Judicial posts– dangerous to perception of due process, administration of justiceAmid moves to make substantive appointments to the most important positions in the Judiciary, the Guyana Bar Association is calling for a timely end to protracted acting positions. This comes after President David Granger’s announcement that a nominee has been found to take over one of these posts.Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonnet Cummings Edwards, with acting Chief Justice, Roxane GeorgeAccording to Vice President of the Bar Association, Teni Housty, acting appointments can affect the perception of the Judiciary’s fairness when making decisions. And while Housty noted that good decisions have so far been made by the appointees, such appointments are generally discouraged.“In the context of the Judiciary, acting appointments are always discouraged. (Only) recently Sir Dennis Byron spoke out against (it). Certainly in judicial appointments, it (would) be the better option to the administration of justice, particularly to the perception.”“It is about time and it should be resolved. For too long, they called it the academy awards for the media profession. I think it’s about time the acting stops, not only for Guyana but the whole perception of the Judiciary. The administration of justice would be improved.”Granger, who had made the announcement of the nominee during a press conference, had revealed the jurist to be resident in the Caribbean. On the matter of an overseas jurist being chosen as opposed to a local one, Housty referenced the fact that Guyanese have flitted in between countries and have distinguished themselves overseas in the field of law.“The beauty about the practise of law in a commonwealth legislature is that officers can come from any part of the world and we have Guyanese jurists who have distinguished themselves regionally and internationally.”At his press conference, Granger had revealed that the person chosen for either of the top judicial posts is currently in Guyana. According to the Constitution, however, the President must hold consultations with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.It remains to be seen whether approval will be given, with Granger stating that he was prepared to meet with Jagdeo. But while there have been criticisms that the President is too close to the process when the Judicial Service Commission ought to take the lead, Housty noted that the nominee was derived out of a process.“The Constitution makes provisions for the manner in which the decision was made. There was also a recommendation from a committee that had been convened. For some time now, they’ve had many acting Chancellors. The only Chancellor who was confirmed was Chancellor Bernard.”“So whatever modality is adopted, it’s the Leader of the Opposition who (must approve). Applications were invited. So it’s the result of a process.”Just recently, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Byron zeroed in on the trend of persons being appointed to top positions in Guyana’s Judiciary but being forced to act for years while their confirmation remains in limbo.In a recent address to the Guyana Bar Association, he condemned the fact that since former Chancellor Desiree Bernard demitted office; an agreement has not been reached for the substantive appointment of a Chancellor.“This has brought us to the situation today where the number one and number two officials of the Guyana Judiciary have not been substantively appointed. This is a most unfortunate state of affairs,” the legal luminaire stated.“This situation has moved well beyond what ought to be acceptable in a modern democracy where respect for the rule of law is maintained. The Constitution envisages the Judiciary of Guyana to be headed by officials who are substantively appointed and enjoy all the legal and institutional mechanisms to secure their tenure,” he continued.Byron bluntly stated that the delay is a breach of the spirit and intent of the Constitution.Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonnet Cummings Edwards, was appointed by President David Granger in May of this year. Prior to that, she acted as the Chief Justice from December 2015. She was never confirmed to the substantive position.Edwards replaced Justice Carl Singh, who retired after acting as Chancellor since 2005. On the other hand, the current Acting Chief Justice, Roxane George, was also appointed to her position on the same day as Edwards.
A 26-year-old mother of four was slapped with a larceny charge and appeared before Magistrate Fabayo Azore at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.It is alleged that Sandra Griffith between the period November 15, 2017 to December 12, 2017, she stole one gold chain valued $500,000, a pair of gold earrings valued $40,000 and one yellow and white gold ring valued $250,000, all property of Keon Howard.The unemployed mother of four young children pleaded not guilty to the charge read to her. She was released on $75,000 bail.
