Monthly Archives: May 2014

Abducted nine-day-old baby…Woman held by police is not the kidnapper – parents

Police were forced to release a woman after the parents of the abducted nine-day-old infant informed them that she was not the one who disappeared with their baby last Saturday from the Port Mourant Market.

The abducted infant

During an Identification Parade done yesterday, the infant’s parents, Sandra Mc Lean and Ravikant Vistonauth told ranks that the woman they held was not the one who took away their baby.
The woman was taken into custody Wednesday night after ‘D’ Division ranks got word that “a lady looking just like the woman in the picture” was residing in Zeeburg, West Coast Demerara.
The Zeeburg resident not only has similar looks to the kidnapper but also shares the same name.
The kidnapper had informed the infant’s mother that she resides in Suriname, and coincidently, the woman who was taken into custody has connections in the neighbouring country.
When contacted yesterday, acting Commander for ‘D’ Division, Ian Amsterdam said that the arrest was made after detectives were informed about the Zeeburg resident by ranks in Berbice.
The Commander did not say how police got information about the Zeeburg resident but this publication was informed that the woman’s neighbours might have played a part in the process.
Last Saturday, a woman whom Sandra Mc Lean met at the Skeldon Public Hospital several days before she delivered her baby boy, disappeared with the baby.
The woman, whom she identified as one Bibi Khan, was reportedly based in Suriname.
Mc Lean said that she met ‘Khan ‘on May 16, last, at the hospital.
“I was experiencing labour pains and this woman come in and say that she looking for someone name Sandra.
I didn’t say anything because my name is also Sandra, plus I was in pain so my relatives talked to her.
She was kind of short and medium size and she is Indian and she was wearing a Kemar,” the grieving mother recalled

A surveillance camera image of the alleged kidnapper in a store.

Mc Lean said that the woman returned after she had delivered her son.
“She asked to play with the baby. She said that she has to pay him and she put $5000 under his blanket and she lifted him. We were talking and I gave her my address and so. She spent like an hour and then she left.”
According to McLean, the woman did not go back to the hospital.
“I didn’t see her back until she come to my house. She come and played with the baby and she gave him another $5000, and she asked if she can buy stuff for him and I said ‘no problem’ because we were having a nine-day celebration for the baby.”
“When we were in Skeldon, she went into a store and then she come out back and say that my baby brings luck to her because she got through with whatever business she had to do. She said that she had to buy something in a Chinese store but “like after she see the cameras she didn’t go. But I didn’t really suspect anything”.
Afterward, we went to the Port Mourant Market and she said that she wanted fish. She tell me that the baby will be safe with her outside, while I go and buy the fish in the market. But when I come out back she was gone.”
A report was made to law enforcement officers, but the search proved futile.
“We de naming him Avinash. He father ain’t even get to see he, but I know me child if I see him anywhere. He get a slight mark on he knee like a birthmark, and I could never forget that woman.
“I will always remember her face,” the mother said as she noted that she still has hope of finding her son.
Anyone with information regarding the missing infant is asked to contact the nearest police station or contact relatives on telephone numbers, 338-1297 6602651 or 693 9484.

BK trains young people in mining, construction

…offers SKYE Apprentices six-month programme

The BK Group commenced training for 20 young people from the Skills and Knowledge for Youth Empowerment (SKYE) initiative, on Wednesday. This is the third consecutive year that the BK Group is supporting the SKYE initiative.

The BK Group has commenced training for 20 young people from the SKYE initiative.

