Tag Archives: Kaieteur News

UG symposium zeroes in on need for local law school

The common discussion thread was the establishment of a local law school when Moot Court Guyana convened a stirring symposium venued in the Education Lecture Theatre of the University of Guyana (UG) on Tuesday, which saw the attendance and input of a wide cross-section of local legal minds and even a few from the Caribbean, among others.
An abundance of recommendations and opinions were forthcoming, all of which are expected to help guide the way forward as it relates to the attaining of legal education in Guyana which has recently been gaining some controversial attention.
Moreover, the notion of establishing a local law school was supported by Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, who at a previous forum had insisted that such an undertaking in Guyana would not be economically feasible. Nandlall, at the symposium on Tuesday, was reminded of his previous utterance in this regard by a young lawyer in training who demanded that the Attorney General outline the “true” position of Government.
According to Nandlall, Government is committed to supporting the establishment of a local law school, providing that it is done under the auspices of the Council of Legal Education (CLE) so that it will be a regional initiative ensuring that “Guyanese alone will not come here.”
“We cannot pursue an agenda that can be regarded or can be construed or in fact be insular. We will work with the process as far as possible (but) if we see that the process doesn’t serve our best interest well then we may be forced to take insular positions, and I am hoping we don’t have to resort to those mechanisms,” said Nandlall.
The CLE was created by an Agreement signed in 1971 by Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the University of the West Indies (UWI) and UG. It was established to provide training in the Region (rather than in Britain) for lawyers wishing to practise in the Region.
The Council currently operates three law schools: the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica, the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad – both established in 1973 – and the Eugene Dupuch Law School in the Bahamas which was established in 1998.
However, regardless of the direction embraced by Guyana, Nandlall emphasised that it must be one that is in the best interest of the students and by extension the country. As such, he noted that focus must be on guaranteeing a quality of legal education that is relevant, affordable and accessible.  And quality legal education, Nandlall noted, must be one that “will make our students understand their roles and functions in society, the social institutional role of the law; the social institutional role of the lawyer to society, to democracy, (and) to the rule of law; the importance of the interconnectivity of all these concepts to the economic and social advancement of our people and our country….The solution that we will pursue here in Guyana must be one that will capture all of those.”
Moreover, he amplified that, like the UG law programme which is recognised across the world, the Legal Education Programme which emanates from the CLE is recognised by the best universities in the world, by every bar in the United States and elsewhere. As such he stressed the need for quality control, pointing out that “education without integrity or a certificate without integrity is not worth the paper it is written on.”
According to the Attorney General, who attended the forum in the capacity of a panellist, “a legal education in my opinion is valuable as a stepping stone to so many other disciplines that one may wish to pursue.”
Review of legal education

A section of the gathering at the forum on Tuesday.

