Dear Editor,I crave your indulgence to be offered some space in your newspaper to express my opinion on the concerns raised by some parents regarding the contingency plan that may be activated by the Education Ministry, should strike action proceed.Understandably, a few parents are concerned that trainee teachers or teachers now yet graduated from the Cyril Potter College of Education may not be competent enough to teach their children.I believe the concern of these parents is based on the lack of experience that these teachers may have in the classroom and in schools generally. However, I urge parents to be rational. Every teacher has his or her first day, whether during times of an industrial relations impasse or not.So it would not be prudent to criticise the new teachers saying that they cannot handle the work since the teachers that will be striking also had their first day as well. Secondly, parents must remember that strikes do not last forever, hence, the new teachers are substitutes and the substantive teachers for the respective classes will return and continue from where the substitute would have left off.Debasing the competence of our teachers is debasing the quality of education and training that is delivered at the CPCE, an institution that has been training teachers since the 1920s. The same college that trained the majority of teachers that have indicated their willingness to strike.At this point Editor, I wish to condemn the comments made by a parent at a recent engagement on the teachers’ strike action that was held by the Education Ministry at Queens College. The parent said “The Children will chew them up”; them meaning the CPCE students.As a parent, my priority at this moment is the continued progress of my children’s education. During this dispute, I and my children are held as human shields between the warring factions.But I am going to point something out. The integrity and focus of that Education Minister, says to me that she does not intend to be side-tracked by histrionics and people who present strategies that are not even based on basic mathematical national economics. I believe that my children’s education path is very safe with this Minister because she understands that quality Education is for all Guyanese and that includes my children.For the first time in generations of my family, I see a future for my children in education. The Teacher’s Union needs to understand that they are part of this transformation and an uninformed demand is very different from intelligent negotiations.May the gods bless the Teachers’ Union with wisdom and the Ministry with patience. Together we rise, divided we fall.Sincerely,Tracy FranklinParent
“You can’t do this to me, Ma’am! I don’t want to go to jail!” were the words of a resident of Aubrey Barker Road, South Ruimveldt Park, Greater Georgetown on Monday when he was remanded to prison by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan.Travis Pilgrim, 28, a miner of Lot 58 Aubrey Barker Road, appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts charged with the possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking. The charge read that on April 23, at Port Kaituma Water Front, he had in his possession 1.814 kilograms of cannabis sativa for the purpose of trafficking.While the details of the charge were not revealed in Court, Police Prosecutor Neville Jeffers objected to bail on the grounds of the seriousness and prevalence of the offence. The accused requested an opportunity to speak in Court and claimed that he was not the owner of the drugs. Pilgrim alleged that on the day in question, he was exiting a boat when a woman who had a few children with her requested that he assist her with a bag of rice. He stated that the woman asked him to carry the bag of rice and leave it at a particular spot in the market. However when he put down the bag, a Police Officer approached him and questioned him about its contents. He said he explained that he was asked to deliver the bag to that spot by the woman, but nevertheless he was arrested. He further claimed that while in custody, he was beaten by the investigating rank and forced to sign a caution statement.After listening to his explanation, the Chief Magistrate remanded the man to prison and transferred the matter to the Matthews Ridge Magistrate’s Court for May 3. When told that he would be remanded, Pilgrim shouted, “I never do none bad before! You can’t do this to me, Ma’am…This is my first appearance; I don’t want to go to jail.”
…80 unlicensed touts arrested in 1 month – Chief ConstableBy Ramona LuthiThe Mayor and City Council (M&CC) has been tightening the reigns around the various minibus parks, as a total of 80 touts were detained in the span of one month, according to Chief Constable Andrew Foo on Monday at their statutory meeting.Foo, at the meeting, informed the Councillors that the 80 young men were charged with the offence of solicitingM&CC Chief Constable Andrew Foopassengers and none were repeat offenders.Touts can be described as young men who assist in loading passengers into buses. However, over the past year or so, the touts have become increasingly violent when it comes to getting customers for buses, leading to an increase in passengers complaining about the unprincipled behaviour of many touts on the various bus parks earlier in June of this year.Though touting has been banned in Guyana, it has become an “easy way” for young men and women to gain a daily income, since it requires one to be persuasive and does not call for academic qualifications.Touts can be seen taking their positions at the various bus parks in Georgetown, from as early as 06:00h and it has been made into a competition to “see who can load a minibus the fastest.”Complaints made by many passengers revolved around the hostile behaviour of some touts who refuse to accept rejection and their indecent language.Touts have been known for grasping onto passenger’s private belongings and in some cases, one tout might escort a passenger to one minibus while another takes their bags to another.
