Teachers deal includes 100 dutyfree vehicle concessions per year, 20 new UG scholarships
One hundred duty-free vehicle concessions for certain senior teachers and 20 new scholarships to study Science and Technical Education at the University of Guyana are among the few concrete non-salary benefits that the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) was able to secure in the agreement signed with the Ministry of Education (MoE) last Wednesday. On Wednesday, after three years of contentious negotiations that saw nine days of strike action, the GTU and ministry agreed to pay teachers tiered increases over the period January 2016 to December 2018. Teachers who in 2015 were earning below $100,000 will get a 12% increase on their salaries for 2016, while those who earned $100,000 and above will receive an 8% increase. Specific reference is made of the fact that the percentage already paid for 2016 shall form a part of the payment to be received. For 2017, the interim 8% and 6% granted on the December, 2016 salary shall be final. Specifically, those who received salaries below $100,000 per month received an 8 % increase, while salaries $100,000 and above received a 6% increase.
Monday, October 29th
Errant contractors could be debarred up to five years
After years of delays in the crafting of regulations, errant contractors could soon face debarment of up to five years as the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) gears up for implementation. If a contractor or supplier has a history of unsatisfactory performance of one or more contracts or subcontracts then they are liable for debarment, the Draft Regulations on Suspension and Debarment from Participation in Public Procurement states. Debarment shall be for a minimum of one year and not for more than five years, according to the draft. The PPC has embarked on a series of stakeholder meetings on the proposed regulations. The draft stemmed from a series of consultations and has been published on the PPC website for feedback. The regulations note that the serious nature of debarment requires that it be imposed only in the public interest and that debarment is discretionary and may be imposed only on the suggested grounds.
Agricola biker dies in Essequibo accident
A biker of Agricola, East Bank Demerara died in an accident yesterday afternoon on the Essequibo Coast and a pedestrian was hospitalised. The deceased biker has been identified as Naitram Sankar, 28, an Auto Electrician, of Lot 32 Public Road Agricola, East Bank Demerara. The injured pedestrian has been identified as Juliet Miller, 56, of Kilkenny Street, Queenstown, Essequibo Coast. Police yesterday said that around 1 pm, on the Queenstown Public Road, Sankar, a member of the GY Bikers Crew was riding motor cycle # CG 1530 when the accident occurred. In a press statement, police said enquiries disclosed that the motorcycle which was proceeding south along the eastern carriageway of the road at a fast rate, ended up on the
Mon Repos minibus conductor feared drowned
A minibus conductor is feared drowned after he disappeared while taking a swim in the Atlantic Ocean along the Kingston Seawall. Missing is Dharshan Mohabir, 22, called Ravi of Second Street, Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara. Stabroek News gathered that around 5.30 yesterday afternoon, Mohabir and four others ventured to the seawall after playing a game of cricket at the National Park. While at the seawall, this newspaper gathered that Mohabir went for a swim leaving his friends behind despite the rough waves. While swimming, his friends related to family members that they saw him struggling. It was at this point, the friends tried to help but had to retreat to land due to the rough conditions.
Tuesday, October 30th
Next day results expected for local gov’t polls
All the results of the November 12th local government elections should be available by the end of the following day, according to Chief Election Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield, who yesterday assured that preparations for voting by both the disciplined services and civilians are on track. “In my estimation, I don’t anticipate beyond the 13th, by the end of the 13th and that will only be for me for [Region] Four because all the others, [which are] relatively small Local Authority Areas, should conclude their business by midnight and be prepared to issue those certificates for those who would have been elected,” Lowenfield told a press conference. He stressed that given the fact that the largest municipality is Georgetown, counting may take longer than in other Local Authority Areas (LAAs). There are a total of 1,674 polling stations for the polls, including 272 private residences. There are 80 LAAs.
