The Mayor and City Council (M&CC) in collaboration with the Public Infrastructure Ministry will soon be relieving residents of the poor and unsanitary drainage situation in Campbellville, Georgetown.A silted-up drain in Bel Air, GeorgetownOn Thursday, a team of M&CC Councillors, including Alfred Mentore, Phillip Smith and Akeem Peters, in the company of Community Coordinator of th Public Infrastructure Ministry Neilson McKenzie visited the communities of Bel Air Park; Section K, Campbellville; Lamaha Gardens; D’Andrade Street; and Newton, Campbellville, to evaluate the drainage dilemma affecting the areas.According to McKenzie, the examination was a “fact finding exercise to determine what are the persistent problems that have been plaguing these communities for a long while and how we could work together to remedy these situations to ensure that citizens benefit from improved drainage, improved de-silting mechanisms to ensure the yards are not flooded, the streets are not flooded, the businesses are not flooded, and to ensure a better quality of life for all.”Through the inspections, it was disclosed that the poor conditions of the drains required urgent attention due to the drains being blocked with weeds and being heavily silted, preventing proper drainage in the community.“It is a priority because it has been this way for a number of years,” McKenzie explained.Meanwhile, during this visit, the spotlight was also placed on the deteriorated roads, but according to McKenzie, “there is need for proper drainage before the road is constructed.”Councillor Mentore relayed that the communities perused are within his constituency and he intends to fulfill the promises he made and attempt to bring a solution to the problems affecting residents there.
Reparations for slaveryPresident David Granger on Sunday reassured local African leaders that Guyana and the rest of the Caribbean will continue to fight tooth and nail to get Europe to apologise to People of African descent for enslaving their foreparents, as he emphasised that the battle for compensation from Europe will continue unabated.President David GrangerIn 2013, Caribbean Community Heads of Government established the Caricom Reparations Commission (CRC) with a mandate to prepare the case for reparatory justice for the Region’s indigenous and African descendant communities who are victims of Crimes Against Humanity (CAH) in the forms of genocide, slavery, slave trading and racial apartheid.In March 2014, the leaders endorsed a Ten-point Action Plan for Reparatory Justice which is being used as the basis for discussions on reparations.Addressing the opening of Cuffy250’s 4th Annual State of the African Guyanese Forum at the Critchlow Labour College Sunday morning, President Granger said while Britain has apologised to the Mao Maos for torture, and Germany to the Jews for the Holocaust, Guyana and other Caribbean countries would continue to press for Europe to apologise and compensate people of African descent for slavery.“This is a hard thing and the Caribbean governments are insisting on an apology because a crime has been committed and they must say we are sorry,” he said.The Guyanese leader, a trained historian also reminded that the United Nations-designated International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) creates the ideal opportunity more than ever for Guyana and its Caribbean counterparts to take the fight for repatriation head on. However, he warned that “the clock is ticking” with already 20 months lost since the UN declaration. The President therefore urged that the remaining 100 months be utilised wisely.The Decade is expected to be used by former colonies to press Europe for an apology and compensation from for the inhumane and criminal act of slavery, provision of education, provision of jobs and the promotion of equality, and an end to discrimination.“We have to make the decade work for the people of African descent,” the President declared, adding that, “We have an obligation just as our illiterate foreparents 178 years ago saw the benefits of education, we their educated descendants, then to ensure that every single child goes to school and stays in school.”He also urged the African leaders to mobilise themselves to achieve specific, measurable targets.“I ask that some forum be created so that nobody will be left out, everyone could feel involved, everyone could be consulted if we are to achieve the objectives of this International Decade (of People of African Descent),” he said.Then UK Prime Minister David Cameron who visited Jamaica earlier this year had declared that he does not believe reparations or apologies for slavery are the right approach.However his successor Theresa May has not yet made her position known on this particular issue.Turning his attention to home, Granger said ethnic discrimination and lack of equal access to public services contribute to inequality, adding that people of African descent have in the past alleged such acts of discrimination in the public and private sectors.“There is evidence that there was discrimination. We must now correct that situation because discrimination against anyone promotes insecurity and social exclusion and that can lead to disorder,” the president said.
The Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) has turned to its Dutch counterparts in Suriname, to assist in the designing of three new Water Treatment Plants to be built at Diamond, East Bank Demerara (EBD), Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara (WCD) and Sheet Anchor, Canje, Berbice – at a cost of US$30 million.The decision was taken following a visit by a team of specialists from the Surinamese Water Supply Company (SWM), which discovered design flaws in the Linden Water Treatment Plant that has since been causing headaches for the residents of the community and GWI.This disclosure was made Friday as GWI wrapped up the Guyana leg of a partnership being fostered between the two countries’ utility companies, with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).GWI’s Managing Director Dr Richard Van West-Charles provided an update on the two-country partnership, along with IDB Country Representative Sophie Makonnen.The visiting Surinamese team included: Wendell Purperhart, chief of the Central Water Division Department (SWM); Anushka Salmin process engineer, and Jerrol Ferrier head of the West Division.Design flawsDr West-Charles told the media that it was discovered that the Linden Water Treatment Plant is being supplied through two sources of water – surface and below surface – but the treatment plant was designed to be supplied from only one source and this has led to the problems being experienced.He further disclosed that water samples have already been taken at the three proposed locations for the treatment plants, and this has since been sent to Suriname to be forwarded to the Netherlands for testing.He said the results will inform the level of collaboration required in relation to any redesigning of the treatment plants for Diamond, Uitvlugt and Sheet Anchor.The GWI head surmised that the process is expected to take about two weeks and will inform design parameters to be employed for the new plants.Guyana/Suriname MoUMeanwhile, providing an update on the partnership entered between the two countries, Dr West-Charles said GWI is looking forward to inking a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Surinamese, “that lives and helps us to move forward in the level of collaboration.”He reminded that the initiative is borne, in part, out of meetings between the two Heads of States – David Granger and Desi Bouterse – who would have held several ‘get-togethers’ with each other over the past six months, to discuss increased collaboration between the two countries.“We both would like to thank the IDB for this initiative and we will hope that we make this a fruitful venture,” Dr Van West-Charles said, in reference to charting the way forward.According to Dr West-Charles, the collaboration has been immensely useful to GWI and its team since, “our young engineers have been able to appreciate and improve their knowledge and skills in a number of areas.”Non-revenue waterHe told the local media corps that among the areas of cooperation GWI is keen on is the Surinamese approach to handling ‘non-revenue’ water – a result of theft and line losses in its distribution system.He said, “the Surinamese Water Company has managed to have 100 per cent of its consumers in the Nickerie region metered, and the ‘non-revenue’ water losses are at 20 per cent – an impressive feat by any comparison.”The GWI director said that a team from Guyana will be heading to Suriname next month as part of the continued partnership and that team will also be looking specifically at strategies that can be adopted by GWI in reducing its water losses.Meanwhile, addressing the local media corps at the GWI Head Office, Jerrol Ferrier welcomed the initiative and pointed to the fact that in the past there would have been visits by individuals between the two utility companies – this is the first time it has involved teams of specialists.“We have good programmes set up and we can assist with the experience,” he said, even as he pointed to the fact that the Surinamese are keen on learning some of the techniques developed by GWI.The Surinamese team arrived in Guyana earlier this week and over the successive days benefited from a number of site visits, including the beleaguered Linden Water Treatment Plant, GWI’s Shelter Belt and a number of well facilities, among others.The team during their visit also met with Vice President and Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Carl Greenidge and Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Dawn Hastings.
