May 21, 2013 By
May 20, 2013 By
Anthony Vieira’s at it again and as usual he has his allies in the media with the same vindictive and envious agenda. They’re raising a furore over radio licences…but that’s just a proxy for their fury that others are succeeding in areas where they’ve failed miserably. But of course, since only their coterie ought to be successful, their rage knows no bounds. That green monster called “jealously” is a powerful master.
So Vieira writes a letter to the Stabber News, which the latter, through an ex-Television Guyana (TVG) employee, regurgitates as “news” that TVG’s facility to uplink television signals and then re-transmit them to remote locations violates the Guyana Telephone & Telegraph (GT&T) monopoly over telecommunications. Is this guy for real??? It’s obvious he’s just read his pal Enrico Woolford’s misinformed letter in which the latter exclaimed (in his oleaginous and rotund tone): “Are we saying that GT&T does not have satellite uplink facilities in the country? Are we saying that GT&T is not licensed to uplink and downlink voice and data?”
Well Vieira, Woolford and the Stabber have just revealed why they are on the outside looking in on a business they claim to know about. As one letter writer pointed out back when Woolford originally put his foot in his mouth, “Voice traffic is a two way communication, and the transport is dealt with in a vastly different way from Television Receive Only (TVRO) transmission. The equipment and bandwidth necessary for video transmission are different from that required for voice and data.”
So do they want to extend GT&T’s monopoly, which the trio are now defending, while calling themselves “free-enterprise” defenders, from voice and data to cover television broadcasts? Even the People’s National Congress (PNC), which gave away the Guyana Telecommunications Corporation for a song (and some grease under the table) forbade that nonsense. Look at the original Telecommunications Act 27 of 1990 under which GT&T operated. It specifically excluded radio and television broadcasts from its ambit.
But like we said, the real motive for all this noise is jealousy. The Stabber had a monopoly on Direct TV for quite a while and raked in the big bucks. It fears competition. Vieira is even more livid because he couldn’t turn a profit with Vieira Communications Limited (VCT). He thought he pulled a fast one when he sold it for US$ millions. Now the business has been turned around through shrewd management, he just can’t stand it.
Especially since the fella making the profits isn’t from his tight, little, incestuous coterie.
…not paying taxes
One of the peculiar things about some human beings is hypocrisy. We know that everyone has a bit of discrepancy between their private selves and the ones they present to the public. But most of us take some care that the gap between the two doesn’t become a chasm. Because that’s when we become out-and-out flaming hypocrites.
There’s a strata in Georgetown that insists its morally superior to others…especially to those they consider the “great unwashed”. One of their gripes is that the latter, such as rice farmers, don’t pay their “fair” share of taxes. But the sad truth is that this same strata, which is made up of so-called “professionals”, rake in millions through their fees and charges and refuse to pay any taxes. Wasn’t it last year that senior-counsel wannabe, and Alliance For Change (AFC) Chairman, Nigel Hughes had to be forced to pay millions and millions of back taxes on his Sidewalk Cafe property?
A little bird just alleged that the aforementioned sententious Woolford hasn’t only not paid taxes on his television production company for decades… he only just registered it!!! C’mon Khurshid Sattaur!!
The geriatric head of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) Patrick Yard, head of a union in which all its members have to retire at 55, just returned to his bluster about 90 per cent increases over three years!! Sign of incipient senility. Sad.
May 20, 2013 By
Times Notebook recently reread a speech made by the former health minister of Guyana, Dr Leslie Ramsammy at the World Health Assembly in Geneva in 2008. In that speech, Dr Ramsammy railed against public health experts and development specialists who collectively keep on ignoring the disabling effect of adverse mental health on the welfare of individuals and of the development of society as a whole.
In particular, he stated then that “people with mental health problems are excluded even from groupings referred to as vulnerable. These persons are not just like the rest of the poor; they are poorer. They are disadvantaged by who they are, because they cannot speak for themselves. People with mental disabilities are locked out of development, not by themselves, but by the very people who say they want to “end poverty”.
The government of Guyana has included vulnerable groups as part of its short-, medium and long-term development plans. Virtually every government in the world has included vulnerable groups as part of their development plans. All development agencies have pronounced on plans for vulnerable groups. The Department for International Development (DFID); World Bank; Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); World Health Organisation (WHO); Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), and many others have been bold in embracing vulnerable groups as part of their development agenda.
Who are the vulnerable?
But who are the vulnerable? People living in poverty, persons living with HIV, refugees, ethnic minorities in certain countries, trafficked children and women, commercial sex workers, and people with disabilities have been identified. Times Notebook keeps checking, but rarely, if ever, sees persons with mental disabilities being explicitly recognised as “vulnerable”.