Last year, ten young people from SKYE were a part of the BK Group Apprenticeship Programme.
The apprentices will be part of a six-month training programme at the company’s quarries for training in varying fields including as heavy duty equipment operators, mechanics, welders, carpenters, and general construction workers.
The SKYE project supports the goals of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) which seeks to combat the core causes of crime and violence, enhance public safety and security while offering job skills and training to at-risk youths in Guyana.
The apprentices will be paid a monthly stipend, at the minimum wage. They will be provided with meals, accommodation, and laundry services. In addition, while on the training programme, the apprentices will have full access to the company’s club and entertainment facilities located on site.
Before leaving for the BK Quarries in the Mazaruni, the new apprentices met with the company’s Chief Executive Officer Brian Tiwarie at BK’s Kingston Head Office. The group was also briefed by BK Group Marketing and Sales Director Briony Tiwarie.
“The BK Group is pleased to be part of such a beneficial initiative. It is our belief that the apprentices will receive a wealth of knowledge while at the quarries,” said Ms. Tiwarie.
Ms. Tiwarie also noted that much focus will be placed on the apprentices to ensure that they become positive and creative individuals in order to make meaningful contributions to society.
Tiwarie added, “Over the years persons who received training from BK have gone on to earn significant sums in the mining and construction sectors both with BK and other companies, as such, we believe that the best way we could help improve society is by providing useful and valuable training to young people at our facilities.”
SKYE Project Officer, Tomaisha Hendricks, speaking after the briefing said, “We are very excited about this programme. The BK Group has been working with us from the very inception; the company has been one of the few to sign up and to provide the opportunities for training that many of these young people would not otherwise be able to access.”
Hendricks added, “We are also happy that while we are able to provide training for our young people BK is also able to meet some of its manpower needs as the apprentices complete the programme and enter the workforce.”
The SKYE programme supports youth who are secondary school dropouts, youth who have completed formal education but require additional skills in order to gain employment, and youth caught up in the criminal justice system.
The SKYE project is funded by USAID through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. It is implemented by the Education Development Centre (EDC), based in Boston and Washington in the USA.

Man gets 78 years for dumping wife’s body in trench

 – attempts getaway

By Latoya Giles
Drama unfolded at the High Court yesterday afternoon as Kevin Verwayne, who was sentenced to 78 years imprisonment by Justice Navindra Singh, after being found guilty by a unanimous jury verdict for the murder of his reputed wife, attempted to jump over the rails of the court balcony as he was being escorted back to the lock-ups.
As he threw his right leg over the rails, Sergeant Wishart sprang into action, restraining Verwayne, who then began fighting him and other police officers. He was crying and incoherent and was eventually subdued and taken to the lock-ups without further incident.
Verwayne, 25, of Depot Dam Squatting Area, Pouderoyen, West Bank Demerara, was on trial from May 16, for the 2011 murder of his 20-year-old reputed wife, Farida Ramdeen called ‘Susie’.
The State’s case which was presented by Senior State Counsel Judith Gildharie-Mursalin was that Verwayne had taken Ramdeen in a taxi from their home at Pouderoyen to Gafoors at Houston, under the pretext that he was taking her to visit his aunt in Albouystown.
He walked her down the Access Road which was muddy and when she asked him where he was taking her, he cuffed her to her mouth and compelled her to “walk.” He took off his boots and caused her to take off her slippers.
He then told her, “Baby, all them things you been putting me through. All the time a telling yuh a gon kill yuh but yuh didn’t believe me. When I go to work you does have man in the house sexing you and I does work hard fuh give you all me money.”
Verwayne then hugged Ramdeen and jumped into the trench with her where he choked her until she became lifeless, and then hid her body under some cane trash and returned home. Verwayne’s cousin, Shenisa Rawlins called ‘Blacks’ who had introduced Ramdeen to Verwayne and whose home they visited on a daily basis, called him on Saturday March 5, 2011, enquiring about Ramdeen.
Verwayne told her that Ramdeen was at his aunt in Georgetown, as he had to work there the next day. He was employed as a garbage collector with Puran Bros Waste Disposal Services.
