May 1, 2016

Feasibility study yet to be conducted on location of new DHB

An aerial view of the Demerara Harbour Bridge

An aerial view of the Demerara Harbour Bridge

Government is yet to announce which company will be awarded the contract to conduct a feasibility study on the relocation of the Demerara Harbour Bridge.

A few months ago, companies both locally and international, had bid for the contract to conduct the study, as well as design and ultimately construct the new location for the Demerara Harbour Bridge.

However, on Wednesday, General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Company (DHBC), Rawlston Adams, revealed that the Public Infrastructure Ministry has already made the evaluations and recommendations for the consultancy.

“Those recommendations are with the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), I think to forward to Cabinet. So soon, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure will be making some announcement through the Tender Board and the Cabinet as to when they will be awarding the consultancy for the feasibility study,” he stated.

Asked about the role the Harbour Bridge Company will play in the project, Adams explained that they are basically reviewing the process as it relates to the Terms of Reference and the evaluations. However, the DHBC General Manager pointed out that he was the engineer responsible for the Berbice Bridge and that feasibility study so his experience is now being used for this new project.

Further asked about the details of the new bridge, Adams noted that the feasibility study will determine how Government goes ahead in terms of the new bridge to link Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and Four (Demerara-Mahaica).

“The feasibility study will identify all the issues and costs involved in building the new bridge. The study will guide us in which direction – do we build a new bridge? Do we keep this one? Do we have two and that’s why we do feasibility studies to identify all the issues and to have them address,” he stated.

The Demerara Harbour Bridge head went on to say that “people will have ideas as to how things will go but its best to wait on the consultants who are being paid to look at and have discussions with all the relevant parties and bring it all together and put it in a document that says we have studied, looked at it, we’ve talked to people and based on our experience, we have advice this is the way forward.”

Back in January, Chief Works Officer at the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Geoffrey Vaughn, had stated that the tenders were already evaluated and sent off to NPTAB for the shortlisting of qualified tenders,” the Chief Works Officer stated.

On December 8, 2015, NPTAB opened the bids from seven European and four Chinese companies who signalled their interests in the construction of the new bridge. Several other overseas companies partnered with local firms and also applied for the contract.

Floating at 1.25 miles, the Demerara Harbour Bridge is a strategic link between the East and West Bank of Demerara. It facilitates the daily movement of large numbers of vehicles, people, and cargo. The structure was built in the 1970s but was opened in July 1978 with the expectation of lasting only 10 years. However, some 37 years after, it is still floating.

Princes Street petrol station’s service disrupted

Council workers executing their clean-up of the drains

Council workers executing their clean-up of the drains

City clean-up campaign

As the clean-up efforts continue in the city, the manager of Infinity Service Station, Keshan Persaud, was left fuming after city workers on Tuesday left the area in a muddied state.

The concrete slabs were removed to facilitate the cleaning of the drains at the Princes and High Streets business. Persaud alleged that workmen advised that they would not put the concrete slabs back into place as they were only responsible for removing it.

“This was all unnecessary as they could have gone under the concrete slabs and it [has] more than enough height for people to walk under and clean,” the businessman opined. It was noted that business was affected as only a limited number of vehicles could enter to obtain gas.

Guyana Times was told that on Monday, a female worker who bore no identification informed management of the gas station that these works would commence. It was related that when managers of the service station attempted to make inquires of the works, the female worker reportedly asked them if they were attempting to tell them how to do their job.

Persaud stated that the gas station doesn’t mind losing business for a day to facilitate the works, but opined that the city workers must operate with a more professional approach by way of giving proper notification.

This publication made contact with the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) for a comment with regards to the issue and was told that it was rectified.

Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the M&CC, Debra Lewis, stated that she was made aware of the issue after the businessman made contact with her. She explained that she spoke with someone who looked into the matter and rectified such.

With respect to the response by the worker – that they are not responsible for replacing the slabs after removing it – the PRO stated that this is not the case, stating that “they have to replace whatever they remove.”

Subsequent to this publication making contact with City Council, the businessman disclosed that he received a call from the PRO.

At around 17:00h when Guyana Times again made contact with the businessman, he alleged that the statement posited by the PRO was inaccurate.