And in order to examine the future of legal education in these parts, Nandlall disclosed that a study to review legal education is underway, an undertaking that is expected to be funded by an organisation out of Barbados which is financed through a grant from the Canadian Government. “Funding is always lacking and once you already have a source of funding it will augur well for expediency of the exercise being undertaken,” the Attorney General added.
The review, according to him, is expected to follow on the heels of the Caricom Heads of Government meeting set to commence on July 1 in Antigua, a forum which will address the concerns relating to legal education in the Caribbean.
Understandably, the review will also address this issue even taking into consideration the short and long term future of the graduates of the UG law programme.
Although based on an agreement between UG, UWI and the CLE the top 25 graduates of the local law programme are automatically granted placement at the Hugh Wooding Law School, the placements of the 2013 graduates were however under threat and therefore required intervention from Government. The matter was therefore discussed at a previously convened Caricom Heads of Government meeting after which it was taken up with the CLE.  An eventual resolution was derived whereby the stipulated 25 local students of the 2013 programme were granted placements for the upcoming academic year and an additional 10 international students will also be granted placement at law schools within their respective zones.
But according to Nandlall, “I am hoping that while the review is being undertaken we will have a short term solution, I am also expecting at the same time that the review will provide Guyana with a comprehensive solution to its problem.”
He however noted that Guyana is not in the existing dilemma in isolation even as he pointed out that Trinidad and Tobago, which is much more endowed in terms of resources, is faced with a similar challenge in spite of the fact that the Hugh Wooding Law School is located there. “In fact their (Trinidad and Tobago) Government is now completing a building that is earmarked to house a law school either under the aegis of the Council of Legal Education or not, because they have already begun discussions with organisations who administer the legal education certificate in the United Kingdom and to have some arrangement arrived at that would accredit their institution.”
But it was Justice Duke Pollard of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) who queried the possible outcome of the comprehensive review touted by the Attorney General. He, in his contribution to the forum argued, “The CLE itself is the culmination of a comprehensive review of legal education. Where is the CLE now? In total disarray!”
Justice Pollard recalled too that it was a comprehensive review in 1989 that the ‘Sonny’ Ramphal Commission was birthed which, according to him, made a lot of concrete recommendations for a Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME), a Caricom Competitive Commission and the CCJ. “Where are these institutions today? How successful are they? What confidence has the Region shown in having these institutions? What is the commitment and the loyalty of the state of Caricom to the CCJ and the CSME and to the Caricom Commission?” questioned Justice Pollard as he theorised that they have all had similar outcomes. And given the track record of the aforementioned institutions, he hinted to the possibility that a comprehensive review may not be the ideal way forward to address the future of legal education in Guyana.
Government’s obligation
And while Attorney-at-Law Teni Housty vocalised his conviction that local law students must be able to take responsibility for themselves first before they source relevant support systems to aid them along, yet another Attorney-at-Law, Basil Williams, insisted that care must be taken to ensure that law does not become an ‘elitist’ profession. He pointed to the need to urgently address “whether we should have a local law school, or should our students be visited every year with this uncertainty; the stress, the anxiety of not knowing whether they are on or not…What will happen is that the law programme will become ‘elitist ’ and I believe the Government, this Government of the day owes its people an obligation to ensure that this doesn’t occur,” warned a very vocal Williams. Among the panellists at Tuesday’s symposium was Senior Lecturer of UG’s Law Programme, Christopher Ram, who recommended to the organisers that the outcome be used to formulate a policy with which students can approach the administration and the Faculty of Law Department.
Also gracing the panellist table was President of the Bar Association, Ronald Burch-Smith, who in his remarks sought to inform the law students in attendance, “You are responsible for your own future not just in terms of what you do in the class room but how you organise yourselves…”
Noticeably absent from the planned panellist contingent were CLE Chairperson, Ms. Jacqueline Samuels-Brown and Chief Justice (Ag), Carl Singh.
The symposium was held in collaboration with the University of Guyana Law Society and the University of Guyana Student Society with support from UG’s Department of Law. The forum was moderated by lecturer within the Faculty of Law, Ms. Christine McGowan.

