May 24, 2016

Nigel Hughes takes indefinite leave from AFC

AFC Chairman Nigel Hughes

AFC Chairman Nigel Hughes

– “defers” resignation

Attorney and Chairman of the Alliance For Change (AFC) Nigel Hughes has agreed to have his letter of resignation as Chairman of the party deferred, while he proceeds on indefinite leave of absence, as leaders of the party make careful consideration of his decision.

The new development took place on Wednesday, following a high-level meeting involving party leader Khemraj Ramjattan, General Secretary David Patterson and Hughes.

According to a release from the party, during the meeting detailed and frank discussions were held on the current political environment in Guyana and in particular “the coalition Government’s first year in office, the party’s relationship with its coalition partners and the AFC’s performance during this period.”

It said after a “most productive working session”, it was agreed that consideration by the party of Hughes’s resignation letter will be deferred and he would instead proceed on leave of absence from the duties and responsibilities of Chairman for a period of reflection and review after which a mutual decision will be taken.

According to the release, Hughes has reiterated firmly and unequivocally that he remains fully committed to the AFC and its development agenda for the country and he will remain an active and vocal member of the party.

It was further agreed that during his absence from active duties as Chairman, he will continue political and policy work on behalf of the Party by concentrating his efforts on three critical and important pillars of the AFC’s agenda, including Constitutional Reform, Broadcasting Legislation and other core legal matters which the AFC has committed itself to advance in the interest of Guyana.

It said the party’s leadership “wholeheartedly recognises the significant contribution of the Chairman and accepts his decision to recalibrate his focus and attention at this time as the Party continues its historic mission on setting Guyana on a firm and steady path of sustained progress”.

On Monday, Hughes announced his decision to relinquish the post of Chairman of the AFC, saying the following day that it had become “difficult and untenable” for him.

Hughes made the decision to resign his post during a statutory committee meeting on Monday. While the statement published by the party immediately after did not give any specifics, it did indicate that the party’s leader and Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan was expected to meet with Hughes, in the hopes that he (Hughes) would reconsider his decision.

AFC insiders say the Attorney quit over a strongly-worded statement issued following an Executive Council meeting on Sunday, which called for a trimming of the powers of Minister of State Joseph Harmon.

That meeting was not attended by either Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman or Ramjattan. Another statement by the AFC followed, distancing both Ministers from the call by Hughes.

This is not the first time the Chairman has tendered his resignation to the party. In August 2013, Hughes submitted his resignation after a publication by Kaieteur News disclosed him as the Company Secretary of the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project. The project, which was being propelled in the National Assembly then by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration of the day, was heavily criticised by both the AFC and the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Opposition.

He later rescinded that decision.

Hughes has been with the AFC since July 2011 and was elected Chairman on August 4, 2012.

Johnson buoyed by prospects of WI recall

Leon Johnson acknowledges the applause after one of his two Test fifties

Leon Johnson acknowledges the applause after one of his two Test fifties

– “It’s about getting big scores and being able to contribute to the team’s success”

By Akeem Greene

Following a successful season in the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) Professional Cricket League (PCL) Four-day competition, Guyana Jaguars skipper Leon Johnson is of the view that his stellar performances could provide a pathway back into the regional side.

Johnson, during an exclusive interview with this publication, said he is wary of the fact that to cement to a place in the side he needs to produce big scores.

“It’s about getting bigger scores actually; I have managed to get four half-centuries in the four Tests I have played and some thirties and forties, but probably a the Test level those kind of scores won’t cut it, but it’s about getting  the opportunity and then able to get big scores and contribute towards the team’s success,” Johnson explained.

After a solid First-Class season, Leon Johnson is looking to add to his four Test caps

After a solid First-Class season, Leon Johnson is looking to add to his four Test caps

The current policy of the WICB and its selection panel is that players should be engaged in domestic competitions and performances will be recognised.

In the just concluded regional tournament, Johnson topped the batting charts with 807 runs from 10 matches at an average of 57.64, and a top score of 111 not out. If the selectors hold true to the policy outlined above, then the elegant left-hander could be guaranteed a spot in the Test side.

Though his stats this season are commendable, Johnson was dismissed twice in the 90s and his overall conversion rate has always set tongues wagging, especially given his enormous talent.

After playing 73 First-Class matches, he has scored 28 half-centuries, but only four centuries since making his debut for Guyana in 2004.

