October 23, 2014 By
October 23, 2014 By
The National Drama Festival will conclude on Monday following the performance of two schools and the competitors for the finals will be made known at a prize-giving ceremony to be announced shortly.
The prize-giving ceremony will be held at the National Cultural Centre.
Speaking to Guyana Times on Tuesday, Festival Director Collette Jones-Chin said the response from the public has been disappointing even though there has been an increase in the number of schools participating in the festival.
But nonetheless, she was optimistic that things will improve during the few days remaining.
The Director said there were new challenges this year, but assured that there will be no roll-over from last year as she contended the competition has been going smoothly thus far.
Encouragingly, too, she pointed out this year there were more debutant and junior groups compared to the previous year displaying their theatrical skills.
She is hoping to begin preparations for next year’s festival immediately on completion of the 2014 event so as to get interested groups more prepared to deliver high quality performances.
Jones-Chin related to Guyana Times that prior to the commencement of this year’s competition, an outreach training programme was held in several regions but a few groups dropped out.
She said early preparations will avoid a repeat of these hiccups next year.
On a different note, the Director said the quality of performance generally was satisfactory, but pointed out that there was room for improvement, including with the senior groups.
The festival is coordinated by the National School of Theatre Arts and Drama, which also has a group competing for the top prize.
Some 28 groups are participating in the festival, including the New Opportunity Corps. Thus far the plays “Shattered Dreams” from the Open Category and “What If ” from the Junior Category which have left the gathering spell-bound, appear to be among those that will be shortlisted for the finals.
The curtains will come down on Monday with performances from Annandale Secondary and the Berbice High School.
The prize-giving ceremony is expected to be held between October 31 and November 2.
Already, some 72 trophies have been secured for the presentation ceremony, and according to Jones-Chin, special prizes will also be given to best actors and actresses, among others.
The winning group, she said, will receive a cash prize of $1 million and $250,000 will be awarded to the winners of the smaller groups.
Unlike last year, the cheques for the winners are expected to be handed over to the winners on the night of the closing ceremony.
October 23, 2014 By
GECOM’s Chairman, Dr Steve Surujbally has strongly advised reporters not to yield to the temptation to manufacture news, saying they must dedicate their energies towards reporting it.
The Kaieteur News on a number of occasions has been accused of this malpractice, but has always denied the allegation levelled against it.
Dr Surujbally made the appeal at a recent two-day workshop on elections training for journalists organised by the Guyana Press Association (GPA) in collaboration with the High Commission of Canada.
The GECOM Chairman thanked the journalists who participated for making the special effort to be part of the profound learning experience.
He also thanked the GPA and the Canadian High Commission for collaborating on the initiative, and more so for inviting GECOM to be an active participant in the programme, which ensured a “cross-fertilisation of ideas”.
According to a release, journalists were asked by the Chairman to continue being good partners with GECOM, as it carries out its duties with integrity, fairly, justly and in an unbiased manner.
“The Chairman noting the attrition rate within the profession, also charged the many young journalists attending the workshop to stay in the profession and to continue developing and refining their journalistic skills, as they continue to advance their careers and the journalism profession in Guyana,” the release said.
The workshop held on Saturday commenced with a presentation by GECOM’s Legal Officer Juanita Barker on the subject “Overview of the constitutional and legislative framework of the electoral processes in Guyana.”
Her presentation, GECOM said, succinctly outlined the constitutionality of the establishment of the elections body, originating from the Constitutional (Amendment) Act Number 2 of 2000, which repealed and re-enacted Article 161, thus investing GECOM with all the necessary powers for the preparation and administration of General and Regional Elections in Guyana.
Commissioner Vincent Alexander presented a paper on Guyana’s Local Government system. He explained the system, and outlined the process that characterised local Government system.
GECOM related that participants were enthused with Commissioner Alexander’s presentation which generated considerable discussion.
Veteran journalists Wesley Gibbings of Trinidad and Tobago and Nick Fillmore of Canada presented on the topic “The elements of election coverage”.
In this presentation, a number of key fundamentals were listed and expounded upon to ensure journalists keep their election stories objective and free of personal bias.
Stop the spin
One critical rule thoroughly discussed was that of avoiding spin at all cost. In this regard, journalists were told to check thoroughly for accuracy and facts in the utterances of political candidates.