Dr Leslie Ramsammy was passionate and vehement in demanding that the world recognises the plight of people with mental health problems. Despite their obvious and punishing vulnerability, people with mental health conditions – including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, epilepsy, alcohol and drug-use disorders, child and adult mental health conditions, and intellectual impairments – have been mostly overlooked by development agendas around the world.
This exclusion from even being considered as vulnerable is despite the high prevalence of mental health conditions, their economic impact, and the associated stigmatisation, discrimination, and exclusion. Dr Ramsammy had waged a war to have the chronic non-communicable diseases recognised as part of the millennium development goals (MDGs). He had coined a new initiative called the MDG+. When the United Nations finally recognised this call and had a summit in September 2011 to call for greater and more meaningful action against the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases and cancers, among others, it once again did not find a place for mental health. The minister was very vocal against the exclusion of mental health from the discussion then.
Look at Guyana, suicide is among the top 10 causes of death. More than 150 deaths were caused by suicide last year, more than AIDS in Guyana. More than 900,000 people died last year around the world because of suicide. Globally, there are more than 160 million persons living with depression and the Health Ministry has estimated that about 20 per cent of the adult population in Guyana may be suffering from depression. While we are unaware of how many persons are living with schizophrenia in Guyana, WHO has estimated that about 26 million persons are living with this condition globally. Around the world, it is estimated that more than 125 million persons suffer from alcohol-use disorders, more than 25 million from Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and more than 40 million from epilepsy.
Gigantic global challenge
Yet, no health budget or development strategies have allocated any meaningful budget to tackle this truly gigantic global challenge. Indeed, this challenge has become a raging global tsunami. Just consider this fact: mental health conditions almost equal malaria in terms of burden of disease in developing countries. Yet when we look at how much money is available globally to fight mental health conditions, it represents less than 10 per cent of what is available to fight malaria. Times Notebook must immediately caution that we believe the amount spent on malaria is still not enough. But this only underline the bizarre neglect of mental health in the development agendas around the world.
Times Notebook recalls the clarion call of Dr Ramsammy for many years and places it again on the table. Today, it is sheer global lunacy to continue to ignore mental health in national and global development agenda. In Guyana’s case, we call on the Health Ministry to elevate the profile of the mental health programme. What has happened to the programmes to train psychiatric nurses and for post-graduate training of doctors to become psychiatrists? Why is it that the National Psychiatric Hospital is not being further developed? What happened to the package of mental health services to be established at all health centres, and district and regional hospitals that the Health Ministry had announced many years ago?
What happened to the mental health bill that the Health Ministry had drafted and had extensive consultation across the country? The then health minister had announced that many people think the draft bill was one of the most advanced ones in developing countries. Times Notebook wants to know, where did it fall off?
That bill and a programme to deal with the indigent and the people with obvious mental health conditions that roam our streets were promising programmes that seem to have fallen off the horizon. Times Notebook urges the national authorities and the relevant global institutions to stop the lunacy that pervades our collective failure and put mental health conditions high on the development priorities for 2020.
May 20, 2013 By
…of the lambs
The news that the five men charged and then committed to stand trial for the Bartica Massacre are expected to appear in the High Court on May 21 should remind all Guyana that it was only five years ago this country was facing elements determined to overthrow the government by any means necessary. Yes…that’s right, the Bartica Massacre was committed only FIVE years ago on February 17, 2008.
About 20 gunmen, dressed in military gear and bulletproof jackets, descended on the township in the heat of the night and conducted a ruthless but obviously well-planned attack. Three policemen and nine civilians were massacred with several injured before the bloodbath ended and they made their getaway also by boat. All fingers pointed to “Fineman”, Rondell Rawlings, and his murderous gang that had earlier committed the Lusignan Massacre.
While “Fineman” and most of his gang were killed later in 2008 in various firefights with law enforcement officers – who must be commended in light of the gang’s weaponry and ability to obtain information – what Guyana must remember is the background to all the mayhem and killings that took place between 2000 and 2008. It was a political background: a background that was spawned in the “slow fyaah, mo fyaah” strategy of People’s National Congress (PNC) leader Desmond Hoyte and kept alive by every one of his successors.
The bottom line is that from the elections of 1997, the PNC refused to accept the verdict of the polls – even though these were certified as free and fair by hordes of foreign and domestic observers. They were emboldened when their street elements – with certain elements of the security forces closing their eyes to their excesses – brought the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government down to its knees. (Is it a coincidence that a former commissioner of police and the head of the army both participated in opposition street protests in 2011?) The PPP/C’s term was truncated, the president resigned and constitutional changes were implemented to satisfy the rampant opposition.