In recognising the need to improve on his conversion rate, Johnson said, “It’s mainly down to concentration, once I’m able to concentrate for longer periods I will be able to convert those half-centuries into centuries; most of the times after I get the half-century and then get out, it’s probably a rash shot as I get too relaxed at the crease.”

After a slow start to the 2015/2016 season, the batsman began churning out the runs to put his team a top of the table. He revealed that a lot of hard work went into the successful outing.

The 28-year-old said, “It’s just down to hard work, the first couple of games, I had 31 runs from three innings and I had a little reflection on that and it was the following eight games I was able to put it right and convert those centuries into half-centuries.”

He further stated, “I was disappointed  to get out  twice in the 90s so I could have gone on to finish with four hundreds this season, but I’m grateful and very thankful; it could have been a lot worse, but [also] it still could have been better.”

The batsman, who led the Guyana Jaguars to successive titles in the Four-day competition, believes the hard work they put in was the reason for them becoming champions yet again.

“It’s actually a good feeling; we put in a lot of work leading up to the tournament as well. Obviously, it’s always good to plan well, but the main thing comes down to executing well and we executed well,” the skipper said.

He added, “We had a couple of hiccups, but we came out with a draw [in one of the games], so it was very pleasing to win at the end of the tournament.”

Johnson, who averages nearly 40 in his four Tests, and gathered scores of 54 and 44 in his last Test against South Africa in Cape Town last January, was handed a retainer contract by the West Indies Cricket Board.

The upcoming Tri-Nation series between the West Indies, Australia and South Africa in June, followed by India, who will travel to the Caribbean in July to play a four-Test series, could provide the perfect opportunity for Johnson to showcase his  immense talent at the international level once again. (akeemg@guyanatimesgy.com)

Wilson highlights success of Stag Elite League

The Stag Elite League is currently in the Finale phase

The Stag Elite League is currently in the Finale phase

By Akeem Greene

Alpha’s United attacking midfielder Daniel Wilson views the Guyana Football Federation’s (GFF) Stag Elite League as an avenue to develop local players who have aspirations of playing for the senior national Men’s team, the Golden Jaguars.

The lanky Wilson in an interview with Guyana Times Sport said, “It [Elite League] would develop the team [Golden Jaguars] as a lot of local players will be a part of it [League] and a lot of these locals are crying out for a chance and this league will help them. But it’s not just the league has to help them, but they have to help themselves also.”

Daniel Wilson

Daniel Wilson

The Golden Jaguars player, who has been playing for one of the country’s premier football club for four years, believes the League to date has been successful.

 “So far the league has been a successful league thus far, as players have shown their talents and skills that they need to be in the national programme, but for me it’s a good league and it will just get better,” Wilson stated.

The 22-year old, who is also a National Under-23 player, and has scored two goals for the Golden Jaguars in 20-plus appearances, revealed that his love for the game comes from having a strong football-oriented family.

“I grew up in a football family; my cousin is the coach (Wayne Dover), also Anthony Abrams, a lot others and it gave me the courage to be a part of football,” Wilson divulged.

He added that his favourite players are the likes of Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Germany’s Toni Kross. When the conversation returned to his club’s performance in the League to date, he disclosed that it has not gone according to plan.

“It was not a successful one for us as we plan to win the first phase; so it is not going according to plan but we are working to improve,” the footballer explained.

In the first half of the League, Alpha finished third on the points table, just two points adrift from the top placed team.

However, in the League Finale, they have struggled, winning just four of their eight matches to date, to go with two losses and a similar number of draws.

The mixed results have them placed in third place on 14 points, but this time, they trail the number one team by 10 points with only six matches to go.

Wilson, who in November 2105, attended  a tryout with Major League Soccer (MLS) club Sporting Kansas City, scored five goals in the League Genesis and one so far in the ongoing League Finale. He said the goal is still to help his team to win and qualify for the Caribbean Football Union’s Club Championship. (akeemg@guyanatimesgy.com)

Essequibo man crushed to death by falling door

Dead: Paddy sweeper Ganesh Narine

Dead: Paddy sweeper Ganesh Narine

– employer distances self from liability

A labourer attached to the Arnold Sankar Rice Mill at Airy Hall, on the Essequibo Coast, was killed on Monday after a door from the building fell on him. Dead is 56-year-old Ganesh Narine of Pomona Housing Scheme, Essequibo Coast.

