They got the govt they deserve.

cain posted:

First. Where are the so called ambulances from PPP time you think they had any?

Second. That prick lying in the back should have been lying under the wheels.

PNC in charge now, they made sure they got 50% raises before addressing any other issue in Guyana. Don't know about PPP time and ambulances but I never saw a sick person on being transported to hospital in the back of a pickup as though it was a war zone in an African nation. 

As for the defendant, innocent until proven guilty, I assume you heard of this saying before?

Drugb posted:
cain posted:

First. Where are the so called ambulances from PPP time you think they had any?

Second. That prick lying in the back should have been lying under the wheels.

PNC in charge now, they made sure they got 50% raises before addressing any other issue in Guyana. Don't know about PPP time and ambulances but I never saw a sick person on being transported to hospital in the back of a pickup as though it was a war zone in an African nation. 

We never saw anyone transported, probably never were, but we did read of people found propped up dead for days.

As for the defendant, innocent until proven guilty, I assume you heard of this saying before?

Banna look rest yo rass yeh. So just to make an argument you have become a champion for blacks, especially those accused of rape?

 

The PNC boys ignoring the Ombudsman. They got the govt they deserve.

20 months later…No action taken by Govt. on damning Ombudsman reports


 

“The appointment of an Ombudsman is only part of the task. We must ensure that the office is effective.” Those words were spoken by a national leader and staunch anticorruption advocate.  In fact, the former head of the political opposition was one who fought aggressively for the operationalization of the office of the Ombudsman, a constitutional office that was non-functioning for more than seven years.
That same man and even members of his team spoke at length about the worrying findings coming from the two damning reports prepared by that office. They said that the reports show injustice, vindictiveness, grave wrong doing and the financial treachery of the PPP administration.
Twenty months later, many are disappointed that the David Granger administration has not taken a single action on those two damning reports, which were prepared by Justice Winston Moore, before he passed away September last. Moore was appointed to serve in that office by the Ramotar administration in January 2014.

FREDDIE KISSOON
One report deals with the issue of Kaieteur News columnist Freddie Kissoon being wrongfully dismissed from the University of Guyana.
Kissoon was on a contract with the University of Guyana but it was terminated by the tertiary institution in January 18, 2012. This was in spite of the fact that Kissoon’s contract had five months remaining, at the end of which, he would have reached the age of retirement.
Rather than the story that he was dismissed, the University had said that it merely ended the contract earlier, eight months before the contract expired. The contract stipulated that it could be terminated and three months’ salary paid in lieu of notice.
Kissoon did not hear from the University despite several efforts for a reason for why his contract was terminated prematurely.
Following a complaint lodged with the Office of the Ombudsman, UG was notified that the newspaper columnist’s contract being terminated in such a manner breached UG’s regulations. The report on the issue said that he should be compensated.
Since the Ombudsman made this pronouncement in January 6, 2015 no action has been by the institution to compensate Kissoon.

THE NBS REPORT  
The late Ombudsman Moore had also ruled on another controversial matter relating to the New Building Society (NBS).
The Office of the Ombudsman concluded in November 2014 that police wrongfully charged the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and two of his managers of a massive $69M fraud at the New Building Society, in 2006.
The explosive document by the public complaint office was based on complaints by Maurice Arjoon, the former CEO. Arjoon, in his complaint, said he and two managers, Kissoon Baldeo, and Kent Vincent, were deliberately and maliciously charged by police for a $69M scam.

President David Granger

The late Ombudsman,
Winston Moore

Arjoon said that he believed that the trumped-up fraud charges, later dismissed in the Magistrates’ Court, stemmed from his refusal to lend $2B for the construction of the Berbice River Bridge.
The former Government had been seeking financing for the project. Arjoon reportedly told his Board of Directors that the regulations barred the institution from lending that much. NBS voted to invest $350M in the project.
Arjoon claimed that his refusal to illegally lend the $2B angered former President Bharrat Jagdeo, who was in power at that time.
Arjoon, who has been insisting his innocence from day one, said in his complaints that over seven years were taken away from his life.
The late Justice Moore, who had sweeping powers to investigate abuse by public officers, hired former Deputy Commissioner of Police, Henry Chester, DSM, who, in reviewing a copy of the police files, found that based on the evidence, there was no way that the three men could have been charged. It was also found that the police files did not include a key exhibit.
Arjoon had filed a high court action to overturn the decision of NBS to dismiss him, saying that he lost his benefits as a result.
The explosive report raised serious questions about the rush by the police to lay charges; the role of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the role played by the Central Islamic Organization of Guyana.
Since the report was laid in the National Assembly, nothing has happened.

UNACCEPTABLE
If no action on the reports of the Ombudsman is taken, then what is the point of having one? This sums up the position put forward by Presidential advisor on Sustainable Development, Dr. Clive Thomas.
He said that it has been over a year since the late Ombudsman, Winston Moore released two damning reports on various injustices which occurred under the People’s Progressive Party administration and no action has been taken by the institutions involved or the state.

