June 25, 2017

Archives for June 2, 2017

Remembering the Birth of a Nation

By Horace Walcott

Lowering the British flag (left) to hoist the Golden Arrowhead at the Independence Day ceremony, May 26, 1966

I was one of the pupil leaders selected by my school, Malgre Tout, to attend a rally at the Parade Ground in Georgetown in honour of Queen Elizabeth II.  Her Majesty and Prince Phillip were visiting Guyana in February of 1966. I can recall standing a few yards from Her Majesty as she took the salutes of military and scout bands as they marched pass her.  I was one of the youngest scouts in Guyana and, though pedantic and introverted, was attracted to the military.

There was a platoon of British troops stationed across the street where I lived at Versailles.  Prior to Guyana’s independence, they relocated to Eve Leary in Georgetown.  It must have been a few weeks after the Queen’s visit.  Then there was Independence Day, a few days after my birthday.  The Duke and Duchess of Kent were visiting Guyana and there was a celebration to honour the royals at the West Demerara Secondary School (WDSS) in Pouderoyen, the village adjacent to Versailles.

In addition to the royal couple attending the celebration, many important officials including Governor General Sir Richard Luyt and government ministers, were at WDSS.  I remember attending the ceremony, but being there briefly.  I was dressed in my neatly pressed scouts’ uniform: khaki short pants, scouts’ belt, a lanyard around my neck with a scarf having the colours of the Golden Arrow Head.  My black leather shoes were polished and buffed.  I was a scout with the Plantain Walk Boys Scout Troops.

Horace Walcott

Several weeks leading up to independence, we would be transported from the Vreed-en-Hoop Stelling by military trucks of the British Troops to Den Amstel, West Coast Demerara, and undergo joint training sessions with the Den Amstel troops.  My scoutmaster and assistant scoutmaster were officers in the Volunteer Force, the precursor of the Guyana Defence Force.  We learned all the flags of the British Empire and, at the end of our training, recited the Scout’s Honour Oath, in which we paid respect to God and the Queen.

On the eve of Guyana’s independence, we camped at Den Amstel in huts of the Public Works Department.  The birth of the nation was ushered in by a camp fire, the lowering of the Union Jack accompanied by the British national anthem.  Then, there was the raising of the Golden Arrow Head accompanied by cheers and the play of the Guyana national anthem.

As one flag was lowered and the other raised to full mast, both fluttering with grace displaying their full colours in the night sky illuminated by a large camp fire, crowds of spectators stood at attention and scouts saluted.  Throughout the country, it seemed that the red, white and blue receded physically and spiritually and was replaced with red, yellow, black, white and green.

As a teen, I felt the people of Guyana had lost and gained.  What was lost and gained?  That question I answered myself, as I witnessed with fellow Guyanese our nation’s struggle for economic and spiritual freedom.

My stint in the Versailles Boys Brigade and Plantain Walk Scout Troops would pay off a decade later. As a Guyana scholar candidate, I was required to undergo ‘guerrilla warfare’ training in the Guyana jungles.  Though in 1976 and 1977, as a budding yogi, I could have refused or objected to the military training.

I didn’t fall in love with the hinterland. However, my stint in Guyana’s jungles inspired me to specialise in zoological medicine. Several years ago, one of my teams of research students deciphered the physics of the blow pipe used by the indigenous people or ‘Red People’.  Part of the research was done at Harvard University. Notably, the team has developed a novel amphibious tranquilising dart rifle.

Now residing in the U.S., I still wear berets in the winter to remind me of my scout days in Guyana, and floppy hats in the summer to remind me of my National Service stint at Papaya and Kimbia.

From 1996 to 1997, with family support, I completed post graduate studies in zoological medicine at the Royal Veterinary College and the London Zoo.  For my thesis research, I conducted toxicological pathology studies in neuroendocrine disruption and biosonar in harbour porpoises in British waters.

For me, Guyana has always been a magical, mystical place tinged with danger.


Art in Pre-independence Guyana ‘Artist had already shown Independence of thought ‘

“Gulf Watch” (1992) by Ernest Van Dyke

Guyana became an independent nation in 1966, but its artists had already, from a generation before, begun to show independence of thought, action and vision. The artistic ferment in Georgetown in the decades between 1930 and 1960 is a yet largely-unrecognised intellectual and philosophical development in Guyana.  The early part of this period laid the foundation for an art which lacks nothing in richness, complexity and ideation.

