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Name: Mnopqrstuv
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Date: 13 Aug 17 10:59pm
“Industry is sitting on an economic time bomb”- Economist Dr. Clive Thomas By Kiana Wilburg The more local economists continue to analyze the accounts of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), the more they realize that the sugar industry is in a financially dreadful state.EconomistDr. Clive ThomasDr. Clive Thomas in an interview with Kaieteur News on Sunday related, that the industry needs to be purged and its deficiencies addressed from several areas, apart from a managerial perspective.Recently, the board members of GuySuCo and the entity’s CEO were forced to step down after years of failing to nurse the ailing industry back to “good health”.But the condition seems to have gotten worse.Dr. Thomas said the industry has now found itself “buried” in excess of $90B in debt until 2017. Based on an overview of GuySuCo’s accounts, he said that it was just less than this for the period 2012 to 2014. Dr. Thomas said in no uncertain terms that, “the sugar industry is now sitting on an economic time bomb.”The economist said that he had warned about this in a series of previous columns he had dedicated to examining and proving that the industry was at a point of no return.“But my findings were either too alarming for some to digest or were just completely ignored. People should not allow themselves to be left in bewilderment when they hear certain things coming out at this point; like the industry being unable to pay its workers. I had pointed to many of these before, ” Dr. Thomas reflected.He added that he was not the least bit surprised when it was announced that the coffers of the industry hadn’t enough money to pay some of its workers.The economist said that GuySuCo has become an entity which “produces less and less and it is costing more and more”, while its sales decline.He posited that GuySuCo’s survival now depends on direct official bailouts, while it unceasingly increases its indebtedness. He said that this quite frankly is unsustainable.In previous columns in 2011 and 2012, Dr. Thomas had addressed several important topics, in some detail, which revealed that in comparison to the rapid global growth in production and exports of sugar, stagnation and decline have been the hallmarks of Guyana’s sugar industry. These have lasted over three decades.He had also addressed a set of strategies designed by the authorities to turn around the sugar industry. These strategies are mainly the Sugar Modernization Project (SMP) and the later Turnaround Plan (Blue-print) initiated by GuySuCo’s Interim Board in 2009.The SMP includes the construction of the Skeldon Factory along with its related Berbice agricultural fields restructuring, as well as the construction of the Enmore Packaging Plant.Dr. Thomas reminded that over the decades, sugar’s contribution to GDP, export earnings, and tax revenue has fallen well behind that of other traditional commodity sectors such as gold, rice, and bauxite, as well as the services sector.He added, “I had earlier columns which also looked at the money that was given to the sugar industry by the European Union (EU).”In that series dedicated to the sugar industry he had said, “I had calculatedly treated this as conscience money paid by Britain and the EU as compensation for their unilateral revocation of the EU-African-Caribbean-Pacific countries (ACP) Sugar Protocol, from which they had previously drawn considerable benefit.”“Large sums directed to Guyana’s sugar industry by the EU have to be seen in the light of the additional massive bailouts provided by the Government of Guyana to GuySuCo in recent years.”Dr. Thomas said that as worldwide experience has shown, it is hard, politically, for governments to stop providing unwarranted subsidies to state industries. He said, however, that it is far worse for them to yield to those interests that are driving the need for the subsidies.He emphasized that the misallocation of national resources, implicit in this posture, is inevitably bad for everyone economically, but it will eventually also carry a devastating political cost, given the size and configuration of the sugar industry in Guyana’s political economy.Economist Rawle Lucas had also recently added his voice to the subject matter.He said that one should be concerned about the state of GuySuCo’s coffers given that the Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, disclosed that the Consolidated Fund is in overdraft by some $60B.He defined the Consolidated Fund to be a reflection of the total sum of money that is collected or received by the Government of Guyana. The official account is kept at the Bank of Guyana. The government uses the money to meet expenditures on the goods and services that it provides to the public.The financial commentator said that while the Consolidated Fund is the most important account of the government, GuySuCo is its most important enterprise especially when one considers that it employs about 16, 000 persons and contributes about four per cent to domestic output.“Given what we heard about the $16 billion debt of GuySuCo, the Consolidated Fund has probably seen no money from this entity in a long time. Instead, GuySuCo has been a perennial drag on the hard-earned money of the taxpaying public, ” Lucas opined.He said that in the case of GuySuCo, the impact of this type of behaviour on the taxpayers of Guyana is hard.