By Rajiv Bisnauth
By Rajiv Bisnauth
With just hours more before the start of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2014, Guyana Times International Sport chatted with four local members of the Guyana Amazon Warriors squad prior to their departure from the Grand Coastal hotel on Tuesday for Grenada.
The local franchise will play the Antigua Hawksbills on Friday at 14:00h, their first of nine preliminary games before returning home for three games.
Opener Trevon Griffith, who played one game in the first edition of the tournament last year, said he feels very excited and honoured to play in the Limacol CPL once again and is focused on playing a major role for his team in this year’s competition.
“Last year I played one game so I’m looking forward to playing more games this year and hopefully grasp any opportunity I get with both hands.” Griffith reiterated that he was “happy to be a part of the team again” as it is a “big opportunity.”
Meanwhile, 25 year-old debutant Robin Bacchus said he plans to capitalise on the opportunity.
“I’m very excited and looking forward to be among some of the best cricketers in the world and eager to learn from them, while I will also use the opportunity to make a name for myself,” he said.
Fast bowler Ronsford Beaton, who was ruled out from the inaugural tournament due to a stress fracture weeks before the start, said he is fully fit and ready to make an impact.
“I definitely feel excited that I’ve been called up to play for the Guyana Amazon Warriors,” Beaton said. “I am definitely coming to play and bringing my best. Last year it was unfortunate to miss out due to injury but I am really looking forward to this year’s tournament.”
Left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul expressed how pleased he was to be a part of the prestigious tournament for a second time.
“I am happy to be back in the Warriors line-up and hopefully it will be another successful year for me,” the Albion spinner revealed.
The 24-year-old Permaul ended last year’s tournament with 10 wickets from nine games at an average of 19 with best figures of 3-32 against Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel at the Guyana National Stadium.
It was a complete turnaround for the left-armer, who earlier in that year in the Caribbean T20 competition, was thrashed to all parts of the park, picking up just a solitary wicket.
Further Permaul added “As the runners’ up, a lot of pressure will be on us, but I feel that we have the strength to do very well this season. With 10 players in our 15 man squad having been retained, cohesion won’t be an issue.”
He pointed out that one of the high points for him from the inaugural tournament was being able to rub shoulders with international stars like Mohammad Hafeez of Pakistan, New Zealand’s Martin Guptill and James Franklin, and the Sri Lanka duo of Tillekaratne Dilshan and Lasith Malinga.
“It was a pleasure to be around those international players because of the experience they have and what they were able to share with us. I think it is a good thing [having international players in the Limacol CPL] because as a player you can learn so much from them, playing in different conditions and different situations,” Permaul, who represented the West Indies in four Test matches, pointed out.
… three agents to be assigned
By Vahnu Manikchand
The much-anticipated establishment of a US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office in Guyana is likely to happen by September, a senior US Embassy official has said. The official also confirmed that three agents and an administrative officer will staff the office, which will be located at the US Embassy, in Duke Street Kingston, Georgetown.
Amid spiralling narcotics trafficking in Guyana, stakeholders believe that the United States’ move to set up the office will help break up local drug networks, but they also believe earlier interventions could have prevented the spread of the narcotics trade to the point where Guyana is considered a transshipment point. The increased level of gun violence and other crimes have been tied to the drug trade.
Corruption and fraud
In one of its recent annual State Department International Narcotics Control Strategy Reports, Washington said Guyana was neither an important regional nor an offshore financial centre, nor does it have any free trade zones. However, the scale of money laundering is thought to be large relative to the size of the economy. The US Government had said that money laundering has been linked to trafficking in drugs, firearms, and persons, as well as to corruption and fraud. It noted that drug trafficking and money laundering appear to be benefiting the Guyanese economy, particularly the construction sector. The US said Guyana was a transshipment point for cocaine destined for North America, Europe, and the Caribbean, noting that the Guyana Government was yet to implement a National Drug Strategy Master Plan.
