…with launch of airline
By Vahnu Manikchand
The BK International Group of Companies officially launched its JAGS Aviation airline on Monday afternoon at the Ogle International Airport (OIA), promising to help promote tourism.
At a simple ceremony at the Wings Aviation Hangar, the airline was launched before a host of dignitaries. The airline will be providing domestic services to interior locations with a brand new aircraft recently added to its fleet. The Cessna Grand Caravan 208B EX, valued some US$3 million, has a seating capacity of 13, excluding the pilot. It is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and is fully air conditioned.
The BK Group is no stranger to the transportation sector with a history in the minibus and marine sub-sectors. However, its entry into the aviation industry is the vision of the younger Tiwari generation, who will be leading the airline.
One of the Directors, Briony Tiwari, told the gathering that they saw the potential of Guyana’s tourism product and wanted to invest; hence, the acquisition of JAGS Aviation. She disclosed that the BK Group had acquired JAGS three months ago and began immediately investing in the company with a fleet expansion programme. This, according to the Director, saw staff receiving training overseas and the recruitment of new personnel. Tiwari pointed out that the new Cessna Grand Caravan is outfitted to provide the highest standard of comfort for passengers. The Director assured that her company will be continuing its efforts to improve the aviation sector by investing in new aircraft and higher standards of operations and customer care.
In addition, she pledged her commitment to investing in promoting the country’s tourism sector. “You will also see substantial investment in the promotion of Guyana as a destination for international and domestic tourism… we want to encourage everyone in the tourism and transportation sectors to work together to quickly bring Guyana’s tourism infrastructure to the place where we are hosting a substantial amount of tourists each year,” she stated.
The young airline director noted that they are currently using the facility of Wings Aviation; however, they are currently engaged in negotiations for land to build a new hangar.
In delivering his feature address, President Donald Ramotar pointed out that for too long Guyana has been the best kept secret, but it is now putting its tourism products out there. He highlighted the importance of air transportation for the various sectors, particularly mining.
According to the President, milestones such as this are possible after Government would have invested in the sector. On this note, he mentioned the importance of proper facilities referencing the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Expansion Project.
Meanwhile, acting Tourism Minister Irfaan Ali also spoke about the gains the tourism sector has made over the years. He noted that Government has made provisions for any company that invests in the aviation sector, in order to boost tourism transportation within and outside of Guyana.
By Vahnu Manikchand
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been playing a supporting role to the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) in investigating the discovery of a submersible vessel in Region One two weeks ago.
In an exclusive interview with Guyana Times International, local US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Bryan Hunt said that the DEA has been playing a supporting role to CANU after Government had requested its assistance in the investigations.
“The Government of Guyana asked us to assist them technically with some of the forensics involved in the investigations. They asked for advice on the best way to handle securing and moving of the vessel so we have provided them with our best technical advice and our technical experts who have been working alongside the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit,” he disclosed.
The US Embassy official disclosed that there are a small number of DEA officials involved in the investigations.
He noted that their participation in the probe varies every day, depending on the level and type of expertise needed at the site.
DEA officers from the regional offices, the Caribbean and the US comprise the small team assisting with the investigations. Asked whether DEA intelligence so far has shown links to any drug cartels, Hunt noted that it was too early in the investigations to determine this; however, based upon the DEA’s professional assessment thus far, the vessel was intended for the movement of narcotics.
According to the Charge d’Affaires, anti-narcotics agencies around the world have made many such discoveries of semi-submersible vessels, including those in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Hunt explained that the DEA has been involved in some of those discoveries. He went on to say that using the knowledge gained, the DEA will try to assist CANU with comparing the vessel found with other known models and types previously discovered in order to determine the similarities and differences so that they can identify the owners.
Further questioned on whether the comparison process has begun, the US Embassy Charge d’Affaires reiterated that it was too early in the investigations to do this.
…after shootout with US marshals
Newspapers in New York are reporting that it took seven US marshals using combat gear to swoop down on the 175th Street, Queens, New York residence of Guyanese-born Oswald Lewis, at about 23:00hrs on Tuesday night, and ram their way into the man’s apartment, where the marshals were confronted with gunfire from an automatic weapon before they were able to arrest the man.
Lewis has reportedly been living in the United States for most of his life; and according to authorities in that country, he has been engaged in the smuggling of drugs for years.
Persons who spoke to the US press said the Guyanese-born drug lord seemed prepared for the lawmen’s visit. But after coming under fire, the marshals returned fire, forcing Lewis to take evasive measures. Reports are that he was wanted for cocaine smuggling and assault.
The marshals were backed up by ranks from the New York Police Department, and as the man attempted to escape via his backyard, he was confronted by the NYPD ranks, upon whom he also fired. After realizing there was nowhere to run, Lewis retreated into the apartment, abandoning his automatic pistol after he had been shot once to the left hand, the US press reported.
