June 25, 2017

The PNC’s insensitivity is nothing new

Dear Editor:

The recent remarks by the Working Peoples Alliance (WPA) of not being consulted by the APNU coalition puts them behind the eight ball, so to speak. Respectfully said another way, to be part of a governing regime for two years without any knowledge as to their role points to a creeping bankruptcy within WPA’s political culture.

The PNC is simply being itself. The WPA and others were warned about a coalition with the PNC but they argued for it. Indeed, certain AFC advocates including its then party leader and a certain well-known newspaper columnist berated others for raising PNC history.

Voters were told that this is a different PNC. Voters were also told not to listen to those who preached about “rear view” politics. The coalition even used Mr. Barack Obama in a political advertisement to suggest that the past was dead.

However, this did not stop the PNC itself from announcing recently that under Mr. David Granger it was implementing Mr. Burnham’s vision and policies.

The WPA should never have united with the PNC. But having done so for the love of country, as one of its executive members once stated, the WPA should have resigned when the Walter Rodney COI was prematurely ended.

I for one grew up reading the WPA paper during those long Burnham days. I lived next to one of its loyal foot soldiers in Grove who worked tirelessly to sell that paper. The one defining characteristic of the WPA has always been its refusal to be disrespected.

What the PNC did with the aforesaid COI exceeded disrespect. It sent a message. The PNC stood its ground, the WPA did not. Having failed to do so, the WPA’s shield has been pierced.

It explains, for example, why the PNC willfully selected June 13 to announce the demotion of Dr. Rupert Roopnarine as the Minister of Education. It is to disrespect the WPA and its legacy. This PNC insensitivity is nothing new. This same PNC insisted on May 26 being the date for Guyana’s independence when that date is associated with the racial atrocities that occurred against Indians in Wismar in 1964.

In politics, the past is never dead.

 

Sincerely,

Rakesh Rampertab

The GECOM Chairman issue should have been settled a long time ago

Dear Editor,

Please publish this letter on the ‘political games’ between the President and the Opposition Leader, representing Government and Opposition. There is widespread concern and uneasiness over the delay in the appointment of the Chairman of GECOM, in view of impending regional elections followed by general elections. This issue has been playing out in the public arena for too long. This matter should have been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the President and Leader of the Opposition, in fulfillment of their constitutional duties following confidential conferring in good faith. But what is outstanding in these meaningless occasional meetings between the President and Opposition Leader is the photo opportunity; the people are disappointed, as nothing good in the national interest has come out of these meetings, much to silent, widespread dissatisfaction of the Guyanese people.

On the appointment of the Chairman of GECOM, the language of the Constitution is clear, with all due respect to the lawyers. What other meaning should be imposed/argued on the term “or any other fit and proper person”? Anyone found to be a fit and proper person from the first list of six persons could have been appointed, as was done in the past. That settled the acceptable constitutional interpretation in practice.

I am of the view that our President has not been getting sound legal advice. Differences in the interpretation should have been referred to the Court, right up to the Caribbean Court of Justice, if necessary. Rejecting the lists of nominees is unfortunate and embarrassing for us in CARICOM and the international community. We have to get right our politics, our Constitution, appointments to constitutional bodies, our elections, and the management of the economy and major industries for the good of all.

The President and the Opposition Leader must demonstrate sincerely to the nation that they can put aside their partisan politics in fulfilling their constitutional duties in an exemplary way in the national interest. It must be admitted that our country is divided largely in the politics of race/ethnicity for many years. A fair and just political and constitutional solution must be found on the basis of wide consensus, taking into account our ethnic demographics. The tokenism of racial inclusion and the dressing of the executive administration with a Social Cohesion Ministry, with meaningless and deceptive public relations gimmicks, will make no impact in this society; and is wasting tax payers’ money.

What hope is there for our country if the political leaders cannot meet in mutual confidence, confer in good faith, and agree on issues of national interest? This should be done without posturing in the media on individual political positions before arriving at mutual agreements.

The nation looks to the President and the Leader of the Opposition, who should be role models and set the tone for the conduct of national affairs in the interest of all the citizens.

