January 28, 2015

Surinamese psychologist hosts mental health workshop

A Suriname-based psychologist/psychoanalyst, Professor Tobi Graafsma, hosted a one- day mental health workshop, on suicide prevention on

Participants at the mental health workshop

Participants at the mental health workshop

Monday, to educate officials from various Ministries and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on the issue.
Addressing participants at the National Library, Professor Graafsma said that suicide was a threat to persons, who feel oppressed and with a desire to change an unbearable situation,  as a result of risk factors, which may include mental disorder, personality disorder, alcohol dependence, and some illnesses, including neurological disorders, cancer, and HIV infection.
He noted that such persons would attempt suicide not specifically because they wanted to die, but they felt that it was a means to end a (mental) crisis. “In my 13 years of experience in Suriname, I have seen many persons who have attempted suicide, and when we questioned them, they do not want to die, but to end their situation,” he said
There were almost one million deaths worldwide each year, owing to suicide. In Suriname, since the year 2000, 1400 individuals have lost their lives through suicide, and almost 12,000 people attempted suicide. In addition, Professor Graafsma said that the majority of the persons who unsuccessfully attempted suicide, when questioned, said that they had attempted it before.
He reiterated that measures should be put in place to maintain contact with suicide survivors and further educate the populace on suicide threats. There is psychological treatment for survivors, including counselling; also there are many kinds of medications that are effective.
There should also be public health programmes directed at educating persons on access to health care, as well as screening of depression in schools and the giving of primary health care, which is also a major factor in helping to prevent suicide.
He said there should also be school programmes, directed at discussions on suicide and how to deal with its effects.
In 2014, several such workshops were held with the aim of reducing the suicide rates in the country.  The Health Ministry has also developed a National Mental Health Action Plan to deal with the numerous aspects of mental health.
The plan focuses on the integration of mental health into the primary health care services, and would include training for family doctors, nurses and medex in mental health management along with improving psychiatric services at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
It also touches on dealing with other aspects that include the development of a National Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS); a Homeless Action Plan (HAP); and a Drug Rehabilitation Programme (DRP).

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Commissioners advised against sitting during election period

The three-member Commission probing the death of Dr Walter Rodney has been advised against holding any sessions of the Inquiry during the

President Donald Ramotar and the Commissioners, Senior Counsel Seenath Jairam (left); Queen’s Counsel, Sir Richard Cheltenham and Queen’s Counsel Jacqueline Samuels-Brown

President Donald Ramotar and the Commissioners, Senior Counsel Seenath Jairam (left); Queen’s Counsel, Sir Richard Cheltenham and Queen’s Counsel Jacqueline Samuels-Brown

period of Guyana’s General and Regional Elections, its Chairman, Barbadian Queen’s Counsel, Sir Richard Cheltenham has said.
Speaking to the Guyana Times on Tuesday, Cheltenham, who serves alongside Jamaican Queen’s Counsel Jacqueline Samuels-Brown and Trinidad-based Guyanese Senior Counsel Seenath Jairam, said his team would be heeding the advice of security personnel.
At the end of the sixth session, late last year, Cheltenham had indicated that the Commission had some reservations about operating during that period.
“The Commission itself may very well become a subject of comment on the platform,” Cheltenham said Tuesday, speaking about the political campaigns, which were already underway.
The main Opposition party, the People’s National Congress (PNC), has been making full legal representation at the Inquiry, which commenced April last year, seeking to clear its name of accusations that it was responsible for the death of Dr Rodney.  Commentators are of the opinion that the Inquiry being conducted during the campaigns may be disadvantageous for the political party.
The party, through its lawyer and Chairman, Basil Williams, had already expressed disappointment that the Commission would be resuming during a period when political parties would be involved in their election campaigns.
Williams had told the Guyana Times that the PNC had expressed concern when it received a notice that the CoI would be commencing on January 26.
“Why would you want a Commission during this time?” he had questioned, noting that the three-member Commission had already expressed reservations about proceeding during the “political atmosphere “that will prevail”.
The Working People’s Alliance (WPA), which had also been pressing for the inquiry, is also part of the coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), along with the PNC.
President Donald Ramotar, who had announced May 11 this year as the date for General and Regional Elections, when asked about the concerns raised on the issue, had said “things don’t work like that”.
“We cannot stop things because of things like that,” Ramotar told the Guyana Times, continuing that the Commission was set up long before any major political issues had arisen.
Meanwhile, Cheltenham told the publication that he will soon “determine precisely when we will have our final sitting before the elections”.
The Commission after its one-week run on January 30 will take a break before resuming on February 10. The Guyana Times was informed that the Commission will take another break before recommencing in March for another two weeks before going on break. That break will last until the June later this year, when the Commission is expected to finally come to an end.

