Dear Editor,Once again, the GAWU cannot allow the patent falsehoods of Vice President and Minister of Public Security and AFC Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan to be left unanswered lest his remarks related to sugar be considered truthful. The Public Security Minister, a known lighting-rod of controversy, appearing on an online programme titled “Is there a constitutional crisis looming?” that was broadcasted on the internet on February 23, 2019, made, from our point-of-view, a number of incorrect statements regarding the sugar industry.The Minister, on the matter, said that the Administration had spent $36 billion during the first three years of its life. But what the Minister didn’t tell the audience was that the sum represented 3.7 per cent of aggregate expenditure. He also didn’t say that those monies supported the lives of nearly 70,000 Guyanese or 9.3 per cent of the population or that some of those monies were used for consumption and, therefore, helped to support the lives of thousands more Guyanese. Undoubtedly, the Minister was disingenuous in what he was saying and clearly was speaking from one side of his mouth.The Vice President went on to say Government’s support of sugar was dragging the economy down. Well, now the support has stopped and what we have is the significant curtailment of consumption of thousands of Guyanese who were linked to the now-closed Skeldon, Rose Hall, East Demerara and Wales Estates. In fact, the workers are experiencing such hard times that Guyana Times recently reported that at Skeldon, they have resorted to catching fish and picking wildly grown vegetables in the backlands to feed their families.The NIS has also lost thousands of contributors which must be taking a toll on the Scheme. The GRA also has lost many, many millions in income and value-added taxes associated with the workers. And the economy has lost several million US dollars in export earnings. In fact, for us, it was not unsurprising to read about the increased costs for foreign currency and to learn about shortages in the country as well. So we ask, isn’t the vacuum created by the closure of the estates dragging not only the economy but communities down too?Then Minister Ramjattan boldly said that about 4000 workers lost their jobs. This, again, is completely a figment of the Minister’s imagination. Contrary to the Minister’s bold assertion, it was approximately 7000 workers who lost their jobs. First, 1700 were pushed onto the breadline when Wales Estate was closed at the end of 2016. Then nearly 5000 were sent home when the Skeldon, Rose Hall and East Demerara Estates closed at the end of 2017. The Minister’s sordid attempt to downplay the reality cannot stand scrutiny whatsoever.Regarding the payment of severance to the thousands of displaced workers, the Minister said that the Government hadn’t enough monies to offset the payments. This excuse has been used so many times that its repetition is now laughable. The fact remains that the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act required that the workers be paid their monies in full.The Government was well aware of this, yet it persisted to act contrary to the law. Eventually, as the public well knows, the matter was addressed by the High Court which found the Government in breach and awarded the workers interests on their outstanding payments. The argument about having insufficient monies, in our view, is irrelevant, as the Government was well aware that thousands of workers had to be paid their severance payments since it decided, in the first place, to make them jobless. GuySuCo even informed the GAWU in the latter part of 2017 that it shared with the Administration an estimated cost for those payments. To then turn around and argue that monies were not available could only be seen as a futile attempt to pull the wool over the Guyanese peoples’ eyes. The fact is, when one considers the extravagance that permeates the Government nowadays, monies could have been found but it is our view that the withholding was yet another means of punishment.The Minister told the programme that Barbados had taken its sugar lands and converted them to golf courses, seemingly to insinuate that the island had ceased sugar production. Though the island-State may have put some sugar lands into alternative use, it didn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater as the country still maintains its sugar industry.The Minister, in making the Barbados inference, pointed to the need for diversification. But we ask, what the Government has done in this regard? We should not forget that $30 billion has been borrowed towards diversifying the currently operable estates but that sum has largely remained locked away. Moreover, the GAWU strongly advocates that the industry’s sustainability was rooted in its diversification and the Union in its presentation on February 17, 2017, to the Government, which incidentally, was led by Minister Ramjattan, outlined