The MV Canawaima ferry plying the Moleson Creek, Guyana to Nickerie, Suriname route will be docked for a nine-day period while it undergoes immediate restoration of both its engines.Canawaima Ferry Services Terminal Manager Deyne HarryThis is according to Canawaima Ferry Services Terminal Manager Deyne Harry, who spoke of some of the projects scheduled for 2018 under this agency. The nine-day docking period commences on January 6, 2018, and will conclude on January 14, 2018.Harry also added that while the vessel would be docked, there would be no other alternatives for the crossing from Guyana to Suriname. Persons using the ferry, especially vehicle owners and motor vehicle operators, will be affected by the suspension of service.Harry noted that “the MV Canawaima continues to experience extensive mechanical challenges that prompted the use of a tug to assist in the propulsion of a vessel”. This, he added, has resulted in delayed arrival and departure times for the ferry.Presently, the ferry has one scheduled crossing daily. There is also another scheduled docking for the month of April 2018. Details pertaining to this will be provided in a timely manner to the public.
The High Court trial of Edward “Pretty Boy” Skeete and Nabadingi “Dangles” Gobin continued before Justice Navindra Singh on Tuesday.Emergency physician, Dr Esaun Reid testified to the injuries he witnessed when Ryan Clementson was rushed to the Accident & Emergencies Section of the Georgetown Public Hospital. Skeete, a mason of Lot 309 Independence Boulevard, Georgetown, and Gobin, a taxi driver from 1049 Aubrey Barker Street, South Ruimveldt, had denied murdering 25-year-old Clementson of Mocha Arcadia, East Bank Demerara, between July 14 and 24, 2015 at Tucville, Georgetown.Dr Reid told the court on Tuesday that when the patient arrived, he was wet and without a shirt, with a gunshot injury to the right thigh which was actively bleeding. The expert witness told the jury that the injury was a few millimetres in diameter.Defence Attorney Nigel Hughes, in his cross-examination, sought to establish doubt as to what object actually caused Clementson’s injuries as he could not recall seeing an exit wound or warhead. Under re-examination by Lead Prosecutor Narissa Leander, the doctor explained that not all gunshot injuries have exit wounds.After some back-and-forth exchanges between the defence and prosecution, Dr Reid completed his testimony and a voir dire (trial within a trial) commenced and continued into the afternoon session.The men on trial are accused of opening fire on Clementson and his friend Ayodele Solomon on July 14, 2015 near the Turning Point Snackette in Tucville. Clementson succumbed almost two weeks later from cardiac arrest following surgery.Skeete and Gobin are represented by Attorneys Hughes and Mark Waldron while State Counsels Leander, Tiffini Lyken and Abigail Gibbs are presenting the State’s case.
Justice Fidela Corbin-Lincoln has given the Attorney General’s Chambers two weeks to locate some $54 million in missing diamonds, which vanished from Police hands sometime after a 1994 robbery investigation.Former Police Commissioner Floyd McDonaldAt a hearing before this High Court Judge on Monday, lawyers for the AG’s Chambers claimed being unable to contact several Police officers connected to the probe. This revelation comes in the wake of retired Police Commissioner Floyd McDonald breaking his silence by denying that he had handled the missing diamonds.The case has garnered increased attention following the AG publishing notices in the press calling for several Police ranks to make contact with his chambers. Some of those called for are now elderly men.The matter stems from a civil suit that businessman Ronald Khan brought against the State in 2011, seeking to recoup his uncut diamonds that went missing.In court documents seen by this publication, the Statement of Claim contends that Khan’s Ewang Creek Mining Camp in Region Eight was robbed of the diamonds in 1994. However, the precious merchandise was recovered by Guyana Police Force ranks and taken to the Mahdia Police Station, where it was inspected and the quantity was verified. The stones where then transported to Police in “E” and “F” Division.Attorney General Basil WilliamsThe suit also indicated that Khan was disallowed from having the property returned to him, which he says was his “at all material times.”