The presentation underscored the importance of journalists cultivating the ability to be focused since attention to detail and accuracy are elements that can greatly assist them in pointing out inconsistencies and contradictions in utterances made on the campaign trail.
Journalists were also encouraged to state always the correct circumstances in which a statement or action was made and highlight background or current issues that may explain a particular statement or action by a politician.
By paying careful heed to all relevant rules and regulations, the journalists were advised that they would be in a better position to explain to and educate the public about campaign issues and concepts.
Surinamese journalism and media academic Rachel van der Kooye, along with Press Association of Jamaica Executive, Byron Buckley, presented on “Press freedom and political reporting”.
They commenced with thorough definitions of press freedom, and freedom of speech/freedom of expression. Van der Kooye also clearly differentiated press freedom from freedom of expression, while examining the many threats to press freedom currently existing in the world, as well as how journalists can use attributes of press freedom in political reporting to write more objective stories.
“Journalists were charged to develop a number of critical skills that can further enhance their journalistic abilities. Some of the essential competencies that journalists were asked to develop carefully were critical thinking skills, strong instincts for potential political stories, sharp writing skills, attention to detail and nuances of reporting, along with the ability to operate effectively in deadline situations. Within this context, the need to hone the skill to thoroughly investigate and explore circumstances and emerging stories was emphasised, GECOM noted.
It said the very contested issue of self-regulation and whether it is necessary and what levels of it can be deemed acceptable, was discussed by Wesley Gibbings and Byron Buckley in their presentation “A framework for media self-regulation”.
A panel discussion on various aspects of election reporting in Guyana and Canada was held during a session called “The reporter’s notebook”.
The panellists consisted of Guyanese journalism veterans Enrico Woolford, Bert Wilkinson and Denis Chabrol, along with Canadian journalist Nick Fillmore and up-and-coming young Guyanese journalist Chevy Devonish.
Some of the issues discussed in this session ranged from the need to practise ethical, fair, balanced and responsible journalism, to that of safety and the need for journalists to pay careful attention to their safety while reporting on elections.
“All the issues discussed in the presentations made at the workshop sparked a number of thoughtful questions as well as robust debate among the participants, as they exchanged ideas, and established and contested various ideological positions on journalism,” GECOM said.
October 23, 2014 By
Vehicular operators and passengers are fearful of a domino effect following an increase in the Mackenzie-Wismar Bridge toll.
Several car drivers in the town referred to as “hundred-dollar taxi” or “dollar cab” drivers are among scores of Lindeners who have begun to voice their concern.
The increase, which was put into effect from Monday, has sparked some concern among residents and vehicular operators alike, with some giving a thumbs up to the increase, while others fear a domino effect.
The toll for cars traversing the bridge has increased from $40-$60, while the cost for minibuses has also increased by $20, moving from $60-$80.
While varied toll increase adjustments have been made for other motor vehicles, minibus and car operators stationed at Linden claim they are the ones most affected, since they frequent the bridge more often.
In an attempt to make their voices heard, several “hundred dollar taxi” drivers commenced strike action over the increase on Monday and Tuesday, refusing to ply their usual routes across the community, until ‘better systems are put in place at the bridge’.
As a result, passengers say they fear an increase in fares; however, some of the “dollar cab” drivers have indicated that they will not be increasing their $100 fare charges, but have agreed that improvements must be seen at the bridge.
Speaking with this newspaper, a minibus driver indicated that while he is not against the decision made for the increase, he wishes to see better operating systems put in place.
He said there are issues which need to be addressed, including the traffic lights which have been out of order for some time and problems with the wooden decking which is constantly under repair.
“At nights, we don’t even have any lights on at the bridge. I mean some of us don’t mind the increase, but let we see what happening with our money. We need to see our money going towards the betterment of the bridge. The wooden decking that they say they always repairing every minute in a terrible state. If you don’t mind how you driving, it can cause some serious problems with your tyres,” he said.
Some residents of Linden have also expressed similar views.
Meanwhile, some are calling for several advancements including an upgrade to a more improved double-lane bridge.
“That bridge is old, the lights don’t even work. Sometimes it’s a real mess when two vehicles get caught on the bridge at the same time. Most times nobody want to reverse to allow the other one to pass. When you study this bridge, I tell you, it does be really frustrating at times,” a car driver disclosed.
