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Date: 16 Aug 17 04:33am
… people should not stare at us, call us names or make silly remarks – say disabled studentsAs part of the preliminary activities leading to National Week for Persons with Disabilities, the Guyana Council of Organizations for Persons with Disabilities, in collaboration with the National Commission on Disability, hosted a symposium at St Joseph High School, on Tuesday.“National Week for Persons Living with Disabilities” is scheduled to be observed from November 27 to December 4.The symposium facilitated a competition involving topics related to the theme of this year’s activities, “Keeping the Promise: Include Persons Living with Disabilities in the Millennium Development Goals”.The symposium was divided into three categories, one each for presentations from Primary schools; special needs schools and secondary schools.Those competing in the secondary included Tutorial High, Apex Academy, Queen’s College, Fort Wellington, St Joseph Secondary and Central High.Those competing in the special needs segment were David Rose, New Amsterdam Special Needs Schools, and the Open Door Centre.Schools that competed in the primary school segment included, Leonora Primary, Stella Maris Primary, Stewartville Primary, Apex Academy and Grove PrimaryQueen’s College gained first place in the Secondary Schools segment with Fort Wellington in second place and Apex Academy in third.Leonora Primary gained first place in the Primary schools segment with Grove Primary, second and Stewartville Primary third.For the Special needs segment, Open door Centre gained first place followed by New Amsterdam and David Rose.Primary and special needs schools examined “In what ways can young people provide support for persons living with disabilities” and “In what way can your community play an important role in empowering persons living with disabilitiesSecondary Schools examined “The ultimate goal of inclusive quality education is to end all forms of discrimination and to assist in improving the lives of persons living with disabilities” and “Do you think that if parents and teachers co-operate, persons living with disabilities would enjoy a better quality of life?”It was the general agreement that persons with disabilities are “humans too”, therefore should be loved and cared for and not be discriminated against.Upon delivering their presentation, students from the David Rose Handicap School suggested that “people should not stare at us, call us names or make silly remarks. Instead, they should respect us as talented individuals.”It was proposed that persons with disabilities possess certain attributes that those people refer to as “normal” do not. These would include the ability to deliver and understand sign language.The open door centre, (National Vocational Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities) focused on parents and teachers playing a part in ensuring that persons with disabilities have a quality life.The students, in the opinion of many, presented their “well put together” information in a manner that was shocking to most.According to them, quality of life has to do with the general well-being of a person. They added that it will take into account; one’s standard of living, human rights, freedom, happiness and other human necessities.They supported the need for teachers to work hard towards the edification of persons with disabilities.The students presented a chart that showed the results of premium education. They suggested that a good education leads to the capture of a good job; a good job then leads to wealth. They further indicated that wealth produces houses and other luxuries that then results in the ultimate goal, “a quality life”.Presenters from other schools conveyed similar messages in that persons living with disabilities do not need sympathy or scorn instead; all they need is to be accepted by society as another human being.According to Alexis Mc Curdy, a student of Tutorial High School, nobody should be discriminated against.She further stated that many persons may feel isolated, unwanted or as if they are burdens to society. Since being disabled can be a cause and effect of poverty “we need not further discriminate against these persons”According to the representative of Queens College, discrimination becomes contagious in schools and society in general.The young man stated that he was a victim of discrimination thus he knows how it feels.He recalled that in the first form a coach, Brett Lawrie White Sox Jersey, who is no longer attached to the school, denied him the chance of being a part of the school’s cricket team because of the fact that he had a disability—he has one arm.“I would have been the best bowler; the fastest even, ” the young man lamented.Marcel Hudson, Assistant Chief Education Officer for Primary Education pledged the Ministry’s support to the future endeavors of the Guyana Council of Organizations for Persons with Disabilities.