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Several in running for PPP/C’s PM candidacy

One day after announcing that President Donald Ramotar will lead the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) at the May 11 polls, Party General

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds

Prime Minister
Samuel Hinds

Secretary Clement Rohee said they were  still discussing who would fill the Prime Ministerial Candidate slot, while acknowledging a number of persons were lining up.
Rohee, himself a one-time Presidential Candidate contender, said the Party’s Executive Committee was still meeting to settle on the issue. “Those issues are being discussed at the leadership level. Nothing is decided until everything is decided upon,” Rohee said.
Asked about the procedure used to select the Prime Ministerial Candidate, Rohee maintained that the Central and Executive Committees have always been involved in that process and that the tradition of the prime ministerial post being filled by a member of the Civic was likely to be maintained. “We believe in a PPP-Civic alliance. If the PPP/C has the Presidential Candidate, traditionally the Civic component has had the Prime Ministerial Candidate and I don’t believe that would change,” he said.
Meanwhile, questioned on whether Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett has been floated as a possible running mate for Ramotar, Rohee disclosed that  as far as he was aware, this was not so, noting that there were several strong contenders for the position. “I do not know that that name is associated with that position. I know that it is a matter which is still being discussed. There are a lot of people who are working behind the scenes, they are working for

Home Affairs Minister and PPP/C General Secretary Clement Rohee

Home Affairs Minister and PPP/C General Secretary Clement Rohee

Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett

Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett

the position,” the General Secretary added.
He was questioned too on whether he was a potential candidate for the position to which he replied, “Everything is possible.” There is  a possibility of Rodrigues-Birkett, who is of Amerindian heritage being the Prime Ministerial Candidate. The Guyana Times understands that Junior Finance Minister Bishop Juan Edghill could also be in contention.
While this newspaper was unable to contact Edghill, Rodrigues-Birkett had earlier denied having any knowledge of herself being a Prime Ministerial Candidate contender. “I don’t know …. We haven’t gotten to that level, things happen on a daily basis, those kinds of decisions are not the ones you make by yourself, you have to think about a lot of things … right now I am having a good time running the Foreign Ministry and I must say I have a team of very good people working here, and it is a real pleasure representing this country called Guyana,” Rodrigues-Birkett had said.  She continued: “I have never sought anything else in all of my various portfolios.”
Prime Minister Hinds, who has held the position since the PPP/C came to power in 1992, is thought have “called it a day” as Prime Minister ,but

Junior Finance Minister Bishop Juan Edghill

Junior Finance Minister Bishop Juan Edghill

there are strong sentiments that he should make one last run. He is widely respected as a very decent, credible and incorruptible individual. He is still the strongest candidate and since it is widely expected that the PPP/C is facing a very strong challenge in the upcoming elections, it has been suggested that he be the candidate. He has been the longest serving Prime Minister within the Caribbean. It has been surmised that the PPP/C Prime Ministerial Candidate could come possibly from a wider cross-section of the Guyanese public, the Guyana Times understands, since the Civic is representative of any like-minded individual wanting to form an alliance with the PPP/C.

