December 20, 2014

Man kills Guyanese wife, rival

The stabbing to death of a man whose naked body was found outside a Brooklyn apartment building came after his lover’s husband allegedly found them having sexual intercourse in a car on Wednesday last.

Steve Whittingham

Steve Whittingham

Jerome Barrett, 35, of East New York and Jonelle Barker, 36, of Brooklyn, New York were stabbed several times to their chests by the spurned husband, Steve Whittingham, 48, who was later arrested. Barrett, who also was married, was mortally wounded but managed to flee, clutching his clothing and wallet, the sources said. He made his way to the entrance of an apartment building on Louisiana Avenue near Seaview Avenue in Spring Creek Towers shortly after 01:00h on Wednesday.

He was ringing the buzzer at the main entrance, trying to summon help, when he was overpowered by the suspect. According to reports, his clothes and wallet were found a few feet from his body, just outside the building’s entrance. In addition, one day later, about 03:30h, Barrett’s car, a Kia, was found parked on New Lots Avenue in Brownsville.

Inside the trunk was Jonelle Barker’s body. She, too, was naked, reports stated. Investigators believe Barrett and Barker, who were baggage handlers at JFK Airport, were having an affair and that Whittingham killed them in a rage after learning about the infidelity and catching them red handed.

Jerome Barrett’s brother, Benjamin Barrett Jr, who lives in Virginia, was stunned when he heard his sibling had been slain. “No! … You’re kidding, man!” he said, adding that their father had died of cancer just a week ago. “He was just coming back down here this weekend for the funeral.” Whittingham and Barker shared a home in Flatlands, Police reports stated. Outside their Avenue K home on Thursday night, an elderly woman wept as neighbours tried to console her. Neighbours said the woman was Whittingham’s mother but she declined to comment on the tragic incident.

A cousin said the entire family was stunned. “This is a shock to all of us,” the cousin said. “He loved her so much.”
Neighbours had only good things to say about the dreadlocked Whittingham. They said he works in a garage, is a family man and was just seen buying doughnuts for his children. Barker on Tuesday twice updated her Facebook cover photo, first with a picture lauding God as the best listener who hears our prayers, then with a picture of Betty Boop.

Jonelle Barker

Jonelle Barker

Jerome Barrett

Jerome Barrett

Barrett lived four miles from the Spring Creek Towers building where his body was found. Whittingham drove Barrett’s Kia from the scene after Barrett fled, the Police added. They did not reveal where the car had initially been parked, but they said investigators have recovered surveillance video of the killings.

Barrett’s sister-in-law said neither she nor her husband knew Barrett was having an affair. “He always seemed to be family-oriented,” Michelle Wilson-Barrett said. “He had a heart made of gold.

“It’s shocking to me,” she added. “I didn’t know that side of him.” She also raged at Whittingham. “He could have hit him in the head with a bat or just beat him up,” she said. “I’m a firm believer of you reap what you sow. I think he should pay for this.”
The murder suspect was charged with one count of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree murder, which could get him life without parole if convicted.

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Frontpage December 20, 2014


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Illegal firearm and ammo land man in jail

A 24-year-old man of Lot 15 Middle Street, McDoom, Greater Georgetown, was refused bail by Magistrate Ann McLennan on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition on Friday.
Desmond Richards was accused of having in his possession at McDoom, Georgetown, eight 9mm rounds of ammunitions and one 9mm pistol, without being the holder of a firearm licence on December 16.
The unrepresented man told the court that he works at a tyre shop on the East Bank of Demerara.
He was remanded to prison and the matter was adjourned to January 12, 2015 for report and fixtures.

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Two killed as truck topples on Mabura Road

Two persons were killed on Friday when the lumber truck they were travelling in encountered a blowout, approximately four miles out of Linden (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
According to information received, the truck was travelling from Mabura, Region 10 with passengers when it reportedly overturned, killing two persons who are yet to be identified.
Those who sustained injuries include 17-year-old Jermaine La Cross of Parika, West Bank, Demerara; 25-year-old Andy Ramsaywack of Diamond Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara, who was the driver at the time; and owner of the truck Sohan Biptor, who resides in Nandy Park, Georgetown.
The injured were up to Friday in stable condition and remained hospitalised at the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC).