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Date: 16 Aug 17 04:33am
Acting Town Clerk Carol Sooba on Thursday warned staffers of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) to carry out their functions effectively and within the confines of the law or risk being fired.Sooba, at a press briefing, said that the staffers of M&CC are not doing all in their power to effectively carry out their duties, while taking note and agreeing that there are hindrances in their ability to function.She said staffers will have to function or leave, “because there are other persons who want work.” The Town Clerk was at the time talking about the various departments where she said persons “were not performing the task for which they are paid for.”She spoke extensively about the current garbage situation in the city and cited several reasons for the current state of affairs. One reason she said was the decision by the Mayor to allow for “illegal vending on street corners and roadways, ” and another being the disregard by the electorate of the Council to abide by the law.Sooba said that the City Engineer’s office, Solid Waste Department, City Constabulary office and other departments have not been performing to standard.  This has been contributing to the poor performance by the M&CC.Sooba also noted that she would be doing everything in her power to clamp down on indiscriminate dumping, but especially stressed on the vending situation which in her view has contributed immensely to the current garbage situation.Sooba said that the position taken by the Council some years ago to allow persons to vend on the street corners with the payment of a small fee has to some extent been the source of the garbage problem and has further contributed to the deterioration of the city.Sooba said that former Chancellor Desiree Bernard had ruled that there should be no vending on the streets. She added that Justice Bernard had mentioned that the whole of the M&CC should be jailed for allowing the vending situation to escalate.Despite this, she said, the Mayor has allowed vending to continue in the city. But Sooba is adamant that she will see to it that vendors are removed, citing the wanton building of illegal structures and indiscriminate vending.When asked about the socio-economic situation that has caused the Mayor to allow these persons on the street, Sooba said that wanting to ensure a livelihood does not mean that persons could break the law or have the right to do so.Mayor Hamilton Green said that the vending situation is more than the Town Clerk who is in his view speaking out of an abundance of ignorance.Green said that there are several serious issues surrounding the current garbage situation. Before highlighting those issues, Green reiterated that persons have to live; many of the vendors on the streets are single parents.He highlighted that when these persons are taken off the street there is nowhere to put them.He continued that numerous moves have been made by the Council to have the government rectify the vending issue. One of these, he said, was a letter that was written to the Local Government Minister requesting that he ask his colleagues at the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) to sell no more state land without considering the allocation of a place in the City where the vendors could ply their trade.On that matter Green said that one would have to know how vending came about to understand the issue. He however said that apart from the Council being financially unable to deal efficiently with the garbage situation, there needs to be total re-education towards the garbage matter.He continued that since the removal of the dump site at Le Repentir Cemetery, the garbage situation has worsened. Haags Bosch, he noted, Carlos Lee Astros Jersey, is some eight miles away.He said unlike Le Repentir site which operated round the clock, the Haags Bosch site is closed at certain times. This means that a businessman wanting to dispose of his waste after closing time in the evening would have nowhere to dump his trash and thus do the unthinkable.Green said that until an alternative is found for the vendors the garbage situation will exist.
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Date: 16 Aug 17 04:32am
Even as the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) works to address some of its on-going issues, the body reportedly suffered tremendously under the previous government, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) administration.But even with change in the form of a new government, the GPSU will be keeping watch to ensure that previous indiscretions are not repeated by the coalition government, A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU AFC), said GPSU President, Patrick Yarde.He was addressing the GPSU 21st Biennial Delegates’ Conference, which officially opened yesterday.According to Yarde, GPSU was a domestic observer in the May 11, 2015 Regional and General Elections. He further said that during this occasion the people of Guyana demonstrated their right to change the government of the day, the then-ruling PPP. With this change, he added, a fresh start was made with a new government.Yarde recalled that a report addressing the issue of wages and salaries in the public service as well as other key concerns of public servants was created in January 1997. At the time, President Dr. Cheddi Jagan was the Head of State. Jagan had set up a bipartisan committee to focus on the functioning of the public service.The document “symbolised much of the frustration that public servants had had to endure under the previous administration.”However, he said, “The commitment given in this document died when Dr. Jagan died. His successors delegated the public service to misery.”Yarde further said that the PPP/C government had failed to understand that the public service is the bedrock upon which an efficient government rested.He highlighted a number of issues which were fuelled by the past administration including the politicisation of the Public Service Commission, defending the non-functioning of the public service, non-payment of income, and blatant discrimination.Additionally, Ronnie Lott College Jersey, he indicated that public servants would have appealed to the PPP Government for land for housing as well as childcare facilities for members’ children. However, Yarde said, these requests were all denied for over two decades.Rather, foreigners benefitted from the previous administration’s “giveaway policy”. Many of these deals were underpinned by illegalities and underhand deals, he said.