September 22, 2014 By
September 22, 2014 By
Residents of Mocha Arcadia and Marfriends Cooperative Society in Friendship, were able to recently reap the rewards of their labour under the community composting project being carried out by the Clean Green Guyana Campaign.
This initiative is part of the Community Participation and Public Awareness Programme being administered by the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development and funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, a release from Guyenterprise has said.
According to the release, composting may be described as nature’s way of recycling. It is a process in which organic waste, or waste derived from living things – such as leaves, yard trimmings and kitchen waste like vegetable skins, among other things – is broken down or biodegraded by micro-organisms into compost, a substance that resembles a dark-coloured soil. Compost is a rich soil-enhancer that can be applied to the soil to add the nutrients that may encourage healthy plant growth.
As organic waste constitutes roughly about half of the waste produced by a typical household in Guyana, by choosing to compost their household organic waste, citizens can effectively reduce the amount of waste collected from their households and disposed of in the Haags Bosch Sanitary Landfill. According to the release, participating residents were happy to engage in an activity that was good for the environment and entire community and have already put the compost they produced to good use in their kitchen gardens. Many residents will now work with the Clean and Green Guyana Campaign to start composting in their own backyards. In this new phase, the Clean and Green Guyana Campaign will supply interested residents with composting structures in which residents will compost their organic waste.
The Clean and Green Guyana Campaign is also about to commence a similar community composting project in various communities within the La Reconnaissance-Mon Repos NDC (Neighbourhood Democratic Council).
September 22, 2014 By
A Partnership for National Unity – an amalgamation of several parties said its Leadership Council on Saturday endorsed the plan to take the city streets by storm in forcing Government to hold Local Government Elections.
The Council met at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition. According to a statement by the party, partners discussed and endorsed the plan of action to highlight the importance of Local Government Elections and called on President Donald Ramotar to announce a date for Local Government Elections.
The APNU Leadership Council also endorsed the demand for the President to issue the ‘commencement order’ to operationalise the Local Government Commission and for the President to assent to the Local Government (Amendment) Bill. Attending the meeting were representatives from the Bakja Peoples Movement; The Guyana Association of Local Authorities (GALA); The National Front Alliance(NFA); The National Democratic Front (NDF); The National Emancipation Trust (NET); the People’s National Congress Reform(PNCR); Pan African Movement; The United Force (TUF); and the Working Peoples Alliance (WPA).
Already the Private Sector Commission (PSC) has, in another section of the media, questioned the timing of APNU’s call for public protests to push for the holding of Local Government Elections. Chairman of the body was quoted in another newspaper saying: “I am not sure if the protest is well timed to add that pressure in the call for Local Government Elections…” he said. “We would love to have Local Government Elections as soon as practical. However, taking into consideration the no-confidence motion and so forth, we are not sure of now.”
However, the Guyana Trades Union Congress in a statement said the PSC has to stop thinking and acting as though it possesses the authority on people’s rights. According to TUC, the call made for years by sections of society to have the constitutionally guaranteed Local Government Elections, is a matter of right. “Rights are non-negotiable. This society is being conditioned to think that some can enjoy their rights at will, while others can only enjoy them with the permission or approval of another. This wrong outlook will not secure and respect universal principles which are underpinned in the Guyana Constitution. What this outlook has done is created a dual society that has allowed the administration and its cohorts to run roughshod over the masses and plunder the nation’s resources. In this environment might has replaced right, and the rule of the lawless has replaced the rule of law.”