Ministers, members of the National Assembly, and public officials must fall in line in the conduct of their statutory administrative and service duties to the public. They must set a good example as role models for now and future generations.

Yours sincerely,

Joshua Singh

 

Not in support of UG Diaspora conference in US

Dear Editor,

America-based Guyanese are considering a boycott of the “Diaspora Conference on Investment” in July being organised by the University of Guyana Vice Chancellor’s office. The main reasons articulated for the planned snub: racial and political discrimination and victimisation by Government, lack of transparency in governance, wastage of financial resources by UG management, racialised hiring and appointment of staff at UG, neglect and marginalisation at Tain campus, etc.

Also, relevant questions are being asked on the true role and objectives of the conference: Whose agenda is being served by UG management? Why isn’t there ethnic equity in representation in the university’s management, hiring of staff, distribution of resources, funding for those attending this and other conferences, etc? Many feel the conference will be another talk shop and that no meaningful action will be taken on recommendations as has been the case over the last two years. Proponents (of boycott) note that blacks successfully used it as a weapon in America and South Africa and Zimbabwe to bring about positive change, and they believe same can be achieved in Guyana.

Guyanese are looking at the Diaspora intellectuals and business folks to provide moral and courageous leadership to rescue Guyana. To attend the conference would be to support wrongs in the country, sending a message of condoning the policy, programme and action of the Government and UG management. Spurning the conference is seen as a form of solidarity for the victims of racism and mis-governance.

It is pointed out that funds at UG are being wasted on trivial matters. Money has been invested (including on foreign junkets) with promises of huge returns from alumni and the Diaspora; instead there is a negative return of 80 per cent. Expenses (airfare, hotel, and the works) were paid for some attendees (defenders of the regime) who did not reflect the ethnic composition of the population. UG hosted “reach out” (Diaspora) conferences in New York and elsewhere with hardly any Indians, Amerindians, Chinese, Portuguese, and other representation – who together comprise some 55 per cent of population but are marginalised with under-representation of only five per cent. Many who sided with the Alliance For Change and the People’s National Congress (PNC) have realised they were used to remove the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) from office only to install the PNC in Government. They now feel the regime is seeking to re-use them to attract investments and to legitimise the marginalisation of ethnic groups.

It is pointed out that when African leaders were shouting about marginalisation from the rooftops under the PPP Government and were challenged to present evidence, they responded in a huff that ‘Indians cannot speak about the reality of Africans in Guyana’. Today in every indicator, the numbers keep building up transparently showing Indian and Amerindian marginalisation and exclusion. And now the public doesn’t hear blacks talking about racism when this is pointed out.

The regime is parading token Indians as representing the Indian population. And a few are being recruited from abroad only too willing to sell their souls and their people for crumbs. Indians and other groups must not allow non-ethnics to define their agenda. Indians must tell their own narrative.

On hosting conferences, UG management did not see it fit to host a seminar on the 100th anniversary of end of indentureship, but it hosted seminars on emancipation and slavery. The UG management could not find resources to send lecturers to attend conferences on indenture in Trinidad, India, New York, Holland and London but expended millions for a Diaspora meet in NYC and millions more now for a UG Daspora meet.

The Diaspora has complained that the Government does not even bother to engage them, but now wants their investment. Government has largely ignored most of those who played a significant role lobbying for developmental assistance for the homeland. And those who constantly write on the Diaspora, particularly the role it can play in development, are not consulted for their ideas. Those who have consistently sought investment for Guyana feel they are alienated and no longer welcome.

Critics of the UG conference say organisers are not willing to tolerate discussion on misuse of funds and on the widespread corruption pervading the Administration and or to address racism, intolerance, and victimisation. They don’t think there will be space for intellectual exchange on governance or a voice to guide the regime to take corrective action on its countless missteps.

At the UG conference, the agenda of victims and non-supporters will not be served. Instead, only the agenda of the Government and the office of the Vice Chancellor will be served. Should the public respond to the invitation to participate in the conference? Would Dr Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela have attended this conference? If these gentlemen had not used boycott or other forms of resistance, would change have come to India, America and South Africa?

