I have always felt that a newspaper is not the most appropriate medium for criticising the design of an engineering structure for it is usually difficult to cover adequately the salient features of engineering design without a clear explanation of the qualities relevant to the proper functioning of an engineering structure.
This is certainly the case with your article on the Hope Canal Bridge as covered in your column of Sunday, August 7, 2016. Nevertheless, I take exception to the statement in the article that ‘the review of the designs for the project include Philip Allsopp and Bert Carter’.
I wish to emphasise that neither of the two engineers mentioned had any direct connect with the bridge project. We were invited to consider the direct drainage and hydraulic conditions of the project but our terms of reference made no mention of the bridge project which was undertaken by consultants whose names were listed on a plaque attached to the bridge.
Failure of the approach span, as depicted in the photographs indicated that failure was due to ‘geotechnical properties’ of the soft clay beneath the approach span which evidently was not adequately catered for in the design of the approach slab.
This has become a regular feature of soft clay in bridge approaches and needs to be adequately addressed, but neither Philip Allsop nor Bert Carter was involved at any stage of the design or construction.
I think the Hindu public needs to be informed of the reasons for the differences in dates on the Hindu calendar. Specifically, why all the dates on Dharmic Sabha’s calendar are exactly one day after the dates on the calendars of all other Hindu organisations?
At a meeting held at Dharmic Sabha Kendra on Monday 22 August, 2016, and attended by Pandits of Viraat Sabha, Pandits’ Sabha of Region 3, Pandits’ Council and Gandhi Youth, the matter was discussed.
In its explanation on the system and methods used in arriving at its Dates, Dharmic Sabha revealed that it has been using the time given in the Panchang (Hindu Astrological Chart) as the ‘Starting’ Time. The Pandits of all other organisations present vehemently disagreed; they asserted that the Time is the ‘Ending’ Time, and not the Starting Time.
It should be mentioned that this is supposed to be public knowledge, known especially by all students of Astrology. Also, the Astrological Charts, in their guidelines, mention that all times are given as the ‘Ending’ Time.
The use of these times as the starting position of each Lunar Day (Tithi) has resulted in all Dharmic Sabha’s dates being one day later than the dates on the Charts, and as well the calendars of the other organisations.
Thus, when the Full Moon ended at 5:26 am on 18 August, Dharmic Sabha treated it as having started then, thereby celebrating Raksha Bandhan one day after. Again, Ashtami (8th lunar day), according to the Panchangas, started on the 24 August and ended at 10:40 am on the 25th.
Dharmic Sabha is using 10:40 am on 25th as the starting time of Ashtami, thus celebrating Janam Ashtami on the 25th.
Similarly, for Diwali. Amaavasya (Diwali) ends at 1:37 pm on the 30th of October. Dharmic Sabha is treating 1:37 pm on the 30th as the starting time of Diwali. So their date for Diwali is the 30th instead of the 29th.
This is a fatal error which has resulted in all their dates occurring one day later. It should be mentioned that Dharmic Sabha’s dates do not agree with those in the Panchangas.
Pt R Balbadar
Sanskrit and Vaidic
The continuing and increasing incidence of Human Resource Management (HRM) practitioners including at the bottom of their Vacancy Advertisements statements like “only short listed applicants will be acknowledged” or words to that effect risk undermining the very purpose of advertising vacancies.
The prime objective of public announcements of vacancies is to attract the widest possible pool of potentially suitable candidates from among whom to make a competitive choice.
Carefully worded Ads (‘market-oriented’ as opposed to some which merely copy extracts from the Job Description/Specification) will reduce the chances of too many ‘unsuitable’ applicants and by the same token increase the chances of a wide, competitive field from which effective selection can be made.
The Ad is an invitation to a select group of people as described therein; if this invitation projects an ‘exclusivity’, the criteria for which only those who do the shortlisting are privy, then the chances increase that many potentially competent people might not apply because they prefer to avoid the ‘insult’ of being rejected without even knowing if their application was received. And the organisation risks unwittingly rejecting a good candidate.
The formal acknowledgement of applications is at least courteous and valuable Public Relations (PR). It used to be done routinely in my early days as an HRM practitioner when the labour and material costs of doing so was relatively higher than in these days of cheap, easy electronic communication.
There is no doubt in my mind that organisations lose much more than they gain by refusing to acknowledge applications and then adding insult to injury by advertising their discourtesy in not doing so. Nevertheless, I am prepared to be proven wrong if HRM colleagues who indulge in this malpractice can publicise their rationale for not acknowledging applications.
Former President Bharrat Jagdeo, now Opposition Leader, will be the guest speaker next month at Eric Williams Memorial Lecture. Jagdeo will be the second Guyanese to address the prestigious forum. The first was Professor Ivelaw Griffith who is now the Head of the University of Guyana.
