Striking Teachers Remain Resolute

first_imgThe Monrovia Consolidated School System Teachers Association (MCSSTA) has resolved to continue their ‘strike action’ despite assurances from Defense Minister, J. Brownie Samukai to resolve the impasse.Minister Samukai has been coordinating the affairs of the state in consultation with the office Vice President, while President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is out of the country.Despite the effort, the MCSSTA remains committed to holding onto its go-slow strike action.The secretary-general of the Association, Samuel M. Nyenuh on Wednesday, alleged among other things, that the government has downplayed the plight of teachers, particularly those under the banner of the MCSSTA.According to him, since their leadership held two separate meetings with authorities of the MCSS, and representatives from the government, no concrete steps have been taken concerning the demands put forth by the aggrieved teachers.He disclosed that all that was achieved from the meeting with Minister Samukai was an ordinary appeal for teachers to see reason to return to the classrooms, while efforts were being made at the ministries of Education and Finance to address the problem.The two entities are yet to comment.However, Mr. Nyenuh said their demands for the retroactive salaries and other benefits were some of the things that are long overdue.“The administration must adhere to our demands, and we challenge it to make any attempt to bring people from outside to administer the students’ final exams for this semester,” the MCSSTA S/G threatened.He said their leadership has resolved to receive the payments of their salaries and benefits before they return to the classrooms.“Teachers’ plights have been ignored by the government over the years, and therefore, we will not compromise anything, but to get proper redress before we return to the classrooms.”The MCSS teachers’ strike action in demand of salary and work benefits began on Monday, June 2, 2014.According to the teachers, they are taking the action due to the failure of MCSS authorities to adhere to demands they made early this year. In a three-count resolution to the MCSS authorities, the teachers want amongst other things, seven months’ retroactive salaries for over 80 newly employed teachers.The teachers were employed and tallied in the 2013/2014 Fiscal Budget. They are reported to have benefited from the February 2014 salary disbursement — seven months after they were included on the payroll.The MCSS teachers want US$50 transportation allowance for all to enhance “efficiency and effectiveness” on their jobs.The teachers complained that due to lack of buses to transport them to their respective campuses, they are compelled to board commercial vehicles—a situation which they claimed has contributed to teachers’ late arrival for classes.The Association’s president, A. Henry G. Woyea, said that on May 26 that they met in a joint session comprising faculty representative council, and executives of the aggrieved teachers on the G.W. Gibson High School campus, where a resolution was passed demanding that if their issues are not addressed by government within three days’ time, they would resort to a ‘nonstop strike action’ across the MCSS.Mr. Woyea has therefore called on all MCSS employees including janitors and other support staff to lay down their education materials, and stay away from work places until their demands are addressed.“The issue is very important and we are not going to take it for play. We are professional people who will not allow anyone to just play on us,” Mr. Woyea emphasized.When contacted, the Superintendent of MCSS, Benjamin Jacobs, confirmed the teachers’ claims, but said he has advised them not to carry out any strike action because that was untimely as the school calendar was about to come to an end for the current semester.Reacting to the three demands, Mr. Jacobs said modalities are being worked out to address the issue of retroactive salaries, but that it was a matter of a few days’ time.Regarding the US$50 transportation allowance, Mr. Jacobs said that was ‘unthinkable.’ He added that in the midst of ‘budget shortfalls and economic hardship’ the government is unable to yield to such a demand.He said, with only a month to the end of the budget year (2013/2014), he sees it impossible that the system could find about US$600,000 per month as transportation allowance.He then ruled out any possibility of MCSS providing buses to transport the employees, noting “This is a very huge task.”He argued that to provide buses for its teachers will even create more delay for them to reach on campuses, citing traffic, maintenance and timely access to the buses by all those entitled.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Students Commend Sime Darby

