Dear Editor,It does not appear that the two sides, President Granger and Opposition Leader Jagdeo, APNU/AFC and PPP, will reach an agreement (consensus) on appointing a GECOM Chair or set a firm timeline for elections. On June 18, the CCJ had urged the two sides to come to an agreement by June 24 on orders the court should issue and they failed to meet. On June 24, the court extended the deadline to July 1 (date for written submission of suggestions for consequential orders) and the sides still failed to meet, much less discuss the issues. The court had stated that they could try until July 12 when the court will issue its orders on what must be done. The court’s orders are final. The two sides should try to resolve this political problem. The ABC countries should put pressure on both sides to meet and honour the Constitution.There is much distrust between the sides. Both sides are fearful of fraudulent elections. My conversations with Guyanese reveal they also fear that election results may not reflect the will of the voters. A poll I am conducting in Guyana reveals a very racially polarised nation. Governing Guyana will not be easy unless election results are accepted by both sides. The country will not make progress after elections unless both sides feel the outcome reflects the will of the voters and that every eligible voter’s name is on the list.Since it has become a controversial political issue that does not lend itself to an easy solution, may I suggest that both sides meet and work out an agreement for the United Nations to manage (run) the elections? It will save Guyanese the expense of organising the elections. The UN was in charge of holding elections in several polarised societies when the contending parties could not reach an agreement on a way forward. The UN will ensure that free and fair elections are held in Guyana and that no one is denied the right to vote. The UN’s Secretary-General and its security forces will make sure a credible election is held and the results accepted.Yours truly,Vishnu Bisram
An Enmore, East Coast Demerara family has been worried since Monday when 15-year-old Vilma Anant wentMissing: Vilma “Kamini” Anantmissing.Guyana Times understands that Anant, commonly known as “Kamini”, is a Fourth Form (Grade 10) student of Apex Academy. The teenager reportedly left for school on Monday morning but upon arriving at the gate, she turned around and left – and has not been seen or heard from since.Speaking with this newspaper, Anant’s uncle, Vijay Sukhdeo, explained that “Kamini” had been living with them since she was little. He said the teenager’s parents had resided in Mahaica Creek, but separated years ago so he and his wife took in “Kamini”.“She come live with us from since nursery to now and we never had any problems like this before,” the worried man related.Sukhdeo recalled that on Monday morning “Kamini” sat down to have breakfast with the family and all seemed to be well with her. She then left for school. He noted some time after they got a call from the school asking about her.“Because it’s a private school, they would call home whenever a student does not show up. So the teacher called home and asked about her and I told her that she left to go to school, but the teacher said she wasn’t there,” the man noted.He added that later in the day when the school bus returned to drop off students, they enquired from the driver and he confirmed that he dropped the teenager off in the morning.Sukhdeo went on to relate that he visited the school on Tuesday and was shown footage from Monday morning. “Mr Ali showed me the video and we see her going up to the school gate and then she turn around and left,” the man said.The cameras did not extend to the road, so it cannot be said where the young lady could have gone from the school’s Atlantic Gardens, ECD location. According to her uncle, there was no one with his niece at the time nor did anything seem to be amiss with her.Furthermore, the man said that on Monday after the young woman failed to return home, the family contacted all her relatives and friends, but no one had seen or heard from her.A worried Sukhdeo explained to this newspaper that his niece was a quiet individual and had never caused such a problem. “I don’t know what happen … I really can’t say why she would disappear like that, we never had any problems with her… this is the first time something like this happen,” he said.The family is pleading with the teenager to return home as soon as possible, and is also requesting members of the public with information on the whereabouts of 15-year-old Vilma “Kamini” Anant to contact them on 616-6345 or the nearest Police Station.
