Dear Editor,I wrote several letters about the deplorable state of Agriculture Road last year, but it seemed to be going on deaf ears. This road continues to deteriorate daily. Last year, Project Engineer Anthony A Haynes started some road works from the beginning of Agriculture Road. He graded the road from the beginning to the end of NAREI, but he claimed to have repaired this road up to Block CC, Mon Repos.According to his letter published in reply to my letter dated August 4, 2017, he said the following.‘’For the benefit of the reverend and the general public, please be informed that the rehabilitation of Agriculture Road, Mon Repos/Triumph, is being undertaken by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure under its Miscellaneous Roads Programme, 2017. The Contractor is KP Thomas and Sons Incorporated, the Project Engineer is Anthony A Haynes, the contract sum is $59,031,149 and the site extends a distance of approximately 1230m. Carriageway works include the upgrading of the road structure with mixed loam and/or crusher run and sealing using asphaltic concrete. The contract is scheduled to end in September of 2017.’’As I mentioned before the work executed for about 800 metres he claimed was 1230 metres cannot cost $59,031,149 or even if his 1230 metres was correct to just dig out bad broken concrete and fill the road with’ ‘crusher-run’ and rolled it over with asphalt cannot cost that sum. I believe and many others as well that it cannot even cost $10 million.My concern was this engineer graded from the beginning of Agriculture Road to NAREI that’s approximately two miles or 3000 metres but only completed 1230m from his own words: why did he refuse to complete the remaining 1770 metres of deplorable road, full of pot holes, he was paid to complete? He even went away with his machinery after he dug up the road and left it; it was when I wrote a second letter he returned to complete the work of 1230 metres he claimed that is still incomplete. I am calling on the Auditor General’s Office to carry out an audit on the $59,031,149 that was spent on one third of the job on Agriculture Road that is still incomplete.Not long ago, I was sitting by a friend who lives near the roadway in Agriculture Road, I heard a sudden sound like a bomb; my friend and I rushed to the scene. A young lady was driving her RAV4 vehicle and her tyre was punctured in a very deep pothole; her vehicle skidded around and hit a parked truck.Potholes are all over this road just after Block CC going to NAREI if you are not familiar with these potholes while driving you can crash easily into another vehicle or land yourself into the trench. I have seen two such incidents already. This is a road that has the Guyana School of Agriculture and NAREI, but it’s an eyesore to this area and nation as a whole. It’s only when the Minister of Agriculture or the President is coming to the School, the administrators will get the students to patch the holes with sand. I believe they all should be fired because they can’t even use their machinery to even throw in some brick to patch these holes that can drown a child when it rains.Sincerely,Reverend Gideon Cecil
Dear Editor,The positions expressed by the lawyers for the Government and the Guyana Elections Commission in the application filed by Attorney-at-Law Christopher Ram, who is asking the court to issue an order compelling the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to hold elections on or before September 18, 2019, are bereft of logic.Firstly, Basil Williams, SC, holder of the Office of Attorney General of Guyana has presented an argument to the court that the Caribbean Court of Justice has not set a “specific” date for elections, he also argues that the date and time for elections prescribed by the Constitution after the successful passage of a No-Confidence Motion has passed; he specifically states “Given that the CCJ ruled that the No-Confidence Motion was properly carried with a majority of 33 of the 65 seats of the National Assembly on the night of December 21, 2018, the provisions of Articles 106 (7) were triggered for elections to be held by March 21” . In making this statement, the Attorney General is accepting he knows that there is a three-month timeframe imposed by the Constitution, he further acknowledges it by saying “Credible elections could not be held on or before 21st March 2019 as this was logistically impossible”. The CCJ on July 12, 2019, stated: “The Court noted that the filing of the court proceedings in January, challenging the validity of the no-confidence vote, effectively placed matters on pause. The Court reminded, however, that it had rendered its decision on 18 June 2019.” The “pause” allowed Guyana to have a legitimate Government past March 21. How then can the Attorney General argue that “no specific date” means there is no timeframe? If we follow Basil’s logic to its conclusion, we would ask why have elections ever? All the Constitution prescribes is “every five years”, it never mentions a “specific” date.Secondly, the attorney for GECOM is also arguing that the Constitution does not provide a timeframe for elections. He is seeking to re-litigate matters already decided by the CCJ! The Court already said “that it is not the role of the Court to establish a date on, or by which, the elections must be held. Article 106 is clear and it should be followed” and on the matter of the GECOM Chair “it was the Court’s view that the appointment process of a new Chairman should be embarked upon with the utmost urgency in light of the CCJ’s decision in the No-Confidence Motion cases which has triggered the need for fresh general elections”. GECOM should be acting with “utmost urgency” to comply with the CCJ rulings. In house counsel for GECOM has made this clear in written opinions provided to the Chief Elections Officer Lowenfield, who, when asked by a reporter publicly: “Can the list, if