April 20, 2014

Big prizes for winners in LTW Pageant

Some of the delegates for the annual Linden Town Week (LTW) Pageant

Some of the delegates for the annual Linden Town Week (LTW) Pageant

Contestants vying for the crown this year in the annual Linden Town Week (LTW) Pageant can expect to be given more than just the title of queen.

De Sheriff’s Entertainment and Club is responsible for hosting the pageant for the second consecutive time around.

It will be held on Saturday, April 26 at the Mackenzie Sports Club (MSC) Ground, under the theme “Rebirth in stride”, and will mark the first event on the Linden Town Week (LTW) calendar of activities.

At a sashing ceremony conducted on Wednesday evening, attended by six of the seven contesting delegates, representative of De Sheriff Entertainment Lincoln Zephyr said the team is taking the pageant to a new level this year.

The simple ceremony was held inside the L&L Restaurant and Lounge at Mackenzie, Linden.

Vying for the crown are delegate Number One, Luela Figueira, representing the community of Canvas City; delegate Number Two, Wrenea Sidney, representing Half Mile; delegate Number Three, Manouska Vyfhuis, representing Nottinghamshire; delegate Number Four, Chelsea Venture, representing Amelia’s Ward; Delegate Number Five, Keyana De’Souza, representing Block 22; delegate Number Six, Shanti Paul, who was absent, but is representing Retrieve; and delegate Number Seven,  Jahvina Lam, representing the Wisroc community.

Zephyr said the successful queen is expected to be an ambassador to the community, especially youths. He said the prizes which will be handed over to the queen as well as winners in various categories are intended to enhance the participants’ quality of life.

Additions

Apart from the Linden Town Week queen, he said there will be three runner-ups in the competition. This year’s top four contenders will be competing for a plot of land, along with $150,000, a sponsored one-year paid tuition to attend the University of Guyana (UG) and a trip to a Caribbean destination, in addition to jewellery.

Additionally, six individual prizes, including Miss Congeniality, Miss Best Body, Miss Best Smile, Miss Most intelligent, Most Improved and the designer who will cop the prize for the Best Gown are all up for grabs. Miss Congeniality will walk away with U.S. $100 while Miss Best Body will take home US$50.

Miss Best smile will receive a digital camera, while Most Intelligent will win an electronic notebook. Miss Most Improved will walk away with a mobile phone.

The winner of the Best Gown prize will receive a trophy and US$50.

“We saw it fit that we can play some part in contributing to these persons’ dreams, so we saw it fit to muster up the prize basket this year,” Zephyr said.

He stressed that last year’s pageant was quite successful since the queen and other successful contestants were awarded their prizes. He assured that while some of the prizes were already on showcase around the same time last year, the contestants vying this year can look forward to be awarded their prizes in a timely manner.

Zephyr also thanked the pageant sponsors, which include Banks DIH, Bosai Minerals Group Guyana Incorporated (BMGGI), Caribbean Airlines, Bolo’s Variety Store and Fine’s Jewellery World.

Five homeless after Nabaclis fire

A fire suspected to be arson on Saturday evening completely gutted a two-bedroom home at Nabaclis, East Coast Demerara.

The fire which started about 17:00h has left Tonza Woolford and her four minor children contemplating alternative living arrangements.

According to information received, the wooden and concrete building has no electricity supply; hence, it was not electrical in origin.

Guyana Times understands that Woolford left home on Saturday morning for her place of employment at Nigel’s Supermarket on Robb Street, Georgetown at 08:00h, leaving her four children, aged four, nine, 12 and 13 reportedly left in the care of a cousin a few houses away.

At the scene of the tragedy, a distraught Woolford posited that she was at work when she received a call from a relative, informing her that her home was on fire.

She added that she immediately left work and rushed to the scene, but it was too late for her to salvage any household items since the entire building was already engulfed in flames.

Woolford could not estimate her losses, but stated that her home was fully furnished with all modern amenities, to give her four children a comfortable life.

The mother said she will be seeking refuge at the home of a cousin and hopes to rebuild her life soon.

