Minister within the Public Health Ministry, Dr Karen Cummings described nurses as the “heart” of the public healthcare system and said they should be shown more appreciation for their priceless contribution.“The hardworking men and women who are responsible for the treatment, safety, and recovery of acutely or chronically ill or injured persons must be profoundly recognised for their unrivalled commitment and dedication. We must also celebrate the work that nurses do in maintenance of the healthy and the treatment of life-threatening emergencies in a wide ranged healthcare setting,” the Minister is quoted by the Department of Public Information (DPI) as saying. This wasMinister within the Public Health Ministry, Dr Karen Cummingshighlighted on Saturday during an International Nurses Day ceremony at the Woodlands Hospital. Minister Cummings noted that though many may overlook the hard work and devotion demonstrated by nurses, the Ministry commended them for their priceless contribution.“While nursing is a tough, challenging profession, it is also a noble one and while it could be physically, mentally and emotionally demanding at times, it can also be rewarding. We, at the Ministry, salute you all for hard work and hope that you continue to help those in need to assist in achieving the Health Vision 2020,” the Minister noted.She reiterated that the Ministry also recognised the critical importance of investing in human capital which is necessary to enable nurses to strive prosperously in a dynamic healthcare environment. She further thanked the nurses for performing their tasks with the utmost respect, professionalism, dedication, and commitment.Obstetrics/Gynaecology Managing Director, Dr Neville Gobin also lauded the nursing staff for their hard work over the years.
…as Mid-Year Report warns of economic consequences for GuyanaThe first half of 2018 has seen Guyana’s Balance of Payment deficit take a sharp leap forward, when compared to the same period for 2017 and even the Finance Ministry’s Mid-Year Report is warning of the consequences.The report, which was laid in the National Assembly only days ago, details that Guyana for the first half of the year recorded a deficit of US$139.8 million. This is in contrast to the corresponding period for last year, when the deficit was just US$46 million.“Guyana’s Balance of Payments deficit increased further as a result of a significantly higher deficit on the current account, which more than offset a surplus on the capital account.The weakening of the current account, from a deficit of US$79.2 million to a deficit of US$194.1 million, was due to higher deficits on the merchandise trade and services accounts, notwithstanding increased net unrequited transfers,” the report states.“The negative balance on the merchandise trade account widened to US$218.0 million during the first half of 2018, from US$112.2 million, in the first half of 2017, attributed to stronger growth in total import payments, which rose by US$137.8 million over the review period.Growth in imports was driven by an overall expansion in all major categories, intermediate goods by US$92.6 million, capital goods by US$41.1million and consumption goods by US$3.6 million.”According to the report, the total value of imported capital goods was driven by increases in all sub categories except agricultural machinery. IN fact, the report notes that this decreased by US$5.6 million.“Within the overall category, substantial growth was recorded for mining machinery, “other capital goods” and industrial machinery, which expanded by US$13.9 million, US$10.6 million and US$9.7 million, respectively.”“The expansion of imports of consumption goods was mainly due to significant growth in food for final consumption and other durables, which increased by US$9.2 million and US$8.2 million, respectively over the reporting period. Further growth in this category was limited by a reduction of US$22.8 million in the value of ‘other non-durable’ goods imported.”The report warns that global risks, such as rising commodity prices, climate change and turbulent international trade relationships, do pose a threat to the stability and progress of Guyana’s economy. And it warned that increased importation will put a strain on the country’s foreign reserves.“Specifically, the issue of climate change, which brings with it unpredictable weather patterns, has the ability to adversely affect the agriculture and mining and quarrying sectors, and, consequently, restrict production.On the other hand, while commodity prices are expected to strengthen, in 2018, this will have mixed effects.”“On the positive side, rising prices offer favourable prospects for the exporting Sectors – gold, rice, timber and aluminium. However, the increased importation of Intermediate goods, especially fuel and lubricants, and consumption goods, could likely offset the gains from export earnings. This could put a strain on Guyana’s international reserves, reinforcing the urgency with which economic diversification and resilience – Strengthening must take place,” the report states.Balance of Payments is statistical data on a country’s fiscal transactions, including imports and exports. To therefore record a deficit, Guyana would have had to spend more on imports, among other things, that it derived from exports.According to the 2017 Macro-economic Report, Guyana’s overall Balance of Payments in the last fiscal year showed a deficit of US$69.5 million.This is a hike when compared to US$53.3 million the previous year.