…says $2.3M in damages to vehicles being repaid by ranksRanks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) who have found themselves involved in vehicular accidents, whether in their personal vehicles or in the Force’s vehicles, were at the receiving end of a verbal bashing by acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine.Addressing senior and junior ranks as well as stakeholders at the Force’s 179th Anniversary Awards Ceremony on Wednesday morning, Ramnarine reminded members of the Force that road regulations are applicable to all road users, while admonishing those ranks who have been involved in vehicular accidents.He pointed out that from July 2016 to June 2017, eighteen members of the Force were involved in various category of accidents while driving GPF vehicles. This compares to an increase of 23 ranks involved in accidents during the period July 2017 to June 2018.“A total of 41 ranks, including seven subordinate officers and 34 constables [were fingered in these accidents]. Add this to another 18 ranks over the two years’ period being involved in various accidents while driving private vehicles. The occurrences cannot be ones that we are satisfied with. We have taken an oath, we are here in uniforms, we have higher learning and training; and therefore we must conduct ourselves a lot better than we do,” the acting top cop asserted.According to Ramnarine, those ranks who fail to better conduct themselves on the roadways will face the same fate as those who have been made to pay over $2.3 million for damaging the Force’s vehicle thus far this year.“They are being made to repay for the costs of those damages. Some 10 ranks have already completed payment, and the others have some more time to pay.Police Commissioner (ag) David RamnarineThat is the position we have to enforce,” Ramnarine posited.The acting Top Cop is accordingly urging ranks to be more responsible on the roadways while executing their duties.“We have permitted [speeding] in only emergency situations and in situations where, for example, you’re fired upon and there is great danger to public safety if you don’t take a certain course of action. But in normal circumstances — for instance following a motor cycle without a number plate; the motorcyclist got away, you didn’t get the motorcycle, but you end up slamming into a civilian vehicle, damaging beyond repair a Police vehicle; and for what? For a minor offence? Please use your judgement, or you will have to pay as others have started to pay. This is the position,” he outlined.Further, Ramnarine went on to say that the Force will no longer tolerate such reprehensible and disrespectful behaviour from ranks who continue to breach road rules and traffic regulations.“We cannot move forward in the same way… Of course the leadership of the Force has not feigned or neglected to take condign action, but the reality of this prior unacceptable situation is that, at this juncture of our 179th anniversary, let us assure that there is significant positive improvement and set the example by good private and public conduct regarding the use of the road and adherence to the regulations that are attached,” the acting Top Cop encouraged. Complaints downA crashed Police vehicleEven as Ramnarine reprimanded ranks for their conduct on the roadways, he revealed that general complaints against members of the Police Force has significantly declined over the last two years. In fact, he said, there was a 39.5 per cent decrease in complaints against ranks over the past year when compared to the previous corresponding period.“There were 394 complaints between July 2016 and June 2017; and between July 2017 and June 2018, we have 283 complaints. Additionally, for the first half of this year, against that of last year, we record a 50 per cent decrease in complaints with 140 complaints this year for the first six months, against 280 for the first six months last year,” the acting Police Commissioner disclosed.The nature of the complaints that have been reduced against members of the Force include neglect of duty, Police harassment, assaults, wrongful arrests, corrupt practices, sexual harassment, and fraudulent conversion.According to the Ramnarine, the decline in complaints has been found to be as a result of a number of factors.“A preliminary analysis suggests that improved and increased supervision, swift and condign action by senior leadership of the Force, severe punishment, support through speedy and timely legal advice, and some degree of reluctance on the part of complainants are the main reasons for this significant decline in complaints,” he stated.However, while these complaints have declined, the offence of ‘Acts in a manner likely to bring discredit on the reputation of the Force’ has shown an increase of 30 per cent, with a total of 56 complaints against 39 over the two-year comparable period.Nevertheless, the acting Police Commissioner posited that various efforts are afoot to build much needed professionalism as well as capacity and capability within the country’s premier law enforcement agency.These include consistent training under various local and overseas-sponsored initiatives, such as the Canada-funded Justice Education Society (JES) programme, as well as ongoing efforts under the Security Sector Reform Project (SSRP), being executed by the British Government. (Vahnu Manikchand)
Nineteen-year-old Godfrey Cox of Princes Street, Georgetown was on Friday further remanded to prison by Georgetown Magistrate Leron Daly when he reappeared in her court charged with the offence of armed robbery.The sex worker had pleaded not guilty to the charge when he was first arraigned before the magistrate earlier this month. The charge states that on June 20, 2018, at King and Charlotte Streets, Georgetown, while being armed with a knife, he robbed David Harvey of $65,000 in cash. Harvey was reportedly heading to the Shell Gas Station on Regent Street, Georgetown to pay workers when the defendant attacked him, held him at knifepoint, and relieved him of the cash that was in his pants pocket.The prosecutor objected to Cox being placed on bail based on the seriousness of the offence and the fact that the defendant has other matters of a similar nature pending in court.Magistrate Daly has further remanded Cox to August 27, 2018.
