February 12, 2016

Poor Internet service

Dear Editor,

We are sending this letter to you regarding the poor Internet service provided by GTT at Low Lands/Hope. It has been over a month now that the service provided is very poor.

Customers cannot upload emails; whatsapp and access facebook. This kind of service is greatly affecting the business community and students. The customers of Low Lands/Hope are very displeased with GTT. Customers need to get their money’s worth of service.

Sincerely,

Concerned residents

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There are more pros than cons in banning used tyres

Dear Editor,

The (Georgetown) Mayor and City Council (M&CC) has expressed satisfaction toward the banning of used vehicles and tires claiming that a heavy environmental burden has been lifted off its shoulder.

Joining the growing debate on government’s recent decision to restrict all used tires and vehicles for road operation here, Town Clerk Royston King said Tuesday 9 that the policy will go a long way in helping to manage these particular types of waste.

He said the Council welcomes the policy not only because of its environmental benefits, but because it also improves road safety.

The Town Clerk explained that these used tyres for instance, take a very long time to disintegrate. At the same time the waste material releases harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.

These used tyres are also major contributors to vehicular accidents since blow-outs and flats are prevalent with these worn out or damaged equipment.

The Town Clerk went on to encourage the acceptance of the new policy since, according to him, research confirms that the only positive associated with used tyres is that they are cheap.

He charged that, “The used tyre industry in Guyana is completely unregulated and there’s simply no guarantee that these tyres are safe.”

Sometimes these used tyres and vehicles may appear in working order but have internal damage that’s completely invisible. “It’s almost impossible to declare a used tyre safe by just looking at it, but this is the method employed in Guyana,” King warned.

The Town Clerk also warned that some sale tactics being employed include the painting of used tires to make them appear to be in a better condition. “A consumer cannot tell the age of the tyre and most manufacturers warn against their reuse because the material breaks down at a certain point.”

This worsens the situation, King said, because road hazards such as potholes, rough terrain, and bad weather deteriorate the tyre further; increasing danger levels.

“There is no way one can know the history of a used tyre,” the Town Clerk urged. He said the same understanding could be applied when understanding the consequences of having used vehicles.

Sincerely,

Debra Lewis

Public Relations

Officer

Mayor and

City Council

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Chanders badly treated by West Indies Board

Dear Editor,

Narsingh Deonarine, in paying tribute to Shivnarine Chanderpaul in Trinidad (Express Feb 5, Guardian Feb 9), pointed out the greatness of Chanders as a cricketer, his humility and assistance to other players. Chanders was a role model said Narsingh. Both T&T papers as well as Newsday also ran editorials praising Chanders for his outstanding performance noting how he has been badly treated by West Indies Board.

All three papers called for a fitting tribute to the legendary cricketer.

Former Captain Brian Lara also attested last week in Dubai that Chanders has been treated very badly by the Board and the selectors, and he reiterated his earlier call (last May) for a proper tribute to Chanders.

It is noted that Shiv is not the only one to be ill-treated by the West Indies management. The iconic Brian Lara was also ill-treated and forced to resign (2007) as was Carl Hooper. Shiv was ill-treated in the same tradition of Rohan Kanhai (1974) and Alvin Kalicharran (1981).

As Lara and others commented, Chanderpaul should not have been dropped from the WI team last June without a forewarning. Lara stated “Chanders should have been given a chance to retire after the two tests home series in the West Indies last June against Australia”.

Lara stated then and reiterated last week he has no issue with Chanders breaking the record (86 runs required) and should be given an opportunity to play and bid farewell to the region. Other boards allow star players to retire on their own time or be given time (warning) to play their last series before retiring.

Chanderpaul was sent straight to pasture without any forewarning and the selection panel and board misled the region and the world that Chanders would be given a grand send off during the Aussie tour last June.

Invoking his lack of form and failures as the reasons for dropping him from the home test series against Australia is indefensible. No other player performed consistently during the tours to South Africa, Sri Lanka and the home series against England; so performance could not be only criteria for selection against Australia.

In India where I was on a lecture tour, cricket fans asked about Chanderpaul and Lara among other West Indies cricketing heroes. Lara and Chanders are considered as princes of cricket in India. People adore them everywhere. So they were shocked that Chanders was unceremoniously dropped from the team. They were also disappointed when Lara called time on his career at a young 38. Fans described Chanders as the most reliable batsman who a team can count on to rescue it.

Chanders informed us that in order to play in the Masters League in Dubai, the organisers told him he needed a no objection certificate from WI Board. The Board refused to give the clearance unless Chanders officially retires from cricket.

