Pegasus taxi driver’s murderHours after Prosecutor Tiffini Lyken opened the State’s case against Lorenzo Forde, who is accused of murdering Pegasus Hotel taxi driver Rubranauth Jeeboo during the course of a robbery, the 12-member jury heard that there was no image taken of the interiors of the deceased man’s Toyota Allion motorcar. This was the account of former Policewoman Delicia Browne, who revealed that she was not asked to take photographs of the vehicle’s interior.During December 2013, when Jeeboo’s body was found in a heap of garbage at Caneview Avenue, South Ruimveldt, Georgetown, Browne, then a Police constable, was stationed at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), attached to the Brickdam Police Station’s Crime Scene Unit.Led by Prosecutor Lisa Cave, the witness recalled being summoned to the crime scene at 08:00 hrs, and speaking with Police Corporals Dhanraj and Williams before taking photographs of the murdered man, who had been clad in a blue shirtjack and dark coloured trousers.Browne said she took images of the body in its original position — faced downwards – and she had taken more photographs when Corporal Dhanraj turned the body to face the opposite direction.About two hours after, according to Browne, she spoke with Corporal Williams, who showed her the Toyota Allion motorcar, which did not have a licence plate to the rear and the ‘HC’ part to the front licence plate was “barely showing”. Browne said that she and Corporal Williams securely placed the car on a tow truck to be taken away to the Brickdam Police Station.Browne recalled taking photos of the outside of the car.After brief cross-examination by Defence Counsel Hewley Griffith, members of the jury sought to ascertain why any photo was not taken of the car’s interior.“I wasn’t instructed to take photos of the inside,” the former Policewoman informed the jury.The 19 photographs she had printed and secured were tendered and admitted into evidence at Monday’s trial. Justice Reynolds allowed the exhibits to be shown to the jury, which in later days will determine whether the accused, Forde, is innocent or guilty. The matter was adjourned to Thursday morning, when more of the State’s 12 witnesses are expected to testify at the High Court in Georgetown.Forde was 18 years old when he was first charged with the murder of Rubranauth Jeeboo. According to reports, on December 27, Jeeboo left his Campbellville, Georgetown home for work, and the following day, December 28, around 07:50h, his body was discovered with several injuries at Caneview Avenue.State counsel Shawnette Austin is assisting the prosecution’s case.
The data roaming experience of GTT customers has been enhanced with the ability to access and use mobile data at the same attractive rates charged at home.In other words, prepaid customers will be able to data roam like if they are at home. The service is available in the Caribbean, the USA, Canada, Panama and Suriname.The service went into effect on February 3, 2018, and can be experienced on all Cable & Wireless/LIME Networks in the Caribbean and Panama, on bmobile in Trinidad, and Telesur in Suriname. For the USA, the partner network is ATT, and in Canada, customers can use either Bell or Telus.GTT’s data roaming rates are extremely competitive and provide the added advantage of allowing customers to pay on demand. This feature places control in the customers’ hands as they are able to control how much they spend.To enable roaming access, customers must select the network partners and dial *100*9#.The recent launch is phase one of a proposed extensive project to remove barriers and make the roaming service more user friendly and accessible for all customers. Subsequent phases will see an expansion in the territories in which prepaid customers can access data roaming as well as improved rates for post-paid customers.Customers are encouraged to log on to gtt.co.gy for more details.
