October 25, 2014

Disciplinary action taken on Albion players demonstrates BCB’s unprofessionalism

Dear editor,

The Albion Community Centre Cricket Club wishes to respond to a Press Release from the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) that was printed in last Thursday’s edition (October 23rd) of the Guyana Chronicle Newspaper titled “Permaul heads list of players that were reprimanded by BCB”

This Press Release has once again demonstrated the high level unprofessionalism of the BCB and its utter disrespect that it continues to display toward the Executives and Members of the Albion Community Centre Cricket Club.

According to the Press Release, Albion cricketers Veerasammy Permaul and Anthony Bramble were fined $15,000 and $10,000 respectively and were also both paced on a one-year’s good behavior bond while Jonathan Foo was issued with a Warning Letter while two cricketers from the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club were also sanctioned.

The Press Release further stated that the players were penalized as a result of their poor sportsmanship displayed during the final of the recently concluded Berbice Bridge Company 50 Overs First Division Cricket Final that was played at the Albion Community Centre Ground.

While the Albion Community Centre Cricket Club at no time will endorse poor sportsmanship from any of it members, the club is very much dissatisfied with the way in which the BCB has opted to pronounce on the alleged misconduct of the cricketers since the Club nor its three cricketers Permaul, Bramble and Foo were not allowed an opportunity to be heard and only learnt of the Board’s decision via the press.

On October 14 at 10:24h to be exact, an email was received by the Albion Community Centre Cricket Club Secretary from the BCB Secretary seeking help with respect to the contacting of three players (Permaul, Bramble and Foo) who as the email stated “are summoned by the Board to attend a Meeting on Wednesday October 15 at 16:00h”.

The Club’s Secretary responded by asking what the meeting was about and the BCB Secretary responded by saying “The umpires that did the match on Saturday made a complaint to the Board about the players misbehaving on the field during the game. We would be having an Executive meeting on Wednesday so I was advised to invite all of the players involved at the meeting to deal with the matter.”

In reply, the Club’s Secretary questioned why the Club (Albion Community Centre Cricket Club) was not invited to attend this meeting since the allegations of misbehaving were during a Club match and it was the norm that in such cases for the Club to also be invited. The Club’s Secretary further stated in his email that no player from Albion will attend this meeting unless the management of the Club is also invited to attend.

On the October 15, at 10:09h, the BCB Secretary response was “This email was sent to you as an Executive of the Albion Cricket Club and it was expected that the Management of the Club would be present to defend their players as usual.  If you did not interpret my email as an invitation, please consider this an invitation.”

Immediately, the Albion Community Centre Cricket Club Secretary replied as follows: “Thanks for officially inviting Albion to attend this meeting; however, your email sent early simply put it, did not say that. Unfortunately, we (the management of the Club and the three cricketers) will not be able to attend the meeting this afternoon since the notice is too short and we have prior commitments. Grateful for this meeting to be rescheduled for another date, preferably not on Wednesdays and Saturdays.”

There was no other communication received from the Board pertaining to the meeting until October 18, despite the Club’s Secretary had sent two other email to the BCB Secretary on October 16 and 17, respectively enquiring as to when will be the new date for the meeting.

On the October 18, the BCB Secretary wrote “The Board met on Wednesday with Members of Disciplinary Committee, other club members, officials and the umpires. The Executives decided to go ahead with the matter and a decision was taken. Copy of same will be sent to the Club and to the players in writing by Chairman of the disciplinary committee.”

The next day (October 19) the Club’s Secretary responded as follows “It is mindboggling to have learnt from your email below that the meeting was held despite the Albion Community Centre Cricket Club’s request for same to be rescheduled via email dated October 15.

Additionally, it is quite strange that this “matter” as you have called it, was pronounced upon by the “Board” whom I can only assume to be the “Executives of the Board” together Members of the Disciplinary Committee since the Albion Community Centre Cricket Club is never aware that both the Executives and Disciplinary Committee of the Board or any other Sub Committee of the Board for that matter, can simultaneously pronounce on an issue.

Further, it is against “Natural Justice” and “Procedural Fairness” for a pronouncement to be made on an issue or on issues pertaining to discipline in particular without the person or persons alleged to be involved and in this case, Albion cricketers Messrs. Veerasammy Permaul, Anthony Bramble and Jonathan Foo “not been given” an opportunity to be heard.

As you are very much aware, and the email below dated October 15 can clearly testify, the Albion Community Centre Cricket Club had requested for the date of the meeting to be rescheduled since the management of the Club and the three cricketers were not available to attend the meeting on the afternoon of October 15, since the notice was too short and both the management of the Club and the three cricketers in question had prior commitments.

