Dear Editor,Finance Minister Winston Jordan during his press conference on Friday, April 13, 2018, announced that the economy expanded by only 2.1 per cent, the lowest growth rate in recent times. Incidentally, it was Black Friday; was it coincidence?The Minister, among other things, charged that sugar production of 137,307 tonnes in 2017 was responsible for the poor economic showing. The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) will not rehash the reasons for the poor production which we shared publicly on more than one occasion. Though the Minister seeks to use sugar as one of his punching bags in seeking to explain what is clearly a worrying situation, at the same time, the admission by Minister Jordan serves to demonstrate the importance of the sugar industry to the wider economy.As GAWU has been saying consistently, the sugar industry cannot be seen solely and only from the financial/profitability argument the Government, like a horse with blinders, is focused on. Important as that is, the GAWU strongly believes, and must reiterate, that sugar has to be seen from its wider economic impact in terms of direct and indirect employment, taxes whether be income or consumption, foreign exchange receipts, among other things.The four closed estates aggregately paid its workers $11.9 billion in 2014, using data available from the Sugar Commission of Inquiry report. To illustrate the significance of what the economy has really lost, we contrasted what obtains in the Private Sector. Using most recently available data concerning employment costs at Banks DIH Limited, Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI), and Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited – four publicly listed companies in Guyana and among the country’s largest enterprises – we learnt they spent aggregately G$9.6 billion.Also, it is estimated that the now jobless workers of Skeldon, Rose Hall, East Demerara and Wales, conservatively, utilised about 85 per cent of their earnings on the purchase of goods and services. In other words, directly shopkeepers, market vendors, fisherfolk, transportation providers, etc have lost $10.15 billion. Indirectly, using the income multiplier formula, a further $70 billion has been removed from the economy. This is a massive and substantial hit and one which many, especially in rural Guyana, may not be able to recover from.With now four closed estates, some resuming operations in a minimalistic way at this time; it would be interesting to know what the 2018 figures would reveal. Clearly, from all appearances, the wiser economic decision was to keep the industry going while working to make it profitable and viable as the Special Purpose Unity is now seeking to do at Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt. What is clear, as Minister Jordan is reported in the April 14, 2018 in sections of the media to have said sugar is too big to fail.Yours faithfully,Seepaul NarineGeneral Secretary
Dear Editor,A section of the media on November 11, 2018 reported that the Integrity Commission named 87 public officials who failed to submit the declaration of their assets to the Integrity Commission in keeping with the law. The Commission listed Ministers, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Opposition Parliamentarians, and other public officials.The Chairman, Mr Kumar Deoraisami, and Members of the Integrity Commission must be commended for calling on these high public officials to obey the law, which they themselves made. The President, David Granger and the Opposition Leader, Bharat Jagdeo must demand public accountability from the Speaker, Ministers and the Parliamentarians. The public is pleased with this approach by the Integrity Commission. Please keep the general public and the citizen-voters informed of non-compliance, and take promptly, the required legal recourse in keeping with the law.It may also be appropriate for the Commissioner General of GRA to intervene as may be appropriate without fear or favour. What of SOCU and SARA? Off you go.What an example and message being sent to the national community from ministers, the Speaker of the National Assembly, and members of the National Assembly. What a shame! The people must be informed of non-compliance by these public officials.Yours faithfully,Joshua Singh
– says “Dread Shop” is known for unsavoury activitiesDespite an Injunction, the Mayor and City Council in the wee hours of Thursday moved in and dismantled the famous ‘Dread Shop’, located at Russell Square, Stabroek, Georgetown, a business which has been in existence for some 48 years.The council workers sometime around 03:00h began the demolition.The proprietor Anthony Forde, 74, who could not hold back his tears said he was not informed that his building would have been demolished and had only learnt at 09:30h that his business was destroyed.He explained that the “Dread Shop” night spot has existed since 1968 and noted that he has been paying rates and taxes for years.Forde and his nephew related that they did not get an opportunity to retrieve their valuables and that “junkies” made off with many of the items.Among their lost property were a pools table and television sets. The nephew who preferred not be named, was of the view that the government has “no concern” for ordinary businesspeople.Attorney Nigel Hughes, who is representing Forde, stressed that City Hall has shown “disregard” to the courts as the matter is still being addressed.“This has got to be the most outrageous act I’ve seen in a long time because [the matter is] actively going to mediation on the recommendation of the Court of Appeal and then they failed to turn up at the mediation and the Court of Appeal still has conduct of this matter and they believe they can disregard this act,” Hughes posited.The attorney explained that after he called the City Engineer on Thursday afternoon, Town Clerk Royston King then confirmed that demolition actions were indeed taken.