Aqua Dolls/Babes pool party for Aracari resortAqua Dolls/Babes pool party for Aracari resort

first_imgKAST Talent Management proudly presents its first ever bikini pool party called “Aqua Dolls/Babes” this evening at the Aracari Resort, Versailles, West Bank Demerara.Come out and be a part of the most innovative party concept; come out in your colorful bikinis and swimwear and rock to the amazing sounds of Mix Master Tony.Don’t forget their main feature performance by Guyanese local sensation Esan Benzy as he sets fire to the stage with his hit single “OOOUUU” remix and of course get to mingle with the sexy KAST models as they make this an event to be remembered.Admission to the event costs $1000 and an additional $500 will be charged to use the pool. Gates open at 17:00h. This is one event you don’t want to miss.last_img

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Prince JP releases “De Same Gyal” todayPrince JP releases “De Same Gyal” today

first_imgFormer Guyanese chutney king, Prince JP is set to release his brand new single titled “De Same Gyal” today on 89.5FM with WR Reaz and Selector Andy at 14:00h. The father of one has not let anything hamper his passion for music and will continue to record songs in the US to keep his Guyanese fans entertained.This new song was written by the young heartthrob and was produced in Professor Bounty Target Studio in Trinidad and Tobago. Apart from being released on 89.5FM, it will also be released on Fire Fest 101 Rush in Queens New York at 19:00h.The song tells the story of a boy who is always talking ill things about a girl but he ends up falling in love with her and ultimately proposes.The young man was described as immature and one with a “big mouth”. It also relates to many young guys out there who cannot keep things to themselves.In an interview with Guyana Times Entertainment, the young artiste said “If a boy gets a kiss from a girl, he has to tell everyone… if she sends him a photo, he has to show Tom, Dick and Harry”.This song will also be available on YouTube and on social media, especially on his Instagram page. Persons can follow him on to prince_jp_pharous and on Facebook.last_img read more

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Hypocrites…Hypocrites…

first_img…in financeYour Eyewitness just can’t get these revelations from the Panama Papers out of his mind. No…not the US-30 TRILLION that’s supposedly squirrelled away from the taxmen of the world. Not the shadowy law firms from London to Timbuktu that ran the scam. What gets him is the hypocrisy of the leaders of the developed world who routinely beat us Third Worlders over the head about our “greed, avarice and lack of civic pride” that supposedly keeps us underdeveloped.Fact of the matter is that the US Trillion (let’s split the guesstimate down the line, shall we?) that’s siphoned off from the world’s tax system hurts us all – including the poor of the developed country. How many times haven’t we heard the collapse of the developed western economies in 2008 precipitated our own economic slowdown? Can’t sell our primary products. Well, it’s the financialisation of those economics that put those trillions in the pockets of their one per cent.And taken us all beyond the business downturns Marx predicted as profits are sucked out of the economy. Those profits were supposed to be reinvested. But in the off-shore tax havens like Panama – and even our own Barbados and Cayman Islands – the SUPER-PROFITS now generated are just sucked out of the system entirely! They might’ve as well gone into a black hole to reappear in some other universe. Which is where the banks behind it all are located.And we return to these worthies who’re greedy enough to have their own people go homeless (NINJA mortgages, anyone?) yet have the temerity to lecture us about probity and such like. And we return to David Cameron – who after being outed in the Panama Papers finally admitted he cashed in his tax-evaded loot inherited from his father. Cameron who lectured his own people about “fiscal constraints” and “need to tighten belts” as their recession kicked in. And of course announced in Jamaica that reparations are a no-go and we have to just work harder!That the Chinese leaders are tax evading with the best in the Panama Papers shouldn’t surprise us. Along with the western businessmen establishing all those factories in China to fill the shelves of WalMart, would’ve been the lawyers to educate them on the wonders of tax evasion. In a scene in Godfather 2, Michael Corleone is castigated by a Nevada Senator for being a “Guinea wop” involved in criminal activities. And the new Godfather simply reminds the “upstanding” WASP representative of the American establishment that the two of them aren’t really that different.It’s just that the hypocritical establishment has the power to dub their illegal activity “legal”!!…on political investmentsIt would appear that the doctrine of “political investment” – adumbrated by Raphael Trotman doesn’t apply to Joseph Harmon. The said doctrine promulgated the notion that campaign contributors to political parties view their action as “investments” which obviously must deliver a dividend to justify the outlay.It all came about after Minister of National Security and Vice President Khemraj Ramjattan bigged up his businessman friend, for funding the AFC’s headquarters – just as he’d bid for billions in Pharma supplies to the state and also was awaiting an approval for a power purchase agreement from GPL for electricity from a proposed wind farm.While pro quid quos had long been suspected in the new coalition Government – witness the murmurs on the case of the Specialty Hospital involving the same Ramjattan and one Fedders Lloyd – it seems to be confined to the AFC wing.As Opp. Leader Jagdeo pointed out, Harmon’s been “slaughtered” while Trotman and Ramjattan’s riding pretty!Was this part of the Nassau Accord?…on LG interferenceWith the launching of three new towns – and one aborted due to “technical difficulties” – several new ones are evidently on the cards. And Pressie’s promised “no political interference”.Has he informed his power-drunk Minister of Communities, Bulkan?last_img read more

