Tag Archives: Kaieteur News

Alleged torture in Sparendaam lock-ups… Criminal charges likely for Constable, Inspector

Junior Thornton, who was allegedly tortured by the police.

Two police ranks, including an Inspector, could appear before the court this week if the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) follows the recommendations of the Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), in the matter involving the alleged torture of former detainee at the Sparendaam Police Station, Junior Thornton.
PCA Chairman Cecil Kennard had last week recommended criminal charges for two of the ranks following an extensive investigation that was conducted by the Police Office of Professional Responsibility.
This newspaper understands that it was recommended that one rank, a Constable who allegedly inflicted the injury on Thornton, be charged with Inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm, while the Inspector is likely to be charged with Attempting to Perverting the Course of Justice.
There are reports that an attempt was made by the Inspector, acting on behalf of the rank directly involved in the alleged torture, to compensate Thornton for his injuries, by offering his father $100,000.
But when questioned about this, Attorney at law Dexter Todd, who is representing the interest of Thornton’s relatives, had told reporters, “I believe that the $100,000, based on my instructions, was given to assist him with his transportation, and not as one to not allow the course of justice to take its rightful course and for the police to investigate this matter, so I don’t know of that.”
There are also likely to be departmental charges for a few other ranks who were on duty on May 27 last when the incident allegedly occurred.
Thorton’s hands with allegedly doused with methylated spirits and set alight while he was in custody at the Sparendaam Police Station lock-ups.
He had been picked up for loitering.
Although Thornton was released the following day, the police kept the matter under wraps and it was only after relatives of the injured man reported it to the Police Complaints Authority that an investigation was launched.
There was a slight hiccup in the matter when the PCA Chairman reported that he had been unable to properly review the file because the police had sent it to him minus the medical report.
That issue was subsequently rectified and he was eventually able to make his recommendations.
A check with the DPP’s Chambers yesterday confirmed that the matter is being looked at with a view to advising the police on the way forward.
So far the only casualty has been an Assistant Superintendent of Police who served as the Sub-Divisional Officer, who has been ignominiously transferred to the Canine Section.

OP staffer for court on theft charges

Azeem Khan (L) with Dr. Luncheon

Azeem Khan, an assistant to Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon, and a staff member at the Office of the President (OP) should be heading to the court today.
Khan, who was in police custody at the Kitty Police Station up to last night, is accused of stealing items worth in excess of $1M from a general store some time last week.
According to information received, the R & D Variety Store owned by Rudolph Dyal is attached to the OP staffer’s apartment. It is believed that Khan entered the store through a connecting door several times last week and removed the items.
One police rank claimed that the young man had “gone shopping after hours”.
He was arrested on Monday after he failed to repay Dyal for the articles or to return them.
In the absence of Kwame McCoy, Khan would assist Dr. Luncheon during his weekly press conferences.

Body of unidentified man found in cemetery

Do you know this man?

With the word, “Praises” tattooed on his left hand along with the face of a lion, and “Smile now” inked on the other, the body of a man of African descent was found in a clump of bushes at Le Repentir Cemetery.
The discovery was made by cemetery workers a little before 13:00hrs yesterday. The man was clad in a black pair of pants, green jersey and black sneakers. He was also wearing a light green wrist watch.
He was discovered in a sitting position and there was a bottle of water and a bunch of keys next to the body. The inside of his pockets were out, leading investigators to believe that “thieves don’t even spare the dead.”
Police said that from all indications, the man may have committed suicide by ingesting a poisonous substance since a white substance was seen on his lip, jersey and on his pants.
“The body fresh, it looks like he drink he thing and come sit here,” a police rank related to this newspaper yesterday.
The body is currently at Lyken Funeral Home. Investigations are ongoing.