“The plaintiff was informed that the said diamonds were required as exhibits in the criminal trial of the persons charged with the armed robbery of the plaintiff’s camp. Despite the passage of several years, the Guyana Police Force was unable to conclude the prosecution of the alleged defendants, as some have [sic] escaped and others (have) subsequently died,” an excerpt of the writ highlighted.According to court documents, Khan even wrote the late Police Commissioner Henry Greene in 2010, requesting the return of his diamonds. The businessman said that while his letter was acknowledged, he failed to have his property returned.As the matter continued at the High Court on Monday, Justice Corbin-Lincoln told both sides that the case will not be dragging on, and she gave Joan Edghill-Stuart of the Attorney General’s Chambers until May 22 to update the court on the status of the criminal case involving the 1994 robbery, and to locate the missing diamonds.Edghill-Stuart has, however, stressed that the AG has been unable to contact various parties involved in the case. She even noted that their names have been published in official notices in the daily newspapers. Earlier in the day’s proceedings, this attorney had told the court that she is not in receipt of information pertaining to the status of the criminal matter or the diamonds.This revelation prompted the Judge to query the merit of ascertaining this information. In response, Kezia Williams, a lawyer who appeared in the place of Khan’s attorney, Nigel Hughes, told Justice Corbin-Lincoln that the plaintiff is willing to settle once the State returns his diamonds. Nevertheless, he is seeking in excess of $100,000 in damages, interests and court costs.In the notices published in the daily newspapers, former Police Commissioner Floyd McDonald, who served as Crime Chief in 1994, was named, but on Sunday he responded to an article in the State newspaper, denying he had ever received, seen, examined, or sent to examine, any diamonds in relation to Ronald Khan.McDonald, who retired in 2004, was also quoted as saying that he was not in the Force when the diamonds supposedly went missing. Also, that the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters did not keep exhibits. His disclosure contradicts claims that diamonds were handed over to him after inspection by a diamond dealer.Aside from McDonald, those whom the AG asked to make urgent contact are: Harley Davidson, Deputy Crime Chief; Eon Sandy, who had been stationed at the Supreme Criminal Court’s Police Outpost; and Alwyn Wilson, who was stationed at then ‘E’ and ‘F’ Division headquarters at Eve Leary.Notices were also sent out for Terrence Semple, who was last stationed at Mahdia Police Station; Courtney Ramsey and Desmond Leitch, both last stationed at the CID; Constable Fraser (Reg Number: 10881), and ex-Detective Sergeant Carl Wilson (Reg Number: 7797).
The Ministry of Natural Resources held a public lecture last evening on Affordable Mercury-Free Solutions for Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) Miners in Guyana.The talk was facilitated by Canadian instructor Bruce Marshall who is a post-doctoral fellow in Mining Engineering from the University of British Columbia.In his lecture, held at Education Lecture Theatre at the University of Guyana, Marshall explained that mercury releases from traditional mining are estimated to be about 1,400 tonnes per year which makes it the largest global demand sectorYouth in Natural Resources present at the lecturefor mercury. He further stated that an estimated 10 to 15 million miners, including four to five million women and children, are involved in the sector. From this, he noted that all of the mercury used is released into the environment and is very detrimental to miners since it can get into their bodies through the skin, inhalation and the eating of fish.Marshall said the ASGM sector is a complex global development issue and that mercury exposure to miners and their communities can be reduced in simple and cost-effective ways by an environmental approach, health approach and co-existence solutions among others.The lecture formed part of the observance of the celebration of mining week which is an annual occurrence in Guyana under the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission.
