Archive for January, 2012

Magistrate Haymant Ramdhani suspected of drunk driving refuses breathalyser test

January 31, 2012 1 comment

Magistrate refuses breathalyser test


-walks out of police station while victim at hospital

The East Coast Demerara police are contemplating how to deal with a Magistrate who refused to take a breathalyser test following a smash-up on the East Coast Public Road on Sunday night.
Police sources said that Magistrate Haymant Ramdhani was detained for several hours at the Cove and John Police Station after he appeared to be heavily under the influence of alcohol.
But prosecuting the Magistrate could be a challenge since there are reports that the other party involved in the accident has indicated that he will settle the matter out of court.
According to reports, a Victoria motorist, Victor Adams, had parked his car on the parapet and was about to open his gate when the Magistrate’s car which was proceeding west at a fast rate slammed into it.
The car struck Adams who was flung into a trench where he remained dazed until he was rescued by some public spirited persons and taken to the hospital.
Magistrate Ramdhani was subsequently taken to the station where he was requested to do a breathalyser test.
According to a source, the magistrate refused, claiming that the instrument was not sterilized.
He was later told that he was required to remain in custody while the condition of the victim was being ascertained.
However, the source said that the magistrate, after using a series of expletives, walked out of the station and went to retrieve his car from the scene and disappeared.
“The same people who are supposed to dispense justice are behaving in such a manner,” a source at the Cove and John police station told this newspaper.


Gail Teixeira a Canadian of Convenience, meddling in University of Guyana affairs, sparks a massive protest

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

Committee plans to shut down UG


By Latoya Giles
Classes at the University of Guyana are expected to be suspended until further notice as plans are apace for mass protest today at the Turkeyen Campus. Yesterday the leading figures in “Operation Rescue UG” which comprises students, workers and academics, spoke to a packed audience in the George Walcott Lecture Theatre yesterday, outlining a series of issues which they are fighting for.
The purpose of the meeting was to urge the UG community to come out in support of the closing down of the University until the demands of staff and students are met. These demands include contract renewal for Freddie Kissoon and Vincent Alexander.
Duane Edwards, President of the students’ union, told the gathering that so far the students at UG have been disappointing in that they have failed to protest the appalling conditions at UG. He urged them that the time is now right to fix all the wrongs that have been done to them.
Edwards called on them to look to their conscience and be morally forthright in fighting for the rights of Freddie Kissoon and Vincent Alexander at the Turkeyen campus.
Kaieteur News columnist Freddie Kissoon explained that throughout history, the young has changed civilization for the better. He said that the young have the passion and purpose and as such he called on the youths to participate in changing UG by protesting.
Kissoon exclaimed to loud applauses; “We are closing down this university.” Describing what happened on Friday, the opposition raised his dismissal with Jagdeo and his team in the tripartite talks, and he remarked that the Government’s nonsense must be stopped. He explained that President Ramotar told the opposition that they cannot ask him for answer because it was a UG matter and they must ask UG Councilors.
Kissoon said that when Councilor Gail Texieira was called upon for ban explanation, she refused, only to say that she cannot divulge UG Council deliberations because they are confidential. Kissoon further stated that when Texeira argued for his contract termination when asked what will happen to the students, she said that was a problem for UG administration to fix.
“Gail Teixeira, said that she holds a Canadian passport while her two daughters were educated at York University,” Kissoon said.
Senior academic Dr. Patsy Francis, called on students to let their voices be heard on the deteriorating situation at UG. She pointed to the holes in the roof of the George Walcott Lecture Theatre and told them that they have to sit in classes while it rains on their heads.
She remarked that she recently came back from Barbados where her salary was far higher than what she got at UG.
Meanwhile, the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA), the University of Guyana Students Society (UGSS) and the University of Guyana Workers Union (UGWU) in a press statement yesterday condemned the recent decision of the University Council to terminate the full time, temporary contracts of several university lecturers.
The termination of Mr. Frederick Kissoon’s contract with the specific caveat that he must not be reemployed in any capacity (either full time, part time or temporary) is particularly troubling as it has all the appearances of political victimization for his outspoken criticisms of successive PPP Governments.
They said that they reject the interference of the Council in the academic affairs of the University and insist that departments and faculties are best positioned to determine staffing needs. We will therefore not allow the Council to determine who departments employ as academic staff. We demand that the termination letters be withdrawn and all lecturers concerned be allowed to fulfill their original contracts.
Apart from the violation of proper labour procedures, the terminations of these seasoned, qualified academics will also have deleterious effects on students who are already faced with insufficient and inadequately trained lecturers.
UGWU, UGSSA and UGSS are also deeply concerned about the lack of transparency, lack of accountability and apparent bias displayed by government representatives on the University Council in arriving at the decision to advertise the position of Registrar.
Notwithstanding University regulations that require the advertisement of the positions of Director of Berbice Campus and Bursar, the Council employed a performance-based mechanism to recently reappoint Mr. Daizal Samad as Director of Berbice Campus and Mr. John Seeram as Bursar.
The motivation therefore behind the decision to advertise the position of Registrar, held by prominent opposition member Vincent Alexander, is viewed with suspicion. The Council is cautioned that the disparate treatment of the three cases has understandably roused fears of ethnic and political discrimination and we urge the Council to function in accordance with principles of transparency and parity. Our position is that either all the positions are advertised then filled or all are filled on the basis of a performance evaluation. Anything less is unacceptable and will be resisted.
UGWU, UGSSA and UGSS are also greatly concerned about the working conditions for all categories of staff and quality of education received by students. Salaries and emoluments are grossly inadequate, way below comparable levels at regional universities and in the public and private sectors in Guyana.
Offices lack basic equipment and the physical facilities used to instruct students, particularly in the science and technical faculties are not only inadequate but also dangerous and place the lives of staff and students in jeopardy.
Staff members and students are demotivated and demoralized. “We are therefore concerned that the World Bank negotiated loan to rehabilitate those faculties involved in Science and Technology has not yet been signed.”
It is inconceivable that monies available for the enhancement of student’s welfare are in danger of being lost to the institution and we urge the Government to immediately move the process forward so that the University can be enhanced.
UGSSA, UGSS and UGWU are prepared to immediate take all legal and industrial measures to restore academic and administrative order at the University of Guyana. “While we intend to fully resist political interference and victimization, we are prepared to work with all stakeholders, including the Government, the Administration and the Council to secure better working conditions for all categories of staff and better quality education for our students.”