how the diversification trust should be pursued.The Minister also accepted that the decisions on sugar had a socioeconomic impact. But when the necessity of a socioeconomic impact assessment was brought to his attention during a meeting with the trade unions and the Opposition – PPP/C – on February 03, 2017, he unambiguously told those present that the Government would not pursue such a study but the trade unions and Opposition could do so if they so desire.To now turn around and admit there was an impact but failing beforehand to ascertain what that impact would be, gives rise to the view of whether the Government really had the people in mind and in heart before it took the decisions it ultimately did.Today, while the Minister seeks to offer a defence to the situation and conduct which clearly is indefensible, the GAWU see its worthwhile to recall what Finance Minister Winston Jordan said about the sugar industry in his 2015 budget address “[t]he economic well-being of the sugar industry is critical to the protection of jobs and growth of the economy as well as the contribution it makes to GDP, exports and foreign exchange”.We wonder what happened to such sentiments when the Administration resorted to its approach to the industry especially recognising that its own sugar Commission of Inquiry told it that closure was not an option that should be considered. So, today, while Minister Ramjattan seeks to obviously justify the Administration’s approach, the reality is thousands of Guyanese men, women and children are the hapless victims, living in miserable circumstances and difficult times. Even more disconcerting is that the State, rather than lending a helpful hand, has instead turned its back on them.Yours faithfully,Seepaul NarineGeneral SecretaryGAWU
…the press must not be intimidatedThe Times Media Group, comprising of Guyana Times, TVG Ch 28 and RGI 89.5 in a statement released Sunday, condemned in the strongest possible language the attack on the Kaieteur News in the form of a grenade being hurled at the vehicle of the publisher.According to the release: “The press and, by extension, the media, is regarded as the ‘fourth estate’ because of the role it plays in securing the freedom of all the other estates – especially the ordinary citizens. Any act that can be construed as acting to intimidate the media constitutes an attack on the foundations of democracy. That the act was done while the personnel of the newspaper were mourning the passing of a respected journalist makes the action even more reprehensible.” The Times Media Group says it expects the Police will “respond with the highest level of professionalism and diligence so that the perpetrators of the dastardly act will be brought to justice.”
One day after self-confessed drug lord Barry Dataram and his reputed wife Anjanie Boodnarine were arrested in Suriname, they were on Saturday morning handed over to Guyana’s premiere drug enforcement unit, the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) and members of the Guyana Police Force.Head of CANU, James Singh and ranks of the SWAT team travelled to Moleson Creek, Berbice, where the duo was handed over by Surinamese officials. Upon his arrival in Georgetown, Dataram was immediately thrown into the Camp Street penitentiary while his reputed wife remains in Police custody.It was believed that the couple entered Suriname with false travel documents. The documents, however, seemed authentic since they were reportedly issued by the Chief Immigration Office in Georgetown.The passport used by Barry DataramDataram used a passport with the name “David Persaud”. The passport was issued on April 15, 2013 and bears the number R0376916. Dates also suggested that the passport will expire in 2018.On the other hand, Boodnarine entered Suriname under the name “Christine Persaud”. Information on the passport stated that it was issued in January 2016 while Boodnarine was on trial for the possession of narcotics. Dataram and Boodnarine had absconded one day before a court ruling on a drug possession charge.However, in light of the recent revelation of the fake passports, Citizenship Minister Winston Felix in a release stated that a full investigation has been launched to determine the circumstances under which the convicted drug lord and his reputed wife were issued with passports in another name and that those culpable will face the harshest possible action.Meanwhile, following the arrest of the duo and his handing over to local authorities, acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine acknowledged the excellent collaboration between local law enforcement units and their counterparts in Suriname.He added that the collaboration representsThe passport used by Anjanie Boodnarinethe best efforts and sends a clear message that with the use of Science and technology in law enforcement and personnel who are consummate professionals, the public interest is well served.