An open letter to Caricom leaders

first_imgDear Editor,On the evening of December 21, 2018, the National Assembly of Guyana successfully passed a No-Confidence Motion against the David Granger Government. The Government moved to seek judicial review right up to the Caribbean Court of Justice, Guyana’s apex court. The CCJ on June 18 ruled that the motion was validly passed and the Government stood resigned. It subsequently issued consequential orders, which include that General and Regional Elections must be held no later than September 18, 2019.The CCJ’s ruling has been ignored by the APNU/AFC coalition and Guyana has now slipped into unconstitutional rule since September 18, 2019.The CCJ is a creature of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and one would expect its decisions, if not adhered to, will be condemned by all right-thinking leaders in the Caribbean, whether individually or collectively. However, it is a crying shame that Caricom, either through its Secretary General or the Conference of Heads of Government has been disappointingly silent on this constitutional crisis which can have significant implications on Guyana’s future and political stability in the region.Caricom didn’t even see the need to publicly welcome the proposed March 2, 2020, date for elections and state if it will send an observation mission or if it will provide the necessary support to GECOM to ensure the elections are free and fair or free from fear.It is an embarrassment that Caricom, of which Guyana is a founding member state and where the Caricom Secretariat has been in a coma on the Guyana situation, even as the United States of America, the European Union, Britain, the Commonwealth Secretary General and the Organisation of American States (OAS), as well as the local business, legal and religious fraternities all saw the need to issue public calls for immediate elections in Guyana so that the country can return to constitutional rule.Editor, with what I outlined, it is now mind-boggling that Caricom has been silent on the litany of constitutional violations by the David Granger-led APNU/AFC since December 21, 2018.Why the silence, despite a promise from the Secretary General of Caricom, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, that the community was awaiting the judicial outcome before making public statements?I want to ask the SG as well as the Chairman of Caricom and the individual Heads of Government the following questions;1. Why has Caricom not discussed the political situation in Guyana at its past Heads of Government meeting?2. Why has Caricom not yet convened an emergency meeting of Heads to discuss the political crisis in Guyana?3. Why has Caricom not sought to make known its position on the unconstitutional rule in Guyana?4. What exactly is Caricom’s position on the current situation in Guyana?Editor, I believe that this regional body has now proven to the people of Guyana and the rest of the Caribbean that it is a useless talk shop.I, therefore, call publicly on the SG of Caricom, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, the Chairman of Caricom, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet and all regional Heads to immediately make known their position on the unconstitutional rule in Guyana. Your silence can be construed as support for an emerging dictatorship in Guyana.Yours respectfully,Edward Laynelast_img read more

Mayor drives ahead with parking meter plan despite calls for it to be scrapped

first_imgThe Mayor and her team will be ignoring an avalanche of concerns regarding the controversial parking meter project, which many believe to be a shady deal aimed at exploiting the public.The Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green, Town Clerk Royston King and a team are currently in Mexico City to wrap-up the final rollout schedule of the parking meter project even as criticisms continue to pour in from individual commentators, transparency advocates, the parliamentary opposition and the Deputy Mayor himself, Sherod Duncan concerning the project.Concerns include the total lack of transparency surrounding the project, the legitimacy of the company contracted, the price proposed to be charged, the fact that no prior public consultations were held with stakeholders, and the overall secrecy and constant inconsistencies that surround the undertaking.But those concerns were blatantly disregarded when Town Clerk King made it clear the project is still on stream.“While it is unfortunate that certain individuals have taken advantage of the absence of the Mayor to advance negative, divisive and completely untrue narratives, the Mayor and the travelling delegation plan to hold a press conference upon their return to provide updates on this very important and productive trip,” King said in a statement released from Mexico.King maintained that this project will become the pioneering centre of wider modernisation and improvements coming to the City that will accelerate it towards parity with the other great capital cities across the world.On the other hand, many stakeholders believe this secretive parking meter project which was inked with the controversial National Parking Systems/Smart City Solutions should be immediately scrapped.Former 1st Vice President of Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc (TIGI) and Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram said that, “it’s very troubling indeed” for a project of such magnitude, information is hardly available. He lambasted M&CC for failing to follow proper public procurement procedures for the multimillion-dollar parking meter initiative.Additionally, commentator and transparency advocate Ramon Gaskin described the entire controversy as “very, very fishy”.“The only information that is available is what’s in the press… nobody has seen any contract of anything. The whole thing as my friends said has the smell of unrefrigerated fish. The whole thing sounds very funny, not transparent, it didn’t go to tender, it’s a big problem,” he remarked.On Sunday last, former Speaker of the National Assembly and commentator Ralph Ramkarran said the undertaking seems to be nothing but a “get-rich-quick scheme”, given the capricious and tenuous strategies and justifications provided for some aspects of the project.Cultural Policy Advisor to the Education Minister, Ruel Johnson also criticised the manner in which the project is being executed.Johnson also called on the public to use this opportunity to hold the government accountable and demand better governance.The short-lived excitement of the parking meter project was eclipsed by controversy and accusations of corruption after some city councillors, including the Deputy Mayor refused to endorse the project on the grounds that the council was not provided with enough information on the project and its contractor, including the contract with the council inked with National Parking Systems/Smart City Solutions to install and operate the meters.There are also questions about the companies’ track record in parking meter installation.last_img read more