refreshed, be used to conduct a free and fair election?” replied “That’s correct, always has and always will”. There is no logic to the arguments being made on behalf of GECOM in light of the CCJ rulings and the declarations of the Chief Elections Officer. GECOM should be adopting a neutral stance such as that adopted by the Speaker of the National Assembly when asked to rule on the validity of the passage of the No-confidence Motion. The Speaker validated the motion and indicated all options available to seek further legal interpretation if any was needed. The Speaker did not participate in court proceedings and indicated clearly that he (the Speaker) would abide by court rulings. GECOM should move swiftly to adopt this position of neutrality and compliance with the rule of law expected of a constitutional office or body.The Attorney General knows that a lifeline was granted to the Granger Administration by the pause due to judicial interpretation sought by the Government; everyone is aware that the three-month clock restarted on June 18, 2019, following the ruling of the CCJ, and that the legitimate life of the Executive expires on September 18, 2019. The Attorney General may feign ignorance, but for how long and at what cost to the nation?Respectfully,Robin Singh
a man was on Thursday granted bail after appearing before Magistrate Faith McGusty at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts to answer a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm.Mark Frank, 32, of Company Path, Ruimveldt, Georgetown, pleaded not guilty to the charge which stated that on May 15, 2016 at Yarrow Dam, Ruimveldt, Georgetown he unlawfully and maliciously assaulted Jermaine Adolph so as to cause actual bodily harm.The prosecution’s facts stated that on the day in question, Adolph invited Frank to a party, but after the celebrations ended, Frank, who was intoxicated, refused to leave, as such Adolph pushed him out of his house.In the process a DVD player Frank was carrying, fell and broke. The next morning Frank returned to the home of Adolph and dealt him a stab to his left side neck.A scuffle ensued resulting in Frank stabbing Adolph again, this time to his left arm. Adolph’s brother who was at home intervened and rushed his brother to hospital.The matter was reported and Frank was arrested. He was granted $75,000 bail and will return to court on June 7, 2016.
As Guyana continues with its calendar of activities marking the Golden Jubilee anniversary, 50 past and present educators were on Monday rewarded with trophies and certificates for their outstanding contributionsThe awardees along with Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine and other officialsto the education sector over the past 50 years.During the elaborate rewarding ceremony at the National Cultural Centre which saw the attendance of hundreds of education officials and students from across the country, these educators were bestowed with awards for their dedication towards the development of the nation academically.The initiative was a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Education and the School of the Nations as they recognised the need of rewarding teachers for their work as well as to stimulate other educators to pattern themselves after those being awarded.The ceremony was held under the theme “Improving performance through teacher recognition and rewards” spoke exactly to the theme of celebrating the achievement of the educators as their roles have been crucial in the development of the country’s education sector.Speaking to this effect, Chief Education Officer Olato Sam emphasised the essential role of educators and its direct link to the general advancement of the country.Mentioning that teachers are the first persons who offer formal education to children, Sam affirmed that their tasks and role should not be underrated.“I have referred to teachers as both agents of nation building and soldiers for national transformation. In some, the faith of our nation rests on the shoulders of the dedicated educators spread across this country” Sam cited.In saluting educators across the country, he reminded that they are the persons responsible for classroom development, that of the community and the extensive nation.According to the CEO: “For the next years the country is placing the mantle in the hands of these educators to be advocates for academic development so that the future of Guyanese would be moulded. We salute you our educators, for in your hands we have placed the canvas on which the masterpiece for our next 50 years will unfold.”Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine spoke passionately about the magnitude of the educator’s input to the general growth of the country, while noting that they are not rewarded to the extent of their contributions.Roopnaraine admitted that he is aware of the inadequate salary and other benefits that these teachers are in receipt of despite their critical role in the education sector. He disclosed that the Education Ministry have had discussions with the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) on the topic of the insufficient wages paid to educators.The Minister further noted that classroom work is crucial for the development of individuals but this can only be achieved if there is an educator who is committed to the task. With this, he charged educators across Guyana to work along with the Ministry to effect the change they want to see in Guyana, as it grows from strength to strength.“My charge for our teachers and education officials is that you recognise what we in the ministry are about to effect in guaranteeing the future of Guyana by doing work in the classroom. We can’t achieve this without having an educated population” the Minister underlined.The educators awarded were selected from the ten administrative regions of Guyana for their devoted work in the teaching profession.