The lawlessness escalated because the opposition believed that with continued pressure the PPP/C could be forced from office permanently. The Hoyte doctrine which stated that “the only language the PPP/C understands” is still dominant. Witness Agricola and Linden last year. The Camp Street 5 that holed up in Buxton provided the nucleus around which men like “Fineman” and others of his ilk could take the fight to the government.
Five years in politics is a blip – we cannot become complacent that “things now regulah”. They are not. In fact, the facilitators of the attacks against the state now believe they are poised to take power.
The Women’s Progressive Organisation (WPO) just came out swinging, in defence of beleaguered acting Town Clerk Carol Sooba. We salute them. Margaret Thatcher, called “the Iron Lady” by her contemporaries, was also said to have more “cojones” than the rest of her colleagues in the Cabinet. It appears that the sisters in the WPO have more cojones than their counterparts in the ‘town council’.
We’ve commented on their disgraceful behaviour when Mayor-for-life Hamilton Green tried to vote her out of office and none of the PPP/C councillors were around. Green and his band of retrogrades must not be allowed to get their way with our own Iron Lady in the city administration. For too long they’ve scratched each other’s backs as the city treasury was raided to fill their own pockets. What citizens long suspected was confirmed by a report from Raymond Gaskin – certainly no partisan of the government. The WPO also connected the recent ethnic profiling of some Indian Guyanese youths by the City Constabulary to the hounding of Sooba.
Something to chew over.
…of the country
The Alliance For Change (AFC) has made it clear they’ll allow the country to face international censure to “gain leverage”. What say the PNC and Working People’s Alliance (WPA), now A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), to this, in view of their “nationalist” boasts?
May 20, 2013 By
Long ago, in primary school, de boys and girls does play a nice lil game called ‘my riddle, my riddle, my riddle’ – one person would seh sum ting and de others would have to guess who or what de person talkin bout.
If de boys and girls still playin that game, wid all that happen over de weekend and de past few days, dem gon have a lotta riddles to test one another wid. Most of dem bound to be bout who is a hypocrite and who is not.
De first one would go like this: my riddle, my riddle, my riddle – a man don’t want to support de Specialty Hospital because he client didn’t get de construction contract, even though de project gon be good fuh plenty poor people. Who is he? Answer: a hypocrite.
De second one would go like this: my riddle, my riddle, my riddle – a man don’t want to vote fuh de Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Bill because he got connection wid, and does represent, drug lords and other questionable characters. Who is he? Answer: a hypocrite.
De third one would go like this: my riddle, my riddle, my riddle – a man wanted to be president real bad. He wanted to be president so bad that he run to de U.S. embassy to tell lies pun he colleagues dem in de party so that he could be nominated. Then de colleagues dem put he out de party. Who is he? Answer: a hypocrite.
De fourth one would go like this: my-riddle my-riddle my-riddle – a man don’t want de Marriott Hotel to go up and he vote against it because he friend and party financial supporter own another run-down hotel nearby. Who is he? Answer: a hypocrite.
Well, de other riddle would be bout a man who tryin to fire a woman because de woman expose how he wife don’t want to pay taxes and then he turn round and thief de Japanese money.
Ting-a-ling-a-ling…friend tell friend…mattie tell mattie! And de final riddle gone go like this –who are de biggest hypocrites in town? Answer: Rum Jhaat and Green Ham.
May 20, 2013 By
…to know one, or projection?
Khemraj Ramjattan, leader of the AFC, says that Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh is a “hypocrite”. One can retort in Ramjattan’s gutter language that “it takes one to know one”. But Ramjattan’s indulgence is a bit more complicated: it’s called “projection”.
It’s when you know in your heart that you feel a certain way about something…but because you don’t think it’s right, or maybe that it’s downright reprehensible, you project the feelings onto others.
It’s very common with those who take a hard-line against gays. They have urges and inclinations in that direction but are ashamed of them. They then, at the drop of a hat, condemn someone they don’t like as “gay”.
So here we have this man (we use the term rather expansively) Ramjattan calling someone of Dr Singh’s calibre a “hypocrite”. Let’s look at hypocrisy and Ramjattan. A hypocrite, we know, is a self-absorbed, arrogant douchebag who constantly groans and moans about other people doing something that they say is wrong, yet engages in exactly the same such behaviour anyway.
Ramjattan talks about following “principles”. What principles were he following when he held on to his PPP seat even though he left the party – until he could collect his duty-free car? Looks like the principle of greed and avarice to me. Then there’s his “news carrying” to the U.S. embassy, even though he screams about his ‘independence’.