Liberia’s agricultural cooperatives, especially those in Lofa County, were booming in the 1960s through the 1980s. The Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation (LPMC) was in its heyday then. The Act of Legislature creating LPMC was passed in the late 1950s and the corporation came into existence during the early years of Steve Tolbert’s administration as Agriculture Secretary (1960-July 7, 1965). LPMC was a consortium between the Liberian government and the East Asiatic Company of Denmark (EAC). Denmark being a major agricultural producer of both primary and finished products, the EAC did a lot to boost farm production and other business in West Africa, especially Nigeria and Liberia. Too bad Liberia failed to benefit substantially from Denmark’s agro-industrial expertise. Had we done so, we would have accomplished much of what Denmark itself was doing and continues to do. We would have created citrus plantations and gone into canning our grape fruit, lemon, lime, orange and tangerine fruits and juices for export to neighboring countries and beyond. We would also have been canning our mango, German and golden plums and even entered pineapple production. We could also have developed and expanded our coffee and cocoa plantations and started exporting the finished products and even ventured into chocolate manufacture.But the lack of focus, vision, patriotism and efficient and honest management of the agricultural sector caused us to shortchange ourselves and our country, and we lost these and other opportunities. Remember Denmark is still a major producer of canned foods. Emborg is a Danish brand found in most supermarkets.One primary sector that contributed to LPMC’s early success was the agricultural cooperative movement. Cooperatives were formed throughout the country and they did especially well in Lofa County, helping the county become Liberia’s breadbasket. But the 1980 coup and the civil war caused a decline in cooperative activities and in agriculture as a whole. Yet even in the 1980s LPMC and the cooperatives were doing fairly well, especially under the leadership of Managing Director Joseph N. Boakai, now Vice President of Liberia. But LPMC took a drastic turn for the worse under the leadership of a number of succeeding MDs, including Alexander Jeffy, Thomas Hanson, Francis Dunbar and Aletha Johnson Frances. Aletha put the final nail in the coffin when LPMC under her leadership tried to monopolize produce buying, eventually running this once vibrant corporation into the ground. With LPMC went Liberia’s once thriving agricultural cooperatives.Now there is emerging another opportunity to revive the Liberian cooperative movement. Our young Business Reporter, Davis Yates, on Wednesday told our readers that the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) is awaiting government approval to resume credit union reestablishments around the country.The WOCCU has been in the country since 2013 endeavoring to re-empower local financial savings institutions. WOCCU has returned at the right time when the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has taken a serious interest in doing the same thing—channeling funding to credit unions, savings and loans associations, market women groups and other small holders, in a deliberate bid to help bring them into the money economy and improve their livelihood. WOCCU is working with other organizations, including the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), funded by the MasterCard Foundation, in order to help build more credit unions. We believe the GOL should welcome the WOCCU’s initiative because reorganizing and expanding our credit unions would have a direct impact on agricultural productivity. Why? Cooperatives have long been among the chief sources of farmer empowerment. Cooperatives have historically given financing, seeds, tools, management and other support to our farmers, enabling them to be more efficient, more productive and more successful. This has improved the livelihood of farmers, their families and communities.A partnership with the CBL’s own initiatives in this sector would evoke a revolution in cooperative efficiency, financial strength and productivity—and our farmers would be better off for it.We call on the Ministry of Agriculture and the Liberia Credit Union National Association (LCUNA) to liaise with WOCCU’s chief executive officer in order to accelerate this important and crucial effort to rebuild and expand credit union activities throughout the country. The aims: to revive and improve agricultural production and empower our rural people through better organization and exposure to micro and other financing. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