While 99 of 105 sugar workers remain without employment at the Wales Sugar Estate as a result of a courtThe 11 workers who voiced their concerns on Wednesday were Dyanand Sham, Wilbert Daymon, Azeez Khan, Safraz Alli, Sherla Leitch, Lloyd Benjamin, Cyril Joseph, Shafeek Khan, Prem Kumar Lakhan, Mohammed Haniff and Bridgnananbattle between the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and trade unions, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo on Wednesday heard the concerns of 11 workers.At the meeting, it was noted that GuySuCo is prepared to pay workers the severance packages as long as the court order is lifted.According to a press statement, a delegation of Wales Estate sugar workers met with the Prime Minister to “listen to their concerns regarding the payment of their severance packages.” This comes months after the workers were given letters to the effect that they would have been paid their severance in May.During the meeting at the office of the Prime Minister on Monday, the workers explained that GuySuCo officials met with them and explained the plans to merge the Wales and Uitvlugt estates, and that they would be offered continued employment at the Uitvlugt estate.As the workers opted against being transferred and instead accepted the severance packages, an agreement was made to commence payment of said packages.“The workers explained that shortly before the date on which the severance was to have been paid, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) sought and received an order from the court which stopped GuySuCo from making the payments… [They] expressed frustration that several months have now passed and GuySuCo continues to be prevented from effecting the payments by order of the court,” the statement noted.It was also stated that Prime Minister Nagamootoo told the 11 workers that he had been advised that GuySuCo is prepared to pay the severance and monies have been set aside for same, but the company could not act in violation of an injunction that was granted in the High Court.Agriculture Minister Noel Holder, who was also present at the meeting, was said to have confirmed that GuySuCo is “prepared to effect the payment with immediate effect should the order of the court be lifted.” The Wales sugar workers were promised their severance payments on May 4.Before May, the workers were given letters on March 22 stating that they would have been paid their termination benefits, but GuySuCo has however maintained that the injunction barred the payments to workers. GAWU in response had noted that the agreement between the workers and GuySuCo was reached before the May 6, 2016 injunction was granted and as such, this cannot prevent GuySuCo from paying the workers.The court action was first brought on after GuySuCo began discussions with individual employees of the Wales Estate to negotiate severance packages, without informing or involving the unions. At one point, the workers were given a three-day ultimatum to make their decisions, but GuySuCo later folded those plans. It was in January that it was announced that sugar operations at Wales would come to an end.
