April 17, 2014

Body found in cow pasture at New Road backdam

The decomposed body of an unidentified man was discovered on Wednesday at New Road Backdam on the Essequibo Coast.

The gruesome discovery was made by a farmer who was gathering manure in the cow pasture at the back of New Road Village.

The farmer while gathering the manure saw a huge flock of carrion crows munching on a carcass.

Upon investigation, he realised the carcass was the swollen, decaying body of a man. He was shocked and dumbfounded at the discovery.

He then raised an alarm and residents quickly gathered at the scene. The police were then summoned. They are presently investigating the gruesome discovery.

Residents suspect that the body is that of a villager from Charity Housing Scheme.

Two men jailed for Tain 2013 ‘mistaken identity’ murder

Joshua Persaud

Joshua Persaud

Two men were on Wednesday sentenced to 20 years each for the murder of Marlon Andrew Ramcharran on June 3, 2013 at Tain, Corentyne.

The duo received the sentence after a mixed Berbice jury found them guilty of killing Ramcharran. The jury arrived at its verdict after being guided by Justice Diana Insanally at the end of the two-month trial of Joshua Persaud, also called “Sunny Boy” or “Bun Boy”, and Raphael Rene Morrison, also called “Red Head”.

The State’s case was led by Attorney Renita Singh while Attorney Mursalene Bacchus appeared for the accused. During the trial, which commenced on February 21, the prosecution had called several witnesses, including two eyewitnesses: Nicholas Beharry and Rakesh Jaikarran.

The State’s case was that on June 3, 2013 Morrison of Auchlyne and Persaud of Bloomfield, while armed with cutlasses and pieces of wood, murdered Ramcharran of Tain New Housing Scheme.

Raphael Morrison

Raphael Morrison

During his testimony, Beharry told the court that he knew the deceased, his neighbour, for approximately two years. He said on the night in question, they were all at the “Dusk Till Dawn” Bar and a fight broke out among Persaud, Morrison and some men. Also, Ramcharran and Morrison had an argument. “Me, Marlon and Ajay left to go home. However, Marlon, who was ahead, was later overheard shouting, “You chopping the wrong person!’”

Beharry said as he drew closer with his friend Rakesh, he asked the two murder accused, “Why you chopping my friend?”, but instead of responding, the men, both armed, ran at him and Ajay, who fled in different directions. After approximately 15 minutes, Beharry said, he returned to the area, Block Four Tain Village, to find Ramcharran injured and on the ground with blood covering his body. “I shouted for the neighbours, but no one responded.”

During the trial, the court was taken to the scene of the crime, so that the jury could get a firsthand look.

 In closing its case, the defence focused on the lighting conditions at the scene and argued that they were poor and the witnesses could not have identified the persons carrying out the attack.

Singh, in closing the prosecution’s case, said one of the two accused claimed that he had a piece of wood when he related to the court what transpired. The Prosecutor said two of the police witnesses who testified claimed that there was sufficient lighting on the street at the time. She argued that when police arrested one of the accused and told him of the offence, he said he was sorry. Singh recalled that another police witness noted that during the confrontation with the accused and the witness, one of them said that he had a piece of wood.

This, she said, is evidence that the accused was at the scene of the crime. The murder weapon was later found at the home of one of the accused.

A post-mortem report revealed that Ramcharran bled to death after receiving the chops.

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Baird on cusp of history at upcoming Carifta Games

Kadecia Baird

Kadecia Baird

By Treiston Joseph

The 2014 junior Carifta games set for Martinique this Easter weekend will give US- based Guyanese Kadecia Baird yet another shot at history when she competes in both the 200 and 400 metres female under-20 events.

The 19 year old has already done her fair share of history -making by becoming Guyana’s first medalist at the World Junior championships in 2012 with silver, while becoming Guyana’s youngest Central America and Caribbean (CAC) championships gold medalist in 2013.