Swan, Linden-Soesdyke Highway choppingThirty-two-year-old Malicia Andrews, of Swan Community, Linden-Soesdyke Highway, who was brutally attacked and chopped by her reputed husband during an argument has been placed on life support with her condition listed as critical.The mother of six was chopped to her neck and hand after she indicated to her now dead reputed husband that she wanted to end the relationship. The incident took place on Tuesday at Swan Village.Speaking with Guyana Times, Charmalita Adams, a sister of the injured woman, noted that Andrews has been unresponsive since she was admitted a patient atCritical: Malicia Andrewsthe Georgetown Public Hospital.As a result, she was placed on the life support machine after suffering breathing problems on account of the chop she received to her neck.“The doctor say she have to do another surgery today (Thursday); she gah go in theatre, but she can’t talk … all she doing is shaking she head,” her younger sister explained.Based on reports, the suspect, 39-year-old Ian English of Lot 11 Swan Village, who later took his own life, followed the woman to her mother’s home and demanded that she return home with him but she refused. It was at that time she informed him that she wanted to end the relationship.The suspect reportedly became enraged, armed himself with a cutlass, went into the house and dealt Andrews several chops to her body. After receiving the chops, the injured woman reportedly ran into the yard and collapsed.The suspect, believing that she was dead, collected a rope along with the blood-stained cutlass and fled the scene. Andrews was picked up and rushed to the Diamond hospital in critical condition and was later transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital.English’s body was later discovered by Police ranks who were summoned to the scene after the chopping incident.The couple had shared a relationship for several years and had two children ages 13 and 2.
…as LTI commissions health & safety training laboratoryThe first batch of 151 students attached to the Linden Technical Institute (LTI) on Friday graduated from the “Retool Safety Awareness Training Programme”, as the institution also commissioned its first multi-purpose Health and Safety Training Laboratory in its compound.Students and officials at the graduation held at the Lichas Hall, LindenThe pilot programme, aimed at training and equipping students with technical knowledge on health and safety practices in the workplace, is a collaborative effort between Guyana Goldfields Inc and its subsidiary, Aurora Gold Mines Inc (AGM); Cuso International; Global Affairs Canada; the Canadian High Commission of Guyana; the Education Ministry; and the Council for Technical, Vocational and Educational Training (CVET).Over the course of the first year, 57 business and 94 engineering students were trained using an occupational safety and health module developed in British Columbia, Canada. There was also for lecturers a programme aimed at assisting them to teach students about health and safety.Speaking at the commissioning, and later at the graduation ceremony held at the Lichas Hall in Linden, Cuso Health and Safety Curriculum Programme Advisor Trainer and International Volunteer Marshall Denh-off said the initiative came as a result of a need for improved awareness in health and safety education among tradesman in the community, known for its mining skill-set. Denhoff, who worked along with the students, further explained that the programmet aims at preparing them for the workplace.“There’s a lot of hazards in the workplace, and the whole purpose of us being here today is to make sure that these young adults, when they go to work, they come back in as good condition or better condition than they went to work…We know about 20 percent of injuries and fatalities to young workers occur in the very first month of the job…We know young workers are at the greatest risk of being seriously injured in their first 6 months on a job… and young males face a 48 percent higher risk of injury than the overall working population…we have to try and change that culture…”, he noted.Denhoff said the programme is expected to be rolled out at all technical institutes across Guyana. Materials used in the training module, he noted, will be put together to be presented to other training institutions.Denhoff pointed out that there may also be a course for the general public. The certificate, he noted, can be recognised if included in a resume when applying for a job in the oil and gas sector.Reflecting on the training facility at LTI, Denhoff said he is excited about the future of the institution. He noted that it is well equipped, and will be a centre of excellence for health and safety training in Guyana. LTI Principal, Shurla Brotherson, said it is another milestone for the institute, which is now celebrating 60 years as an institution which provides quality skills training. She has thanked the partners of the initiative.“Three years ago, the institution was approached by Guyana Goldfields Inc about the quality of students we were providing to the labour market. Although skilled in those various areas, there was lack of the ability to demonstrate safe working practices. It was as a result of this that this revigorating training opportunity… ‘Retool Guyana,’ was championed…The programme focused on increasing the participation of youths, young men and women, including disabled and indigenous persons…“We can assure you that with the Occupational Safety and Health training that they have received, their performance in the various areas of specification would be evident. This is a great accomplishment for the Linden Technical Institute…,” she said.Brotherson added that the programme also saw upgrading of the institution’s curriculum, with Cuso and Guyana Goldfields providing technical support.Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee, in her remarks, congratulated the students and noted that the Government of Canada is proud to be associated with the programme.