first_imgThe Liberian operations of Malaysian oil palm giant, Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL), has been commended for offering ‘hardship allowance’ to beneficiaries of its scholarship studying agriculture-related disciplines at major universities in Liberia.A number of students benefiting from the company’s US$135-monthly hardship stipend say the offer would not have come at any better time. Sime Darby Liberia launched the hardship allowance scheme during the height of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the country few months ago to help the students earn their living during the Ebola crisis. The scheme is an augmentation of existing monthly US$45 scholarship allowance for each of the beneficiaries. About 51 students at various tertiary institutions in the country are benefiting from the Sime Darby’s scholarship program and their benefit under the hardship allowance scheme has now been increased to US$135 per month. Beneficiaries spoken with said the gesture by Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL) during this Ebola outbreak is far from just a corporate social responsibility of the company. “It is a great sense of humanity that any company would consider,” one of the beneficiaries said in a recent interview.They believe that the company could have stopped the scholarship allowance scheme since all schools including universities and colleges have been close because of the Ebola outbreak. “But, Sime Darby Foundation decided to go extra miles to ensure our survivability,” said Miss Hannah Karnwhiene. Miss Karnwhiene is studying agriculture at the Stella Maris Polytechnic in Monrovia.The Sime Darby Foundation had always given beneficiaries of its scholarship in Liberia monthly allowances of US$45 to US$135 per month, but the Company decided to step up the amount for all 51 students to US$135 per month after Ebola struck the country, leaving schools closed. And with economic activities taking a nosedive, the Malaysian Company decided to come to the rescue of its students.“For me, what the company is doing is more than a help. There is no active work going on at the plantation due to the Ebola outbreak, yet the Company is paying us and they have even increased the amount.  I am just grateful for such assistance,” said Miss Karnwhiene.Many Liberian girls have the tendency of shying away from entering into the field of agriculture due to what they call difficulties in obtaining jobs after graduation.According to Sime Darby Liberia Management, the ‘hardship allowance’ will last until the Ebola is finally eradicated from Liberia and normalcy returns to the country. Sime Darby Management has also declared that the hardship allowance will continue until the economy is lifted from recession. “Once normalcy returns and the students are back in school, the company would revert to its old US$45 per student payment scheme which it started,” said an SDPL official.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

CONSIDERING POST-EBOLA LIBERIA (PART TWO): A CRISIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY

first_imgThe thrust of this second article of the series on what happens to Liberia after the Ebola crisis is on how we may turn the havoc of Ebola into a huge opportunity to make a great nation and a better people. Most human beings dread disasters, crises, and catastrophes because of the real danger and threat they pose to peace and comfort and life itself. But God Almighty can bring good out of evil (divine providence) and a crisis can be an opportunity to change for the better. The introductory article on the grave nature of the Ebola crisis observed the following key points:There is no doubt that the Ebola outbreak is affecting seriously or challenging our existence as a nation and very way o life. Ebola is forcing us to change how we greet one another, show affection to each other, and how we show love and care for our sick. Naturally we are a hospitable people who love to shake hands, hug and embrace as we welcome and cater to family, friends and strangers who come to our homes. But the Ebola menace is denying us of that basic innate instinct!Ebola is causing a lot of stigmatization among ourselves and from outsiders. The Ebola virus is so deadly that it incites fear and panic among families, places of work and play, and communities. It instantly drives away people from those who need them most. People who are suspected of having Ebola, those who have recovered from it, and those who work at Ebola treatment centers are shunned in some instances. Liberians who travel abroad and those who live in foreign parts are sometimes made to feel that they are a danger to have around and thus despised. A bishop told me while in another African country he announced that he was a Liberian and the immigration lady instantly said, “Bishop, I am afraid of you O”.Ebola is undermining the family bond and causing divisions in some instances. I hear sad stories of some family members abandoning one another for fear of Ebola. To see your wife or child or mother sick and be told not to touch the suffering person is a terrible feeling to contemplate. Someone has said that Ebola is a mean disease!Ebola is killing an already fragile economy and is doing so fast. It has slowed down economy activities and created a new wave of unemployment. All learning institutions of the country are closed. The little ones are deprived of learning.  Most of those working with our mining and forest concessions, road construction, public and private offices and on the hydro are forced to stop work and in some instances are not paid. They, their families and dependant are severely pressed to survive one way or the other. Non-food small businesses are drastically hit. The prices of food and other essentials are going up and are likely to escalate.The already much distrust between the government and its people (the Masses) is apparently increased by the Ebola crisis. A lot of people assume and speak as though for a fact that the funds allocated to fight Ebola are being squandered and are used to enrich a few against the majority. Ebola turns families and communities against one another out of fear. It causes stigmatization and leaves a permanent scar. But is this all to Ebola? Or can we turn this greatest of national challenges into something to make us better? Yes, I suggest, we can and should. How?Joshua David Stone and Gloria Excelsias assert that every crisis is an opportunity: “Any crisis is an opportunity to change direction in your life”. They reveal that the word crisis is of Greek origin and it means “a turning point in a disease.” Their conclusion is: “So a crisis is truly an opportunity for a turning point in our lives”. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks of turning our liabilities into assets. He uses the perennial example of Helen Keller who lived in the late 1880’s and early 1900’s. Made blind and deaf by a debilitating disease at the age of nine, she rose above the challenges in those days of being blind and deaf to acquiring a university degree and becoming an author, a lecturer, and an activist for the disabled. She could have mourned and blamed other people for her condition. No, rather she worked extra hard and excelled above many normal persons! Some experts in how to turn problems into opportunities speak about “turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones” in going higher rather than lower.We all need to believe in our hearts and attitudes that Ebola will be over, will be defeated. We now have an opportunity to rethink  how we think about ourselves (mindset) and live (conduct). There is a need for us to reconsider our national agenda and put a lot more emphasis on health, education, infrastructure, how we manage what we have (vast natural and other resources), and creativity in making the most of the numerous opportunities that come our way. Someone has observed that when we face inevitable changes in life, and they will come from to time, we have two choices: either to cry and give up and let the changes do whatever they will or we can use them to get better. We need to move from fine talking and planning to actual doing with all seriousness. More will be said in subsequent articles about how we can turn this Ebola crisis into a great opportunity to make us better.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Difficult not to be suspicious about huge settlements