Thirty-one women on Friday graduated from First Lady Sandra Granger’s Early Childhood Development Workshop, at a simple ceremony hosted in the Baridi Benab at State House. The workshop, the second and final one of its kind for 2018, drew participants from the Buxton Day Care Centre, the Central Islamic Organisation, the St John Bosco’s Orphanage, Women Across Differences (WAD), the Office of the First Lady and from as far as Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara).Graduates of the Early Childhood Development Workshop proudly display their certificates at State House. Also in photo are Secretary General of the National Commission for UNESCO, Patrice LaFleur and Secretary General of the Guyana Red Cross Society, Dorothy FraserSecretary General of the National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Patrice La Fleur, who delivered the feature remarks, lauded the First Lady for starting the initiative. “We are quite aware that many parents, mothers and fathers are unaware of the importance of the early stages of development of children, hence there is now education for parents, childcare workers etc, providing information of its importance and what parents, teachers and other caregivers must address in their interaction with children,” she said.Secretary General of the Guyana Red Cross Society (GRCS), Dorothy Fraser AA, expressed similar sentiments, noting that the First Lady has done tremendous work to foster the development of women and girls in Guyana. “She continues to give support and guidance and seeks to helps find ways to increase knowledge and experience and development of our women… She really has gone all the way to make sure young women are able to develop and grow and do a great job in moving forward,” Fraser said.Meanwhile, the graduates said they were overjoyed to have completed the intense programme. Anecia Austin, who hails from Boerasirie, West Coast Demerara, said the workshop has helped her to recommit to her goal of becoming a physiologist.To date, over 150 women have graduated from the Early Childhood Development Workshop, which is a joint collaboration between the Office of the First Lady and the Social Protection Ministry. This is the fifth workshop held from the inception of the programme. Graduates must complete all components of the three-week long programme, which includes two modules of Early Childhood Development training and one module of First Aid, which is conducted at the GRCS.
As Guyana prepares for National and Regional Elections, the Guyana Society for the Blind will be ensuring that systems are in place to allow for its members to vote.President of the Society, Cecil Morris, told Guyana Times on Thursday that they are planning to engage the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to discuss concerns regarding persons with disabilities, particularly those who are visually impaired.President of the Guyana Society for the Blind, Cecil Morris“There is a problem with voting, because we always seem to have this misunderstanding on polling day. We’re in the process of engaging GECOM so that we can work those challenges out. We hope that before elections we can have those matters corrected,” Morris stated.He explained that during the last General Elections in 2015, templates were introduced for them to put over the ballot and vote. However, the templates were not utilised by officers at the polling booths.“There was a process that was started since the last elections, (wherein) a template is given to the persons at GECOM so that it could be put over the ballot paper and persons could vote. It was given out the last time, but a lot of the polling agents did not make use of it. We would really appreciate if they could make use of it,” the GSB president posited.The GSB are also calling for the polling stations to be on the ground floor of buildings, to cater for persons with physical disabilities.“One of the concerns with persons with a physical disability is that, when they vote, the polling place is up in a building. So we’re asking GECOM to make certain moves so that polling stations are on the ground floor, so that persons can have easy access to (them).”Consequent to the passage of the no-confidence vote on December 21, 2018, elections have become constitutionally due before March 21.The Opposition Commissioners at GECOM have been unsuccessfully pushing for the elections body to get ready for elections within the constitutional deadline. In fact, they presented a plan at last Friday’s meeting outlining how polls can be held before the current voters’ list expires on April 30, 2019.However, that proposal was rejected by Government, and the Commissioners on Tuesday walked out of the statutory meeting at GECOM after the issue of house-to-house registration was on the agenda instead of General and Regional Elections as mandated by the Constitution of Guyana.On Wednesday, President David Granger asked the elections body to submit a work programme at the earliest time possible.