Later that night, Verwayne confided in an aunt, Esther Pyle, at Crane Housing Scheme. Pyle called Rawlins to her home and Verwayne confided to Rawlins that he had murdered Ramdeen and hid her body under trash in the trench at Houston.
He offered to take Rawlins to where the body was. Rawlins agreed to go with him to where the body was but instead she took him to the Vreed-en-Hoop Police Station by taxi where he told Corporal Lynette Phillips who was on duty that he had killed Ramdeen and left her body in the trench at Houston.
Corporal Phillips contacted the ranks at Ruimveldt Police Station who had jurisdiction over Houston, and Verwayne and Rawlins were picked up from Vreed-en-Hoop. Verwayne directed the police, including Corporal Herbert Henry, to the area where he had left the body. It was almost midnight and pitch black. However, Verwayne retrieved his boots and Rawlins recognized the pair of slippers that she had bought for Ramdeen stuck in the mud. Ramdeen’s body was not found that night.
The next morning, Corporal Henry and a party of police officers and Rawlins, along with Ramdeen’s brother, Shawn Williams, returned to Houston where Ramdeen’s body was found and fished out of the trench. Photographs of that scene, taken by Corporal Linden Forbes Sampson were admitted as exhibits at the trial. Forensic Pathologist, Dr. Nehaul Singh performed an autopsy on Ramdeen’s body and testified that she died from (asphyxiation) lack of oxygen due to compression injuries to the neck caused by manual strangulation and drowning. He also found that Ramdeen had sustained blunt trauma to her head, eyes, mouth and chest.
Following his arrest, Verwayne also gave a written caution statement to Corporal Henry which was witnessed by Sergeant Bowman, and in which he detailed how and why he had murdered Ramdeen. He also took Sergeant Bowman to his home where he handed over the red jersey and brown pants he was wearing at the time he killed Ramdeen. These were admitted as exhibits at the trial.
Following the closure of the State’s case, Verwayne, who was represented by Attorney-at-Law, Melvyn Duke, opted to remain silent when called upon to lead a defence if he so desired. Through cross-examination of the State’s witnesses, including Rawlins, the defence raised the issue that one ‘Sherwin’ had sexually assaulted Ramdeen two weeks prior to her death and that he was her killer.
Following a two-hour summing up of the evidence yesterday by Justice Singh, the jury, comprising nine women and three men, returned the unanimous verdict of guilty. Asked whether he had anything to say prior to sentencing, Verwayne said “No further comments at this time.”
In his plea of mitigation, Defence Counsel asked the court for clemency and leniency in sentencing and to consider Verwayne’s age, that he had no counsel in the Magistrate’s Court and was a man of meagre means who had shown respect for the court throughout the trial.
But the Prosecutor asked the Court to consider that there were no mitigating factors and that his intention to kill her was clearly evident from the fact that he took her to that location by taxi and that was a deliberate, unprovoked, unjustified, planned killing of this young woman in the prime of her life.
“Resorting to this kind of brutality and violence is never the solution to any problem, but this is so prevalent in our society today. This young woman, who from the evidence appeared to have been “flighty,” was led like a sheep to the slaughter by Verwayne, a man she obviously trusted, to her death,” the Prosecutor said.
In imposing sentence on Verwayne, Justice Singh told him that he does not implement the death penalty for the offence of murder; the starting point was 60 years imprisonment.
“Having regard to the fact that this was a premeditated act, meaning you planned it, I will add another 10 years to the 60. Further, I have considered that Ramdeen suffered and died a horrible death. One of the most horrible ways a person can die is by drowning and for your cruelty in this regard, I will add another five years.
“Because it is a crime of domestic violence, which is prevalent in Guyana, I will add another six years. For the time served in prison while on remand, I will deduct that three years. There are no mitigating factors in this case and the jury having found you guilty, you have chosen not to say anything. You are hereby sentenced to 78 years imprisonment.”
Verwayne appeared calm as he was handcuffed and led from the dock out of the courtroom and onto the corridor where he then began crying and attempted to jump over the rails.
Ramdeen’s elderly grandmother, Gladys Ramnarine, who was present in court throughout the trial, said she was “grateful to God that justice was done”. She said Ramdeen had lost her parents at a tender age and she grew up with her.