The moral weight of those in academia and business expressing their displeasure with the UG conference will hopefully force its management, the Government and its acolytes to rethink their policy of mis-use of funds and glaring racial discrimination. As many say, the “stayaway” gesture from the conference is symbolic as it may not move the Government, but a clear message of needs to be sent.

Yours truly,

Vishnu Bisram

 

Leaders should work towards creating a modern elections commission

Dear Editor,

An impending visit to Guyana by a major delegation from the Trinidad Energy Chamber prompted an article in the Trinidad Guardian (June 9, 2017) captioned “Guyana: trouble again?”

The article focused on Guyana’s turbulent electoral history, and culminated in the following manner: “Oil revenues should start to flow from 2020. And 2020 is also election year. Stakes are high.”

Linking investor interest in oil and gas to Guyana’s threadbare electoral system captures what is at stake between the leaders of Guyana’s two major political formations in Monday’s meeting, which is aimed at resolving the impasse over nomination of the Chairperson for GECOM.

If the exchanges leading up to that meeting are a guide, one side will be haggling about the phrases “fit and proper person”, and “fitness to be a judge”; and the other side will be issuing veiled threats about ‘consequences’. This is neither what the vast majority of Guyanese need nor want. They want national leadership that is aimed at creating a modern, independent, de-politicized Elections Commission; not tribal leadership aimed at prolonging elections as an ethnic census.

The Carter-Price Formula has been debased into a tool for prolonging a tribal census. It is outdated, and should eventually be replaced by a modern, professional hiring-and-selection process that is completely out of the hands of the political parties. Nothing less can either guarantee Guyanese their right to genuine democracy, or investors the assurances they need.

The Carter-Price Formula, however, still allows huge improvement in the Elections Commission, if the political will is available to so interpret that formula.

The formalities of the Leader of the Opposition providing a list to the President, as required by Section 161 of the Constitution, imposes no restrictions whatever on how that list is generated. Nor need it be restricted to the Chairperson. An agreement by both men to create a professional, public, transparent and impartial process which generates a list of people who are capable and willing to be commissioners could then, as a formality, be presented by the Leader of the Opposition to the President for his acceptance.

All of this is entirely feasible within the current constraints of Article 161 if the national interest were motivating the exercise.

Barricading themselves within a pedantic interpretation of Section 161 of the Constitution, or invoking the need for constitutional reform as a way of avoiding electoral reforms, would be unacceptable to everyone, except the leadership of the two major parties.

An authoritative review of electoral practices around the world concluded that “Conclusive evidence from all regions of the world shows that, in 80% of all democracies, elections are run by independent electoral commissions either in a full manner (53%) or by supervising the work of agencies from the executive branch of government (27%).” In other words, Guyana’s current arrangements are associated with the more backward and autocratic minority countries, rather than with the range of modern approaches employed in established and emerging democracies around the world.

A reformed selection process could ensure selection of men and women who are perceived to be level-headed; impartial; possessing managerial capacity; collectively understand logistics, human resource management, technology, media and the country’s contemporary history. In terms of character, they must have sound leadership ability, an even temperament, be persons of integrity, and persons who are able to strengthen inclusivity. The key requirements are not legal; legal advice should always be independent, in any case.

However, given the bizarre current arrangement of appointing GECOM Commissioners for life, the process outlined above should be accompanied by a request from both leaders to all the current members of the Commission to voluntarily resign.

The GHRA is under no illusion that those steeped in ethnic politics would have difficulty finding ample excuses to prolong the current arrangements.

However, should the two leaders fail to provide the national leadership required for electoral reform, they must accept the responsibility for the inevitably prolonged race downwards to a 2020 election that is embroiled in ethnic antagonism and fuelled by desperation to control the new El Dorado of oil and gas.