Persaud said that when the PRO contacted him, at around 14:00h, she told him that she would be coming to his place of business along with an engineer to inspect and rectify the problem but as at 17:00h, he was still waiting on that visit.

He explained that Lewis told him that after enquiring about the works on the drains, she was told that they were incomplete, which resulted in the concrete slabs not being replaced.

The businessman stated that work was completed and that the workers have commenced work on the other side of the road.

Cove and John Ashram to observe Navratri from Thursday evening

The Guyana Sevashram SanghaNavraatri celebrations., Cove and John Ashram on the East Coast of Demerara will be observing the auspicious period of Navratri from Thursday evening.
According to spiritual leader and administrator for the Sangha, Swami Shivashankaranadaji Maharaj, the period of nine nights is specially designated for the worship of Hindu Goddess Mother Durga, Lakshmi and Sarswattie.
Services will commence from 18:30h daily and conclude at 21:00h. They will run until April 15, 2016. During the services, hawan will be conducted followed by discourse on the period and its auspiciousness and concluding artie.
Swami Shivashankaranadaji is urging persons to join with the Ashram in the observances.
During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Devi are worshipped. The tenth day is commonly referred to as Vijayadashami or “Dussehra” (also spelled Dasera).
Navratri is an important Hindu festival in Guyana and it is celebrated by all in the Hindu community. The first three nights are designated for Mother Durga (the remover of darkness); the second three nights for the worship of Mother Lakshmi (giver of health, wealth and prosperity) and the last three nights for the worship of Mother Sarswattie (the giver of knowledge).
During this period, Hindus flock various temples for congregational prayers and fast, cleansing their bodies. Many persons would also visit the waterside to pay homage to Mother Ganga during this period.

Trio expected to be charged for murder today

– Police awaiting advice from DPP on 13-year-old

Three of the suspects in the murder of 64-year-old Roger Manikam, whose body was dumped on the Coldingen, East Coast Demerara (ECD) Railway Embankment, are expected to be arraigned for murder today.

Murdered: Roger Manikam

Murdered: Roger Manikam

The man’s 17-year-old daughter has confessed to murdering her father and is expected to be charged today

The man’s 17-year-old daughter has confessed to murdering her father and is expected to be charged today

One of the accused

One of the accused

Manikam’s body was found by residents in the area around 06:30h along the Coldingen Railway Embankment on Sunday last with wounds to the head and upper neck. He was bound and his head was covered by a plastic bag.
The man’s 17-year-old biological daughter and 13-year-old stepdaughter have since admitted to killing him, claiming that he was a “nuisance” to them.
The older teenager’s boyfriend, a Clerk attached to the High Court, was also arrested and confessed to being an accessory to murder. He had been previously arrested for questioning in relation to the murder of Regent Multiplex Mall owner Ganesh Ramlall, but was released shortly after. Additionally, the driver of the car that was used to transport the man’s body from his Section B, Nonpareil, ECD home to Coldingen Railway Embankment has also been arrested in relation to the murder and is expected to be charged.
This was confirmed by Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum, who also related to Guyana Times that the Police have impounded the vehicle in question. He noted that the two males confessed to disposing of the body. The suspects were taken to the scene, where they indentified the spot they dumped Manikam’s body. They also took investigators a short distance away where they dumped incriminating materials such as bloody sheets and clothing.
Detectives became suspicious of the dead man’s daughters after they realised that the rope serving as the clothes line in the yard of the home was identical to the one used to secure the plastic found around the man’s head. The Police took the two young ladies into custody and during interrogation; they broke down and gave a detailed account of the murder.
The Crime Chief related that while the trio is expected to be brought before the Vigilance Magistrate’s Court today, the Police are awaiting advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions’ Chamber in relation to the 13-year-old.

Accused jailed for over 2 years

Teen biker’s death

– asks deceased’s family for forgiveness

BY KIZZY COLEMAN

Dead: Travis Bollers

Dead: Travis Bollers

Dellon Duncan, the man charged for causing the death of 17-year-old Travis Bollers was on Wednesday jailed for two years, nine months, when he appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.

