Re­cent events re­view Satur­day, Novem­ber 4 to Fri­day, Novem­ber 10

Stabroek News Sunday - - WEEKEND MAGAZINE -

Satur­day, Novem­ber 4

No de­ci­sion yet on Top Cop’s re­moval

Although gov­ern­ment views the rec­om­men­da­tions from the re­cent Com­mis­sion of In­quiry (CoI) into the al­leged plot to kill the pres­i­dent se­ri­ously, no fi­nal de­ci­sion has been taken on the way for­ward, Min­is­ter of State Joseph Har­mon said yes­ter­day. “They [the rec­om­men­da­tions] are still in the con­tem­pla­tion of His Ex­cel­lency but I can say to you that we are tak­ing those rec­om­men­da­tions very se­ri­ously and ac­tions will be taken on them,” Har­mon told a post-Cabi­net press brief­ing. His com­ment came a day af­ter the fi­nal re­port of the CoI, which was con­ducted by re­tired As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Paul Slowe, was laid in the Na­tional As­sem­bly. The CoI con­cluded that Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice See­lall Per­saud’s abil­ity to con­tinue to hold the post has be­come “un­ten­able” and rec­om­mended that he should be made to re­sign un­der terms con­sid­ered ap­pro­pri­ate by Pres­i­dent David Granger, or if he fails to do so, be re­moved for mis­be­haviour.

Gov’t seek­ing $3B in sup­ple­men­tary funds

For the third time this year, gov­ern­ment is seek­ing sup­ple­men­tary fi­nanc­ing – this time around $3 bil­lion – and the re­quests this time around in­clude $171 mil­lion for the Guyana De­fence Force (GDF) for its in­volve­ment in sev­eral se­cu­rity op­er­a­tions and $100 mil­lion for con­sul­tan­cies on bor­der mat­ters for the Min­istry of Foreign Af­fairs. Fi­nan­cial Pa­per No.3 of 2017 is seek­ing $519.9 mil­lion in current es­ti­mates and $2.45 bil­lion in cap­i­tal es­ti­mates. The sup­ple­men­tary re­quest for the GDF un­der­lines the ad­di­tional cost to the coun­try from the Camp Street pri­son break on July 9. The GDF is seek­ing the $171 mil­lion to cover ad­di­tional of­fice equip­ment, ve­hi­cle spares, main­te­nance cost, trans­porta­tion and for the main­tain­ing of equip­ment such as stoves and gen­er­a­tors. The sum re­quested will also cover rental of tents, chairs and the pur­chase of other ne­ces­si­ties. With stepped up ac­tiv­ity on the bor­der con­tro­versy with Venezuela, the Min­istry of Foreign Af­fairs is seek­ing an ex­tra $100 mil­lion for con­sul­tancy ser­vices. The ear­lier voted pro­vi­sion was $200 mil­lion.

911 sys­tem re-launched

The 911 emer­gency sys­tem was recom­mis­sioned yes­ter­day af­ter sev­eral years of prob­lems. The new sys­tem, which is be­ing run out of a sec­tion of the Brick­dam Po­lice Sta­tion, is de­signed to re­spond to emer­gency calls from cit­i­zens across Guyana and in­cludes fea­tures such as cus­tomised re­port­ing, se­lec­tive call trans­fers, au­to­matic caller iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, SMS mes­sag­ing and local track­ing. Dur­ing a tour yes­ter­day, Min­is­ter of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Khem­raj Ram­jat­tan said that the sys­tem is expected to work smoothly since over 40 po­lice of­fi­cers have re­ceived train­ing to op­er­ate it. Ram­jat­tan de­scribed the recom­mis­sion­ing as a huge devel­op­ment in the coun­try’s se­cu­rity sec­tor and lauded service providers GT&T and Dig­i­cel for their sup­port. “This is a big devel­op­ment, huge devel­op­ment and we want the peo­ple to pro­mote it, to love it, to love the equip­ment, to take care of it, to main­tain them,” Ram­jat­tan said.

