The World Bank Group and the Government of Liberian (GOL) have signed a US$115 million additional financing grant in support of the Ebola Emergency Response Project (EERP) for Liberia. The money will go directly to the health sector in support of Liberia
Dear Editor,Conflicting statements emanating from the Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs about fraud in the Remigrant Concession Scheme are a source of much confusion. Mr Statia of the GRA alleges that one-in-three applications is fraudulent (https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2018/08/24/scams-involving-re-migrants-gone-from-bad-to-worse/) whilst Minister Greenidge asserts, “Our records do not suggest that you have had any dramatic infringements, primarily because we at Foreign Affairs, in defining re-migrants, do not go outside the law,” (http://dpi.gov.gy/minister-greenidge-sheds-light-on-remigrants-process/) .Editor, I have no cause to doubt the Honourable Minister, and it is clear from reading the statements of Mr Statia that his agenda is to make or influence Government policy.“Mr Statia said he is a proponent of tax credits being applied in Guyana…They are simple and easier to administer.” So here we have a public officer attempting to make policy when his job description clearly directs him to execute the policies of the Administration. This, Editor, is caused by the lack of clear policy from the APNU+AFC Administration. This situation prevails in every aspect of the Granger Administration. What is the policy on Culture? Sport? Job creation? Welfare? Immigration? Education?In the absence of written policy, one usually relies on pronouncements from the President and members of the Cabinet. In this case, they all too often seem unaware of each other’s thoughts and/or actions.It has been over three years of patent mismanagement, policy questions keep piling up; Cabinet entertained a Minister’s presentation of an ‘unsolicited’ approach, then approved the Minister’s direction of the C.E.O of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Company to hand over $161 million dollars without knowledge or approval of the company board. Is this a new policy? Why is Conservation International involved in Guyana’s Sovereign Wealth Fund consultations? What is the policy basis for such a decision? The Venezuelan homestead in Region 1? Editor, I do hope these examples provoke thought and discussion, as the complete list would be onerous.Editor, the other issue arising from the conflicting information is that the Commissioner General has provided patently false information to the public, according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Apart from a mild rebuttal of the GRA claim issued by the DPI, will any disciplinary action be taken against the Commissioner General? This will be an interesting policy decision. “Nature abhors a vacuum”…AristotleRespectfully,Robin Singh
Dear Editor,The Constitution of our country, as in every other democracy, is a body of fundamental principles or established precedents by which we have all agreed to be governed.It is a body of laws that set the standard for every facet of our lives and it is not to be trifled with nor be picked apart piecemeal to accommodate partisan whims and fancies.A Constitution is the cornerstone of every principled democracy and allows for parliamentarians to vote their conscience. This ruling is fundamental to a democratic state and is considered a normal piece of business in true democracies where legislators are not threatened with compliance to party policies. If lawmakers in Guyana have to toe the party line, the country would in essence regress to being a dictatorship as during the PNC’s previous time in office.With regard to the current impasse following the successful passage of last December’s No-Confidence Motion, several letter writers continue to advance arguments for compromise and for interpretations of the law that favour partisan views and are clearly unconstitutional. While democratic governance encourages debate, discussion and compromise, the decisions taken at the end of the day always have to comply with the rule of law which is inviolable and assures fairness and justice for everyone involved.The Constitution was crafted for just such contentious times when the country stands divided and steadying the ship means holding fast to the rules that have been agreed to and which guarantee the rights and privileges of every single citizen without fear or favour.It provides a clear path through the obstructions and partisan views being thrown in its way and as Guyana still awaits long-overdue elections, it is crucial that the newly appointed GECOM Chair Justice Claudette Singh acts to protect and guarantee the constitutional right of the electorate to participate in free and fair elections which will, in turn, ensure our continued status as a democracy.Sincerely,Ryhaan Shah
