Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan said he has noticed an ongoing change in governance at the community level in Guyana, in that a decentralised and fully autonomous system of governance is emerging.Then delivering the charge to the Councillors in the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) of Region Five, (Mahaica-Berbice), in the compound of the Fort Wellington Secondary School on the West Coast of Berbice (WCB), Bulkan said the current change allows people at the grassroots level to have a direct say in the development of their communities.“This system was entrenched in the Constitution of Guyana, but had been ignored by the previous administration,” Bulkan said. “The APNU/AFC Government has restored the system, and is committed to improving it and having it entrenched in the governance system to the extent that no future Government would ever be given the right to dispossess grassroots citizens of their rights to self-determination, entrenched in the laws of Guyana.”Minister Bulkan noted that Local Government Elections (LGE) held on November 12th this year have been the fourth such to be held in Guyana in nearly half a century; and the 2016 LGE, which were followed by the 2018 LGE, were the first ever to be held consecutively in the country after a dearth of 23 years.He assured Councillors of a “hands-off guarantee” from Central Government, citing Article 75 of the Constitution of Guyana, which gives Municipalities and Councils full autonomy for their activities without influence from Central Government.Minister Bulkan said: “Article 75 of the Constitution says that Parliament shall ensure that Local Democratic Organs (LDOs) shall be autonomous. That is, have the right to manage their own affairs.”He stressed that the Coalition Government had, in just over three years, ensured that the democratic credentials of the Local Government Councils are intact, and had provided considerable support by way of training and capacity building within councils.“We have been putting our money where our (mouths are),” he underscored.Minister Bulkan observed that there is more to be done, and heCommunities Minister Ronald Bulkan and the newly-sworn-in NDC Councillors of Region 6said Government would be aggressively pursuing a programme for the further empowerment of the local government system of governance in Guyana. “We are in a new era, an era of people’s empowerment”, he declared.The intention of the Coalition, he noted, is to have the system of decentralised governance so entrenched that citizens all across the country would realise the utility, validity and superiority of this approach to governance and would resist any attempt to resuscitate the old and discredited model of centralised governance.The Chairpersons for the ten Neighborhood Councils in Region Five were sworn in to office by Regional Executive Officer Ovid Morrison.Other attendees at this exercise included the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communities, Emil Mc Garrell; senior staffers of the Communities Ministry, senior officers of the Regional Democratic Councils, overseers of the NDCs, and other special invitees.The newly elected NDC leaders in Region Six, East Berbice-Corentyne, took the Oath of Office before Regional Executive Officer Kim Williams-Stephen on the Lawns of State House in New Amsterdam.Region 6 Chairman David Armogan called on the leaders to allow the people to participate in activities, and he said the leaders should be servants to the people, instead of things being the other way around.“Democracy is consulting with the people, allowing them to participate in the process of decision making; and that is what we expect from our newly elected councillors and vice chairs,” he said.Armogan also called on the community leaders to be fair in all aspects of the execution of their duties, and serve in a way that would make the lives of the citizens more comfortable.
