO by 123 runs after MYO made 80-8 innings closed in reply to MSC’s 163 from 28.5 overs as teams failed to bat out 40 overs.
Burnett exploited a track with some grass to start the slide bowling Imran Ayube for a duck with the fifth ball of the innings as only Abdul Khan (13) reached double figures before he was also removed by the talented Burnett.
Shaquille Mosley (3-7) and Wicket-Keeper Kefa Naughton who held two catches, effected a stumping and a run out, offered good support to Burnett who was denied a five-wicket haul after Kaveem Naughton at slip dropped Mark Smith off his bowling.
Earlier, MSC were piloted to their total by a 59-run ninth wicket stand between number 10 batsman Burnett, who smashed three sixes and two fours in his explosive 38 and Floyd Rawlings who stroked a subdued 26. But Kaveem Naughton (19) and Steven Sankar (15) reached double figures as most of the batsmen perished due to poor shot selection.
New ball pair of Raj Lall (3-39) and Shiv Sankar (2-22) dismantled the top order while left arm spinner Parmanand Parsram (2-17) polished off the innings despite the lower order flurry from Burnett.
And at GNIC where sixes were only scoring by clearing the straight boundaries which four runs being scored square of the wicket despite the distance the ball travelled, Sunil Singh hammered 10 fours and a six in a commanding 77.
But only Keon Morris (18) and Joshua Wilson and Azeez who made 17 each put any resistance to Ryan Shun (3-51), Delroy Charles (2-29) and Andrew Chung (2-23) as TSC made 161 all out in 37.2 overs.
When GNIC batted Kurt Lovell (28) and Chung (25) give them a half century opening stand but once off-spinner Azeez, who flighted the ball nicely, got rid of both openers in the same over, GNIC slipped from 57 without loss to 144 all out in 34.3 overs despite Shun’s 24, Jermaine Grovesnor’s 26 and Shaun DeSousa’s 22.
Azeez (4-29), Wilson (2-19) and Mark Baptist (2-27) were the main wicket takers for the Thomas Lands team which is still handicapped by the unfit condition of their ground.

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[Forbes Burnham Memorial Karate at YMCA]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364181 2015-08-31T06:06:46Z 2015-08-31T04:17:46Z The Guyana Karate Federation (GKF) yesterday held a Kata and Kumite Karate competition at the YMCA pavilion to commemorate the 30th death anniversary of Guyana’s first Executive President Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham.

Eight-year old Owen Betton (left) got the better of Clint Jones in the Kumite at YMCA yesterday.

Eight-year old Owen Betton (left) got the better of Clint Jones in the Kumite at YMCA yesterday.

The tournament catered for all of the seven clubs affiliated to the GKF and was sponsored by the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR). However, GKF President Amir Khouri informed that only five of those clubs were present yesterday.
“We were contacted to host this event and with just one meeting we put everything in place for this. President (David) Granger wanted to be here for the presentation of prizes but it was decided that it would be done at the NSC building on September 11 at 18:30hrs.”
Khouri disclosed that Minister Nicolette Henry who is responsible for Sports was to give the opening address but the Minister failed to show up for yesterday’s tournament which concluded last evening.
The competition commenced with the 6-8 year-old Male and Female Kata and Kumtie and continued with the 9-11, 12-14 and 15-17 age groups.
Results:
6-8 yrs old male Kata    
1st Jeremy Betton
2nd Owen Betton
3rd Kayden Garnett
6-8 yrs old male Kumite
1st Owen Betton
2nd Jeremy Betton
3rd Clint Jones
6-8 yrs old female Kata   
1st Aarti  Ramgolan
6-8 yrs old female Kumite
1st Aarti  Ramgolan
9-11 yrs old male Kata    
1st Deron Austin
2nd Doodnauth Jairam
3rd Keyan Barker
9-11 yrs old male Kumite
1st Sruti Jairam
2nd Shaquan Norville
3rd Jonathan Mangal
9-11 yrs old female Kata  
1st Aafira Williams
2nd Chrisann Newton
3rd Riana Narine
9-11 yrs old female Kumite
1st Riana Narine
2nd Jasmin Hodge
3rd Safira Williams
12-14  years old female Kata    
1st Aliya Wong
2nd Jessica Callender
3rd Akeda Veriam
12-14 years old female Kumite
1st Leshana Johnson
2nd Akeda Verian
3rd Chrisann Newton
12-14 yrs old male Kumite
1st Tulsiedas Hira
2nd Daqon Garnett
3rd Kevin Bradford
12-14 yrs old male Kata    
1st Yanick Rameshwar
2nd Charles Benjamin
3rd Daqon Garnett
15-17 yrs old male Kumite
1st Antuan Headley
2nd Otto Harris
3rd Romeo Defreitas
15-17 years old male Kata    
1st Romeo DeFreitas
2nd Avinash  Ramgolam
3rd Abdulah Ariff
15-17 years old female Kumite
1st Rebecca Wesley
2nd Atashieha Bovell
3rd Chelcia Benjamin
15-17 years old female Kata
1st Brittney Bettencourt
2nd Rebecca Defreitas
3rd Chelcia Benjamin

