…says he thought victim was 17Thirty-eight-year-old Dhanraj Persaud, of West Bank Demerara (WBD), who had an unlawful relationship with a teenage girl was on Wednesday jailed for 18 years after the court rejected his claim of believing the girl was 17 at the time.Jailed: Dhanraj PersaudThis comes nearly one month after a 12-member jury found him guilty of raping the then 15-year-old at a WBD village.His sentence was handed down by Justice JoAnn Barlow at the Sexual Offences Court. He learnt his fate following the reading of a probation report that his attorney, Maxwell McKay had requested.In that very report, Persaud outlined that he and the victim were involved in a relationship and he thought her real age was 17. He held out that the victim told him that she was 17.The court, however, found that Persaud knew the girl since she was about 10 years old, growing up in the community. Through her victim impact statement, the teen told the court that she was living in a waking nightmare as a result of what happened to her, further saying that her pain has contributed to her having frequent suicidal thoughts. She asked that Persaud be punished for his crime. Persaud, then 33, committed the act on October 23, 2013, in the county of Demerara.Justice Barlow ordered the offender to utilise programmes available in prison for sexual offenders. Persaud was said to have dropped out of school in Grade Six (Primary Four) and soon after, he started to work as a labourer.State Counsels Tiffini Lyken, Seeta Bishundial and Abigail Gibbs prosecuted the case.
Corentyne triple murderAfter close to two weeks of intense investigations, the three persons who confessed to shooting to death threeCarlton Chaitram (left); Tameshwar Jagmohan and Jairam Chaitram as they exited the holding area at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courtsmen at Mibicuri Creek, Black Bush Polder, Beribce, were on Tuesday arraigned before City Magistrate Judy Latchman in a packed courtroom.Carlton Chaitram, 38; his 18-year-old son Jairam Chaitram; and his employee, 26-year-old Tameshwar Jagmohan, all of Mibicuri South, Black Bush Polder, were charged for murder.The men were not required to plead to the capital offence which stated that on July 21, they shot and killed 37-year-old Pawan Chandradeo; his 15-year-old son, Jaikarran Chandradeo; and his 33-year-old brother-in-law Naresh Rooplall.The three unrepresented accused were remanded to prison until September 6.Chandradeo, his son and brother-in-law had left home to go fishing but never returned. Their bodies were found the following day by a farmer.Autopsies performed on the bodies of Jaikarran and Rooplall listed their cause of death as shock and haemorrhaging caused by a gunshot wound. Chandradeo died as a result of shock and haemorrhaging following a laceration to the head and a fractured skull.Investigations led to the arrest of close to a dozen persons and during intense interrogations, the three suspects confessed to the murders.Reports are Carlton Chaitram, a farmer, was reportedly stealing fuel from another farmer when they were seen by the trio who were fishing nearby. It was reported that out of fear of being caught; the farmer, his son and his employee killed the trio.
