October 1, 2014

Indian PM enthrals Indo-Guyanese New Yorkers

Dear Editor,

Dozens of Guyanese and many other Indo-Caribbeans were among the 20,000 (who came from as far away as Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Florida, Texas, UK, etc) who were present at Madison Square Garden last Sunday to welcome India’s Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi who promised a resurgent India and governance that would make them proud.

The PM enthralled his listeners. He told them: “I will never do anything that will make you feel ashamed of me,” a pot shot at his predecessors who disgraced India. He urged the diaspora to join in nation-building to make India a developed nation and to provide every Indian with a home by 2022.

Madison Square Garden is the venue for sports players, American Presidents, rock stars and occasionally Bollywood singers. Modi was the first overseas politician to address a gathering at the venue. In addition to the packed stands inside, thousands more waited outside the Garden and at Times Square some 10 blocks away to watch the PM’s speech on giant screens.

Hundreds of millions also watched around the world as the speech was carried live on TV and the Internet and also broadcast on radio for listeners. Traffic was closed off around the Garden with hundreds of Police providing security and facilitating the throngs of people.

And dozens of American Secret Service agents, aided by several Indian Secret Service officers, surrounded the PM as he made his entrance in to and exited the Garden.

Modi delivered an impressive speech laced with humour and offered several goodies for the Indian diaspora. At various times, the crowd interrupted his speech with chants of “Modi, Modi, Modi”. They chanted, clapped and cheered throughout his more-than-one-hour-long speech.

He was attired in his trademark chic kurtha outfit – cream kurta pyjamas and a bright orange jacket. He offered a traditional humble Indian “Namaste” bowing to all as he entered the Garden and closed with the same as he exited the stage.

Prior to his speech, the PM met with a host of American national, state and local politicians who came from around the nation to welcome the PM. Dozens of Senators and Congressmen came on stage to welcome Modi just before the singing of the anthems of both countries.

Many enthusiastic groups occasionally broke into chants of “Vande Mataram” and “Bharat Mata ki Jai”. Ahead of the PM’s speech, there were performances by folk dancers representing the diversity of Indian culture. Individuals from various American ethnic groups were among the performing artistes.

An Indian American rendered the US national anthem. Noted Bollywood classical singer Kavita Krishnamoorthy accompanied by world renowned musician Dr Subramaniam, rendered the Indian national anthem and sang several other songs.

Modi announced lifelong visas for Global Organisation of Persons of Indian Origin (GOPIO) cardholders that would include Indo-Guyanese and other Indians in the diaspora. He also promised to merge the GOPIO and Overseas Citizenship of India schemes with a new scheme to be announced soon. He also said very soon, American passport holders will be given visas on arrival in India.

Modi spoke in Hindi without notes, praising the diaspora for its contribution to IT. There were English subtitles on huge screens. The media had access to ear plugs with English translations.

Modi-ji noted that India was no longer considered a land of snake charmers but of software wizards who are valued for their skills around the globe. He said when he was in Japan recently, someone asked him whether Indians still charm people with snakes. Modi said he told the individual, “No, we have graduated from that. We charm people now with smaller things like the mouse.” The crowd erupted into loud laughter with a standing ovation and wild cheers.

Referring to the elections that swept him to power in May, Modi thanked the diaspora for their support leading to loud cheers. “For the first time, a party got a majority in 30 years thanks to your help,” he said.

But he said, “Winning elections is not for sitting on a seat, it is a responsibility. And I have not taken even a 15-minute vacation since becoming PM.” The PM is known to sleep less than four hours a night and is up at 04:00h.

He told the crowd his Government would not leave any stone unturned to fulfil the expectations of people. He said, “India was at an opportune cusp of circumstances, blessed with a vibrant democracy, with 65 per cent of its people under the age of 35, and a market of 1.25 billion people. These three things are present in one country; this is not there anywhere else in the world. And on the basis of this India will cross new heights – it is my belief.”

He said on investing in India: he is removing red tape and rolling out the red carpet. He said there will be minimum Government and maximum governance. He made reference to e-governance – effective Government and processing documents through emails and the web to speed the process. He said he plans to remove obsolete laws that serve as an impediment to progress and development.

Modi also referred to the “Make in India” campaign, “Clean India” mission, and a campaign to clean the Ganges River. He made reference to India’s Mars mission that was successful at its first try unlike other countries, noting that it is cheaper per kilometre to travel to Mars (seven rupees) than within India (10 rupees). India’s Mars mission is about one 10th the cost of those of other countries.

