January 23, 2018

Archives for January 5, 2018

Hosting World Cup can develop our women’s cricket – Sanasie

– GCB aiming for female franchise league

By Akeem Greene

Secretary of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Anand Sanasie is hopeful that Guyana can secure the rights to be one of the hosts for this year’s International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s Twenty20 World Cup in November.
His quest for the hosting rights stems from him having optimism it will positively influence the development of female cricket in the country.

GCB Secretary
Anand Sanasie

“We are looking to promote women issues in the Caribbean and Guyana and most importantly develop our young ladies for the vastly improving international women’s cricket,” the official told Guyana Times International Sport on Wednesday.
In 2017, the under-19 team won the regional championships held in Trinidad and Tobago but the senior side has failed to replicate such performances, finishing in the penultimate position in the regional T20 tournament in 2016 held in Guyana and then last year in St Vincent and the Grenadines they finished fourth.
More so, there is a lack of structure domestically which is showcased with the undesirable results at the inter-county level. However, Sanasie is contending there is light at the end of the tunnel once they can acquire the necessary funds, they can implement a developmental structure.
“It is something we have a workable developmental plan. Financing is always the issue so we are hoping to garner some revenue to push that level. Our plan is to have women’s cricket at the under-19 and senior levels played as franchise level as we are currently doing with male senior cricket”.
Big boost for Guyana
Since the National Stadium hosted Super Eight matches in the 2007 Cricket World Cup and then group matches at the 2010 Men’s World T20, an ICC event has not come to these shores.
The Cricket West Indies Director felt that since the tournament will for the first time not be held with the men’s tournament running simultaneously, it brings a large international viewership solely to the women.
“The international viewership can boost the tourism sector significantly and outside of that there will be aggressive marketing strategies to get persons to come. The financial model that was proposed for the hosting would require a gate fee which would be kept a very low cost.”
He added, “It will be first of a standalone ICC women’s tournament and it will beamed live throughout the world which brings international recognition of having probably 150 million viewers. The idea is to have the West Indian type of carnival experience to fill the National Stadium.”
GCB are set to receive substantial support from the government through the National Sports Commission to have a successful leg should they be given the green light by the ICC.
“We did put in the bid, myself and [Director of Sport] Christopher Jones attended the bid submit and I subsequently prepared the bid on behalf of the cricket board and the government which was signed off and was successful at the Cricket West Indies level.”

Developing a flourishing women’s franchise league
is on the agenda of the Guyana Cricket Board

“The three successful countries would be hosting would be referred to the ICC for conformation on their part. It’s most likely we will be one of the countries but we have to keep our fingers crossed.”
West Indies, South Africa, England, Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have already qualified for the games which will run from November 3 to 24, 2018. West Indies women are the defending champions.

Daniel Williams aiming for success in 2018

By Michelangelo Jacobus

If 2017 was the year of athletics in Guyana, then 17-year-old Daniel Williams is the personification of that success.
Born in the mining town of Linden, Williams has already tasted success in a major international competition; his success came in his specialist event, the 400 metres dash.
At the World Under-18 Championships in July, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya, Williams ran a personal best time of 46.72s to win a silver medal and stun the world.

Blazing trails! Daniel Williams was the poster boy for athletics in Guyana in 2017

