April 23, 2014 By
April 23, 2014 By
– Ramsammy says
By Jomo Paul
Agriculture Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy said millers who were paying rice farmers “next to nothing” for their paddy will be the last to be served as new shipments begin under the rice export deal with Venezuela.
He said those who were “fair” will be given priority by the Government and this practice will continue in the future. “If you do not treat the rice farmers with the fairness and respect they deserve, then there will be consequences that may be severe to your businesses,” Dr Ramsammy warned millers in an interview with Guyana Times.
The Minister told this newspaper that he recalled that at the beginning of the current crop, the millers were being “profoundly unfair” to farmers in that they were offering them just about $3100 per bag of paddy. This state of affairs only changed when he met with several of the millers and urged them to offer better prices. He said even then a few of the millers “flat-out refused to raise the prices”, saying that they were not sure of the Venezuelan market, which was not finalised at that time, and were unwilling to gamble their monies on it.
“You cannot treat the farmers like that and then want to be rewarded at the highest,” Dr Ramsammy said, as he explained that some of the very millers who were offering the farmers the low prices are demanding that their stock to be given priority in the exporting.
“My words must be like gold, in that I said priority will be given to the millers who offered fair prices to the farmers from the beginning of the crop,” the Minister stated.
He went on to indicate that he is advocating for the development of a quota system, which would reveal which millers have been offering the recommended prices for paddy. He added that from that system, the Ministry will be able to efficiently decide which millers are given priority by the Ministry and the Guyana Rice Development Board when it is time for the rice and paddy to be exported.
“It is unfortunate that I have to give any one of them [‘unfair’ millers], any of them this market, but I’m obliged to, because it is for the farmers,” the Agriculture Minister declared, adding that “at the next crop, anybody that doesn’t start with a fair price, I am scratching you off… you get knock out if you don’t treat the farmers properly.”
This, he maintained, will ensure that the farmers are offered the prices they deserve for their produce across the board. In March, rice farmers in Essequibo took to the streets in protest over the prices they were being offered for their paddy, and the persistent delay in payment.
Essequibo farmers on that occasion had milled around the Anna Regina High Bridge, armed with placards, chanting: “We want more price for paddy this crop, we want we money now.”
Speaking on behalf of the farmers, Alliance For Change (AFC) Councillor Naith Ram, who is also the Chairman of the Essequibo Farmers’ Group, said then that there has been a significant decrease of approximately $1000 in the price for a bag of paddy when compared to the last crop. The AFC Councillor had opined that the rice industry is not being given the attention it deserves. He also lamented the fact that some farmers were owed monies by millers for very long periods – in excess of seven months, in some cases.
April 23, 2014 By
– body discovered days later
By Vahnu Manikchand
The body of a 40-year-old man was discovered on Tuesday morning days after he was allegedly hacked to death by his brother.
The dead man has been identified as Jairam Teekaram of Third Field, Kaneville, East Bank Demerara. According to a police press release, Teekaram’s body was discovered around 06:30h in the yard and bore several chop wounds. Guyana Times understands that the two men had an argument on Sunday evening during which Teekaram was chopped about his body and left in the yard covered with a piece of carpet.
Teekaram’s body was discovered Tuesday morning after the next door neighbour noticed his head sticking out from the carpet. He had sustained deep chop wounds to his head and upper body. Before heading over to investigate, neighbours tried to make contact with the man’s son to find out where he was, since initially, they were not sure if the body was his. However, by this time, a former workmate came to the house looking for Teekaram, and after seeing toes peeking out from under the carpet, he uncovered the severely chopped body.
When Guyana Times visited the scene, neighbours related what they knew about the incident. According to one woman on Sunday evening, Teekaram had consumed alcohol and went home; he and another man, who was staying there at the time, subsequently fell asleep.
She added that his brother “Jasho” came home late that evening and began beating the two men; however, the other man ran out of the yard and sought refuge at a stall about two houses away. The woman said they saw “Jasho” hitting his brother and asking him if “y’all get money?”. The woman said that she dismissed the incident, thinking that it was another regular squabble the brothers were having, but then “Jasho” came out and told the other man “you gone be next… go see what I do to that one in there, must go see”.
In fear, the man fled the area and on Monday morning “Jasho” was seen leaving for work. He then returned in the evening and was cooking as though things were normal.