In addition, Baird is the first and only athlete thus far in Guyana’s history to have “medalled” at the Carifta Games, CAC championships and the World Junior Championships, a feat that speaks  volumes  of her aptitude.

Baird, who captured bronze at last year’s junior Carifta Games in the under-20 female 400 metres in what can be said to be a subpar performance by her standards, will have a chance to become Guyana’s first sprint gold medalist at the junior games, a feat that by all means is within her grasp, especially since transitioning to college life.

So how does the 19 year old feel heading into the event? “I’m actually really excited, it’s my second time attending Carifta and I just want to go out and have fun,” Baird told Guyana Times Sport in an exclusive interview.

Talking about her training, Baird spoke of what she expects to accomplish along with her preparation for the event.

“I always want to do my best and to make sure that I’m proud of my work at all times, I’m in better shape than I was last year around this time, just working on executing my race the right way and will see what happens

“My training has been nothing different than[sic] preparation for my college races. My focus right now is staying hydrated, eating healthy and getting my mind ready,” Baird mentioned.

Baird, who attends the University of Nebraska, related what a gold medal win would mean to her: “Gold would mean a lot, it would just add to my medal collection and as my high school coach Shaun Dietz said: ‘I don’t have a taste in my kind of medal yet’,” Baird mentioned.

With Baird making the transition from high school (Medgar Evers High) to college, the talented  athlete revealed that part of her race she has been working mostly on: “I’ve been working mostly on the first part of my race because that’s the weakest and it’s getting better,” she assured.

Further, Baird opened up on college life and how it has impacted her career and her approach to athletics.

“Well it’s so much different here (University of Nebraska), college has made me mature a whole lot, it made me see things from a different point of view and has thought me that you have to get the job done under any circumstance and that’s what I’ve been working on,” Baird shared during the interview.

However, with the Carifta Games approaching and the World junior silver medalist gearing up for a history- making event, Baird was conservative as to how fast she wants to run over the 400 metres, but hinted her intention of running fast.

“Its hot weather and I’m in pretty good shape, I’m not going to say times, I’m just going to run but I’m hoping for a personal best”. Baird  has a personal best of 51.04s when she took silver at the World Junior Championships.

The CAC gold medalist who is known for her 400 metres running, also explained her love and expectation for the 200 metres, an event she will be running at the  Games.

“I love the 200 metres, I enjoy running that race but obviously the 400 metres is my best but I’m excited to run the 200 also and I’m hoping to get a personal best in that too,” Baird stated.

Meanwhile, as she prepares to make her own bit of history, she related her thoughts on being Guyana’s potential, first sprinting gold medalist.

“I’m taking it step by step to get the job done, as I said I’m working on doing my best and my best has yet to be shown, so let’s see how it goes…,” Baird stated.

Baird will be heading out to the Carifta Games today where history awaits the pegs of her running shoes.

Budget down to $182B

Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds and other Government ministers brief the media following the approval of the amended Budget Estimates Wednesday night

Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds and other Government ministers brief the media following the approval of the amended Budget Estimates Wednesday night

BY VAHNU MANIKCHAND

The National Assembly Wednesday evening approved a $182.5 billion budget for this year after disapproving over $37 billion of it. Government has since said that it will be guided by the Constitution and two previous rulings by the High Court as it seeks to carry out its mandate.

The final blow dealt to the estimates presented by Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh back on March 24 was the disapproval of a $22.2 billion allocated under line item Policy and Administration of the Finance Ministry’s budget. The line item had contained monies for the controversial Amaila Falls Project.

At the end of the last item up for consideration, Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh was asked how he intends to approach the situation. Dr Singh then informed the Committee of Supply that he has approved of the budget as amended. Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman then put the motion to the National Assembly for it to approve the sum as amended and it was carried.

The Finance Minister then presented the Appropriation Bill 2014, Bill Number Six of 2014, to the House for it to be read for the first time. He subsequently moved for the Bill to be read a second and third time and for it to be passed as amended. After the Bill was read for the last time, as constitutionally required, the National Assembly passed the amended $182.5 billion budget.