Samuel Horace Broodhagen (1883-1950) is identified as the earliest-known local artist. He was a painter of landscapes and portraits, but not much is known about his work. So was Cedric Winter (1902-1974), a sculptor, who created the altar screen for St James-the-Less Church in 1945. But the first decades of the 20th century were lean years for art in Guyana. One expatriate, Golde White, wrote to a friend that “[t]here has been no Art Exhibition for some time in this colony, and very little is done to encourage artistic talent”.

“Backyard Pere Street” (1970) by Leila Locke

From the end of the 1920’s, White and other expatriates, along with the British Council, encouraged and supported the local men and women of talent.  The colonials helped to found the British Guiana Arts and Crafts Society in 1931, and the British Council sponsored lectures and gave scholarships. This impetus produced our first formal artists such as Vivian Antrobus, R. G. Sharples, E.R. Burrowes, Reggie Phang and Sam Cummings.

On the other hand, Evelyn Williams argues that the colonial establishment “contextualised and controlled the models of cultural expression in the perpetuation of the systematic self-interest…imposing the imprints of a European consciousness”.

Here is where the pioneering local artists began asserting their independence: they soon broke away from the official influence, and began organising their own art groups and art classes. They formed the Guianese Art Group in 1945 and the Working People’s Art Class in 1948, which existed up to as late as 1961.

They attracted young people such as Denis Williams, Hubert Moshett, Marjorie Broodhagen, Enda Harte, Basil Hinds, and later on, Stanley Greaves, Ron Savory, Aubrey Williams, Donald Locke, Emerson Samuels and many others. The pioneers started a great line of artists who would take Guyana’s art into the next three decades and beyond.

On the surface, it seems that Guyanese art copies western art. But this is only superficially true. While our artists draw from the wide range of art approaches, styles and techniques, what they create is truly Guyanese. The pioneer artists broke away from the influence of the British School of landscape painting and used more investigative styles and techniques to delve into, rather than depict, Guyanese life.

They explored a broader range of themes and subjects. Apart from the landscape, they painted our people, pass-times and activities.  Artists such as  George Bowen (Jorge Bowen-Forbes), Alvin Bowman, Patrick Barrington, David Singh picked up this tradition from the pioneers and it continued in the works of Eddie Fredericks (our first indigenous painter), Basil and Angold Thompson, Cletus Henriques, Maylene Duncan, Winston Strick, Seunarine Munisar, Merlene Ellis, and a host of other artists right down to the present day.

Our art is a nationally-cohesive influence because of its democratic nature:  it is not an elitist art; it takes an unprejudiced look at our life; it is a humanely-progressive art which propounds the richness and dignity of life. Even in the conflict-ridden 1960’s, Guyanese artists quietly asserted the common humanity, struggle, and worthiness of the Guyanese people through their landscapes and depictions of the life of the country in scenes of life and landscape.

In another discordant period, the 1990’s, artists such as Ohene Koama, Betsy Karim and Desmond Ali banded together as “The Guyana United Artists”; they and various other artists made a call through their many exhibitions for unity and peace. But our artists are not just parochial: they have responded to international conflicts such as the Gulf War, and champion international movements for global peace and liberation from oppression.

Our art is one of innate concern and responsibility. Right from the beginning, our artists showed a responsibility to the development of the nation through their social commentary. In 1961, Burrowes presciently offered his “Land of the Dolorous Guard” as a warning about developments in the country.

Stanley Greaves became famous for his “People of the Pavement” series in the 1950’s, and he continued his trenchant examination of our politics and culture in his “There’s a Meeting Here Tonight” (1990’s) and other artwork.

Just after the elation of independence, Cyril Kanhai’s sarcastic “Green Land of Guyana” pointed to the disjunction between political promises and reality.  Bernadette Persaud bravely confronted authority with her “Gentleman in the Garden” series as economic and political pressures developed in the 1980’s.

From the 1990’s, Desmond Ali in his innovative, massive sculpture enlarged our thinking about Guyana’s political condition by expounding on the history of colonialism and the struggle for independence in the wider American region.

