February 24, 2017

Article designed to create mischief

Dear Editor,

 It would be a rather strange day if the Kaieteur News is not up to its traditional roles of sensationalising and making mischief, its two reasons for existence. Its latest example of the latter culture, a column captioned “UNASUR detention triggers man’s death”, is another signpost of its deliberate policy of daily misrepresentation of a government that it faults for every conceivable issue, even for the sun not shining! 

This latest piece is an example of gross misrepresentation, spite and grudge, especially against the background of the nation being the proud and successful hosts of the just concluded fourth UNASUR summit. 

It is the prerogative of the state to remove the homeless and destitute from the streets and give them sanctuary, a function which that media entity has always castigated the administration for allegedly not doing. 

That the deceased, along with others, is being removed, albeit coincidentally at the onset of the Summit, points to an effort of finding a refuge, where he ought to have been anyway, for him. The fact of his death has nothing to do with or as a result of the summit. It has to do with a decision taken on his own volition that ended his life. 

Thus the caption, one that instantly conveys the understanding that the man died because of the Summit being staged here, is not only a white lie, but is designed to create great mischief.      

Respectfully,

Peter Jones

 

Delighted that contempt of court is now a criminal offence

Dear Editor,

As a Guyanese who always complies with the laws of this country, and as one who honours the laws of the land in every respect, especially edicts of the court, such as court orders, also known as injunctions, I find it most heartening that His Excellency, President Bharrat Jagdeo, has assented to the bill which now criminalizes contempt of court. 

Too many people have been making a mockery of injunctions, thinking these are jokes; and despite having an order of the court issued against them, they continue in their merry ways, disturbing people with intrusive noises coupled with baseless vulgarities. Others have just refused to respect court orders.  

I have written and talked much on television about this.  Because the laws governing contempt of court were weak, many treated them as hogwash.  

Sadly, but factually, some lawyers actually instructed their clients to disobey court orders.  I wonder if they will now still advise their clients to disobey court orders.  Some deceitful lawyers even advise their clients wrongly just to make money, knowing some cases have no merit and no basis in law.  

I had a court order issued against the owner of an entity for noise nuisance on 16th May, 2009. Notwithstanding, the proprietor continued with dozens of shows, publicly declaring that the shows will go on, even though he had been charged by the police and served with a contempt of court summon. When the case was called, the learned magistrate said that it is the district magistrate who has to give permission for public shows, and not just any magistrate.  Anyway, the individual was found guilty and fined $14,500 — a small fine, but one that was extremely symbolic for Guyanese who require peace and quiet.  

On 6th November, another show was held at a popular ground. It was definitely the loudest, vulgarest, and most immoral show ever in history.  Residents had to endure this disgraceful show until 2am. 

Moral and decent citizens of Guyana, this is what Guyanese have to bear.  The Guyanese artistes were loud, yes, but never so vulgar.  It is always the imported, vulgar Trinidadians and their dirty chutney that cause disturbances.  The sad news is that our decent people are getting to like it also, and are allowing outsiders to insult their wives and daughters.  I congratulate the government of Guyana and the president for working hard to make contempt of court a criminal affair.  It is now time to rein in the vulgar and lawless.  

Respectfully,

Roshan Khan

Going around in circles on climate change is not an option

Dear Editor,

Fifteen thousand delegates descended on Cancun, conferred, and left with an agreement that will not save the world from the effects of climate change, though it rescued the negotiating process. That we should be relieved is testament to the soft bigotry of low expectations on what once was billed as the greatest moral challenge of our time. 

Britain’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, described the summit as a “turning point”. He also said that, in addition to the turning points of Kyoto, Bali and Copenhagen, the world is going around in circles. 

Editor, the science of climate change is robust enough to have withstood a year of searching scrutiny by ideological and self-serving skeptics. But agreement on the science does not translate into agreement on policy, or trump the politics of climate change and global warming. 

So, did Cancun produce anything to be proud of, now that there has yet again been no binding agreement? There was something, in fact. India has emerged as a new global power on climate change. The country’s environment minister, Ramesh Jairam, was instrumental in breaking a deadlock over how to verify nations’ climate actions and, for the first time, said that his country would consider a binding deal in the future. 

Ramesh said that India needed to change with the times, as it seeks a greater global role and the world inches towards a new, comprehensive agreement on fighting climate change.

If only other stubborn countries, including China and the U.S., can also come to the same conclusion, there will be hope for the world. Time is running out, and going around in circles is not an option. 