first_imgDear Editor,I have, with keen interest, observed the issues regarding the settlement of court cases involving billions of taxpayers’ dollars published in the press. I do not recall, at any time in living memory, such a large number of cases being settled for such huge sums of money. It is difficult not to be suspicious about these settlements. I do not rule out the possibility of some type of corruption.What strikes me as strange is Attorney General Basil Williams’s constant reference to “inheriting cases from the PPP Government.” My understanding is that those cases were not filed against the PPP, but the Government of Guyana. So, when there is a change in Government, the cases are bound to continue against whosoever assumes the reins of Government. Therefore, cases filed while the PPP was in Government must continue against the new Government, even though there was a change of Government after May 2015.I am shocked that AG Williams seems not to be able to understand this simple principle. It is as if he expected the PPP to take away the cases to Freedom House when they left office.While I am not a lawyer, I have been around Croal Street for over three decades. The truth of the matter is that Mr Williams has had a long career in the Magistrates’ Courts, arguing cases against Police prosecutors. The older lawyers will confirm that he never did any civil or constitutional case of worth. That lack of experience is now magnified on a national stage, because all the cases at the AG’s Chambers are civil and constitutional matters. Therefore, do not expect these outpourings of blame from Mr Williams to stop in the near future.Since these settlements involve billions of taxpayers’ dollars, in the public’s interest, I wish to ask Mr Williams for clarification on the following matters:1. RUDISA beverage caseDid the CCJ not adjourn this case for Guyana to remedy the breach of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas? And when a Bill to amend the Customs Act to bring it into conformity with the Treaty of Chaguaramas was tabled in the Parliament, did not the APNU/AFC with its one-seat majority in Opposition vote down this Bill twice?Mr. Williams was part of an AFC/APNU one-seat majority that voted down this Bill twice, was it not explained to him in the Parliament that if this Bill was not passed, then the CCJ would have awarded judgement against Guyana? How can Nandlall and the PPP be blamed for this?2. Toolsie Persaud Ltd v AGInformation published in the press suggests that this case started since 2008. Mr. Williams took office in May 2015. Judgement was handed down in April 2018. Could Mr. Williams explain how, after three years in office, he did not know a case as big as this case was being tried in the High Court, and that the Attorney General was a party? Is he asking this nation to believe that in this three-year period, no one even whispered anything to him about this matter?How come a lawyer from the AG’s Chambers was present when judgement was delivered? Could Mr. Williams explain how, after judgement was delivered, he said to the press that the AG was not a party to the proceedings? So, even when judgement was delivered, and it was published in the newspapers, he still did not know that the AG was a party?3. BK InternationalMr. Williams is quoted in the press as saying that Mr. Nandlall had agreed to pay BK $225 million for service rendered. Could Mr. Williams make public any document which supports this contention? This would go a far way in settling the public record, because the PPP Government terminated the contract with BK International. As a result, BK International sued, challenging the termination. These are facts which cannot be disputed. The court proceedings are there to verify it. In fact, Williams admits this in the press, but claims that he filed an appeal in that case. Could Mr. Williams explain why, instead of prosecuting his appeal, he withdrew it and paid BK International US$5.7 million as compensation?4. H. Sugrim v NDIABased on what is reported in the press, this case was filed in June 2015; that is, after the PPP left office. It concluded in 2017. Could Mr. Williams explain how he “inherited” this case from the PPP Government?I hope Mr Williams would clarify the matters mentioned above as soon as possible. The public awaits with bated breath.Yours faithfully,Nandkumar Puranlast_img read more