The Mackenzie-Wismar Bridge, which links both shores in the community, is partly managed by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL).
NICIL is tasked with the responsibility of conducting constant repairs to the faulty wooden decking located at the centre.
Linden Interim-Management Committee (IMC) Chairman Orrin Gordon, who had initiated the first public proposal to have the tolls increased back in August, said the municipality is unable to afford the upkeep of the bridge; hence, the collaboration.
He said the constant repairs made are funded by NICIL and the Linden Mayor and Town Council (M&TC) receives a percentage of funds garnered from tolls.
Gordon said the decision for the toll adjustments was prompted as a result of the Linden Town Council being in dire financial circumstances.
He added that the municipality has been struggling for years to make ends meet, noting that sufficient revenue was not being generated.
Adding to the list of problems, the IMC Chairman had also disclosed that the Council’s most recent budget was not approved and a requested subsidy of $33 million was also refused.
This had resulted in the municipality encountering some difficulties in paying its workers’ salaries, which eventually led to strike action. He recently disclosed that some of those employees fed up with the situation had decided to leave permanently.
Additionally, Gordon had indicated that the tolls at the bridge had remained the same for approximately 20 years and cars along with Bosai vehicles would have been excluded under the increase until it was reviewed at the end of the year.
He said the decision to exclude Bosai vehicles under the increase was due to the company’s commitment in ensuring that tolls are always paid.
The municipality was given the greenlight earlier in the month to increase the tolls, following the approval by Cabinet.
This newspaper understands that Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) Chairman Sharma Solomon and Gordon met with the concerned car and minibus operators in the town on Tuesday, where their views concerning several issues were expressed.
October 22, 2014 By
Deepavali is essentially Maha Lakshmi Puja. Maha Lakshmi, the Goddess of Light, is the source of material and spiritual prosperity. She emerged from the churning of the ocean (saagar mathan) in response to a cosmic crisis and her inherent radiance dispelled the darkness which threatened the world. Deepavali is observed on the 15th day of the Hindu month of Kartik or Amawasya (new moon) and has shifted from the confines of our homes and mandirs and is celebrated by our nation. Everyone is engulfed in the spirit of camaraderie and fraternity as greetings are extended and sweets are shared with friends and families.
As we engage in Maha Lakshmi Puja and we light our diyas let us understand the true significance of Deepavali which is that of rekindling the inner light of divinity within ourselves in triumph over the negative tendencies and qualities.
The radiance of that inner light once found will shine as brilliantly as that emanating from the thousands of diyas which twinkle from every nook and corner of our country on Deepavali day.
Deepavali dispels darkness in all its forms and ushers in the light of wisdom, knowledge and spiritual exaltation. Let us observe this festival in its pristine form and resist all attempts to desecrate its observance.
The Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha wishes to sincerely thank all those who supported, sponsored and participated in its countrywide Deepavali Motorcades this year as the Sabha celebrated 40 years of this magnificent tradition which was the vision of its founder, Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud.
The President of the Sabha, Dr Vindhya Vasini Persaud wishes to thank all the Praants of the Sabha for their superb organisation of motorcades and rangoli competitions and extends Deepavali greetings to the entire Dharmic family and the Guyanese nation. She also with the greatest humility extends heartfelt thanks to the thousands of Guyanese who throng the roadways year after year for a glimpse of the fantastic floats.
She urges all to let the message of Deepavali be perpetuated beyond the day and that we continue to live in the spirit of unity and harmony with respect and understanding of each other’s beliefs, customs and traditions. May Maha Lakshmi continue to richly bless our people and our beautiful country with prosperity, productivity, spiritual upliftment, solutions to its challenges, and continued development in every sphere.
Deepavali ka Shubh Kaamnayea from the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha.
October 22, 2014 By
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds has described the United Nations (UN) as a symbol of peace and security as Guyana joined member states the world over in observance of UN Day on Tuesday.
Speaking at a reception at the Georgetown Club, the Prime Minister said the international body should be proud of its services to humanity.
“The United Nations must be justly proud of its accomplishments over the past seven decades as it has served to not only save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, but more importantly, promoted and pursued the development of human kind.”
However, the Prime Minister Hinds cautioned that more still needs to be done as “the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have not been universally achieved and even as we analyse the reasons… we are looking towards other mechanisms beyond 2015 through the articulation of a comprehensive Post-2015 Development Agenda.”