“In the first instance, the taxpayers gave annual subsidies to GuySuCo…What GuySuCo consciously did was transfer about three times the amount of the subsidies to consumers overseas. When Guyanese take account of the money that they get from the European Union (EU), GuySuCo still ends up transferring twice as much taxpayers’ money overseas.”Under these conditions, Lucas opined that GuySuCo is doing absolutely nothing for Guyana, since it is also taking a portion of its foreign earnings to pay the subsidies of foreign consumers.He said that without a restructured GuySuCo, it is impossible to see how the new government could reduce Value Added Tax and pay higher wages to public servants, both of which have the potential to help the economy grow faster and stronger.He said, too, that the new administration also has to take a pragmatic position on the sugar industry.Lucas said that the malpractice of holding the majority of the population to ransom needs to be discontinued.  He reminded that the contribution of sugar to the economy has fallen significantly. He said that gold, Tyler Naquin Indians Jersey, other agricultural crops and rice have all surpassed sugar in importance to the Guyana economy. At the same time, gold, rice and bauxite bring in far more foreign exchange than sugar.“The sugar industry must undergo radical change if this country is to move forward, since GuySuCo can hardly qualify as a “going concern”. The taxpayers did their part on May 11 and it is now up to the government to do the rest, ” he concluded.
Name: Klmnopqrst
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Date: 13 Aug 17 10:59pm
Residents of a large section of Number 28 Village, West Coast Berbice are at their wits end over not having a supply of potable water for the past months. Most heavily affected are residents in Carmichael Street, Housing Scheme.Residents dug this hole to access water at ground level.The area is being supplied by the well station at Kingelly, WCB.Genera Harewood complained that in the past the water pressure being extremely low on a regular basis, now there is no water.Another problem in the area is that the frequent blackouts interrupt the operation at the well station. Another resident, Wayne Wallerson said that the Guyana Power and Light Inc (GPL) and Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) are playing the blame game.Wallerson is of the opinion that a large pump was removed from Kingelly—the neighbouring village— and it was replaced with a smaller pump. “Apparently it cannot push the water into this scheme and other low lying areas.” He last received potable water in February.He said that several visits and complaints to the Regional Chairman, Bindraban Bisnauth, proved futile. “He promised to look into it, but nothing.”Residents took it upon themselves to dig under a pipeline so that they can access water at the lowest level.A furious Stacey Wallerson accused the administration of discrimination, since residents of neighbouring villages are getting water into their backlands. She claims those residents are watering vegetation and plants with it.“Right now we have a sore issue with this water!” The woman said that living way down into the village proves to be a disadvantage to her and family since the water distribution is at its lowest and poorest there. “I have children that have to go to school in the morning and they cannot get water to bathe!”“I don’t know if we (are) going back in the days—because they have this political affair right now in the air! I want to know if we the smaller people—if we don’t have a voice.”Several efforts to contact GWI and Bisnauth yesterday, Carlton Fisk Red Sox Jersey, proved futile.
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Date: 13 Aug 17 10:59pm
Management of the Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB) has expressed shock over Wednesday evening’s brazen attack on a pedestrian.The victim, a twenty-one year-old female of Providence, East Bank Demerara, was beaten, in an apparent sexual assault/robbery attempt, and then thrown overboard by her attacker.General Manager of the DHB, Rawlston Adams, yesterday agreed that the nature of the attack was totally unheard of on the structure which has become a popular exercising spot for walkers.The attacker, described as “big-bellied”, was still being sought as at press time.Security on the harbour bridge is tight, assured Adams, with personnel located at both ends and near the retractor span.However, the attack on Wednesday occurred at around 20:00 hrs. It also came at a time when a power outage had just hit the bridge.The official noted that security on the bridge ‘is at always on high’, and there was no need for additional ranks.Adams also stressed that there is no way that any persons with evil intentions could carry out their acts and then use the networks of pontoons under the bridge to escape. The only alternative is the walkways.On Wednesday night, the Guyana Technical Institute student was walking on the bridge listening to her iPod when her attacker emerged from the darkness and cuffed and kicked her about the body and stabbed her in the ear.The woman said that she stayed alive by clinging desperately to the pontoons holding the bridge together, Nolan Ryan Astros Jersey, then pulling herself up to safety.Placing a sharp object to her neck, the man had dragged her down to the area below the bridge where he demanded money and jewels.“I can’t swim, so I put my legs up and braced it against the pontoon and pulled myself up.”A motorcycle rider, who was passing had rescued the traumatized girl.According to the man, he placed the woman on his motorcycle and took her back across the bridge to the police outpost.
