Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ben&Ben, IV of Spades, SB19 win big at 5th Wish Music Awards Anne Curtis talks about renewing faith in God amid the world’s ‘noise and clutter’ DILG to lock shops in Tagaytay City, other areas near Taal Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Bulacan inmates, jail guards raise donations for Taal victims TNT snaps out of slump Four months on, the WMSC approved at a meeting Wednesday the change of control of Delta Topco, F1’s holding company, from investment fund CVC Capital Partners to Liberty Media Group.The new F1 season starts in Melbourne on March when the buyout is expected to be completed.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSBreak new groundSPORTSMcGregor blasts Cerrone in 40 seconds in UFC return Luis Manzano jokes about Mikee Morada’s proposal to Alex Gonzaga: ‘Baka nagtali lang ng sintas’ Palace: Crisis over ABS-CBN franchise unlikely Marcos monument beside Aquino’s stirs Tarlac town LATEST STORIES Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite MOST READ (Photo from the Formula 1 website)GENEVA — The World Motor Sport Council has approved Formula One being sold to Liberty Media, a US company that invests in entertainment and sports, for $4.4 billion.Liberty Media Corp., which is controlled by 75-year-old tycoon John Malone, ended years of uncertainty about the ownership of the auto racing series with the takeover announcement in September.ADVERTISEMENT Motorcycle taxis ‘illegal’ starting next week — LTFRB board member Gamboa officially assumes post as new PNP chief View comments
Gerald: Just because I’ve been bashed doesn’t mean I’d stop working Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite Trump’s impeachment defense, prosecutors dig in For Ina, portraying a zombie is like an ‘out-of-body experience’ Ex-Bulacan town vice mayor, village chief shot dead View comments LATEST STORIES Mo Tautuaa of TNT charges into Cliff Hodge of Meralco during Monday night’s quarterfinal duel between both squads. —AUGUST DELA CRUZWith a more involved offense and decent defensive, TNT KaTropa displayed why it is the favorite in its quarterfinal duel with Meralco in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.Starving their foes nearly harmless outputs in the first two periods, the Texters scooted away early, staved off a mild uprising by the Bolts and then pulled away for a 102-84 victory Monday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum to move within a win of booking a semifinal berth.ADVERTISEMENT Top-ranked Andy Murray eases into French Open quarterfinals Trump’s impeachment defense, prosecutors dig in The Texters built so much momentum early that they didn’t have much difficulty rediscovering their rhythm in the fourth as they opened up leads of as big as 24 on the way to a series opening win.“No one wins a best-of-three series by winning Game 1,” Racela said. “But of course, it’s good to get that [first win] out of the way and take a winning feeling going into Game 2.”Jason Castro scored 25 points and Joshua Smith scattered 19 despite coming off the bench and playing limited minutes because of a bum stomach. He could have easily excused himself from the game, but opted not to.“I wasn’t a hundred percent today, but I wasn’t going to let my teammates go out there by themselves,” Smith, a replacement for Donte Greene, said. “I just wanted to help them out.”ADVERTISEMENT Swing Out Sister back to PH this April Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next “I think offensively, we were blessed to have contributions coming from almost everybody,” rookie coach Nash Racela said after getting four players in twin digits. “That doesn’t normally happen.”The Bolts got dumped into a huge hole early, scoring just eight points in the first 11 minutes before catching some fire in the third to make a game out of it somehow.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSMcGregor blasts Cerrone in 40 seconds in UFC returnSPORTSBreak new ground“Defensively, we were decent today,” Racela added. “We made it hard for Meralco to make their shots. But we’re expecting them to make a lot of adjustments [for the second game].”Star also took a 1-0 lead in its quarterfinal series by crushing hapless defending champion Rain or Shine, 118-82, later in the night. MOST READ Ai-Ai delas Alas on Jiro Manio: ‘Sana pinahalagahan niya ang naitulong ko’ End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. China reports 17 new cases in viral pneumonia outbreak
