March 23, 2017

Response to David Hinds’s call for boycott

Dear Editor,

I reject and condemn unequivocally the call of Dr David Hinds, a representative of the African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA) and a political activist, to boycott the launch of the government’s programme celebrating the proclamation by the United Nations (by virtue of UN Resolution N Res 64/169) that 2011 be designated the “International Year for People of African Descent”. 

Context is always important. In August, 2010, David Hinds had called for Buxtonians to refuse an invitation to the reception in honour of Buxtonians held by President Jagdeo at State House. He had also called for Buxtonians to reject President Jagdeo’s visit to Buxton on August 18, 2010. 

On both occasions, the vast majority of Guyanese (especially Buxtonians) answered a call for refusal and rejection, that is, they refused and rejected the calls of David Hinds and retorted by words and by deeds: we, the vast majority of Guyanese of all race, creed, religions, ages and sex, are committed and yearning to work together in the interest of the common national development objective. 

We have seen, heard or read about our past and we know what the future can be like. What we also know in our hearts and souls is that the only way we can harness our potential as a nation is if we work together.

For too long, the unwanted leadership of David Hinds and his like has nurtured the disease of virulence and acrimony for their self-centred and self-interested political motivations. Their voices for division and disunity are the voices of evil and regression.  

The people give politicians their strength. In the past, we have seen some politicians use race as a force for division in order to satisfy their personal and political gains. Today, we discern similar actions in the call for a boycott of the launch of an event for Guyanese of all races to celebrate African Guyanese culture. The vast majority of Guyanese have recently rejected the divisive and regressive calls of David Hinds and his like. We must do so forevermore.   

Sincerely,

Charles S Ramson Esq

A sitting president is not an ordinary member of the public

Dear Editor,  

Permit me to quote from a Stabroek News report on January 11, captioned ‘(Jagdeo)…paid $5M per acre for land at Pradoville 2’. The report said that questions have been raised about whether the land was advertised publicly and how it was allocated and valued. It further stated that, “Observers say this is crucial as ordinary members of the public are subjected to rigorous guidelines and procedures for the apportioning of land.” 

First of all, a sitting president is not an ‘ordinary member of the public’, and as such, cannot be subjected to rigorous ‘guidelines and procedures’. To believe this is tantamount to believing that the president should join the queue at the passport office when renewing his travel documents, wait in line during rush hour traffic and pay a toll to cross the Demerara and Berbice bridges. The asininity of this is pellucid. 

In the civilised world presidents, past and present, are treated with dignity and respect. Why should it be any different in Guyana? Mr Jagdeo is entitled to certain privileges and is fully deserving of a comfortable existence when he demits office this year. 

This apparent obsession with the size, value and location of the president’s house is petty and ridiculous. 

Regards,

Brian Azore

The computer training centre established in Berbice will benefit sugar workers

Dear Editor,  

The computer training centre commissioned at Albion, Berbice recently is a worthwhile move. This facility is a timely and necessary one. 

The facility consists of 20 fully operational computer systems and caters to the sugar workers and their children in providing training in the area of information technology. Whenever we hear about sugar workers, it always has to do with unsatisfactory wages and strikes. It is refreshing to see that the government is making efforts to provide this sort of facility for them. 

Mr Donald Ramotar was correct to say that this move will help in the eradication of poverty. There is no doubt that the Government of Guyana is dedicated towards moving the educational sector forward. It is wise on their part to invest in children. The children are the future, thus they need to keep up with the changing world. Being computer literate enables them to keep up with technology.

It is clear that the importance of information communication technology is recognised by the authorities, and this is why President Jagdeo initiated an ICT strategy in an attempt to take Guyana forward. 

Yours sincerely,

Alka Sugrim

A call for the authorities to address noise nuisances

Dear Editor,

A lot of persons have made complaints about noise nuisance in the society, and it is clear that the same thing continues, even though several warnings were issued by the authorities. Almost every weekend, there is a live show or concert. The rum shops and beer gardens operate as if they do not care about anyone in the society. Some of these businesses carry on with their activities way after hours, and they breach the conditions of their licence to operate without anyone taking the necessary action.  

Even private citizens play their music at very loud levels and affect their neighbours. Sometimes, our children need to study for exams, but they cannot do so uninterrupted. Even the churches, mosques and temples should be monitored a bit more, since some of them use public address systems and, in some cases, music bands. If loud-speakers or bands are used, especially in churches, the building should be constructed in such a way as to confine the sound within the building. 

The Ministry of Home Affairs had stated, some time ago, that it would step-up its campaign on noise nuisance, and it had encouraged persons to report noise nuisances to the stations; but when one makes a report, it is not given the level of seriousness required. Sometimes the police never show up to carry out their investigation, and they proffer some lame excuse, such as they do not have transportation, etc. It is time that the police and the Ministry of Home Affairs become strict on those persons who break the law, since Guyanese would like to live in peace and quiet. 