Approximately million has been allocated to facilitate night court sessions, which are expected to commence in a matter of weeks.Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan told media operatives on Monday that while certain terms were yet to be determined, Government has set aside a huge sum of money to cover the expenses of this undertaking.“The Minister of Finance (Winston Jordan) has allocated a sum in the vicinity of million for this kind of arrangement…I don’t know if that will be sufficient, depending on how many Magistrates we appoint,” he explained.Initial reports had suggested that there would be five temporary Magistrates appointed to man the night court.Ramjattan noted that the Judicial Services Commission would have to convene a meeting to appoint the Magistrates.Government took a decision to introduce the night court system in an effort to dispose of the huge back-log of cases that have kept inmates on remand for years.This initiative is part of a package of prison reforms taken by the Administration following the deadly prison riot at the Camp Street penitentiary which claimed the lives of 17 inmates.Presently, Magistrates open their courts from 09:00h and close at 14:00h, Monday to Friday.According to reports, the night courts will be opened from 16:00h to 20:00h, Monday to Friday.Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Carl Singh had suggested that this initiative last for a period of six months.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has overruled the Court of Appeal in the latest ruling in the matter of Errol Campbell v Janette Narine where the appellant, Errol Campbell, was represented by Attorneys at Law Sanjeev Datadin and Charles Ramson Jr MP. The matter concerned the validity of an agreement of sale for a property at a significant undervalue executed in December 1992 by Campbell’s mother-in-law, Mrs Feinmesser, who was the property owner, and Ms Narine (the Respondent) while Mrs Feinmesser was in hospital. Before the action could be filed Ms Feinmesser died so Mr Campbell acted in his capacity as executor of her estate and commenced legal proceedings.After a trial in the High Court, the judge hearing the case, Justice George, ordered that the agreement be rescinded on the legal grounds of undue influence and failure of consideration. The matter was appealed by Ms Narine to the Court of Appeal and the Court of Appeal in a majority ruling by Justices Carl Singh and B S Roy disagreed with Justice George and ordered specific performance of the agreement.Charles Ramson JrAgreeing with Justice George and the minority ruling in the Court of Appeal by Justice Cummings-Edwards, the CCJ re-affirmed the position of the law on undue influence and held that the focus was on the extent of trust and confidence reposed by Mrs Feinmesser in Mrs Narine coupled with the under value sale which was not readily explicable by the women’s relationship. Once such a suspicion has been aroused the evidential burden shifted to Mrs Narine in order for her to rebut the inference of undue influence to show that the transaction was the spontaneous act of the donor acting under circumstances which enabled her to exercise an independent will and which could justify the court in holding that the gift was the result of free exercise of the donor’s will. Relying on Lord Evershed in Zamet v Hyman  1 WLR 1442 where it was made clear that it is necessary to establish that the gift was made as a result of “full, free and informed thought about it”. At the trial, Justice George ruled that Mrs Narine failed to disprove the inference of undue influence. In addition, the trial judge after having heard the testimony of Ms Narine held that she disbelieved that Mrs Narine paid any deposit on the signed agreement despite the agreement containing a term that the signing of the agreement by Ms Feinmesser acknowledged receipt of the payment of the deposit leading Justice George to rule that there was lack of consideration required for the validity of the agreement.Despite the majority ruling in the Court of Appeal, the CCJ held that there was no sufficient basis to interfere with the trial judge’s ruling since the finding of undue influence is a finding of fact.The CCJ noted with dismay the sloth in the judicial system which saw the proceedings being instituted in 1996 and judgement delivered in 2006 some ten years later. Further, some six years later the appeal was heard and it took two years for the judgment to be delivered by the Court of Appeal. Interestingly, the matter was commenced by Mr Campbell’s Attorney-at-law Charles R. Ramson (Sr) and was finally completely by Sanjeev Datadin and the son of Charles R. Ramson (Sr), Charles S. Ramson (Jr). Ms Narine, the respondent, who lost the appeal with costs awarded against her as a result was represented by R Poonai, C Satram and M Satram.
The Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MPI) has install streetlights along the Diamond Access Road, East Bank Demerara, and works have already begun to extend lighting to the community of Mocha.In mid-April, the MPI announced that 100 streetlights will be installed along the access roads of Mocha and Diamond on the EBD. While the initial plan had been to install 50 new streetlights in each community, this figure was increased and instead 73 streetlights were recently installed in Diamond after two weeks of works.The Diamond Access RoadAt least 50 streetlights are slated for Mocha and works have begun and are expected to be completed in two weeks.The installation works in Diamond saw MPI officials using existing poles to facilitate the new lights. A similar approach will be taken in Mocha but officials are also seeking to install new posts to close the gap between streetlights.It is expected that the newly installed streetlights will heighten security in these areas as well as reduce the likelihood of road accidents.Further, the Ministry plans to move its lighting project to the Corentyne Coast following the completion of the project in Mocha.