The investigation of rape cases are likely to significantly improve with the donation of 300 rape kits to the country’s most populated region; Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).UNICEF Representative to Guyana and Suriname, Sylvie Fouet (center) hands over a rape kit to Region Four’s Regional Executive Officer, Pauline Lucas and Regional Health Officer, Dr Quincy JonesThe rape kits, which were donated to Region Four on Tuesday by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), will aid in taking samples from the victim to locate and identify the perpetrator.During a brief handing over ceremony hosted at UNICEF’s Brickdam Georgetown location, the Regional Health Officer, Dr Quincy Jones explained that the kits are fully equipped with the tools needed to collect samples from under finger nails and even other private parts.The samples, he said, will be collected by the Police who will conduct further investigations to locate and identify the perpetrators of the act.The kit will also aid in testing for HIV and pregnancy in rape victims, but is suggested to be used within 24 to 72 hours after the act, as evidence can be washed away.The kits will be housed at medical centres across the region and can be accessed by victims, although the investigations will be conducted by Police officers.“One of the mandates as a Regional Health Officer, we have, is to provide quality services to all citizens and visitors of Region Four and we need to provide adequate health care to those who would have been victims of sexual assault and essential to this is collecting the necessary evidence which is a timely thing because if you don’t collect the evidence within a crucial window period which is roughly between 24 hours to 72 hours, you could lose a lot of evidence,” Dr Jones explained.UNICEF Representative to Guyana and Suriname, Sylvie Fouet told the media that the kits will work along with the Sexual Offences Act of 2017 to provide justice to rape victims.According to her, “it’s a supply need that we heard from the partners (regional executives) and it’s for us to really jumpstart to kick off some clear action on the ground in addition to working with the Sexual Offenses Act and its part also of the National Plan of Action that we have in the context of the Sexual Offences Act.”Fouet added that she was pleased with the partnership which will hopefully be of good effect to the region, especially since, “it’s really to prevent and respond in this case to the sexual offence and in particular sexual violence.”Regional Executive Officer Pauline Lucas said the donation was quite timely and thanked the organisation as it was pointed out that the country has about 400 rape victims per year. She added that Region Four has the responsibility of most times providing health care to visitors and the donation will ensure that justice can be served to all people.Prior to the donation, Dr Jones pointed out that a crucial need had always existed, especially as technology continues to advance in relation to forensic science.During the last quarter of 2018, Police statistics proved that rape cases have increased.Top Cop Leslie James told the media that rape cases had increased by seven per cent, with 202 cases reported in 2018 compared to 189 cases in 2017.
A man is now in Police custody after he was nabbed following a probe into a robbery that took place on Thursday last at Sookpaul Service Station in Springlands, Corriverton, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).One of the bandits caught on CCTV footage at the gas stationThis is according to Commander of B Division, Paul Langevine, who told this publication that Police are also on the hunt for the suspect’s accomplice.He noted that shortly after reports were made about the robbery, the man in Police custody was apprehended and the hunt commenced for the second male, who is alleged to have aided in the execution of that robbery.On Thursday, two cutlass-wielding bandits approached the pump attendant at the fuel station in question and relieved him of approximately $45,000.The duo then proceeded to fill their bags with commodities from the coolers nearby.However, in the process of doing so, several gunshots rang out a short distance away from the gas station, startling the bandits and resulted in them dropping some of their loot to flee the scene.This publication was told that the robbery had been recorded on CCTV cameras and while the two bandits were executing the crime, one of the gas station’s owners, who is a licensed firearm holder, responded by discharging several rounds in the air.As such, the bandits immediately dropped the bags with the items they removed from the coolers and disappeared. They, however, managed to escape with the stolen money.The matter was subsequently reported and after reviewing the surveillance footage, Police arrested several persons who were taken into custody and were said to have been assisting with the investigation.
– admits to murdering woman because of “infidelity”A Hururu Mission, Region One resident who confessed to killing his wife 21 years ago, after accusing her of being unfaithful to him, will be arraigned in court in the new week.Philbert Thomas, also called “Gilbert” ThomasIn September, 1998, the now 48-year-old Philbert Thomas, also called “Gilbert Thomas,” was at a Fun Day activity in Kwebanna village, Region One (Barima-Waini) when he stabbed his reputed wife, Viola Thomas, to death.A senior Police officer, who at the time of the murder was stationed in Region One, has said that stabbing incident was witnessed by more than 100 persons. That Police officer explained that the suspect had fled the scene moments after committing the act, and had since not been seen or heard from.Guyana Times understands that Philbert and the late Viola Thomas had been involved in a relationship for years prior to the stabbing incident, and she had mothered his children.After the murder was committed in 1998, the file was sent to the then Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for advice, and investigators were told to arrest and charge Thomas for murder, but he could not be located.However, Thomas was last month charged for felonious wounding committed on his ex-lover Dally Gobin and her friend Leaymond Smith. It was reported that, on the day in question, the victims were imbibing at Gobin’s house when the suspect showed up without being invited. This resulted in a heated argument among them. The argument degenerated into a scuffle, and the suspect allegedly whipped out a knife and dealt Gobin a stab. He then turned his attention to Smith, and stabbed him once before fleeing the scene.The victims were taken to the Kwakwani Hospital, where they were treated and referred to the Linden Hospital Complex. There they were admitted, and subsequently discharged.Thomas was arrested while hiding at a camp in the Hururu Backlands, and was subsequently charged.It was after this story had been published in the media that persons who had witnessed him murdering his wife contacted the Police.Commander of “F” Division (Interior locations), Kevin Adonis, told this publication that someone contacted ranks of his division with information that Thomas has been wanted by the Police some 21 years ago for murdering his reputed wife, but was never arrested or charged for the incident.According to the Police Commander, an investigation was immediately launched into the matter, and Thomas was subsequently interrogated about the murder. Thomas has since admitted to the Police that he had murdered Viola because she had been “unfaithful” to him.
