Trotman orders enforcement operation after miner dies in Mowasie pit cave-in
A miner died in a pit cave-in at Mowasi Backdam, Konawaruk, Potaro on Monday evening, resulting in Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman yesterday ordering an immediate enforcement operation to address the increase in mining-related deaths. The cave-in occurred around 6 pm on Monday while the now deceased Lennox Douglas, 33, a resident of Canvas City, Wismar, Linden and two other men were working in the mining pit. Stabroek News has learnt from sources that the surviving miners reported to the police that they were all in the mining pit operating a four inch dredge when a portion of the wall collapsed and struck Douglas to his head. He was picked up and taken to the Issano Health Centre, where he succumbed while receiving medical attention. Douglas’ two co-workers are said to be assisting the police with the investigation.
Man gets life sentence for rape of girl, 8
Justice Jo-Ann Barlow yesterday ‘threw the book’ at David Alexander for his brutal rape of an 8-year-old girl, who had to be hospitalised afterward, saying that his case was the “worst of the worst” and the acts perpetuated by him were the types for which a life sentence was made the maximum penalty. Shortly after the opening ceremony of the October criminal session in Georgetown, Alexander pleaded guilty to a charge of sexually penetrating the girl on February 24th, 2015. He was 31-years-old at the time. In an attempt at a plea in mitigation, which failed to move the judge, attorney Clyde Forde sought to advance that his client was drunk at the time and was not fully aware of what he was doing. In a strong reprimand, the judge told both counsel and client that the explanation was no excuse for his actions and ought not to be so made. The judge said that while it was not the intention of her court to criticise persons who drink, a strong message needed to be sent to those who consume alcohol and are thereafter incapable of controlling their mental faculties, going on to commit offences and then using their drunkenness as an excuse. “That [drunkenness] is no excuse,” the judge told Forde. David Alexander
Too much time being wasted on prepping criminal case files
Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) adviser Dr Sam Sittlington yesterday told investigators and prosecutors that too much time is being wasted on preparing criminal case files, which fail to hold up in court. “It’s a very important area of work and we see a lot of cases getting to court and failing at court. We’ve seen failings when the file would go to the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions]. We don’t want files to come back to us with amendments and corrections. We want one file, one time, going to the DPP and that file being referred to charges. It’s a lot of time wasting and we don’t need that,” Sittlington said as he opened a training session aimed at assisting prosecutors and investigators in preparing files for anti-money laundering and assets recovery cases. The opening was held yesterday at the Police Officers’ Training Academy, where three days of training will be conducted by experts from the Asset Recovery Unit (ARU) that is linked to the Regional Security System (RSS), based in Barbados. The participants are drawn from the Chambers of the DPP, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the State Assets Recovery Unit (SARU), the Financial Intelligence Unit (FUI) and SOCU.
Thursday, October 4th New teachers’ strike looms with backing of united unions
The Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) yesterday signalled its intention to resume industrial action after government failed to meet an ultimatum to rescind its unilateral appointment of a chairman of the arbitration panel to rule on salary and non-salary benefits for teachers. “Strike action is always a last resort and we thought having given the administration an ultimatum of seven days, that we would have had a favourable response. Instead, the Minister with responsibility for Labour (Keith Scott) would have issued appointment letters to the nominee from the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the chairperson in the form of Dr Leyland Lucas. We have rejected those proposals,” GTU President Mark Lyte told a news conference yesterday. “In fact…we would be calling our members out for the second time to be engaged in strike action. Our members are ready and they are willing to continue the fight, to continue the struggle,” he added. Lyte addressed the media at the GTU auditorium as the seven-day period set for government to rescind Lucas’ appointment expired. He said the GTU’s membership has expressed support for another round of industrial action as indicated at a meeting on Tuesday in Region Ten (Upper Demerara/Upper Berbice). Support has also been expressed in regions Seven, Six, Five, Two, and One.
