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  on GBCHA to strengthen HIV/AIDS response in Region 6

  Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway, in brief remarks earlier this week, told Guyana Times he would reserve full comments after completely reviewing the process, but remarked that it was a process that must be owned by Guyanese.“I will have some comments on that [the appointment] when I understand it better,” he noted.When questioned over his assessment of the democratic process surrounding theUS Ambassador Perry Hollowayappointment, the US Ambassador suggested that locals should be the ones to assess what was transpiring.“I’m watching it in action; Guyanese should be assessing it,” Holloway stated.Another key bilateral partner is India, whose High Commissioner Venkatachalam Mahalingam, while also being cautious in his disclosures, noted that his country too was observing the activities that were following the controversial appointment.“We are seeing the process that is taking place, and we are closely observing what is happening and what kind of debate is going on regarding the appointment of the GECOM (Chairman),” High Commissioner Mahalingam told this publication on Tuesday during the United Nations Day activity in Guyana.

  The Ministry of the Presidency (MotP) has received the letter from the National Trust of Guyana seeking an explanation as to the reason for the colour change at State House, but is yet to respond, according to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Trust.State House being repaintedCEO Nirvanie Persaud told Guyana Times that the letter was dispatched to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry and they were awaiting a response to determine the next step.Just last week, the Administration came in for criticism after it bypassed the National Trust and began changing the colour of State House from white to green – the dominant colour of the People’s National Congress and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), both parties that the President leads.On Friday, President David Granger when asked about whether State House was going green, stated “Guyana is going green” followed by a chuckle.Since the APNU/Alliance For Change (AFC) coalition came into Government, it has been actively repainting several public buildings using the colour green.The National Trust of Guyana was established following the passage of the National Trust Act, No 7 of 1972. The Act “makes provision for the preservation of monuments, sites, places and objects of historic interest or national importance”.When contacted, a representative of the MotP related that Permanent Secretary Abena Moore only received the letter on Tuesday morning and would be responding very soon.The National Trust’s website states that its main responsibility is the preservation of all monuments in Guyana. Under the National Trust Act, the term ‘monuments’ includes any building, structure, object or other work of man or of nature, whether above or below the surface of the land or the floor of the sea within territorial waters of Guyana and any site, cave or excavation. National monuments are the vested responsibility of the National Trust and are gazetted as such after approval by Parliament.