The Government is unsure whether it will go ahead with setting up a separate oil and gas unit in the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) or not. It is sure about one thing, however, and that is staffing such a unit will be a challenge.Winston-JordanMaking this pronouncement was Finance Minister Winston Jordan on the sidelines of a reception at the Marriott Hotel on Monday for the arrival of ExxonMobil’s Floating Production Storage Offloading (FPSO) vessel.According to Jordan, he has had discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the available options for the unit. However, Jordan noted that he is leaning towards scrapping the idea and building capacity within GRA’s current, albeit small, oil and gas unit.“The IMF is in the country right now to do technical assistance. I had a brief meeting with them and we discussed whether we want to set up the unit separately or whether we will build capacity in the existing unit that we have”.“I’m thinking that we’re going to build capacity, because it’s very difficult, not setting up the unit, but it’s very difficult staffing it. So I want to just build on the staff we have there already and use some funding form the World Bank loan to complement the staff we have there”.Guyana Revenue AuthorityJordan also noted that a few other qualified locals could be brought on board to add to the staffing complement of the unit. He pointed out that the unit would also be helped by the Ministry’s Economic Policy Unit.While there has been much advocacy for local content, a commonly cited obstacle has been the lack of tertiary-trained local oil and gas personnel. Guyana already has a troubling ratio of university-trained graduates to persons who have never attended university.These statistics are notwithstanding the percentage of those specialising in oil and gas. A survey released by the Bureau of Statistics last year had found that less than ten per cent of Guyana’s population had completed post-secondary education.However, there have been efforts to build capacity at the University of Guyana. Earlier this year, the University announced that it had launched its Associate of Science Degree in Petroleum Engineering which would be a two-year duration and have students engaged in workshop training and skill courses.It had been announced that the course was being offered in collaboration with Trinidad and Tobago, with some courses expected to be delivered in Trinidad. A UG team had visited the University of Trinidad and Tobago and the University of the West Indies, and an agreement was struck to develop various courses.Speaking during a forum titled “The Youth and the Oil and Gas Sector”, UG Registrar Nigel Gravesande had noted that while the Technical and Vocational Training Education (TVET) institutions have started to create an enabling environment for training, more had to be done to ensure “sustainable exploration, development and production of the nation’s petroleum assets”.Gravesande had explained that “Guyana found itself not only as a newcomer to the industry, but also relatively unprepared without the necessary skills to make a significant contribution to the production that was targeted to commence in 2020”.The University Registrar had underscored that “this situation gave rise to the demand for these requisite skills in this highly-specialised area of petroleum engineering to be developed locally, but also rapidly”.