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Burnham is back!Burnham is back!

first_imgAnna CorreiaBasil Williams never figured among the brightest of the PNC scholars, but instead, is just another indoctrinated descendant of the late dictator Burnham, intent on applying Burnhamite methods to govern Guyana. And by Burnhamite methods, one understands racist and divisive tactics destined to favour party supporters and exclude anyone else. The mere fact that someone like Williams is allowed such high offices in the coalition, speaks to the PNC’s inability to reform itself into an inclusive government built on the principles of participatory democracy.As I’ve always maintained, if someone like Williams can be allowed to attack democracy in such an unrestrained manner as we’ve seen this past week, it is only because the President himself refuses to govern impartially over Guyana’s human diversities. The subsequent deterioration of the ethnic fissures since the APNU/AFC took over in 2015, is a reminder of the party’s heinous myopic agenda that blots out any potential of minority coalition parties, which technically serve no other purpose but to maintain the PNC in power. History repeated itself in the form of a coalition victory in 2015, teaching us that the PNC is nothing more than a self-serving parasite which can achieve nothing on its own, and is a herald of destruction and gloom. Whatever its nemesis the PPP builds, the PNC will try to destroy.We witnessed this with the PNC’s objection to the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project (AFHEP) drafted under Jagdeo’s LCDS Agreement, at a cost of some US$80 million of which not a cent would have been borne by taxpayers. The project aimed to provide up to 90 per cent of domestic energy and would have launched the industrialisation of our economy while stimulating growth. But in its usual backward Burnhamite mentality, the coalition came up with the idea of taxing citizens with a 14 per cent increase on GPL’s miserable services. Interestingly, all eyes are now riveted on the coalition to see its response to the Norad Final Report on the AFHEP, which recommends the implementation of the project through consultation with its architect, the PPP. A sure stab in the pride of the PNC.Almost as if unable to contain its thirst for vengeance, the AG last Thursday, December 29, by some obscure manipulation of the Law, decided that the lease on which is premised the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre (Red House) was invalid. In his spiteful haste, the unlearned AG didn’t take the time to realise that never is a lease signed by the President of Guyana.In my tenure as Project Manager for the Amerindian Land Titling Project, I have seen enough leases to attest to this. The President of Guyana on the contrary, signs on permanent ownership documents such as Titles.President Granger on Friday then ordered the eviction of the CJRC by Saturday, December 31, 2016. Several questions come to mind, especially since the extremely short lapse of time between the AG’s announcement and the President’s eviction notice, suggest that the entire process was a planned coup. The Government claims it attempted to negotiate with the Opposition, but in reality, what it wanted was to change the purpose of the establishment so that it would honour all former Presidents, particularly Burnham.If it really wanted to resolve this conflict, it would have negotiated to regularise whatever inconsistencies are associated with the lease. Instead, like the self-serving parasite that it is, it prefers to bulldoze its way to insult Jagan’s legacy and the will of Guyana’s largest electorate.The PNC’s disregard for democracy attained its climax when the Social Protection Minister herself, Volda Lawrence, led a group of brawling trouble-makers to disrupt the peaceful candle-light vigil held by the Opposition and its supporters in front of the CJRC on Friday night. In the typical aggressive, ratchet behaviour so characteristic of PNC mobs, verbal and physical assaults described the scene which ensued.Minister Lawrence by abusing the civil rights of the people, has permanently tarnished her own reputation which already finds little favour among the Guyanese civil society.With the videos of this tragic event going viral on social media, one can only expect to see more ethnic and political divisiveness among Guyanese. Among the slogans and invectives which sprung from the mouths of Lawrence’s counter-protesters, the name “Burnham” dominated.Burnham is indeed back. And his “visionary” ruthless ambitions have set the tone for 2017.last_img read more

