December 8, 2013 By
December 8, 2013 By
There is growing corruption within the Guyana Police Force and the emergence of a new attitude that sees police ranks sharing sensitive and confidential information with members of the criminal enterprise.
Together, these two issues, if not addressed condignly, have the potential to undermine the efforts being made to cause a reduction in crime and criminality in Guyana. These sentiments were expressed recently by Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), Retired Justice Cecil Kennard.
Kennard said that he is worried that public trust and confidence in the police as a constitutional entity is waning as more reports of complaints are being filed with his office. The issue, he asserts, that prevents successful prosecution and disciplinary action against the rogue ranks involved in corrupt practices, occurs when the complainants are afraid to testify because of fear of victimisation or being targeted by the colleagues of ranks involved.
Justice Kennard said that reports lodged at his office reveal that the police are accused of executing their duties with a lack of professionalism and their general conduct leaves much to be desired.
He condemned the use of indecent language, unnecessary force, thuggery and other forms of unnecessary coercion against citizens during the performance of their duties, explaining that this paints a bad image of the training that ranks have received.
Adding insult to injury, Kennard revealed that the new trend of behaviour that has seen some ranks leaking information to the press and criminals about ongoing investigations and the movements of the force is a cause for concern.
Kennard said that the force has to become more stern and in instances where this is believed to be the case, must exhibit a no-tolerance approach which should see delinquent ranks being charged for revealing confidential information.
Kennard also believes that if issues of bribery, payments for favours, payments for non-prosecution of crimes and such like continue, then the fight against crime and criminality will be lost.
He said that while he recognises the efforts of the current Commissioner of Police, Leroy Brumell and other top brass of the Guyana Police Force, they cannot be expected to be at every nook and cranny or in every way to pick up instances when the police exhibit unprofessionalism or are involved in corrupt practices.
He said that the salaries they receive in return for performing their respective duties is no excuse for engaging in illegal activities that taint the image of the force.
Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee has urged the commissioner to act quickly to address the public perception that Guyanese police are mostly unprofessional and corrupt. He has stated publicly that citizens need to come forward and give evidence and to assist the force in fighting corruption.
His ministry has also launched an initiative which is aimed at creating a mechanism through which citizens can report corrupt practices of police and holders of public offices. Let us therefore hope that the corruption within the police force will be stopped.
December 8, 2013 By
Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh has worked overtime to keep our economic growth steady. He has brought Guyana through the most agonising global economic downturn in modern history. The 2013 budget and a string of new measures presented in March of this year are beginning to pay off.
After intense lobbying from the private sector, the government took steps in reforming business and personal tax rates such as the reduction of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax. Also the mortgage interest and reduction in personal property taxes has contributed to the housing boom we have experienced this year.
In addition, it created a pool of discretionary dollars for us to use to improve our well-being. The goal of the 2013 budget was to expand the base of the middle class and ultimately achieve incremental wealth creation and continued job growth. Poverty reduction is not just about more money for the vulnerable but giving them the opportunity to rise above their current levels.
All indications are that these measures are working and the benefits will be more realised in 2014 and beyond. The cap reduction on business property tax was long overdue and the measures were good supply-side measures especially for small businesses.
I can still remember the 1970s recession and mismanagement which induced pessimism all over our nation. This had given way to some new thinking in 2001 when the “Reform” component joined the People’s National Congress (PNC). All this now is gone and the socialist and failed economic policies are back.
One just had to follow the negative response to the proposal by NEW GPC INC/CPL OPCO to acquire the cricket and football ground in order to put forward a different approach to local sports and entertainment events. It was a business investment. That is what capitalism with a social conscience is all about.
When one has the money to spend why stop it. Jobs are created with any investment. Somehow it seems like the dunce hats we use to make in school in the 1970s are still on the heads of those politicians of the past heads, that they continue to block initiatives that bring about jobs for our people.