LAHORE, Pakistan (CMC):Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Dave Cameron said West Indies players will get to decide whether they tour Pakistan for a series of three Twenty20 Internationals in November.Cameron was speaking at the conclusion of the Independence Series between the Pakistanis and a World XI over the last week in Lahore.The series has raised expectations in the country that Pakistan can resume the staging of international matches following an international suspension, due to an armed attack by militants on the Sri Lankan team bus eight years in this city.The Pakistanis hosted Zimbabwe for a historic limited-overs series two years ago, but other internationals have been reluctant to play bilateral series in the country, forcing Pakistan to play their home games in the United Arab Emirates in the past few years.”We want to ensure that when the players come over, everyone actually wants to come and enjoy the experience, and we don’t want to be seen to be forcing anyone,” said Cameron.”We’ve had Darren Sammy and Samuel Badree here, and they’ve loved it. Sammy’s on his second trip and I think that will also convince the players that it is safe to come.”NO ONE WILL BE FORCEDCameron, however, made it clear that the tour will depend on the security reports after the conclusion of Independence Cup, mentioning that CWI has no intention of forcing any player who doesn’t wish to undertake the tour.”We’ve had the security team here for the final of the Pakistan Super League and they’ve seen these matches as well,” he said”Here, Pakistan’s board makes decisions [regarding where to tour]. My board’s a little bit different, with the West Indies Players’ Association also having a big say and we have to respect their decision.”Cameron said he had enjoyed his two-day stay in Pakistan and was convinced that things have improved with the International Cricket Council, the sport’s world governing body, overseeing security arrangements and willing to bear the cost of security advisers for every series the PCB hosts from now.
Local coaches Shavar Thomas, Omar Edwards, Vassell Reynolds have described the 2018 World Cup as one which was a fantastic spectacle, full of suspense and unpredictability. According to the coaches, the smaller nations came to the fore in a big way and they believed that was possible because of the tactic of playing behind or without the ball for the majority of their games. Local teams, they said, can learn a lot from this tactic. Tivoli’s coach, Edwards, said the smaller European teams were ‘pragmatic’ in their approach and local players and teams have to learn to be more disciplined if they want to compete at the highest level. “The teams in the World Cup were compact and organised from the first whistle. Most played a low press game. They were very cagey, so most teams played on the counter-attack. It’s not new, we have been doing a long time but the teams in the World Cup reinforced it,” he said. He added that team discipline cannot be achieved without individual discipline, which is not strong enough in domestic competitions. “We have taken note of tactical discipline of the players to carry out coaches’ instructions. They were very disciplined for the most part and organised, especially the European teams. So if our local players want to play at the highest level, if teams want to play at the highest level tactically, players have to learn the game more and be more disciplined,” he said. Thomas, the coach of Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) champions, Portmore United, agreed the World Cup reinforced how effective playing behind the ball or without the ball is, while using the counter-attack to break open opposing defences. “You take something from each team, especially, the way they played behind the ball and the patience they had. Small European teams – Iceland, Sweden and Denmark – were comfortable without the ball and were very happy and willing to defend. “In the final Croatia had more possession but France were more effective in executing their plan. So you never know what can happen on the day, but this is football …,” he reasoned. Vassell Reynolds, of Reno and daCosta Cup winners Rusea’s High, said the World Cup taught him to be pragmatic and to adjust to situations. “I didn’t want to get caught up with supporting (Argentina) and get emotional. I really wanted to learn during this World Cup,” he said. “What I recognised this World Cup is that you can be pragmatic as a coach to counter what you think your opponents will be doing. I thought Belgium and England showed that in many instances. So you can be pragmatic during a tournament, during a game and not just go in there with one plan “But this World Cup people (teams) were not just about or bent on defending … they countered. So they were more adventurous,” he stated.