Clonbrook woman dies after car crashes into utility poles
A Clonbrook, East Coast Demerara (ECD) woman is now dead after the car in which she was travelling crashed into utility poles along the Bee Hive Public Road yesterday afternoon. The deceased woman has been identified as Keiolla Fortune-Thomas, 27, who was being driven by a police constable when the accident occurred. The police constable, who resides at Supply, Mahaica, ECD, was not named by the police force. Keiolla Fortune-Thomas
King begins testimony ‘under protest’ at inquiry
Following an unsuccessful challenge to the legality of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the operations of City Hall, Town Clerk Royston King yesterday began facing questions and submitted evidence to support the legality of his actions when he leased the Sussex Street
wharf claimed by NICIL to a shipping company. The highly anticipated testimony of King, who was sent on leave to facilitate the probe, was delayed by several hours after his lawyer, Maxwell Edwards, challenged both the fairness and legality of the CoI. Just after 3 pm, retired judge Cecil Kennard, who is Chairman of the Commission, ruled that the CoI was “properly set up” and King finally took the stand for brief questioning. Apart from brief testimony before it was adjourned until Friday, King submitted an affidavit to the CoI indicating that his appearance was “under protest” and “without prejudice” to his rights to insist on strict compliance with the Eighth Schedule (paragraph 1) of the Municipal and District Councils Act, which argues that the Local Government Commission (LGC) “shall specify the terms of reference (ToR) of the inquiry.”
Wednesday, October 31st
‘Big Head,’ Colombian associate were on CANU radar for years
Shervington Lovell and one of two men held with him in Jamaica on drug trafficking charges were on the radar of the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) for years, according to the agency’s former head James Singh, who says he feels vindicated by the arrests. “We were after these guys for a long time and to see them arrested is a breath of relief. I congratulate all those involved and it is nice to see that in the end the bad guys are caught,” Singh told Stabroek News yesterday. Lovell, called ‘Big Head,’ and Colombian Ricardo Ramirez were arrested along with a Surinamese national last Thursday morning at the Norman Manley International Airport in Jamaica on drug trafficking charges. The United States is seeking to extradite the men and while Lovell and the Surinamese national waived their rights to contest the application, Ramirez is fighting it. Singh said Ramirez is no stranger to local law enforcement authorities as his activities here were being monitored and he was even held by CANU during an operation. He said that no evidence was found then against any of the occupants of a vessel and it was subsequently released. “It is thought that I intercepted a boat during a legitimate operation and I subsequently let the boat go, despite not having any evidence, and there was a CoI [Commission of Inquiry]. I presented the facts that led to the operation and some of the people who were involved in the operation are the same people who are held right now… Ramirez and Lovell are known to law enforcement. The police would have held Ramirez a couple of months ago for fuel smuggling in the North West area,” he said.
Kwakwani midwife was strangled, autopsy finds
by blunt trauma to the head. Prior to the autopsy, Wade’s relatives were adamant that the woman was a victim of foul play and that she had not suffered an epileptic seizure as police would have initially considered. Stabroek News was informed that three men from the area have since been taken into custody and they are said to be assisting with investigations.
Thursday, November 1st City Hall owes NIS over $206m
City Hall owes the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) in excess of $206 million, NIS Debt Recovery Manager, Louise Bryant told the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the city yesterday at the Critchlow Labour College. Day 14 of the CoI into the administration and operations of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) saw the lone commissioner, retired Justice Cecil Kennard listening to testimony from Mayor Patricia Chase-Green, Solid Waste Director Walter Narine and the NIS. During her testimony Bryant presented to the CoI a series of documents which included a debt statement for the council as well as demand notices issued to council for the period September 1994 to August 2018. She noted that while some payments have been made during that time a large sum still remains outstanding.