Kaieteur columnist,
Freddie Kissoon

Former NBS CEO,
Maurice Arjoon

Thomas emphasized that it is important for the findings and recommendations of Moore’s reports to be dealt with, as further procrastination would only serve to undermine efforts for good governance at various levels.
The Presidential Advisor said that the Ombudsman’s office is one that should be respected, and failure to act on his findings represents “total disregard for the people, for his office as well as the importance of ensuring justice is served.”
The nation’s Presidential Advisor on Sustainable Development says that this is just totally unacceptable and action should not be delayed any longer.
He emphasized that any democratic government practicing good governance would take the reports as an indication of the type of action that needs to be undertaken if it requires such by the state or institutions within the state.
The economist continued, “It is imperative that we pay attention and act expeditiously when the Ombudsman’s office highlights when injustices have occurred. The powerful principle upon which his office was established was to be the protector of the citizen’s rights. We have to ensure that his recommendations are enforced at all times and in whatever ways we can. We cannot appear to equivocate in the face of the rulings otherwise, what is the real purpose of his office and having him there?”

NEW OMBUDSMAN
The Government had said that a new Ombudsman would be appointed on or before January 1. But it was amended to being done by March.
An Ombudsman is an official usually appointed by the government or by Parliament but with a significant degree of independence. One such official is charged with representing the interests of the public by investigating and addressing complaints of maladministration or violation of rights.
The typical duties of an Ombudsman are to investigate complaints and attempt to resolve them. Ombudsmen in some instances, also aim to identify systemic issues leading to poor service or breaches of people’s rights.

They got their 50% raises but they neglect to fix the roads.

 

Anna Regina residents complain about substandard road works

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Residents living close to Station Street in Anna Regina, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam)  are complaining about the poor, sub-standard and sloppy works executed there by a contractor they describe as “inexperienced”, who  was hired by the Regional Administration,  through its Regional Tender Board (RTB) system.

The past condition of Station Street
The past condition of Station Street
The pot holes that riddle the recently-rehabilitated road in Anna Regina
The pot holes that riddle the recently-rehabilitated road in Anna Regina

According to the residents, from the initial stages of the project, there have been several requests to halt the works; however, the concerns raised were disregarded by the engineers in charge, and instead the road was completed.
They are claiming that the road shoulders were made with mud instead of the standard materials, with many saying that they witnessed the contractor removing the mud from a nearby trench. According to the residents, a report was made to a senior regional official; however, the contractor continued with the project.
“We spoke out on numerous occasions, it’s taxpayers money building roads; as such, we have every right to speak out: the work done on the street was sloppy and lacked proper supervision by those who were put in charge,” residents explained.
Although the road was recently rehabilitated, it is currently riddled with pot holes and residents are predicting that within a few months’ time, millions of dollars more will have to be expended for rehabilitation works.
On numerous occasions, the matter engaged the attention of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC). Government Councillor Naitram had initially raised concerns about the contractor, and made calls for the works to be redone or the contractor held accountable by the RTB, for the defective works.
Alluding to the next steps, Region Two Chairman Devanand Ramdatt pointed out that the matter involved the RDC and suggestions, as well as findings, were forwarded to the clerk of the RDC, Regional Executive Officer (REO) Rupert Hopkinson for attention.
He said the position of the RDC was the defaulting contractor should face disciplinary action. In addition, Ramdatt said based on feedback, the contractor did not follow the bill of quantity for the project, and the project was slowly executed. The Chairman urged members of the RTB to launch an investigation into the matter and to ensure there was greater scrutiny of the said contractor in the future.

Even the PNC supporters are feeling the squeeze as the govt they elected neglect them and instead spend money on sporting and overseas trips. 

Rock Stone road threatened by erosion

a build up of water at the corridor of the road as a result of the blocked koker
 

-residents concerned also about dilapidated bridges

The main access road heading to the small fishing community of Rock Stone in Region 10 is currently virtually impassible as a result of erosion. Sections of the clay road have been completely eroded by the water running from a nearby creek coupled with the heavy downpours. There is a buildup of water on the right corridor of the road and with the blocked koker the water has been channeling its way on the road with extreme pressure thus causing it to be washed away.

an eroded hole in another section of the road

When Guyana Chronicle visited the road on Saturday, it was as if there was a stream running across the road and vehicles and pedestrians were experiencing extreme difficulty passing. The residents made a call to the regional authorities to have the situation fixed and the Regional Works Committee visited the community on Saturday and described the situation as an emergency. Calls were made to have the koker cleared earliest and to construct a proper revetment work so that the water will be correctly drained off. “We are moving from here and we are going and secure a mini excavator and we want to bring two tubes here and build a revetment, build up the shoulder so that we could channel this water over that side because with the buildup over here and the continuous rain fall, the whole road would wash off so this is another emergency we dealing with here,” Regional Chairman Renis Morian said.
In addition to the drains, the main access bridge in the fishing community is in need of urgent repairs as residents fear that very soon, one of the lumber trucks that traverse over it daily may fall in. One resident explained to this publication that the support base for the bridge is the sand and that has separated from the foundation of the bridge. “Something is moving the foundation from the sand so you find that about three feet of the bridge is exposed and this means that this bridge can break and collapse any time,” the resident said.
A similar situation is occurring at the Paramakushi Bridge that is located over the

a section of the road that is virtually impassible due to erosion

Paramakushi Creek that runs through the community. Residents are claiming that the large volume of water running under the bridge, coupled with the impact of the lumber trucks may be the cause of its dilapidated state. Given the fact that the nearest hospital is in Linden, which is approximately 18 miles away, residents are afraid that if the public infrastructures are not fixed earliest, there may be loss of life and limb. They were promised by the Regional Authorities that repairs will commence as soon as possible.

They voted pnc and got their dhall, good thing pnc won. 