It is the strangest sight to watch a newly elected government do its damnedest to make sure it will not get re-elected. In the political world, it must be a novel phenomenon but with the Granger Government working assiduously to fail, this is exactly what Guyana is witnessing.How else to explain the haplessness, ineptitude and bungling, and the absolute deafness to all public criticism? The supersized Cabinet with salaries to match, and the gaggle of advisors and consultants should have been a clue that the intent was to grab as much as they can since they know their time in office is limited.In that sense, they are rather enjoying themselves. It must be freeing to not worry about sticking to democratic conventions, to not care about fulfilling campaign promises, and to spend with abandon on “sport” and non-priority items.President David Granger continues with his unilateral decision-making on renaming and refashioning spaces like D’urban Park, and has now set about to remake Carifesta Avenue with a median and rebranding it as the “Avenue of the Caribbean”.This is next on the Granger road show – literally this time – which is to be readied for commissioning on Caricom Day. What will the President settle his eyes on refashioning next?Perhaps, we should hold our collective breath and hope that his authoritarian manner is satisfied with rebranding buildings and airports and restyling parks and roadways and will not ever extend to passing down edicts that will truly turn the society and economy on its head and create even more disasters than have already been done with rice and sugar.Government’s ineptitude at the recent Jubilee celebrations after the year-long hype and hoopla is unforgivable. The bungling of the seating arrangements for the Opposition for the grand flag-raising was further iterated by Junior Minister Nicolette Henry’s inability to issue an apology; a “but” in an apology amounts to a justification for the very reason the apology was intended.In a letter to the press Ms, Marilyn Trotz roasted the Government for a “cultural extravaganza” which “failed to recognise that Guyana is a multi-ethnic society.” It was, she wrote, “for the most part Afrocentric”. I quote Ms Trotz because coming from me, the observation would be condemned as racist:I did write to the press two weeks ago to question why only ACDA was featured in a state-funded advertisement for UNESCO’s celebration of World Cultural Diversity. Since no apology is forthcoming from the Social Cohesion Department, it has to be concluded that the exclusion of every other ethnic group in Guyana was fully intended by the Government.It is obvious that African Guyanese are in favour once again as they had been under the PNC dictatorship. Then, the discrimination was viewed and is still remembered as institutionalised racism.There are four more years until the next general elections and since Government has lost the 11% Indian vote that gave it its slim victory, the “ethnic arithmetic” will not favour a PNC victory; and given the Coalition Government’s record thus far the electorate will hardly support a cosmetic third party again.This makes the Granger Government’s self-destructive actions very puzzling unless they are viewed in the context that their haplessness and ineptitude arise, perhaps, from a child-like cluelessness about managing a government. Simply put, they cannot do better because they do not know how.Perhaps, this is why Granger busies himself with so much refashioning: it makes him appear busy; it distracts; and it shows him as a decision-maker even if the decisions are not the policy ones that are so desperately needed to get a stagnant economy moving.Still, many are hoping that Government will remain in this holding pattern which will prevent them from doing too much irreversible damage to the society and economy until the next general elections when they can be voted out.Many more are worried, however, that the ABC meddling which propped up the destructive PNC dictatorship will prevail once again for the sake of US interests in controlling our offshore oil find.Even more are worried that the PPP has learned nothing from its electoral loss and, with no reforms in sight, will proceed with the same arrogance and highhandedness as before if returned to office.While we look on with both dismay and amusement at the bumbling tragic-comedy that is the Granger Administration, the future is none too clear.For 50 years there has been no administration that has delivered clean, honest government so all we have is a hope and a prayer that better must come.