The love of country

The FIFA World Cup currently being played on the soil of our mighty neighbour Brazil has, as expected, captured the hearts and souls of avid sports fans, and the interest of even the most casual viewer. It has been nigh impossible to this point for the critics to find anything seriously wrong with the organisation and spirit of this mega event.
It must be agreed that the 11 billion dollars spent on the occasion has been a major talking point, and something that has been a great source of concern to the populace, who had been given assurances that a number of urban mobility projects would have been undertaken. The fact is that these have either been delayed or have not materialized.
This was the case because all of the stadiums went considerably over budget. And so it is with ventures of this nature. The host country will exceed all limitations to present a memorable image for the world stage. Brazil has succeeded in doing so thus far. The fallout will be dealt with when the dust has cleared.
Amidst all the frenzied activity that we have been witnessing, there has been one aspect that has undoubtedly registered with those who observe keenly; the fervour associated with representing and supporting one’s country.
It would be hard to find supporters to match the intensity of those in attendance in Brazil. The singing of the national anthems of the respective teams has been something to behold. The Chileans are hard to match. Their intensity is breath-taking. Despite Brazilians obviously having the numbers, and their renditions being hair-raising, there has been something special about the Chilean supporters and players. They have outdone the competition in this regard.
This Saturday’s mouth-watering round of 16 clash between the two South American neighbours will be like no other with respect to the introductory elements. It should not be missed.
But as we watch and admire, we cannot help but spare a thought for our own homeland. Several generations may not see us represented at the World Cup, however one could say from the little exposure that we have had at international sporting events, we somehow have not seemed to express such enthusiasm when our beautiful national anthem is being played or sung.
And that even goes for national events. Flag-raising ceremonies et al. It’s not even about singing in some cases. Many of our national leaders don’t appear to have any interest in knowing the words.
One may ask the importance of this, and the responses may not be convincing enough to those who have other things on their minds, like making money to last several lifetimes, or just being plain selfish. But there is something deeper. Particularly for a people who have experienced so much strife and unease, there may lie some degree of comfort and impetus for betterment, if we embrace that uninhibited love for one’s nation could, if not should, be the catalyst for a more progressive existence.
Our country has been divided for way too long. There is too much distrust and self-interest. The politicians who feature on our television screens have their own agendas. One wonders if simple things like lusty and heartfelt singing of national anthems at the World Cup would ever attract their interest.
These observations, though relatively simplistic, are eye-openers. It’s not always about money. Because as we have witnessed with those in charge of our coffers, we are too soon parted with even the little that we have.
Patriotism, nationalism, whatever you may want to refer to it as, there is a fulfillment from pride of country which transcends all pettiness – the source of Guyana’s underdevelopment. Our hard-working teachers can probably start the ball rolling, so to speak, by even more enthusiastically promoting to the impressionable among us – our children – the virtues of not only being Guyanese, but simply loving Guyana.

City money-changer fined for counterfeit $$$

…exonerated on two other charges

A 65-year-old America Street money changer who was last year arrested by the police during a sting operation was yesterday fined by a city Magistrate for being in possession of counterfeit money.