The PPP has an authoritarian culture

January 30, 2012 2 comments


Dear Editor,

Freddie Kissoon is bang-on with his position that the PPP has and has always had an authoritarian culture. However, Mr Kissoon did not examine why. I must state that many features of the analysis below are applicable to that other political wrecker-in-chief, the PNC, now APNU. It starts with the fact that the PPP remains a communist party at heart. Communist parties are totalitarian in structure and practice. Nonsensical notions like democratic centralism are used only to hoodwink the followers. At the end of the day, a handful of men and women handpicked by the bigwigs have always controlled all the power within the PPP, excluding the rank and file. Ever since Balram Singh Rai challenged the Jagans, the PPP has centralised power in the hands of a few who make all the decisions for the hundreds of thousands who support the party. It is this travesty that saddled this nation with a neophyte like Mr Jagdeo who went on to rival Burnham for his authoritarian tendencies and currently Donald Ramotar, who had many questions surrounding his qualifications for the presidency. The autocracy started with the Jagans and has continued. Cheddi Jagan’s political skill and class made him an obvious choice for leader but there was nothing wrong in Cheddi being re-elected in a proper transparent democratic process.

Authoritarianism thrived in the PPP because of several factors. Firstly, the PPP inner circle fooled its membership into believing that internal dictatorship was necessary for the survival of the PPP in order to prevent Western intrusion. Secondly, this argument was extended to the claim that PPP’s internal dictatorship was necessary to fight the PNC dictatorship. Thirdly, the PPP inserted serious anti-dissent clauses in its communist constitution to keep the membership in line. Fourthly, totalitarian concepts like democratic centralism were masqueraded as democracy when they were nothing but rank autocracy. Fifthly, the PPP exploited the lack of education about democracy among its supporters. Sixthly, the PPP exploited ethnic insecurity and promoted the concept that democracy within the party was expendable in order to maintain the PPP’s standing as the provider of security for Indians. The PPP blurred the lines between ethnic affinity and party fairness. Ethnic security or insecurity is no barrier to internal party democracy. In fact, the PNC has just demonstrated that fact. Democratic elections within the PPP would have still delivered Cheddi and Janet Jagan as leaders, but likely not Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar.

