October 31, 2014 By
October 31, 2014 By
By Alexis Rodney
After being closed for over five months, Canadian businessman Mike Mosgrove on Thursday announced that he is the new owner of the Hotel Tower.
The hotel, located on Main Street, Georgetown was in a state of disrepute sometime in May of this year, when former employees mounted several protests in objection for not being paid.
The employees had taken to the streets in front of the establishment protesting the decision by the company to abruptly close its operations, and not paying them.
Those employees, it is reported have still not been paid. Mosgrove, who is also President of the Panther Recycling Corporation, said he is hoping to have the hotel reopened by December of this year.
At a press conference on Thursday to announce the new ownership, Mosgrove said although the initiative is his personal investment, it will soon be transferred to the Panther Recycling Corporation.
“With an investment of more than US$8 million of my money and an additional $1 million to $2 million of refurbishing, we can have one of the nicest hotels in downtown Georgetown,” Mosgrove told reporters in the boardroom of the Sleep-in Hotel, Brickdam.
He said his company is interested in the project for several reasons.
Among them is the fact that “it is a nice asset for us to have and provides jobs and gives a clean atmosphere to the downtown quarter which we like”.
The financers behind the project, Mosgrove said include Scotia Bank and Lenders Direct, Toronto, Canada.
Mosgrove, who has been active in Guyana over the last couple of years working on the recycling project, said he has always had an eye on the hotel, which he said seemed as something that could be advantageous.
Over the last two days, he said he had been making arrangements for the purchase of the hotel as well as 200 acres of land on the Linden- Soesdyke Highway that the group could used to create a resort.
“It is a gorgeous area, its back into the wooded area and offers something to people that is coming, other than the demographic between the younger people and the older visitors who may want to come here to relax, we can make this more of a destination place for people, more than what exists.”
The company has also hooked up with three other hotels that it is working on in Ontario, Canada. All those things combined, he noted fall under the Panther Recycling Group, which has been separated in order to keep its assets in various groups.
The group today is worth somewhere between $150 million and continues to grow, Mosgrove said.
The building was bought from Salim Azeeze, whom Mosgrove said is still a shareholder in the hotel. Mosgrove explained that he is not buying the company which exists, since he does not want to be a part of the liabilities attached to Hotel Tower.
He said he is trying to keep the tower as part of the name change, since the Internet has been very “mean to that hotel and so if we want to take another life, we must look to incorporate the name Georgetown Tower or something that would reflect that”.
Mosgrove, speaking on the financial status of the former owner, said he is aware of the somewhat financial difficult position that prevailed.
But, he said as far as he knows now, Azeeze is still in reasonable standing with the bank.
Speaking on the liabilities attached to the hotel, Mosgrove said he is not interested in that aspect. The liabilities include the employees who lost their job during the period the hotel came into foreclosure.
He said it is his opinion that the company has the ability to pay off its debts and employees, especially after it has just recently received that large sum of money from the business transaction.
“If that money is being payed, then the former owners are in a position to pay its bills.”
Meanwhile, Mosgrove said he is sure that now is an excellent time for him or any other business person to get into the hotel business in Guyana, even though the competition seems to be mounting.
“It is a good time because the more hotels coming in, the more business it will draw. The more business options will be available for many. Whether you will stay at the Hilton or whether you will stay at the Pegasus, as long as you can get the amenities you want as long as you can afford. The more hotels, he reiterated open doors and opportunities for Guyana. That, he said will in no way hurt business in Guyana.”
October 31, 2014 By
Amid much fanfare at the National Cultural Centre, more than 34 students and four schools from across Guyana were given due recognition for their outstanding performance in 15 categories.
In the presence of President Donald Ramotar, Education Minister Priya Manickchand, Chief Education Officer Olato Sam and a packed audience, New Guyana School’s Jorrel De Santos, Aliah Mohamed of School of the Nations, and Ravi Singh from Westfield Prep were presented with trophies for outperforming their colleagues in the 2014 National Grade Six Assessment.
In the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) – Best Junior Secondary Performers Category, Bharti Bhoge who graduated with 17 grade ones from the Skeldon Linepath Secondary School received the top prize. Three other students received awards in this category.
