November 23, 2017

Houses and more houses

Dear Editor,

Sometimes, I just have to read and then do a re- read, and even stop in the process.

This happened as I was reading and assimilating the details from the article “At keys handing over/ Plans announced for extensive West Bank Demerara housing.” I was most pleasantly surprised and extremely happy for the residents. Most people view owning a home as the ‘ultimate’, and this ‘ultimate’ was achieved just recently on the East Coast Demerara.

According to the news items, 38 persons “… now have places to call homes, as they are the latest beneficiaries of the Core House Pilot, under the Government of Guyana/Inter- American Development Bank (IDB) Low Income Settlement Two Programme (LIS2).” The location is Block XXX, Non Pareil, and the homes are valued at a total of Gy$11.2M each. At the handing over ceremony, Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker reminded the recipients that “…housing has always been an important component in the manifesto of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) for the past 19 years, as (provision of housing) is seen as integral to the social advancement of the country as a whole.” So, PPP/C is in keeping with original plans and intentions for Guyana. This occasioned a timely response from one of the residents, who I am sure spoke on behalf of all the new home owners. Caesar declared thus: “… I (we really) know (that) we will cherish, care and value this, and I feel very privileged as I always had the desire to own my own home.” So this housing trend is really on the move and simply gathering momentum. The next phase of this particular project is right in the offing, too.

In the words of Whittaker, the LIS2 operation has been extended to hinterland areas in an effort to provide the same benefits to our Amerindian brothers and sisters, as the government has been working “assiduously” with international and local agencies to provide Guyanese with (house) lots, and eventually homes, in a quest to ‘house’ all Guyanese. In fact, in addition to the Non Pareil Scheme, other houses are currently being constructed at Westminster Phase One, West Bank Demerara, as well as at Tabatinga in Lethem, Rupununi, accounting for another 32 soon to be completed. So here the logistics of the housing drive is quite good. The cross-section of people and areas targeted is quite commendable.

I close by commending the government for this venture, one of many in Guyana designed at making the country very comfortable to live in; and for sure instilling in the minds of everyone that “North America is just a dream, and many times a mere myth”. If one follows the pattern in Guyana, one can expect Non Pareil (meaning “no comparison”), to be a busy little village soon, with the regular and necessary amenities, such as grocery stores, internet cafes and taxi services, etc to be all up and running.

Yours,

Ahmad Ali

Good for the people of Bartica and surrounding areas

Dear Editor,

I was happy to learn, through your newspaper, that the people of Bartica benefited from a medical outreach programme in which surgeries were performed on patients in the area. This is extremely good, and will contribute towards improving the health of residents in Bartica and surrounding areas.

This Medical Outreach (October 2 to 8 ) was coordinated by the Health Ministry and the Bartica District Hospital. It was an excellent move, as it brought patients from remote areas into focus. These people would now be able to receive medical attention, including surgeries, and all of this in a very comfortable manner.

Even as I thank the Health Ministry, I think that ministry should look into the possibilities of having more medical outreaches to cater for the needs of patients in other remote areas in Guyana.

Sincerely,

L Persaud

Berbice cricket concerns

Dear Sir,

The officials and cricketers of the West Berbice area have been enjoying life as never before, since the illegal election of the Guyana Cricket Board earlier this year.

The following have happened in a short while for the area at the Guyana Cricket Board level.

a) David Black appointed manager of the senior Guyana team.

b) Julian Cambridge appointed liaison officer for Guyana Under-19 Team.

c) Carol Nurse appointed manager of Guyana female teams – both junior and senior.

d) The following players: Keith Fraser, Keyron Fraser, Arthley Bailey and Kwesi Mentore, found themselves on the President’s XI Team in front of more outstanding players, like Moshin Perkhan, Rajendra Bolo, Ramnarine Chattergoon, Harrinarine Chattergoon, Raid Ally, Sasenarine Sukhdeo, Renwick Batson, Jason Sinclair, Delbert Hicks, Danny David, Seon Hetmyer and Gudakesh Motie Kanhai.

While certain West Berbice officials and their trusted cricket friends are all enjoying the benefits of the one West Berbice vote at the illegal Guyana Cricket Board, the standard of West Berbice cricket is deterioriating.