The plans of the Public Infrastructure Ministry to construct a roundabout at the Timehri junction has been halted to facilitate the removal of utility poles and wires.This was on Wednesday related by the Minister within the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Annette Ferguson.Minister within the Public Infrastructure Ministry Annette Ferguson“The one at the (Cheddi Jagan International) Airport, we had some issues with utility poles, GTT to be specific, so that roundabout too is still in the pipeline,” she disclosed.She nevertheless assured that preliminary works on the structure have begun, which includes the removal of those poles. “We will see the commencement of the civil component I guess before the end of the year,” Ferguson stated.The contract for the project was awarded to Gaico Construction earlier in the year at the sum of some $74 million.Meanwhile, she explained that “The one at Sheriff/Mandela you know we have that expansion project so the one will be one Sheriff/Mandela and the other one will be just as you turn off, or when you leave the Airport. The Sheriff/Mandela project… we have commenced the laying of the pipes on both sides of Sherriff Street so when the project gets into its implementation stage we would see the formation of the roundabout there”.Works reportedly begun on the Timehri roundabout back in June of this year, while Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson commissioned the $78.9 million Kitty roundabout, which was constructed by S Jagmohan Hardware Supplies and Construction Services.Minister Patterson had announced plans to construct two roundabouts, with the inclusion of the Timehri structure. The other is expected to be erected on Mandela Avenue, Georgetown.The structures are being constructed with the hope of easing traffic congestion and wastage of time at peak locations.“During the course of this year and next year, there will be two additional roundabouts in two equally important areas,” Patterson stated at the opening of the Kitty roundabout.The Mandela Avenue roundabout will be erected during Government’s $6.4 billion road upgrade project.When completed, Sheriff Street will remain a two-lane road while Mandela will become a four-lane thoroughfare. The upgraded roads will be outfitted with new features including cycle lanes, separate sidewalks and smart traffic signals which will use above ground vehicle detectors.Additionally, two culverts at the junctions of David Street with the Cummings Canal and Lamaha Canal bridges will also be replaced. The wooden bridge at Homestretch Avenue will be replaced with a concrete structure and other culverts will be extended. A pedestrian overpass and roundabout at the Sheriff Street-David Street junction are also included. Safety features include traffic signs and thermoplastic reflectors and road markings.The final phase of works will see the pavement upgraded and asphalted. All the entrances to side roads will be upgraded, however, side roads will not be rehabilitated.Many had questioned about the costly roundabout project and its outcome, since most commuters were scared to use the new infrastructure at first.So far there have been at least two accidents recorded at the Kitty roundabout, although the Ministry would have invested in creating tutorials for the safe use of the roundabout.
…says lecturers must be of high standardBy Shemuel FanfairA young law school graduate who has recently been admitted to the local bar says that while she supports the establishment of a local law school, the standard of any lecturer placed there would have to be in keeping with that of international counterparts.Shivani Lalaram moments after her admittance to the bar at the Supreme Court in GeorgetownSpeaking to Guyana Times last week, twenty-three-year-old Shivani Lalaram expressed much elation at being part of what she said is a prestigious profession, having been admitted in a ceremony presided over by Justice Sandil Kissoon in the presence of her family, friends and well-wishers.The former Queen’s College student and graduate of the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad has set her eyes on a Master’s degree focusing on Environmental and Energy issues, given Guyana’s impending oil & gas sector.However, for the foreseeable future, she will gather experience in criminal law first, having gained some experience as an intern in that area.Lalaram told this publication that she has also been exposed to civil law. While noting her rewarding experience studying overseas, she told Guyana Times that any institution established in this country must be of a high standard comparable to what obtains overseas.“If they were to establish a law school over here, they would definitely need to ensure that the tutelage that you receive at Hugh Wooding and at the other law schools in the Caribbean is received here. Additionally, in order to do that, we need to be able to compensate the lecturers and the tutors. Aside from that, I think it would be a good initiative for us to have,” Lalaram noted.She outlined that she is not the first legal practitioner in her family, as her extended relatives Kamini and Sonia Parag are already into law practice. The new attorney credited her success to the sustained support of her family members, who continue to play an integral role in her success, even after her father had passed away. This occurred during the time she undertook studies pertaining to her Legal Education Certificate (LEC) in Trinidad.“My major difficulty was losing my father while I was at Hugh Wooding, but it kind of encouraged me and pushed me a little further, because my dad was the voice I heard every single time I felt that I couldn’t do it anymore,” she stressed.She has encouraging words for current University of Guyana students pursuing their Bachelor of Laws qualification, saying that much focus should be placed on being well-rounded individuals.“It is a very prestigious profession, and you do have to give to it to get out of it; and you need to have the passion for it. I would also say to them that whilst it is a jealous mistress, you have to remember to balance it. You cannot be just in your books. Ensure that whether you do a sport or whatever else, ensure you tie that into your study, because studying alone will not allow you to come out as rounded, as it’s a rounded profession,” Lalaram, who is the sibling of a doctor stressed.Many local observers believe that Guyana should have its own law school, since only the top 25 Guyanese students gain automatic places at the Hugh Wooding Law School, while the others enter via a written entrance exam. However, the Caribbean-based Council of Legal Education has not approved the establishment of a local law school in Guyana owing to the wording of a treaty that governs its functions.