Dennis Yarris

Dennis Yarris of Cooper and Sussex Streets, Albouystown, Georgetown, appeared before Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court on three charges.
The first charge against him detailed that on April 11, 2013 at Kitty, Georgetown, he had forged currency purporting to be US$100 and two EUR$50 notes in his car despite knowing them to be forged.
The police had claimed too that he had in his possession forged currency, a US$50 and two $1000 notes; despite knowing them to be forged. He was accused too of uttering to a Detective Corporal US$3,800 and US$50 counterfeit currencies.
Last year, police acting on “sensitive information received”, conducted a sting operation.
It was previously reported that between March 28 and April 11, 2013, Corporal Roopnarine engaged Dennis Yarris and two others, in discussions. During those discussions, the defendants sought the assistance of Corporal Roopnarine, who would operate as a boat captain, so that they could transport a quantity of “weed” from Guyana to Barbados.
On April 11, the defendants along with Corporal Roopnarine were in motorcar, PPP 8866, when they were intercepted at Coldingen Public Road.
A search was conducted and the illicit substance was discovered. The suspects were arrested and taken to the police station where they were then charged for the said offence.
Further probes had led to Harris being charged for uttering forged currencies and being in possession of forged currency. He had purportedly offered the Corporal an envelope with forged money as payment in the operation.
When he and his car were searched, more forged currencies were found and he was subsequently charged.
The trial for the drug trafficking charge is ongoing at the Vigilance Magistrate’s Court.
Yarris was last year formally charged and a trial was conducted before Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
At yesterday’s hearing, the Prosecution spearheaded by Corporal Deniro Jones closed its case, stating that it had proven beyond reasonable doubt that Yarris had committed the offences for which he was charged.
Jones urged the Magistrate to convict Yarris, citing that the Prosecution had proven every element of the offence.
The Prosecutor called upon the caution statement and the unsworn testimony of the accused as well as the testimonies offered by witnesses before the court. Jones asked the court to accept his confession statement as freely and voluntarily given to the police.
Corporal Jones beseeched the court to find the defendant guilty as charged.
Responding, Magistrate McLennan stated that she had considered the Prosecution’s evidence on account of the three charges, the no case submission made by his defence attorney Peter Hugh, as well as the Prosecution’s response.
On account of the first charge, she indicated that the court was satisfied that the money was forged but it was yet to be proven that it was Yarris’s. Doubt had risen, she said, because there was evidence showing that there were other persons in the vehicle.
The court ruled that the Prosecution had failed to prove that case and it was dismissed.
In response to the second charge, she said that the court believes that the currency was forged and that she accepted his confession statement. The court had found that he had knowledge and possession of the money which was found in his wallet.
Yarris, she said, was in custody and control of the money, so he was guilty as charged.
For uttering a forged document, she said that the envelope which contained the currency was indeed in his custody but the court was not convinced that the essential for such an offence was proven, since there was nothing that indicated that he had seen what was concealed therein.
She said that the Prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt and it was dismissed.
Harris had entered a mitigation plea through his lawyer asking for the court to consider a non-custodial sentence, since this was his first time before the courts.
Hugh said that his client does have a matter at the Vigilance Magistrate’s Court which arose from the same circumstance, but that is of a different nature.
“Given his age and that he has had no antecedent, I am humbly asking the court to exercise discretion and impose a non-custodial sentence.”
Magistrate McLennan fined him $60,000 which, failing to pay by July 1, will result in nine months’ imprisonment.

Rodney COI…No incentives were offered to me – Gates

By Latoya Giles
Witness Robert Gates, who goes by several other aliases, yesterday denied that he was a witness of convenience and that he was given incentives to come to the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry to lie. According to Gates, he is currently a guest of the State serving a 48-month sentence for the offence of obtaining money by false pretence.

Robert Gates

Under cross examination yesterday by attorney at law Basil Williams, Gates claimed that he had come forward off his own free will to give evidence. Williams then proceeded to question the witness about any prior brushes he had with the law.
Gates was asked about several companies which were all linked to obtaining money by false pretence. One such company was Confidential Investigation Bureau. Williams questioned Gates about whether he had invited the public to donate.  According to Gates, he did, but no one invested.  Gates was asked whether he had collected some $50M from unsuspecting persons who wanted to invest, which prompted the Guyana Security Council to put out several ads alerting persons.
Gates denied any knowledge about this. He was further questioned about who one Simone King was to him. Gates said she is a relative, neglecting to mention that it was a daughter who was charged with him for obtaining money by false pretence.
Moving forward to his present sentence, Williams asked Gates whether he was convicted on 12 counts of obtaining money by false pretence. Gates admitted that the sentence was in connection with 12 counts. He said that he was sentenced in August 2013, but he was never notified of this. According to Gates, he started serving his prison term in January 2014. Gates further disclosed that soon after he started serving his sentence, a relative submitted a statement to the commission. According to Gates, he was later contacted by Commission lawyer Glenn Hanoman.
Williams asked Gates whether he was promised anything for his testimony, to which he said that he was not.
Gates further told the Commission that based on his knowledge and interaction with Former Guyana Defence Force (GDF) member, Gregory Smith, he was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Smith deceived both Dr. Rodney and his brother Donald into believing that he had given them a “walkie talkie” when he knew it was an explosive device.
Gates claimed that Smith had told him that the Army, specifically Former Army Chief, Norman Mc Lean was going to give him an explosive to give to Rodney which would have exploded, killing him. Gates claimed that Smith had told him that the device would have taken three months to assemble. Gates also said that he had spoken to Smith sometime in March of 1980.
However under cross examination, Williams suggested to Gates that he never had that conversation with Smith. Further Williams suggested that adding to the “non-existent” conversation, Smith could not have been given any directives by Former Army Chief Norman McLean, since he was not in the GDF at that time.
Further, Gates admitted under cross examination that he could not confirm anything that Smith had told him. Gates however maintained that Smith did tell him these things and he had even told Former Police Commissioner Winston Felix.
Williams however reminded Gates, that Felix’s rank was not even higher than a sergeant, making his (Gates’) claim farfetched. According to Gates, Felix was aware of his “special assignment to infiltrate the WPA…”
Williams suggested to Gates that he was lying and is trying to finger the “leadership of APNU” in his testimony.
The witness was also questioned about whether they would have records to show that he was indeed a member of the Police Force.
“Ask Former Commissioner Brumell…or Assistant Commissioner Balram Persaud …they know me and they would have all my records” Gates said.
However when contacted yesterday Assistant Commissioner Balram Persaud said that he couldn’t  verify anything that happened in the Police Force in 1978 since he was in High School. Persaud said also that his office might be responsible for records, but he could not divulge that. He said that a request would have to be made for the records.
Attorney at law Joseph Harmon in his cross examination, sought to ascertain what type of training Gates received which deemed him an “intelligence officer”.  Gates told the Commission that he was trained for six months in the basic recruit course, and then he was sent to the “special squad”.
Harmon asked whether he, Gates, would have any evidence of his training and existence in the Force. Again Gates said that all his information would be with Assistant Commissioner Balram Persaud.
Gates also told the Commission that he was sent abroad to the “Rouse School of Special Detective Training” at which he spent nine months.

