February 25, 2018

GTUC’s rebuke of Alliance For Change

Dear Editor,

What is really wrong with the Alliance for Change (AFC)? There is a notable and disgusting kind of arrogance prevailing in the party. This is not just a sickening attitude to embrace, it also borders on illegalities.

I firmly commend the caution from the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) in this regard.

(GTUC) has cautioned the (AFC) for taking on labour issues, with the government, namely salary increases. The AFC has done so even without consulting with the respective trade unions. The umbrella trade union body said, while it welcomed the party’s support, in lobbying for better wages for workers, it was violating international conventions by its actions.

So that is as simple as ABC. Also it is not ‘good taste’ at all, to ‘mind other people’s business.’ This now obnoxious officiousness of AFC must be denounced.

I am so glad that the GTUC has done so. It could be that the winning of seven seats in the National Assembly, by the AFC has allowed the members that kind of ‘false’ power. My mind goes back to what obtained when the Speaker position was being debated. Where was the spunk when needed? Moses Nagamootoo was ignominiously branded by David Granger for being a close affiliate to the PPP (so he cannot be trusted). Now Rafael Trotman, erstwhile PNC (People’s National Congress) member, has the same ‘apparent defectee’ status as Nagamootoo . Yet the AFC did nothing in defence of Nagamootoo. AFC should have at least debunked the ‘logics’ of David Granger.

My hope is that the AFC get real – be honest and patriotic.

Yours sincerely,

Rajcoomar Persaud

My thoughts on who is the greatest batsman

Dear Editor,

I read it long before it came via local press. In fact, the debate has been coeval with the game. It will live on perennially as well.

Who is the greatest batsman?

The three in the mix are Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar and the retired Brian Lara. One can add here Kumar Sangakarra. I have a few comments and I hope for many from our readers.

First, ‘greatest’ can very well be subjective. I like ‘this’ and ‘that’ and so this is my pick. I have heard people glorify Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Javed Miandad. I guess these people forgot Geoffrey Boycott.

For many, greatness is about not getting out. That is indeed one factor. For many, it is about statistics. So the more runs and the better averages the greater is the batsman. However, I like what the great Sir Garfield Sobers opined. He said that you have the ball (bowler) and I have the bat (batsman). Sobers was contemplating all the ‘make it easier’ for the batsmen changes that are now in use.

So a bowler has just one bouncer per over, and the batsman can come out, clad in iron. How about that for a ‘level’ playing field? So for me, ‘greatest’ ended with the rise of the helmet.

My list will be from those who faced fire bear-headed. The likes of Sir Donald Bradman, George Headley, Rohan Kanhai, Garfield Sobers and Sir Vivian Richards all come to mind. In fact the list is quite long.

Many of the present ‘greats’ would not have lasted, or in fact, many would have been dead, if it were not for the ‘saving helmet.’

I really do pity the great bowlers of today. They have been robbed of their greatest weapon- that flying ‘bumper’ (or three per over). Now the current Indian side that just got thrashed by Australia – they were supposed to be great. So how come fast bowling drove fear into them.

The great Sunil Gavaskar made only two centuries against the deadly four-pronged West Indies pace attack. Gavaskar, mind you, long before the helmet, wore a protective ‘skull cap.’ I remember a series when David Gower made the highest England individual score – a mere 90. If it were not for ‘pace like fire,’ I am sure he would have fared better.

For the measure of greatness (Batsmen), I suggest the readings of Imran Khan and Kapil Dev on the men they had to bowl against. I close by saying that I am not a cricketer. I am not a batsman.

But I have no fear of Warne and Muralitharran – without a helmet too. They will get me for a duck. But they cannot hurt me. However, never ask me to face even Chirstopher Barnwell – not even with a helmet. Now ‘without fire,’ true greatness has gone.

Yours truly,

Ramesh Lall

The remigrant housing scheme is good news for Guyanese living abroad

Dear Editor,

Most of us would agree that an enormous amount of progress was made in the social sector, especially in the area of housing which has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade or so. Official statistics show that Guyana’s construction sector has seen a growth rate of 1.5 per cent as the country is currently experiencing the largest housing boom in its history.

Additionally, the public – private partnership between Government and the Private Sector has resulted in many families including the poor and vulnerable, not only receiving their land titles, but also owning their own homes.