In Georgetown, we constantly experience the mismanagement of the city and its consequences on the citizens. The unfounded negativity by the opposition politicians and certain sections of the media has led to our freedom of speech rights being turned into nasty politics and negative views on our country which will continue to deter foreign investments.
The structured economic plan and approach by the government have been tested constantly over the last two years and it is because of sound measures, we are still seeing growth in our economy. I reckon our economy would have performed more strongly had key programmes not been stifled.
The other main players in our economic drama, the opposition politicians, have for the entire year not presented any new measures but sloppy, slippery estimates of shadowy economic analysis as in the case of their rejection of one of the nation’s energy solutions – the Amaila Falls hydro project.
To date, they continue the negativity against Guyana with justification that it is what opposition politicians are supposed to do. What they keep failing to realise is when you are in opposition, it is an opportunity to present to the voting population why you would be better in government. At least, we can all conclude now that their failure to do so is evident, but of more concern to the citizens is their anti-Guyana approach that is holding back stronger economic growth and job opportunities for our citizens.
As citizens, we must understand that Guyana does not have any amount of spare capacity in our economy, thus every unfounded negative policy against projects that will enhance growth must be rejected. Our economy will remain somewhat unbalanced until we reverse the trend of negative politics by the opposition parliamentarians, when they continuously cut capital projects that are put in place to ensure long term success for Guyana.
Voters need to weigh this type of pessimistic and negative politics in the future against the hope for long-term growth that sees every citizen having the opportunity to benefit. We need to fix the roof while the sun is shining, and that was what the 1970s-80s politicians running APNU had failed to do.
I am glad the government and the finance minister have taken on the challenge to put measures in place to hold our economy together. Guyana is on a growth pattern where citizens are benefiting. The housing boom, lending rates, and increase in investment have trickled down to many citizens who are grabbing those opportunities.
We need all of us, the citizens of our nation to be optimistic, to ensure good management, good politics and a little luck that can see our country excel and be more competitive in our region.
Dr Peter R Ramsaroop
December 6, 2013 By
I must commend those who are contributing to the overall improvement of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc. However, we all play a role in ensuring efficiency and as good Samaritans, we must continue to report any matters that can affect the performance of GPL. In return, it is GPL’s responsibility to ensure that all matters of urgency are addressed, particularly in cases where poles or trees threaten to burst power lines.
In a technologically-advancing world, it is evident that GPL is undertaking several initiatives to improve its customer service countrywide, including the newly-implemented electronic billing (e-billing) service. The new initiative is expected to make paying bills easier, faster and hassle free.
E-billing offers a paperless mode of transaction, which is not only environmentally friendly but also clutter-free for both the receiver and the sender of electronic billing. It minimises the inconvenience of paperwork and having to worry about accidentally misplacing a bill.
With e-billing there is no need to join a long line to pay processing fees. Bills are instantly emailed and queried if necessary. All it calls for is basic computer proficiency. E-billing is being used by many businesses all around the world and it is time for us Guyanese to embrace this essential, hassle-free concept.
December 6, 2013 By
Guyana was not fortunate to benefit from its colonial masters or the previous government of any world class stadium or real international sport facilities.
Mere words will never be enough to praise the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government under the astute leadership of former President Bharrat Jagdeo for this country’s achievements in building world class and international sport facilities for our people.
We must never forget that when the International Cricket Council (ICC) took the decision to allow the Caribbean to host the World Cup in 2007, the Bourda Cricket Ground was described as obsolete. There were serious discussions between the Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) and the Georgetown Football Club (GFC) for them to merge and make one international facility.
Those in charge never agreed. Hence, no merger and both facilities are now not capable or appropriate for hosting world class cricket or football matches.
Clive Hubert Lloyd, one of our greatest cricketers, is today championing the cause for the merger of the two facilities. Lloyd believes that such a merger has the potential of creating one of the top stadia in the Caribbean, equipped with a cycling velodrome, football ground and tennis courts. With all of this, we could have the return of international cricket at Bourda.