Amendments

The Speaker then informed the House that the combined parliamentary Opposition refused to give its approval to five agencies, causing the amendments to be made to the tune of $37,461,340,000.

This cover funds for the Health Ministry, the Amerindian Affairs Ministry, the Public Works and Transport Ministry, the Finance Ministry and the Office of the President.

The amendments were made in accordance with the final ruling of the acting Chief Justice Ian Chang in January last on the 2012 budget cuts case. The acting Chief Justice stated that the cuts made by the Opposition in the 2012 and 2013 budgets are unlawful since the National Assembly does not possess the power to cut the National Budget presented by the Finance Minister. He noted that they can only approve or disapprove of the budget in its entirety or sections within.

Respects ruling

However, at the beginning of the consideration of the estimates last Wednesday, Trotman had said that while he respects the ruling of the acting Chief Justice, he maintained that the House can cut the budget. “Despite the views and opinions of the High Court, the decision does not, and indeed cannot, do harm to the National Assembly’s procedures for treating with the Estimates of Expenditure,” Trotman had stated.

The combined Opposition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and Alliance For Change (AFC) made their first move on the budget with its disapproval for the Specialty Hospital Project presented under the Health Ministry. Some $109 million allocated for the Capital Expenditures of the line item Regional and Clinical Services was voted down.

A few hours later, $1.5 billion for the Amerindian Affairs Ministry was also disapproved. The Opposition said the funds were being used for political purposes. The Opposition then disapproved of $6.7 billion allocated to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Expansion Project under the Public Works and Communications Ministry’s budget.

The monies disapproved were presented under the Capital Expenditure, the transport line item which contained other works.  Meanwhile, the Office of the President was also not spared with over $5 billion voted down by the combined Opposition. This included funds for the National Communications Network (NCN) and the Government Information Agency (GINA).

A big, old rat deh in GT, and it ain’t a woman

GT de garbage town ain’t get that name by accident. It ain’t happen overnight either. One problem cause another one. A pile a garbage build up to another one. One plastic bag lead to another one. One block up drain lead to another one.

One bruk down garbage truck end up bein two bruk down garbage truck till dem run outta garbage truck. One councillor thief money and it end up bein more than half a dem thief money. One pavement vendor end up bein de whole pavement full up wid street vendors.

One Treasurer come after another, but all a dem thief whah ever dem see in de Treasury. One Engineer come after another and none a dem see that de S*ity Council buildin fallin down. It tek a man from Grenada to tell dem. One Town Clerk come after another till at last dem find a Sober woman.

But de one and only who come, stay and never allow any body fuh come after he is de Mayor-fuh-Life. Green Ham believe he born to be Mayor and that he gon dead as a Mayor. De Mayor-fuh-Life never wanna see another Mayor.

Green Ham used to tink he born to be de PM fuh this country and that he gon dead as de Prezzi fuh this country. But that turn out to be none of de above, although he still holdin on like how de Mook does hold on to he pumpkin Adumb.

Now de Mayor-fuh-Life turn round and cuss down de Sober woman and call she a rat. But Green Ham fuhget that he can’t live wid out de rat. He dead in he boots, as old people seh. Now he beggin fuh de same rat.

Ting-a-ling-a-ling…friend tell friend…mattie tell mattie! But talkin bout rat, that is a creature whah doe live in garbage. And since Green Ham turn Mayor-fuh-Life, garbage tek over GT. So de biggest rat in town musbe de Mayor-fuh-Life. Talk bout puttin yuh kaka pun some body in fronta dem face!

Junior Carifta team wings out to Carifta Games, expected to do well

From left: Jason Yaw, Kevin Abbensetts, Aubrey Hutson and Kade Pearce at the press conference

From left: Jason Yaw, Kevin Abbensetts, Aubrey Hutson and Kade Pearce at the press conference

By Treiston Joseph

The junior Carifta team is set to represent Guyana at the 2014 edition of the junior Carifta Games in Martinique, as the team will depart this morning for the games.