Name: Lmnopqrstu
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Date: 13 Aug 17 10:58pm
By Crystal ConwayIt is a common occurrence in many communities across Guyana to walk or drive past a business that was recently closed after operating only for a few months, then to see another one pop up in the same spot a short time later. This cycle is then repeated yet again.It is a fact that small and medium sized enterprises are the backbone of the local economy, but another less touted fact is that the number of start-ups that just disappear into thin air is disproportionately high.There are large numbers of unregistered small businesses, corner shops and stands. The reasons for not registering a business can vary but many times the entrepreneurs do not want to cut into their profit margins with the necessary payments that are part and parcel of being a registered commercial entity.They are not charged business tariffs for the utilities they use nor do they pay landed or import taxes at the commercial rates required of them.In a recent interview, Mr. Chandradat Chintamani, President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), was asked about these disappearing businesses.He noted that first of all there is need for better controls in place to recognise the presence of new businesses and to enforce the registration requirements on them in an effort to ensure that they contribute their fair share to the taxes of the country in accordance with their status as business entities.He added that there are occasions when a business would start up and operate for a short time under a given name, only to ‘close down’ and reopen under a new name, carrying on the same business activities; simply as a means of evading the taxes due.Over the past few years however, the new Value Added Tax/Tax Payer Identification (VAT/TIN) regulations have added some measure of accountability to the system in terms of doing business with the Government.It is now impossible to receive imports without a TIN number and reclaiming VAT is not possible if an entity is not duly registered with all the necessary paperwork to prove their legitimate status.But although these measures should in principle make operating an unregistered business harder, Sammy Sosa Cubs Jersey, there are still Guyanese who manage to find their way around without having to pay the necessary taxes.However, as they make the move into legitimacy, a number of these businesses fold under the pressures of the taxes and duties they have to pay, coupled with overhead operating costs and the market forces that govern their profit lines. They fold and leave unpaid loans with the lending agencies dedicated to furthering the cause of small businesses in the country.According to Mr. Chintamani, the issue of taxes perhaps being too high for entrepreneurs now entering the business sector and for businesses already in existence is being addressed by the government in the tax review that is currently underway.He noted that although it has been ongoing for some time there is a good possibility that in the next 12 to 14 months there may actually be a comprehensive answer as to what the ideal taxes might be for Guyana, especially when compared to the other nations of the Caribbean.When or even if, these new taxes would be implemented was another matter entirely.According to a senior member of a private accounting firm, other contributory factors to the failure of businesses, both large and small are inadequate resources and funding as well as mismanagement, which are all valid concerns.Many Guyanese may not feel that they qualify for funding to start a business, and may be unable to keep up with the interest rates on the repayment of a bank loan – provided they even qualify for one or any number of other financially oriented reasons.Mismanagement is also an issue, especially since most small business owners may not have the wherewithal to engage in the necessary training or pick up the skills needed to run a business.