The Indo-Caribbeans I met said they were most impressed with his speech. They noted that the speech did not have a dull moment. They compared his oratorical and communication skills with those of the late Presidents Reagan and Kennedy.

The PM’s address to the diaspora came a day after he enthralled a 65,000-strong youthful crowd at Central Park, unveiling to them his vision of a clean India with toilets for all, and ending with the words, “May the force be with you”, from the “Star Wars” movies.

Modi was hosted at a state banquet at the White House on Monday evening. He met President Barack Obama again on Tuesday after a breakfast meet with Vice President Joe Biden. He was scheduled to meet several Members of Congress as well.

Submitted by,

Vishnu Bisram

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Confidentiality of communication

Dear Editor,

GT&T wishes to take this opportunity to clear the air on any perception that this company may somehow be involved in the unlawful disclosure of the content of customers’ voice conversations, short messages (SMS) and/or electronic mails to law enforcement authorities or other third parties.

We can say without fear of contradiction that any such perception would have no basis in fact. Our customers can rest assured that their personally identifiable information and the contents of their communications are treated as strictly confidential, as is required under sections 35 and 53 of the Telecommunications Act, the Interception of Communications Act of 2008, section 5.11 of the ATN/GOG Purchase Agreement and sections 40 and 41 of the GT&T Licence.

The public is also invited to read GT&T’s Privacy Statement which appears on our website.

Having said this, in the interest of full disclosure, it must also be said that while the law prohibits the interception of communications in the course of transmission and its disclosure, like any other public telecommunications provider, GT&T has an obligation to assist law enforcement.

However, the law provides adequate checks and balances to guard against abuse. Such lawful interception can only be authorised (under section 4 of the Interception of Communications Act) by a judge who is satisfied that such action is necessary in the interest of national security or for the prevention or detection of certain categories of offences.

An interception warrant must, among other things, specify the persons whose communications is to be intercepted, the identity of the agency authorised to intercept the communications, the persons to whom the intercepted communications may be disclosed, and the arrangements to be made to ensure the confidentiality of the intercepted communications.

This is all public information and the public is encouraged to read the Interception of Communications Act of 2008. Although the Act was assented to, to date, GT&T has not been asked to acquire equipment which facilitates the interception of IP traffic, including electronic mail. For the avoidance of doubt, we say here for the record that GT&T does not have the capability to intercept electronic mail.

GT&T takes very seriously its obligation to treat its customers’ personal identifiable information and the content of their communications as confidential. However, our customers too must share responsibility for the security of their information.

GT&T provides Internet access but individual network owners are responsible for their own security.

Organisations such as Governmental agencies and private businesses especially need to recognise that most breaches in the security of their private networks originate from within, eg employee misuse of access privileges, and general lax IT security policies.

Readers with an interest in network security and those keen to understand how easy it can be for their information to become accessible by unauthorised individuals may wish to follow the two links: www.kaseya.com/resources/white-papers/the-top-seven-causes-of-major-security-breaches; and www.net-security.org/article.php?id=959).

Allison Parker,

GT&T Public Relations Officer

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Where is Glenn Lall’s accountability?

Dear Editor,

I view with great consternation the current escapades that are taking place within the media between Publisher of Kaieteur News, Mr Glenn Lall and Head of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Mr Khursid Sattaur.

It would seem to me that Mr Lall who was caught with his pants down when the remigrant duty-free concession scam was exposed, now wants in an attempt to save face and throw a smokescreen around the culpability of the actions he committed – blame Mr Sattaur and make it look like he is on a “witchhunt” to take down Kaieteur News.

Mr Lall’s proof which he claims, to show that the GRA Head is after him, is a purported email exchange which he apparently solicited and fabricated for publication in his paper between Mr Sattaur and the Former President Bharrat Jagdeo. It was also copied to the Attorney General Mr Anil Nandlall.

The email, I understand, makes no reference to Kaieteur News whatsoever, yet Mr Lall deduced that because it dealt with information of other media houses to which he is not affiliated, it was a direct indication and evidence that somehow Mr Sattaur was after him.

Lall then had the audacity to say that he will be sending the purported emails to the diplomatic community, such as the United States Embassy.

I recall that the Attorney General has since said in the media that he welcomes such a move, his justification for it was that the US would be the right persons, since they take matters of the invasion of privacy, fabrication and interference with emails very seriously. The AG then made reference to the WikiLeaks scandal and the seriousness which the United States placed on such matters which are illegal in their jurisdiction.

