July 26, 2017

Archives for July 7, 2017

GuySuCo continues community outreaches

…Uitvlugt 40,000 tonnes target ‘achievable’ – Estate Manager

By Lakeram Bhagirat

A worker from the Uitvlugt Estate interacting with the panel

Forty thousand tonnes of sugar by 2020 is achievable but lack of labour would severely hamper that target, according to Uitvlugt Estate Manager, Yudhisthira Mana. However, Mana identified that if that target is not met then the estate would incur a loss.

Mana was at the time addressing a gathering of sugar workers, community leaders and residents of Uitvlugt Village, West Coast Demerara. The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is conducting a series of community outreaches in sugar dependent communities throughout the country. This comes on the heels of the closure of the Wales Estate and the Government’s proposed closure of the Enmore, Rose Hall and Skeldon Estates.

The aim of the outreaches includes creating awareness of the need for employees to show up to harvest cane and mobilising community leaders and other stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers, government, private and civil society sectors around the importance of improving attendance on all Estates.

With the closure of the Wales Estate, the sugar cane processed at the facility is sent to the Uitvlugt Estate and, according to Mana, the target of 40,000 tonnes of sugar by the year 2020 is an ‘achievable’ task. He noted that the factory is expected to produce some 18,000 tonnes of sugar by the end of 2017.

Forty thousand tonnes challenge

The greater the target, the greater the challenges of achieving that, Mana says. He adds that the major hindrance towards achieving the target is the failure of workers to attend work. Some 375 workers, harvesters and planters, from the Wales Estate refused to take the approximate 45 minutes commute to the Uitvlugt Estate and as a result, production is severely hampered.

Some of the stakeholders gathered at the outreach

“We will be the only sugar producing estate in the Demerara region and we will not have to go up to Berbice for sugar to supply our demands anymore,” Mana explained.

He made those statements while presenting the Uitvlugt Estate Improvement Programme (UEIP) to the stakeholders. However, when questioned about the cost attached to the factory upgrade, to facilitate the achievement of the proposed target, Mana was unable to provide an answer.

The estate would require over 520,000 tonnes of sugarcane to achieve its target requiring some 6,005.9 hectares of land to be cultivated. This would create employment for over 1,700 persons and would influence communities along the West Bank and Coast of Demerara and the East Bank of Essequibo.

Part of the UEIP encourages members of the communities to encourage the workers to attend work on a regular basis to maximize production.

Mana told the gathering that he is confident that the agricultural team at the Uitvlugt estate would be able to reach the target but adequate labour is needed. “We have the ability, we have the commitment, we have the togetherness to make this a reality…we recognise that we don’t have adequate labour force to take us through 40,000 tonnes of sugar,” he related.

“Not reaching the 40,000 tonnes will definitely increase the cost of production and everything that depends on the revenue coming out of that will be stymied,” he added.

The New GuySuCo

GuySuCo’s Senior Communications Officer, Audreyanna Thomas, spoke extensively on the ‘New GuySuCo’ and how it seeks to diversify the sugar industry. She noted that the plan proposes a two-component approach- the sugar component and the diversification component.

The sugar component includes the amalgamation of the Albion-Rose Hall, Blairmont and Uitvlugt Estates with an expected 147,000 tonnes of sugar produced annually. This estimated production will support the demands of the markets with the break down being 25,000 tonnes for local consumption, 50-60,000 tonnes for CARICOM and Regional markets, 12,500 tonnes for the US market and 50,000 tonnes for the World markets.

While the diversification aspect includes exploring the possibilities of the aquaculture – the rearing of tilapia and dairy farming – the establishment of two milking farms at the Wales Estate. There are feasibility studies conducted on both aspects and favourable reports have been handed in.

Thomas said that the new GuySuCo would see massive training programmes for employees so that they would be able to fit-in in alternative careers. She noted communities affected by the closure of estates and those in areas where estates are still operable are ‘vulnerable and susceptible’ to the challenges of GuySuCo.

She added that this needs to change and as a result, they are embarking on the Sustainable Community Development Programme since they see an immediate need for it. She notes that this programme includes the need for improved attendance at the estates and urged the community members to join the GuySuCo Voluntary Network so that they can be informed of the happenings of the sugar industry.