– as Minister calls for better policies to address hungerThe movement of labour from the agriculture sector to the oil industry is something that is being closely monitored by the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).FAO representative, Reuben Robertson told a FAO-sponsored workshop on Wednesday that this shift could affect the overall agenda of eliminating hunger and poverty in Guyana.FAO country representative, Reuben Robertson“Let us, through this dialogue, recognise the real challenges to the sector with the coming of oil in 2020. The movement of labour from a highly labour intensive agriculture to more lucrative paying jobs could create shortage of labour for agriculture production in a sector,” Robertson said.The FAO official said the agriculture sector is already plagued with an aging population, low productivity, and one that requires creativity and incentives to stimulate young people to join.In order to reduce the chances of this happening, Robertson said there would be a need for urgent modernisation of the sector to make it more competitive as the demand for food increases. It was noted that the already high food import bill and poverty levels will increase if this is not done.He said, “We have very little time, less than 20 months to strengthen existing systems and to find new approaches to agriculture and rural development in Guyana if we are to fight inequality, overcome poverty, and position the country to achieve the sustainable development goals.”Participants at the opening of the FAO-sponsored workshopIf all of these are done, then it would make way for a competitive and sustainable agriculture in a green state, Robertson added. The FAO representative pointed also to the need for partnerships with universities, businesses and other organisations to improve the local agriculture sector.Nevertheless, Robertson committed to continued partnership with Government on food security. He also gave a commitment to ensure that vulnerable groups, which include, but are not limited to school aged children, are targeted when developing programmes to fight poverty and eliminate hunger.With the impending oil and gas expected to come on stream in 2020, Guyanese will have the opportunity to join this industry at various levels. There are already talks from Government that the sector could create jobs for as many Guyanese as possible from all administrative regions.Meanwhile, in presenting the feature address, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder highlighted the role agriculture plays in the fight against poverty and food and nutrition insecurities.According to the Minister, the contributions of the sector can be easily undermined by both obvious and less visible disasters, with varying levels of damage and loss to all its sub-sectors.“As such, an inclusive development approach is necessary in realising the potential for agricultural advancement in the hinterland regions, and since taking office in 2015 this Administration has placed great focus on exploiting the potential of those regions,” the Minister said.On the issue of food security, the Agriculture Minister reiterated the call for better policies to address the increasing incidences of hunger in Latin America, pointing to the fact that while availability of food is not a cause for concern within the region, access however, remains a challenge.He also reminded that with the assistance of the FAO, his Ministry has developed and recently revised the National Food and Nutrition Security Strategy and Action Plan.The Agriculture Ministry has been working with a number of international agencies to target vulnerable groups in its efforts to achieve all of the FAO’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary of the Education Ministry, Vibert Welch, who also addressed the gathering, said there is a huge link between hunger and educational development, noting that some of the policies implemented by the Education Ministry are aimed at addressing this gap.“Given the fact that studies have shown that children who are properly fed learn better, the Ministry over the years has developed and implemented several programmes to ensure children have balanced meals at school,” Welch said, while highlighting some of them including the ‘Hot Meals’ programme.The workshop was hosted in preparation of the 35th FAO Regional Conference of Latin America and the Caribbean. The national dialogue for the upcoming event garnered the inputs from stakeholders on regional issues which are scheduled for March 5 to 8 in Jamaica.
