After a period of investigation and intense interviews, the Police were finally cleared to lay child rape charges against a labourer from Recht-door-Zee, West Bank Demerara and his male juvenile relative.Guyana Times understands that the acts were allegedly committed on two females, who are relatives, in a West Demerara community.Twenty-four-year-old Krishna Roberts, who is reportedly a fisheries labourer, appeared at the Wales Magistrate’s Court on Thursday charged with rape of a child under 16. He denied the allegation and was released on $100,000 bail by Magistrate Annette Singh.Robert’s teenage relative was similarly charged for raping another female, and was released on $100,000 bail after he denied the allegation. However, the boy’s identity cannot be disclosed as he is a juvenile.This publication understands that the matter occurred within the past six months and the two co-accused have been cooperating with Police. Roberts and his relative will make their next appearance at the Wales Magistrate’s Court on January 25.Meanwhile, sources familiar with the case alleged that the guardian of the virtual complainants was the recipient of a report submitted to welfare officials where allegations surfaced that the girls were being sexually molested. (Shemuel Fanfair)
Over the past months, several outgoing travellers have complained about their free flow of passage at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) being hampered by Cuban nationals who are using the airport as a camping ground.There has, of recent, been an influx of Cubans into Guyana to do business. On a daily basis, hundreds of Cubans would line the streets of Georgetown, conversing in their native language as they spend exorbitant amounts of money on clothes to take back to Cuba.Caribbean Airlines recently began offering flights to Cuba, but Cuban nationals have been using chartered flights to take their cargo back to their homeland. As of recent, Cuban nationals utilising Copa Airlines and InselAir have been using the departure section of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport as camping ground as they await their flights.Employees at the airport have related that the Cubans would arrive with their multiple pieces of luggage several hours before their flights are due — and in some cases the nights before their flights are due — and just camp out in the waiting area.The airport employees have related that this issue has already been raised with management of the CJIA, but very little is being done to address it.One traveller told Guyana Times it is absolutely disgraceful that Cuban nationals are allowed to simply camp out in their numbers in front of the Departure Area, with no provisions being in place for their comfort. He questioned whether the airline or the administration of the airport should be held accountable for this situation.CJIA employees relate that the issue is becoming out of hand because the number of Cuban passengers is steadily growing. They relate that sometimes these foreigners would send their baggage ahead while they wait for another flight.Local businesses have reported that most of their customers are Cubans or Brazilians who are shopping for clothing at reasonably cheap prices to take back to their home countries.A simple walk through the streets of Georgetown on a daily basis would be enough to convince an enquirer about the factual basis of the business owners’ statement. On a daily basis, the streets are lined with Cubans and Brazilians armed with enormous shopping bags, chatting away and shopping like at Christmastime.One of the newest requirements for stores to hire sales representatives is the ability to converse in either Spanish or Portuguese, and the ability to speak both languages means preferential hiring.When this newscast visited the airport on Wednesday, travellers related their concerns about the situation, and free access to the departure area was obstructed by numerous pieces of luggage lining the area.Security guards were observed trying to police the Cubans, but because of the language barrier, it was proving to be a difficult task for them.This publication reached out to the Chief Executive Officer of the CJIA, Ramesh Ghir, for a comment on the situation, but was told to direct all questions to the Public Relations Department. An email was sent to the department, but up to press time, a response was yet to be received.In January, hundreds of Cuban nationals were stranded for over three days after their chartered flight had encountered mechanical difficulties. In that instance, they used the CJIA as a camping ground to wait for their flight.
The University of Guyana Berbice Campus (UGBC) on Thursday held its annual Career Fair to familiarize secondary school students with available opportunities with the aim of having those students qualify themselves in pursuance of those careers.Students visiting one of the boothsThe event was held on the parking lots of the Tain and Johns campuses under the theme ‘Expanding Your Horizons: Exploring the Possibilities’. It featured some 40 booths from various companies across Guyana.“If you are interested in just being a ‘B’ student or a ‘C’ student and just making it through, don’t come to the University of Guyana; we don’t want students who are interested in mediocrity. If you want to be an excellent student, if you want to be a change agent and want to achieve the high bar, then do well in your primary school and secondary school, so when you come to the university, you would be adequately prepared for excellence,” Professor Griffith expressed.He also warned students against plagiarism, and urged those present to use the opportunity presented by the university through the career day to explore their options and work towards achieving their goals.The UGBC mainly focused on giving its audience — mainly comprised of secondary school students from across Region Six — an idea of what careers are available after completion of their Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC).The event began with Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Guyana, Dr Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, giving brief background details and announcing that those who choose to attend the Berbice Campus after they would have completed their secondary education would benefit from a $50,000 tuition rebate.The university partnered with several agencies, including ExxonMobil, El Dorado Offshore, the Department of Public Information, Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry, JSL International, Republic Bank, Guyana Forestry Commission, Guyana Water Inc. among many other businesses and organizations.Communications Analyst for ExxonMobil, Nicholas Yearwood, said the company has given out in excess of three hundred recruitment cards with detailed information, and is encouraging persons to submit CVs to be reviewed.“So whenever opportunities arise, we will revisit them to become candidates for the opening.”At the Tain Campus, the focus was on the operations carried out and the job opportunities offered in the different fields.The John’s Campus, on the other hand, mainly focused on natural science, and the students were provided with information which could be useful for them in the chemistry and biology classes.One of the well-received booths was the Guyana Water Inc’s, which showcased its new device that filters and purifies murky water from canals within a few seconds, making it safe for human consumption.