The Nurses Hostel at Charles Place, New Amsterdam, was on Saturday destroyed by fire of unknown origin.The building opposite the old New Amsterdam Hospital was not occupied at the time of the fire but has been aThe 50-year-old building on firelandmark for the 270-year-old town.Reports are that about 13:30h smoke was seem emanating from the upper flat of the two-storied building, which is more than 50 years old, and was previously used as nurses quarters.An eyewitness told Guyana Times that after smoke was seen in the building the fire service, a mere three minutes away, was summoned.Firemen initially encountered problems acquiring water and as such sought help from the Rosehall Estate Fire truck. Firefighters took under fifteen minutes to contain the blaze and were able to prevent it from spreading.Meanwhile, this newspaper was told that the building is at times occupied by vagrants.The building, which was used to accommodate nurses who live in remote areas but attached to the NA Hospital, was closed about a decade ago.Two weeks ago the first step to rehabilitate the building was taken when contractors were asked to submit estimates to rehabilitate the building. On Saturday, one midwife Marilyn Tinnie, who once stayed at the hostel, expressed regret over the destruction of the building. Investigations are continuing.
…says abandoned Parliamentary Standing Committee is proof“The desertion of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitution, the erection of a Steering Committee on Constitutional Reform without consultation with Opposition are all evidence that the Government has no interest in bringing about constitutional reform,” former Attorney General Anil Nandlall has said.Nandlall, in an interview with Guyana Times, contended that the established Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional Reform has been abandoned, since it has not met since the coalition government took office in May 2015.He argued: “…in my view, this government has not exhibited any evidence that they are interested in constitutional reform although they promised that to the people in their manifesto at the 2015 General Elections.”Nandlall noted that the Parliamentary Committee, which was set up under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration and chaired by the then Opposition Leader and now President, David Granger, has met once since it was instigated.Former Attorney General Anil NandlallHe lambasted the Government for not activating the Parliamentary Committee, and “going behind the Opposition’s back and setting up their own Constitutional Reform Committee” – a Committee which he said is made up predominantly of lawyers. Thus, he asserted that the Government’s concept of reform seemed to be a process shrouded in secrecy.He also stated that the Opposition was not included in the consultation of the Steering Committee and “when we cornered the Prime Minister on the topic, he stated that he had consulted with the President and the Government”. Nandlall fervently emphasised that consultations should be both external and internal.The A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition had promised constitutional reform in its manifesto for the 2015 General Elections. According to the former Attorney General, the APNU/AFC manifesto stated that within the first 100 days of the coalition being in government, there would be “the establishment of a Constitutional Reform Committee with a mandate to complete consultations, draft amendments and present same to the National Assembly for approval within nine months. Sixteen months later, the House is yet to see anything”.“APNU/AFC recognises that the Constitution, in its current form, does not serve the best interest of Guyana or its people. Within three months of taking up office, APNU/AFC will appoint a Commission to amend the Constitution with the full participation of the people. The new Constitution will put the necessary checks and balances in place to consolidate our ethos of liberal democracy. Freedom of speech, reduction of the power of the President and the Bill of Rights will be enshrined in the document,” the coalition manifesto had outlined.It also stated that a Commission consisting of representatives of trade unions, the Private Sector, religious and faith-based organisations, women, youths, professional organisations and the University would be set up.The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) had criticised the Government-established Committee for Constitutional Reform, stating that it fell short of being fit for the purpose as it was dominated by lawyers.“Being accountable to party leaders rather than to the electorate has robbed our representational politics of the vitality political participation provides. A range of reforms are necessary, therefore, to make our national Constitution a genuine blueprint for democratically acceptable politics. Issues such as reformed presidential powers and a Bill of Rights are two obvious features. However, the strongest argument is the need to convince party leadership to replace their monopoly control of political decision-making,” the organisation said.There have been many calls for constitutional reform, especially in relation to the reduction of the powers of the executive. And according to some political critics, reforms seem to be the last thing on the agenda of the Opposition and the Government.Constitutional reform has also been touted by USAID as the fix for Guyana’s dysfunctional political climate. It has been stated that the main test to democracy, human rights, and governance in Guyana is its legacy of political parties structured along ethnic lines and single party dominance.However, Nandlall argued that constitutional reform has always been on the front burner of the PPP agenda, citing that there have been over 200 changes to the Constitution while the PPP was in office.He stated that prior to the 1992 General Election, the Party had promised constitutional reform and a few months after it gained power a Constitutional Reform Committee was set up. “The work of that Committee was overtaken by a larger body established under the Administration called the Constitutional Reform Commission, this Commission was a broad-based one and comprised of all of the political parties in the Parliament, religious organisations, the labour movement and Private Sector and civil society organisations”.“…I believe it is unfair to say that the PPP was not active on the question of constitutional reform, but, more fundamentally, what you are reforming the Constitution to achieve, that is the fundamental question,” he added.“Guyana has a good Constitution and so it is important to work together to get the Constitution to function rather than ask for it to be changed again,” he said, adding that there are a number of calls for changes in the Constitution but it was not clear what the desired reforms were.He posited that the people calling for the reforms should prepare a document articulating what their proposals were, so that they can be studied.“In my view, while the Constitution has a very important role to play, there are many persons who are placing too much importance on the Constitution. The Constitution simply outlines the structure by which a country is to be governed and what rights the people have and what the State’s obligations are, outside of that, the Constitution can achieve very little. It has to do with how it is interpreted, and how the bodies that the Constitution vest powers in are able to function,” he stated.
