By Vahnu Manikchand and Nafeeza Yahya
- two Guyanese crew members missing; two rescued
The Guyanese captain of a Surinamese-owned fuel tanker vessel is missing, but two crew members were rescued by a Venezuelan fishing vessel that responded to a distress call Tuesday afternoon, sources said.
“There were four crew members on board; two were rescued while the other two are missing. Search and rescue efforts are ongoing to locate the two missing crew members,” said Guyana’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) in a statement.
Feared drowned is Captain Rickram.
MARAD said that about 9 O’clock Tuesday night the Guyana-registered Motor Tanker Swift Dolphin reportedly capsized off the coast in the vicinity of the mouth of the Corentyne River. It was proceeding from Paramaribo, Suriname to Georgetown, Guyana.
Other sources said the ill-fated vessel, MV Swift Dolphin, sank about 30 miles off the Corentyne Coast.
The captain and crew are all Guyanese. Sources said that the two crew members were still aboard the Venezuelan trawler that responded to the distress call. One of the crew members goes by the name, Leon.
A Guyanese cargo boat was Wednesday afternoon sailing to the area where MT Swift Dolphin sank.
Police have charged a man in connection with the death of a 23-year old woman.
According to New York police, US-based Guyanese Nazir Khan stabbed his wife Amarita Khan, also from Guyana, to death on Hone Avenue in the Bronx last Saturday evening.
Police say they found Khan’s wife unresponsive with multiple knife wounds on her body.
Khan was arrested at the scene.
He is facing murder, manslaughter, and criminal possession of a weapon charges.
Both Khan and his wife live in Queens and people who knew them are shocked by what happened.
“That’s a very good guy, yeah. I can’t understand what really went wrong,” one neighbor said. “He a nice, quiet nice guy and that’s about it. I have no complaints about that guy.”
Neighbors in Jamaica say the couple had two children.
Guyanese artiste and entertainer Lisa Punch was warmly welcomed by President Donald Ramotar when she paid a courtesy call on him on Wednesday at the Office of the President, GINA said.
She was accompanied by her parents and Manager Mary Brown. Punch described her meeting with the president as very fruitful and encouraging. She said that she was inspired by President Ramotar to continue representing Guyana and making all Guyanese proud. Punch recently participated in US television network, ABC’s reality show `Rising Star’ and sang at the recent Guyana Festival.
While the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has decided to throw its support behind the proposed vote of no-confidence by the Alliance For Change (AFC), the Government is expecting that the process would go through the normal course in the National Assembly.
This is according to Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, who told reporters that the proposed no-confidence motion should not be seen as something to be done away with in a swift manner. The Cabinet Secretary said: “So you have a motion that is now supported by two parliamentary (Opposition) parties, our expectation would essentially be for the motion to be introduced for the Speaker to rule… it is not intended to be a one-day affair… one has to delve into the Constitution… the standing orders, it is matter of process essentially.”
After this is done, Luncheon advised, the requisite steps would be taken by the Executive to follow through on the motion. Luncheon said while an election date can be set before the debate on the no-confidence motion ensues in the national Assembly, it is a vague possibility.
If the motion of no-confidence is passed in the National Assembly, President Donald Ramotar would be constitutionally bound to dissolve the National Assembly. He would also be required to set a date for the holding of General Elections no more than three months after the motion would have made its way through the National Assembly.
Luncheon, however, told reporters that while this is so, the no-confidence motion is being seen as nothing more than another challenge faced by Governments around the world.
When questioned on whether Cabinet had held discussions about the no-confidence proceedings at its meeting on Tuesday, Dr Luncheon responded in the negative stating that the matter was only “noted”.
“Note was taken of the intention that had been reported in the media, what subsequently took place cannot be called a discussion, in my note-taking, it goes down as Cabinet noted” said Luncheon.
Nevertheless, Dr Luncheon said that the issue will be on the agenda for the next Cabinet meeting, which is scheduled for next Tuesday. When asked whether the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration was in a state of preparedness for General Elections, Dr Luncheon referred to previous statements made by President Ramotar and PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee.
Both individuals have previously said that the PPP/C is ready for the hosting of General or Local Government Elections. If the no-confidence motion is passed, General Elections is likely to be held in Guyana by January 2015.
The APNU has said it has initiated in-house talks over the process leading up to the elections, which would include campaigning.
The 26-seat Opposition coalition group has thrown its full support behind the motion of no-confidence to be tabled in the National Assembly by the AFC against the PPP/C Government. The APNU took the decision after its Members of Parliament who formed a Shadow Cabinet met on Tuesday afternoon to deliberate on the draft AFC motion at the Leader of the Opposition’s Office on Hadfield Street, Georgetown.
APNU’s Co-Chairman, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, speaking with Guyana Times International, confirmed that the decision was unanimous.
Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh on Wednesday announced that the Government has in substance, concluded with the US an inter-governmental agreement for implementation of the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).
As a result of the achievement of this important milestone, Guyana is now listed by the US Department of the Treasury as one of the jurisdictions treated as having an inter-governmental agreement in effect.