The different teams – first division, inter- zone and club – have won nothing for the longest while, and the West Berbice Cricket Association has not been able to find sponsorship to organise anything for the long- suffering clubs in that area.

Western Berbice Cricket is in urgent need of fresh blood, and as a proud citizen of that region, I would like to call on the clubs and representatives to stand up, attend the meetings, and let your voices be heard. Western Berbice Cricket Association does not belong to David Black.

I would be grateful if the Berbice Cricket Board can verify if it is true that two senior Western Berbice Cricket Association executives are indebted to the body, and have failed, neglected and/or refused to clear up their debts.

While the Berbice Cricket Board has been creating waves across Berbice with their development programmes, the administration of West Berbice cricket seems to be interested only in positions at the national level, and our cricket has reached rock bottom.

Yours in sports,

Harold Ramdass

Understanding Navaratri or the journey towards perfection

Dear Editor,

The Hindu community is presently observing the religious occasion of Navaratri from 2011-09-28 to 2011-10-05. During this period, Hindus fast and keep and vigils, attend mandirs, and perform worship, mainly of the Supreme Goddess.

Of significance is the word “Ratri” (night). It tells us that man is enveloped in spiritual darkness and is in need of the saving light of God.

The central purpose of our existence is to realise our divine being. It is to grow into the image of the divine, to be an embodiment of perfection. Man has, therefore, as the initial step, to remove this “darkness” by getting rid of the countless impurities and baser elements clouding his vision. Then he has to acquire lofty virtues and divine qualities. Rendered thereby pure and noble, knowledge dawns upon him and he becomes a Buddha, an enlightened soul.

Navaratri, therefore, epitomises the spiritual journey of the soul – from flesh to spirit; from darkness unto light; from ignorance unto knowledge supreme.

We pray: “O Lord! Lead us from the unreal to the real; from darkness unto light; and from death unto immortality.” These are the three stages of the evolving of the physical man into a divine being, a journey in which we are all involved. Man, born a child of nature, must grow into a child of God and in the likeness of God. The freed soul, anointed with the spirit, then becomes upon earth a living image of the infinite supreme spirit. The ascent of man unto God is the purpose of man’s birth upon earth, and the Supreme helps him along the way.

The supreme Mother Goddess, or Devi, has no separate being of its own, but is an integral part of the male Godhead. Without the male Godhead, Devi has no existence; without Devi, the male Godhead has no expression.

The power of God is of three kinds, namely: The power of destruction, represented by Durga; beauty, wealth and light, represented by Lakshmi; and, knowledge, represented by Saraswati.

Navaratri is divided into sets of three days to adore and worship different aspects of the Supreme Mother, and therefore has a sublime yet thoroughly practical truth to reveal. It shows the course this spiritual practice should take.

This process demands resolute will, determined effort, and arduous struggle – attributes of the female.

Strength and infinite power are the prerequisites.

Since the Divine Mother is Herself an embodiment of Power (Shakti), it is the Divine Mother who has to be propitiated. Shakti is the omnipotent, conscious power of the Lord, or the cosmic energy by which the entire universe has come into being. The worship of the Mother, or Devi, is worship of God’s glory, of God’s greatness and supremacy.

The first three days represent the initial stage of man’s journey to God.

During this period, Goddess Durga is worshipped for the destruction of our impurities and vices, and to cure our defects. She is besought to battle with and destroy the baser qualities and lower diabolical natures within us. She is the power that protects our spiritual practise from dangers and pitfalls.

The next three days are spent in propitiating Goddess Lakshmi, another aspect of the said Mother.

Having completed the task of destroying the negative elements, the next stage is to build a spiritual personality.

While the previous effort was a ruthless, determined elimination of the lower, baser tendencies, this stage is an orderly, steady, calm and serene effort. This more pleasant side of our effort is depicted by the worship of Lakshmi. The light starts to shine within us.

Once the aspirant succeeds in routing the evil propensities and developing pure qualities, he becomes fit to receive the light of spiritual wisdom. At this stage comes the worship of Goddess Saraswati.

A blessed Navaratri to all!

Yours truly,

Pt R Balbadar

Strengthening the Guyana-China connection

Dear Editor,

Guyana-China trade relations are at a very strong level; and by the end of this year, trade between the two countries is expected to reach the US$100 million mark. This is a good sign, and may very well lead to a further strengthening of relations in other areas of cooperation between the two countries.