Dellon Duncan

Dellon Duncan

He stood before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan who handed down the sentence. McLennan in handing down her ruling told the defendant that there is no doubt that the prosecution proved that the death of the deceased was as a result of dangerous driving.
She noted that the witnesses called by the Prosecution – Quacy McCalmont, Nigel Edghill and Shaunette Brown – all gave consistent testimonies.
Magistrate McLennan told the defendant that his account of what occurred on the night of the accident was considered before making a ruling but the court was not satisfied with the evidence presented by the defence. Duncan in his evidence told the court that on the night of the accident, he saw a motorcycle but did not see anyone after he stopped to check.
After handing down her sentence, the defendant asked for the court to have compassion and mercy on him and asked for forgiveness from family members of the deceased.
Bollers and his cousin, Quacy McCalman, 22, of Werk-en-Rust, Georgetown, were riding a motorcycle along Pike Street, Campbellville, headed towards Sheriff Street when they collided with the Toyota Tacoma pick-up that had turned into the street.
Bollers, who was controlling the bike; and McCalman, the pillion rider, were subsequently rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where the teen was pronounced dead on arrival while McCalman was admitted.
Following the teen’s death, his brother Eon Bollers, launched a Facebook campaign to find the driver of the pick-up who had fled the scene. His family also staged a protest at the Square of the Revolution to press authorities to bring the man to justice.
Duncan was identified as the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident and his vehicle was found in a mechanic shop where it was being repaired.
He denied all allegations that he was involved in the accident.

Panama mounts fierce defence of vital financial sector

Panama mounted a fierce defence of its crucial financial services sector on Wednesday, trying to head off a feared international clampdown on its offshore business in the wake of the “Panama Papers” leak.
Diplomats accredited to the small Central American nation were called to the Foreign Ministry to hear officials argue that it was unfair to single out Panama in the scandal.
They heard “what is the truth about Panama,” the State Secretary for communication, Manuel Dominguez, told AFP.
The Government has also written a harshly worded letter to the head of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurria, attacking a statement he made describing Panama as “the last major holdout that continues to allow funds to be hidden offshore from tax and law enforcement authorities”.
Those accusations were false, “unfair and discriminatory”, Deputy Foreign Minister Luis Miguel Hincapie wrote in the letter, which was obtained by AFP.
Gurria and others relying on reports from the “Panama Papers” were seeking to “distort the facts and tarnish the reputation of the country,” Hincapie wrote. (Excerpt from AFP)

Guyana hosts World Health Day fair

By AHREEFA BACCHUS

The Public Health Ministry on Wednesday observed World Health Day 2016 with a health fair at the Enmore PolyClinic, on the East Coast of Demerara, where focus was placed on tackling persons living with diabetes.
At the fair, visitors were educated on their general health; however, emphasis was placed on tackling diabetes, as well as coping with the disease. A number of doctors, as well as persons who suffer with diabetes gave their experiences on dealing and living with diabetes. Dr Wilson Jordan of the Georgetown Public Hospital told the gathering that a number of his relatives suffer from diabetes. He said this forced him to take better care of himself, but even so, he too is diabetic.
“I’d like to say to all the patients here today (Wednesday) that you too can control this chronic disease. It’s a killer and we need to be careful with it. We need to be careful as quite a large number of people die worldwide with diabetes. We have to take control of it or it will take control of us,” he stated.