“On the law enforcement front, we wish to sincerely thank our colleagues in Suriname,” the acting Commissioner added. Dataram was sentenced to 60 months imprisonment and fined $164 million in absentia after he was found guilty of being in possession of 129.230 kilograms of cocaine on April 16, 2015 at his Lot 661 Silver Dam, Fourth Avenue, Diamond Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara (EBD) home.Along with his reputed wife, Kevin Charran and Trevor Gouveia were all freed on the drug charge. The duo was initially arrested after CANU ranks swooped down on his EBD home. During the search, the ranks unearthed the cocaine.It was reported that some of the cocaine was stuffed in frozen seafood, while the remainder was found to be bricks of raw cocaine. CANU ranks also seized an undisclosed sum of money.In March, Dataram during a television interview admitted his involvement in the drug trade but added that he had never been convicted for a criminal charge.He was arrested several times but has escaped the clutches of United States law enforcement after an extradition attempt failed.Dataram also accused a high ranking CANU official of being involved in the drug trade and added that the rank would take as much as $10 million to allow cocaine to leave the country.Following the revelation, head of the drug enforcement unit, James Singh had denied the allegation made against his staff while noting that CANU welcomes further public confessions of criminal elements. – swooped off to Camp Street Prison
A 61-year-old man died on Thursday evening after he was fatally beaten by his younger brother, whose food he went to purchase but ate it instead.Dead is Nazir Khan, called “Karie”, of Lot 37 Bella Dam, West Bank Demerara.According to information received, at about 18:30h on Thursday, the accused, who works with a garbage disposal company, had sent Khan to purchase a box of food for him from a nearby shop. However, after some time had elapsed and the man did not return with the food, the suspect went in search of him in the company of a friend.The house where Nazir Khan died after receiving a beating at the hands of his brotherKhan was found at a neighbor’s house, where he was confronted and admitted to his brother that he had eaten the food since he was hungry. The suspect then became enraged and he along with his friend began to beat Khan.After the beating, the 61-year-old man, who does handy work around the village, went to another neighbouring house, where he subsequently died.The owner of that house, Kissoon Lallbeharry, related to Guyana Times what transpired after Khan went to there.“He come [Thursday] afternoon and he tell me he ain’t feeling well, that he head hurting. So I put he to lie down on the ground because he was drunk and I didn’t want he fall off the bench and I went upstairs to watch the news,” the man related.Lallbeharry recalled that he came down about an hour later and Khan was still asleep so he went back upstairs to watch another newscast and it when he returned again to check on the man that he realised he was dead.“When I come down back and I check he, I say “this man ain’t blowing at all, this man dead.” Then I went and call other neighbours where he does deh, friends and so, and they come. Then we get in touch with the Police,” Lallbeharry related.According to the neighbour, Khan did not relate to him what had happened to him but suspected that his brother had something to do with his death since he was arrested at the scene.“Me na know what wrong [the two brothers] get… he didn’t tell me nothing, he didn’t tell me that “man meh brother beat me or man what happen… [But] after the commotion when the bai dead and people start come out, somebody go and wake up [the brother] where he live ‘cause he de drunk too. When he come, I tell the Police that this is Karie’s brother who does take care of him and the Police tek he and put he in the car. They lock he up,” Lallbeharry stated.Meanwhile, Khan’s body was taken to the Ezekiel Funeral Home, where a post-mortem examination was conducted on Friday morning by State Pathologist, Dr Nehaul Singh. The cause of death was given as brain hemorrhage due to blunt trauma to the head, compounded by compression injuries to the neck.Meanwhile, Khan’s brother and the friend, who participated in the beating, remain in Police custody assisting with the investigations. Nevertheless, the Police are compiling the case file to seek legal advice. Khan was described as a good and helpful individual who usually consumed alcohol. (Vahnu Manikchand)