Sawmill supervisor’s murder…Prosecution closes case in PI

State witnesses have finished giving evidence at the Preliminary Inquiry (PI) of the man accused of killing a 22-year-old sawmill supervisor, whose body was found at Land of Canaan, East Bank Demerara, over a year ago.

Murder Accused: Raymond Tyson

Raymond Shawn Tyson, 28, is accused of murdering Kemraj Singh at Land of Canaan, East Bank Demerara between May 27 and May 28, last year.
Singh’s body was reportedly found lying on a bed in a shack at his employer’s sawmill. His throat had a gaping wound and he had been struck repeatedly to the head.
The Prosecution had related at the first arraignment that Singh’s death had stemmed from previous grudges, and that Singh’s employer had discovered that the victim’s BlackBerry cellular phone had been stolen.
The phone’s internet service was activated and contact was made with a male. However, it was later discovered that the accused was in possession of the said cellular phone, as his ex-reputed wife saw him with the said phone on May 28, 2013.
Tyson had allegedly pawned the BlackBerry to the woman’s sister, who reportedly gave the instrument to her husband. The cellular phone was subsequently retrieved and the accused was arrested, but when questioned, Tyson refused to divulge how he came to be in possession of the phone.
When confronted by investigators he had denied killing Singh.
It was after the file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for advice that the murder charge was instituted against Tyson.
The last witness to appear in court yesterday as the Preliminary Inquiry (PI) continued was Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Communications Officer Liz Rahaman, who stated that she had sent out radio messages at the Police Prosecutor Inspector Michael Grant’s behest for absent witnesses.
A total of 22 witnesses were slated to give evidence during the (PI) before Magistrate Judy Latchman at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
Photos and other pieces of evidence have already been tendered as evidence.
Following Rahaman’s testimony yesterday, the Prosecution moved to close its case, having made several attempts to contact witnesses prior to the hearing yesterday.
Attorney-at-Law Kendaise Rodney, who represented the accused, is set to make submissions on July 4.

PCA investigating 30 new complaints against cops in Berbice

The Police Complaints Authority has launched investigations into 30 new matters involving alleged police misconduct in the Berbice District.
The investigations stem from complaints made by residents when the Chairman of the body Cecil Kennard paid a visit to the Ancient County over the past weekend.

