September 17, 2014

Respect given is respect gained!

Dear Editor,

In commemorating the tenure in office of the Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee, a grand fun day was held at the Better Hope Community Centre ground on September 14, where the various Community Policing Group (CPG) divisions had an opportunity to express their gratitude to the Minister.

It was the Minister’s initiative to form and support a CPG in every village, which will work along with the Guyana Police Force to assist in maintaining peace and order, as well as showcase their active sportsmanship, wherein both female and male CPG officers participated in games and competitions.

It was a fun-filled day wherein CPGs interacted with their counterparts as one, and to add icing to the cake, numerous youth groups, which are extended arms of CPGs, also had the chance to compete against each other in sporting activities, such as cricket, herein bridging the gap of communication within the various counties of Guyana.

As much as it was an enjoyable event, the CPG officers should be commended because irrespective of race, colour or religion, they all ensured that everyone who participated and attended felt like part of a magnanimous family.

Respect was given to all, hence, these CPGs deserve more respect and support from their communities, since as voluntary groups, they ensure stability, etc in their respective neighbourhoods.

The members of the Bush Lot New Housing Scheme CPG would like to express gratitude to the B1 Division Liaison Officer Wheed Isahak for being the driving force behind the many groups who attended.

And they would also like to join the Courbane Park Annandale CPG in expressing their condolences to the bereaved family and friends of the late C Division Liaison Officer, Mr Gomes, who passed away early Sunday morning.

Yours sincerely,

R Kerut

Bush Lot New Housing Scheme CPG

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Ramjattan, Nagamootoo are like two feathers plucked from a crow

Dear Editor,

Khemraj Ramjattan and Moses Nagamootoo, two top former members of the PPP/C, an old party, are now firing some arrows at that very party.

To elaborate on this situation, I would like to use this analogy: the PPP/C is like an old experienced crow.

Ramjattan and Nagamootoo are like two feathers which have been plucked from the wings of that crow, or which have fallen out there one of those feathers was fitted unto an arrow and the other unto the next.

These arrows are hitting the crow either simultaneously or alternatively. That’s politics!

Yours faithfully,

George Carrington

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Granger’s ultimatum

President Donald Ramotar must be commended for his decision to seek clarity on the contents of a letter issued to him by David Granger before penning a comprehensive and appropriate response to the concerns raised therein.

Recall the disrespectful tone of the letter which was dispatched to the President last week Tuesday and its concommitant threat of the mobilisation of local and international “action” if he did not operationalise all of the mechanisms in place to hold Local Government Elections.

Surely, the Opposition Leader was not expecting the President of Guyana or the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) to abandon the positions and concerns they articulated for months about the state of preparedness of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the need for a more robust public education system to be in place ahead of these elections, simply because he made a threat.

Apart from those concerns, the President and his party have consistently recommitted themselves to ensuring that the elections are held, but they will not be intimidated into doing so with Opposition-tailored pieces of legislation that can taint the integrity of the outcome of the process.

It could not have escaped the experienced Opposition Leader that the PPP/C would have viewed his deadline as a political gimmick, aimed at creating tension in the country in the lead-up to the AFC’s No-Confidence Motion, which will be discussed next week.

That aside, Granger did a very poor job in rationalising his decision to suddenly galvanise support for Local Government polls, even though his party had taken a principled position to support the AFC’s motion, which would trigger General and Regional Elections after being discussed in October.

What is also worrying is that the Opposition Leader did not consult (at least he would like the public and media to believe that he did) key partners within his coalition, Opposition parties and PNC/R’s political constituency about the ultimatum and the line of action that must follow, since the President refuses to be bullied into setting an election date.

This in itself is remarkable and speaks to a lack of political maturity and the understanding of the impact that such threats can have on national life, peace, tranquillity of the public and investment.

The “action” cannot be a top secret and Granger cannot promise that it will only take on a legal and legitimate nature. Because of the ambiguity surrounding that action, any sort of violence, protests and criminal activity that occurs around this period could be easily misconstrued to be the consequences of non-action on the part of the President, as far as the ultimatum is concerned.