This week, Guyana joined several countries in the world to mark International Women’s Day 2017 under the theme “Be bold for Change” with emphasis on women’s rights and gender equality. There was much introspection and reflection on the progress or lack thereof made by Guyanese women over the past few decades with non-governmental organisations and official Government agencies setting goals and objections for achieving more progress by next year and beyond.For the most parts, women were celebrated, admired and praised. They were viewed as heroines because of the struggles they have endured and the challenges they face daily in ensuring that they play the role of the traditional woman as outlined in writings in the religious books, while aspiring to break barriers and crack glass ceiling as part of the process of metamorphosis in order to become the new ‘modern woman’.There were those women who lived in the moment and blushed in the midst of being praised and celebrated. They made the most of it by attending all of the ceremonies and festivities associated with the day because they felt duty bound to ensure that the voices of women were amplified on this day and the challenges they faced also highlighted.But there were those women who were no doubt more conscious. They understood that at the stroke of twelve on March 8, the atmosphere would change and things would return to a state of normalcy regardless of all of the excitement and officialdom accompanying Women’s Day. They held firm to the view that the state of the girl child could not be improved by mere reflection and introspection on one day.It would take more than attending mundane workshops and conferences to ‘talk’ about women’s rights and issues to solve the problems facing women in the world today. UN speeches and public releases by organisations lobbying the world over for gender equality, though appreciated, could not create the level of awareness to create real and lasting change while forcing a paradigm shift in thinking patterns of the still-largely male dominated world.What was needed was ‘immediate action’ by women themselves to rise up and challenge the stereotypes and prejudices that seek to keep them in their so called ‘place’. Women needed to rise up in large numbers and make a determined effort to rebel against all of the draconian laws as well as unwritten policies that promoted inequality, maybe not intentionally, in the work place, education system, marriage agreement, class structure and other areas of their life.In Guyana, women needed to express outrage against the rising levels of domestic abuse and violence against their kind. They needed to protest and take a firm stance against the attacks on women in the judiciary by leading members of the current Government. They needed to lobby the authorities in order to compel them to do more to safeguard women against rape, childhood marriages and suicide. The Guyanese women needed to send a stronger message that women deserve better health care while demanding that immediate changes are made at hospitals across the country where women have to deliver children so that the downward spiral of maternal deaths could commence.Our women missed a golden opportunity to also seek out and motivate suitably qualified women folk to run again for the Presidency by going against the norms within the various political parties in order to challenge the concept of male supremacy and the theory that men are born better leaders. As it stands, women in Guyana appear satisfied being seen as conservative, compassionate and compliant beings. They seem comfortable with the current gender role that they are playing and whatever benefits they have accrued.This is most unfortunate because Guyanese women posses a special finesse and strength that make them iconic and unconquerable. It sets them apart from persons of the same gender elsewhere geographically. They also possess a fighting spirit and the will to achieve success in areas where women traditionally would not dare step. If women here, therefore are to be “bold for change”, they must first start the process internally and mentally in order to have a lasting and real impact on the affairs of the world in a more meaningful way.The future of the girl child is at stake in a world of some many emerging gender cultures and preferences. They must stand tall and stand firm in unity. Like Hillary Clinton and Janet Jagan, they must not miss opportunities to crack glass ceilings because they understand their worth and value. This is no longer a man’s world.