Representatives of justice reform, faith-based and non-governmental organisations on Friday commenced a five-day regional “train-the-trainer” workshop on restorative justice, a programme sponsored by Caricom and the European Union, along with the Sycamore Tree Project.Assistant Secretary General, Human and Social Development, Caricom Secretariat, Dr Douglas SlaterThe train-the-trainer workshop, which is being hosted at the Grand Costal Inn at Le Ressouvenir, ECD, is an activity of the 10th European Development Crime and Violence Prevention and Social Project under the Caribbean Forum/European Crime and Security Programme.Caricom’s Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development, Dr Douglas Slater, in his remarks, said the workshop is one of several aimed at promoting social inclusion and reintegration of offenders into society. According to him, as the region endeavours to embrace alternatives to incarceration, adopting restorative justice programmes has become a critical priority.“Restorative justice is a response to crime that emphasises healing the wounds of victims, offenders and communities caused or revealed by criminal behaviour,” he is quoted by the Department of Public Information as saying.In this regard, he said, the workshop, aimed at building the capacity of persons to implement the Sycamore Tree Project, is “opportune.”The Sycamore Tree Project is an in-prison restorative justice programme bringing together unrelated victims and offenders to discuss crime and its impact, while presenting opportunities for understanding and healing.
– amended Customs Bill will tighten loopholes in re-migrant schemeOne of the loopholes in the re-migrant scheme is now tightened with the amendment of the Customs Bill. The amendment of the Bill was moved by Finance Minister Winston Jordan on Thursday in the 112th sitting of the National Assembly of the 11th Parliament.Finance Minister Winston JordanAccording to the Department of Public Information (DPI), Minister Jordan highlighted that the amendment proposes a tax credit of $5 million to be given to the re-migrants. He said this allows the re-migrant to bring as many vehicles as possible but once it exceeds the credit amount, they will have to pay the difference in duties.“You do not have to worry anymore about the vehicles being in your possession for six months, you can come to Guyana and you can buy your vehicle within six months of arriving in Guyana. This allows us to get around all the chicanery of trying to show that you had it in your possession for six months,” the Minister explained.The scheme, he said, has not worked well, especially as it relates to the question of who exactly is a re-migrant and if those individuals comply with the criteria of a re-migrants. Minister Jordan added that the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has its limitations and find it hard to ensure that every re-migrant is complying with the laws.In addition, the Finance Minister underscored that many re-migrants use the scheme to bring home vehicles and televisions among other things to be sold with those individuals spending less than two weeks in the country. However, the Bill seeks only to deal with vehicles.Upon investigation, the Minister said it was found that some persons failed to fulfil many of the criteria to be regarded as a re-migrant.Students will also benefit from the amendment, Minister Jordan pointed out. He noted that they too can qualify as re-migrants if they can show that they had attended continuously, for at least three years, an educational institution abroad. Such persons will be given all rights and can have access to all rights including purchasing of vehicles when they return home.The Minister said that despite the amendment to the Bill, the scheme will continue as it is the Government’s aim to attract persons from abroad, especially as oil and gas production nears.Another amendment to the Bill will see the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) paying citizens all Income Tax refunds owed. The monies due, however, will not come from budgeted sums, but from current revenue collected. The Minister noted that “hopefully this will clear up a backlog of refunds where people keep asking GRA for their monies and they cannot get it”.
Not yet having acted in compliance with Article 106 (6) of the Guyana Constitution by resigning, the Cabinet, including the President, is unlawfully holding onto office, former Speaker of the National Assembly and prominent Attorney, Ralph Ramkarran has said.In his weekly column Conversation Tree, Ramkarran stated that a court would be approving this illegality if it allowed even a temporary break from compliance with Article 106 (6), especially given the fact that it is not the end of the life of the Government.“Under Article 106 (7), the Government, which includes the Cabinet and President, remain in office until new elections. This obviously means that the resignation is stayed until the next elected President is sworn in,” Ramkarran stated in his column.The Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, having declined to reverse the declaration on December 21, 2018, that the no-confidence motion against the Government had been carried on a vote of 33-32 in favour, has shifted the arena of contest to the courts.Ramkarran, however, made reference to comments made by Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, who is reported to have said that there has not been a resignation of the President or Government nor will there be such a resignation, arguing that the country cannot be left without a government.Ramjattan had further argued that Government retained its full panoply of legal powers and was with jurisdiction to exercise its legal authority. But the former Speaker said the Minister missed the fact that Article 106 (7) specifically provides that there shall not be a “governance vacuum”.In fact, it emphasises that the Government will only resign after a President is elected by the people in an election to be held. Also, Ramkarran said it was not known if Ramjattan was aware of the “Caretaker Conventions” which apply when a government is facing elections.According to him, the “Caretaker Conventions” apply during the period from the dissolution of the Parliament to the election of the new Government, because there is no oversight. In summary, the conventions are that no major policy decisions are taken to commit an incoming Government or limit its freedom to act, no major contracts or agreements are entered into, and the use of Government resources in a manner to advantage a particular party is avoided.In a local context, the former House Speaker said the “Caretaker Conventions” should be applied from the moment the no-confidence motion was passed because Article 106 (6) dictates the resignation of the Cabinet, which suggests a caretaker role for the Government thereafter.