That is the greatest insult to a legend.

Chanders resigned from international cricket to obtain the clearance. Chanders has since rescinded his resignation after playing in the Masters League and has made himself available to play for Guyana next week. Should not the Board and other selectors resign for their ill-treatment of Chanders?

Chanders should be accorded accolades and ceremonies by the Guyana Cricket Board as well as WI Board albeit too late. And it is still not too late to allow him to play one last series at home against a touring side so he can bid farewell to fans in the region and around the globe.

 

Yours truly,

Vishnu Bisram

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Remembering the true meaning of love

Dear Editor,

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day we must contemplate the significance of the word ‘Love’ which I believe is the greatest of all words in the English language. Great writers, poets, singers, film makers, philosophers based their philosophies around this simple and precious word ‘love’.

When this fascinating word is traced to its root from the Greek concept it gives us the true meaning of the word ‘love’ from three Greek words: Eros, Philia and Agape.

Eros has to do with sexual love between a man and woman; philia has to do with friendship; but the greatest love is what most experts called the ”agape love” or the God kind of love; meaning the unconditional love of all human beings.

This is the God kind of love Jesus spoke about in St John’s Gospel Chapter 15:12 which is as follows: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you”.

Shakespeare wrote a collection of 154 sonnets, some based on love he dedicated to a dark lady that could have been his wife or a woman he admired; while some of his sonnets included his life story hidden in profound intricate images. His 151st sonnet below is a poem of exquisite beauty:

SONNET 151

Love is too young to know what conscience is;

Yet who knows not, conscience is born of love?

Then, gentle cheater, urge not my amiss,

Lest guilty of my faults thy sweet self prove.

For thou betraying me, I do betray

My nobler part to my gross body’s treason;

My soul doth tell my body that he may

Triumph in love; flesh stays no farther reason,

But rising at thy name, doth point out thee

As his triumphant prize. Proud of this pride,

He is contented thy poor drudge to be,

To stand in thy affairs, fall by thy side.

No want of conscience hold it that I call

Her ‘love,’ for whose dear love I rise and fall.

We can evaluate from this literary discourse that ‘love’ is the answer to man’s basic needs and desires. If we can comprehend the love of God, we will be able to love the world, love ourselves, love our families, our country and build a bridge of peace among all mankind.

May we find that divine bliss and joy on Valentine’s Day.

Yours faithfully,

Rev Gideon Cecil

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DEA, drugs and corruption in Guyana

Dear Editor,

I read with great interest newspaper reports about the statement made by the US Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway in relation to the DEA office in Georgetown, the tracking down of illegally acquired money in the US, the sharing of evidence between the US and Guyana as regards drug related and money laundering offences, etc.

The Ambassador made it quite clear that the US cannot assist to track down stolen state funds stashed away in the US unless provided with hard and specific evidence against someone or a corporation. He stressed that there will be no witch hunting.

Therefore the authorities in Georgetown have to do a lot of work to identify the culprits and provide good and valid information. There is a lot of talk of fraud and corruption, law enforcement agencies must come up with the evidence to prosecute the bad guys.

It is heartening to learn that there is constant communication between the US Embassy and local law enforcement agencies such as Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) and the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), but these bodies have to work harder to muster evidence to link the crooks. Maybe they should seek the assistance of the Guyana Embassy in Washington and the Consulate in New York. Maybe the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should look at the possibility of recruiting top notch private forensic experts to work in their Missions and concentrate on money laundering and international fraud.

The US treasury and the IRS are the focus of such information gathering, but it seems there must be a criminal investigation of some import to initiate a requested cooperation. The DEA is not a major player in exchange of information involving bank accounts and taxes and as such the Georgetown Office will not be of help in this regard. Of course the DEA office will concentrate on drug trafficking in order to apprehend the culprits in this massive drug trade.

It is not a secret that for decades Guyana has been a transhipping point for drugs to the United States and Europe and the presence of DEA officers in the country by itself will no doubt minimise the trade in the region.

Sincerely,

Oscar Ramjeet

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Natural Resources Sector in the wrong hands

Dear Editor,

I am again compelled to write on Minister Trotman’s ramblings, the latest is in the Kaieteur News (Sun, February 7, 2016) where he said that his Ministry is setting up a compliance and inspectorate division to deal with monitoring in the mining and forestry sector and that Minister Broomes will take charge of the unit. Minister Trotman further stated that the former PPP/C Administration presided over a weak and ineffective system.

Now there are several things that are wrong here and again it points to the poor knowledge of Minister Trotman in the forestry sector evidenced by his partial approach to the sector and his attempt to mislead the people of Guyana on forestry matters.

