Dear Editor,I refer to the article in sections of the media on Saturday, May 12, 2018, entitled, “[People’s Progressive Party/Civic] PPP/C ‘gifted’ $M tug and barge to Kwakwani supporter”. “We recovered the barge and leased it to the [Neighbourhood Democratic Council] NDC” – Patterson. That article was adorned with pictures of the Minister and the Alliance For Change Member of Parliament Audwin Rutherford.Editor, that article was a gross distortion. There was no ‘gifting’: the tug which at the time was partially sunk and virtually scrapped, was sold and bought via an open, advertised invitation of bids and subsequently rehabilitated sufficiently by its new owner, a river-crossing operator; the barge was leased as both the Minister and the MP concede after alleging that it was ‘gifted’. That barge-crossing operator (Mr Edwards) was not known at that time, nor even today to be a supporter of the PPP/C although I acknowledge that we of the PPP/C work with the hope of fairly earning the earnest approval of every Guyanese in the quiet of their hearts, and their precious votes in the privacy of the polling booth.Editor, if the article is read dispassionately, it would become clear how the Minister and the MP are playing with the emotions of the reader, going one way then another, and attempting to smear the PPP/C each way.The Minister said when he contacted National Industrial & Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) initially, he could get no information, and we know what is insinuated (lots of corruption and hiding all that gifting to a claimed supporter) but when he readily contacted the much-maligned Winston Brassington, he directed him to where he found a full disclosure. Rather than leaving damning insinuations and innuendos hanging, the Minister and MP should be heaping praise on Brassington and the PPP/C for a job transparently, honestly and well done and documented! And, also, they should be complimenting Edwards who took the risk, ventured forth and established a service to satisfy the needs of the community.Editor, in the circumstances that prevailed, the praise should be extended even more widely.The Minister and the MP are old enough to know the state to which the bauxite companies and communities would have deteriorated by 1992, after years of huge difficulties and losses, and the reasoning and insistence of the supporting multilateral financial agencies that special subsidies from our national Treasury should be brought to an end. Services provided countrywide by the Government should be handed to and handled directly by the Government. It was in such circumstances that the river-crossing service (and others) provided earlier by the bauxite company and which had ground to a virtual halt, was to be reoffered.You can imagine therefore how heartened I was when two persons, from the area (Edwards and Vandenburg), began barge crossing services, both of them at Kwakwani and Vandenburg additionally at Aroiama. They were worthy of commendation for their initial wooden barges each coupled with a small boat with outboard engine. In much the same vein allow me to mention the encouragement and facilitation we provided to Mendonca, of Kwakwani (not a known supporter of the PPP/C though I tried so greatly to win him over) to set up the gas station in Kwakwani and our search to encourage some other in Aroiama or Hururu to offer a gas station at that location, also.It is true, much to my consternation that the leased big steel barge was taken away from Edwards, unceremoniously, without notice and without cause. The Minister seems to be boasting about and finding glory in how “he had to pull out all stops to get the barge back”. And this from a member of a Government which is carried on the backs of many Afro-Guyanese who are easily agitated about the evident low number of black-owned businesses and made to blame the PPP and the PPP/C.Please allow me to set the record straight with respect to ‘other barges’ and tugs. At the time of the merger of Bermine into AMC/ABC, most of the Bermine owned barging fleet which had suffered the prevailing level of deterioration, and many of which were tied-up or sunk at various points along the river were offered by way of openly advertised tender on an as-is, where-is basis. No offers were made for a number of sunken barges and in time they were made available on a self-help, recovery basis. Some may still be available for whomsoever so wishes.Yours truly,Samuel A A HindsFormer Prime Minister and former President
Dear Editor,I would like to suggest that an urgent and serious investigation be launched into what obtains on the strip of state reserve land that is located on the northern side of the Aubrey Barker Road all the way from east in South Ruimveldt westward to way past Roxanne Burnham Gardens’ area.This reserve area, which was developed after the canal was filled in, belongs to the state, and not the Georgetown Municipality, who are merely custodians of the area. It has, however, disturbingly been cut up and sold by operatives of the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown to sundry business persons.The Council had first proposed that parcels of this area be leased to car dealerships, so that they could showcase and display their vehicles, without the placement of any structures allowed. The next thing one observed, however, was that this land was being parceled out and sold to Tom, Dick and Harrylall; and structures began popping up, businesses that were unrelated to car dealerships.Now an attempt is being made to take away the playfield that is extensively used by youths in the area, in order for it to be sold to a business entity. This ought to be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.The businesses operating on this reserve ought to be made to show what documentation they have that gives them the right to occupy these spots. They ought to say how much they paid, and to whom. The open spaces in our capital must be maintained as open spaces.Something is extremely wrong at City Hall, where a ‘cabal’ there has embarked on a land-grabbing exercise has illegally converted the specified use of designated open spaces, and is profiting from the illegal disposal of these state lands into private hands.This situation is reminiscent of the Farnum Field fiasco, the Bel Air Park playfield debacle, and the Lamaha Park ignominy.Sincerely,James Mc Onnell
Dear Editor,On Sunday, September 16, 2018, I heard Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan saying that the Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo had publicly stated his non-support for David Ramnarine’s candidacy as Police Commissioner.Ramjattan went on to say that Clement Rohee, who he claimed is the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) spokesperson on the security sector, had expressed his opposition to the appointment of David Ramnarine as Police Commissioner. When asked why his recommendation for Ramnarine to be appointed as Commissioner was not accepted by President David Granger, Ramjattan said his was only a recommendation and that the President’s decision is final.He asserted that the President had the benefit of insights from the Police Service Commission, the Slowe Commission of Inquiry (CoI), and an interview panel to assess the capability and professionalism of the eight Assistant Police Commissioners, including Ramnarine. The President chose Leslie James as Commissioner and four others as Deputy Commissioners and did not even consider Ramnarine for one of the Deputy Commissioner positions. Granger said: “I think this is the best outcome and they are all fit and proper persons to lead the Police Force.”Notwithstanding his recommendation of Ramnarine to be appointed as Police Commissioner was rejected, Ramjattan said he accepted the decision of President Granger, who he claimed is a man who adheres to the provisions of the Guyana Constitution. Really! What a startling statement! How would Ramjattan explain Granger’s unilateral appointment of retired Judge, James Patterson as Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) chair? Granger defied the time-tested Carter-Price Formula for the appointment of the GECOM chair that has also been enshrined in the Guyana Constitution, and to state that he (Granger) sticks to the Constitution is bewildering! There are other instances of constitutional violations.Let’s put the other records straight. Jagdeo never made any public statement that he did not support Ramnarine as Police Commissioner. At the consultation meeting with the President, he had asked why Ramnarine was not considered for that appointment and Granger said he had a number of “specific reasons,” but did not elaborate. “Opposition Leader Jagdeo revealed that he questioned the President as to why Ramnarine was not considered for the post (Commissioner) and was told by Granger that there are specific reasons. Those reasons, were however, not revealed.” (Guyana Times: August 31, 2018).The assertion that Clement Rohee was against Ramnarine’s appointment is correct, but that position of Rohee was personal and did not necessarily reflect the views of the PPP. It’s the PPP General Secretary or the PPP Executive Secretary who speaks on the behalf of the party in such matters. And it was the PPP General Secretary (who is also the Leader of the Opposition) who met with President Granger for consultations and not Clement Rohee. Ramjattan has made a splurge to cast the blame for the Government’s bypassing of David Ramnarine as Police Commissioner, onto the PPP. But Ramjattan should know that the Guyanese public is smarter than that. Hardly anyone believed what he said.Another worrisome thing is Granger said he had “specific concerns” about Ramnarine’s candidacy. I believe that the “specific concerns” were born primarily out of Slowe’s one-man CoI that drove a deep wedge into the careers of both the former Commissioner Seelall Persaud and acting Commissioner David Ramnarine.Notwithstanding, it does not seem that Ramjattan had any such “concerns” nor was he aware of them since he (Ramjattan) recommended Ramnarine for the position of Police Commissioner, knowing that Granger had made it clear that he wanted someone with integrity and who is also unbribable. Taking these requirements into consideration Ramjattan placed Ramnarine ahead of Leslie James and the four Deputy Commissioners. My question is simple. How can the subject Minister Ramjattan not have “concerns” with Ramnarine when the President had quite a few? Were they reading from the same book? Something does not add up here.Also, when Ramjattan was asked why he was not around when the appointments were made, he said that he was overseas on family business. It seems that the appointment and investiture of the Police Commissioner and the 4 Deputy Commissioners were not important enough for the Minister of Public Security to be there!Shifting gear onto another level, Ramjattan boldly proclaimed that the eight American Congressmen who recently visited Guyana were there to get a first-hand look at the situation.He said the delegation was pleased with the coalition Government’s performance and then unrestrainedly expressed his (Government’s) unconditional love for America. In his rhetorical flourish on this matter, he failed to tell the listeners that the visit was part of a broader effort to cover not only Guyana but two other countries. And how could a one-day visit, shrouded in secrecy (where the press and the Opposition were excluded), achieve anything substantial relative to governance and the social conditions?Finally, the interviewer failed to ask Ramjattan the hard questions, like “why is there so much difficulty in paying the sugar workers’ severance, to which they are entitled by law?” Remember it was Ramjattan and his cohorts who said sugar was too big to fail and that, if elected, they would pay sugar workers a 20 per cent pay rise. Furthermore, “why did President Granger say that the sugar workers’ severance pay is sucking the Treasury?” In fact, “isn’t the payment of $14 million a month for a grossly under-utilised drug bond (if one could call it that) at Sussex Street, Albouystown sucking the Treasury?” Why wasn’t Ramjattan asked about the real fears that Guyanese have about electoral rigging, and what measures, if any, is the Government taking to ensure the integrity of the electoral process? “Why wasn’t Ramjattan asked about the widespread practice of racism by the Government?”Politicians should understand that Guyanese, whether local-based or oversea-based, are much smarter than they are often given credit for by them (politicians). In this age of social media in particular, politicians have to do a better job of communicating their views and position on issues. People are also looking for evidence-based information. Speculations, emotionalism, lies and deception had worked well for many but these do not have staying power and will soon dissipate. Evidence-based information and the pursuit of truth should eventually lead to a new political culture in Guyana.Sincerely,Dr Tara Singh
An East Coast Demerara (ECD) sign artist was on Tuesday arraigned on a robbery under arms charge when he appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.Jevon Gillis, 20, of Lot 18 Goedverwagting, ECD, appeared before Magistrate Annette Singh. It is alleged that on April 2 while being armed with a hand gun, Gillis robbed Diane Payne of a 48-inch television set valued 0,000, a Samsung tablet worth ,000 and two Alcatel cellphones valued ,000 among other items, a total value of 1,000.Police Prosecutor Aduni Inniss told the Court that the investigating officer recovered both the television set and the Samsung tablet.Despite the efforts of Gillis’ lawyer Paul Fung-A-Fat to get his client bail, he was remanded to prison. The case will continue on May 3, 2016.Meanwhile, in a related case, Javed Nurse, 36, a gold miner of Lot 34 House Street, Charlestown, was granted ,000 bail when he appeared before Magistrate Singh.It is alleged that between April 2 and 7, 2016, he received from Gillis in Georgetown a 48-inch television set and a Samsung tablet valued at 0,000 knowing same was feloniously stolen and obtained.Nurse pleaded not guilty to the charge and his Attorney, Paul Fung-A-Fat made an application for bail. Police Prosecutor Aduni Inniss had no objections to bail. The case will continue on May 3.
Pomeroon boat ‘accident’As Police probe the circumstances surrounding the death of Abdool Shameer, 58, a labourer who went missing on Monday evening in the Pomeroon River, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), the two suspects in the alleged murder have been released on ‘substantial bail’.This is according to Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum who revealed that the men’s 72 hours holding period was up, and as such Police were mandated to release them on bail.Shameer’s body was recovered in Moruca, Region One (Barima-Waini) on Thursday. Initial reports had stated that about 02:00h onDead: Abdool ShameerMonday, Shameer also called Mohamed Shameer, of Jacklow, Upper Pomeroon, was crossing the Pomeroon River in his boat when another boat, which was powered by an outboard engine, collided with him. After the collision Police said, Shameer could not be located; however, the 33-year-old captain of the other boat, who hails from Siriki, Pomeroon River, was unharmed.Suspicions were raised after it was revealed that the dead man and the surviving captain had “old grievances”.Meanwhile, a passenger of the suspect’s boat confessed that after the collision the captain allegedly disposed of the man’s body. When questioned by Police, the eyewitness alleged that the captain took the body to Moruca, where he disposed of it. The eyewitness later took Police to the scene where the body was buried and family members positively identified the remains.The body was retrieved and taken to a Charity funeral home. An autopsy will be performed shortly. According to the dead man’s brother Fizal, he last saw Shameer on Monday morning about 10:30h in the Jacklow area. He said he left to visit a friend at Jacklow and upon returning, the accident occurred. Family members are contending that the act was revengeful as the two men had old grievances.