Lloyd said “as a nation, we must seek to create such an environment and provide opportunities and facilities for purposeful and meaningful participation by our youths and students in the various disciplines in sport”.
It cannot be denied that the NEW GPC INC/CPL OPCO, through the acquisition of the Guyana Amazon Warriors and the massive investment in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (LCPL), brought back cricket to the people of Guyana.
The NEW GPC INC/CPL OPCO must be extremely proud that they ran off a highly successful professional T-20 cricket tournament in the Caribbean. There were many who doubted the tournament would have been successful.
However, the massive crowd and world class performances along with the high level of competent organisers certainly recorded a massive success for the LCPL.
I recalled vividly how sections of the press were writing negatively during the construction of the Guyana National Stadium at Providence. The naysayers could not accept that we in Guyana could have completed our stadium in time for the World Cup.
Let me remind them that the Brian Lara Stadium is yet to be completed. Further, the facility in Kingston, Jamaica is without lights – no night cricket to date.
I am extremely hurt to read the December 4 column “Peeping Tom” in the Kaieteur News and I quote, “Training facilities do not cost a fortune and a sport academy can operate out of any makeshift bond”. What a shame of a statement!
In this modern world, raw talent and potential is not enough to compete at the highest level. Our sportsmen and sportswomen are indeed great people. We must provide our youth and students with the best that we could offer them.
The NEW GPC INC/CPL OPCO is all about action and is a success story. Please do not follow those who choose to invest outside of Guyana after they accumulate richness. Please look at our sons and daughters. Let us have a multi-sport complex. A sport academy in Guyana is a step in the right direction.
Guyana’s sons and daughters will forever remember you with such a choice.
Sad! Guyanese must not allow this facility to move to another country. A reliable source has informed that the project will now be built in another country in the Caribbean. Let us as Guyanese be the winners. Let us benefit from this investment.
December 6, 2013 By
The world has lost a great freedom fighter and statesman with the death of South Africa’s first black President Nelson Mandela. All is not lost, however, for he has left us with a great legacy and left us richer than anything money can buy. He lived his life by virtues of truth, honesty, knowledge, caring and sharing with peace.
We are indeed saddened by his passing but he lived a great life, touching the world with his genuine love, kindness and compassion, having taught us much, so let’s celebrate his life. Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.
Mandela died at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the age of 95. The world has lost democracy’s most loyal friend and advocate for freedom and justice.
Mandela was the 20th century’s icon of freedom and liberty. He inspired us to believe that no obstacle is too large, no walk is too long, and no enemy of freedom is so powerful, that we should ever consider giving in. He has lived a life not only for himself and the people of South Africa, but the entire world. He has lit the candle for the world to see freedom.
His life will surely become one of the most epic stories in world history, of the true depth and strength of the human spirit. He inspired us with his life, his words, his work and his triumph. Mandela will forever be remembered as a man who fought for freedom and won it for millions, around the world, without once compromising his beliefs or his principles. He has sacrificed his life for freedom.
The legacy he has left us is one we shall always celebrate and we shall always thank God for Mandela. The prayers, love and support of the board of directors, executives and members of the Humanitarian Mission of New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir Inc, its Guyana and Toronto Chapters, are with his family and those dear to him.
May he rest in peace knowing that he leaves behind many who will continue his fight and carry on his legacy.
Pandit Suresh Sugrim
of the New Jersey
Arya Samaj Mandir Inc
December 6, 2013 By
I wish to bring to the attention of the reading public a recent incident which took place at a mandir on the East Coast of Demerara.
I was a former president of the mandir before I migrated in the 1990s. Over the years, every time I return to Guyana, I would visit the temple to make donations and other forms of contributions.
Recently, I visited the temple to perform my usual devotional service (I was on vacation in Guyana). I also took the opportunity to enquire about the state of affairs of the temple, with a view to assisting financially (the temple is in a state of reconstruction).