Daniel started taking part in athletics at the Primary school level where he excelled. His success was transferred into the secondary level and he became a constant figure at the National Schools Athletic Championships. In 2017, he became the most decorated athlete at the National Schools Championships, owning records in the High Jump, 100M, 200M and 400M, competing in the U12, U14, U16 and U18 categories.
The young speed ace announced his appetite for big things in April 2017 when he placed second in the 400m at the CARIFTA Games in Curacao. However, his elation was short lived as he was soon after disqualified for lane infringement.
Seemingly unperturbed `Mr. Dynamic’ returned and would make amends in front of his home crowd. Showing a mental fortitude that belied his age, Williams came up against the best from this continent and won a silver medal in the same event at the South America Youth Championships.
His hard work paid off and he was selected by the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) along with jumper Chantoba Bright to represent Guyana in Kenya.
Williams repaid the association’s faith by capturing only the second World U-18 medal for Guyana at the Championships.
However, Daniel’s talent is not limited to the track. He attends the Mackenzie High School (MHS) in Linden, and in 2015, he found success at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Examinations, gaining a Grade One pass, four Grade Twos and three Grade Threes in his eight subjects.
Williams would later move to Sixth Form at the same institution, where he completed Unit One at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and is now in the process of completing Unit Two and also has an aspiration of studying Mechanical Engineering.
If 2017 has been a revelation, then 2018 promises bigger things for Williams as several colleges on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) have since come calling, after noticing his growth, especially in the 400M, where his 46.72 seconds was the second fastest in the world.
One can only hope that the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) and the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) do their best to ensure that Guyana’s young track star receives all the necessary support to step to the next level and possibly go on to win Guyana’s next Olympic medal.

“Sangre Malo” to set alight Sports Hall

The battle lines have been drawn as the highly anticipated clash now officially dubbed, “Sangre Malo” hosted by the Guyana Boxing Board of Control (GBBC) in collaboration with Next Generation Global Marketing, is expected to set alight the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall on January 20.
The Spanish term, “Sangre Malo” meaning bad blood in English, seems the ideal name for the mouthwatering bouts among three of Guyana’s top boxers and three of Venezuela’s best pugilists.
Some seven bouts have been billed for fight night which is seen as a patriotic battle for country pride. Current Caribbean and Guyana Flyweight Champion Dexter Marques will prepare to lock horns with Dionis Martinez and will use this bout to further prepare for his upcoming Commonwealth Title shot in March.
Marques will come up against current champion Jay Harris of Wales, United Kingdom in a bout set for March 31, 2018 at the Copper Box Arena, a fight being promoted by Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions.
Alongside Marques, is fellow Guyanese boxing star Elton Dharry, a world-class contender with a 16 consecutive wins battling Jesus Vargas while Dexter “Cobra” Gonsalves, Guyana’s current Lightweight champion dukes it out with Felipe Lares, capping off the three main fights on the card.
“The Cobra” much like Marques will also be using the battle versus Lares as preparation for his upcoming battle with Bahamian Lightweight champion Meacher Major in the Bahamas later in the year.
Both Next Gen and the GBBC promised a top card while the prelude to fight night will see a huge kick-off events along with chances to meet with fighters leading up to the match. Also it was confirmed that the fighters will have their official weigh-in on Friday January 19. (Clifton Ross)

“We can likely be one of the 4 to host” – Jones

Director of Sport Christopher Jones recently confirmed that Guyana was one step closer to becoming one of the hosts for this year’s Women’s Twenty20 Cricket World Cup set for November.

Providence has hosted matches in the 2007 World Cup and the 2010 World T20 successfully

With the Caribbean territories scrambling to fulfill requirements in order to be possible hosts, Jones during an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI) said Guyana has already submitted a bid to have the event held at the National Stadium and is currently awaiting a response as to whether the bid was successful.
Jones further noted that he is confident Guyana will be one of the four hosts countries for the World Cup, saying “I rather suspect because of the fact that the stadium is owned by government and because the stadium has no branding on it, this puts Guyana in a position where we can very likely be one of the four to host the women’s international world cup.”
The National Sports Commission (NSC) boss also stated that there are some prerequisites necessary for hosting the T20 games, which include the stadium having a replay screen among other things. While provisions for such were proposed in the 2018 national budget, Jones highlighted that not everything was approved.
Nevertheless, Jones said that steps are being taken to have Guyana in the position it needs to be so that the country will have the opportunity to host the games. “We are still engaging the Ministry of Finance with a view of reprioritizing some of those requests from the budget that would have been made by the various facilities. Those discourses are still ongoing and we are confident we will see the allocations being made available,” he ended.
West Indies, South Africa, England, Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have already qualified for the games which begin on November 3 to 24, 2018. West Indies women are the defending champions.