But it was Queen’s College student Elisa Hamilton who stole the spotlight. Hamilton gained 19 grade ones and one grade two in this year’s CSEC examinations. She led the batch of six students who were honoured as the country’s Best Senior Secondary School Performers. Additionally, she was deemed the Best CSEC Performer and the most outstanding performer.
Her colleague, Larissa Wiltshire, who was also among the best senior CSEC performers, was praised for being the best science performer. In addition to Hamilton, Special Awards went to Ryhand Chand of Queen’s College who gained 13 subjects in Business Education; Aliyyah Abdul Kadir who copped 15 subjects in the area of Humanities; and Kishan Crichlow of New Amsterdam Secondary with 12 subjects in the area of Technical–Vocational Education.
In the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) Best Performers Category, Deowattie Narine, Cecil Cox, Andy Sattan, Prashat Shivdas, Keleshwar Singh and Benedict Sukra, all of Queen’s College, were presented with trophies. However, it was Narine who received the Best CAPE Performer Award, after gaining six grade ones and one grade two.
Six students from the Carnegie School of Home Economics received awards. In the area of Garment Construction, Latonya Andrews walked away with the top prize. She was followed by Nashayia Bovell (Commercial Food Preparation); Royden Wilson (Catering and Hospitality); Leonna Kissoon (General Cosmetology); Kamalita Heralall (Garment Construction – Craft Production Design Division) and Makebia Thomas (Visual Arts – Craft Production and Design Division). Another batch of six was honoured for their outstanding performance in the Guyana Technical Education Examination at the Government Technical Institute (GTI) while Sean Davis from the Linden Technical Institute copped the top spot at the regional level.
The Best Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) Award went to Duviena Badray from the Anna Regina Centre (Primary); while a special prize went to Rosemarie Ramitt who despite her blindness copped five grade ones.
Meanwhile, Rama Krishna Primary was identified as the most improved Primary School, while East Ruimveldt Secondary and Zeeburg Secondary received awards for being the most improved junior secondary schools. President’s College was deemed the most improved Senior Secondary School.
October 31, 2014 By
The People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/Civic) on Thursday paid tribute to the late Navin Chandarpal who died at his home on Tuesday after losing his battle with cancer. He was aged 63.
The Party’s General Secretary, Clement Rohee, noted that Chandarpal played a major role in the development of the PPP/C and that they have lost “a good soldier” who fought valiantly for the restoration of democracy to this country. Rohee said when the Party was going through rough times while in opposition, Chandarpal worked side by side with Dr Cheddi Jagan to ensure that members remain mobilised and did not lose sight of the mission. “Although it wasn’t an easy path; I watched Navin struggle, really struggle for the Party,” Rohee said.
General Secretary of the Women’s Progressive Organisation (WPO), Sheila Veerasammy broke down in tears as she delivered her tribute. Veerasammy reminisced on the time when Chandarpal vowed to always be there for her even though he knew his life was nearing an end. “I sat next to him on the stage and held his hands and asked if he knew what he meant to me and the WPO. He said “yes”. He said he will always be there… even though he already knew he was diagnosed with stomach cancer,” Veerasammy tearfully related.
The General Secretary of the WPO said she lost a mentor and the WPO lost its greatest support, political guide and biggest critic. Chandarpal was a vibrant member of the PPP/C who served as Presidential Adviser for a number of years before being appointed Minister of Agriculture.
Director of Sports and PPP/C Member of Parliament, Neil Kumar, said Chandarpal was his dearest colleague from the Progressive Youth Organisation. He described his late friend as the kind of man who gave up his personal interest for the interest of the people in Guyana. Additionally, Seepaul Narine, Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) General Secretary, said Chandarpal was a humble soul. He said during his tenure as Minister of Agriculture, he paid special attention to the happenings in the sugar industry and met with many ordinary workers to get their ideas to solve problems which were facing the industry. “He believed in the ordinary working-class people,” Narine said, adding that Chandarpal’s association with GAWU started in the 1980s when he participated in their education Programme. “He led by example….he marched to protest for democracy all over Guyana. Navin was an exemplary husband and father,” Narine noted.