Nevertheless, the Prime Minister declared that Guyana is still “supportive of a United Nations that promotes international peace and security and a development agenda that benefits all”.
UN Representative to Guyana Khadija Musa acknowledged that the UN has “been the subject of much debate” over the years, but contended that nothing is ever perfect and things can always be done better.
Even so, she quoted former UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld who said, “The UN was not created to take humanity to heaven but save it from hell”.
Thus, she said, the UN is not in a position to dictate to states, but it can “work with partners to improve nutrition security and promote dialogue and improved Government planning…”
The UN representative informed the invitees at the reception that the MDGs are a blueprint for all countries and though it has not been reached, much has still been achieved, particularly in Guyana.
At the forum, several entities were awarded. UNAIDS Country Director Robert Campos notified the invitees of the criteria for the MDG awards.
He shared that the nominees had to be organisations based in Guyana or working in Guyana and not employed by the UN.
Campos also indicated that nominees must have attained high performance in a specific category within the MDG, great accomplishment within the past and previous years in the specific MDG and must have the highest ethical standard.
Public notice of specific MDG should also have been gained from the activities of the group, which should be sustainable and serve as an inspiration to all Guyanese.
The award for contributions to MDG 1 was given to St Francis Xavier Community Developers for their work in decreasing hunger and poverty across Guyana.
The Guyana Society for the Blind won the award for the organisation that supported the achievement of MDG 2, Universal Primary Education as they have encouraged learning of Braille and Computer Science for the blind, which has promoted student empowerment.
Ryan Gonsalves, Captain of Guyana’s Rugby Team, also presented an award to the Mibicuri Community Developers (MCD) for contributing to MDG 3. The group has been advocating and training women to recognise their rights and responsibility in today’s society.
The Linden Hospital Complex won the award for contributing to MDG 5 as it has made great strides in reducing the number of maternal deaths between 2012 and 2014.
Impact, a group involved in youth development and empowerment received a Special Award while a Surprise Award went to the United Nations Association for Guyana (UNAG).
In 1947, the UN General Assembly declared October 24, the anniversary of the Charter of the UN, as which “shall be devoted to making known to the peoples of the world the aims and achievements of the UN and to gaining their support for” its work.
In 1971, the UN General Assembly adopted a further resolution (UN Resolution 2782) declaring that UN Day shall be an international holiday and recommended that it should be observed as a public holiday by all UN member states.
UN Day is devoted to making known to peoples of the world the aims and achievements of the UN. UN Day is part of UN Week, which runs from October 20 to 26.
UN Day has traditionally been marked throughout the world with meetings, discussions and exhibits about the achievements and goals of the organisation.
UN Day is October 24, but the observance in Guyana was celebrated a few days earlier.
October 22, 2014 By
A fishing vessel “Lady Pinky” sank off the coast of Guyana in the Pomeroon River last Saturday after colliding with an unidentified vessel.
According to the Maritime Administration Department MARAD it has been reported that on Monday at approximately 02:30 hours, an unidentified vessel heading in the general direction of Georgetown collided with the Fishing Vessel “Lady Pinky” off the coast of Guyana in the Pomeroon area.
The “Lady Pinky” was reportedly anchored in the area when it was struck by the other vessel.
It subsequently sank, but all four of its crew members used their lifesaving equipment which kept them afloat until they were rescued in the evening by another fishing vessel.
They were subsequently transferred to another vessel which brought them into Port Georgetown on Monday. Officers from MARAD are trying to locate the unidentified vessel and an investigation has been launched.
October 22, 2014 By
A teenager accused of stealing a quantity of gold and other items was on Tuesday beaten to death by a group of men at Konawaruk Backdam, Potaro, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni).
The dead teenager was identified as Azad Potter, 17, of Lot 38 Garden of Eden, East Bank Demerara.
Guyana Times was informed that the young man had been working at the mining camp for the past two weeks after he left his home for a repeat trip to the interior, but, on Monday, several workers accused him of stealing the gold, an iPad and a mobile phone.
He denied the allegations and reportedly tried to prove his innocence, but was beaten about his body by the group of men with pieces of wood. He was then picked up and taken to the Mahdia Hospital, but died on the way. Four men have been arrested and are in custody assisting with investigations.