Jocelle Archibald, a Senior Reporter and Sport Editor at the National Communications Network (NCN), was on Monday suspended for one month without pay for publically criticising a colleague.Archibald took to social media, where she joined many in voicing her criticism over NCN’s Junior Producer, Norman Gobin’s question to President David Granger. During the televised weekly broadcast of ‘The Public Interest’, Gobin asked the Head of State if he plays Pokémon Go.Jocelle Archibald, a Senior Reporter and Sport Editor of NCNShe was subsequently ordered by management of the State-owned media house to take down the Facebook status, which read, “Who goes to interview the President… The President and asks about Pokémon go… I’m surrounded by idiots.”She was then told to issue written apologies to Gobin and his Manager at the company, Veteran Programme Coordinator, Wendy Hermonstein.However, it was reported that although she submitted her apologies, they were deemed “sarcastic” and “insincere” by NCN’s management, resulting in the Human Resources Manager, Tishika De Costa, suspending her for one month without pay; this instruction was given by the Chief Executive Officer Lennox Cornette.Archibald has been employed at the State-owned entity for a number of years, while a source has confirmed that Gobin has only been attached to the company since 2014.She is expected to resume work as per normal on the September 29.Efforts to make contact with NCN’s Chief Executive Officer proved futile.When contacted, Chief Labour Officer Charles Ogle pointed out that although he is unable to pronounce on the actions taken by NCN’s management, a meeting with Archibald should shed some light on the matter.
A sanitary inspector on Tuesday afternoon ordered that the Port Mourant Market be closed and cleaned before reopening.Both the exterior and interior of the market will have to be cleaned; the sanitary inspector also ordered that the interior walls be scrubbed in an effort to sanitise the facility.The decision by the sanitary department has angered vendors who are said to have been experiencing reduced sales over the past two months.This, they claimed, is on account of other vendors who operate outside the market on Friday nights and retail vegetables at wholesale prices.Meanwhile, a standoff between the Port Mourant/Johns Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) Overseer and cleaners attached to the Port Mourant Market has resulted in the market not being cleaned. Huge piles of garbage, including carcasses, were not removed from inside and outside of the market.The situation has resulted in some residents in the area temporally moving out. Sanitation workers have not been able to remove the waste, which has been left by fish vendors and other huskers who utilise the facility on Friday and Saturday.According to a source close to the market, the six cleaners have been requesting to have equipment to work with for the past four weeks and have been told that funds were not available to purchase rakes.Some of the workers have been using their personal tools to clean the market. According to the source, one of the workers had to purchase a bucket so that the toilet could be flushed after vendors use it.On Saturday, the workers were allegedly asked whether they wanted their August salaries, which they were still to collect, or tools since money was not available for both.According to the source, the workers were only requesting hand rakes which cost $2000 each.Meanwhile, the stench in the area has forced many persons to relocate. Richie Ramdehol says the current situation is making it uncomfortable for residents.Villagers say a few weeks ago a similar situation existed which resulted in the Port Mourant NIS office being closed for two days.Angela Newinkurk, a caretaker for a church next to the Market, said the stench has affected church attendance on Sundays.Meanwhile, the NDC has been collecting $10,000 from vendors weekly for the use of the sanitary facility. That money should be used for the welfare of the market.