…with the Lombard squatters?Your Eyewitness is quite puzzled with what’s going down with the Lombard Street squatters. Looks like they’re being kicked (as the old folks say) “from pillar to post” by the authorities. Tsk! Tsk! Poor squatters. Here it was, they followed tradition when they moved into unoccupied buildings at the street that earned quite some notoriety back in the day as our “red light district”.And in case you’ve lived a very sheltered life, dear readers a “red light district”, Wiki informs us is: “part of an urban area where a concentration of prostitution and sex-oriented businesses, such as sex shops, strip clubs, and adult theatres are found.” Now this might very well be the reason why the building was abandoned in the first place – since we’re not as broadminded as say, Amsterdam in Holland!Anyhow, back to our squatters. They occupied the quarters for decades but of course, making no repairs or paint jobs, lo and behold, the place soon descended into a real dump. Some folks call it a ‘slum”…but from your Eyewitness’ info, in slums the dwellings are rented to the poor by “slumlords” who exploit the poor slobs forced to live there. Here, the squatters (40 adults and 80 children) paid no rent but allowed the real estate to literally go to the dogs. They then constructed shacks from the material scavenged!Fast forwards to late 2016 when the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) visits Guyana to examine the interrelated issues of poverty and human rights and are taken to the Lombard St shacks by Social Protection Minister Volda Lawrence, who’d campaigned there. Of course they’re shocked and ask that something be done.The Government jumps into action and the CH&PA announces the Lombarders not only be relocated to lands at Mocha, EBD, but 72 homes be constructed for them at the cost of $1.2M each. Your Eyewitness never figured out why 40 families needed 72 homes…but maybe some of these families fissioned? Sadly, the people of Mocha protested about the “social implications” of the Lombard Streeters moving into their neighbourhood!!! Imagine that!! Your Eyewitness couldn’t figure why? Was it the old stigma about “Lombard St working girls”??Anyhow, after a seeming retreat following pressure from the authorities, the Mocha folks seem to have had the last say. The Lombarders are now to get their free houses at Cummings Lodge. Hope THEY don’t make a fuss!With the Govt taking such an interest in poverty, your Eyewitness hopes they’ll take the IAHCR to the rural communities where 5700 sugar workers were fired.After all, even before the firings, the deepest poverty was always rural, wasn’t it?…at the Oil Summit?Another head scratcher for your peripatetic Eyewitness, was the flap over restricting reporters covering the Petroleum Business Summit. Somebody blew this one. At every Summit your Eyewitness attended – and he’s attended so many, he’s quite summited out!! – the organisers always BOASTED about how many reporters would be in attendance!! In fact, with the one ExxonMobil organised last year at La Jolla in California, they even PAID airfare and hotel for Guyanese journalists!!After all, apart from the networking etc, what do most businesses opening up new markets want? Publicity! That’s what! When you restrict reporters, you restrict publicity…which, is worth a lot of money! So again your Eyewitness asks the question that immediately pops into mind with such restrictions…what’s going down?Your Eyewitness KNOWS that no business marketing team made the decision – short-lived as it was – to curb reporters’ access. He’s convinced it’s the Natural Resources Minister who’s been so pilloried by the press over his ‘renegotiation” of the ExxonMobil contract.He just can’t take the heat…but won’t get out of the kitchen!! So he blinked!!…with PSC hiring fired sugar workers?The Chronic trumpeted the Administration’s claim that the PSC hired 800 fired workers from Wales at their job fair.With 1700 workers affected; 357 not going to Uitvlugt, the PSC hired 800 of the remaining 1343?Something stinks!!
Money was first introduced to Guyana by the Dutch colonists, but there was never much in circulation.Previously, according to Guyana.org, there was an informal barter system among the original inhabitants of the territory before they began trading with Dutch colonists and traders for European goods such as knives and cutlasses.Even after the Dutch introduced money, they rarely used it for large business transactions. It was normal for them to write promissory notes, which eventually would be redeemed from their agents in Amsterdam where they sent their sugar and other produce to be sold.The Dutch colonists introduced the guilder and other coins such as pennings, stivers and bitts whose values fluctuated over time. Side by side with these coins from other European nations circulated. These included the English guinea, the Mexican dollar, and the Portuguese gold ducat, moidore, and joe.Paper money and English coinsBy the end of the 18th century, a type of paper money issued by the government or the banks in Europe began appearing in Guyana.Usually, when a person had accumulated a quantity of paper money, he would exchange the notes for gold at the Receiver’s Office for Colonial Taxes. This office would then re-issue the paper money to the public again.British Guiana currencyEarly independent Guyana one cent coinBack of the $1 showing King George VIFront of a $1 note used in BGNotes used today in GuyanaWhen the British seized Guyana in 1803, English coins began to make a gradual appearance. However, the Dutch coins continued to be the main means of commercial exchange throughout the