February 25, 2018

Archives for February 10, 2018

2% royalty too low

– President’s Petroleum Advisor

… ‘He doesn’t speak for us’, says Gov’t

A contract is an agreement between two parties and when one is dissatisfied then the terms of that agreement could be reviewed and amended, according to the Presidential Adviser on Petroleum, Dr Jan Mangal.
Dr Mangal made the statement while speaking to reporters following a discussion on the Government’s vision for the oil and gas sector at the University of Guyana’s Turkeyen Campus on Wednesday.
“A contract is an agreement between two people and both parties need to be comfortable. If one party becomes really uncomfortable it will be changed. Guyana is a sovereign country, the evidence out there from around the world is that when situations change, like look at the price for natural gas, people sign contracts for natural gas at very high price long-term contracts, the price for natural gas has dropped drastically, people are renegotiating those contracts,” he stated.

Dr Jan Mangal and Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith

He added that if a contract is amended then the oil companies would contend that Government is discouraging investments, but noted that investments ought to be weighed compared to the level of comfort with the contract.
He explained that if Guyana decided to amend its contract with ExxonMobil then there will be the perception that it does not know what it wants but noted that he believes otherwise.
“We have to be careful not to simplify too much. It is not black and white, there could be a whole lot of grey area in the middle,” the petroleum expert noted.
When asked about whether he thinks the contract should be renegotiated, Dr Mangal stated that while he has his views he is not ready to pronounce on that publicly but did say it is a topic of discussion with the Government.
“Last year the focus was getting the contract out so Guyana could get a comfort level of what the contract was about. The process has just started; it will probably take some time for the people to do analyses and Guyanese as a whole to decide what they want to do… sticking with things how they are or

looking for another solution,” he explained.
“It is part of my remit to push for transparency so I don’t want to be in a situation where information is withheld from citizens and then they develop mistrust or further mistrust of the industry. We need Guyana and Guyanese to be comfortable with what they have and the direction they take. So, the way to do that is by putting information out there and not withholding information,” he noted.
Dr Mangal informed that following the release of the contract in December of 2017, he is now in the process of organising a team of experts to review the contract for the Government to decide a way forward.
“I am pushing to get experts… to get support from the IDB, IMF, etc to go and do thorough review of the contract. Some of them already have reviewed the contract so it’s the case of doing more of that and getting results and then for Government to look at the results and decide what to do,” he related.
When asked if those reports should be made public, the oil and gas expert said it is his belief that all things should be made public so as to encourage transparency.

Low royalty
Under the renegotiated agreement, Guyana receives two per cent royalty on earnings from ExxonMobil’s oil sales while the US oil giant would not be required to pay taxes on its share of the profits and according to the President’s Petroleum Adviser that is low compared to global standards. He also raised concerns about the system used to negotiate that agreement and also the expertise of the persons doing the negotiating.
“What we can do is look at what are the international norms. Royalty, when you look around, is more between 10 and 20 per cent, not two per cent. Tax is usually 20-30 per cent in some places, the production split of 50-50 is not too bad,” Dr Mangal noted while responding to a student’s question about whether the Government negotiated a fair contract.
“If a process was followed then we would know who was involved, knew their competencies, expertise and that they went there to bat for Guyana. A lot of people in Guyana right now are questioning that,” he added.
The presidential advisor said generally oil companies are very powerful and experts in everything they do and they know how to influence governments to a “T” but would buckle under public pressure and as such he encouraged Guyanese to engage in “intelligent debates” on the future of its oil and gas sector.

Large concession
Based on the 1999 agreement and the new 2017 deal, ExxonMobil is controlling the entire Stabroek Block of about 600 blocks or 10 times more than what Guyana’s laws allow. That was raised by a law student of the university who sought to get clarification and Dr Mangal’s opinion on the control of such a large concession.
“It is not good for one company owning too much of your acreage. Exxon already owns over 50 per cent of the acreage in Guyana. That’s not good for Guyana,” he said.
“The other thing to consider in Guyana that this is a first project. Guyana is trying to attract international investment, however, Guyana needs to also remember that the Stabroek Block is a huge block and that contract promises the whole block. It could be that all of Guyana’s oil is in the Stabroek block… So if this was a small block then it would be okay to say oh well let’s leave it to the next block we will get a better deal but the block is a huge block so Guyanese needs to weight the tradeoff with that situation of the blocks and trying to attract foreign investments,” Dr Mangal added.
He noted that in some countries, they mandate competition and control who the blocks are allocated to while recommending that a review of the block allocation be done.