According to the TUC, the PSC cannot straddle the fence on matters of rights or cherry-pick rights. “You are either for rights or against rights. When the PSC along with others, including the Guyana Trades Union Congress and the Western Diplomatic Community signed petitions calling on the administration to hold Local Government Elections, these calls were underpinned by what the Constitution guarantees to the people…”
The union said there are some in society who are using their position of influence/power to create an uneven playing field and establish double standards as the norm. “For this society to function effectively and efficiently all must be held to the same standards and play by the same rules. It must never be by chance the people in the urban areas cannot enjoy what’s rightly theirs (i.e. the right to public assembly/protest as outlined in Article 146 of the Constitution) because a section (i.e. the urban-based business) feels their economic well-being is threatened. The Constitution guarantees the economic well-being of every individual and business equally, as it guarantees the rights of every citizen and group. None must be allowed to violate another. “
The TUC said nothing in life has ever been won or achieved without a struggle. “Nothing. The business community did not evolve on the landscape and secure laws to protect its interest without a struggle. And if the present corps within this community has found measures to protect its interest without having to resort to public assembly, it gives this group no right to deny those who believe that their wellbeing can only be advanced and protected through such measure,” the umbrella union said. According to the TUC, if the PSC is genuine in its call for Local Government Elections, respect for the Constitution and the rights of the people regardless of whom they are or are represented by, then they must work with the Police to ensure any public assembly is insulated from those who seek such events to engage in dastardly acts. “The PSC, like other progressive business entities around the world, must also call on the administration to ensure the safety, security and protection of those who seek to exercise their right as guaranteed by the Constitution and which ought to be protected by the state.”
September 22, 2014 By
The Guyana Police Force in collaboration with the Zara Group of Companies on Saturday evening graduated 202 persons in the field of Information Technology (IT).
The simple graduation ceremony was held at the Richard Faikal Police Station at Suddie, Region Two.
The training was conducted by hired personnel as well as those within the Force. According to IT trainer attached to the Force Gladwin Hanover, this year the Zara Computer Centre at Suddie has managed to improve their production by training four adults in foundation programmes, one advanced programme and four summer programmes.
Hanover said for the remainder of 2014, the centre will focus on conducting two more adult foundation programmes and one advanced programme.
G Division Commander Kevin Adonis said the graduation is the second for the centre, pointing out that it is a way for the Force to build partnership with the community. Adonis said the Information Technology programme focuses on building relationship with the community.
“This is a foundation, from here you will build more things. I urge everyone with this certificate, you have to move on…” Adonis told the graduating class.
Senior Superintendent and Force Training Officer Paul Williams lauded the partnership between Zara Group of Companies and the Guyana Police Force, noting that it has been making a positive impact.
The group has contributed to the Force by building three state-of-the-art IT laboratories.
Williams said each class has a capacity to accommodate 30 persons and the courses offered are free.
He noted that from June 2012, a total of approximately 800 persons have been trained. He said new recruits of the Force were also trained.
“We have seen that with the use of computer, it has helped us to fight crime, it helped us to see essential things, it helped us to see the areas that have the most crime,” Williams said.
He urged the graduates to make the most out of the knowledge garnered and fight to further themselves.
September 22, 2014 By
Today, we are sure the newspapers will be replete with reports of the alleged sexual abuse of a young man by Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman. In a statement (made in the name of the “Speaker”), Mr Trotman announced: “A malicious and unfounded allegation of sexual molestation has been made against me by an unstable young man who, sadly, appears to have a troubled mind. I categorically deny his wicked assertions.”
It would appear that the “young man” in question made the allegations against not only Speaker Trotman, whom he described as a “close friend” of his father, but also against another friend of the father and the father himself. The individual claimed he was raped when he was a child. We are sure that in the coming weeks, these allegations will be investigated and pursued and even more so because of the political element.
The Speaker himself alluded to a political nexus with the allegation by claiming, “Unfortunately, he seems to have been conveniently encouraged by manipulative and diabolic political forces.” Mr Trotman’s party, the AFC, also issued a statement in which it described the revelation of the young man “as another desperate and reprehensible attempt to disrupt the tabling of the No Confidence Motion when Parliament resumes in October.”
In Guyana, as in every other country that conducts elections to choose leaders, it has become commonplace for hard-ball political tactics to be deployed against opponents. But of recent, in Guyana, this has descended into all-out “smear campaigns”.
Research has confirmed that “negative campaigning” works, since most people are predisposed to accept information casting others in a bad light – especially others seen as different from themselves. In most cases, the allegations are aimed against the opponent’s most valuable asset – his/her reputation.
While neither the AFC nor Mr Trotman has come out openly and named any party as “manipulating” the young man, there are enough innuendos in their releases for the public to draw their conclusion. The early and extremely categorical rejection of the allegation is also redolent of the public relations advice that negative information must be countered immediately and that a negative motive must be imputed.