Although it is usual for a trained police negotiator to accompany other ranks who engage in a shoot-out to be present at the scene, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) is uncertain if one was present last Thursday when three bandits were killed at Norton Street, Georgetown, during an exchange of gunfire with Police.Police Commissioner Leslie JamesDuring a press conference on Monday, Police Commissioner Leslie James was questioned on the rationale behind a negotiator showing up and explained, “We do have persons who are trained in negotiations and when you have such operations, that person goes along also with the team but almost all situations the negotiations are not necessary for them to engage”.Further, the Commissioner could not say if a negotiator was present at the shootout.“I will have to check… I don’t want to mislead anyone. I will have to check to confirm if a negotiator was there but I’m saying that usually when they have such reports we take action to have a negotiator on standby.”Asked whether or not it would be a breach of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to not have a negotiator on site, the Commissioner responded in the negative.He explained, “[It’s] not necessarily a breach. It is a call by the either the Deputy Commissioner of Operations, the Commissioner of Police, or the Divisional Commander or joint”.The Deputy Commissioner of Operations, Maxine Graham, who was at the event was unable to say whether a negotiator was on site that fateful night.On the other hand, the Commissioner informed that the Force is seeking to have ambulances on site to alleviate bodies being dumped in Police vans to be taken to the Hospital. However, he said, “We don’t want to give the perception that we have expectation of persons to be injured”.On Thursday, three bandits lost their lives during an hour-long exchange of gunfire with the police at Norton Street, Georgetown. The men had set out to rob a construction worker, Neville Lesley, moments after he had put his five-year-old son to bed.Reports are at about 20:00h, while the man was closing the doors to his Lot 46 Norton and Victor Streets home, he saw someone scaling the fence but by the time he reacted, he was held at gunpoint. The gunman demanded gold and cash as he took the man into the house. By that time, the two other gunmen also made their way into the man’s home, with each of them carrying a handgun.Hearing the commotion, the five-year-old child woke up and ran downstairs. “They tell me if I don’t keep me son quiet, they’d shoot me and meh son,” the man related.With the bandits distracted by the police presence, Lesley and his son managed to escape and hid in one of the bedrooms, where he removed the louvres in the window and lowered his son from the upper flat of the house.The child was safely collected by a police officer, and Lesley jumped through the window to safety. It was at this point that the shoot-out between the armed bandits and law enforcement commenced.According to information from residents in the area, two of the bandits were shot and appeared to be dead, while the third was also shot but surrendered to the police.
The aftermath of the blazeBhagwantie PetersThe Central Corentyne Chamber of Commerce has expressed concern over reports of inadequate response by the Rose Hall Fire Department upon receipt of a fire in and around the township.This was according to Chamber President Rafeek Mohamed, who spoke with Guyana Times on Thursday.This came in light of concerns raised by residents of Tain, Corentyne last week when a wooden building went up in flames, leaving a family of four homeless.Residents had claimed that fire fighters arrived at the scene with non-functional equipment, hence, they could not perform their duties effectively.On Wednesday, a similar situation arose when a fire erupted at Rose Hall Town which left a pensioner homeless.Mohammed said he could not verify whether the pump was working at the time, but stated that the Chamber is in receipt of such complaints.“We had complaints of inadequate response, inadequate reserves because most of the times when they go to a fire, they would have some water and they would take a long time to get water and by that time most of the building would be burnt out”.Mohammed further stated that the Chamber will be penning a letter to the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) in relation to the constant lapses.On Wednesday evening, it is believed that the fire might have started as a result of an unattended mosquito coil.The owner of the building lives overseas, but Bhagwantie Peters had been living there for the past four years as a caretaker.She told this publication that she left the lit mosquito coil in a plate on the floor next to the bed and went outside. According to her, when she returned, there was fire on the bed.She explained that at the time, there was nothing that she could have done, hence, she evacuated the building and called for help.The fire fighters arrived at the scene but experienced difficulties. “They didn’t have water and the fire catch to a neighbour place. A lot of buildings would have been burnt if the breeze was blowing,” she said.In fact, it was the community which formed a bucket brigade that prevented extensive damage to nearby buildings.A unit from the Albion Sugar factory also arrived on the scene and, they too, had difficulties tapping into a water source.“By the time, the property had already gone flat. They had to get water from the trench and by the time the water started to come, the house already burn,” one resident stated.So far, for the past month, there have been four destructive fires in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), which have left several persons homeless.