We must live a life of high moral standard and ethics

first_imgDear Editor,I have decided to pen this letter on moral standard and ethics from personal experience with people in Guyana, as well as those out of Guyana. The word ‘ethic’ can be defined as follows: ”a set of moral principles, especially ones relating to or affirming a specified group, field, or form of conduct.The basic concepts and fundamental principles of decent human conduct includes study of universal values, such as the essential equality of all men and women, human or natural rights, obedience to the law of land, concern for health and safety and, increasingly, also for the natural environment.”Let me begin with work ethic with the question: How many people in Guyana go to work on time? How many managers, supervisors, CEOs and clerks can you meet at 08:30h in their offices? I have visited several offices in Guyana and observed most workers going to work late and the bosses are never in office on time. I also observed that many workers just idle their day away collecting the Government’s money by false pretence, including their bosses.If you call many offices to talk to a person in position they are always in a meeting or not in office or too busy to take your call. They never return a call or reply to your email, Facebook or WhatsApp messages etc. I have seen these activities in most of our offices in Guyana more than 35 years now.Over two months ago, I saw a vacancy at the University of Guyana. I sent an application online I got a reply four days later stating that my application was received. After a month, I sent them an email of inquiry about my application.They replied in a few days saying that my application is still under consideration. It’s over two months now… I sent them another inquiry in a week and got no reply.Here is the highest academic institution of learning taking months to process a job application and don’t have the moral standard to write to me to say if my application was NOT accepted or to go for an interview. I may suffer a heart attack if they invite me for an interview.My next experience is with the Legal Affairs Ministry. They wrote me a letter dated November 28, 2017, informing me that my ”Application of Appointment as Justice of Peace and Commissioner of Oaths to Affidavits is now at the Minister of State for final deliberation.”That letter was only sent to me because I wrote about it several times in the newspapers questioning why my Police report took over two years to be sent to the Legal Affairs Ministry.After several inquiries to the office of the Minister of State by calls, to date it’s about eight months now and I did not received an email, phone call nor letter pertaining to the status of my appointment. This procedure of my application started in 2003 since the People’s Progressive Party Administration about 15 years now and to date it would be better if I was told I am not appointed and reasons given. (I have done over six Police interviews in those years).What I have discovered in this country is simple matters that can take a week or a month will take years because of incompetence and lack or morality and ethics.Sometimes Managers and Ministers are in their offices but they refused to answer calls; they tell their secretaries to say they are not in office. What are they telling their secretaries in simple terms is ‘’to lie for them’. A gentleman told me in Brazil you can buy a property and get the paper work done the same day or less than a week. Here in Guyana, is months and years and the royal run around at the Guyana Revenue Authority for the compliance. In Trinidad you get your Birth Certificate same day; here is weeks and months.I wrote a book and sent it to my publisher 01:35h I got a reply in five minutes. I sent Warwick University an email I got three replies in 10 minutes back and forth. How do we compare ourselves with these institutions abroad? Why can’t we be competent like them?I haven’t seen the great change of this country since modern technology all over you go is tons of old books and papers that should be replaced by CDs and flash drives. We don’t have much work ethics in Guyana.We are always late and used terms like ”it’s better to be late than never” we go to work late, watch TV late, wake late, and laze around our jobs doing nothing and people in this country have a real drinking problem they are always drunk even on their jobs.Most times, people are pushed into offices because of political affiliations and they get FAT salaries for doing absolutely nothing. We must ask ourselves many questions like how competent is this person holding this office? What did he/she ever run efficiently before? Are they honest? Are they punctual? Can they run this office? Do they have a stable family life? Are we very principled when it comes to keep our WORD AND TIME with people? You are a manager you invited an applicant for a job interview at 09:00h but you showed up at 12 noon. What example are you setting for that new applicant? NONE. You need to be fired.Simple evaluation of people should not take us long. But in this country people ”drag their feet” on their jobs even our schools have teachers who need teachings themselves because they are never in class and they can never complete the CXC exam syllabus on time.Our character, morality, integrity, punctuality and speaking the truth at all times are keys to the foundation of a person of exemplary character and attitude. Mahatma Gandhi had this to say about character:”In times to come people will not judge us by the creed we profess or the label we wear or the slogans we shout, but, by our work, industry, sacrifice, honesty and purity of character.”It’s about time we as a people wake up to these truths about morality and ethics and inculcate more efficient work ethics.Regards,Reverend GideonCecillast_img read more