The topic, of the September 30 lecture at Florida University in Miami, is The Caribbean and American Power: The Donald Trumph Ascendency. Jagdeo will join distinguished academics and worldknown personalities who spoke at the Forum including former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who delivered the inauguration speech in 1998, the former President of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda, one of America’s premier black historians John Hope Franklin, Civil Rights Activist Angela Davis, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, PJ Patterson.
Last year’s speaker was St Vincent and the Grenadines Head of Government Dr Ralph Gonsalves.
Dr Eric Williams was the first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, and one of the leading advocates against colonialism. He was the author of several books including “Columbus to Castro”. Jagdeo has held several high level government positions, ranging from Minister of Finance to President of Guyana from 1999 to 2011.
He also holds a number of global leadership position in the area of sustainable development, green growth and climate change. In 2008 he was named Times Magazine’s “Hero of the Environment” and in 2010, the United Nations declared him to be one of its “Champions of the Earth Awardees”.
In the financial area, Jagdeo has served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the IMF and World Bank Group (2005-2006)
The Eric Williams Memorial Lecture was the brain child of Erica Williams Connel, daughter of the late Trinidadian leader.
In an earlier article, we had posited that the nature of the present APNU/AFC regime is one of bureaucratic capitalist elite. It was noted that such a regime uses the state apparatus to enrich itself. This is a throwback to the PNC days in power from 1964 to 1992.
During this period, the PNC practised similar methods. Super salaries and allowances, coupled with huge corruption scandals like Global Agri, Greenland Crop and others were the order of the day. Eventually, their greed became so great that under the guise of building socialism, the regime “nationalised” 80 per cent of the country’s economy.
They did that to further enrich themselves and to control the livelihood of the vast majority of people in the country. This allowed them to lord it over the people. One had to join the PNC to get a job and when the economy deteriorated, they had to join the PNC for basic items, including toilet paper.
They even practiced forced labour at Hope Estate. They forced public servants and employees of public corporations to give free labour on weekends.
The PNC regime used those same workers and the army to break strikes, which they branded as political.
Such a regime, by nature, suppresses criticism. They do not like transparency and accountability. Those methods of management go against their intentions. They want to run the state as if it was their private property, not caring about the welfare of the people.
In a word, by its nature, such a regime is considered to be anti-democratic.
Of course, defenders of this regime would argue that that was a long time ago and much has changed. Some would even say that it is impossible for them to return to such practices. It is true that a lot has changed. What has not changed is the nature of the regime. That is the constant.
It means that they would continue their practice in these new conditions. They work systematically to undermine the democratic gains we have made since 1992 and eventually will take us back to a dictatorship – a la PNC.
It is apposite to recall that the PNC took from 1964 to 1973 to complete their strangle on power and to really earn the title as a dictatorship. This shows that the establishment of a dictatorship by the bureaucratic clan is a process.
An examination of this PNC-led APNU/AFC regime would show that the contours of such a regime are already distinguishable. This trend is bound to continue.
Already, we see that the Parliament is being undermined. Many complaints are being made by the Opposition on how the Speaker is conducting the business of the Assembly. He is not using his authority to facilitate deliberation and debates. Instead his conduct puts him as a partisan operator mainly concerned with defending and protecting government MPs.
Already questions begging to be answered are piling up in the National Assembly.
Since the regime took power we have noticed the trend – settling of cases, including tax cases. These settlements have cost the economy billions of dollars. The BK International case is one such disturbing matter. This matter did not even reach the court, but settlement of more than a billion dollars was done.
In all of these cases, one is hard pressed not to believe that some persons may be getting kickbacks.
This is after they have given themselves huge increases in salaries and allowances. This is after they have given their friends super salaries in many public entities. They have also overloaded the system with advisors.
The drug bond fiasco is the latest case to show that they are setting up companies to do business with the Government. Minister Norton, in the case of the bond fiasco, is just the fall guy. This stench goes high up in the administration.
Many established contractors are already complaining that they are not getting jobs, they have become sub-contractors to persons who were given projects but have no equipment.
Already, we have seen the disregard for the tender process and the use of sole sourcing. This is the beginning of the undermining of transparency and accountability.
The most worrying factor of this Granger regime is the process of militarisation of the State. Some glimpses of these actions are of great concern.
The taking over of the Walter Roth Museum to house the growing bureaucracy is a case in point. Reports have it that army personnel just turned up and told the staff that they will have to move, to start packing.
This is an ominous sign of things to come. While we may have some dismissals, as we have seen at GWI, this situation will not get better, it will further deteriorate. This is because of the nature of the regime.
The democratic forces in our society must come out and oppose this trend, tomorrow may be too late.