The relatively quiet community of Surat Drive, Triumph, East Coast Demerara was plunged into deep shock on Friday afternoon after the lifeless body of 88-year-old pensioner Dhruwa Ramnauth, also called “Uncle Dhrub,” was discovered in the kitchen of his home with his hands bound and his head smashed in. A ‘massala brick’ was reportedly found on his head.According to information reaching this publication, the man, late of Lot 119 Surat Drive, Triumph ECD, had been operating a grocery shop at his residence for all his life, and this was not the first time he had been attacked.The next-door neighbour, Sachin Singh, said he would usually call on Ramnauth just to check in with him. It was he who made the discovery of the elderly man’sThe scene on Thursday eveningbody.“We were working and we were loading the truck, and my mother called me and I try calling Uncle Dhrub, and didn’t get no response from him. After that, I went to the fence and jump over; and when I jumped over I watch in the shop and see the shop ransack, and I watch in the kitchen and I see he tied up and a brick was on (his) head,” Singh related.He said that despite their being next door, they had heard no strange noises, nor did they observe any strange movements. He also said that the neighbours would have seen Ramnauth during the day, since his shop had been opened during the morning hours. He added that after he made the discovery, he raised an alarm and the Police were summoned.Sachin Singh’s father, Patrick Singh, reiterated that this is not the first time the late Ramnauth had been attacked. He recounted that the last attack had been just over a year ago, when Sachin had heard Ramnauth moaning in his house and had immediately rushed over, only to discover the man bound and lying on the floor inDead: Dhruwa Ramnauth, also called “Uncle Dhrub”pain.The pensioner had lived alone; most of his relatives live overseas, and his nephew, Baliram Shivdas, would check in on him from time to time. Shivdas told Guyana Times that the last time he had seen his uncle alive was on Thursday, when he had visited the nearby mandir.“I just get a call and my nephew came and tell me that this happened, and that is when I know. He said he heard that somebody break in and they attacked mamoo (uncle) and he died, and that is how I came. When I came, the Police (were) in here doing their investigation and taking statements,” Shivdas related.“It (his body) was in the kitchen, and from all appearances he was going to eat, and the plate and all was on the ground; and they hit him, and he had a knock on the head, and it has something to do with the massala brick. It could have been that, I don’t know; he has a wound at the back at his head,” Shivdas related.He said the place was ransacked, but he could not say what has gone missing since he had very little knowledge of what his uncle had in his house. He, like many of the residents, described the dead man as kind-hearted and someone who had had no malice with anyone.The Police are conducting their investigations.
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Fire Department has extinguished a house fire at the corner of 106 ave and 104 street in Fort St. John.According to Fort St. John Fire Chief Fred Burrows, when crews arrived on scene at approximately 5 p.m., the home was fully engulfed in flames. The flames were being driven by strong winds at the time.People were in the home at the time and were able to escape the fire after hearing a smoke alarm.- Advertisement -Video Playerhttp://www.energeticcity.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/IMG_2599.m4v00:0000:0000:20Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Chief Burrows says the cause maybe hard to determine due to the strong winds that helped to fuel the fire.There is extensive damage to the home on the second floor and then water damage on the first floor. House fire at 104 st and 106 ave
“We don’t play as good as our rivals, that’s why we lost,” said a downbeat Tabarez after the 2-0 defeat.France went through after goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann, after a mistake by goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, secured victory.“The boys really gave everything, but France were able to control the match very well,” added Tabarez.“After the second goal, there was a huge gap between the teams.”Asked about his frustration at going out of the tournament, the 71-year-old said it should be stressed how far La Celeste had gone in the tournament compared to others.“There are many countries that belong to the world of the footballing elite but left the tournament before us.”On his future, Tabarez said: “I still have a contract but I am not going to speak about this, it’s not for me to decide.”Asked about Muslera’s howler, Tabarez said simply: “Only those who don’t do anything don’t make mistakes.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Oscar Tabarez saw his Uruguay side slip to a 2-0 loss to France to bow out of the World Cup © AFP / Martin BERNETTINIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russian Federation, Jul 6 – A disappointed Oscar Tabarez conceded that his Uruguay side were second best in their World Cup quarter-final loss to France on Friday, which saw the European side progress to the last four.The veteran coach, who has been in charge of Uruguay for 12 years in his second spell as national coach, also refused to comment on his future when asked by reporters.