But even if this is not an instance of a “smear campaign” against the AFC, many would say that it is only a case of poetic justice being done. This is because that party has connived with the sensationalistic Kaieteur News to conduct the longest running smear campaign in the world against the PPP/C Government, starting with the administration of Bharrat Jagdeo in 2008.
There is not a single edition of that newspaper in which there is not something scandalous being alleged against either former President Jagdeo or others associated with him.
The approach soon became transparent: a most outlandish allegation would be made against the individual which would invariably be attributed to “unnamed sources”. The following day, a representative of the AFC (generally its leader Khemraj Ramjattan) or the APNU (generally Joseph Harmon) would be quoted as commenting on the allegation. It did not matter that the maligned individuals would issue rebuttals: research shows that the damage would already be done since the new information would be seen as self-serving denials.
Yesterday’s Kaieteur News was the latest case in point. In a blaring front-page headline, the newspaper screamed: “Jagdeo/Sattaur plot to destroy Kaieteur News unearthed”. Referring to the ongoing investigation by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) into the “remigrant vehicle scam” that implicated the publisher of the Kaieteur News, Glenn Lall, the article claimed it had “incontrovertible evidence” to support its claim. Yet it did not, because it could not produce a shred of that purported “evidence”. The paper claimed it was “confidential”.
It is almost certain that the usual political suspects in the Opposition will be quoted this morning. But maybe not, since some chickens have come home to roost.
September 22, 2014 By
… accuser claims he was pampered
By Bhisham Mohamed
In one of the most shocking scandals here in recent times, Speaker of the National Assembly Raphael Trotman was on Friday accused of sexually molesting a little boy when he was 13 years old. The now 22-year-old said he decided to speak out, after trying valiantly for a settlement to no avail.
Trotman has dismissed the allegations as scurrilous and tied them to the impending No-Confidence Vote. However, the young man has maintained that the accusations have no political motivation and has since filed a report with the Police.
He also vowed to seek a protection order “just in case I am targeted”. In addition to Trotman, the young man has also named two other persons, including a close relative, as his alleged abusers. “I have waited long enough for justice and now is my time…,” the young man told Guyana Times on Sunday.
The allegations were first made on the young man’s Facebook Page on Friday evening after he reportedly became frustrated and wanted to expose the persons who had taken away his “innocence”.
The Speaker, in his statement denying the allegations, described them as “wicked assertions”. He also said that the allegations were malicious and were being peddled by “an unstable young man, who appears to have a troubled mind”.
Trotman also said that the allegations might have been politically influenced. “Conveniently, such scandalous assertions are obviously intended to provide a timely distraction from the serious prevailing political situation in Guyana, which imminently requires me as Speaker of the National Assembly to guide the ship of the nation’s Parliament through the strongest test to Guyana’s constitutional democracy: the debate of a No-Confidence Motion,” Trotman said in a release.
He said he would not allow the Office of Speaker of the National Assembly to be compromised or be denigrated by false accusations for political expediency.
“There is absolutely no truth in the allegation, and I am confident that the masterminds and supporters of this dastardly plot will soon be exposed,” said Trotman, who is also one of the founders of the Alliance For Change (AFC) and a former Presidential Candidate. He called for a thorough and professional investigation into the allegations.
No political forces
However, the young man told Guyana Times that he was not in any way manipulated by political forces, as the time had come for him to expose the three men who are responsible for what he has become.
He explained that at the time he was sexually molested, his father and Trotman were close friends. He named his father and another close friend of his who resides in Yarrowkabra on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway as among his abusers.
The young man added that it was while he was attending the St Agnes Primary School that he was formally introduced to Trotman as his father’s close associate. After school, he reminisced, he and his brother would visit the Attorney-at-Law at his South Road office, but after a while his brother stopped, while he continued visiting Trotman.
He recalled the first day that Trotman allegedly made him perform oral sex on him and the second time, he reportedly penetrated him. That incident reportedly occurred in a house in the vicinity of the Palms on Brickdam.
He said during the time he was allegedly molested, he was pampered with clothes, boots, school items, watches and other expensive gifts to keep quiet. The assault in his childhood resulted in him suffering from a severe case of depression, which led him to seek counselling while in Trinidad and Tobago. It was while there he was advised by his counsellor that true healing would occur if he confronts the individuals who sexually abused him as a child.
