Princess Charlotte christening: Crown Jewels leave London to take centre stage in Norfolk ceremony

The Lily Font and royal ewer will be taken from the Tower of London to St Mary Magdalene church in Sandringham for a royal christening with a difference

By , Chief Reporter, 12:01AM BST 05 Jul 2015, Source


The Crown Jewels almost never leave the Tower of London, let alone London, but two precious items will be taken to Norfolk in great secrecy today to play a central role in the christening of Princess Charlotte.


The 175-year-old Lily Font, leaving the capital for the first time, will hold water from the River Jordan with which the youngest member of the Royal family will be baptised, and the water will be poured from a solid silver ewer.


So tight is the security around all of the Crown Jewels that the exact timing and manner of their arrival in Norfolk is known to only a handful of people, and the man responsible for their upkeep takes great care never to be photographed.


Martin Swift, the Crown Jeweller since 2012, will only allow his gloved hands to appear in photographs with any of the items in the Tower, and is reluctant even to describe the custom-made box in which the font will be transported.


“To my knowledge it will be the first time the Lily Font has left London,” he said, “and hopefully it will come back in one piece!

“We have had a travelling case constructed for it, to keep things rock solid when it is moved. I can’t say how it will be moved though.”


Princess Charlotte will be christened at 4.30pm in the church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate, where her late grandmother Diana, Princess of Wales was also christened and where the Royal family worship on Christmas Day every year.


Thousands of members of the public are expected to turn out to see Princess Charlotte after the Duke and Duchess arranged for a paddock next to the church to be opened for the occasion.


Fewer than 30 people will attend the service; alongside the Duke and Duchess, Princess Charlotte and Prince George will be the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. Michael, Carole, Pippa and James Middleton will represent the Duchess’s side of the family.


The godparents and their spouses, whose names will be announced this morning, will also be there, and Prince George’s nanny Maria Borrallo is expected to attend in a working capacity.


One person who will not be there is Prince Harry, who has not been chosen as a godparent and is on a three-month visit to Africa. His cousins, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, are the bookies’ favourites to be given godparent roles.


After the service the guests will retire to Sandringham for an afternoon tea hosted by the Queen and official photographs taken by Mario Testino.


But as they arrive and leave the church they will be swamped by good will messages from the public, who will mass behind rope barriers for a rare chance to take part in a royal christening, which are almost always held in royal palaces away from public view.


Like her brother Prince George, Princess Charlotte will wear a replica of a christening robe made in 1841 and used in more than 60 royal baptisms since. The original was retired in 2004 but an exact copy was made from silk and Honiton lace.


The Lily Font, which was also used for the christening of Prince George, Princes William and Harry, the Prince of Wales and the Queen, has been used for the baptisms of almost every royal baby since it was commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1840.


Victoria paid £401 10s to have it made because she did not want her children to be christened in the same font that was used for the illegitimate children of Charles II.


Made of solid gilded sterling silver, it weighs more than 21lbs (10kg) and stands 17in high (43cm). The bowl is a large, open lily bloom, hence its name, and it is decorated with lilies, ivy and cherubs. It is only used for royal children who are entitled to an HRH title.


The ewer from which the water will be poured – sourced from the river where Christ was baptised – was made in 1735 for the christening of George III. It is a tulip-shaped pitcher with a handle topped by a figure of Hercules holding a large club and slaying the hydra, the second of his 12 labours, created to symbolise the triumph of Christian virtue over vice.


Mr Swift said the two items had needed no more than a quick dust before they were ready to leave for Norfolk.


“All of the Crown Jewels are given a thorough clean once a year,” he said. “It’s a fiddly job done with jewellers’ polishing cloths and cotton buds, and the only additional thing we have to do with the font is clean up any water marks after the baptism.”




1. Perhaps the world only speaks to those who are prepared to listen.


2. A man of courage never wants weapons.

New gov’t will set up systems to detect corruption – Nagamootoo

July 4, 2015 2:36 pm[], Source      


Acting President and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo has pledged the new government’s full commitment to having a corruption-free Guyana, even as he reminded of the forensic audits that are being conducted, the results of which will be used to prosecute those found culpable.


The Prime Minister, speaking at the launch of Anand Goolsarran’s new book, ‘Public Accountability at the Crossroads: the Guyana Experience’ at the Pegasus Hotel, noted his amusement over Ministers of the former government who have a vested interested in ‘trivialising’ the extent of corruption.


“They think that if they bring them down to the level of vehicles, then we would be tempted to look for the coins…but we are also concerned about missing vehicles, furniture, beds as well as large sums of monies that have been spent illegally, misspent or spent without proper procedures,” the Prime Minister said.


He pointed out that the APNU+AFC government will be setting up systems to detect corruption, and encourage reporting of dishonest acts. He noted that the Cabinet has started off by signing on to a Code of Conduct, and that the intention is to have officials even at the level of the region sign on to this code.


He noted that corruption has been like a cancer in Guyana, and to ensure that the country becomes free of this scourge, the government needs bodies such as Transparency Institute and the work of Anand Goolsarran.


He indicated his intention to act on the Public Procurement Commission, and hopes to get the support of the Opposition in this regard.


Transparency Institute Guyana Inc., used the opportunity to renew its called for the Government of Guyana to implement speedily, what it termed ‘critically needed’ commissions.


The Institute’s GINO Persaud noted that this was the first time in the history of the body that members of Government were in attendance at one of its event.  He was referring to Mr. Nagamootoo and Minister of Public Security and First-Vice President Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister in the Ministry of Finance Jaipaul Sharma and Minister in the Ministry of Communities Keith Scott who were present.