According to information received, Narine was on the night shift with other workers and was sweeping paddy when the door collapsed. He was reportedly pinned by the fallen door but was pulled from under it by his colleagues.

Narine sustained severe injuries to his abdomen and ribs and was taken to the Suddie Public Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The autopsy, which was conducted on Tuesday by Government Pathologist, Dr Nehaul Singh revealed that the labourer died as a result injuries to the chest. The Police have launched an investigation into the alleged industrial death.

A relative of the dead man told Guyana Times that although Narine was killed at the rice mill, the miller is not taking responsibility for his death. He noted that the businessman has since offered his condolences to the dead man’s family and donated a few grocery items to facilitate a wake.

The relative is claiming that a life was snuffed out and feels that the Police should investigate the incident. The scene where the incident occurred was visited by Commander Kevin Adonis and Detectives from the CID department.

Narine, who leaves to mourn his seven children, was described as a very good father. He was employed as a seasonal paddy sweeper at the time of his demise.  Only recently, 29-year-old Christopher Boyer of Wauna Village, Mabaruma, was crushed to death after a tree fell on him at Wauna Hill, North West District.

The father of five was reportedly cutting logs at Wauna Hill when one of the trees fell on him. Boyer sustained severe injuries to his head and was rushed to the Mabaruma Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

These deaths come on the heels of activities launched as Guyana observes Occupation Health and Safety Month.

Feasibility study yet to be conducted on location of new DHB

An aerial view of the Demerara Harbour Bridge

An aerial view of the Demerara Harbour Bridge

Government is yet to announce which company will be awarded the contract to conduct a feasibility study on the relocation of the Demerara Harbour Bridge.

A few months ago, companies both locally and international, had bid for the contract to conduct the study, as well as design and ultimately construct the new location for the Demerara Harbour Bridge.

However, on Wednesday, General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Company (DHBC), Rawlston Adams, revealed that the Public Infrastructure Ministry has already made the evaluations and recommendations for the consultancy.

“Those recommendations are with the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), I think to forward to Cabinet. So soon, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure will be making some announcement through the Tender Board and the Cabinet as to when they will be awarding the consultancy for the feasibility study,” he stated.

Asked about the role the Harbour Bridge Company will play in the project, Adams explained that they are basically reviewing the process as it relates to the Terms of Reference and the evaluations. However, the DHBC General Manager pointed out that he was the engineer responsible for the Berbice Bridge and that feasibility study so his experience is now being used for this new project.

Further asked about the details of the new bridge, Adams noted that the feasibility study will determine how Government goes ahead in terms of the new bridge to link Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and Four (Demerara-Mahaica).

“The feasibility study will identify all the issues and costs involved in building the new bridge. The study will guide us in which direction – do we build a new bridge? Do we keep this one? Do we have two and that’s why we do feasibility studies to identify all the issues and to have them address,” he stated.

The Demerara Harbour Bridge head went on to say that “people will have ideas as to how things will go but its best to wait on the consultants who are being paid to look at and have discussions with all the relevant parties and bring it all together and put it in a document that says we have studied, looked at it, we’ve talked to people and based on our experience, we have advice this is the way forward.”

Back in January, Chief Works Officer at the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Geoffrey Vaughn, had stated that the tenders were already evaluated and sent off to NPTAB for the shortlisting of qualified tenders,” the Chief Works Officer stated.

On December 8, 2015, NPTAB opened the bids from seven European and four Chinese companies who signalled their interests in the construction of the new bridge. Several other overseas companies partnered with local firms and also applied for the contract.

Floating at 1.25 miles, the Demerara Harbour Bridge is a strategic link between the East and West Bank of Demerara. It facilitates the daily movement of large numbers of vehicles, people, and cargo. The structure was built in the 1970s but was opened in July 1978 with the expectation of lasting only 10 years. However, some 37 years after, it is still floating.

Demerara bowl out U-17s for 90 on rain-affected day

Keemo Paul

Keemo Paul

GCB/Hand-in-Hand U-19, 3-day cricket…

Demerara produced a sterling bowling effort to bundle out the Under-17 Select for 90 on a rain-affected opening day of the Guyana Cricket Board’s (GCB) Under-19 Inter-county, Three-day tournament sponsored by Hand-in-Hand at the Wales Community Centre ground.