It will be recalled that relations between Guyana and China were established in June 1972, and in three years’ time relations between the two countries grew immensely. China then agreed to provide interest-free loans to Guyana and to import bauxite and sugar from this country. So, current talks are indicating that the initial ‘set-up’ was indeed a worthy venture, even though it took some time.

The relations since then have grown by leaps and bounds, so that now there is a very close economic cooperation between the two countries. It is the type of cooperation that could lead to stronger ties between these two friendly peoples from two different parts of the world.

And Editor, there is no question about it: this growing Guyanese- Chinese connection is very strong and could only lead to further developments in many areas between the two countries.

I am glad that the occasion of the 62nd Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China was seen as important to Guyana. In fact, in observing the occasion, President Bharrat Jagdeo, at a reception (marking it), said some good words. The actual excerpt reads: ‘‘We welcome your presence in our country… China is known for its industriousness and progressiveness… We always have a welcoming arm for the Chinese people.” Now that China is an economic giant which has already spread its wings in some of the world’s largest economies, like the United States’, it is time Guyana capitalises as well. It is no secret that the Chinese are a hard- working people and they have worked untiringly to become one of the economic giants of the world today.

In fact, the Chinese economy has been rated as the second strongest in the world today.

Thus Guyana is reading it right – that is, joining with a winner.

Yours truly,

Susan Singh

A quantum leap in healthcare delivery

Dear Editor,

All things being equal, the health of Guyanese will be better taken care of, in about two years’ time, when a US$20 million specialist hospital will become operational, Health Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy has promised.

This is good news, as I know what it means to have a specialist health institution in our very own Guyana.

I believe that having such an institution would save the Guyana government millions of taxpayers’ dollars, which are spent every year when patients are required to travel abroad for specialised surgery and other treatments. In the past, this had really put a dent in the budget of the health sector and Guyanese at large who, from time to time, are called upon to assist in funding patients who need medical treatment abroad.

Editor, I also see this new hospital initiative adding a new dimension to our tourism industry, as health tourism would soon come into play.

By health tourism, I mean that there might be people who live in North America and Europe, for instance, who have certain health conditions that would require specialist treatment; but because of the cost factor, rather than having the condition treated in those countries, those patients would prefer to receive the same treatment at a lower cost in other countries where the treatment is available.

I think this is a bold and excellent initiative, and the Health Ministry should go right ahead with its plans to have this specialist hospital up and running, in the interest of the entire nation. With such an institution in place, we have all to gain and nothing to lose.

Yours cooperatively,

S M Khan

Guyana has come a far way

Dear Editor,

When President Bharrat Jagdeo pointed to the positive fiscal results of the local economy during the first half of 2011, it revealed what the many opposers and negative critics were and are still saying are mere far-fetched figmentations. So, instantly, one can deduce that Guyana’s economy is being built by hard and astute work from the leaders. Also, the hope is that this kind of news will not be made light of. The populace must be informed.

During the past six or seven years, Guyana has been on a significantly elevated growth curve; and his news is pleasant, but not surprising. But why? This is so because, over the last five years, the climb has been slow but sure and steady. So this 5.9 per cent growth is symptomatic of faith in wise investment and long-term strategies. The local exports actually jumped by 30 per cent.

So this is something to really shout about. After all, in many parts of the world, economies are struggling and inflation is difficult to combat. I do think some details are in order here: The non- sugar sector is projected to grow at 3.4 per cent, revised upwards from the original projection of 4.6 per cent and 2.8 per cent at the time of the budget of 2011. Export earnings expanded by 34.6 per cent to US$533.1 million. In fact, Export earnings from sugar increased by 32.4 per cent to US$50.1 million, reflecting a 30.4 per cent increase in quantity shipped to 99,738 tonnes.

Rice continued its trend of successful first crops, with the 2011 first crop being 207,514 tonnes – 23 per cent higher than at the corresponding period in 2010, and the highest first crop in the industry’s history. So rice export earnings expanded by 35.1 per cent to US$92.6 million, mainly attributed to a 26.4 per cent increase in average export price to US$551.4 per tonne, coupled with a 6.8 per cent increase in export volume to 167,945 tonnes. So the leap is most salutary and very welcome. But a word of commendation must go towards the ‘behind-the-scenes’ people.