Devon Deene was riding his motorcycle along the Albion Public Road, Berbice, early on the morning of September 22, 2015, when a minibus collided with him. The driver was allegedly found standing over his near-lifeless body before he was rushed to a nearby hospital. He later died.A year later there are no answers to what really occurred and a proposed inquest has not yet begun.Deene’s family is saying that there is some sort of cover-up in the investigations.His sister Kenisha said that since the accident there has been no justice: “We believe that justice delayed is justice denied and it hurts us every day to know that we have to go on knowing that we lose a brother, son an uncle… Nobody is calling us to say this is the case or it is at this position,” she said.The woman lamented that “words cannot articulate the way we feel knowing that my brother is gone and this young man is living free. Every time he sees us he looks at us so pompously and I think that is really unfair.”She claimed that the driver of the minibus which struck her brother was seen consuming what appeared to be alcohol at the Berbice Expo and Trade Fair minutes before the accident occurred while Deene, a factory worker at the Albion Sugar Factory, was on his way home from work.After the accident, she said, her brother’s motorbike was found some distance from the minibus. She said his helmet was never found. According to her, it was because of this that family members believe that there is more to the incident than just the accident.However, eyewitnesses claimed that the motorcyclist was speeding at the time of the accident and was not wearing a helmet.Nevertheless, the sister is contending that a proper investigation was not carried out. She recalls that even before her brother was buried, the driver of the minibus was on the “road driving another vehicle and has never been charged for the causing the death.”“All they tell us is that the file went to the DPP, yes it went to the DPP but nobody is saying anything to us. They had other cases that went to the DPP and they had closure…” Officer-in-Charge of Traffic ‘B’ Division (Berbice) Budnarine Persaud said the Director of Public Prosecutions has advised that an inquest be held to determine whether anyone was responsible for the death of Deene. He explained that based on the outcome of the inquest that it will be determined whether charges will be laid.However, he did express concern that the inquest had not started as yet but noted that the Police have no control over that aspect of the investigations.Deene was riding his motorcycle west along the Albion Public Road when he reportedly tried to overtake a minibus bearing registration PHH 3410, which was heading in the same direction but ended up colliding with it.He was rushed to the Port Mourant Hospital, but was later transferred to the New Amsterdam Hospital. However, given his critical state, Deene was transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital and placed on a life-support machine. He later succumbed.
There are exactly 41 Education Welfare Officers providing information, advice, guidance and support to the nearly 190,000 children in the 970 public schools across the country.Chief Welfare OfficerGillian VyphuisChief Schools’ Welfare Officer Gillian Vyphius in an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA) on Monday, said that the Welfare Department has been “juggling” to provide its services to students. Among their tasks were working with ‘at-risk’ students, families and community partners to address barriers to learning and strengthen the safety net for these students.Vyphius said to fill the gap, the department has to rely heavily on the “Liaison Welfare Officers… – teachers are identified from different schools to liaise with the Schools Welfare Department to deal with minor incidents that arise in the schools”.Vyphius explained that those teachers with a social work background were asked by the Ministry to function as Liaison Welfare Officers. The Ministry’s “Maintenance of Order and Discipline Manual” is used to train these teachers, and is also used as a guide in carrying out their liaison duties, including sanctioning students.The Department only seeks to step in with the support of the Education Welfare Officers for serious issues such as violent behaviour, including fighting with a weapon, the Chief Schools’ Welfare Officer explained.These teachers have been performing the duties of liaison officers without compensation from the Ministry. Vyphius said that the department planned to seek a stipend for the teachers.The Liaison Welfare Officer programme, however, is not active in all schools, just those in Regions Five, Six and Ten, Vyphius said.The introduction of more Schools’ Welfare Officers And counsellors is among issues that the Government had identified to address in the revamp of the education system.
National Drama Festival 2016 is set of take the stage in October and once again Digicel is throwing its support behind the performing arts.The Drama Festival is expected to engage over 1000 persons including school children, young people and adults from across the length and breadth of Guyana.Digicel is once again pleased to be associated with the drama festival.Administrator (ag) National School of Theatre Arts and Drama, Margaret Lawrence; Director of Culture (ag) Tamika Boatswain; Digicel’s Sponsorship Executive Louanna Abrams; Drama Coordinator Unit of Allied Arts, Loraine Barker King and Lavon George“It gives us the opportunity to invest and maintain our mandate to foster youth and cultural development. We are once again pleased to be associated with and look forward to since drama can be a positive way in which youths can express themselves while at the same time develop their passions,” Digicel’s Sponsorship Manager, Louanna Abrams stated.Acting Director of Culture Tamika Boatswain representing the Education Ministry, through the Department of Culture, expressed her sincere thanks to the cellphone company for their sponsorship initiative to help the Ministry promote the arts especially in the interior regions of Guyana seeing this as a development and a part of Guyana’s culture.Boatswain expressed that investments like these are significant and hopes for continued support in the future with prospects of taking the National Drama Festival to the international stage. This year’s Drama Festival has seen a great response so far with more than 49 expressions of interest spreading from Regions One, Two, Nine and 10.The National School of Theater Arts and Drama is hoping to get as many regions included in the Drama Festival this year. In the coming weeks there will be outreaches in St Cuthbert’s Mission and New Amsterdam to create a heightened awareness of the festival this year.The entries for participation in the Drama Festival will close on October 21. The preliminaries will be held between October 30 and November 12.The school finals will be held from November 14 to 18 at the Theatre Guild while the adult finals will be from November 19 to 27 at the National Cultural Centre.