PAHO Representative lauds Guyana’s HIV/AIDS gains

- prepared to support fight against stigma and discrimination

PAHO Resident Rep., Dr. William Adu-Krow

With a one percent Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevalence, Guyana has done an admirable job in managing its national HIV/AIDS programme.  This is the assertion of Resident Representative of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Dr William Adu-Krow.
“I think a lot has been done to bring the prevalence to where it is and therefore it (the programme) has been managed well,” said Dr Adu-Krow during an interview with this publication. And it was because of such an achievement, he noted, that the United States President Emergency Programme for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has been winding down.
According to Dr Adu-Krow, who is relatively new to the position of Resident Representative here, Guyana has been able to do a great deal in terms of raising awareness regarding the facts and myths relating to HIV/AIDS.
However, there is yet work to be done, he noted, since there are persons such as Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and Commercial Sex Workers (CSW) who are still marginalised in the society.
“Once society doesn’t accept them they hide and therefore it is difficult to treat them,” said Dr Adu-Krow, as he alluded to stigma and discrimination as one of the major issues that has long been threatening to hamper the gains made in the HIV/AIDS fight.
Among those mostly discriminated against, he noted, are those who engage in homosexual lifestyles. He disclosed that while there are organisations, some local, that were established specifically to advocate for the rights of such individuals, there are still some who cannot afford to come into the open for fear of discrimination.
“If they can’t come out to the open, they cannot be treated (if they are infected), if they cannot be treated then the viral load (the amount of HIV in the blood) that they have might be so high that they can transmit the virus,” Dr Adu-Krow observed.
He is therefore of the belief that there may be a great deal of persons still living in the shadows because of their sexual orientation and therefore may not be aware of their HIV status.
Moreover, the PAHO Resident Representative has concluded that “we have got a lot more work to do on this issue of stigma and discrimination, especially with the marginalised population.”
Although many are convinced that homosexual tendencies come down to an individual’s personal choice, there are many who are unwilling to openly reveal their status in light of the fact that such lifestyles could be punishable by existing laws, with men who engage in homosexual relations and cross-dressers  being specifically targeted.
But according to Dr Adu-Krow, “if we have incriminating laws whereby if you are a homosexual you can be imprisoned, the people are not going to come out to be tested for you to realise that they are homosexuals who may have HIV too.”
There have been continuous calls for the repeal of the existing legislation, a move the PAHO Representative intends to support.
“The advocacy has started, even before I came, because at the last meeting with Global Fund it was decided we needed to look at those laws and see how best legislation can come and assist us, because the more you incriminate them (homosexuals) the more they go underground and their viral load will increase in their system,” disclosed Dr Adu-Krow.
Global Fund is an international financing organisation that disburses resources globally to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. For a number of years, Guyana has been a beneficiary of the Global Fund disbursements.
According to the PAHO Representative, in light of the fact that stigma and discrimination is a hindrance to progress, efforts must be channelled to ensuring that it is not permitted, as far as possible. He made reference to early fights against tuberculosis and leprosy, both of which were affected by stigma and discrimination, thereby resulting in persons refusing to be tested. “Once you open up to these people they feel free to come and get tested and get medications so that they can prevent themselves and other people from getting the disease. So there is no doubt we still have work to do,” Dr Adu-Krow asserted.
Moreover, he is calling for efforts to be made to reach out to religious bodies to help reduce existing levels of stigma and discrimination. He noted that “normally institutions are the last groups to embrace change; individuals do change, but institutions I think are very dogmatic, so we have got to work through churches and gradually get them on board.”
And although churches may not be willing to accept certain lifestyles, Dr Adu-Krow has warned that efforts must be made to guard against shunning persons.
“From a PAHO/WHO standpoint, we need to work with all individuals without discrimination because we know we all have our own choices to make at the end of the day.”