Region 5 floodingAs floodwaters slowly recede in the affected areas of West Berbice, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), residentsThe flood situation at Blairmont on Tuesdayand farmers in communities along the Mahaicony River continue to suffer losses. In an interview with Guyana Times on Tuesday, Regional Chairman Vickchand Ramphal explained that water in Trafalgar, Union and Lovely Lass have almost completely receded, while in the Mahaicony riverine communities, the floodwaters are high.The Chairman explained that it is “very difficult” for the regional administration to intervene in these locations since the entire drainage network falls under the control of the Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary-Agricultural Development Authority (MMA-ADA). He also noted that it is also a difficult undertaking to conduct irrigation and excavation to remedy the situation.“For the areas that are affected, the region will need additional help to clean the trenches and residential drains; the water in Bushlot receded but the trenches are still clogged with the weeds,” he noted. The water at Blairmont is also receding.Ramphal further expressed that he has informed the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and the Agriculture Ministry of the situation and the need for relief in the affected communities. One of these communities was in the Amerindian settlement of Moraikobai, which can take some three hours to reach by boat. A medical team had been dispatched to the settlement but no outbreaks were reported.“I spoke to the Toshao there and he said that the water has receded but not to the fullest but the damage was already done and they still are affected because they can’t go back to the farm as yet,” the Region Five Chairman told this newspaper.“Farmers are calling for seed paddy, fertliser and even cash to put them back on their feet,” the Chairman opined. The Chairman stated that “over 60 acres” of rice crops were lost in the Mahaicony area.The flood situation in Region Five has been occurring at intervals for the last several weeks. This latest period of flooding came as a result of heavy rains coupled with the reported faulty and damaged pumps. It was only Monday, that this newspaper highlighted that the mobility of residents at Blairmont was hindered as bridges were still under water.Guyana Times was informed that the regional administration is monitoring the situation. On Sunday, it was reported that a regional team visited several communities along the Mahaicony River, most of which were flooded. This newspaper was told that because of the flooding in Moraikobai, villages such as Mora Point, Pine Ground and Gordon Table were also flooded. Many farmers in these villages said that they have lost some of their cash crops.Over the last few weeks, this publication has been highlighting the challenges which communities in Region Five have been facing as a result of flooding. A breached dam along the Perth Canal in Branch Road, Mahaicony, led to significant acreages of rice lands being inundated last month.
An East Berbice man was on Wednesday jailed for three years by Magistrate Alex Moore for breaking into a woman’s home in Bath Settlement, West Coast Berbice, and stealing in excess of million in jewellery and cash.Chris RampersaudChris Rampersaud of Canefield, East Canje, appeared at the Fort Wellington Magistrate’s Court where he was charged with breaking into the dwelling of Nafeeza Wazim on Wednesday, July 6.Rampersaud, 37, pleaded guilty to the charge which said that on the day in question he broke into the home and stole six pairs of gold bangles valued $725,000; three pairs of earrings valued $8000; four gold chains valued $122,000; four gold rings valued $72,000; and $160,000 in cash. The charge also stated that Rampersaud stole a quantity of Brazilian jewellery valued at $42,000.He told the court that he broke into the home but only took the Brazilian jewellery. He said he was caught moments after the crime and did not have all the items as stated in the charge.Police Prosecutor Inspector Althea Soloman told the court that the Brazilian jewellery was recovered when Rampersaud was apprehended by public-spirited citizens.Magistrate Moore said if the other items were not recovered then there might have been some “private spirited” citizens among the group.Previously, Rampersaud had been arrested in connection with the shooting of a security guard at the Berbice Educational Institute on 2 July.While in custody he escaped; and it was on 6 July that he broke into the house at Bath Settlement and subsequently arrested.Rampersaud had been convicted before for simple larceny. Magistrate Moore said that Rampersaud seems to have graduated from simple larceny and was now to breaking into homes. The Magistrate noted that he was sending Rampersaud to a place where he will have time to consider his future.He was jailed for two-and-a-half years for the house break-in and another six months for escaping from lawful custody.The sentences are to run consecutively.Meanwhile, Divisional Commander Ian Amsterdam said the Police are investigating other matters which Rampersaud may be involved in.