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[Bagostown claim Commander A division 5/5 softball crown]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364177 2015-08-31T06:03:05Z 2015-08-31T04:16:50Z Bagostown defeated Central Georgetown by 30 runs to win the final of the Commander A Division (Clifton Hicken) 5/5 softball competition which was contested yesterday at Police Sports Club ground, Eve Leary.

Commander A Division Clifton Hicken (right) presents the trophy to captain of the victorious Bagostown side Randolph Pereira while members of the team and supporters stand in the back ground.

Commander A Division Clifton Hicken (right) presents the trophy to captain of the victorious Bagostown side Randolph Pereira while members of the team and supporters stand in the back ground.

Bagostown batted first and posted 79-2 off their allotted overs. Randolph Pereira smashed five fours and four sixes in a top score of 44 while Triston Daniels made 13. Central Georgetown were restricted to 49-7 in reply. Mahase Ramjattan and Pereira claimed three wickets each.
Bagostown overcame Tiger Bay by nine runs in their semi final encounter. Bagostown scored 67-1, batting first. Pereira cracked 40 and Daniels contributed 27. Tiger Bay replied with 58-6 in reply.
Orin Moore made 27 and Akaze Thompson 15; Pereira and Daniels picked up two wickets each. Central Georgetown Beat Mocha in the next semi final game. Tiger Bay got the better of Mocha to claim third place. After restricting Mocha for 41, Tiger Bay responded with 42-2.
Bagostown received the Seelall Persaud trophy; Central Georgetown collected the Clifton Hicken hardware while Tiger Bay took home the Altea Scipio prize. The competition was organised to keep the youths meaningfully occupied and to forge better relationship among communities.

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[Here is what I told Imran Khan about the Chronicle]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364098 2015-08-31T03:01:05Z 2015-08-31T04:16:34Z In the light of a raging controversy about a Chronicle headline, I republish a conversation I had with Imran Khan, the Director of Information for the Office of the Prime Minister. It took place one night in June on the perimeter of the bridge of the AFC Head office. It was originally contained in a column last month
In fairness to the Prime Minister and Mr. Khan, I was given the opportunity by both of them to attend a meeting to look at the future shape of the state media. Other colleagues were invited. I told Khan that I could not bring myself to be part of a discussion with Mark Ramotar. I do not consider Ramotar a professional journalist. You can be forced to publish what your boss at the media house wants and still retain your professional credibility but what Ramotar did during the reign of the Jagdeo/Ramotar cabal was utterly despicable. Nothing like what Ramotar did was ever present at the Chronicle during the era of President Burnham.
I think the Prime Minister stumbled when he did not accept Ramotar’s resignation after the APNU-AFC administration took office. I would not attend a meeting in which Michael Gordon is present. You can question the moral values I choose to embrace but I have moral guidelines that inform my behaviour and decisions I make in life. Those guidelines will prevent me from accepting to be part of any circumstances in which Gordon is present. Gordon at NCN was the equivalent of Ramotar at the Chronicle
I told Khan that if I were the Editor of the Chronicle I would carry lead stories of the opposition.  I stated that though it is a state-owned newspaper, the Chronicle has to carry front page (I emphasized lead stories) stories of opposition activities once those activities generate the interests of the Guyanese people. I can remember telling him that if Jagdeo goes to Berbice and is mobbed by ten thousand people, such news has to be a lead. The PPP won almost half the votes in the General Elections therefore the state which represents the people’s interests through the state media has to give coverage to the feelings of the population. This is where governments get confused over the role of the state media to the point where political analysts would question the very concept of the state media
Here is a quote from the August 27 editorial of the Chronicle that is bound to generate controversy; “Our newspaper is owned by the State, and is, therefore, expected to editorially support the general thrust of the government of the day. The Government then has a right to set out the broad parameters within which the paper operates.”  The missing link in this assertion is who or what is the state. The state does not exist independently of the population. The state serves the population.
The Chronicle is a state organization that has to carry news that is in the interests of the population and what the population wants. The Chronicle does not serve and should not serve the interests of the government but the interest of the country. What happens then when the government becomes authoritarian? What happens then to a state owned newspaper? Does it continue to serve the state which has descended into semi-fascism as we have seen between 1999 and 2015? Whoever wrote that editorial should have learned the lessons of the PPP Government. Whoever wrote that editorial failed to make a distinction between publishing the news of the Government’s activities and the concept of serving the state. The PPP Government obfuscated that distinction.
The opposition won the 2011 election but did not get lead stories in the Chronicle because the PPP contended that the Chronicle served the state. APNU and the AFC did not operate in the state apparatus so the Chronicle ignored them. Irritatingly, the Chronicle editorial of August 27, 2015 repeats that mistake. To the writer of that Chronicle editorial, I would recommend two excellent books and we don’t have to go back centuries ago to the great philosophers.
One is from the 20th century; John Rawls, “A Theory of Justice,” (1971). The other from the 21st century; Amartya Sen, “The Idea of Justice,” ( 2009) Both books should help the editor of the Chronicle to understand the role of government in serving the people and the role justice plays in that service. The Chronicle should carry editorials that are scholarly critiques of the mistakes of the government. I will volunteer to do the first one on the prison- rails around Parliament and the second on the disappearance of the Ministry of Youth.