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on Saturday rejected the objections to over 535 names being on the voters’ list in west Region Five from Abary to Big Baiabu, Mahaica. This reject brings the total number to 13,000 objections that GECOM has dismissed after the unsubstantiated objections were made in Region Five. Following the public hearing, several persons called for the person/persons who objected to them being on the voters’ list to be charged since no one from the APNU/AFC Government who objected turned up at Mahaicony, where the hearing was conducted. Only two days prior, objections to 463 names from Moraikobai were rejected by GECOM after the persons turned up at a public hearing to prove that they are alive and resided at the addresses that GECOM had for them. The list of eligible voters at Moraikobai has 510 names and of that number, 463 were objected to by persons associated with the current administration. The situation was no different at the GECOM Sub-Regional Office at Mahaicony on Saturday morning when returning Officer Laikharam Pancham, in his capacity of Magistrate Designate, threw out the objections. Deputy Chief Scrutineer for the People’s Progressive Party Fizal Jaffarally, addressing the Court, asked for the Magistrate Designate to provide those who had turned up for the hearing with information which he considered vital. “You have been saying that the objector made the objections, do you care to tell us the name of the objector?” Jaffarally asked. “Ms Carol Smith Joseph,” Pancham said while noting that Joseph made the objections in her capacity as Deputy Chief Scrutineer for Region Five A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC). Jaffarally said that it was an act of mischief since Carol Joseph failed to show up at the hearing. He said many of the persons who were being objected were prominent members of the community and even some who GECOM recently trained. Jaffarally said GECOM should not allow, what he referred to as a criminal offence, to go unpunished. “Based on the Laws of Guyana, I am humbly requesting that, as the Registration Officer for this district, because of the misleading evidence produced to GECOM that these objectees are perhaps dead, insane, imprisoned or not existing, based on the law, that the Police be informed and an investigation be launched”. He added that what happened was an abuse of the system for Claims and Objections. “The purpose for the Claims and Objections exercise is not to disenfranchise any Guyanese”. The Party’s Deputy Chief Scrutineer told the court that thousands of prominent Guyanese who were objected to, have lived all their lives at one address, some of them businesspersons. Among those prominent persons, Jaffarally pointed out were rice farmers and cricket commentator Inderjeet Persaud, who has lived all his life at Mahaicony. He said the situation placed heavy stress on thousands of persons in Region Five. “What is appalling is that this objector is unable to face the objectees. She thought that nobody would turn up here. So, based on the law, I am requesting that you, as the presiding Magistrate, inform the Police urgently and be brought in to have an investigation done and if it leads to prosecution, so be it”. Pancham said he did not have the authority to call in the Police but will be passing the information to GECOM for it to decide what course of action it will take. Meanwhile, in the other Sub-Division between Abary and Ithaca, there were objections to the names of 9900 persons. Those have also been dismissed by GECOM. Meanwhile, in Region Six, close to 200 names on the voters’ list were objected to but the objections were recalled. This publication understands that the instructions to make the objections came from senior APNU officials. GECOM dismisses APNU/AFC attempts to remove 13,000 voters in Region 5 Some of the persons who turned up at the GECOM public hearing after their names were objected to by APNU/AFC officials Deputy Chief Scrutineer for APNU/AFC in Region 5, Carol Smith Joseph, who objected to thousands of names being on the voters’ list but was a no-show at the public hearing on Saturday
…after 500 new HIV cases detectedThe National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS) in recognising a greater need for public education on HIV/AIDS and its Voluntary Counselling and Treatment (VCT) Services, is seeking to explore various avenues that will allow effective transfer of information on both topics. This was shared at a media engagement at the Secretariat on Monday.Deputy Programme Manager at the National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS), Dr Nicolette BoatswainDeputy Programme Manager at NAPS, Dr Nicolette Boatswain pointed out that the Secretariat will seek to re-establish a stronger interaction with persons as it relates to the sharing of HIV information. This is critical as recent statistics show some 8200 persons infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) while some 500 new infections surfaced in Guyana mainly from key populations and young people.Nevertheless, this widely used remedy will be complemented with its continued training and awareness programmes in schools as well as its newest behavioural change communications strategy being developed.“I recognise that there is a need for strengthening in terms of sensitisation and awareness, There has to be a resurgence of our interaction with fellow Guyanese in terms of HIV information…We are also on the way to developing a behavioural change communications strategy which we see is needed so I agree, but steps are being taken…our programme as always incorporated in the prevention aspect of its training or sensitisation for in and out of schools,” Boatswain explained.On the other hand, the deputy programme manager highlighted that the new trend of persons sharing HIV results on social media takes away the confidentiality and reduced stigma offered through VCT services.“The programme is concerned at the increasing trend of members of the public posting their HIV test results on social media, doing this may add rather than take away from the stigma so many person still endure”This is evident as stats revealed a constant decrease in persons accessing the VCT service over the period 2017 to 2019.Some 57,524 accessed the service in 2017, while 49,783 in 2018, and 45,313 in 2019.