  By Andrew CarmichaelIrate workers attached to the former Rose Hall Sugar Estate on Tuesday morning braved the inclement weather to protest for their severance payment as they demanded that the Government get its act together.Eight hundred and fifty workers whose last day of employment was December 29, on Tuesday protested the non-payment of millions of dollars which are collectively owed to them by the David Granger Administration and the Guyana Sugar Corporation.The workers protest action was endorsed by the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), the Opposition People’s Progressive Party and several non-governmental organisations.A one-minute of silence was held in honour of the two former workers who took their lives after being sent home. The workers claim that the Government has not treated them as it had treated Cabinet members who were given a 50 per cent salary increase while they (sugar workers) received no increases for two and a half years.Region Six Chairman David Armogan, while addressing the rally, said it is time for all the people of East Canje and its environs to unite, claiming that the decision to send home close to 1000 workers was a political one.He said if the Government is of the belief that the sugar estate needs to be closed in order to make the industry viable, then the welfare of the children of the affected community should be considered.The Chairman noted that President Granger is expected to commission another school bus which will be used to take children to and from school in the Fyrish area which is considered A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) stronghold.“Do something to help the children; do something to help the people, instead what they have to give they are giving to some of the people who are close to them; no consideration for the economic hardship that you will be facing,” Armogan told the gathering.The Chairman noted that in communities with high levels of unemployment as is the case of East Canje now, is that you will have more crime and illiteracy. “Because children cannot go to school, you will have more prostitution, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and all sorts of problems in the home.”Armogan is advocating that Government provide some form of social assistance so that the affected families could receive needed help.He called on the community to support each other in these trying times. “We have to brace each other and support each other and we have to remain strong because in two years’ time (2020 elections) most of you will still be alive. Therefore you have to continue to go on with your lives. This period is going to pass.”According to the Regional Chairman, GuySuCo has the capacity to turn around, adding that the problem with the sugar company is not an economic one but rather it was a political decision to send the workers home. The aim, he believes, was to destroy one of the PPP’nwhile, GAWU’s General Secretary Seepaul Narine called on Government to make public its plans to get money to pay the workers their severance packages.Narine said it is not too late for Government to withdraw the letters given to the workers.Executive member of the PPP Juan Edghill who also marched with the workers and their families’ noted that many have been contemplating suicide. “I want to call upon all the religious leaders in this community, to give support; spiritual support as well as humanitarian support to the people of this community in this very difficult moment. The reason why I am appealing to our religious leaders is because yesterday afternoon, I saw with my own eyes and experienced for myself grown men telling me it makes no sense continuing to live.”He urged them to keep the faith because better times lie ahead. Edghill said the community can assist the current situation as many are now unemployed. The PPP official encouraged those who have the ability to can take at least one child to school daily. He urged the women to continue to be vigilant.Noting that there is a glut on the labour market and persons are now accepting low wages, Edghill called on contractors and other business persons to show compassion and not to exploit the situation.Another party executive, Gail Teixeira lashed out at the current Administration saying that it did not keep its promise to workers. She said it promised a change while campaigning for the 2015 General and Regional Elections. The change we have seen, she said, is not the one that was promised.GAWU’s President Komal Chan, in a very energetic presentation, also lashed out at the Government, starting with the Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan whom he accused of being behind the order not to allow the protesters to have music as they walked peacefully along the road. He said many others are being given permission to use loud music to advertise what they are doing.“We have friends in the People’s Progressive Party; we have support from the business community; we have support from many journalists who saw things from the workers point of view, that today this issue is not only about sugar workers, and GAWU and GuySuCo but it has become a national issue. This, comrades, is a big development. Today it is being debated. All of the Government Ministers at the last budget (presentations) were forced to talk sugar.”The GAWU President noted that another protest will be held on Thursday at Skeldon. While calling for support, he signalled to the Police that they should not prevent them from having musical complement.The very Government which they are protesting against has withheld the annual one-month salary which the members of the Disciplined Forces had grown accustomed to at year end, but since the Government came into power it has been cut.

  Dr Surendra Persaud, who had pushed for toll increases at the Berbice Bridge Company Inc (BBCI) in order to avert the company from becoming bankrupt, has been replaced as the Chairman of the company by the new Chairman of the NIS.The new BBCI Chairman is Auditor, John Seeram. Back in December, Seeram appointed the new Chairman of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) after the life of the Dr Persaud’s Board ended.Dr Surendra PersaudDr Persaud, who was a strong advocate for the Alliance for Change during the 2015 elections, took on Government when he announced new tolls for the Berbice Bridge. The then Chairman had disclosed that BBCI was facing bankruptcy and as such, proposed to increase its tolls, as much 300 per cent in some cases, to keep the Berbice Bridge afloat. He said Government’s refusal to entertain consultations on the toll hike which would have prevented the continuing heavy financial losses of BBCI forced the company to announce the increases.A move which was strongly opposed by Government, which called the toll hikes burdensome and draconian, and eventually, on November 5, 2018, took over operations of the facility to stop the BBCI’s increase from taking effect on November 12.While Government still assumes responsibility for the operation of the bridge to date, the bridge company in November had moved to the High Court, asking it to grant several orders to reverse the takeover and bar the Minister from carrying out functions of maintaining and operating the bridge.That matter is still being heard in the High Court and is coming up for hearing on February 26.Many stakeholders weighed in on the situation including the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) which had called the Government out for precipitating the toll increases. The party noted that a formula for minor increases was supposed to be in place – increases that would have lessened the impact on commuters. Instead, the coalition abandoned this formula and even tinkered with it, thus resulting in the current state of affairs at the BBCI.New BBCI Chairman John SeeramWhile Government has been adamant in not allowing these increases, outspoken political activist and former Presidential Advisor Ramon Gaskin had suggested a total buyout of the bridge company by Government so as to resolve the issue.Guyana Times understands that the BBCI, in which the NIS has majority voting rights on the Board of Directors, was forced to push for the increase in tolls in order to protect its investment. To this end, Gaskin suggested that an alternative can be for Government and the NIS to solely own the bridge, thus buying the shares from all the other shareholders.