Nevertheless, as you had advised, the decision(s) taken will be communicated by the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee to the cricketers and the Club in writing, which the Albion Community Centre Cricket Club is eagerly awaiting to receive.”

No correspondence was since received from the BCB on the issue and the Club and the three cricketers (Permaul, Bramble and Foo) were only aware of the decisions taken via the BCB’s Press Release in the October 23, edition of the Guyana Chronicle.

Therefore, Club’s questions to the BCB are:

1. Why the BCB did not respond to the request of the Albion Community Centre Cricket Club to reschedule the meeting that was set for Wednesday, October 15, to a mutually agreed date?

2. Why did the Executives of the BCB deal with this matter in conjunction with the Board’s Disciplinary Committee when the matter should have been addressed firstly by the Disciplinary Committee?

3. Why the rules of “Natural Justice” was breached and the Albion Community Centre Cricket Club and its three cricketers (Permaul, Bramble and Foo) were not allowed to be heard or is it a case of the BCB’s Executives being the Judge, Jury and Executioner?

The Albion Community Centre Cricket Club hereby request that the BCB rescind its decisions and allow “Due Process” to prevail. Failing to do so and this matter is not expeditiously resolved to the satisfaction of all concern, legal action will be sought.

The Albion Community Centre Cricket Club also found it strange that the BCB in its Press Release stated “The BCB is worried about the poor and hostile relationship that exists between the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club and the Albion Community Centre.” This statement in the opinion of the Club can be deemed fictitious since the two clubs enjoy a cordial relationship; however, as expected in any professional sport, there is always a high level of competitiveness between the two Clubs.

Imtiaz Baccus

Acting President

Albion Community Centre Cricket Club

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David Blind gotta eye problem

De Festival of Lights come and gone and it supposed to bring wid it a lotta light and tek away a lotta darkness. But it look like is only some people who get some of de light and de rest of dem leff in de darkness.

David Blind not only leff in de darkness, but he beginnin to sound and look exactly how he last name spell. Although every body know that Rum Jhaat and de Nagga Man is two blind mice leadin one another, yuh can never be sure wid David Blind.

A big eye doctor seh that is partly because David Blind does see whah he wanna see and then turn blind when he don’t wanna see. Or, according to de eye doctor, it could be that only one eye blind, so he does only see outta de other eye.

That mean if David Blind right eye blind, he can only see tings from he leff side, and if he leff eye blind, he can only see tings from he right side. Either way, according to de eye doctor, he only seein one side of every ting whah he see.

Or it could also be that David Blind does keep he eye half shut when he sleepin and half open when he wake up. Either way, according to de eye doctor, David Blind gon only see half of whah he supposed to see. And yuh not sure if he seein de bigger half or de smaller half, or back front, side, top or bottom.

Yet another eye problem wid David Blind, according to de eye doctor, could be that he born wid cock-eye. In that case, every ting gon look screwed up. And looking screwed up ain’t got nutten to do wid Rum Jhaat face in this case.

Ting-a-ling-a-ling…friend tell friend…mattie tell mattie! After all that diagnosis, de eye doctor conclusion is that whah ever is de problem wid David Blind eye, he definitely don’t see tings de right way. And it ain’t got no spectacle fuh that kinda eye problem!

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Sharma Solomon should resign

Dear Editor,

Two years ago, the One Mile Primary School at Wismar was burnt down by arsonists during the mayhem protesting Government’s decision to withdraw the electricity subsidy for Lindeners.

I vividly recall calls from the opportunist Mark Benschop appealing to Guyanese in New York to help in the rebuilding by sending cash and other donations to the Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) Chairman, Sharma Solomon.

In a telephone interview with Benschop, the Regional Chairman made it clear that One Mile Primary School will be rebuilt solely by the people of Linden. He did not want the Government to play any part in the rebuilding.

As such, an estimated $17 million was raised, mostly from generous Guyanese living in the diaspora and from supporters of the Opposition at home. Two years have gone by and that money is yet to be accounted for.

Every effort made to get Solomon to account for that money has been coming up against a brick wall. In a report published in <<Guyana Times>> on August 24, a similar question was asked: Where’s the money? That was two months ago.

I travelled to Linden on that very day, December 12, 2013, and took photographs of the burnt-out remains of One Mile Primary School. The photographic evidence which I shared then showed very limited work, all shoddy and incomplete, had been started on the ground level, but no work was evident on the top floor as was reported.