PCA Chairman Cecil Kennard

Kennard, a Former Chancellor of the Judiciary, reported a large turnout of residents on Saturday at the Berbice High School where he entertained complaints ranging from Neglect of Duty, which takes into account the police’s failure to record citizens’ complaints and failure to attend court.
Speaking with this newspaper yesterday, Kennard said that there were also several accusations by Berbicians of the police “illegally” searching their homes.
“There are cases where people feel that their homes are violated by the police…while in some cases the police have the right to search, the people have no objections, but it’s the way it’s done…lack of courtesy and the use of expletives when carrying out these searches,” Kennard explained.
He said that during his visit to Berbice he also held discussions with a large number of ranks at the police training college, where he spoke about the role and functions of his office.
During these discussions, he highlighted areas of grave concerns, including the police’s use of excessive force and the wanton use of firearms.
The Former Chancellor also pointed to the vexing issue of the police’s detention of vehicles when there is no certifying officer to examine them, as well as the detention of persons beyond the statutory 72 hours, without permission from the competent authority.
Kennard announced that from the look of things, Berbice is second only to Region Four as the area that accounts for the most complaints against police ranks.
His next visit will be to Moruca.

Guyana govt. joins call for release of journalists jailed in Egypt

Al Jazeera’s Australian journalist Peter Greste (L) and Egyptian journalist Baher Mohamed stand inside the defendants’ cage during their trial.

The Government of Guyana has joined in calls by the international community for the immediate release of three Al Jazeera journalists who are presently in an Egyptian prison.
The journalists – Australian Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian national Mohamed Fahmy, Cairo bureau chief of Al Jazeera English and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed – were jailed for seven years each by an Egyptian judge on Monday, in what were called “chilling, draconian sentences” that must be reversed.
Mohamed was given an extra three years for possessing a single bullet, at the hearing attended by Western diplomats, some of whose governments summoned Egypt’s ambassadors over the case.
In a statement issued through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Guyana government expressed deep concern over the sentencing by an Egyptian Court of the three journalists.
It sees the act by the Egyptian authorities as “an affront to the principles which govern press freedom the world over”.
“The Government of Guyana believes that freedom of the press is essential for the full and effective exercise of freedom of expression and an indispensable instrument for the functioning of representative democracy, through which individuals exercise their right to receive, impart and seek information,” the statement said.
The men have been held at Egypt’s notorious Tora Prison for six months, with the case becoming a rallying point for rights groups and news organisations around the world. They were detained in late December and charged with helping “a terrorist group” – a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood – by broadcasting lies that harmed national security and supplying money, equipment and information to a group of Egyptians.
The Brotherhood was banned and declared a terrorist group after the army deposed elected Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July last year following mass protests against his rule.
The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful organisation.
The three men have all denied the charges.
According to a Reuters report, Cairo defended the journalists’ convictions – for aiding a “terrorist organisation” – and rejected the widespread condemnation as “interference in its internal affairs”.
Meanwhile late yesterday afternoon the ruling People’s Progressive Party also joined in the condemnation of the actions of the Egyptian regime.

Al Jazeera journalist Mohammed Fahmy stands behind bars at a court in Cairo.

The party said that it is convinced that the decision to jail the journalists is political in nature and not the result of any wrongdoing on the part of the journalists. Additionally, the PPP voiced its condemnation over the impending execution of the Spiritual Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and over 180 others.
The Muslim Brotherhood is led by Mohamed Mursi who is currently behind bars despite the fact that he won Egypt’s first ever democratic elections.
The PPP is of the view that the recently held election which installed Abdel Fattah Sisi as President is “nothing but a farce intended to whitewash his image and that of the military junta and deserves the full condemnation of the free and democratic world”.
“These two latest actions by the military-led government (now in civilian clothing) of military strong man Sisi is consistent with a long list of human rights abuses by the military which is using its military muscle to stifle and suppress the democratic aspirations of the Egyptian people,” the PPP said.
The party joined the call by the United Nations and other concerned individuals and parties for the unconditional release of the jailed journalists and the immediate release of all political prisoners.
In this regard, the PPP said it fully endorses the position taken by the United Nations Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay that there is a risk that miscarriage of justice is becoming a norm in Egypt.