PROBLEMS ‘GALORE’ IN HASLINGTON NEW SCHEME

 

“WE ALL WANTED CHANGE AND NOW WE GET IT, LOOK AT THE CONDITION OF IT”

BY BRUSHELL BLACKMAN

The Haslington New scheme is located on the East Coast of Demerara, aback of Haslington village. It’s sandwiched between Enmore village to the east and Golden Grove to its west. The Scheme was formed more than ten years ago and still lacks some very basic facilities. It is bedevilled by a long list of problems.

Potholes
The residents of this community, which at an estimate has about 1000 households, say that they have been forgotten for more than a decade and no one from the Ministry of Housing has visited during that period to listen to their plight, let alone to resolve them.
One of the major issues affecting this community is the potholes. There are ten cross streets and each has at least six huge potholes. Travis Luke, a resident, said that he can only recall the roads being repaired once in the ten years that he is living there. “They come one time and put some sand and stone on the road and that didn’t even last a month.”
Because of where the scheme is situated most resident use taxis to get in and out and the taxi drivers are complaining about the damage being done to their vehicles. One driver, who is also a resident of the community, said he spends money weekly replacing damaged and bent tyre.
The man said they now have to choose which streets to traverse based on their state. This, he recognised, is not fair to the residents who will still need to walk some distance despite paying a $200 fare.

Water and Street Lights
The quality of the water leaves much to be desired. Residents complained that a clear flow of tap water is like a lottery and they have to be lucky to have it. This newspaper was shown the evidence of the rust-saturated water. It’s so bad it has left a permanent stain in one resident’s yard.
The few street lights that are there is as a result of the community pooling its resources to mount those. Most are no longer working and residents are now reluctant to have them fixed. One woman said she always tries to get home before darkness falls in fear of being attacked.

Drainage and Garbage collection
There is street after street with drains that are choking with weed and built up silt, one of the reasons residents say contributes to constant flooding whenever it rains even in increments.
The disgruntled community explained that reptiles have now taken up residence among them. “Alligator and snake live over there,” one woman said, pointing to one of the many empty plots inundated with water.
Additionally, some residents have resorted to burning their garbage in the streets since they cannot afford the $2,000 charge for the service. One shop owner said the situation is getting from bad to worse and there needs to be urgent action.
“WE all wanted change and now we get it, look at the condition of it.”

Recreational Facilities
The plot of land that is supposed to house the playground is infested with weed and vegetation and is now a grazing ground for cattle in the community. Some residents are even dumping their garbage there. The young men in the community are now left to play their game of football on the same street that the taxis traverse, sometimes much to the displeasure of drivers.
Jamal Mansfield, a youth residing there said they are sometimes forced to go to other communities to play any form of sports. “We does go to the other village to play football.”
It should be noted that there isn’t a single community centre or a youth club to engage youths who have free time.
The Ministry of Housing was not sure who was responsible for the scheme. An employee there told me that the scheme is under the purview of the NDC. When she was told that this was not the case this reporter was directed to another department where the people were not sure themselves.
The Grove Haslington Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) admitted that it does not do anything in the scheme. The woman who refused to give her name said that the residents don’t pay tax since the scheme was not handed over by the Housing Ministry to the NDC.
The woman explained that it will be unfair to use taxpayers’ money to do work in the community.

A financial crisis is looming in the banking sector. The people got the govt they deserved, good thing pnc won.

Guyanese failure to repay loans skyrockets by 36%

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…rise of bad debts a salient feature of financial crisis – former AFC exec

The Guyana economy has been in freefall post 2015 and the plummeting ability of its citizenry to repay loans to banks and similar institutions now threatens even more bankruptcy in companies, especially small businesses – a salient feature of a financial crisis.
This is the stark warning of former Alliance For Change (AFC) Executive Sasenarine Singh, who in a recent analysis found that Non-Performing Loans – commonly called bad debts – “have multiplied by some 36 per cent, since the (David) Granger Administration came to power”.

Sasenarine Singh
For Change AFC Executive Sasenarine Singh

According to Singh, “In simple language, the size of the bad debt portfolio is clearly going in the wrong direction.”

Suffering
The former AFC Executive, in a letter to the editor, posits: “After a relatively calm decade, the Guyanese banking system is suffering under (Finance) Minister Winston Jordan.”

Finance Minister Winston Jordan
Finance Minister
Winston Jordan

On the matter of the declining ability of Guyanese to repay their debts, Singh deduced from information supplied by the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Guyana that bad debt in the local banking sector have moved from 8.3 per cent of all loans in June 2015 (at the end of the PPP’s tenure) to 11.3 per cent in September 2016.
“I was reliably advised that at the end of 2016, the rate of bad debt is now some 11.5 per cent of the total loan portfolio…This data clearly indicates the predictable adverse economic trajectory.”
He has since posited that the rise of bad debts was a salient feature of a financial crisis and suggested that “for the banks, delays in debt repayment make obtaining further credit more difficult, which often leads to a second round of debt default and even more bankruptcy in companies, especially small businesses”.
He suggested that any sensible banking leader plagued with a high stock of bad debt was likely to focus on internal consolidation and improving asset quality rather than providing new credit.