Another woman told this newspaper that when she heard the argument on Sunday and looked into the yard, she saw “Jasho” armed with cutlasses and he seemed to be hitting his brother. “I didn’t know he was chopping Nas, it look like he was hitting him,” she recalled. The woman continued that on Tuesday morning, her husband was in their yard when he noticed a human head sticking out from under the carpet.
Neighbours said Teekaram recently moved in with his brother after he fell ill. “His brother used to do everything cook, clean and they does get their lil’ fight but nothing like this ever happen,” one woman said.
The body of Teekaram was taken to the Lyken Funeral Parlour to await a post-mortem examination, which is expected to be done today. “Jasho” was taken into custody to assist with the investigations. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
April 23, 2014 By
Come July 31, Calvin Benn will not renew his contract as the Deputy Chief Election Officer (DCEO) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
This pronouncement came shortly after reports surfaced on local news websites that the DCEO had quit his post at the entity. However, GECOM Chairman, Dr Steve Surujbally on Tuesday denied those reports stating that he was aware that the DCEO was on leave for two months and there was nothing more to it, opting not to comment further on the reports.
Guyana Times, however, subsequently learnt that Benn had indicated that he will not be renewing his contract with the commission, and, as such, will have to vacate his post when his contract expires in March. It was also revealed that Benn had cited some personal and health issues when he notified the Commission that he will not be continuing his service.
The Commission is set to meet in the coming week when commissioners will discuss the issue. Benn, who had also applied for the post of CEO, subsequently withdrew his application, practically clearing the way for the appointment of Keith Lowenfield.
In a statement at that time, GECOM had said Benn was not interviewed, because he tendered a letter dated March 10, 2014, regretfully informing the entity that he was no longer interested in the post and, by way of said letter, was withdrawing his application for the post. “Benn submitted in his letter that he had engaged in some serious reflection during a recent period of illness and has concluded that it would be unwise for him to compete for the position of Chief Election Officer,” the GECOM statement read. Further, he had also expressed regrets to the Commission for any inconvenience which might have been caused by his change of heart.
April 23, 2014 By
The two Jamaican nationals intercepted with the compressed marijuana at Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) are expected to be arraigned today.
According to Police Public Relations Officer Ivelaw Whittaker, investigations were conducted and the duo is expected to charged and placed before the courts.
On Monday around 07:00h, ranks of the Police Narcotics Branch at the CJIA discovered the drug when conducting routine searches on the luggage of a male and female Jamaican who were incoming passengers on a Fly Jamaica flight from the island. A total of 28 kilograms of compressed marijuana was unearthed.
The duo was taken into custody and investigations were launched.
In the national drug report for 2012, it was revealed that police seized 80.587 kilograms of cocaine, 16 grams of hashish, and 40 grams of ecstasy for the year 2012.
In addition, 18 fields with an estimated total of 130,950 kilograms of marijuana were destroyed during 12 cannabis eradication exercises. There was an additional 513 cannabis seizures during the year, which yielded 1089 kilograms.
April 23, 2014 By
Ranks from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Coast Guard have begun a two-day naval training exercise being conducted by the Brazilian Naval Task Group during which naval techniques and other advanced practices will be exchanged.
This exercise is part of Operation CARIBEX 2014, an ongoing annual training programme. The Brazilian Navy arrived in Guyana on Tuesday with two patrol vessels Bocaina and the smaller Graúna with 19 officers and eight military crewmen. The vessels are docked at the GDF Ship Hinds, Ruimveldt, Georgetown.
A media briefing was held on board Bocaina during which it was disclosed that this year’s training began earlier that day aboard the vessels Graúna and GDF Essequibo, which is the flagship of GDF. The two vessels along with their crew members went out to the mouth of the Demerara River on Tuesday afternoon where they conducted the first phase of training.
According to Commander Gary Beaton, last year, GDF sent eight ranks to Brazil for training under the CARIBEX 2013 programme. He noted that Brazil has several vessels of the same class as the GDF Essequibo; as such, its navy has the expertise and so this year, the training will be focused on ‘man-over-board’ drills and damage control. Beaton added that at the end of the training, the Brazilian experts will assess the condition of GDF Essequibo’s machinery and the skill level of its crew.
“So basically, they will give us an assessment on the readiness of the crew and also on the integrity of its machinery,” the commander said.