As if I was not welcomed, a member openly shouted at me in the presence of the audience, saying “you are a thief” and that “there’s nothing you can do”.
As an elderly citizen and a member of that mandir for over 30 years, I felt embarrassed and shameful at those derogatory remarks. I am also appealing to all Guyana to denounce such behaviour, as others are also affected at the temple and within the community, to the extent that some persons are denied access to the temple.
December 6, 2013 By
The issue of security in and around the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri has been one that is resounding in the media for years and years.
However, a few days back, I was very happy to read that two men, who are squatters living in the Timehri area, were caught on Close Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) stealing office equipment costing approximately one million dollars from the AmeriJet bond between November 19 and 20. This is a good, as I can see more proactive action in ridding the airport of such phenomenon.
This is one of many cases which are reported in the media, and one of the reasons why I am a firm believer that persons should not be allowed to squat so closely around the airport.
Squatting in close vicinity of the CJIA has posed a major security threat, especially as it harbours criminals. One can recall the infamous criminal, Rondell Rawlins aka “Fine man” had lived for months in the Timehri squatting area.
These persons only serve to tarnish the image of the community and the people residing in it, as I am sure that there are many hard working and honest persons in the area.
Nevertheless, I am firmly of the view that all persons in close vicinity of the airport should be relocated as soon as possible. However, as we see being well publicised in the media, this has not been sitting well with some residents, especially those of Timehri North, to whom notices have been served to vacate airport lands, which they have been occupying for years, illegally, so that the airport expansion can be facilitated.
In my view, squatters being unwilling to work with the Public Works Ministry, the Housing Ministry and other agencies designated to assist them with relocating is utterly lawless and is motivated by selfishness, irrationality, and total disregard for a project of national significance.
I have seen numerous attempts by ministries and the airport authority to render assistance to squatters, explaining to them the reasons, clarifing questions, all related to the expansion of the airport and what it means for the country. I have also read that the airport has set up a Community Relations Office specially for engaging with squatters, to help them in fast tracking their relocation to neighbouring villages.
I suggest that squatters take advantage of this opportunity. Help is being offered. Make the most of it. You are now being given a chance to own your land, with a title, your name printed on it.
A regular law abiding citizen will apply for a house lot and wait years upon years to get a title, while on the other hand, there are squatters in Timehri, whose process is fast tracked, and they are downright refusing it. How can this be rational?
I fully support Kaieteur News’ Peeping Tom article of August 30, which stated that squatting should be made a criminal offence. Persons who squat often demand rights, but how can you demand rights when you did not observe your civic duty of adhering to laws, simply ensuring your paperwork is in order before putting up a permanent structure on land?
The article rightfully stated that squatting near the CJIA is an eyesore and an embarrassment. The airport and its surroundings is the first exposure a visitor has to a country and can make or break their opinion of it.
Guyanese should take more pride in what is theirs! This is our home, our country. Let the airport expand, it will benefit us all. A larger airport will create more employment, and persons in Timehri will have an advantage. Men, women, young people just out of school can apply, work, earn a salary and live a good life.
A larger airport will invite more airlines to the country, which means more visitors will start to pour in, and the trickle down of economic and other benefits will be rewarding.
Let’s put Guyana first!
December 5, 2013 By
I read with interest an article by Michael Younge in the December 5 edition of the Guyana Times.
At no point have I said that the UK would pull funding from Guyana based on the perception of corruption. In my speech of November 22, I did not mention Guyana nor did I mention pulling funding.
What I said was: “the appetite of taxpayers in developed countries to commit to development – spend in jurisdictions with high perceived rates of corruption has waned. Faced with cuts in services at home, many are asking why money should be spent abroad when corruption reduces the net benefit in some cases close to zero”.
I should therefore be grateful if you would publish this letter in your newspaper in order to correct the mistakes made in Younge’s article and any misperceptions your readers might have following his erroneous statement.
British High Commissioner
December 5, 2013 By