The woman explained that no one was at home at the time of the fire and suspects that the fire might have been deliberately set, since the house did not have any electricity.

“Is 11 years now the house without current, so we really can’t tell what started the fire, but nobody was home, meh daughter went to work and she children went at a cousin house, so is something suspicious,” said the woman.

This publication learnt that after the fire started, persons in the neighbourhood formed a bucket brigade in an effort to put out the blaze, but the heat was too intense, causing them to retreat.

The Guyana Fire Service has launched an investigation into the incident.

BMGGI donates equipment to Linden Hospital

Bauxite mining company, Bosai Minerals Group Guyana Incorporated (BMGGI) presented a high-powered Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) to the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC) on Thursday.

At a simple presentation ceremony conducted at the health institution, BMGGI Vice General Manager Robert Shang handed over the equipment, which was requested by the management of the hospital to serve as a back-up and protector for the new ecocardiography machine, used to perform ultrasounds to the heart.

It would now have to be connected to the machine before it is put into operation.

The trained staff at the hospital can now put the machine to use and perform the technical procedure. Also present to witness the presentation was Bosai Health and Safety Officer Raymond Sanker and Community Relations Assistant Vanessa Mitchell-Davis.

Davis said the management of Bosai Minerals is pleased to be a contributor in such a significant way towards the health sector as this gesture will benefit a wide cross section of Region 10.

Craig teen shot during robbery

A teenager is nursing a gunshot wound to his right elbow after three men invaded his Craig, East Bank Demerara home on Friday morning, during an attempted robbery. The incident occurred about 01:45h.

Amarnauth Ramdeen, 19, of Grant Scheme, Craig, East Bank Demerara was admitted to a private medical facility.

According to information received, Ramdeen was aroused by a noise in his home, and on checking, he was confronted by three men, two of whom were armed with firearms.

Guyana Times understands that the house was under construction and the men might have gone there to commit a robbery. The young man was reportedly home alone.

Based on reports, Ramdeen contacted his relatives after the incident, who took him to the hospital. Attempts to get a comment from the young man proved futile.

One of the men discharged a round that struck the teenager, hitting him to the right elbow. The men then made good their escape through a window.

Response to Project Impact Albouystown encouraging—Police

Acting Police commissioner Seelall Persaud

Acting Police commissioner Seelall Persaud

The Guyana Police Force said the response to Project Impact Albouystown has been overwhelming, and is optimistic that the initiative will create positive change in the community.

The Police Force has rejected some of the criticisms that have been levelled about its operations and presence in the crime-prone community, stating that it is encouraged by the developments since the project was launched.

With respect to a report carried in one of the daily newspapers, which stated that persons accused the police of searching the bags of children going to school, the police said the accusation is false.

The Police Force maintained that a significant part of its efforts in the initiative is aimed at empowering Albouystown youths to develop skills to become productive and meaningful contributors to society.

The Force said it did expect some resistance from persons who are benefitting from crime in the community.

In a statement to the media, the Police said since foot patrols and random search started in the community on April 12, seven men have been arrested and charged for being in possession of 188 grams of narcotics.

The law enforcement ranks have recovered one .45 pistol and have thawed attempts to rob a business in the area, while noting that no serious crimes have occurred in the Albouystown community since the project was launched.

Training

Additionally, some 60 youth commenced a Foundation Course in Information Communication Technology at the Guyana Defence Force Zara Computer Centre at Eve Leary.

All arrangements were in place to collect the youths between the ages of seven and 16 from a strategic location in Albouystown and take them to the centre, and drop them home after the training session.

On Tuesday, a cosmetology training programme will commence at the Heavenly Light World Outreach Fellowship for a number of females, the Force announced.

It said that it was very appreciative of the support being offered via the business community since the conceptualisation and implementation of the Albouystown project.

One businessman has pledged to donate rice monthly to the feeding programme being conducted by the religious community in Albouystown, while another businessman has donated $200,000 worth of cosmetics to support the cosmetology training programme and other activities.

Project Impact Albouystown was made possible through the Guyana Police Force in partnership with a number of stakeholders, including the religious and community leaders of Albouystown.

The project seeks to make the community a safer environment.