Liberian Sport Journalist Moses Garzeawu has expressed contrite feeling for the fighting incident that transpired between him and Liberian Express Newspaper Editor Kpadeh Smith on May 5 in Tubmanburg, Bomi County.Garzeawu admitting to and expressing regret for the incident on May 7, 2014 said he is not known for such a behavior in the public, but was gravely agitated by constant physical attack from Smith, who was heavily under the influence of alcohol.Moses Garzeawu, who also serves as vice president for the Sport Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) said he was extremely offended by his rival when he allegedly assaulted him and wasted the food he (Moses) was eating.According to him, the physical attack couple with preceding attacks on him on the vehicle journalists were travelling on from Bopolu, got him to lose control of his emotions to unethically conduct himself in such a manner.While expressing his regret for the act, Moses, however, dispelled reports that he was “briefly detained” at the police station in Tubmanburg following the incident.He said he was only invited to answer questions when report of fighting between him and Kpadeh reached the police.Although he was kept in the premises of the police for a few hours, he contended that it was not meant for detention but to answer to questions about the incident, arguing that the long time of stay was intended to await the arrival of Kpadeh Smith, who was undergoing medical treatment at the time.He apologized to his media colleagues and the public for the act, vowing to exercise restraint in such a tempting situation and any kind that may come his way.It can be recalled that on May 5 while returning from Bopolu following celebrations of World Press Freedom Day in Gbarpolu County, Journalists Moses Garzeawu and Kpadeh Smith went into bloody fist fight in Tubmanburg when Kpadeh, who was under alcoholic influence allegedly assaulted Moses and wasted his food.The incident drew police attention when Peter Fahn of New Liberia Newspaper took the matter there and Moses was taken to the station.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Today, August 5, 2014 is my birthday and as I write this article, I do so with a heavy heart and in sympathy with those families who have lost their loved ones to the deadly Ebola Virus. To those who are infected with the disease, remember, you are in our prayers. But I am also thankful to the Almighty God for allowing me to see this day, and the many that I have seen thus far. I pray and hope that He will allow me to see many more to come and in good health.Ok, that being said, Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) have been and will continue to play a crucial role in combating the spread of diseases all over the world. The ongoing Ebola outbreak in parts of West Africa (Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia) which began in Guinea in December, 2013 has further confirmed this. Hence, policymakers should now see this as a wakeup call to invest, without hesitation, in the integration of ICTs and health-care resources in their societies, to save the lives of their citizens as well as other nationals resident in their countries.In recent times, Liberia has been battling a severe and very challenging public health issue that has the inclination to retrogress the gains already made in the country in the aftermath its 14-year civil war. The outbreak of the contagious Ebola disease which has already caused the suspected and confirmed deaths of over 227 people in Liberia, according to a Center for Disease Control (CDC) July 30, 2014 report, ( 346 in Guinea and 252 in Sierra Leone), is a very serious threat to the wellbeing of all Liberians and other nationals resident in the country. We heard about the two Americans who were infected with the disease, the death of the Ugandan Doctor who came to help us, the death of Brother Patrick Nshamdze Chief Administrator of the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital, and of course that of our own Dr. Sam Brisbane.It is unfortunate, that health workers who are expected to help cure the sick are the ones who themselves are and have been victims of this virus. They put their lives in harms way to protect the lives of others and to get the necessary information out to the public. In doing so, many of them have lost their lives. By its gradual inflicting of serious mayhem on the socio-economic and human resource fabric of the country, one cannot ignore the parallel or resemblance between the effects of the Ebola outbreak and those of our 14-year civil war.Yet, we are neither the first nor the only country being affected by this epidemic. Guinea and Sierra Leone which also experienced their share of civil unrest are also victims of this quagmire. Moreover, since its discovery in Zaire in 1976 and hitherto the writing of this article, the Ebola attack on West Africa