Sincerely,

 

Executive Committee

Guyana Human Rights Association

 

Much more needs to be done to attract tourists to Guyana

Dear Editor,

For me, Guyana is a really extraordinary country but one that is neglected for various reasons. The majority of the blame I personally put on the Administration that got elected by the people of Guyana to govern properly. Some tried and some got stymied by others and, in the end, Guyana suffers tremendously.

Every country tried various methods to develop itself, utilising what is available locally and the most successful means; that is rapidly increasing its tourism. From all indications and my humble opinion, Guyana does not seem to be even preparing to enter that race.

Looking at many other countries and the way they promote themselves, I believe if Guyana is to do the same, we would be a far way in the tourism race. The little pickings that enter Guyana is comical but given the amount in the past, it seems to be sufficient reason for them to lay back and celebrate.

Tourism offers many forms of benefits, including employment, increased spending in communities, marketing for our produce/products, development of communities, opportunities, etc, but why more concentration is not being given there boggles my mind. There’s no worthy preparation taking place to motivate tourists to visit Guyana, except a few relatives and friends returning and being classed as tourists.

There is an abundance of wildlife, awesome sceneries too numerous to mention, adventures to experience; but incredibly, Guyana cannot be marketed to attract tourists. Apart from attracting visitors from other countries, there seems to be no leverage for locals to visit tourist attraction sites throughout Guyana. The cost does not change for locals and that is bad because when you ask someone living in Guyana about certain places in Guyana, they cannot answer. This is because they have never visited and chances are they cannot afford to, even though they are interested in going. There should be some flexibility for people living here that would give them the opportunities to visit places and I’m quite sure they will assist greatly in marketing/promoting Guyana freely, using the various social media sites.

Editor, recently I visit Lake Mainstay in Essequibo and, as usual, I was just in awe at the location, the design and the views going there. Going to the resort, you’ll see small villages before reaching and I do not see anything on display that would attract tourists like art, craft, etc.

One of the biggest sore points that is hampering that resort is the road to reach the resort. It is in such a deplorable condition that it would deter anyone in just a few minutes from leaving the public road. As it is now, it takes almost one hour to reach Lake Mainstay from the Anna Regina main road.

It would appear that resources allocated to this location are being stifled.

Sincerely,

Sahadeo Bates

 

Roopnaraine’s ouster a slap in the face of WPA

Dear Editor,

I am both puzzled and appalled at the firing of Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine and the reasons given. The spin is that Dr. Roopnaraine has not been fired and that his ouster from Education is simply a Cabinet reshuffle in which he has assumed other responsibilities. This is simply kerfuffling and insulting the Guyanese people.

The fact that this happened on the day Guyana is observing the death anniversary (the murder anniversary) of Dr. Walter Rodney, a genuine Guyanese patriot and hero, the founder-leader of the WPA and a friend of Dr. Roopnarsine is intriguing. I believe that it is a slap in the face of the WPA, it is an insult to Dr. Roopnaraine and it is another dagger into the heart of Dr. Rodney. I believe it is deliberate and is intended to let the WPA know that they are still regarded as outsiders and interlopers and they no longer serve any useful purpose for APNU+AFC. Already, Nagamootoo and Ramjattan are simply holding on as Trotman completely incorporate the AFC into APNU. This is just another step in reaffirming the People’s National Congress (PNC).

The fact is that Dr. Roopnaraine has been fired as the Minister of Education, a senior Ministry in the Cabinet. He has been assigned to a junior role as a Minister in the Ministry of the Presidency, meaning he must report to Minister Harmon. APNU+AFC from the inception regarded the public service as not important enough to have a Minister and that the public service will be handled as part of the assignment of the Minister of the Presidency. Now Dr. Roopnaraine has a title as a Minister in the Ministry of the Presidency, but for all intents and purposes will be doing the work of a PS with limited duties under Harmon.

Not only have they fired him from the Ministry of Education, they heaped insult on him by saying that they are seeking a more efficient way to manage Education. In so doing, they have made Dr. Roopnaraine a fall guy for the mismanagement of Education. They make it appear that he had to be removed from his role as Minister of Education so that they could do a better job of managing education. Not only have they fired and scorned him, they have assaulted his dignity.

