September 30, 2014

Govt, tour operators discuss incentive regime

Acting Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali and other officials at the 2015 tourism budget discussions

Acting Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali and other officials at the 2015 tourism budget discussions

When the Tourism Ministry sat down with the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) on Monday to discuss the 2015 tourism budget, high on the agenda was the introduction of an incentive regime for tourist operators.

According to acting Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali, the Ministry has recognised that with the type of tourism product Guyana has to offer, there is a high cost to access them.

“Tourism for us is a very expensive endeavour in relation to the type of tourism we offer and the placement of the tourism: river, savannah, interior locations…the sector has raised their concerns in relations to incentives to promote easier mode of travel and in acquisition of assets to benefit the sector and how we will link that to growth and development and taxation,” the Minister explained.

Ali said that the Ministry will be focusing on a joint collaboration and expansion regarding its marketing approach of the sector as he dubbed 2015 the year of marketing.

“Marketing, as we know, is a responsibility in this entire sector and the Government also has a major stake. We would like to see 2015 being the year of marketing and compliance,” he said.

On this note, the Minister said the intention of his Ministry will be to focus heavily on compliance and adherence to regulations within the tourism sector.

The Minister foresees 2015 being the year of tourism and hopes that all of Guyana adopts this concept as they market Guyana internationally and actively pursue targeted markets so that Guyana’s tourism product can achieve its full potential.

International level

Meanwhile, THAG President Shaun Mc Grath emphasised the need to develop the tourism product to international market level, which requires an incentive regime at the national level that is suitable to the industry.

“We do a lot of stuff in the interior, a lot of transportation and it makes our product very expensive and in general you will find people who come down and use Guyana currently, one of their biggest concerns is transportation within the interior in terms of the condition of the road, the type of vehicles that are used and they all make Guyana’s tourism product very expensive,” the THAG President pointed out.

Additionally, Mc Grath called on Government to give due recognition to the tourism industry, stating that the sector has continuously brought in decent income.

“We are an export industry and just because nothing leaves the country don’t mean we are not an export industry, we export our product but our product doesn’t leave the country, which is very unique. We earn higher currency and anywhere in the world would classify as being an export industry. Even in Guyana, there are incentives in place for export industries and we would like to see that applied to us as well,” he urged.

On the other hand, former THAG President Kit Nascimento pointed out that for Guyana to compete with other tourism destinations in the Caribbean and Central America, its domestic product needs to be competitively priced.

“It is expensive to get to our product once you land in Guyana because our product is fundamentally nature tourism and it’s in our hinterland… are we therefore competitive? We are not at this point, but we can be if the Government takes into account the need for incentives and they are applied to make us competitive for the Caribbean and Central America,” he stated.

Minister Ali is hoping to wrap up discussions soon and present the Ministry’s tourism budget to the Finance Ministry by the end of the week.

Share Button

National Museum modernised to meet demands of electronic era

Culture, Youth and Sport Minister, Dr Frank Anthony; Rojeria McWatt, Bishop’s High School student; and Nadia Madho, Administrator at the National Museum unveiling the Digitisation Project

Culture, Youth and Sport Minister, Dr Frank Anthony; Rojeria McWatt, Bishop’s High School student; and Nadia Madho, Administrator at the National Museum unveiling the Digitisation Project

The Guyana National Museum is now modernised to meet the demands of a 21st Century society as the Government continues investing in keeping with the thrust to transform and update.

Culture, Youth and Sport Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, said that the museum recognised the need to improve itself in light of the current era of computers and digital technology; hence, the decision was taken to bring it into the 21st century.

“We started to talk about it; instead of perhaps trying to read the sign, they can have a headphone and listen to the narration of what they are seeing. Or maybe if you want more in-depth information, you will be able to access that,” Minister Anthony said, according to the Government Information Agency (GINA). “We want to make the exhibits more interactive,” the Minister added.

Nadia Madho, the Museum’s Administrator, explained that the “Modernisation and Digitisation Project” was awarded to a contractor, Digital Technology, and work commenced late November 2013 and was completed on August 5, 2014.

She said the project is the database of the National Museum’s collection of artefacts and displays with a website format, and provides expanded history on artefacts. Madho added that the project is expected to continue to provide learning experiences for everyone who visits the museum using modern technology.