They remain three points adrift of the Premier League’s top four but Emery appears to have injected energy into a team that was stagnating under Wenger.“Nowadays it’s very difficult for a coach to stay 22 years,” Emery said in an interview with Spanish sports daily Marca on Thursday.“We had to rearrange the furniture, and not because of anything bad that happened previously, but to stimulate everyone again — to shake things up, sweep under the carpets, open the windows — in a positive way.”Emery has made changes defensively, deploying a higher and more aggressive pressing game that has been adopted surprisingly quickly by his players.Bernd Leno has established himself as first-choice goalkeeper ahead of Petr Cech while the tireless Lucas Torreira has been one Arsenal’s stand-out players in midfield.“Before Wenger arrived, Arsenal celebrated winning 1-0 and were based on defensive solidity,” Emery said.“Then with Arsene, joy was taken from attacking too and the perfect blend was the ‘Invincibles’ team. But over time, only technical quality and attacking freedom were taken care of and the team lost its defensive structure.“What I want is to unite both aspects and be more competitive. Arsenal was in decline. We had to stop that and start climbing.”Emery said he has met Wenger once since being appointed his replacement and while he “has a lot of respect” for his predecessor, he insists changes had to be made.Arsene Wenger was in charge at Arsenal for 22 years © AFP/File / Ian KINGTONSome of the devil was in the detail. Sugary juices were removed as part of some tweaks to the club canteen and Emery says they also moved the gym closer to the training pitch. He is not keen, however, on his reputation as a meticulous coach.“I have said to myself it is a positive thing, but it can also be negative, that you are too heavy, want to interfere with the players a lot,” Emery said.“What I do is work. I analyse matches and then I transfer it to video and I teach the players.”He added: “When I left Valencia, I told the president I was more a tactics coach than a player coach. I don’t have time to analyse players. I am more tactical. Wenger was, for example, more about pure football, about players.”Arsenal travel to Bournemouth on Sunday, hoping to break a run of three consecutive draws in all competitions.“We need to give the team another push,” Emery said. “Our aim is to be in the top four but it isn´t easy. It’s getting harder and harder to get there.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Unai Emery has made an impressive start at Arsenal © AFP/File / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASMADRID, Spain, Nov 22 – Arsenal manager Unai Emery has claimed the club needed a breath of fresh air after 22 years of Arsene Wenger and that he took over a team in decline.Former PSG coach Emery has enjoyed an encouraging first few months as Wenger’s successor, with Arsenal currently unbeaten in 16 matches and buoyed by impressive performances against Liverpool, Fulham and Leicester.
“His absence should not in any way bother us,” coach Cisse told Senegalese media just before they departed their training camp in Alicante in Spain for Egypt.“Certainly the presence of Sadio is beneficial but without him we remain strong.“The CAF [Confederation of African Football] has decided, so we will not linger,” Cisse added.Mane was booked in Senegal’s 1-0 win away to Equatorial Guinea on 17 November 2018 and also appears to have been cautioned in their 2-0 victory over Madagascar on 23 March 2019, although it is not confirmed on Caf’s match statistics. Caf has been contacted for verification.The tournament in Egypt, scheduled for 21 June to 19 July, will be Mane’s third Nations Cup finals and the second time he will miss Senegal’s opening match.He missed the Terranga Lions’ opener in the 2015 finals in Equatorial Guinea against Ghana because he was still recovering from a calf injury he sustained while playing for his former club Southampton.Mane, who won the Uefa Champions League with Liverpool earlier this month, joined the Terranga Lions training camp in Spain on Thursday before he and his team-mates departed for Egypt on Friday.He is expected to play Senegal’s other group matches in Cairo against Algeria on 27 June and Kenya four days later.-By BBC Sport- 0Shares0000(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Mane suspended for Senegal’s opening matchNAIROBI, Kenya, June 15 – Senegal coach Aliou Cisse confirmed that his Liverpool forward Sadio Mane is suspended for their opening match at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.The 27-year-old will miss the Group C fixture against Tanzania on 23 June in Cairo after picking up two yellow cards in Senegal’s Nations Cup qualifiers.
