PLANS BEING HATCHED AGAINST KAIETEUR NEWS
We have learnt from very reliable sources of a plot to fabricate allegations against persons connected with this newspaper so as to lay the basis for them to be charged.
This plot, we understand, has been hatched because of official concerns over the things that this newspaper has been exposing. We have been exposing the rampant corruption, the theft of national resources and the transfer of these resources to colleagues, associates and cohorts.
Certain persons in the upper echelons of the society are adamant that we should not be allowed to continue to report these things in the run-up to general and regional elections. As such, there is a plan to silence Kaieteur News by targeting persons connected with this newspaper.
One senior official has already threatened members of the Kaieteur News that should anybody ever make a mistake, be it traffic or otherwise, that staff member would be faced with the full force of the law and more.
We are not taking these reports lightly and we are hereby notifying our readership about what we have learnt. We are also placing the nation on alert about these plans which we consider devious and a direct assault on freedom of the press. They are so serious that they could force the closure of this newspaper and deny the nation a credible source of information about their interests and welfare.
We have repeatedly said that we will not bow to pressure. We will defend the right to publish matters of public interest and for the right of the people of Guyana to receive this information. As a national newspaper this is our pact with the people of Guyana. We shall not be deterred from doing our job and will zealously guard the canons that we uphold.
Kaieteur News will stand in defence of those associated with this newspaper; those who are being targeted because of the views expressed herein. We shall stand firm in the face of this continued onslaught against our newspaper, but we will be vigilant given the information that has come to hand.
TIMEHRI AIRPORT IS BACKWARD
Many Guyanese have a torrid time at regional airports. And our President has been consistent in condemning the treatment of his nationals by regional immigration authorities.
But his latest jab, this time targeting the in-transit service at Piarco International Airport, is bound to lead to questions about the standards at his country’s own Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
For any Guyanese to criticize the in-transit facilities at Trinidad’s major airport without recognizing the flaws at Timehri is being disingenuous. To use security checks as the basis for criticizing other airports is inexplicable.
Ever since the attacks of September 11, detailed and rigorous security checks have become the norm at all airports. Except if you are a Head of State traveling on diplomatic privileges, no one is exempt from these checks. And as we learnt recently, even ministers of the government traveling on diplomatic passports can now be delayed at foreign airports while detailed checks are run on them.
Body searches are part of the security drill. These are now mandatory. Passengers are forced to take off their belts, their shoes, have their carry-on items scanned, be patted down by a guard, and may even be subject to questioning.
Even in-transit passengers are now required to undergo security checks, whether it is at a major airport in the developed world or at Piarco in Trinidad. It is unreasonable to expect that the authorities in Trinidad are going to allow a passenger deplaning from another country, but with onward connections, to simply board an aircraft on their soil without being subject to security checks.
So for example, a passenger from New York who is in-transit through Piarco to Georgetown, is required to go to an in-transit area and be subject to the normal security checks as any other passenger. This has been the norm for quite sometime.
It does seem however as if someone is suggesting that in-transit passengers should be shuttled straight to an in-transit lounge and not be subject to such checks.
No country is going to follow this line. They are not a party to the security checks done in the foreign country and therefore they are within their rights to ensure that even in-transit passengers are subject to searches. The country through which the passenger is in-transit can be penalized should something be missed by their security officials.
But if Guyana is going to criticize another regional airport about security checks and having in-transit passengers use the departure area, then Guyana needs to get its own house in order.
Guyana does not have an in-transit lounge. So how can Guyana be criticizing another country for having in-transit passengers use the departure area when the same thing happens in Guyana?
A foreign passenger in-transit through Guyana has to not only go through the same security checks as any normal departing passenger, but also has to clear immigration, something that does not happen at Piarco. So in this regard, the Guyanese system is far more arduous than what exists in Trinidad.
There are other areas that would qualify Timehri as being ranked as one of the poorest airports in the region. In the incoming area for instance, trolleys are provided, but passengers can only use these trolleys to move about twenty-five feet, because by the time you get to the door to exit the area, you have to use the designated Red Cap service. There is nothing more comical than this. Why provide baggage trolleys when passengers can only use it from the conveyor belt to the door, then have to utilize the Red Cap service to haul their luggage to their vehicles?
The Timehri International Airport is also the only airport in the Caribbean where when a passenger is finished checking in, his freedom is constrained. The passenger is not allowed to go back out through the doors. He has to say goodbye at the door to the check-in area. What a joke!
In fact, Guyana has a unique situation where the persons who accompany you to the airport to bid you goodbye have to be peering through a glass window because they are not allowed inside the terminal – the only airport in the world where this happens. The terminal is like a large prison with the passengers inside and everyone else outside peering in.
Yet there is enormous space available to make the check-in area larger and to allow friends and relatives to spend some time with their loved ones after checking-in.
Guyana has excellent physical facilities at its airport, facilities that are amongst the best in the Caribbean. The airport is also properly maintained. However, the systems of processing passengers are primitive and pale in comparison to what obtains in other Caribbean countries. To say that the system is arduous would be misleading. A better word to describe our airport system is backward.
By Stabroek staff
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
President Bharrat Jagdeo is of the view that crime in the region cannot be solved by crafting regional organizations and is suggesting that the place where there will be greater impact on crime is in the domestic jurisdiction.
After refusing free help from the UK to protect the nation, Jagdeo once again does not want foreigners to be able to examine the security apparatus his PPP government have in place, why is this?
Maybe if foreigners are involved people linked to the PPP would not get away with crimes against the nation and the Guyanese public. Cases like those involving Manniram Prashad’s son Navin Prashad will not disappear, proper police investigations would take place in the cases like those involving Donald Ramotar’s son Alexei Ramotar, or that of Office of the president Nanda Gopal, or Minister Kellawan Lall rum shop fiasco. The Phantom Squad murders, the Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan fiasco, the Minister Clement Rohee refugee scandal.
Murder rate thrice as high compared to United States – 2011 Crime and Safety Report
– Drug trafficking poses biggest challenge to local law enforcement
The murder rate in Guyana is three-times higher than the murder rate in the United States and criminal activity in the capital city of Georgetown continues to increase, particularly violent crimes against people and property.
These were the findings of the Guyana 2011 Crime and Safety report which was complied as United States Department.
The report noted that foreigners, in general, are viewed as targets of opportunity. Serious crime, including murder and armed robbery, continues to be a major problem.
According to 2010 crime statistics the report noted that there were approximately 710 incidents reported to the Regional Security Office (RSO), of which there were 140 murders, 108 shooting incidents, and 143 armed robberies.
The report recommended that U.S. citizens maintain a high level of vigilance, consider security issues when planning activities throughout Guyana, and avoid traveling at night, when possible.
Armed robberies continue to occur intermittently, especially in major businesses and shopping districts. Criminals may act brazenly, and police officers themselves have been the victims of assaults and shootings.
“Vehicle thefts are common any time of the day or night. Vehicle occupants should keep their doors locked, never leave items in plain sight, and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Robbery and vehicle theft occur with some frequency in Georgetown and New Amsterdam (Guyana’s second largest city).
“After dark, it is highly advisable not to walk or bike and only drive from venue to venue. Residential burglaries are less common when homes have guards who pose a deterrent to would-be thieves,” the Guyana 2011 Crime and Safety report stated.
According to the report, criminals are frequently armed and appear to be able to obtain weapons with ease, despite the arduous licensing requirements for the average person. Handguns, knives, and machetes or “cutlasses” are the weapons of choice.
Drug trafficking organizations are prevalent and pose the biggest challenge to local law enforcement in Georgetown. Airport security and customs officials are detaining and arresting individuals on a weekly basis as these try to smuggle drugs out of Guyana into the United States.
Apprehensions of drug “mules,” often U.S. citizens perceived to be able to travel easily with their U.S. passport, have also increased this past year.
The report further underscored that armed robberies of business/patron establishments are becoming increasingly common in Georgetown. Criminals are usually organized, travel in groups of two or more and conduct surveillance on their victims.
The limited police presence in most areas is largely ineffective in preventing crime.
“Local police in Guyana have resource and manpower limitations that inhibit their ability to deter or respond to criminal activity. Police patrols are rare or nonexistent. There is an emergency telephone number “911” for police, fire, or rescue.
The fire department generally provides a timely response, while a police response, especially during the night is less dependable. The police response to emergency calls is often too slow (15 minutes or longer). When the police do respond, they have a limited amount of authority to act on their part, and at times attempt to solicit bribes, as officers are not compensated well,” the report stated.
According to a Jamaica Customs Department official, the five were detained at the wharves after the contraband was discovered shortly after 6:00 am on a vessel en route to the United States from Guyana.
“It was about 13 parcels of cocaine,” the customs official told the Observer. The packages, said the spokesman, were sent to the Transnational Crimes and Narcotics Division where detectives were questioning the five suspects.