Minister Trotman just met the Norwegian delegation here in Guyana. His APNU/AFC Coalition Government is sitting on US$190 million (US$80 million for Amaila) earned from the Guyana /Norway partnership for good forest governance, good forestry practices and effective forest monitoring that meet strict environmental conditions and requirements set by Norway. Minister Trotman must have known that it was the PPP/C Government that earned this money that his Government is sitting on. How can he be so naive and criticise the same system that earned US$190 million for good forestry practices? And how is it that the PPP/C presided over weak and ineffective systems? Minister Trotman, the public is much more intelligent than you so please don’t play political games.

It was Minister Trotman who went to Paris in December 2015 for the Global Climate Conference (COP21) where he met a Norwegian delegation and pleaded with them for another partnership agreement. Was it not Minister Trotman who the press reported will do a follow-up visit to Norway to try and iron out a new agreement? So basically why is he running behind the Norwegians for another lucrative deal if things are so bad in the forestry sector that relate to forestry practices. It appears though that Norway is better informed than Minister Trotman about current and good forest practices and activities taking place in Guyana’s forestry sector. But what Minister Trotman is trying to do is to mislead the public so as to take on more of his cronies and party hacks to work at his Ministry.

So Minister Broomes will head a Compliance Unit. She will be an owner of a concession, an operator and now a regulator for her own concession. So we can do no wrong. The whole unit is orchestrated to shield Broomes’s operation in the mining sector by allowing her to regulate her own show. Is this not what we call conflict of interest again?

Editor, our Natural Resources Sector is definitely in the wrong hands. Time will soon tell.

 

Your sincerely,

Carl Lucas

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Diaspora complains about Golden Jubilee Committee composition

Dear Editor,

At a meeting in Richmond Hill last Friday evening, members (leaders of several organisations) of the Guyanese diaspora bitterly complained that the composition of the planning committee established to plan and organise celebrations relating to the country’s golden jubilee independence anniversary celebration in the US (primarily the greater New York area) does not reflect the racial and political composition of the population in Guyana or in the American diaspora.

The unrepresentative committee had received the blessings and approval of the APNU/AFC coalition Government when it was presented to the public with much fanfare last month at a meeting at York College.

The Government announced it planned to fund celebrations in the Diaspora. The New York organisers say they also plan to get sponsors for the several planned events.

Business owners in Richmond Hill and Jamaica, Queens, say they were approached by organisers from Brooklyn to sponsor programmes relating to the golden jubilee celebrations, but they have not given a commitment.

Diaspora members charge that the golden jubilee committee comprises primarily one racial group betraying the announced goals of the APNU/AFC coalition Government to advance racial equity and power sharing among the political parties.

The Indo and Amerindian Guyanese diaspora representatives, in particular, cry discrimination and say they will organise their own celebrations, outside of this officially sanctioned group unless efforts are made to bring racial and political balance. AFC activists also cry foul saying it is a largely APNU comprised committee and that they were not consulted on its political or ethnic composition and on selection of the leadership of the committee.

The complainants noted that the greater NY organising committee comprises almost 150 members of which there are only 14 Indians (10%); two Amerindians (less than 2%), and no Chinese or Whites.

Complainants say they were shocked to view the lack of racial diversity in the composition of the committee when it was announced in the presence of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo at York College three weeks ago.

The complainants wondered what were the Government and the New York organisers thinking when they selected such a racially one-sided committee.

Some AFC members say they are disassociating themselves from the committee and do not plan to support or participate in the celebration as they don’t want to be accused of endorsing racial discrimination against any group.

Complainants in the Diaspora feel racism is worsening since the coalition took charge of the Government as evidenced in the Government’s approval and sanctioning of the formation of the most recent committee.

Some of the complainants say they will call a meeting soon in Queens to discuss the holding of golden jubilee celebrations outside of the APNU/AFC committee unless the Government quickly addresses this issue.

Regards,

Vishnu Bisram

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On branding Guyana yellow and green

Dear Editor,

There is a saying that old habits die hard and this latest situation with the colour scheme of the APNU/AFC proves that saying true.

Last week I was out of the country on assignment when a post surfaced in my Facebook account about the colour remarks made by parliamentarian Priya Manickchand. At the time I did not know what was said and who had said what.

What I suspected from the post, however, was that some PPP person had made reference to the yellow and green that have so hypnotically and universally become associated with the APNU/AFC coalition.

In total ignorance to the facts about anything that MP Manickchand had said, I replied to my friend’s post by asking what is so wrong with including some red in the colour scheme of the coalition, especially at the national level.