President David Granger on Friday last donated $1 million to the New Amsterdam Secondary School to improve its science and technology capacity.The Head of State made the donation during a visit which was part of activities in observance of Education Month.President David Granger presents the cheque to the Head Teacher of the New Amsterdam Multilateral School, Vanessa Jacobs to assist the school’s STEM programmeThe ancient county, the President said, has played a pivotal role in the development of education in Guyana. He lauded the school for its exceptional performance at the recent Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams which recorded a 93.1 per cent pass rate.The school registered 100 per cent passes in Agricultural Science, Resource Management, Food and Nutrition, Industrial Technology, Office Administration, Physics, Principles of Accounts, Principles of Business, Social Studies and several other subjects.However, the Head of State also added that Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) is an economic pacesetter.“Timber, bauxite, rice and sugar and some of the resources in abundance in this region. These commodities have made this region the food basket of the country. More than half of the sugar that Guyana produces comes from East Berbice-Corentyne. Quarter of your rice and the majority of your fish and cattle meat comes from this region. So, your economy has built up over the years but we need to think more of what we can do… outside of Demerara, this is the only region with a university campus.”President Granger explained that the New Amsterdam Multilateral School is one of six multilateral schools which were established to bring into operation a new curriculum.He said the advancement of the science and technology field will produce scientists who are going to propel Guyana’s development.“We need scientists, architects, agronomist, biologists, botanist, chemists, doctors, engineers, environmentalist, hydrologist and physicist. I am a man that puts my money where my mouth is.”On that note, the President announced that he will be giving the school $1 million. President Granger told the students that he has established the National Endowment for Science and Technology (NEST) fund from which the money was taken.The original education system in Guyana, President Granger noted, has been the recipient of tremendous investment.He explained that this year, investment in the education sector moved from 14.8 per cent of the national budget to 17 per cent of the budget which is $52 billion, 15 per cent more than last year.The President said he is not satisfied with only ensuring that every child is in school but he is looking forward to A grade students.“The first A means access – Every child must be able to access primary and secondary schools. The second A is attendance – Every child must attend the school and the stay in school. Studies have established that there is a strong relationship between school attendance, school literacy and numeracy. Giving access and assuring attendance are not enough; we want children to reach a high level of attainment which means that we want children to stay in school so that they can graduate and go to university,” the President added.
Chaos broke out at the Stabroek Police Outpost on Thursday last when a prisoner armed himself with a cutlass, chopped off the handcuffs from his hands and made good his escape.Stabroek Police OutpostAccording to information, on the day in question, around 16:30h, ranks arrested Gary Grant, a 34-year-old resident of Norton Street, Georgetown, who allegedly stole a cellular phone from a female resident.The Corporal who was in charge of the night shift at the Outpost instructed his subordinates to handcuff the man’s right hand to a metal bar that was attached to a wall inside the structure and place him to sit on a bench.Ranks stated that the man had been banging on the walls and throwing items at them throughout the afternoon.Subsequently, one of the ranks attached to the Outpost informed the Corporal of the man’s behaviour and suggested that he be sent to the Brickdam Police Station, but the request was denied.The rank further stated that the prisoner was shouting at the top of his voice claiming that he was very strong and was a good sprinter, but they ignored the outbursts and slurs.At approximately 22:20h the same night, the prisoner suddenly jumped into the air and kicked down the plywood counter of the outpost. A cutlass that was hidden under the counter was then revealed, and the prisoner used it to chop off the handcuffs and made his escape.However, before leaving, the prisoner used the cutlass to chop several electrical wires thus resulting in the Outpost plunging into darkness.Nevertheless, a large crowd gathered after seeing and hearing the commotion. A public-spirited citizen quickly got into action and attempted to prevent the prisoner from escaping, but he did not succeed as the prisoner kept ‘firing chops’ at them with the cutlass.The lone female Police rank out of fear began to run as the man went after her with the cutlass in his hand.As the woman made efforts to escape, she stumbled over two bread stalls at the Market.The prisoner eventually backed off and made good his escape by running around the fence of the Parliament Building. The patrol vehicle that was summoned arrived shortly after the chaos, at the scene.
Three loyal customers of Penta Paints smiled brightly on Friday after receiving the top prizes in the “Penta Live in Style” Promotion.Lance Kennedy with his 55” Samsung Smart TelevisionAt the Lombard Street, Georgetown location, Lance Kennedy walked away with a 55” Samsung Smart Television while Nikesha Taylor will add flavour to her living room with a brand-new three-piece sofa set.Hemchan Boodhoo picked up the final grand prize of a trip for two to Kaieteur Water Falls.Taylor, in receiving her prize, said that she has been a customer of Penta since 2014 and expressed that she continues to shop the paint because it “stands out”.Sales Manager of Penta Paints for Guyana and Suriname, Andre Ally congratulated all the winners, revealing that the company will do more for its customers in 2020.The promotion commenced on November 20 and concluded on December 23, 2019. In addition, 14 consolation prizes were also given out.