Initially, $60 million was allocated in the 2013 Education Budget for the construction of an additional wing to the building that Solomon and the self-help committee were supposed to have built from donations received, to make allowance for additional students, so as to avoid overcrowding.

Consultations were held between the Ministry and the Regional Chairman, and it appeared evident that children were being inconvenienced and their education compromised by the ongoing delays to get the project started.

By then, engineers from the Ministry of Education declared the existing remains to be unsafe to build on, due to structural damage caused by intense heat from the fire. When Government realised that Solomon and the self-help committee were incapable of rebuilding the school in a timely manner, they refused to turn over the $60 million and instead took a decision to build a brand new modern school with the capacity to hold 1000 children.

The Regional Chairman wisely gave his approval and consent, and the rebuilding project was finally launched last February by Education Minister Priya Manickchand, at a cost of $170 million.

The new building will include 29 classrooms, capable of housing 1000 students, sick bay, facilities for disabled, information communication laboratory, administrative office and sanitary block among others.

So there is absolutely no need for additional monies to be spent by the so-called “rebuilt project” or anyone else to “modernise” a school that will have all the  modern facilities and amenities.

This explanation is just a sham to stall the demands for accountability of the estimated $17 million in cash that was received as donations, money that must be accounted for by the Region 10 Chairman.

During the sod-turning ceremony in February, I tried to interview Sharma Solomon to get some answers.

When I introduced myself, he became arrogant and unwilling to speak to me, saying, “I know who you are.”

I specifically asked how much money was received in donations from the diaspora in New York, and he told me none – I recorded his comment. The only information he volunteered was that most of the contributions came from local supporters and businesses in the form of materials such as concrete blocks, cement and sand.

He also denied having knowledge of the amount of money collected and access to that money, and said that a committee is tasked to audit the accounts and the findings will be published shortly. When asked how soon, he said within two weeks. That was on February 12, over eight months ago.

Solomon needs to come clean with the people of Linden and the entire nation, and especially those Guyanese living in New York who willingly gave part of their hard-earned money to the idea of rebuilding a school set ablaze.

This evasive strategy by the Regional Chairman to prevent disclosure of the total amount received in donation after two long years appears fishy to me.

The question must be asked: How could a man who solicited and received millions in cash donations that were never used and reportedly cannot be accounted for even after two long years, a public figure who appears to have violated the public’s trust, still have the cojones to remain in a leadership position in Linden?

Solomon should resign in disgrace with immediate effect. He is an embarrassment to the position he holds.

Like APNU, the Government of Guyana should distance themselves from Solomon, and refuse to recognise his status in the community until he accounts for this money. A full and complete investigation is now needed to determine exactly how much money was received by Solomon, APNU Parliamentarian Vanessa Kissoon, and Mark Benschop of the Benschop Foundation, if only to keep them honest and lift the veil of suspicion that hangs over them.

Interestingly, these are the same people who accuse the Government of corruption and whose common goal is to replace the current administration in office by hook or by crook. God help Guyana if that ever happens!

Sincerely,

Harry Gill

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Pinnacle was incorporated to enter the green business sector in Guyana (Part 1)

Dear Editor,

Pinnacle Green Resources (Guyana) Inc notes the letter written by Assistant Professor Janette Bulkan, University of British Columbia, Canada, regarding our proposed investments in Guyana.

We wish to state that the company is quite happy to release information regarding itself and its activities in Guyana (and indeed around the world) to anyone who requests that information, particularly concerned Guyanese.

The letter writer has provided us with the opportunity to highlight the areas of concerns raised, and while we would have been equally pleased to provide this information in response to a polite request, we seek your indulgence in allowing us to publicly provide some information regarding our company, its antecedents, and our proposed investments in Guyana.

Pinnacle

Pinnacle Green Resources (Guyana) Inc is 100 per cent owned by Pinnacle Green Resources Pte Ltd (Singapore). Pinnacle is a specifically incorporated Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), incorporated in 2013 to enter into the GREEN business sector in Guyana.

Pinnacle Green Resources Pte Ltd (Singapore) is 100 per cent owned by Pinnacle Commodities (Asia) Limited, Hong Kong. This Special Purpose Vehicle was specifically incorporated in 2012 to enter into GREEN businesses around the world.

Pinnacle Commodities (Asia) Limited, Hong Kong was incorporated in 2007 and has the following shareholders, each having one-third equity contribution: Kuldip Kumar Gupta, Manish Gupta and Rajnish Gupta.