Yours sincerely,

 Michael C Reid

The longer leaders delay an agreement on climate change, the more we will suffer

Dear Editor,

John McConnell, founder of International Earth Day, said:  “Let every individual and institution now think and act as a responsible trustee of Earth, seeking choices in ecology, economics and ethics that will provide a sustainable future, eliminate pollution, poverty and violence, awaken the wonder of life, and foster peaceful progress in the human adventure.” May this be remembered by all leaders when they meet to talk about the environment. They need to know that the quality of life we live in future is dependent on the decisions they make on the environment today. 

National Geographic established that the penguins’ decline in Antarctica is linked to climate change. This is more so seen with the emperor penguins, which are the most popular penguins, known for their black and white colours. Emperor penguins like it cold. Scientists have concluded that the penguins’ susceptibility to climate change accounts for a dramatic decline in their number over the past half century. 

Over the past 50 years, the population of Antarctica emperor penguins has declined by 50 per cent. Research has shown that an abnormally long warm spell in the Southern Ocean during the late 1970s contributed to a decline in the population of emperor penguins at Antarctica. 

Warmer air and sea surface temperatures in Antarctica reduce the amount of ice in the sea. This, in turn, leads to smaller populations of krill, a shrimp-like crustacean that is a staple of the emperor penguin’s diet. With less food to eat, emperor penguins die. 

A WWF report stated that climate change is the number one threat to the 22,000 polar bears that remain in the world. Polar bears are already suffering from a loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic; and that loss is set to get worse as the temperature heats up. 

Polar bears need sea ice to launch hunting expeditions for ringed seals. But longer ice-free periods restrict the time they can hunt each year. As sea ice is reduced in the Arctic, the polar bear’s basis for survival is being threatened. The sea ice is melting earlier in the spring, which is sending the polar bears to land earlier, without them having developed enough fat reserves. By the end of the summer, they are skinny bears, and it was seen in places like the Hudson Bay in Canada that their ability to successfully raise a litter is being jeopardized. 

Scientific data tells us that human activities have led to large increases in the concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other heat-trapping gases, also known as greenhouse gases, in the Earth’s atmosphere during the past century. What is worse is that global temperatures are projected to continue rising over this century; by how much and for how long depends on a number of factors, including the amount of heat-trapping gas emissions, and how sensitive the climate is to those emissions. 

As a result of the growing abundance of these greenhouse gases, the global average air temperature has risen steadily over several decades. 

The unmistakable signs of a rapidly changing climate are everywhere – melting glaciers, heat waves, rising seas, flowers blooming earlier, lakes freezing later, migratory birds delaying their flights south.  

We need to put a stop to the temperature rising and disturbing the eco-system, which is affecting life on earth for both Man and animals. Leaders are meeting too often with little to show that they are serious about what is happening to our Earth, and that these meetings/discussions are worthwhile. The longer they take to agree on doing something to mitigate the effects of climate change, the more our environment and its inhabitants will suffer.

Yours faithfully,

Michael C Reid

 

Citizens distrust the Mayor and City Council

Dear Editor,

In the December 4th edition of Guyana Times, it has been reported that City Hall is lamenting the lack of interest in the amnesty offer as it urges defaulting taxpayers to honour their obligations. In Guyana, these types of situations are puzzling. 

Editor, often times, when such is the response of citizens to any measure that encourages them to pay without fear of sanctions, the people at the helm of leadership must try to understand why this seeming lack of interest occurs.  In any society, citizens are reactive to the prevailing leadership style. If the leadership is weak and poor, often confused, does not know what is it about, and often disappoints them, then the people will not support any activity of such leaders.

This is the case of the M&CC. For the many years the incumbent council has been at the helm of the Georgetown leadership, it has failed taxpayers miserably. The services provided have been appalling and are often times upsetting to the people. If the M&CC does not care for the people of Georgetown enough to see to it that they are not discomforted, and that the services they provide are satisfying, people will not care about the troubles of the M&CC, or participate in any activity that will help them solve their problems. I don’t recall the last time Georgetown residents were happy with the services of the M&CC. They have gotten no new service other than the typical garage collection, even to which is not always provided efficiently. So what currently obtain are a distrust of the M&CC and a doubting of its abilities to do anything good for the people of Georgetown; which is why, despite City Hall granting residents amnesty, there is a poor response to it.

Yours truly,

R. Rutherford

 

Skeldon factory will not become a white elephant

Dear Editor, 

Reference is made to a letter, “GuySuCo has been in a ‘free fall’ with the PPP/C govt in full control”, carried in the Stabroek News of 6th December. Now, here is another missive that seeks to charge the PPP/C government for the challenges that the entity is currently facing.  