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[Linden’s Half Mile Bulls trample national champions]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364174 2015-08-31T05:53:54Z 2015-08-31T04:15:37Z – set up rampage with Colts for Forbes Burnham title

By Edison Jefford
Linden’s Half Mile Bulls trampled National Champions, Pacesetters Saturday night at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall to set up a final rampage with Georgetown-based Colts for the inaugural Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) Forbes Burnham Memorial title.

DONE DEAL! Half Mile Bulls’ Terron Welch (left) decimates Pacesetters with one of his many daggers from downtown Saturday night at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.

DONE DEAL! Half Mile Bulls’ Terron Welch (left) decimates Pacesetters with one of his many daggers from downtown Saturday night at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.

Except for brief bouts of an interchange of the lead in the last half, Bulls controlled most of the game to trod away with a 91-85 victory, arguably the Linden club’s biggest surprise win, against Guyana’s most formidable opposition, the current national champs.
National junior and senior guard/forward, Terron Welch was sensational from beyond the arch and in transition. Welch was unstoppable offensively, pouring in 35 points for Bulls to lead the underdogs to the huge upset.
Former Pacesetters forward, originally from Linden, Michael Turner, returned to the fold to support with 13 points as the complete team effort, with the simple things done to perfection like passing the ball and finding the open man, overwhelming Pacesetters.
National point guard, Travis Burnett and forward, Randy Richardson were both good enough for 14 points while Royston Siland had nine points. Richardson and Siland dominated the ‘board’ in the game, but that was not enough to stave off the raging Bulls.
Pacesetters should have known from the beginning of the game that it was no walkover as Bulls managed to burst through the many defensive knots that threatened to ensnare them. The Linden team went up 21-19 at the end of the first period.
Bulls again outscored Pacesetters in the second quarter to take a 48-42 lead at halftime that was extended following the break when Welch landed another of his daggers from downtown to give his team a double-digit lead early in the penultimate period.
However, Pacesetters went back to their clear advantage in the contest; no Bull seemed able to contain Siland and Richardson on the glass. The ‘big man’ game got Pacesetters going on a 12-2 run that put them up 54-53 midway through the quarter.
But Welch drilled another three-pointer to return the momentum to Linden before Richardson got the equaliser off the glass from the baseline. So it was in the third quarter, tied at 56 with 4:11 to go. The teams exchanged points with Pacesetters holding on to a 66-64 lead at the end of clearly the best quarter in the game, the only one Pacesetter would win.
The fourth quarter was the Welch show. Down 65-68, he drained a huge jumper from the left arch at the southern end of the court with his defender’s full hand in his face. It did not end there; the swingman drained another dagger to give Bulls a 77-72 advantage with six minutes to play in the final quarter.
Burnett, always a threat, led Pacesetters on a 7-2 recovery that levelled the scores at 79 with his usual magic in the paint. The exchange continued until Turner seemingly knocked the wind out of Pacesetters sail with a jumper from beyond the arch.
The shot put Bulls up 84-81 with three minutes to play. Pacesetters never recovered. Bulls went on to outscore them 7-4 in crunch-time to take the win and set up a Georgetown vs Linden dream final Saturday night at the Mackenzie Sports Club (MSC) Hard Court in Linden.
The final was scheduled for last night at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, but in a GABF circular yesterday, the federation informed that owed to “miscommunication” with the National Sports Commission (NSC) on the procurement of the venue, the final and third place games were shifted to MSC Hard Court in Linden.
Linden’s Victory Valley Royals will play Georgetown’s Pacesetters in the third place game that will precede the final in the Town named after the man in whose honour the tournament is being held, former President, the late Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham.