By Devina SamarooIt was high drama on Wednesday evening when a Pandit made some startling remarks at the Heritage Month Interfaith Service, prompting the Adviser to the Indigenous Affairs Minister, Mervyn Williams to walk out, completely offended.The Interfaith Prayer Service, which was held at the Amerindian Heritage Village in Sophia, is an annual event that ushers in the celebrations of Amerindian Heritage Month.Pandit Deodatt TillackBut this year’s event was far from traditional after Pandit Deodatt Tillack of the Shri Samayapuram Mariamma Temple took to the stage to offer his contributions to the service.In examining this year’s theme “Our Culture, Earth’s Future – Save the Environment, Live the Indigenous Way”, Pandit Tillack declared to the amusement of sections of the audience that US oil giant ExxonMobil was here to rob the environment and that persons must beware.Most shocking, however, was when he declared that the indigenous way is characterised by paedophilia.“I was reliably informed that in Amerindians’ tradition and culture, and please I stand to be correct, that a girl as soon as she enters puberty, she must be equipped with these fundamental knowledge: she must know how to make the pepper-pot, the cassava bread and she must also know how to warm the bed…,” he stated.At this point, a visibly upset Williams rose from his seat up in front and walked out of the benab.Perhaps oblivious to the alarmed expressions on the faces of the audience, the Pandit went on to highlight that these practices were against the laws of the country.“While they seem it is okay for you to get married at 12, or a 17-year-old boy to marry a 12-year-old girl; our Constitution speaks against that…and according to the criterion that meets the criteria of paedophilia is that the person has to be five years older than the victim,” he stated.In wrapping up his speech, the Pandit charged that good qualities were the best garment, and urged everyone to decorate themselves with them.InappropriateThe Ministerial Adviser was standing outside the benab trying to comprehend what had just transpired when the media exited.Approached for a comment on the matter, he told media operatives that the presentation was utterly inappropriate for the prayer service.“I was extremely uncomfortable, because I believe this to be a very sacred occasion. It is invoking the blessings of God Almighty under whatever name you call him on this activity and I think there was a misconception of some issues, and I believe that those issues, having been misconceived, lead to an inappropriate presentation,” Williams explained.He posited that the Pandit should have sought clarity ahead of the presentation.“I think it was perhaps misinformation and perhaps the absence of some clarification led to this inappropriateness. I believe if one is going to speak to an issue, I believe it is in one’s best interest to seek clarification on all the details one requires before making the presentation,” he stated.Moreover, Williams indicated that he strongly disagreed that the culture to which the Pandit alluded did not exist.Respecting opinionsIndigenous Peoples’ Affairs Minister Sydney Allicock, when approached for a comment on the situation, simply noted that everyone has their own opinions.“Everybody has an opinion and that’s their opinion. For me personally, these things do happen. It’s a multiracial society and this is just one of those things to encourage dialogue,” he stated.President’s takePrompted for his position on the situation, President David Granger expressed that the indigenous people should speak for themselves regarding their cultural practices.“I think every ethnic group has its own cultural and religious customs and rituals. It is my view that the best people to speak about their own cultures are the people themselves. Sometimes when we go outside of our cultural boundaries there be some practices which we won’t comprehend. I agree that it is common that we are one people and that we should understand each other better. But in the particular matter that you refer to, I would prefer that the indigenous people speak for themselves,” the President stated.Generally, Granger also urged that individuals should broaden their knowledge and learn to understand and appreciate the country’s diverse cultures, especially before speaking definitively on them.PrayersThe controversy aside, the Interfaith Service was marked by prayers and cultural presentations from a number of Amerindian groups and religious organisations.Prayers were offered by the Hallejuah Group Tasserene, the Baha’i community, the Anglican Church, the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, the Muslim community, and the Guyana Rastafarian Council.Various groups also presented Arecuna, Akawaio, Patamona, Makushi, Wapishana and WaiWai prayers.