rest of the century, by which time the Portuguese and Mexican coins could hardly be found in circulation.Many slaves saved coins that they acquired by doing odd jobs during their free time, or through the sale of the produce from their provision grounds.The first bank to be established was a savings bank for the slaves in 1828. This occurred at a time when the British government was implementing policies aimed at improving the social condition of the slave population in its colonies.In 1836, two other banks, the Colonial Bank and the British Guiana Bank, were set up. The former, many years later, was taken over by Barclays Bank, while the latter, during the second decade of the 20th century, was absorbed by the Royal Bank of Canada.In 1900, the Dutch coins were withdrawn and were replaced by British coins such as the half penny, penny, sixpence, twelve pence, shilling, florin, half crown, crown, sovereign and guinea.Official British paper money was also introduced into Guyana at this time. This system of currency remained until 1951 when Guyana joined with the British Eastern Caribbean territories to use common Eastern Caribbean coins and currency notes, even though many of the British coins continued to circulate for a while.Independence Guyana, on attaining independence in 1966, withdrew from the Eastern Caribbean currency board and began to issue its own coins (one cent, five cents, ten cents, twenty-five cents, fifty cents) and currency notes with values of one dollar, five dollars, ten dollars and twenty dollars.The Bank of Guyana, as noted on its website, was established through the Bank of Guyana Ordinance No. 23 of 1965. Actual operation commenced on Oct. 16, 1965, seven months before the country gained political independence.This Ordinance established the Central Bank as an ‘autonomous institution’ with headquarters in the capital city of Georgetown.The early establishment of the Bank was promoted by an agreement of the U.K. government (acting for the still colonial members of the British Caribbean Currency Board (BCCB) and the Trinidad & Tobago government), for the dissolution of the BCCB by mid-1967 and the cessation of issuance of currency after 1965.At its establishment, the Bank was housed in temporary premises in three locations. The governor operated from an office assigned to him in the Parliament Building.Office space was rented from the Colonial Life Insurance Company, High Street, Georgetown, to house the Research Department while the BCCB’s office in the General Post Office Building, Georgetown, executed currency operations on behalf of the Bank.Bank of Guyana (Photo: ksmoses)The Bank commenced issuing the new national currency notes on November 15, 1965, to replace the BCCB notes, the issuance of which was expected to cease by December 31, 1965. However, national coins were not issued until mid-1967.The Ordinance establishing the Bank was revised and became the Bank of Guyana Act. CAP:85:02. This Act was further revised in 1995, 1998 and late 2004.
With our new “crisis a week” norm, the sugar industry’s crisis has been pushed off the front pages of the newspapers but the contradictions precipitated by the Government’s actions to “save” the industry have intensified and may soon explode like an unattended sore. It has been almost two years since this newspaper uncovered that Wales Estate was going to be shuttered and eight months since it actually was.Five months after that precipitate action, the Government unveiled its “State Paper on the Future of the Sugar Industry” which announced: “The proposed courses of action are to amalgamate Wales Estate with Uitvlugt Estate and reassign its cane to the Uitvlugt factory, since the estate is operating at 50 per cent capacity. Sixty per cent of its drainage and irrigation infrastructure is in a dilapidated condition. The Corporation furthermore seeks to divest itself of the Skeldon Estate. The estates of Albion and Rose Hall are to be amalgamated and the factory at Rose Hall is to be closed.”The plan added, seemingly as an afterthought, “In the case of Enmore, that factory will be closed at the end of the year when all cane would have been harvested and the East Coast Estates would be earmarked for diversification.” After the bloodletting, the Guyana sugar industry, run by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), would consist of three estates and three sugar factories: Blairmont on the West Bank Berbice, Albion-Rose Hall in East Berbice and the Uitvlugt-Wales estate in West Demerara. They are expected to produce a total of 147,000 tonnes annually; less than half of its historic average production.But we can look at what has played out at Wales Estate, since its closure as part of the “amalgamation” with Uitvlugt Estate, twenty-two miles away, as a precursor as to what lies ahead for the other estates to be closed or ‘amalgamated”. There, approximately 1200 of the workers were offered and accepted “severance pay” for their termination of services. Three hundred and fifty canecutters are being coerced to transfer to Uitvlugt against their will and the law.Most