Serious shortage of experienced personnel to carry out major projects – MPI

In discussing several challenges faced in 2017 at the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Coordinator of the Works Services Group (WSG), Geoffrey Vaughn has said that one of the greatest challenges was attracting experienced personnel for most of the major projects.

Works Services Group Coordinator Geoffrey Vaughn

The WSG Head explained that while there was in excess of 500 plus contractors who would have been prequalified for works to be done by the Ministry, this issue kept arising throughout the year. This, according to him, is also one of the main reasons for many of the public contracts being terminated.
“With that pool, what we have been seeing is with lots of the contractors that have been tendering, there is still a shortage in terms of experienced personnel within their organisations, specifically engineers. Because what we have been seeing basically is a name appearing on the tender document, but after that process would have been completed, we are still looking for that individual once that project would have been awarded to that particular company,” he said.
To correct this issue, Vaughn said the Ministry would recommend implementing a stricter process by which these contractors were chosen. Recommendations will also be made to make provisions for the Ministry to see the individual contractors selected and their staff while tendering.
Another issue faced by the Ministry, according to Vaughn, has to do with project management. He said most contractors were taking on more work than they could handle, and the Ministry has seen many cases of this in 2017. On the other hand, most projects are not being managed effectively and efficiently.
“So you find their ending up with quite a few projects that we may know of because other agencies would have already awarded contracts to them. So, they come to you at the end and when they ask you when I’m finished with this one, then I’ll start with that one and right away the red flag goes up. And that is because you realise that the capacity is not there for them to execute the project,” he said.
Despite these challenges, the Ministry has managed to execute most of its capital projects for 2017, with fewer rollovers for the new year. However, the deadline for a majority of the Ministry’s major infrastructural projects have been pushed back or further delayed to another year.
Meanwhile, some of the major projects to be worked on this year include: the Linden- Mabura Road, Kurupukari Bridge, Parika-Goshen road, Sheriff Street-Mandela Road Project, East Bank-East Coast Road Link, Demerara River Crossing, installation of LED lights across the country, Linden-Soesdyke Highway Study and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)-financed study for upgrading Lethem Airport into a regional hub.

Happy New Year

By Anu Dev

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier’.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are two of my favourite days of the year. It’s probably because of that feeling of freshness that accompanies the thought of a new year. Rather weirdly (I now realise), I also used to be excited about the start of a new school year or term. I think I just really like fresh starts.
Interestingly, though the “New Year” was celebrated more than 4000 years ago, it was celebrated in Western cultures only from about four hundred years ago. For instance, in India, the New Year is celebrated in the Hindu month of Chaithra (Mid-April), and it’s been observed for many millennia. For instance, the Yuddhistir Shaka started around 5500BC!! I guess before New Year’s, life must have been one long drag. No wonder they called it the “Dark Ages”!
In fact, even the current date celebrated as “New Year’s Day” in the West was chosen in 153 BC by Julius Caesar. If you’re a fan of Roman and Greek mythology, you’ll be interested to know that the month January was named after the God of Doorways — Janus. He was given 2 faces — one which looked ahead to see what the New Year would bring, and the other looked backward to see what happened during the past year. You really can’t move forward if you completely ignore what happened in your past. In fact, didn’t that writer William Faulkner say, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past”?
New Year’s Day is that day wherein we can all pat ourselves on the back for making it through yet another year. Some of us may still be resting on our laurels if it was a successful year. And some may still be battle-scarred if it was a tough year. Survival is a victory! But we all have something in common: we’ve pulled through it all, to be here to ring in the New Year.
The New Year represents a new beginning; a chance to start afresh with new resolutions for the New Year. Unfortunately, I’m as guilty as anyone else of conveniently forgetting those resolutions by the next week! But we’ll still make them, won’t we? Hope beats eternal, doesn’t it?
Everyone has their traditions for the new year. When we were very young, my father insisted that we be up and outside to see the “Old Year Clouds” move over and be replaced by the “New Year Clouds”. This year-end, however, we can be sure there will be dark clouds — and I’m not just referring to the monsoon-type clouds that gather every night to dump their torrents over us the next morning.
Still, there’s a special joy in counting down those last few seconds until you light off the fireworks to usher in the New Year. And then the invariable hugs, shouting and general pandemonium as everyone celebrates making it through yet another year to another year full of possibilities.
For me, I’m looking forward to finishing up Med School in Trinidad, and starting a new chapter right here in Guyana.
Have a safe and happy New Year!