 No fair-minded, objective-thinking Guyanese can even suggest, much less accuse, the PPP/C administration of causing a “free fall” with GuySuCo. This industry, which had experienced low productivity during the era of the PNC administration, has received a continuous flow of intervention from the PPP/C administration from the onset of that party’s ascension to power. And this is because of the industry’s critical role as a GDP contributor and as the largest employer outside of the public service.  

The announcement of quota cuts by the EU did cause very grave concern, particularly as it related to the institution being the economic support base for a particular region, and the social fallout that would have occurred had the administration opted for even a partial scaledown and eventual closure of the industry, as has been the case of the industry in both Jamaica and Trinidad, for example. 

Instead, with a view to producing sugar at competitive cost, the PPP/C administration responded with the multi-billion-dollar Skeldon Project, the of plan was to have ensured the continuity of sugar as a major factor in the nation’s economy, apart from ensuring its survival and longevity. The thousands of harvesters and other categories of workers had continuity of their employment guaranteed. 

Yes, there are very serious challenges now facing the industry in general, with the Skeldon factory and its functions coming in for very serious criticisms, even from President Jagdeo. But this does not mean that the industry has been left to “free fall.” 

The failure of the industry, and its deep social implications, are well understood, not only by the administration, but also by the representative unions as well.

With this in mind, both sides are going to work assiduously to ensure that the Skeldon Project does not become a white elephant, as so many critics are hoping. Surely, government did not invest those billions for such an outcome.  

Yours faithfully,

Donald Jackson

Guyana’s LCDS was based on widespread national consultations

Dear Editor,

The attempt by the Rainforest Foundation UK to discredit the low carbon development programmes in train by Guyana and other countries with tropical forests fits a pattern.

It is also not surprising that the Kaieteur News has given prominence to the report by the group, which seeks to shoot down the advice from international consultants McKinsey & Company to governments of forested nations.

A question that immediately comes to mind is how can Rainforest Foundation UK claim to be representing the best interests of countries like Guyana in the global climate change cause, when the United Kingdom does not even have forests to speak about?  

Rainforest Foundation UK has to be a misnomer, since there is no rainforest in the UK. In fact, the UK has very little forests, as is the case in so many other developed countries which have used up the forests and other natural resources they once had in their development pursuits.

From this rather shaky foundation, Rainforest Foundation UK proceeds to claim that the advice from McKinsey & Company could harm the Reduced Emissions from Degradation and Deforestation (REDD) scheme to stem destruction of the rainforest.

McKinsey has provided services to Brazil, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Guyana in the context of the REDD global plan, which may be agreed at the United Nations climate change summit underway in Cancun, Mexico.

It is difficult to conceive that the governments of the countries with which McKinsey has worked could be duped by “flawed analysis” by the firm, and this claim by Rainforest Foundation UK is in sync with the patronising view of the developing countries by the so-called developed world.

The Western world still feels that it knows what is best for the developing world, hiding behind smokescreens of trying to ensure the rights of indigenous communities and other such claims.

While Guyana, Brazil and other countries have far advanced on low carbon development plans, the developed world is still prevaricating on basic issues, like making serious efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which they feel can affect their economic development. They want to proceed with development while the developing world lags behind.

Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) was based on extended, widespread national consultations with all stakeholders, including the indigenous people. The National Toshaos Council, the elected representatives of Amerindians across the country, recently passed a resolution supporting the LCDS, which has also been supported by Amerindian leaders at other levels.

The LCDS was crafted to ensure Guyana’s development while making a tangible contribution in helping to contain climate change. How many developed countries can point to such an endeavour?

Rainforest Foundation UK timed the release of its criticism of McKinsey to coincide with the opening of the Cancun summit, so it’s not difficult to understand the objectives of such groups.

They do not want to see financial flows to the developing countries, and are pushing the agenda under which countries with forests should be the lungs and carbon sinks of the world, while the developed world continues without drastically cutting the rates of their greenhouse gas emissions.

They are the major culprits in global warming, but are persistently seeking to dodge culpability.

Instead of giving lectures to Guyana and other rainforest countries on how to manage their forests, outfits like Rainforest Foundation UK would do better in pressing the developed countries to make the required emissions’ cuts to contain climate change.

It is unfair to try to saddle the developing world with the burden without adequately paying them for their services to help to contain climate change. 