Wazir Potter, the father of the dead teenager, told Guyana Times on Wednesday that his son’s “boss man” visited his home on Tuesday morning and related that his son was accused of stealing the items from the workers.
The distraught father stated that he believes his son did not take the articles, although he revealed that his son had been involved in thefts before and he had warned him several times. He said he subsequently had a phone conversation with the young man who insisted that he was innocent.
The “boss man”, who was identified as Rudy from Land of Canaan, reportedly later called the family about 16:00h, and related the news of Potter’s death.
“All he said was that couple boys beat meh son and kill he,”’ Potter’s father said. He said even though his son was accused of stealing the items, they did not have to kill him.
The teen’s grandmother, who also spoke with her grandson on Tuesday morning, said she advised him to return the stolen articles if he had them, but again he maintained that he did not have them. The woman stated that her grandson’s body is at the Mahdia Mortuary and is expected to be transported to the city today.
She is calling on the ‘boss man’ to provide more detailed answers to their many questions about her grandson’s death at his mining camp. Potter leaves to mourn his parents and two siblings.
October 22, 2014 By
In a quest to establish a Domestic Violence Centre in Region Two, Miss Guyana World Rafieya Hussain would be hosting at Fund Raising Dinner at Palm Court come Saturday.
Since being crowned Miss Guyana World in May, Hussain has been successful in raising more than US$10, 000 to fulfil the promise made to the people of Guyana, particularly those in Region Two.
Utilizing the funds received thus far, the reigning Queen has acquired the property to house the centre. This facility is being renovated but Hussain explained that an additional $3M is needed to complete the project.
The dinner she said is just the starting point to acquire the required funds. It will be held in Palm Court’s Private Dining Area from 19hr-23hrs at the cost of $4,500 for regular patrons while VIP tickets are being sold at $7000. Tickets can be uplifted from Oasis, Palm Court and Gizmos and Gadgets.
With the red carpet laid, the Queen said supporters of the worthy cause can expect a splendid evening with a wide range of Guyanese cuisines; coupled with live entertainment.
Domestic Violence remains a major problem not only in Guyana but across the world. Through the establishment of the open door centre in Region Two, Miss Guyana World said victims of domestic violence would be offered the requisite assistance inclusive of counselling. Through the centre, women in particular would be empowered; giving them the opportunity to achievement the much needed independence they need to escape the hands of their abusers.
Through fund raising exercises, Miss World intends to keep the doors of the centre opened with the support from the Government of Guyana and Regional Authorities. The centre is slated to be officially opened in February 2015.
In addition to her fund raising exercises, Hussain has been conducting a Domestic Violence School Campaign. The response she has been enormous with students actively participating in the fight to bring an end to Domestic Violence in Guyana.
Over the weekend, she visited Region Two to check on the progress of works on the building that will house a domestic abuse centre and also interacted with several Essequibians during Essequibo Night Exhibition and Fair.
The queen, who will be representing Guyana at the “Beauty with a Purpose” pageant in London December 2014, has begun her campaign and fund-raising activity to support her platform Domestic Violence focusing on teen dating. During her visit to Essequibo Hussain spent two days at the outreach centre at Three Friends village assisting workers to renovate the building that was gifted by the Region Two Administration for her to help fight Domestic Violence.
The facility will also be used as a resource centre, providing much needed information and guidance to persons who have suffered domestic violence. Seminars as well as workshops will also be facilitated in the building.
While on the site, Husain took time to lend a hand in the painting of the building and also in cleaning of the yard. She expressed appreciation for the progress that has been made so far in the renovation of the building. From the building site Hussain travelled to Lake Mainstay where she received training in Amerindian from Toshoa Fredericks Pearson. Hussain will be performing an Amerindian dance as part of the Pageant in December 2014.
The highlight of Miss Husain’s trip was her appearance at Essequibo Night. Miss Husain was part of the contingent that includes Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture Ali Baksh, Regional chairman, Parmanand Persaud, Vice Chairman, Vishnu Samaroo and Regional Executive Officer Sunil Singh. Miss Husain spoke to gathering briefly and expressed her gratitude to be part of the festivities. She thanked Guyanese for all the love and support and encouraged businesses to join her campaign to make a difference for tomorrow’s generation. Hussain won the title of Miss Guyana World on February 23 2014.
October 22, 2014 By