At a press conference held by the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) at the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) headquarters, president of the AAG,Aubrey Hutson said he  expects great things from the nine-member squad.

“This team is leaving with a lot of expectations and I have assurance from them that they will go out and do their best and once these guys along with the girls go out and perform, I believe everybody will return with weights around their necks,” Hutson stated.

Coach of the team Sham Johnny lauded the AAG for the selection of field events  for the first time, while noting that he expects the team to produce results.

“The selection of a field -event athlete on the team shows the direction of the AAG, because I think those athletes have been neglected… this squad is well prepared and I think will have some good production.

“Everybody is capable in the special own event[sic] and I think everybody will represent themselves well and the times will be appreciated; but mentally they need to put in a bit more,” Johnny told media representatives present.

Further, Johnny noted that the overall preparation is not where it should be, but believes all of the athletes can respond to the challenge.

Meanwhile, the athletes present at the press conference were all grateful for the opportunity to represent Guyana and assured the public that they will put in their best efforts to make the Land of Many Waters proud.

The team will  wing out this morning at 06:00h and is expected to return to Guyana on April 22 around 14:00h.

Headlining the local side of the team will be defending CARIFTA under-18 1500 metres champion Cassie George, who won gold last year. The talented distance athlete will be defending her 1500 metres title while making a switch to the 3000 metres.

CARIFTA 400 metres bronze medalist Jason Yaw will also be the next local headliner, as he will attempt to top his bronze medal performance from one year ago.

 Avon Samuels will also look to improve on her performances from last year in the under-18 200 and 400 metres.

Making their debut at the event will be talented sprinter Jevina Sampson in the 200 and 400 metres under-18, Natricia Hooper, triple jump, Kevin Abbensetts 100 and 200 metres under-20 and Kade Pearce, male under-20 high and triple jumps.

The US-based athletes will be headed by World Junior silver medalist and CAC gold medalist Kadecia Baird, who will look to better her bronze medal performance in the girls’ under-20 400 metres from one year ago. Baird will also feature in the girls’ under-20 200 metres.

Making her debut for Guyana as a US- based athlete will be Brenessa Thompson, who has one of the fastest junior indoor 60 metres times in the US at the moment. Thompson will be competing in the girls’ 100 and 200 metres.

The team’s coach will be Running Brave Athletics co-coach Sham Johnny, who will be assisted by Shaun Dietz, Glenton Pantlitz, and Matthew Martin. The manager of the team will be Mayfield Taylor-Trim.

Govt deeply disturbed at budget amendments

Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh

Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh

– will be guided by Constitution, court ruling

BY SVETLANA MARSHALL

Minutes after the National Assembly approved the amended 2014 National Budget to the tune of 182.5 billion, the Government of Guyana flayed the Opposition over its move to disapprove $37 billion.

Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh had originally presented a $220 billion budget; the largest in the country’s history.

Presidential Advisor on Governance Gail Texeira

Presidential Advisor on Governance Gail Texeira

“I am really at a loss for words, deeply disturbed and disappointed by what transpired tonight,” were the words of the Finance Minister as he addressed the press during a live broadcast from the Parliament.

He said the Opposition has displayed its worst level of irresponsibility, contending that during the consideration of the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project and by extension the Finance Ministry’s Budget Estimates, the Government adequately answered the plethora of questions by the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC).

“We said we will show every document. We have answered every question thus far and you cannot say you want more information when there are no unanswered questions.”

Notwithstanding Government’s willingness to open the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project to full scrutiny, the Opposition parties used their one-seat majority to vote against monies for the project. The Opposition said it will await the commitment from international investors and financial institutions before it supports the project at the level of the National Assembly.

“Now we are the applicant here and the beneficiary. By what stretch of imagination a international financial institution would approve funding for a project where the national jurisdiction has not approved our share of funding for the project, by what stretch of imagination?” the Minister asked.

He said the demands by the Opposition defy logic and reasoning. According to him, one could only conclude that the motive of the Opposition is to sabotage, derail and stymie the project.