It is disrespectful to treat Dr. Roopnaraine this way. Not only is Dr. Roopnaraine a distinguished scholar, but he has been in the struggle for freedom and democracy. While I was disappointed that Dr. Roopnaraine joined the APNU coalition, and while I believed he was misguided in his justification for doing so, we remained friends. I have always admired Dr. Roopnaraine, even if I could not agree with him all the time. No matter what our disagreement, I always gave him the benefit of the doubt that he was genuinely looking out for the interest of our people. I remembered in 1997 when I was an MP with the PPP sending him a note that I am proud of his struggle and his courage fighting for what he believed in, after one of his speeches in Parliament.

Between 2011 and 2015, as Minister of Agriculture, I hosted Dr. Roopnaraine many times in my office in his role as shadow Minister of Agriculture for APNU+AFC. We always mutually and in the interest of Guyana addressed concerns that he raised and, as far as possible, I sought to find a comfort zone where we placed politics aside and find solutions to concerns that may have existed.

A Government makes changes. A president has the right to change his Cabinet and every Minister serves at the pleasure of the President. No one is too sacred that they cannot be touched when you serve as a Minister. But either you remove that person as a Minister or shift him or her to another Ministry of the same rank. When Minister Jeffrey was shifted from the Ministry of Health in 2001, he was shifted to the Ministry of Education, a Ministry with the same rank. When the same Minister was shifted from Education, he was made Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. In this case a Senior Minister has been shifted downwards, not even being given his own Ministry.

There is no “ands, if and buts”. Dr. Roopnaraine has been dumped and the shift as a Minister in the Ministry of the Presidency is just to placate the WPA. But Dr. Roopnaraine and the Members of the WPA will be dishonoring Dr. Rodney if they cannot see that APNU+AFC has just heaped absolute scorn on the party, on those party members serving the government and most disgusting a deliberate insult to the memory of Dr. Rodney.

It is a signal that APNU does not need the WPA and people like Rupert Roopnaraine anymore. They were used, just as the United Force was used in 1964, to help secure political power. Now that they have begun to take control of the State and they have made progress in consolidating a repressive machinery to reinstitute dictatorship, there is no place for the WPA and Dr. Roopnaraine. The spin and the kerfuffling will be wild in the next couple of days, but Guyanese are not foolish and are not fooled. Dr Roopnaraine has been fired and silenced.

Dr Leslie Ramsammy

Speaker should be guided by Standing Orders of the National Assembly in rulings

Dear Editor,

Page 234 of the Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice states “The chief characteristics attaching to the Office of Speaker in the House of Commons are authority and impartiality.” These principles also apply to the Guyana National Assembly and to its Speaker, Dr Barton Scotland. The National Assembly is governed by the rules laid out in the Standing Orders of the National Assembly, and the Speaker is expected to be guided by this document.

At times I am convinced the Speaker unfairly targets members of the parliamentary Opposition, especially when he conveniently disregards disparaging remarks and heckling from the Government side, but is quick to reprimand one of my colleagues when they respond in kind. But I have always given the Speaker the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his interpretation of the Standing Orders, even though at times I disagree with his ruling.

Now there is reason enough for me to question my own judgement, as I may not be so willing to give the Speaker a free pass again.

My colleague, the honourable Bishop Juan A Edghill MP was summoned to appear before the Privileges Committee of the National Assembly on June 5, to answer charges relating to a speech he had made in Parliament which was misconstrued as misleading. I wanted to attend this hearing for two reasons: (a) to give support to my friend and colleague, Bishop Edghill and (b) as a learning-curve for me as a parliamentarian. This Committee only meets when there is a need to discipline one of its members, and so it was an educational opportunity for me to witness the Committee in action.

Early that morning I called the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Sherlock Isaacs to indicate my interest in attending this hearing as an observer, and gave him the aforementioned reasons. He quoted Section 95 (15) of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly (Procedures in Select Committees) which reads: “Subject to this Standing Order, any member of the Assembly (not being a Member of the Committee) may attend any meeting of a Committee, but such a Member may not be able to join in the deliberations; only Members of the Committee of Privileges may attend any meeting of that Committee while the Committee is deliberating.” To my surprise, the Clerk used this section of the Standing Order to explain that only Members of the Committee of Privileges were allowed to attend this Hearing.