We should teach only math and language at primary schools

first_imgDear Editor,Einstein once said that the true definition of crazy is when we do the same thing over and over expecting different results.Therefore, we should not be shocked that, yet again, half the country’s children writing Common Entrance failed miserably in Math and English. We should be appalled. Imagine how each failing student this year will struggle throughout secondary school if they even attend one, with no real knowledge of the bigger concepts being taught there. Imagine how many will eventually drop out after having had enough of confusion.We especially should not be shocked though that in the other subject areas like science and social studies, way more than half failed. As we all know, without knowledge of language and math, little or nothing else can be learned.Or do we not know this? How come we have not done things differently to ensure that all our children can, at the very least, read and write, instead of only half of them, as is the present situation?In the first place, why on earth are they being taught all those extra subjects at the Common Entrance level? Why are most of them fetching around what seems like entire libraries in their backpacks and taking extra lessons? Just to fail and barely pass?Our young children’s training should first and foremost be focused only on the two main things in which they need solid foundations – math and language. We teach mathematics from an early age because it provides opportunities for developing important intellectual skills in problem-solving, deductive and inductive reasoning, creative thinking and communication. We teach language from an early age so that children can have a means of seeking new information of all types with their new ability to read and do research. Most employers will not hire persons who have no real command of math and English.Without math and language, a child is stuck. All other subjects are incomprehensible without them.I don’t think any other country focuses on more than just math and language at the Common Entrance age. Why should we? We can’t continue to tolerate half of our children failing math and English just so that we can ensure that way less than half of them could learn social studies and other subjects. It’s not worth it. Why teach unnecessary subjects they are obviously failing miserably in, while firstly, neglecting to focus on the subjects they truly need to learn and then secondly, watching half of them fail in those important subjects year after year? We are truly crazy.All the effort, energy, expertise and resources put into teaching those extra subjects, in vain, could be very well and rightly put into teaching math and English both properly and sufficiently. These two subject areas must never ever be neglected at that age. How can we learn science if we don’t understand math? How can we understand social studies if we can’t read? Science and social studies are subjects that can and must be taught only to students who are already proficient in math and language. If half of the students are not proficient in math and English then what’s the point in teaching those extra subjects to them? Don’t their grades in those extra subjects speak volumes? Why are we allowing this massively failing educational process to continue unchecked?With a good English and math foundation, children can learn social studies and even rocket science with ease later on in any secondary school where those subjects should rightly be taught. And their eventual overall CXC pass rate will also increase tremendously across the country because they would all know how to read and understand the books they need to read and understand.I have met way too many grown people in Guyana who don’t know math nor English even after having gone through primary and secondary school here.Something is wrong.Unlike, for example, Barbados, English is not our first language. We cannot assume that children in Guyana already know English when they start school. They don’t. They don’t speak English at home. Our native tongue is creolese. And, with its Hindi, Dutch, and Amerindian influences, it is very very different from English, which Africans adopted almost wholly. Unlike Barbados, we have way too many historical and present-day language influences to think we can afford to treat the teaching of English at the primary level as a casual affair. We can’t. English is the official language of Guyana and it makes no sense testing our children in English if they don’t know it. Even Barbadians, with their historically limited cultural diversity, completely avoid teaching anything but English and Math at the primary level. Which, in turn, accounts for their extremely high literacy levels and super professional population.While our creolese is a beautiful language, English has to and must be focused on. Otherwise what has been happening will continue to happen – we will continue to fail our children and our nation. The most successful students at the Common Entrance level are bilingual. They speak fluently in both English and creolese. All of our children should be, at the very least, bilingual. Math and English (and perhaps Spanish for obvious reasons) should be all that is taught in our primary schools.As a society, we fit Einstein’s definition of crazy almost exactly. I implore us as a nation to grab some sense. We have way too many illiterate people in our country to not want to take immediate action. Illiteracy is the biggest contributor to our poverty and crime issues. This is not just a matter for our governments to look into. This is our issue. And we must collectively call for a change regardless of which Government is in place. We must want that change before we can convince any Government to provide it.And no, it’s not enough to ask parents to work more closely with the children. The parents themselves do not know math and English. Our education system failed them too. And we certainly don’t want children being beaten to study harder.Sincerely,John Milton Fraserlast_img read more