The project includes three 21-inch interactive touchscreens and one 84-inch customised interactive touchscreen with necessary individual wiring, server and attachments. Two screens are on the upper floor of the museum and the other on the lower floor.

The National Museum’s Library is currently being rehabilitated and soon all collections will be accessible to the public.

Further, museum staff members are being trained in digital technology to be able to properly carry out their duties. At present, a small amount of data from the National Museum can be accessed online via the Culture, Youth and Sport Ministry’s website.

Minister Anthony said a process has been started to digitise holdings at the museum, and “that’s where we want to go and today we are taking a step in that direction. It will be much more appealing to the young people to be able to interact with on-screen displays. It is a first step on the long road of making the museum a 21st Century museum and eventually we hope that a lot of our holdings can be accessed online.”

A few galleries have been added to the museum over the past few years, in its thrust to make the museum an educational place where people can learn about their country.

The museum also provides a bus that will enable movement of exhibits to assist in the learning progress of schoolchildren. Schools are encouraged to become a part of the museum’s loan programme.

Minister Anthony said workshops and camps for young people, especially during the summer holidays are also held at the museum. Persons are also urged to explore other museums across Guyana to continue to learn about Guyana’s rich heritage among others.

The museum will also work with teachers to facilitate the schools’ curriculum and provided relevant exhibits. “We want to be a partner to our learning institutions and schools,” Minister Anthony said.

Share Button

Mining info toolkit to be re-launched soon

Canadian High Commissioner Dr Nicole Giles

Canadian High Commissioner Dr Nicole Giles

Canadian High Commissioner Dr Nicole Giles said the Guyana Mining Information Toolkit will be relaunched within weeks.

According to Dr Giles, the toolkit which was launched back in 2012 is being upgraded based on legislative changes. The mining Toolkit was launched in collaboration with the Natural Resources and the Environment Ministry, the Canadian High Commission and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).

“Canada has partnered with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, Mining Communities, Canadian and Local Mining Companies, mining and mining related associations to create a mining toolkit which is a guide for Communities to aid in the understanding of the extractive sector operations.”

It included clarifications on the mining cycle which contains four critical sections; mineral exploration, mine development, mine operation and mine closure.

In addition to the Mining Toolkit, Dr Giles said Canada continues to work closely with the Natural Resources and the Environment Ministry in building capacities that are needed in education to support development in the extractive sector.

“Both the College of the North Atlantic and the Marine Institute of Newfoundland Canada have been active in the delivery of courses for the Guyana mining school,” the Commissioner disclosed.

The Mining School has been offering skills training since it were formally launched in May 2012. The school’s curriculum has been designed to foster growth within the sector. It was explained that the Guyana Government in its venture with investors in the oil and gas sector has been ensuring that a proviso of their operation is that Guyanese must be involved in these projects, hence the need to train the workforce.

In June this year, subject Minister Robert Persaud led a Guyanese delegation to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, participating in sessions which were designed to enhance Guyana’s technical capacity in the area of Natural Resources Development.

Accompanied by the Canadian High Commission, the Natural Resources and the Environment Minister spoke to issues relating to applied science and technology for partnership with the Guyana Mining School and Training Centre Inc and the University of Guyana.

Share Button

Foresight provides the long-term vision needed to create public policies

Foresight provides the long-term vision that is key to creating public policies, several speakers emphasized during the inauguration of the Seminar Latin America and the Caribbean 2030: World visions, continental views, which is being held at the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), in Santiago, Chile.

At the opening ceremony last Wednesday, ECLAC’s Deputy Executive Secretary, Antonio Prado, said that the current situation is particularly favourable for boosting the practice of foresight, given that the regional scenario for moderate growth in the medium term along with the global debate on the post-2015 agenda are forcing thinkers to explore alternatives to the development model of the last two decades.

In that debate, the United Nations organization advocates a structural change that puts equality at the center of development goals. Jorge Máttar, director of ECLAC’s Latin American and Caribbean Institute for Economic and Social Planning (ILPES), explained that this proposal requires a long-term vision.

He said that foresight allows for an analysis of the most suitable paths for these needed transformations and thereby contributes to improving the design and application of public policies.

The seminar was organised by ILPES and supported by the Korean government. The Ambassador of that country in Chile, Ji-eun Yu, recalled that since its incorporation as a member state of ECLAC in 2007, the Republic of Korea has worked together with this organisation to encourage the region’s economic and social development. He pointed to this gathering as a good example of that cooperation.