Sun­day, Novem­ber 5

SOCU’s le­gal ad­vi­sors re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing solid cases –Har­mon

The le­gal minds ad­vis­ing the Spe­cial Or­gan­ised Crime Unit (SOCU) have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that solid cases are taken be­fore the court, ac­cord­ing to Min­is­ter of State Joseph Har­mon, who says that gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to pump re­sources into the unit to boost its in­ves­tiga­tive ca­pac­ity. “SOCU, they are gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion and if, in fact, the per­sons who have the le­gal eye to see what is it that will stand up in court, al­low it to go through, how could you blame the in­ves­ti­ga­tors?” he asked dur­ing a postCabi­net press brief­ing on Fri­day. Har­mon was asked how con­cerned the gov­ern­ment was about SOCU’s ap­par­ent in­abil­ity to bring solid mat­ters be­fore the court and the re­cent con­tention by the Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions (DPP) that the unit was not do­ing qual­ity in­ves­ti­ga­tions. Fol­low­ing its in­ves­ti­ga­tions, SOCU is ad­vised by the DPP, le­gal ad­vi­sor re­tired Jus­tice Claudette Singh and a team of spe­cial prose­cu­tors hand­picked by gov­ern­ment.

Mon­day, Novem­ber 6

Pri­vate Sec­tor Com­mis­sion sub­mits pro­posal for En­more Es­tate

The Pri­vate Sec­tor Com­mis­sion (PSC) has sub­mit­ted a pro­posal on its in­ter­est in the ac­qui­si­tion of the En­more, East Coast De­mer­ara sugar es­tate, sources say. “We have made a pro­posal, through the PSC to gov­ern­ment, show­ing our in­ter­est in pri­va­tiz­ing one of the es­tates,” Chair­man of the PSC, Ed­die Boyer, told Stabroek News when asked on Satur­day. “In our pro­posal we in­di­cated that there should be a cred­i­ble body to as­cer­tain the val­ues for the es­tate prop­erty, lands and other as­sets,” he added. But even when probed he would only con­firm his or­gan­i­sa­tion’s sub­mis­sion of a pro­posal for an es­tate but would not spec­ify which it was. How­ever, re­li­able sources have told Stabroek News that the PSC re­cently made a pro­posal to gov­ern­ment about its in­ter­est in the managing of the En­more Es­tate but will await the valu­a­tion of as­sets process be­fore en­gag­ing fur­ther. The pro­posal would be the first from any ma­jor local body to un­der­take the run­ning of a sugar es­tate.

How PNCR will re­tain of­fice af­ter 2020 ‘big question’

Ad­dress­ing a PNCR con­fer­ence on Satur­day in Ge­or­gia, USA, Pres­i­dent David Granger in­veighed against elitism in the party and said a big question for mem­bers is how the party will re­tain of­fice af­ter 2020 when elec­tions are to be held. Reach­ing back into his­tory and the cir­cum­stances of how the Peo­ple’s Na­tional Congress (PNC) came to power in 1964 and sub­se­quently how its leader, Forbes Burn­ham lob­bied for Guyana’s in­de­pen­dence, Leader of the PNCR, Granger, told the party con­fer­ence that the same dili­gent at­ti­tudes are needed now. He urged mem­bers to con­demn elitism if it is ever ev­i­dent and not to for­get that the party was birthed from poor “com­mon folk” who wanted bet­ter for their na­tion. “Most peo­ple were ex­tremely poor even into the late 60s where an av­er­age salary was $70 dol­lars a month…The PNC was cre­ated as a party of a new time. We fought for in­de­pen­dence, we fought for the West Indies Fed­er­a­tion, we fought for the work­ing class, and we fought to es­tab­lish a multi-eth­nic party. We fought to bring ru­ral and ur­ban and hin­ter­land to­gether. We es­tab­lished a demo­cratic party,” Granger said dur­ing his ‘Leader of the Party’ ad­dress at the North Amer­ica Re­gion con­fer­ence. And as he gave a time­line of how the then PNC came into of­fice back in 1964, he re­minded that many per­sons lost their lives in their work of sup­port­ing the party. The PNC en­tered of­fice then in al­liance with the United Force though the PPP had a plu­ral­ity.