Mr Lall should know that the actions that he committed with the email exchanges are a gross violation of one’s privacy. His actions are more disreputable because of the calibre of persons whose emails he purportedly intercepted and fabricated.

Just yesterday, Opposition Members of Parliament from both the Alliance For Change (AFC) and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), along with the Private Sector, spoke out in the Chronicle News against this dastardly act committed by Kaieteur News, stating that the privacy of communication must be protected, while calling for the requisite legislation to be put in place so that those acts become illegal as is the case in other countries.

The Kaieteur News Publisher is misusing the instrument of Freedom of Expression to try and extricate himself from the criminality for which he was exposed not once, not twice but three times on record.

He doesn’t want the readers out there to know that he is the total opposite of what he professes himself to be, the champion of accountability and corruption.

I think Mr Sattaur should continue with his work unabated and not be deterred by the attempts of a publisher who is misusing the fourth estate to justify his illegal actions. I support the GRA in implementing a full audit of Kaieteur News.

The questions that readers out there should have in the back of their minds, is why is it the Kaieteur News Publisher who preaches every day about accountability and corruption is unwilling to facilitate such an investigation by the GRA? Why is he making all kinds of preemptive excuses to make sure it doesn’t happen?

How does the adage go again? “Do as I say and not as I do?” What are you trying to avoid, Mr Lall?

Yours truly,

Balram Singh

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Allegation of sexual abuse should not be occasions for injunction

Dear Editor,

The struggle for women’s and children’s rights began in the late 1940s in the then British Guiana. First amongst these rights was the right to have a voice, to be able to participate equally in the right to vote, regardless of gender and whether one owned property or not. This was achieved in 1952.

It was not until the late 1980s after years of calling for the end to sexual and domestic violence that several women’s organizations – the Women’s Progressive Organization, the Guyana Women’s Lawyers Association and the Red Thread came together calling for the revisions of the antiquated sexual offences statutes and the introduction of statutes criminalizing domestic violence.

The legacy of the 9th Parliament, particularly 2009-2011, is the enactment of a compendium of 5 progressive laws to protect and promote children’s rights and protect victims of sexual violence in the new Sexual Offences Act. The latter statute was gender neutral thereby giving for the first time protection to males in general, and, male children in particular, in cases of sexual offences.

These statutes came to fruition after long and consistent consultations stretching over years, involvement of grass roots organizations and communities, inputs from non–governmental organizations, and several parliamentary special select committees which received submissions and revised the original bills to incorporate expert advice and further strengthened the objective of protecting victims of sexual violence and protecting children, in particular.

The overriding understanding by all, was and still is, that children are powerless as victims of child abuse and sexual violence, and therefore the responsibility of all citizens and the executive, legislature and judiciary must be the “best interests of the child” in accordance with the constitution.

After these long and hard fought for gains, it is therefore with utter disbelief and alarm that l read that an injunction has been issued against a young man who alleges that when he was a child, he was sexually abused by an attorney-at –law who is also the Speaker of the National Assembly and a known politician in Guyana.

I also note with even more alarm that the rights groups, or those who have held themselves out to be rights groups, have been deafeningly silent on of the issuance of the injunction.

The injunction

No allegation of sexual abuse whether made by a male or female, and whether current or going back to their childhood, should be muzzled. One expects that the accusation will be subjected to the scrutiny of the justice system where the accuser and accused will be heard and a judgment made by a jury.

A young man has made an allegation of sexual abuse claiming that this was done when he was a child. His complaint should always be taken seriously and be heard and our facilities, institutions, services and environment must always be ones that promote and facilitate such a complaint being made.

This should never be an occasion or an opportunity to gag the accuser.

From reading the injunction it seems as though it was granted because there was a claim that the complainant was depressed and suffering from other mental health problems and because the accused, the politician, claims that the accusation was politically motivated. The accused claimed that it was causing him to lose his reputation and be embarrassed.

A complaint of sexual abuse by a child or an adult against another will always cause that other to lose his/her reputation, assuming there was one to lose. It will always be something embarrassing.

It will always be harmful to the accused. It is after all a criminal offence to rape or sexually assault someone. In no other accusation of a criminal offense is the issue of the reputation of the accused put under the microscope.

Additionally, according to worldwide research, almost every person who is raped or abused will suffer some form of depression and other mental health issues.