In an invited comment to Guyana Times International, Shadow Home Affairs Minister and Former Commissioner of Police, Winston Felix, said the DEA Office is long overdue in Guyana. “The DEA Office will assist us greatly, because they will link with the Guyana Police Force and the other drug enforcement agencies. Sharing of information ought to be a little freer and I know the difficulties which confront the drug enforcement agencies would be easier handled by the presence of a drug enforcement agency,” he stated.
Felix, who is now a Member of Parliament for A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), went on to say that Guyana would not have been in such a bad state as it relates to drug trafficking had the office been established much earlier.
By Vahnu Manikchand
The sod was turned on Wednesday for the construction of a US$54 million (G$11.1 billion) five-star hotel at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown.
The Sun and Sand Hotel will add to the country’s tourism capacity, providing more accommodation to house the increasing influx of tourists. India-based Sun and Sand Group of Companies on Wednesday held a sod-turning ceremony at the hotel’s construction site. The Sun and Sand Hotel will include a casino, along with a commercial block and club house. It will contain 163 rooms and provide jobs for several hundred Guyanese.
The construction of the five-star hotel is expected to commence next month and last for approximately 18 months.
Speaking at the ceremony, President Donald Ramotar noted that with investments such as this hotel, the local tourism and hospitality sector will blossom and change the landscape of the country. He added that the fact that more international companies are investing in Guyana’s economy shows the potential the country has.
The Government is further looking to transform tourism in the interior in order to stimulate the sector there. “I envision that this investment will also stimulate more investments in the interior where we have tremendous tourist potential… most of the destinations in the interior goes to Kaieteur, but there are so many other beautiful places such as Orinduik,” he said.
Ramotar added too that the hotel will change the skyline of the country, as he highlighted the need for the expansion of the airport, given the fact that the country is attracting more airlines from around the world.
This sentiment was echoed by acting Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali, who noted that major airlines such as Copa Airlines would not have invested in the Guyana market if they did not see the potential here. Ali assured the investors that Government is committed to ensuring that their investment is safeguarded. He went on to say that when Government invested in the Marriott Hotel, it stimulated a transformation in the sector.
Meanwhile, Director of the Sun and Sand Group of Companies, Bhushan Chandna, thanked the Government of Guyana for its support, as he expressed his company’s interest in expanding its services in the country. The Sun and Sand Group of Companies specialises in real estate, housing projects, hotels, and casino construction as well as in metal and mining sectors.
Chandna said the main objective of his company is to provide direct and indirect opportunities that will benefit Guyana’s economy. “In this country, many foreign companies are coming and exploring mining, but our company has diversified activities [that] will allow us to venture into other areas as well,” the Director told the media.
By Vishnu Bisram
The Indo-Caribbean Federation will be celebrating its 29th Annual East Indian Arrival Day on June 8th 2014, at Smokey Park in Queens, New York. This year will commemorate 176 years of our fore-parents leaving the shores of India to seek a better life in the Caribbean.
The festivities will pay tribute to our rich culture and heritage that our ancestors brought with them many years ago. They faced unimaginable hardships, but took comfort in the traditions and morals that were imparted to them. Many faced oppression, but they held on to their faith and beliefs with steadfastness. Nothing could have stopped them from passing on the rich cultural heritage to their children. This process continued for generations and has survived through time and modernization of the Indo-Caribbean community.
Indo-Caribbean people are an integral part of America’s rich cultural diversity as they contribute to the economic, cultural and social life of the metro area in a significant way.
This annual congregation represents many things, but most importantly it teaches us how rich and beautiful the East Indian culture really is. From the hard work ethic, to the respect of the elderly, our ancestors have instilled great values that have lasted throughout time. One thing that is recognizable within the West Indian community is that we hold our culture in high regard.
Prominent artistes will display their talent at the grand cultural show. The celebration will begin at 1:00 P.M and conclude at 7:00 P.M. Organizers are encouraging everyone to come out and cheer the artistes and most of all show appreciation for the contributions made by our ancestors.
- as another airline is set to begin operating Guyana – NY route
Guyanese-owned airline TravelSpan is not intimidated by increasing competition and is confident nationals will continue to support the airline which they can consider their own.