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Mahadeo Panchu of KSM Investments: Revolutionising the concrete products sectorMahadeo Panchu of KSM Investments: Revolutionising the concrete products sector

first_imgThey crumble under the pressure of a finger, and sometimes disintegrate after heavy rainfall, as building owners and renters alike rage over the poor quality. Disgust over poor-quality concrete blocks that are more sand than concrete is a feeling that many Guyanese, including Mahadeo Panchu, know well, having wasted their money on shoddily made products. But Panchu with his KSM Investments Inc is aiming to change all that.“My business is a very unique one,” he says, “simply because there is none otherMahadeo Panchulike mine in Guyana or the Region. We have embarked on a mission to “revolutionise the concrete products sector in Guyana”. And, we are underway with that ‘revolution’. In this, the 21st Century, we see buildings being constructed with hollow blocks with as much as 97 per cent sand. This, I believe, is criminal. On the other hand, we have fellow Caricom nations trying to `recolonise’ us with their products, better than what we have been accustomed to in Guyana, but still very poor…“The fact is that I have spent many years in rice export and shipping, but took a leap into an area of business which was alien to me. I took the calculated risk of investing in my concrete products plant, because I saw a dire need for the type of world-class products we currently manufacture.”From its aptly chosen logo to its products, KSM Investments exudes an aura of solidity, strength, and permanence. And its lifetime guarantee makes that explicit. The concrete products manufacturing, import and distribution company offers cement, pavers, and vent and hollow blocks, all with the exception of the first engineered and proudly made in Guyana.Its brightly lit, beautifully designed sign and display rise boldly above the East Coast Demerara Highway drawing the eye to the huge factory at Plot “MP”, 8 Good Hope. Inside the modern, state-of-the-art factory – the only one of its kind in the Caribbean, fully-automated machines turn sifting, stone, industrial grade cement and white sand into Rock Solid Hollow Blocks, DuraLast Vent Blocks and EverLast Pavers, in a wide variety of designs and colours, for the wholesale and retail markets. They also produce curbstone and foundation blocks.As KSM’s satisfied customers have attested, the quality of the products is outstanding. These are no ‘sandcrete’ blocks. The company adds that there is no need to fill-in or plaster its blocks, which are four times as strong as machine blocks and won’t break or crumble easily while costing less. That’s good news for both home owners and contractors.Panchu, the Chairman and CEO of KSM Investments, started on his journey to provide the best concrete products in Guyana in 2013, pouring long hours and much investment into the company, which was officially launched on April 15, 2017, with actual production starting in November 2015.It was a long and rocky road, beset with labour challenges, power supply issues and a lack of Government support, for the veteran businessman, who initially wanted to start a state-of-the art rice mill. However, a business trip to Germany opened his eyes to the possibilities of a local concrete products plant.“On that trip, I saw the technology… I realised there and then that we needed to have such a facility in Guyana to raise the bar on concrete products in our country. I recognised then, that such a facility will be critical if we are to modernise and move our country forward.”After he visited several similar plants in Germany, China and Brazil, Panchu and his wife, Shanta, decided to go ahead and establish the company.In highlighting his main challenge, the entrepreneur stressed that “the Private Sector cannot operate its businesses in isolation of the State. If the Government (the chief spender in the economy) is not willing and committed to supporting initiatives such as mine, then does it make any sense investing in my country?”Seeing his blocks used throughout the country and on Government projects are among the many goals of this patriotic Guyanese, who pointed out that a few days ago, a $97 million monument project in Berbice came tumbling down owing to the poor quality of the “sand block”.The father of one posed some hard questions about the engineering and quality control shortfalls that continue to cost the country money.“When are we going to learn?” Panchu, who is very passionate about getting value for money, asked. The former student of Bygeval Secondary School and the University of Guyana, who grew up in De Hoop, Mahaica, ECD, learnt early the importance of discipline, hard work, and education.“We were poor, but … we had great parents and grandparents, whose collective focus was our education as the vehicle for poverty alleviation and for us to be independent.”Panchu’s English Literature teacher at Bygeval Secondary, Ms Audrey Payne from Buxton (now deceased), also played an important role in his destiny and his son, Arvind, whom he described as a great kid, continues to provide inspiration.Panchu, who said independence and self-alleviation from poverty were the other reasons why he started a business, advised budding entrepreneurs: If you are not prepared to make sacrifices, do not start your own business, as owning a business means working 24/7; the ladder of success can be the most difficult of all ladders to climb, so be prepared for sleepless nights and less family time, sometimes; and, you must be able to deal with stress.He added: “Guyana is on the threshold of a takeoff. This takeoff has been slowed done due to local economic pressures. This is not a long-term problem and I believe that in the not-too-distant future, economic progress will once again be accelerated in Guyana.”Like the company says: Think…Strength…Think…Value…Think…Quality…Think…Beauty.Contact: Plot “MP”, 8 Good Hope Public Road, East Coast Demerara; 220-7329; 691-1723;673-2297; ksminvestmentsinc@hotmail.com.last_img