Persaud renewed calls that the institute has been making for five years, including setting up a Public Procurement Commission to provide independent oversight of public procurement, the prioritising of the appointment of members of the Integrity Commission, and for government to implement laws to regulate campaign financing in national elections, among others.


The need to guarantee integrity in public life, to ensure that all public money is placed in the Consolidated Fund, that no public expenditure is incurred without Parliamentary approval and a full review of the Access to Information, were also reiterated.


Goolsarran explained that this second book is a collection of articles which were published weekly in the Stabroek News under the theme “Accountability Watch” during the period June 2012 to December 2013.


The book comprises 81 articles, mostly dealing with issues relating to governance, transparency, and have a direct bearing on the legislature, he noted.


Goolsarran’s first book was launched on October 9, 2012. It was titled “Improving Public Accountability the Guyana Experience 1985-2007”. Dr. Goolsarran has over 28 years in the field of accounting and auditing and worked in the Audit Office of Guyana from 1985 to 2005, during which terms he served as AG from 1990 to 2005. He is credited with trying to restore public accountability from 1992, through his effort as AG of Guyana.


[Extracted and modified from GINA]




1. Perhaps the world only speaks to those who are prepared to listen.


2. A man of courage never wants weapons.

Police march in hundreds for anniversary parade

By Leroy Smith, July 4, 2015 5:35 pm[], Source


The Guyana Police Force on Saturday morning placed its best on display as they held their annual anniversary route march through the streets of Georgetown.


The parade saw Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud and his divisional commanders taking the salute from the parading ranks headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Clifton Hicken who was supported by Senior Superintendent of Police Whitney Bacchus.


The parade moved off from the Tactical Service Drill Square in the Police Headquarters Eve Leary and made its way through several city streets in Georgetown before heading to Brickdam.


The ranks marched to the sounds of the Guyana Police Force Band and those from the Police Steel Orchestra.


Units in the parade included Presidential Guards, Immigration, Criminal Investigation Department, Traffic, Scouts, Associations of Women Police, Police Welfare, Police Athletes, Community Policing Groups, Youth Groups, Traffic, Special Constables and individual groups representing the various police divisions.


When the parade re-entered the Police Headquarters at Eve Leary, they were addressed by Commissioner Persaud.


The parade ranks were rewarded by units for exceptional performance with the overall best performance going to the Tactical Service Unit, a win that they have been copping over the years. The Presidential Guard mustered the second place for their performance along the route.




1. Perhaps the world only speaks to those who are prepared to listen.


2. A man of courage never wants weapons.

Eleven corneal transplants done at GPHC

By , July 4, 2015, Source


Eleven corneal transplants were done this week at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation by a team of experts from the US-based Subraj Foundation.

A release from the GPHC today said that on arrival early in the morning of June 30th, the team spent all day at the hospital examining 35 patients in the clinic. On July 1st and 2nd, the surgeons performed 11 transplants, one cataract surgery, and one removal of corneal foreign body, the release said. Dr. Shailendra Sugrim, Head of the Department of Ophthalmology generated the list of patients to be seen by the team on the morning of June 30th. From this pool of patients, the team decided the suitability for transplant surgery.

Some of the patients required a second opinion from the US-based experts.The team will work closely with Dr. Sugrim in the follow up of the patients operated on, the release said.

The team brought the corneas with them, along with special micro-surgical Ophthalmic instruments to perform the surgeries. The donor corneas came from three US eye banks: Eastern Virginia, Texas Lions and NE Pennsylvania.

The team, headed by Dr. Rahul M. Jindal, has been coming to Guyana since 2008, and already has a record of performing twenty-six kidney transplants and six corneal transplants in Guyana. The previous six corneal transplants were successfully done by the same team in Guyana in August, 2014 and the corneas were donated by the N.E. Pennsylvania Eye Bank, the release added.

Jindal, team leader, thanked Michael Khan, CEO of GPHC, nurses and Dr.Sugrim for the superb arrangements in the operating rooms and clinics. Drs. Waller and Pasternack thanked George Subraj, President of Subraj Foundation, based in Queens, New York, for facilitating the humanitarian mission.

The US-based team is working with Dr. Sugrim to put together a list of patients who may require corneal transplants on the next visit, likely in September of this year. Patients are urged to contact Dr. Sugrim at the GPHC where all the procedures will be performed completely free of cost.




1. Perhaps the world only speaks to those who are prepared to listen.


2. A man of courage never wants weapons.

Ramjattan hands over 11 vehicles to police

By , July 3, 2015, Source


Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan today handed over eleven motor pick-up vehicles to the Guyana Police Force at a ceremony on the Tactical Services Unit Square, Police Headquarters.


A release from the police said that the motor vehicles had been intended for use by Community Policing Groups but were diverted to the Guyana Police Force by the Minister in recognition of the dire need for improved mobility in the Force.


In brief remarks, Ramjattan said that the new administration is cognizant of the needs of the force.


He said that the handing over is intended to ensure that the Police Force has more transportation available in order that communities are better patrolled and there is greater police presence in the various policing Divisions.


Ramjattan further indicated that efforts are in train to acquire international aid, not only with equipment, but also training to improve the capacity of the Police Force. He called on the Force to work hard for the Guyanese community while giving the assurance that the Government will remain very supportive.


Four each of the vehicles have been allocated to “A” Division (Georgetown/East Bank Demerara) and “B” Division (Berbice), with two going to “C” Division (East Coast Demerara) and the other to “D” Division (West Demerara/East Bank Essequibo).




1. Perhaps the world only speaks to those who are prepared to listen.


2. A man of courage never wants weapons.