On Wednesday March 3, 1982, the University of Guyana Council terminated my appointment as a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies. One man voted against my dismissal, KA Juman-Yassin. This Guyanese was courageous. Thank you, Juman-Yassin. You are an inspiration to me and my family. I thought of you, on and off, when I was kidnapped, blindfolded, interrogated and terrorized on February 9-14, 1984.
This unjust, undemocratic and unpatriotic act caused me irreparable personal and professional damage. Yet, there is no bitterness in my heart. It is sad, however, that working people in Guyana provide many of these folks with rewards and pensions.
Hereunder, are excerpts of the “Minutes of Adjourned Council Meeting held Wednesday March 3, 1982 in the Board Room, Administration Building, Turkeyen Campus. PRESENT :Cdes. C. Baird, CCH, Pro Chancellor (Chairperson), G. Walcott, Vice Chancellor (AG.), D. Ainsworth, MP; L.T. Bowen, V. Burnham, E. Burrowes, N. Chaderpaul, W.A. Davidson, K. Denny, E.Gilbert, MP, H. Green, MP, J. Holder, AA, C. Jarvis, AA, L. Lewis, DSM, R. McKay, F. Mohamed, MP, A. Munroe, S.S. Narine, AA, MP, M. Parris, C. Philadelphia, B. Raghubir, DSM, L. Scotland, S.M. Shakoor, G.Sharma, J. Sinclair, G. Singh, S. Singh, K.A. Juman-Yassin, J. Yates, A. Yhap, AA, N. Younge and H.O. Brewester, Registrar/Secretary (Ag.)…”
(After recommending that 29 students be asked to withdraw from the university because they did not do National Service, the Board dealt with my employment at UG).
“…ANY OTHER BUSINESS: Under this item Cde. A. Munroe, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education, told the Board that he wished to raise a matter of vital importance in relation to the appointment (of) Paul Nehru Tennassee as a Research Fellow, Institute Development Studies. He said that since Cde. Tennassee’s assumption of duty in January, 1982 information had come to hand which led to the conclusion that he was not (a) fit and proper person to continue in the employment of the University. He therefore proposed that Cde. Tennassee’s appointment be terminated under clause 3 of his contract and that he should be given (6) months salary in lieu of notice along with benefits to which he was entitled. He added that a cheque for the amount due should accompany the letter of termination.
The Dean, Faculty of Social Science, inquired into the reasons for such a proposal at this point of the agenda and felt that the decision to terminate someone’s appointment so abruptly should not be taken lightly. He called on Cde Munroe to put forward reasons to support his proposal since from the information gleaned from Cde Tennessee’s curriculum vitae it would seem that there was no academic reason for the proposal. He opined that such reasons would assist the University in its recruitment decisions. He reminded the Council also of the point of view of the Academic Board which sometime previously had urged that when a person’s contract was being terminated at short notice, some explanation should be given.
The response of some members of the Board was that the Academic Board had no authority over appointments or dismissals and its opinion could be disregarded. They further argued that in matters of this nature the less said the better and no reason should be advanced.
Cde. Juman-Yassin voiced his disagreement and said that such an abrupt termination of anyone’s service could greatly affect his future prospects. He advanced the argument that Council as the body being asked to make the decision was entitled to hear the reasons for the proposal so that it could be satisfied about the objectivity of its decision. He stated that he would be hard pressed to support a proposal without hearing the rationale that led to its presentation.
The majority of the members however insisted that no reasons should be advanced and called on the Pro-Chancellor to put Cde. Munroe’s motion to the vote. The Pro-Chancellor cautioned the Council that the matter was a serious one. However, since there seemed to be a general demand for the motion to be put, she called on members to indicate their support or otherwise of the motion.
In the vote that followed, twenty-six (26) members supported the motion, one (1) member voted against, there was one (1) abstention and one (1) member did not vote.
The Registrar (ag) was advised to dispatch the letter of termination the next day (4th March) and to seek legal advice on the formulation of the letter.
The Dean, Faculty of Social Science, then told Council that his Faculty would view the decision seriously since it placed them in a rather invidious position. He hoped that at a later stage Council would see the wisdom of offering reasons for its decision.
There being no other business the meeting ended at 17.55 hours.”
Eusi Kwayana told me that my father was the first school teacher who responded to his letter inviting teachers on the Corentyne to join the independence struggle. I witnessed with my mother, when I was six-years-old, the invading British soldiers occupy our store (under Dr Lachmansingh’s house in James Street), and later went to our home in search of my father and subversive literature. I met Forbes Burnham in 1969 at his office in Parliament Building. He listened to me explain my views on how the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean should be mobilized and organized to assert their true independence. He then leaned back on his chair, slightly touched his little beard and said to me “idealism, idealism, pure idealism.”
Paul Nehru Tennassee