The Caribbean Region is not energy poor – CDB President

-  Member states urged to transition to new energy paradigm

By Kiana Wilburg
After establishing that high energy prices remain the primary source of the Caribbean’s uncompetitiveness, President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. William Warren Smith said at the recent opening ceremony of the Board of Governors 44th meeting at the Guyana International Conference Centre, that in order to unlock the opportunities for competitiveness, it is imperative that a new energy paradigm be created.
Dr. Smith said that there has been a perception that Trinidad and Tobago is the only

CDB President, Dr. William Warren Smith, with Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh.

energy-rich country in the Caribbean. But this he proved to be an inaccurate view as he highlighted that Guyana alone has enough renewable energy potential, mainly in the form of hydro-power to meet all of its electricity requirements for the foreseeable future; supply all of the needs of immediate neighbours, Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago; and still have enough left over to sell to neighbouring Brazil. The situation, he said, is similar for Suriname.
Additionally, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have great potential to generate their entire base-load electricity requirements from geo-thermal sources.
The CDB President said that although their domestic markets are quite small, technological advancements in the development of undersea transmission cables would allow these countries to exploit their relatively large geo-thermal reserves for export to neighbouring countries.
“For example, Jamaica can meet up to 30 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources such as wind, solar, mini-hydro and waste-to-energy.  According to a study by the World Watch Institute in the USA, Jamaica’s annual average solar insolation (a measure of solar radiation), ranges from five to eight kilowatt hours per square metre per day.  In comparison, Germany, the global leader in solar photovoltaic (PV) (materials which convert energy from sunlight into electricity), has only a few locations with a capacity in excess of 3 kilowatt hours per square metre per day.   Jamaica’s situation is not unique.  All borrowing member countries boast similarly strong solar potential.”
Dr. Smith said that all of these renewable options have the potential to lower electricity costs, and increase foreign exchange reserves from reduced energy imports.
The CDB President believes that the legislative and regulatory environment is a major hindrance to the pursuit of a new energy paradigm for the Region, and as such, the two priority areas require urgent government action.
“One, we need to change the legislative framework, at the national level, in order to facilitate access for renewables by altering the monopoly on generation where this exists in borrowing member countries.  Revisions in the framework should ensure equitable pricing for supply from independent power providers or small, distributed renewable generators of electricity.
“It is noteworthy that CARICOM energy ministers have already adopted “net-billing” as a feasible mechanism for “ensuring equitable pricing”.  As a matter of urgency then, all borrowing member countries should follow the lead set by Barbados and Jamaica, which have already enacted the supporting legislation.”
Additionally, Dr. Smith said that an appropriate regulatory framework needs to be established for each borrowing member country to ensure that equitable tariffs and rules for optimal performance are in place and to make certain that the interests of consumers, investors and governments are balanced.
“Given the constraints of market size, and the availability and cost of specialized skills necessary for the effective administration of the regulatory function, it makes sense for a collective approach to be adopted. It is for this reason that CDB welcomes the Eastern Caribbean Energy Regulatory Authority initiative, applauds those OECS countries that have already committed, and looks forward to the full participation by other member countries.
“I would go so far as to say that such a supra-national regulatory body is critical for full and sustainable development of the geothermal potential in the sub-region, to encourage private investment in the sector, and to make interconnectivity a reality. The building of a new energy paradigm must give priority to energy efficiency, which is relatively low-cost and yields a high return on investment with a short payback period.”
The CDB President also explained that a successful energy efficiency programme, incorporating appropriate tax incentives, would reduce household expenditure on electricity and other forms of energy, thereby increasing disposable incomes.  He mentioned as well that businesses, especially the critically important micro, small and medium sized-enterprises (MSMEs), would also see improvements in their efficiency and their competitiveness.
Dr. Smith expressed that the fight against high energy prices could, potentially, also open the door for the emergence and growth of new non-traditional businesses that promote the use of energy efficiency technologies and services to reduce energy consumption.
In his closing remarks on this subject, the CDB President said, “The growth of industries producing and/or installing solar water heating systems is the most familiar of the new industries that have emerged in our region as a response to high energy prices. In the new energy paradigm, we should expect an expansion in new industries around a range of energy services, and the manufacture and installation of PV and other renewable energy systems and energy-saving devices. The new paradigm is integral to the “Green Economy” approach currently under consideration by some borrowing member countries and is consistent with the CDB’s Climate Resilience Strategy.”