It would do the Opposition Leader and his future in politics good for him to unveil or give more clarity to the forms this action will take even if it means giving his political opponents a heads-up.

Coincidently, Granger’s ultimatum was issued within the same week that one of the country’s largest workers union suddenly summoned a media conference and threatened to take industrial action against the Government for all issues under the sun.

No one could forget the support given by that particular union in 1997 and 1999 to the political Opposition then to wreak havoc in the streets of Guyana in the name of better wages and salaries, and democracy.

Both Opposition Leader Granger and President Ramotar need to sit around the table and discuss issues frankly with the aim of arriving at a solution as opposed to continuing their hardline positions. And every problem has a solution.

It is therefore not surprising that the date for action following the expiration of the ultimatum is not known. The letter, which was no doubt ambiguous, given the utterances of several frontline spokespersons of the APNU on a variety of issues relating to Local Government Elections, was aimed at forcing the President to disregard the positions, arguments and concerns articulated by his Government and the ruling PPP/C.

The nation therefore anxiously awaits Granger’s action now that the ultimatum has expired.

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Bobbing and weaving…

…on “no-confidence”

The Chairman of the AFC, Nigel Hughes, has emerged from his “lying-low-until-the-Sithe-storm-blows-over” scandal, to comment on the AFC’s “No-Confidence Motion” on Parliament’s agenda after it reconvenes in October.

We don’t count his earlier fervent (undemocratic) endorsement of Leader Ramjattan’s unilateral choice of his buddy Moses Nagamootoo as their party’s Presidential Candidate. That was just some mutual, self-serving back-scratching done for self-preservation.

Hughes was answering his Cuffy250 cohort David Hinds’ criticisms in the press about the aforementioned “no-confidence motion”. You wonder if these fellas speak to each other outside their attendance of their “consciousness raising sessions”. But the public tête-à-tête did allow us to have a glimpse the real perspective of the AFC on politics in general.

Answering Hinds’ charge that the AFC should’ve demanded “shared governance” out of the “no-confidence” vote, Hughes whimpered that he “support(s) the concept, but the power lies not in the hands of the apparent powerless”. And in this confession of “powerlessness”, we can see how far the AFC has strayed from the promise they made to the people who voted for them in 2011.

Back then, they went on the hustings selling the line that they would support either the PPP/C or PNC/APNU with the seats they secured. They would be “holding the balance of power”! And this would’ve been a hell of a lot of power! So how come the Chairman of the party’s slobbering about their “powerlessness”?? We’ll tell you how – it all has to do with practising politics without a shred of principles.

Let’s look at what happened after the elections. The AFC literally did have the balance of power in Parliament – since neither the PPP/C not PNC/APNU obtained an absolute majority. But the votes had hardly been counted when the AFC threw their unreserved support for the PNC to deny the PPP/C a share in a single institution of Parliament – from the Speaker’s chair to the fella fetching the coffee.

Then, of course, the AFC kicked the President in the teeth when the latter accommodated the Opposition Leaders in the Tripartite Talks. Nagamootoo and Ramjattan ran down to Linden and screamed the PPP/C were “racial” on the electricity rates. And we know what followed.

So it’s because of their lust for Executive power in their gamble to support the PNC/APNU all the way – that they lost any leverage over the Government. They became the “powerless” petitioners they now bemoan.

…on transportation

The minibus operators really do believe that they have the commuters of Guyana by the short hairs. Whenever there’s even a whiff of a fuel increase, up go the fares! And we’re not talking about a percentage that might just cover their additional expense. No sir! It’s always 20-25 per cent at least – if we’re lucky. And with these fellas – when fares go up – there’re no reverse gears. That’s where they remain until the next round of price gouging.

And the commuters always get it in the end – literally and figuratively. There used to be price controls – but with “free market fundamentalism” and all that – that’s not going to be on the cards. This week, the Government tried to help hapless commuters by contracting some “big buses” to offer free services on some runs.

The theory is presumably to lower the demand for the minibuses’ services and hopefully lower the fervour for fare increases.

This is just a stopgap measure. And will fail. “Free” won’t work for long. Bring back the public bus service. If it can work for New York City, why not for Guyana?