A 20-year-old mechanic, who allegedly attacked and robbed a man of a quantity of items, was on Tuesday afternoon remanded to prison after he appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.Roy Gilbert of Tucville Squatting area, Georgetown, stood before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan and denied that he committed the act.He denied that on April 20, 2018, at Toucan Drive, South Ruimveldt, Georgetown while being armed with a gun, he robbed Malachi Richards of the items valued approximately $166,000.It was reported to the court by Police Prosecutor Gordon Mansfield that the defendant was not arrested with the items in his possession.However, he objected to bail based on the prevalence of the offence and the fact that a firearm was used.As such, Gilbert was remanded to prison to return to court on May 16.
Nonpareil fireThe 57-year-old businessman who was hospitalised after his home went up in flames has died.Businessman Hanuman SinghHanuman Singh was fighting for his life at the Georgetown Public Hospital after he suffered a shock, having learnt that his Lot 360 Block 12, Nonpareil, East Coast Demerara (ECD) house was completely ravaged by a fire.The fire is said to have occurred after the power was restored following a power outage in the area on Friday about 21:00h.His daughter, Reshma Singh, related that when they arrived on the scene her father was nowhere to be seen and after the fire was extinguished a search party was formed to locate him. She said that they were unable to find him, but later received a call that he had been found unconscious at the Botanical Gardens’ Vlissengen Road entrance and was rushed to the Hospital.Doctors had related that the man suffered a heart attack, which was complicated by low blood pressure, and he was rejecting all forms of medication. His breathing was also very shallow, and he was placed on life support.He, however, succumbed on Sunday.The family recently renovated their home and was supposed to move their business from Enterprise, ECD, to the lower flat of the home. Also, the family believes that Singh may have walked from Nonpareil to Georgetown while in a daze.According to information received, neighbours reported seeing smoke emanating from the ceiling of the two-storey building and quickly raised an alarm. The Guyana Fire Service was summoned, but arrived some 45 minutes later and took an additional 20 minutes to source water.
Police have since confirmed that a post-mortem examination, conducted by Government Pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh, on the body of a 23-year-old prisoner, has revealed that the young man died from brain haemorrhage due to blunt trauma.The young man, Junior Dunn, also known as Shawn Thom, was also nursing a fractured right cheek when he succumbed to injuries on Sunday at the Georgetown Public Hospital.Guyana Times has been reliably informed that the now dead man’s mother made a report to the Alberttown Police Station, where an investigation into his death is to commence.The young man breathed his last at the Georgetown Public Hospital, where he was being treated for injuries he received while at the Camp Street Prison on May 26, 2018.His demise was confirmed to this newspaper on Sunday by acting Director of Prisons, Kevin Pilgrim. During an interview, Pilgrim stated that he received a telephone call on Sunday morning informing him of the prisoner’s demise.Camp Street PrisonThe official reiterated that upon Dunn being discovered in a semi-conscious state on May 26, the prisoners with whom he had shared a cell told prison officers that he had sustained the injury in a fall.Dunn had reportedly stabbed another prisoner with a mop stick during a scuffle on May 25, and based on that incident, he had been relocated to another cell with three other inmates.Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels had related that investigations were launched into both incidents, and the findings would be sent to the relevant authorities.Those investigations, according to Pilgrim, had been completed and the findings were sent to the Public Security Ministry. Taking Dunn’s demise into consideration, the investigations will be reopened.Pilgrim has said that prison officials were waiting on the post-mortem results to decide their next step. However, he noted that ever since Dunn’s admittance to the Georgetown Public Hospital, his mother had been in constant contact with the Prison Service.The 23-year-old had been serving two three-year consecutive sentences for unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition. He was expected to be released from prison in 2019.