CFATF tells members to limit business with Guyana

- Bill could be passed within 72hrs –  AFC

By Abena Rockcliffe

Guyana’s fate has been ultimately decided at the Regional level; the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) yesterday told its members that it considers the country to be a risk to the international financial system. The regional body has therefore advised the implementation of further counter measures to be taken against Guyana in order to protect financial systems from the “ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from Guyana. As a consequence of failing to meet certain deadlines, CFATF has referred Guyana to its parent body, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which will take steps which may include Guyana being blacklisted at the international level.
This decision was made yesterday at the conclusion of CFATF’s plenary meeting which started on Monday in Miami, Florida.
CFATF reviewed the report submitted by Guyana which stated that “The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AMLCFT) (Amendment) Bill 2013 was presented in Parliament on April 22, 2013.  The Bill seeks to address the legislative amendments required by the examiners’ recommended actions in the core and key Recommendations and a majority of the remaining outstanding Recommendations.
Following the legislative debate process in Parliament the AMLCFT (Amendment) Bill 2013 was rejected in November 2013.  The AMLCFT (Amendment) Bill was reintroduced in Parliament in December 2013 and has been subject to consideration by a Parliamentary Special Select Committee which is yet to complete its deliberations for the Parliament to enact the legislation.
As a result, the CFATF Plenary Meeting resolved that a Public Statement be issued in respect of Guyana.
The statement noted that Guyana is being sanctioned as a result of the country’s failure to meet the agreed timelines in its Action Plan.
“As a result of not meeting the agreed timelines in its Action Plan, the CFATF recognises Guyana as a jurisdiction with significant AML/CFT deficiencies, which has failed to make significant progress in addressing those deficiencies and the CFATF considers Guyana to be a risk to the international financial system. Members are therefore called upon to implement further counter measures to protect their financial systems from the ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from Guyana. Also, the CFATF has referred Guyana to the FATF.
“Countermeasures could entail, among others, the requirement of enhanced due diligence measures; introducing enhanced reporting mechanisms or systematic reporting of financial transactions; refusing the establishment of subsidiaries or branches or representative offices in the country concerned, or otherwise taking into account the fact that the relevant financial institution is from a country that does not have adequate AML/CFT systems and limiting the business relationships or financial transactions with the identified country or persons in that country.”
CFATF is an organization of twenty-seven jurisdictions of the Caribbean Basin Region. It agreed to implement the international standards for Anti-money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT), Financial Action Task Force Recommendations (FATF Recommendations).
In November 2011, CFATF brought to the attention of its Members, certain jurisdictions including Guyana with significant strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT regime. With a view to encouraging expeditious rectification of the identified strategic deficiencies, Guyana and the CFATF developed an Action Plan with identified target dates to address the strategic deficiencies that exist in Guyana’s national architecture to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The CFATF issued a public statement in May 2013 recommending Guyana to take steps to ensure that it addressed its AML/CFT deficiencies. Additionally, in November 2013, CFATF issued a further public statement calling upon its Members to consider implementing counter measures to protect their financial systems from the ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from Guyana as a result of its AML/CFT deficiencies, in particular by: 1) fully criminalizing money laundering and terrorist financing offences, 2) addressing all the requirements on beneficial ownership, 3) strengthening the requirements for suspicious transaction reporting, international co-operation, and the freezing and confiscation of terrorist assets, and 4) fully implementing the UN conventions.
AFC SAYS Bill could be passed within 72 hours
Meanwhile, the Alliance for Change (AFC) sent a strong message to the government yesterday through the media, with Treasurer, Dominic Gaskin, stating that his party believes that the AML/CFT Amendment Bill could be passed within 72 hours if there is political will.
“It is time to cut the rhetoric and let us move things along. The people of Guyana demand no less of their leaders. The AFC proposes that a process to fast-track the operationalization of the Public Procurement Commission be implemented with the government naming two nominees to the Procurement Commission, A Partnership for National Unity naming two, and the AFC naming the other.”
Gaskin said these five names would be submitted to the Public Accounts Committee to ensure they meet the criteria for the Procurement Commission. This he proposed could be done within 24 hours. He outlined that the next stage of the process would see the National Assembly approving the nominees. Given the Government’s demand for Cabinet to retain a role in the award of contracts, the AFC has already indicated its willingness to compromise by amending Section 54 of the Procurement Act so that Cabinet’s right to raise an objection on the award of contracts is enshrined.
Once the House approves the nominees they could be sworn in.
“Following this, the Alliance for Change would have no hesitation in giving its support for the passage of the AML/CFT Bill,” said Gaskin.
Government maintains that the positions taken by the Opposition parties—A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and Alliance for Change (AFC)—are unfortunate, given the devastating consequences.
Aside from the government’s position, many entities have lamented the stalemate that characterized the Special Select Committee that was set up to address the AML/CFT Bill.
AFC leader, Khemraj Ramjattan, in a recent interview with this publication said “government will prefer its corruption in the absence of the Procurement Commission along with all the hardship that the Guyanese people will face with the anti money laundering bill not being passed, that is the caring nature of this government.”

Nevis seeks support from Guyana to set-up Haemodialysis Unit

Guyana’s health care service, particularly as it relates to the delivery of haemodialysis, is a model to be emulated.  At least this is the conviction of Minister of Health of Nevis, Mark Brantley.

The press conference in session yesterday. (From left) The Nevis team – Health Planner, Ms Shelisa Martin-Clarke; Director of Nursing, Ms Aldris Pemberton-Dias; Medical Chief of Staff, Dr John Essien and Minister of Health, Mark Brantley. The GPHC team –Chief Executive Officer, Mr Michael Khan; Director of Medical and Professional Service, Dr Sheik Amir; Director of Nursing Service, Sister Audrey Cory and Assistant Director of Nursing Service, Sister Noshella Lalckecharran