This is according to TravelSpan General Manager Vanita Jagnarain at a press conference on Wednesday at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) where it was announced that TravelSpan will be sending 14 Guyanese to Las Vegas, Nevada to be trained as flight attendants.
Caribbean Airlines, Fly Jamaica and TravelSpan are the three carriers plying the Georgetown-New York route with Dynamic Airlines set to launch its service in Guyana later this week.
Jagnarain stressed that TravelSpan has been receiving good support from Guyanese travellers ever since its return to service to Guyana in December. New scheduled flights from New York and Toronto are to be announced soon.
Jagnarain explained that the airline’s incoming and outgoing flights have been 80 to 90 per cent and 100 per cent filled for certain holidays such as Easter and Mashramani.
“It goes to show that the people want an alternative carrier, nobody wants to stop in the other destinations. People want to go non-stop. So no, we don’t feel threatened because we know the Guyanese people will support the carrier.”
The General Manager also made the point that TravelSpan is basically a Guyanese carrier, since it is owned by a Guyanese although the company is US-based. “And especially now that they have these beautiful and talented young individuals working, why would they not want to support these young individuals?”
Fourteen of the 30 individuals set to join that crew after being shortlisted for training in Las Vegas were introduced to the media before winging out to the US to start their three-week training today (Thursday).
The training will enable the participants to become certified flight attendants by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The final batch is expected to receive their training by the end of this month.
TravelSpan declined to give a figure on the cost of the overseas training for the 30 individuals, only saying that the initiative was a costly one.
On the question of preventing their flight attendants from being lured by other airlines once they are certified, Jagnarain noted that the flight attendants for other airlines are not based in Guyana. She also said she was “confident that these individuals are committed to TravelSpan and we have received their assurance that they are committed”.
Notably making up the 14-member group was former Miss Guyana Universe and Miss Guyana World Ruqayyah Boyer who told Guyana Times International that her new pursuit will help her to continue being an ambassador for Guyana.
Three males are also part of the group, including Yannick December, who said he is keen on proving that males can also make good flight attendants.
The airline said it received hundreds of applications from across the country and that those shortlisted hail from Bartica, Linden, Berbice and other areas.
TravelSpan noted that this is not the first time it is training Guyanese to become FAA certified attendants, since it did so in 2007 before pulling out of Guyana in 2008.
The airline returned in December with nonstop service between New York and Georgetown at a time when passengers were demanding an alternative carrier on the route after Delta pulled out and EZjet went out of business last year, following the demise of REDjet in 2012.
- Ex House of Israel priest apologises for beating PNC opponents during ‘dark days’
Former Priest of the House of Israel, Joseph Hamilton on Thursday publicly apologised for the mass attacks he helped carry out on persons standing in opposition to the People’s National Congress (PNC) Government during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Hamilton, during his testimony to the Commission of Inquiry into the death of Dr Walter Rodney, had informed the commission that his participation in the cult movement had found him and other members being involved in violent acts against persons who opposed the Government of the day.
He said the PNC had infiltrated the organisation through its leader David “Rabbi Washington” Hill, a fugitive from the United States who had found himself in Guyana during that period.
Standing resolutely after his cross-examination before the three-member commission, Hamilton said he was sorry for all the pain he had inflicted on individuals during the time. “Over time I have worked politically with many of the Working People’s Alliance [WPA] members, but it is the first time I’m saying how profoundly sorry I am to engage in those activities in the specific period,” Hamilton, a former PNC executive and now Parliamentary Secretary for the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) said.
“As we dwell on the WPA, I would say all other political parties that were harassed, terrorised, brutalised, armed, put in danger at the specific time. Any citizen whom we would have dealt with in this abusive and violent way. I would say to the Guyanese people at large, how profoundly sorry I am,” he told the Commission.
He revealed that he holds an interest in the lives of Guyana’s youth, having two sons himself, and that is also another reason for him stepping forward. “I wanted young people to get an opportunity to understand and so that in their sojourn, would ensure that this country of ours never return to that place”.
He continued, “As much as you try, I would say respectfully, you would be unable to grasp the time.