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Date: 13 Aug 17 10:58pm
Fragments from MemoryBy Moses V. NagamootooOn Friday, February 14, 1997 (Valentine’s Day), Cheddi Jagan suffered a fatal heart attack. He battled heroically in hospital for twenty-one days, but succumbed on March 6.The late Cheddi Jagan gave over fifty years of his glorious life to his country and people. At 79, he had reached the pinnacle of service. He died at his post as the Republic’s first democratically-elected President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. He had earned the stature of a Mahatma and, indisputably, the Father of the Nation.Many assessments have already been made of his life, and more would be made. But without accounts from those who shared the experiences of his life and struggles, much could remain unsaid, and lost.Much would be said about his politics and ideology. But the Cheddi Jagan I knew during the three decades I had worked alongside him was essentially a patriot wrapped up in a set of attitudes. Those, for me, better explained his personality, his world outlook and his convictions.Moses V. NagamootooHe was, as he himself had admitted, a workaholic. During his unenviable stint as Opposition Leader (1964-92), when he was not attending a party or public meeting, he devoted time to reading, researching and writing. He was a patient listener who constantly learned from the views of others.Because of those multiple tasks, which he executed continuously and almost simultaneously, he was forced to convert his small office at Freedom House into a study, a guest lounge as well as a rest house. He would enjoy an hour’s after-lunch siesta in his Amerindian hammock inside that office.I cannot say when he was first diagnosed as being unwell, and I never really knew until I was informed that he had suffered a “mild cardiac episode”. I knew though that when he became President of the Republic a regimen of rest away from office was implemented on Wednesdays, when he would either remain at State House or retire to his Bel Air residence.At home Dr. Jagan worked informally on statements, speeches, articles and research papers. I would invariably assist him in those tasks. But the only time when I went to State House to review a speech, it was evident from his swollen, dark eye-sockets that he had had a hard, Cheap NFL Jerseys, long night of work.His after-lunch rest-hour then was a necessity for Dr. Jagan who would have started his day long before sunrise. However, when he came to the Office of the President, his siesta became irregular. His rest-time was constantly pushed to later in the afternoon, then at times not at all.I believe that that was the reason for the imposition of a day-off on Wednesdays. But if frugality for him meant that time should not be squandered, it was his thoughtfulness about what his colleagues should do with their time that added novelty to his day-off.One day our late President announced casually at Cabinet that he had started routine exercise in the National Park. Rather than using up precious office hours for scheduled monthly meetings with each of his Ministers, he thought out an innovative plan: He would invite Ministers, one at a time, to accompany him on his walk around the Park. In that way, he had explained, the Ministers would do two things simultaneously: keep their monthly appointment with him and exercise.Like work, exercise for him, was both fun and tonic. He told us often that he exercised while reading his newspapers, or listening to the radio – his favourite pastime.The President’s Engagement Diary had me down for a walk on Wednesday, February 12 at 5 p.m.In preparation I took my dark-blue sweat suit to my Ministry, which was on the ground floor of the Office of the President. It was the first time that I was going to the National Park for a jog. I didn’t know what to expect. I was slightly overweight, and I didn’t think I could run.What if Dr. Jagan decided to trot around the Park?Dr Cheddi JaganBut there I was, filled with mystery and expectation, on my first outing in the Park with my “Comrade Leader”. I parked my car at the northern entrance and waited. I allowed my eyes to roam around the Park in a mental survey of the distance I would have to do. Just then I saw Central Bank official, Dr. Gobind Ganga, who had served on the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the University of Guyana and, more recently, on an advisory team for the privatisation of the Guyana Electricity Corporation.Ganga approached me. He said that the President wanted to have a talk with him, and that he was asked to meet him here at the Park. Poor Ganga, he didn’t know that he would have to trek and talk. I glanced at his white shirt-jac, black office pants and hard, leather shoes. I knew that he was not prepared for a walk.When I told him what to expect, he sauntered to his vehicle, and was back in a jiffy. His shirt-jac was tucked into his pants, and he was ready for any action. By then, the president’s car appeared.If Ganga wasn’t prepared for the Park, Dr. Jagan didn’t dress for the sleek presidential car from which he had emerged. He wore the off-cream pants I had seen him wear many, many years before. Those Hungarian pants! We had bought them in the summer of 1978 when we went together on a political mission to Budapest.I believe that our nation’s father couldn’t throw away anything, and he kept those pants together with some stitches here and there. I bet that he did the stitching himself, as he had learned tailoring in jail when he gave up wood-working after accidentally slicing off a piece of his finger.His jailing, of course, was another matter. It was a symbolism of the conversion of Guyana into a colonial prison from which our dreams couldn’t escape for an entire generation.But it was the Hungarian pants that survived to that unforgettable day when I joined Ganga for Comrade Cheddi’s last lap around the National Park.He wore a white T-shirt with some markings on it, and a white baseball cap. I think it was from a local rice company. His track boots were unmistakably small for an aged warrior.