Added longtime Democratic consultant Chris Lehane, “This is all about rigging the system, fixing the system to tilt the Electoral College to the Republicans under the pretense of being a reform.” It didn’t help the GOP much when Tony Andrade, the official proponent of one version of the Republican measure, observed that, “When we study the beginning of our country, small states were tough on bigger ones like New York or Massachusetts. They demanded that each state get at least three electors so that they would have a voice in selecting the president. But urban centers are now in control of the selection process.” Texas demonstrates clearly how wrong that claim is. Its big cities like Houston and San Antonio generally go Democratic, but the state has not gone Democratic in a presidential vote in more than a generation. Andrade may be correct in saying that a system assigning presidential electors by congressional district would bring candidates into more rural and outlying areas that now have little role in campaigns. But it made no sense for California to do this unless every other state does it, too. When internal polls began to show the majority of Californians of all stripes agreeing, it was time for the GOP to fold its cards. They did, with Sacramento-based fundraiser Marty Wilson and lawyer Thomas Hiltachk leaving the initiative committee. That left Andrade and few others persisting in the effort, with virtually no money to pay petition circulators. Their task was made even harder when a close supporter of Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani disclosed he was the source of virtually all money spent pushing this measure. Of course, there’s another rub, too. California is a Johnny-come-lately Democratic state. Its mostly Republican areas like the Central Valley and the Inland Empire counties of Riverside and San Bernardino are growing faster than coastal areas. So there’s a decent chance California will become a swing state in the foreseeable future, and maybe even a GOP state once again. Which means that in the long run, Republicans might be shooting themselves in the foot if they revive their attempt to change the electoral system. Tom Elias is author of The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It, now available in an updated third edition. His e-mail address is email@example.com. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Republican activists noted that the inland areas of California, along with Orange and San Diego counties, go Republican in almost all elections. Meanwhile, heavily populated coastal counties like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Alameda and Santa Clara invariably go heavily Democratic. They have in recent years outvoted Republican areas and made California Democratic. Justice, the Republicans said, would come by allowing those voting differences to be reflected in the Electoral College. Why shouldn’t the Republican candidate get about 22 additional California electoral votes, they argued, which this system would provide if things go next year as they have in the past few elections, since that’s obviously what the voters in Republican-dominated districts prefer? Those 22 votes would be like awarding the GOP an extra Ohio every four years and taking one away from the Democrats. California would not have been the first with such a system, they noted. Maine and Nebraska already divide their votes. But lumping California with states that have a tiny fraction of this state’s massive electoral clout is also unjust. If Californians could rely on big Republican-dominated states like Texas and Florida, which contain many strongly Democratic areas, to adopt a similar system, then a switch might be fair and just. But when Republicans weren’t willing even to consider that, it quickly became clear their effort had no chance. “This is nothing more than an unfair political power grab,” complained Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer. Presidential candidates from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to Dennis Kucinich all echoed her sentiment before the GOP gave up. Rarely has a political party made as blatant an attempt to skew the electoral system for its own benefit as some prominent California Republicans did this summer and early fall. And rarely has any ballot measure had as little chance to succeed as the plan Republicans floated. Also, rarely has a political ploy had as much potential to backfire on a party in the long run as what the GOP tried to foist on California. Here’s how the GOP wanted to change presidential voting in this state (and some elements are still trying, with little hope of getting anywhere): Rather than giving all California electoral votes to the candidate getting the most votes statewide in any presidential election, the Republican measure would have staged 53 mini-elections, one in every congressional district. Two more electoral votes were to go to the statewide winner. The party – which refused repeatedly to reveal who financed this effort – hoped to keep California from going completely into the Democratic column next year, as it has in the last election cycles. Before then, of course, the state went Republican in all but one election since 1948.