“I believe that where people decide that they are not going to obey the law of the land and where they are not going to obey the outcomes of the court proceedings to deal with this particular piece of property then we are in a very dangerous state,” the attorney warned.“There is a dispute right now between Mr Patterson’s Ministry and the City Council about who actually owns this square because it was donated by the Russell family [while] the Ministry [of Public Infrastructure] claims it is their territory and the city council claims it is their territory,” the attorney further explained.Meanwhile, also slated for demolition is the nearby “Island Snackette” which has been in operation for almost 50 years. Daughter of the original proprietors Abeola Fung told this newspaper that her family has invested “millions of dollars” to improve the standard of the business. They claim that City Hall said their structure will also be torn down. Fung further related that some years ago City Hall had approved a plan for rehabilitation works to their structure.City Hall has been relocating vendors and stall owners in a move that it said will see a transformation of the Stabroek Market Square. While some vendors have welcomed the change, others have protested the initiatives of City Council viewing them as “unfair” and “uncaring”.‘UNSAVOURY’ ACTIVITIESMeanwhile, City Council in a statement Thursday afternoon, explained that a technical team attached to the Municipality’s Engineer’s Department carried out a removal exercise that saw “the flattening of the so called ‘dread shop’ located west of Parliament Building”.Attorney Nigel Hughes“The Town Clerk’s office had given earlier notice to the structure’s operators, while making specific reference to what was described as ‘unsavoury’ activities taking place there, particularly on Friday nights. Operations at this facility was also said to be in direct breach of city public health laws,” the statement added.
A Lindener who pleaded not guilty to a trafficking in narcotics charge was on Wednesday remanded to prison by Magistrate Clive Nurse.The accused, Jamal Marcus, of Lot 789 Determa Street, Mackenzie, Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), appeared at the Linden Magistrate’s Court to answer to the charge which stated that on Monday June 6, he had 38 grams of cannabis sativa (marijuana) in his possession for the purpose of trafficking.The incident is alleged to have occurred at Ituni, in Region 10.Facts on the case presented to the court indicated that on the day in question at approximately 08:30h, the defendant was observed along the Ituni Public Road acting in a suspicious manner, which led to Police ranks conducting a search on his person. The narcotic was found concealed in a bag in his crotch.However, the defendant maintained that the cannabis sativa was not found in his possession. He is scheduled to make his next court appearance on July 26.
BY SHEMUEL FANFAIRWhile the High Court case regarding the non-consultations of unions over the severance and redeployment of workers attached to the Wales Sugar Estate continues, some 99 workers believe that in the meantime, they should be paid for the time they have been unemployed. According to information reaching Guyana Times, the workers have petitioned the Wales Estate manager for payment in lieu of work.This newspaper was told the workers are contending that their severance packages were approved since March 22, 2016, and as such, are requesting that they be paid from April 22, 2016 up to point at which they will be paid their redundancy allowance. The petition, along with letters sent to the estate’s manager, was seen by the publication.“I hereby request that I be paid my redundancy allowance and payment in lieu of work from April 22, 2016 up to the point of the payment of my redundancy allowance in keeping with Clause 6(2)(i) of the Collective Labour Agreement between my Union, GAWU, and the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc,” one of the letters stated.After the Sugar Corporation confirmed the closure, workers, without the requisite union consultation were given the option of transferring to Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara, or receiving severance packages. As many of the workers were against the move to transfer to Uitvlugt, they opted to receive their severance.Using the injunction as its justification, GuySuCo has maintained that it was unable to pay the 105 Wales sugar workers their severance packages even though these workers on March 22 received letters which stated that they would have been paid on May 4. The Sugar Corporation then gave employment to six of the 105 workers, suggesting that 99 remain without the Estate’s employment. Many of these workers have said that they have found some difficulty in garnering alternative jobs.The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) has rejected the Sugar Corporation’s stance of non-payment, noting that the agreement between the workers and GuySuCo was reached before the injunction was granted.The court action was first brought on after GuySuCo began discussions with individual employees of the Wales estate to negotiate severance packages, without informing or involving the unions. At one point, workers had been given a three-day ultimatum to make their decisions but GuySuCo later backpedalled from this move.Unions, GAWU and NAACIE are also seeking damages in excess of $1 million for breach of statutory duty owing under the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act, Cap 99:08, Laws of Guyana. The judges had granted an interim injunction, restraining GuySuCo from proceeding to implement their decision to sever the employees until the hearing and determination of a Summons returnable in Chambers.GuySuCo has since requested time to respond to the litigation. Sugar operations at Wales will close by the end of 2016.