The alleged victim returned to Guyana in July with the intention of confronting his abusers, including Trotman, in a civil manner. According to him, he visited Trotman’s office one week after arriving in Guyana, informing him that he was in need of a place to live, a job and money.
He was reportedly informed by Trotman that there was a vacancy at the Home Affairs Ministry, but when that did not suit him, the Speaker of the House wrote him a recommendation for a supervisor’s position at the Pegasus Hotel, but this too fell through.
The recommendation, which was dated August 13, 2014 and signed by the Speaker, was seen by this newspaper.
Threats to expose
It was during this period that the alleged victim threatened to expose Trotman if he did not pay him GY$20 million and provide a written apology. After seeking legal advice, the alleged victim was told that the figure was “unreasonable”, and it was then he agreed that the least he would collect would be GY$5 million.
By this time, he had sought the assistance of an attorney who negotiated on behalf of him. Initially, it is alleged that Trotman offered him $1.75 million, but he refused. He then offered to pay him $2.5 million, but this did not reach his $5 million mark. The last round of negotiations between the lawyer and Trotman reportedly took place on Saturday night, but ended on a sour note.
“The time for negotiations and compromise has long ended. I don’t want money anymore… I want justice and I will make sure that my father, his friend and Uncle Raphael pay,” the young man stated. He reiterated that due to the molestation, he had to receive counselling.
He is presently ill and claims that he might not live to see justice being served, but at least, he is happy that the three men were exposed for their wrongdoings. “Uncle Trotman should stop hiding behind that post, Speaker of the National Assembly. He should come out and confess what he has done to me as a child; he took away my innocence,” he alleged.
The young man said his father left Guyana and is now residing in Brazil. His entire family, he noted, went against his father after the disclosure was made. He said too that the AFC should distance itself from Trotman, warning that he would unearth that which has been hidden, if the party does not.
Meanwhile, the AFC said that the accusations are directly intended to besmirch and tarnish the party and its leaders. “The Guyanese public is well aware of the campaign of attacks and vilifications of its leaders which has been waged openly perpetuated by known political elements and provocateurs acting on behalf of those to whom they are beholden,” the party said in a release.
The AFC, the statement said, is now in receipt of information that the allegations against Trotman are completely fabricated. The party said that the allegations are an attempt to create mischief by manufacturing a falsified public impression of the party and its officials, and condemned, in the strongest possible terms, the reprehensible exploitation of this, such a heinous crime against minors, for political purposes.
The party added that the accusations are another “desperate and reprehensible attempt” to disrupt the tabling of the No-Confidence Motion when Parliament resumes in October.
September 22, 2014 By
Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Khurshid Sattuar has again raised concerns over allegations being made by Kaieteur News Publisher Glenn Lall, referring to his most recent ploy as an attempt to influence the judgment of the acting Chief Justice in the ongoing legal proceedings involving vehicles imported by two remigrants.
Lall and a GRA employee are currently implicated in a scam, allegedly robbing Government of millions of dollars in import duty on two 2013 Lexus Suburban L57 SUVs brought into the country by remigrants. Lall is listed as the closest relative of the remigrant on documents submitted.
Sattaur, in a letter to the media on Sunday, said the Kaieteur News owner is using his publication to undermine the work that the GRA is bounded by law to execute.
The Commissioner General was referring to a publication in the newspaper’s Sunday, September 21 edition which accused him (Sattaur) of carrying out a plot with former President Bharrat Jagdeo to “bring down Kaieteur News”.
“This supposed revelation of a plot to destroy the Kaieteur News is nothing but an apparent attempt by the newspaper’s publisher to forestall any audit the GRA may wish to undertake of the tax affairs of the Kaieteur News which may uncover irregularities, tax evasion, tax avoidance, fraud, etc.
“It is an attempt to intimidate the GRA and its officers from discharging their statutory duties and functions by suggesting that any audit of the Kaieteur News is malicious and vindictive,” Sattuar’s letter stated, continuing that that the GRA cannot abandon its statutory mandate in light of “spurious and baseless conjecture”.
“Indeed, it compels the GRA to action since these actions believe the fact the Kaieteur News has an interest in preventing an audit by the revenue body, a clear indicator of fraud and the need for an investigation,” he said.