The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Coastguard who reportedly drove his car recklessly on Sunday last killing a pedestrian at a Police roadblock was on Tuesday arraigned at the Leonora Magistrate’s Court.Twenty-eight-year-old Esan Trim stood before presiding Magistrate Christel Lambert and denied two charges read to him.He denied driving motor vehicle PLL 5680 on June 17, 2018 in a manner dangerous to the public, causing the death of 35-year-old Roopchand Charles.He also denied that he was over the legal limit of alcohol on the day of the accident.Reports are Trim struck Charles as he was speeding along the De Willem, West Coast Demerara (WCD) Public Road as he was crossing the road after he was stopped by Police.Following the accident, he was rushed to the Leonora Cottage Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.In her bail application for Trim, Attorney Latchmie Rahamat explained that CCTV footage showed Charles walking into the path of the vehicle.Bail was not objected to by the prosecution, and was granted in the sum of $310,000.The Coastguard will return to Court on July 24, 2018.According to the dead man’s brother, “the Police wanted money and he was crossing the road to give them a raise when he was killed”.However, the Police had stated that an unlicensed pistol with four matching rounds was found on Charles.With respect to the pistol found, the dead man’s brother stated that he believed it was planted.
– MP slams move as “recipe for corruption”In a move being criticised by a Member of Parliament as a recipe for corruption, Government has gazetted changes to Guyana’s procurement laws that will see larger contracts being awarded without the benefit of advertising.The gazetted Procurement (Amendment) Bill of 2019 signed by Finance Minister Winston Jordan will change the previous threshold for restricted contracts for goods and services from $3 million to $10 million.In the case of construction contracts, the threshold catered for in Section 26 of the Procurement Act has been moved from $10 million to $20 million. QuotationPPP MP Juan Edghillmethods of procurement have been raised to $3 million.According to Member of Parliament Juan Edghill, this is likely to create an opportunity for the coalition Government to hand out contracts to unqualified persons and companies on a larger scale than ever before.“This action enables award of contract without Public Advertisement, by way of Restricted Tendering and subverts the use of qualifications for this procurement process to be confined to specialised services or procurement of highly-complex items,” Edghill said in a Letter to the Editor.“It can only be concluded that this decision is to facilitate corruption, cronyism and nepotism, by way of handpicking friends and cronies and awarding them contracts. This is a blatant political scheme to buy votes and especially pilfer the public purse and to enrich officials of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change over the few remaining days in office ahead of (elections),” he added.Edghill also zeroed in on a letter dated February 4, 2019, written by Deputy Chairman of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), Mark Bender and addressed to Permanent Secretaries, agency heads and regional administrations.In the letter, he alerts them to the changes and announces that they takeFinance Minister Winston Jordanimmediate effect. But Edghill said considering the passage of the No-confidence Motion on December 21, 2018, Government’s actions are illegal in this regard.“Article 106(6) of our Constitution states that on passage of a no-confidence motion by the majority of all elected members of the National Assembly, the President and his Cabinet shall resign, coupled with the CJ’s ruling of January 31, 2019 that following the passage of the motion, the President and Cabinet stands resigned.”“Therefore, they are merely in office in a caretaker capacity and as such, these actions are unconstitutional. It is therefore logical that the letter by Mr Mark Bender authorising (officials) to implement these new thresholds is illegal and will lead to criminal proceedings being instituted against public officials who may be tempted to act on such a directive which is illegal.”
Villagers residing in the Amerindian community of Santa Rosa, Region One (Barima-Waini), on Friday last held a peaceful picketing exercise outside the Village Council’s office calling for the removal of the Toshao.According to the protesters, their aim was to bring attention to the rising concerns regarding the conduct adopted by the community’s indigenous leader.Village Toshao Whanita Phillips is being scrutinised for her alleged improper and unprofessional behaviour towards village Councillors as well as residents. One resident on the picket line said that the Toshao’s behaviour has forced residents to protest for her immediate removal.According to a concerned resident, Phillips, who took office some nine months ago, adopted an autocratic leadership style, which includes all decision-making being undertaken by herself without consulting her batch of Councillors. According to a Councillor, the matter was reported to “high authorities” and the matter was addressed but after a short while, the resurgence of the autocratic behaviour reemerged.“Miss Whanita Phillips took office for nine months, firstly she started to show her bias, improper and unprofessional conduct towards several Village Councillors and other villagers, she was corrected on several occasions by persons in authority about the behaviour but instead it get worst,” a Councillor told this publication.Meanwhile, several Councillors told this publication that their leader is abusing her authority since the police are often called to lock-up anyone who tries to speak up about the issues affecting the village.The Councillors also alleged that on several occasions, villagers, as well as Councillors, were thrown out of the meetings due to any disagreement in relation to their leader’s finalised decision.Frustrated Councillors believe that such behaviour will hinder development within the Amerindian settlement since numerous concerns raised by residents are not being addressed.The Councillors said that they are hoping that the National Toshaos Council will intervene to bring a quick solution to the impasse or have the leader removed.“If she sit there in office for three years, we will suffer, our generation will suffer due to her bias behaviour. We need her immediate removal from office because she is not fit to be a leader,” another Councillor added.Efforts to contact Phillips and the National Toshaos Council for a comment on the matter proved futile.