Nimba County Senior Senator Prince Y. Johnson (PYJ) has strongly defended the reported war records of Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties. The Nimba Senator denied that the two counties brought troubles to Liberia.According to Senator Johnson, residents of the two counties are not the ones obstructing efforts aimed at bringing lasting peace and genuine reconciliation to the country.Senator Johnson made the statement Monday, May 19, at the launch of a Peace and Reconciliation Meeting held in Monrovia under the auspices of Liberia’s Peace Ambassador George Oppong Weah. The Monday’s gathering brought together several high profile individuals including members of the diplomatic community.Senator Johnson—who headed one of the country’s warring factions during years of civil crisis, said the problem to lasting peace in the country has to do with bringing onboard individuals, who financed the war, instead of gathering only those they perceived as the ‘fighting men and women.’“To achieve the peace objectives, I have advised the stakeholders to this meeting, to invite those who brought into the country all kinds of weapons and divided them among the fighters.”Sen. Johnson believes that peace and reconciliation among Liberians should not be tied only to the peoples of Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties, “but those who purchased the big, big guns and gave them to prosecute the war.”He then suggested that those driving the peace initiative should be people of character that facilitated the decade-long conflict, “but not the government and partners, who are creating the impression that Nimbaians and Grand Gedeans are still on the battlefield.”“At the moment, there are more sons and daughters of Nimba County residing in all parts of Grand Gedeh making babies, and vice-versa,” Johnson asserted to round of applause and laughter.The Nimba lawmaker maintained that those who facilitated the war to avail themselves, should ask for God’s forgiveness, which he believes would be the only recipe for lasting peace in the country.He then called on those living with the belief that it was Nimba and Grand Gedeh that brought the war to desist shifting the blame, “because those playing the blame-game were the major facilitators to the civil crisis the plagued the country.”The former leader of the disbanded rebel group, Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) did not only call for the coming on board the peace process of the ‘war facilitators’ but proposed to those peace actors to convene a National Peace Conference that would bring all peace-loving Liberians and their international partners to ask for divine intervention into the process.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
They tussle and hustleEach with his own methodThey were meeker than the poorest manBecause they wanted favor for the great positionThey got it, they took over it, they move like giantsEach in his own comfort zoneThey appear in luxuries and belong to another classThey wore attires their ancestors never dreamt ofThey rented elegant mansionsThey flew to the Queensland to soak up the sunThey lavish thousands on the earthly princessesAnd saw the great position like the Atlantic oceansThe lightning strikesThe clouds cover the moonThe cock crowsIt’s a new dawnRome was not built in one dayHence, Rome has many engineersThe great position is no moreThe luxuries have disappeared over nightLeaving their pockets emptyThey roamed the streets in search of buyers for their valuablesThey lived the rest of their lives in shame and frustrationAfter the great positionShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
On Sunday, January 18, in the Moulton Corner Community of Brewerville, a teenage girl was raped and brutally assaulted by a man she was able to identify before she died.The late Musu Morris, who was born on March 6, 2002 was described by relatives and friends in her community as a happy teenager. She lost her life to a man who is known in their community. Before anyone could know the child’s final fate, Edward Johnson, her uncle says that Ma Musu and another uncle, Emmanuel Morris were together when they last saw her.“They both walked together to go and buy bread. But Morris says she left him on the road to return home by herself,” Johnson added.The uncle is said to have returned home around 8pm and asked for the child, but no one knew where she was.Fatu Morris, the wife of Emmanuel who the child lived with before her death said she witnessed Ma Musu literally crawling on both knees after the incident. With just a thread of life left in her, the injured child was able to tell her family that she had been raped.“I saw Ma Musu well after 8-9pm crawling on the ground towards me on her knees. I thought she was joking until she started straining as if trying to cry. When she reached me, she dropped right on my lap and told me what had happened to her,” Fatu narrated.Fatu says Ma Musu was drenched from head to toe in her own blood.According to witnesses, Ma Musu had said, “He was huge and smoked a lot of cigarettes,” before she fell unto her aunt’s lap.From Ma Musu’s description of the alleged perpetrator, their entire family knew who the rapist was, according to Fatu.“Ma Musu told me a huge man raped her from up the road. She said he was wearing his underwear and a black t-shirt and smoked a lot of cigarettes when it happened. She then dropped to the ground and started releasing foam from her mouth that reached both sides of her ears,” she recalled. “I flashed my light on her and noticed in shock that all in front of her was messy. Her pants leg on one side was taken off and between her legs was badly messed up and bloody,” she said, describing the aftermath of Ma Musu’s dreadful ordeal.Fatu says that Emmanuel with the help of others placed the dying child on the front seat of their pickup and decided to take her to the hospital. But while on route, they saw the man Ma Musu said had raped her and decided to capture him.“Being that we know the accused man and know that he’s a security at the newly constructed houses where he stays, the children saw him and pointed him out as he tried to run away,” Fatu added.“Emmanuel opened the car door and ran behind him, and after catching him, Emmanuel said he could feel his sweat and smell the cigarette smoke that ma Musu had described,” she added. “Something that ma Musu said she remembered when she crawled to the house was his smoking. While I was sitting in the front seat holding my daughter, she lifted her head up and identified the man whom my husband had caught and pointed at him as the one who raped her. That was the last word she said,” Fatu wept.The alleged perpetrator was arrested by the community and taken to Zone 6 Base in Brewerville within an hour after the incident. The community has identified him as 49 year-old Mr. Kromah, also known as CDC Musa, who lives in the same community as the victim. He is also said to be the caretaker for the property of Wahwusu’s club owner.Edward Johnson, who has been representing the family in the police investigation, said that upon arresting the alleged perpetrator, they were given a slip and told to take Ma Musu to the hospital.“The night she was raped, Zone 6 Base in Brewerville arrested CDC and after finding out what had happened to ma Musu, they gave us paper and we took her to Redemption Hospital. They refused her because she was bleeding too much; we then took her back to Zone 6. The commander on shift escorted us to Faith clinic near the Hotel Africa road and they too refused us because of the bleeding situation; she was bad off,” Johnson stated’“Ma Musu wasn’t talking again. She just sat in the front seat quiet and weak. We tried taking her to JFK, but right at the stoplight in front of the old Ministry of Health, the police at the checkpoint arrested the car. We tried to talk to the police that we wanted to take Musu to the hospital but they got aggressive and started getting violent with us,” he added.The child was never seen by any hospital.Meanwhile, the family of the late Ma Musu stood in protest in front of the Zone 6 Base in Brewerville Monday morning, which brought dozens of officers from other zones to the scene.In the meantime, the body of Ma Musu lay in the back of her father’s pickup, visible for community dwellers to see.According to the deceased’s uncle, Foday, ma Musu had two puncture wounds on each side of her larynx that they noticed the next day.“She had two holes in her neck, one hole on each side of her larynx, and that’s what made us vex because when the police saw her, they tried to wipe the blood from her neck to close up the bleeding this morning. That’s what made us angry and has us out here protesting because the police had no reason to tamper with the crime scene,” he added.They Wasted Our TimeFoday also stated: “while we were trying to get her to the hospital again this morning, the police stopped us at the zone and said they wanted another statement. They wasted our time. Ma Musu died right in the pickup in the parking lot of zone 6 Base,” he added.Foday also stated that the LNP was notified of the child’s condition the night she was attacked, but no officer was sent to investigate the matter.“In fact we called the police from the night it happened up until now and they never came and never stepped there. Before her death, Ma Musu said the man raped her and turned around and put holes in her neck,” he added.The body of the late Ma Musu has been taken to an undisclosed hospital for testing, police reports stated.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The maxim: “Ninety-nine days for a rogue and one day for the master,” demonstrated itself yesterday when the attention of friends and relatives decorating graves in the Kpeh-Kpeh Town, Lower Johnsonville Community was drawn to a suspected criminal. Suspect Stephen Siaway, 27, was apprehended with several pieces of steel rods and a piece of corrugated iron by community residents, some of whom had just returned from decorating their relatives’ graves. Suspect Siaway did not know that not all the community residents were out commemorating the holiday when he sneaked into a neighbor’s yard and allegedly stole several pieces of steel rods and a piece of iron bar. Shortly after his arrest, suspect Siaway admitted committing the act, but said in a Daily Observer interview that, his action was due to “severe hardship” he endured to cater to his fiancée and their three children.“I stole these items from near my brother’s house, because he had gone to decorate our ma and pa graves somewhere on Duport Road. This is why I went into the house and took those items away.” His confession was interrupted by intermittent slaps from vigilante members.Most grave decorators who were part of the vigilante team were shouting, “These are people who often take advantage of people’s sorrow to commit crimes by stealing from the community.”Siaway begged the residents to report him to the police, rather than carrying out their own justice as they punched him in the face as well as beat him on every part of his body. Meanwhile, grief-stricken residents trooped out yesterday in the Johnsonville Community, some of them for the first time, to identity with or at least take a glimpse of a mass burial site of several of those killed last year by the Ebola virus and whose bodies were dumped in a swamp near the Kpainwein River. Up to yesterday, only a tomb had been constructed by some unknown person on the mass grave site to memorialize those who died from the Ebola outbreak and were dumped in unmarked and unidentified graves.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)