A section of the gathering at the health fair

A section of the gathering at the health fair

Representative of the Pan American Health Organisation Forbes Mellville, reflected on the theme of World Health Day and its importance to diabetics. “World Health day is the birth anniversary of the World Health Organisation since its founding in 1948. The theme for World Health Day is ‘Step up. Beat Diabetes’…and it provides the opportunity to focus our attention then on the prevention and control of diabetes as to reduce the amount of persons affected by this non-communicable disease,” he explained.
He further related that over 350 million persons worldwide suffer with diabetes, saying “diabetes affects persons from all walks of life”. He explained that early detection and treatment, along with health policies are key in the prevention of acquiring the chronic disease. Educating the gathering on the seriousness of the disease, a doctor explained that it is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. There are three major types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes which is the most frequent among children and adolescents; type 2 diabetes which is the most frequent among adults and is linked to obesity or being overweight, lack of physical activity and poor nutrition; and gestational diabetes which is a complication of pregnancy that affects an estimated 10 per cent of pregnancies globally.
Meanwhile, other organisations at the event took the opportunity to educate those present at the fair about their general mental, physical and sexual health needs. June Ann Taylor, a representative of the National Milling Company of Guyana Inc (NAMILCO), explained that the organisation saw it fit to participate in the health fair as to encourage persons to eat healthily so as to maintain a healthy body. This she related could be possible by using some of the products that the company offers to the health conscious. Melanie Saul of the Vector Control Department also related that as the number of mosquito borne diseases increases, it is imperative that persons take precautionary measure to prevent infection. “We’re asking persons to dispose of their garbage in a proper and professional manner,” she stated, adding that garbage and stagnant water can be a breeding ground for the mosquitoes that carry diseases including Malaria and the Zika Virus.
Naitram Parsram, a HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) Councillor of the EnmorePolyClinic also took the opportunity to inform persons about their sexual health. Michelle Nurse of the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association was also present to educate persons about their sexual and reproductive health, including family planning and safe sex. Residents of Enmore and surrounding communities lauded the hosting of the fair which saw many persons leaving with invaluable information about their wellbeing.

Ed Caesar to head Commission

Education CoI

Former Chief Education Officer (CEO) Ed Caesar has been named Chairman of the Government established Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the education sector, Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine has said.
The Minister made the announcement during a meeting with the press on Wednesday where details of the education CoI were laid out.
According to Dr Roopnaraine, the CoI is expected to run for some four months and will be examining the state of affairs of the public education system between September 2010 and July 2014. While the investigation has a four month life span, there is a possibility of a short extension if the need arises. The recommendation from that investigation, he said, will be fed into the administrative policies and legislative processes, where the actions will be initiated.
According to Dr Roopnaraine, the Ministry is tasked with the responsibility of formulating and monitoring education policy from nursery to tertiary levels. And despite commendable performances from the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) to the Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examination (CAPE), low and declining examination scores continue to typify the general state of education nationally. He said at the tertiary level, the University of Guyana remains unequal to the challenge of human development with regards to both enrollment and the delivery of the curriculum.
“There have been anecdotal indicators of causation including poor adherence to protocols, challenges to human resources development inadequate learning environment, infrastructure, and indirect social factors”, Dr Roopnaraine said of the highest learning institution in the country.
The Education Minister said parallel to the declining performance in the public education system, has been an inclining performance in the private education system.
“The initial finding of a June/July 2015 initial audit of the Ministry’s services and delivery infrastructure had indicated that the problems are endemic. There remains a consistent gap between even the Ministry’s own recommendations and actual practice”.
Dr Roopnaraine said the Ministry’s credo of “eliminating illiteracy, modernising education and strengthening tolerance” serves as an abstract base point in which it measures it education delivery in general.
“The first is that literacy expands beyond the literal literacy and numeracy and encompasses a wide range of basic fundamental skills including technological and cultural. Modernising education implies both the integration of up to date technology and its practicum in teaching. Finally, the goal of strengthening tolerance as the core part of the Ministry’s agenda speaks to the recognition that the public education system has a critical role to play in promoting social cohesion within a tradition in a deeply divisive society.”
He said education in Guyana will require comprehensive and far reaching reform, if the system is going to prove capable of addressing the country’s developmental needs.
“This reform will only be achievable subsequent to a far ranging inquiry into the public education sector; one that paints an accurate picture as possible of the state of the sector,” Dr Roopnaraine said
The general objectives of the inquiry are to establish a baseline analysis of the state of the education sector in Guyana, and to recommend broad strategic guidelines for the enhancement of public education.
The Commission will be allowed to employ the in camera and public consultation methodologies when conducting the inquiry on any aspect of the investigation.
Other member of the 11-member team include Secretary Kellyann Hercules, Ingrid Trotman, Marcelle Hutson, Leslyn Charles, Ramesh Persaud, Vibert Hart, Ronald Austin Jnr and Mark Lyte.