Ninth, the PPP practised blame transference by focusing on the PNC’s dictatorship to deflect its own internal autocracy. Tenth, the PPP congresses were carefully managed, controlled and influenced events which led to the same set of people getting selected again and again to the prime positions within the PPP. Eleventh, the PPP centralised power to small groups such as its Executive Committee, a group of 15 that directs and controls the party. Twelfth, the PPP fosters functional superiority where an incompetent who is loyal must be put on a pedestal by the general membership simply because he has ingratiated himself with those who were handpicked for power. The incompetent serving as a minister or as a party executive must not be questioned and must be embraced at all costs. This is classic functional superiority and leads to party totalitarianism. Mr Jagdeo who could not hold a candle to men like Mr Nagamootoo and Mr Ramkarran within the PPP obtained functional superiority over these giants by an innately undemocratic selection process led by Janet Jagan. The same could be said for Donald Ramotar’s selection as the PPP’s presidential candidate. Thirteenth, the PPP has planted some fears in its supporters such as don’t-split-the-vote and unity-at-all-costs to detract PPP supporters from the real problem of internal dictatorship.

There is nothing wrong in the PPP having an internal revolution akin to what occurred in the PNC after its 2006 election debacle. Despite its continuing flaws, the PNC has become more democratic than the PPP and has elected its presidential candidate in a far more transparent process than the PPP. It is quite ironic that PPP supporters who complained bitterly about the PNC dictatorship had nothing to say about the PPP’s own internal dictatorship. The PPP supporters must demand democracy within the PPP before it wrecks itself. It is not only the loss of Indian support that internal authoritarianism brings, it is the loss of ethnic crossover voters who are necessary for the PPP to win a majority.

Yours faithfully,
M Maxwell

Guyana government seeking more cronies for the controversial Marriott Hotel deal

January 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Gov’t still seeking Marriott partners


Construction of the long-stalled US$51M Marriott Hotel in Kingston is scheduled to start next month but government is still seeking one or more participants who will collectively own 67% of the project’s equity amounting to US$8M.

In an ad in yesterday’s Sunday Chronicle, the government through its special purpose company for the project, Atlantic Hotel Inc (AHI), issued a final call for expressions of interest (EOI) to participate in the Marriott hotel project private equity. The ad said that while AHI is in receipt of a number of EOIs from private investors to participate in the equity, the company is seeking to finalize the selection of one or more participants who will collectively own 67% of AHI’s equity with a total subscription value of US$8M. Collectively, the total common equity of AHI will total US$12M and the government vial NICIL, will be a minority partner owning 33% of AHI’s equity amounting to US$4M.

‘Fip’ Motilall will make US$12M being the middle man in the Amaila Falls Hydro Power deal

January 30, 2012 Leave a comment

‘Fip’ Motilall secures US$12M for selling hydropower licence to Sithe Global


Makeshwar ‘Fip’ Motilall will receive at least US$12 million in profit from the entire affair.
Synergy Holdings was originally awarded the contract to construct the Amaila Falls Hydro Power