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St Kitts and Nevis awarded CPL Franchise

The 2014 semi-finals and final were held at Warner Park in St Kitts and the new team has been awarded as a result of strong support from

St Kitts has become the newest team to join the Caribbean Premier League

St Kitts has become the newest team to join the Caribbean Premier League

government and local business.
St Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Sports, the Honourable Glenn Phillip, said: “Last year the government of St Kitts and Nevis was delighted to support the CPL by hosting the semi-finals and final as well as a series of neutral games. That partnership reaped great rewards as St Kitts and Nevis enjoyed a significant return on investment. Overall the economy benefited to the tune of $26m, which comfortably exceeded our expectations.
“Hosting the games highlighted that St Kitts and Nevis is home to some of the most passionate cricket fans in the region and having our own franchise team here will be a source of great pride for the people of St Kitts and Nevis, whilst also benefiting local businesses, as fans from around the region and overseas make the journey to watch the games at the Warner Park Stadium. CPL is watched by millions of fans worldwide.”
Pete Russell, Chief Executive Officer of CPL, said it was a great opportunity for local players and added: “We have had a wonderful relationship with the government since we first started planning for CPL games in 2014 and we are now able to bring a team to St Kitts and Nevis.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the country as fans get the opportunity to support their own team – we all look forward to the unrivalled passion that will again be evident at the Warner Park Stadium.” (CPLt20.com)

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Bandit escapes from Police custody

Nicholas James, the bandit who was shot Sunday night by a plainclothes Police rank when he and three of his accomplices tried to rob the Popeyes Fast Food Restaurant on Vlissengen Road, Georgetown, on Tuesday evening escaped from the Georgetown Public Hospital where he was being kept under Police guard.
A Police source at the hospital confirmed that the incident occurred around 19:00h, just hours after he had undergone surgery to remove a bullet from his body.
The source said Policemen combed the Georgetown Public Hospital compound and interior since the security guard who was on duty at the time indicated that no one fitting the prisoner’s description had passed the gates.
Many at the hospital described the incident as ‘suspicious’ since they noted that none of the patients nor staff on duty noticed when James, who was handcuffed and under Police watch, slipped out of the ward.
This publication was made to understand that the Police guard has been taken into custody to assist with investigations.
Police in a release said that investigations so far have revealed that an armed man entered Popeyes Restaurant at Vlissengen Road, and ordered customers to lie on the ground, adding that they also attacked and robbed Darryl Seruggs, a customer, of his cell phone.
The Policeman was purchasing food when James reportedly stormed into the fast food outlet.  The bandit then went to the cashier and demanded money. Gunshots were subsequently exchanged between the two and James was injured.
It is alleged that James’s accomplices, who were waiting for him outside the restaurant, escaped when they saw that he was wounded.
Investigations into both matters are ongoing.

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St Kitts to host 10 games in CPL this year

St Kitts and Nevis will host 10 matches in the third edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) which is due to begin in June, the country’s

Warner Park

Warner Park

sports Minister Glenn Phillip announced on Sunday.
Addressing a rally in central Basseterre, Phillip told the crowd that an agreement to this effect has already been finalized with the CPL.
Warner Park hosted nine games in the second edition of the CPL last year.
“CPL will be here once again. We will be having 10 games! Today, we finalised all of the paperwork. CPL will be here this year again; 10 games, one more game than we had last year,” declared Phillip as election campaigning builds ahead of a general election.
“This is a hard working minister; this is a hard working government, stick and stay with Labour because we work hard on your behalf because we believe in fairness.”
Warner Park reportedly received high ratings for its pitch and outfield compared to the eight venues which hosted CPL matches last year.
This year’s CPL is scheduled to run from June 21st to July 26th. (CMC)

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“Big blow”; “right move”; “can’t blame him”

− reactions to Sunil Narine’s withdrawal from World Cup
By Avenash Ramzan

Sunil Narine’s abrupt withdrawal from the Cricket World Cup has left the Caribbean and the wider in a state of shock, as one of the game’s most