Just recently Guyanese were greeted with more good news from the authorities. Based on the latest information released by the government, among some of its plans over the next five years include the distribution of 30,000 new house lots, a remigrants’ housing scheme and other special programmes for young professionals and single persons. Many of my relatives abroad have been enquiring about the possibility of returning home and have also been asking what are the incentives for doing so.

Editor, I am not surprised to learn that more than 1200 applications were received from Guyanese living all over the world for a plot of land here. I believe that many Guyanese want to return home and once the conditions are right they will do so. I hope that the administration will publicise the new remigrant housing scheme as much as possible so that everyone will know about the developments that are taking place in their country of birth.

Yours sincerely

R Rajkumar

Domestic violence

Dear Editor,

Just recently, I read through, yet again, the story: “Woman knifed to death by husband.” This is so matter-of-fact these days. The pressing and haunting question comes back all the time: “Why men violate women?” Just this month alone, three women have been murdered on the West Coast of Demerara; one found in a cemetery, and two in their homes. The latest victim is Rochelle McDonald, 33, of Lot 70, Boodhoo’s Scheme, Blankenburg, West Coast Demerara. The woman, who hailed from Enmore, East Coast Demerara, was found dead in the kitchen of her home on Tuesday (January 18) with multiple stab wounds (Talk about being gory!) It seems as though that her husband, Seon Rodney, may have committed the act, since he was seen leaving the residence, in a motor car, PNN 9420, prior to the discovery. Later, the car was found abandoned, at Cartlon Hall, Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara, and up to press time, there was no sign of the victim’s husband. Now here is another – having the same theme, only different details.

Bibi Ali, 41, of Zeelugt, West Bank Demerara was on Sunday (January 15) found in a semi- nude state, in the Zeelugt Cemetery. She was also suspected to have been sexually molested, before she was strangled. Her un derwear was found next to her body. At the time of her discovery, she was wearing a blouse, while her other garments were missing. A man whose name was given as “Sonny” is suspected to have committed the murder, and he too is on the run.

Now the Seon Rodney (“Woman knifed to death by husband”) story is taking some interesting turns.

Apparently, the ‘attacker/ killer’ is not really mindful of his foul deed. The re port now is that he fled to Suriname. From the neighbouring country, he contacted relatives of the deceased.

He is ‘justifying’ his actions, by saying the ‘she does never hear.’ Well, many of the theories that attempt to explain why some men use violence against their partners, be it wife or girlfriend. Some of those theories take into account a number of factors, but these only offer extenuating circumstances.

‘Women abuse’ must be accounted for in a deeper manner. For many, it is that the abuser begins using violence, as an effective method, for gaining and keeping his control over someone else. He has a kind of insecurity and continues the abuse and battering for the same reason. It is sad to say, but the abuser usually does not suffer any adverse consequences because of his behavior – he mingles with the crowd, drinks his beers, is on bail, etc.

So at least here in Guyana, these misogynists are treated as normal. This must stop. This may be where a great turn around can begin. In Guyana, the trend is just too established.

So something must be done.

I think here of creating forensic facilities, so that all suspects can be screened.

Also, a national data base must be established. As soon as a man is found guilty of ‘women abuse,’ he must be ‘set apart.’ Mere ‘dumping into prison’ will not work. This ‘sicko’ must be redeemed-he must continue to work. Guyana needs labourers.

Also, let his earnings go towards the bereaving relatives.

Yours truly,

Attiya Baksh

Displaying/selling expired goods-expose the evil

Dear Editor,

Guyanese simply like to sit back and wait for deliverance- at least too many times. I think here of all the hassles they put up with, simply because ‘hard-headed’ minibus operators are bullying them. The same kind of trespass is meted out to them in many supermarkets; they are fooled or bullied into buying expired items. So this must be exposed.

The incident took place in Region Two, where thousands of dollars worth of expired food items were dumped and burned by officers from the Public Health Department. The scene was the Lima Landfill site. This was done during an expiry raid, on several supermarkets, and whole sale and retail shops.

According to Senior Environmental Health Officer Shaleena Jaigobin, the items were seized and taken off from popular business places in the region.