Govt’s response
However, mere hours after Mangal delivered his comments on the controversial ExxonMobil contract, the government sought to dissociate itself from his positions.
“The Ministry of the Presidency puts on record that Dr. Jan Mangal, Presidential Advisor on Petroleum, is not authorised to speak on behalf of His Excellency, President David Granger or the Government of Guyana,” the Ministry of the Presidency said in a one-line statement issued on Wednesday evening.
Mangal delivered his presentation in his capacity as Presidential Advisor on Petroleum as was stated on the University of Guyana programme for its “Discussion on the Government of Guyana’s Vision for the Oil and Gas Sector”. He was introduced by that designation and at no time did he say whether or not he was speaking in his private or official capacity.
Mangal’s latest short-term contract expires in March.
Dr Mangal has a Doctorate in Offshore Geotechnical Engineering from Oxford University and a Bachelor in Civil Engineering from the University of Edinburg. He worked in the marine and oil and gas industries for over 18 years, where he spent 13 of those with US oil giant, Chevron, working on major projects in the USA, West Africa and Asia.

GIPEX Summit
The University of Guyana hosted the discussion on the day the inaugural Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit (GEPEX) opened and his absence from the event was notable.
When asked about that, he told reporters that he was never invited to the event despite his boss, President David Granger, being listed as one of the speakers.
“I was not invited to go so that’s the main reason. If you looked at the website, you will see President Granger picture was there. I would assume he was invited,” he said.
However, the President was a no show at the event.

President to request further consultations for appointment of Chancellor, CJ

…after Opposition Leader rejects nominees

President David Granger is expected to write Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo for another round of consultations before the appointment of a substantive Chancellor and Chief Justice, Minister of State Joseph Harmon told sections of the media on Thursday.
“The President took the decision that he is going to write the Leader of the Opposition… and that the work of the judiciary will not be held in abeyance or will not be stymied by any interventions whatsoever,” Harmon said.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo

President David Granger

The development came in the wake of the Opposition Leader’s not finding favour with the nominees proposed by the President about a month ago.
“Mr Jagdeo’s rejection is constitutional; the president’s powers are also constitutional and there is a provision in the law which provides in the event that there cannot be agreement -because the requirement is for agreement – there is a second level which now requires meaningful consultation,” Harmon told media operatives.
“So I believe that is the next step we’ll have to go to,” Harmon added.
Jagdeo has rejected the appointment of Justice Kenneth Benjamin as Chancellor of the Judiciary and Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards as Chief Justice following their nomination by President Granger.
In a letter dispatched to the media late Wednesday evening and addressed to the President, Jagdeo said, “I have duly considered the two nominees for whom you seek my agreement for appointment as Chancellor of the Judiciary and Chief Justice, respectively, in accordance with Article 127 (1) of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.”
However, he noted that his decision was made following due diligence done on the candidates. “As promised, I have done the requisite due diligence. It is with deep regret that I inform you that I am unable to offer my agreement to the appointment of Mr Justice Kenneth Andrew Charles Benjamin, as Chancellor of the Judiciary and Madam Justice Yonette Decina Cummings-Edwards, OR, as Chief Justice”.
Jagdeo also defended a report that was published by the Department of Public Information (DPI) with the headline: “Opposition Leader a no show at scheduled meeting with President Granger.” Accompanying the article is a picture with the President, along with Attorney General Basil Williams and Minister of State Joseph Harmon seated at a table staring at three empty chairs across the table.

Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards

Justice Kenneth Benjamin

The Opposition Leader said, “This odd photograph bears the caption: ‘No Show’. It is accompanied by a brief statement explaining that the Leader of the Opposition did not show up at a meeting with the President which was scheduled a month ago, to take place today (Wednesday).”
However, Jagdeo said having received no information confirming the meeting for Wednesday, which he said is a usual practice; he dispatched three letters which contain his response to issues raised at the last meeting. Minister Harmon was later contacted about the letters and stated that he remains ready and willing to meet with the President at a mutually convenient time.
President Granger had announced at his first press conference in two years, in December last year, that he has accepted a proposal from a committee that had been set up to review and interview applicants interested in the top judicial post after it advertised locally, regionally and internationally.
Meanwhile, the Opposition Leader in another missive to the President noted his approval of the appointment of members of the Integrity Commission. “I offer no objection to the four persons whom you have identified for appointment to the Integrity Commission, in accordance with Section 3 (4) of the Integrity Commission Act Cap 19:12, Laws of Guyana. “I consider the totality of our engagement on this issue to be in satisfaction of the requirements of “consultation” as contemplated by the letter and spirit of section 3 (4)…”
Under the Integrity Commission Act, the President is to appoint a chairperson and other Commissioners. Although the number of nominees has been identified, the names were never disclosed.

Cops torch huge ganja farm in Berbice

A team of law enforcement officers commanded by a Superintendent on Wednesday conducted a fifteen hour long drug-eradication operation at Ebini, Upper Berbice River.

According to information from the police, the operation saw an estimated 300,000 cannabis plants ranging between 6 inches to 5 feet in height, 150,000 kilograms of dried cannabis, a number of nurseries with about 100,000 seedlings and 4 camps being destroyed by fire.
Moreover, a single barrel shotgun, three live cartridges, a water pump and a chain saw which were found during the operation, have been seized and lodged.
Investigators are in the process of tracing the ownership of the approximately 10-acre plot of land.

CPL Player Draft set for March 1 in London

Hero Caribbean Premier League has confirmed that the highly anticipated Player Draft will take place on Thursday March 1. This will be when the six franchises will select their lineups for the sixth edition of the tournament which will take place between August 8 and September 16 this year.

The 2017 Player Draft took place at the Lone Star Hotel in Barbados after which CPL staff and officials from the six franchise teams captured the moment (John Ramsingh photo)

As ever, the Hero CPL will have the best cricketers taking part in the tournament, from around the world as well as from across the Caribbean. The window for this year’s event means that there are no West Indies fixtures that clash with the Hero CPL so the very best West Indian players will be available for selection.
This year the draft will take place in London, which is a reflection of the global nature of the tournament. With owners and sponsors from around the world investing in the Hero CPL and the Caribbean as a whole having the draft in London helps from a logistics point of view and helps sell the region to a global audience.
Speaking about the upcoming draft Damien O’Donohoe, CEO of Hero CPL, said: “Our draft is such an important date in the Hero CPL calendar. It is when we get to find out who will be coming to join the ‘Biggest Party in Sport.’ We know that the quality of players that we have coming to this year’s tournament will generate a huge amount of excitement.
“While the Hero CPL is about bringing the Carnival atmosphere to cricket, the quality of the sport on display is just as important. The world-class cricketers that will be selected on March 1 are what make the cricket at Hero CPL so special.”
This year marks the first time that this very important aspect of the Hero Caribbean Premier League will be hosted outside of the Caribbean. In 2017, the Player Draft took place at the Lone Star Hotel on the West Coast of Barbados in a carnival-like atmosphere right next to the beach.
In 2017, the Guyana Amazon Warriors acquired the services of 18-year old Afghanistan leg spinning sensation Rashid Khan who had an impact in his debut season.
Trinbago Knight Riders are the defending champions after beating first-time finalists St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the 2017 final at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy which hosted CPL matches for the first time last year.