Let them eat cake

Satiricus was all confused. He and the fellas had visited some friends on Boxing Day at the sugar estate where Bungi and Cappo had worked before it was shut down. Even though Satiricus had read about what was going on with fired sugar workers, he wasn’t prepared for what he actually saw. They were conducting their post-mortem – and post-mortem IT WAS, concluded Satiricus – at the Back Street Bar.
“I thought now your friends didn’t have to work, they’d be enjoying themselves for the holidays,” said Satiricus in a puzzled tone.
“Which worl’ yuh live in Sato?” asked Cappo. “Wha’ dem guh enjai demself wid?”
“Well, they did get their severance, didn’t they?” said Satiricus.
“No, they didn’t get their severance, Sato,” said Hari. “And even if they did, you think they’ll ‘sport” it out?”
“Ah da how yuh t’ink about abee cane-cuttah people?” enquired Bungi sourly.
“Even if they didn’t get their severance,” replied Satiricus. “At least they could’ve killed a duck and bunjal it for us – like they did last year!”
“Dis year na las’ year, Sato,” said Cappo patiently. “W’en wan man na know whe’ de next payday a come, a hard guava season, Budday!”
“But the Government just trained some of them to find new jobs,” protested Satiricus. “Surely that would give them hope!”
Bungi looked at Satiricus and shook his head, “5000 people get fyaah and dem train 30 people fuh bake cake,” he said sadly. “An’ dem cane-cuttah mus’ feel good?”
“It’s a start, you know,” said Satiricus. “Maybe the fired cane-cutter families could eat the cake.”
“Suh how come Nagga Man an’ Rum Jhaat na guh an’ tell dem cane-cutta who get fyaah, fuh guh bake cake?” asked Cappo.
“He woulda get a good cut-rass!” chuckled Hari. “Where would the 5000 cane cutters get the materials to bake cake!?”
“Da wha’ mek ‘e guh walk about a Bourda Market in tung,” said Bungi. “Lucky nobady na pelt wan baigan pan am!”

Oil fuh so!!

Satiricus was looking forward to the Old Year’s Night gyaff. All year round, he’d taken a lot of stick from his friends at the Back Street Bar for his KFC party’s role in the Government. But now that the Oil contract had been released, he felt vindicated. It would be HIS turn to crow about what his party had delivered!
“Well, even though he is a Moses, ‘Nagga Man’ didn’t need to split the waters and deliver us to the Promised Land!” said Satiricus. “Trot Man did it this time!!”
“Promised Land?” asked Hari sceptically, he quaffed his beer.
“Budday!!” exclaimed Satiricus. “We’ll be getting milk and honey every day!! Trot Man negotiated US$1.5billion every year for the first five years for us!!”
“Fuh abee?” asked Bungi sceptically. “An’ how much fuh dem?”
“This is the same thing I always talk about!” exclaimed Satiricus. “You can’t prove Trot Man and the Government got any pay-offs!!”
“An’ afta two-an-a-half year, dem cyaan prove Jagdesh t’ief anyt’ing,” noted Cappo. “But da na stap dem fuh t’row talk!”
“But lemme ask you something, Sato,” said Hari quietly. “Do you know how much oil Nigeria was shipping for the past 25 years?”
“Nah! How much?” said Satiricus. “And what that has to do with us?”
“They were shipping over 2 million barrels per day every day!!” replied Hari as everyone around the table bent forward listening.
“Da twenty time mo’ dan wha abee guh produce!” exclaimed Cappo.
“An dem bin get mo’ dan two time de price abee guh get!” pointed out Bungi.
“Yes…and so?” asked Satiricus and looked forward expectantly with raised eyebrows.
“Just that the people of Nigeria are just as poor as they ever were!” announced Hari. “None of that money ever got to them.”
“But how can you be so certain the same thing will happen here?” asked Satiricus aggrievedly.
“If Trotman and your government can lie about an US$18 million bonus,” said Hari. “Imagine what they will do about US$5 BILLION!”
Satiricus fell silent.