Outgoing US Ambassador elated that democracy project approved

The US-backed democracy project that was halted last month is back on track after Government approved elements of it.
Speaking with reporters yesterday, outgoing US Ambassador D. Brent-Hardt said that the Guyana Government has issued a diplomatic note to the embassy which greenlights the project to restart.
In early May, Guyana and the US agreed to bring to a halt the Leadership and Democracy (LEAD) Project, being implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The LEAD problem has been a major disappointment for the outspoken diplomat who has also been pushing aggressively also for the early Local Government Elections and passage of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Bill.
According to the Ambassador, the LEAD project is a crucial one for Guyana, and an extension of the USAID work.
Admitting that he was surprised at the unexpected challenges that arose, the Ambassador made it clear that he is convinced that Guyana’s potential is still to be realized. The LEAD project is supposed to address some of the democracy and Parliamentary issues that hinder development.
Explaining, the official pointed to Guyana’s per capita figures which remained “fairly low” in the hemisphere, despite an abundance in resources.
With political issues among the biggest challenges in Guyana, the USAID programme was geared to address especially the areas of economic and social challenges.
The LEAD project itself would have been critical in helping to build consensus in Parliament. The 10th Parliament has been facing significant challenges as Guyana for the first time in decades as an independent country, has an Opposition-controlled House.
The LEAD project especially targets the youths and women in engagements, as part of the efforts to establish proper consultative mechanisms.
Weeks after halting the project, Government last month announced that it had withdrawn its non-approval and had started negotiating with the US on the project.
In early January, Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon said that the decision by the US Government to proceed with a project that the Guyana Government had already rejected was disrespectful.
He had said that the four components of the project were analyzed by Cabinet and one contained major activities that captured a relationship between USAID and individual political parties in Guyana.
Guyana does not have a public policy by government for the support for political parties, he added.
The LEAD project seeks to enhance the technical capacity and functionality of the legislature through the regular use of consultative practices and mechanisms for legislative drafting, analysis, review, and passage.
On May 8, Ambassador Hardt met with Dr. Luncheon at the Office of the President where it was announced that the US Embassy had agreed to immediately put the contentious USAID-backed project on hold in order to facilitate talks with the Guyana Government with a view to coming up with a mutually agreed position.

Gold slide… Mining operations drop 40 percent, equipment sales decline – GGDMA

Government representatives and miners during a critical meeting yesterday to discuss the gold sector’s performance.

Guyana’s biggest money earner – the gold sector – is indicating a massive 30 percent drop in business in equipment sales and fuel, with operations scaled back as much as 40 percent.
This is according to preliminary results presented by miners yesterday during a critical meeting with Government on the sector.
Government and miners have been extremely worried about the implications of the slowdown of the sector which has been boosting the performance of the country in recent years, so much so that gold has surpassed both rice and sugar.  Gold brought over US$600M in foreign currency to the country last year, almost three times more than rice.
Government had expressed alarm after gold declarations fell short of projections by 20 percent for the first five months of this year. The announcements had seen accusations flying back and forth, in which miners were accused of hoarding and smuggling, a charge that they denied. Rather, they said, the poor declarations were as a result of lower productions, brought on by a steep drop in gold prices on the world market last year.
Miners were also worried about an ongoing campaign in which authorities have been carrying out increased control checks on gold dealers and mining operators to ensure that record-keeping requirements were being adhered to.
Involved in the meeting yesterday were the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment; its supervisory authorities – Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and Guyana Gold Board (GGB) – and executive members of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA). Also present at the Ministry were a number of licenced gold dealers.
Earlier this month, following another meeting, GGB had embarked on a number of activities which the statement said was agreed to by all stakeholders. These included visits to the gold dealers.
“These activities comprised an outreach to visit all dealers, including some of their sub-agents. Some business entities in the capital that have a GGMC trading permit were also visited. It must be emphasized that the primary concern of those activities were to ensure that there was proper accountability of the records by those licenced to trade gold,” the joint statement said.
Also present yesterday was Natural Resources Minister, Robert Persaud.
With regards to hoarding and smuggling reports, the statement yesterday said it is too early to tell.
“It was noted that there is speculation of hoarding, smuggling and the use of the gold trading business for other illegal activities. However, there is no definitive conclusion to any of those claims. The records of the supervisory authorities only indicate that there is a lower level of declaration by the mining industry in 2014 when compared to the same period in 2013.” However, the records also showed that there are improved levels of sales by miners to the licenced dealers, especially in the districts that the GGB’s offices are closed.
“It must be noted that prices on the world market for gold have increased over the last seven days and we are all hopeful of improved prices for better sales to the GGB and to the dealers.”
According to Persaud, his Ministry stands ready to help improve the levels of declaration.
However, there are still concerns over the high costs of operations, with calls being made for a speeding up of a number of incentives that were on the table.
In January, miners had asked President Donald Ramotar for a number of relief measures, including tax breaks on 4×4 vehicles, reduction in rentals, and improvement to the hinterland roads. The incentives are being handled at the levels of the various Ministries of Government and awaiting approval of the appropriate regulations, the statement said.
“However, the GGDMA has noted that whilst some incentives have been granted, we are in the sixth month of year 2014 and are still awaiting the follow through of the majority of the incentives for the general gold mining sector.  It was underlined that the GGMC has spent monies to upgrade the infrastructure of the mining districts which has continuously improved the working conditions of all miners.”
Meanwhile, miners were able to successfully push for a review of the Gold Board Act which among other things mandates the time that they can hold onto gold produced.
“A sub-committee will be established to undertake the task of reviewing the entire Act. Members of that sub-committee will include both private and public sector representatives.”
The meeting also called for a revision to some of the conditions for the licencing of gold dealers. “This matter will be explored to ensure that there is greater efficiency in this market. The meeting was also informed that the first auction by the GGMC will be done within the next four weeks and the next lottery will be done within eight weeks. In addition, the issue of crime in the mining industry will be addressed by a meeting to be held with the Guyana Police Force.”
Regarding the closure of the Bartica sub-office and operations in Charity, Essequibo, both Government and the miners agreed that the levels of declarations were not impacted.
GGB closed the Bartica office after it started investigations of staffers there for alleged fraud.
According to the joint statement, “the licenced dealers are still working in Bartica, and providing the necessary services to the gold mining sector. The GGDMA restated the call for all gold to be sold to the GGB or licenced dealers and that the licenced dealers must be accountable for the gold they are purchasing for Guyana. The GGDMA is committed to the improvement of the gold mining sector.”
The spin-offs from gold have been good for Guyana, with hundreds of excavators sold and massive loans taken from the banks. Miners have also showing an increased interest in buying vehicles and additional properties.
GGDMA is set to meet with its members tomorrow at its North Road offices to discuss the situation.