“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak…

first_imgDear Editor,Abraham Lincoln, who served as the 16th President of the Unites States, must have had Basil Williams in mind when he wrote, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt”.Last Wednesday, Guyana’s infamous Attorney General was sitting in the “Hot Seat” of Stan Gouveia’s radio programme responding to questions relating to the CCJ’s ruling of the No-Confidence Motion and Granger’s reluctance to name a date for elections.As the programme started, I sat in total disbelief and shame at how natural it is for the main legal advisor to the Government to deliberately misinform and shamelessly lie to the nation. If Basil Williams had any sense of decency, he would have taken Abe Lincoln’s advice and decline the invitation to appear on this popular radio programme.During the interview, Stan Gouveia reminded the AG that Government fell to a vote of no-confidence since December 21 of last year, and therefore, Government needs to call elections now because going forward, everything Government does would be illegal. “What is your take on that?” he asked.BASIL’S LIE: “Well, it is not my take, it is the take of the ruling of the CCJ. And the CCJ ruling is very clear. In fact, the Leader of the Opposition and the other Members of the Opposition who appealed to the CCJ, sought coercive orders from the CCJ against the President, against GECOM and other constitutional actors… Well let me say from the outset, the CCJ refused all of the coercive orders that the Leader of the Opposition sought. And those orders included that the President and Cabinet should resign.That was rejected by the CCJ; the other one was that elections be held within three months… That was also rejected by the CCJ. Thirdly that the President remain and be directed to hold election no later than the 18th of September, that too was rejected by the CCJ and the question of which or what list that GECOM should be directed to use was also rejected by the CCJ. Other rejections included in relations to the GECOM’s Chair appointment, they sought a coercive order that the President and Leader of the Opposition conclude their negotiations, and the President will take no more than three days after receipt of the list from the Leader of the Opposition to name a Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).So, all of these orders they sought, and all of these orders were refused by the CCJ. (But) Why did they refuse those orders? They (the CCJ) said clearly that they would not be presumptuous to make coercive orders or give detailed directives to these constitutional actors which include the President and GECOM. And in relation to GECOM, that they would not give deadline and timeline to GECOM in relation to the holding of elections. What they (CCJ) indicated is that all of these constitutional actors know their responsibilities under the Constitution, and they ought to discharge of this responsibility with integrity. I think it is a clear victory for our Constitution; a clear victory for the Doctrine of Separation of Powers…”THE FACTS: The Attorney General deceptively omitted the parts of the judgements which say emphatically, that those orders were not granted because the Constitution itself, specifically and adequately, provides for what must happen when a No-Confidence Motion is passed in the National Assembly, that is to say, Cabinet, including the President, must resign, elections must be held within three months and within that three-month period, the Government remains in office as a “caretaker” until the next President is sworn-in.It is clear, that Basil Williams wishes to portray that because the specific orders prayed for were refused, then the judgements of the CCJ can be ignored by the Government.So by analogy, if a wife goes to the court and complains that her husband consistently beats her and she prays for an order restraining the husband from beating her, and the Magistrate refuses to grant such an order on the grounds that the laws of the land already prohibit the husband from beating her since assault, actual bodily harm and wounding etc are all criminal offences; then because the order was refused, the husband can continue to beat his wife.There is no other way of describing such line of reasoning, other than to say that it is an expression of unparalleled “dunceness”. (Anil Nandlall)Basil Williams was next asked why was Granger inserting or suggesting names for inclusion in the final list of six that the Leader of the Opposition would be submitting the President for him to select the Chairman of GECOM?BASIL’S LIE: “Well that’s the usual approach of the Leader of the Opposition. Look, the ruling of the CCJ is very clear. You recall the old process was, the Leader of the Opposition presents a list to the President of six names that are not unacceptable to the President. That was the old process. And the President and the Leader of the Opposition followed that process, and the CCJ said that that process was flawed. And in fact, it was Nandlall who started that argument that it was