State-owned GUYOIL enters aviation fuel business

- to open farm at CJIA in October

By Zena Henry
Recognizing the importance of a growing aviation sector and the prospective need for aviation fuel, the state-owned Guyana Oil Company Limited (GUYOIL) is gearing to commence construction of its first ever fuel farm at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) next month.
The local company is seeking to complete the project within three months with hopes of commencing operations in the first week of October. GUYOIL’s Managing Director Badri Persaud told Kaieteur News yesterday that the project contract has already been signed and a visit to the site was completed last week Friday.
Persaud said, that since the company is already involved in the fuel business, it was recognized that an opportunity existed for them to become involved in the provision of aviation fuel.
A Senior Airport official explained that GUYOIL had expressed interest in building a fuel facility at the country’s largest airport.  Currently, Rubis, an established international brand that distributes high quality products including petroleum and aviation fuels, LPG, and lubricants, is the sole provider of aviation fuel at CJIA.
One of the deterrents for foreign investors in the aviation sector is the cost of fuel, it was explained. This newspaper was told by the senior airport official that what seems to be the norm is that airlines would negotiate the price of fuel with the provider and pay based on what is agreed upon and the quantity.
It was explained that with Rubis holding the monopoly in this area, fuel cost is “a bit high” and it has been recognized that Guyana’s charges are, “somewhat higher than most of the countries in the region.” It is for this reason GUYOIL is getting into the business.
The official said that GUYOIL’s entry into the aviation fuel business is a welcomed one since competition will come in this area. Making reference to local aviation operator Air Services Limited’s state-of-the-art fuel farm at the Ogle Airport, it was noted that the entry of more than one fuel provider brought competition and reduced prices in fuel.
Head of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Zulphicar Mohamed said that the fuel company has already received the green light from the agency. He said that in this case, GCAA is tasked with certifying the operation and ensuring that safety standards are upheld.
The Cheddi Jagan International Airport is expected to take on several new airlines that will soon commence operations here in Guyana. Already some four airlines have come on board to service Guyana.
The airport is also undergoing major improvement works with the extension of the runway currently ongoing. Following this, upgrade work is expected to commence on the terminal itself.
CJIA’s Chief Executive Officer Ramesh Ghir has already expressed concern over the airport being able to keep up with the flow of traffic that is expected in a few weeks. He expressed support of the expansion of the international airport in order to accommodate the growth of the sector.
He had stated also that discussions were ongoing with a European airline interested in operating in Guyana; however, CJIA cannot accommodate any of the planes in the company’s fleet.

GPL completes project to connect Demerara, Berbice

A section of the newly upgraded and expanded GPL Substation at Onverwagt, West Coast Berbice.