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[FRINGE BENEFITS]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364100 2015-08-31T03:02:10Z 2015-08-31T04:15:33Z There are all kinds of liners and while this one-liner about an ocean liner is not the best you’ve ever heard, it certainly didn’t sink into oblivion even though some of the crowd might have given it a chilly reception.  “Life is all about perspective. The sinking of the Titanic was a miracle to the lobsters in the ship’s kitchen.”
There was one with even greater impact: “What was the last thing anyone said on the Titanic?  “I know I ordered ice but this is ridiculous!” Or you can twist it a bit more, “What goes down well with ice? The Titanic!”
I love one liners and one of these days would not mind a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world’s largest arts festival which has been running for the past 68 years (since 1947) and this year featured more than 3,000 shows from over 50 countries across almost 300 venues.  The festival has previously hosted performances by comedians such as Dudley Moore, Peter Cooke and Ricky Gervais.  The big draw for me is the humour prize, known as Dave’s Funniest Joke of the Fringe.  Dave is a digital Television channel in the UK which has sponsored the event for the past eight years.
The King of One-Liners, Tim Vine, is the only comedian to win more than once.  Last year his winning one-liner was, “I’ve decided to sell my Hoover…well, it was just collecting dust.”  Tim won in 2010 with, “I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again.”
This year seems to have been a lot of fun.  More one-liners than an old sugar-cane transport network. Trevor Davies of the MIRROR selected what he thought were the top 25 of the entire fringe, not just the Dave contest.  For all bookstore fans, “I went to Waterstones and asked the woman for a book about turtles. She asked: “Hardback?” and I was like: “Yeah, and little heads.” (Mark Simmons).  This is one my children will say applies to me, “My dad’s like a laptop, if you don’t touch him for 10 minutes he will go to sleep.” (Chris Martin).  “Sometimes to see the light, you just have to open the fridge door.”
(John McKeever) This is probably why the one at the end of the tunnel invariably turns out to be a train headed your way.  This joke really psyches me out, “If you don’t know what introspection is – you need to take a long, hard look at yourself.” (Ian Smith).
This one is a clever pun, “My mate and I were in a pub debating where the barman originates from. I said he was an Eskimo. He said Native American. Turns out he was an Eskimo. Inuit all along.” (Richard Gadd).  This too, “My cat is recovering from a massive stroke.” (Darren Walsh).  And this, “They scoffed when I told them I’d one day learn the secret of invisibility. If they could only see me now.” (Magician Pete Firman.)
Grace the Child is a 12-year old punster. She came tenth this year with, “They’re always telling me to live my dreams. But I don’t want to be naked in an exam I haven’t revised for.”  Simone Munnery was a headliner, “Clowns divorce. Custardy battle.”  “The first time I met my wife, I knew she was a keeper. She was wearing massive gloves” won Alun Cochrane eight place.  A new take on an old seafarers rhyme, “Red sky at night. Shepherd’s delight. Blue sky at night. Day” put Tom Parry in seventh place.  Mark Nelson placed a miraculous sixth with, “Jesus fed 5,000 people with two fishes and a loaf of bread. That’s not a miracle. That’s tapas.”
The top five were genuine classics.  In fifth place was this one-liner from Dave Green, “If I could take just one thing to a desert island, I probably wouldn’t go.”  Masai Graham came up with a beautiful pun, “What’s the difference between a ‘hippo’ and a ‘Zippo’? One is really heavy, the other is a little lighter.”  But he could not match Adam Hess with one of the things that make us go “hmm”, “Surely every car is a people carrier?”  Second was a rear joke by Stewart Francis and dealt with a very contemporary celebrity issue.  He quipped, “Kim Kardashian is saddled with a huge arse … but enough about Kanye West.”
This brings us to the winner, Darren Walsh, an English actor, director, writer, animator, voice artist and comedian. Dave has won many awards for his television work, but began his comedy career only five years ago when he won the first UK Pun Championship at the Leicester Comedy Festival in 2013. Walsh told his winning one-liner during his first full-length show at the Festival.  He said (with a straight face of course), “‘I just deleted all the German names off my phone. It’s Hans free.”
*Tony Deyal was last seen retelling the worst two jokes of the festival, “What do honeymooners eat for breakfast? Wedded Wheat” and “I suffer from PMS. My wife gets it and I suffer.”