Minister Brantley and a team of technical officers from his Health Ministry are currently here on a three-day visit designed to forge collaborative ties with the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) with a view of setting up a Haemodialysis Clinic in Nevis.
Haemodialysis is a procedure administered to renal failure patients to remove metabolic waste products or toxic substances from the bloodstream by dialysis.
Currently, at least, one Nevisian patient who suffers from renal failure is being dialysed at the GPHC. In fact, Minister Brantley said that the patient has been forced to relocate to Guyana for the past year in order to readily access the service.
This is in fact the situation that obtains for a number of similar cases, Minister Brantley said, that are known to attract cost factors, both financially and otherwise, whereby patients are required to be away from their families for extended periods.
Although the renal failure cases in Nevis are currently less than five, Minister Brantley said that “as a Government we have an obligation to our population to see as much as it is feasible to do, to have certain services available to them within the country so that they are not away from their families…”
And so it was against this background, he said, that a decision was made at the Nevis end to undertake what he described as a ‘study tour’ in order to “have the necessary conversations to see how we can further cement the relationship between Guyana and the island of Nevis in terms of health care.”
This has thus far translated to the Nevisian Health Minister, accompanied by his Medical Chief of Staff, Dr. John Essien; Director of Nursing, Ms Aldris Pemberton-Dias and Health Planner, Ms Shelisa Martin-Clarke touring the public hospital.
“We admire in particular the level of training you have here; the training possibilities that exist, and frankly what you have done here with limited resources is nothing short of remarkable based on what we have observed,” said Minister Brantley.
Moreover, he noted that “we feel that our people can benefit from some training and some technical assistance from Guyana and we feel that it is part and parcel of the closer collaboration that we see emerging throughout the Caribbean.”
“I would like to go on record thanking the Honourable Minister of Health here, .Dr. (Bheri) Ramsaran who met us yesterday (Wednesday) and gave us some of his time,” said Minister Brantley as he lauded the support that has been thus far forthcoming. He is optimistic that “this trip is the start of something very good and we can certainly find ways and means to cooperate.”
In fact Minister Brantley, who also has responsibility for a number of other Ministries, and functions in the capacity of Deputy Premier in his country, described the trip here as symbolic in many respects pointing out that the move can be classified as a good one not only for Nevis but also for Guyanese who have relatives there or may be residing there themselves.
Nevis, which is a part of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis located in the Leewards Islands, is a federal two-island territory in the West Indies that is home to a large number of Guyanese in a population of about 13,500.
“Even though it is the first time for all of us being here, we feel that we know Guyana already…We see street names and places that we recognise from our conversations over the years,” said Brantley as he disclosed that there are some Guyanese who have been residing in Nevis for well over two decades. This, according to him, has over the years allowed for Guyana to benefit economically.
The press conference was moderated by Chief Executive Officer of the GPHC, Mr Michael Khan, who was accompanied by the hospital’s Director of Medical and Professional Service, Dr. Sheik Amir; Director of Nursing Service, Sister Audrey Cory, and Assistant Director of Nursing Service, Sister Noshella Lalckecharran.
According to Khan, “we feel very positive that we can contribute towards helping them set-up their (Haemodialysis) Unit…If I am not mistaken they already have one unit but they need to get their infrastructure in place… to get going.”  But ahead of infrastructural support, Khan alluded to need for the facilitation of training, in the near future, for Nevisian nurses.
With the promised support, Dr. John Essien said that the Nevis Health Ministry will undoubtedly be poised to have its own Haemodialysis Unit in place to even cater to the portion of the population that suffers from chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension, both of which can lead to renal failure.
He disclosed that while renal failure can currently be treated through peritoneal dialysis, the need is there for haemodialysis for some of the more ill patients.
“We are hoping that this visit to Guyana will be the beginning of something very concrete on our side in terms of guaranteeing that this service will be maintained in the long run…” said Dr. Essien.

Does Mr. Freddie Kissoon stands with us or against us?