Bartica teachers, community reps receive STEM training for ‘green’ development

Twelve teachers from Bartica, along with four community stakeholders, underwent a one-day training workshop in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) and Robotics, aimed at equipping them with technological skills, which can assist in providing modern solutions to the challenges of transitioning Bartica, Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven) to the first model ‘green’ town in Guyana and the Caribbean.
The training, which also saw the participation of five other persons, drawn from the Lusignan/Good Hope Learning Centre and The Deaf Association of Guyana, who are training to become STEM Guyana Club Coaches, is a collaborative effort between the Office of Climate Change (OCC), Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Telecommunications and the STEM Guyana, was held in the Ministry of Public Telecommunications Boardroom and facilitated by Founder of STEM Guyana, Ms. Karen Abrams and her daughter, Ms. Imah Abrams.
Noting that robotics itself offers innovative possibilities for developing waste management and energy generation solutions among other things, Project Manager of the Bartica Transitioning to National Energy Security Project, Mr. Gavin Bovell, explained in an invited comment that the OCC is cognisant of the fact that science and technology play a critical role in developing solutions to many common issues. Taking this into context, he said that the OCC in June 2017, launched a US$650,000 pilot project, for the purpose of establishing a reliable point of reference for the existing state of energy use in Bartica.

Ms. Karen Abrams, Founder of STEM Guyana facilitating one of the sessions.

The financing was received from the Government of Italy in support of the Model ‘Green’ Town, Bartica Project. The data generated from this project will be used for future measurements and predictions for evidence-based decision-making and pursuance of projects and programmes. One of the components of the five-component project focused on sensitisation and awareness among the populace. It is in this context, he said that the project was born, to not only raise awareness but also equip the residents, particularly students with the relevant skills to help find viable solutions.
“For the sensitisation, what we planned to do is to go into schools and have hands-on activities. So we thought it interesting and timely that the STEM Guyana team was here in Guyana already and so we decided to collaborate to sponsor 16 persons to be trained so that they can go back into their communities and schools and train students. We believe that this is important because the kids can go back into their communities and come up with solutions using the applied skills that they would have received that they can come up with their own solutions,” he said.
The pilot project, under which today’s workshop falls, is divided into two phases. In phase one, which is currently being implemented over a period of 12 months, energy audits and public awareness exercises are being completed, along with the establishment of an energy data management centre. To the degree possible, some small-scale demonstrations have also commenced. In phase two the information gathered will be used for the scale up of projects.
Ms. Abrams, in an invited comment, said the STEM Guyana is pleased to be a part of the project. She noted that if Guyana is to fast track its development and compete globally, it is important that citizens be exposed to such programmes so that they can formulate solutions to solve issues ranging from the environment to agriculture to health care.
The younger Ms. Abrams echoed these sentiments noting that citizens can be empowered through technology to find solutions to everyday problems. “We want to prepare and empower them to utilise technology to develop dynamic solutions to problems they face within their communities and so this morning, we really want to hammer home that. We will be focusing on the coach platform, judge system, scratch programming, help them to create animations, the fundamentals of robotics and programming of robots,” she said.
One of the participants, Mr. Ron Ghanie, a teacher from the Three Miles Secondary School, said that while he is not versed in Information Technology he is looking forward to leaving Georgetown with the knowledge and skills to help make a change in his community. “I do not know much about scratch programming [a free programming language and online community, which allows persons to create their own interactive stories, games, and animations] but I am looking to take that away with me. I hope that when I get back to Bartica, I can inspire my students to partake in activities that we can embark on. This is a really, really great idea,” he said. (MOTP)

‘I finding life real hard’

…retrenched estate worker says facing tough times sending 3 children to school

After being retrenched by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) since 2016, former Wales Sugar Estate cane harvester Michael Chootoo has outlined the many challenges that have affected his ability to provide for himself and his family. The worker, who showcased signs of being at his wit’s end over the non-payment of his severance, indicated to Guyana Times International in a recent interview that the education of his three children is being hindered as he “barely” has enough money to send them to school.
“It affecting my family a lot and meh pickney dem could barely get to go school. If I did get my severance, I coulda tek meh money turn over and do a lil business and get a lil profit,” Chotoo decried.