These three shareholders are a part of the Beekay Group, which is owned by the larger Gupta family.

The Beekay Group is a highly diversified group, having operations in steel, beverages, construction, energy, chemicals, etc, with global reach. We have information available, which describes some of the Beekay Group’s activities and partnerships, if you feel this is warranted.

While members of the public and some academics do resort to Internet searches to do financial research and research into companies, we wish to advise the public that this is not the best forum to do so, as there are many companies with similar names and many highly successful and respectable companies that do not even have a website.

There are well-known financial enquiry services that can be used to research companies; resorting to casting aspersions on companies simply because of an imperfect or mis-informed search is not fair nor is it in the best interests of any nation.

Some of the websites associated with the Beekay Group are: www.bsbkltd.com, www.mbl.in, www.beekaycorp.com and www.biltech.co.in.

In addition to the shareholders of the company, Dr Rajneesh Mehra is one of the principal officers and drivers behind Pinnacle Green Resources (Guyana) Inc. Dr Mehra brings a world-recognised reputation in converting waste to energy. He was the Managing Director and CEO of A2Z Infrastructure (P) Limited, focused on waste management.

He successfully grew A2Z into India’s largest and the world’s third largest waste management company in terms of volume of waste managed and volume of people served, in the process, becoming a household name in India and around the world in waste management and waste to energy.

Dr Mehra left A2Z to pursue opportunities of his own, and developed companies in biomass-based power generation, sustainable mechanised corporate farming, and associated waste management.

His companies are Purab Infrastructure Projects Limited (conversion of waste biomass to energy and energy plantation cultivation); Purab Urja (P) Limited (conversion of waste biomass to energy and energy plantation cultivation); and First Agrobiz (P) Limited, which is focused on the farming of greater than 2000 acres of energy biomass plantation.

We can assure the public that simply because an Internet search does not yield companies with the name Pinnacle that are obviously involved in the areas of investment we have proposed in Guyana, that does not mean we do not have the experience, the personnel, the demonstrated capacity and the financing to back our investments.

We encourage real, valid and approved searches to be done on the names of the companies we have provided.

Soil types

This plant (in question) grows well in soil which is slightly acidic; pHs as low as 4.8 have been shown to be suitable for prolific growth, although the plant is often found naturalised in environments where pH is around 5.2 or slightly greater.

To suggest that the plant requires alkaline soils to grow to an economic size is simply not correct. To remind the public, alkaline pH values are above a pH of 7.

A direct quotation from a compilation of scientific reports on forage legumes (H M Shelton and J L Brewbaker, Leucaena leucocephala – The Most Widely Used Forage Tree Legume, in Forage Tree Legumes in Tropical Agriculture, eds R G Gutteridge and H M Shelton, Tropical Grassland Society of Australia Inc, 1998, Chapter 2, ISBN 0-9585677-1-9) claims:

“It [<<Leucaena leucocephala>>] grows on a wide variety of soil types including mildly acid soils (pH > 5.2).”

Even a cursory search on a non-scientific search engine such as “Google” would ascertain, due to the wide number of studies that have been conducted on this species, that an alkaline soil is not required.

The soil in the area of the Pomeroon where we have been investigating in conjunction with the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission has an upper layer of thin organic matter followed by a 20-inch layer of peat and acid sulphate.

The pH in this area is generally around 4 (information supplied by NAREI). Given our experience in growing energy plantations, we have already ascertained that we shall need to bring this pH value up to around 4.8, but we know exactly how to accomplish this with the application of lime.

In addition, in our areal and on-foot surveys of this proposed land for cultivation, we encountered prolific stands of coconut growing. Coconuts are well-known to grow in soils similar in pH to those supporting Leucaena, and these trees are growing prolifically even without the benefit of lime addition.

Furthermore, the addition of lime has been taken into consideration in our business plan. We are perplexed at why anyone would think that we wish to “land grab” land that clearly has languished undeveloped for decades, and why, if the land is so unsuitable for cultivation, would we want to “grab” it in the first instance.

We wish to inform the public that our MoU with Go-Invest stipulates standard lease rates in Guyana. We can also assure you that we have not been successful as a company by leasing land which is not useful to us and waiting for someone to come along and somehow compensate us for leasing land that has not been leased for many decades, if ever.

Primary agriculture in countries such as Guyana is risky business; it requires large injections of capital and one can still face many unknown challenges – related to fertiliser price fluctuations, climate changes, pests, etc. And also, whether or not one can grow the crops one wishes to, with the yields that one would prefer.