“As I said, it is only those who lived the time will have a full understanding, an appreciation for the time. As I said only the oppressor, the oppressed and the victims, only they can only understand the time. Reading a book can only give you snippets.”
He pointed out that he was quite aware of the consequences that his testimony would incur. He is, however, prepared to live with these consequences.
Hamilton said he was now depending on the compassionate nature of the Guyanese public, to offer its sympathy and forgiveness. Hamilton’s testimony at the Commission, implicated former Leader of the PNC Reform Robert Corbin, alleging that he had been actively involved in the distribution of weapons to the House of Israel. Hamilton had also implicated then Government Minister Hamilton Green, noting that both he and Corbin were carrying out executive duties with the use of walkie-talkies at a massive rally in July 1979.
The revelations, however, did not sit well with the PNC leadership, as its lawyer at the inquiry, Basil Williams seemed enraged over the allegations which incriminated the two senior members of the political party. Williams had suggested to Hamilton that the true reason for his testimony was to get back at the officials, whose falling-out with him had led him to leave the party.
During his penance, Hamilton said: “I appear before the Commission, not on the House of Israel’s behalf, I have no such mandate to speak on the House of Israel’s behalf. I came here as Joseph Hamilton, Citizen, to speak to the Guyanese people.
There was no coercion, there was no master, and there was no one who contacted me, indicated to me. It was all Joseph Hamilton who by his own conscience came to this Commission to speak the truth as I know it. Whatever is said adverse of me, it matters not because I would have done my bit, cleared my conscience, freed myself and let me say finally, Mr Chairman, like Dr Martin Luther King “Free at last, free at last, thank God, I am free at last”.
Chairman of the Commission, Sir Richard Cheltenham congratulated Hamilton on his bold step. He noted that the promise laid out in the terms of reference about an absolute pardon is still in place and urged Guyanese to come forward with their statements, which may assist the Commission in reaching its objectives.
– the Biggest Party in Sport announces 30 games over 37 days on eight different islands, as the Limacol CPL II countdown begins
The 2014 Limacol Caribbean Premier League, which will run from 11th July to 16th August, has announced the full set of fixtures that will have fans of the Biggest Party in Sport blocking out their calendars with 30 explosive games set to be played in just 37 days.
CPL II is set to thrill crowds across eight beautiful islands in the Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Trinidad and Tobago. The tournament is set to entertain record-breaking crowds both on and off the field, building on last year’s inaugural tournament won by the Jamaica Tallawahs.
Damien O’Donohoe, CEO of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League, said: “It’s a thrill to be able to announce the full schedule for this year’s tournament. Each island will deliver a party like no other, and the combination of world-class internationals and exciting Caribbean talent will thrill the crowds, ensuring that this year’s Limacol Caribbean Premier League will be like no other cricket tournament, combining unbelievable, dramatic action on the field and a unique, vibrant carnival atmosphere off it.”
Week 1 – Grenada Carnival cricket fever hits the beautiful island of Grenada with the announcement that the National Cricket Stadium will host the opening round of games of the 2014 Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL), from Friday 11th July, with all six teams in action over the first weekend.
The National Stadium, which has hosted several West Indies matches since 2002, as well as six matches at the 2007 World Cup, boasts fantastic playing facilities, and will hold the biggest Limacol CPL crowd ever, with room for a massive 16,200 fans each day. The opening fixture, on Friday 11th July, will be Guyana Amazon Warriors vs Antigua Hawksbills, followed by Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel vs Barbados Tridents on the 12th and St. Lucia Zouks v Jamaica Tallawahs on the 13th July.
Week 2 – Guyana/Antigua The second week of the tournament is spread between Guyana and Antigua, with the Amazon Warriors and Hawksbills both looking to make full use of home advantage.
A packed Sir Vivian Richards Stadium is expected on 17th July as the Antigua Hawksbills welcome the visit of Mickey Arthur and the Jamaica Tallawahs, with coach Tim Nielsen no doubt hoping the mystery spin of Saeed Ajmal can unravel Chris Gayle and his travelling Tallawahs.