“The passage of the natural resources legislation and Minister Ramjattan’s remarks signify quite clearly that the Cabinet, including the President, have no intention of resigning and of observing any caretaker conventions,” he further observed in his column.Meanwhile a court case has been filed by Compton Herbert Reid against the Speaker, Charrandas Persaud and the Attorney General seeking to set aside the no-confidence vote of December 21, 2018. The ground is that the vote of Persaud was invalid because he holds a Canadian passport.“An order to stay the no-confidence resolution is also being sought. The reports make no mention of the motion required 34 votes to be passed. No doubt Article 165 (2) of the Constitution will arise for consideration,” he observed.Ramkarran noted too that consideration would no doubt also be given to the right or power of a court to interrupt a constitutional process set in train by a parliamentary motion, on which a vote was taken and deemed to have been carried.He said, “If the power exists, should it be exercised, ad interim, upon an allegation that is prima facie answerable by Article 165 (2) and in circumstances where the notional applicant, the Cabinet, is committing a continuing wrong by not resigning? The question will no doubt be: How can a court allow a Cabinet to stay in office when the Constitution, a superior instrument to the court, by which the court is bound, says that it should resign?”President David Granger is expected to meet with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Wednesday to discuss a number of issues, but topping that list is the no-confidence resolution.
The Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) on Tuesday certified that the Medical Diagnostic Centre/ Clinic and Pharmacy is capable of operating in compliance with the GNBS.Head of the Certification Department of the GNBS, Al Donavon Fraser handed over the GYS 170 Certificate to Medical Technologist Geeta Sirpaul in the presence of other staff at the medical center.At a simple ceremony at the laboratory, which is located at Lot 39 Brickdam, Stabroek, Georgetown, Fraser noted that he was pleased that the Bureau is able to certify yet another laboratory.According to him, in order to maintain recognition, the GNBS re-evaluates allHead of the Certification Department of the GNBS, Al Donavon Fraser handing over the GYS 170 Certificate to Geeta Sirpaul, Medical Technologist in the presence of other staff at the medical centercertified laboratories periodically to ensure continued compliance with the standard.Laboratories may also be required to participate in relevant proficiency testing programs between reassessments as a further demonstration of performance.Nevertheless, he also congratulated the Board and Staff of the clinic for their hard work and commitment to the process which led to the certification of the medical facility.The GNBS Head further indicated that implementing quality requires team effort and recognition of the need for qualityMeanwhile, Chairman of the Laboratory, Dr Leslie Persaud expressed appreciation to the GNBS Team for its support and guidance over the last nine months which led to the remarkable achievement.Persaud stated that the Laboratory welcomes the certification, which was long awaited.“I am very proud of our certification, this was all made possible by the hard working staff of the clinic. Our laboratory has been upgraded from what is was in the year 2000. So we are encouraging the public to come in and check us out”, Persaud stated.The Medical Diagnostic Centre/ Clinic and Pharmacy provides critical healthcare services to patients and this certification guarantees the assurance of reliable test results.The laboratory is the 14th to be certified to the GYS 170 Standard under the GNBS Laboratory Certification Programme.The Medical Diagnostic Centre was established by Dr Persaud in 2000 consisting of a walk in clinic, medical laboratory, x-ray facilities, pharmacy and ECG.
Minister Norton accepts five brand new guitars from Chandini and Khishan Singh, representatives of Gaico Construction and General Services IncorporatedSocial Cohesion Minister, with responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr George Norton, recently accepted a donation of five brand new guitars from Gaico Construction and General Services Incorporated.The items were presented to Minister Norton by Chandini and Khishan Singh, children of the company’s proprietor, Komal Singh. The simple handing over ceremony was done at Minister Norton’s Main Street office.According to Khishan Singh, Gaico Construction has always been keen on its corporate social responsibility, and is usually examining ways of improving the lives of disenfranchised Guyanese.The young man said that the company was inspired by Minister Norton’s recent donation of a guitar to the Village of Paruima in Region Seven, and wanted to be part of a similar exercise.“I believe that music is quite an important part of one’s life. I can tell you from experience that playing an instrument is really beneficial to a person’s overall development. It helps to cultivate more creative minds while maintaining focus and discipline as an individual,” Khishan Singh said.Recognising the disparity that exists between opportunities available on the coastland as compared to those in the hinterland, the Singhs are hoping that like Minister Norton’s previous donation, theirs would also benefit a far flung community.In expressing his gratitude for the donation, Minister Norton committed to ensuring that the instruments benefit those with limited access to the many opportunities available along the coastland.“As you know, it has been a struggle throughout the world to maintain the authenticity and richness of various cultures. Here in Guyana, our Indigenous communities are more at risk of losing precious aspects of their heritage, including language and music,” Minister Norton pointed out.He noted however that there are still persons in certain villages who live in Benab and observe the sacred tradition of gathering at nights to tell stories and sing songs.“The simple donation of a guitar would go such a far way in motivate and helping those people to maintain such traditions and keep their cultures intact,” Minister Norton assured.