One of the main focuses outlined by acting Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud is to address crime and disorder, with heavy emphasis on gun crimes.

This is being done through foot patrols and stop and search operations, among other activities.

A Steering Committee, which includes senior police officers and community leaders, has been established and will be meeting on a monthly basis.

Disapproval of fund for Integrity Commission disheartening—Ramotar

President Donald Ramotar

President Donald Ramotar

A decision is still to be made on the way forward following the more than $5 billion in budgetary allocations being disapproved by the parliamentary Opposition to the Office of the President.

In a move described by President Donald Ramotar as “callous and unthinkable”, Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) voted to remove some $5.2 billion in funds for his office’s operations.

The $245 million for Presidential Guard services, the $122 million for the Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology (IAST), $119 million for the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest), $73.5 million for the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), $28.5 million for the Commissioner of Information’s Office, $17 million for the Integrity Commission, $95 million for the provision of developmental, other humanitarian aid and other initiatives, and $10 million for the Office of the First Lady have all been affected.

The funds for the Presidential Guard Services included sums to update its transportation fleet, including a new Presidential vehicle and communications equipment, all of which are vital to ensuring the president’s security.

Go-Invest is tasked with attracting potential investors and investments from both local and foreign entrepreneurs. The cessation of its funding puts at risk, not only the jobs of dozens of dedicated skilled personnel, but also its operations.

Among activities planned for this financial year was the attendance and participation of local businesses and enterprises in international trade shows and expos.

These events have been critical in showcasing Guyana’s potential in various fields to the world at large, and indeed have resulted in several sizeable investments being made. These investments have in turn benefitted thousands of Guyanese by providing jobs and business opportunities, in various sectors across the country.

Investments are needed to further drive and expand the economy, thus helping to maintain or exceed the average four per cent GDP growth rate needed to move local development forward.

The sums for the IAST were earmarked for furthering the University of Guyana-based agency’s efforts at advancing its research into bio-fuels and clean energy alternatives, as well as salaries for its dedicated team of staffers. The IAST is also leading research into the use of activated carbon for coconut shells, as a replacement for mercury in the gold recovery process. This is important and groundbreaking given the upcoming proposed ban by the year 2020 of the use of mercury in the mining sector.

GEA

The efforts of the GEA to enhance its monitoring and ensuring the sanctity of the nation’s imported fuel supplies will be curtailed. The agency has been spearheading the fight against fuel smugglers, with several arrests and prosecutions into this lucrative illegal trade. Fuel smuggling not only robs the nation’s coffers, but can also lead to substandard fuel being sold to innocent purchasers. This can result in damage to machinery and vehicles, invalidating warranties and causing issues such as damaged motors and increased expenditure in the long term for repairs.

The denial of funding for the Integrity Commission and the Office of the Commissioner of Information is seen as another cause for concern, since both were called for by the political Opposition. According to Minister in the Finance Ministry Juan Edghill, the fact that they were demanded by the Opposition which then reversed their positions and denied them funding is “inexplicable”.

It should be noted that there are constant calls for alleged incidents of corruption to be investigated by stakeholders, including the same Opposition MPs who voted to “disapprove” funds to the Integrity Commission.

The funding for the First Lady’s Office was also cut by the controversial vote.

The funds which are used at the Head of State’s discretion were allocated under the $95 million allocation for the provision of developmental, humanitarian aid and other initiatives.

This fund, which has been a mainstay of every Guyanese President since the nation’s independence, is used to assist persons in need, any charitable initiative or cause, as the sitting President deems fit.

Politically regarded as sacrosanct, this fund has never been questioned or adjusted by previous parliaments during this or previous administrations.

Presidents have always been granted a sum of money to assist or contribute to any cause as they see fit.

Disapproval of UG student loans irresponsible – President Donald Romotar

President Donald Ramotar

President Donald Ramotar

President Donald Ronald Ramotar has denounced the move by the combined Opposition to disapprove funding for several Finance Ministry programmes, including the $450 million allocated to the University of Guyana for student loans.