  Revocation of leases…the cases of Sharon Solomon, Fariel Johnson and Doreen Monah, they were also awarded $1 million in damages and $300,000 in costs. Monah, in particular, argued in her affidavit that after being dispossessed of her land by the MMA/ADA, it was awarded to other people.In Solomon’s affidavit, she detailed that before her lease was revoked, her land was occupied by the Seafield Co-op, which rented her land to a farmer known as “Big bull”. This farmer, the affidavit states, was forcefully removed from said land by the Co-op, which instead of giving it to her, rented it to the fourth named respondent, Lincoln Samaroo.Besides awarding them their damages and costs, the court also issued an injunction restraining MMA/ADA from interfering with the farmers’ land.It was only in 2015 that another set of farmers – Phillip Johnson, Rupert Blackman and Rawle Miller – had filed legal action against the MMA/ADA, challenging the cancellation of State land leases in the rear of Seafield, West Coast Berbice.The farmers had claimed that the leases were granted by former President Donald Ramotar and only the Head of State has the right to make such a cancellation.After months of hearing, former Chief Justice Ian Chang in February of 2016 quashed the cancellation of the leases in favour of the farmers.However, the farmers said they were subsequently informed by General Manager of MMA/ADA Aubrey Charles that President Granger has cancelled their leases. Besides their leases being revoked, farmers also had to deal with land rental fee increases.

  About 15 players are expected take part in a little Christmas carolling starting at 7 p.m. at the mall, with help from the Potluck in the Basement Singers, a choir of local women led by singer/guitarist Judi McGowan. Shamir Mangalji, marketing coordinator for the Rage, said the team came up with the idea as a way to reconnect with the community after a marathon road trip that saw the team gone for almost a full month.“They’ve been gone for a month, so it has been tough with that schedule to get out into the community, but when they are here, we like to get them into any possible community service or activity to let everyone know they are back in town,” said Mangalji.He added the players will also be giving out some tickets to the team’s two home games this weekend against the Fresno Monsters. The Rage will need the support of their fans as they look to rebound from that dismal road trip that saw them lose 10 out of 12 games, including two to the Monsters last week.- Advertisement -Fans are also needed to help the Rage make Christmas a little brighter for those in need in the community. The team will be collecting donations at the game on Dec. 17 for the Salvation Army, so fans are encouraged to bring in a non-perishable food item, gently used clothing, toys, or a gift in exchange for a souvenir Rage ornament. There will also be a Canadian Tire Teddy Bear Toss when the Rage score their first goal, so bring your own teddy bear, or purchase a teddy bear at the game for $2 and receive a Rage ornament, all in support of the Salvation Army.Patrons can also enjoy a turkey buffet at the game for $15, featuring roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, mashed yams, corn, and a drink.As for the carolling on Wednesday, McGowan said her group is very excited to be taking part.Advertisement “This something is really different for us,” said McGowan. “We’ve never doing anything like this before. I think it’s going to be a really cool thing to do.”She said she is not worried at all that some of the Rage players may not be able to sing with all of the harmony that people are used to hearing from the Potluck singers.“We’re going to strategically place my singers with the team members, and they will all support each other. I think it’s going to be a perfect fit, and a win-win situation,” she said.McGowan said the Christmas season is always very busy for the group as they receive a lot of requests to perform in different venues. She said the group will play at the Dawson Creek and District Hospital next Monday evening, for example.Advertisement “One of our favourite things, and something that I’ve been doing for over 20 years, is the candlelight service at Rotary Manor on Dec. 22,” she added. “It’s a very beautiful service for everyone, including the residents.”McGowan also wished to pass on “a very merry Christmas and a prosperous new year” to everyone in the community on behalf of the Potluck in the Basement Singers.

  On October 8 the team will be back on the ice from 9:30-10:45 p.m. The team’s third session will be October 10 from 8:00-9:30 p.m. The fourth practice is slated for October 12 from 1:30-3:00 p.m., and the final skate will be on October 15 from 9:30-10:45 p.m. All practices will be at the North Peace Arena.The team will play in two exhibition games against the Fort Nelson Yeti. Those will get underway at 8:30 p.m. on October 18, and 1 p.m. on October 19.For new players there are no fees for trying out, however you are asked to contact Lee Hartman prior to the first session to register for insurance purposes at , or send an email to .- Advertisement

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