Former sugar worker
Michael Chootoo

The former worker further observed the difficulties of not affording to pay for the many assignments that his children have to complete and he also noted the unfavourable conditions under which he has to send them to school. He noted that the ages of his children are 16, 14 and nine.
“Right now my children’s boots aint got nothing underneath, they just going with the top. One of them crying because she say she will stop go to school because she got to get G$600 to do assignment to carry in today – me can’t afford that, me an got nothing at all. Right now I take some trust from some people and I can’t afford to pay,” the man noted.
He called on the sugar company to pay the Wales workers their termination benefits, claiming that the few hundred workers attached to the former West Bank Demerara entity are being bullied.
“I really need my severance and is bullying with GuySuCo because they come and tell me bout meh severance and I agree to take me severance and not to go to Uitvlugt. They bullying us,” Chootoo stressed.
In a show of much annoyance, the retrenched worker related that he deserves his severance after devoting almost 30 years of service with the sugar company.
“Right now I frustrated with GuySuCo. I waiting on severance since 2016. I work with the estate for 28 years and it hard now from since then to now. Other estates come behind and closed down and done get their severance and I an get nothing yet. The people at Wales angry over their treatment… is months and a year finish and we can’t get nothing,” Chootoo expressed.
As with his colleague Stanley Felix, the dismissed worker observed the strain on family life which was brought on by the closure of the Estate.
“Nuff time my wife make attempt to leff me because is three children that got to go to school and it hard. Every day, they coming home with assignment an I got to find money for them to go to the Internet [café] because I can’t afford to put Wi-Fi in my house and now the lil money when I work a fine job and save, I got to take out and it ah finish,” he pointed out.
“Right now I cleaning people drains and doing other people yard just to upkeep me. It very hard, hard, hard right now,” Chootoo stressed.
The father of three is hopeful that the High Court can call up the severance matter, some 10 months after the case was filed.

Several fired cane harvesters holding up placards during the peaceful picketing exercise held outside the Ministry of the Presidency

On December 31, 2016, the Wales Estate was closed. GuySuco has since snubbed the Wales workers when it announced on Tuesday that they are not entitled to severance payment.
Acting GuySuCo Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Paul Bhim, has declared that these workers were not entitled to those benefits.
Bhim maintains that GuySuCo has honoured all its obligations regarding the payment of severance at the Wales Estate. He told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that cane cutters were offered jobs at the Uitvlugt Estate and they were at risk of self-termination because of their refusal to take up this offer.
However, the workers argued that they were being pressured by GuySuCo when they were aware that the Uitvlugt Estate was located more than 20 miles from Wales. They still contend that this move is contrary to the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act. By refusing to adhere to the “Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act” GuySuCo is treating the Wales cane cutters like indentured servants.
Of the approximate 4800 workers dismissed in the latest firings, only 1600 fired sugar workers who are eligible to receive G$500,000 or less in severance pay have been paid in full, while the others would be paid 50 per cent of the amounts due to them.

Man on G$40,000 bail for slapping pregnant ‘child mother’

Agowa Wellington was hauled before Magistrate Fabayo Azore at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts on Wednesday on an assault with intent to cause actual bodily harm charge.
The 47-year-old of Lot 110 North Sophia, Greater Georgetown, pleaded not guilty to the offence which stated on January 21, 2018, at about 17:00h an argument broke out between himself and the Virtual Complaint, Tamika Kennedy, who is the mother of his children.
It is alleged that the duo had an exchange of words over Wellington purchasing pampers for their child, after which, the visibly pregnant woman was dealt several slaps to the face.
Kennedy made a report to the Cummings Lodge Police station and Wellington was subsequently arrested. Wellington was granted G$15,000 bail on the verbal assault charge and G$25,000 bail for causing bodily harm.
He is also scheduled to appear in Court Nine on February 22.