Meanwhile, 15,000 passionate Guyanese fans are expected to fill the Providence Stadium as the Amazon Warriors welcome Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel in the second game of the day, to be held on the evening of the 17th. There will be a distinctly Kiwi feel for the match, with Corey Anderson and Martin Guptill turning out for the home team, and Ross Taylor representing the Red Steel.
Four further games follow at the weekend, with the pick of the week coming on Sunday 20th July, and a rematch of last year’s final between the Jamaica Tallawahs and the Guyana Amazon Warriors.
Week 3 – Trinidad/Barbados It’s set to be the tale of two Ovals in week three, as the Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad, and Kensington Oval, Barbados play host to the next six games of the tournament.
Barbados fans will be well aware of the threat posed by the St. Lucia Zouks in their opening game of the week (24th July), and will hope Kieron Pollard and his Tridents are able to contain the powerful batting threat of Darren Sammy, Andre Fletcher and Brad Hodge.
Kevin Pietersen could make his Zouks debut later that week, against the Red Steel on 27th July. It will be a big weekend for Trinidad & Tobago, with reigning champions the Jamaica Tallawahs visiting Queen’s Park the day before for a fantastic clash between two of the Caribbean’s favourite players, Dwayne Bravo and Chris Gayle.
Week 4 – Jamaica/St. Lucia With July drawing to a close, the CPL party will show no sign of stopping as it arrives in Jamaica and St. Lucia for the fourth week of the tournament.
Chris Gayle will hope to light up his home ground, Sabina Park, in his first home game of the tournament on July 31st. However, another legendary West Indian batsman stands in his way, with Antigua Hawksbills mentor Sir Vivian Richards hoping to provide his team with the inspiration to spoil the Jamaican’s homecoming.
Kevin Pietersen will discover the passion and support of his home fans when he arrives at the Beausejour Stadium for the first time in a Zouks jersey. Captain Darren Sammy will be expecting the box-office batsman to deliver in three tough games, one of which includes a clash with local rivals, Barbados Tridents.
Week 5 – St. Kitts The penultimate week of the tournament sees Warner Park welcome the CPL for the very first time, as the people of St Kitts and Nevis will get the chance to experience the thrill of the competition first-hand. With the stadium having undergone recent development to enable it to host CPL matches with the construction of state-of-the art lighting facilities, it is sure to be another exceptional host for the thousands of local fans expected from August 7th.
The first three games of the week will give teams the opportunity to settle some scores from the opening weekend of the tournament, with the first three fixtures mirroring those that took place in Grenada in July.
However, tension is set to reach breaking point when the final round of fixtures takes place on the weekend of 9/10th August. Jamaica Tallawahs and St. Lucia Zouks will be hoping for one final push as they both play two games in as many days, including the hotly anticipated showdown between Gayle and Pietersen on 9th August.
Finals Week – St. Kitts The tournament will reach its climax during a packed week in St. Kitts, beginning with the semi-finals, taking place on Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th August.
In a change from last year, the first-placed team at the end of the group stage will advance straight to the final, rewarding consistency across the season. The third and fourth-placed teams will meet in the first semi-final, with the winner of that match set to play the second-placed team the following day for a place in the final. The remaining two franchises will then have the rest of the week to prepare, as the Biggest Party in Sport reaches its epic conclusion, with the Limacol Caribbean Premier League 2014 final due to begin at 3.30pm on Saturday 16th August.
Check cplt20.com for ticket announcements and further details.
Acting Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister Irfaan Ali has called on all Guyanese to become tourism ambassadors of Guyana as the Ministry seeks to create lasting impressions on visitors.
The Minister issued the call on Friday at the launch of the Guyana Festival at the Guyana International Conference Centre, Liliendaal, Greater Geogetown.
“We are hoping to bring home thousands of Guyanese and to bring in thousands of our brothers and sisters, all across the globe to celebrate with us the wonderful history and culture of ours,” Ali stated.
He said the event is indeed a tourism endeavour, but it also has a very important business aspect, which will become an integral part of the Ministry’s tourism drive.
Ali noted that the festival will be celebrating everything Guyanese. “It’s our rich culture that sets us apart from the rest; six cultures fused together by the independence of one people, a colourful adventure that is a melting pot for all our cultures, brewed together by unity,” Minister Ali stated.