Sunil Narine is one of the most marketable players in world cricket

Sunil Narine is one of the most marketable players in world cricket3

recognisable figures will no longer be part of cricket’s mega event in Australia and New Zealand next month.
Only Sunday last, the mystery spinner was wielding his magic at the Queen’s Park Oval, snaring 6-9 from eight overs to hand Trinidad and Tobago Red Force a commanding 135-run victory over Guyana Jaguars in the final of the NAGICO Super50 tournament.
Despite that successful comeback, after being on the sidelines for three months, Narine admitted that he was not completely confident about returning to international cricket. He made the disclosure via a West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) release on Tuesday.
“Playing for [T&T] Red Force and winning the NAGICO Super50 has been a big boost, but going in to the World Cup is a little too much too soon and, after consulting the WICB, for both West Indies’ and my sake we have decided to delay my return to international cricket until I am 100 per cent confident in all that I do,” Narine said.
The Trinidadian off-spinner has decided to give himself more time to work on his bowling action, which was reported as suspect in successive matches during last year’s Champions League T20 where he represented Indian Premier League (IPL) side, Kolkata Knight Riders.

Reactions

Reon King

Reon King

The move by Narine was met with mixed reactions on Tuesday when this publication sought a few invited comments.
Former West Indies and Guyana batsman Travis Dowlin said the move came as a “big surprise” and is a “big blow” for West Indies with the World Cup just a matter of weeks away.
“That’s a big surprise, especially with the form he displayed in the game against Guyana,” Dowlin commented. “In the 50-over game you want an attacking option and that’s exactly what the West Indies need heading into a World Cup; Sunil would have provided that.
“So it’s a big blow because Sunil would not have only restricted the batsmen, but he would have picked up wickets and created pressure. Also with the rules now he would have been an integral part of the Powerplay bowling options available to the captain.”
Former West Indies fast bowler Reon King said he supports the move by Narine, noting that as a player one has to be honest with one’s self.
“He has to be honest with himself, and he’s done just that,” King remarked. “You don’t want to go to a World Cup feeling your way. You have to hit the ground running so on that grounds I support his move to withdraw. Coming back with a bang last weekend would have given him confidence, but as player he has to be honest to himself in such a situation.”
King’s former new ball partner at the First-Class level for Guyana, Colin Stuart, said the future growth of the player in question may be more important than risking him in a World Cup for immediate gains.
“He’s definitely one of the better players in world cricket at the moment, simply because batsmen have not been able to pick him. He still mesmerises and is appropriately called the mystery spinner,” Stuart said.
“Obviously, he would have had his own reasons for pulling out, but as I see it, future growth may be more important than the immediate need,

Colin Stuart

Colin Stuart

which is the World Cup.
Nevertheless, he would be a great loss, because in the 50-over game you need bowlers who can keep the economy rate down and take wickets, and he’s capable of doing both.”
Cricinfo columnist Colin Benjamin also shared his thoughts on Narine missing out on what would have been his first 50-over World Cup.
“From a global perspective it is good that the ICC is cracking down on illegal action/mystery spinners. The sport has had many ‘chuckers’ taking wickets for too long.
“However, I remain puzzled why Narine was ever called since I’ve never noticed any chucking faults in him. His action to me is just as normal as other regular international off-spinners such as Ravi Ashwin, Nathan Lyon and Mark Craig,” Benjamin said.
“However, if Narine doesn’t feel comfortable with the new action, you can’t blame him for pulling out of World Cup. Given how questionable WICB has been treating its major players over the years, it makes no sense for Narine to risk being called on WICB duty.”
Narine’s decision comes less than a week after the ICC revealed that it will fast-track the testing process during the World Cup and submit a report within a week of the bowler’s action being reported.
The faster evaluation is part of ICC’s effort to eradicate suspect bowling actions and is bound to defeat any strategy of teams saving bowlers with suspect actions for the latter stages of the World Cup; that would have worked under the standard regulations applicable to non-ICC Events where the bowler can continue to bowl in international cricket as long as he is tested within three weeks of being reported.

