Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Khurshid Sattuar has again raised concerns over allegations being made by Kaieteur News Publisher Glenn Lall, referring to his most recent ploy as an attempt to influence the judgment of the acting Chief Justice in the ongoing legal proceedings involving vehicles imported by two remigrants.
Lall and a GRA employee are currently implicated in a scam, allegedly robbing the Guyana government of millions of dollars in import duty on two 2013 Lexus Suburban L57 SUVs brought into the country by remigrants. Lall is listed as the closest relative of the remigrant on documents submitted.
Sattaur, in a letter to the media on Sunday, said the Kaieteur News owner is using his publication to undermine the work that the GRA is bounded by law to execute.
The Commissioner General was referring to a publication in the newspaper’s Sunday, September 21 edition which accused him (Sattaur) of carrying out a plot with former President Bharrat Jagdeo to “bring down Kaieteur News”.
“This supposed revelation of a plot to destroy the Kaieteur News is nothing but an apparent attempt by the newspaper’s publisher to forestall any audit the GRA may wish to undertake of the tax affairs of the Kaieteur News which may uncover irregularities, tax evasion, tax avoidance, fraud, etc.
“It is an attempt to intimidate the GRA and its officers from discharging their statutory duties and functions by suggesting that any audit of the Kaieteur News is malicious and vindictive,” Sattuar’s letter stated, continuing that that the GRA cannot abandon its statutory mandate in light of “spurious and baseless conjecture”.
“Indeed, it compels the GRA to action since these actions believe the fact the Kaieteur News has an interest in preventing an audit by the revenue body, a clear indicator of fraud and the need for an investigation,” he said.
Sattuar added that the move can be construed as an apparent and continuing effort to influence the learned acting Chief Justice in his impending decision. He said this is confirmed from the most naive reference made by the Editor of the publication that “this matter is before the court and I am sure it will go nowhere”.
“Perhaps the Editor of Kaieteur News can enlighten the public what is meant by this statement and if he is privy to information that is not in the public domain. The GRA is still of the firm belief that the matter will be heard and determined expeditiously and justice will prevail,” statedSattaur.
Acting President Samuel Hinds on Tuesday evening revealed that Chinese investment in Guyana’s economy for the fiscal year 2013 has tipped the scales at US$180 million.
Hinds was at the time speaking at a reception held at the Chinese Embassy on Mandela Avenue, to mark the observance of the 65th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. He pointed out that this comes as China has managed to maintain a “steady growth momentum” and is now considered to be a “haven of economic stability”.
The acting president noted that China has been a “good friend” of Guyana and over the years, the two countries have enjoyed growing mutually beneficial relations. He said that “Guyana’s infrastructural development continues apace with solid support” from China and Chinese investors.
“Chinese companies have invested in Guyana’s infrastructure and in its forestry and mining sector among other areas, thereby contributing significantly to Guyana’s development and the economic prosperity of our people,” Hinds noted.
China’s Ambassador to Guyana, Zhang Limin noted that since the establishment of diplomatic ties between Guyana and China in 1972, the friendly cooperation has seen significant development. “We have become sincere friends and reliable partners. There were frequent high-level exchanges between our two countries,” Zhang said.
He pointed out that bilateral trade and investment volume has increased year by year, covering areas of natural resources and construction among other things. The Ambassador noted “these projects have played an important role in economic and social development and environment protection of Guyana. Chinese entrepreneurs travelled distances to invest in Guyana, and they have the full support from Guyanese Government and local communities.”
He pointed out too that China is the largest developing country in the world, and this has come about through more than 30 years of rapid development since its reform and opening up policy.
“China has become the largest economy in the world and people’s livelihood has improved greatly; however, we have to keep a sombre mind, that with a big population of 1.3 billion, the per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) only ranks around 80 in the world,” Zhang said.
The Government of Guyana has been spending huge sums of money to create a country with a much improved infrastructure base, to propel rapid economic growth and enable better lives for 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 the many attempts to vilify any investment plan involving the Chinese as another “clear pattern of attack”, 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.”
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 questions about the true purpose of their actions.
- As Dr. Balwant Singh’s Hospital continues to provide quality healthcare
For the first time in the history of Guyana, couples who are unable to conceive are given a second chance through a scientific method known as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), which is being offered at the Dr Balwant Singh’s Hospital.
Gynaecologist Dr Madhu Singh announced on Monday that the first baby conceived in Guyana through the IVF service was delivered just a few days ago.
The mother of the baby is a 32-year-old woman who was trying to conceive for some eight years now, but could not because of severe endometriosis, a medical problem which causes infertility. Both baby and mother have been discharged and are doing well.
At a news conference to announce the accomplishment, Dr Singh said before now, patients requiring this kind of service would have had to travel to neighbouring countries, including Barbados and Trinidad. Some went as far as the United States and Canada and one can only imagine the expenses incurred because both parents are required to be examined and undergo multiple tests.