Incidentally, this is exactly the same problems faced by your current sugar and rice industries, and Guyanese seem to have been able to grow sugar and rice for many decades. This business is not without risks, but it is not without reward, either.

Yours sincerely,

Manu Bansal,

Executive Director

Pinnacle Green

Resources

(Guyana) Inc

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Sustainable development

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark recently addressed students at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Uzbekistan. She spoke at length on the progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the challenges faced by countries in meeting key targets, and the current global debate on what should succeed the MDGs at the end of 2015.

Important achievements have been made against the MDGs which Clark alluded to, for example, the proportion of the world’s people living in extreme poverty was reduced by half by 2010 – five years ahead of the 2015 target date. The target of halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water has also been met.

On average, gender parity in primary education has been achieved, and most children now enrol in primary schools, although completion rates and the quality of education are not high across all countries.

The lives of slum dwellers in urban areas have improved, and levels of infant and child mortality have decreased significantly. There is a downward trend of TB and global malaria deaths.

Guyana has made tremendous gains in achieving key MDGs. This country has advanced in its efforts to reduce hunger, increase access to social services and benefits, improve enrolment in and completion of primary education, increase empowerment of women and achieve environmental sustainability.

Guyana is also well on its way to achieving universal secondary education. However, there is still much work to be done in relation to meeting the other MDGs.

On the global level, there are still many challenges to be confronted. Around one billion people continue to live in extreme poverty. Lack of sanitation leaves many people vulnerable to the rapid spread of disease – particularly in the aftermath of the increasingly frequent and severe climate-related disasters the world is experiencing.

A number of the world’s ecosystems are under serious stress, which threatens the ongoing supply of basic services on which we depend – like water.

The future of all countries is closely linked to global trends, be they economic, environmental, or peace and security. Clark explained that globalisation and interconnectedness bring benefits, but they can also increase vulnerabilities. To seize the benefits and build resilience to global risks is in itself a development journey.

According to Clark, inclusive and sustainable growth and developing institutions with strong policy and delivery capacity, transparent and responsive governance, and civil society – able to advocate for citizens – are all part of that development journey. In her view, to achieve all these objectives, “societies need to develop a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities before them”.

Now that the deadline for achieving the MDGs is coming to a close, discussions around the “Post-2015 Development Agenda” are picking up pace. In 2012, the UN development system began facilitating global consultations to enable people from all walks of life to share their priorities for the Post-2015 Agenda.

At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012, UN Member States agreed to establish an Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which would be “coherent and integrated into the UN development agenda beyond 2015”.

And in January last year, by decision of the UN General Assembly, the Open Working Group (OWG) was established and tasked with the preparation of a proposal on the SDGs. This past July, the OWG proposed a set of 17 goals and 169 targets, covering all issues related to sustainable development, and placing poverty eradication as a core objective.

The report builds on the unfinished business of the MDGs with proposed goals on poverty and hunger eradication, health, education, gender equality, and the environment. It also broadens the scope with proposed goals on reducing inequalities, and a focus on infrastructure, energy, peaceful and inclusive societies, and other new areas.

The agenda would be applicable to all countries, and aim to shift the world towards sustainable consumption and production.

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Diwali in US, Trinidad and Guyana

Dear Editor,

Diwali celebrations are usually fantastic in Guyana especially after the return of democratic rule in 1992 and the availability of traditional items needed for the celebrations.

Diwali celebrations are usually quite a spectacle in New York among the Indo-Caribbean Hindus especially in areas where they are clustered as in Richmond Hill, Jamaica, Queens Villages, Cypress Hills, Parkchester, etc.

Rows of diyas and electronic lights usually brighten up these communities during the festive Diwali season. Often, lit diyas flicker next to fluttering jhandis and American flags. Diyas adorn windows and every step on the outside of homes.

Fancy light decorations hang from rooftops, fences and around windows as during the X-Mas celebrations. Rangoli shaped designs are sketched around concrete or on pavements. Diyas are placed around the yard. Glitter is everywhere.

Stores are well-decorated with lit diyas at the entrance. However, this year in the greater New York area, Diwali was pretty much washed-out because of heavy downpours over three days; intermittent showers on Thursday evening accompanied by heavy cold winds made it virtually impossible to light diyas outside.

Usually Guyanese communities in New York are quite lit up for Diwali similar to Guyana, with people displaying various designs and colours of diyas that are arranged in rows or circles and some mounted on wires that form ohms in front of homes. Not so this year. The celebrations were held indoors.