Also speaking was General Secretary of the Guyana Rice Producers Association (GRPA) Dharamkumar Seeraj who reflected that Chandarpal was not only a politician but a poet who was known for his favourite quote “If the child resembles you it’s biological and if it resembles your neighbour it’s environmental”.
He reiterated that the former Minister of Agriculture is the main reason the GRPA is standing so firm. Also in attendance were Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, other Ministers of Government, close relatives and friends.
Chandarpal had been battling stage four stomach cancer for two years. He was born on April 25, 1951 in Corentyne. He attended Massiah Primary School and then progressed to Berbice High School. He then studied at the University of Guyana where he became the President of the Student Society. Chandarpal had the opportunity to further his studies in London, but he gave that up to stay and fight for the restoration of democratic rule in his nation. Chandarpal joined the PYO at an early age, rising to the post of the first Secretary of the organisation.
He was actively involved in the fight for fair elections in Guyana. Because of his dedication to the political arena, he soon became a member of the Central and Executive Committees of the Party. At the time of his death, he was the Presidential Adviser on Science and Technology.
October 30, 2014 By
… as Opposition parties call for sacking
By Devina Samaroo
President Donald Ramotar on Wednesday maintained that Kaieteur News Publisher Glenn Lall broke the law when he wiretapped a conversation between one of his reporters and the Attorney General Anil Nandlall.
“It was illegal,” President Ramotar said, referring to the recording which Lall has rendered in filing a complaint with the Police alleging that Nandlall made threats on his life and those of his staff.
“Clearly what was done to the Attorney General was an illegal act to record him without telling him he would be recorded,” the President told reporters at the Guyana International Conference Centre.
He said the conversation was not meant for the public’s ears and that “this serious breach exemplifies that persons do not respect the laws of the country”.
While the President repeatedly described the act as illegal, he said it was for the Police to take any enforcement action.
“The Police are supposed to take legal actions, not me,” Ramotar said when asked. The President stressed that what was done was illegal: “You seem to be missing the point. It was illegal… That’s the first point we must deal with,” he said.
On Monday, hours after the recording was made public, Government said, in a statement, that the recorded conversation was manipulated and distorted by Lall.
“There are many ways for a keen listener to discern the said manipulation. For example, a listener to the manipulated conversation would easily recognise that on many instances the person’s voice at the other end of the conversation was inaudible,” he said.
President Ramotar clarified what was meant by the statement:
“It was taken out of context. What is being done is to take everything out of context, that’s why we talked about manipulation. We’re not talking about doctoring the tape. We’re saying it’s not contextual,” he noted.
In his Police complaint filed on Monday, the Kaieteur News owner claimed the Attorney General was aware of a scheme to destroy him and his newspaper.
Lall, in his short statement to the Police, further claimed that he received several warnings of the imminent danger that threatens his life, and this danger also encompasses the numerous staff at his Saffon Street, Charlestown, Georgetown media house.
Meanwhile, the two parliamentary Opposition parties Alliance For Change (AFC) and A Partnership for National Unity (APNC) have both defended Lall and called on Ramotar to sack Nandlall.
Ramjattan had accompanied Lall to the Police when the AG made the report.
In its defence of Lall, APNU said the Attorney General as head of the Guyanese Bar and the Government’s legal adviser holds a pivotal position in the maintenance of law and order in this country.
“He has breached that trust reposed in that Office by the Guyanese people and must perforce pay the price. APNU calls for the immediate resignation of Anil Nandlall from the Office of Attorney General of Guyana.”
Also defending Lall, for its part, the AFC said it was shocked beyond disbelief at the conversation between the AG and the reporter.
The Working People’s Alliance (WPA) – a key part of APNU – also defended Lall in a separate statement, saying it was convinced that the recording was genuine and was appalled by the Government’s decision to question the authenticity and accuracy of the transcript and recording and to stand by Nandlall.
October 30, 2014 By
A US-based Guyanese couple who allegedly facilitated Glenn Lall defrauding State million in taxes through the importation of two luxury vehicles through the remigrant scheme could be extradited from the US, sources close to Government has said.