…on Chikungunya

We know that it hasn’t been easy for the health authorities on the Chikungunya epidemic. But not being forthcoming with the numbers on the incidence of the infections isn’t helping matters. It just creates unnecessary hysteria.

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Can’t get it up?

Satiricus was not a Satyr. By far. But he had to admit he admired fellas with high libidos. Wasn’t this what the “Caribbean Man” was all about?? And didn’t the Mighty Sparrow, the greatest philosopher produced in the West Indies, tell the story in the vernacular about “The Village Ram” – our version of the Satyr?

“Is me the village ram/I ain’t give a damn/Is me the village ram/I ain’t give a damn/I cutting down black and white/Man, I working day and night/If you have a job to be done/See me, I ain’t making fun? And not a woman never complain yet with me/I ain’t boasting, but I’ve got durability/And if a woman ever tell you that I ever left her dissatisfied /She lie, she lie, she lie.”

Satiricus had been afraid the species had died out. So he was more than ecstatic when he read of the exchange between the Mayor-for-Life and the Town Clerk. Seems the latter had accused the former of being too “tired” to perform his functions and that he should, therefore, step aside. But the Mayor-for-Life took serious umbrage at this. “Not so!!!” he cried. It was just that the Town Clerk was not his type!!

And this was what earned the respect and admiration of Satiricus. He knew the Mayor-for-Life had to take care of things – like garbage and sewerage and world peace and moral re-armament and such things.

Little did Satiricus suspect that among his duties the Mayor-for-Life had to perform was to be the City Ram and service the members of the female species in City Hall – including the Town Clerk. And if a Village Ram had his work cut out for him – imagine what labours being a City Ram demanded!!

But Satiricus learnt something from the Mayor-for-Life’s comment. The Village Ram – and presumably the City Ram – just didn’t service any and all females. They had to be “his type”. So this led Satiricus to ask as to what kind of females was the Mayor-for-Life’s “type”? What would raise his libido, among other things?? After all, he’d had acrimonious fallings-out with every one of the last three town clerks – all different “types” as you could get.

Could it be that now he’d passed the age of 80, the Mayor-for-Life wasn’t titillated by females anymore?? Was he now coming out of the (pink) closet?? Would Satiricus have to call him the “Village Ewe”?

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Can Harmon say if he understands the documentation sent to him?

Dear Editor,

It is good to know that PNC/APNU MP Joseph Harmon has perused the documentation sent to him by the GFC for the proposed debate between himself and the Commissioner of Forests, James Singh.

One of the reports submitted to Harmon dealt with “Baishanlin’s Forest operations and compliance with GFC’s forest monitoring requirements” which I do believe is quite relevant for the debate.

But Harmon is not satisfied, saying that the “report is a gross insult to citizens.” The question in this regard is, can Harmon say if he understands the documentation sent to him by the GFC. And if not, is he saying that it is he who is an insult to the citizens of Guyana?

I have absolutely no problem with Harmon championing the cause of public accountability. But in like fashion can Harmon provide the following reports to the National Library for the public to read and digest?

1) Assessment and compliance reports in relation to the missing Army weapons prior to 1992 when he (Harmon) and his leader David Granger were Guyana Defence Force (GDF) officers.

2) Assessment and compliance reports on rigged General and Regional Elections from 1968-1991 when the PNC was in Government.

3) Assessment and compliance reports not submitted prior 1992 when the PNC was in Government to determine the performance of the productive sectors of Guyana’s economy.

It is my view that if these reports are submitted by Harmon for the public’s consumption, it is only then that the factual evidence would provide to John Public a clear picture of the genesis of Guyana’s social and economic collapse prior to 1992.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Persaud

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Guyana ain’t only de land of many waters

Joe Hardmouth open he hard mouth de other day and start ramblin bout some body cuttin wood in some forest in Guyana. Like he had never realise that this is not only de land of many waters, but also de land of plenty wood.

That was of course after de paper man had tek de same man wood and put it in front of he paper fuh a whole month. Now only yesterday de Bell Crier point out that a lotta people does leap before dem look and talk before dem tink.