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Locking the stable…Locking the stable…

first_img…after pharma boltedWhen they were in the Opposition, the PNC (which morphed into APNU with the fig-leaves of WPA et al) and the AFC bitched constantly about the procurement system for pharma under the PPP Government. Just because the NEW GPC used to snag the bulk of the bids. Never mind the system was established on the advice of the World Bank and the WHO that had worked for decades to come up with an efficient system for third world countries in this critical aspect of national life.The heart of the system was a pre-qualification process to ensure there were suppliers with the necessary cold-chain supply experience; refrigerated warehousing; financial bona fides to deal with reputable foreign suppliers in bulk amounts, etc. There was also a bonus for providing local employment – standard with Government contracts. Now any company could apply to be prequalified – and several did. The NEW GPC qualified along with one other local company and the mega international pharma suppliers – like IDA and PAHO – and still came out ahead!!APNU/AFC, however, denounced that arrangement as “sole sourcing” – ignoring the fact that becoming “pre-qualified” was a competitive process!! In their manifesto, they promised to “Provide full transparency and accountability in the procurement of pharmaceutical products.” So what happened after they got into office?? Well two years later – and one warehouse rental over which the Health Minister had to resign after an abject apology; one 5 million sole-sourced contract from ANSA McAL at twice the going prices for the pharma supplied; billion of other purchases through illegal contract-splitting; persistent denials of drug shortages – THEN using shortages as the reason for the  sole sourcing! – the incumbent Minister NOW says she’ll be “fixing drug procurement”!! ROTFLMAF!!But reading the fine print in the Chronic’s account of what the Minister intends to do, the plans are all about “fixing” the ordering system for Government pharma and stock keeping. Nothing about returning “transparency” to the PROCUREMENT process!! So why’s your Eyewitness not surprised?? Well, the procurement is from where the gravy flows!! That’s why it took the Government over a year to get the Public Procurement Commission in place, and yet bypassed them in the 5 million pharma contract.What’s quite interesting is the new powers-that-be seem to have a penchant for Trinis to supply pharma. Word is even the “political investor” from the AFC hasn’t been getting the cut he expected. But then, if the AFC leaders can’t even get what was promised THEM in their Cummingsburg Accord, what do you expect for even close “others”!!Expect the same ole, same ole, gaming of the (pharma) system!!…on “doing the right thing”The PM’s Shill over at the Chronic was evidently instructed to try papering over the ANSA Arch fiasco. And revealed he could’ve saved the Government all that egg over its collective face!! Seems he’s doing some private gig on the side (1,000/monthly plus expenses, isn’t enough?? He wants to live it up like his boss??) which involved counting the number of vehicles entering Georgetown.So when he saw the announcement of the closure of the EC Highway, he figured it would’ve cause the SNAFU it did. So why didn’t he tell the authorities since he’s the DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC INFORMATION?? Seems he did tell the Police on one previous occasion and was bitch-slapped so hard, discretion was the better part of valour!!Life can’t be easy when your sole claim to fame is “carrying news”!!…on Govt propagandaTake a guess which one of the four headlines on the Rose Hall sugar protest was from the Chronic:1- “Proposed Rose Hall estate closure…Business people, pensioners, taxi drivers join massive protests”2- “Berbicians in big sugar protest – cops beef up presence”3- “Anti-sugar reform protest continues – despite gov’t assurances”4-      “Rose Hall Estate residents, sugar workers unite in massive protest”Sorry…that was too easy. There’s no prizes!last_img read more