The couple Narootandeo and Gharbassi Brijnanan had fled the jurisdiction when word got out that a probe had been launched against Lall and despite them being charged on several counts of tax fraud, they were not present at the first hearing last month.
Guyana Times was told that authorities here have been trying to locate the couple and could move towards activating the extradition treaty Guyana has with the United States to have the couple brought back here and charged.
Sources at the GRA believe that the absent couple could possibly stall the case, which could temporarily let Lall off the hook. Lall and his wife, Bhena Lall are jointly charged with the couple.
“We are looking at ways in which we can get the couple stand in court and extradition is definitely an option,” a source said. Guyana has a valid extradition treaty with the United States, which was amended back in 2009 to correct a lacuna that had prevented Guyana from extraditing fugitives wanted in the United States. The case comes up back on November 24.
The tax regulatory body is claiming that remigrant couple, of Number 61 Village, Corentyne, Berbice, had imported two Lexus LX 570 motor vehicles into Guyana.
However, the two vehicles were not kept or used by the remigrants and Gharbassi reportedly does not have a driver’s licence. This is in breach of the Customs Act and the conditions of the grant of the duty-free concession.
GRA has said that investigations had revealed that the vehicles were being driven by Lall and his wife and they were seized at a house in Nandy Park. The four persons are charged with two joint counts of knowingly committing fraudulent evasion of import duties.
The charge stated that between June 18, 2013 and September 21, 2013, together with others unknown at Lot 200-201 Camp Street, Georgetown, they knowingly aided and abetted each other, in the fraudulent evasion of import duties of customs due and payable to the Revenue Authority on one Lexus LX 570 motor vehicle registration number PRR 8398 with engine capacity 5700 cc, Chassis number JTJHY7AX6 D4094851 and number JTJHY7AX6 D4096745.
The Lalls are charged jointly with two counts of knowingly dealt with goods with intent to defraud the revenue of duties on the said motor vehicle.
The particulars of the offence read that between June 18, 2013 and August 30, 2014, at Lot 110 Regent Street, Charlestown, Georgetown, they knowingly dealt with goods with intent to defraud the revenue of duties on one Lexus LX 570 motor vehicle bearing registration number PRR 8399 with engine capacity 5700 cc, Chassis number JTJHY7AX6 D4094851 and number JTJHY7AX6 D4096745.
Additionally, the Brijnanans were jointly charged with the offences of making and subscribing to a false declaration. The charges alleged that between June 18, 2013 and September 20, 2013, at Lot 200-201 Camp Street, Georgetown, Demerara, a place in the Georgetown Magisterial District, they made and subscribed to false declarations on one Lexus LX 570 motor vehicle with engine capacity 5700 cc, Chassis number JTJHY7AX6 D4096745 to be US$44,158.00 and one Lexus LX 570 motor vehicle with engine capacity 5700 cc, Chassis number JTJHY7AX6 D4094851 to be US$44,158.00, contrary to Section 217(1)(a) of the Customs Act Chapter 82:01.
Lall and his wife were also recently sued by acting Town Clerk of the Mayor and City Council Carol Sooba for the sum of $ 5,660,142 and $60,142 for unpaid rates and taxes for the years 2004 to 2013 in relation to their property at 24 Saffon Street, Charlestown, where Kaieteur News is located.
The case is currently being heard at the Georgetown Magistrates Court. In a defence filed by attorney at law Khemraj Ramjattan, the Lalls claim that they had a “set off” arrangement with the City Council and they are not indebted for the taxes and that they repaid these taxes by publication of advertisements in the Kaieteur News.
October 30, 2014 By
Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman on Wednesday said that the country is faced with a “clear and unvarnished constitutional crisis” after the Clerk, Sherlock Isaacs defied his order to fix a date for the reconvening of Parliament.
Isaacs has insisted that the power to do so lay in the hands of the Government. But Trotman disagrees saying that “all stakeholders will have to work together to resolve it”.
He said, as the sitting Speaker, “I invite all well thinking Guyanese to join me in examining all viable options and avenues to break the impasse in the interest of our beloved nation.
“In this regard I stand ready to entertain all reasonable suggestions and anticipate an early closure of this unfortunate development,” Trotman said hours after Isaacs informed him via letter that he could not accede to his request.