PPP LGE candidate asks court to remove names from AFC backers’ lists
Arguing that the integrity of the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGE) in the Whim/Bloomfield Local Authority Area is under threat, a candidate for the PPP yesterday filed a court action to void the listing of 50 names, including his, as official nominators of rival AFC candidates. In a fixed date application, Shafraz Beekham, of Letter Kenny Village, Corentyne, says he and 49 others were “misled/deceived” by an AFC representative into signing as a “nominator/supporter” of candidate Orlando Christopher Persaud, who is first named respondent in the suit. Chief Election Officer Keith Lowenfield is the second named respondent. Beekham has asked the High Court for writs directed to Persaud to quash his decision to refuse to withdraw/remove/delete his name and the names of 49 others from the lists of backers of AFC Constituency Candidates in the Whim/Bloomfield area for the LGE, and to compel him to so do. He charges that the grounds for the application are that Persaud’s refusal to withdraw the names is unlawful, illegal, unreasonable, in bad faith, based on improper or irregular consideration, and in violation of the Local Authorities (Elections) Act.
Autopsy points to murder after Grove carpenter found dead in drain
A Grove Squatting Area carpenter was discovered dead in a drain outside the compound of the city magistrates’ courts on Avenue of the Republic, on Sunday morning, and an autopsy yesterday confirmed that he was murdered. Dead is Shafiyq Forrester, 28, of Lot 197 Sarran Street, Grove Squatting Area, East Bank Demerara. Forrester’s lifeless body was discovered around 7 am on Sunday. Police spokesman Jairam Ramlakhan yesterday confirmed that the investigation took a twist after an autopsy revealed that Forrester died as a result of asphyxiation due to drowning, compounded by compression injuries to the neck and blunt trauma to the head. A person of interest is currently being sought, he said. While the circumstances that led to Forrester’s demise are still being investigated, this newspaper was informed that he was last seen in vicinity of the courts talking with a few individuals, who were subsequently seen chasing after him. Forrester was discovered dead several hours after.
Appeal Court begins hearing challenge to GECOM chairman’s appointment
At a hearing spanning some five hours yesterday, the Guyana Court of Appeal began hearing arguments in the appeal filed by PPP executive Zulfikar Mustapha to challenge the ruling upholding President David Granger’s unilateral appointment of retired Justice Winston Patterson as Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). Arguing on behalf of the state were Attorney General Basil Williams SC and Barbadian Queen’s Counsel Hal Gollop and Ralph Thorne, who have asked the court to affirm the decision of acting Chief Justice Roxane George that Patterson’s appointment by the President was constitutional and that he does conform to the criteria of being “fit and proper” as required by the constitution. Attorney Anil Nandlall, the former Attorney General under the PPP administration and counsel for Mustapha, is, however, arguing that Patterson’s appointment contravenes the constitution and for this reason the ruling of the Chief Justice should be overturned. The state yesterday presented preliminary objections to the court’s jurisdiction to hear and determine the appeal, which they say concerns issues related to the November 12th local government elections.
Over 25 lbs of cocaine found after CANU arrests trio
Three men are expected to face charges, including drug trafficking, today after their arrests by ranks of the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) on Wednesday resulted in the discovery of over 25 pounds of cocaine. CANU, in a statement to the press last night, said Aundre Singh, of 779 Section B, Block X, Diamond Housing Scheme, Clifford Gouveia, of Lot 14 Little Abary, East Coast Demerara, and O’Neil Charan of Lot 47 Sandy Babb Street, Kitty, Georgetown were intercepted during an exchange along the Rupert Craig Highway, in the vicinity of the seawall between Pere and Queen streets, Kitty. Singh was the driver of a white Premio, PSS 8977, with Charan as a passenger, while Gouveia was the driver of PLL 5213, who was behind Singh’s vehicle on the highway. CANU said after observing the cars, ranks intercepted the transfer of a box containing five suspected bricks of cocaine and beauty soaps between the cars. As a result, a total of 5.582 kilogrammes of suspected cocaine was intercepted during the transfer.
Annandale woman wanted over cocaine in bauxite ship
An Annandale, East Coast Demerara businesswoman is wanted for questioning by the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) following the recent seizure of cocaine by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) from a vessel from Guyana. A wanted bulletin issued last night by the agency said Rosemary Singh, also known as Rose, of Lot 123 Ramsingh Street, Annandale, and 153 South Annandale, who is the proprietor of “Rose Bar” at Section C, Enterprise, is wanted by the CANU in connection with the interception of 81 kilogrammes of cocaine on a vessel in Canada on September 15th, 2018. CANU asked anyone with information or knowing of Singh’s whereabouts to make contact with its headquarters on telephone numbers 227-3507 and 226-0431. On September 24th, it was reported by this newspaper that four persons were arrested and two of them have been charged after a large quantity of cocaine was seized from the vessel by the RCMP.
Aundre Singh Clifford Gouveia O’Neil Charan