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Labourer to spend 9 months in jail for attempted robbery

A 47-year-old labourer of Charlestown, Georgetown, was sentenced to nine months imprisonment after pleading guilty to an attempted robbery under arms charge.
Standing before Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts was Leon Bascom who accepted the charge which read that on December 17 at High Street, Georgetown, being armed with a knife, he attempted to rob Natalie LaCruiz of one cellular phone valued $4500.
The court heard that on the day in question, around 22:30h LaCruiz was walking North along High Street, when the defendant approached her and placed a knife to her chest and demanded her valuables.
According to Police Prosecutor Denero Jones, LaCruiz screamed and the Police patrol that was passing by gave chase to Bascom.
The unrepresented man was caught and the knife was found in his possession. He was arrested and charged for the offence.
The first time offender said nothing in his defence and was sentenced to nine months jail time.

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..on SWAT

Now, even though Agriculture’s still one of our mainstays, when we bring up the subject of SWAT, we’re not talking about “Soil and Water Assessment Tools!! Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) squads have been on the minds of our citizens for more than a decade. You can’t blame them.

With the increased firepower available to criminals and their willingness to use them without any qualms, they’ve been a fixture in Police Forces in developed countries since the late 60s.

But with bodies dropping like fleas from even armed gangs of criminals since 1998 – and intensifying into wholesale massacres by 2008 – somehow we couldn’t scrounge up one. Well, there was that “attempt” under the watch of then Commissioner of Police (COP) Winston Felix around 2005. We even had British experts in short pants training some of the identified local squaddies – code named “Fountain Squad?” – who sported all kinds of fancy weaponry.

After the secret 2006 tape recordings of Felix and Basil Williams of the PNC about “heading off” the Government from the gunmen committing the Agricola massacre, we don’t have to be geniuses to figure out why that SWAT incarnation had to die stillborn! Right Bannuh??

So here we are, eight years later – and at least three Commissioners down the road – and we’ve finally got a real live SWAT unit here!! Twenty seven men trained to take on anything the criminals might throw at us – or them. We should be relieved, no??

Well…ummmm… not so quick! According to the latest COP there hasn’t been a “serious or high profile situation” that would justify fielding these fellas yet!! And that’s just fine by him.

In fact, if they’re never deployed that’ll prove conclusively Guyana has reverted to the garden variety crimes that the ordinary cop on the beat can handle. Now, some might say if this is the new metric for measuring “serious armed crimes”, then all the Police have to do is keep the SWAT in bed . And voila!!!…NO SERIOUS CRIMES!!!

But seriously folks – this Eyewitness really thinks the COP should get real. This paper posed the case of the Sterling invasion in which a bunch of highly armed gunmen invaded one of the largest businesses in the country. This was just a stone’s throw from the Providence Police Station. They killed a guard and then escaped without even a shot fired at them – and are still out there un-apprehended. And the SWAT wasn’t necessary??

So do we wait until, say, several local cops who aren’t trained to handle this situation get killed either by the criminals or their own cross fire, and then we say, “SWAT go swot them”??!!!

….once you’re Opposition
Dr Clive Thomas was one of the few Guyanese to have an international reputation in economics – apart from Dr Walter Rodney – who, incidentally, was a historian. But we guess the latter’s “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” can be seen as a historically inclined take on political economy. But Thomas’ career since 1992 proves how the politics of a divided society can warp the thinking of even a fella who had serious credentials.

At the game changing elections of that year, Dr Jagan offered him the position of being his Prime Minister. He didn’t refuse – but his erstwhile comrades in the WPA did. And as they say, the rest is history. What might’ve been, eh?? But remaining in the Opposition, Thomas broke ranks with Marxists like Rodney and adopted a racial lens for his critiques. He had to march with the rest of the Opposition.
Right now he’s regurgitating his paranoid “criminalised state” claims for the elections “silly season”!

….by the US carpetbagger
Dr Dr Dr Philip Mozart Thomas had a rude awakening this Wednesday. We’d have thought after ROH Corbin showed him some moves back in 2002, he’d have been a bit more cautious.

As Burnham once drawled, “We’s be black, but we’s not stupid!!”

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Guyana’s Opposition wants US to lift embargo on Cuba

Members of the Opposition in Guyana are calling on Republican lawmakers in the United States to support President Barack Obama in lifting the long standing embargo on Cuba.

Dr Rupert Roopnaraine

Dr Rupert Roopnaraine

“They need to come to the 21 century,” Dr Rupert Roopnaraine of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) said when asked of his views on the anticipated lack of partnership between the Republicans and Democrats to lift the 54-year-old embargo.