Our art gives Guyana root and substance: a hallmark of our art is how it draws from the well of our intrinsic cultures and experiences. By doing this, our artists give recognition to the inherence of the ancestral in the construction and existence of the Guyanese identity.

From the 1960’s, Stephanie Correia brought the forms and spirit of the first peoples of the country into formal art in her ceramic work. Eddie Fredericks depicted the rhythms of indigenous life; George Simon delved into his indigenous heritage to produce powerful art.

He also tutored Lokono artists – Oswald Hussein, Lynus Clenkien, Telford Taylor, Roland Taylor and others – who from the 1990’s revealed a hidden dimension of the Guyanese imagination with their shape-shifting works in wood. Philip Moore had, from the 1940’s, been intuitively drawing from his native African ancestry, but also recognising and utilising the iconography of the East Indian world-views.

Later, in the 1970’s, the Village Movement artists brought the African ancestry further into the limelight through the medium and style of their intuitive wood sculpture. Gary Thomas, Compton Parris, Omowale Lumumba, and Colin Warde were some of the main exponents of this movement, which still live on in the works of the Main Street Artists Brian Clarke, Ras Iah, Marvyn Phillips, Francis Ferreira and others.

In the 1980’s, Bernadette Persaud showed the power and relevance of East Indian religions and imagery in interpreting and understanding Guyana. Dudley Charles gave serious consideration to the beliefs of the folk, starting in the 1980’s with his “Old House” series and continuing this engagement in his subsequent works.

As in any other genuine art, in the particularity of Guyanese art, there is a connection to the universal. Aubrey William’s abstract paintings turn the Guyana landscape into the ground of examination of cosmic matters; Denis William’s Human World addresses all of modern industrial life; Philip Moore’s metaphysics apply to all; Winslow Craig’s themes touch universal chords.

Artists such as Terence Roberts, Carl Anderson and Derrick Callendar contemplate Guyana’s identity within the widest international context; Philbert Gajadhar celebrates East Indian ancestry, but also recognises its relatedness to other cultures as well, and so on. Our artists explore formal technical issues, tackle great questions of being, engage in metaphysics, comment on the world, and are alive to global efforts for freedom, justice, development  and the best possibilities of human life.

Notably, art will continue to lead, support and inspire our development.Presently at Castellani House, Vlissengen Road, an art exhibition, titled “In Retrospect”, by Jorge Bowen-Forbes is being held to celebrate the artist’s 80th birth anniversary as well as Guyana’s 51st independence anniversary.

It was opened on May 16, 2017 and will continue until June 3, 2017. Admission is free. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday; the gallery is closed Sundays and holidays. (Artists’ information excerpted from notes by Alim Hosein)


Essequibo Coast businessman opens multimillion-dollar supermarket

By Indrawattie Natram

Businessman Iftikar Mohamed and his family along with Social Protection Minister Amna Ally at the opening of Safeway Supermarket in Supenaam

Forty-two-year-old Iftikar Mohamed, a businessman of Cotton Field Village on the Essequibo Coast, has commissioned a multimillion-dollar state-of-the-art supermarket at Supenaam.

The father of four said the opening of his second supermarket was a testimony of true courage and determination. He attributed his successes to the almighty and his wife Safeeina.

Mohamed ventured into the business of wholesaling and retailing some nine years ago and today, he said, he is proud to be able to have opened a supermarket at a location where there was a dire need for one. Mohamed is said to be the first businessman to open a supermarket on the Essequibo Coast after which some 25 other businessmen followed.

Operating under the logo “Shop safe and save”, the businessman said his supermarket will serve as a hub for the Supenaam and Essequibo Islands environs.

Safeway Supermarket in Supenaam

When asked what prompted him to establish such a huge business in the Supenaam area, Mohamed noted that after a feasibility study was conducted, it was noticed that there was no business of such nature at Supenaam and very often, persons had to journey to the town of Anna Regina or Parika to source basic necessities.

He said, too, that the decision to expand his supermarket was birthed five years ago and after receiving encouragement from “excellent business consultants,” the first pillar was laid in May last year.

Mohamed said the land was acquired first, after which the process commenced and today he has not regretted making the choice he did.

Humanitarian spirit

Apart from the construction of the multimillion-dollar supermarket, Mohamed has constructed a masjid for the people living in the Good Hope area. The masjid was a gift, he said, and a way of expressing his gratitude to the community for their support during the construction of the supermarket.

On the opening day of Safeway Supermarket, 22 elders 80 years and over were given complimentary hampers.

Meanwhile, the official ribbon cutting ceremony was done by Social Protection Minister Amna Ally. She was accompanied by Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) Chairman Devanand Ramdatt, acting Regional Executive Officer Deryck Persaud and Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) Chairman Arnold Adams.

During the simple ceremony, Minister Ally said the businessman has set a pace for others to emulate. She alluded to the fact that he would have transformed the landscape of the Good Hope-Pomona area with the construction of the supermarket. Ally noted that the supermarket is a testimony to the development that is taking place in the Supenaam area.

Meanwhile, Ramdatt congratulated the businessman on behalf of the Region’s Council. He said he is very proud to learn that the opening of the supermarket provided employment for 10 persons living within the area and also for further community development.

Additionally, Adams also commended the efforts of the businessman and pledged the support of the NDC. Persons living around the area can now purchase a variety of items since the supermarket will be selling most products that are available from leading companies.



…in class perspective

The PPP was first “abashedly” a Marxist party. But after playing ducks and drakes on the subject with US President John F. Kennedy and getting a quick ouster from office, Jagan came out of the closet in 1969 to declare HIS party was Communist. Among his impressionable protégés were the rustic Moses Nagamootoo from Berbice and the urban (and urbane) Ralph Ramkarran from Bel Air, Georgetown.

 Mechanistically following the 19th century European procrustean categories of Marxist sociology, they aped Jagan to insist that race/ethnicity was a mere “epiphenomenon” and class was “fundamental”. Well, now that both have parted ways with the PPP, they’ve evidently done a U-turn on their views.

Nagamootoo was only too happy to insist on 40% of the Cabinet if he and the AFC delivered “Indian” votes. But even though Nagamootoo had denied his ethnicity, he had to have come to a modus vivendi with the question of race/ethnicity to make THAT bargain.

Rather belatedly, it would appear that Ralph Ramkarran has also now decided to trade in his hammer and sickle. He’d been more passionate about the working class than the rough-around-the-edges Nagamootoo; probably overcompensating for his middle class origin! In his blog this week, he’s quoted as declaring: “But the reality is that the main ethnic groups in Guyana live compartmentalised lives, whether in mixed communities or not, separated by our differences, and hardly ever interacting socially, culturally or politically. We are different nations, living separate lives, subsisting in the same homeland and competing for scarce resources.”

Whew!! Ramkarran sounds more extreme than those Indianists and Africanists who flood the letters columns with what he used to deride as “atavistic” outpourings. But doesn’t he owe the Guyanese public a reason for his abrupt volte face? Before the last elections, he’d praised his erstwhile competitor for the title of “Best Marxist in the PPP” as doing the right thing for denying his ethnicity for the sake of “national unity”. Which, your Eyewitness concluded, had to mean Nagamootoo and his new allies in APNU would be ushering in a “unity” based on class.

Has Ramkarran become so embittered by the virulent racism exhibited by the coalition government against Indians over the distribution of “scarce resources” during the last two years that he’s become resigned to accepting race politics? Is Ramkarran about to champion the “cause” of Indians in light of his sudden epiphany? But what’s the end game for a country with “different nations, living separate lives”? Surely he doesn’t envisage the “different nations” fighting unto eternity?

Or is he going to propose we go the way of Yugoslavia, which fissioned into five “homelands” for its five nations”?

New converts are always the most extreme!

…on diaspora policies?

What’s with this Government and the diaspora? It’s like one of those “hold me, loose me” soap operas. In both the 2011 and 2015 elections, the diaspora played a major role in helping the coalition (AFC and APNU were a “coalition” in all but name by 2011) first checkmate the PPP, and then seize their kingdom. They, not unreasonably, had great expectations of getting a piece of the action in the new dispensation, not least because the APNU/AFC combine had MADE promises such as giving them a seat in Parliament. But it all came to naught in the midst of diasporic weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

But, once again, the administration’s girding up its loins to engage the diaspora. They started out on safe turf — with ex-GDF types in the States. But they really need to explain what’s gonna be different this time.

“Fool us once, shame on the admin; fool us twice, shame on the diaspora”!