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Power means…Power means…

first_img…never having to say you’re sorryBack in the day, there was a schmaltzy movie, “Love Story”, with the tag line, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” precipitating cascades of tears at the young heroine’s death. The phrase has inevitably been mocked, since it’s just so wrooong!! Just because you’re in love you can get away with any dumbass move? What’s right is when the phrase is linked to power! Can’t imagine Hitler telling the Jews he’s sorry, can you??When folks get power, they automatically assume others are all yelling, “Do wha’ yuh want wid me!!” We see that all the time in Guyana with those whom we’ve elected to office, don’t we?? Yes, WE give them the POWER to do whatever they want – without ever having to say, “Sorry”. Just go back to those twenty-one promises APNU/AFC were supposed to fulfil within 100 days. Have you heard any “sorries” about, say, Constitutional Change — still not implemented? Or that Code of Conduct?Now, you government workers, don’t even TALK about getting that 20% raise! That 100% raise of your eyebrows at THEIR 50% raise your Ministers got right after the elections should be enough for you!! Drugs have been short in all the public health facilities for the past two years. Has anyone said “sorry”, even though folks are dying? Don’t hold your breath; YOU might just croak, since they don’t have any oxygen to resuscitate anyone!! And that’s why they fly to Ireland for treatment!But this latest refusal by Keith Scott to say ‘sorry” to our Indigenous peoples takes the cake – if for no other reason than it’s soooo gratuitous! Now Scott isn’t just ANYBODY. He’s a Minister and a one-man coalition member of APNU!! And in Parliament – where it’s all on record in Hansard – he claimed Indigenous peoples are “greedy” for asking that the original 1976 agreement granting them 24% of Guyana’s land be implemented, when African Guyanese aren’t getting 18% of Guyana.Now this, of course, is ACDA’s position, as adumbrated by Eric Philips. So it appears that’s now the official Government position, since Scott was speaking on behalf of the Government against a PPP motion to scrap the ill-advised CoI. So here it is, Scott shows up before the National Toshaos Council this week and refuses to apologise, since he claims there is nothing for his to apologise for!!He’s therefore maintaining (on behalf of the Government) that the Indigenous peoples are “greedy”! But where exactly are these folks getting their spunks from?Could it be they’re emboldened by Pressie refusing to say “sorry” for saying his “perception” of the Constitution trumps the Judiciary’s?…the law applies to othersYour Eyewitness just saw the new hit movie, “The Hit Man’s Bodyguard”. It was a very, very funny movie on a pretty serious subject – a despotic ruler of an ex-Soviet Republic in front of the International Criminal Court for war crimes. But then, what else can you expect from Ryan Reynolds teaming up with Samuel Jackson? A friend wondered why an American movie didn’t even have the US as a jump-off spot for the plot. Your Eyewitness didn’t have the heart to tell him it was most likely because the US has REFUSED TO BECOME a signatory to the ICC’s jurisdiction!But it’s true. The country that’s at the forefront for putting away rogue leaders for doing bad things has refused to join the ICC in fear that one of its citizens might have to appear in front of it!! What’s fair for the goose is NOT fair for the gander.But then, if they’d signed on, George W. might just have found himself on the docks for Iraq!!…no difference between million and billionThis Minister Patterson continues to put his size 12s into his mouth. His latest blooper was claiming Exxon would be extracting only half a million barrels of oil initially from Liza.Oooops! He meant half a billion!!last_img read more