The late night drama saw curious onlookers coming out of their apartments and peering through windows, hoping not to miss any part of the action. Persons were seen standing on the streets across from the man’s apartment with their smart phones and other gadgets, taking pictures and making other recordings of the ordeal.
Lewis, according to the US press as advised by the lawmen, had been on the run for more than ten years. In 1991, he was indicted for conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Eyewitnesses related that it was he who had first shot at police and marshals, forcing them to return fire.
The witnesses also reported to the media that Lewis tossed his gun outside the front door of his apartment before walking out with his hands in the air, although he was still wearing his bullet-proof vest and bleeding from the arm.
He later reportedly broke down and cried like a child when arrested and handcuffed by the lawmen.
Eyewitness said that after the first responders had showed up at the man’s house and had come under fire, back-up ranks swarmed the entire block within thirty seconds, causing residents to describe the police response as “incredible”
The Government of Guyana has been spending huge sums of money to create a country with a highly improved infrastructure base, to propel rapid economic growth and a better life for its citizens.
At the same time, it has been putting in other services to attract both foreign and direct investment which aid in economic development and wealth creation and job opportunities.
But while the country has been experiencing year after year of economic growth, there seems to be a pattern emerging; a coordinated attack on investments in the country.
President Donald Ramotar, in a recent interview with the National Communications Network, said, “That pattern has been shown from the beginning of last year; it’s not a one-off act. How do you explain the non-support of the Amalia Falls, the Specialty Hospital, the expansion of the CJIA (Cheddi Jagan International Airport)?”
Citing as another “clear pattern of attack” the many attempts to villify any investment plan involving the Chinese, President Ramotar said: “This is extremely worrying, because China has proven to be a very reliable developmental partner, not only to us in Guyana, but to the Caribbean.”
In some instances, he said, Opposition politicians initially supported some of the projects, only to withdraw their support along with the requisite funding. “Is it intended to put us in an awkward position to lose a lot of money? Because your voting for these things in the past has allowed us to have contractual arrangements in many areas; and now voting against them.”
As the President was at pains to explain, whenever queries arise about any investment, the government and investors are, and remain, prepared to provide answers to those enquires. And the fact that comprehensive measures were taken by government to provide details, some of which were highly confidential, to Opposition politicians, who still decided to oppose the investments, raises the issue of the true purpose of their actions.
But in spite of all the aggravation, Guyana still remains open to investment, foreign or local, President Ramotar said, once interested companies abide by the country’s rules and regulations.
“You are welcome to invest in our economy and our society,” he urged whoever may be thinking seriously about investing in Guyana, in spite of the two main Opposition parties’ obvious anti-developmental agenda.
He said that the Government still remains open to dialogue, at any time, with other Parliamentary political parties, he said, adding that he hopes good sense will prevail as efforts continue to have Guyana further advance on the path of development that it has taken over the last two decades.
In becoming the first Guyanese ‘mas band’ to hit the Parkway, ‘One Destiny’ says it is portraying the Caribbean Community (Caricom) member state’s Coat of Arms in making a difference.
“This year, One Destiny is portraying the national motto, along with the meaning of the Guyana flag,” said band leader Zeelema Verwayne in a Caribbean Life interview.
“This year’s portrayal is based on the fact that this year is going to be the first year after so long for the Guyanese community to have a truck on the Parkway,” added the Georgetown, Guyana-born native, who is also producing mas for the very first time.
“We decided to execute this idea because it has been talked about by many to have representation of our country on the road, but never taken seriously; and we’ve made it a ‘living reality,’” Verwayne continued.
“I hope that, after this year on the Parkway, we open an eye for the rest of our community – that shows that we, as Guyanese, can come together in unity and make things happen, where it is all about fun and laughter,” she said.
Verwayne said most of the masqueraders, who are Guyanese, will play in five sections: Essence, Raw Purity, Endurance, Passion and Unity. Each section comprises 30-40 masqueraders.
“I just want us to have clean fun and represent for Guyana what we haven’t seen on the Parkway in years,” Verwayne stressed.
“I love the idea of having a truck on the Parkway and seeing nothing but Guyanese following behind it,” she added. “It’ll be a fun and joyous experience, and I think that it will bring our community closer together.”
Verwayne also disclosed that Guyanese artistes Adrian Dutchin and Jomo Primo will be among others on the float.
Masqueraders will also sway to several Guyanese deejays – Kado, from Unity Family; First Class Sound; Uprising Star; Samuel Top Ranking; Kash; and GT Hi Five.
“I just want to say thank you to all in advance, who are taking the time to join and make our first year a successful one,” Verwayne said.
“One Destiny” mas camp is located at 4807 Church Avenue, between 48th and 49th streets in Brooklyn.