“Because, for Canada, youth development is a priority. Canada understands the importance of engaging youth not only on issues that affect them directly, but on all issues of national and global importance… Young people represent a generation of true global citizens…the trainees here today are role models for others out there,” she stated as she encouraged students to maximise the opportunity in an effort to develop themselves and the country.Assistant Chief Education Officer (Technica) of the Education Ministry, Patrick Chinedu, in his address, extended gratitude to the companies, noting that the laboratory will be used to train safety officers for the school system and other agencies. This, he said, is as part of the Ministry’s policy to replicate and industrialise programmes.He added it is expected that the Ministry would provide training for 2 staff members of LTI at the degree level, and other training opportunities will be extended throughout Guyana.AGM Public Relations Officer Leon Roberts said the initiative is a very important undertaking for the company. He stressed that safety is its main priority. He noted that it is also a behavioural change exercise for students aimed at having them change their mindsets as it relates to safety.Graduating student Sa-Yoor Headly noted that the training received over the past year has equipped students to be better skilled in their areas of specialisation. “This training will not only help us as individuals, but will also benefit our community and country as a whole”, he said.
Over 300 rice farmers in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) and from the island of Wakenaam in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) flocked the gate of the Hack Rice Mill in Golden Fleece, Essequibo Coast demanding their payments.Farmers are concerned over the long delay in receiving payment from millers for paddy purchased since September and some even earlier this year. After a commotion erupted in front of the main gate of the rice factory, its management was forced to meet with the frustrated rice farmers.According to the farmers, they were there as early as 06:00h on Friday and were trying to get the attention of senior management of the rice complex but no one was willing to speak with them. One farmer said the group decided to protest and make noise outside the entity as they demanded to see the manager for their payments.The owed farmers said the manger eventually met with them and agreed to give them payments between $50,000 and $100,000 until full payments are available.The farmers said they have their monthly bank installment to meet and the cash given to them in some cases cannot even meet the required payment.Speaking with Guyana Times, a mother who was also outside the factory protesting, said it is not easy for her to financially manage her home. She said she has to finance her children’s education, which is a very expensive exercise. One is at one the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE), one is at the University of Guyana, and the other is writing the Caribbean Examination Council next year.Some of the other women who were also on the protest line said they are single parents and are depending only on their meagre earnings from the rice industry for their survival. “It will be a dull, dull Christmas for us,” one woman said.
Smyth Street executionAs Morris Prince’s trial continued at the High Court before Justice Navindra Singh, police ballistics expert, Inspector Eon Jackson identified multiple bullets and spent shells of ammunition which were retrieved from the crime scene. This suggested that several shots were fired when businessman O’Riley Small was killed on March 19, 2016.Jackson, who has over 20 years’ experiences in ballistics, told the 12-member jury that he examined ten .40 spent shells and two .40 bullets which were handed over to him by Corporal Radcliff. Jackson observed that the 10 cases were all discharged and from examination, he reasoned that the weapon used was either a .40 pistol or a 10mm pistol. He prepared an analyst’s report and wrote his statement.Murder-accused Morris PrinceThe witness then identified the exhibits which were admitted into evidence. He explained that when a firearm is being discharged and it explodes, hot gas force the residue into the air. He further stressed that gunshot residue remains on the body for about 36 hours. Police Corporal Radcliff had testified that gunshot residue was found when he tested Prince while he was in custody but the defence had argued that a police station would have been contaminated with such a material.It was on Wednesday last that the jury was told that the defendant, Prince, was not only seen with a gun at the crime scene but was later found with an article of clothing that was similar to what the shooter was clad in. This had been the evidence for ex-Corporal Derwin Eastman, who claimed he saw Prince, in a “crouched over” position at the crime scene with a gun and asked him if the weapon was licenced.He had noted that he went back to the scene to see if Morris was still there, but he had “left the scene”. Corporal Eastman said that they later went to the Rio Night Club where Morris was contacted and was later taken into custody.Charlene Forde, sister of the deceased man, had recounted that she heard rapid gunshots just as she was about to open the door to let her brother in.According to reports, the deceased man was executed when he had reportedly entered his yard at Lot 2 Smyth Street, Werk-en-Rust, Georgetown, after he returned home from a night out.It was reported that he was approached by a man who discharged several rounds in his direction thus causing him to sustain multiple injuries. The defendant is being represented by Attorney Mark Waldron while State Counsels Tuanna Hardy, Abigail Gibbs and Teriq Mohammed are prosecuting the case.
