October 23, 2014 By
October 23, 2014 By
Reference is made to a letter to the editor published in another newspaper on October 17, titled “What will be uncovered if an audit is done on Mr Sattaur?” The letter was read and its content noted. We thank the author of the letter for the concerns stated.
It is important to note that the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) is the most prestigious revenue collection agency in this country. We are obligated to provide a professional environment and assurance of the rights of all employees.
Like all large organisations, we uphold the standards and best practices required to treat with and motivate staff at all levels. Accordingly, to ensure that all staff at all levels are treated fairly and professionally, there are human resource policies, such as, the Grievance Handling Procedure, where all staff are advised to channel their complaints/concerns through a systematic process.
These matters are resolved with impartiality, due care, and confidentiality. Sadly, however, this was not followed in this case and it is rather unfortunate that the ‘staff member’ chose such a medium to raise his/her concerns.
The organisation respects the right to publish articles. However, this right also has a commensurate responsibility that requires a newspaper to substantiate the facts before bringing the organisation into disrepute.
It is urged that in cases where letters/articles relating to staffing issues within the GRA are sent for publication, it will be prudent to adhere to the known principles of journalistic protocol before publishing, by allowing the GRA an opportunity to respond to these statements/conjecture which are deemed to be unfounded.
Please note that inaccurate statements published may lead to litigation/s which would serve to defeat the purpose of a daily newspaper.
Hence in future, it is requested that contact is first made with the GRA for comments before publishing those articles and/or letters.
Public Relations Department
Guyana Revenue Authority
October 23, 2014 By
It is high time that our judges and magistrates increase the jail time for armed robbery offenders. I am also asking for the imposition of hefty fines to go along with the jail sentence.
My reason for saying this is the gravity and prevalence of the crime with no apparent end in sight. All matters pertaining to the use of a firearm and the forceful taking of another’s cash or valuables should receive swift and decisive punishment.
Let us take a close look at a matter presently engaging the court. A repeat offender is accused of holding up a 69-year-old businessman and snatching $2 million from him. Now, two things immediately catch your attention.
The first thing is this is a repeat offender, someone who has done this before. With previous successful heist(s), he was encouraged to go that route again. So it begs the question: Why these felons are not given just punishment for their crimes?
Obviously, he was given little or no time at all for the previous offences so he would have come to the conclusion why not continue to tap into this lucrative criminal activity.
Guyana is inundated with this type of behaviour from the criminal community, that is, stake out hapless business victims with large sums of money and carry out an armed robbery. The proceeds are then divided up among the group and the criminal’s lifeline is financially remunerated.
Well, my plan addresses the fact that the criminal should be given a substantial amount of jail time, enough for him not to benefit from his criminal proceeds; I am speaking of upwards of 10 years’ incarceration.
In addition, he should be fined or forced to make restitution in the amount he is accused of stealing.
If he cannot recover the stolen amount, then his jail time increases. When criminals are made financially accountable for their actions, this would act as a deterrent for any future decisions they might want to take.
The point is felons are getting away too easily with their criminal enterprise, both by way of the paltry time given to them and the ability to benefit from the large sums of stolen loot.
My submission to the authorities is that the criminal must be denied the enjoyment of loot, as well as given enough time to sit in jail and effect a change in his behaviour pattern.
October 22, 2014 By
Greetings of peace to my dear Guyanese brothers and sisters. In the Hindu philosophy the light is referred to as divine and connotes a powerful meaning. This universal divine light symbolises an abundance of joy, truth, wisdom, love, peace, purity and harmony.
The light connects our souls to our original selves taking us to the righteous path of the Supreme Light or energy. When this happens, negativity is destroyed, humanity evolves and positive strength is drawn. This entire process helps each individual’s life to blossom with ease unto a beautiful path.
The lighting of the diya is a magnificent experience. The whole act of this lighting is an expression of purity, joy and happiness and has great significance. For example, the clay diya represents the human body.
The pouring of oil or ghee signifies the pouring in of knowledge which includes spiritual knowledge. Placing the cotton wick into the diya relates to steadfastness or willpower. The flame signifies the soul and the entire act of lighting the diya depicts how every individual’s life is being illuminated in a virtuous way.