Sattuar said the move can be construed as an apparent and continuing effort to influence the learned acting Chief Justice in his impending decision. He said this is confirmed from the most naive reference made by the Editor of the publication that “this matter is before the court and I am sure it will go nowhere”.
“Perhaps the Editor of Kaieteur News can enlighten the public what is meant by this statement and if he is privy to information that is not in the public domain. The GRA is still of the firm belief that the matter will be heard and determined expeditiously and justice will prevail,” said Sattaur.
Sattaur said “whilst the Income Tax laws make provision for certain tax information to be treated as confidential, there are several exceptions to this general rule.
Specifically, under S4 of the Income Tax Act, a disclosure to the State is not prohibited, a disclosure for the purposes of the administration of the Act is allowed, and a disclosure to any person with the authorisation of the President is permitted under the law, he explained.
Sattaur said these exceptions are further extended by the Revenue Authority Act, Act No 13 of 1996. Under Section 23 of this Act, disclosure is further allowed in four instances:
a. Disclosure in the course of the person’s duties
b. With the consent in writing by or on behalf of the Authority
c. When lawfully required to do so by an order of court
d. When required to do so under any law
S4 (2) of the Income Tax Act provides as follows:
“Every person having possession of, or control over any documents, information, returns, or assessment lists or copies of those lists, relating to the income or items of income of anyone who at any time communicates or attempts to communicate that information, or anything contained in the documents, returns, lists or copies, to any person – (a) other than a person to whom he is authorised by the President to communicate it; or (b) otherwise than for the purposes of this Act, shall be guilty of an offence.”
Sattaur said the law clearly provides that the President and the State are legally entitled to receive information on any taxpayer and empowers the President to authorise the disclosure of any such information to any person(s). This privilege has been enshrined in the statutes.
“I can assure the Kaieteur News and the general public that all taxpayer information is treated with the strictest confidence and any disclosure is made lawfully in keeping with the laws of Guyana,” he said.
“In the circumstances, the Kaieteur News, its Editor and Publisher would be well advised to acquaint themselves with the provisions of the tax laws, particularly the provisions that prohibit the disclosure of confidential taxpayer information and the exceptions to this general rule; familiarise themselves with the provisions and process relating to the grant of remigrant status/duty concessions and the conditions attendant thereto, particularly the numerous potential sources the information allegedly ‘leaked’ could have originated from; be informed that the Kaieteur News and its Publisher are subject to the laws of Guyana like any other citizen; and be reminded that the Commissioner General or the GRA cannot be intimidated into abandoning a statutorily empowered audit and will not be so intimidated,” he added.
Sattaur said despite the “unfounded attacks, threats, attempts at manipulation and intimidation, the GRA, myself and officers will remain professional in our conduct and execution of our duties towards all citizens of Guyana”.
September 22, 2014 By
Residents of the Soesdyke-Linden Highway community of Bamia last Friday told Minister in the Ministry of Finance Juan Edghill of the many problems they face ranging from poor water and electricity supply to unemployment.
Edghill was in the community to address various developmental issues affecting them. The visit to the small, remote community was among the first of nineteen such meetings planned by the Minister, to be conducted across Region 10 over the next eight days or so. He first met with the head teacher, students and teachers of the Bamia Primary School, as well as residents, at the Bamia Multi-purpose facility, which currently houses the Bamia Nursery and Primary Schools.
In relating to the Junior Finance Minister, challenges faced by the school, headmistress Denise Piggott highlighted that problems range from no access to potable water and electricity, unemployed parents, telephone services to transportation woes for students coming from some outlying areas. She said although the school caters for students from the nursery to Grade 6 level, there is need for a secondary department in the community. Piggott said many students who sit the National Grade 6 Assessment (NGSA) Exams become drop-outs, due to difficulties in getting to schools in outlying areas.
“We are at a big disadvantage as a school: telephone communication is difficult, in terms of making contact with the Education Department,” she said, in relation to not having landline telephone service at the school. Piggott also related that there are issues surrounding the school’s use of the two-storied multi-purpose facility bottom flat. She said a request was made for a permanent school to be built, noting that she had been informed by the Regional Education Officer that such has been budgeted for.