Following the recent restoration of ties between the United States and Cuba, President Obama said he would ask Congress to lift the embargo. But there are much anticipated disagreements between the Republicans and Democrats in providing support for such a move.

Lifting the embargo could have been much easier for Obama had the Democratic representation been stronger in the Legislative body. After a midterm election, the Republicans gained overwhelming support and this allowed them to control both Houses of Congress in 2015.

Nevertheless, Roopnaraine still hopes that following the restoration of ties, the way will be paved for the removal of the embargo. He added that the embargo has gone on for far too long, and that the restoration would be beneficial to Latin, South American and Caribbean states. The embargo’s removal is needed as it will play a significant role in the improvement of trade.

While the shift in policy resulting from the restoration will create a relaxation in some aspects of commerce and transportation between the US and Cuba, because the embargo still stands, there will still be certain discrepancies in the system.

One such example lies in the recent release by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The organisation revealed that the much needed help of doctors in the Ebola plagued West African States (Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia) was being undermined by the organisation’s ability to pay doctors from Cuba.

While there are hundreds of Cuban doctors volunteering in the formerly termed red zone areas, the US$250 to be paid to them for living expenses, boarding and lodging could not be paid through the WHO because it would have been breaking embargo rules.

As a result, the Cuban Government was forced to intervene and pay doctors. Doctors from Cuba have made up the largest group of volunteers in Africa during the Ebola outbreak and Cuba’s work in African has been long standing for over 50 years. Over the years, Cuban doctors have even travelled to Guyana to trained local doctors and perform medical outreaches among others.

There is widespread disapproval of the US’ embargo on Cuba and various organisations, including the United Nations (UN) and Heads of Government of Caricom States have continually called on the US to raise the embargo.

The embargo, which was imposed in 1960, was strengthened in 1962 and renewed earlier this month by President Obama who had promised during the presidential election in 2008, to end the embargo.

Actually, Obama cannot lift the embargo with one of his infamous “Executive Orders” because of the 1996 Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act which requires US Congressional approval to lift the embargo.  Such approval is subject to human rights improvements and the democratic election of a new Havana Government, preferably without a Castro family member at the helm.

The Alliance For Change (AFC) also congratulated the US and Cuba in reaching this land mark. Cathy Hughes of the AFC congratulated Obama on the restoration, stating that he was able to accomplish what escaped ten US Presidents.

The coalition hoped that the improvement of human rights practices would thaw the hostility of extreme elements against Cuba.
The flexible postures of President Raul Castro and Obama to facilitate rapprochement, which began with a casual ceremonial handshake in

South Africa between the two leaders, also came in high praises. Hughes said Guyana has a lot to learn from the demolition of walls which separate out and make political dialogue and engagement probable goals.

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InselAir launches flight to Curaçao

Within the short period of six months, InselAir has exemplified investors’ tremendous confidence in Guyana’s developing aviation sector as it has launched service on another Guyana-Caribbean route.

Transport Minister Robeson Benn does the honours of cutting the ribbon to commission the Curacao-Georgetown route

Transport Minister Robeson Benn does the honours of cutting the ribbon to commission the Curacao-Georgetown route

The inaugural InselAir flight from Curaçao arrived in Guyana just after midnight on Thursday evening at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) with over 70 passengers and departed Friday morning with close to 50. The flight touched down with eager passengers consisting of various officials and regional press who could not wait to foster the ties between the two nations.

Onboard the first flight from Curaçao was St Martin’s Minister of Tourism and Transport, Ted Richardson who arrived in Guyana for the first time.

At a simple ceremony shortly after his arrival, Minister Richardson noted that this new route would make a big contribution to St Martin’s economy.

Initially, InselAir had two flights per week from Georgetown to Aruba where passengers via the Aruba hub had easy access to Curaçao from which many other InselAir destinations are available.

Now with the addition of this direct Curaçao-Georgetown route, InselAir has four weekly flights into Guyana.

CJIA Chief Executive Officer Ramesh Ghir was ecstatic to introduce yet another air service carrier to Guyana, noting that Guyana’s aviation sector is rapidly unfolding.

He also acknowledged and praised the Government’s confidence in the major development of the sector. He cited among other projects “the investment in the control tower, the expansion of the CJIA which is ongoing, the supported infrastructure for the transport sector, the four-lane highway road, the development of the other supporting airports…”

Also commending the Government of Guyana on its efforts to promote the country as a tourism hub, which in turn would develop the aviation sector, was the Director of Roraima Airways, Captain Gerry Gouveia.