The claim by the accused that it is a political set up is easily something that can be determined by the police and/or a jury. It would be a matter of fact that should not according to our laws be determined by a judge alone.

This injunction sets such a dangerous precedent. It opens a door where any and every person who is accused of rape can go to the court, claim that his/her reputation is being damaged, that the person making the allegations is sick, and that it was a plot or ploy by another person/persons and secure an injunction against the person who is making the claim!

Considering the abysmal state of our rate of prosecutions and convictions in sexual offences cases as exposed by the Guyana Human Rights Association and the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, we can ill afford as a country to have any more obstacles placed in the way of securing justice for our victims of rape and sex assault, where the victims are predominantly women and children.

A court ought to be aware of these dimensions of rape and sexual assault and the research on these issues should be what informs the court’s decision. Anything less would be to shortchange the people of Guyana.

In a long and country wide campaign to “stamp out sexual violence” in 2007- 2008 (prior to the enactment of the new Sexual Offences Act ), the people of Guyana spoke on the issues that were affecting them relating to the reporting, investigation and prosecution of sexual offences.

They detailed how they thought men with power and or money got away with rape and other sex crimes, they complained against the sloth of the system, they expressed frustration at the then laws being impractical in securing a conviction, particularly where children were the complainants.

The lawmakers listened, heard and drafted laws that saw Guyana passing revolutionary and new legislation to cater for those weaknesses in our system including making provisions modern and real, such as removing the need for corroboration of a complainant’s account, allowing for special measures that remove the aura of heavy formality in the court room, allowing a witness to be shielded from an accused, etc.,.

This injunction now negates the work of the women’s rights movement over the last thirty years and the work of the 9th Parliament which drafted the laws and more importantly the thousands of Guyanese who contributed to that process.

All the work that has been expended to foster an environment to encourage victims of sexual violence to trust the system (police, social workers, prosecutors, and judges) and report these cases has been severely eroded.

This injunction sends a dangerous but clear message that accused persons can use their money and might to go to court and secure an injunction against a complainant from talking about or “publishing” the ordeal that the victim suffered.

It places more burdens on an already traumatised and very confused, depressed etc person whose very dignity and sense of safety was snatched from them by the very person being protected by the court.

A victim could now legitimately form the impression that a politician can rape and get away with it and that it makes little sense complaining as that person will use his/her power and money to get an injunction.

A victim can now easily decide not to complain against a lawyer for rape because the accused will go to the court where they will reign amongst their friends and make the victim into the bad person and use the heavy hand of justice to gag them.

Regrettably, the injunction validates once again public opinion of the judicial system.

And can one blame people for that viewpoint ??

After all the case against CN Sharma, another politician, on charges of pedophilia is still not concluded after 5 years, and, now the accusation against another politician, the Speaker of the National Assembly.

Can one blame onlookers coming to the conclusion that wealthier persons are more likely to have easier access to the court?

The injunction reverses the even handed role and function of the court where victims expect to be protected and expect to get justice to one of facilitating the accused.

Justice no longer appears to be blind and even handed.

This is why this injunction is so terribly dangerous; it has undermined the entire tenets of justice for victims of sexual violence. This terrible precedent victimises the accuser all over again. In my opinion, this injunction should never have been granted.

I am not judging whether the accused Trotman is guilty or not, that l believe is for the court and a jury, if it ever reaches there.

The point is that an injunction can now be issued against every single complainant from making or “publishing” such complaints to the police, a social worker, a family member, the church, etc.,. Surely this must cause profound concern for human rights and democracy in our nation.

Rights groups

This is why the deafening silence in response to this unprecedented injunction of the rights groups who have been known to comment and champion the cause of victims and children of rape and sexual assault deeply worries me. That, if nothing else, should have been noisily protested against. Nobody is asking rights groups at this point to determine the vexed issues as to whether the accused is innocent or guilty. That is not the point.

In the same way that these groups were justifiably adamant that the order should not have been made by the High Court in the Commissioner of Police Henry Greene matter (he too was innocent until proven guilty ), so too, one would expect that they would now be out in full force condemning the grant of this injunction.

Recall Henry Greene had gone to the court to secure an order stopping the Director of Public Prosecutions from charging him because he said the evidence was weak.

The complaint at the time by many, including a Minister of the Cabinet, was that the order was setting a terrible precedent in that every person could so claim and a judge (without a jury) could decide on facts … which is usually supposed to be done by a jury…and that a judge could determine the matter.

