October 1, 2016 By
October 1, 2016 By
– Registrar says decision was made 2 years ago
The University of Guyana (UG) on Friday announced that it has increased tuition fees for the academic year 2016/2017 by some five per cent, a move that it said will also continue the following academic year.
The announcement, which was made to students via emails, has created some frenzy, particularly on social media.
The email coming out of the office of the Registrar reads, “The University administration informs the University community that the Finance and General Purposes Committee of the University had approved the increase in tuition fees for 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 academic years.”
It said the annual tuition fee for the 2016/2017 Academic year is now $168,000 instead of $160,000.
The email went on to state that the University regretted any inconvenience caused and advised that all invoices will be amended accordingly. It said the difference without penalty becomes payable on or before November 15, 2016. The Facilities Fee remains unchanged.
Contacted for a comment on the issue, Registrar, Dr Nigel Gravesande told Guyana Times that the decision for the annual five per cent increase was made back in 2014 by the Council and that students were fully aware of this. However, while the decision was made in 2014, it was never applied to the 2015/2016 academic year.
“So last year students did not pay. Students will (now) pay five per cent 2016/2017 and another five per cent 2017/2018. The 2015/2016 was not applied. It is now being applied here,” the Registrar told Guyana Times.
Students took to facebook and other social media protesting, saying “enough is enough.” They say the University continues to hike fees while the institution and its infrastructure continues to deteriorate.
The University has increased tuition fees even after it also announced that students slated to attend graduation will be required to pay some $10,000, while those who will not be attending will pay $5000.
October 1, 2016 By
A truck driver was on Friday morning killed after he lost control of the car he was driving and crashed into a parked trailer at Greenwich Park, East Bank Essequibo (EBE).
Dead is Sanjeev Jainauth of Unity, Parika, EBE.
Reports are the 23-year-old man left home to fix a wheel for his father’s Canter at a nearby vulcanizing shop. However, as he was driving along Greenwich Public Road, a teenager allegedly ran into his path forcing him to swerve. This reportedly caused him to lose control of the vehicle and subsequently crashed into the parked trailer.
He was taken to the Leonora Cottage Hospital where he died while receiving medical attention.
At the time of the accident, a young lady was in the vehicle. She sustained minor bruises.
Shanta Jainauth, mother of the dead man told Guyana Times that she received a phone call from her sister-in-law enquiring about her son.
“She ask me if my son at home so I tell she he went out to look after a tyre for the Canter…so she asked if I hear anything happen to him, so I tell she no. She then tell me that she hear he was in an accident…” the grieving mother related.
She immediately contacted her husband but by that time, he was already aware of the accident. The woman further stated that based on reports, her son suffered severe head injuries: “We hear that he had a girl in the car when the accident happened, we hoping that she tell we what really happened but based on what they tell me, is that he swerved from knocking a girl who run over the road and is then he lost control of the car and run into the trailer,” the grieving mother related.
She tearfully stated that one of her sons died five years ago to cancer. He was also 23.
The young man leaves to morning his parents and two siblings. A post-mortem is expected to be conducted on Monday. Traffic ranks in ‘D’ Division have launched an investigation into the accident.
October 1, 2016 By
A fire suspected to be arson has completely gutted three buildings in Mc Doom, Greater Georgetown, in the wee hours of Friday.
The fire reportedly started at around 01:30h in one of the buildings, which rapidly spread to the others located in the same yard.
Guyana Times understands that the fire started in the lower flat of the Lot 50 Middle Street, Mc Doom, house owned by Yvonne Josiah who resides overseas.
Jermaine Josiah, 40, the woman’s son was the lone occupant of the house at the time of the fire. He was subsequently arrested.
“When I became alerted of the fire, I peeked outside and I see Jermaine just standing on the road looking as the house was being burnt with his hands folded,” a resident told this publication.
Neighbours were alerted and quickly lent assistance to the occupants of the other houses.
One of the other houses was owned by Olivia Welch, who was at home with her children when the disaster struck. Speaking with this publication, the woman’s daughter, Onica Welch, explained:
“We were inside asleep when the neighbours woke us up and tell us that the house was on fire. Our mother just gathered me and my brothers and sisters and we all ran outside.”
The third house was owned by Fanda Smith, who was also asleep when the fire started and was awoken by neighbours.
Residents worked vigorously to douse the flames, however, their efforts proved futile.
The Fire Service was called but according residents four fire tenders went to the location without water.
An investigation has been launched by the Police and Guyana Fire Service.