Well, the issue has now taken on a life of its own, with one of the dailies using their graphic piece to poke fun at Manickchand’s remarks.

Editor, I write this letter with a very heavy heart because even in this little dust-up, I see how very far we are from achieving any kind of protracted and meaningful social cohesion.

I have been watching the remarks and comments on Facebook and other social media forums and they tell a sad and unpatriotic story. Even Government Ministers and respectable, entrenched   backers of the coalition have jumped on the bandwagon in using this issue as a means to further divide us.

We all know Priya Manickchand’s attitude and outspokenness towards certain things.

She seems to have made a name for herself for all things “SitiraGal-ish”.

However, Manickchand and her PPP party represent about half of the voters in Guyana. And whether we believe that those voters are illiterate, racists, or archaic in their views, they are still Guyanese and their feelings matter.

What Manickchand verbalised is obviously what forms the sentiments in the minds of a significant number of her supporters. So poking fun and decrying Manickchand is in essence belittling those who also share her sentiments.

The coalition and its die-hard supporters might not like Priya, but in the interest of social cohesion, should we not look past the surface of Manickchand’s comments and read between the lines?

Could the coalition members not see that this issue – as simple as it might be – could have been used as a stepping stone towards fostering social cohesion? What could be so antithetical and obnoxious in including some red and black into the green and yellow decor? What is so unconscionable of the supporters of another colour, wanting to see more of that colour at the national level?

The PPP did a Red House in honour of their founder-leader Dr Cheddi Jagan. There is no Green House or Yellow House in honour of the PNC’s founder, Forbes Burnham. That does not mean that because the PPP might have done something biased in its interest that the APNU/AFC coalition has to now follow suit.

There was never any talk from the PPP Administration of social cohesion. It is the current Administration that has coined and is pushing for this national unity by even creating a Ministry in this regard.

It, therefore, behoves the supporters of this coalition to be more sympathetic to the feelings of the supporters of the Opposition. Maybe the PPP leadership is not interested in any kind of social cohesion; however, those who say they are interested in fostering this cohesion must never let an opportunity to build bridges slip by. It is ok to talk the talk. These occasions prove those who are prepared to walk the walk.

If this latest dust-up created by Priya Manickchand, was a test for the supporters of the coalition on fostering social cohesion, they failed miserably.

Further, if I had any influence in the planning of the upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations, I would immediately hire a designer to beautifully weave red, burgundy, scarlet and black into the tapestry of the beautiful yellow and green colour scheme. I would deliberately and profoundly include the colours of the other half of this beautiful Guyana.

I would do it because I honestly desire the benefits of a socially cohesive Guyana. I would do it because I love President Granger’s idea of social cohesion and, more so, I would do it because I love my country. But alas, I am neither a politician nor a party member.

I have not been bitten with the bug of divisive politics and systemic disdain for others.  I am independent in my thoughts and desires and maybe that is what has me where I am.

Pastor Wendell Jeffrey

Independent Candidate 

Wortmanville-Werk-en-

Rust Constituency 

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GPOC responds to Baliram Persaud

Dear Editor,
The Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC) wishes to acknowledge Baliram Persaud’s letter in the February 7, 2016 edition of Guyana Times in which he alluded to the misguided delivery of his mail.
Management wishes to sincerely apologise to Mr Persaud for any inconvenience caused and the unacceptable remarks made by the officer in charge at the Suddie Post Office. An investigation has been launched into this complaint since such behaviour will not be condoned.
The Corporation remains committed to ensuring that services are delivered in an efficient manner with the least inconvenience. Customers are encouraged to report all complaints to our Customer Services Department on telephone number 226-3127 or email us at [email protected]

Yours faithfully,
Telesha Whyte
Public Relations Officer
Guyana Post Office
Corporation

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Govt should exercise caution with wind farm project