Yours truly,

Latchman Singh

The police are doing a very commendable job in finally clearing up the Stabroek Market area

Dear Editor,  

I must say that the actions of the police to clean up the Stabroek Market Square are very timely and appropriate. For too long, that place has existed in a manner of filth and cluster generated by the vendors and many stall holders who occupy the area. Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee quite justifiably fears that the area is a haven for criminal activity that places large numbers of innocent, unsuspecting Guyanese in harm’s way, and threatens their lives. 

It is about time that the authorities get rid of those many stalls that congest and cluster the area in the most degrading and unflattering manner. The Stabroek Market is a national treasure, and should be treated as such. Its environs should be clean, decent and inviting. It should not be portrayed as a place to find rum shops, and a dwelling place for junkies etc to sit and gamble all day and night; and as a place where all manner of illegal and illicit activities take place. 

We must be mindful that the interests and concerns of the people are met. And I can say, without fear of contradiction, that the police have tried for a very long time to have those stall holders desist from occupying the Stabroek area and relocate elsewhere. Stall holders should relocate to a more convenient and appropriate location. The police are doing a very commendable job in finally clearing up this area. 

Respectfully,

Nigel Green

Let 2011 be a year of greater development

Dear Editor,

Let me take this opportunity to, first of all, wish you and your entire staff at Guyana Times International   a Happy New Year. May the new year bring each and every one of you great happiness, lots of prosperity and good health. Secondly, I wish to say thank you to you for publishing my letters over the year. It is good to know that Guyanese are given full freedom to express themselves and be voices of dissent. When newspapers allow us to do this, it brings much needed change in our society. 

Keep up the good work, and I trust that your newspaper continues to develop, improve, and grow in the new year. 

With that said, I would like to send a message to the politicians for the new year. We, the Guyanese people, would like to see more development in 2011. We want more roads, more street lights, and a higher quality of water. We definitely need a more reliable supply of electricity, as during the last year we were at the mercy of GPL. 

Guyanese are looking for courteous, efficient, and professional services in the new year from all entities that provide a service, and we are not prepared to accept mediocrity from any public servant, however high or low he or she is. 

As a country, we must look towards greater things and strive towards personal development. If we change some of our attitudes and old behaviours, then there is much hope for our country. 

Let 2011 be a better year for all of us. Let there be greater development and happiness for all Guyanese.

Yours truly,

Mona Sancharra

May the hard work and perseverance of Guyanese bear fruit

Dear Editor,

As Guyanese look forward to the New Year, here’s hoping that every joy, happiness, peace and prosperity come their way. These wishes are intended to my fellow Guyanese because they are a lovely people who deserve the best. Every time a new year comes around, it is a reminder that, as a people, they have come this far, have survived many challenges, and have worked hard in developing their country.

As they look back at 2010, the challenges and troubles should teach them lessons, so that in the New Year they are smarter in avoiding the same mistakes; and stronger, thus being able to confront any challenge. 

With the dawn of a new year upon us all, may all resolutions be kept; and may our hard work and perseverance bear fruit, so that we will continue to be a happy nation and a people committed to a brighter future for all. 

Happy New Year to all!  

Yours sincerely,  

Sherry-Ann Johnson

 

What is the ACB doing about the vulgarity shown on TV?

Dear Editor,

A few months ago, the ACB banned the playing of “rum songs” from the air, citing that it was harmful to society. The committee, which is the so-called television watchdog, is a toothless poodle; and it befuddles the mind as to what purpose it really serves. 

Many decent-minded citizens are against the airing of the “rum songs”, so that move by the ACB is a good one. But is the ACB seeing and hearing only these kinds of songs? Are they watching enough television, and all the television stations, in fact, to monitor their content? 

They are not, and there is proof to show that. But first, the ACB must declare its mandate; for after it does, the public will see how poorly the ACB is performing. Protecting viewers means to protect them from a variety of programmes, or material content that affects or is harmful to them. This means that harmful content is more than just “rum songs”.

Just  before  Christmas, while flicking through the channels, I landed on a television station that was airing local artistes’ music videos. It was mid-morning. Schools were out, children were at home and were watching TV. Suddenly, this station showed the music video of the artiste that snubbed the Mash Soca Competition by not turning up to defend her title. 

This video contained vulgar and pornographic content. There were the infamous “daggerin” movements, which are downright vulgar and pornographic. Editor, these scenes were of people dancing vulgarly at a resort. That song is most appropriate for watershed period or late night for adults; or, better yet, it is highly inappropriate for television broadcasting and should have never been shown. By the way, there was a letter appearing in another newspaper a few months ago complaining about that same television station showing vulgar videos of women. Does the ACB not read to have seen this? It didn’t apparently, because the TV station was showing these videos again. 