Well, it look like it gotta another category, and Hardmouth fall right in de centre. That is, people who does talk and never tink. Most of de times it does be because dem just can’t tink, and people who just can’t tink does end up so because dem just ain’t got brains.

So Hardmouth open he mouth and grumble like a old man, which he is, bout de Forestry Commission. Then he run he mouth bout de Forestry Commissioner. As if that ain’t enuff, he mek he mouth even more hard bout de Minister, all de time babblin like if he is a forest expert.

Well, the tip of de iceberg (not de wood) was when Hardmouth decide to tell some body (he was friken to do it heself) to tell de Minister to tell de Forestry Commissioner that he accept de challenge to a public debate.

But before de debate, Hardmouth seh he want a set of documents to read. Well, some ting got to be wrong right hey. This is a man who done open he hard mouth and talk like a wood expert.

By de time Hardmouth done talk, any body woulda tink he is a expert on Guyana wood from when dem small to when dem get big. Not so. It turn out that Hardmouth want to debate which involve talkin and not demonstrate which involve showin.

Ting-a-ling-a-ling…friend tell friend…mattie tell mattie! So is now people know that Hardmouth is more of a mouth man than a wood man!

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Building castles in the air…

…in politics

One of the staples of Guyanese politics since the PPP/C came into office, has been an explosion in the number of individuals who’ve made a profession of “building castles in the air.” You know? Wool gathering…having their heads in the clouds… just wasting their time making speculations on things they know for sure, will never happen. At least in this lifetime!

Much of this castle-building takes place in the letter pages of the newspapers – which has flourished along with the “free press” because the PPP/C’s Government absolute refusal to follow the PNC’s victimisation of critics during their dictatorial rule. Take this fella David Hinds. Like most political wool-gatherers, he has the solution to whatever ails Guyana. And he’s not bashful about letting us know – in the aforementioned letters’ pages, of course.

Take his latest bag of wool. The no-confidence motion that the AFC and the APNU say they’re committed to, he asserts, can be used to compel the PPP/C to commit Hara-Kiri. Fall on its sword. Or in the word that’s in the air, commit suicide – political suicide.

Meaning that if they go ahead with their threat to move and pass the no-confidence motion – precipitating elections in three months – the PPP/C would cave in and agree to the Interim Government (IG) he proposes. This IG would include the APNU/PNC and the AFC. This is the CASTLE!

And this, of course, would solve Guyana’s problems. Well, not ALL of them, since, Hinds opines for that happy circumstance to come into existence, the PPP/C Government has to be removed from office totally. And with an Interim Government, the dastardly PPP/C would unfortunately be there. Albeit in a diminished capacity.

But Dr Hinds probably feels half a loaf is better than none. Or maybe a diminished PPP/C is obviously and literally, the lesser of two evils? So why is all of this just building castles in air??? Well, a castle on the ground would have to rest on a foundation, no? And so too Hinds’ Interim Government Castle. But Hinds builds on a premise that is completely erroneous or non-existent. He claims the PPP/C would buckle under because it doesn’t want snap elections!!!

Can you believe this?? The President had literally begged the Opposition to “make his day” by precipitating snap elections. How much clearer can he get?? Hinds is reading too much into PPP/C’s calls for a clean list.

He’s been hanging out too much with PNC types – who abused the list for avoiding elections. Remember Hoyte in 1990??

…on PNC’s “action”

From the above you, Dear Readers, would’ve gathered that David Hinds – part of that diminishing species , a member of the WPA – wasn’t enamoured of Granger’s ultimatum to President Ramotar. You remember that, don’t you??? The one where if the President didn’t announce a date for Local Government Elections, he, Granger would huff and puff till he blew the entire Office of the President away!!

Well the President immediately pointed out that Granger ought to make up his mind. Vacillating on such an important question wasn’t good for his image – which wasn’t exactly in the ascendancy after he so blatantly and flagrantly rigged his party elections. First he’s demanded fresh General Elections that was to come out of the no-confidence motion that he kept insisting he supported.

If he weren’t lying through his teeth on that one, when the heck would the Local Government Elections he’s now demanding, take place.