After making inquiries from Piggott, the Minister was informed by the head-teacher that the school has an ongoing feeding programme for students. She noted too that since many parents are unemployed, this poses some difficulty for students. She called for more job creation in the area and for residents to become involved in community road (highway) projects.
Residents in voicing their concerns complained about not having readily available access to health services at Bamia and called for the establishment of a health centre in the community.
A female resident indicated that pre-natal and post-natal services, for example, are only made accessible by travelling to Amelia’s Ward, Linden. It was noted that although there are scheduled regional medical out-reaches to the remote community, they are not constant. This issue was also presented to some of the Region’s doctors and medical personnel who were present at the meeting.
The Minister, however told residents not to look forward to the establishment of a health centre in the community due to several issues, and advised them to utilise the centre at Amelia’s Ward since it is the closest to the area.
Also among concerns noted by residents are unemployment issues. Apart from farming, residents said many would seek employment opportunities in interior locations due to the unavailability of jobs in the area.
The issue of land ownership was also brought to the forefront by residents and farmers who allege not being given equal opportunities in some instances. “We need documents for our lands,” a community farmer remarked. Appeals were also made for more drains and outlets in the area, in addition to regular cleaning and clearing of those present currently. Residents noted that during rains, they are affected by water gushing into the community. After listening to residents’ concerns, Minister Edghill appealed to them to cooperate and make good use of readily available facilities, in addition to encouraging the spirit of community togetherness, noting that it is in the best interest of development. He added that the management committee of the school and the current Community Development Council should work together and negotiate in the best interest of the residents.
“Development comes in waves…what we need now is cooperation and everybody putting their hands together to work…Government is doing its best. Don’t sit and expect Government to do everything. We are creating an enabling environment for development. There are opportunities that exist here for leadership. Whenever there is what we call a crisis, we must see it as an opportunity for investment. You are important to us. The residents of Bamia are not forgotten,” the Junior Finance Minister noted.
He also promised to make representation on all the issues discussed, at the level of Cabinet and wherever necessary. In relation to the issue of the community not receiving electricity, the Minister noted that he will discuss same with Prime Minister Samuel Hinds. “The matter of electricity is one that will be addressed. We want to ensure that there is electricity coverage throughout the length and breadth of Guyana,” he noted.
The Minister added that Government is presently procuring some 6000 solar panels to be distributed across Region 10, 3000 for Amerindian communities and 3000 for residents in riverine areas. Edghill said while there are no guarantees, the Bamia community should be considered to benefit under the distribution. He also made a promise to continue visits to the community and make representations. In relation to telephone landline service, the Junior Finance Minister said he will write GT&T.
“We want to ensure that wherever people are located, their issues are being addressed.”
A similar meeting was also held with residents at North Amelia’s Ward on Friday and Central Amelia’s Ward on Saturday. Other areas in Region 10 included under the Minister’s meeting schedule are Block 22/Wisroc, West Watooka, Three Friends and Coomacka Mines, Old England/ Siberian, Nottinghamshire, Retrieve/Redwood Crescent, Constabulary Compound, Wismar Housing Scheme, Christiansburg/Dallawalla, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Alley and Kara Kara and Rainbow City.
September 22, 2014 By
A bowman from Adventure Village on the Essequibo Coast is thanking God for his life after he narrowly escaped death.
Delroy Stephens, 24, allegedly sustained a 14 inch chop wound from his wife’s uncle Uroy Chapell.
Chapell is in custody at the Suddie Police Station.
The chopper reportedly used in the incident was recovered.
According to Delroy Stephens, speaking from his hospital bed, he had no grievance with his wife’s uncle and is baffled as to why the act was committed.
He said he was sitting in the hall of his house when his wife’s uncle approached and chopped him.
According to the bowman, he and the man had a conversation earlier in the day and he asked him if he was not working.
Stephen said he asked his common-law wife for money to buy oil and as he turned his back, he received the chop.
Stephens said he was surprised at what happened and ran for his life.
He was rescued by his cousin Adel Stephens, who took him to the hospital.
Relatives said when the Police asked Chappell why he chopped Stephens, he reportedly said “nothing”.
Only recently, Delon Bejamin from Onderneeming was robbed and stabbed several times during a heated argument.
September 21, 2014 By