The meeting aims to consolidate a network of professionals and organizations dedicated to studying future global trends and their implications for public policy in the region. Ten experts are participating in the plenary sessions, among them William Halal, Professor Emeritus of Management, Technology and Innovation at George Washington University; Moonjung Choi, Director General of the Office of Strategic Foresight at Korea Institute of S&T Evaluation and Planning (KISTEP); Barry B. Hughes, Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver; and Catarina Tully, Director of the School for International Futures, United Kingdom.

The presentations will address issues related to climate change, sustainable cities, emerging technologies and economic cooperation with China, among others. The audience is composed of planning authorities from throughout the region, who will give their opinion on the specialists’ proposals. These officials include Gabriel Frugoni, Director of Uruguay’s Planning and Budget Office; Hugo Gómez Cabrera, Guatemala’s Deputy Secretary of Planning; and Santiago Vásquez, Ecuador’s National Deputy Secretary of Planning and Development. Moreover, the Chilean Council of Planning and Strategy was presented on Wednesday 24.

It brings together a group of politicians, academics and diplomats interested in contributing to the development of foresight in Chile. This presentation was led by Sergio Bitar, a member of the Foreign Strategy Committee at Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During the event, the II Development Planning Sessions will also be held. Around 20 papers on planning and foresight in the region are expected to be presented in parallel sessions.

Share Button

GPL promises more blackouts

Guyana Power and Light Chief Executive Officer Bharrat Dindyal

Guyana Power and Light Chief Executive Officer Bharrat Dindyal

Several areas in Georgetown, East Coast and East Bank Demerara suffered prolong power outages Monday night as the Guyana Power and Light announced a new round of blackouts.

tableIn a statement GPL said due to unforeseen circumstances, it has been forced to load shed over the next two days. According to the company completion of the major overhaul on the No. 4 Diesel Generator (DG) at the Kingston1 Plant has been delayed and the unit, which was expected to be back in service on Sunday will be in operation from 01:00h Tuesday. In addition, GPL said it is forced to replace a damaged turbo charger outlet casing on the No. 4 Wartsila DG at its Garden of Eden Plant, and repairs was not expected to be completed prior to the peak demand period Monday evening. The Skeldon facility will undergo maintenance activities today and the Nos. 1 and 2 turbines will be unavailable from 08:00h to 20:00h, severely restricting the capacity available to the grid. “It is envisioned that output will be restored to normalcy by late Tuesday night, thus alleviating the need for further load shedding. GPL apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

Share Button

NIS monthly expenditure pegged at $1B – Chairman

Chairman of the Board of the National Insurance Scheme, Dr Roger Luncheon with senior officials from the scheme and students who have been awarded bursaries

Chairman of the Board of the National Insurance Scheme, Dr Roger Luncheon with senior officials from the scheme and students who have been awarded bursaries

Chairman of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) Dr. Roger Luncheon on Monday called on workers of the scheme to recommit to providing services of an impeccable standard to the people whom they serve, and to execute their duties in such a way so as not to expose the institution to criticisms and ridicule.

He was at the time speaking in his capacity as Chairman of NIS’s Board at a ceremony in commemoration of the scheme’s 45th anniversary. Speaking of NIS’s public image, Dr. Luncheon said that the scheme like many other organisations has not escaped unscathed from the proclivity of some sections of society to tear down and ridicule.

“It is our 45th year and there is so much for us to be proud of, but at the end of the day we have to be careful to safeguarding the honour, integrity and image of this scheme and not be adopting reckless approaches that would threaten the very image that has so laboriously been established through the efforts over the decades of so many people and organisations,” Dr. Luncheon said, according to a Government Information Agency (GINA) release.

He noted that NIS must be able to clearly identify what it has accomplished over the years as well as where it has fallen short.

This he said is only on the basis of this type of individual and collective organisational self-assessment that the scheme will be able to move forward and continue to improve.

“Armed with what we have accomplished, we must have the strength of character to confront the areas of weaknesses where we have to recognised that we can and must do better …45 years of accomplishments means that we can solve with problems, but we have to identify them as such,” Dr. Luncheon said.

NIS collects over $1B per month in contributions and spends a similar amount in the payment of benefits. The Chairman noted that very few institutions in Guyana could boast of conducting financial activities of this scale. He called on management and staff to strengthen their resolve to continue to move the work of the scheme forward in the same steadfast way it has been promoted over the past years.