The conclusion of the agreement, in substance, comes after several months of review and negotiations between the US and Guyana authorities on the text of the agreement, and will see the two countries concluding a Model One reciprocal agreement within the coming months.
FATCA provisions of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act of 2010 (HIRE Act) were enacted in the US on March 18, 2010, in order to address concerns over offshore tax evasion. FATCA generally requires a Foreign Financial Institution (FFI) to enter into an agreement with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to report information about certain accounts held by US persons or foreign entities owned by US persons. An FFI that does not enter into an agreement with the IRS will be subject to a 30 per cent withholding tax on certain payments, including US source interest and dividends, and gross proceeds from sales of US securities.
Congress enacted FATCA to target non-compliance by US taxpayers using foreign accounts, and the provision has since become the global standard for promoting tax transparency. It requires US financial institutions to withhold a portion of certain payments made to FFIs that do not agree to identify and report information on US account holders. Governments have two options for complying with FATCA: they can either permit their FFIs to enter into agreements with the IRS or they can, themselves, enter into IGAs with the US. In Guyana’s case, the latter option was adopted, and an inter-governmental agreement has been entered into with the US.
On April 4, the US Department of the Treasury and the IRS announced that jurisdictions that have reached agreements in substance with the US on the terms of inter-governmental agreements under the FATCA can be treated as having agreements in effect until the end of 2014.
Minister Singh indicated that, as of June 24, Guyana attained the status of having an agreement in substance. This development represents a significant achievement in cooperation between Guyana and the US, Minister Singh said as he applauded the efforts made by both countries to ensure timely advancement of the discussions. The Minister further indicated that Guyana’s authorities will continue to collaborate with their US counterparts through the final signing of the agreement and its implementation.
By Rajiv Bisnauth
The star-studded Guyana Amazon Warriors departed Guyana on Tuesday for Grenada for their first of nine preliminary games in the second edition of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament.
The Warriors, who lost to the Jamaica Tallawahs in the finals of the inaugural tournament last year, is captained by Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies test skipper Denesh Ramdin and boasts the likes of Pakistan’s Mohammed Hafeez, Trinidad’s Sunil Narine, Lendl Simmons and Navin Stewart, New Zealand’s Martin Guptill and James Neesham, Jamaica’s Krishmar Santokie, Guyana’s Christopher Barnwell, Veerasammy Permaul, Ronsford Beaton, Steven Jacobs, Leon Johnson, Trevon Griffith and Robin Bacchus.
The majority of the 15-man squad spent the last seven days at a preparatory camp under Head Coach Roger Harper.
Prior to the team’s departure at the Grand Coastal Hotel, Harper indicated how pleased he was heading into this year’s tournament. “We got close last year and we want to do even better this year, looking forward to winning this championship.”
“I am very happy how the camp went, the players responded very well, they were very enthusiastic and I am very happy how things went,” Harper stressed.
Further when questioned regarding the replacement of Corey Anderson, Harper said “We could not have asked for a better replacement for Corey. Jimmy is a great fit for the Amazon Warriors, and we look forward to seeing the excellent form he displayed in the recent Test series continuing in the CPL.”
Neesham replaced his countryman Anderson, who withdrew from the tournament due his fitness.
On the other hand, the former West Indies vice captain expects Jamaican seamer Krishmar Santokie to play a key role in the Guyana Amazon Warriors outfit. Left-armer Santokie has emerged as one of the more exciting bowlers in the region in the game’s shortest form, and Harper said it was important that the Warriors retained the player from last year.
“Krishmar Santokie is a hugely valuable asset to my team. He is an intelligent and determined player and I am very happy to have retained him,” Harper remarked.
Santokie was at the forefront of the West Indies attack at the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh earlier this year. He subsequently turned out for Mumbai Indians in the lucrative Indian Premier League.
During the draft at Chris Gayle’s Triple Century Bar in Jamaica in April, the Guyana Amazon Warriors retained the services of 10 players from last year’s tournament, namely Pakistan’s all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, New Zealander Martin Guptill, Trinidadians off-spinner Sunil Narine, opening batsman Lendl Simmons and wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin, Jamaican Krishmar Santokie and Guyanese Christopher Barnwell, Steven Jacobs, Veerasammy Permaul and Trevon Griffith.
The newcomers this year are Guyanese Leon Johnson, Ronsford Beaton and Robin Bacchus, Trinidad and Tobago fast-bowling all-rounder Navin Stewart and New Zealander all-rounder James Neesham.
After the game on Friday, the Guyana franchise, which was bought by the NEW GPC INC, under its Limacol brand, will then play three of their nine preliminary games at home, on July 17 against Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel (19:30h), July 19 against St Lucia Zouks (16:00h) and July 20 against Jamaica Tallawahs (16:00h).
The local franchise will play Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel on July 24; Barbados Tridents on July 27; Jamaica Tallawahs on August 2; Antigua Hawksbills on August 7; and St Lucia Zouks on August 10 in their final preliminary game.
Jamaica Tallawahs won the inaugural tournament when they defeated Guyana Amazon Warriors by seven wickets in the final in Trinidad and Tobago on August 24 last.
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