“There is absolutely no doubt that other such sleazy deals took place under the PPP/C administration, ” he said.“Neither can we forget the blatant attempts to suffocate our union, financially, and to seize lands given to us 40 years ago by the then administration [the People’s Nation Congress] for recreational purposes.”Yarde also had grievances to air on the scholarship awards given out by the then Public Service Ministry (now the Department of Public Service). During a recent session of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the Guyana Public Service, Soyinka Grogan, Manager of the Scholarship Department of the former Public Service Ministry, testified that high ranking officials of the ministry were involved in handpicking students and public servants for scholarships and training programmes.Grogan also testified that many times those who were awarded did not meet the basic criteria for the awards.Grogan had said that in previous years there had been an interviewing process which was conducted by a group of educators. Following interviews and analyses of the candidates’ educational backgrounds, persons would then be shortlisted. However, this process has not been used in years while the current process is unknown.“Years ago it worked; we had better outcomes. We had plenty persons coming out before us who knew what they really wanted to do; that is what they applied to do. Now we have young people going with the flow. They just apply but they are not sure that it is what they really want to do, ” Yarde said.He emphasised that this, too, demonstrated efforts by the PPP to undermine the public service. “They aimed to erode its [the public service’s] capacity to provide efficient service, to play Monopoly with taxpayers’ money, [and] to frustrate bright and ambitious young people, ” he said.He called for an appropriate review of the scholarship awards programme as well as the insertion of appropriate panels to ensure that the selection process is just and fair.But while Yarde had harsh words for the previous administration, he emphasised that the new government will similarly be scrutinised.“This union will not countenance a situation where in any respect the government mimics its predecessor in its treatment of public servants, ” Yarde stressed. “We are mindful that the issues of the past are not to be repeated.”According to Yarde, public servants must be treated with respect and dignity. He said too, that the desire is to see the end of the days of the “impoverished public servant”.“Our public servants avail our country the best years of our lives; never, in many instances, are we able to lead quality lives because what we earn does not allow us to do so, ” he said. He added that many public servants retire “broke, completely dependent on a pension that does not even come remotely close to being fair compensation for the contributions made…and reduced to hustlers just to stave off hunger and the absence of shelter for the rest of our lives”.He emphasised that a change is needed and that the Government of Guyana can be an integral role in changing the lives of public servants.He said that the GPSU will openly welcome positive proposals put forward by the government that will benefit both the public service and public servants.He further admitted that it is understood that progress cannot be achieved in a day. However, he said, it must be assured that the recommendations made by public servants and the interest of the members are taken seriously.“Due attention must be paid to our members’ concerns as well as to their contributions to the country’s national development will be acknowledged, ” Yarde said.The GPSU conference commenced yesterday and will end tomorrow. Yesterday’s opening saw hundreds of public servants turning out at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre to participate in the programme.During the conference, issues plaguing the union will be discussed and a way forward will be formulated.The conference is being held under the theme “Enhancing the Process of Restoration of Dignity and Professionalism in the Public Service”. The subtheme for the conference is “Efficient and Quality Service”. There will also be a panel discussion on the theme of the conference.
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Date: 16 Aug 17 04:32am
-bank lending increased 20 percent last yearGovernment is gearing to finalise its Sovereign Wealth Fund this year, to ensure that it reaps the benefits from its industries.The disclosures were made yesterday during the presentation of the 2016 National BudgetGold remained one of the biggest contributors the economy last year.presentation by Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, who declared that the country is conservatively targeting 550, 000 ounces of gold- about a 100, 000 ounces more than what was recorded at the end of last December.Speaking on the mining and quarrying sector, Minister Jordan noted that in spite of the downturn in bauxite (13.4 percent) and quarrying (0.3 percent), the sector grew by a strong nine percent, thanks to a very dominant performance by gold, which grew by 16.4 percent.Though the increase in gold production was attributed to the new entrants – Guyana Goldfields and Troy Inc. – it was the local miners who accounted for over 90 percent of the 451, 490 ounces that were declared.“The significant incentives granted to the sub-sector by this Government, undoubtedly, played a major part in the substantial increase in declaration. But Guyana remains troubled by disclosures that as many as 15, 000 ounces of gold per week are being smuggled out of the country.