He suggested that I call the Speaker if I have a problem with his interpretation of the Standing Order. I did! After repeating my request to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, I again emphasised the need to attend in the limited capacity as an observer. I told him of my earlier discussion with the Clerk, and the way he interpreted the Standing Order.

Dr Scotland, who is also the Chairman of the Committee of Privileges, admitted that he had not read that section of the Standing Order before and needed time to do so. I then took the opportunity to read him Section 95 (15) above, and he insisted that he would have to read it thoroughly before he can interpret the Standing Order to which I refer. But although he confessed to not having read this Standing Order before, he was adamant that Members of the National Assembly who are not Members of the Committee of Privileges are not allowed to attend these meetings. When I insisted that Section 95 (15) of the Standing Orders gives me the right to attend, the Speaker informed me that even though the interpretation may be different, he will not be the one to break from tradition.

At 11:07h that morning, I received a call from a staff member of the National Assembly who said she was calling on behalf of the Speaker to advise that “You will not be allowed to attend the Committee of Privileges”. This decision, I‘m sure, was taken after the Speaker read Standing Orders Section 95 (15) as he said he would.

Editor, I am not a lawyer, but anyone would conclude that Standing Orders Section 95 (15) gives me and every Member of Parliament the right to attend any meeting of the Committee of Privileges, except that a Member who is not a Member of that Committee cannot stay during the deliberations. And I made this quite clear to both the Clerk and the Speaker that I will not be around during the deliberations. Read the Standing Order yourself, it is written in layman’s language. Although a prominent legal scholar, the Speaker seems to be having difficulty with the interpretation of this Standing Order, very much like the President is having in deciding who is a ‘fit and proper’ person. Why the hypocrisy? The Speaker must be consistent in his rulings to avoid the perception of being bias. There can only be one interpretation of any Standing Order, and the Speaker does nothing to his credibility by misinterpreting any.

Sincerely,

Harry Gill, MP

Must Guyana have its own oil refinery?

Dear Editor,

We trust that all is well. We write in relation to the recent assessment by the consultant Pedro Hass from the British-based international think-tank Chatham House, which concluded that building a 100,000 barrel-per-day oil refinery in Guyana could cost up to US$5 billion, and that such an enterprise would yield a net negative outcome of US$2-3 billion per annum.

We note that many very thoughtful voices have argued that such an undertaking is essential to our national development project, citing a range of promising economic and financial outcomes and numerous examples of countries not unlike Guyana building and successfully operating refineries.

We disagree with each other as to whether a refinery should be built. However, in our discussions, we quickly recognised a fundamental problem with our discourse and the Guyanese national discourse – we were/are collectively not proceeding from a set of shared assumptions!

In this essay, the first part of our series, we start at the beginning: What are the foundational elements in making this and similar decisions of this type, which would undoubtedly emerge in Guyana’s near-term and medium-term future?

In our next installment, we will address the key sectoral issues that are critical inputs for a decision on constructing a refinery for Guyana; and in Part III of this essay, we would examine practical options for Guyana at this stage in her journey.

We look forward to inviting you, your readers, and the Guyanese citizenry into this discussion.

 

Yours truly,

Terrence Blackman

and Kojo Parris

GuySuCo never fails to issue clumsy responses

Dear Editor,

I refer to GuySuCo’s letter of June 3, 2017, captioned “GuySuCo’s detractor is being outright irresponsible and reckless”. This letter is a response to my letter published on May 31.

Editor, the corporation’s communication unit never fails to present clumsy responses or rebuttals, either knowingly or unknowingly. I shall address the core points raised in this last response to demonstrate how ignorance and incompetence pervades this organization from its apex down.