Sincerely, 

Terrance Greaves

 

Voids in youths’ lives must be filled

Dear Editor,

The story about the two teens from Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara who committed suicide after their parents objected to their marriage is heartbreaking. From the headlines alone, readers can infer a lot about the people involved in this story. Here are two young people who evidently did not go very far in school, and so gained simple employment and decided that, at their age, they are ready for the next step – marriage. Their parents oppose it, and the youths, in their naivety and depth of feeling for each other, decide to take their lives together. 

Many youths within our society are not yet exposed to life; they do not know what lies out there for them. At 17 and 18 years old, these people are too young for marriage. In those teenage years, they should be enjoying the prime of their lives with their friends, exploring the world, seeking challenges, finding and doing new things daily. Sadly, our society still sees early marriage as a norm, and thinks that it is OK for a 17-year-old to get married and have a baby. It’s not. At 17, a young girl should be furthering her education, and so should the 18-year-old boy. They have their whole lives ahead of them.  Marriage is a serious thing, for which teenagers are not equipped to handle. Wanting to start a family at such young age is a sign of immaturity, and their hanging themselves because they could not handle the opposition to their marriage says even more that these two youngsters would not have been able to handle life’s problems, or marital problems later down. I have been married for the past 20 years, and I say from experience that marriage is not a bed of roses.

Sometimes there are more downs than ups, and it takes maturity, love and understanding to overcome these. People have to be prepared to deal with these problems. Killing one’s self doesn’t help the situation.

When I read this story, I wondered how differently things would have been if these youths had been exposed to more activities and opportunities. In the absence of much to do, youths see marriage as a way out of their families or situations. There is need for more activities to engage the attention of young people, and more role models to encourage and inspire them to develop themselves and look towards the future positively. The youths of today have many voids in their lives, and these voids must be filled with clean and fulfilling activities.

If one considers the youths in other countries, they have many activities to choose from to enjoy themselves to the fullest, without wanting to embark on something as serious as marriage. 

If our society can offer more alternatives to our young people, and youths are encouraged to stay in school and take all the education they can get, then marriage would be deferred until later, when they are mature enough to handle it. 

Yours faithfully,

M Latchman  

All men should willingly sign that declaration when it reaches them

Dear Editor,

I read in the newspapers, a few days ago, that men and boys of Skeldon signed the ‘Skeldon Declaration’ which promotes non-violent behaviour in relationships and in the homes. Scores of men took a pledge not to abuse women and children, and committed to working with other men in their communities in this regard.

The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security and its partners must be commended for spearheading this initiative, which, according to reports, will be taken to other communities across Guyana. 

With an increase in sexual abuse and domestic violence, this is the most opportune time for the authorities to engage both men and women, and to place at their disposal all the services and help government can provide to tackle this upsurge in violence.

I call on all men to be ready and willing to sign this declaration when it comes to their community, as a show of support for a non-violent way of life.

Yours truly,

Baldeo Mathura

Who is to blame for the job- hunting fatigue of graduates?

Dear Editor,

We have witnessed another convocation ceremony of the University of Guyana. In fact, about 1,400 students graduated from UG during its 44th annual graduation ceremony, which was hosted at the Turkeyen campus last Saturday.

Each year, UG churns out large numbers of graduates; and these graduates, with a sense of pride and accomplishment because of what they have achieved, approach the job market, only to be disappointed by the unavailability of jobs that adequately compensate their level of educational achievement.

But just who is to blame for the job-hunting fatigue that these graduates find themselves in? Is it the students, who work hard to ensure that they are qualified? Or is it a case where UG’s standard is not up to par with what employers are seeking? Does the problem arise from the fact that we are living in a society where so much is taken for granted in terms of educational achievements that the University of Guyana is not respected; and in effect, its graduates are left jobless as a consequence? If this is the case, then the University of Guyana should make it its responsibility to improve the quality assurance guaranteed by the university.

As a former student of the university, I have noticed and personally experienced the many areas in which UG flounders. For starters, the entry level requirements should be raised from just CXC, and A levels should be made a mandatory requirement for acceptance, thus allowing only the more academically mature to enter or qualify for the university’s acceptance. While filtering out those students who do not qualify for the programmes offered by the institution, it will also raise the bar in terms of university standards. The outline for each course must also be individually vetted by the head of department for the related faculty, or the Dean’s office, before it is approved and introduced to students.

Another equally important suggestion I offer the university is to ensure that all books and content materials are up-to-date, relevant, objective to the specific course, and are also practical and easily available to, and accessible by, the student population. This is what UG should be all about. Only then will this institution fulfill its obligation to its students to provide quality-assured tertiary education. 

Respectfully,

Sharon Persaud