He should be reminded of Martin Carter’s aphorism: the mouth is muzzled by the hand that feeds it. But then that’s OK with a hypocrite – once the hand stuffing his face is full.
The worst bit of hypocrisy practised by Ramjattan is to boast he’s pushing a “multi-racial” line. From the man who stirred up the hornet’s nest at Linden, resulting in the deaths of three men, by playing the race card against both the PPP and the PNC!! You can’t get more devious than that. This man will sink below the belly of a snake to get his grubby little hands on power.
Take his latest bit of hypocrisy, over which he projected his hypocrisy onto Dr Singh. Imagine he says he would vote for the money laundering bill…once his demands on the procurement commission are met. That means he has no problem with the bill…he just wants to have his way, and is willing to take down the country for it. What a hypocritical wanker!!!!
Granddaddy of hypocrites
Hypocrites come in all shapes and forms. But from our experience the ones that wear suspenders, take the cake….and whatever other prize they’re handing out. Take Suspenders Ram, for instance. Ever since he went to law school with kids young enough to be his grandchildren, he’s been spouting opinions to everyone under the sun about “morality” and such things.
Everyone, that is, excepting his friends in his hypocrisy club. There’s got to be a club for these fellas…how else could all of them sing from the same hymn book all the time? If you check out his writings, Suspenders has never been shy about knocking people whose books he’s audited. Only recently he had to defend this practice of his, in the papers. But he’s never knocked Guyana Stores, the board of which his buddy Glenn Lall, of Muckraker and backtracking fame, sits on.
We’ve just gotten our hands on the 2003 audited accounts of Guyana Stores – written in 2009 by – guess who? That’s right….Suspenders Ram!!! And the bottom line is that he concludes in his written opinion – “No comment”!!!
David Granger, of APNU, just tabled a motion in the National Assembly to have the president appoint a commission of inquiry (COI) to investigate the incidence of trafficking in persons (TIP) in Guyana. Why only “in” Guyana? He doesn’t want his backtracking TIP buddy, Glenn Lall hauled in?
May 18, 2013 By
Satiricus is not a devious fellow. But getting to his age in Guyana – especially navigating through the PNC years – he’d learnt to look below the surface when he heard some things. Especially from some people. “Nah all who guh a church house ah guh fuh pray,” his sainted mother had taught him. So when he read that GrainJa wanted to investigate people trafficking in people, he wondered what was really going on. The biggest “trafficker-in-persons” was the opposition’s best friend, Mook Lall from the MuckrakerKN.
Luckily, his wife’s niece, who offered maid service to the opposition, had filched the Mook’s diary for him to take a peek. She said that it was only fair since the Mook had his own personal Peeper. Satiricus started to read:
A wha a gon tell you DD? You na mind if me call you “DD”’, eh? Is de latest thing. Everybody calling everybody wid they initials. Ah does call me best, bosom friend, TY. You know is who, right? Yeah, we own de big store together.
Anyhow, DD, I gat fuh tell you about dis traitor GrainJa. He think RumJhaat gon mek snap elections happen and he ask me to give he some money fuh prepare fuh de election. What he think, money does grow pan tree? Ah tell he things getting hard in America, and people na going backtrack so much nowadays. Things getting brown.
(Ah had to sniff some of that white powder, DD. Is another latest thing ah pick up. Ah need a pick up when ah remember how things brown.)
And guess wha GrainJa seh?? He gon fix me good. He sound just like RumJhaat who seh he gon fix Ahsnie. Must be de latest thing going around wid politicians. He should fix he spitting when he talk. Ah gat fu get an umbrella when RumJhaat around.
What ah didn’t tell GrainJa was dat ah gon form me own party fuh de next election. Look, DD, ever since CN close up shop, de people want a voice. Who can fill CN shoes better dan me? Ah short like he; a talk like he; I gat media like he; and ah like when people tell me deh know me.
You nah see me goin pan TV and things and talking big words like “media”? Ah learn plenty things hanging out wid the opposition. Ah learn fuh march and protest from Dessie. You remember Baddam! write dat ah used to have dinner with Dessie? Is teach, he bin teachin’ me. A learn mo fyaah and slow fyaah, too.
(Ah had to tek a sniff, DD when I remember Dessie. De man used to call me “son”. Ah gon follow in he footsteps, sniff.)
So look what GrainJa do. He tell pressie fuh set up CoI to investigate TIP. But Ah know is me he gat in mind. Is me backtracking he want fun shut down. He know ah bin cussin’ pressie and pressie vex.
But GrainJa don’t know me good. He forget Ah backtrack he cousin. Ah gon put a good squeeze on he cousin in Brooklyn and dat gon shut he up.