“Hi there!” he greeted us with those familiar two words.“Well, how many laps are we going for?” I asked as he held my shoulder.“Sometimes I do two, sometimes more.”I was worried about the “more”. I didn’t want to walk by his side and let him hear my heavy breathing.He shook Ganga’s hand and he placed himself between us. I was on his right, on the outer side. We started off leisurely on the narrow, pitched track along an avenue bordered by trees. It was “Comrade Cheddi”, as we addressed him endearingly, who freed this Park up for popular recreation during a previous government, which he then headed as Premier.The sprawling, green landscape had been an exclusive golf club for the privileged and elite.As we walked, Dr. Jagan concluded his business with me in two words: “Everything alright?”I also answered dismissively, “Yes”.I knew that that day I was to listen. It was my turn to learn.The discussion was about privatisation in general and, more particularly, about the Guyana Electricity Corporation.Comrade Cheddi spoke about the national interest, the risk in building monopolies, the impact of privatisation on the working people and on the poor. It was a lecture in classical political economy, but his tone was hushed, and he sounded conspiratorial.Just then Mike Brassington, the head of the Privatisation Unit, passed us. He was walking with his wife in an opposite direction. He raised his hand, and Comrade Cheddi simply nodded.The GEC was in shambles when the PPP/Civic government took over, he reminded us. GEC has made significant progress and it must be set right before the next [1997] elections. GEC was an example of the stubbornness of the government to set things right. Therefore a privatisation model must not lose sight of the gains so far.He wanted publicity on what improvements have been made, and the new assets that were bought with government’s own money to stop the endemic blackout, and stabilise power supply.As we were nearing the National Park stadium, my colleague Bert Wilkinson, the local AP correspondent, hailed at us. He was playing softball, and he pointed at my bulging tummy and must have said something like “Cheddi looks far fitter than you!” We laughed and continued around the bend.It was an afternoon of respect. Couples said “good afternoon”, children hailed “President Jagan!” and persons unbeknown to him giggled and shyly said “hello”. We passed David De Caires, the editor-in-chief of Stabroek News, walking with, I believed, a lanky PNC Parliamentarian, John De Freitas. They passed us on the right, outer edge of the track. Comrade Cheddi did not notice them.De Caries lifted his eyes, but went past us silently. He was to look at the living face of the Guyanese leader he had cruelly criticised with predictable regularity just one more time.That was on the second and final lap.The conversation became more intense. Comrade Cheddi was concerned about the implications for the big and powerful industrialised states of the divestment process in Guyana. While he drew a distinction between the Canadian “social” approach and the American’s “profit bottom-line” approach to foreign investment, he held an open attitude towards privatisation.His principle on privatisation was simple: “If we have to, we would; if we don’t, we won’t”.He wanted care to be taken at every stage of the process, and that it must not appear that there had been any preference for companies or any notion of a raw deal for any of them. Above all, he wanted that with regards to GEC two things should be clear. Firstly, the assets of the corporation should be fairly assessed; and secondly, that any post-privatisation agreement must protect the consumers from high or arbitrary charges.As we finished the second and final lap, the rains started to drizzle. We continued a while in the drizzle, but the drivers were bringing out umbrellas. The Guyanese leader noticed that others were walking in the rain, including a young niece, Dionne. He didn’t want to appear indiscreet. So he waved the umbrellas away and beckoned us into his car. I dived into the front seat and he and Ganga huddled in the back.The conversation was switched to finance, and Ganga, now wearing his Bank of Guyana hat, was doing much of the talking. Comrade Cheddi was listening with deep intensity. He was asking many questions. And Ganga was explaining how excess liquidity was being mopped up, the impact on inflation of lower interest on treasury bills, and the role of the Central Bank in fiscal management.It was a conversation that could have gone on and on, but the guards signaled to Comrade Cheddi that it was time to leave. Little did I know then that that was my last lap with our Mahatma, who was to fall mortally ill two days later.Dr. Jagan knew that he had another appointment that afternoon, and he drove off into the hazy evening.We had lost the sun and darkness was about to engulf us.
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