With the European Investment Bank (EIB) set on rekindling bilateral relations with Guyana by investing in some major projects here, there are some concerns of its financial capability in light of the fallout between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) following June’s historic vote on the ‘Brexit’ referendum.On June 23, 51.9 per cent of the UK voted to leave the economic trade bloc. This was despite a 48.1 per cent vote from London, Scotland and Northern Ireland, who were backing to stay within EU.EIB Vice President Pim van BallekomSince then, there have been many uncertainties about the future relation between the UK and Guyana and consequently the EU and Guyana. However, both UK and EU officials here have assured that this will not affect relations with Guyana nor the Caribbean region.This assurance was reiterated by Vice President of EIB responsible for lending in the Caribbean, Pim van Ballekom, who told the local media during a press briefing on Friday that there will be no difference in the money that is available for lending by EIB to the Caribbean as a result of the UK’s intention to leave the EU.“We don’t have specific amounts available for specific countries or regions or projects or sectors. We are looking to the quality of the project and if it’s in answer to our balance sheet, then we will put it in our balance sheet.”Having pointed out that the UK’s exit from the EU would result in less money being available for lending by the bank, Ballekom explained that the EIB has other shareholders and is eager to pick up those shares. He added too that the bank finances itself on the capital market so in that sense, it will not be a problem.Nevertheless, he noted that EIB is very saddened with the possible loss of a major shareholder but stated that there are other investors that it can capitalise on:“It’s always a pity to lose a strong shareholder, that is for sure, but we will continue to do business and that is the purpose of the bank. But I’m pretty sure that there are other member states who are willing to pick up the shares.”On this note, the VP recalled in the 1990s, where 10 member states joined the EU and at that time, their economies were quite small. He however pointed out that those economies have done quite well since then and their economic shares in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the EU are now comparable to the era surrounding the 1990s.“So I could imagine that those countries are interested to pick up more shares,” he added.Moreover, Ballekom outlined that there is no certainly about what is going to happen in the near future as it relates to Brexit, having regards to the fact that the UK is a shadow of the European Investment Bank:“I’m told, but I’m not a politician, that the negotiations on Brexit could take two or three years before an ultimate agreement is signed and I don’t know if our political leaders will decide that the UK has to sell their shares…if they are obliged to sell then we will go to length to United Kingdom via a mandate,” the banking executive declared.To this end, Ballekom outlined that there is expected to be some sort of an arrangement with the UK to continue lending to the EU economy, not as a member state but as a third country: “But let’s see what happens, up to now it’s pure speculation what is going to happen but it will not influence our commitment or activities in the Caribbean.”Furthermore, the VP highlighted that the EIB also lends to non-EU members like Guyana as well as to Turkey, where it has a portfolio of 2.5B a year.