The wind and rain were too much for the flames of the diyas. Thus, most celebrants stuck to subdued electronic lighting on the outside. Because of the eclipse and questions over which was the shortest night of the year (month) when Diwali is usually observed, some mandirs celebrated Diwali on Wednesday evening while others celebrated on Thursday evening.

Some celebrated the festival on both evenings. Some Guyanese celebrated Diwali on Wednesday evening claiming that the darkest moon was on that night. Many mandirs held celebrations Wednesday evening. In Richmond Hill, there were lusty fireworks for over an hour carried out by Punjabis on Thursday evening.

The fireworks attracted hundreds in the light rain and thousands in the temples (Gurudwaras). The Sikhs also dressed up their homes with colourful lights like the Guyanese though lighting diyas is not part of the custom.

The celebration was very impressive in Guyana during the motorcades. Unlike in NY and like in Guyana, there was a grand Diwali celebration in Trinidad although heavy rains (from a tropical depression) also affected the lighting of diyas there as well on Thursday night. As in Guyana, the holiday was observed on Thursday.

The Village of Felicity came alive with its magnificent shapes comprising diyas posted on various fanciful shaped props and electronic lights.

Unlike in Guyana which has motorcades, Trinidad has the fabulous Diwali Nagar with its spectacular lights. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar delivered the feature address at the final night (of nine) of the Nagar to close the festival in Chaguanas on Wednesday evening.

She handed out a cheque of TT$2 million to the organisers (NCIC – National Council of Indian Culture) of the celebration; several Guyanese flew in to attend the Nagar and to go shopping for traditional Indian dresses at the Indian Trade Expo. Thousands of Guyanese settled in Trinidad visited the Nagar.

There were fantastic fireworks to close out the celebrations.

Besides NCIC, several other Hindu organisations received grants from the Government to fund celebrations around the country.

Unlike in Guyana, every one of 41 electoral constituencies of T&T hosted Diwali celebrations, funded by business donors and Government grants. The 14 local governments as well as the House of Assembly of Tobago also hosted Diwali melas from their own budget.

Unlike in Guyana, the PM (Kamla) hosted a grand celebration complete with fireworks in her constituency of Siparia. Her nemesis, Jack Warner also hosted his own celebrations in Chaguanas with the complete works as he has been doing since 2008.

Unlike in Guyana, the Opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) hosted a grand celebration in Macoya Ground, Tunapuna, that attracted thousands – a first for the party as it seeks to win over Indian support for elections due by mid- September. The party gave out TT$100 gifts to many and prizes to performers.   All of the celebrations throughout the twin-island nation provided complete meals and drinks to attendees.

Diwali was also celebrated at the White House. President Barack Obama released a video on his blog delivering greetings to Hindu Americans on the occasion of the festival on October 22. Diyas were lit on Thursday evening by Secretary of State John Kerry; Indian Ambassador Jaishankar; and US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, Nisha Biswal, an Indian-American.

Prominent community leaders were invited for the reception at the White House.

In 2009, Obama became the first American President to light a diya to celebrate Diwali.  However, the US President had started the Diwali tradition going back to 2001 with various Assistants or Secretaries lighting the diya.

Guyanese need to heed the message behind Diwali – let peace, truth and goodwill triumph over evil. Use the occasion to educate and illuminate minds and strengthen the family.

There is need for a change in attitude to building the nation rather than seeking vengeance for previous wrongdoings. People need to be reminded from where they came and how far the nation has progressed from the dark period of misrule.

The light of the diya should wake up people from their complacency and slumber lest they return to that dark period and be unable to get out of it again. At the same time, they need to speak out against wrongdoing and hold their leaders accountable.

Yours truly,

Vishnu Bisram

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Flaunting…

…residence

The question of “residence” has hit the headlines in Guyana. Now most Guyanese were blissfully unaware of any nuances of this term. Your “residence” was your home, no?? Then came the exodus to the US and a new refinement of the term came into vogue – the “permanent resident”. This was the exalted status, signalled by a Green Card that allowed holders to live (and work!) permanently in the US.

Just getting into the US to live – and not have even “legal residence” called for shelling out at least US$10,000 a pop!! Imagine what one of the Green Cards was worth!!

A fella from the back dams would return to Guyana with a Green Card, and the village belle, who wouldn’t have been caught dead in his vicinity much less company, would now gladly tie the knot before you could say, “I do!!” She too could then get “residence” in the US. Guyanese thought they knew all about “residence”. Until now.