The two most vocal workers’ representatives, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) and the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), will again this year unite to march through the streets of Georgetown on Labour Day, usually observed in Guyana on May 1.Lincoln LewisIn a joint statement issued to the media on Saturday, the unions revealed that the parade will commence from the Parade Ground in Georgetown at 8:00h, and will make its way through several streets of the city before culminating at the National Park in Thomas Lands for a joint rally from around 11:00h. The rally will see speakers from the two unions, as well as politicians from both the Government and Opposition, addressing the gathering.This year’s event is being commemorated under the theme “A long journey for Social Justice – Together we can achieve”.Leading up to the massive march in celebration of workers, the unions will also pay tribute to Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow, who is known as the Father of Trade Unionism.A wreath-laying ceremony was held at Parliament Buildings on Sunday.The unions vowed in the statement to continue working together on behalf of workers across the country, as they noted that they are cognisant of the fact that there are still many issues troubling the workers.In the past, FITUG and GTUC had joined forces to fight for the rights of fired bauxite workers, as well as teachers who were pleading for a salary increase.Carvil DuncanThe unions’ statement read, “Incidentally, our Critchlow activity comes on World Occupational Safety and Health Day. Indeed, when we consider the times of Critchlow to now, we will recognise that much advancement (has) been scored and our workers today enjoy greater protections from occupational hazards. In as much as that may be, we also cannot ignore that workers, day in and day out, continue to face dangerous, and sometimes life-threatening, situations at work.“We recall several workplace accidents which have led to serious injuries, and in some cases death. This is a disturbing feature of our times, especially recognising the hardships that sometimes can be created by such incidents. Undoubtedly, we must, once more, reiterate the need to re-double our efforts regarding such matters, especially recognising that the newly established oil and gas production industry should be fully operational in the not-too-distant horizon”.According to the workers’ unions, this year’s Labour Day activity has even more significance, as the “centennial anniversary” of the Trade Union Ordinance of British Guiana, which allowed for trade unions to be registered as legal entities, will be observed.“We well recognise that, over the last one hundred (100) years, the working people have realised several successes in their march towards betterment and social justice. Today, though pleased about those worthwhile and notable developments, our movement cannot ignore, at the same time, that challenges have appeared and attempts, whether below the surface or otherwise, are being furthered to roll back the real triumphs of our nation’s workers. Undoubtedly, the need for solidarity cannot be underscored at this time as we seek to advance the just causes of our workers”.The Labour Day Parade is often well attended by employees and few employers, well decked in their white and red or black and red attire. The workers usually take to the streets to make a statement, in some cases demanding better working conditions, among other things.
High Court’s no-confidence ruling…33 is majority…dual citizens cannot sit in Guyana’s Parliament By Shemuel FanfairActing Chief Justice (CJ) Roxane George, SC, ruled on Thursday that the No-confidence Motion was validly passed 33-32 in the National Assembly and the Cabinet has to resign in keeping with constitutional provisions of Article 106 and 106 (7) respectively.The Judge made several determinations based on her constitutional interpretations following three cases filed at the High Court in the wake of the Opposition-filed motion that yielded success when former Member of Parliament (MP) for the Alliance For Change (AFC) Charrandas Persaud voted against the coalition Government. Thursday’s rulings now set the stage for the holding of elections within the constitutionally mandated three-month time which ends on March 21, 2019.Justice George addressed the cases filed by Attorney General (AG) Basil Williams, who contended that 34 votes were needed to have the no-confidence vote validly passed, while Government supporter Compton Reid was challenging the citizenship status and validity of Persaud’s vote. The third action filed by Attorney and charted accountant Christopher Ram petitioned to have the Administration to resign with all convenient speed and have President David Granger call elections within 90 days.Attorney General Basil Williams wanted to put a hold on the enforcement of the motion since he was convinced by way of legal arguments that half plus one was needed to successfully pass the motion. With a plethora of legal citations, the Chief Justice observed the position that a majority is better obtained when there is an odd number as in the case of the National Assembly of Guyana having 65 members. The litigant, Williams, proffered a case in the Kenyan Parliament where the half plus one stance was taken by that country’s speaker. According to Madame George, Guyana’s Speaker, Dr Barton Scotland found that motion was carried by majority of 33-32.No-confidence proceedings validThe Judge in fact noted that the validity of motion was not doubted when it was carried on December 21, 2018. Moreover, she noted that when concerns were subsequently