While workers from the traditional sectors have sought representation from trade unions, there is a large bracket of the working class population in Guyana that remains unrepresented.During the centurial anniversary of trade unionism in Guyana, President of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG), Carvil Duncan, recognised that workers were represented owing to strives by Hubert Nathanial Critchlow.However, he said, no one has sought to have private employees and other groups of employees represented, which uncovers the fact that there is much more to be done.“Why is the security service not organised? Why [are] the private education institutions not organised? Critchlow organised the domestic workers and they are organised. We have all these calling centres which have thousands of persons and they are still not organised. We have a lot of work to do,” Duncan iterated.The FITUG President called on other unions to evolve from the traditional methods of representing workers and work towards a new direction.“We are not living in a world of our own in Guyana. Globalisation came…and it left with us a technologically-developed workforce. What are we doing about that? Throughout the Caribbean, unions have been losing members primarily because they have not been focusing in the right direction. If after 100 years, we should now consider focusing in another direction,” the Trade Unionist added.Reconstitution of Labour MinistryAnother burning issue highlighted was the fact the Labour Ministry was dismantled in 2015 and replaced by a department. Holding weighty importance, calls were mounted by FITUG and the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) to have the Ministry reconstituted.Duncan insisted to the Labour Minister, Keith Scott, who was amid the gathering, “There is need to have a Ministry of Labour…People are leaving rapidly and more people intend to leave. What’s to happen is the trade unions who will suffer. Do an analysis of what is happening, do your utmost to ensure that this decline reduces and the Ministry starts operating as a Ministry of Labour and not under no other minister,” Duncan expressed.General Secretary of GAWU Seepaul Narine shared similar sentiments, stating he is of the belief that a Labour Ministry is unwelcomed by Government.“The Ministry which existed up to May 2015 has now been relegated to a department after more than 60 years of existence. It seems to us that the Government is vehemently opposed to a Labour Ministry as could be seen by its disagreement with an Opposition-sponsored motion to re-establish the Labour Ministry”.Adding to these challenges, the GAWU representative stated that collective bargaining is one of the promises which remains unfulfilled by the coalition administration.“Another vexing problem we are facing relates to collective bargaining which has received scant attention from the powers-that-be…We heard this before, and to date such promises remain dashed and our law on collective bargaining continues to be disregarded. Could you imagine reading the newspapers and learning from the President of the Guyana Teachers Union that his union was unaware that negotiations were purportedly taking place between the GTU and the Government,” said Narine.Presently, the Department of Labour is controlled by the Social Protection Ministry, which was created in 2015 after the present administration took office.Remembering CritchlowIn 1919, Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow founded the British Guiana Labour Union (BGLU) which later sparked the recognition of countless others to advocate for better wages and working hours. At the age of 21, the Father of Trade Unionism rallied persons to demand for an eight-hour working period daily after facing exploitation in the workplace.As such, Trade Unionist Lincoln Lewis shared that Guyanese must recognise these contributions which led to NIS and severance payments, collective bargaining.“The Trade Union Movement, more than any other organisation, has done more work in contributing to welding this nation. This is a proud history that we must recognise, proclaim or all to be aware of…Today in 2019, our challenge must be to recognise our common interest,” he asserted.Lewis, who is also the President of the Guyana Trade Unions Congress (GTUC), reminded that Guyana is on the cusp of unparalleled oil wealth, which must be used to provide unemployment benefits.“As they talk about the windfall they will be getting from oil, it may be the right place for them to put some money in the NIS so when people lose their job, they can get unemployment benefits…We are not tasked with the responsibility of dividing the national pie; ours is the duty to advocate for equitable no-partisan division that elevates the standards of the working class”.