It was the seamers day as the likes of Samuel McKenzie (2-8), Kelvin Shewpersaud (2-16) and Sherfane Rutherford (2-14) wreck the Under-17s batting, while the off-spin of Malcolm Hubbard picked up 2-6.

Captain Bhaskar Yadram with 18 and Sagar Hatheramani 16 were the principle scorers for the Under-17s.

Sherfane Rutherford

Sherfane Rutherford

At stumps, Demerara were 25-1, trailing their opponents by 65 runs with Rutherford (02*) and Ronaldo Renee (23*) at the crease. Opener Raymond Perez fell without scoring.

Over at the Enterprise ground, Essequibo, batting first, were 71-2 after 26.3 overs with skipper Keemo Paul on 25 and Sachin Persaud eight. That match was also affected by rain, and only got underway at 15:00h.

Action will continue today from 09:30h, weather permitting.

Princes Street petrol station’s service disrupted

Council workers executing their clean-up of the drains

Council workers executing their clean-up of the drains

City clean-up campaign

As the clean-up efforts continue in the city, the manager of Infinity Service Station, Keshan Persaud, was left fuming after city workers on Tuesday left the area in a muddied state.

The concrete slabs were removed to facilitate the cleaning of the drains at the Princes and High Streets business. Persaud alleged that workmen advised that they would not put the concrete slabs back into place as they were only responsible for removing it.

“This was all unnecessary as they could have gone under the concrete slabs and it [has] more than enough height for people to walk under and clean,” the businessman opined. It was noted that business was affected as only a limited number of vehicles could enter to obtain gas.

Guyana Times was told that on Monday, a female worker who bore no identification informed management of the gas station that these works would commence. It was related that when managers of the service station attempted to make inquires of the works, the female worker reportedly asked them if they were attempting to tell them how to do their job.

Persaud stated that the gas station doesn’t mind losing business for a day to facilitate the works, but opined that the city workers must operate with a more professional approach by way of giving proper notification.

This publication made contact with the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) for a comment with regards to the issue and was told that it was rectified.

Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the M&CC, Debra Lewis, stated that she was made aware of the issue after the businessman made contact with her. She explained that she spoke with someone who looked into the matter and rectified such.

With respect to the response by the worker – that they are not responsible for replacing the slabs after removing it – the PRO stated that this is not the case, stating that “they have to replace whatever they remove.”

Subsequent to this publication making contact with City Council, the businessman disclosed that he received a call from the PRO.

At around 17:00h when Guyana Times again made contact with the businessman, he alleged that the statement posited by the PRO was inaccurate.

Persaud said that when the PRO contacted him, at around 14:00h, she told him that she would be coming to his place of business along with an engineer to inspect and rectify the problem but as at 17:00h, he was still waiting on that visit.

He explained that Lewis told him that after enquiring about the works on the drains, she was told that they were incomplete, which resulted in the concrete slabs not being replaced.

The businessman stated that work was completed and that the workers have commenced work on the other side of the road.

DVA school tournament off to successful start

Patentia Secondary School captain (left) receives the champion trophy from Neiketa Samaroo of Angcam Marine Supplies

Patentia Secondary School captain (left) receives the champion trophy from Neiketa Samaroo of Angcam Marine Supplies

The Demerara Volleyball Association (DVA) was extremely pleased to partner with Angcam Marine Supplies to commence the re-introduction of volleyball into Demerara schools, as they ran off the first leg of the DVA Schools League at West Demerara Secondary School on the West Bank of Demerara on Wednesday.

At the opening of the first leg of the games, which saw five schools from the West Zone competing for top honours, the presidents of DVA (Trevor Williams) and the Guyana Volleyball Federation (John Flores) both emphasised their elation with the fact that school volleyball will now be revived in Demerara and were equally thankful to the sponsors who lent generous support to the tournament.

Williams also opined that Angcam Marine Supplies, which is located on the second floor of Lot 1955 Parika Highway, and is a major supplier of Marine products in Guyana, is a new partner to local volleyball and “we aren’t only grateful for their timely input to the game, but we hope that at the end of this tournament, they will be encouraged to continue their support of local volleyball.”