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[LFS Burnham Memorial Chess Tournament…Glenford Corlette assumes lead in intricately poised tournament]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364172 2015-08-31T05:52:04Z 2015-08-31T04:13:29Z Glenford Corlette registered a stunning victory over tournament favourite, Anthony Drayton, to end the third day of competition on 4 ½  points, temporarily assuming the lead when action in the LFS Burnham Memorial Chess Tournament continued at the National Resource Centre, Woolford Avenue yesterday afternoon.
Errol Tiwari also clawed his way back into contention and finished the day in a vastly improved position, on 4 points; his victims were Alexander Duncan and Frankie Farley. The players were scheduled to resume the battle for honours last Saturday morning but the organizers were forced to call off that session due to the unavailability of the venue.
When the action resumed yesterday morning, Corlette made a definitive statement from the onset when he defeated Davion Mars while Drayton spoiled Roberto Neto’s impeccable record of one week ago with an easy victory.
Former National Junior and senior champion, Taffin Khan, also edged closer to the top prize after defeating Roy Sharma and registering a draw against Neto to improve his tally to 3 ½ points. It was the only bright moment for Neto who also ended the day on 3 ½ points.
Meanwhile, Dr. Maria Thomas was a no show yesterday and remained on 1 point. Her opponent, Michael Chapp Jumbo, was gifted a walk over and he is also on one point. In other results, Davion Mars (3) defeated Rodwell Poole (2), Alexander Duncan (3) defeated Chino Chung (1) moments before the latter player defeated Rodwell Poole (2). Roy Sharma (2) also scored a victory over Alexander Joseph (1).
Though Corlette enjoys the lead, he cannot afford to be complacent as when the action resumes next week one could expect the stiff rivalry to continue. The players are aiming for a spot in the imminent national Championships even as they remain cognizant that this is a rated tournament and presents a grand opportunity to acquire improved ratings.
The tournament has been sanctioned by the local governing body, the Guyana Chess Federation (GCF).

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[Hussein, Singh Spur Speed Boat to inaugural Forbes Burnham Memorial softball title]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364168 2015-08-31T05:50:49Z 2015-08-31T04:12:49Z Sterling all-round performances by Wazir Hussein and Greg Singh propelled Speed Boat to a seven-wicket victory over Regal in the final of the inaugural Forbes Burnham Memorial 10/10 knock-out softball tournament yesterday at the Ministry of Education ground.

Greg Singh

Greg Singh

Fazal Rafeek

Fazal Rafeek

Hussain grabbed 3-16 off two overs while Singh claimed 2-9 off two overs as Regal were restricted for 98-6 in 10 overs after they were inserted in front of a fair size crowd. Safraz Esau struck 33 while Chien Gittens made 15 and Fazal Rafeek 12.
Singh and Hussain then put their team on course with an opening stand of 77 with sensible batting. Singh remained unbeaten on 48 while Hussain was dismissed for 40 as Speed Boat ended on 104-3 in 8.4 overs. Rafeek took 2-5.
In the first semi final Speed Boat defeated Adventure of Essequibo Coast by eight wickets. Batting first, Adventure managed 97-7 in 10 overs. Shaz Grosvenor made 26 and Narenda Sarabjeet 19; Extras contributed 22. Navendra Kooblall captured 2-21.
Speed Boat responded with 100-1 in 7.4 overs. Anand Bharat cracked 31 not out and Kishore Smith 29. Regal thumped Herstelling by 89 runs in their encounter. Regal took first strike and rattled up 166-4 in 10 overs.
Rafeek stroked 47, Richard Latif 40 and Sachin Singh 21; Rawl Reid snared 2-33. Herstelling replied with 77-5 in 10 overs. Budhan Baksh and Reid made 17 and 15 respectively.  Mohamed Ayube picked up 2-12. The presentation of prizes will be done on September 11 at the Carifesta Sports Complex ground, formally, Guyana National Service ground.
The competition was played to commemorate the 30th death anniversary of the late President of Guyana, Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham and was organised the People’s National Congress Reform in collaboration with the Georgetown Softball Cricket League Inc. (Zaheer Mohamed)