“We have begun to address this matter frontally and expect that all stakeholders in the sub-sector will play their part in bringing an end to this illegal practice.”Jordan disclosed that increased export receipts of gold and “other exports”, by 6.7 percent and 9.4 percent respectively, ensured a small 0.2 percent increase in merchandise export earnings, to US$1.2 billion.“As expected, there were significant reductions in export receipts for bauxite (16.4 percent), timber (18.5 percent), sugar (8.1 percent), and rice (11.5 percent).”The Minister said that although the country’s extractive industries were hindered by low global prices in 2015, there were many positive developments.“For instance, Michael Jordan White Sox Jersey, the gold industry achieved unprecedented levels of production, spurred by the coming on stream of two large gold operations. Permanent and temporary employment will continue to be generated as these two gold companies continue their expansion within the mining industry.  Such bold investments are vital for economic growth and development and will be encouraged by this administration.”However, there were worrying indications that small and medium scale operators in the sector have struggled, due to low commodity prices.“In addition, many small-scale miners, who received concessions in 2015, were unable to take up these opportunities due to lack of tax compliance.  This is indeed a cause for concern, as every Guyanese must pay their fair share of taxes. We intend to work closely with the gold mining sector to ensure sensitization on this issue.”Despite the challenges, he assured, the efforts of local miners must be applauded, for it is the gold industry that will continue to drive growth in the economy over the medium term.“The Government will continue to work with the extractive sectors to support increased production that is environmentally and socially sustainable.”Jordan said that petroleum is poised to become an important industry for Guyana.“Following earlier discoveries, Exxon Mobil will undertake further exploratory drilling of the Liza Well.  Additionally, a Petroleum Prospecting Licence and Production Sharing Agreement have been signed, recently, with Tullow Guyana B.V. and Eco (Atlantic) Guyana Inc. for a small concession called the Orinduik Block, just offshore of Guyana and close to Exxon Mobil’s discovery.”He said that despite the low oil prices, which are expected to continue through to next year, licensed operators remain committed and new venture interests are considered on a regular basis.“These investments will bring fruitful rewards to the Guyanese, people through increased revenues, employment and income, which will propel Guyana towards achieving national as well as sustainable development goals.   The preparedness of Guyanese to respond to the needs of this growing sector is critical, and as such, much emphasis will be placed on capacity building during the year.”However, there was some bad news. The bauxite sector underperformed in 2015, largely due to low commodity prices.  It will not get better this year.“During 2016, the sector will continue to face challenges, as commodity prices are expected to remain low. Work is presently underway to stimulate greater foreign and local investment in the forestry sector, especially in value-added activities. Sustainable management of the forestry resources will continue through community training and capacity building, which will target over 400 persons.”According to Jordan, the Government, through the Ministry of Natural Resources, will continue to work along with the international community to develop a comprehensive, equitable and sustainable international regime of compensation for the provision of climate amelioration services provided by Guyana.This year, it is the projections that the mining and quarrying sub-sector is targeted to improve by 16.6 percent.“Once again, this growth will be driven by gold, whose output is conservatively estimated to increase by 22 percent to 550, 000 ounces. Other mining (sand and stone) is targeted to improve by 4.4 per cent, with the predictable upsurge in construction activities.  As the bauxite industry continues to struggle with reorganization and soft prices on the world market, production is expected to be maintained just at the 2015 level of 1, 526, 467 metric tonnes.”Meanwhile, it was also disclosed that net domestic credit of the banking system grew by 19.4 percent to $185 billion.Loans and advances to the private sector grew by 6.2 percent. Credit to all sectors grew, except for the mining, manufacturing, other services and agriculture sectors.“Private sector credit represented 64.1 percent of M2, compared to 61.3 percent in 2014. The public sector, which consists of deposits net of loans and advances, treasury bills and debentures, remained a net depositor with the banking system. The public enterprises (net) deposits amounted to $45.3 billion, a 22 percent increase.”Total liquid assets of the commercial banks expanded by 14.6 percent to $122.8 billion. The banks’ excess liquid assets amounted to $47.8 billion or 63.8 percent above the required level and reflected the banks’ preference for short-term assets, comprising mainly Government of Guyana treasury bills.”
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Date: 16 Aug 17 04:31am
After four months, evidence into the death of Pomeroon Farmer, Marcus Allen College Jersey, Victor Williams is being heard in court. The three murder accused, Frankie and Josephine Henry and Trevor Abrams ak Rubba, made their second appearance at the Charity Magistrate’s Court, before Magistrate Faith Mc Gusty.Witness number one, 18-year-old, Sheldon Williams, evidenced to lead commencement of yesterday’s trial. The young Williams after officially taken his formal oath gave a detailed account of what he said occurred on July 22, last at Friendship, Canal, and Lower Pomeroon.Police in a report stated that Victor Williams died of injuries sustained to both his legs and face. At the scene police discovered a blood stained jersey, a hat and a pair of slippers.The three accused were represented by counsel, Compton Richardson. They will appear again before magistrate Mc Gusty on November 15, next.Sheldon Williams is one of five other witnesses scheduled to testify at the preliminary inquiry.
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