Odile Broomes (right) presents the runner-up trophy to the captain of Leonora Secondary

Odile Broomes (right) presents the runner-up trophy to the captain of Leonora Secondary

 At the end of the day’s play, which saw the five schools competing in a round-format, ensuring that each team got the opportunity to match skills against each other, the results are as follows: West Demerara defeated L’Aventure 25-12; Patentia defeated Professional Learning Institute 25-22; Leonora defeated West Demerara 25-18; Patentia defeated L’Aventure 25-13; Leonora defeated Professional Learning Institute 25-22; Patentia defeated West Demerara Secondary 25-11; Leonora defeated L’Aventure 25-15;  Professional Learning Institute defeated West Demerara Secondary 25-19; and Patentia defeated Leonora 25-9.

The volleyballers from Patentia Secondary were crowned champions.

The Georgetown leg, which is sponsored by Talk is Cheap Internet Cafe, will kick off on Friday at St Roses High School and the top three teams from that zone, along with the top two teams from the Linden Zone, which is sponsored by Indesco trading, will join Patentia and Leonora Secondary in the final leg of the DVA Schools League.

The DVA is also extremely happy to have Digicel and the Guyana Volleyball Federation as partners in this venture as their contributions will help to ensure that the final is grand and fitting for the re-launch of schools volleyball in Demerara. The final is scheduled for April 29 at the National Gymnasium, Mandela Avenue, from 10:00h.

Universal Auto and General Supplies cycling set for Saturday

Flashback! 2015 main race winner Jamal John receives his prize from sponsor Shameer Baksh, the Managing Director of Universal Auto and General Supplies (Avenash Ramzan file photo)

Flashback! 2015 main race winner Jamal John receives his prize from sponsor Shameer Baksh, the Managing Director of Universal Auto and General Supplies (Avenash Ramzan file photo)

After a few races on the road, competitive cycling makes a return to the inner circuit of the National Park on Saturday with the 12th annual staging of the Universal Auto and General Supplies 11-race programme.

Set to pedal off at 09:00h, the day’s activities will feature most, if not all of the country’s top wheelsmen, who would no doubt look to outmuscle each other. With the Independence Three-Stage tentatively being held annually in May, riders will also want to keep an eye on their fitness level ahead of that event.

Saturday’s programme will get underway with the BMX cyclists taking the forefront in the various age group categories. They will compete in the 6-9, 9-12, 12-14, Open and Boys and Girls 12-14, while the Mountain Bike, Veterans and Juvenile riders will hold the limelight after.

The main race- the 35-lap School Boys and Invitational- will attract the country’s leading senior riders and the up and coming talents within the senior ranks.

Team Coco’s Jamal John is the defending champion of the main race, having won last year’s event in a time of one hour, 18 minutes, 08.62 seconds (01h: 18m: 18.62s). The other defending champions of the other categories are Raphael Leung (Juveniles), Shameer Baksh (Veterans Under-50), Keon Thomas (Mountain Bike) and Brighton John (BMX Boys and Girls).

Saturday’s programme is being coordinated by national cycling coach Hassan Mohamed, and is being sponsored by veteran rider Shameer Baksh, who is also the Managing Director of Universal Auto and General Supplies.

DVA inviting players to U-19 and U-23 trials

Ian Wills

Ian Wills

With the aim of attracting the best possible talents in the Demerara area, the Demerara Volleyball Association (DVA) is inviting Under-19 and Under-23 male and female players to attend trials with a view to represent Guyana at the upcoming South American Championships hosted by Confederation of South American Volleyball (CSV).

The announcement was made on Wednesday by the DVA. Trials will be held on Saturday at the National Gymnasium, Mandela Avenue, starting at 11:00h, according to the association.

 According to DVA Vice-president Ian Wills, the team to attend the South American Championships in Peru and Columbia in June and July will be national one comprising players from the two active associations in Guyana- Demerara and Berbice.

Wills said the best players from this weekend’s trials will be shortlisted, while a similar exercise will be held in Berbice. The best of the two sets of players will then be chosen to represent the Golden Arrowhead.

The Guyanese will head into unchartered territory, as no Guyana team has ever competed at the Under-19 and Under-23 levels in the history of the South American Championships. Guyana did however; participate at the Under-16 level about a decade ago.

“We are excited at the realm of possibilities and are also equally pleased that the opportunity to fulfill our mandate of development of volleyball is bearing fruit. This is also an excellent way to boost exposure amongst our youths and we look forward to trial process as we are very optimistic we will see great talent coming forward this Saturday,” the DVA was quoted in its release.