The Cosmic Goddess of divinity regarded as Mother Lakshmi is represented as the Goddess of Light. She is unique, beautiful and is always a donor or giver. This Divine Mother gives continuous blessings and sometimes she is celebrated in various forms like Mother Durga, Mother Lakshmi, Mother Saraswati or Mother Sita.
In festivals like Navratri and Diwali, the Cosmic Goddess is worshipped and in these seasons her luminous vibrations are at the highest peak. Many divine messages, pujas, satsanghs, chantings, meditation, singing of bhajans, and classical dances are being rendered.
These glorious opportunities come to rejuvenate, awaken, and purify our minds and heal our entire being and to remind us of our divine essence on earth.
The Goddess Mother Lakshmi is regarded as ‘mother’ because she is universal and is manifested as absolute energy. She is an embodiment of virtues and resides in every one of us. Our true Lakshmi is really a wealth of knowledge and a wealth of noble qualities and values. We are all part of the Goddess Mother Lakshmi.
Our journey on earth is a sacred one and we should try to enhance our true self with more of the Goddess Mother Lakshmi’s virtues. Every individual has the power to tap into their inner or true self to activate their natural existence.
There is a divine plan for all human beings and Goddess Mother Lakshmi is a powerful gateway to help us to realise our true purpose on Earth. The feminine vibrations are very much potent in the Cosmic Goddess.
Therefore, we females are all part of the Goddess Mother Lakshmi’s divinity. Females are powerful in a positive way. They are supposed to be divine, pure, tender, beautiful, compassionate, content and gentle.
Unfortunately, many females underestimate themselves and do not recognise their sacred qualities, spiritual power and the Lakshmi that resides in them. Also, a lot of our young girls do not value, honour or cherish their entirety. It is important for all females to awaken their Shakti (divine powers) or wisdom and consciousness within them.
Today many young females find themselves getting involved in alcohol, drugs, teenage pregnancy and other destructive activities. Before this situation gets worse in our Hindu community, I suggest that our Hindu leaders play more pivotal roles in moulding our young ladies to realise their ascension pathway.
I know that we have competent Hindu leaders and trust that this Diwali message will help them to become even better change agents within our Hindu realm.
It is very important to build that connection with the Cosmic Goddess energy so that the light within each of us can continue to be illuminated dissolving all vices in our lives. I call upon everyone to recognise the pure meaning of Diwali and celebrate it with peace, love and unity.
Sandra Lalita Tularam
October 22, 2014 By
Diwali is a time for celebration, but it is also a time for reflection – a time when we must remember that there are always others less fortunate than ourselves. This holiday reminds us that we should commit ourselves to helping those in need.
On behalf of the Humanitarian Mission of New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir Inc, and its Guyana and Canadian Chapters, I am pleased to extend “Shubh Deepavali” greeting to all my Hindu brothers and sisters in Guyana and across the globe on the occasion of this joyous occasion.
At this time we must renew <<our>> commitment to kindness, to think of all those less fortunate individuals, especially all those who are sick, invalid, lonely, abused, and our seniors.
A significant event in the Hindu religious calendar, Deepavali celebrates prosperity and shower <<its>> light over darkness. On this very special occasion that is cherished and loved by many people across the world, Diwali is now celebrated by all communities in Guyana and across the globe.
It is a beautiful recognition; that light is something which is universal and important and significant for every one of us. A single “diya” or lamp holds infinite beauty and hope from within us. We need to kindle the light of hope from within our personalities so we can brighten ourselves and the people around us.
From time immemorial, Diwali has been a celebration of victory over evil or darkness and also symbolises the coming of a New Year. But if we think deeply, what is this darkness that we want to remove? How can we remove the darkness from within us? Where there is darkness, we need light and there is tremendous darkness with each one of us, so let us kindle the light from within us.
Light means to follow a virtuous path such that our thoughts are always pure; our words are sweet and peaceful and thus bring joy to the listeners. Also our actions are always beneficial first to ourselves and to others, as well as the environment. On this Diwali we need to pray and get rid of all the darkness from within our society and ourselves.