Dear Editor,
The calls for care and caution put forward by the Leader of the Opposition (LOP) as the coalition Government proceeds, as announced, with the negotiations with Guyana Wind Farm Inc (GWFI) are well-justified. There is no disputing the close relationship between the current leading shareholder of GWFI, Mr Lloyd Singh, and the AFC which was recently declared by both sides on the commissioning of the new AFC headquarters.
There is no deceit in the Opposition Leader’s statements. True, the PPP/C Administration had been working with the GWFI over more than a dozen years for the realisation of a Hope Beach Wind Farm, but whilst it could have been taken for granted that the concluding negotiations with a PPP/C Administration would have been “at arm’s length”, the concluding negotiations between the coalition Government and a major supporter of one component must expect to be tested. As it is said, “Forewarned is forearmed”. The Opposition Leader was putting out the warning early.
The Opposition Leader would have been deceitful if he had stayed quiet, aware as he was that the announcement by the Honourable Minister of Finance contained a major error. GPL’s current cost of generation is only about a third of the figure which was given as US 28 cents per kWh. Additionally, there are other worrying statements in the media and in society which could easily lead to consumers of electricity paying more than they should.
Persons familiar with our electricity utility, GPL, and with wind and other renewable energy sources would share the LOP’s causes for concern even more, on reading the article on page 10 of KN of Sunday, February 7, 2016. Two quotes from that article, separately and more so when combined, would justify the Opposition Leader’s alarm.
Mr Lloyd Singh is quoted as saying, “I want the people to understand that there are three alternative sources of energy in Guyana: hydro, solar and wind. Hydro depends on rain; solar on sun, but wind is 24hrs”.  As all of us who have attempted to fly kites, know, the wind does not blow steadily, but is constantly changing and for many long periods may be effectively zero. Arrangements to ensure that the utility’s other generators compensate quickly and adequately are a major challenge. The usual result is that a utility like GPL should only offer to pay a “discounted avoided cost” for energy it receives from others.
The Honourable Minister was dreadfully in error when he put the average current generation cost of GPL at US 28 cents per kWh. At the cost of fuel to GPL on Budget Day, January 29, 2016, generation cost would have been no more than US 9.5 cents per kWh, with a fuel component of about US 6.30 cents.
His figure of US 28 cents might have been true at the time of the highest oil prices of almost two years ago, or there might have been a mix-up with two other figures – the average cost of electricity delivered to customers and the average price as billed to customers. In negotiations for an independent supply of power (a PPA with an IPP), one must ensure that one has accurate figures for the generating cost which would be avoided, if not GPL and consumers would be paying more than they should.
Mr Lloyd Singh tells about the PPP/C Cabinet on June 9, 2014 approving (in principle) the sale of electricity to GPL at US 18 cents per kWh. At that time, the average generation cost was about US 23 cents per kWh with a fuel component of about US 20 cents.
The price of US 18 cents was less than the avoided cost and was calculated to be enough to amortize the investment (good price and concessionary financing) in not much more than five years.
It was therefore an attractive price at that time for a speeded-up BOOT arrangement in which the facility would have been quickly bought-down and ownership transferred to GPL within not much more than five years, at no further charge. Fuel prices and prospects are quite different today.
Allow me to restate here our PPP/C background position when considering offers for electricity generation. The priority project for secure, renewable energy for Guyana, as identified since the mid-1980s, was and continues to be the realisation of the Amaila Hydro, with projected costs of electricity delivered at Sophia, at about US 12 cents initially, falling to about US 7 cents after about seven years, then to about US 3 cents after about 15 years and for the rest of its life of about 50 years, giving an arithmetic average of US 5 cents over its life.
The speeded-up, shortened BOOT for the Wind Farm was to avoid or minimise a period of conflicting competing calls to accept electricity from a Wind Farm owned by a private third party, against calls from Amaila.

As I recall, subsequent to the Cabinet’s approval of June 9, 2014, there was effectively a withdrawal by the preferred Chinese manufacturer as it ended its very attractive price and financing offer. Consideration began of offers from other Chinese manufacturers including offers for financing. Costs were increasing. Whilst at the beginning of financing discussions many manufacturers and financiers seemed to be willing to proceed without a “Sovereign guarantee” of the loan/investment, invariably as discussions/negotiations proceeded, they hardened their call for a “Sovereign guarantee”.
With those subsequent developments and bearing in mind that the discussions with the GWFI went back to the early 2000s, when Mr Kolader from Curaçao came with a pure Private Sector proposal, the PPP/C Administration had begun moving towards:
* A different business model: an “open book”  “public-private-partnership” where the contributions, risks and rewards of each party would be explicitly stated and agreed to;
* Possibly restarting with an open, worldwide call for proposals, with some reasonable recognition (and reward) for the valuable work done by the GWFI over more than a dozen years, if it were not to be the successful bidder.
The Leader of the Opposition was being constructive. A few days after the reading of the Budget, he held a press conference at which he constructively critiqued the Budget, proposing reasonable changes to reduce increased costs which the Government might be unwittingly introducing on middle- and low-income earners in our country. His statements of caution and concern as the Government proceeds to conclude agreements with the GWFI are similarly constructive for the purpose of achieving better for our people and county.

Sincerely,
Samuel A A Hinds,
Former Minister for
Electricity and
Energy

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