… as party yet to clear M campaign debt…Trotman returns to head partyAlliance For Change (AFC) delegates on Saturday rejected incumbent leader Khemraj Ramjattan’s bid to be re-elected, instead choosing former leader and party co-founder Raphael Trotman.AFC delegates and supporters gathered in the Vreed-en-Hoop Primary as voting got underwayThe voting took place during the AFC’s fifth biennial National Executive Conference (NEC) at the Vreed-en-Hoop Primary School. When the dust settled, Trotman received 127 votes versus Ramjattan’s 125, thus being declared the winner.News of Trotman’s election was greeted by congratulatory messages from President David Granger, who is currently in The Dominican Republic attending the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit.Granger expressed enthusiasm in working with Trotman as the new leader and recommitted to the Cummingsburg Accord, which joins the AFC and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) together.The Accord had designated responsibilities such as domestic affairs and chairing of Cabinet to AFC Executive and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo. When these things did not materialise, the Opposition had noted that Nagamootoo’s role was largely ceremonial. Nagamootoo has always insisted otherwise.Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo as he addressed the crowd. Seated at the head table from left are Party Executives: Junior Indigenous People’s Affairs Minister Valerie Garrido-Lowe; Agriculture Minister Noel Holder; Business Minister Dominic Gaskin; Public Telecommunications Minister Catherine Hughes; Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan; Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman; and Public Infrastructure Minister David PattersonMeanwhile, after Trotman’s victory in the leadership race and Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes’ decision to withdraw, Ramjattan was declared Chairman of the party.Hughes was declared Vice Chairperson, beating challenges from junior Indigenous People’s Affairs Minister Valerie Garrido-Lowe and Audwin Rutherford. With Hughes receiving 116 votes, her margin over Lowe – 76 votes and Rutherford – 47, was a gaping one.Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson was also defeated in his bid for re-election as General Secretary by Marlon Williams, who gained 125 votes versus Patterson’s 83. Michael Carrington, the third contender, received 12 votes.There had been much contention about Ramjattan’s intent to accept nomination for the leadership of the party. Many observers, including persons affiliated with the party, had pointed out provisions in the AFC constitution prohibiting a leader from returning to a post for more than two terms.Article 19 (1) of the AFC’s constitution provides for the rotation of leaders within the AFC “so as to ensure a broader activism in leadership positions by the membership”.However, Ramjattan told reporters on Thursday that while the constitution was formulated to ensure the change of leadership was a necessity, it does not exclude those of whom might want to run for a third term or whom might be nominated to run.“… that formulation was never done in identical terms to what the national Constitution says, which eliminated after two terms. We were two very good lawyers who formulated it in that way which extends but a desirability – that’s why the world “ought” was used and not “shall” or “must”,” he explained.Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman, a co-founder of the party, had objected to the notion of one member holding the same position for more than two consecutive terms. In fact, Trotman, who helped to draft the party’s constitution, had asserted that the spirit of the constitution was to ensure that the leadership is constantly rotated.However, Ramjattan posited that this will result in the entire hierarchy of the party being excluded from running.According to Ramjattan, his reason behind accepting the nomination would be to create a precedent that indeed people can run for a third term if it is a necessity of the situation and the circumstances.He had justified continuing for another term by pointing out that he was nominated by his party’s membership. He had also said he provided high quality leadership since he assumed the role in 2012.
Economic report shows– deficit moves from US$53M to US$69MBy Jarryl BryanWith the release of the 2017 macro-economic report, the 2.1 per cent growth rate is not the only thing of concern. The report shows that the deficit in Guyana’s balance of payments, an important economic indicator, is on the rise.The Balance of Payments report contains statistical data on a country’s fiscal transactions, including imports and exports. To record a deficit, Guyana would therefore have had to spend more on imports, among other things, that it derived from exports.According to the report, Guyana’s overall balance of payment in the 2017 fiscal year showed a deficit of US$69.5 million. This is a hike when compared to US$53.3 million the previous year. A breakdown of the figures shows stunning disparities.On the one hand, the current account shows a deficit of US$287.4 million for the year 2017. But in the previous fiscal year, the report notes, this was just US$12.4 million. The report admits that this is because of a negative balance on the merchandise trade account.“The further weakening was due to the negative balance on the merchandise trade account. Merchandise exports were slightly lower than projected, mainly on account of lower export earnings of gold and other exports in the last two months of the year.”When Finance Minister Winston Jordan presented the 2018 budget last year, he had announced that merchandise imports were estimated to grow by 9.6 per cent. This had been attributed to increased imports of mining machinery, chemicals, fuel and lubricants. According to the report, imports exceeded the Government’s projections.“Imports were slightly more than the US$1.59 billion projected at the time of the presentation of the 2018 budget. As a result, the merchandise trade deficit of US$196.2 million was considerably higher than the projected deficit of US$147.2 million.