With just over two weeks remaining before the 2018 Local Government Elections (LGE), the Alliance For Change (AFC) party is confident about the upcoming polls despite getting in the race late in the game.General Secretary Marlon Williams (third from left); along with Region Four District Chairman, Michael Leonard (right); Constituency 3 (East-Central) Bartica, Juretha Fernandes (left); and Central Mackenzie, Linden, representative, Devin SearsThe AFC, a minority party in the coalition Government, believes it will be successful at the November 12 Local Government polls, according to the party’s General Secretary Marlon Williams during a press conference at the AFC’s Kitty headquarters on Wednesday.“We, the Alliance For Change, feel confident that we will be successful in these Local Government [Elections] because what we have done is – to grab our slogan – we have selected ‘fit and proper’ people within those NDCs (Neighbourhood Democratic Councils) and constituencies,” Williams said.He went on to note that the core of the AFC remains its spirit to effect change and in achieving this going forward, it has turned to a young, fresh and vibrant slate of people.The AFC will be contesting 38 of the 80 Local Authority Areas (LAA).In fact, the party’s Region Four District Chairman, Michael Leonard, told the media conference that despite starting late in the LGE race, the AFC has managed to secure more 161 constituency candidates and is fielding more than 600 representatives in total.On the matter of constituency candidates, the AFC’s candidate for Constituency 3 (Central Mackenzie) in Linden, Devin Sears, echoed similar sentiments, saying that the AFC is a beckon of hope for the people of Linden.He further added that despite being a young party, the AFC is a force to be reckoned with.“Linden sits in the heart of Guyana, but everything seems to pass through Linden… The people are fed of the same cycle over and over. We’ve had one party that has never lost Linden and we’ve had one party that has governed the country but ignored Linden so I think it’s time Linden has a change now, we cannot wait. We need to start opening up our eyes to see our town/municipality is not owned by any party and the AFC is as strong as any other party contesting the Local Government Elections,” he posited.According to Sears, the high rate of unemployment is high among the list of issues that the party intends to tackle if it emerges successful at the November 12 polls.Meanwhile, his fellow party representative in Constituency 3 (East-Central) Bartica, Juretha Fernandes, outlined some of the key areas her party is focusing on going into this year’s Local Government polls, including transparency and accountability, youth empowerment and involvement and economic enhancement.“[Bartica] still can be considered a new municipality and there’s a lot of things that [are] going on there; that persons are questioning the accountability aspect of what has happened since the 2016 Local Government Elections to now. I can confidently say that as a member of the Alliance For Change, accountability is something we pride ourselves on. In everything that we do, we believe that the process must be transparent to every residents and no stones must be left unturned in doing so,” Fernandes, who is also the party’s Deputy Campaign Director, posited.After failed talks earlier this year with its coalition partner – A Partnership for National Unity – the AFC announced back in May that it was going to contest this year’s Local Government polls on its own.
A suspect is assisting St Lucia’s police with investigations into the fatal stabbing of Guyanese national, Michael Pooran at Bagatelle, Castries.Neville Atille, a friend of the deceased, told St Lucia Times that Pooran, 27, was a very good person who was outgoing and liked to dress.Dead: Michael PooranHe disclosed that about 05:00h on Sunday, neighbours informed him about the fatal stabbing.According to St Lucia Times, Atille said he and the deceased were acquainted with the suspect in the fatal stabbing.“The last time I built my step, he asked for a job. We said ‘We don’t have any job doing – it’s for free. If you want rum and food,’ he said ‘Yeah’ he will do anything. And now he is saying that Michael owes him money.”Atille said that according to reports he received, Pooran went to a party in the neighbourhood and the suspect started “troubling” the deceased and following him around.“That’s what I heard. People were saying ‘Leave the guy alone’,” Atille told St Lucia Times.He said based on his information, the two started fighting.“Eyewitness did not see Michael stab the assailant. Michael never walks with a weapon because he is a big tough guy,” Atille stated.He explained that a mutual friend advised Pooran to leave the scene but as he held the Guyanese, he realised that he was bleeding.Atille said the mutual friend heard footsteps and thinking that the assailant was after him as well, he left Pooran, who had by that time collapsed, and ran.He said Pooran went to St Lucia from Guyana in 2014.