Verwayne can be reached on Facebook at “wearefamilyandfriendsofguyana”; email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or call (347) 384-0497 or (347) 383-8718.
The Management of the Guyana Amazon Warriors Team has taken a decision to contest the outcome of the second Caribbean Premier League (CPL) final played between the Amazon Warriors and the Barbados Tridents on August 16 at Warner Park, St Kitts and Nevis.
This decision was taken following a review of the sequence of events that took place during the game, which started at 16:03h (4:03 p.m.) under overcast conditions.
During the Barbados Tridents innings, there were two rain interruptions – one at the end of 7 overs and the other at 11.2 overs. By the end of the Tridents innings of 20 overs, they had scored 152 runs for 6 wickets.
At the start of the Guyana Amazon Warriors innings, the Duckworth/Lewis calculation sheet was provided as per norm. During the course of the Amazon Warriors innings, rain interrupted the game at 15.5 overs with the Amazon Warriors score at 107 runs for 4 wickets.
After the rain interruption, the covers were removed, mopping up took place, and the stumps were back in position, with the field and pitch ready for play to resume. This entire process was conducted under the supervision of the Fourth Umpire, who also indicated the restart of the game.
Both Match Umpires then went on the field when the stumps were up and subsequently went back off the field without communicating anything to the Guyana Amazon Warriors Team on the position of the game.
It was clear at that stage that the umpires did not know the new Duckworth/Lewis calculations, which caused a further delay of more than 30 minutes within the stipulated match time.
At this point, an enquiry was made by the Guyana Amazon Warriors Team Manager with regard to the restart of the game. He was told that information will be provided in two minutes.
After approximately 10 minutes, with no information forthcoming, the Guyana Amazon Warriors Team Manager again approached the umpires and was told that the game will restart at 20:40h (8:40 p.m.) with the full quota of overs to be bowled.
At that stage, CPL even went on to update the fans via social media that the game will continue in full. This update can be viewed on www.facebook.com/CarnivalT20.
Suddenly, the Match Umpires at this late stage said that they were consulting with the CPL Technical Committee, which is strange in cricket, since the sole decision makers are the Umpires and the Match Referee.
At this stage, the Barbados Tridents Captain and Coach were called and advised about the restart of the game at 20:40h (8:40 p.m.), and both the Barbados Captain and Coach objected to the decision.
Further consultations took place between the Umpires, the Match Referee and the CPL Technical Committee.
After a few minutes, the Guyana Amazon Warriors Team was informed by the Match Referee that the match was ended and Barbados were declared winners based on the Duckworth/Lewis calculations.
It is important to note that the Management of the Guyana Amazon Warriors Team had raised this important issue with CPL officials with regard to the appointment of Umpires and Match Officials for the semi-finals and final of the tournament.
Another key conflicting matter to take note of is the fact that based on the Match Referee’s Game Breakdown Report, the second innings of the match should have been completed by 19:52h (7:52 p.m.).
But when the rain came and stopped play at 19:54h (7:54 p.m.), only 15.5 overs were completed. This demonstrates that there was a slow over rate by the Barbados Tridents and this was not dealt with by the umpires.
Subsequent to the biased final match, the Management of Guyana Amazon Warriors wrote CPL specifically with regard to the decision taken at the match and intends to vigorously pursue the arguments outlined above.
Meanwhile, the Management of the Guyana Amazon Warriors has expressed deep appreciation for the support demonstrated by the fans throughout the tournament and will keep members of the public updated.
One of Guyana’s most versatile singing sensations, and a member of the X2 band was recently listed as the recipient of the 2014 Guyana Cultural Association Folk Festival Award in Brooklyn, New York.
Adrian Dutchin was duly recognised for his accomplishments in the performing arts that are representative of the inspiration derived from Guyana’s rich cultural heritage.
His span of appearances in the Guyanese and Caribbean diaspora with a cross section of top artistes has been impressive over the years, and this has led to him being a recipient of the award.
The Guyana Cultural Association Folk Festival Award ceremony is an annual event in Brooklyn, NY. On August 27, the committee will present awards to individuals for their work that represents meaningful contributions to the improvement of inter-ethnic dialogue and feelings of trust in Guyanese society at home and in the diaspora.
In an interview with Guyanese media, Dutchin thanked the committee for considering him for the award. He said that the award serves as a motivation to aim for bigger things. He is currently on that track since he is expected to release two singles shortly.
He dedicated the award to his fans for their support over the years and more so, his family. The proud father of two is also the recipient of the West Indian Music Award (WIMA) for Best Performer of the Year which he won for two consecutive years (2012 and 2013).
Dutchin also received the award for the Best Soca Song in 2013 with “Jook”.
By Vahnu Manikchand and Nafeeza Yahya