The same applies here. Every person accused of rape/sexual assault can now go to a court and claim that their reputation is being damaged or that they are being set up (which incidentally is an overwhelming claim by accused persons) or that the complainant is sick (which incidentally, the complainant is likely to be if the complainant was forced to suffer the indignity and crime of being abused sexually) and on those grounds, the accused could now obtain an injunction preventing the victim from speaking out.

That the rights groups are silent in the face of this horrific development is very, very sad and worrying.

Surely their silence on this matter – unlike others – cannot be based on who the accused is??!! If that is so, then this is a terrible indictment of our times.

In retrospect, l cannot remember any call for CN Sharma to submit to justice from some of these same groups when he was charged with rape of a little girl, and would feign illness and check himself into hospital etc, causing then and even now untold delays in the hearing of the case.

So maybe the rights groups have their little affinities too? One has to wonder if they would have been so silent if it was a government or a “PPP affiliated” person being accused or charged with rape and sexual assault?

It cannot go without notice that Nigel Hughes, leader of the AFC and recently proposed prime ministerial candidate, is the lawyer for the accused.

Plots and constitutional crisis

Expectedly the AFC has jumped to defend its founding leader, however, their defense appears to be one of “smoke and mirrors”.

The first thing they did was to counter the accusation of the young man by saying that it is politically motivated! Nothing substantial but unmistakably a diversionary tactic! And to keep the illusion going they have tossed several PPP/C names into the fray from the Attorney General and mine to a young female lawyer.

More recent is the AFC’s announcement that this is all part of a plot to make the Speaker resign and create a constitutional crisis. This is utter poppycock!

Their objective is to create fear and confusion and intimidate the general population, especially investors and the business community…again another diversion!

To set the record straight, were a Speaker of the National Assembly to resign for whatever reasons, there is a Deputy Speaker who can act as Speaker until the Assembly votes for a new Speaker.

The new Speaker can be nominated and elected from among the sitting Members of Parliament or from someone who would have been eligible to be a Member of Parliament as provided for in the Constitution as was the case with former Speakers Derek Jagan and Ralph Ramkarran, and, present Speaker Raphael Trotman !!! When Speaker Derek Jagan died the Deputy Speaker Mr. Martin Zephyr became the Speaker by election and a new Deputy speaker from the PNC was also elected.

Has the AFC forgotten that APNU MP Basil Williams holds the Deputy Speaker? There is no constitutional crisis in the making ! Rather it appears that the AFC is afraid that were Trotman to resign —-as he has publicly said recently that he would if charged — then the AFC would lose control of the Speakership of the National Assembly.

All MPs know that many APNU MPs have been unhappy with giving this critical position to the smallest party in the National Assembly.

The crisis would not be constitutional rather it would be one of a power struggle within the opposition forces for the speakership. A struggle the AFC would most likely lose.

The crux of this matter is that a very serious accusation of a sexual offence of a minor has been made against the fourth highest ranking person in the hierarchy of Guyana.

The AFC cannot wish this away and miniaturize the accusation by deflection and illusions of smoke and mirrors!

How Guyanese society treats with this issue will depend on how fair and even handed the scale of justice is for the accuser and the accused. At this stage, the scale seems tilted in favour of the accused!

Sincerely yours,

Gail Teixeira, MP

Chief Whip

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Are these mothers victims?

Dear Editor,

Recently, local news media carried the sad story of a Guyanese family living in Trinidad under deplorable conditions. Their plight became public after a miraculous rescue of the thtree year old toddler Jordan Campbell.

As the story goes little Jordan wandered on to the busy Southern Main Road where he would have met an almost certain death from one of the fast moving vehicles. However, he was saved by an alert passerby who saw the little boy and rushed to his aid. He was handed over to the police who after several enquiries was able to locate his mother.

Julia Campbell lives with her five children in a squatting area in South Trinidad under very impoverished conditions. The wooden shack they lived in leaned so badly that the least wind or earth tremor would see the entire structure falling apart.

Added to that is the fact that the family had nothing to eat which caused the investigating Policeman to change his role of interrogating officer to humanitarian worker. He immediately turned his attention to the raising of funds and the acquisition of much needed supplies for the family.

I would pause here to go to another story, to relate the plight of a young Guyanese mother living right here in Georgetown. Standing at the corner of Robb and Camp Streets I overheard a conversation between two ladies.

The younger of the two ladies said to the other, “Ramotar seh he givin $10,000 to dem muddahs fo buy school clothes fo the new school term … a glad for the money fo dem five children a got.”