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Baring it all?…Baring it all?…

first_img…not on oil!A funny thing happened to the APNU/AFC coalition on the way to power: they’ve contracted selective amnesia. When they were in the Opposition they went at the PPP hammer and tongs about not releasing contract details on Amaila Falls Hydro, Marriott and a host of other projects. “These are funded by the people of Guyana!!!” they thundered. “And the people deserve to know what their money’s being spent on! Y’all thiefin’ and siphoning off hundreds of billions into your pockets!!”But today, with Exxon sitting on three billion barrels of oil (and counting) – worth conservatively US0,000,000,000 or GY,000,000,000,000 (that’s GY trillion, thank you!) Trotman, the Natural Resource Minister, insists the people of Guyana can’t be given the details of the contract with Exxon!! Why? Well, he’s “hired experts” and they’ve advised his lips must remain zipped. Never mind that the most visible expert, advising the President on oil, one Dr Jan Mangal, says the contract should be released!!Pointing to the miserable and shameful experience of West Africa with oil, Dr Mangal insists “transparency” must be the mantra when natural resources – property of the populace – are involved. But even as Dr Mangal spoke, Trotman raised a plethora of incredible (and incredulous!) further reasons that he claimed his “experts” (other than Dr Mangal?) have offered for holding out on the people:“…there are a number of extenuating and external issues which are being attended to, some of them have foreign affairs implications, some of them have sovereignty implications, some have national security implications.” Now any of you, dear readers who’ve got children would know, when they come off with so many glib but non-specifics reasons why they did something wrong – they’re covering up their real reason and lying through their teeth! And so is Trotman!Let’s pick sense from nonsense. Trotman says the contract he “renegotiated” with Exxon to raise our royalty from one per cent to two per cent (sic!!) remained essentially” the one signed by the PPP in 1999. Well, if that is so, and that contract was made public, what’s the harm doing so now? Trotman says anyone could also “connect the dots” and figure out the details of the contract.Well whoever or whatever is going to harm our “foreign affairs, sovereignty and national security interests” can also connect the dots, can’t they? So, who’s kidding whom?? If we go by what Dr Mangal alluded to – the experience of West Africa – the refusal to come clean on the details of contracts with the International Oil Operators was for one reason: depositing the revenues into Government officials’ bank accounts, and not into the national Treasury.So Trotman should stop blowing smoke up our a55es!…on “Capture land!Some in Guyana have been arguing about who’s land we’re living on. Here’s an answer from Chronnic – the young Reggae Singer soon to visit our dear Mudland, in his song, “Capture Land”.“Yuh tink me nuh memba King FerdinandAnd teifing Columbus have a Golden planDem make a wrong turn and end up in the CaribbeanOne rass genocide kill nuff IndianLord Fi turn paradise in a plantation…We nah stay pon di land weh dem captureA me say Africa fi all true rasta…Carry we go home…Los Angeles dat a capture landAnd New York City dat a capture landEast some a di place weh you wah go live sweetA teifing land there’s no title fi itAnd some a these place weh you wah go live niceA tief dem tief it in the name of ChristSpanish Town dat a capture landThe whole a Kingston dat a capture landRemember Portland dat a capture landAnd all down a Trinidad dat a capture landBarbados dat a capture landTell dem Bermuda dat a capture landAnd tell Colombia dat a capture landAll round a Cuba dat a capture land(And Guyana na capture land?)last_img read more