has been the worse recorded.Attempts to counter the disease have taken many forms and approaches; one of them being the effective utilization of ICT. ICT’s impact has been felt overwhelmingly in the fight against EBOLA. In Liberia, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has demonstrated ICT’s crucial and indispensable role by effectively utilizing its website to provide up-to-date information to Liberians here, and the rest of the world. Information provided on the website has been keeping Liberians and the world apprised of Ebola cases and this has helped galvanize sensitization of the Liberian public and mobilization of resources to combat the virus. This has also led to humanitarian assistance which is desperately needed. A more phenomenal impact of ICT, is the Ministry’s utilization of mobile phones to battle the disease. Battling the Ebola involves countering misinformation, strengthening health teams and using other ICTs to track the outbreak. Mobile phones have proven to be effective in this endeavor because of their ubiquity and penetration in Liberia. We should therefore continue to harness them to prevent the further spread of Ebola.But as always, there’s room for improvement from lessons learned during this quagmire. For example, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare’s website could be made more interactive and collaborative by including a forum for discussion, a Wiki to tap into the brains of experts, and a chatroom to allow real-time communications. An online helpdesk manned by a customer service representative or health worker on 24-hour basis, to allow citizents to report issues, would be helpful as well. But most importantly, a ROBUST TELEMECINE PROGRAM must be set up to ensure that healthcare is provided to areas, especially rural areas, where there are limited expertise.The Government has not been the only one fighting this disease. Everyone has, including our mobile operators. They (mobile operators) have been doing well in terms of sensitizing the nation about the effects of the deadly virus. Lonestar Cell MTN, Cellcom, and Novafone and other internet service providers have been aggressively assisting the government in the battle against Ebola. With the increase in mobile and internet penetration, our mobile companies’ role in battling the virus cannot be overemphasized. In Liberia, almost every family has at least one of its members using mobile phones who in turn could help in the dissemination of information. Furthermore, through mobile phones and their accompanying applications such as: whatsapp, Facebook, twitter, google plus etc., Liberians can easily reach out to families and friends. Facebook in particular, has been a very effective medium for the dissemination of information on the Ebola virus.We are in a trying time, one that requires an “all-hands-on-deck” approach which means Liberians at home and abroad must amalgamate end this plague before it’s too late. The involvement of everyone is particularly important at this stage of the spread of the virus. Sensitization must be intensified and the necessary should logistics also be provided to ensure we win the battle against the Ebola virus.Now, the outbreak of the Ebola virus and the impact it has had on the sub-region have made governments and other stakeholders provide millions of dollars to counter the disease. It is my hope that the all financial contributions be utilized prudently and accounted for as well. In situations like this as was in the case of our civil war, when international support is forthcoming, the tendency for such funding to be mismanaged is highly probable.In her book titled, “Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health” (available on Amazon.com), Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Laurie Garrett writes: “Ebola haunted Zaire because of corruption and political repression. The virus had no secret powers, nor was it unusually contagious. For centuries Ebola had lurked in the jungles of central Africa. Its emergence into human populations required the special assistance of humanity’s greatest vices: greed, corruption, arrogance, tyranny, and callousness.” Let us pray and hope that none of “humanity greatest vices” referred to by Garrett ever applies to our situation.Finally, we should learn from this situation and invest in our ICT sector to ensure that we are adequately prepared and able to effectively utilize ICTs to prevent or battle any future form of disease. It is time that we develop robust e-health system that allows healthcare workers to provide health services (without traveling), to areas with limited expertise. ICTs, as President Sirleaf noted in her speech at Georgia Tech in 2007, do indeed allow many possibilities; one of those possibilities is using them (ICTs) to live a healthy life.Until next week, Carpe Diem!!!!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)