The other lady responded “Ramotar ain’t givin you de money. He givin a voucher to get school clothes fo de children.” To which she replied but “dat money ain’t do fo me five children, Ramotar must know that I ain’t gat a man to tek care a dem.”

The other lady then responded to her in language I cannot here repeat which caused the mother of five to walk away quickly. After she left the vendor said to me that the lady in question has five children with no permanent spouse to take care of them. She too lives in a squatting area, Sophia.

But the distressing part of her story is this, the vendor revealed that this mother is irresponsible; does not send the children to school, and one who can be seen frequenting night clubs.

What she think is it at all, is the government to mine she children? Well, that sums it up I need not say more.The point is crystal clear, two ladies both having the mistaken belief that it is their God given right to have children but it is the government’s responsibility to take care of them.

Not forgetting the fact that these children have fathers. Where are the fathers? The last time I did a study of procreation I came up with the shocking reality that it takes a man and a woman to have children and it is their sacred responsibility (man and woman) to nurture them.

Strangely enough the two ladies in our discussion are of a differing view, they give the impression that the man should be let off the responsibility part of the process so the government should fill in. Outrageous! Why do these women let the fathers of their children get off so lightly?

Men ought to take up the mantle and take care of their offspring. Why must the children of irresponsible men be the responsibility of the state?

The Guyana Government has been a caring administration in coming to the aid of mothers who are caught up in this vicious cycle of poverty but this means of support should not be exploited.

Rather than chide the Government for not doing enough these mothers should be grateful as well as be encouraged to go after the deadbeat fathers of their children. My point is this, as pathetic as these cases may seem, the mothers can do more to lift themselves out of poverty. These women are not victims.


Neil Adams

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Navratri’s significance

Dear Editor,

How can we as Hindus benefit from this period of Nava-ratri. It is a period for worship to Bhagwan in the form of the divine Shakti (ma). Let us for a brief moment forget about the divine mother Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati and focus on our earthly mother.

What is it that our earthly mother can do for us? Our earthly mother will practically do anything humanly possible to ensure that we are taken care of. For example go back to your childhood days the moment you open your mouth and say mommy I want the latest school bag or footwear if it means literally hiding the money from the husband she will do just to ensure that her child is happy.

Even if an individual is public enemy number 1 for mother that individual is a gem. Our earthly mother will fight for us, scold us etc. all because of her love.

If our earthly mother can do so much for us, think now how much the divine mother will do because we are all children in the eyes of Ma Durga.

As Hindus we are fortunate that our Hindu calendar is structure in such a way so as to remind us of these events and it also shows how vast Hinduism is. We have periods that are set on our calendar to worship GOD in the form of mother.

Bhagvad Gita chapter 9 verse 17 – Pitāham asya jagato mātā dhātā pitāmahaḥ Vedyaḿ pavitram oḿkāra ṛk sāma yajur eva ca.

I am the father of this universe, the mother, the support and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier and the syllable oḿ. I am also the Ṛg, the Sāma and the Yajur Vedas.

Ma Durga doing battle with the demon raktabeej represents unwanted desires, every time we conquer one desire in life another pops up. As devotees of Ma Durga use this opportunity of Nava-ratri to do a self analysis of your life plunging head on in this spiritual bath to get rid of all the dirt from us namely ignorance, ego, unwanted desire, hatred, lust, anger, etc.

Note if we are going to take a bath definitely we will need soap or shampoo in the spiritual bath that we are taking during this period soap and shampoo will be the fasting, bhajans, havans, pujas, etc.

At the end of this Navratri we are going to celebrate victory , what victory are we going to celebrate that the very existence of life in itself is a blessing to be a human as human treat your fellow humans with love , respect etc, renewing your love, faith and devotion to your Bhagwan.

Yours faithfully,

Vinodha Narine    

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Dem Guyanese passengers


“Is every airport we go, we does have to be abused so!” the in-transit passenger complained aloud. He was not referring specifically to himself or to his travel companions, but generally to his Guyanese countrymen whom he felt are targeted by immigration, customs and security officers alike, for undue attention and scrutiny.

Ninety minutes after he cleared the security check point at the departure lounge of Piarco International Airport last Tuesday night, he continued his argument for the benefit of all those Guyanese passengers who arrived with him from New York and were awaiting their connecting flight to Georgetown.