A locally-based non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Tubmanburg, Bomi County, will soon graduate several women trained in various skills over the period of a year.Making the disclosure recently, the project officer of the Defense for Children in Liberia (DCL), Madam Helena Wonba said the women had been trained since March last year in various skills and would be graduating this month.Madam Wonba said the organization has been training women, especially young women, in Tubmanburg, Bomi County in soap making and tailoring.According to her, the skills they learned would enable the women to sustain themselves and their families by making meaningful contributions to their respective communities.She detailed plans to extend the training program to other areas in Bomi County.Madam Wonba spoke in a recent interview with the Liberia News Agency (LINA) in Tubmanburg.She said, despite a recent brake in at the offices of the DCL where thieves made away with office equipment estimated at US$700, the pending graduation exercise would be executed as planned.She explained the burglars made away with stabilizers, printers and reams of sheets among other items; creating a serious setback to the operations of the organization.She concluded by revealing that the police in the county were informed and have instituted a preliminary investigation to apprehend the culprits.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
In America they call it “road rage”, and it can be sometimes even deadly. Just last week an angry motorist alighted his vehicle in Virginia and beat up an older man because he was honking (blowing his horn), which Mr. Anger found unbearably irritating. When he had finished venting his anger, the aged fellow was rushed to the hospital, where he was announced dead on arrival from a heart attack! Other motorists took Mr. Anger’s license plate and reported the matter to the police. Poor Mr. Anger was slammed a charge of manslaughter that could land him in jail for years. But why put one self in for nothing trouble because of impatience and patent discourtesy? For the same reason these BIG SHOTS in Monrovia, riding vehicles marked “RL,” “SEN” and “REP,” transporting people who make and enforce the law; and even the Police, who are supposed to be keepers of the peace and courtesy, abuse poor road workers whose job it is to direct the traffic so that the construction proceeds speedily and on time.According to our Diplomatic Correspondent Joaquin Sendolo, road workers serving CICO, the Chinese company paving the road from Red Light to Fendall, complain of traffic violations and insults hurled out to them by these BIG SHOT drivers.It is simple stupidities like these, which are also a form of corruption because they clearly demonstrate the abuse of power, that make us often wonder whether Liberians really want development. Road construction and maintenance take place everywhere in the world. And our top officials often travel to developed countries and enjoy their clean and comfortable streets and super highways. But do our officials ever wonder how these streets and highways came to be so easy and pleasant to drive on? These modern streets and highways definitely did not drop from Heaven! Every inch was painstakingly designed, dug, filled with dirt, paved and maintained in day and night, and motorists HAVE BEEN COMPELLED to cooperate to make it happen for their own benefit and that of the general public. That is a small but very important part of what is called DEVELOPMENT. For people to get to work on time; for the trailers to move the automobiles from the factories to the dealerships; for the lorries to transport the food and other goods to the supermarkets and shopping centers; for heavy and light equipment to move to various points to carry on further development and make the country better and more livable; and for people to travel quickly and comfortably to their places of worship and on hundreds of miles on business, to weddings, funerals or on vacation, they need roads, roads, roads–not the pot-holed, deep-ditched roads in Liberia that the government has determinedly endeavored to improve since 2006.And here is GOL now, striving to pave the road, for the first time, to Ganta, and on to Zwedru, Fishtown and Harper; and even from Gbarnga to Voinjama, Kolahun and Vahun; and BIG SHOTS’ AND POLICE CARS are “cussing” the poor and humble road workers only because they are there laboring under the sun, rain, cold and dust, trying to help these same BIG SHOTS travel safely and avoid unnecessary traffic congestion.Do we really want development in Liberia?We hope that Speaker Alex Tyler, Senate Pro-Temp Gbessongar Findley, Police Inspector General Masaquoi and ALL Ministers and Heads of government Agencies will warn their vehicle operators to STOP the rudeness, unruly behavior and discourteous attitude to the poor road workers, whose only “crime”–well, what else deserves such nasty behavior?–is to detour the traffic to protect those parts of the road already prepared, and minimize traffic congestion.Madam President, please talk to your officials–in ALL branches of government, and to your beloved Police, too, whose JOB it is to befriend and protect the weak and everyone else and keep the peace. Tell them it is despicable (shameful, wicked) to “cuss” people for doing their job.And, Madam President, tell all the people all over the country to be like the Vahun people, to show courtesy, kindness and gratitude to the road workers who are trying to make life better for ALL our people.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
One of the Government’s Ebola Treatments Units (ETUs) in the country, the 24th Street facility in Sinkor, last Friday refused to accept some suspected Ebola patients for treatment.Speaking to the Daily Observer reporter who visited the ETU, the driver of Representative Saah Joseph’s ambulance, Foday Gallah, disclosed that authorities at the treatment center informed him that no more beds were available for the suspected Ebola patients.“I came here since two hours ago with the ambulance of four persons suspected of the virus, but authorities of the area are telling me that they don’t have beds for anymore patients. And I can’t take them anywhere [else], not even to their Soul Clinic Community because the community will not agree to accept these people.”According to him, the four persons were taken from the Soul Clinic community after they had been quarantined by the residents of the area. One of the patients in the ambulance had already lost his wife his wife, son and daughter to the epidemic!Driver Gallah further explained that one of the four persons he was transporting had already died in the ambulance due to the authorities’ failure to come and handle the patients with urgency.“I am concerned about what will happen to the other patients still living for now,” he said in a sad and confused mood.According to Mr. Gallah, “If you can have someone who lost his wife, daughter and son of the deadly Ebola virus being denied of treatment with all the distress and frustration he is already undergoing, then this is a matter of grave concern to all of us, especially to those of us that are trying to help bring the patients for treatment.”He further explained that about 10 other persons are currently at the ETU awaiting treatments. Two were lying on the ground, while others were in vehicles parked outside the ETU. “We don’t know what might next happen to them,” said Mr. Gallah.He called on the right authorities to be more forceful throughout the country in handling the Ebola situation in order to contain the virus, and laid special emphasis those suspected of the epidemic.Asked what his next plan of action was, Mr. Gallah said would not take the Ebola suspected patients or the dead body back to their residences. “I will leave them right here to avoid being stoned by the residents of Soul.Driver Gallah’s concerns are not far-fetched.Some of the suspected Ebola patients were seen on Friday vomiting after being denied admission to the center.Last Thursday, one of the Ebola patients ran out of the same ETU compound area and died in front of the area.Eye witnesses told the Daily Observer that the man came out of the compound running around and asking for water to drink and later died.Meanwhile, the government at the same Ebola Treatments Unit on Friday released 15 persons who survived the Ebola virus.The 15 persons also received food, Ebola buckets and other items to help contain the virus and be more robust in the fight against the epidemic.The government of Liberia says at least five new Ebola Treatment Units are being opened in and around Montserrado County, where the virus seems to be spreading fastest. Said treatment units are expected to have the capacity to host 500 to 1,000 patients each. The first such clinic being outfitted to receive Ebola patients is the Island Clinic (also known as the Amagashie Clinic) on Bushrod Island.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)