Dear Editor,A recent article in the media stated that, “…a 15-year-old girl who attempted to take her own life has been placed in the National Psychiatric Hospital. She was reportedly placed there with only a piece of sponge to sleep on, which she said is smelly and the surroundings are unsanitary and inhumane. According to the teenager, she attempted to take her own life on numerous occasions because she was sexually molested but relatives did nothing to help her”.This article raises a number of critical issues. Firstly, given that the young lady is alleging rape, should the case not have immediately been handed over to the Childcare and Protection Agency, since she’s a minor and it is well known that rape is often a catalyst for suicide attempts? Are there any protocols in this regard? If so, should the Police and the psychologists/psychiatrists at the National Psychiatric Institution not be aware of these protocols? Can the CPA and Ms Ann Greene please, please enlighten us whether there are any protocols in this regard that relate to the role of the CPA?Secondly, while the Police got the child placed on a suicide watch, it seems that they did absolutely nothing regarding her allegations of sexual abuse? Were they not supposed to first take her to a medical facility to get her tested with a rape kit? This begs the questions as to whether appropriate training has been—or is being— provided to the Police in this regard.Third, here is a case of attempted suicide leading to the arrest of a child, reinforcing the critical need to decriminalise suicide. In fact, it is well known by now that this would already have been done but for political grandstanding. Meanwhile, Guyanese are still waiting on the current Government to act on a promise made more than a year after it voted in Parliament against decriminalisation of suicide.Fourth, placing that child under those alleged conditions at the National Psychiatric Institution will only worsen her mental condition. It has been common knowledge for years that this institution needs large-scale renovation and upgrading. Does the law about placing individuals on suicide watch apply to minors as well? Is the child being offered counselling therapy and other needed interventions?All of this raises the issue of the child’s human rights, which seemed to have been violated by both the Police and the National Psychiatric Institution. But perhaps the very critical issue also is the parents’ role in all of this. Did they ever seek counselling for the child after that first suicide attempt? Did they ever take measures to determine whether the allegations of sexual abuse are true? Sexual abuse activists and advocates all agree that once an allegation is made, parents and caregivers must first accept that it is true and immediately act on it.Meanwhile, there is urgent need for the rape allegation to be investigated since, for if it is found to be true, such information could be very revealing as it relates to actions by the family and the Police respectively. As well, while this specific case has reached the public domain, The Caribbean Voice is aware of numerous other cases of sexual abuse/incest by family members that are swept under the carpet as the age-old ‘need to protect family honour’ is now compounded by other family members going into denial when victims reveal their abuse and occasionally mothers as wives preferring to ‘hold on’ to their husbands who are the abusive step-fathers and so will either do nothing about the allegations or will further abuse the victims physically, emotionally, verbally and/or financially.Sincerely,The Caribbean Voice
A family is pleading for the return of their 19-year-old son who has been missing since Wednesday morning.Harris Anthony Persaud, of 21 Granny Field, Cane Grove, East Coast Demerara (ECD), was last seen by his family about 07:30h Wednesday , and has not been seen or heard from since. TheMissing: Harris Anthony Persaudyoung man left home with the intent of attending classes at the University of Guyana (UG), where he is a second-year civil engineering student. He left home dressed in black jeans, a blue shirt and a black tie.The teenager’s mother related that he left home and went to classes at UG. She noted that according to information gathered from questioning his classmates, Persaud told his friends that he would be heading to work at H Nauth and Sons Construction Company, where he is a part-time employee. However, his employer revealed that the young man approached him and told him that he would have to attend evening classes and, as such, he would not be able to work.Persaud’s mother related that as far as the family was aware, he has no conflicts with anyone. She also stated that it was not like him to stay away from home for long periods, especially without informing someone.“He’s my only son, my eldest child and my baby,” the worried mother related. She revealed that her husband has been out searching for the young man since 04:00h Thursday. They are pleading with members of the public to assist them in finding the young man, or to share any information on the young man’s whereabouts with them.Anyone with information concerning Persaud’s whereabouts is asked to contact 678-6590, 257-0129, or the nearest Police Station.
A 28-year-old Venezuelan woman who was sobbing uncontrollably before Magistrate Leron Daly at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts, was on Tuesday jailed for three years after pleading guilty to a possession of ammunition charge.Paz Osmarlyn Siso PiňoPaz Osmarlyn Siso Piňo admitted to the court that on August 2, 2016, at Aurora Mountain Top, Essequibo, she had in her possession 10 live .38 rounds of ammunition without being the holder of a firearm licence.The prosecution’s case revealed that Police ranks, acting upon information, conducted a search on the defendant and discovered the ammunition.An immigration officer acted as a translator in the case for the defendant when she appeared in court on Tuesday.Despite her guilty plea, she kept proclaiming her innocence throughout the matter which prompted the Magistrate to question her understanding of the charge and plea.On this note the charge was read to her a second time and she was also allowed to plea for a second time. Before she could have pleaded the second time, after listening to the charge, which was translated by the immigration officer, she enquired what the consequences of the guilty plea were. It was due to her enquiries that Magistrate Daly believed the defendant was fully cognisant of the allegations made against her and continued with her ruling.