Ruling elite
According to Singh, “any serious Government would have done some strategising around this issue from day one, but it is now clear that the life of ordinary people has little meaning for the ruling elite in the Granger Government.”
Singh suggests that from its public actions, the ruling A Partnership for National Unity, Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition has reduced the most complex issues into sweeping political generalities which resulted in regular people suffering because of the intellectual deficit in the Granger Administration.
Taking a swipe at Finance Minister Jordan, Singh recalled that with three successive budgets, he “has not once but twice proven to be one big amusing entertainer who does not have the awareness of the needs of the economy to be able to deliver the required policy actions to get Guyana back on track”.
Singh is of the view “this mentality of taxing a flat economic cake, frustrating the productive sectors and spending recklessly on projects like the D’Urban Park parade ground is clearly an intellectually bankrupt economic strategy”.
He opined that Jordan’s “saving grace is hoping for oil before 2020…But that is exactly that  ‘hope’, because oil will not flow until 2021/2022 at the earliest based on information I saw”.
Singh’s publicly stated position comes on the heels of statements made in a recent interview with Guyana Times by Economic Adviser to the Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Ramsaroop, who had also warned of imminent dire economic straits as a result of policies being pursued by the current Administration.

The teachers vote PNC, squeeze they rass to support fat cat Granger and Prak who collect their 50% wage increase and take expensive trips overseas.

Parking meters at schools an additional burden on teachers – GTU

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By now everyone has felt the arrival of the parking meters in Georgetown, but the presence of two in front of the Bishops’ High School and one by the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre is not going down well with the Guyana Teacher’s Union (GTU).
According to GTU’s General Secretary Coretta McDonald, this represents an additional burden on teachers and generally anyone else who will be affected by the fees which have been imposed. At present the rate is $50, plus Value Added Tax (VAT), for every 15 minutes. This adds up to at least $200 an hour.

The sign indicating the proximity of parking meters
The sign indicating the proximity of parking meters

“Teachers are quite upset because this is an additional financial burden,” McDonald said, in an interview on Monday. “Any additional financial burden will be cause for concern. Teachers are no different.”
McDonald was critical of the fact that neither Smart City Solutions Incorporated (SCSI), the company responsible for the parking meters, nor the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), saw having consultations with the union representing Guyana’s teachers as important.
“What I would like to say to the M&CC or the entity, is that before you roll anything out (which affects the life of the populace), consultations are important.”
According to McDonald, she has written to Mayor Patricia Chase-Green in order to seek a meeting. One of her expectations is for a reduction for teachers and any workers who will be affected.
After being signed in November 2015, the manner in which the 49-year parking meter contract was arranged with National Parking Solutions/SCSI has attracted heavy scrutiny in the press.

The sign indicating the proximity of parking meters
The sign indicating the proximity of parking meters

This was not helped when the Mayor, Town Clerk Royston King and City Councillors Oscar Clark and Junior Garrett, left on a trip to Mexico to inspect the product- seven months after the agreement was inked.
Subsequently, the Finance Ministry and the Attorney General’s Chambers conducted reviews of the contract to determine its practicality and legality. In its reviews, the glaring absence of any financial analysis or feasibility study by the M&CC had been noted.
One of the observations of the Finance Ministry had been that “the contract has given complete monopoly power to SCSI over parking within Georgetown. This control could lead to exploitation of consumers as SCSI has the power to change fees arbitrarily and determine zones.”
The fees amount to at least $200 an hour. The minimum time a motorist can purchase is 15 minutes. The meters work by the user inputting the number of their parking space, the time they need and then presenting a prepaid card which they would have purchased, to a card reader on the meters.
Metered hours are Monday to Saturday, from 07:00h to 19:00h. There is a ‘honeymoon’ period in effect, which ends on January 23, where motorists will not have to pay for parking. According to the company, this is to allow motorists to get “accustomed”.

Penalties
Afterwards, however, any vehicle which has either not paid for parking or has exceeded their paid time will have their vehicle incapacitated by a tire booting device. This can be done whether the vehicle owner is present or not.
If the owner was not there, they will be greeted by the sight of their incapacitated vehicle and a sticker in their driver’s side window upon their return. In cases whereby the parked vehicle may obstruct the flow of traffic, they may return to an empty space as the vehicle will be immediately towed.
A fine of $8000 plus VAT will have to be paid in order to unlock the vehicle. If the fine is not paid within two hours, the vehicle will be towed to an impound lot. The fine would then be $12,000 plus any VAT applicable.
It was pointed out by the Finance Ministry review that SCSI sought “absolute right” to determine the space, number of meters and the location boundaries.

What sounds too good to be true, is too good to be true. True to typical PNC form, they make a big deal about restoring Kitty market, now a couple of years later it is still to be finished with the usual money issues. PNC boys sport today and pay tomorrow. 

Kitty Market yet to be completed and reopened


 

At the final statutory meeting held by the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) last year December, the Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green said that, while the Council would have achieved a number of their goals, they still have not been able to complete one major goal, which is the re-opening of the Kitty Market.
Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan recently told Kaieteur News that he is unsure of the new reopening date for the market. Duncan said that up until December last, only 30 percent of rehabilitation work was completed. This was also the same stage at which the market was in April 2016.

Only 30 percent of the Kitty Market completed so far

More signs of infrastructure deterioration and ko ko beh governance by the pnc/afc crooks in office. 