raised and advanced by Speaker Barton Scotland stood by the resolution and moved that the court would be suitable for interpretation. Citing case law, it was outlined that 27 is both the simple and absolute majority of 52 with comparisons drawn to Guyana’s 65 number. The CJ added that 33 must always be obtained for such a motion’s successful passage.Govt must resignConsequent to the declaration that the 33-majority meant that the motion was carried, CJ George observed that the President and the Ministers cannot therefore remain in Government in accordance with Articles 106 (6) and 106 (7) after three months. Article 106 (6) of the Constitution states: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.”Meanwhile, 106 (7) goes on to state that, “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election 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, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election.”She said too that Government will remain in office until the next President is sworn in but not the Cabinet which advises the President. The Judge added that the resignation of Cabinet does not result in the dissolution of Parliament as this is within the President’s remit to do so and call elections. Moreover, resignation of the Cabinet does not result in the dissolution of Government as Cabinet is a subset of Government.Lawful and validJustice George also determined that the court cannot set aside a motion that is validly passed and noted that Speaker’s ruling in the resolution was “lawful and valid” therefore refusing the AG’s application. At this point, Williams rose immediately and applied for a stay of Justice George’s decisions so that Cabinet and Government would remain in office until the matter’s final determination. Thereafter, his predecessor Anil Nandlall who appeared for the Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo in the high-profile case registered his objection contending that all the AG did was seek the court to answer questions.“I don’t know that Your Honour would stop the Constitution from taking place,” Nandlall opined, in response to Williams’s argument that there would be “chaos” if the Government would immediately demit office and stop governing.Justice George opined that the AG’s contentions should be taken to the Appeal Court since she did not see how a stay could be granted in relation to answering questions.The Judge had earlier recalled that the proceedings of the vote were validly passed as the matter was debated then voted upon. Attorney Anil Nandlall welcomed Thursday’s ruling, saying that Cabinet should have effectively resigned upon the passage of the December 21, 2018 vote.“There is no Cabinet in force in Guyana currently and that is very important… if they are illegal, those are issues we will have to take into account and address,” the People’s Progressive Party/Civic MP told members of the media.Dual citizens cannot sit in Guyana’s ParliamentAnother landmark interpretation for which the Speaker will be advised relates to MPs having dual citizenship. Justice George pronounced on the case filed by Compton Reid. The Judge refused the majority of the declarations that Reid sought based on her ruling that she had no jurisdiction to hear challenges to Charrandas Persaud’s election in 2015 since the applicant would have had to file an elections petition within 28 days of that elections. On this ground, she could not pronounce on validity challenges.Persaud was elected as an MP following his name being included on the elections list for the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) party. Justice George said the court has jurisdiction to comment on the dual citizenship matter, saying Persaud is indeed a dual citizen from the evidence provided.She noted that the Constitution was very clear about dual citizenship status. In fact, Article 155(1) of the Constitution states that: “No person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who – (a) is by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state…”It was stated that to be qualified to be elected to the National Assembly, one must be 18 years old and Guyanese and it was established that Charrandas Persaud is a Guyanese citizen by birth. She highlighted that the former MP would have sworn allegiance to Canada to receive a passport and citing case law, stated that a renewal of a passport is a renewal of that allegiance. She noted that the holding of a passport has far reaching consequences. The Judge however noted that there is no evidence that Persaud has renounced Guyanese or Canadian citizenship.The evidence is that in order to be become a Canadian citizen one has to take an oath and bear allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II of Canada, her heirs and that laws of that country. Guyana discontinued such an allegiance in February 1970 when it became a Republic.According to the CJ, by swearing allegiance to another state, a dual citizen is not qualified to be elected to serve in the National Assembly. This, she noted, is applicable to the current MPs who hold dual citizenship. It was also observed by the CJ that even though it was unconstitutional to be a dual citizen and serve in the National Assembly, the voting by Persaud did not invalidate the no-confidence resolution. She further noted that if he had voted against the motion, there would not have been any dispute.Attorney Sanjeev Datadin appeared for Charrandas Persaud while Rafiq Khan, SC, appeared for the House Speaker, Speaker Barton Scotland. Anil Nandlall appeared for Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.The Attorney General has signalled his intention to mount challenges in the Appellate Court.