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Bandits cart off $1M from Victoria man

Armed bandits on motorcycle on Tuesday made off with $1 million in cash after they held up a Victoria, East Coast Demerara man at a stop light.
According to the Police, the incident occurred around 12:45h. Robert Charles, 48, of Middle Walk, Victoria, was driving Canter truck GSS 1177 and had stopped at the traffic light at Sheriff and Rupert Craig Highway, when he was attacked.
Reports revealed that two men on a motorcycle rode up alongside Charles’s Canter and the pillion rider, who was armed with a handgun, discharged a round, which shattered the windscreen of the Canter. The bandit then grabbed a haversack containing the money that was lying on the passenger side of Canter.
The men then made good their escape. The Police have since launched an investigation into the matter.

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Flores returned unopposed as GVF boss

Captain John Flores has been returned unopposed as President of the Guyana Volleyball Federation (GVF) following the federation’s Annual

The new GVF Executive Committee. Standing (from left): Leota Langford-Clark, Nicholas Fraser and Raymond Archer. Sitting (from left): Shontel Malony, Levi Nedd, John Flores and Mark Bradford

The new GVF Executive Committee. Standing (from left): Leota Langford-Clark, Nicholas Fraser and Raymond Archer. Sitting (from left): Shontel Malony, Levi Nedd, John Flores and Mark Bradford

General Meeting last Sunday at the Guyana Olympic Association headquarters.
Flores who replaced Lennie Shuffler at the last elections, has been voted in for a second term, while Levi Nedd was elected unopposed as Vice-president. Nicholas Fraser was re-elected unopposed as Secretary, while Shontel Maloney was elected unopposed for the position of Assistant Secretary.
Leota Langford, Raymond Archer and Mark Bradford were all elected by majority vote for the positions of Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer and Marketing Officer respectively.
According to a release from the GVF, the Executive Committee will have its first meeting on February 7, at which time it will select a Public Relations Officer.
In addition to the federation’s calendar of activities of local and international competitions, the new Executive Committee is tasked with supporting the newly resuscitated Essequibo Volleyball Association and increasing the number of facilities, schools and clubs actively involved in the sport.
The GVF would like to thank the Guyana Olympic Association and Dr Karen Pilgrim for their inputs in the successful hosting of the AGM. Dr Pilgrim, who is the Vice-president of the GOA, took on the role of Returning Officer.

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RHTY&SC launches GT&T Inter-Primary Schools softball cricket tournament

The Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club (RHTY&SC) on Friday last launched a softball cricket tournament for four Primary Schools on the

GT&T Senior Marketing Officer Anji Hackett hands over the sponsorship cheque to RHTY&SC Secretary/CEO Hilbert Foster

GT&T Senior Marketing Officer Anji Hackett hands over the sponsorship cheque to RHTY&SC Secretary/CEO Hilbert Foster

Lower Corentyne Coast as part of its Silver Jubilee celebration.
The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) and RHTY&SC Silver Jubilee Tournament is billed for February 12, and is one of 200 programmes/activities planned by the Club for 2015 to celebrate the historic anniversary.
Club Secretary/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Hilbert Foster stated that the tournament will be contested by the Belvedere, Rose Hall, Port Mourant and Tain Primary Schools.
The one-day tournament will be played at the Area H Ground and will be 10  overs per side.
Belvedere Primary will play Rose Hall Primary in the opening match, while Port Mourant Primary will oppose Tain Primary in the other game.
The two winning teams will battle in the final, while the two losing teams will contest the third-place playoff.
Foster revealed that the RHTY&SC would use the tournament to identify promising players for its junior development programmes.
The Club will also promote the “Say Yes to Education and Say No to Drugs and Suicide” message to the players.  Foster expressed gratitude to the management of the telephone company for its support.
GT&T Public Relations Officer Allison Parker stated that the company was pleased to support the Club, which has continuously demonstrated a high level of commitment towards the development of youths and sports in Guyana.

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