Guyanese are unaware of the quantum of the severance pay to appreciate a family cannot long survive on it. For an average worker who might have accumulated, say, 15 years of service, this pay would amount to 30 weeks of their average weekly wage. What this means is that by now, if the Wales dismissed workers were very disciplined and prudent and stuck to a budget, their severance pay would have been exhausted by now. What are they to do henceforth?The State Paper promises: “Employees are to be leased land by GuySuCo to engage in crops (crop types to be decided by GuySuCo and the Agriculture Ministry).” This signalled that the Government was going to transition sugar workers into farmers, which would be a very positive and salutary measure. But up this point at Wales, no employee has been leased any of the approximately 8000 acres of land that had been cultivated by the estate. It would appear that, as was the case with the closure of Wales long before a “State Paper” was articulated, the modalities of leasing of lands to former workers – if in fact the Government is serious about that move – is yet to be worked out.In the meantime, GuySuCo announced it had converted some 400 acres of land at Wales to produce “seed paddy” that would be sold to rice farmers at the beginning of their crop. This is not adding any new production or employment in Guyana since all seed paddy needed for the industry has been supplied by National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) and private contracted farmers. Because of the purity of seeds needed, seed paddy demands a level of care that is unlikely to be supplied by the inexperienced workers at Wales.What is then clear is after the closure of all sugar operations at Enmore/LBI and the other locations identified, at least 10,000 workers and their families will be on the breadlines in an economy that is contracting. Tragic.
Dear Editor,A vigil organised by the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) outside of the State House, Main Street, Georgetown for July 19, 2017, had to be abandoned after the Guyana Police Force withdrew its approval. The decision by the Police Force is very upsetting and seems to indicate that there is a concerted attempt to silence the voices of dissent and disagreement.The FITUG-organised vigil had sought to express solidarity with the nation’s beleaguered sugar workers. It was also intended to call to attention that thousands of ordinary, hardworking Guyanese are threatened with impoverishment and misery as a result of the Administration’s plans to close and sell a number of sugar estates. The Federation had hoped that the vigil in front of the President’s residence would highlight the difficulties that would confront the communities of Enmore, Rose Hall and Skeldon as we see now-a-days playing out at Wales.The Federation by letter dated July 13, 2017 to the Commissioner of Police sought permission to conduct the activity. We next heard from the Police Force by letter of July 17, 2017 which advised “…that approval is given for you [FITUG] to hold a “VIGIL” on Wednesday 19th, July 2017”.The FITUG was then unpleasantly surprised when we received another letter from the Police Force dated July 18, 2017 saying inter alia that “…due to the present situation in the country approval cannot be given as this time for the VIGIL.”The sudden and short reversal in positions by the Police Force for us is both perplexing and of great concern. It would not be unusual to hold, that the Police when examining our request must have taken into account the prevalent situation in the country. The Police’s explanation, in our view, seems to have provoked more questions than answers.The revocation cannot be disconnected from a somewhat similar incident which confronted the GAWU a few months back when the Police, for inexplicable reasons, denied that Union permission to conduct a march on the East Coast of Demerara. Certainly, this latest action serves to heighten our anxieties and reminds of a time in our nation when democratic expression was curtailedThe FITUG cannot help but wonder, this time around, whether the “present situation in the country” will be used as a guise to undermine and deny Guyanese their inalienable rights and to deprive our people of their constitutional freedoms of expression and assembly. Is it that the July 9, 2017 Camp Street Prison incident is being used as the pretext to heighten surveillance and to promote invasion of privacy on the ground of so-called searches.The 180 degree turn in this matter is of grave concern and is very worrying to us in the FITUG.While we uphold and promote respect for the laws of the lands but must place on record our strongest condemnation at this revocation which, in effect, is not in keeping with established Trade Union rights and serves to deny citizens their rights as enshrined in the Constitution.The FITUG believes that this development does not augur well for our democratic future or for the touted ‘Good Life’ which is so elusive to the workers. We call on all right-thinking Guyanese to condemn this denial.Sincerely,FITUG