The IVF is used by couples who have tried simpler methods and failed to conceive. It is the only option for patients with low sperm counts, blocked fallopian tubes, or prolonged unexplained infertility. It is also the only option when patients have to use donor sperm or eggs especially those who may have uterine problems or may have had their uterus removed. “These women can use a surrogate to carry their babies once they have access to this service,” Dr Singh told reporters in the hospital’s boardroom.
IVF is a process by which an egg is fertilised by sperm outside the body in vitro (in glass). The process involves monitoring and stimulating a woman’s ovulatory process, removing ovum or ova (egg or eggs) from the woman’s ovaries and letting sperm fertilise them in a fluid medium in a laboratory. The fertilised egg (zygote) is cultured for two to six days in a growth medium and is then implanted in the same or another woman’s uterus, with the intention of establishing a successful pregnancy.
IVF techniques can be employed in a variety of situations. It is a method of assisted reproductive technology for treatment of infertility. These techniques are also employed in gestational surrogacy, in which case the fertilised egg is implanted into a surrogate’s uterus, and the resulting child is genetically unrelated to the surrogate.
According to Dr Madhu, the service has been in the making for some five years now and has cost the medical institution close to US$500,000. Dr Singh, who disclosed her passion for Gynaecology, particularly as it relates to fertility, said the service is a highly complex procedure and requires a dedicated lab and theatre. The cost to the patient per cycle of treatment is approximately US$8000, and this is due to the high cost of medications.
Since the beginning of the service, some 56 patients have been processed, Dr Singh related. “Not all of these had their embryos transferred due to medical problems, including high hormones.
Asked about the success of the service so far, Dr Singh said it is a bit “premature to talk about success rates because all the embryos have not been transferred. They will be, however, in the vicinity of the international success rate of 30 to 40 per cent”.
The head of the hospital Gynaecology Department said every patient is not required to pay the same cost, however. It depends on the kind of treatment they need. The medications have to be tailored to the individual patients, depending on their hormones, she explained
Dr Singh explained in the event the service does not work with some patients, the institution continues to work with and accommodate them using the “rescue cycle”. Some women, she explained, produce 20 eggs or more. In such cases, the eggs are frozen and the process is repeated. “Because what we have found is, if you say 30 per cent is the success rate for a cycle, over two cycles that success rate will become 60 per cent, over three cycle, 90 per cent. So if you don’t do it, someone else will get the success.”
Singh, who received training in this area from India, has been a practising gynaecologist in Guyana since 1998. She worked at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation for some five years, heading the Gynaecology Department for two.
GEORGETOWN, GUYANA: Cricket fans worldwide are continuing to support the Guyana Amazon Warriors’ challenge of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) final which was played against the Barbados Tridents in St. Kitts and Nevis on August 16.
Immediately after the decision was announced, the Amazon Warriors had mounted a challenge to the outcome of the game, which was controversially awarded to the Tridents under the Duckworth-Lewis system.
This renewed wave of support by fans seems to have come in the wake of a decision by CPL’s Cricket Tournament Committee (CTC), despite substantial evidence to the contrary, that there is no “good reason” to reverse the result or declare the final a nullity.
However, both the CTC and the CPL said they do not object to the matter being referred to the International Cricket Council (ICC), the game’s world governing body, for a ruling that is “definitive, transparent and expeditious”–words that appear to suggest the decision was arrived at with a great degree of doubt.
A petition website has been launched in support of the Amazon Warriors’ challenge, currently with more than 2000 supporters and growing, and social media continues to be replete with rage at the way in which the game ended, while at the same time calling on the CPL management to overturn the decision.
A CPL statement issued Sunday said the CTC effectively ruled that the result of the rain-affected final stands, although there has been mounting pressure from a number of cricket fans worldwide, well respected analysts and commentators of the game, and a number of sport organisations.
The statement said after receiving and considering the formal complaint made by the Amazon Warriors, it referred the Match Report to the CTC for a decision. The CTC claimed that the Match Referee properly applied the rules regarding the time allotted for the match, and alluded to paragraph 6.2 of Section 3A of the CPL Tournament Rules, which deals with match results.
This “expressly precludes a team from objecting to the result of a match on the ground of any decision made by any Umpire or the Match Referee”, the statement said.
The Match Referee’s report indicated an enquiry by CPL Chief Executive Officer Damien O’Donohoe and Member of the CTC Charles Wilkin, QC, if the full match could be played without resort to the Duckworth-Lewis rules.
“To this, the consent of both captains was required and that was not forthcoming. Hence, they were informed that, according to the Playing Conditions, they did not have the authority to make such a ruling,” the statement added.
Chairman of the CTC is PJ Patterson, former Prime Minister of Jamaica. Other Committee members include Zorol Barthley, Walter H Scott and Conde Riley.
…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