‘Business community not sleeping’ – Private Sector head

… says steps being taken to grasp opportunities from emerging oil sector

As the first-ever oil summit and exhibition was launched on Wednesday, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) spared no effort in reminding Government of the need to be transparent in its work especially, as it relates to the oil and gas industry as it called for the establishment of a good governance system to oversee the sector.
In delivering his address, PSC Chairman Eddie Boyer urged that the Government ensure there were a well-managed Sovereign Wealth Fund and a transparent Petroleum Commission. Boyer said that the PSC has been paying keen attention to the sector and would play a large part in its development.
The PSC Head said his organisation would like to see stability of Guyana as a democracy “and our interest in the oil and gas sector maintained with clear frameworks of sector development, strong local content policy and a well-managed Sovereign Wealth Fund”.
Boyer declared, “The Guyanese business community, though inexperienced, is not sleeping. We are aware of the developments and we are educating and informing ourselves about this new sector to grasp every opportunity. We will continue to expand on that in the coming months.”
He also used the opportunity to encourage the several hundred delegates attending the conference, to see Guyana as an investment opportunity not only in oil and gas but in other critical sectors.
In her remarks, Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) Chairperson Patricia Bacchus urged investors to cultivate strong business relations with the view of tapping into the oil and gas industry.
“This forum is also critical to the development of meaningful sector and cross-sector relationships, as it provides the opportunity for networking among those involved in oil and gas, and those involved in the provision of related products and services,” she explained.
Similarly, for participants, especially Guyanese participants interested in operating in this new sector, Bacchus said they would benefit from relevant expert presentations through which insight into the sector’s best practices could be gained and then subsequently manifested in the way business is done in Guyana.

Guyana’s first-ever oil summit and exhibition, GIPEX 2018, was
launched on Wednesday at the Georgetown Marriott by Natural
Resources Minister Raphael Trotman in the presence of his
ministerial colleagues and other officials

While noting that Guyana has recorded stable macro-economic growth over the last eight years, she also pointed out that there has always been a dire need to diversify the economic base.
“The advent of the oil and gas sector is, therefore, regarded as a significant step in the country’s economic diversification efforts, and we hope that it is the springboard through which wider economic diversification can be facilitated,” she added.
The GO-Invest Chair said though Guyana, with its young economy, provides immense opportunities for investors, and she urged all the participants to view the gaps in the economic activities not as shortcomings but as opportunities. “GIPEX provides a forum through which the emerging oil and gas sector can be carefully explored, with a view to determining the various economic opportunities along the value chain, which are ripe for investment.”
No-show
Meanwhile, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman delivered the keynote address although President David Granger was listed to deliver the address. Prior to that, Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge gave brief remarks. While a few Cabinet Ministers were present, the President was notably absent.
No reason or explanation was given for the President’s absence at such an important national event, which was heavily promoted by the Government.
Trotman told the opening that while Guyana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is relatively low, he also believes in the predictions made by leading global economists that there will be growth of 2000 per cent within two decades.
“At this juncture in our national development, being at a place where we will travel on a fast and furious trajectory, we don’t want simply to be known as an oil-producing nation, but rather as a country that took its resources and revenues – and used them to fashion

The University of Guyana hosted the discussion on the day the inaugural Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit (GEPEX) opened and his absence from the event was notable.
When asked about that, he told reporters that he was never invited to the event despite his boss, President David Granger, being listed as one of the speakers.
“I was not invited to go so that’s the main reason. If you looked at the website, you will see President Granger picture was there. I would assume he was invited,” he said.
However, the President was a no show at the event.