“Notwithstanding, the deficit on the services account was lower than estimated. The improvement in the services account more than offsets the weaker balances on both the non-factor services and unrequited transfers accounts,” the report states.Capital accountWhile the Current Account is nothing to boast about, the Capital Account improved. The report notes that it showed a surplus of US$228 million, an increase from a deficit of US$13.2 million in 2016. It also exceeded a projected surplus of US$181.8 million.This publication had recently done an article on the state of Guyana’s net foreign reserves. A recent report from the Central Bank had indicated that Guyana’s net foreign reserves, held by the bank in foreign currency notes, have fallen to their lowest point since 2008. The reserves went from a high point of US$825 million in 2012 to US$498.5 million as at March 2018.A perusal of the Bank of Guyana’s statistical abstract shows that the reserves started dropping in 2013, going from $751.2 million in that year to $652.2 million in 2014. It is in 2017 that the reserves plunged well into the US$500 million range.By November of last year, the reserves were recorded at US$562 million. And as at March 2018, for the first time since 2008, the net foreign reserves fell to below the US$500 million benchmark. Interestingly enough, the end-of-year report details that US$12.1 million was drawn down from the reserves to finance the balance of payments.“The 2017 balance of payments deficit was financed by exceptional financing of US$1.9 million in debt relief and US$55.6 million in debt forgiveness, along with a drawdown of US$12.1 million in net foreign assets of the Bank of Guyana,” the report states.“Additionally, gross revenues of the Bank of Guyana were equal to about 3.1 months of import cover at the end of 2017; slightly above the three-month minimum benchmark for reserve adequacy.”The Parliamentary Opposition had previously expressed concern over the increasing deficit in the country’s balance of payments, which it had said would continue to have serious implications for the local economy.
…CANU swoops down on trafficking ring Ranks of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) arrested a 19-year-old female at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and took her to a city hospital where she excreted 44 cocaine-filled pellets.Reports are the teen was a passenger on outgoing flight BW 526 destined for JFK International Airport in New York on Friday. CANU ranks approached the teen after they suspected she was a drug mule.After her arrest, the teen was escorted to a city hospital, where she was admitted. Having excreted the pellets, the young woman still remains a patient under observation as of Saturday evening.Meanwhile, based on information obtained, CANU ranks swooped down on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) on Friday evening. During the exercise, they stumbled upon 279 suspected cocaine-filled pellets.CANU ranks have arrested an additional three persons while they are hunting another two suspects who remain at large. It was reported that one of the suspects still at large was at the ECD residence and when the ranks arrived, but managed to escape.This bust comes less than a week after CANU ranks intercepted a 37-year-old cosmetologist, Natasha Blair, who was about to travel with her 11-month-old baby. The woman had ingested and inserted cocaine pellets.
Minister of State Joseph Harmon on Sunday, urged the residents of Mabaruma, Region One (Barima-Waini) and its surrounding communities to hold public officials, inclusive of those in Regional and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (RDC/NDCs) accountable.Minister of State Joseph Harmon addressing residents at the Mabaruma Primary SchoolPublic officials, the Minister stated have been elected to serve and citizens must, therefore, demand that their interests and those of the community are addressed.Minister Harmon was at the time speaking at a community meeting held at the Mabaruma Primary School where he addressed concerns raised by residents.He told residents that Central Government would continue to play its part in ensuring that infrastructural, social and other needs were met but noted that the Regional and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils must also share in this responsibility.Harmon also said that community leaders and regional and local officials must understand their roles and endeavour to function efficiently. He posited that citizens suffer the most when leaders become complacent and do not serve in the best interests of those who elected them.“Our community leaders must face the community. If you cannot talk to your people and do things for them then they will not respect you or listen to you. You have to see people and see what they need. As a leader, you need to get on the ground and relate to people so that you can understand what is taking place. It is always important to come on the ground and get in touch with the people, with their feelings, with their understandings and what needs to be done,” Minister Harmon said.Several residents raised concerns about Government-sponsored programmes such as the Sustainable Livelihoods and Entrepreneurial Development [SLED] Project, community training and other capacity-building opportunities, which they said is only beneficial to one section of the community.Harmon assured the aggrieved residents that the Social Protection and Public Health Ministries along with other agencies would be consulted on the approach used to select candidates for programmes and initiatives. He made it clear that all must benefit from opportunities made available by the Government.Additionally, the Minister of State spoke of President David Granger’s Frontline Village Policy that was announced during his visit to Whitewater – also in Region One – earlier this year. The policy speaks to the establishment of military patrol bases and heightened 24-hour security by the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and the Guyana Police Force (GPF).As such, Minister Harmon urged the residents to continue being vigilant as the country’s borders are expansive.
