Dear Editor,Leadership is one of the first characteristics that people think of when they consider the role of a presidential candidate. It is evident that voters within the central committee of the PPP used leadership as the most important factor in choosing a presidential candidate and of course the popularity of the candidate among the central committee is highly dependent in influencing the outcome of the presidential candidate.The PPP in choosing Irfaan Ali as their presidential candidate has indeed elevated a leader from among various other leaders.While it is not easy to have yourself scrutinised, criticised and sometimes even brutalized, you have to show great courage and that was a key factor that made Cde Mohamed Irfaan Ali emerge as the PPP presidential candidate.Personality, character, intelligence, integrity, patience, tolerance, coupled with a combination of experience and personal achievements is the trademark in making Cde Irfaan Ali the party choice.While Cde Irfaan Ali has an excellent track record, we need to focus on some of the achievements that were made under his stewardship and then people can understand why he was chosen by the leadership of the PPP. He:– lifted thousands of families out of poverty– provided security of tenure for thousands of poor and working people-opened the doors for thousands of people to access loans who were excluded before due to poverty.– increased the percentage of women in property ownership and independence– provided safe and clean accommodation for families– made clean potable water and electricity to about 90 per cent accessible– created new communities that are mixed ethnically, unlike the past– provided access to goods and services in new housing schemes eg schools, health centres etc– gave access to land in the schemes for houses of worship and playgrounds– created a boom in the construction sector that contributes over 22.6 per cent of economic growth– created 5000 jobs in the housing and construction sector– expanded the tax basis for the local governing bodies with new schemes– encouraged the creation of new community-based organisations.There is no doubt that the presidential candidate would enhance the PPP/C at the next election. Let me close by saying that “New ideas are driven by brave people willing to step into the arena rather than commentating from the sidelines “.Regards,Zamal Hussain
Dear Editor,The very essential, much-touted and long-awaited minibus Code of Conduct has finally become a reality. The travelling public which mainly consists of the working class and school children, who can afford no other means of transportation and who regularly use these buses is eagerly awaiting to see if the code is going to serve the purpose for which it was intended.The hooliganism, bullyism and downright lawlessness which was allowed to become so entrenched must come to an end. It can only happen with the support of the Minibus Union, the owners, the drivers, the conductors, the commuters and of course the police. The court would also have an important role to play. For this Code of Conduct to bring the much-needed relief from this aggressive and hostile behaviour pattern displayed by many drivers and conductors.Yes, there are some buses in which both drivers and conductors are very polite, and they also adhere to the laws as it relates to the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act, Chapter 51:02.Many or most of them need to understand that they need the commuters just as much as the commuters need them.Sincerely,Archie W Cordis
Dear Editor,Now that the Americans have spoken that they want “free, fair and peaceful” elections, I am breathing a little easier. There are still many challenges, and inimically, the most crucial ones will be devised by GECOM itself. However, it is not going to be an easy feat to rig an election under the noses of the Americans in this day and age. Granger, therefore, knows his best bet is to delay and obstruct as long as possible.Granger’s Government’s refusal to head to the polls and their violation of the Constitution, co-opting of GECOM and the Courts in the process, has not won them any friends. In fact, it has done the exact opposite. The international community, barring Caricom, is beginning to show signs of fatigue with this caretaker Government. And who can blame them? It is exceedingly tedious to sit and listen to the lame excuses being proffered every day.Caricom has chosen to remain silent and steadfast behind Granger even as he continues to violate the rule of law and the rights of citizens. Guyanese will now go to the polls a full 437 days after the Government was defeated in Parliament by the No-Confidence Motion, which was held on December 21, 2018. In effect, future use of no-confidence votes, as a democratic tool, has been irreparably compromised by this obscene precedent. The CCJ is partly to blame and Caricom’s silence, in spite of all this, shows its unprofessionalism and bias.It is my personal belief that going forward, Guyana needs to distance itself from Caricom and its organs, including the CCJ. This country is going to be a major oil producer and should, therefore, align itself with similar states so as to enjoy better trade deals and with those demonstrating strong democratic credentials. The time has come for Guyana to forge stronger relations with North America and with its friendly South American counterparts. Caricom is baggage and should be treated as such.Sincerely,Ravi Ram