The ‘searching officers’ found mostly chocolates, cookies, Kraft Macaroni, Sunshine products, seasonings, fruit juices, hot sauces, and margarine.

Well this is wonderful news. I hope that this ‘kind of thing’ is done all the time.

I know of many supermarkets giving ‘specials.’ These ‘specials’ are all expired products.

However, it is left to the public to really alert the Public Health Department.

When the consumers ‘pander’ to bad practices, perpetrators become bold. That is why these ‘bold supermarkets’ can actually display these expired items.

Now this is the law, fellow Guyanese: The Food and Drug Act 34: 03, clearly states that it is against the law for businesses to keep or sell expired items inclusive of groceries.

With this, the advice is that buyers check for expiry dates before purchasing. If expired items are found, then complain to the proprietors.

If this does not work, then report to the Public Health Department.

Again, I implore: Guyanese do not put up with nonsense, in the case of expired products, a health factor is coming into play.

Yours truly,

Bissoon Chatterpaul

Tough words from the new Jamaican Prime Minister for her colleagues

Dear Editor,

I was impressed with the manner in which the new Jamaican Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller commenced her tenure as head of government. After securing victory at the most recent elections, she started the ball rolling and from the way it looked she meant business.

The prime minister had some very tough words for her cabinet colleagues and I am sure that those statements served as a sound warning to those who just take their portfolios for granted. Speaking at the swearing in of the ministers of the new government last week, the prime minister described the Cabinet as a blend of “youth and experience”. She explained that, at the executive level, her administration is looking at succession planning, and has placed some of the elected young persons to understudy senior, more experienced colleagues. This is certainly the way to go.

The prime minister said that this was a continuous process and the country should expect, over time, other young members to receive similar exposure, but warned that “those who get this opportunity must understand that performance is the key”.

“I have a large team that is not involved in the present executive, and they are sitting right there in the wings, waiting and watching. This is a warning to the members who are here today,” she said.

This is certainly the kind of approach we need in Guyana, where officials are held accountable for their actions and when they are found not to be performing to satisfactory levels they should make way for others.

However, this tough approach should not only be applied to government, it should be applied to all public and private sector agencies. Perhaps a good place to start is the Georgetown Mayor and City Council where it is well established that for many years, some of the officers, including the mayor have been performing below par, yet they are allowed to hold on to their offices. This is unacceptable in most other places.

Yours truly,

Mahendra Singh

The remigrant housing scheme is good news for Guyanese living abroad

Dear Editor,

Most of us would agree that an enormous amount of progress was made in the social sector, especially in the area of housing, which has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade or so. Official statistics show that Guyana’s construction sector has seen a growth rate of 1.5 per cent, as the country is currently experiencing the largest housing boom in its history.

Additionally, the public-private partnership between government and the Private Sector has resulted in many families, including the poor and vulnerable, not only receiving their land titles, but also owning their own homes. Just recently Guyanese were greeted with more good news from the authorities. Based on the latest information released by the government, some of its plans over the next five years include the distribution of 30,000 new house lots, a remigrants’ housing scheme and other special programmes for young professionals and single persons.

Many of my relatives abroad have been enquiring about the possibility of returning home and have also been asking what are the incentives for doing so.

Editor, I am not surprised to learn that more than 1200 applications were received from Guyanese living all over the world for a plot of land here. I believe that many Guyanese want to return home and once the conditions are right, they will do so. I hope that the administration will publicise the new remigrant housing scheme as much as possible, so that everyone will know about the developments that are taking place in their country of birth.

Yours sincerely,

R Rodney

More job opportunities needed for our graduates

Dear Editor,

I am a student of the University of Guyana and would be graduating in two years time with a Bachelors Degree in Economics. While I am excited about completing my studies and entering the world of work, I cannot help noticing how challenging it can be to secure a decent job after graduation.

If one were to ask young people at UG what is the most important concern they have, I am sure the answer would be to find a suitable job. It is no secret that many of our young professionals are leaving the country for better opportunities. This is to our disadvantage, as we will have a difficult time finding competent persons to serve in various areas, especially now that our country is venturing into areas such as mining, hydro power and so on.

One item that must engage the government is the need to look at ways in which incentives can be offered to keep our graduates in Guyana so that they would help to contribute to the country’s development.  We need to create the environment for our young people to find good jobs. There are certainly not enough employment schemes that young people can utilise.

