MFDP meeting with UN and Development Partners at the Pan African PlazaFinance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., has disclosed that youth development, education, health, roads, and private sector development are key priorities of the new government and will be part of its short-term delivery plan.He said it will be accomplished through domestic resource mobilization and a coordinated effort led by the Government of Liberia and its development partners.Speaking during a meeting with the United Nations and other development partners on Tuesday, Minister Tweah assured that the government is committed to working with all partners in implementing its pro-poor governance agenda.Minister Tweah said the Government of Liberia is committed to mobilizing domestic resources through transparent budget execution and reduction of wasteful spending and called on development partners to align their interventions to that of the government’s to speed up pro-poor transformation in Liberia.He said the alignment of the interventions will improve the partnership and promote coordination, adding that the impact of all the interventions will be felt in all the counties.“There is a need for GoL and UN development partners to work together on a framework matrix modalities,” he noted.Tweah pledged government’s support to continue fiscal decentralization and thanked development partners for the tremendous support over the years. He also called on the partners to help transform Liberia for the ordinary people to be happy.For his part, the DSRSG/Resident Coordinator, Yacoub EL Hillo, said they are committed to working with the Liberian government to promote its pro-poor agenda. “We need to determine and suggest action, decision or intervention…over the next few months,” the DSRSG said.According to DSRSG, the overall goal of development partners and UN agencies is to promote the pro-poor development agenda that will impact the lives of the Liberian people.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Bagotville accidentA former Policeman who was identified as Lloyd Thomas is now under Police guard at a private medical institution in the city after he fled the scene of an accident at Bagotville, West Bank Demerara, which left two persons injured over the weekend.The chaotic accident scene on SaturdayAccording to information reaching Guyana Times, the injured persons who were taken to West Demerara Regional Hospital (WDRH) were treated and released on Sunday for the injuries they sustained when the ex-Policeman’s HC 6031 Toyota Spacio collided with a HC 7086 taxi that was transporting an elderly couple.This publication was told that the former Policeman after escaping from the area, checked himself into the medical facility after which Police were informed of his whereabouts. As such, he was arrested and placed under guard before charges are laid against him which could include failure to render assistance.This newspaper understands that the accident occurred just after 17:00h on Saturday and the ex-Policeman was reportedly showing signs of being intoxicated. Reports are that the Spacio hit the taxi, a Toyota Carina 212, after hitting a parked truck. Both cars appeared to have been written off with car oil leaking from both and their airbags being dislodged. It was reported that the taxi driver, Sewkumar Mohabir, received some injuries and his occupants received lacerations to the head. It was also noted that the driver of the taxi was released on bail after he had reported the matter to the La Grange Police Station.
…Health Ministry launches probeAs a result of issues surrounding the shortage of critical drugs and medical and non-medical supplies within the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC), nurses attached to the medical institution on Thursday morning downed tools and staged a three-hour sit- in.During this time, approximately 50 protesting nurses sat in the Outpatient Department of the Hospital, while there was reportedly no replacement staff in place. The management of the LHC, which was reportedly unaware of plans toThe Linden Hospital Complexconduct the sit-in, later met with the staff in the Outpatient Department to address their concerns.According to LHC Public Relations Officer Toshanna Alicock, the Hospital’s CEO, Dr Farouk Riyasat reassured the staff that their issues were being addressed at the bimonthly Section Heads Meeting and management was pursuing all possible avenues to have the issues rectified.She said since management was unaware of plans to conduct the sit-in, it did not have the opportunity to put a skeleton staff in place at the time, which, she noted, was worrisome.Temporary fixOn Thursday afternoon, Alicock noted that a decision was made to temporarily acquire critical drug supplies. “At 2:30 pm, Management teleconferenced with the Honourable Minister of Public Health, Dr Volda Lawrence and Director of Regional Health Services, Dr Kay Shako to address the issue, and it was decided that the LHC will be acquiring supplies through Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) temporarily.“Representatives are currently on their way to Georgetown to uplift the first set of these supplies from GPHC,” Alicock noted, stressing that this was only a “temporary fix” until the previous system of acquiring drugs was straightened outNurses during the sit-in on Thursdaywith the Materials Management Unit (MMU) bond. She added that the drugs which were being acquired under the temporary arrangement fall under the critical drugs, pharmaceuticals, and medical and surgical supplies heading.The PRO further stressed that necessary drugs were unavailable from time to time at the bond and also unavailable for private purchase. “One of the issues that we’re having is the timely release of funds from the Ministry of Finance to purchase the critical drugs that we need. Though we do get drugs from the MMU, we are allotted a certain amount of money to purchase critical drugs. So, we’re having that hiccup.”The process of acquiring the funds for purchase, she said, is a lengthy one owing to the amount of information which is now required. Alicock related that LHC management would be meeting with the staff today to provide feedback on the decisions made so far. By then, she noted, the first set of supplies would have been received.Meanwhile, Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) Regional Representative Maurice Butters, who met with the protesting staff, said they related frustration over the lack of work materials and facilities and, therefore, decided to conduct the sit-in. Butters pointed out that it was a “sad” situation. He said the staff, in speaking to the Hospital’s CEO on Thursday, would have raised concerns over these issues which they explained have been affecting them for months, adding that staff have cast blame on the Public Health Ministry.