Makeshwar ‘Fip’ Motilall

Plant but after failing to secure financiers to back the project, was forced to sell his licence to Sithe Global.
A recent visit to Guyana by the top brass of Sithe Global, including its Chief Executive Officer Bruce Wrobel, afforded a chance for an answer to be had to the cost of the licence to Sithe Global.
Apart from disclosing Sithe Global’s rate of return on its US$152M investment in the hydroelectric project is 19 per cent, Wrobel also disclosed that Motilall will be walking away with some US$12M for flipping his licence to that company.
“Synergy is entitled under the agreement of the transfer of that asset to financial compensation upon successful completion of the project.”
Those were the words of James McGowan, Senior Vice President (Development) at Sithe Global and Wrobel disclosed this past week that the compensation will total some US$12M.
Wrobel says that the company is attempting to place a new face on things today as a result of the previous lamentations on the silence of all partners involved
“Our role is very clear….we are a builder, a designer, a developer of energy projects….we have never really encountered a situation before where the politics is so intermeshed in the power situation,” Wrobel said as he sought to explain why the company had remained silent for such a long time.
Wrobel said that the money will include some of the early preparatory works such as feasibility studies but should the project successfully close then Motilall earns some US$12M.
“His expenses including early works, come out of that,” Wrobel told this publication.
Synergy Holdings Inc. was first listed as the developer to design, build, own and operate a hydroelectric plant in Guyana.
In 2002, Synergy Holdings and Harza International were granted a licence by the Government of Guyana under the Hydro-Electricity Act for the development of a hydroelectric plant at Amaila Falls.
The licence was reportedly amended and extended in 2004 when Harza pulled out leaving Synergy as the sole licensee. The licence was again extended in 2006.
Synergy Holdings was granted a US$15.4 million contract to build the access roads to the proposed site for the hydropower plant. That contract was rescinded on January 12 last.
Synergy Holdings Inc in 2007 identified Sithe Global as a potential investor in the project.

Sithe Global’s CEO Bruce Wrobel

In 2008, Sithe Global put out to tender, the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) as part of the program and after vetting five bidders, China Railway was chosen as a contractor.
Synergy Holding’s Licence was formally transferred the following year to Sithe Global.
Motilall is himself no stranger to controversy as investigations found a plethora of evidence suggesting that Motilall could not have undertaken the Amaila Falls road.
The Amaila Hydropower Project is a planned hydroelectric project (approximately 165MW capacity) to be located in western Guyana.
The project also includes a new 270 km transmission line and new substations near Georgetown.

Dr.Walter Rodney, Freddie Kissoon and the PPP: a tale of “different folk different strokes

January 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Written by realTalk
Saturday, 28 January 2012 11:03

In Guyana it often seems as if the more things seem to change the more they remain the same. In a time gone by when Guyana was once governed by the PNC, the PPP then in opposition, vigorously protested that which it believed were the excesses of the PNC government. Many of the harsh protests were felt in the sugar industry, where strikes were used as a crippling political weapon, while arson in the cane fields was reserved for the more dastardly acts of sabotage. Sadly the myopic vision of the PPP could not see that it would live to inherit an industry it systematically wounded.
Today Guyana is faced with one of the most corrupt governments in the Anglophone Caribbean, but yet there is a deafening silence from those who once protested the naked abuse of power under the PNC.
In Guyanese politics, there exists a hypocrisy that reveals the blatantly dishonest sides of many politicians, as they pretend to function in the best interest of the Guyanese people. The most recent example of this is seen in the way the PPP led university council members dealt with popular anti-government columnist and political scientist, Mr. Freddie Kissoon.
Upon returning to Guyana from Tanzania in 1974, Dr. Walter Rodney applied to the University of Guyana (UG) to be employed as a lecturer. He was never employed. Many believed that because of his revolutionary political stance against the political leadership of the day, Dr. Rodney was blatantly refused employment. This son of the soil and academic extraordinaire was being refused gainful employment in his own country because the government of the day was not enamored by his vibrant revolutionary political thinking.
The opposition party in 1974 was the PPP. It engaged in very loud protests both at home in Guyana and in the international hallways of power, to register their disapproval of this obscene abuse. PPP leaders in 1974 thought that the PNC government was dictatorial in its handling of Dr. Rodney’s right to work in Guyana, and made sure that its displeasure was felt and understood by all.
Guyana is now governed by the PPP. In 2012, this same PPP that was in fierce opposition of the firing of Dr. Rodney under the PNC rule in the 70s, today can have its members collectively vote to terminate the employment of one of its harshest critics. Sadly there is no decent member of the PPP who would openly renounce this kind of vindictive action taken in this “democratic” Guyana.
Supporters of the PPP must justify their silence on this most vicious action taken against their Guyanese brother who once fought side by side with their leaders against the “tyranny” of the PNC era. In a society where most of its brightest minds migrate to more democratic, economic and politically stable jurisdictions, UG cannot afford to lose a healthy and fertile mind in Freddie Kissoon.
If the PPP leadership truly wants to demonstrate that it is serious about growth and development, ethics and good governance, then it should reinstate Mr. Kissoon immediately! The PPP must learn to identify and reside on moral high ground. It cannot allow itself to continue pursuing a confrontational political agenda which sees it as the big bad political bully.
Guyana truly needs a mature political society where politicians can agree to disagree and coexist without the fear of victimization. Citizens must be allowed to freely express their opinions and not worry about political retribution. The PPP likes to refer constantly to Guyana as a democracy. However, in a democracy dissenting voices are not penalized and victimized. They are encouraged and respected.
Today it is Freddie Kissoon. Tomorrow it could be you or a member of your family! Guyanese must stand up and demand an end to political victimization.