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo– says PPP will review all dealsOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is calling on Government to pay close attention to the ongoing feud between the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and NICIL’s Special Purpose Unit (SPU), noting that the two state agencies have “damning” issues that need to be fixed.Jagdeo’s comment comes on the heels of a recent visit to the Albion Estate in Berbice by President David Granger, who told residents and workers that he was there to fix things.“…I am not here to bury the sugar industry. I am here to find out what your problems are. I have come to fix things…,” the President was quoted saying in a lengthy statement from the Ministry of the Presidency last week.However, Jagdeo posited that the Head of State first needs to fix the issues between GuySuCo and the NICIL-owned SPU, which are being played out in the public.“He went there to fix things… [But] he can’t fix the relationship between GuySuCo and NICIL – two state entities – and all it takes for him to do is to call them in his office and say cut out this nonsense, I want to see where the money is being spent. That’s all it requires [but] he has to go to Albion to tell people that he’s fixing things,” Jagdeo contended.In a statement on Wednesday, the sugar corporation accused the SPU, which was set up by NICIL to oversee the divestment of GuySuCo’s assets, of unprofessionalism and criticised its approach to divestment.According to the Opposition Leader, the strongly worded missive from GuySuCo is damning.“A state agency accusing the SPU of undermining privatisation, of engaging in illegal acts, of recruiting the consultant to do the valuation [of GuySuCo’s assets] on the basis of a personal relation. That is the valuation that Guyana now must accept in the privatisation process [when] GuySuCo itself has grave concerns on how the consultant [PricewaterhouseCoopers] was recruited,” he noted.Moreover, it was noted that the sugar corporation is yet to be given a copy of the valuation report prepared by the United Kingdom-based consultant. “This is the most damning thing. If this doesn’t require a Commission of Inquiry, nothing does,” the Opposition Leader contended.Nevertheless, Jagdeo went on to talk about the fact that GuySuCo is being kept in the dark when it comes to the transactions on its immovable and moveable assets.“So clearly, GuySuCo doesn’t know what is being sold out and what they’re keeping, and they don’t get any information. They are just like us in the public domain,” the Opposition Leader stressed.In fact, he reiterated claims of SPU removing assets from GuySuCo’s serviceable register to the unserviceable in order to sell them out.Furthermore, he went on to outline that the sugar corporation, which has been downsized by the coalition Government to just three estates – Albion, Blairmont and Uitvulgt, is questioning the scrap metal dealings involving the Wales, West Bank Demerara, estate.Back in April, reports had emerged that scrap metal from GuySuCo, worth some $3 billion, was sold to a mysterious buyer, but the proceeds from the sale were not received by the corporation.The Government has been silent on this transaction and despite the Business Ministry having overall responsibility for the scrap metal trade, former Business Minister Dominic Gaskin had distanced the Ministry from the sale when questioned by Guyana Times in April.Against this backdrop, the Opposition Leader told reporters on Thursday that NICIL has been bypassing the structure put in place for the privatisation of state assets. In fact, he noted that the agency is selling out “blocks of land” at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, including lands that were earmarked for the scrapped Specialty Hospital project.He added too that lands, at Liliendaal and Wales, are also being leased by NICIL and/or the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission. To this end, Jagdeo noted that if the PPP returns to power then all of these deals will come under scrutiny.“I want to warn the businessmen and those who are engaged in this, that if they believe this will fly in the long run and that we are not going to come back and look at all these transactions, they have it wrong because we’re going to do that. We’re not gonna tolerate this wanton giveaway of the resources,” the Opposition Leader posted.In the meantime, this fallout between GuySuCo and NICIL comes just days after the Guyana Agriculture and General Workers Union (GAWU) met with officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), airing their concerns about the divestment process and the lack of transparency.