Over the 45 years, NIS has moved from a level of unsophistication to expanding its services and making significant strides in the process of technology application. Dr Luncheon said that going forward into the future, the focus must be on preserving the scheme and ensuring its financial viability.

“This is an eternal obligation on successive management, board and generations of Guyanese…we have to invest in the future of this nation to ensure the future of the NIS and to bring on board the income that would allow us who contribute this year to ensure that as pensioners years from now, we have something to look forward to,” the Chairman said.

Going forward too, steps will be taken to reform the legislation and statutes that govern the scheme so as to open up broader vistas that would allow for it to address the issue of workers’ social security in the most comprehensive of ways. Dr. Luncheon added that legislative interventions will ensure that the scheme remains relevant.

Meanwhile, NIS’s General Manager, Doreen Nelson said that the scheme continues to strive to meet its commitment to the workforce in accordance with its mission statement and provide the social security required at this time. Tasked with ensuring the registration of workers, the receipt of contributions and the payment of benefits, NIS has, over the past 45 years, registered over 27,700 employers, 660,000 employed persons and 29, 900 self-employed persons.

However, Nelson explained only approximately 16 percent of the employers, 18 percent employed persons and 29 percent of the people in the self-employed category are still active in 2014.

“The reduce number of active employees was influenced by the regionalising of public entities, for example public schools that were registered with the scheme individually, are now the responsibility of the regional administration which is regarded as a single employer,” the General Manager explained.

NIS has 550 permanent members of staff at the 14 offices across the country. As is customary at the anniversary celebrations, bursaries were awarded to the children of the members of staff who performed outstandingly at this year’s National Grade Six Assessment examinations.

Share Button

PPP/C favours National Democratic Model of Governance

PPP/C General Secretary Clement Rohee

PPP/C General Secretary Clement Rohee

As it moves towards the establishment of a national democracy, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) said it will be utilising the National Democratic Model of Governance.

PPP/C General Secretary Clement Rohee made this disclosure at Freedom House on Monday.

“The process of national democracy can only fulfill its full potential if all the political and social forces come to the table to determine the role in which it would wish to play in this process of national democracy,” Rohee said.

But even as the PPP/C champions the cause for shared governance in Guyana, the General Secretary made it clear that it must be built on trust. He explained that a model of national democracy cannot be built in an atmosphere that is polluted with a high degree of distrust.

He said shared governance cannot be achieved overnight, given the “charged atmosphere”, positing that the Opposition must first wipe its slate clean and indicate what model of shared governance would be placed on the table.

“As far as I am aware, I haven’t seen any model coming from the Opposition.”

He also slammed the Opposition, saying that they are now sheepishly singing from the PPP/C’s hymn book in an attempt to take credit for something they rejected from the inception.

“This posture is nothing but another ploy to distract public attention from its internal problems and media attention generated as a consequence of damning allegations made against a senior executive of that party,” Rohee said as he alluded to the Alliance For Change (AFC).

Road blocks

According to him, Guyanese ought to guard themselves against those who continue to hinder the country’s economic and social fabric by putting road blocks in the path of developmental projects. He said the obstructionists tactics employed by the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and AFC have “harmed” Guyanese, in particular the young population.

He emphasised that it was the PPP/C that first initiated the notion of “political and ideological pluralism” and inclusive governance; a concept which would allow for Guyanese to be integrally involved in the process of national development.

“This party wishes to reiterate that it is fully committed to a Government of National Unity and will do everything within its powers to bring together the diverse people of Guyana in an effort to harness their collective energy towards the realisation of the national motto of One People, One Nation, One Destiny.”

PPP/C has been holding consultations with stakeholders on the notion of national governance. In earlier statements, Rohee said Guyanese are being assured that they will benefit significantly from higher levels of transparency and accountability through shared governance.

Shared governance has been a long debated subject in Guyana, dating back to 1957 when the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) under the leadership of the late Dr Cheddi Jagan attempted to form a broad united front to contest the General Elections; a move which would have seen a Government of National Unity. At the time, Prime Minister Linden Forbes Burnham had rejected the notion of “shared governance”.

But approximately 54 years after, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) reintroduced the concept, calling for a Government of National Unity. APNU is a coalition which is dominated by the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR); a party formed following the 1957 General Elections by Burnham.