GPL ignoring pleas to remove rotting pole

 

Little Diamond, East Bank Demerara resident, Lilian Bryan, is alarmed at the presence of a

The rotting pole.

rotting electrical pole that is leaning on her fence.
Aside from the danger it poses, she is even more concerned that Guyana Power and Light (GPL) has failed to respond to pleas to have the pole removed.
She said that the utility pole, which is rotted at the base, began leaning two Saturdays ago. She said that a GPL crew eventually came after she made several calls.
But instead of replacing the pole, the GPL workers tied a rope around the pole and attached the other end of the rope to a wooden fence.
She said that recent heavy rains have weakened the pole further. She believes that only the presence of her fence is preventing it from falling.
The woman’s husband said he contacted a GPL official yesterday, who promised to “look it after.” However, no one came.
“The post rotting and just bracing by the fence,” Mrs. Bryan said yesterday.
“That is the main post that giving us light. It dangerous.”

Lindeners decry high unemployment rate

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…call for reopening of call centre

 

While the Linden Call Centre in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) remains closed, two years after workers were sent home, several companies and individuals have since expressed interest in conducting business there, however the building which is termed “State property” has since remained inaccessible.
This continues to be a cause for concern for both residents and officials in the community noted for its high unemployment rate. Linden Mayor Carwyn Holland recently joined the rest of the community in making calls for the centre to be reopened, citing the unemployment rate within the community.
“The call centre at Kara Kara needs to be reopened, and I’m making this call to those who are directly responsible… to release the call centre to the people of Linden so that we can employ at least 500 of our young people who are looking for jobs. There are several persons who’ve signalled their interest and I’m still waiting to hear what’s the hold up,” the Mayor said.
During a recent ministerial outreach in Linden, officials expressed these concerns to Finance Minister Winston Jordan. Municipal Councillor Neola Rogers, who first spoke of the issue, noted that the call centre had provided employment for many young women in the community and served as an excellent entry requirement into the world of work, while she stressed difficulty in accessing the building which remains closed since 2015.
“…several call centres want to return to Linden but the building is locked. It’s deteriorating as it is right now…” Rogers lamented. Representative of the Linden Chamber of Commerce Industry and Development, Staydon Payne, also said the issue lies with Government providing access to the State asset, as he sought to find out how access can be gained for a company that wishes to expand and employ approximately 100 young people within the community by December.
In response, Minister Jordan noted that the building is supposedly owned by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL). However, Chief Executive officer (CEO) of NICIL, Horace James, who also spoke at the outreach, explained that following an application, the building was privileged to be handed over the Linden Enterprise Network (LEN); however, he asked for the Finance Ministry’s intervention in terms of payment necessary for acquiring the building.
After years of being in operation, St Kitts-based company Toucan Connection shut down its operations through the call centre two years ago. As a result, over 90 people, mainly women in the community, lost their jobs.
Since then, officials have tried to have the operation up and running again to provide much needed employment to Lindeners.
The Linden call centre, which was closed in September 2015, was opened under the previous Administration to create jobs for Lindeners. The closure sent a hard blow for to the community as a result of scarcity of jobs.

Families to take protest action to President’s, CHPA offices

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Sophia squatting area

 

Families in Sophia, Georgetown whose houses were either demolished or are expected to be demolished are strongly contending that they are not in receipt of any notice of eviction.
An unemployed mother of two said she has been home every day for the past three months, and never received notice to relocate. She said she has no alternative accommodation for herself and children, aged 5 and 9.
“We don’t have anywhere else to go. After that day, we just started searching to see if we get vacant land, so we trying. This is so terrifying,” she told this publication on Saturday.
Another resident, Mark Norton, said he is counting his losses, since he was unable to save any of the groceries he had stored in the shop he operated. He said he has four children all under the age of twelve, and his only source of income was the shop he was operating. Norton further noted that he’s currently looking for new ways and means of surviving. Norton was made aware of the demolition process after he received a telephone call from a relative.
“Before Granger go in power, he said that we must occupy the land, cause the country got nuff. Now all of a sudden he saying something else. I don’t think these people got families,” an irate Zizzy Daphness told this publication.
Sophia residents say they will be staging protest activities on Monday at the Housing Ministry and at the President’s Office, where they will be requesting an audience with the Head of State.
On Thursday last, several families were left homeless and numerous others were left contemplating their next move as the Central Housing and Planning Authority’s (CH&PA) Anti-Squatting Task Force commenced operations in Sophia.
The Task Force members were accompanied by demolition workers, representatives from the Guyana Water Inc (GWI) and the Guyana Power and Light (GPL), as well as ranks of the Guyana Police Force. The Task Force saw to the demolition of several homes and businesses that were on Government reserve lands in ‘A’ Field Sophia, Greater Georgetown.

Sophia squatters picket CH&PA, demand alternative housing

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Scores of Sophia, Greater Georgetown squatters who were affected by the recent demolition exercise executed by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) on Monday, picketed the Housing Ministry calling for more time before their forced removal and more importantly, alternative housing arrangements.

A Sophia squatter carried this placard during the picketing exercise

Representing the residents of Sophia squatting area was Clayton Jarvis who came into agreement with the CEO of Central Housing and Planning Authority, Lelon Saul, to extend the time given to the Sophia squatters to be removed.
Jarvis, a squatter himself, made arrangements to work together with the CH&PA and the Anti-Squatting Task Force of Constituencies five and six to remove squatters who are owners of house lots but continue to squat nevertheless. He also agreed to police the reserves to ensure that no new structures are erected on the reserves, to provide status updates on applications submitted by squatters and to also facilitate the registration of new applicants who are squatting on the reserves in the two constituencies.
The meeting was called after irate squatters picketed the Ministry demanding answers. According to Saul, persons were given notices of eviction and the Ministry will not tolerate squatting since it’s illegal. Jarvis stated that all he wants is for the authority to find alternatives for the residents.