Trotman had written Isaacs earlier this week instructing him to set November 6 as the date for the House to reconvene. The Clerk then consulted with his Caribbean colleagues and on Wednesday responded to Trotman.
He had held the same view earlier when Trotman had asked his opinion on the matter, citing two previous attempts when a similar was made and were turned down by the then clerks.
“Not for the first time in the forty-eight year history of the National Assembly, the Speaker and the Clerk are at odds over the power of the Speaker to convene the sittings of the National Assembly.
Today, October 29, 2014, I was formally notified by the Clerk of the National Assembly that after consideration, my request for the National Assembly to be convened on Thursday, November 6, 2014, cannot be given effect to by him because he is of the view that the Speaker lacks the authority to convene sittings of National Assembly under Standing Order 8 (1) and (2).”
Trotman said in his statement that he will be writing to the Clerk to register his disagreement with his interpretation of the Standing Orders and his consequent position adopted.
“I will also so advise in writing, as well as to the Leaders of the political parties in the House. This is a most unfortunate position arrived at, and obviously arises out of a very narrow interpretation of the Standing Orders, and of the prevailing circumstances whereby the National Assembly entered into recess and has emerged from that recess, and a majority of Members desire to meet.”
Trotman insists that the National Assembly must resume sittings and cannot be bound by the whims of the Executive branch to have to await its consent before meeting.
He said such an interpretation flies in the face of the doctrine of separation of powers, and the constitutional right of the elected representatives to meet to perform their functions.
“The roles of Speaker and Clerk of the National Assembly are regulated by the Constitution and the Standing Orders.
“As constitutional officers, both are expected to work symbiotically for the National Assembly to be able to properly discharge its constitutional roles and functions. It is the duty of the Clerk to convene the sitting by making all arrangements including, summoning and ensuring the attendance of Members, and the preparation and circulation of the Order Paper.
“The Speaker performs the role of “Presiding Officer” once the Assembly is convened; whilst the function of convening National Assembly remains the sole preserve of the Clerk.”
According to Trotman the effect of the Clerk’s decision not to convene the sitting has the effect of crippling the ability of the Members of Parliament to meet.
This in itself, he said brings the Constitution into derision and disregard and cannot be what the framers of our Constitution intended. “As a majority of Members have indicated their desire for the National Assembly to meet, the nation is confronted with we have a
Meanwhile, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has “strongly condemned any attempts to delay the reconvening of the National Assembly.”
APNU affirmed that the present ‘dilly-dallying’ is not in the best interest of the nation, demanding the convening of the National Assembly without any further delay.
After soliciting the advice of his CARICOM colleagues, Isaacs told Guyana Times prior to Trotman’s statement that his initial interpretation still stands. According to Isaacs when matters are not provided for in the Rules, reference is made to practice and precedents.
According to him the practice is that Sittings are requested by the Government. He added that the Parliament of Guyana there are two precedents one involving Frank A. Narain, C.C.H., former Clerk of the National Assembly and the other involving Elwyn Viapree, former Clerk of the Legislature.
The Alliance For Change (AFC) has been urging the swift reconvening of Parliament particularly to deal with the No-Confidence Motion it tabled last August against the Government.
However, Trotman is proposing that the House should proceed with the matters that were on the agenda and if need be, add new ones.
In a letter to leaders of the three sides in the House Trotman on Monday outlined his interpretation of the Standing Order that deals with the reconvening of Parliament and also his instructions to the Clerk to fix the next sitting.
In his letter to Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Leader of Government’s Business; Opposition Leader David Granger and AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan, Trotman recalled that at the last meeting of the Parliamentary Management Committee on October 15, the issue of the date for the resumption of sittings of the National Assembly came up, and it was unanimously agreed that the Government and Opposition Chief Whips would continue in their efforts to agree on a date.
He said recent communication with the Whips, and pronouncements in the media attributed to both, clearly lend to the view that the positions are intractable and that the likelihood of a date been agreed upon soon is unlikely.