“I believe that this effort by the Minister and his team to market Guyana through aviation is actually very strategic.”

He further acknowledged that “Guyana is a country on the move and nothing is going to stop it … we’re creating economic development, we’re creating employment … with partners like InselAir. I’m very optimistic about the future.”

Roraima Airways has been authorised as the ground handling services and general sales agent for the airline.

Public Works and Transport Minister Robeson Benn was impressed that InselAir chose to launch yet another route in such a short period.
“I am excited. I’m happy that InselAir is moving up their operations … I’m excited that again, we are having another vote of confidence in our country’s air transport operations.”

Moreover, on the topic of development, Minister Benn disclosed that he wanted to see more assertive young people with the confidence and positive outlook to develop the country.

Furthermore, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of InselAir, Albert Cliver hinted at plans for a fruitful new year.
“We want to have more opportunities for direct flights out of Guyana,” Cliver noted.

InselAir’s 2015 plans include connections to Colombia and Brazil.
Additionally, Cliver expressed hopes of having direct flights out of Guyana and more Caribbean destination opportunities.

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Surgery may take months

Baby with exposed brain…

By Devina Samaroo

While Emannie Melvin is one step closer to having surgery performed to address the rare defect of his brain protruding from his skull, it may take months before the surgical procedure can actually be done.

According to Jankie Dolaram of The Caribbean Children Foundation (TCCF), it usually takes “a while” to get a response from the Sick Kids Hospital.

Baby Emannie Melvin

Baby Emannie Melvin

“In most cases, it is between two to three months and in some cases longer.”

Dolaram noted that the medical team at the hospital will review the documents and subsequently advise the mother of the child accordingly.
She further noted that if the child is accepted by Sick Kids for treatment, they will provide a letter for the mother and child to obtain a VISA to travel to Canada.

“If a decision is made to perform surgery on the child then Sick Kids will notify the mother and prepare a letter to the Embassy… After the mother received the letter from Sick Kids, then she can apply for the VISA.”

Additionally, a Canadian host family must be available to provide all non-medical support for Emannie and his mother during their stay in Toronto, which will also take some time.

A registered Canadian charity, TCCF, since it started in 2000, has helped a large number of Caribbean children get the care they need.
Moreover, the Sick Kids Hospital is one of Canada’s most research-intensive hospitals. The hospital is affiliated with the University of Toronto and is the largest centre dedicated to improving children’s health in that country.

One day after Guyana Times carried a story of the lad in need of urgent life-saving surgery, TCCF has stepped forward to render their assistance.

Emannie Melvin was born on October 8 with a rare brain defect; part of his brain protrudes his skull. Since his birth, his mother Felica Melvin, 22, has been desperately trying all means to secure her baby’s survival.

The overwhelmed mother has expressed sincere gratitude to the TCCF for reaching out to her. She also thanked everyone who assisted her through what appears as a “never-ending” journey.

“I’m just hoping we can get surgery done fast and just get it over with so my son can be okay,” Melvin said.

Melvin, who is jobless and lives with her mother, has the assistance of her sister in caring for the child as the child’s father has abandoned her after the baby was born. “He said he ain’t able with stress, and I have to keep me stress with me by meself,” Melvin related.

Moreover, she explained how her baby would normally play with the exposed brain which often gives her the fright of her life.
“Eventually, I does have to put socks on his hands so when he trouble it, it won’t burst.” She also noted that the baby often sleeps facedown, which she believes “irritates” the brain.

Nevertheless, the mother is quite confident that her baby boy will live as a healthy and normal child, contrary to the hearsay from others, as soon as surgery is done. “The earlier it done for he, the better it gon be,” she said.

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Great move to have Naim on panel

Dear Editor,
I note that Naim Chan is resuming commentaries and I am asking myself how come he was not there for all the time. He made a few sporadic appearances and I was left to believe that he was taken up elsewhere.

Naim is the country’s premier cricket commentator and this was so noticeable. His very quality voice, simplicity (yet not lacking profundity) of presentation, very strong language use and deep discussions left those alongside him way behind-the man is not a prattler and he does not have to just fill the silence. He talks a good game.

It is sad that we have people, who are struggling with the basics of English, on the commentary panel. I hope that Naim will be more utilised and that he will be given the opportunity to groom some youngsters.

K Etwaroo

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