The Demerara Tobacco Company (Demtoco) is anticipating a hike in the sale of cigarettes locally. The expected improvement in spending power comes in light of the development of the country’s lucrative oil and gas industry.“…with the prospect of oil production in 2020, we anticipate improvements in the purchasing power of our consumers which should lead to increasing opportunities for business sustainability and growth,” said Demtoco’s Managing Director, Christopher Brown, in his review published in the 2018 Annual Report.“The economic forecast for Guyana suggests brighter prospects for the country and for Demerara Tobacco Company,” he noted.Last year, sales grew by 4.5 per cent from $6.1 billion in 2017 to $6.4 billion in 2018. Demtoco said this resulted mainly from its consumers “appreciating and choosing our brands, versus the illicit competition”.Despite the fact of an increasing presence of the illicit trade, the company said it was able to maintain volume stability relative to 2017.In fact, Demtoco’s Bristol, Pall Mall and Dunhill brands all posted increased sales volumes, contributing to the growth experienced in 2018.Even as it anticipates an increase in cigarette sales, the company said it continues to support laws and regulations prohibiting the sale of these products to anyone under the legal minimum age of 18.In order to achieve this, the company worked directly with retailers to uphold the law and it even supported distributors in providing training and point-of-sale materials for use by retailers to help uphold the minimum age laws.Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and causes many diseases, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the USA.“We understand the concerns about our products and are working hard to conduct our business responsibly, in an industry seen by many as controversial,” Demtoco said.Demtoco last year recorded a 14.4 per cent increase in profits before tax, making a stunning rebound after five consecutive years of decline.Chairman Marcus Steele attributed this success to the firm’s strong leadership and its key business partnerships, notwithstanding the challenge it now faces with complying with the new regulations and the challenges it continues to face with the illicit trade.
Sugar workers at the Rose Hall Estate on Monday intensified their strike with a protest outside the estate at East Canje, Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne), calling for the removal of the manager.One of the workers’ representatives, Mark FaraiaWhile the workers were demonstrating, their union the Guyana Agriculture and General Workers Union (GAWU) was invited to meet with management at 13:00h.During the high-level meeting, GuySuCo agreed to give the workers their obstacle payment which they were demanding.On Wednesday, almost 1000 workers walked off the joy, protesting management’s unilateral decision to alter the arrangements in obstacle payments, and their refusal to meet with the workers’ representatives.Initially, the estate’s management was only willing to pay the money if the workers would have completed their allotment of work for the day.The workers, in turn, were arguing that they could not complete what they are being asked because of the conditions under which they have to work.Scores of workers took to the picketline on MondayWhile on the picketline on Monday, one of the worker’s representatives, Mark Faraia explained that all of the workers are aware that the corporation is in a crisis: “If you are talking about reducing cost, I think that the management, the CEO, the Board and the executives should consider a pay cut; that is what big companies do, that is what smart people do. Why not give up some of the benefits that they enjoy, then they would earn themselves the moral authority or permission to come and take anything from us… This manager is incompetent. If the government want to close this estate, don’t let them use the workers as a stepping stone to close the estate.”Workers are expected to recommence harvesting today, however grinding is not expected to recommence till Wednesday.As a consequence of the six-day strike action, 660 punts of cane which had been harvested, loaded and transported to the factory, were discarded because the factory had not been grinding since Wednesday.