Over the years, a vast majority of the student population at the country’s premier tertiary institution benefited from student loans and a large percentage of new entries continue to apply for this facility.

The President explained that for years, the Government has been at the receiving end of criticisms where the university is concerned; yet the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) chose to cut this much-needed allocation without a second thought. Even though it is no secret, a loan is the only means through which certain students can afford access to tertiary education.

Opposition Chief Whip and Shadow Education Minister Amna Ally in her presentation on the 2014 budget accused the Government of starving UG of funds and questioned “why the administration continues to stifle the country’s young people”.

President Ramotar lamented that, “here they talk about youth and young people and the student loan is trying to ensure that those students with difficult economic circumstances should not be stifled from accessing tertiary education, and then we see them axing student loans”.

He added that this loan facility is designed to assist bright, young Guyanese to further ready themselves to make their contribution to the country’s development.

“These are young people preparing for their future and their future is being placed in jeopardy by this kind of irresponsible behaviour and narrow political agenda that is being put above the development and welfare of our people,” President Ramotar said.

Meanwhile, Government’s Chief Whip and Presidential Advisor on Governance Gail Teixeira referred to this cut as an “onslaught”.

“So when people are saying that we are not giving the University of Guyana enough money, please remember who cut it,” she said.

The Government has continuously made efforts to ensure that tuition fees at UG remain affordable, so much so that students from other Caribbean countries such as Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago choose to pursue degrees programmes in Guyana.

Moreover, the process of accessing a student loan is simple and hassle-free; the only requirement is the signature of a guarantor.

Police distribute kites to Upper Corentyne children

A policeman distributing the of kites on Saturday

A policeman distributing the of kites on Saturday

In keeping with the spirit of Easter, ranks of the Springlands Police Station manned by Cadet Officer Jermaine Dufu on Saturday distributed 150 kites to children in several villages, along the Upper Corentyne, Berbice, Region Six.

The kites were distributed to children in Number 77 Village, Little Africa and other communities. The event is used as a tool to foster better police/public cooperation and more so to build trust among its citizens.

Children from all walks of life turned up in their numbers to collect their kites while some villagers thought that the initiative augurs well for the Police Force.  Other divisions within the Guyana Police Force will engage in a similar exercise today.

PPP/C extends Easter greetings to all

The People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) has extended Easter greetings to all Guyanese, more particularly the Christian community.

The party in a statement said Easter symbolises the resurrection of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and is observed by the flying of kites which has always brought tens of thousands of people from all walks of life and from every religious persuasion together to celebrate this auspicious occasion.

“It is the fervent wish of the party that the Easter spirit of togetherness and joy will continue throughout the year and that righteousness will prevail in this beautiful country of ours.

“May the kites soar high into to skies and in the process lift the spirits of all Guyanese, many of whom have become exhausted and tired by elements in our midst who seek to divide us as a nation and thwart our collective efforts to lift our economy and our country to even greater heights.

“Once again, a Happy Easter to one and all,” the statement concluded.

Wakenaam woman dies from snake bite

The snake that was cut into several pieces

The snake that was cut into several pieces

“Help! Help! Come see a snake bite me!” were reportedly the last words spoken by Deomattee Deodat, a mother of two and resident of Melville, Wakenaam, Essequibo Islands after she was bitten by a poisonous snake.

The 56-year-old woman, who was reportedly  bitten four times by a “labaria” on Monday around 19:30h, died before she could have reached the Wakenaam Cottage Hospital.

According to information received, the mother went into her poultry pen to remove some bags, but did not notice the poisonous creature, which bit her on the right foot, four times.

Deomattee raised an alarm and her husband rushed to her aid, killed the reptile and cut it into several pieces.

According to the husband, his wife was helpless and in immense pain when he went into the pen.

He said he then called on a neighbour, who drove his wife to the hospital. However, she unfortunately died on her way. Meanwhile, the very next day, another snake of similar feature took up residence in the said pen, and was also disposed.

The woman’s death came as a shocker to the entire Island of Wakenaam. The mother leaves to mourn her reputed husband and two children.

Deomattee was said to be suffering from hypertension. She was an active member of the Melville Temple at Wakenaam.