Meanwhile Captain Jackson Sales, the Commanding Officer of the Task Force, said the Brazil Navy crew is here to strengthening friendship by helping the GDF Coast Guards.
Sales disclosed that 70 per cent of the Bocaina vessel was completed in Brazil and so his country has the expertise to help Guyana improve operational security in the river and sea. He added that the GDF ranks have displayed great competency since most of them were already trained in this area.
Colonel Ronaldo Pacheco, the Brazilian Military Attaché, said this training exercise is important to Brazil and Guyana, and other countries too, since the aim is to strengthen their relations with each other. “Security is important for our countries and all countries need to strengthen relations through security in all areas such as international trafficking, human trafficking, and patrolling our rivers and seas so this training is a part of an agreement between Brazil and Guyana,” Pacheco stated.
The crew will depart Guyana for Suriname and then French Guiana. The ties between French Guiana and Brazil are strong since the French territory is currently building four submarines for Brazil. The Brazilian crew members are expected to pay courtesy calls on the Mayor of Georgetown and the GDF Chief-of-Staff before their departure. There will also be a tour of the vessels open to the public from 14:00 to 17:00 today. The Brazilian Naval Task Group is under the command of the Northern Naval Group, which was originally founded in April 1974 and was called the Amazon Flotilla (FLOTAM).
April 23, 2014 By
Passengers aboard the Supenaam to Parika Ferry on Tuesday were left stunned when the vessel was made to return to the Supenaam Stelling after approximately 30 minutes into its journey to pick up two passengers.
Speaking with Guyana Times shortly after the incident, one of the passengers, Francis Darchiville, related that he arrived at the stelling at approximately 09:30h on Tuesday and he, along with other persons, waited for the ferry, which arrived approximately 15 minutes late.
Darchiville explained that not long after the arrival of the ferry, it departed for Parika since the crew was very efficient in offloading and loading the ferry with goods and other items.
However, about 30 minutes into the hour-long journey to the Parika Stelling, the captain allegedly received a call from a supervisor at the Supenaam Stelling and was instructed to return the ferry to the stelling where two new passengers boarded, much to the annoyance of the other passengers.
Darchiville, a former Region Three Councillor, explained that after he observed the captain was turning the vessel around, he enquired as to what might have transpired and was told by the vessel’s captain that he was “just following orders”.
Darchiville maintained that as a result of the ferry turning around for the two passengers, he and all the original passenger were delayed by approximately 45 minutes, time which he explained could have been spent conducting business. “Why should a boatload of persons be made to suffer just because two persons who probably have friends in high places missed the ferry?” questioned Darchiville.
The man maintained that such an incident had never happened previously, and it was a blatant disregard for the persons travelling on the ferry at the time.
Efforts made by this publication to contact the head of the Transport and Harbours Department and the Minister of Public Works for a comment on the incident proved futile.
April 23, 2014 By
Urgent coordinated action is needed to restore the health of the world’s oceans and secure the long-term well-being and food security of a growing global population.
That is a key message of an international summit that opened on Tuesday at The Hague in the Netherlands. Ministers and senior representatives from governments, the fishing industry, coastal communities, science and civil society are coming together at the Global Oceans Action Summit for Food Security and Blue Growth (April 22-25) which aims to bring global attention and increased investment into addressing the three key threats to ocean health and food security: overfishing, habitat destruction, and pollution. The summit will culminate in a high-level roundtable on Thursday, April 25.
“Urgent joint action of the global community is needed to address the threats facing our oceans,” said Sharon Dijksma, Minister for Agriculture of the Netherlands, which is hosting the summit.
“Local innovations to balance ecology and economy at sea must be identified and put into practice in other regions. The Global Oceans Action Summit in The Hague provides the opportunity to make a difference.”
On average, 17 per cent of global animal protein intake comes from fisheries and aquaculture, and demand for fish protein is expected to double in the next 20 years, yet some 28 per cent of global stocks are already overfished.
At the same time, climate change is threatening biodiversity, altering habitats, and changing the productivity of fisheries. “Healthy oceans have a central role to play in solving one of the biggest problems of the 21st century – how to feed nine billion people by 2050,” said Árni M Mathiesen, Assistant Director-General for Fisheries and Aquaculture at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
“However, we need to act now at the speed and scale necessary to meet the challenges we face by joining forces with all stakeholders, fostering partnerships, and spurring sustainable growth.”