APNU has come in for high criticisms, not because it championed the cause for “shared governance” months ahead of the 2011 General and Regional Elections, but because it has failed to advance the notion.

Back in 2011, the coalition comprising the PNCR, the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), Guyana Action Party (GAP) and National Front Alliance (NFA) had said that constitutional and institutional reforms were necessary for the realisation of shared governance.

Share Button

PPP/C pleased with new development at GECOM

GECOM Chairman,  Dr Steve Surujbally

GECOM Chairman,
Dr Steve Surujbally

After months of criticising the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) said it is finally pleased with ongoing developments within the Commission and by extension the Secretariat.

Addressing reporters at a PPP/C news conference on Monday, the party’ General Secretary Clement Rohee said GECOM’s decision to solicit international donors to monitor the electoral process in Guyana is a step in the right direction; allowing for free, fair and transparent elections. He said the setting up of the Joint International Technical Assistance (JITA) to aid the transparency of the entire electoral process must be applauded as well. According to him, Guyanese must remember that it was the PPP that lobbied for JITA to be present here even before the process of registration got under way.

GECOM’s decision to employ an Information Technology (IT) Manager and the consideration towards the establishment of a Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) are also welcomed initiatives, Rohee added. “With elections looming, be it general or local, this is certainly an encouraging move… to ensure that our democracy is strengthened and Guyanese are afforded their rights.”

However, the General Secretary said the PPP/C is concerned over the orchestrated smeared campaigns and character assassination aimed at some of its leaders. According to him, the proposed MMU would safeguard politicians against such “assassinations”.

In its most recent press conference, GECOM’s Chairman, Dr Steve Surujbally indicated that the Commission was in the process of acquiring the services of a JITA. JITA refers to an experienced individual who engages in the management of elections. It was explained that JITAs have always been identified and funded by the International Development Partners (IDP).

According to him, the scope of work, list of duties and the terms of reference have already been submitted to IDP.

Alluding to the IT Manager’s post, Dr Surujbally had disclosed that the Commission was in the process of acquiring a competent and qualified individual to the post.

However, it was explained that GECOM has repeatedly advertised the post locally and internationally for suitable candidates to apply, but to no avail.

“The Commission was not satisfied that the applicants who expressed interest in the job would have been able to fulfill the requirements of the position. The Commission is currently in the process of sourcing someone, even temporarily, to fill the position very likely with the help of the International Development Partners (IDP),” the Chairman explained.

Despite criticisms, Dr Surujbally maintains that GECOM has gained international recognition due to its outstanding electoral systems. Soon, he said GECOM will apply for ISO certification.

Share Button

Activists warn against sexual grooming of boys

Head of the Child Care and Protection Agency, Ann Greene

Head of the Child Care and Protection Agency, Ann Greene

– law imposes $1M fine or five-year jail term

By Jomo Paul

Amid an upsurge in sexual violence against children, rights activists here are appealing to parents to be more vigilant as to who their children accept gifts from, while urging the authorities to aggressively tackle the issue of sexual grooming of young boys from paedophiles.

Grooming is a process of identifying and engaging a child in sexual activity. It involves an imbalance of power and elements of coercion and manipulation and also intent to sexually exploit the child. The issue came to light recently when Johnny Anthony Welshman accused Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman of pampering him with gifts during the alleged period of his sexual abuse.

“He started to sexually assault me when I was 12. It first started in his office, at that time I did not agree with it, but he offered to take me to Dairy Bar (formerly located on Croal Street) to buy me ice cream and then later that day, he took me to the House of Flavours and so I start to give into him,” the young man had alleged. Welshman went on to say that after the assault continued, he complained to his father who turned a deaf ear, so he continued to collect the things which were offered to him by Trotman.

“Around school time he would usually take me to buy all my school things, telling my parents that he will take care of the expenses. He would also make sure that I wear the most expensive clothes and also buy me fancy sneakers and everyone in my class would usually tell me that I am rich with the amount of money I used to go to school with; all of that Uncle Raphael give me,” Welshman had noted.

Trotman has since denied all the allegations, describing them as malicious and unfounded coming from “an unstable young man who, sadly, appears to have a troubled mind. I categorically deny his wicked assertions.”