The questions, one guesses, is first, “How many elections can be held in the next three months?” And second, is Granger ready for either?

…in Ukraine

If the British would go to war at the other end of the earth because of their ties to the people of Falklands, why would they expect any less nationalism from Russia for Russians in the Ukraine??

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International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer 2014

epa_1The United Nations International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is celebrated around the world, on September 16, each year. This year’s theme is “Ozone Layer Protection: The Mission Goes On.” Almost a generation ago (1987), the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty, was signed by many countries to protect the Ozone Layer and eliminate the use of ozone depleting substances. The commemoration around the world offers an opportunity to focus attention and action at the global, regional and national levels on the protection of the ozone layer.

The Ozone Layer

The Ozone Layer is a thin protective layer of naturally occurring gas – ozone, comprising three atoms of oxygen found about 10-50 kilometres above the Earth’s surface that protects us from the harmful ultraviolet radiation or UV-B rays of sun. Scientists in the 1970s discovered that the ozone layer was thinning as a result of the release of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), consequently, the Ozone Hole developed. In 1985, nations around the world convened at Vienna, Austria, in an attempt to develop a framework for cooperative activities to protect the Ozone Layer. This signed agreement became known as the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer.

Ozone Layer Protection – A success story

Earth’s Ozone Layer may be on the path to recovery. Scientists have found that the concentrated, international action against ozone depleting substances has put our ozone back on track to regeneration. Satellites observed the largest ozone hole over Antarctica in 2006. Purple and blue represent areas of low ozone concentrations in the atmosphere; yellow and red are areas of higher concentrations.

The stratospheric Ozone Layer is a fragile shield of gas that protects our planet from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Without action during the Montreal Protocol, atmospheric levels of ozone-depleting substances could have increased tenfold by 2050, which would have led to about two million cases of skin cancer annually by 2030.

Now, it seems as if this won’t be in our Earth’s future. The phase-out of ozone depleting substances has had an effect. Yet, there are still challenges ahead: it turns out that some replacement substances are potent greenhouse gases (GHGs), which can be detrimental to our world’s climate.

Though the global cooperative efforts of countries, industries, communities and individuals are contributing to the “mending” of the ozone hole, as this year theme says “The Mission Goes On”.

Why care about the Ozone Layer?

  • The Ozone Layer acts as an atmospheric shield. All life on Earth depends on its protection from the lethal levels of ultraviolet radiation produced by the sun.

  • It can result in increased incidence of skin cancer, eye and immune system damage.

• Declines in crop yields of up to 50 per cent in some countries have been linked to increased amounts of incoming UV radiation. A thinner Ozone Layer is also a factor in the declining concentrations of phytoplankton that support aquatic food webs.

• Products emitting ozone-depleting substances are still produced and consumed throughout the world.

• Many ozone-depleting substances remain active in the atmosphere for 50 to 100 years.

• Most ozone-depleting substances are also greenhouse gases eg: CFCs

What can we do?

On this special day, primary and secondary school educators throughout the world are encouraged to organise classroom activities that focus on topics related to the Ozone Layer, climate change and ozone depletion

While the vast majority of ozone-depleting substances is either industrial or commercial, individuals can help in the following ways:

• Buy air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment that do not use HCFCs as refrigerant.

• Buy aerosol products that do not use HCFCs or CFCs as propellants.

• Conduct regular inspection and maintenance of air-conditioning and refrigeration appliances to prevent and minimise refrigerant leakage.

• When motor vehicle air-conditioners need servicing, make sure that the refrigerants are properly recovered and recycled instead of being vented to the atmosphere.

Human activities have significant effects on the environment, one of which is the depleting of the Ozone Layer. It’s time for us to reduce this contribution.

“The environment is everybody’s business”

Sources:

http://resources4rethinking.ca

http://www.go-green.ae

http://ozone.unep.org

http://www.scienceworldreport.com

You can share your ideas and questions by sending letters to: “Our Earth, Our Environment”, C/O EIT Division, Environmental Protection Agency, Ganges Street, Sophia, Georgetown, or email us at: eit.epaguyana@gmail.com

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AFC was never a democratic party

Dear Editor,

The Alliance For Change (AFC) was never a democratic political party and it will continue to preach but never practice such a principle.