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[Presidential guard knocks two off cycle, both critical]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364150 2015-08-31T05:35:36Z 2015-08-31T04:11:34Z Two cyclists were seriously injured yesterday after a car driven by a Presidential Guard staffer struck them on Lamaha Street at about 10:30hrs yesterday.

The unconscious Lisa Kaydoo.

The unconscious Lisa Kaydoo.

William Nurse, 53, and Lisa Kaydoo, 37, of Queen’s College compound were reportedly hurled from their bicycle into a canal.
Kaydoo reportedly suffered a fractured jaw and arm, and head and spinal injuries, while Nurse sustained head injuries and lacerations. Both were said to be slipping in and out of consciousness. Nurse underwent a CT scan, while Kaydoo had two X-Rays done. They are both listed as critical.
Eyewitnesses said that the driver was travelling at a fast rate. He has been detained.
There are reports that he took the vehicle without permission from State House, yesterday morning.
Several relatives of the injured flocked to the hospital after hearing about the accident and confirmed that the two were seriously injured.

An unconscious William Nurse (inset)

An unconscious William Nurse (inset)

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[Beijing passes event to London in spectacular send off as Kenya top medals table]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364157 2015-08-31T05:46:34Z 2015-08-31T04:11:05Z The World Championships came to end yesterday in spectacular fashion as Beijing passed the event onto London with a stunning send off. The Beijing National Stadium was a sea of vibrant colour as the Championships drew to a close following the final action of yesterday as Asbel Kiprop produced a trademark sprint finish to win a third straight 1,500 metres gold and ensure Kenya topped the medals table at successive world championships.

The Beijing National stadium was a sea of vibrant colour as the Chinese capital passed on the World Championships to the English capital.

The Beijing National stadium was a sea of vibrant colour as the Chinese capital passed on the World Championships to the English capital.

The United States men won a sixth straight gold in 4x400m relay but Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills ran down tiring American Francena McCorory in the women’s event to claim a sixth gold in Beijing for the Caribbean powerhouse.
That was enough for second place on the medals table ahead of a U.S. team who won only five golds, their worst tally in the 15 world championships. English capital London will host its biggest sporting event since the 2012 Olympic games in two years time.
Meanwhile, International Association of Athletics Federations President Lord Coe is looking forward to a new era in athletics after taking up his new role at the helm of the sport. After successfully bringing the Olympics to London, the 58-year-old now faces the challenge of leading athletics through one of the most crucial times in the sport’s history.
Coe was elected as the world governing body’s new President on August 19 in Beijing, edging out pole vault great Sergey Bubka in the vote at the IAAF Congress. He officially began his role yesterday and said: ‘Athletics has been at the centre of my life since I was a young boy.
Everything I am today can be credited to my experiences and successes in this sport and my mission now is to enhance the sport’s ability to inspire and entertain.
‘Today is my first day of office as President of the IAAF. I am very excited and proud to have been given an opportunity to lead our great sport into the new era that lies ahead. ‘I am looking forward to working closely with my colleagues on the IAAF Council, who yesterday (Saturday) accepted my recommendation to appoint Sergey Bubka as our Senior Vice President.’
A long, difficult road awaits but the double Olympic gold medallist over 1,500 metres has been backed to succeed in the role by a number of individuals and organisations. He will start by looking at the management structures within the organisation in a bid to give the best performance.
He said: ‘I am determined to get out of the starting blocks quickly, so today we begin a detailed review of our existing management structures and use of resources to ensure that within the next 100 days, IAAF Council can approve new systems and teams which are necessary for delivering our ambitious plans.
‘We are committed to ensuring good governance in everything that we do and, as a starting point, our legal team has been asked to conduct an in-depth review of the IAAF Constitution and related governance.’
Coe succeeded Lamine Diack, the 82-year-old from Senegal, who was president since 1999, and became only the sixth President in the IAAF’s 103-year history – and it is the fight against banned drugs which is set to be front and centre of his reign.
He added: ‘Finally, a working group has been set up to look into the possibility of establishing a new over-arching integrity unit for athletics which would house an anti-doping operation with greater independence and have access to a newly formed independent tribunal to hear doping cases of international level athletes (and support personnel).
‘This will be done without impeding or in any way delaying investigations currently under way.
‘These are exciting times for athletics and I am delighted to be in a position to help the sport break new barriers.’ (MailOnline)