His peeve was the insistence of the female security officer on duty that no one could enter the departure lounge with any kind of “prohibited” substance.

By prohibited she meant the small bottles of expensive perfume which she took from one passenger; the several bottles of body lotion which she confiscated from others; the three sealed bottles of water which an elderly man had to surrender; the bowl of frozen cooked food which a lady carried in her hand-luggage; and the myriad other items which hapless passengers had to hand over if they hoped to get home.

One-by-one they watched, some in horror and on the brink of tears, as their treasured items crashed into the bottom of a large bin.

“How it is we get to board with these items in the US which has the best airport security in the world,” he wondered aloud, “but come here for she to throw way all ah we tings?”

“That is international law,” the officer tried to reason. “I just doing my job”! It didn’t matter that she might have been right; her dismissive and condescending tone would have angered even someone with the patience of Ghandi. “This is not the US. This is Trinidad,” she continued unapologetically.

“Obviously!” another Guyanese passenger chimed in. “In the US dey show some understanding and let the old man keep his water and de other fella keep he perfume. Is no wonder we in de Caribbean so backwards. Everybody with a little power want to show it off,” he quipped to the approval of all except the security officials.

It was not until several minutes of “bad-john” talk passed between them, with neither side speaking directly to the other but loud enough so the other side could know, that someone finally raised a point worth thinking about.

“I didn’t want to come to Trinidad. I buy a ticket to go to Guyana. Caribbean Airlines take my money and drop me off here and now they digging up in my bags and dumping everything. Once I get cleared in the US to go to Guyana they shouldn’t be checking me here. I didn’t want to come here,” the first Guyanese objector pointed out.

“So why he didn’t take a Guyana Airways flight…,” a Trini passenger whispered under his breath – clearly unhappy that his country’s airport security was being verbally abused but not wanting to incur a tongue-lashing of his own. “…cus dey airline buss and dey have to use we own”, he added.

It was one of those comments which adequately sum up why Caribbean integration has failed so miserably. It focused on the fact that ‘dem is Guyanese and we is Trini’ but ignored the very valid issue raised by the passenger.

Why did an in-transit passenger who boarded in New York and was taken directly to the airport’s departure lounge at Piarco – never having passed through immigration and customs and who therefore never technically entered TT – have to go through TT’s airport security.

Having been in-transit at several major airports, I cannot recall a single instance in which I had to go through security between getting off the first plane and boarding the other. Not even in Paris (during the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001) where one sometimes needs to take a bus operating terminal-to-terminal within the airport, was there need to go through security at Charles de Gaulle. At Heathrow in London in-transit passengers who do not need to change airlines are taken into a comfortable lounge and then escorted to their next flight – not having to be re-checked by security.

The situation at Piarco last Tuesday was the same. The Guyanese passengers boarded a CAL flight at JFK en route to Georgetown via Trinidad.

It was the same CAL that was transporting them from Trinidad to Guyana with a mere two-hour interval between flights.

It cannot be unreasonable to expect CAL would make some sort of arrangement with the airport’s authority whereby its in-transit passengers who do not technically enter Trinidad, could simply go from plane to plane without the hassle of unnecessary security checks.

Alternatively, the airport’s authority, on its own, should try to keep pace with the rest of the world and ensure that in-transit passengers are adequately catered for.

That is has not already done so is an embarrassment to itself and to the country. (Trinidad and Tobago Newsday)


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Trotman should do the right thing and resign

Dear Editor,

The ethical thing, for the speaker of the house to do, is to resign until the police investigation of the accuser’s complaints is completed. Let the beacon of the truth take its course.

If Mr Raphael Trotman did indeed write a letter of recommendation for the accuser to get a job as a supervisor at the Pegasus Hotel, then it would be difficult to conclude that this 22 year old accuser is mentally challenged, as Mr Trotman wants us to believe.

Mr Trotman has been a master of manipulation from the PNC/AFC. He used his position in those parties to penetrate himself into parliament as Speaker of the House. Mr Trotman should do right and honourable thing, and step down to allow justice to be served.

I am sure if a Member of Parliament was holding a high position in the Government, and was accused of rape from the time the victim was 12 years old, the Opposition and you, Mr Speaker, would have called for that person, even if he were a Minister, to resign or step down and allow the law to take its course.

We must recall how the opposition and the Lindeners had called for Minister Rohee to resign over the shooting incident in Linden – an incident Mr Rohee had nothing to with.