The Government, trying to turn the tide of Guyanese only leaving to get “residence” abroad had a programme for the longest while. If a “resident” abroad wants to return “home” and become a “resident” here again, he could bring back his car duty-free. Now this is not an inconsiderable benefit – considering that the duty on a luxury model could easily touch $50 million or so of our Guyanese Monopoly money.

So fellas returned to “Guyanese residence”… and brought back fancy wheels. Not surprisingly (we’re dealing with Guyanese now!!), the scheme was scammed. Mook Lall, of the Muckraker infamy, was nabbed in one. He claimed a retired couple brought back not one but two luxury SUVs and rather than enjoy the comfy rides in their dotage, they lent them to the “crusading publisher” as a “security measure”!! Right!!

But the Mook brought up a wily defence. He claimed another remigrant had brought in a luxury SUV. But rather than lending it to his high-profile local relative or even the Mook (surely this would’ve provided more security), the fella just parked it outside his house. And Mook raised the question of “residence”. If the fella has “remigrated” to Guyana, shouldn’t he be “resident” here??

But the fella spent just two months in two years here. Can he be a “resident”?? Mook Lall should know the answer: he’s a Green Card resident of the US. But he spends only ONE month per year there.

If the Guyanese remigrant isn’t a “resident”, is the Mook still entitled to a Green Card?

…racist lens

David Hinds castigated the Editor of the Guyana Times in a letter to the Muckraker, which he didn’t have the guts to send to the Times. He likes to cuss people from behind fences. In the letter, he concedes that “newspapers take sides…that’s a fact of life”. And he doesn’t have a problem if the Times supports the PPP/C Government, since the Stabber supports the Opposition AFC and the Muckraker supports the Opposition APNU.

So far so good. But where Hinds makes one doubt he ever earned a PhD is when he claims “all Opposition people” get the stick in the Times, but somehow he discerns a “racist demonisation” of the Opposition members who’re African Guyanese. The Indian Guyanese ones just get a “special kind of abuse” …but it’s not “racist”. Hinds doesn’t say what are the criteria for his distinction for a simple reason. He can’t!!

What must be particularly galling for Hinds is that the Times has led the country in its defence of the legacy of Rodney and its integrity, while the soi-disant Rodneyite’s sleeping with the enemy!

…ignorance

Ironically just under Hinds’ letter is one that reiterates that Indians are “sheep” and while “intellectual black people” went after Burnham – it’s the case now with “Indians”. Is it that Nagamootoo and Ramjattan aren’t “intellectuals” or they aren’t “Indians”??

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A new Miss Guyana Universe will be crowned on Sunday evening!!!

Miss UniverseIn less than 48 hours, reigning Miss Guyana Universe Katherina Roshana will be handing over her crown to a young woman who will be charged with representing Guyana on the international stage on January 24, in Miami, Florida, USA.

Katherina Roshana who represented the nation with dignity and pride will sure have a few words of encouragement and more so, provide guidance as the crowned queen continues her quest for international stardom.

To date, the nine beautiful, talented and intelligent young ladies have been adding that final touches to for pageant night which is set for Sunday at the Pegasus poolside. The nine delegates – Soyini Fraser, Nikita Barker, Jyoti Hardat, Alicia Kirton, Sonia Cummings, Cardella Hamilton, Rochelle Cheddie, Lakota Mc Phoy and Shonette Cain – have also been in the gym getting their bodies toned for the highly anticipated competition.

The delegates have completed one aspect of the competition – the intelligence segment, which was broadcast live on national television on Tuesday evening. This however, has been creating some buzz in the respective camps.

One who looked at the intelligence segment would agree that all the delegates answered quite eloquently and fluently as if they were rehearsed for the show. Nevertheless, there were some who were more outstanding than others, placing themselves in the top five as they vie for the coveted title.

Soyini Fraser, reigning Miss Jamzone International and the first Guyanese to win the Miss United Nations Pageant back in 2012, was on top of her game and answered every question with confidence and command.

Like her, Cardella Hamilton also displayed a high level of maturity and calmness.

Taking another Guyana Times Entertainment top spot spot would be Jyoti Hardat who travelled from the United States of America to be here for the pageant.

Another top contestant picked by Guyana Times Entertainment after the question and answer segment was Niketta Barker, whose focus is to win the pageant and making up for the year when she gave way to Ruqayyah Boyer.

And rounding off the final five in the view of Guyana Times Entertainment was Lakota Mc Phoy, who hails from the mining town of Linden. She was very calm and professional during the live television interview.