Chopping to death of Mahaica farmer– no chance of parole until 2041By Ahreefa BacchusDhupaul Singh, called “Tailor Man”, of Helena Number Two, Mahaica, East Coast Demerara, who was on trial before Justice Jo-Ann Barlow and a mixed 12-member jury for murdering a Mahaica farmer, was on Monday sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole until 2041.The trial commenced last Wednesday and both the prosecution and defence closed their cases on Friday. On Monday, after almost two hours of deliberation, the jury delivered a unanimous verdict of guilty. After the verdict was delivered, the Judge handed down the life sentence, telling the defendant that he had no chance of parole until he had served 25 years in prison.The charge had alleged that on September 2, 2014, at Helena Number Two, the defendant murdered Balkissoon, also known as “Balkay”. The accused was represented by Attorney Madan Kissoon, while the State was represented by Attorneys Siand Dhurjon and Shawnette Austin.During the Preliminary Inquiry at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court, it was revealed that Singh, a known drug addict, reportedly confessed to chopping the 52-year-old farmer of Lot 107 Helena Number Two on his neck. The man succumbed to his injuries shortly after the incident. Investigators thought that it was premeditated murder, since earlier in the day, the farmer warned the suspect to leave his premises. Singh reportedly left but staked out the man’s farm.Balkissoon later reportedly left for lunch and it was while he was on his way back to the farm, he was attacked and killed. Moments before the chopping incident, the suspect was also chased from another farm. On Thursday, two Police witnesses gave their testimonies at the High Court, and the key witness testified to seeing the entire incident. Satesh Ramdhani, a friend of the victim’s son, related that on the day of the incident, he was on the farm where the chopping incident took place. He gave a detailed account of what transpired. Additionally, the dead man’s sons, Ravi and Hemchand Balkissoon, gave testimony along with three Police Witnesses.On Friday, the defence presented and closed their case. The defendant, in his statement to the court claimed self-defence, saying “He fire a chop on me and I fire one back on he”. Defence Attorney Kissoon, in his closing address to the jury, pointed out several inconsistencies in witnesses’ testimonies. He suggested that the dead man’s sons and the eyewitness corroborated their stories so as to exact revenge on the defendant. He also stated that his client acted in self-defence after he was attacked by Balkissoon. However, Prosecutor Dhurjon refuted this, saying that the Defence Counsel was pointing out these alleged inconsistencies to distract the jury from the heart of the matter, that is, Singh brutally murdered Balkissoon. He highlighted the defendant’s statement where he said he and Balkissoon never had any disputes or altercations, but on that day he was acting in self-defence after the now dead man attacked him.
A taxi driver was on Monday remanded to prison after being arraigned with the murder of Simone Hackett,Ranachal Singhwhose body was found in a trench at Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown, with several stab wounds.Ranachal Singh, 31, of Lot 7 Good Faith, Mahaicony, was not required to plead to the charge which stated that between April 16 and 19, at Cummings Lodge, he murdered Hackett. The taxi driver’s vehicle was allegedly used to transport Hackett’s ex-boyfriend to and from the scene of the murder.Singh appeared before Magistrate Zamina Ally at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court, and the matter was adjourned to May 18.Clevon Hamilton was also arraigned for the heinous crime at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court last Friday. According to reports, Hamilton contacted the now dead woman and instructed her to collect a package for their son from a friend at the University of Guyana (UG) Access Road. The woman went to the location only to see Hamilton instead of the friend.The prosecution told the Court that the suspect admitted to the crime during interrogation.It was reported that the mother of one left home on Saturday evening about 20:30h to uplift the package, but never returned home. Her body was discovered in a trench among the vegetation by two schoolboys on their way to school.Hours after the discovery, the Police arrested Hamilton in Mahdia, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni).He told investigators that he travelled to Georgetown on Saturday, and stayed at a city hotel. On the night the woman went missing, he contacted Singh who collected him from the hotel and dropped him off at the bus shed where he met the woman. At the time, he was carrying a haversack in which the murder weapon was concealed.Hamilton admitted that during an argument, he choked the woman after which he pulled out the knife and inflicted the fatal injuries. He then tossed the body into the trench, got rid of the murder weapon, boarded Singh’s taxi and travelled back to Mahdia.The car that was used to transport the murder suspect to Mahdia was found abandoned in a bushy area in the mining district. During an inspection of the car, blood stains were found on the seats.It is believed that after stabbing the woman, Hamilton boarded that vehicle with blood on his clothing.
Several major access roads in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) are slated for rehabilitation, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson said on Saturday.He said some 9 million has been set aside for works on “miscellaneous” roads for 2016 and million for urban roads across the Region.The Minister, while unable to list every street slated for repair, named streets in Number 67 Village, Clifton Settlement, Palmyra, Williamsburg, Rose Hall and all Corentyne communities. He also identified specifically Middle Walk Access Road, John Hope Street; David, St George’s and Wallace Streets in Canje and Chapel Street and the ‘NIS’ Street, in New Amsterdam.Patterson said he has already met with New Amsterdam Mayor Kurt Wynter, who has given his priority list for the town, and would be doing the same with the Mayors of the various towns, including Corriverton and Rose Hall to get their priorities for 2017.Meanwhile, addressing the flood situation over in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), Patterson said that while the drainage situation was under the purview of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), he has been helping around the country since he could not stand back and see persons suffer. He said he visited the area earlier this month, and was working with the NDIA to alleviate the situation.
A 20-year-old Lindener was placed on 0,000 bail when he appeared at the Linden Magistrate’s Court to answer to a charge of causing death by dangerous driving.Deceased: Michael FoxCleon Nicholas, of Lot 1568 Central Amelia’s Ward, Mackenzie, Linden, appeared before Magistrate Clive Nurse. The prosecution is contending that on June 3, Nicholas drove the motor car bearing licence plate number PTT 2372 along the Amelia’s Ward Public Road in a manner dangerous to the public, thereby causing the death of Michael Fox.Nicholas has, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge. Fox was killed when the unregistered CBR motorcycle he was riding at the time slammed into the right end of the car’s trunk.
The funeral of Ramnarine Itwaru was held on Sunday, and while the family are still trying to come to grips with what happened, they now fear for their safety.Following the discovery of the body of Itwaru called “Bill”, 38, of Lot 84 Gangaram, Canje, who was found on a dam in the cane field at Speculation, East Canje, on Tuesday, with multiple gunshot wounds, police arrested two men, Ramadolar Shamdundar also called ‘Arnold’, 38, and Diaram also called ‘Bouy’ 46 but he was subsequently released on Friday morning.The dead man’s wife, Rosie Hemraj is convinced that one of the suspects held was responsible for her husband’s death. She claimed to Guyana Times that some time before the shooting, Itwaru and ‘Arnold’ were involved in an argument, during which ‘Arnold’ allegedly threated Itwaru, saying, “I gon done yuh”. The woman said she now fears retaliation.On Thursday evening police from the Major Crimes Unit (MCU), arrived in Berbice to take over the investigation after Shamdundar gave conflicting statements to investigators.Initially he told investigators that he heard gunshots and saw when Diaram was coming out of the backdam. That story was changed with the suspect saying that he did not see Diaram. He has also given investigators conflicting times when he left the backdam.Diaram, a fisherman, reported to residents at Gangaram that there was an accident and a man was lying on the dam next to his motor bicycle.When villagers arrived they discovered the body had what appeared to be gunshot wounds.Itwaru was shot four times including once to the head.Police were able to recover four .38 spent shells and one war-head from the scene.The MCU is continuing to probe. They are working on a theory that Itwaru was shot over a disputed plot of land situated at Gangaram.
BFF’s Augustine ArkoiThe president of the Better Future Foundation, BFF, Rev. Augustine Arkoi, says the abrupt imposition of a State of Emergency by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the fight against Ebola without any visible containment plan has the potential to cause not only increased economic hardship, but also panic among Liberians.Rev. Arkoi said such containment plan should, among other things, guarantee that health workers including doctors and nurses as well as hospitals and clinics that are in the vanguard in the fight against the deadly and incurable Ebola disease in Liberia are provided basic preventive needs and much needed support. “When our doctors and nurses are not fully protected from being victimized by Ebola for lack of the necessary professional tools, specialized training and motivation for their sacrifices, the currently reactionary approach by the government, including the imposition of the 90-Day State of Emergency, would have little or no tangible positive impact in the war against Ebola,” the BFF president maintained.Rev. Arkoi also expressed disdain that the State of Emergency was imposed by the government without consultation with civil society and other stakeholders relative to its socioeconomic implications on the vast majority of the Liberian people.He asserted that rather than imposing a State of Emergency, leading to the militarization of local communities, coupled with its potential infringement on civil liberties, it would have been more prudent for the Liberian government to remain collaborative with its partners and the entire citizenry in sustaining the massive public awareness and education campaign in the country, bordering on how the deadly Ebola disease can be contracted as well as its preventive methods.Rev. Arkoi: “Government alone cannot win the war against Ebola. It needs coordinated efforts and solidarity of all,” he stressed.According to the BFF boss, owing to the imposition of the current State of Emergency without prior public awareness, farming and other commercial activities have been disrupted, while farm produce destined for the market are being subjected to rot along the country’ highways as their owners have no access to the market.“The situation,” he added, “is being compounded by the daily skyrocketing of prices of basic commodities.”“Indeed, it has reached a point where ordinary citizens who live below US $1.00 a day cannot afford the costs of basic commodities,” said the BFF President.He also made reference to the recent order to commercial banks by the Central Bank of Liberia to close for three days without creating the necessary public awareness.Rev. Arkoi observed that CBL took such measure at a time when individuals and institutions were struggling to have access to funds in order to respond to some of the emergency problems created by the Ebola outbreak in the country.At the same time, Rev. Arkoi acknowledged that Ebola is real and that the virus exists in the Liberian nation.In this direction, he underscored the need for the Government of Liberia, civil society organizations and other institutions involved in the ongoing Ebola awareness campaign in the country also to make proper use of the various key points contained in the recently issued Ebola Alert from the Center for Disease Control of the US Department of State and the World Health Organization. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Morocco has not withdrawn as host of the African Cup of Nations, the minister of information said on Thursday, denying reports that fears over the Ebola outbreak caused the country to give up the tournament.But Mustapha Khalfi, who was also the official government spokesman, said Morocco still wanted the event in January postponed because of the Ebola threat, forcing a conflict with organisers that may still see Africa’s top football tournament moved just three months before kickoff.The Confederation of African Football has insisted the January 17-February 8 African Cup must go ahead as planned on those dates, and repeated its stance on Thursday in a statement to The Associated Press.CAF has apparently reached out to at least two other countries to ask if they would step in at short-notice if Morocco refuses to host on the original dates.Ghana’s sports minister said on his official Facebook page that his country was approached to possibly host, and CAF also asked South Africa if it could be on standby, according to a CAF letter to the South African Football Association which was published in the South African media.Morocco feels large groups of football supporters and other travelers from West Africa – where Ebola has killed more than 4,500 people in its worst outbreak ever – would put it at risk.”There is no way we can be lenient with the health and safety of the Moroccan citizens,” Khalfi said at a government media briefing on Thursday, and repeating Morocco’s request for the cup to be postponed. He didn’t say when Morocco wanted it postponed to.Khalfi was repeating concerns expressed by Morocco’s health ministry, which originally advised Moroccan authorities to request a postponement from CAF.CAF has canceled all football in the three worst affected Ebola countries – Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone – until further notice, but says it is following the advice of the World Health Organisation that travel bans will not help curtail the outbreak.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)