“There is gridlock, and we are faced with the untenable and unhealthy situation of the National Assembly not meeting since July 10, 2014. I am sure that you will agree with me that this cannot be allowed to continue any longer as there is no state of national emergency or otherwise that prevents the Assembly from not meeting.
“In fact, on the contrary, I make bold to say that there are myriad issues of national import that require our immediate attention.”
Trotman said in his letter that notwithstanding the process in which the Whips were involved, “I chose to engage the Clerk and former Speakers of the National Assembly with a view to enquiring how best we can have the sittings resumed.
“I have received opinions from Mr Sherlock E Isaacs, and Messrs Sase Narine, OR, SC, and Ralph Ramkarran, SC. In the case of Isaacs, he is of the opinion that Standing Order 8 (2) does not authorise the Speaker to call a sitting where there is no fixed date for the next sitting; recall that on July 10, the House was adjourned to “a date to be fixed”.
Mr Isaacs’ opinion is in consonance with two previous opinions rendered on the very Standing Order, and I am, in fact, in complete agreement with him in so far as Standing Order 8 (2) is concerned.”
However, Trotman said that this cannot mean that the National Assembly cannot be convened unless by agreement; especially where such agreement appears elusive or even impossible.
“In this regard, I have found favour with the opinion rendered by the former Speakers of the National Assembly, which in effect states that the National Assembly shall meet “day by day”; unless otherwise decided by the National Assembly, and that as the Assembly automatically went into recess on August 10, so too did it automatically come out of recess on October 10, 2014. Therefore, the House should have been convened forthwith on the first working day thereafter.
October 30, 2014 By
… as company is rebranded
By Jomo Paul
The Neal and Massy Group of Companies which was an umbrella company for Geddes Grant Limited, Demerara Oxygen Company Limited, and CCS stores, was on Wednesday officially rebranded to Massy Industries- a move that will see all of the subsidiaries being changed to Massy.
The rebranding comes as the regional conglomerate opened a $200M distribution facility at Montrose, East Coast Demerara at what was once known as the Starlite Drive-In Complex and will serve as the company’s primary distribution center for all of products in Guyana.
Aside from those previously mentioned, those facilities and corporate services include Associated Industries Limited, now Massy Industries, NM Services Limited, now Massy Services Guyana Limited, NM Security Solution now Massy Security and Marketing and Distribution, now Massy Trading.
Massy Group of Companies offers services in the insurance industry, auto sales and rentals, pharmacy, distribution, supermarkets, and agricultural services, among others. All of these services will still be offered under the Massy brand which came complete with a soca-styled theme song “I am Massy”.
Massy Industries operates in Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, Bahamas, Nederland Antilles, the USA, Canada, Columbia and Africa. It was explained that the rebranding process initiated in Trinidad and Tobago, then Barbados, then Jamaica and it now arrives in Guyana, the country which holds a wide array of Massy subsidiaries.
Group Chief Executive Officer Gervasse Warner told the gathering of private sector and government officials that the decision to change the brand of the company came as a result of a widespread consultation, which also saw several other changes being made including the development of a company manifesto. Warner explained that the group which is over 90 years old has and will always be change-friendly and sees this historic modification to its brand as a positive propellant for the company.
“Everything is now Massyfied” said Warner.
The company believes that redefining its brand will somewhat strengthen the cooperation that is already evident throughout all of its subsidiaries. The company said that as the subsidiaries grew, the bond however weakened and all of the subsidiaries working under one unique brand will now reinvigorate that lost bond.
In addition, it will also provide customers with an enhanced sense of loyalty knowing that all of the companies are linked. “The rebranding maximizes marketing efficacy by powerfully connecting the equity of strong subsidiary brands with the corporate brand vice versa.”
Warner explained that Massy was not a decision arrived at by him or any of the company executives but rather by a consulting firm. He pointed out that Neal and Massy was already commonly known as Massy. The company felt that Massy was a rather strong name that would translate across all borders without much difficulty.
Warner also informed the gathering that the Massy groups have major expansion plans for Guyana. He said that in 18 months, the Group is hoping to open its first supermarket chain in Guyana. This initiative will create hundreds of jobs, adding to the already 394 staff count at Massy.