(Sniff, sniff, sniff….zzzzzzz)
May 18, 2013 By
“Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.” – Michael Jordan, basketball great.
Or should I say 500 days until summer? Or 500,000 days until summer? Because it sure feels like we’re that far away from blissful freedom. And yes, I am aware that Guyana doesn’t have a summer (Dry season, anyone? No? After all, with this climate change kicking in, even that seems like a wish). And no, this isn’t going to be some long-winded review of the of the movie “500 days of Summer”. So you’ll be disappointed if you’re expecting some Zooey Deschanel or some fan-girling over Joseph Gordon-Levitt (unfortunately). I did warn you that expectations could be dangerous things to have.
But on a serious note, it’s that time of the year. That time when exam students are on study leave, at home, supposedly free of the confines of school. That magical time when we get the urge to chuck our textbooks at the wall only about seven times a day.
The time when in the middle of revising for Caribbean studies, it dawns on you that the topics you’re covering are topics that adults talk about, topics that adults write about in newspapers. And with that epiphany, comes the rising panic and the absurd idea that you’re practically an adult as well. And just to test out your fear, there’s the inevitable sprint to the nearest mirror to check for grey hairs, wrinkles and crow’s feet.
Of course we’re spending our study leave getting mind-blowing epiphanies instead of erm… studying.
But being in the midst of trying to work ridiculous math problems (and trying to convince yourself that there is a point to these seemingly irrelevant formulae), your mind inevitably wanders to much more pleasant thoughts – like what it would feel like when these exams are finally over.
And the end of the exams would of course, mark the beginning of summer…the endless sun-filled holidays, that glorious time of the year when lazy days are the norm, you gorge yourself on junk-food and bathing is optional (kidding! Or am I? No, I really am kidding. We love lolling in our bathtubs).
The holidays have always held that special allure. I guess because they’re like weekends, all stacked together, back-to-back for two whole months. It’s like TGIF times infinity.
And yes, the holidays are that time when you can run, jump, play cricket, climb trees. That time when you get to release all of that pent-up exuberance that you had to keep in while you slaved away at your desk during school.
But that doesn’t mean that as kids you should take ridiculous life-threatening risks. There can be accidents, you know. Have fun in safer ways. You don’t have to swim in the deepest water to still have fun.
And for goodness sake, the Curb Drill wasn’t taught to you in primary school as just some cute rhyme. You need to observe it. Too often, during the holidays, I would see kids just darting across the road without even looking to see whether there’s any oncoming traffic.
And maybe their parents are giving them free reign to do as they please, to get their kids out of their hair for a few minutes. Maybe the parents are thinking about their childhood when they could freely play in the streets or climb trees relatively frequently. But times have changed; there are so many vehicles now that within minutes of you setting up the wickets, you have to clear them off the street for some car to pass.
It’s a bit more dangerous on the roads than in the ‘good old days’, so parents, give your kids freedom to have fun, but within reason.
Hopefully this holiday won’t be marred by reports of little kids getting into accidents or drowning.
May 18, 2013 By
It look like more and more people who got a dutty and dodgy past tryin to do a makeover these days. De Bell Cryer had notice a long time now that de first and biggest dutty one was Mook Lall. But it got some others who want a make over too.
De Mook is one of dem who tryin desperately fuh do a makeover so that people gon fughet he scampish, sketchy and snitchy ways. De Mook tryin really hard but he ain’t gettin thru. Wid de kinda stinkin past that he got, no amount of makeover or makeup gon wuk. Is like tryin fuh mek black paint turn to white.
Now it look like de undisputed mayor fuh life Green Ham join de Mook in de makeover list. But just like de Mook, no matter how hard Green Ham try, no amount of makeover or makeup gon wuk pun he. Is a long time now Green Ham mekkin people disappear and riggin elections. Dem two tings alone gon send Green Ham to hell even before he dead, if he not in hell already!
People got plenty words dem could use to describe Green Ham face. But one of dem bound to be bare face. Imagine Green Ham got de balls to take de media pun a tour of de **ity, tellin dem what plans he got in store fuh restore GT.
Green Ham didn’t do any ting fuh GT when he was slime minister. And since de 1990s when he turn mayor fuh life, GT get more stink wid more garbage. Wid Green Ham, more years gon past and de **ity gon get worse. De mayor promising to look after GT is like throwin water pun eddo leaf.
Ting-a-ling-a-ling…friend tell friend…mattie tell mattie! De only way de **ity can get better is if de mayor fuh life put back de Japanese money and pay he wife taxes!
May 18, 2013 By