…on PM status?

In dishonouring the promises of the Cummingsburg Accord to increase the powers of the Prime Minister, APNU claimed it was unconstitutional to have PM chair Cabinet. But Article 106 (3) says, “Cabinet Meetings shall be presided over by (b) in the absence of the President, the Prime Minister.”

All Prezzie’s gotta do is not show up!!

Waiting to exhale…

…on Local Government Commission

The PNC-led APNU/AFC Government scraped the bottom of the barrel to come up with “125 accomplishments” during their first two years in office. Probably the same barrel they scraped for their 69 National Awardees! They should’ve at least gone back to their Manifesto and taken a gander at the 1254 promises that are still waiting to be fulfilled!

One of them was the formation of a Local Government Commission (LGC). Ever since the PNC had bludgeoned the PPP in the streets in the aftermath of the 1997 election, reform of the entire Local Government system was demanded and elicited. The PNC – and later the AFC – complained that the PPP at the Central level was emasculating local government to serve their own (nefarious) purposes. A LGC would remove and assume oversight of local government bodies from the Minister of Local Government (now Minister of Communities).

The PNC and PPP formed a committee to make recommendations since 2001. Finally, in 2013, the Bill was signed. But not before the PNC/APNU and the AFC strenuously demanded the PPP “do the right thing”. The AFC even used the PPP’s signing of the Bill as a prerequisite for them going along with the Money Laundering Bill in 2014. That’s how important they (virtuously) insisted, giving autonomy to folks at the local level was to the future of democracy.

But as soon as the Local Government Elections were held in 2015 and the PPP won most of the NDC’s and RDC’s, the hemming and hawing by the PNC/AFC Government began. At first, they bought some time by EXPLAINING the virtues of the LGC!! In March 2016, APNU announced: “The Commission, once established, will take over most of the current oversight role exercised by the Ministry of Communities. The Ministry, therefore, will no longer have the ability to degrade the capacity of local government organs which will now be able to exercise executive authority in keeping with the autonomy guaranteed by the constitution.”

Two months later, Minister of Communities Bulkan announced the LCD’s launch was “imminent” and could be “as soon as next month” – June 2016. By then the PPP had submitted their three candidates and the Trade Unions their one. All that remained was for Prezzie to submit his three, all on his own – without any list from the Opposition Leader!!… and Bulkan one, on advise of Local Government Leaders. Bulkan said they were “vetting” their candidates.

 One year later, Bulkan says they’re still not ready to name their candidates. Presumably they’re still “vetting” them.

 Now that Dr Surujbally’s free to practice his profession as a Vet, maybe they should call him in??

…on Venezuela

When it comes to getting rid of Maduro, the successor to Hugo Chávez who was more than a pain in the posterior to the US – the democrats and Republicans are as one. Starting with Clinton (D), followed by Bush (“sulphurous” smell!!) and Obama they all tried to oust Chávez. Obama didn’t skip a beat with Maduro and now that Trump’s in office, while he may be an outlier on many issues – Venezuela and Maduro isn’t one of them. Maduro must go!!

But seem not all of the institutions that keep America ticking. It was just announced that Goldman Sachs – just bought US$2.8 billion worth of State-owned Venezuelan PDVSA’s bonds. For a country that’s reeling from an imploding economy and a Government that’s facing a resurgent Opposition – whether or not backed by the US – that infusion of cash is like manna from heaven!

 But then Goldman had to only pay .31 cents on the dollar for the bonds. Profits always trumps patriotism, no?

…to travel

Nandlall claimed SOCU “blacklisted” 200 persons from leaving the jurisdiction. After two weeks, the Police replied indignantly it wasn’t so. It was 139 over the last 10 years!!

They missed the point. If even ONE person’s blacklisted without being charged, it’s illegal!!

Moco Moco

Breathtaking photo of Moco Moco Falls by Guyanese photographer, Amanda Richards

The trip from Lethem to Moco Moco village is under 30 minutes. As you pass the village, the scene transforms from savannah into rainforest as the trail wanders through the communities favourite farmlands to the Moco Moco Falls at the base of the mountains.

Notably, it is said that most of the areas down and around Lethem seem to have been part of a highly volcanic area a long time ago. There are remnants of lava flows and lava rocks at Moco Moco Falls.

According to one visitor to the Falls, “the water was deep enough to jump off a high rock into it… There was also a really cool Jacuzzi-like area between two huge boulders. The only way to get to it though was to swim against the current through a small channel about the width of a person… a test of our swimming skills”.

Bridge across the Falls (Amanda Richards’ photo)

Driver who fled scene during crash remanded to prison

Dead: Daniel Richmond lost
his life in the tragic accident

Elton Carter, the driver who allegedly fled the scene after crashing into a minibus on Durban and Smyth Streets, Georgetown last Sunday, was on Tuesday charged when he appeared before Magistrate Judy Latchman for causing death by dangerous driving.

The charge stated that Carter on May 21, 2017, drove motor pickup GRR 8450 in a manner dangerous to the public thereby causing the death of Daniel Gostavos Richmond.

Defence Attorney Stanley Moore seeking to establish that his client is not a flight risk related that Carter is a building contractor who has a fixed place of abode at Eccles, on the East Bank of Demerara.

Moore contended, based on instructions received, that the accused is the owner of the vehicle and was not driving same at the time of the accident, rather contending that the vehicle was driven by a woman. The identity of the alleged female driver remains undisclosed.

The lawyer requested that his client be released on bail in a reasonable sum pending trial, indicating that he (Carter) is anxious to vindicate himself and will attend every court sitting in the event that he is released. Moore disclosed that he represented the accused in an unrelated matter which was recently dismissed.

Police Prosecutor Shellon Payne posed a strong objection to bail being granted in light of three pending trafficking charges which Carter is to face shortly. According to Constable Persaud, the accused is an unlicensed driver and had failed to produce same to Police upon request. Moreover, the vehicle is allegedly uninsured. Also, the court heard that another passenger of the crashed minibus remains in a critical condition at the Georgetown Public Hospital.

Payne told the Magistrate that the accused was non-cooperative during the course of the investigation, reportedly being reluctant to assist investigating officials. She related that after receiving reports, Police found the suspect at a hospital receiving treatment and had been checking in and out of various hospitals during the investigating period thereby hampering the investigation process. She related that the accused, a few days later, told officials that a female was the driver of the vehicle but failed to provide a name or present the alleged driver as required by the law.

Bail was refused by Magistrate Latchman and the lawyer in a failed attempt to establish the ill state of his client, disclosed that Carter presently suffers from whiplash; raising further questions from the court.

According to Health Line, whiplash occurs when a person’s head moves backward and then forward suddenly with great force. This injury is most common following a vehicular collision.

Latchman readily inquired from the counsel how the accused had received the injuries and whether he was involved in the accident, apparently causing the lawyer to lose his balance. After stuttering for a second and quickly gaining his composure, Moore revealed that Carter was a passenger in the vehicle driven by ‘Jane Doe’; his response creating quite a buzz in the courtroom.

Following a lengthy submission by the lawyer, the accused was remanded until June 1 for report as bail was refused by Magistrate Latchman.

This publication previously reported that the accident occurred around 16:00h on May 21, when minibus BVV 5273 was proceeding along Durban Street heading to South, Georgetown, when it was struck from behind by the black pickup which was said to be speeding along Smyth Street headed North. Eyewitness stated that the pickup then hit a parked blue Allion before coming to a halt, while the minibus which was fully loaded toppled a number of times.

Injured persons were pulled from the mangled minibus, some in an unconscious state and Richmond, the now dead man, was said to be “half in and half out of the minibus.” Following the accident, the injured driver of the vehicle reportedly fled the scene.

Meanwhile, the deceased – a former cricket coach, umpire and Guyana Cricket Board scorer – leaves to mourn several family members. (Paula Gomes)


G$89M Liliendaal bridge reopened to vehicular traffic

– after months of rehab work

The Liliendaal bridge, Greater Georgetown, is now
reopened to vehicular traffic

After being closed for more than two months to facilitate rehabilitation works, the Liliendaal bridge located on the train line, Greater Georgetown, is now opened to vehicular traffic.

According to the Government, the bridge which was built at the tune of G$89 million was recommended to be repaired by the Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB) Inspection Team and engineers attached to the Public Infrastructure Ministry.

It was recommended that the bridge be closed for traffic based upon findings which showed that one of the panel systems on the northern rail of the bridge demonstrated signs of imminent failure.

Reports are that one of the panels in the system had been detached, rendering the system structurally unstable. A section of the northern carriageway of the bridge also experienced serviceability failure.

An additional inspection carried out by a team of engineers coincided with the initial assessment. While works had been slated to commence on March 6, 2017, the construction was pushed up due to its urgency and the bridge was converted to a pre-stressed concrete structure.

The project was undertaken by H Nauth and Sons Civil Engineering Contractors, and lasted for approximately three months.

The closure of the Liliendaal Bridge had created major traffic backups on the East Coast Highway.


Children not the object of sensationalism

– PM in stern warning to media entities

By Samuel Sukhnandan

The event was attended by several school children and child rights activists

Government has sent a stern warning to media entities, urging them to ensure that children do not become objects of sensational news.

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo said news organisations should desist from carrying negative stories regarding children, and adhere to the laws of Guyana which speaks of the rights of children.

 “Children are not the object of sensationalism. If they make the news, they have to make the news in a positive way. And the media has a responsibility, not to help with the demoralisation of our young people, particularly children, by identifying them and exposing them to ridicule and condemnation,” the Prime Minister declared.

Delivering the feature address at the opening ceremony of the Child Rights and Independence Workshop at Herdmanston Lodge in Queenstown, Georgetown, Nagamootoo highlighted that the constitution has provisions which cater for children not to be identified in court proceedings.

“Judicial processes of Guyana are not permitted to identify children when they are victims. And recently, we issued an advisory to all newspapers that they should not identify children who appear in court proceedings, either by name or photographs,” he stated.

Attendees are seen with Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Rights of the Child Commission (RCC) Chairperson, Aleema Nasir, among others

Through the Rights of the Child Commission (RCC) and the Government of Guyana, the Prime Minister said, the nation can bask in the glory and satisfaction that much has been achieved.

But, he declared: “We still have a far way to go. Statistics will show that education has not ceased to be an obsession of this country, but we have a far way to go until we can provide free university education for all our children.”

“After 51 years of independence,” he said, “we cannot be diverted from the need to provide the best opportunities for our children.”

Aleema Nasir, Chairperson of the RCC, explained that the workshop is intended to explore, with the school children of Guyana, the history and significance of Guyana’s Independence, linked to a theme of human and child rights.

Nasir noted also that the legacies of colonialism will be discussed, as would the human rights of Guyana’s children, particularly education. Other related themes that will be examined are leadership, youth empowerment, models of child poverty, community development and children in public policy.

The event was attended by several school children; child rights activists; Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman; Chairperson of the Women and Gender Equality Commission, Indra Chandarpaul; European Union (EU) Ambassador, Jernej Videtic; and Cultural Advisor to the Ministry of Education, Ruel Johnson.


Business sense

Dear Diary,

This is Gas Skin. No…no…no! NOT Ram Own Gas Skin. Please, Dear Diary, don’t keep confusing me with that loudmouth. I am the quiet Gas Skin. I just came back from England trying to drum up some foreign Guyanese to invest back home.

It was not as exciting as I thought it would have been. I didn’t get to see the Queen – even though I did see the Guards in their snazzy Red Costumes guarding Buckingham Palace.

 I didn’t bother to bring up with the Guyanese they could lobby to remove the British ban on our greenheart – which has destroyed our forestry sector. Nah…I told them about us conserving our rainforests and wetlands and suchlike. We may starve…but we love our forests and if we die, we will die protecting them.

I told our brothers in England (NOT “the brothers”, Dear Diary. Please. I am not that riff raff Gas Skin) that while there is poverty, inequality, poor health care and education in Guyana, we are not unique. What do they think caused the Manchester bombing??

I also told them how much better off we were than Venezuela and Brazil that have all kinds of problems – including bombings. But I told them also we will get rich from building that road to Brazil so we can ship their goods. If their problems go away.

But Dear Diary, I don’t really think we will get much business from Britain. Didn’t they do a Brexit from us before that Brexit from Europe? Only we call it “independence”. You can’t trust them.

 But I just figured a way to solve our business problems. When I left Timehri, I saw hundreds of Cubans shipping huge bundles of goods by plane. They buy it from the Chinese businesses.

 All we have to do is start collecting duties and VAT from them!!