…Stanley Ming returned as ChairmanWith Guyana preparing to enter new and uncharted waters in the extractive sector, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) has had a new Board of Directors installed to steer the ship.GGMC Chairman Stanley MingAt the head of this Board is incumbent Chairman Stanley Ming. Also on the Board are Derrick Lawrence; Tom Dalgety; Euliene Watson; Vanda Radzic; Camilla Edwards; and the Commissioner of GGMC, Newell Dennison. A representative from each of the following organisations will be selected and added to the Board at a later date: the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), the Guyana Women Miners Association (GWMA), the National Mining Syndicate, the Guyana Gold Board, the Guyana Forestry Commission and a worker’s representative from the GGMC.The Board is also expected to include in its membership representatives from the National Toshaos Council (NTC), the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and the Guyana Police Force (GPF), as ex officio members. The Board members will serve from March 1, 2019 to February 28, 2020.These appointments come at a time when total gold declarations for last year amounted to 613,073 ounces, which was 6.22 per cent lower than 2017 – 653,754 ounces were declared in 2017.Lowered expectationsGovernment had initially set a target of 720,000 ounces for 2017 but at the end of 2017 was only able declare 653,674 ounces, prompting Finance Minister Winston Jordan to dub the performance disappointing.An ambitious 800,000 ounces’ target was set for 2018. The foreign exchange value of exports processed on behalf of dealers and itself at the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) came to US$443,961,666.The appointments come at a time when a major gold company will be branching off into underground miningIt is understood that gold dealers Mohamed’s Enterprise, and El Dorado Trading finished first and second respectively in total declarations and exports of gold. Other dealers that contributed are: Pure Diamond, Dinar, Excel, Adamantium Metals, GBTI Property Holdings Inc, and Gold Bar Development.The appointments also come at a time when Canadian owned Guyana Goldfields is looking to branch off into underground mining. Last month, Goldfields was issued a permit by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to construct the underground mine.It is currently awaiting further approvals from the GGMC. In fact, Guyana Times observed equipment assembled at the site, waiting for the go ahead, during a recent visit.So far, Guyana Goldfields has invested US$300 million into its local operations. The underground mine is expected to cost US$25 million in the initial exploration stages. A further US$100 million is likely to be invested over the next 10 years of production.RevenueBut the company is optimistic of more than recovering that investment. Chief Executive Officer of Guyana Goldfields, Scott Caldwell, had been optimistic of the underground mines surpassing their previous operations. According to Caldwell, the underground well is likely to be a game changer when it comes to revenue.When asked about the application, Commissioner Dennison explained that the GGMC is in possession of Goldfields’ application and will soon know whether anything else is needed. He had made it clear that GGMC has no intention of delaying the process, but was only exercising its due diligence for such a venture.“From what I am aware, they have submitted [the documents]. I am of the view that we are in good way to be conducting the examination to determine whether we need anything more.”“To the extent that we ascertain that what is therein is sufficient representation of what they plan to do, and it is in keeping with our regulations and what we consider typical practices for these types of activities, we would then issue the permit,” Dennison said.