Dear Editor,
I refer to Freddie Kissoon’s letter captioned “I can’t recall seeing Sherod Duncan in the protest but”, published in your news papers on May 25, 2014.
Firstly, I believe that Mr. Kissoon will give me the benefit of the doubt that I was a little more than “sympathetic” about his dismissal from the University’s employ, but matched intolerance for injustice with action in a public show of my discontent.
Secondly, I would not engage a discussion on the most popular student president, having served as the helm of the University of Guyana Students’ Society (UGSS) my view is immediately jaundiced, perhaps.
I would state only here that when the young flower we had in Yohance Dogulas was plucked prematurely from bloom it was a heavy time for all. I don’t how I ended up in the march from UG to the length of Brickdam and at the nights of vigil on Sheriff Street. But having opportunity to size up my colleague I would argue that Robert Bourne leading the Society at such a tumultuous time showed tremendous fortitude; little in student life prepares you for such a circumstance.
But I do not want to distract too long from the issue at hand: the severance of the special arrangement for admittance of the top twenty-five law students from the University of Guyana (UG) into the Hugh Wooding Law School (HWLS).
Mr. Kissoon’s suggests that, “nowhere in his letter did he agree that the focus should now be for law students to pressure the Government of Guyana in having our own law school or reinstitute Guyana’s stipend to the Council for Legal Education,” referring to my letter of May 23, 2014 generously published by your newspapers.
I refer Mr. Kissoon to my letter of April 7, 2014, “The time has come for a local law school” also published by Kaieteur News. I am, additionally, in the process of rationalizing the Government’s position at the time regarding the withdrawal the “stipend” and if it has had a causal effect on where we are today.
But more than that, this situation offers us a teachable moment and a chance at something historic in setting up our own law school. Mr. Kissoon does not have to stand for us, what I would like to know is if Mr. Kissoon stands with us or against us? We have begun a petition to encourage the Government of Guyana to make concrete steps and a strong commitment towards the establishment of our own law school. I invite Mr. Kissoon to stand in solidarity with us and sign our petition, found here: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/government-of-guyana-to-establish-a-local-law-school.
Sherod Duncan,
Student-at-Law, Class of 2014

Guyana/US ink agreement on narcotics control, law enforcement

Guyana and the United States of America yesterday signed a Letter of Agreement (LOA) on Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement that would see the nation receiving US$850,000 (G$170M).

Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and US Ambassador Brent Hardt signing the agreement.

The LOA was signed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday by Substantive Minister, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and US Ambassador to Guyana Brent Hardt and falls under the implementation of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).
In welcoming the grant from the US, Minister Rodrigues-Birkett noted that while the CBSI programme is a regional one, there are bilateral aspects, as is demonstrated through the LOA.
She noted that crime and the trafficking of narcotics are problems that have to be confronted, but cannot be confronted by Guyana alone, hence the need for partnerships, such as the case with the US through the CBSI initiative.
The Minister acknowledged that there have been positive results emanating from the partnership and pointed to recent drug busts at the airport which she said were no doubt aided by the multiplicity of training as a result of the initiative.
Ambassador Hardt said that the agreement will build on that trust and goodwill to help strengthen Guyana’s counter-narcotics control capabilities, enhance law enforcement professionalization and support rule of law programmes.
According to the US envoy, the monies being provided under the agreement will help support and make fully operational the recently constructed forensics laboratory, help establish fully vetted counter-narcotics units, and further develop a police partnership programme.
“It includes enhanced training in police functions such as evidence gathering, interrogation methods, and case development.”
According to the Ambassador it will also focus on specialized investigations in the areas of human trafficking, gender-based violence, corruption, and money laundering.
The Ambassador noted too that funding will be dedicated to strengthening Guyana’s correction services, with a particular focus on the management and rehabilitation of juvenile detainees.
“Working together with Guyanese partners, our focus will be to share and implement international best practices designed to prevent gang recruitment in prison and to reduce recidivism rates among juvenile offenders.”
Speaking to the benefits of the programme over the past three years, the Ambassador singled out the provision of the three Metal Shark Aluminum Boats and state-of-the-art communications equipment to the Guyana Coast Guard. He also pointed to the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), which was handed over to Guyana last month, and the sharing of firearm information through the Regional Integrated Ballistics Information Network, that will allow law enforcement authorities to track the movement of weapons from country to country within the Caribbean.
He spoke too of the provision of firearm marking equipment through the OAS, which, together with the E-trace network, allows Guyanese law enforcement officials to share information and collaborate to reduce the threat of gun violence and crime, while helping solve outstanding cases among other tangible benefits to Guyana.
According to the Ambassador, the United States is committed to working closely with the Government and people of Guyana to combat illicit trafficking of counter-narcotics and illegal weapons, advance public security and safety, and promote social justice.
“We want the citizens of Guyana to see the benefits of improved security and social justice in a personal way: in their neighbourhoods, in their schools, along their rivers and shorelines, and in the marketplace. The only way to achieve this is for our countries to forge a reliable, long-term partnership to build capacities and enhance international collaboration to meet the threats.”

Perhaps the earlier proposal for a local law school should be updated and retabled

Dear Editor,

I read with keen interest the article published in the Guyana Chronicle on May 26, captioned ‘UG students can be accommodated at Eugene Dupuch Law School.’

Firstly there is an information deficit as concerns the general issue, especially information flowing towards law students on this matter of admission to law school. The first time we heard an official word on the dilemma was in March 2014 when Attorney General Anil Nandlall held a meeting, but anything else that we have learnt has been through the media to date.