An Austin Street, Campbellville, Georgetown woman is now traumatised and nursing injuries to her head after she was beaten and robbed by gunmen who invaded her home in a brazen daylight robbery on Wednesday morning.The woman, 49-year-old Baljinder Kaur, was at home with her maid when the three armed men invaded at about 10:00h.CCTV footage showing the robbers escaping after robbing theCampbellville womanCCTV footage showed the three men scaling the front fence of the woman’s yard and gaining entry into the upper flat of her house through the veranda.This newspaper was told that neighbours heard screams emanating from Kaur’s residence and shortly after saw men with a black bag exiting the premises. One of the men was seen placing a gun into his pants’ waist as they escaped. Persons in the area, realizing that it was a robbery, rushed over to Kaur’s home and found her with a bloodied face.“It had a huge burst on she forehead, she said they come with two guns, they use one to lash she in the forehead, but they didn’t do the maid anything,” a neighbour who went to the woman’s aid revealed.The neighbours are contending that the bandits seem to be familiar with the area.“These people know what they were doing, they didn’t spend any time. How they know that at that exact time these people had this cash in the house? This thing happened within five to ten minutes; because my aunty said when she saw the people them go in there, she watch to see what they were doing and then she went to stir her pot and by the time she came back, they come out and she said look the boys them coming out,” another neighbour remarked.Kaur was rushed to the hospital where she received several stitches for the head wound.The gunmen reportedly escaped with over $1.5 million and some $600,000 worth of jewellery. The money was withdrawn from a city bank on Tuesday to use for construction work on the house.This publication understands that this was not the first robbery that was carried out on the woman, whose husband is a businessman.Just two weeks ago, the man had parked his vehicle in front of his premises when it was vandalized and the vehicle’s battery was removed.“The man is businessman, he come and park he jeep out here and later find it break into and they remove he battery and so and went away with it, I’m thinking is the same guys them” another neighbour speculated.The matter was reported to the Police who visited the scene and are said to be investigating.
Tuesday evening’s meeting will be the fifth so far this season, with Grande Prairie sweeping the season series so far.Grande Prairie has been tearing through the NWJHL as of late, as they enter tonight with an impressive 12 game winning streak. The last time the JDA Kings suffered a loss was back on December 8, a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Beaverlodge Blades.On the opposite end of the ice, the Huskies have been rolling since January 13, when they began their four game winning streak by beating the North Peace Navigators 3-2 in Fort St. John.- Advertisement -The Huskies defence will have to be sharper than a Guinsoo knife, as the JDA Kings have scored a league high 233 goals, compared to the 144 scored by Fort St. John.The puck drops at 8:30 p.m., and all the live action from Grande Prairie can be heard live on 100.1 Moose FM. Listen for the entertaining and informative Moose FM pre-game show at 8:15 p.m.To listen live, click here.Advertisement
Players and coaches with the Fort St. John Huskies will get their first taste of game action next week. The pre-season schedule for the team starts on September 16 in Chetwynd for a game against the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks.The Huskies will follow that up with two games next weekend against the Vermilion Tigers of the North Eastern Alberta Junior B Hockey League on home ice. The games will be at the Pomeroy Sport Centre on the 19th and 20th at 8 p.m. and 12 noon respectively.Entrance to the games at the Pomeroy Sport Centre is free, however donations to the club will be accepted in the stands throughout the game.- Advertisement –