Blanhum’s future as Crime Chief uncertain

By Shemuel Fanfair

One month after a transfer that saw him answerable to the Commander of A Division (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara), the tenure of replaced Substantive Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum remains uncertain as it was indicated that there was no change in his position.

Deputy Commander of A Division Wendell Blanhum

Acting Commissioner of Police David Ramnarine had first tied Blanhum’s transfer to the “arrangements” that were in place for the Christmas season, observing that his “reposting” was not without precedent. Now that 2018 has commenced, Guyana Times International sought to ascertain whether or not the former Crime Chief’s post was a permanent fixture.
In a brief interview with this newspaper on Tuesday, the acting Commissioner was questioned on the status of Blanhum’s position. Ramnarine however opted against offering a direct response on the matter but instead indicated that this position will be maintained for the foreseeable future. “That discussion is not for public domain, not for this time at least,” he told this publication.
It was in early December that the acting Top Cop pointed out that Senior Superintendent Wendell Blanhum was removed from his post, and would act as the Deputy Commander of A Division, under Marlon Chapman.
When Blanhum was on his vacation leave, Assistant Police Commissioner Paul Williams who had been recently elevated to Commander of B Division (Berbice) acted as the interim Crime Chief. Ramnarine had announced that Williams would continue to function in the capacity, at the time noting that the change was done to facilitate the Force’s annual Christmas security programme.
However, media reports had suggested that Blanhum’s demotion was in keeping with the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the alleged plot to assassinate President David Granger. On these claims, Ramnarine had refused to comment.

Commissioner of Police (ag), David Ramnarine

On March 29, 2017, Andriff Gillard reported to the Police that his friend and neighbour, Nizam Khan, had offered him G$7 million to assassinate the President. He said the offer was made during a conversation between Khan and himself after he had approached Khan to borrow G$6 million to purchase a property. Following the allegation, President Granger ordered the CoI to probe the Police investigation of the allegation, and to also make recommendations to address flaws. Retired Assistant Police Commissioner Paul Slowe conducted the CoI and handed the report to President Granger at the end of August.
However, when Blanhum had taken the stand at the CoI, he clashed with Commissioner Slowe. It was revealed that Blanhum was the first person to receive information of the alleged plot, and was instructed by Ramnarine to personally oversee the investigation. The Commission found that Blanhum had failed to properly supervise the investigation, and allegedly lied while under oath when he said it was his decision to send Nizam Khan on bail. It was recommended that Blanhum be disciplined for all those infractions.
“He was insubordinate when he took a rude, argumentative and aggressive posture at the Commission of Inquiry. He should be disciplined for this. His lack of supervision of this important investigation; his utterances, disrespect and arrogance displayed before the Commission showed that he is incapable of functioning as the Crime Chief, the lead investigator and manager of the major investigating unit of the Guyana Police Force. Blanhum should be replaced as Crime Chief, and reassigned in order to gain command experience,” Slowe had recommended.
Blanhum had taken up the reigns as Crime Chief in May 2015 and he had reopened several high-profile cases, such as the execution of fashion designer Trevor Rose; the 1993 murder case of Monica Reece; and the robbery/murder of Sheema Mangar.