Trotman said unfortunately, Welshman seems to have been “conveniently encouraged by manipulative and diabolic political forces. Conveniently, such scandalous assertions are obviously intended to provide a timely distraction from the serious prevailing political situation in Guyana, which imminently requires me as Speaker of the National Assembly to guide the ship of the nation’s Parliament through the strongest test to Guyana’s constitutional democracy: the debate of a no- confidence motion.” He said, as a true patriot of Guyana, “I will not allow the office of Speaker of the National Assembly to be compromised or be denigrated by false accusations for political expediency. There is absolutely no truth in the allegation, and I am confident that the masterminds and supporters of this dastardly plot will soon be exposed. I call for a thorough and professional investigation into this scurrilous allegation. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Head of the Child Care and Protection Agency, Ann Greene told Guyana Times on Monday that most child abusers use the grooming tactic to get to their victims. “Most child abusers will groom their victims first. Even in home that’s how you get to children and get them not to talk,” Greene said. “You get them to trust you… buy clothes and buy all these things. It’s the preparation for the attack.”

Studies of sexual offenders have found that deliberate tactics are often used to select victims and engage them in sexual abuse. Sexual offenders have often claimed to identify vulnerable children – for example, those who are less able to tell about the abuse, or are unhappy or needy. According to publications, there are a number of specific techniques that offenders use to mask their behaviour prior to the assault, as well as during and after the assault.

“Many deliberately establish themselves as the kind of person you wouldn’t suspect to be a sex offender, because they are “too nice” or an upstanding person in the community who helps a lot of people out,” an article by Laurel House, a North and North-West Tasmania Sexual Assault Support Services said. Described as a powerful tactic, it allows offenders to become embedded in a community and be involved in a number of socially responsible activities such as youth groups, churches and schools, which can give the offender access to a number of potential victims without ever being suspected. “This double life causes parents and others to drop their guards and to allow access to their children without suspecting anything. It is important to also note that the majority of offenders are known to the family, and too often are family members,” the organisation said.

Guyana’s Sexual Offences Act 2010 specifically spoke of “meeting a child under 16 years following sexual grooming”. Under Section (1) A of the Act, it states that any person 18 years of age or over who commits the offence of meeting a child following sexual grooming if (a) having met or communicated with another person (“the complainant”) on at least two earlier occasions, the accused (i) meets the complainant; or (ii) travels with the intention of meeting the complainant in any part of the world at the time, the accused intends to do anything to or in respect of the complainant, during or after the meeting and in any part of the world, which if done will involve the commission by the accused of an offence under this Act; and (c) the complainant is under 16 years of age and the accused does not reasonably believe that the complainant is 16 years of age or over. In subsection (la) the reference to the accused having met or communicated with the complainant is a reference to the accused having met the complainant in any part of the world or having communicated with the complainant by any means from, to or in any part of the world. A person who commits an offence under this section is liable (a) on summary conviction, to a fine of $1 million or imprisonment for five years; (b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for 10 years.

Share Button

GDF officer charged with causing death of fellow officer

The deceased: Lieutenant Ronald Gonsalves

The deceased: Lieutenant Ronald Gonsalves

Twenty-six-year-old Antonio Eastman was granted $200,000 bail after being arraigned on a charge of causing of death by dangerous driving.

The Army Lieutenant stationed at Camp Ayanganna appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts before Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry.

It is alleged that on November 1, 2013, he drove motor vehicle PPP 2210 along Mandela Avenue, Georgetown, in a manner dangerous to the public causing the death of Lieutenant Ronald Gonsalves, 31.

Eastman was represented by defence counsel, who told the court that his client is not a fight risk and requested reasonable bail. Police Prosecutor Michael Grant had no objections to bail.

Lieutenant Gonsalves, a father of two of Linden, was killed after the car he was travelling in crashed in to a utility pole on Mandela Avenue in the vicinity of the Rubis Gas Station, last November. According to persons on the scene, the car was heading along Mandela Avenue at a fast pace when it suddenly slammed into the utility pole splitting it in two, with splinters plunging through the car window and fatally injuring the officer.

The accused: Lieutenant Antonio Eastman

The accused: Lieutenant Antonio Eastman

Three other Army officers: Lieutenant John Flores, Lieutenant Eastman (the driver) and Lieutenant Rickford Warden were also injured in the accident. They were listed as stable at the Georgetown Public Hospital where they were rushed for medical attention.

Gonsalves is survived by his two children and his wife. Eastman will make his second court appearance on October 21 at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.

Share Button