Doing business in Guyana more difficult
Guyana has dropped eight places in the World Bank’s latest rankings for the ease of doing business. It has moved to ranking of 134 out of 190 from a rank of 126 last year. The lower the numerical ranking the better the business climate. In 2016, the country stood at a rank of 124 but dropped two places the following year. Of the 190 countries ranked in the World Bank’s latest “Doing Business” report, Guyana now stands at 134, which means the business climate has become more difficult for new businesses. 2016 had seen one of the country’s biggest gains in recent years on the ranking scale as it had moved up a whopping 16 places to 124 from 140 in 2015. In 2014, the country was ranked at 132. The World Bank’s business score captures the gap between an economy’s performance and its measure of best practice across the entire sample of 41 indicators for 10 ‘Doing Busi-ness’ topics (the labour market regulation indicators are excluded). For starting a business, for example, New Zealand and Georgia have the lowest number of procedures required (1). New Zealand also holds the shortest time to start a business (0.5 days), while Slovenia has the lowest cost (0.0).
Man charged over Palm Court shooting granted $50,000 bail
A Campbellville resident was yesterday charged and granted bail in relation to discharging a loaded firearm outside the Palm Court club on Main Street last weekend. Safraz Khan, 37, appeared before Senior Magistrate Fabayo Azore, who read the charge to him. It is alleged that Khan, on October 28, at Main Street, Georgetown, discharged a loaded firearm within 100 yards of a public way. Khan denied the allegation levelled against him. Attorney Glenn Hanoman, who represented the accused, told the court that the police held his client in custody for over 72 hours. He added that the police seemed content with holding the defendant for an offence he cannot go to jail for. Police prosecutor Worrel Thornhill, made no objection to bail being granted but requested that conditions be applied. Magistrate Azore subsequently granted the accused $50,000 bail and ordered that he report to the Brickdam police station every Friday, beginning November 2.
Friday, November 2nd Ten bids for GuySuCo estates
After some 70 expressions of interest, the Special Purpose Unit (SPU) received 10 submissions by yesterday’s deadline for bids for the Skeldon, Rose Hall and East Demerara estates. The lower than expected number has been attributed to uncertainty over the functionality of the estates and concerns about competition from the state-owned GuySuCo. “The major concerns of potential bidders related to regulations that are needed to ensure fair competition [with] government, that is, the legacy, GuySuCo,” Wilfred Baghaloo, Managing Director (Deals) of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Tax and Advisory Services Limited told a press conference yesterday. “Part of the concern was that a lot of people were worried—‘What are we really buying? Are we buying scrap metal or going concerns?’ There was also concern about the regulatory environment…‘How do we compete with government?’” he added. PwC, was contracted by the SPU of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited’s (NICIL) and last year began doing valuations of the assets of GuySuCo in order to secure prospective investors.
Bandit shot dead at Perth after carjacking
A bandit was shot dead by the police while his accomplice managed to escape yesterday afternoon after they hijacked a car in Haslington and were cornered in Mahaicony. The quiet village of Perth, Mahaicony, was in an uproar yesterday afternoon after the two bandits were cornered by the police. According to Commander of ‘C’ Division, Calvin Brutus, around 10:54 am, two men, one of whom has been identified as 27-year-old Melroy Solomon of Titus Street, Agricola, East Bank Demerara, called for a taxi from Vick’s Taxi Service located in Enmore, East Coast Demerara, and while they were in Haslington they hijacked the car – a purple Toyota Carina 212 – and robbed the driver of his valuables and $15,000 in cash before escaping. The police were subsequently alerted and as a result, set up several road blocks along the East Coast corridor and also added some ranks in an unmarked car to the search.
Accused in Palm Court beating remanded on attempted murder charge
Abdul Imran Khan, the man who allegedly assaulted Romario Baljeet outside of the popular Palm Court nightclub, was yesterday remanded to prison after he was charged with attempted murder. Khan, 32, was read the charge by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan in George-town. It was alleged that on October 28th, at Main Street, Georgetown, with intent to commit murder, he unlawfully and maliciously wounded Baljeet. Khan, of Lot 11 Austin Street, Campbellville, was not required to enter a plea to the indictable charge. Police prosecutor Simone Payne objected to bail being granted based on the seriousness of the offence and the fact that the complainant is hospitalised, having been readmitted.
Abdul Imran Khan