Christmas 2019 would be no different for a young mother and daughter as their tradition every year is to spread Christmas cheer to indigent children and families in their community.Tiffany Greene hands over the AC units to Shivani RamdeholJust days before Christmas, GTT’s Tiffany Greene and her seven-year-old daughter donated two air-conditioninging (AC) units to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) Paediatric Ward as means to bring ease and comfort to patients.Greene explained that it was during GTT’s Social Activities Committee (SAC) annual Pinktober visit to the ward in October that she observed one section without AC units. It was then she had the nudge to invest in her 2019 Christmas giveback. “The heat was stifling and knew I had to do something to make these children and their parents more comfortable,” Tiffany said.“Children aged 28 days to 13 years would be kept in this unit with their parents during hospital stays for days or months; as a mother, I felt compelled to do more for these children,” she added.Receiving the units on behalf of the GPHC’s Paediatric Unit was Junior Supervisor, Shivani Ramdehol, who expressed gratitude for the donation while stating that she was happy Greene displayed “such kindness”.Ramdehol noted that the donation was even more impactful since the Unit had requested donations of an air conditioning unit from several businesses and organisations and did not receive any response.Greene, who is a Sales Representative in GTT’s Sales and Distribution Department and a member of the GTT’s Social Activities Committee, said that this is not the first time she has made donations during the Christmas season.“Every year, me and my daughter would distribute presents and this year was no different. We also distributed toys to the children at my church on Christmas morning before opening our own presents. This is what Christmas is about and I hope gestures like this encourage others to give back in whatever way they can,” Greene said.Commending the Sales Representative was GTT’s PR Manager, Jasmin Harris who said, “GTT is happy to have employees who are able to go above and beyond to touch lives, not only at GTT through the excellent work done, but also those who make positive impacts in their communities”.
The Guyana Police Force (GPF) has announced its much-anticipated annual promotions, elevating some 355 junior ranks this year. The announcement was made by Police Commissioner Leslie James in his 2020 New Year message on Wednesday.Police Commissioner Leslie JamesAccording to the Top Cop, promotion is a reward for hard work, invaluable dedication, conscientiousness and selfless attitude.“It is the demonstration of the understanding of your roles, purposes and responsibilities. It is and must be seen as a reward for the unconditional serving and maintenance of zealously guarding our ideals,” he noted.Commissioner James pointed out to the promoted ranks that their stellar performances have merited their achievements to embrace the gold standard and as such, they must never retreat from challenging themselves.“We have worked assiduously during the past year to advance our organisation by maintaining public security, public safety, trust and confidence. We must continue to win the respect and trust among the citizenry through exemplary conduct and professionalism,” the Police Chief asserted.The Top Cop went on to note that the Force is not monolithic and has gone through various processes and stages of development since its establishment in 1839. In fact, he pointed out that it has completed the first year of the current Strategic Management Plan as well as established a Police Reform Change Board (PRCB) to coordinate the Strategic Plan.Additionally, he noted that while the Force has managed to keep serious crimes down, road fatalities continue to climb with an eight per cent increase.On this note, Commissioner James posited that ‘Operation Safe Roads’ is still in effect countrywide. He added that the crime strategies with Temporal and Spatial Analysis approaches have also been implemented.Among the promotions approved by the Police Service Commission (PSC) are three Superintendents to Senior Superintendents, three Deputy Superintendents as Superintendents and three Assistant Superintendents to Deputy Superintendents.Meanwhile, 14 Inspectors, including two Women Chief Inspectors, were elevated to the post of Assistant Superintendent, while nine Inspectors were promoted to Chief Inspector. A further 25 Sergeants were promoted to the rank of Inspector.Elevated to the rank of Sergeant were 81 Corporals and one Lance Corporal. Additionally, 125 Constables and Lance Corporals were promoted to the rank of Corporal. Another 35 Constables were elevated to the rank of Lance Corporal.Under Special Constabulary, 13 Corporals received promotions to the rank of Sergeant, while a total of 21, inclusive of 13 Lance Corporals and eight Constables, were elevated to Corporal. In addition, 14 Special Constables were also promoted to Lance Corporals.Meanwhile, Guystac Special Constabulary saw a total of eight promotions this year. These include three Corporals to the rank of Sergeant, one Lance Corporal and one Constable to Corporal, and three Constables to the rank of Lance Corporal.Last year, the Police Force promoted over 500 ranks.