The Central Recruitment and Manpower Agency (CRMA), a division of the Labour, Human Services and Social Security Ministry is making some efforts, but its work needs to be publicized more. For example, the body has found work for over 2500 job seekers in 2011. I have read an article in your newspaper which stated that the CRMA had handled over 3000 vacancies from a variety of employers last year, but was only able to fill 2500 based upon the skills that were available to it.

I should also let your readers know that the CRMA provides a free service to persons in search of employment and showcases as many vacancies as possible and assist in matching persons to jobs that suit their skill levels. The agency over the years has created a database which tracks unemployed persons in Guyana looking for work.

Our qualified and skilled citizens are the best resources we have and we cannot afford to lose them to other countries.

Yours truly

L Latchmansingh

What occurred in parliament didn’t come as a surprise

Dear Editor,

One had to be naïve if he were expecting anything different from what occurred at Thursday’s sitting of the National Assembly. In the end, President Donald Ramotar slammed the opposition’s move to elect two of their representatives as Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly. He opined that the decision was against parliamentary conventions, and so he has made a vow to monitor closely the situation in the House.

For those who are not aware of the happenings, the combined opposition, A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC), used their one seat majority, to elect attorneys Raphael Trotman and Debra Backer as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively. Senior Counsel, Ralph Ramkarran, who was the government’s nominee, was overlooked.

Now I do agree with President Ramotar that the whole ‘deal’ was rotten.

It was a collusion. The combined opposition forces will always be this way.

Now with David Granger as the official head and mouth piece, the President will do well to prepare for more acts like this one. The omens were ‘a plenty.’ First David Granger ‘dissed’ Moses Nagamootoo.

He treated Nagamootoo as a ‘spy.’ But that kind of attitude towards the erstwhile PPP/ C high profile member is most deserved. Even the AFC; Nagamootoo’s new alliance could not stick up for him. Granger tarnished Nagamootoo and intimidated Khemraj Ramjattan.

I think President Ramotar better ‘smarten up.’ David Granger will not change. Apart from his days of ensuring rigged elections for his ‘God’, the late LFS Burnham, he challenged the 2011 Elections results. Yet he has no evidence of anything untoward.

Later, he requested ‘already verified’ Statements of Polls (SoP) from GECOM. He then more than intimated that there were inconsistencies among them. What comes over is the undeniable fact that he is bent on carping and seems set on being mischievous.

I am wondering, say by mid-term 2011- 2015, if snap elections are called, what will be their, the opposition’s response.

Yours truly,

Rajcoomar Persaud

Preserving Guyana’s forests is vital and profitable

Dear Editor,

It was sweet to read the caption: “Guyana gets five million euros for protected areas.” According to details, gleaned from various sections of the media, the governments of Guyana and Germany have actually finalised an agreement to utilise five million euros, in funds for the development of the Guyana Protected Areas System (GPAS).

Proving also that this is no haram-scaram business, the funds will be channelled (orderly and timely too) through the German Development Bank, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, functioning as the implementing agency, for the continuation of the project.

Also this realisation is not a mere ad hoc one. As explained by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Robert Persaud. Minister Persaud elaborated on the beginning and now continuing of this particular happening. It goes back to the Protected Areas Commission, a major component of the National Protected Areas Act. This act, in fact, was passed by the last Parliament and assented to by former president, Bharrat Jagdeo. So I am more than pleased that patience, persistence and planning are all redounding to the great benefit of Guyana.

The money accrued will target Phase One of the project – the Kaieteur Falls, Kanuku Mountains and Shell Beach. By the way, for me it does not matter which phase and which area. My joy resides in the fact that Guyana’s forest is being preserved, and it is making a significant contribution to the world, while at the same time, earning much needed funds. Also, I am elated that Robert Persaud is not relenting in his national endeavours. This initial phase is expected to run for a maximum of two years. The funds will also be used to further support the country’s efforts to conserve Guyana’s forests, through the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and the National Protected Areas System.

So here again, it is nice to know that the idea is not just about continuity, but about the ‘big picture’ as well.

In closing, I am hoping that Guyanese will soon see the important a role the country has in the international community.

Yours truly,

Rajendra Harrichand