Vice Chancellor stresses need for independence at UG

- as consultations to discuss tuition fee hike commences

Transforming the University of Guyana (UG) into an institution that matches international excellence is an undertaking

UG Vice Chancellor, Professor Jacob Opadeyi, during yesterday’s press conference.

that requires resources. This conviction was vocalised yesterday by Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana (UG), Professor Jacob Opadeyi, as he addressed a media conference in the Education Lecture Theatre (ELT) at the University’s Turkeyen campus.
“Without resources we can’t do anything,” said the Vice Chancellor as he pointed to the fact that the tuition fee at UG was last set some 20 years ago.
In 1994 moves were made to have the tuition fee pegged at US$1,000 which, at the time, was equivalent to G$127,000 per year. This move was implemented after a review by Government to ascertain the University’s financial position, an undertaking that concluded that the tertiary institution should be self-financing.
Noticeable changes in the currency exchange rate over the years were taken into consideration by the University’s Council in 2012, which saw a call being made for an adjustment to the tuition fee that matched the existing exchange rate. The recommended modification was however, not adopted and only became a public ‘bone of contention’ when Professor Opadeyi assumed the position of Vice Chancellor last year.
“I want you to tell me if there is anything in Guyana that the price has not changed for (over) the last 20 years; not even bus fare,” said Professor Opadeyi as he announced plans to host consultations with stakeholders over the next few days to discuss a hike in the tuition fee.
“Nobody will enjoy an increase in tuition, nobody; likewise nobody will like an institution that is not improving in its quality, content (and) environment,” said the Vice Chancellor as he went on to note, “either we want to keep the University where it has been for the past 10, 15 years, or we are really serious about making it an international excellent University.”
Moreover, he informed that talks about an increase to the existing tuition fee is something that is not only long overdue but critical to the survival of the University.  He explained that “the increase in the tuition (fee) is not just because we want more money but because we want to raise the bar.”
According to the Vice Chancellor too, “if the University is really to be an independent University, we must have resources to start our own goals, decide on our priorities rather than our involvement being tied to subvention, tuition fee increase (and) parliamentary approvals….once you are tied to that then you are asking for political intervention.”
And in order for UG to be free of such interventions, Professor Opadeyi spoke of the need for the University to be able to manage its own resources. He also alluded to the fact that “we have been guilty of, at this University, expanding our options, expanding our programmes just because this University loves the country so much, (but) I say that is the end of that love.”
The Vice Chancellor in his deliberation yesterday said that any new programme at the University must in fact come with money to enable its expansion. As such, he insisted that “we need to be demand driven, not service driven. What we have been doing over the years is service, service, service…”
“We are the only University in the country; everybody depends on us for their tertiary education but when it comes to the money required to develop those programmes, we are very short on that funding,” said Professor Opadeyi.
However, he assured that the University will not only be focused on business as according to him, “We are going to have some human faces to those among us who cannot afford the cost of going to University and we are saying that we are going to sit down with those persons and look for other ways to make their education more affordable.”
Students were put on notice last week of a looming increase to the tuition fee with an electronic notice issued by the Deputy Registrar on June 13 last. The notice in part stated, “Please be advised that registration for the 2014-2015 academic year will most likely commence in July 2014. This is because of the impending increase to the tuition fee, which has to be finalised before your registration commences. Any inconvenience caused is regretted.”
At least five consultation fora have been scheduled to discuss the way forward in terms of implementing a hike in the tuition fee.  Two sessions are set for today in the George Walcott Lecture Theatre (GWLT), with the initial attracting input from staff and another intended to target students.
But in an interesting twist yesterday Professor Opadeyi appealed to the media corps to cover the consultations in a manner so as to ensure that “it brings national unity; so that it brings positive change to this University…We do not want the coverage to retort to any form of analysis (or) any lack of insightful research. We do not want it to be something that will further bring down what we are trying to build.”
“The essence is to ask the media not to take one isolated story and turn it into headlines…in other words don’t give us any negative press without any analysis; if there is analysis to support the negative press please go ahead but we want this to be a national decision embraced by all and that is why we are having the consultations,” said the Vice Chancellor.
Aside from the two consultations today (10:00 hours – 12:00 hours (for staff) and 14:30 hours to 16:30 hours (for students) both in GWLT); another is scheduled for tomorrow (June 25) at 14:30 – 18:30 (in ELT) for the public sector and political directorate; on Thursday (June 26) members of the private sector and Non-Governmental Organisations will be the primary targets (in ELT), while on Friday (June 27) yet another forum will solicit participation from staff, students, the Advisory Board and the general public at the Berbice campus.