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Inside ‘De’ ParliamentInside ‘De’ Parliament

first_imgGuyana’s National Assembly has become one of the many institutions in which the citizenry is losing confidence as the years go by. It is no longer being viewed as a forum that is defined by serious, sober, intellectual, rational and respectful debate. Over the past five years, the Parliament journeyed to a dark place where there is clearly no respect for traditions, practices, norms, rules, and conventions which seek to maintain the high standards of parliamentary conduct and the institution itself. The Eleventh Parliament by it’s own action is justify the very strong public view that the interest of the citizens is not being advanced or given first place despite the rhetoric of their elected representatives. This has resulted in a lack of confidence and trust in the ability of the entity to deliver on core Democratic principles such as good governance, transparency, accountability, political integrity, social justice and good ethics. In short, Parliament is slowly though not deliberately descending into the gutter as it prepares to take on a new role and parliamentary culture that promotes secrecy, public indecency, corruption, unconstitutionality, subtle though damaging forms of racial and ethnic disrespect, and party politics over the wellbeing of the citizens. It is now the place where the mighty and majority are not just satisfied with being in control of every aspect of the Parliament including the Speakership, but they must demonstrate their strength by strangling and dehumanizing the minority opposition parliamentary before muzzling and crippling its ability to rightly and adequately represent its constituents.And what is firstly most worrying about Parliament’s fall from grace is the level of biasness and partisan behaviour of the Speaker of the immediate past and current Parliaments. But Dr Barton Scotland’s tenure is worse than that of Raphael Trotman’s. This Speaker is unfitting for the important job which involves not only maintaining law and order but safeguarding the reputation of the august assembly by demonstrating independence and the ability to compromise where the public’s interest wins over the narrow-minded shenanigans of some politics. His conduct is characterized by arrogance and apparent resentment for the opposition Peoples Progressive Party as well as its politics. He does not create or promote an atmosphere of compromise where both sides of the House are encouraged to resolve their differences amicably and with civility. Instead he appears intrigued by conflict and drama if the Opposition seeks to hold the Government side accountable on matters of public interest involving its misuse of the treasury and public resources. Despite his inexperience in both parliament and politics, he is unwilling to be schooled by the more senior and knowledgeable clerk and Parliamentarians. It’s his way or no way. He is no Speaker, but a pawn of the Government placed in Parliament to shield its representatives from the political missiles and bullets being sent by the Opposition whose armoury is not running out of stock. Unless Dr Scotland strip himself bare of his PNC/APNU/AFC alliances and multi coloured coat, Parliament and its functionality will not improve.Secondly, a new precedence has been set where the Guyana Police Force can be called into the Parliament to wrestle and assault Parliamentarians who refuse to comply with the dictates of the Speaker. After the junior ranks had their fun assaulting PPP MP Priya Manickchand , manhandling other female MPs and scuffling with some male opposition MPs, the Speaker and Clerk conveniently resurfaces with statements distancing themselves from the dastard acts of the Police. Both denied calling the Police. But someone with authority did and its no prankster or anonymous character. But parliamentary figures and the Police should be sanctioned as there was no breach of peace. We can all agree though despite the narrative of the Government that all of this could have been avoided if they had allowed MP Juan Edghill more time to scrutinize the Ministry of the Presidency and its estimates in behalf of the people of this country. Speaker Scotland could have also adjourned or discontinued the day’s business completely to teach Edghill a lesson, but he liked the defiance and wanted more political juice out of it for the Govt. In the end, the public was the biggest loosed followed by Govt that is rejecting scrutiny because it is corrupt. The PPP and Edghill won handsomely dispute his suspension.Thirdly, Santa and the Singing Church Lady should be questioned and charged. They made a mockery out of Parliament after breaching its tiers of security. The incident was funny to the Govt and parliamentary executive but no one else was laughing. What if they were terrorists? What if the Opposition Leader or Speaker was attacked. Criminals are looking, and they now know how easy it is to get access to Parliament. The Clerk should be disciplined, and internal security changes made. Santa belongs in the North Pole and not Parliament.Fourthly, the Budget presented by Minister Winston Jordan is underwhelming to say the least. The Opposition’s scrutiny exposed its weaknesses and shortcomings especially the corruption taking place inside the Govt. What is even more shocking is the fact that its estimates might be under stated or illegal because the US$18M is missing. How could the Speaker disallow a motion to correct an illegality? The opposition should withdraw from the process and move to the Court in order to uphold the law. The denial of this motion is vulgar and President David Granger’s continued defence of corruption is even more vulgar. No reasonable Parliament operates like ours.Guyanese must demand better from their elected representatives. They must pressure them to not only conduct themselves better during sittings but demonstrate more seriousness in their approach to Parliament. It is not a ghetto or a fish market but its a place where the law is upheld, religious tolerance and respect is show and the personal safety if womenfolk is guaranteed even if a member refuses to take his seat. There is a need for a new political culture that is consistent with the respect shown in mature democracies and assemblies across the world. If no fundamental changes are made the Speaker’s tenure will remain disappointing and disastrous just like the Executive’s term in office so far.last_img read more

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Good FridayGood Friday

first_imgA Christians around the world, inclusive of Christians in Guyana, will today be observing Good Friday. Christians on this day commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at Calvary by observing a really quiet and solemn celebration as they reflect on his suffering and death on the Cross. It is a commemoration to remind Christians that innocent Jesus suffered brutally at the hands of the worldly authorities.In Guyana, we live in a multireligious, multi-ethnic society in which, to a great extent, we co-exist peacefully, unlike many other countries in the world with a similar culture. For many countries, the conflict over religious co-existence has been unsolved for years and has led to much violence and suffering for the peoples of those nations.For us here in Guyana, we experienced a disturbing event a few weeks ago when a pastor from Faithful Word Baptist Church (FWBC) went into several public schools purporting to be preaching the Word of God, but rather unleashed a venomous attack on Hinduism beliefs.According to the Southern Poverty Law Center website, the FWBC, which is based in Arizona, United States, is classified as a fundamentalist group with a history of hate speech that has seen it being banned from entry in at least three different countries.The American hate speech watchdog group has listed the church as a hate group. Having been listed as a hate group that spreads hate speech, it is disappointing that such a group made its way into our public school system – where our children in this multireligious society converge – without the knowledge of the Education Ministry and more so the Government. According to media reports, it was after a very vigilant member of society wrote a letter to the editor in the local press that this issue was brought to the fore.The Education Ministry itself has admitted that it had no previous knowledge of the school visits by FWBC, nor did it in any way facilitate the visits. It also stated that the FWBC took advantage of a lack of familiarity with regard “to documented external visitor policy and the misplaced goodwill of administrative staff on what they believed to be an innocuous intervention, as well as a general ignorance of the church’s reputation”. To its credit, permission was granted via the individual school administrations without knowledge of the Education Ministry.In this instance, it appears that it was a one-off event in three schools, but it was a dangerous one that is downright alarming. Religious conflict as we have witnessed in other parts of the world has brought nations to their knees.It is a conflict that will remain as a burning issue unfortunately for many more years to come. Here in Guyana, religious leaders – whether Christian, Hindu, Muslim – teach about the enormous positive role religion has played in the lives of many. Guyanese society as a whole celebrates each other’s religious activities. This is evident at Christmas, Phagwah, Easter, Youman Nabi, Diwali and Eid.As we observe the Easter celebrations with the Christian community, let us as a nation be ever vigilant of those who seek to destroy the fabric of our multicultural, multi-ethnic, multireligious society.Happy Easter to all our readers!last_img read more

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