Teens missing, reportedly lured to interior for sex trade

January 28, 2012 Leave a comment


Several girls from a West Bank Demerara community have gone missing since last week Saturday, and their families fear that an unscrupulous woman has lured them to the interior to become sex workers.
It is believed that a woman who goes by the names “Buck, Simone and Radika” may have taken the girls, aged 15 and under into the interior to prostitute them.
The mother of one of the minors said her 13-year-old daughter left home Friday morning and returned the following day with a friend, who she introduced as Simone.
“My daughter come home Saturday morning with Simone and she said that she spend the night by her.
“I start to quarrel with my daughter and Simone go down stairs by me and went over by my neighbour and bring over my daughter’s 15-year-old friend and her brother,” the distraught mother said.
“My daughter’s friend and her brother begged me not to beat her, so I didn’t, then they ask me to let her go with them in Venezuela to visit their mother and that they will bring her back to go school on Monday (last), but I tell them no,” she added.
The woman told this publication that after she continuously refused to let her daughter go to Venezuela, the 15-year-old girl asked her, “how much money you want?”
“I tell her I don’t want any money and I went into the room where my daughter was putting on her clothes to talk with her but her friend came in and give my daughter $20,000. My daughter took the money and give me $10,000 but I tell her I don’t want any money and she throw it on the bed and walked out with her friend and Simone,” the mother claimed.
According to the mother, when the girls left on Saturday, a neighbour started to quarrel early Sunday morning about Simone taking young girls to the interior.
Kaieteur News understands that the 13-year-old girl’s mother got concerned when she heard her neighbour quarrelling about Simone taking young girls “to the bush” so she went and inquired.
There she learnt that her daughter, along with her friend and another girl from the village left with Simone to go in the “bush”.
The mother told this publication that she “ask about” and was told that Simone lived with her mother on the West Bank of Demerara.
On Sunday, the mother went to the community to locate Simone’s mother but her search was futile. She then made a report at Vreed-en-Hoop station.
“When I went home, I start to find out from people where Simone take the girls. Someone show me her sister and when I ask her she said that they gone to Bartica.”
This publication understands that ‘Simone’ usually transacts ‘business’ for the teens she takes to the interior.
On Monday, the mother made a report to a Probation Officer in Georgetown. She was reportedly advised to take one of her daughter’s photographs to a police station in her community, which she did.
According to the woman, a police rank accompanied her to the home of Simone’s mother.
“She mother told us that she daughter carry them to Port Kaituma to do house work,” the teen’s mother indicated.
According to the teen’s mother, Simone’s mother and sister are giving conflicting reports about the missing girl’s whereabouts.
Kaieteur News understands that ‘Simone’ took a few girls from the community.
While the police were questioning Simone’s mother, the woman reportedly informed them that her daughter give all the girls $20,000 in advance. She also reportedly told the police that her daughter hired the girls to assist her since she operates a shop in the interior.
Now in a new twist, the mother of the 13-year-old was reportedly arrested for trafficking in person. She was put on 10,000 station bail on Thursday.
The woman claimed that Simone’s mother told the police that she (the mother) collected money from Simone to let her daughter ‘work’ in the interior.
The woman is saying that if the police pressure Simone’s mother they may get a clue about the missing girl’s whereabouts.