APNU/AFC Govt using CoI as a tool for political harassment

Dear Editor,
The PNC-led APNU regime has announced its intention to set up another Commission of Inquiry (CoI). This time, it is to ‘probe’ the killings of mainly criminals, which took place during the crime waves of the more recent past.
Included in that period was the assassination of Sash Shaw, former Minister of the PPP/C Government. The regime obviously has some plans to use this for some political gains in a Hitlerite tactic to create conditions for its actions of repression. Remember Adolf Hitler had the Parliament burnt down to unleash repression on the left and democratic forces, mainly communists, in Germany just before World War II?
We saw this APNU regime applying the CoI method to clean out the professional leaders of the Police Force. The intention is to control the Force by putting persons who would take PNC/APNU diktat. In a word, it is the beginning of the de-professionalization of the Police Force; it is being prepared to be repressive.
One of the outcomes that this regime is looking for is the excuse to harass and frame PPP/C leaders and members. It is also to distort that period, and to hide its own role in the crime waves that we had experienced at the beginning of this century.
It is for another reason, too: they want to use this to promote their own racial line about the killings of ‘young black men’. This is because they have recognized the great dissatisfaction among all our people, including among Afro-Guyanese, where they draw most of their support.
The APNU+AFC stewardship has led to a lot of sufferings of all our people, particularly the low income category. Pushing the racial line to feed racial sentiments in our Afro-Guyanese masses serves to call on them for racial solidarity, and to ignore the pressure they are coming under from this incompetent and corrupt regime.
That is the only logical conclusion to which one can arrive when the realities of our country are examined dispassionately.
If, for instance, they were really interested in finding the truth of any matter, they would not have closed down the Rodney Commission of Inquiry as one of their first acts after taking power. Indeed, they were afraid of being summoned to give evidence to that CoI. After all, Minister Harmon was the number two man in the military intelligence, and President Granger was the Commander of the GDF at the time of Rodney’s assassination.
Secondly, we know that the PNC — which is the main, almost the only, force in the APNU — historically has used crimes to pursue its political goals. The X13 Plan of the 1960s (1963 to 1964) was an early manifestation of this.
Moreover, documents released from the US State Department and the British Foreign Office show that the British Governor Ralph Grey and the US representative here at the time, Carlson, were preparing to find ways to prevent charges from being laid against Forbes Burnham should he be investigated and found culpable. They managed to suppress things before they reached that stage.
Fast forward to more recent times, and it is clear that the PNC, in the 1990s and onwards, was using criminal elements to sabotage the work of the PPP/C Administration. We had arson of ministries, of schools, and of other government buildings.
Whenever there was a spike in crime, the hands of the PNC could be detected in fanning the flames of violence. The Linden (Blackie) London period, for instance, showed that London was getting support from the PNC.
Recall, too, that when he perished in confrontation with the Police, the PNC did its best (or worst) to try to incense people by mainly pushing a racial line. PNC equipment and stage were used in organizing London’s funeral. It was attended by the then Leader of the PNC, Desmond Hoyte, and many other leaders of the Party, some of whom are Ministers today.
It has also been said publicly that when the five dangerous criminals escaped on February 23, 2002, they first went into Congress Place to hide. They managed to get into the PNC band, which did not go into the National Park, but turned away at Duncan Street and went into the PNC Head Office compound.
Another important point to ponder is: where did the criminals get the high-powered weapons to create the carnage that they did? No armory of the Army or Police was broken into, yet the criminals had high powered military weapons and seemingly endless bullets.
Of interest would be the roles of now Minister Winston Felix and Mr. Edward Collins, respectively Police Commissioner and Head of the Army in that period. It is now clear why the criminals could have committed all sorts of crimes and live freely, even though the Army had established a base in Buxton.
We recall that the criminals had left Buxton and attacked Rose Hall Town, where the PPP was holding its Congress. They killed several persons in that town, using chainsaws to cut openings. Balram Khanai, a young PPP militant from Essequibo, was murdered there. They went back into Buxton without the Army and Police seeing anything. Felix and Collins were the senior persons in those bodies at the time.
Minister Basil Williams and at that time Police Commissioner Winston Felix have never given an explanation to their now public conversation, wherein Williams, Chairman of the PNC, thanked Felix, the then Commissioner of Police, for diverting attention from the PNC when the Fine Man Gang murdered eight (8) persons at Eccles, East Bank Demerara. Felix had admitted that he did turn things away.
In relation to Sash Sawh, we know that he was murdered by the Fine Man Gang. Some of his property was found with gang members when they were stopped by the Police.
The time that he was brutally murdered coincided with the period when we were going to the elections in 2006. It was clear that the intellectual authors wanted to drive fear in the PPP before the elections. However, that backfired on them.
Make no mistake, Sash is a martyr who fell in the fight for consolidating democracy and social progress.
Clearly, therefore, the APNU cannot really want to find the truth. What they are doing is trying to distort the truth and use any CoI that they would set up as a tool for political harassment. This is a well-known Hitlerite tactic!
Yes, we are about to witness another fraud in the form of CoI by this regime.

Donald Ramotar
Former President