At the 2012 AFC Conference, Mr Kemraj Ramjattan was simply selected as the Leader – there was no nomination and voting. It was his ‘divine right’ as one of the founders of the AFC. But then Mr Nigel Hughes was selected as the Chairman of the AFC – no nomination and again no voting!

Many of the members present questioned this selection. Is this the democracy the AFC practices? Is this process enshrined in the AFC’s Constitution? When Mrs Latchmin Punalall contested against Mr Moses Nagamootoo for the Vice Chairmanship, it was already ‘messaged’ to the delegates for whom they should cast their votes.

The same happened in the contest for the General Secretary position between Mr Sixtus Edwards and Mr David Patterson.

I wish at this point to shed some light as to the reason why Mr Edwards, the former General Secretary, became unpopular with the Executive and why the Executive touted and lobbied for his removal.

It was because of his continuous call for accountability of party funds, namely, donations that sounded his ‘death knell’. Even at the said Conference, Mr Edwards again reiterated his call for accountability, which did not go well with the AFC ‘fat cats’.

Mr Edwards has served the AFC since 2005 and did an excellent job. It was also Mr Edwards who found that MP Verasammy Ramayya should be disciplined for his alleged acts of cronyism and corruption.

These findings were pushed under the rug and the AFC leader gave a press release to the effect that it was all a ‘misunderstanding’! Mr Edwards was utterly shocked by this since even he was not told about that ‘press release’!

Furthermore, I was removed as the Regional Management Committee Chairman for Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) and Councillor Donna Mathoo as the Secretary, without us being informed that a new election was to be held.

This is high class rigging. This was done by MP Ramayya simply because we refused to raise funds to ‘repay’ him $4.5 million, which he was not legally entitled to claim, since he was not authorised to do so and he had no bills to substantiate his claim.

What a coincidence that the AFC is claiming that the Finance Minister ‘illegally’ spent $4.5 billion when such sums were expended for the development of this country and were properly accounted for.

Furthermore, the Constitution of Guyana authorised him to do so! Why didn’t Mr Nagamootoo call a vote of ‘no confidence’ against MP Ramayya at the last Conference? This is AFC’s democracy in action!

Now again, ahead of the 2014 AFC Conference, Mr Nagamootoo is being selected as the Presidential candidate and Mr Hughes, as the Prime Ministerial candidate. This endorsement was already done by AFC’s Leader Mr Ramjattan and his Executive.

The delegates of the 2014 Conference will never go against the dictates of their masters simply because they have no choice! The candidates have also already endorsed each other publicly! Is this the way things ought to be done in the AFC?

The AFC had claimed to be different from the other political parties, but now I know that this ‘difference’ means worse! The AFC ‘fat cats’ have not even tried to make the electoral process seen as democratic!

The democratic right to elect those candidates have been usurped from those delegates and once again the AFC leadership have moved from the founding tenets of the AFC. The ‘Johnnies come lately’ have taken over the AFC and the old members are being quietly kicked out of the party. Can they deny this?

Lastly, I was expelled from the AFC without a hearing although the AFC Constitution provides for that and I read about my expulsion in the newspapers before I officially received the expulsion letter from the General Secretary. The PPP/C treated Mr Ramjattan with more dignity when he was expelled from that Party – he was afforded a hearing and he was duly notified!

To those few AFC sympathisers I say, take a good hard look what is happening within the AFC do not take them on face value. Many AFC members and supporters have already made their exit from this party.

Whatever the AFC leaders are preaching in the Stabroek News, the Kaieteur News and on DTV 8 in Berbice is not what is happening within the party-cronyism and corruption is already cancerous and their personal vendetta against the PPP/C is destroying the social and economic gains made so far.

Their vengeance will be complete when they would have facilitated the PNC to get into power! Their aim is to get rid of their nemesis, the PPP/C, at all and any cost!

Respectfully,

Haseef Yusuf

AFC Councillor

Region Six

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