Freddie Kissoon does somersault under pressure

Controversial Trotman LGE recording

… apologises to Trotman, admits lying about “tape”

Minister Raphael Trotman

Minister Raphael Trotman

Freddie Kissoon

Freddie Kissoon

Just two days after making damning allegations against Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman, political commentator Freddie Kissoon was forced to issue an apology, after the “tape” surfaced revealing the true contents of what was said during the public meeting in Bartica.
Kissoon disclosed that he was in possession of a “tape” implicating Trotman in delivering a passionate “hate-filled” speech while campaigning and had called on the Alliance For Change (AFC) to take firm disciplinary action against him.
When Guyana Times contacted Kissoon on the day of publication, the columnist maintained that Trotman was indeed playing the race-card and that the AFC must investigate the situation.
The next day, Kissoon wrote another column rehashing the same contents of his previous article against Trotman.
Then in an odd turn of events, Kissoon told the nation that he had mis analysised the contents of the “tape”.
“After criticism received rejecting the contentions of the column, I am in full agreement that my analysis was misplaced, misdirected and unfair to Mr Trotman,” Kissoon wrote.
Contacted on Wednesday to comment on what prompted him to issue the apology, Kissoon suddenly made it clear that he will not be talking to this publication.
Nevertheless, in his apology letter, Kissoon explained that he never intended to damage Trotman’s career.
“Some of Mr Trotman’s close friends are friends of mine. I campaigned heavily for Mr Trotman’s party in the last general elections. I would not in any way want to see the weakening of the Guyana Government and its Ministers, because I think this entire country knows I worked to have such a Government in place, and the entire country knows I would not want the PPP [People’s Progressive Party] back in Government,” he wrote.
He further wrote, “I owe it to my readers and Mr Trotman to explain where I believe I went wrong. It had to do with Mr Trotman’s exhortation to Barticians to vote for APNU/AFC because Bartica is an APNU/AFC constituency. I juxtaposed that with Mr Trotman’s question to the audience, which asked if they see other parties competing against the PPP in the PPP’s areas in the LGE. The weakness in that juxtaposition is that I sought to elevate party competition to the call to vote race. This is where I believe the column fell down. This is where I believe my analysis went in the wrong direction.”
The remainder of Kissoon’s column focused on him continuously apologising to Minister Trotman. “Once again, I apologise for the placement of anything contrary in the column.”
“I am happy to express my regrets to Mr Trotman because I think it is the decent thing to do… I can tell Mr Trotman that I do feel contrite, because I know he was hurt by the article… I would extend an invitation to Mr Trotman for us to meet and have a gentleman’s handshake… In all the years I have known and talked with Mr Trotman, I have called him Raphael… Let me say to him, ‘sorry, Raphael’,” Kissoon went on to say in his abject apology.

Brother of slain Coast Guard charged with “Tuffy” murder

Sussex Street murders

– 2 others charged for killing GDF rank

Dead: Gladston Taylor, called “Tuffy”

Dead: Gladston Taylor, called “Tuffy”

Police have instituted murder charges against Vellon Thorne, a brother of slain Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard, for the execution style killing of Gladston Taylor, called “Tuffy”, of Adelaide Street, Charlestown who was gunned down as “revenge”.
The young man is expected to make his appearance today at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Courts to answer to the indictable charge. He is accused of shooting to death Taylor, whom he claimed had a hand in his now dead brother’s death.
On the night of the shooting incident, Taylor was reportedly sitting at Adelaide and Sussex Streets, when two men rode up on a CG motorcycle and opened fire on him. He was shot at least five times about his body.
He was picked up and rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Thorne was identified as the killer and was subsequently arrested and interrogated.
Meanwhile, two men will also make their court appearance at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts charged with the murder of GDF Lance Corporal Kevon Payne, 22, of Lot 36 Sussex Street Charlestown. The men were positively identified by the now dead soldier’s brother.

Dead: GDF rank Kevon Payne

Dead: GDF rank Kevon Payne88

On the night of March 29, Payne and another man, Shakel Williams, 22, of James Street, Albouystown, were among a group of men standing on the roadway at Lyng and Sussex Streets, Charlestown, when two men armed with firearms rode up on a motorcycle and discharged rounds in their direction.
Payne was hit about his body and Williams was hit to his right foot. As a result, Payne was taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival while Williams was admitted.
The Police say ranks of a Police mobile patrol in the vicinity of the shooting responded to the sound of gunshots and confronted the two suspects who managed to escape after an exchange of gunfire with the ranks.