Monthly Archives: March 2014

President reiterates need for passage of AML/CTF Bill

– says opposition’s demands are irrational
President Donald Ramotar on Thursday told media operatives that the Opposition’s demands, with regards the passage of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Amendment Bill, “don’t hold water.”He reiterated that the Bill came out of an international process and was not crafted through Guyana’s politics, which is why the international body is ready to impose sanctions on the country if the Bill is not passed.
“What it means, if you do not pass this Bill, the perception out there is that you are encouraging drug traffickers, and money launderers to use your country for these things,” the President stated. He added that the Bill is straightforward, and there is no need for quid pro quo (something given in return for another of equivalent value) and even the demands being made are irrational.
He added that the question of the Public Procurement Commission was already answered, reiterating that as an executive function, the only thing being asked by government regarding this, is the minimum function in the body, having already given up the awarding of contracts and only wanting to have the no-objection role for those awards.
The President also noted that the non-signing of the Bills presented by the Opposition was due to them being unconstitutional.
“Any concession that has to be made to this Bill is not just a question of concession that what we would make…there is a limitation of what you could do. That limitation is imposed by CFATF and whatever Bill or compliance you come up with. It has to be CFATF compliant. The logical thing to do, is the Bill we have, we know CFATF has pronounced that it is CFATF compliant, so why don’t we pass it?” President Ramotar stated.
He said this is not the end of the matter, since the Bill is an amended one and that more amendments are being prepared and are still to come from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFAT) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) based on their experience of the issues.
On the issue of the amendment being submitted by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) being accepted, the President said this was based on compromise aiming towards passage of the Bill. The amendment was regarding the seizure of funds from citizens on the basis of suspicion.
He also pointed out the concerns expressed by CARICOM leaders about the passage of the AMLCFT Bill, and their awareness on the effects the non-passage of it could have on the country and the region as a whole. The Head of State said that while the international economy is becoming more and more interlinked, Guyana is one of the countries doing extremely well and CARICOM leaders have expressed their concerns over the serious implications of the bill’s non- passage. (GINA)

President Donald Ramotar

President Donald Ramotar speaking to the media

Local Government Ministry, UNDP ink US$1.5M solid waste management project agreement

Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker

Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker with United Nations Resident Coordinator Ms. Khadija Musa at the signing on Tuesday. (UN photo)

March 28, 2014

THE implementation of a new solid waste management project by the Local Government Ministry and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will see the issue of illegal vending being dealt with along with the rehabilitation of six municipal markets across the country. Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Mr. Norman Whittaker, signed the one-year Guyana Solid Waste Management Improvement Project with United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms. Khadija Musa last Tuesday.
The signing took place in the Ministry’s boardroom, Fort Street, Kingston. The US$1,568,260 project is being funded by the India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) Trust Fund.
The project will see the procurement of two compactor trucks and two mini excavators, to be used at Haags Bosch Landfill Site on the East Bank of Demerara and garbage collection is expected to be enhanced countrywide, but particularly in the city.
According to Whittaker, though government has been providing much support, Guyana has not been able to rise above the challenge of solid waste management.
“It is important to note that the escalation of the problem of solid waste rose about the same time as people started to do vending on the roadsides. The two go hand in hand. So this project is welcomed,” he remarked.
Whittaker said he is happy that IBSA saw merit in the ministry’s proposal and subsequently approved it.
Musa offered that the project will provide very important equipment, logistical and otherwise, to assist within the overall plan of the government in reforming collection and waste management.
“We hope it will contribute not only to the health of people around Georgetown but that it will improve the landfill sites. One of the areas it will focus on is the market area which is really important,” she said.
Others who attended the ceremony were Brazil Ambassador Luiz Gilberto Seixas De Andrade; Acting Ambassador to Guyana, India Tirath Singh; Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Brazil Sabina Popoff; along with other UNDP and ministry officials.
By Telesha Ramnarine

 

Eccles biker shooting death…Rondy Jagdeo let go of murder charge

March 21, 2014 | By | Filed Under News

Five months after being accused of gunning down a man who was said to be a good friend of his, Water Street businessman Randy Jagdeo yesterday walked out of the city court a free man after the Chief Magistrate discharged the murder charge instituted against him.
The 28-year-old had been accused of killing popular biker Kirk Davis on September 3, last year.
After spending almost two months on the run, Jagdeo surrendered to police custody and was then brought before the courts to be arraigned for murder, appearing before Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry on October 30, last.
On February 5, the Preliminary Inquiry (PI) got underway before the said Magistrate.

Freed: Randy Jagdeo (Inset) riding away from the court after he was freed yesterday.

Freed: Randy Jagdeo (Inset) riding away from the court after he was freed yesterday.

The businessman who was represented by Attorneys Mark Waldron and Roger Yearwood was being prosecuted by Corporal Bharat Mangru.
The pre-trial matter engaged the attention of the court for a little over one month and some seven witnesses were called to take the stand on behalf of the Prosecution.
Yesterday, the Prosecution was ordered to close its case after failing on three occasions to produce its two remaining civilian witnesses to the court.
The girlfriend of the deceased, Naliffa Dookie, and the only eyewitness, Rondell Marks, also known as “Barber” were absent, despite being summoned by the court and radio messages being sent demanding their attendance.
After the Prosecution closed its case, Yearwood stood on behalf of accused and made his no-case submission.
The lawyer urged the court to affirm that the Prosecution had failed to prove the elements of the offence. He admitted that the Prosecution had established that Davis died ‘within a year and a day’ as a result of gunshots received.
Yearwood insisted, however, that the Prosecution did not prove who inflicted the injuries.
Magistrate Sewnarine-Beharry, in response, upheld the no-case submission and ruled that the prosecution had indeed failed to present the court with sufficient evidence for a prima facie case of murder to be established against Jagdeo and as such discharged the matter.
Upon being told that he was “free to go,” Jagdeo walked briskly out of the courtroom.  He strolled to the Police Outpost, ditched his shirt and donned a purple hooded jersey and sun shades.
Jagdeo then slipped a bag around his shoulder and made his way to a waiting white CBR motorcycle, on which he rode away from the courthouse.

Dead: Kirk Davis

Dead: Kirk Davis

Meanwhile, relatives of the deceased who spoke to Kaieteur News expressed displeasure with the judicial system, stating that the proceedings were a slap in their face.
One female relative indicated that they are “highly disappointed in the Guyana Police Force and the sloppy investigations conducted.”
“I understand the court’s position, since there were constant no shows by witnesses, but at some point in time the police were in contact with these witnesses. What happened to a witness protection system? Why weren’t provisions made for them?”
“Here it is that a man walks free because these witnesses, in fear, may have left the country. Now a mother is without a son and a son without a father because of a sloppy system.”
The relative said she hopes that no other family would have to live through the anguish of having lost a loved one at the hands of another only to receive no justice.
She expressed hope that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) would reopen the case and that better efforts would be made in terms of investigations.
“The system has enough resources to achieve things, but it’s slackness and laziness all around. No effort was placed into this case.”