The Bank of Montreal is the latest international organisation to provide assistance for the development of Guyana’s oil and gas industry. The Bank delivered a presentation on the possible financial impacts of the promising industry to members of the subcommittee on oil and gas and stakeholder Ministers on Wednesday at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown. According to Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman, the Bank of Montreal had reached out to Guyana because, “Guyana’s find of oil is considered one of the best in the world right now.”“The Bank of Montreal had reached out to Guyana about two months ago asking to be able to give a presentation on the financial side of the oil and gas industry, the ups and downs of the market, financial services that are available,” Trotman said.This year, ExxonMobil’s Liza-2 offshore exploration found high propensity sandstone reservoirs that could produce more than 1.4 billion barrels of recoverable high quality oil. It is estimated that within the next five to seven years Guyana could begin producing this oil. Since the discovery, several other organisations and countries, including the US and Norway have offered their assistance to Guyana towards the development of an effective oil and gas industry.Trotman, who has oversight responsibility for the natural resources sector, said a number of initiatives will be unfolding. “Next month we’re going to be having a workshop on the financial part of it and so developments are taking place, we are working in finalising legislation and honing our efforts,” the Minister said.According to Trotman, the Government is also working to ensure that when the industry comes on board, it honours its social responsibility. “The Ministry is also developing a corporate social responsibility programme which will look at leadership and mentoring for youth so that the idea is to prepare and present a next generation of leaders for Guyana,” Minister Trotman said.Guyana has been receiving sustained international attention from huge companies, especially in the oil sector. The US Geological Survey said in 2000 that the Guyana-Suriname Basin has the second largest unexplored oil potential in the world after Greenland. Guyana first struck oil in the 1980s in the Takutu Basin and there is much optimism that oil will be found in commercial quantities. ExxonMobil has joined other investors such as CGX Energy, Repsol, Anadarko Guyana Co, and Nabi Oil and Gas in exploring oil in Guyana’s offshore Atlantic basin.
The Supreme Court of Liberia has finally given its verdict on whether or not the nation should hold the special senatorial election. The Court agreed, in a vote of three to two, that the elections should proceed.The petitioners, who asked the Court to postpone the special elections, argued that holding this election could lead to further Ebola viral transmission and threaten the people’s lives. But in its ruling last Friday, the Court said the Ebola issue is a political one, to be decided by the first two branches of government—the Legislative and Executive. The High Court has said exactly what the Daily Observer argued in its Editorial last Monday, December 8: “We pray that the court will find a way to mitigate (ease) the tension, by first realizing that the elections have been approved by the two other branches of government [Legislative and Executive]; and by suggesting ways in which the threat of viral transmission can be minimized.”In its ruling, the Supreme Court reminded the petitioners that the Liberian Constitution allows for the “separation of powers” between the three branches of government,” with each having its separate and distinct functions. It is purely judicial matters that have been reserved for the Judiciary, and these are matters upon which the two other branches dare not encroach. By the same token, matters political are the exclusive preserve of the Legislative and Executive branches of government. Chief Justice Korkpor and his colleagues on the bench agreed that Ebola and all the constraints and restraints that go with it are purely political, and belong to the two political branches of the Liberian government—not the Judiciary.We think it is commendable that the eminent citizens and their fellow petitioners had the courage and commitment to the safety of their fellow Liberians to try the strength of their conviction at the highest judicial level, the full bench of the Supreme Court. This was perfectly within their constitutional rights to do.Now that the High Court has ruled that the elections may go ahead, the ball is back in the court of the Legislature and the Executive, and most particularly its electoral arm, the National Elections Commission (NEC).It is the nation’s good fortune that the President has requested, and the Legislature has consented, that they remain in session for at least another week to handle matters relating to oil blocks which have been recently negotiated. Once the Legislators return to the Capitol today (Monday), the President, through her emissaries, NEC Chair Jerome Korkoyah included, should approach the Legislature and together come up with and agree on some guidelines on how the risk of viral transmission can be MINIMIZED as Liberians participate in the electoral process.We believe that massive campaigns are definitely out of the question. NEC should in no uncertain terms tell the political parties and senatorial candidates that massive street demonstrations, parades and rallies and threaten the health of the nation. Two primary considerations must be stressed here: first, Ebola is real, it kills and is very easy to spread, especially through close personal contact. Second, the international community has so far spent billions of dollars helping us to contain and eradicate the virus from our shores. This massive effort and expenditure of human and financial resources to fight the deadly Ebola virus must not be jeopardized for any non-life threatening reason, politics included.As we proceed with these elections on December 20, it is imperative that we help ourselves by doing everything possible to restrain the virus, especially preventing bodily contact which is highly unavoidable during mass rallies such as we witnessed recently. The Legislature and Executive can and must show the way forward.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
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The celebration of the end of Ramadan in Greenville, Sinoe County nearly turned into a funeral when a bloody motorcycle accident occurred, involving three Muslim children and an adult – a female.Two motorcycles collided in Panama, Kpanyan District about fifteen minutes ride from Greenville.A female adult passenger sustained severe injury to her legs while the three Muslim children had relatively minor injuries.Scores of people from the Muslim Community, especially the women who visited the hospital, were seen with their prayer beads, muttering the name of “Allah” – most certainly thanking God or “Allah” for sparing the lives of the victims.According to motorbike rider Karnu Jalloh, 15, they were celebrating the end-of-the-Ramadan riding on the bike when the other motorcyclist drove into his bike which had his brother and a friend.Most of the Muslims were “decently and beautifully dressed.” Families are usually in uniform (dressed alike).Mr. Mohammed Sow, a member of the Fulah community, said the survival of their children is an indication that “Allah has answered our prayers and we are happy.”According to medical reports, the three children were discharged, but the driver and the female passenger have been hospitalized and responding to treatment.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)