a unilateral appointment, and that the whole philosophy was to move away from unilateralism to consensualism. They (the PPP) started that argument.And so, the Court found, after tracing the history of the legislation and applying a method of interpretation, they (the CCJ) found that that process was flawed. So, the process was not one of the unilateral appointments of Justice Patterson after three lists… (inaudible, break in transmission) which are not unacceptable to the President and also would satisfy the illegibility requirements in the Constitution. That is the new process.Before the list is presented, the President and Jagdeo must now talk about the list. And the Court went further to say this approach gives the President now, a role in identifying names to go on the list. So, no longer unilateralism with Jagdeo alone determines the composition of the list, now the President is part of that process”.THE FACTS: This type of reasoning characterises the quality of legal advice the President receives which has now culminated with the President convincing himself that the CCJ judgement, in relation Article 161(2), has conferred upon him a power and right to submit names to the Leader of the Opposition, which the Leader of the Opposition must include in the final list of six names to be submitted to the President for the appointment of a Chairman of GECOM.In other words, the President is insisting upon submitting names to himself for appointment by him. The very thing he did in respect of the appointment of Justice Patterson, which the CCJ ruled was flawed and in contravention of Article 161 (2) of the Constitution. It is becoming extraordinarily difficult to refrain from questioning the mental make-up of these people. (Anil Nandlall)During the interview, Basil Williams said the CCJ made the decision that the Cabinet, including the President will remain in office. Again, he lied. At all times, the CCJ made reference to the Constitution of Guyana, and instructs that “All must be faithful to the spirit and letter of the Constitution and operate within the parameters given to each by the Constitution… these particular provisions (Article 106(6) and (7)) require no gloss on the part of the Court in order to render them intelligible and workable. Their meaning is clear and it is the responsibility of constitutional actors in Guyana to honour them”.Like David Granger, Basil Williams poses a dangerous threat to our democracy and our Constitution by misrepresenting the rulings of the CCJ to stay in power by all means necessary. So for convenience and clarity, I now quote sections of the consequential orders made by the CCJ on July 12, 2019. Readers can form their own opinion.Consequential orders in part:[5] The Judiciary interprets the Constitution. But, as we intimated in our earlier judgement, these particular provisions require no gloss on the part of the Court in order to render them intelligible and workable. Their meaning is clear and it is the responsibility of constitutional actors in Guyana to honour them. Upon the passage of a vote of no-confidence, the Article requires the resignation of the Cabinet including the President. The Article goes on to state, among other things, that notwithstanding such resignation, the Government shall remain in office and that an election shall be held ‘within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine …’ The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has the responsibility to conduct that election and GECOM too must abide by the provisions of the Constitution.[6] Given the passage of the No-Confidence Motion on 21 December 2018, a general election should have been held in Guyana by 21 March 2019 unless a two thirds majority in the National Assembly had resolved to extend that period. The National Assembly is yet to extend the period. The filing of the court proceedings in January challenging the validity of the no confidence vote effectively placed matters on pause, but this Court rendered its decision on 18 June 2019. There is no appeal from that judgement.[7] Article 106 of the Constitution invests in the President and the National Assembly (and implicitly in GECOM), responsibilities that impact on the precise timing of the elections which must be held. It would not therefore be right for the Court, by the issuance of coercive orders or detailed directives, to presume to instruct these bodies on how they must act and thereby pre-empt the performance by them of their constitutional responsibilities.It is not, for example, the role of the Court to establish a date on or by which the elections must be held, or to lay down timelines and deadlines that, in principle, are the preserve of political actors guided by constitutional imperatives. The Court must assume that these bodies and personages will exercise their responsibilities with integrity and in keeping with the unambiguous provisions of the Constitution bearing in mind that the No-Confidence Motion was validly passed as long ago as 21 December 2018.I rest my case.Harry Gill,PPP/C Member ofParliamentlast_img read more