EPA wants public input on Chinese company seeking authorization for large scale logging

Bai Shan Lin International Forest Development Inc has submitted an application to the Environmental Protection Agency seeking environmental authorization to undertake a large scale logging and sawmill operation.
According to a public notice which was published yesterday, the company is seeking the authorization for several areas including the Left Bank Essequibo River, Right Bank Berbice River, Right Bank Essequibo River, Left Bank Corentyne River, Left Bank Lysles River, River Bank Berbice River, and Right Bank Powis River, Regions Nine and Six.
It was noted that the project would entail, felling, extractions of timber and transportation of same to a processing facility. They would also be doing grading, construction of roads, skid trails, bridges, culverts and camps with other ancillary facilities within the concession.
The EPA noted that they fully recognized that the impending works may have “significant impacts” on the environment. Thus in keeping with the environmental protections act of 1996, an “Environmental Impact Assessment” is required before any decision to approve or reject the project.
As such the EPA has said that members of the public are invited within 28 days of the notice to make written submissions to them, setting out questions and matters which they required to be answered or considered in the “Environmental Impact Assessment”.
It was stated that a summary of the project can be viewed on the EPA’s website or uplifted at the office which is located at Ganges Street, Sophia. The public would have to stand the cost of photocopying the documents.
Bai Shan Lin has been granted a forestry concession that amounts to close to one million hectares of rainforest, from which it plans to extract logs and ship them out of Guyana. The company estimates that it will make US$1,800 from each hectare of land, giving it profits totaling US$1.7 billion.
In addition, it has been granted permission to dig up a 20-kilometre stretch of river to look for gold.
Other plans include setting up what it is calling a Guyana-China Timber Industry Economic and Trading Corporation Park plus a 400-acre real estate development.
The plans were announced last year by Chu Wenze, Chairman of Bai Shan Lin, at the Second World Congress on Timber and Wood Products Trade in Taicang, China.
Those plans were announced even before Guyana knew of it. The country became aware of what was happening only when Bai Shan Lin officials visited Guyana and held discussions with President Donald Ramotar and other Government officials.
The state information agency, GINA had reported that Bai Shan Lin has been in Guyana over the past eight years with operations through the Bai Shan Lin Forest Development Inc. These include  Haimorakabra Logging, Karlam South America Timbers, Wood Associated Industries, Kwebanna Wood Productions, Sherwood Forests, Bai Shan Lin Housing Construction, Mining development Inc., and Bai Shan Lin Ship Building and Heavy Industries Inc.
It has been contended that the law does not allow one logging company to take over another, unless the President so agrees.