The excuse that because there is a pending No Confidence Vote, Mr Trotman should remain Speaker of the House is absurd, shameful and despicable.

In any job or sensitive positions in Government service such as in those held by doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc, when an accusation is made against those individuals, an immediate removal from the job follows. The accused is suspended, with or without pay pending the completion of the investigation.

Mr Speaker, resign now or step down and let the due process take its course which will vindicate either the victim (plaintiff) or defendant (Mr Trotman).


Vassan Ramracha

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Who is the bully and who is the victim?

Dear Editor,

I read the Kaieteur News front page comment dated September 29, headlined, “Plot to muzzle Kaieteur news”, and I am thinking why is it Kaieteur News is always involved in some controversy?

Why is it that from the four established daily papers, Kaieteur News is the only one that complains about attempts to either silence or shut them down? Why is it that they paint themselves as victims?

Victims don’t use their freedom to malign the character of persons in power (state and private) who don’t share there tunnel vision perspective. Victims don’t spew derogatory remarks at persons aimed at embarrassing them because they don’t subscribe to the opinions of the publisher of Kaieteur News. Intrinsically those are traits of a bully.

It’s rather perplexing how oblivious Kaieteur News is, as it pertains to their transgressions, but totally aware when they are ready to play the victim role and are confronted with what I must say is very smartly, the same tactics that they use.

And this is clearly seen in their front page comment when Kaieteur News pronounced that the information pertaining to its publisher Glenn Lall’s duty free concession scam was released by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and that the information is confidential.

In fact Kaieteur news said, “Who is vindictive when information that should be held in confidence by GRA is leaked to newspapers? This has implications and raises serious questions about what else has been conveniently and maliciously leaked.”

Now Kaieteur News is ready to play the victim here again, but didn’t Kaieteur News leak confidential information, concerning the email exchanges between the head of GRA Khurshid Sattaur, former President Bharrat Jadgeo and Attorney General Anil Nandlall. Was that information not private and confidential?

Kaieteur News should explain to the public how is it that they were able to get such confidential information? The only way that could’ve been done is if the accounts of the persons were hacked by Kaieteur News, Kaieteur News bribed someone who has access to get it, or it was released by the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T).

I doubt it would be the last one since GT&T I presume is a professional company and would not divulge confidential information.

So that leaves either hacking or bribing, now these two things are illegal in advanced countries and are most times used by terrorist organizations, yet here we have the Kaieteur News utilizing similar tactics, but is oblivious that what it is doing is reprehensible, all the while playing a victim role.

Kaieteur News should also know that what they have done “has implications and raises serious questions about what else has been conveniently and maliciously leaked”.

It’s only tragic that an overwhelming number of persons read the Kaieteur News on a daily basis and use that medium to be informed, sooner or later though the discerning populous will see that the paper which is playing the victim, is really the paper that is the bully.

Yours sincerely,

Faruk Mohamed

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The US Diversity Visa Lottery programme

Dear Editor,

Guyanese and citizens of other countries can begin submitting an application for the 2016 US Diversity Visa Lottery programme.

The Diversity Visa Programme, often called the “green-card lottery”, is an annual diversity immigration programme that makes available by random selection upwards of 50,000 immigrant visas to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Currently, Guyana and the rest of the Caribbean region are among qualified countries.

The programme gives applicants an opportunity to get a green card visa without going through the normal family or business or professional sponsorships. There are limits of visas for certain areas and countries. Winners are chosen by random by a computerized process. Everyone has an equal chance of winning.

Application will be accepted from noon October 1, 2014 through noon November 3, 2014. For details on eligibility and how to officially enter the DVL, visit www.dvlottery.state.gov.

There is no fee to enter the Diversity Visa Lottery. Lottery winners will only pay fees at the US Embassy at the time of their interviews if they win a visa. One does not need a lawyer or a specialist to apply for the raffle. It can be done by yourself or someone with basic competence in using a computer.

Do not let anyone fleece you as has happened to so many in the US. Illegals in the US may also apply; however, they face issues to actually get a green card if they overstayed their visas in America.

After an application is submitted, one gets a confirmation number that must be saved. It will not be possible to get that number again; if you lose it, there is no way you will know if you have won a raffled visa. Only through this number can one determine if you have won a visa by entering it into an Entrant Status Check.

This can be done from May 5, 2015, to June 30, 2016.

Please remember that only one entry per person is allowed. Multiple applications under the same identity disqualify the person from being entered into the raffle.

Submitted by,

Vishnu Bisram

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