More than 500 delegates are expected to attend the Summit, including more than 60 ministers, Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and leaders from civil society. The Summit was co-organised by the World Bank, FAO and the Governments of Grenada, Indonesia, Mauritius, Norway and the United States of America.
The Summit will focus on some of the underlying causes that have led to the overfishing, increased marine pollution, and loss of critical habitat as well as potential solutions. This means balancing the demand for growth with the need for conservation of marine areas; addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the high seas and within national exclusive economic zones; and ensuring private sector growth does not come at the expense of protecting the livelihoods of local communities.
“Solutions exist that balance the ecological and economic demands on the ocean,” said Juergen Voegele, Director of Agriculture and Environmental Services at the World Bank.
“We have the opportunity to align all our efforts and bring solutions to scale locally. With public-private partnerships and shared approaches, we can restore ocean health and provide food and jobs for communities worldwide.” In exploring solutions, emphasis will also be placed on the finance mechanisms and governance structures needed to ensure that actions have the impact and longevity to respond to global demands. Among the approaches discussed, inclusive partnerships that bring together public, private, community and civil society actors will be highlighted.”
Coming out of the 2012 Rio+20 Conference, the blue economy comprises the food, jobs and opportunities for development provided by ocean and coastal assets. Blue growth emphasises conservation and sustainable management of aquatic resources and equitable benefits to the coastal communities that rely on them.
April 23, 2014 By
People’s Progressive Party (PPP) General Secretary Clement Rohee on Tuesday denied allegations that the $12 million ambulance recently assigned to Region Eight is non-functional, pointing out that since March it has already transported three patients from the Mahdia Regional Hospital to the Georgetown Public Hospital on separate occasions.
Since the ambulance was delivered in March, there has been much criticism. The Regional Chairman Mark Crawford publicly stated that the ambulance might have been taken from a “junkyard”. Just days ago, AFC Councillor Niem Gafoor told sections of the press that the ambulance is non-functional. According to him, “the ambulance is a pick-up transformed into an ambulance”.
But Rohee argued that the ambulance was up and running. “The ambulance is an off-the-road vehicle, suitable for the terrain,” he told reporters. It was explained that during a budget meeting in 2012 involving an AFC Councillor, it was decided that an ambulance would be procured in 2013. However, it was only until the latter half of 2013 that the ambulance was procured and it was subsequently delivered in March 2014.
The AFC councillors said too that the Chenapau Health Centre was in a deplorable condition. In defence, Rohee said the Chenapau Health Centre was slated for rehabilitation in 2012, but while mobilisation was paid, the contractor did not commence the project. This deficiency within the system was reflected in the Auditor General’s Report. However, this year, the centre’s fence will be rehabilitated under the region’s ‘health recurrent’ programme.
“Chenapau has benefited from treated bed nets, a boat and engine, outreaches…, and the placement of malaria personnel,” Rohee said in an effort to paint a picture of the work done by the PPP/Civic Government in the region. Despite criticism by the AFC, he said the region continues to air lift patients from the Mahdia District Hospital to Georgetown Public Hospital. “The PPP/C Government has allocated a significant amount of financial and other resources over the past decade and more to provide additional health services, and improve significantly the quality of those services in Region Eight,” he further pointed out.
According to Rohee, the Region Eight Administration, led by the AFC, continues to deceive and demean the “hardworking staff of the regional health services”, while failing to recognise the achievements made in the regional health sector. “No mention is ever made of the achievement and success stories of the region, and on the contrary, only isolated negative issues are highlighted.”
The PPP General Secretary and Home Affairs Minister said AFC councillors and other regional leaders must be cognisant of the fact that resources are always finite, hence there is a need to prioritise. Boasting of the strides made in the regional health sector, Rohee pointed to the placement of four doctors at the Mahdia Regional Hospital who are supported by an increased number of registered nurses, midwives, nursing assistants, lab technicians and environmental health officers.
It was stated that the procurement of vehicles, including All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) will aid in the work of the health department, in addition to the construction of new health centres and the rehabilitation of dozens of health buildings.
In the 2014 National Budget, $944.7 million was approved for Region Eight (Potaro/Siparuni), with $165.9 million allocated for capital projects. Under capital expenditure, $11 million was allocated to regional administration and finance while $48.3 million has been set aside for the public works sector, $64.3 million for education delivery, and $42.3 million for health services.
April 23, 2014 By