Teacher found un­con­scious on side of road

The fam­ily of a 22-year-old teacher of Richard Ish­mael Sec­ondary School is seek­ing an­swers af­ter she was found un­con­scious on the side of the road in the vicin­ity of Princes Street and Louisa Row, Ge­orge­town, yes­ter­day morn­ing. Kes­cia Branche, a mother of one, of Cum­mings Lodge, East Coast De­mer­ara, is cur­rently hos­pi­tal­ized in the In­ten­sive Care Unit of the Ge­orge­town Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal nurs­ing head in­juries and a bro­ken foot. Her father, Al­fred Branche told Stabroek News that his daugh­ter is cur­rently bat­tling for her life and is on a life sup­port ma­chine. The el­der Branche told Stabroek News that his daugh­ter was last seen at a local night spot dur­ing a Satur­day night out­ing. He stated that his daugh­ter is an out­go­ing per­son.

Tues­day, Novem­ber 7

Pres­i­dent’s uni­lat­eral Ge­com ap­point­ment un­demo­cratic – TIGI

Pres­i­dent David Granger’s uni­lat­eral ap­point­ment of a Chair­man of the Guyana Elec­tions Com­mis­sion is un­demo­cratic and has been com­pounded by his re­fusal to pro­vide rea­sons for the re­jec­tion of nom­i­nees by the Op­po­si­tion Leader, ac­cord­ing to a lengthy state­ment from Trans­parency In­sti­tute Guyana Inc (TIGI). TIGI yes­ter­day also said that the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion, Bhar­rat Jagdeo has also not helped democ­racy by se­lect­ing some per­sons who would have been clearly un­ac­cept­able to the Pres­i­dent. TIGI’s crit­i­cism of the uni­lat­eral ap­point­ment adds to the broad civil so­ci­ety re­jec­tion of the ap­point­ment by Granger of re­tired Jus­tice James Pat­ter­son. TIGI’s views will also carry weight as a re­sult of its af­fil­i­a­tion to global watch­dog group, Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional. Con­tend­ing that the post of Chair­man of Ge­com can be re­garded as the prox­i­mate cus­to­dian of democ­racy of which elec­tions are one of the vi­tal com­po­nents, TIGI said it is im­per­a­tive that the ap­point­ment of the Chair­man “ad­here to the high­est stan­dards of trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity”.

China do­nates over US$2.6M in ve­hi­cles, equip­ment to po­lice

The Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China yes­ter­day for­mally handed over ve­hi­cles and other equip­ment worth a to­tal US$2.6 mil­lion to the Guyana Po­lice Force, as part of its con­tin­ued sup­port for the gov­ern­ment’s crime fight­ing strate­gies. At a cer­e­mony at the Po­lice Of­fi­cers’ Sports Club, at Eve Leary yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, China’s Am­bas­sador to Guyana Cui Jianchun handed over 56 pick­ups, 44 mo­tor­cy­cles, 35 ATVs, 5 mo­tor buses, 550 pro­tec­tive gear items, 70 com­put­ers (desk­tops and lap­tops), 10 scan­ners, 10 print­ers, 10 pho­to­copy­ing ma­chines, 30 deci­bel me­ters and 5 gen­er­a­tor sets. Speak­ing at the event, Pres­i­dent David Granger noted that the do­na­tion recog­nised the need to en­hance the spa­tial de­ploy­ment of the Guyana Po­lice Force to ev­ery re­gion, which aligns with the gov­ern­ment’s plans to expand the num­ber of po­lice di­vi­sions from the ex­ist­ing seven to ten, which he has pre­vi­ously spo­ken of. He also said that the un­der the aus­pices of the United King­dom, a se­cu­rity sec­tor re­form of­fice will be opened next year to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions which are now be­ing crafted by a se­cu­rity ad­viser.

Cou­ple ac­cused of try­ing to smug­gle 4lbs of raw gold

A hus­band and wife were yes­ter­day granted self-bail, af­ter they were ac­cused of at­tempt­ing to smug­gle just over four pounds of raw gold, worth an es­ti­mated $14.6 mil­lion, out of the coun­try. Shazam Khan, 47, and Bibi Khan, 45, where hauled be­fore Chief Mag­is­trate Ann McLen­nan, who read them a charge which

Kes­cia Branche

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