Darkness is when our thoughts are negative and when these thoughts are reflected in our words or actions, they bring hurt and sorrow to others at every step.
In reality, evil or darkness does not have an identity of its own – it exists due to a lack of goodness or light. Knowledge, power, and all that is pure are very real characteristics since they are part of us; perhaps hidden yet existing. The Festival of Lights is the fight against evil forces and the creation of peace and happiness.
As we celebrate Diwali, its message is a reminder that we are the “Deepak”, that inner being, to have that experience of enlightenment. When the light of the soul is lit, that fire brings light not only to my own life and my relationships, but also, to all the Deepaks that are in me and you.
When all the Deepaks and the souls are lit with love, truth, peace and respect, they create a rosary. In “Deepmala”, the rosary of Deepaks, the souls have been lit with the light of truth and we are able to bring optimism to ourselves, the people around us, and the whole world.
It is clear that the world contains a lot of darkness. Every one of us are instruments that bring that light into this world of ours, so that we are able to move forward to a world that’s truly loving, harmonising and bringing peace.
So instead of celebrating Diwali, let us experience Diwali in positive ways.
As we clean our homes, let us clean our minds and intellects too. As we wear new clothes, let us also get rid of our old, unwanted, and disturbing habits of anger, jealousy and worries. Let’s our new but original qualities of peace, love, bliss and happiness emerge.
Tonight, we will settle our old account books and begin new ones; simultaneously, let us settle our old karmic accounts, any unpleasant relationships and begin our relationships in a new, positive way. We are all aware of the pollution caused by firecrackers, but it is Diwali. We need to burn crackers, so why not burn all the crackers of evil characteristics within ourselves.
This burning will in fact purify our minds and the environment. As we exchange sweets, let us also exchange meaningful sweet words, good wishes, and blessings. If we really experience Diwali, we will succeed in invoking (calling upon) Goddess Lakshmi. Her name comes from the word, “laksh”, meaning “the goal”.
Experiencing Diwali will help us reach our ultimate goal of heavenly perfection – which Goddess Lakshmi stands for. Worshipping Goddess Lakshmi is good, but what is even better is making the wealth of spiritual knowledge and qualities, a part of our life. A divine character alone can attain prosperity and peace.
In an attempt to be a unifying force, the devotions during Diwali will seek to encourage greater unity, amity and understanding. “On this auspicious occasion of Diwali, let us pray for our leaders that they will confront the many challenges that are currently abounding in the society.
And even as Diwali is celebrated, we pray that Maha Lakshmi brings the true wealth of peace, health, happiness, and love to all of God’s creation. May the spirit of Diwali extinguish any darkness in every human personality and illuminate their souls with the light of God.
Let us all burn like diyas – giving light and life to others, and then we can truly say that we are celebrating the “Festival of Light.”
Pt Suresh Sugrim
October 22, 2014 By
As a Lindener, Sharma Solomon, our so-called Regional Chairman has agitated me to respond to his missive published in the October 19 edition of another newspaper: “Baishanlin has failed to fully honour its commitments to agreements, residents and Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice)”.
My question to Mr Solomon is, where is the money you collected to aid the construction of a new school from businessmen, well-wishers and other corporate citizens and companies that were sympathetic to the children and people of Linden?
Why is Mr Solomon ranting and raving about accountability and commitment to the people of Linden and Region 10, when he himself is culpable of deceiving the people of Linden?
This is one of several other misdemeanours which have resulted in APNU distancing itself from Mr Solomon. He has lost the respect of his fellow Lindeners and residents of Region 10.
I wish to point out several inaccuracies in his letter which he continuously regurgitates such as: Baishanlin is violating Guyana’s laws and disrespecting and threatening our environment.
Also, he is peddling lies that Baishanlin is underpaying some of its employees. Who in their right senses in Guyana works for $500 per day? Maybe ‘junkies’ – residents of Region 10 are not ‘junkies’, Mr Solomon. It is said when you tell a lie often, others tend to believe; it’s true.