Way forward

“That is my humblest assessment. This is part of an Opposition agenda to stymie development, retard projects in our country, to bring the people of our country to their knees so as to exact a political opportunity from those circumstances.”

Asked what would be the way forward given the huge reduction of the estimates, Dr Singh said the Donald Ramotar administration would be guided by the relevant Constitutional Articles and the ruling of acting Chief Justice Ian Chang, in addition to the advice of Attorney General Anil Nandlall.

“We are convinced that over the course of the past two years, there were certain constitutional options that were available to us and we used those options.”

He argued that no court ruling, legal interpretation and restoration of funds can repair the damage of the adverse signal that has been sent.

Echoing similar sentiments, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee said it was “obvious” that the Opposition had its own agenda, which was fixed on launching attacks on components of the budget.

“This is what you can describe as premeditated attacks on the budget,” Rohee told the press. He explained that the Opposition had identified its targets, but said the underlying motive of the Opposition did not incorporate the interest of the Guyanese people.

Healing

“Clearly this is not progress, it is a backward step,” he lamented, adding that the APNU and AFC are making life difficult for the masses.

Expressing confidence in President Ramotar, he said the administration will “find a way around this,” noting “this would heal”. According to Rohee, the struggle will continue.

Presidential Advisor on Governance Gail Texeira said the Opposition has once again demonstrated its “anti-people and anti-development” faces.

“The cut on the Office of the President of over $5 billion is unheard of us. To reduce the budget by more than two-thirds of the sitting President duly elected, democratically elected in our nation… it is absolutely vicious and dangerous.”

According to the Presidential Advisor, Wednesday’s unfolding was simply the icing on the cake, pointing to the $1 billion disapproved for Amerindian development and the disapproval of funding for the Transport Sector, including interior airstrips and other areas disapproved.

“There is $450 million that was there for the student loans for the University of Guyana. That’s gone. So when people say we are not giving the University of Guyana enough money, please remember who cut it.” This, she contented is a “total onslaught on the Guyanese people”.

Man accused of assaulting mother, child’s mother remanded

Thirty-two-year-old Leon Hope, of 126 Thomas Street, Kitty, appeared before Magistrate Ann Mc Lennan on Wednesday at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts charged with two counts of unlawful assault.

The first charge stated that on March 30, Hope dealt his mother, Debbie Hope, several cuffs, slaps and kicks, while the second charge stated that he did the same to his child’s mother, Kimberly Hellingsworth on April 14.

The defendant, who was unrepresented, pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Prosecutor Deniro Jones objected to bail, citing the nature of the offence as well as the fact that the Guyana Police Force is on a no-tolerance campaign for domestic violence and the defendant assaulted his own mother.

The two Virtual Complainants (VCs) also told the court that Hope has a violent nature and often threatens their lives. Magistrate Mc Lennan then advised the defendant’s mother to get a protection order against him.

Hope was remanded to prison. He will make his next appearance on May 19, before  Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine Beharry at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.

Man accused of beating woman on vagina after being denied sex

A labourer who allegedly assaulted and threatened to kill a woman after she refused to have sexual intercourse with him was on Wednesday remanded by Magistrate Ann Mc Lennan when he appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.

Shawn Peters, 35, of 183 Callendar Street, Albouystown, pleaded not guilty to the charges of unlawful assault and threatening behaviour.

It is alleged that on April 13, Peters unlawfully assaulted the woman with whom he shares a relationship and threatened to kill her at her residence.

Details of the matter are that on the day in question, the defendant went to the virtual complainant’s (VC) home and demanded sex.

The VC informed him that she was having her menstrual cycle and he got angry. Peters then dealt the VC several blows to her vagina with an iron and threatened to kill her.

Peters was unrepresented and State Prosecutor Deniro Jones requested that bail be denied, based on the seriousness of the offence. He was remanded until May 20.

The defendant will make his next court appearance in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts before Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry.