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No “gifting” of tug and barge: nailing a gross distortion

first_imgDear 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 Presidentlast_img read more

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M&CC to begin re-evaluation campaign

first_imgThe Mayor and City Council (M&CC) would be embarking on a re-evaluation exercise in and around Georgetown in a measure designed to aid in its struggle to find finance.According to Town Clerk Royston King, the project is one of the many initiatives being undertaken by the Council with support from central Government.He said the M&CC recently wrapped up a series of meetings with Canadian company Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, which is tasked with undertaking the re-evaluation exercise. The project is expected to commence in the coming months.The last time property was evaluated was in 1996, and according to the Valuation Act, property must be valuated every five years. For a long time, City Hall has been crying foul when it comes to property valuation, since it is contending that some businesses are paying below value for their property.King previously explained that a number of residential properties have been converted for commercial use, but those owners are still paying residential rates. This, King says, starves the City Treasury of much needed finances.Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan announced in January that the Finance Ministry is providing technical assistance and expertise to effect a mass valuation of properties. The valuation exercise would require at least between 12 and 18 months, and Government is seeking to engage a Canadian institution, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), which does property evaluations for the state of Ontario and other jurisdictions in Canada and internationally.City Hall quite often finds itself in a difficult situation as it relates to the management of its financial resources. The municipality has been unable to pay workers their wages and salaries, resulting in mass protests. It deducted NIS, PAYE and Credit Union dues from the workers but did not pay those monies to the relevant agencies. When these shortfalls occur, the Council would then run to the Central Government for a bailout. Just at the end of 2017, the Communities Ministry had to grant City Hall a bailout of over $600 million after its garbage contractors had withdrawn their services.Despite their financial situation, City Hall recently launched its $19 million celebrations for Georgetown’s 175th anniversary. However, King informed that ‘friends of the city’ would be putting up the funds. This has drawn some criticisms from some councillors since they are of the view that the monies expended could be geared towards restoring the building as well as offset other expenses. City Hall’s financial woes last_img read more

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Wine flows from pair’s vision

first_imgTwo of their sons had purchased land in the area and invited Patty and Bob to come look around. They drove past the house on Cummings Valley Road and saw the “For Sale” sign on what was formerly known as “The Stowell House.” The house was built in 1888 by Elijah Agustus Stowell as a condition of marriage to Cloe Bright. Her father, John Moore Bright, a pioneer-settler, came to the area in 1854. According to the Souzas, Stowell built the home on 600 acres and it became known as “the house that love built.” It was Bob who was first attracted to the property. “Bob loves antiques,” Patty Souza said. “He wanted to look at the house.” The couple fell in love with the property, which includes two barns, a ranch house, a bunkhouse and the main house. They called a Realtor who told them the property had been on the market for five years. They sold car, boats and other possessions to buy the property, which is now known as the Souza Ranch. “Then Patty started talking about what we could do that would be unique,” Bob Souza said. “She suggested we open a bed and breakfast and put in a vineyard. She wanted to do something that would not violate the traditions of the property and surrounding area.” They said it couldn’t be done. After all, it had never been done before. No, it couldn’t possibly succeed. That’s what they said, but Bob and Patty Souza did it. And they did succeed. The Souzas planted a vineyard in Tehachapi – the first vineyard ever in the area. Not only did they plant and harvest their grapes, they also made an outstanding wine. And their red zinfandel wine, released earlier this year, received rave reviews. “People said a vineyard wouldn’t work at 4,000 feet,” said Bob Souza. Before moving to Tehachapi, the Souzas worked as insurance brokers in Granada Hills. The first couple of years, Bob and Patty did all the work themselves. They cleared the land, put in the steel posts, planted the vines, everything. Unlike two British television producers, who are airing a chronicle of their, so far, mishap in buying a vineyard without any idea of what they were doing (“Corkscrewed”), the Souzas did their research. They talked with other vineyard owners, winemakers and the agricultural office. And they attended winegrowers’ meetings, took copious notes and asked experts. “Dave Davis (winemaker for Cameo Vineyards in Lancaster) was our inspiration. He encouraged us to go on with this,” Patty Souza said. After being in the insurance brokers’ business for so long, the Souzas were surprised at how they were treated by those in the wine industry. “We were in a very competitive business before, and I told Patty that these (wine) people were going to throw us out. But instead, they really wanted to see us succeed. We found that the wine business isn’t a business, it’s a culture, a family,” Bob Souza said. “The people in the wine industry are some of the nicest people,” Patty Souza added. Even those in Tehachapi, who were sure the venture would never succeed, are very supportive of the Souzas venture. When the couple held a ceremonial bottle signing to launch their Primativo Zinfandel, they sold out the 25 cases they had brought for the occasion. They had to return to the ranch to pick up another eight cases, which they also sold immediately. Although the Souzas have succeeded and have not had the misadventures of the British television producers, they have had some close calls. Their second harvest barely escaped being frozen. “We dodged a frost by a matter of a day. Had we waited one more day to harvest the grapes, they would have been ruined,” Bob Souza said. Two days before one harvest, a windstorm covered the grapes with dust. The next day a thunderstorm brought a heavy rain and it washed the dust from the grapes. “I told Bob, `God rinsed our grapes!”‘ Patty Souza said. Because they want to add a bed and breakfast to their property, they must soon start some new construction projects. “We can’t use the house, because it only has one bathroom. The first thing people who want to stay at a bed and breakfast ask is if they will I have their own bathroom. They don’t like to share,” Bob Souza said. And the Souzas don’t want to add onto the house because it would destroy the historic value of the home. Therefore, they are planning on selling the house, two barns and other buildings, doubling the size of the vineyard, building a winery, a tasting room, gift shop, warehouse and a small apartment for the two to live in until they build a new home on the remaining portion of the property. “It will be a Queen Anne bed and breakfast, and all the rooms will overlook the vineyard and valley below,” Patty Souza said. And they want to share their successful venture. “Our goal is to get five other growers to plant about two to five acres each of other varietals,” Bob Souza said. But they also warn those thinking of entering the vineyard business that it is one of the few businesses that you go into knowing that you are guaranteed no sales for the first four years. To order the Souzas red zinfandel, go to their Web site at www.SouzaFamilyVinyeard.com http://www.souzafamilyvinyeard.com/ or call (661) 822-9233. The wine is bottled in Paso Robles and has two different labels: Tehachapi Wine & Cattle for local distribution and Quattro Stagioni for national distribution. To post your own stories and photos, log on to valleynews.com.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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SOCCER STAR SEAMUS TIES THE KNOT WITH RACHEL – PICTURE SPECIAL !

first_imgSeamus Coleman and James McClean enjoy a chat at Seamus’ wedding yesterday. ALL PICS BY JOE BOLAND OF NORTHWEST NEWSPIX.The one and only Noel Cunningham at yesterday’s wedding. Noel is the uncle of the bride Rachel Cunningham.James McCarthy who was part of the wedding party.Aidan McGeady at the wedding of team-mate Seamus Coleman.New bride Rachel Cunningham looking stunning after the wedding ceremony.SOCCER STAR SEAMUS TIES THE KNOT WITH RACHEL – PICTURE SPECIAL ! was last modified: June 20th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalKillybegsRachel Cunninghamseamus colemanlast_img read more

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Sportsday Podcast on talkSPORT 2: July 7, 2017

first_imgThis Friday morning on Sportsday we bring you your essential round-up of the morning’s top sports stories.last_img

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