…as 5 new faces added to Chamber’s executiveThe Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) has elected a new executive to serve for the 2019-2020 physical year. Five new faces were placed on the organisation’s executive, with new comer Altabh Khan.The full executive is Khan – President, Niron Singh – Vice President, Tage Singh – Treasurer, and Business Development and LiPresident of the Region Five Chamber of Commerce,Altabh Khanaison Officer – L Luke.Imran Saccoor – Secretary and Krishna Sewlall – Public Relations Officer, previously served on the Board of Directors, wile Leanna Amanda Bachan retains the post as administrator.Khan said that over the next year, the Chamber will continue to embark on its commerce initiatives, including the Region Five Business Fair, Tourism Night amongst others.He said the Chamber will continue to advocate the call for D’Edward/Rosignol to be a township, noting that the community satisfies the requirements for a township.However, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition has been pushing to have Fort Wellington become a town in the region.Meanwhile, other activities on the card for the 2019-2020 period by the Chamber include the Region Five Expo, sport and beach tourism activities, and training seminars amongst others.The new Chamber President called on the business community to support his call for a transformation of the region.He said there is the potential to transform the way commerce is conducted and urged all businessmen and women to play their role in the transformation process. Acknowledging that the region is an agricultural driven community, he mentioned that farmers need to adapt to the changing agricultural world and utilise better technology and farming methods, including hydroponics and green house farming, if they are to remain competitive as the cost of inputs continue to rise.Diversification of business was also touted as an initiative to be adopted since some of the traditional industries including rice and sugar continue to be challenged.“Farmers also need access to packaging plants wherein they can have options to market their produce. Cheaper cost of financing is also needed to support the agricultural initiative and farmers need to adopt a cultured approach to seek out foreign markets and export their produce rather than placing reliance on domestic market.”Khan noted that petty crimes continue to be a hindrance to the businesses society and this must be addressed. He added that a safer business environment is needed.Through collaborative efforts, the Chamber hopes to engage and work with regional authorities to implement and develop programmes that can be beneficial to youths for the creation of jobs.Khan added that the Small Business Bureau can give loans and grants in this regard.“However more marketing is required at the regional level as micro and start-up businesses are still not aware of how to access this facility,” the Chamber President pointed out.
…relatives of raped teen who raped accused chargedThe 28-year-old miner, who allegedly forced a child to have anal sex with him, and was hours later brutally beaten and reportedly raped by her relatives, made his first court appearance on Thursday and released on $150,000 bail.The Third Avenue, Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) appeared before Magistrate Crystal Lambert at the Bartica Magistrate’s Court after he was slapped with a charge of raping of a child under 16 years.When the charge was read the man denied the offence and was subsequently placed on bail. The case will continue on December 27.Meanwhile, the two female relatives of the teen who was raped, who reportedly physically assaulted, stripped, and then forced the wooden handle of a hammer inside of The Third Avenue, Bartica resident’s anus, in retaliation of his rape against their 15-year-old relative, were also hauled before the Court on Thursday.The mother of the child, along with her older daughter, appeared before Magistrate Lambert to each answer to the charges of felonious wounding and rape committed against the 28-year-old miner. Both women denied the charges.They were released on $60,000 bail each for the wounding charge and $150,000 bail each for the rape charge.The cases will continue on December 27.On December 4, tables turned on the Third Avenue, Bartica man after the sister of the underage female with whom he allegedly forcefully had anal sex teamed up with her mother to teach him a lesson.He is the boyfriend of the young girl’s sister and is said to usually visit their home in Bartica, on a regular basis.Reports are that in the wee hours of December 3, the alleged rapist was at the home with the 15-year-old girl consuming alcohol.The teenager, who ended up sitting at the edge of her bed at some point, became intoxicated and it was then the miner reportedly took advantage of her. He reportedly took off her clothing and performed anal sex on her despite her objections.Hours after the incident, the teen made contact with her mother and after notifying the woman about what occurred.After a beating, the suspect allegedly confessed to having sex with the 15-year-old but claimed he had “oral” sex with the girl and not anal sex.The woman and her older daughter allegedly teamed up to rip his clothes off and allegedly forcefully insert the wooden part of the hammer (handle) into his anus.
One of Guyana’s most historic and iconic buildings is falling apart and Mayor of Georgetown, Ubraj Narine is making a stronger appeal to private and public agencies to help restore the once picturesque structure.Mayor of Georgetown, Ubraj NarineUpon his re-election as Mayor a few days ago, Mayor Narine told the media under leaky roofs within the City Hall building, that the structure which has been neglected over the years is in dire need for repairs, especially since some sections of the structure are labelled unsafe.A deteriorating external section of the buildingA recent study by the European Union has pegged the rehabilitation of the building at over $400 million but as time goes by, the cost increases.However, since then, no significant work was done towards the restoration of the building.Nevertheless, at an event last week, the Mayor appealed to both the private and public sector for aid in restoring the building.“The iconic building, the historic building of this city, it is falling apart which is City Hall. I alone cannot do it as the Mayor, my Council alone cannot do it, we need the Private Sector to play a part, we need private partnership. We need all Guyanese to play a big part to restore City Hall and the only way we can do that is to put our shoulders to the wheel and move forward” he asserted.Most recently, the City Council announced plans to establish a Trust Fund whereby persons can make donations towards the rehabilitation of the building.Speaking to this newspaper on the plans, Mayor Narine conveyed that the fund is currently being established and the City Council is hoping to launch the initiative before February 2020.