Poor gold declaration…Guyana lost US$100M in foreign exchange, $1.5B in taxes for 2014

The decline of gold declaration for this year has seen Guyana losing around US$100M in foreign exchange and $1.5B in royalties and taxes, says Chairman of the Guyana Gold Board, Dr. Gobind Ganga.

A 20% drop in gold declarations this year has see Guyana losing US$100M in foreign exchange, Chairman of the Guyana Gold Board, Dr. Gobind Ganga, said this week.

The official was part of a panel discussion along with President of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), Patrick Harding, and Consultant, Edward Shields, which focused on developments in the sector.
The industry has been battling poor declarations of about 20%, as compared to the levels of last year.
The state-owned Guyana Gold Board was expecting between, 40,000 to 50,000 ounces more of gold, but actual declarations were a mere 165,595 ounces.
Officials have been blaming the poor showing on hoarding and smuggling.
According to Ganga, in a government statement yesterday on the recent panel discussion, the situation is threatening Guyana’s economy as gold has been helping the country’s fiscal policy to provide for economic sustainability.
“So with this decline it’s going to have an adverse effect, not with respect to the exchange rate per se in the immediate future, but later down the road it will have the effect.”
Ganga believed it is easy to conclude that the main causes are the continuous decline in the price for gold, some amount of hoarding and the possibility of illegal export.
Supporting his claims of possible hoarding of the mineral, Ganga said, “If you are looking at the export earnings from this sector you would find that the foreign exchange is not there, if you would have mined gold and sold gold, you would have expected the foreign exchange to come back in that is not there.”
He said that miners are producing more, declaring less, assuming that the declaration is not being sold, which makes it obvious that there is no foreign exchange earnings.
“There is a strong indication that indeed there is some level of hoarding.”
Ganga went on to explain that within the Gold Board Act, miners have 28 days to make their declaration and if this isn’t done then the gold is illegal.
“When land is being given to miners, it’s not their private operation, it is public asset which is given to recover an asset which is to provide revenue to the state in the form of foreign exchange, taxes and royalties which are to be used for every Guyanese, so when you withhold the production and it is not in the official stream then it is having an adverse effect on Guyanese as a whole.”
On the same issue, Shields said he would rather use the words ‘holding on’ as opposed to hoarding.
Shields said he is of the belief that the gold crisis has been brought on primarily by the low price of gold, and it caught everyone off guard.
“We have to accept there is a crisis, and we have to look to see how best one can survive this. It will not go away until such time the price of gold increases and until we start to get good returns. It is high risk business and this is because if you’re successful you get good returns, at the present moment you are not getting good returns.”
He said he also believes that affluent business owners and dealers in some instances are holding on to their production in anticipation of better days. He said he does not believe this is the case for most small and medium scale miners.
Harding also concluded that the falling gold price is a main contributing factor to the problem the gold industry now faces. He however, added that many miners were forced out of operation because of the current situation with the falling gold price.
“One of the things we look at is the amount of dredges that are registered. It doesn’t mean they are all working, maybe they are selling gold outside, but certain causes include the price, cost of production; so the miners are finding it very difficult to stay in business and are leaving.”
Harding pointed out that the cost of staying in business is very high and is not equitable with the cost of production.
“Equipment companies are taking back equipment, miners are giving back equipment, in addition miners are complaining that they don’t have proper lands to work, when the price was high, it’s difficult for them to survive.”
Meanwhile, speaking of a solution to the issue, Ganga called on miners to make their declaration to the relevant bodies so better policy measures can be put in place with regards to moving the sector forward.
“In addition to the need to increase production, we should have an effective way to help lower costs so the miners will have to utilise whatever technology is available and that will provide for much more profitability.”
Harding said while all stakeholders have reached consensus that there is a crisis in the sector, the relevant bodies have agreed to meet miners’ call for better lands to work on.
“They want better lands that have geological works on them, we are working on getting proper lands for them to work and at the same time we are encouraging miners to declare gold while we are looking at cost saving measures that will help miners,” Harding stated.