Meanwhile, Massy Guyana Chief Executive Officer Deo Persaud said that the transformation is an exciting event for the team and the country. He said “From today we are Massy and all of our companies carry that brand…from today Neal and Massy will be known as Massy. One brand makes it easier.”
Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh who declared the “Centralised Distribution Warehouse Facility open commended the executives for placing such confidence in Guyana’s sustainability by investing in the economy. The Finance Minister noted that the commissioning of the facility was a “tangible demonstration of confidence that was worked so hard for…a strong expression of confidence in Guyana.
He noted too that the company’s continued growth over the last seven years “pays testimony” to the growth of Guyana as an economy as a whole. Over the last eight years, Guyana has experienced uninterrupted economic growth which is the longest period the country has experienced consecutive growth for.
“To those who say that investor confidence is flagging or wavering in Guyana, this facility refutes that claim” said Dr Singh.
October 29, 2014 By
… AG to test court’s ability to prosecute
Attorney General (AG) Anil Nandlall has signalled his intention to test the strength of the 2008 Interception of Communications Act as he moves against Kaieteur News Publisher Glenn Lall, who allegedly illegally recorded a private conversation he had with one of the newsman’s reporters.
The gist of the conversation was evidently related to the $100 million duty-free scam in which Lall is presently enmeshed before the courts.
The Interception of Communications Act of 2008 prohibits the interception of communication unless a warrant is issued by a judge based on an application.
The law is also clear that any recording or tapping of citizens’ private communication must be authorised by the Chief of Staff of the Army, the Commissioner of Police, and the Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).
However, these officers would first have to apply to a judge for a 90-day warrant to intercept communication.
Only under these conditions does the Act allow the monitoring and recording of transmissions conveyed by fibre-optic cable or any other form of wire line, by wireless telegraphy, Voice Over Internet Protocol, Internet satellite and all other forms of electromagnetic or electrochemical communication.
Telecommunication service providers will be duty-bound to provide assistance on interception warrants.
According to the law, anyone found guilty of illegal wiretapping would be liable to a fine of $5 million and a jail term not exceeding three years.
A judge, before granting the warrant, the law states, must be satisfied that the information obtained would likely assist investigations.
There is also a proviso vesting authority in the Minister of Home Affairs in the case of national emergency.
Additionally, personnel acting in good faith under the ambit of the law would be immune from liability for their actions.
None of these conditions existed with the recording the AG’s conversation with the reporter, which appeared to be friendly banter via cell phone.
Speaking with Guyana Times on Tuesday, Nandlall indicated that he was in discussion with his lawyer and will soon be making a complaint to the Police. He is confident that given the provision in the law, Lall was in serious breach.
Lall was accompanied by Alliance For Change (AFC) Leader Khemraj Ramjattan, when he filed a complaint with the Guyana Police Force against Nandlall for alleged threats contained in the taped conversation.
Government has already slammed the newspaper owner for attempting to taint the integrity and image of the AG by distributing a “manipulated” audio recording.
“Today, to our utter consternation, the public listened to a voice recording and was shocked at what the nation heard.
“Broadcast on social media, the recording contains a distorted, manipulated conversation between a Minister and Leonard Gildarie, a reporter from the Kaieteur News.
“It is abhorrent that someone would be so indecent and immoral to manipulate a loose private conversation, in such a dastardly way,” the Government said in a release.
It declared that it would not condone “this privilege being manipulated to distort and manipulate public opinion” about the Government Minister.
“There are many ways for a keen listener to discern the said manipulation. For example, a listener to the manipulated conversation would easily recognise that in many instances the person’s voice at the other end of the conversation was inaudible.
“The Government of Guyana cherishes freedom of the press, but when private media operatives use the power of the mass media to manipulate public opinion, our nation suffers from the negativity.
“The Kaieteur News has sustained an intensive, vicious attack on members of the Government of Guyana, using its media power to distort even private conversations that it illegally records,” the release further stated.
The Bill was passed by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) majority Government in response to the widespread use of mobile phones in the planning and commission of major crimes.
Government members had also argued that the absence of the law was one of the reasons why it was difficult to do anything about the tapping of phones.
October 29, 2014 By