… awaits approval of commercial licencesSeveral months after major oil discoveries were confirmed offshore Guyana, US-based ExxonMobil is still awaiting approval of their licences from local regulatory agencies to prepare for drilling.This disclosure was made by outgoing Country Manager for ExxonMobil, Jeff Simon, who told members of the local media on Tuesday that the company is yet to make a Final Investment Decision (FID).Outgoing Country Manager, Jeff Simon explaining for ExxonMobil’s operations which will take place offshoreAccording to Simon, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is being reviewed, while the production licence has to be granted by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).While explaining that the company has been engaged in discussion with the authorities regarding the approval of these licences, Simon said Government in reviewing the application for the permits has sought additional information from ExxonMobil.“I think they have engaged some additional help and those parties have come back to us for a lot of additional information so it is still being analysed,” he said on Tuesday.In highlighting the enormousness of the investment that has to be made before the actual drilling commences, the country manager explained that there is need for some level of certainty that must be exercised on the part of the Government of Guyana in granting the licences and approvals.Simon said not only has ExxonMobil been engaged in a number of preparations, but its partners have also made steps to get prepared, explaining that once the FID is approved, the company would spend about US$5 billion before beginning production.Government has secured the services of overseas experts to review the applications submitted by ExxonMobil.Since 2015, ExxonMobil has announced three oil finds in Guyana’s offshore area. The most recent discovery came in April, 2017, when the company found 25 meters of high-quality oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs at its Snoek well in the Stabroek block.The company has also hit oil at Stabroek’s Payara and Liza fields. The latter is estimated to contain up to 1.4 billion barrels of light oil. According to the company, by the mid-2020s daily output from Stabroek could reach 450,000 barrels.At present, tenders are out for local suppliers and contractors that are able to support a number of projects for the company’s operation.
The Legal Affairs Ministry and Attorney General’s Chambers has defended its decision to fire the Deputy Solicitor, Prithima Kissoon, and claims she mishandled a number of key Government cases, including a case related to Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.Former Deputy Solicitor General, Prithima KissoonShe was the subject of a 15-month long investigation by the Legal Affairs Ministry. Kissoon broke her silence and accused Attorney General Basil Williams of a whole host of workplace atrocities, causing her to lodge a formal complaint with the Public Service Commission (PSC) in January of this year.She was handed a termination letter six hours before the life of the Commission came to an end on August 31, without that constitutional body looking into the complaint.Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, in his defence of the firing of Kissoon in a public missive, has since accused her of bungling numerous high profile cases, in addition to other acts of dereliction of duty and insubordination.Attorney General, Basil WilliamsThe Ministry confirmed that the Deputy Solicitor was targeted in an investigation from November 2015 to January 2017, “after it was discovered that Ms Kissoon, who was tasked with the responsibility of conducting cases of grave importance to the State’s interest, had committed several breaches and violations under the rules and regulations of the Public Service Commission.”The Ministry contends the breaches include improper preparation and drafting of legal documents, disobeying instructions, failing to attend court in several critical matters, gross dishonesty in official dealings, improper conduct and dereliction of duties.The Attorney General’s Chambers in the statement on Friday said that Minister Williams blames Kissoon for not being present in court for key cases as well as misleading himself and others over the matter.Kissoon broke her silence this week, as the very public spat between the Attorney General and her came to a crossroads on the August 31, 2017.Lamenting the situation, the now former Deputy Solicitor General in her now public statement said, “A new PSC will convene and the complaint against the Attorney General, Mr Basil Williams, SC will never have been addressed.”According to Kissoon, “my good name has been filched, my character assassinated, my career that I worked so hard to build in the public service for the past 10 years lays shattered at my feet but my integrity and ethics are rock solid.