Guyana’s improved performance is due mainly to investments and innovations in drainage and irrigation; the development of new and more tolerant rice strains; higher yields, and higher acreage of paddy planted. These facts must not be taken for granted. To reach this far and reap these kinds of results, one must remember the hard work of the leaders. This is where people can now be hopeful that Guyana’s future is beginning to look very secure. In other words, people do not have to panic and leave in droves. Right here in Guyana, a solid living can be made.

Yours sincerely,

Seeta Ramgobin

A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country and among his own people

Dear Editor,

It is said that “A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country and among his own people.”

However, this proved untrue, as President Jagdeo received his deserved praise at Friday’s (September 16) “Day of Appreciation.” The event took place at the Guyana National Stadium, and almost all of Guyana was there. As expected, a few voices attempted to dishonour President Jagdeo. Such voices as those will always be a part of life, and it is good to confront them with solid evidence.

Their debunking comes from Lord Stern, Achim Steiner, and Dr Rajendra Pachauri, who are figures of stature, wisdom and credibility.

First, Lord Nicholas Stern described President Jagdeo in a most lofty manner. When he was congratulating the President of Guyana, for his 2010 Champion of the Earth Award, he openly declared: “I warmly congratulate President Jagdeo, with whom I serve on the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Group for Climate Finance. He has been one of the world’s foremost heads of government in advocating for a global low-carbon future; and his tireless advocacy, particularly on the urgent need to protect the world’s forests, has made a tremendous contribution to the international climate change agenda.

“I know that he shares my view that a future high-carbon world is one of disaster…” On this very occasion, Lord Stern was not the lone voice.

UN Under-Secretary General and UN Environmental Programme Executive Director Achim Steiner stated, “President Jagdeo is a powerful advocate of the need to conserve and more intelligently manage the planet’s natural and nature-based assets.

“He has recognized, more than most, the multiple Green Economy benefits of forests in terms of combating climate change (and) also in terms of development, employment, improved water supplies, and the conservation of biodiversity.” In this, one sees the outstanding fact that President Jagdeo is truly an authentic world figure. To those two persons, there is another. He is Dr Rajendra Pachauri, and he shares similar sentiments.

Dr Pachauri, whenever he has to associate with President Jagdeo, sees it as a privilege. In his view, Bharrat Jagdeo “… is clearly one of the most dynamic and far-sighted” persons he has met. This is because, as far as Climate Change is concerned, Jagdeo has done so much for betterment for the condition of the planet, and for the improvement of the human condition.

Now, one has to wonder: Why, where and how negative voices? It is ludicrous! One has to be happy that these voices were all ‘hushed’. How? Not only in the evaluations of Stern, Steiner and Pachauri, but in the voluntary and massive attendance alone.

Yours truly,

Brian Azore

NCERD programme will improve the level of competence of teachers

Dear Editor,

An article in your newspaper sparked my interest as it relates to the 145 teachers who would each be graduating with a non-graduate certificate from the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) in mathematics, science and English. I have found this programme to be timely and relevant, because we have been reading frequently in the news that there is a shortage of mathematics and science teachers in our country.

Editor, it is my view that the shortage of trained mathematics teachers and the distraction in English have partly contributed to the low pass rate at the CSEC exams. Mathematics is a weighty subject, so competent teachers are required to deliver its content. The same goes for English.

I think the programme offered by NCERD is a good way to start addressing the problems we are experiencing with poor grades in mathematics and English at the CSEC examinations, and with the shortage of mathematics and science teachers.

Yours sincerely,

Alana Smartt

The international community must act now to arrest the situation in Somalia

Dear Editor,

The situation that is unfolding in Somalia, in the Horn of Africa, does not look well; and many will continue to die if bold steps are not taken now by the international community. So bad is the situation that the United Nations is warning of 750,000 deaths. This is indeed very serious, and should not be taken lightly by anyone.

Editor, we are talking about 750,000 people dying from starvation; that is literally a whole country being wiped out. Guyana, for instance, has approximately that amount of people. Latest reports have indicated that the drought, which is worsening, is the worst the country has experienced in 60 years.

Billions of dollars which are being spent on armaments and other war materiel by some developed countries could be used to assist drought-torn Somalia, where people are reportedly dying every day.

This is indeed a human tragedy of unmatched magnitude.

Sincerely,

Joe Drakes