Secondly, as concerns the accommodation at the Eugene Dupuch Law School (HDLS) that is a welcome alternative arrangement, but before we start celebrating we have to factor in cost. The AG himself said to us at the March meeting that HDLS costs twice that of Hugh Wooding Law School (HWLS) where Guyanese nationals are zoned to attend, and additionally the living expenses are close to tuition cost. Is it possible that additional costs in comparison to HWLS are subsidized by government?

And on the same point, paraphrased words in the Chronicle article attributed to the Chairperson of the Council of Legal Education, Ms Jacqueline Samuels-Browne, read, that Council would have to know, as soon as possible, how many UG graduates would be interested in attending that law school. This is a matter of urgency for both the Chairperson and the law students. In the latter case we request information as to what exactly is going to be the arrangements with HDLS.

I hasten to add that whatever arrangements are arrived at with HWLS and HDLS the matter as it concerns the facility law students engage for the final aspect of their legal training begs for a long-term solution. That solution, I humbly submit, has to be a local law school.

The idea of a local law school was on the table as early as 2002 and its benefits were enumerated in a concept paper of that period. That concept paper was the work a task force, I am advised, which included the then Chancellor of the Judiciary, Desiree Bernard; University of Guyana Vice-Chancellor, James Rose; Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Dr Mark Kirton; a representative of the Bar Association; a member of the AG’s chambers; and the Librarian of the University of Guyana.

Some of the considerations for the local law school included: “The fees would be lower than the US$10 000 year at HWLS. And the local law school could concentrate on teaching practice skills in advocacy, legal drafting and computer research as obtains in England and Australia, rather than the teaching of substantive law; that the teaching of substantive law should be done at the university and the UG LLB programme would be adjusted to accommodate this.

“A number of savings could be realised as a result of the sharing of some resources with the UG LLB programme. He noted that the two bodies could share facilities such as a Resource Centre and a Library with the addition of ‘Practice Texts.’

“Projected revenue from fees and the diversion of the grant which would otherwise go to the LLB programme, to the law school, should more than cover recurrent expenses. The government grants to the LLB programme were intended to pay UWI for second marking and monitoring its examinations under the collaborative agreement with UWI and the CLE.”

It would appear that the avenue of a local law school was well thought out and perhaps the proposal could be updated and retabled.

It would be remiss of me not to recognize the efforts of the Government of Guyana as “…the Government continues in its effort to seek a resolution of the impasse affecting the University of Guyana law students from gaining access into the Hugh Wooding Law School, Trinidad,” according to the AG in the Chronicle article.

Suffice to say that I noted in the article there is a scheduled meeting between the Government and Dr Ralph Gonsalves, the Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community tentatively for June 2014. I suggest with humility that, because of the nature of the meeting proposed, notwithstanding its quality, that our elected student representative of the University of Guyana Law Society (UGLS) Saeed Hamid is also included in the delegation.

 Yours faithfully,

Sherod Avery Duncan

Law student

Class of 2014

Region’s youth set to become CSME-savvy

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)     Over twenty-five CARICOM Youth Ambassadors (CYAs) from across the region are expected to participate in a CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) Advocacy Workshop.
The activity takes place in Guyana 29-30 May, 2014 at the Grand Coastal Hotel.

The workshop’s objective is to equip CYAs with knowledge of the CSME and also prepare them to engage peers on regional integration issues. The activity is hosted by the CARICOM Secretariat with the assistance of the European Union under the Tenth European Development Fund.

Over the course of the two days, the CYAs will participate in interactive sessions including presentations on CARICOM and CSME for Youths and the Free Movement of Skills and Occupation.  A highlight of the workshop is a field trip to a local CARICOM Exporting company to facilitate a practical look at the CSME processes in operation. Other areas of training will include public speaking, understanding the media and creating youth-friendly messages.

There is an increased effort this year for the workshop to be practical and youth-centred.
The formal opening ceremony of the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors CSME Advocacy Workshop will take place 9.00 am on Thursday 29 May 2014, at the Grand Coastal Hotel. It will feature remarks by the Honourable Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Minister of Foreign Affairs; CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRoque; a representative of the European Union’s Delegation to Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, and Dean of the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors, Ms Cindy Morquette. The CARICOM Youth Ambassador Programme (CYAP) was established to facilitate youth participation in the regional integration process.
CONTACT: piu@caricom.org; caricompublicinfo@gmail.com