Wales still operable

Following the closure of the Wales Factory, in December of 2016, GuySuCo began its diversification process by planting some 200 hectares of seed paddy on what used to be sugar cane land. According to the estate’s manager, Devendra Kumar, sugar is an ever-evolving process and one that has been bringing in ‘pretty’ low returns. In justifying the diversification of the estate, he said that the industry needed to be reshaped and retooled to become a multifaceted one.

Kumar said that over 6,500 hectares of seed paddy is needed to supply the demands of the rice industry in Guyana and committed to doubling the current number of hectares under cultivation at Wales. He added that the diversification would see workers, who opted for severance, be given the opportunity to lease lands for dairy farming or other crop production.

The first meeting, was on Thursday last, at the Wales Community Centre and the sugar workers stormed out following a dispute between the former Estate Manager of Wales Factory and the workers. However, the workers say that they are not going to attend the Uitvlugt outreach although some of them work at the estate.

They related that they would continue to call for their severance pay since Uitvlugt Estate “is share blows.”

At Thursday’s meeting, the workers were told that they would be fired if they fail to turn up for work at the Uitvlugt Estate. However, the workers stood their ground and informed the GuySuCo officials that they refuse to attend work at the estate.

Since the closure of the Wales Estate in December of 2016, some 1700 workers have been directly affected and thousands of persons in the Wales and surrounding communities indirectly affected.

Guyana Govt should seek advice from oil and gas experts in the Diaspora

Dear Editor,

Press reports state that massive amounts of oil have been discovered in Guyana, and foreign company ExxonMobil has been contracted to explore and carry out the extensive operations to market the “black gold”.

While ExxonMobil is spending tens of billions of dollars in the exploration process, concerns are being expressed by Guyanese within and outside of Guyana about the arrangement between the Government and ExxonMobil. The latest came from Nigel Hughes, an outstanding attorney and Director of Guyana Oil and Gas Association (GOGA).

Two prominent and highly qualified Guyanese in the diaspora — Dr Tulsi Singh, who has been in the oil business for decades in Midland Texas, and Sam Boodhoo, CPA, CA, a certified professional accountant of Canada, who had given professional advice to several oil companies — feel the Guyana Government should be very cautious in signing its final agreement with ExxonMobil.

Boodhoo has written a paper on Guyana Oil Dealings, wherein he highlighted the pitfalls and stressed that Guyana should establish a corporation owned and controlled by Guyanese to manage the oil resources. He feels that there might be deficiencies in the negotiation process. Dr Singh, on the other hand, who was not too optimistic that Guyana would earn billions from the oil, is now of the ‘view that the Republic would benefit tremendously because of three factors: (1) Hess Corporation, a 30% owner in ExxonMobil, is making financial arrangements for the Guyana project; (2) XOM, as the operating partner in Guyana, has confirmed a G$4,4 billion on the deal, and XOM has engaged SBM Offshore NV, a Dutch offshore oil and gas behemoth, to convert a huge crude oil tanker into a floating production storage and offloading platform.

The minister responsible for the oil Industry, Raphael Trotman, an attorney who is not an expert in oil, should seek the advice of Guyanese in the diaspora who are experts in the field and who are willing to offer their advice.

Two other Guyanese entrepreneurs – Brian Ramphal of California and Mc Sood Amjad of St Maarten – have also expressed their concern and want to ensure that Guyana is not taken for a ride by foreign big business.

Sincerely,

Oscar Ramjeet

 

Many unanswered questions on SOCU and law books

Dear Editor,

Recent reports in the print and electronic media indicate that the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) which has been doing an excellent job so far, applied to the court for a warrant to search the home of the former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall for among other things 15 Commonwealth Law Reports.

SOCU alleged that Nandlall is unlawfully keeping those books. Relative activities after then left me wondering – wondering why SOCU applied in open court for the warrant. Wondering why the application for the search warrant was not made in chambers. Wondering why the Chief Magistrate took the unprecedented action to read the warrant in open court. Wondering why Her Worship instructed SOCU’s officials to return hours after to uplift the warrant. Wondering why SOCU did not approach a Justice of the Peace and Commissioner of Oaths to Affidavits to endorse the warrant. Wondering if there is a shortage of Justices of the Peace and Commissioner of Oaths to Affidavits in Georgetown, as is the case at West Coast Berbice and other locations. Wondering if only a Chief Magistrate can endorse a warrant for SOCU to search a home for evidence in relation to a crime under investigation.

Wondering if in my policing days when I used to obtain and execute warrants signed by Justices of the Peace and Commissioner of Oaths to Affidavits and not the Magistrates my actions were unlawful. Wondering if the law has changed in relation to obtaining a search warrant since I retired from the Guyana Police Force. Wondering when will someone in authority clear the air in respect of this legal morass. Wondering if somewhere along the line there was an ulterior motive. I am wondering. I am still wondering.

 

Yours faithfully,

Clinton Conway

Assistant Commissioner of Police (Retired)

 

Something is definitely wrong when persons with degrees are robbing banks

Dear Editor,

A 25-year-old with a degree in agronomy was shot to death on Tuesday as he attempted to rob Republic Bank’s Water Street branch.

What a tragedy that our young people, even those with tertiary qualifications, are resorting to this type of activity. Seventy per cent of Guyana’s population is made up of persons 35 years and younger and it is no secret that feelings of hopelessness and despair are increasingly engulfing our youth. We have one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world.

What an indictment on Guyana and its leaders, past and present.

In May 2015, President David Granger and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo deliberately misled the young people of Guyana when they campaigned on the promise of jobs for youths. Their campaign poster actually read “Youths – it’s time to vote for jobs”. Only two months after being elected, President Granger made the following statement, “There is no magic wand. The government cannot provide jobs…”

Only true if you follow the failed neo-liberal, capitalist model of economic development. In a country as underdeveloped and broken as Guyana, the Government must reject this model, must meaningfully engage in the economy, leading the charge to provide development and jobs.

There is surely something terribly wrong when a country with the potential to be the breadbasket for South America and the Caribbean is not only full of hungry people, but is also now a place where young people with agronomy degrees are robbing banks.

Whatever one thinks about this young man’s action – it is surely one of desperation. And of course, despite the fact that the Police and a private security firm were engaged in a fire fight, I doubt that every effort was made to disable and disarm this young man. Instead, as usual, the Police shot to kill, becoming not only a law enforcement agency but also judge and jury. Already, I have heard comments such as “he got what he deserved”. Twenty-five-year-olds make serious errors of judgement. All of us have children who do so all the time. Does this warrant the taking of their lives?

Crime amongst our youth will continue to rise, especially in an environment where they are deprived of opportunity and where they are constantly witnessing double standards, hypocrisy and the outright criminal activity of those at the highest echelons of this society.

What a tragic state of affairs we find ourselves embroiled in.

In the words of Martin Carter: “All are involved, all are consumed.” None of us can escape responsibility for this state of affairs. The sins of a society are the sum total of the sins of all of its people.

Frantz Fanon said it best in The Wretched of the Earth: “The collective struggle presupposes collective responsibility at the base and collegiate responsibility at the top. Yes; everybody will have to be compromised in the fight for the common good. No one has clean hands; there are no innocents and no onlookers. We all have dirty hands; we are all soiling them in the swamps of our country and in the terrifying emptiness of our brains. Every onlooker is either a coward or a traitor.”

Sincerely,

Gerald A Perreira

Leader

Organisation for the

Victory of the People

(OVP)

 

Guyanese in NY urged to mount fight to keep sugar estates alive

Dear Editor,

A group of Guyanese nationalists paid glowing tribute to the Enmore Martyrs last Sunday afternoon at the Liberty Palace in Richmond Hill, New York.  The Enmore Martyrs incident refers to the cold-blooded murder of several sugar workers during a strike on June 16, 1948.  The workers were subjected to inhumane working and living conditions, causing them to take industrial action to force management to improve working conditions. And the British Government ordered troops to open fire on the protesting workers, killing five and injuring scores.

The dead were buried at Le Repentir cemetery. A large crowd, led by Cheddi Jagan and leaders of the PAC and GIWU, marched from Enmore to the Le Repentir cemetery, where the bodies were interred.

“It was not merely a march to mourn the lives of five innocent people; not merely a march to cry for their fallen brothers; it was a ‘march of defiance’; it was a ‘march for freedom’; a march that started the journey to independence,” said Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, who was the feature speaker at the event.

The Richmond Hill event was organised by the Guyanese Solidarity Movement (GSM) 100th Indenture Anniversary Foundation led by Dr. Tara Singh, this writer, and others. I gave opening remarks, reminding the audience about the sacrifices made by the Enmore strikers and those who were injured or killed by British troops. I also spoke about the dire situation of workers from my visit to several sugar estates, particularly Wales, two weeks ago.

Among other speakers were Walter Raghu,  a former  GAWU official and sugar worker, who spoke of the traumatic situation the sugar workers found themselves in; and Frank Bassoodeo, who spoke about the history of sugar workers and the difficulties rice farmers face as a result of broken promises by the current coalition government.

Dr. Leslie Ramsammy gave the feature address, on the Martyrs and on the current state of the sugar industry. Dr. Tara Singh served as moderator for an interactive (question and answer) session; Robert Mahase read a poem on the Martyrs; Rohan, the flutist, performed a musical tune with a flute. Mahendra Ramkhellawan, the popular Chutney singer, graced the event with his presence and sang a new CD about how sugar and the closing down of sugar estates was putting workers on the bread line. The DJ and sound system was provided free of cost by Deodat Singh.

Dr Ramsammy claimed that the Government betrayed the sugar workers, and are determined to end sugar production because they see sugar as an important support base for the PPP. “It is political vendetta, not good economics.  The decision to close SUGAR is not a policy derived from any good analysis and study, but driven by a wicked political motivation.  SUGAR and the sugar workers are collateral damage. In the process, all of Guyana will pay an economic and social price,”

Dr. Ramsammy said. “This is likely to be the last tribute paid to the Martyrs in Enmore with an operating Enmore Sugar Factory, unless we stop the callous plan of the APNU+AFC Administration to close the Enmore Estate”. APNU+AFC have announced plans to close the Enmore Estate at the end of 2017.

He called on the audience and the public at large to mount a fight to keep Enmore and other estates alive. The organisers plan to host other town hall-type events to keep the diaspora abreast of happenings in their former homeland.

This writer urges the Government to pursue a policy that provides employment for those out of jobs at Wales and elsewhere.

Yours truly,

Vishnu Bisram

 

‘A breakdown in moral values in society’

…says prominent religious leader on recent attempted bank robbery

Elton Wray

A prominent religious leader in Guyana has indicated that the recent foiled bank robbery which involved young educated professionals points to a breakdown in moral values in society, and this incident should be used to inspire greater dialogue in communities and homes across Guyana, as the trend of crime and violence may have shifted.

Bishop Juan Edghill said the event was frightening because while in the past, communities were profiled and particular individuals were profiled as criminals, in what played out on Tuesday, most of the robbers came from ‘decent’ backgrounds, but they were influenced to commit a criminal act.

“Somehow, they are being influenced to go in a direction that will break the heart of any parent and will cause serious introspection even in the religious community,” Bishop Edghill said.

From a religious standpoint, Edghill told this publication that religious leaders would now need to check to see if their messages were appropriate and whether the methods used were effective.

“Or are we just going through the motion? I think it’s a good time for religious leaders to go back to the drawing board and pay serious attention to children and youth and the structure of the family. When I say special attention should be paid to children and youth, I am talking about the impartation of values, ethics, principles and the instilling of deep moral perspectives,” he added.

Certain sections of the media have reported that the slain robber Elton Wray was motivated to commit the robbery by his desire to get quick cash to facilitate an overseas trip to visit his girlfriend. Edghill said if this information was factual, it showed that the men did not think things through.

Bishop Juan Edghill

“For them to execute this robbery, it called for some amount of planning. Did no one try to talk the other one into rethinking that this might not be the right way to go? Was this as a result of some movies they were looking at? Are they having an intellectual author that remains unknown? These are very serious questions and we have to ask these questions,” he stated.

If this was the case, the religious leader said, the authorities would, therefore, need to look at ways to develop targeted approaches to infiltrate communities. He said the conversation about youth crime and violence should commence now and should never stop.

Worry

Edghill said there was no need for persons to be too surprised by the people that were involved in the bank robbery, especially Wray, because according to him, there have been many recent examples where University of Guyana graduates and students were placed before the courts for many offences.