APNU renews calls for removal of Rohee

A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) yesterday renewed its call for the removal of Clement Rohee as Minister of

APNU leader, David Granger

Home Affairs.
The Party leader, David Granger, told the media that the recent road accident on the Corentyne Coast, which claimed the lives of three children, is what provoked the call this time around.
He said that the tragedy should serve as a warning to the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Guyana Police Force that the road traffic situation is out of control and that urgent change is needed.
Granger said that the National Assembly had in July 2012, passed a Resolution of “no-confidence’ against Rohee and in his ability to exercise responsibility for human safety as Minister of Home Affairs. He said that the resolution called on the President Donald Ramotar to revoke Mr. Rohee’s appointment but that call was not heeded.
Granger was adamant that the human safety situation in Guyana has deteriorated during Rohee’s eight-year tenure as Minister of Home Affairs. According to the politician, Guyana now loses lives to road accidents weekly.
Granger told the media that other forms of lawlessness – including armed robberies, arson, banditry, contraband smuggling, gun-running, money-laundering, narcotics-trafficking, piracy, police brutality and corruption – have continued on a daily basis during Clement Rohee’s tenure.
“Road accidents, particularly, are a grave human safety problem. There have been 57 deaths for 2014 already. There were 569 deaths over the five-year period, 2009-2013.”
According to the opposition leader, the biggest contributory factors to fatalities have been the lack of effective Ministerial direction, lax law-enforcement and dangerous driving habits. There are now more than 80,000 vehicles on Guyana’s roads.
He said that some drivers, however, “simply do not have the skill or experience to be entrusted with responsibility for human lives on public roads. Many drive recklessly or at unsafe speeds and display aggressive behaviour and poor road discipline. Too many persons drive under the influence of alcohol.”
Nevertheless, Granger pointed out, the Guyana Police Force, exerts its energies on arresting hundreds of petty offenders and touts. These actions cannot stop the spiralling toll of fatalities. Such operations do not address the fundamental causes of fatalities.
He said that it’s against this backdrop that APNU repeats its demand for President Donald Ramotar to revoke the appointment of Clement Rohee as Minister of Home Affairs. “Responsibility for human safety must be placed in the hands of a Minister who has the interest in curtailing the road carnage and in making our roads safe for our children.”

Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee

Rohee, after the shooting to death of three Lindeners during a protest, attracted a no confidence motion in the House. This matter eventually became one that was taken up in the courts.
But before that, Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman had ruled that Rohee was banned pending the outcome of a meeting of the Privileges Committee.
Trotman ruled that the motion was properly before the House after intense debate on its admissibility. In the interim he ruled that no motion or Bill in the Minister’s name would be entertained until the matter was concluded before the Committee. The court then ruled that the ban on Rohee was unconstitutional.
Trotman acceded and agreed that Rohee could speak as a member of parliament but not as Minister. This was further modified since the Standing Orders allows for any Minister to speak on topical matters without notice.
Now Rohee will enjoy full participation in the House.
In his more than 6,000 -word ruling, Trotman stated that he arrived at his decision to allow Rohee to speak after consideration of the Guyana Constitution, the preliminary ruling by Chief Justice Ian Chang on the Rohee gag, the Parliamentary Standing Orders and the advice of legal and parliamentary practitioners locally and abroad.
APNU then backed off, taking a different approach. The Party in most recent times just refused to pose any question to Rohee. Hence allocations for Rohee’s Ministry were approved without questioning during the last budget deliberations.
Yesterday Kaieteur News asked Granger whether he thinks his party did the right thing as opposed to questioning the use of taxpayers’ money. His shadow Minister of Home Affairs, Winston Felix, added, “I am glad we did not cut the budget so now they (the government) have no excuse” for not buying what he described as important equipment that will better the standard of the police force.
Asked, as well, why the different stance taken against Rohee, the APNU said that even though it had relaxed on the no confident motion it never viewed Rohee as a person of significance.