While Mr Solomon is Regional Chairman, his support and that of APNU continue to dwindle. As such, it is mindboggling on whose behalf he is speaking.
The people of Linden do not take Mr Solomon seriously anymore, particularly since he is holding office at a time when approximately G$12 million has disappeared. This is hideous, and he must be fully castigated for misleading the people of Linden and Region 10.
October 22, 2014 By
Guianese and later Guyanese started to leave the country before independence. They left in droves for the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, and during the racial clashes in the mid 1960s, more and more started to leave for all parts of the world for a better way of life.
However, the consolation is that most of them are doing extremely well in their professions and businesses. Some excelled and made Guyana proud. What is more important is that a large number of members of the diaspora assist their friends and relatives back home and hundreds send remittances on a fairly regular basis.
While most of them are in overseas countries legally, there are tens of thousands who are illegal in several countries mainly the United States, Canada and a few Caribbean countries.
The latest report from Port of Spain is that a total of 110,012 illegals are in that oil-rich country. Incidentally, the illegals comprise one-tenth of the total population and as a result the Ministry of National Security is taking drastic action to deport and even to prosecute some of them.
Guyana has the largest number – 25,884, followed by Jamaica with 19,500.
The illegals in Trinidad and Tobago are from 16 countries, mainly from six Caricom countries, as well as from Venezuela – 10,570, and nearly 10,000 from St Vincent and the Grenadines; Colombia – 6388 and as far as Nigeria and Bangladesh.
It might be surprising to the readers that as many as 7169 illegals are from Barbados and 4391 from St Lucia.
Although Guyana topped the list of illegals in Trinidad for the country with most illegals; there are several thousands of illegals including Brazilians, Chinese, Colombians, and Caribbean nationals who are in the Cooperative Republic.
It is believed that the immigration authorities in Guyana are not as vigilant and harsh as their counterparts in other countries especially the United States, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.
The Treaty of Chaguaramas makes provision for freedom of movement in the Caribbean Community, but the Treaty is not always being adhered to by a few countries especially Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Antigua and Barbados.
Jamaica has recently been criticised for deporting Abu Bakr, a Muslim from Port of Spain who went to Kingston to attend the 19th anniversary celebration of the Million Man March which was attended by Louis Farrakhan and other black leaders.
The Jamaican immigration authorities said that Bakr was sent back to Port of Spain in a chartered jet in the interest of public safety. Bakr plotted and tried to overthrow the Trinidad and Tobago Government in a coup in the Parliament Chamber more than two decades ago.
Gerald Pereira, Chairperson of the Black Consciousness Movement in Guyana, was also denied entry to Jamaica. Pereira lived in Libya for many years and served in the Green March, an International Battalion for the defence of the Libyan Revolution.
People tend to move from country to country to seek a better way of life for their families.
October 21, 2014 By
I write to condemn the AFC for its religious insensitivity in calling for the convening of Parliament on the eve of Diwali, the most significant celebration for Hindus in Guyana and one in which almost every Guyanese enjoys through its participation in the motorcades, concerts and meals (delicacies).
Hindus in Guyana were fuming with rage that my very good friends Moses Nagamootoo, Khemraj Ramjattan and Veerasammy Ramayya and other MPs and executives of AFC have the audacity to sign on to the party’s demand that Parliament meet on the eve of Diwali.
At the West Coast motorcade and various other Diwali-related events where I was present and in the mandirs on Sunday morning, it was a subject of discussion – like myself, they cannot understand how the AFC, a party that should have been different from the others, could display such gross disrespect for Hindus on insisting that Parliament meet on October 22 when Hindus are in the midst of celebrating their festival, which is followed by a public holiday in recognition of the importance of the religious event.
Worse yet, they feel Moses, Khemraj, Ramayya, all of whom come from Hindu families, and have Hindu neighbours, should know better to seek the convening of Parliament on such an auspicious occasion for Hindus.
These gentlemen are my friends, but I cannot let them off the hook by not criticising their insensitivity towards Hindus. It shows they don’t even know their own culture. How could these men allow themselves to be led astray to disrespect the entire Hindu population?