“And that is something in itself we have to worry about. There is no longer that perception that the uneducated youth are looking for a hustle that is going to draw to a gang or violence. We are seeing a different approach and we must ask ourselves why that is so,” he added.

The foiled bank robbery, he said, also highlights the need for fathers to play a more active role in their children’s life, particularly their sons. “This is a good call for fathering and not just parenting. But as a man with a son, this is a real call for us to get closer to our sons in conversations, even when they meet an age of maturity. We just don’t loose them wild, but we remain that lighthouse to give them direction so that their ship will not go astray and fathering in the sense of mentoring and maintaining a relationship.”

Edghill continued: “As a father, I could imagine the agony and pain of the father, the shame of the family. But I think all of us, all men, should take a look and embrace your sons and check up on him a little bit more. Checking up their friends, influence the conversation and activities they get into, have an input in their associates and where they are going and their general programme.”

The three bandits involved in Tuesday morning’s attempted robbery at Republic Bank’s Water Street branch were all educated men.

Wray had a degree in agronomy which he earned at a university in China. Wray’s father holds a senior position in the Guyana Police Force. The dead man’s accomplice, Jamal Haynes, at the time of the robbery, was a staffer of Republic Bank and it is believed that he was the one who set up the robbery owing to his inside knowledge of the Bank’s operations. The other suspect worked at a local photography business in Georgetown.

U.S.-based Guyanese celebrate 4th July

By Dr. Vishnu Bisram

Guyanese Americans celebrated the 241st anniversary since the declaration of America’s independence last Tuesday with a variety of festivities. It was a family fun day with many choosing it for outing in the park, or beach, or some kind of entertainment or for relaxation. It was a day off from work as it was a public holiday with virtually all businesses, except for essential services, closed. It was a most enjoyable day for the Guyaunese American population as indeed it was for other ethnic groups.

July 4th was a day off to have a good time. Some were seen engaged in drinking on the streets or in front of their homes. Others visited family or hosted reunions. And there was a lot of patriotism exhibited by the Guyanese communities – they played or listened to songs about America and flew flags. Some flew or waved both the US and Guyana flags. And some sported lapel pins of flags of both nations.

In several communities, the American flags flew in front of Guyanese homes on the verandah or on the lawn. It is interesting to see the US flag fluttered next to the Jhandis. Guyanese are changing entire neighborhoods transforming former “slum areas” in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens into premium real estate thought unimaginable just two decades ago.

Like their fellow Americans of other national backgrounds, many Guyanese held barbecues in their backyard or in the park. Some did picnics. Others went sailing and or fishing. Some went to the beaches. Some were seen playing cricket, baseball and volley ball in the park. And in the evening or the night before, some sent off fireworks or crackers and other lit items and or engaged in other activities associated with the day. Many were glued to the TV for the famous Macy’s fireworks. Sadly, two Guyanese families in the Bronx lost their homes to fire caused by fireworks last weekend.

Some Guyanese were sworn in as citizens in New York, New Jersey, and Florida. Some 15,000 immigrants were sworn in as citizens on July 4. Guyanese, like other ethnic minorities, were only allowed to become residents and later citizens during the 1970s after the 1965 Immigration Act that officially permitted “non-Whites” to settle in the US.

The Luce-Celler Immigration Act of 1946, signed into law on 3rd July 1946 by President Harry Truman, granted naturalization rights to Filipinos and Indian Americans; Indo-Guyanese fall under the Indian American category. These Indians and Filipinos were stranded in the US after the war effort and were denied citizenship. Luce-Celler reversed the Naturalization Act of 1870 which had denied Asians (including Indians) the right to gain US citizenship. Upon becoming US citizens, the new Americans could own homes and farmland, and petition for family reunification.

However, while Luce Celler Act allowed Asians to become citizens, de facto it barred further immigration. Indians were not allowed to come to the US, except as students, until 1965 when the law was changed. And Guyanese started coming to the US right after that Immigration Act signed into law by President Johnson. Guyanese started becoming naturalized citizens in the late 1970s. This was followed by a massive wave of Guyanese from the late 1970s, through family reunification sponsorship with some years reaching 20,000 of Guyanese migrants. There is an estimated 500,000 Guyanese immigrants or their American born children living in America. Guyanese are listed as the seventh largest immigrant group in New York.

The Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC), led by Berbician Ashook Ramsaran, issued a release congratulating the people of United States of America (USA) on the milestone of attaining 241 years of freedom and democracy. The IDC is comprised of members from, among other countries, Guyana, Trinidad, Suriname. The release salutes America for “continuing progress in championing the cause of freedom, justice and liberty throughout the world”.

Ramsaran stated: “We are grateful for the enormous sacrifices made for the hard fought independence of USA and the continuing diligence and determination to maintain and advance freedom and liberty which universally endear the USA as a beacon of hope, freedom and refuge for the persecuted and downtrodden”.

The IDC release noted that “USA’s struggle for independence and promoting freedom exemplify the indomitable human spirit to choose and make decisions for the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, and has inspired nations, racially diverse and ethnic groups and individuals to advance their own struggles for freedom. The USA strives to be introspective and adapt to changing times and recognition of past injustices to better serve the needs of its citizens with established institutions and processes for social justice”.

Skewed policies in a new socio-political paradigm

Overtly, Guyana currently has a new socio-political paradigm being promoted and seemingly aspired to by Government functionaries, with ‘social cohesion’ being one of the primary planks on which the coalition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) campaigned pre-election in 2011 and 2015.

Subsequent to their attaining office, however, a new reality has been discerned, which is the discernment of a seemingly rampant vendetta against perceived People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) supporters, especially in the entrepreneurial– socio-economic sectors, tantamount to economic genocide.

Without considering – seemingly without caring, about the absolute devastation in the lives and actual descent into utter poverty of tens of thousands who are being, and will be affected by the downscaling and eventual closure of the sugar industry, the coalition Government, against all the pleadings and advice of experts in the field, that the socio-economic fallout will not only negatively impact the communities which were established around the sugar estates, but will also drastically affect the socio-economic dynamics of the entire country, they are relentlessly forging ahead with their dastardly plans, regardless.

The rice sector has been taking a battering, as has the entire agricultural sector, with no alleviation foreseen in the immediate or long-term future. Given the fact that under the PPP/C Administration, Guyana had achieved the MDG in food security, this is indeed an unfortunate situation, trending toward the empty market shelves of yesteryear.

Pre-2011 elections and subsequently in 2015, the coalition partners encouraged the electorate to “Vote for Righteousness”, promising accountability, transparency and a stamping-out of endemic (sic!) corruption in Government. Well, they achieved their objective, even if questionably so, and their record is there for the world to judge them – by their actions. Space does not permit the rehashing of the innumerable corrupt, even at times criminal actions that have been blatantly committed by officials of the current Government, but their two-year maladministration of the country has taken public accountability of the nation’s spending to a new low.

Their rhetoric of pre-election promises – parroting the PPP/C mantra “Sugar is too big to fail” and promising “G$9000 a bag for paddy” were merely bait to catch the votes of the traditional PPP support bases, and they succeeded immeasurably.

The approximately 33 per cent decline in the timber industry is also playing havoc with the socio-economic survival of hinterland communities, so to even the most impartial eye Amerindians and Indians seem to be suffering under a multiplicity of discriminatory strategies and policies by the current regime.

The Red House imbroglio; the GECOM impasse; ‘bondgate’; sole-sourcing; contracts awarded to friends, financiers and relatives are merely the tip of the iceberg of what easily looks like blatant discrimination and corruption. The travails of the people are continuing and growing, with VAT on education and its ancillary prerequisites, the parking meter fiasco, et al, the lawlessness of this people-unfriendly Government seemingly has no limit and its taxation policies have absolutely no sanity.

From financial and economic experts to the ordinary man in the street, there have been numerous complaints that the Government is visionless and bankrupt of ideas for development.

David Granger, whether it is acceptable to some and unacceptable to others, is President of the Republic of Guyana, with responsibility and a mandate to deliver optimum service to all the people of this country, irrespective of whether they voted for him or not, so as to enhance their lives and secure their livelihoods, with equity and justice.

As President, he needs to address the concerns of the victims of the skewed and destructive policies of his government.