Sophia squatters affected by the recent demolition exercise executed by the Central Housing and Planning Authority, on Monday picketed the CH&PA calling for more time before their forced removal and for alternative housing arrangements

Squatters whose houses were ripped down and soon to be demolished were heard venting their frustrations as they stood on the parapets in front of the Ministry.
According to representatives of the housing authority, squatting is impeding the progress in the community of Sophia and as such, a task force was set up to address the issue.
Guyana Times understands that notice boards were erected on A,B,C and D fields Sophia informing persons to desist from squatting since it is illegal. Also ads were placed on the television to notify squatters of the demolition exercise; however, residents refute claims that they were ever in receipt of eviction notices. (Yanalla Dalrymple)

Drugb posted:

More signs of infrastructure deterioration and ko ko beh governance by the pnc/afc crooks in office. 

GPL ignoring pleas to remove rotting pole

 

Little Diamond, East Bank Demerara resident, Lilian Bryan, is alarmed at the presence of a

The rotting pole.

rotting electrical pole that is leaning on her fence.
Aside from the danger it poses, she is even more concerned that Guyana Power and Light (GPL) has failed to respond to pleas to have the pole removed.
She said that the utility pole, which is rotted at the base, began leaning two Saturdays ago. She said that a GPL crew eventually came after she made several calls.

But instead of replacing the pole, the GPL workers tied a rope around the pole and attached the other end of the rope to a wooden fence.

She said that recent heavy rains have weakened the pole further. She believes that only the presence of her fence is preventing it from falling.
The woman’s husband said he contacted a GPL official yesterday, who promised to “look it after.” However, no one came.
“The post rotting and just bracing by the fence,” Mrs. Bryan said yesterday.
“That is the main post that giving us light. It dangerous.”

"Work of significant experienced staff" of GPL, most likely, under the expert guidance and leadership of the PNC/AFC.

Sophia squatters protest after CH&PA gives 14-day ultimatum

Tackling the squatting situation
…Minister extends deadline to January 2018

By Lakhram Bhagirat

A resident displaying the notice

Just last week, officials from the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) promised squatters at Sophia, Greater Georgetown that they would not evacuate them until they were issued with lands but the housing body is now back-pedalling on their word and have since issued the squatters with a notice to remove by November 2.
Over 50 squatters of Sophia who were affected by the recent demolition exercise executed by the CH&PA on Monday, picketed the Housing Ministry calling for more time before their forced removal and more importantly, alternative housing arrangements.
The residents said they received a letter from the CH&PA on Friday indicating that they would have to remove their homes and all their belongings by November 2. The notice informed that failure to comply would result in legal proceedings against them.

Councillor Akeem Peter addressing the protesters

“My reason for being out here is these people just come and served us notice [for] the 2nd November and we have approximately two weeks to move. Now if we are squatting on the reserve it means that we have nowhere to go and now when you come and serve us this notice for two weeks, where are we going to go. If we had places to go then we would have never been on the Government reserves,” squatter Lorianne Alexander said.
Another resident, Nickela Mc Lennon, said she has been living in Sophia for a number of years and has an application for a house lot in the system but is getting the royal runaround by the authority.
Addressing the concerns of the squatters was People’s National Congress Councillor Akeem Peter who tried to get the squatters to protest in a non-confrontational manner.

Housing Minister Valarie Yearwood

“Your voices have been here and the Ministers and the Government knows that it is people they are dealing with. I am going into them with the application forms… we cannot be confrontational. Persons have long associated squatters with violence and rowdy behaviour. The first move when people hear squatters are gathering is that they call the Police,” he told the vocal group of protesters.
“The notices are going to be one of the issues we will be discussing immediately with the Minister. The reason why we are here is to get the attention of the Minister and we have gotten it, so the next thing is for me to submit the applications to the Minister so she can fast track the process,” Councillor Peter added.

Deadline extended
Meanwhile, Housing Minister Valerie Yearwood and Chief Executive Officer of the CH&PA, Lelon Saul, called a press conference later in the day to address the concerns. The Minister told the media that the squatters would have until the end of January 2018 to remove or be removed. She said that every time the Government announces a new strategy to deal with the squatting situation, the number of squatters increases.
“As of May (2017) we had 543 squatters and I can assure you that the number is well above that number. Every night new apartments are being erected,” she said.
Yearwood said the squatters are costing the utility companies since they are stealing electricity and tampering with water mains.
She said to date, 266 notices have been served to the squatters so they are all informed of the consequences should they continue to squat. The Minister added that the extension is to facilitate the development of a plot of land at Industry to have the squatters relocated there.
“We are targeting squatters who have allocations, the unoccupied buildings and our team went in and identified those buildings and the representatives from Sophia asked them to demolish those buildings because people are using them to gamble and rape girls and a lot of things,” Yearwood said.
Saul said the Housing Authority would not condone squatting since it is illegal.

CH&PA continues demolition exercise


 

…To clear EDWC of unoccupied illegal structures

The Central Housing and Planning Authority, (CH&PA) is moving ahead with efforts to clear the Lama Conservancy of squatting and other activities that have been deemed illegal and unhealthy to the environment.