In one of its most significant developments, the state-owned power company yesterday announced that it has finally completed works to connect Berbice and Demerara.
In effect, the cable across the Berbice River, will serve to stabilize power in the Region Five and Six areas in Berbice, solving a longstanding problem.
According to the Guyana Power and Light Inc., the transmission link was completed 21:33hrs on Sunday, forming what will be known as the ‘Demerara Berbice Interconnected System’.
“This milestone has been decades in the making and has been finally achieved after many technical challenges were overcome. This development would allow GPL to transfer power from generating facilities in Demerara to consumers throughout Berbice, thereby improving the stability and reliability of power supply in Regions 5 and 6.”
With the new link in place, GPL will over the coming weeks be further fine-tuning the system to optimize performance and power quality.
“Some of these activities may result in short power interruptions. We will endeavour to inform you in advance of any such outages. Overall available generation capacity in Demerara and Berbice is now 100.6MW and the peak demand is 95MW.”
According to GPL, efforts are being made to repair some 6MW generating capacity within the next two weeks, while a 5.5MW Wartsila currently on overhaul is expected back in service by July 4th.
The works for the link would have involved the contractor, China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC), along with sub-contractors and GPL personnel from its Projects and Operations Divisions.
“Special mention should be made of the diligence and dedication of our Transmission and Distribution (T&D) and System Control and Engineering Services who braved adverse weather on Sunday to complete all the rearrangements on the transmission lines and distribution feeders.”
Government is currently working on a US$40M-plus project to run new transmission stretching along the coast to Berbice. Seven new sub-stations are also being built to help better manage the power and isolate problems. A US$26M power plant is also being built in Vreed-en-Hoop, West Bank Demerara.
The demand for power has been growing in recent years in the face of new housing schemes and more industries. Guyana is exploring the possibilities of hydro-electric power, to ease the dependability on imported oil for its engines.
A wind farm at Hope Beach, East Coast Demerara is also being developed.

Nothing preventing establishment of local DEA office – US envoy

By Zena Henry
The establishment of an office of the United States (US) Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) here in Guyana is still very much a consideration. According to outgoing United States Ambassador Brent Hardt, there is nothing substantial preventing such a placement of the renowned anti-drug agency.

US Ambassador Brent Hardt

The US Ambassador reaffirmed yesterday that he is still very committed to this development, even if it is outside of his tenure.
During an interview at the US Embassy, Hardt expressed that training among other preparatory issues is outstanding, but the government has already expressed its willingness to working closely with the foreign agency in dealing with drug issues should the office be established.
Hardt highlighted that the role of the Embassy is to boost the capacity of local partners so that they can do their jobs in a more effective manner. He pointed out that in boosting effectiveness, programmes such as the recently completed Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) interrogation course arises, “and interrogation is a critical part of the process”.
The Ambassador said that such skills are necessary especially for borders and other entry ports where persons have to be assessed.
Hardt noted that such enforcement techniques aid with detecting certain unusualness; for example nervousness and unfamiliar behaviours. The Ambassador said he believes that through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) engagement and investments being made, the work is paying off, and in the end, it is boosting the capacity of drug squads and the police in general.
He said that there is much more to be done, but there are numerous engagements ongoing to strengthen the ability of agencies and their agents.  The Ambassador said also that he has been trying to boost the presence of DEA operations here in Guyana and good progress has been made, since there is an even more active engagement with the Trinidad and Tobago-based agency.
The Ambassador also recognized that despite efforts to have the office established during his tenure, there had been some, “severe budgetary issues in the US for the first couple of years.” He said however that that is now over, “and the DEA is now able to identify human resources to open another office.” However a new office requires congressional approval, notification etc., so it then becomes a processing issue. The Ambassador is hopeful that in time to come he can one day “knock on the door of a Guyana-based DEA office”.
“There is nothing holding back the establishment of the office.” Hardt said that from all indications and what was spoken about with President Donald Ramotar, the Foreign and Home Affairs Ministers, “they are prepared to work with us to meet structural relationships between the DEA and special units.
The US has been instrumental in the identification and arrest of major drug operators.
The Ambassador attributed that ability to their closeness with relevant agencies and on the ground intelligence. He said that the DEA also depends on their global reach and scope, “we understand and appreciate the interconnectedness of some drug networks.”
“Drug organizations are multinational companies in essence, they work across global markets, they can look and see where the prices of cocaine are best and try to get shipments in that direction,” the Ambassador asserted.
“Being able to make the connections and keeping an ear on the ground is very effective. Catching someone with drugs is great, but it is really hard work to get on to the bigger fish,” he said.
The outgoing US envoy pointed out that the Anti-money laundering legislation is one key area in identifying drug operators. He said that it really takes carefully developed law enforcement investigations and training and operation to support the efforts.