Guyanese authorities awaiting extradition hearing

…murder victim’s U.S. papers were being processed at the time of his death

Murder-accused; Marcus Bisram

Two days after the New York Daily News reported that the alleged mastermind behind the November 2016 Corentyne murder, Marcus Brian Bisram, was nabbed in New York, Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum has indicated that the Guyana Police Force is yet to be formally informed about the arrest.

Blanhum told Guyana Times International that while they had previously submitted a formal extradition request along with the relevant documents for the suspect to be brought to Guyana for trial, the United States (US) authorities are yet to confirm the arrest.

Nevertheless, going forward, the Head of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) explained that they will have to await the extradition hearing, during which it will have to be proven in court that Guyana has sufficient evidence against the overseas-based Guyanese to warrant an extradition.

Bisram, 28, was charged in absentia in November last for the murder of 26-year-old Faiyaz Narinedatt, a carpenter, who was killed on November 1, 2016, at Number 70 Village, Corentyne, Berbice.

Murder victim Faiyaz Narinedatt and his son in happier times

The overseas-based Guyanese philanthropist/businessman allegedly ordered four of his allies to kill the father of two, who had rejected his (Bisram’s) sexual advances. It was reported that Narinedatt had choked and slapped the businessman.

The carpenter’s battered body was subsequently found at a staged hit-and-run accident scene. Independent investigations done by the dead man’s family uncovered the gruesome crime, and as such, Police arrested the four suspects, who then confessed that Bisram had ordered them to commit the killing.

By that time however, Bisram had already returned to the US and the Guyana Police Force has since been trying to have him extradited to face trial. To this end, local law enforcement last November issued a wanted bulletin for the businessman and subsequently contacted its overseas counterparts for assistance in locating the suspect.

The International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) subsequently issued a wanted bulletin for Bisram. The Interpol ‘red notice’ urged persons in the United States to contact the nearest Police Station or 911 once the wanted man is sighted. After no response, Guyana then reissued a fugitive warrant for Bisram in March of this year.

This newspaper that despite Bisram being a fugitive wanted for murder on Interpol, he has been roaming freely in New York for the past eight months. That is until Tuesday when the New York Police Department (NYPD)/US Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force nabbed him from his beachfront home in Arverne, Queens sometime around 13:00h.

Grieving widow; Pooja Pitam in front of a Brooklyn courthouse on Wednesday (Photo: Leon Jameson Suseran)

The following day, he appeared before a Judge at the Brooklyn Federal Court on Wednesday, who ruled that the businessman be held without bail until his extradition hearing. That date has been scheduled for July 13.

Outside the courthouse, Narinedatt’s widow Pooja Pitam told a CBS New York reporter that it was hard to see the man who ordered the hit on her husband. The grieving woman, who shares two children with the carpenter, said her husband never got to see his now one-year-old daughter. At the time of his death, Narinedatt was awaiting his papers to process to join his family in the Bronx.

Bisram was the sixth person charged with the murder of the carpenter. He was charged along with his 39-year-old bodyguard Orlando Dickie of Stevedore Housing Scheme, Georgetown.

A few days prior, four other persons were charged for the carpenter’s murder. They were 39-year-old Radesh Motie, an excavator operator of Lot 124 Number 74 Village; 49-year-old Harripaul Parsram of Lot 164 Number 71 Village; 18-year-old Deodatt Dutt of Lot 98 Number 71 Village; and 37-year-old Nirone Yacoob, a hire car driver of Lot 65 Number 67 Village, Corentyne.

Two of the accused had confessed to investigators that they were ordered by the overseas-based Guyanese businessman to kill Narinedatt, after which they dumped his body on the Number 70 Public Road to make it seem as a hit-and-run accident.

Additionally, the businessman’s mother and her daughter were also charged and remanded to prison after they offered bribes to Police ranks to “duck the case”.

Shinella Indarally, 45, and Mary Anne Lionel, 25, both of Lot 171 Section B Number 71 Village, Corentyne, were charged for deliberately attempting to obstruct the course of justice. It was reported that they offered a Police Corporal G$4 million to release the four men who were detained for murder and to also forfeit efforts to apprehend Bisram.

A few hours after the body was discovered, it is alleged that the mastermind, Marcus Bisram, had gone to the Springlands Police Station and allegedly offered to pay the two officers. A Constable and a Corporal were arrested and placed under close arrest on those allegations.