Road traps

first_imgDear Editor,This current APNU/AFC caretaker Administration continued road projects which the PPP started but they have blundered quite dangerously in the construction of several critical bridge infrastructures. Multi-lane roadways are being funnelled onto narrow/reduced lane bridges creating bottlenecks and all manner of dangers to road-users. On the lower East Coast alone, there are two stretches of roads, three lanes westbound near Starlight Drive-In and approaching Better Hope which channel into narrow two-lane bridges. In both cases, the inside land ends abruptly either in the trench or into the bridge shoulder. Just last week a car drove into the trench at Better Hope. This is the second accident in a month at that same spot. Needless to say, there are no warning signs.A similar situation is developing at Sheriff Street where four lanes will be constructed. However, these four lanes will converge into that narrow bridge currently being built on Dennis Street. It is not as if they are trying to incorporate the old infrastructure, these bridges are now being built or were recently constructed. And it is not as if the ending inside lane can be used as pavement or for cyclists, the width of the bridge will not permit it.In other areas I have observed the roads being made narrow, deliberately it would seem, to accommodate an extra-wide median when the situation should be the other way round. At the same time, access to entire villages has been blocked off when that challenge could have been resolved by adjusting the width of the median, as it is done in North America, to allow for turning traffic.Then there is that stretch heading west again approaching Mon Repos market. That road is nice and three lanes wide but two lanes end abruptly at the market. The drive into the city from the East Coast is quickly becoming an obstacle course. I fear for the accidents that will happen and, of course, the prohibitive cost and inconvenience of the remedial works. The respective contractors, the subject Minister and the entire Government for that matter need to have their heads examined. If this Government is unable to see what are obvious flaws, can they be inspired to fix them?Sincerely,Ravi Ramlast_img read more

Ogle Airport employee charged for damage to property

first_imgAn Ogle International Airport employee was on Thursday placed on ,000 bail by city Magistrate Faith McGusty after being charged for malicious damage to property.Gordon Pearson, 36, of Lot 9 Roxanne Gardens Drive, Georgetown, pleaded not guilty to the charge which stated that on April 15 at Roxanne Burnham Gardens, he damaged one black Apple iPhone, property of Ali Williams.In court on Thursday, Defence Attorney Darren Wade in a bail application said his client was anxious and ready to prove his innocence in the matter.As such, he was placed on ,000 bail which Attorney Wade said was exorbitant as his client was already on ,000 station bail.However, his objections were overruled. The defendant was also placed on a bond to keep the peace. He is scheduled to make his next court appearance on May 13.last_img read more

Forde sheds light on changes to Stage Elite League fixtures

first_imgGuyana Football Federation (GFF) President Wayne Forde has revealed the reason why there have been frequent changes to the fixtures for the Stag Elite League, which have been cited as one of the major factors behind the decline in attendance for League matches, with stands half empty for some games.In an exclusive interview with Guyana Times Sport, Forde explained that during the Genesis phase, football was usually played on Friday and Sunday without disruption; however, during this half in addition to the Stag Elite League, players now have to participate in international tournaments representing the national team, the Guyana Golden Jaguars and the League had to compensate for this.Wayne Forde“There are some unique challenges with the League this year; last year, we were not involved in any international campaign conflicting with the League. This year, we have had a few international engagements such as the Suriname friendly, the Caribbean Football (CFU) tournament and now the engagement with the Guyana national team and the Canadian national team. What has happened as a consequence of that, we’ve had to make some adjustments to the fixtures. Whenever you change a fixture date or the format, you can lose momentum because the fans will now have to readjust their own personal schedule to be at the games,” the GFF President said.Forde also explained the fact that the national team comprise mostly players from two of the clubs participating in the Stag Elite League made it unfair for those clubs to compete while their players were missing. “When we put these players into training camp for the national team, we simply can’t ask those clubs to continue to participate because they will not be competitive. Because of this, we’ll now have to defer those engagements with the teams until those players have returned to their respective clubs.”Nonetheless, Forde is hoping fans will turn out in their numbers in support of their team during the closing stages of the Stage Elite League.last_img read more