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KNews http://kaieteurnewsonline.com <![CDATA[Multi-agency taskforce set up to address vagrancy]]> http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/?p=364147 2015-08-31T05:29:39Z 2015-08-31T04:10:17Z By Sunita Samaroo
The days roll by but the image remains the same: with no place to call home scores sit, sleep, eat, play and roam the most popular paves and City streets. Under the sweltering sun, young homeless children and their mothers stretch out their hands, hoping for a ‘small change’.

Vagrants in front of the Parliament Building.

Vagrants in front of the Parliament Building.

Their food, oftentimes, the offerings of the sympathetic or from the nearest waste pile but with grubby nails, they hold tight and munch into their meals.
Some stoop and excrete without concern on pavements and waterways while others make showers of wherever water could be found. For the average man this may be quite an unsanitary way of living, but to those socially displaced: this is their way of life.
This, the face of homelessness, has gripped the city and other municipalities in the country. But a committee has now been set up to devise a feasible long-term plan to address the issue of vagrancy, City Mayor Hamilton Green has revealed.
Speaking to Kaieteur News yesterday, Green said that a meeting was held last week, with a Senior Police Official, a Prison Officer, along with representatives of the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA), the Ministries of Social Protection, Public Security and Public Health.
According to the longstanding Mayor, during the meeting several suggestions were raised, among them the removal and relocation of the City’s street dwellers. The question of the legality of such a move lingered, however, and legal advice will be sought on the issue.
Many of those who linger on the streets are mentally unsound but addressing this is no simple task in light of the existing Mental Health Legislation.
Currently, it is required that a relative of a suspected mentally ill individual appear before a Magistrate or Judge in a Court of Law and swear to their mental condition before that individual could be committed to psychiatric care.
The reality is that unless vagrants are engaged in any criminal activity they cannot be forcibly removed from the streets. This means that at present, socially displaced people on the streets cannot be forced to go to any of the existing shelters, even if they are occupying the pavements.
At the shelter they receive three meals, a place to sleep, and bathe. But the numbers of the streets have been on a steady rise over the years, Green said.
They have been a slew of complaints and last year, the former Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman had asked for the issue to be addressed.
Green stressed that vagrants are negatively impacting the city. He emphasized that in some instances when the Council cleans the streets and market places the vagrants rummage through bins in search of food and in the process litter the environment.
“Some of them even pick up vegetables and throw them at people and the Constabulary cannot prosecute unless people come forth with specific complaints,” Green said.
The Council is also concerned about the public health aspect of having vagrants around the City. In addition, to their unsanitary way of living, relieving themselves on pavements and waterways, the presence of the homelessness puts the populace at risk to tuberculosis and other diseases.
The Mayor also pointed to incidents where vagrants have injured and even killed each other.
The City Council has been for years calling for the removal of vagrants on the streets. Human rights activists, however, are reportedly concerned about drastic measures being taken in case the authorities push for their removal.
During the meeting, a suggestion was reportedly made for rounding up vagrants and relocating them in a facility constructed under the previous administration at Onverwagt, West Coast Berbice, according to Green.
The facility, which falls under the purview of the now Ministry of Social Protection (formerly Ministry of Human Services and Social Security) was built with expectation to accommodate over 200 vagrants with the view of having them rehabilitated.
Just recently too, President of the Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development Association (BCCDA), Ramroop Rajnauth had identified the issue of vagrancy as something the current administration must effectively and urgently address.
This, Rajnauth had said, must be achieved in a comprehensive way, rather than the previous window dressing, since vagrants are having a detrimental effect on Berbice businesses and tourism on a whole. He had said that tourists get the wrong image when they see vagrants on the streets.

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