We are all products of our experience-which is a good reason to examine carefully the past experiences and present action of those communities who took matters into their own hands in the fight against Ebola Virus Disease.Winning communities acknowledge that community organizers, change agents, opinion and community leaders played important roles in community health belief systems and health seeking behaviours of others. Most communities started as vigilante groups, setting up road blocks, placing hand washing buckets at strategic locations, conducting temperature screening and managing Ebola committees, transportation and isolations centers.While health policies and established health practices are acknowledged and are an integral and valued part to the community, the media (particularly this medium) also played a critical role in the dissemination of valued health information and in providing unwritten community protocols for safety, health, education and basic hygienic necessities for the prevention and control of Ebola Virus Disease. (EVD)We recognized that all that was necessary for EVD to flourish was for the community to do nothing. We take special note of the roles played by community health volunteers, vigilante groups and faith-based organizations like the Catholic Church in drafting the blueprint for community protocols.Our community outreach education programmes at Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia during the Ebola crisis were specifically designed to accommodate new materials. We were not only immersed in community based activities but involved in promoting programmes, policies and practices that increased cooperation, interaction and exchanges between communities-enabling all social groups to share their resources and support each other in the war against Ebola.MOP-Liberia article in this column on -“It takes a village” and other Ebola prevention programmes were cited at different international arena for their significant contributions to community protocols in the fight against EVD.Liberia, with more than four thousand Ebola deaths, has learned its lessons well. We need to document these best practices, having produced the most successful fight against Ebola. We also need to ensure that conditions in our schools and communities are as safe as possible. It takes just one hidden case of Ebola to reignite the fire.Helping communities get back to their normal way of life is critical to ensuring that Liberia recovers from the Ebola crisis. Community health workers and leaders need to advocate for survivors, shelter and school for orphans and others who lost loved ones and incomes. Psychosocial support to affected and neighboring communities is important and more importantly is strict border control strategies.Early recovery efforts in Liberia should establish how communities could practice careful hygiene by washing hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer; avoid contact with blood and body fluids of an infected person, avoid funeral or burial rituals that require handling the body of someone who has died from Ebola and avoid contact with animals particularly bats, non human primates or raw bush meat. Government of Liberia should focus on protection of households through the distribution of disinfection kits and materials for contact tracing in various communities.Other measures to be included in the protocols for safe community environments in post Ebola era should include guidance for contact tracing, early surveillance system before suspected cases appear and Ebola Disease Modeling (EDM) to assess the future scope of the epidemic.With no single new cases of Ebola over the past week, we can proudly write that we are only weeks away from when (not if) Liberia would be declared “Ebola-free”. Until then and with an end in sight, we need to redouble our community action to stop and eradicate Ebola from our country. Support the “Ebola Educates” Campaign in kind through your stories or with your generous cash donation. Until next week, when we come to you with another article on: “Ebola Educates-Work Place Protocols”, Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The recent Ebola awareness campaign launched by the Ministry of Education in Nimba County is said to have left out several communities along the Liberian border with Ivory Coast something many chiefs and community dwellers feel marginalized.More than 10 communities were known to have been left out in the entire process according to reports reaching the Daily Observer in Nimba County.The and villages where the Ebola awareness couldn’t reach are located in the Nimkwai and the Beo Chiefdoms as well as other towns along the border with Guinea.“Josiah De-Gbon, Zone Chief of Glarlay, “we don’t know why our communities were left out in the Ebola Awareness exercise that is been conducted by the Ministry of Education, Nimba branch.”“The recruitment for the training left out all our teachers from this community and we cannot understand those that were send to us,” he added.In mid – October 2014 the Ministry of Education with funding from the United Nations Children Education Funds/UNICEF conducted series of EVD awareness workshops across Nimba for education authorities including district education officers, principals and among other from both public and private schools in Nimba so as to be able to disseminate the information within their area of assignments, but this recruitment appears to have left out many principals and their communities making it them to feel marginalized.The actual compensation for each participants is yet to be established, but unconfirmed report reaching the Daily Observer suggest that upon the close of the exercise each participant will received the sum of US$ 200.A teacher who does not want to be named because of fear of his job said, “because of the compensation being so heavy, our bosses recruited their relatives outside of the community and trained them to carry on the awareness.”“We who with community as teachers and doing nothing at this Ebola crisis were left out in the whole exercise,” said another teacher.When contacted via mobile phone at about 2pm local time on 3rd December 2014, the County Education Officer of Nimba County, Mr. Wleh Sillah said they didn’t marginalized any school, but school that was not part of this present phase will be covered in the next phase.On the local radio recently, a teacher from the Beo Chiefdom complained of their area being left out in the entire EVD awareness exercise.Since the Ebola outbreak many communities in Nimba, especially around the border with Ivory Coast are yet to understand more about Ebola, because those who take the message to them are of different background.During the heat of the Ebola, a community around the Gblarlay Township refused to accept any preventive materials from some philanthropists accused them of trying to poison their water, all because there were no citizens from within that community was part of the team.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)