The Guyana Festival will see a mixture of the country’s traditional music, dance, food, arts and craft being exhibited at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence, East Bank Demerara, on August 8 to 10.
This three-day event, which will be marketed in North America and the Caribbean, is aimed at bringing awareness of Guyana’s diverse cultural heritage, and generally the nature of its tourism product locally, regionally and internationally.
On Saturday, August 9, there will be a night for local legends which will see renowned celebrities such as Dave Martins, Sammy Baksh, Eddy Grant, and Terry Gajraj performing. There will also be a day set aside for games and will see various communities coming out to compete in cricket, football and other sport with the aim of winning trophies and other prizes.
The event will culminate with a culinary cook-off competition of traditional Guyanese cuisine, such as duck curry, pepper pot, cook-up, metemgee and black cake, followed by a grand concert aimed at promoting the next generation of Guyana’s music industry and help to develop new/young talent. Performing will be Jumo “Rubber Waist” Primo, Adrian Dutchin, Melissa “Vanilla” Roberts and others.
Amid much pomp and ceremony, 25-year-old Divya Sieudarsan was crowned Miss Guyana India Worldwide 2014 at the New Thriving Banquet Hall by the outgoing queen Katherina Roshana.
Sieudarsan, who is no stranger to the pageant world, has now taken up the mantle to represent Guyana at the Miss India Worldwide Pageant in Dubai come June. In delivering her maiden speech as Miss Guyana India Worldwide, Sieudarsan pledged to campaign against child abuse. This scourge that continues to affect the lives of children all across the world must be eradicated, she stressed. It was with sadness, Sieudarsan said, she watched the brutal beating of a 12-year-old girl who posted inappropriate pictures on Facebook. The Trinidadian teen was beaten by her mother who subsequently uploaded the video on Facebook to register her disgust. The new queen said child abuse must not be condoned despite the justification given.
Sieudarsan said “abuse is abuse”. According to her, this global problem is yet to be adequately addressed on the international arena. “It is my belief that all that beauty and all that light is most useful when they work to place focus on and erase the darkness and ugliness in the world….and there are only a few things darker and uglier than the abuse of children.”
The beauty queen said she was overwhelmed with joy to see President Donald Ramotar on the front page of local newspapers commissioning the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha’s hospice for abused children.
Sieudarsan, who hails from the Number 69 Village, first appeared on the pageant scene as a delegate of the 2010 Miss Guyana Universe Pageant. She subsequently vied for the Miss Guyana India Worldwide crown in 2011. Her failure did not deter her spirit. Determined to be crowned queen, Sieudarsan applied to be the 2014 Miss Guyana India Worldwide earlier in the year. Of all the intellectuals and beauties that applied, Sieudarsan stood out. The Miss Guyana India Worldwide Franchise Holder Chandini Rambalak, supported by a panel, selected Sieudarsan.
But before Sieudarsan was crowned, Apsara, which is also owned by Ramnarine, put on a fascinating show, highlighting the rich Indian culture in Guyana. The Apsara Dance Troupe swept the audience off their feet with its enticing dance performance. The entertainment level went to a new high when upcoming artiste Andy Rattan took the microphone. His melodious voice left the elegantly dressed participants craving more.
But it became an emotional scene when Miss India Guyana 2013 Katherina Roshana took her last walk. Decked in an exquisite rose pink sari, Roshana gracefully walked about the hall.
In her final words as the reigning queen, Roshana said it was a privilege to serve the vulnerable population of Guyana, especially differently-able children. Tuesday night marked the end of an incredible chapter of her life, she said. As an Indian Ambassador of Guyana, she was given the opportunity to build on her potential, while being a positive influence in the lives of her peers and even the older folks.
The event was also attended by Miss Guyana World 2013 Ruquayyah Boyer and the recently crowned Miss Earth Guyana Stacy Ramcharan. The first Miss Guyana India Worldwide was selected in 2010 and Alana Seebarran won the global competition in 2012, bringing home Guyana’s first international pageant crown.