  1. It is an undisputed fact that the Corporation deliberately packed bulk raw sugar from Albion for 2-3 weeks at Enmore. In a most uneducated and unintellectual defence, the Corporation attempts to justify its actions by stating that “all six factories have the capacity at any time to produce the varying qualities required”. This creates an impression to the reader that Albion can produce direct consumption sugars. If this is the truth, can Ms Thomas show proof whether GuySuCo’s own monitoring mechanisms, or national regulatory bodies — such as Guyana National Bureau of Standards & Food & Drug Analyst Department — approved Albion Estate to produce food grade sugars for direct consumption?

The Corporation then continues with its unadulterated nonsense by stating that “the difference between bagged and packaged sugar is further drying of the sugar to render it more conducive for packaging”.

Editor, the truth is that bagged and packaged sugar is a product intended for retail sale, thus it must be fit for direct human consumption, and must therefore meet all quality stipulations, not just degree of dryness (by “further drying”).

Interestingly, after my letter was published on May 31st, the movement of Albion’s sugar to Enmore was halted on June 1st. What a coincidence!

  1. I have zero cause or reason to attack GuySuCo, because its management is in accelerated self-destruction mode, as can be seen from its very own utterances, actions & inactions. I am just highlighting some facts on the Corporation, for which management should be thankful, instead of labelling me a detractor.

3.It is not my responsibility to advise the GAWU on its relationship with GuySuCo. From the Corporation’s lamentation, it seems like workers have greater commitment, faith and trust in the GAWU, than in their employer, GuySuCo. It may be good to do some self-introspection to find out why workers are less committed, or have lost faith and trust in GuySuCo.

4.Taking on “Project GuySuCo”. The IMC and management should not even attempt for a fleeting moment to suggest that they are doing this nation a favour, because they are a very well paid bunch with my tax dollars. For example, the IMC alone cost the treasury G$90+ million/yr. Anyone with such pay packet must be passionate and enthusiastic. Wouldn’t you, Ms Thomas?

  1. SWOT Analysis. From this admission, it appears that GuySuCo’s IMC & executives discovered, for the first time, the simple framework for analysing an organization via SWOT analysis. Packing of bulk sugar for direct consumption is probably a highly strategic decision in GuySuCo’s psyche. We should light a candle for sugar workers and consumers!

Sincerely,

Sookram Persaud

 

MTA must complete elevator at Lefferts Boulevard and Liberty Avenue subway stop

Dear Editor,

Here in Little Guyana, or Region 11 – where the largest number of expatriate Guyanese abound in the largest region – the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) must be reminded about their public commitment, promise and obligation to complete the wheelchair-accessible elevator in the heart of the Richmond Hill community – the Lefferts Boulevard and Liberty Avenue subway stop.

The ubiquitous presence of the New York editions of the Kaieteur, Guyana Chronicle, Guyana Times and Mirror newspapers, which are read more than the NY Times and NY Daily News newspapers, keep our community of expatriate Guyanese Americans informed; and we kindly ask your media to publish this representative petition.

MTA’s $29 million project, commenced since 2014, was scheduled to be finished since the end of 2016, but unpalatable excuses abound each time we enquire about the constantly deferred completion date, making it a “white elephant.”

Seniors, pregnant mothers, kids, the physically challenged, students, workers; indeed, everyone in our tax-paying community, would benefit greatly from this elevator, which makes mobility and travel easier, and would love to see this project completed. MTA would also benefit from increased revenue. The Richmond Hill community is one of the few in the USA that do not have any escalators or elevators serving subway patrons, which raises serious concerns.

Moreover, the failure to complete this project has forced the closure of the adjacent main stairway, affecting businesses and the local economy, and congesting traffic. The fencing, construction and accumulating garbage are an eye sore, and present a danger to public safety.

The MTA must recognise that they are failing in their duty to make access easier for residents with disabilities, contrary to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Indeed, the non-profit Center for Independence of the Disabled New York just filed a lawsuit against the MTA for lack of elevator access citywide. Richmond Hill/Ozone Park residents may also bring a class action lawsuit against the entity.

As a matter of customer obligation and due compliance with our laws, this project is long overdue, and must be completed now!

Albert Baldeo

Community

Advocate