Squatters

During a media tour to the area yesterday, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CH&PA, Lelon Saul, unveiled a plan to clear the conservancy.
The Lama Water Conservancy / East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) supplies water to households across the various wards of Georgetown.
Saul explained that in addition to the squatting, the conservancy has been the receptacle for garbage, human waste and other foreign objects.
The CEO explained further that in addition to the dumping, squatters had even chosen to engage in commercial and agriculture activities in the vicinity of the conservancy. A pen used for rearing pigs is located right in the heart of the EDWC.
Speaking to media operatives yesterday, Saul said that the CH&PA has a zero tolerance policy for illegal activities along the conservancy.
Lamenting the fact that water from the conservancy is used by residents of Georgetown for cooking, bathing and other household purposes, the CEO noted that CH&PA is moving to put a stop to the activities.
He explained that the Housing Ministry is working with persons living along the conservancy to have them relocated to more suitable living accommodations.
The CH&PA had committed to a January 2018 deadline to allow the squatters suitable time to relocate from the area.
Saul said that efforts are underway to remove the unoccupied structures, some of which are under construction along the dam. “We can start as early as (today),” Saul stated.
Squatting has a long history with residents of Sophia /Cummings Lodge.
On Monday, Minister within the Ministry of Communities with the responsibility for Housing, Valerie Patterson-Yearwood told the media that over 300 illegal structures have been erected along the reserves in a matter of months.
“Last year, there were approximately 300 squatters. That number increased to 534 in May and it has been increasing.”
The Minister warned that any building seen being erected on the reserves will be demolished. Patterson-Yearwood said CH&PA will also continue to dismantle those unoccupied structures.
“Squatting is an illegal act and the government will not permit it any longer.”
The Minister noted that CH&PA has been encouraging those persons who have not yet applied for land to do so at the earliest time.
She explained that the CH&PA is in the process of implementing a plan that will offer house lots to those persons who can afford to build.
“For those unable to construct a dwelling, the government is seeking funding to build core homes. The Industry community was identified as the area where the homes will be constructed.”
“We don’t just want to give them a house lot because we know if they can’t afford to build. They are going to put a shack and all we are doing is moving one shanty town from one area to another. That is not what we want, as we relocate, we are going to upgrade,” Minister Patterson stressed.
The Minister disclosed that over 200 notices were served to persons squatting on government’s reserve in Sophia. Additionally, several billboards had also installed along Dennis Street, urging persons to desist from squatting.
On October 12, the CH&PA in collaboration with the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) and the Guyana Water Inc. (GWI), Ministry of Public Infrastructure and the Guyana Police Force, commenced the regularisation process in Section A and B Pattensen.
The activity resulted in demolition of the homes of several persons squatting on the government reserves. The CH&PA targeted unoccupied buildings, buildings under construction and persons who were allocated house lots.
The exercise was temporarily suspended, following outcries by the residents.

Lindeners contend with lesser evil

 
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bauxite being loaded into the ship

— even as respiratory diseases increase since installation of dust collectors

STATISTICS from the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC) are showing the daunting fact that despite the installation of two dust-collectors at the bauxite company Bosai’s Minerals Group Guyana ( BMGG), residents of the mining town of Linden continue to suffer from respiratory diseases.

While other factors should not be disregarded, the daily inhalation of the thick chemical-filled dust particles being emitted from the processing chimneys called kilns at the bauxite plant located in Mackenzie, has been proven to be one of the main reasons for this medical phenomenon that has been plaguing Lindeners for many decades.

Linden pharmacy owner Dennis Muhammad

Prior to the installation of two dust-collectors in 2012 on kilns 13 and 14, which cost the Chinese expatriate company $8M U.S., residents of Linden were exposed to the emission of bauxite dust into the atmosphere from three kilns: 10, 13 and 14. This environmental hazard resulted in an overwhelming number of Lindeners suffering from respiratory diseases ranging from respiratory tract infection, bronchial asthma and bronchopneumonia.

OPPOSITE RESULTS
It had been expected that after 2012, the situation would have improved, but hospital statistics are showing the opposite.
According to the LHC, there is an increase of both in and out-patients being treated for respiratory tract infections, bronchial asthma and bronchopneumonia after 2012.
According to medical research, bauxite dust inhalation often causes the aforementioned diseases as a result of the chemicals found in the minerals.

RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS INPATIENTS/    
INFECTIONS20102011201220132014201520162017Total
          
Respiratory Tract Infection5210950425410012453584
Bronchial Asthma3210552626210125
Bronchopneumonia82055074144218231
          
          
          
 

 

 

RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS OUTPATIENTS

    
INFECTIONS20102011201220132014201520162017Total
          
Respiratory Tract Infection   2267214825132299134710574
Bronchopneumonia35122771348624546448
           

 

The information also shows that many of those patients live in communities in proximity to the bauxite plant such as West Watooka, Silver Town and Central Mackenzie.
One of those patients is Cynthia George, a resident of West Watooka who has been suffering from asthma since she migrated to Linden at the age of six.
Cynthia’s father moved to Linden to seek employment at the bauxite company in 2000. She did not suffer from the disease while living on the West Coast of Berbice, but after the move, she began to have shortness of breath and was later diagnosed with asthma.
“We came up here in 2000 and I was just six, it started with me getting a steady cold and then it moved to shortness of breath and it kept getting worse. My parents run from this doctor to that doctor and nothing didn’t help. They finally said that is the bauxite dust causing it and I should return to Berbice, but that was hard for me because I had already built life here,” George related.