What troubled me was the time when this music video was shown — it was during a Saturday morning, when kids are home watching TV. My questions are: Where were the ACB members? Does the ACB work on weekends? How is it that the ACB sees only the “rum songs” as damaging to society but not these vulgar and pornographic videos being shown during the day on television? Perhaps the members are enjoying this vulgarity, considering that one member of theirs was in a problem over lewd speech. How ironic! 

The ACB must be made defunct now, and, when there is a proper system in place, reconstituted to do a proper job of serving and protecting viewers and children. Too much offensive content is on TV, and the ACB is not seeing this. They are only seeing “rum songs” as bad.

Yours respectfully,

D Rodney

North America has market for coconut water

Dear Editor,

I applaud the efforts of those seeking to market Guyana’s coconut water overseas, according to your news story (Guyana Times, Dec 21). Coconut water has been consumed for centuries. We use it as a popular beverage in Guyana to quench thirst or in mixing drinks. But, in North America, coconut water is rapidly becoming a booming business, with packages and cans of coconut water being sold not only in ethnic stores, but also in all mainstream grocery stores. It is also sold in major cities in ethnic stores in Holland and England. 

Americans, Canadians and Europeans are taking a liking to the beverage, and it is being marketed as a health drink. They find it quite tasty, and many are familiar with the product because they sampled fresh coconut water when on vacation in the Caribbean or other tropical destinations where coconut palms grow in abundance. And even without American consumers, Caribbean nationals settled in North America will lap-up the product. The liquid has a very refreshing flavour; and in some places people add various spices, cinnamon, and in Guyana “steel drops’. It is drunk chilled or at room temperature, and Caribbean people use it to mix their hard drinks (especially Scotch and rum) to produce a lovely taste. In North America, the canned water is sweetened, losing its natural taste; yet there is great demand for it. People prefer the product in its natural form, and it is now being largely sold in packages. There is room for huge profits once a method can be found to keep it “fresh” during shipping and in storage in the stores. 

Aside from the taste, coconut water is good for the body, according to health experts, who describe it as an immune-boosting drink. The nutrients in coconut water include potassium, magnesium, calcium, vitamin c, other minerals and antioxidants, amino acids and enzymes, etc. Nutritionists say it has iron, calcium and fibre, which is good for the body, and that it has very little fat and no cholesterol. Some people market coconut water as an energy-rich beverage which can be consumed to restore the balance of electrolytes in hot weather or during heavy exercise. 

Newspaper articles tout coconut water as a health drink. The print media in Trinidad recently ran features on the nutritional value of coconut water. People in every society go for the “water”, so there is a market for it; and producers in Guyana should rush to get it to North America. In fact, in Trinidad, it is already being packaged and sold in restaurants and bars. But North America awaits its entrance, and I can assure producers that, once the price is competitive to those being sold from Asia, coconut water will sell well in New York and Toronto.

Yours truly,

Vishnu Bisram

Guyana has never said it will stop gold mining and exploration

Dear Editor,

Christopher Ram, the accountant/lawyer who fancies himself a TV talk show host and columnist, and who recently declined to be considered as a presidential candidate for the People’s National Congress Reform, is at it again, and is getting it wrong – again.  

This political advisor to an opposition party is so eager to deride the Guyana government and President Bharrat Jagdeo that he fails to do even basic homework. 

I read his latest attack on the president and the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) in the Sunday Stabroek of December 19, and noted at least two major basic misconceptions he peddled that even someone with just casual knowledge of the issue would not have made. 

He claims that Guyana’s Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) initiative is an anomaly. 

“REDD is about reductions in carbon emissions. But Guyana is increasing emissions – from increasing gold mining and gold exploration, road-building and associated land-clearing, (and) increasing log exports,” Ram argues.

From what I know, Guyana has never said that it will stop gold mining, gold exploration, road building, etc. REDD does not mean that Guyana’s development is on hold, but is about reducing emissions through sustainable forestry practices and other methods.

It is also well-known that Guyana’s deforestation rate is well below the internationally accepted standard, and I find it bewildering that Ram would say that we are increasing carbon emissions.

Referring to the agreement with Norway, he also tries to give the impression that we have been conned into agreeing to accept US$250 million for five years when McKinsey valued the retention of our forests at US$580 million annually. 

As I understand it, the agreement with Norway is the first of its kind in the world, and Guyana is looking for other similar agreements. We have not sold our entire forest coverage to Norway for five years. 

If simple things like these elude Mr Ram, how can he be expected to honestly and truthfully enlighten people about national issues? 

But what can you expect from persons with open political agendas?

I agree with the president that the likes of Ram and Freddie Kissoon, who still do not understand the LCDS and what it really means for Guyana, should go and spend some time with the toshaos of Amerindian communities, who have fully embraced the initiative and who can help them appreciate its worth to the country. 

The toshaos should, however, be asked to exercise a lot of patience with them, because they find it hard to comprehend some things that the vast majority of us already understand. 

Respectfully,  

Sylvan Blackman