GM slapped with causing death charges

first_imgThe General Manager of Guyana Quartz Sand Inc was on Wednesday granted 0,000 bail when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan for two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.Jason Bhaskaran, 23, of Timehri Public Road, East Bank Demerara (EBD), pleaded not guilty to both offences, which alleged that on April 17, 2016 at Coverden, EBD, he drove motor car PHH 8034 in a manner dangerous to the public, thereby causing the death of Rudolph Bess.Also on the same day, at the same location, he drove motor car PHH 8034 in a manner dangerous to the public thereby causing the death of Hensarie Persaud. Following the accident, Bhaskaran was released on 0,000 station bail.On Wednesday in court, Police Prosecutor Deniro Jones had no objections to bail and it was granted.Dead: Rudolph Bess Dead: Hensarie PersaudThe case will continue on July 13, 2016.Reports are that around 03:50h, Bess and Persaud were heading home on a ‘scrambler’ 125 motorcycle bearing registration number PH 378, while Bhaskaran was reportedly returning home in his jeep bearing registration number PHH 8034 after attending a wedding at Versailles, West Bank Demerara when the accident occurred.The driver of the jeep allegedly swerved from a dip in the road next to a culvert and collided with the motorcycle and a car which was heading in the opposite direction.The motorcycle was sandwiched by the two vehicles.As a result, both Bess and Persaud sustain grave injuries, to which they succumbed.last_img read more

Boy hospitalised, driver granted bail

first_imgEBE accidentThe seven-year-old boy who was struck at Vergenoegen, East Bank Essequibo, on Sunday 18 September is still hospitalised at the Georgetown Public Hospital.This information was released to Guyana Times by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Leslie James.James revealed that since the accident, the boy has been in a critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit. The child’s name and other information are yet to be released.The Assistant Commissioner disclosed that since his arrest after the accident, the minibus driver was placed on bail.According to reports, the accident occurred at around 09:00h. The Canter in which the boy was travelling was headed to Parika, East Bank Demerara (EBE) when it stopped. The boy was in the back and he jumped out and attempted to cross the road. A minibus heading in the same direction and passing the Canter at the time struck him.According to eyewitnesses, the child was flung some distance away.One eyewitness revealed to this publication: “I was sitting by that shop and I wasn’t really paying attention. Out of nowhere I heard this loud bam! And when I get up and check, I saw the boy lying in that grass corner. People start to run out and they pick him up. When I went and look at him, his head buss up.”Reports are that the boy’s head was partially crushed as a result of the impact.He was rushed by public spirited persons to hospital in an unconscious manner.last_img read more

Coalition an Alternative for 2017 UP Defeat

first_imgSenator George Weah has proposed the coalition of political parties as the best alternative to retire the Unity Party led government at the 2017 polls.Presidential elections will be held in two years with an expected full field of candidates in the quest for national leadership. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is serving her second and final term.Speaking over the weekend in Ganta City, Nimba County, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) political leader, Senator Weah, noted that capturing state power in 2017 requires a “shared vision” that will bring together the best minds from the Liberian political arena to successfully counter the Unity Party’s quest for an uninterrupted 12 years of governance.Said Weah, “We are very mindful that the unfolding political equation towards 2017 speaks about cooperation and collaboration among political parties and politicians with shared vision.“When we speak of political collaboration we speak not solely of increased numerical strength but essentially of consensus building on key national issues. The CDC is therefore open to dialogue and will in fact encourage cooperation and collaboration with other political parties and politicians. However, we will certainly not sacrifice our values and shared vision on the altar of numerical strength.” The Montserrado County lawmaker’s comments contradict previous assertions by some of his party officials, including National Chairman Nathaniel McGill, that “Weah will not be second to any candidate come 2017.”It can be recalled that prior to the 2011 elections, similar comments about Weah being the best choice to lead the CDC as a frontrunner were heard many times from party stalwarts, but it turned out that Weah eventually yielded his status to UN trained diplomat Cllr. Winston Tubman.The former FIFA world best soccer legend again defended the assertions of his dominance by saying, “If we have to do it alone, we can and we will.”Again, knowing that in two previous elections CDC has failed to collect the majority of votes required to govern the state, Weah noted, “We rather not, because, political cooperation and collaboration will strengthen our national vision and build consensus on national policy issues.”He described the planned political marriage as “essential in sustaining the peace and driving development.”To achieve this policy objective, he said, “The CDC will and must remain at the helm of any political collaboration to ensure that the confidence reposed in us by our mass followers is not betrayed.”According to him, “CDC believes that peace is cardinal to development and it can only be achieved through social justice, equal opportunity and equitable distribution of the national wealth.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more