“They were very firm…that they made requisitions for these things, but they don’t get it…they voiced their disapproval of the way things are going and the amount of supplies which are available at the Hospital.”He said the Hospital’s CEO would have also related difficulties which management faced. “But their contention is, while the grass is growing, the cow is starving. Because they have to provide medical service to the people of this community, and if the supplies are not there, it means they cannot do their jobs properly. These people have been working under these conditions for quite a long time and they’ve been doing their best…but it would’ve meet a stage where they cannot go further,” Butters noted.The GPSU Representative added that staff were also aggravated over the failure of the Public Health Minister to meet with them to address their concerns, although a promise was made over a year ago. “The staff is saying they noticed she’s going to other hospitals and not visiting Linden.”He also noted that he would have received information that the Minister would meet with staff today following an additional request, adding that he was hoping for a positive response from the Ministry. However, the Hospital’s PRO indicated later on Thursday that she was unaware of the Minister’s plan to meet with staff today, but noted that management promised to contact her to have a meeting with staff some time in the future.She said management had initially planned to travel to Georgetown on Thursday, but teleconferenced the Minister instead, in an effort to find a temporary solution to the issues.But the Public Health Ministry said it was currently investigating the circumstances and addressing the issues which resulted in the LHC recording a shortage of medical supplies.According to a statement issued by the Public Health Ministry, during the period March 6 to March 21, medical supplies were ordered by the Linden Hospital from the MMU. On March 6, 16 of the 24 items requested were delivered, and on March 18, 91 of the 171 items ordered were received.While it is normal procedure for the Linden Hospital to purchase drugs and other medical supplies whenever there was a shortage, the Public Health Ministry notes, as a result of poor forecasting, all the money the Hospital possessed had already been spent during the first quarter of the year.As such, the Ministry has commenced the implementation of necessary measures to correct this situation. Presently, a number of containers which contain some key medical supplies are being cleared.
…Kitty roundabout opensAs Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson on Monday officially opened the Kitty roundabout, plans were announced to construct two more of the structures, which will help to ease traffic congestion and wastage of time.The Minister also announced that he expected a waterfront project to be completed by 2019, which will accompany the Kitty roundabout as a tourist destination in the country.“During the course of this year and next year, there will be two additional roundabouts in two equally important areas,” Patterson stated.According to Patterson, the two planned structures are scheduled to be erected at the Timehri junction, East Bank Demerara and at the corner of Mandela AvenuePublic Infrastructure Minister David Patterson; Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes; Minister within the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Annette Ferguson; Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Deputy Mayor Akeem Peters cut the ribbon to officially open the Kitty roundaboutand Sheriff Street, Georgetown, under the Sheriff Street road expansion project.While the Minister did not elaborate on the details of the planned Mandela Avenue and Sheriff Street roundabout, he reported that works for the Timehri roundabout have begun by Gaico construction for the sum of $74 million.He told the small gathering at the opening ceremony that the Kitty Roundabout project was undertaken after several phases to ensure its robust design and that it met its objective. It was explained that the project initially began with the upgrade of Carifesta Avenue, followed by the replacement of drainage pipes from Vlissengen Road and Carifesta Avenue to Kitty. Subsequently, the contract for the East Coast road expansion was renewed to help ease traffic congestion and finally the roundabout was constructed.Traffic now utilising the Kitty roundaboutAlthough the new structure was officially opened, the Minister agreed that there were still a few finishing touches to be added.As such, the centre of the roundabout will be beautified with flowers from each Caribbean country, in keeping with the name Carifesta Avenue, Paterson pointed out.“We have some traffic lights to be installed here and obviously the traffic lights will be for particular issues (like) pedestrian crossings…we have some painting of the medians and the curbs…with reflective paints,” he added.“We will be doing a waterfront development from Kitty Pump Station all the way back to the Pegasus Hotel, whereby we will be upgrading it into a commercial space…the consultancy has already been awarded,” the Minister highlighted.He was keen to note that he was expecting a report in the coming months, which would detail the scope of works for the project and importantly, the price.The Minister while noting that the specified area is already a tourist destination as it is, said the Government has been taking into consideration issues such as waste management and sewage disposal among others. He said, however, that he was hoping that the project could be completed by 2019.The Kitty roundabout was initially to be opened by May 26.While persons remain curious and uncertain about the use of the structure, the Ministry is urging road users to visit its Facebook page to have a better understanding of its use.Earlier this year, the contract for the project was awarded to S Jagmohan Hardware Supplies and Construction Services in the sum of $78.9 million. The decision to construct a roundabout at this busy junction was made after a sinkhole had formed nearby.The roundabout is expected to reduce waiting and stoppage time for motorists heading to the East Coast of Demerara and those using Carifesta Avenue, Vlissengen Road, and the Kitty Public Road.
Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) Chairman David Armogan believes the time has come for the region to diversify its economic base since the economy cannot be sustained by two commodities. Armogan was at the time speaking at the Berbice Expo and Trade Fair which concluded on Monday evening at the Alboin Sports Complex. He noted that for two long, the Berbice economy has been depending on rice and sugar and it is time for the region’s economic base to be diversified to ensure that any decline or price adjustment in those commodities will not give the region an economic shock. “We must find new opportunities; we must look at new opportunities for development because the traditional way of doing things has to change. We are accustomed to doing things today the way our grandparents left it but the situation today is not the same and so we have to think outside of the box,” he said, adding that new ideas and non-traditional businessesLocal farmers’ produce on display at the Berbice Expois where the focus should be.The Regional Chairman recalled that two grinding sugar estates were shut, thus putting thousands on the breadline. This itself resulted in a disposable income being withdrawn, thus putting a dent into the economy and forcing many businesses to downsize.Even if the Private Sector focuses on non-traditional businesses, Government will still have its part to play. “The Government will be tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that these businesses are provided with incentives so that they can come to our region and make sure that we will be able to pick up where we left off a few years ago.”Armogan explained that in Region Six, there is an abundance of resources, many of which are not being exploited. He urged that they be exploited while noting that non-traditional crops have huge markets in the Caribbean.According to Armogan, there is a big marker in the Caribbean for vegetables and fruits.“Nearly all of the countries in [the Caribbean Community] Caricom have been spending large sums of money importing food from outside of the Region.”“We expect that the New GMC [New Guyana Marketing Corporation] will come to Berbice, interact with our farmers and make sure that we will be able to move in that direction to produce for the rest of the Caribbean.Armogan related that opportunities must be created for both small and medium-size businesses. He called on Business Minister Dominic Gaskin to establish a branch of the Small Business Bureau in Region Six.Berbice Expo and Trade Fair was the 14th annual expedition organised by the Central Corentyne Chamber of Commerce. The four-day Expo opened on Friday last and concluded on Monday with thousands visiting the various booths.
The gold and diamond mining industry over the years has contributed significantly to the sustenance of many families. However, it takes lots of hard labour, long hours and courage to keep pursuing some of nature’s most precious minerals buried below.Deian Gordon is one of the few female miners in an industry dominated by men. She is also an executive member of the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO). She understands the struggle in this sector all too well.Gordon, prior to taking up a career in gold mining, was engaged in street vending. She visited the interior only to understand how minerals are extracted from the earth, but that visit evolved into a business.As a woman in mining, Deian has found it to be very challenging. She is a reservoir of good and bad experiences in the sector.In a male-dominated field, Gordon has managed to rack up some 22 years in the sector but it takes strength and courage to keep persevering.“You have to be strong to work with the men… spirit, mind and body. You have to be able to stand up and demand that this is your job, you have workers, you have to respect, even though you are a female; they have to respect that they working with you,” she explained.Growing up with 11 brothers taught Gordon a great lot. So that gave her a little advantage working in a ‘man’s world’.As a woman in mining, she has learnt that one has to be calm, in the eventually a situation arises. “Like when they get a dispute in the backdam, like in your camp, you have a dispute with another worker, if you can’t go and make peace or try and get it down it will lead to that (chopping up)”.She explained that there are times when large investments are made in the mining operation with very little returns and then there are times when the rewards are bountiful; however, Deian said there is a slang that is often used by miners, “Dutty battam dark” which means you invest unsure of what will be your returns but you remain hopeful.The GWMO, along with a brother institution, have assisted in coaching Gordon in the mining field. Gordon through the organisation has been able to attend many training programmes, especially in the area of sustainable practices made possible by the organisation.The workings of the mining Industry are totally different from most sectors, she explained, “…because for me, my work starts at 5:00 am, sometimes you does gotta get up from 2-3 am (02:00-03:00h) pumping water and so forth out of the pit. So, you close off at 6 pm (18:00h) and depends on how the sun goes, you could go up to 7 (pm)… so it ain’t get a factor really like a 7 am (07:00h) to 4 pm (16:00h) work,” she noted.The GWMO executive said she was taught about the rules that govern the mining industry through the GGMC and the GWMO and abides by those rules.She also engages in sustainable working practices. After mining is completed in an area, trees are often replanted by her workers.To any dredge owner, Deian Gordon encourages to always have another business to assists in the steady flow of income due to the unpredictability of the sector.Additionally, being away from family is also considered challenging. Gordon enjoys going to the movies and hanging with friends, to “ease the brains” as she puts it.
…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.