All eyes will be on the delegates on pageant night as they compete in the swimsuit segment, the evening gown segment and the final question.

The scores from the intelligence segment will be added to the final scores on pageant night.

The grand coronation is set to commence at 20:00h. Apart from the contest, Trinidadian Soca Sensation, Kees Dieffenthaller, lead singer of Kes the Band will be performing Live.

There will also be several dance pieces by the Classique Dance Company and a High Level Display by Clearance Enterprise.

Tickets for the pageant cost $3000 for general admission and $6000 for VIP.

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“Thriller, Arabian Night” set for Saturday at Gravity Lounge

51-ViDsf3uL._SL1500_By now, one would assume that everyone has their costumes as we head down to Gravity Lounge this Saturday evening for the most anticipated ‘Thriller party’ promoted by Pulse Entertainment. The event is dubbed, ‘Arabian Night’.

Those who are prepared for to participate in the event can expected to be thrilled like never before. In 2013, hundreds partied in the ‘Heavens on Earth’ concept party at the Princess Hotel and it was a fabulous experience with the sexiest and most provocative costumes ever.

This year around, Pulse is taking you on a journey through a fable city – a city of flying carpets, soaring heroes, and more glitz and glamour than any other fictional city in the world.

As usual, Pulse Entertainment wants this event to be the sexiest Halloween costume party so patrons should come out decked in the most sensual outfits. But not only that, Pulse will make sure that the entire Gravity Lounge be transformed into an Arabian Oasis; using rich influences from various Arabian countries.

Other attractions will include the Hookah Lounge, tarot cards reading, exotic henna designs, authentic finger foods, Pulse belly dancers, rope charmers, delicious specialty cocktails and fire breathers. Although, the theme is Arabian Night, all costumes will be allowed.

Advanced tickets cost $3000 (limited tickets available) after which they will be sold at $4000 while VIP tickets cost $8000. VIP tickets are only sold at Glamour Glamour Designer Brands.

Other ticket locations include That Look Boutique, Gravity Lounge, Gizmos and Gadgets and Movie Town DVD Club.

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Kranium confirmed as final act for “Boom Bastic” concert

ENT_2The cat is out of the bag! After weeks of suspense on social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instgram – Golden Boy Entertainment has finally disclosed that the final act for the mega concert in November titled “Boom Bastic” is no other that the man who does not want anyone to know “you and he ah touch”.

Kranium will be sharing the stage with one of his mentors, Shaggy ,along with his colleagues, Baby Cham, Lady O and Christopher Martin. The highly anticipated show will also feature, Guyanese Lil Million, Jory Hector and others.

Kranium, like other reggae/dancehall artistes, whose claim to fame has brought struggles, the artiste was tried fervently to make a major impact in not only the United States market where he resided, but also in the Caribbean. Due to these difficulties, many left their place of abode in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) of the United States and returned to Jamaica to build their career in the music industry within the Caribbean.

The young artiste is among the batch that has enjoyed some level of success in the New York area. His song, “Nobody Has to Know”, is not only a hit on ethnic radio stations in New York City but on the influential Hot 97 FM.

Produced by PLMR Productions, “Nobody Has to Know” has opened new doors for the 23-year-old, whose real name is Kemar Donaldson.

The artiste recently stated that living in New York was not easy since it was impossible to get a reggae hit out the United States but he has managed to do so.

In recent months, Kranium has stepped up his game, working with top dancehall producers including Tony Kelly, Zinc Fence, TJ Records and Cash Flow.

His latest single “Lifestyle”, produced by Frequent Flyers Records was released this week. He is also completing an EP, Voice of the City. Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Kranium moved to Florida in 2005 but relocated to New York one year later.

His career began with a series of appearances in the tri-state area which helped create a buzz for him, especially in the Big Apple. It was not long before Kranium began opening shows for Gyptian, Serani, I-Octane and Tarrus Riley.

Tickets for the Boom Bastic concert have been released and are available at Ashmin’s Trading, High Street; White Castle Fish Shop, Kitty and Hadfield Street branches; Full Range Record Bar, Regent Street; Nigel’s Supermarket, Robb Street; Dave’s Sports Bar, Grove, East Bank Demerara (EBD); Anil’s Cellphone Store, Anna Regina; M&M Snackette, Harbour Bridge; Smart Kid Pharmacy, Diamond, EBD, and several other locations.

Regular tickets cost $3000 while VIP tickets cost $16,000 and are only available at Kings Jewellery World, Quamina Street and the Golden Boy office, Lamaha Street, Georgetown.

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