PNEUMONIA TWICE
Another resident of West Watooka, Norman Paul, said he had pneumonia twice because of inhaling the bauxite dust which is evident on his windows, stairway rails and furniture.
“Especially in the night, the dust does come in here thick, thick; it don’t be easy and they have schools around here, even the children does be affected… but it is something we were living in and we get accustom to it,” Paul revealed.
Currently, there is no dust-collector installed on kiln 10, which is the lowest of the three kilns and which also serves as the dryer for the bauxite when it is being processed.
Veteran bauxite worker and regional councillor Charles Sampson had voiced his opinion on the matter and the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) had even moved a no-confidence motion against the company in an effort to allow its management to prioritise installation of the dust-collector for kiln 10.
Sampson explained that the current dust-collectors are not able to trap the micronised dust being released into the atmosphere during bauxite production.
Sampson, who worked in the company’s laboratory for decades, said the dryer emits the most dust into the atmosphere and communities such as West Watooka, Retrieve and Silver Town will continue to be affected.
In addition to the dust-collectors, the RDC has also bemoaned the process that is used to load the bauxite into the ships.

 

NO COVER
There is no cover to keep the dust particles that are permeated from the bauxite and so residents residing in the surrounding communities are exposed to this massive pollution which takes place at least once per week.
In 2016, the LHC installed a spirometer unit with a brand new spirometer machine which is used to accurately test and diagnose patients with respiratory diseases.

According to the Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr. Steve Mark, the installation of this unit was very timely given the overwhelming amount of patients visiting the hospital with respiratory problems.
The machine accurately tests asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), bronchitis and much more. The LHC was the first regional hospital to be equipped with this unit which is the second in the country.
A medical doctor attached to the LHC who was trained to operate the spirometer machine told the Guyana Chronicle that operation of the machine is currently being stymied by shortage of staff.
In addition to this, the machine cannot be used on children below the age of six, adults above the age of 60 and pregnant women in their last trimester.
“It is not effectively functioning because of the workload, but we are trying our best to make it work for Linden,” the doctor said. When the tests are done, he said the patients are either referred or managed, based on the diagnosis.

SALES HIGH
In addition to the figures received from the LHC, the Guyana Chronicle also interviewed pharmacy owners in Linden and it was revealed that on a daily basis, sales for medication relating the respiratory illnesses, especially asthma are relatively high. One pharmacist shared that these medications are high on his restock list, ranging from cold medicines to prescription drugs.
Dennis Muhammad, owner of Right Care Pharmacy located on the Mackenzie shore related that his worry is that many persons coming for medication do not realise how serious their illness may be, rather than taking it for a common cold. He said that many Lindeners are also suffering from sinusitis as a result of the daily inhalation of the bauxite dust. Muhammad said that he too has contracted the respiratory disease.
“The first surgery I did, the Dr. explained to me that if I had left it to another year or two it could have gone to the bone, and in that way, nothing could have been done…. I did three surgeries and am I still suffering? Yes, because I have to inhale that dust on a daily basis and I still have to be using vitamins,” Muhammad affirmed.
The pharmacy owner protested that the sad thing is that Linden is not equipped with a specialist to deal with these respiratory problems and Lindeners just have to continue living in the dust without a choice.

Linden pharmacy owner Dennis Muhammad

It has been 101 years since bauxite is being mined in Linden. With over six companies manning the industry since 1916, the current BMGG is the only company that installed dust-collectors to the kilns. Calls are however being made for the company to install a dust-collector on kiln 10 and to put systems in place to cover the bauxite when it is being loaded into the ship.

Technical Services Coordinator of BMGG, Wainewright Betune, had told the Guyana Chronicle however that it would not be feasible to install a dust-collector on dryer 10 as the minimum moisture retained during production is five per cent. He explained that the drying is producing almost the same results as the dust- collectors and is used for 20 minutes to half an hour the most. Betune posited that the process is entirely different prior to when there was no dust-collector and it would take close to US$8M to install a dust-collector on dryer 10.

“Why are you going to install something that is not working regular, the dryer just works as required, it’s not like kiln 13 and 14 that works all the time,” he argued.
BMGG Public Relations Officer Vanessa Davis also posited when questioned on the matter that the emissions have been significantly reduced since the degree of the emission is distinct, since there is no dust from the two kilns as previously and there is no knowing from outside of the bauxite plant whether the plant is in operation or not.
Bauxite dust, she said, was never considered a threat to the Linden community but as a pillar, since the economy of Linden was built on bauxite mining.
“In terms of the environmental practices compared to that of the previous mining practices exercised in the olden days, it is realised that mining is done in a safer manner making the environs more environmentally-friendly. Persons can reside close to the mining proximity and hardly be affected,” Davis opined.

Residents, however, remain adamant that the Government and the relevant authorities such as the Environmental Protection Agency should view the situation more seriously since the health of Lindeners continues to be at stake.

Lindeners protesting the dust emission

Lindeners have to make the choice between being unemployed or being affected by the dust, since the bauxite company is the major employer in the mining town.
Currently, there are approximately 600 employed at BMGG and if the company should shut shop, many mouths in Linden will be hungry. It is a case of choosing between the lesser evils and in this case Lindeners prefer to be fed.
The government has been subsidising electricity for the mining town for decades as a result of the environmental issues resulting from bauxite mining. In 2012, the former administration made a decision to cut the subsidy and this resulted in a deadly protest which cost the lives of three Lindeners. Residents continue to hold the unanimous position that they should be compensated in some way for inhaling bauxite dust daily, thus being exposed to respiratory diseases.

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