West Indies Under-15’s tour of the United Kingdom got off to a winning start as the visitors defeated Hertfordshire by two wickets in the first of five scheduled encounters.Hertfordshire took first strike and were bowled out for 239 in 49.4 overs thanks to a spell of 3 – 43 from Johan Layne, Andrew Rambaran’s 2 – 29 and a wicket each from Rashad Worrell and Tariq O’Neale.In reply, Guyanese Mavendra Dindyal top scored with 51 batting at number three along with a solid knock of 48 from Nimar Bolden at the top of the order steered Windies to the target of 240, achieved in the 47th over.Ackeem Agustine and Worrell also assisted with the bat posting 26 and 20, respectively, as they pushed their side closer to victory.Windies are pitted to face Hampshire Under-15 in today’s encounter.
6 October 2008South Africa’s first locally developed electric car made its debut at the Paris Motor Show last week. The zero-emission Joule is a six-seater multi-purpose vehicle designed by Cape Town-based Optimal Energy in association with legendary South African-born automotive designer Keith Helfet.According to Optimal Energy, the world’s finite energy resources are being used inefficiently, with urban transport playing a major role in energy wastage and climate changing pollution – something the company aims to change with the Joule, which uses just 20% of the energy needed by a conventional car.“We have capitalised on the opportunity presented by the exponential increase in oil costs and the dramatic improvement in battery price, life and performance,” Optimal Energy CEO Kobus Meiring said in a statement last week.“Joule’s value proposition is made more compelling when environmental influences such as increasing pollution and global warming phenomena caused by the rapid increase in urbanisation are also considered.”In addition, the company aims to use the Joule to fulfil its vision of establishing and leading the electric vehicle industry in South Africa as a springboard to global expansion.South African rootsThe Joule’s interior and exterior was styled by Keith Helfet, who has a long and illustrious history as chief stylist at Jaguar, being responsible for such iconic designs as the XJ220, the XK180 and the F-Type.“Keith was serendipitously introduced to Optimal Energy while purchasing coastal property in South Africa and was immediately captivated by our vision,” said Meiring. “Optimal Energy was searching for a world-class designer, and the fact that Keith is South African born and has strong South African roots matched our criteria perfectly.”Meiring, meanwhile, has a strong track record in managing hi-tech projects in South Africa: he has worked as programme manager to Denel’s Rooivalk attack helicopter project, and as project manager for the South African Large Telescope (Salt).Lithium ion battery packsThe Joule’s chassis has been designed to accommodate two large-cell lithium ion battery packs, which employ chemistry similar to that used in mobile phones and laptop computers. The cells are inherently safe, as they do not contain any heavy metals.Using a normal 220 volt home outlet and the Joule’s onboard charger, it will take approximately seven hours to recharge the car’s battery pack for a 200 kilometre driving range – with the two battery packs providing 400 kilometres in total.The car also has regenerative ABS braking technology, through which the batteries are charged when the brakes are used.The Joule’s large battery bay is able to accommodate a number of different battery configurations from different suppliers, giving the customer the choice of performance and cost.“Studies show that 99% of urban users drive less than 150 kilometres a day, [and] Optimal Energy recommends that only one battery pack is necessary to power Joule,” said Meiring.Sufficient grid capacityIndependent analysis of Eskom has confirmed that the South African grid has enough capacity to supply electrical energy to millions of cars without affecting its customer base or requiring any additional infrastructure.Eskom has vast amounts of excess energy between 11pm and 6am, which will be the recommended recharging time.The South African province of Gauteng is currently being evaluated for Joule’s first assembly plant, as it has the biggest cities and has expressed interest in placing the first fleet orders. Although supplier lists are not yet final, it is expected that the local content of Joule will be more than 50%.Joule will be sold in all major South African centres – throughout Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban – and will be available towards the end of 2010. The Joule was also developed with the international market in mind, and sales and exports will follow shortly after the South African launch.SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo material