DECEMBER 30, 2011 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
Dear Mr. Editor,
From the presidencies of Mr. C. B Jagan to Mr. B. Jagdeo, the PPP had numerous opportunities to change the Burnhamite constitution. Every PPP President has exercised the power and dictatorial impositions afforded by the Burnhamite constitution on every government related entity.
Most PPPites do not think that this rule of dictatorial impositions is against the will of the Guyanese people when their PPP Government exercised the powers and abuses afforded by the Burnhamite constitution. They (PPPites) now regularly rehash the PNC past with absolute disconnection from realities of the present.
Despite all the evidence of the harm inflicted on Guyana, there is no talk of changing the Burnhamite constitution, at least from the PPP and its Presidential candidate to reflect the will of the Guyanese people.
As a result of the current PPP and past PNC continuous and ingrained dictatorial governances, we have arrived at several positions of no return which if allowed to proceed in the PPP fashion, will probably make our chances of having an economic and feasible future of Guyanese society out of reach.
There are numerous positions or existing conditions to dwell, elaborate and write about— from corruption, crime, education, narco-state and failed state, to a ruling class of Guyanese connected to the PPP who have a greater chance to accumulate more personal wealth at the expense of the country.
If Mr. Donald Ramotar and Dr. Nanda Gopaul were elusive in protecting workers rights and economic interests then it is puzzling to understand what Mr. Navin Chandarpaul and Mr. Komal Chand stand and/or stood for.
Workers rights and economic livelihoods have deteriorated during their watch.
Through these same four gentlemen of the ruling PPP, sugar workers have less, earn less and have less to look forward to and their children have lost most of the possibilities to higher education and better futures. With a failing sugar industry there are chances sooner rather later they will descend in a deeper state of poverty.
DECEMBER 25, 2011 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS
It’s been more than a week since the Director of Public Prosecutions advised that Presidential Adviser, Odinga Lumumba, be charged and the file on the matter is beginning to gather dust.
The DPP had advised that Lumumba be charged with assault committed on Presiding Officer, Onika Beckles, on November 28 last, Elections Day.
When this newspaper contacted a senior police official, it was revealed that the file with the DPP’s recommendation had not yet reached Divisional Commander George Vyphuis, whose Division is responsible for acting on the advice.
Prior to this belated piece of information, other senior officials at Brickdam were reluctant to speak about the matter.
Beckles was allegedly forced to call in the police to an Aubrey Barker Road, South Ruimveldt Polling Station after Lumumba allegedly verbally abused her and also shoved her against a wall.
It is alleged that the People’s Progressive Party candidate also grabbed the camera phone from an Electoral Assistance Bureau (EAB) Observer who was recording the altercation and threw it to the floor, destroying it in the process.
Lumumba subsequently apologized to the Elections Observer and later replaced the phone with an explanation that he was angry at the time.
Lumumba was expected to appear in court earlier this week but there appears to be some foot dragging on the matter.
He will be the second Government official to appear in court within a month for assault.
He will follow Information Liaison in the Office of the President, Kwame Mc Coy, who was charged with assaulting a man in the run up to the last General and Regional Elections.
DECEMBER 28, 2011 | BY KNEWS| FILED UNDER NEWS
The five-year-old girl who was abducted from her Betsy Ground home last Friday and brutally raped, is presently receiving blood as she remains in a critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the New Amsterdam Hospital. The child had lost a lot of blood and requires about three pints.
Although she is conscious, she is not allowed visitors and only close relatives are allowed to see her. In the meantime, two persons including a prime suspect remain in custody as police continue their investigation.
The young victim who is the second of three children lives with her mother, next door to her grandmother, in proximity to the river dam. She was left sleeping at home with her two year old brother while her mother had ventured next door to her mother-in-law’s premises in anticipation of a phone call from the child’s father.
The girl was abducted from her bed wrapped in a sheet and taken into the bushes on the bank of the Canje River and sexually assaulted. The incident occurred some time after 23:00 hrs Friday. It is understood that while the mother was over at her mother-in-law, the perpetrator entered the house wrapped the sleeping girl in a blanket, taken from her sleeping brother, and carried her into the bushes on the River dam area, where he committed the dastardly act.
According to information, when the mother returned home around midnight, she noticed that her daughter was not in her bed and her son’s blanket was missing. She frantically started to search and call out for her daughter. The search led the woman and several neighbours into darkness in a bushy area on the dam. The bloodied child was eventually found in thick bushes crying. There were also signs that the perpetrator had just escaped. The child collapsed when she was found. The police were subsequently informed and escorted her along with relatives to the New Amsterdam hospital where she was admitted and remains in the ICU.
The child when questioned had said that ‘Jumbie’ took her into the bush, indicating that the culprit was wearing mask. She had however described the clothing the perpetrator was wearing.
Police had arrested nine persons from the immediate area.
Bharrat Jagdeo has to be squirming
By Andre Haynes | Local, News | Friday, December 16, 2011
Office of the President (OP) press officer Kwame McCoy was this morning placed on self-bail after he was arraigned on charges, including two counts of assault.
Two charges against McCoy stem from an altercation Clifton Stewart on D‘Urban Street, Lodge over the removal of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) posters, in which he is accused of hitting the man in the head with a gun during the argument. The other charge against him stems from an incident where he allegedly ran into a woman with his car.
The first charge against McCoy is that on November 12, on Norton Street, he assaulted Stewart with the intent to cause actual bodily harm. The second charge is that on the same day, he also made use of threatening language to Stewart, thereby causing a breach of the peace.
The third charge stated that on October 25, he allegedly unlawfully assaulted Natalia Ross with intent to cause her actual bodily harm.
McCoy pleaded not guilty to all three charges when they were read to him at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court One.
Acting Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry, before whom the matter was called, granted McCoy bail on his own recognizance on the condition that he hands over his passport to the authorities. McCoy was further placed on a bond to keep the peace, pending the determination of the matter that will be recalled on February 21, 2012.
By STABROEK EDITOR | BREAKING NEWS | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2011
US cricket captain Steve Massiah has had his passport confiscated in the US over mortgage charges in a case linked to that of Guyanese and New York businessman Edul Ahmad.
ESPN is reporting that Massiah’s passport has been confiscated and he is restricted to travelling within New York. Permission was granted to him to travel to Florida for a tournament.
Massiah, a Guyanese, is currently out on bail. The charges carry a maximum of 20 years in prison.
According to ESPN, USA Cricket Association (USACA) president Gladstone Dainty said that the board still had not had any discussions regarding Massiah’s legal situation. “Don’t call me about that please,” Dainty told ESPN. New York regional director Lester Hooper told ESPN he had spoken to Massiah on the phone a few days ago to offer support but said that even if he was permitted to travel, it is unlikely Massiah, 32, would participate for the New York Region in the USA Cricket Association Twenty20 Nationals scheduled from January 20 to 22 in Florida. ESPN said that that tournament will be used as a selection tool to pick USA’s squad for the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier from March 13 to 24 in the UAE.
“I’m pretty sure cricket is the last thing on his mind,” Hooper told ESPN. “I think he would at least want to try and get this whole legal situation behind him before he would even think about representing the region or USACA for that matter. That would definitely be something the [USACA] executive committee would have to really take into consideration, but like anything else I would like to believe that someone is innocent until proven guilty.
“He was very upbeat and he’s looking forward to his day in court,” Hooper related to ESPN about his conversation with Massiah. “I think for his work and his dedication to US cricket over the past years, I think we owe it to Steve to say a prayer for him and wait until the cards are laid out and we’re able to get a better understanding of exactly what happened and make a better judgment, a more educated judgment, in terms of what happened or what didn’t happen.”
According to the arrest warrant, a copy of which is with ESPNcricinfo, Massiah and two other men conspired “to execute a scheme and artifice to defraud a financial institution”, listed as Countrywide Home Loans, “and to obtain moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property owned by and under the custody and control of such financial institution, by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.”
In the warrant, ESPN said that an FBI agent alleges that Massiah acted as a straw buyer for a co-conspirator, believed to be Ahmad.
DECEMBER 15, 2011 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS
“Where are the 15,000 house-lots that he is speaking of if no money was allocated to develop the land that they paid GuySuCo $4B for?”– Ramjattan
Housing Minister Irfaan Ali is again being accused of blatantly lying to the nation in
relation to statements he made.
Alliance For Change (AFC) Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan, told this publication that the 15,000 houselots that Ali is now talking about in relation to the $4B paid to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) for land in Diamond, appears to be a figment of Ali’s imagination or a deliberate attempt to mislead Guyanese.
Following the brouhaha that erupted over the manner in which the money was transferred to the state-owned in late 2009, it was also found that no money was allocated for the development of the land that the Housing Ministry purportedly bought.
Ramjattan said that it is Ali’s dishonesty that had put him in trouble in the first place when he along with the Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh, breached the Laws of Guyana to have the money secretly transferred to GuySuCo as a bailout.
This bailout, according to Ramjattan, was necessitated by the mismanagement of the industry by individuals including the newly sworn in Labour Minister, Dr Nanda Gopaul, as well as the current President, Donald Ramotar, who were, at the time, both Directors on the Board of the ailing sugar corporation.
Ramjattan insisted that neither he nor his party is arguing against the development of houselots for Guyanese. However, the Minister breached the rules when the money found its way from the nation’s coffers to GuySuCo without the requisite Parliamentary approval, he said.
The AFC official recalled that the money was paid over to GuySuCo long before the Parliamentary approval was sought for its use and this is the issue that he had raised in the National Assembly, sparking a furore on the part of the Minister.
Ali was at the time also accused of flagrantly “disrespecting and acting in contempt of the National Assembly” when he attempted to avoid being grilled on the matter.
The state-owned Guyana Chronicle yesterday reported the Housing Minister as asking “What is so wrong with creating more than 15,000 houselots for Guyanese?”
Ramjattan retorted, “Where are the 15,000 house-lots that he is speaking of if no money was allocated to develop the land that they paid GuySuCo $4B for?”
The AFC Chairman says that following the brouhaha surrounding the $4B and the Minister of Housing, the 2011 Budget was unveiled and it was revealed that there was no money allocated for the development of the land in Diamond, vindicating the position that the money was merely for a bailout of GuySuCo.
There were several subsequent Supplementary Provisions sought in the National Assembly with no money being identified for the development of the land that had been bought by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) with the $4B, through the aegis of the Housing Minister.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Sugar Corporation, Paul Bhim, when contacted yesterday by this publication said that he could only confirm that the negotiation between GuySuCo and CHPA for the $4B has been completed.
He said that he was not in a position to say just how much of the land owned by GuySuCo was sold to CHPA to the tune of $4B.
Bhim said, too, that he was also at the time not aware of any additional payments made to the sugar corporation for the land.
He did say that at least half of the money went to capital works for GuySuCo to purchase tractors but could not elaborate any further at the time.
Following the revelations surrounding the $4B and the Minister of Housing’s involvement, the then Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud had told the Parliamentary Economic Services Committee that the money was made as an upfront payment to the entity which at the time was still in negotiations with the CHPA as to the value of the land being sold.
As such, Persaud at the time was unable to tell the Committee exactly what was the value attached to the land at Diamond which GuySuCo was disposing of to the Housing Ministry.
The company at the time was said to be seeking some $37B for its canelands in Diamond which was being retired and disposed of (some 2000 hectares) with close to half committed to housing.
The remainder of the land was scheduled to be put up for sale through a public tender process which Persaud had said would ensure transparency whilst the state company sought to acquire as much as possible for the land.
|Written by Kwesi Isles|
|Wednesday, 14 December 2011 15:18|
The woman spoke to the media on Tuesday saying she feared for her life.
The Alliance For Change (AFC) has called for the dismissal or at least interdiction from duty of Commisioner of Police Henry Greene following Tuesday’s rape allegation against him and is viewing the matter as the first real test of the Donald Ramotar administration.
The 34-year-old mother of two spoke to reporters at her attorney Nigel Hughes’ office where she recounted that she had gone to Greene for assistance with a matter involving another police officer with the outcome being him raping her at a city hotel.
Commenting briefly on the allegations against him at the Annual Police Awards Ceremony on Wednesday Greene stated “Let God be the judge; suffice to say I’ve sought legal advice in that matter.”
At the AFC’s weekly news conference on Wednesday party Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan called for a “very intense investigation of the allegation and at least Greene’s interdication at this stage.
“Based on what we’ve heard we feel he ought to tender his resignation or the president ought to dismiss him, but at the very least at this stage an interdiction,” Ramjattan stated.
He noted that there has been no denial from Greene that he had sex with the woman and added that even if it was consensual it was an abuse of his office since the woman went to him for assistance.
“If it was any other person like yourself … having an allegation like that made by a woman you would have already been locked up long time and probably with no bail for several weeks,” Ramjattan added.
AFC Leader Raphael Trotman meanwhile stated that the interdication call was not unreasonable since Greene heads the agency which will in effect be investigating an allegation made against him.
“It is the man who is in charge of the investigating agency and one need not have to extrapolate and go into any details on how that investigation could be compromised. It’s not a citizen relating to the police it’s the police dealing with itself and its most senior officer and so common sense, best practices and the transparency of the investigation demand that he be interdicted immediately at least and like Khemraj I believe that he should be dismissed forthwith because I don’t see the man tendering any resignation.”
According to Trotman, the issue is the first real test for Ramotar.
“Is he president or is he a weakling, because if the most senior police officer in Guyana could break the rule of law or be accused of doing it and nothing happens it defines his presidency in my view from today going forward,” he stated.
Trotman said he is holding the president “personally responsible” on the matter and added that the nation and the world is looking on.
“I saw a senior diplomat today and it was the subject of discussion, how will this government handle such an accusation. He is entitled to due process, he’s entitled to the rule of law but as Khemraj rightly said if it was one of us we would have already been taken down, refused bail and charges would have been processed by tomorrow morning by the DPP; let’s see what happens.”