Arifa Mohamed of iMed: making virtual health care a reality

GES 2017

Held in Hyderabad, India from November 28-30, 2017, this year’s GES attracted well more than 1700 seasoned and emerging entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders from 140 countries across the world under the theme “Woman First, Prosperity for All”. Major focuses were emerging industries, including energy and infrastructure, health care and life sciences, financial technology and digital economy, and media and entertainment.

“Imagine visiting the doctor without ever leaving your house.” Those are the first words uttered by young tech entrepreneur Arifa Mohamed to describe her start-up company, iMed, which is about to revolutionise the medical industry in Guyana.
“Imagine your medical prescription being delivered through your phone. Imagine having an on-demand cardiologist, psychiatrist, primary-care physician, or any specialist. This is the power of iMed – Guyana’s first ‘virtual doctor’ initiative, an app that enables the end consumer to access licensed health-care practitioners in an affordable way.
“This initiative aims to tackle a few of Guyana’s social issues, including: 1) Inefficient public health systems; 2) our Indigenous communities’ limited access to health care; 3) geographic limitations across the country, and 4) expensive private health care. The second phase of this project aims to use the app as a health tracker, pills reminder, and offline knowledge bank. The third phase of this project aims to develop mobile add-on medical devices that analyse blood, track health, and do ultrasounds.
With two partners and a team of volunteer app developers, the start-up’s founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is determined to make the ‘Uber for medicine’ a reality, aiming for a mid-2018 launch. “We’re currently in mobile development and are working to create a network of health-care practitioners,” she says.
Fresh from the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2017, in India, a fired-up Mohamed, who was hard at work despite a bad bout of the flu picked aboard, said her experience there has made her even more focused. “GES 2017 was nothing short of amazing and life-changing…. [it] exposed me to a greater level of understanding of the current trends, and innovative and disruptive industries that are flourishing and making international waves throughout the entrepreneurial community.”
She said one of the major advantages of GES 2017 was its success in bringing entrepreneurs of all ages, experiences and accomplishments from 140 countries around the world into one venue.
“Every true entrepreneur deserves to experience an event like GES 2017. It will quickly propel your business/venture to heights and directions that you didn’t even know possible! I’m now back in Guyana with a wealth of new knowledge, connections, mentors, and a massive network of exciting entrepreneurs and new business opportunities for myself and other Guyanese… I must say thank you again to the US Government for sponsoring my trip and thank you to the Government of India for hosting us! Massive kudos for investing in the success of female entrepreneurs around the world,” the East Coast Demerara resident said.
At just 25 years old, Mohamed’s drive and commanding presence belie her years, as she juggles working as a Business Development Manager for a social media marketing company, spearheading iMedGY’s mobile development, her legal studies, and a new engagement. But the University of Guyana law student has long been a go-getter and fearless, moving from the Essequibo Coast to Georgetown at the age of 16 by her lonesome to pursue her tertiary education. A former Anna Regina Multilateral School student, Mohamed says Facebook Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sheryl Sanberg is her dream mentor, explaining that Sanberg, one of US’s most influential female executives, has helped to dramatically boost revenues at Facebook and also founded Lean In, a non-profit to support women’s empowerment.
In reflecting on her own journey into digital business, the millennial said: “You can’t do it alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Starting something is hard, especially something that is a bit out of the norm. There are so many moving pieces and factors to take into account that it can become really overwhelming, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. I’ve been lucky to have reached out to a few persons outside of Guyana who were very helpful!”
Armed with her smartphone and her go-to app Cortana, Mohamed is ready to make Guyana a healthier place virtually.
Contact: 592-225-1842 | +592-651-0675
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