Here it is that non-Hindus and non-Indians could appreciate Diwali, but the AFC MPs can’t show any respect for the festival. Openness and tolerance of other faiths must begin at the very top of any organisation.
When Hindus themselves don’t understand their practices and traditions, they open themselves to humiliation and become the laughing stock of others. Hindus, in fact all Guyanese, are disappointed in the AFC for its religious insensitivity. A public apology is needed.
Diwali is an eternally sacred Hindu event of great spiritual significance in the Rig Vedic Adivasi Puranic culture of Hinduism and Hindus. The extraordinary secular features of public displays of pomp and splendour should not detract from the essential protocols of devotion and worship and respect for those who do.
Recognition of the Shakti (invulnerable divine powers) of Maha Lakshmi Devi, the Divine Mother, is of paramount importance to Hindus in Guyana.
I expect my friend Moses, for whom I have great regard and consistently extolled his virtues, and, by extension, the AFC to be mindful of Diwali being a national festival with spiritual, religious and temporal features in respect of which any form of disrespect or violation will redound to the discredit of the country and the nation. DIWALI is a legacy of our illustrious indentured immigrant ancestors and should be seen and duly respected as such.
Calling for reconvening Parliament on Diwali Eve is very disrespectful – it is no different than reconvening Parliament on Christmas Eve or the eve of Eid.
Diwali is not a one-day event. It is observed over a five-day period and it really comes to an end on the sixth day with Goberdhan puja, the day after official observance of Diwali. It is for this reason that Parliament goes into recess in many societies (India, Mauritius, Fiji, Natal, Durban, Guadeloupe, etc) with a large number of Hindus – they don’t wish to appear insensitive to Hindus.
Even in the US, Congress is in recess as in Canada and Britain. In neighbouring Trinidad and Suriname, Parliament has been in recess for the festival. But in Guyana, it appears it is okay for the AFC to disrespect Hindus.
It is also noted that while Diwali is officially celebrated as a holiday on October 22, the day before and after Diwali are very auspicious in which all Hindus engage in fasting and performing pujas.
Also, this year, because of the eclipse and the position of the moon, some experts have claimed that Diwali is on October 22 while others claim it is on the 23th. Because of the interpretation, and to please Goddess Lakshmi, many Hindus are observing the festival with celebrations on both nights and some mandirs in New York are having special pujas on both evenings.
At any rate, it has been the custom in Guyana that diyas are lit in front of homes of Hindus on the eve of Diwali and business close up early on that day to facilitate rituals.
Parliamentary business cannot and should not be conducted on that day as it is inauspicious for Hindus – Hindus close out business on that day for the old year in the Hindu calendar; they don’t engage in new business.
AFC should seriously think of attending cultural sensitivity courses and to learn about the religious practices of the various faiths in Guyana. The party leadership needs training in religious sensitivity. They have to be trained to follow the practices of peers in India, Durban, Mauritius, Fiji, Guadeloupe, St Lucia, etc, all of which show their respect for the Indian population.
October 21, 2014 By
Mr Khurshid Sattaur is a man of moral uprightness and one to be emulated. A fearless, no-nonsense public servant who is doing an excellent job in a hostile and unfriendly atmosphere.
As head of the Guyana Revenue Authority, he is given the unenviable task of ensuring that our country gets its fair share of taxes. Simply put, he is in a crucial position, a make or break situation if you please – the collection of revenue for the smooth running of the state we call Guyana.
For us to succeed as a nation, the all-important dollar – millions of it – must be collected in a timely and honest manner. This means that his success is our success and conversely, his failure will automatically be our failure.
In this regard, all illegal and unsavoury practices to undermine the rights of the people to earn their fair share of taxes is a criminal act and should be condemned for all its worth. At this juncture of our development, we can ill afford the likes of those who intentionally rob us.
Tax cheats ought to be exposed and brought before the courts for non-payment of their dues. They have to pay what they owe, not Khurshid Sattaur, but they owe the people of Guyana.
This is why the Commissioner General would remain my mentor and my hero. I join with the countless number of persons in support of your good work. We salute your most valuable contribution to this nation.
October 21, 2014 By