September 30, 2016 By
2015 Auditor General’s Report
– AG to hand over report to House Speaker today
Auditor General Deodat Sharma is expected to hand over the 2015 Auditor General’s Report to Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland later today and according to top officials in the Audit Office of Guyana, the report is expected to highlight the continued abuse of the Contingency Fund by the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition which took office in May 2015.
The APNU/AFC while in Opposition, complained bitterly about similar acts by the then People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration.
A senior functionary within the Audit Office, who has access to the audit information, told Guyana Times that there are a series of abuses of the Contingency Fund by the APNU/AFC Administration during 2015, the Fiscal year under review. The source said the abuse continued into 2016, pointing to the single-sourcing of the controversial Sussex Street Drug Bond as a prime example.
Speaking directly about the period under review, the official confirmed that the 2015 Audit Report is expected to highlight a number of abuses, including the Supplementary Financial Paper No 3 of 2015 which saw a total of $799,897,637 being utilised from the Contingency Fund for the period September 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015.
One of the withdrawals expected to be highlighted in the report is the $48 million for the purchase of furniture and equipment for the Ministry of the Presidency and State House, as well as the installation of 6000 solar systems at the President’s official residence, which is not deemed to be of any “urgency”.
The 2015 Audit report is also expected to highlight a $77 million advance from the said Fund for the provision of salary increases and a one-off tax free payment for the University of Guyana at the Turkeyen and Tain locations.
Then there is the $11 million withdrawal from the Contingency Fund in 2015 as part payment to the Guyana National Newspapers Limited, the publisher of the Government-owned Guyana Chronicle as an outstanding balance owed by the Government Information Agency (GINA) – another State-owned entity.
It is important to note that the APNU/AFC, while in Opposition, voted against budgetary allocations for GINA in 2013 and 2014, reducing that entity’s allocations to $1 on both occasions.
The Audit Office official said that all of the highlighted cases are but a few of the abuses of the Contingency Fund by the Government.
These abuses were previously highlighted to the Government when the financial paper was tabled and subsequently approved by the Government-controlled National Assembly, but at the time, Finance Minister Winston Jordan had dismissed these accusations, stating he was not of the opinion that the advances made amount to the abuse of the Contingency Fund. Meanwhile, the report is also expected to cover several cases prior to the May 11, 2015 General and Regional Elections, as the then PPP/C Government was also drawing down from the Contingency Fund.
It is also important to recall that then President Donald Ramotar had prorogued the Parliament and subsequently called the General Elections, therefore there was no 2015 National Budget until August of that year; four months after the coalition Government took office, and thus the report is expected to highlight a number of instances under the previous Administration.
There were expectations that the 2015 Audit Report would have shed some light on the controversies surrounding a decision by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to procure 50 obsolete High Frequency (HF) communication radio sets by GECOM from a Water Street businessman for close to $100 million, while sidelining Barrett Communications, the manufacturers of the very equipment.
The equipment were purchased for the 2015 General and Regional Elections but were never put into use after it was discovered many of them were not working.
However, the official said that the report is not expected to elaborate on that agency since there is a special investigation into the corruption allegations there.
The electoral body is also accused of procuring another $100 million in stationery supplies from the same businessman and $14 million in pliers and nippers from a relative of the businessman.
Meanwhile, the official revealed that the auditors were unable to comb the books of the controversial National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) since all of that agency’s financial records are in the hands of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) which is conducting investigations into the operations of that entity.
The 2014 Auditor General’s Report had flagged the PPP/C Administration over the withdrawal of $962 million from the Contingency Fund without meeting the specified criteria.
Abuse of the Contingency Fund has always been a talking point for the APNU/AFC while in the political Opposition.
As a matter of fact, AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan, who is now a Vice President and Public Security Minister in the coalition Government had emphasised on several occasions in the past that the National Assembly is the first device or mechanism for which emergency advances can be protected from abuse.
“The (PPP) has been abusing their understanding of the criteria of an emergency under the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act. “When we run to the Fund it is only to be used for emergency cases, like if there is a serious flood in Mahaicony and we need to remove citizens, money would be used in that case. But I understand that they are using the Contingencies Fund to relieve the National Communications Network,” Ramjattan was quoted as saying.
Ramjattan had accused former Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh of abusing the Fund.
“I am begging the people of this nation to understand that it is their money that is being abused and to realise what kind of Government they had,” Ramjattan had said.
However, the examples that are now being cited bear a very close resemblance to what the APNU/AFC condemned while in the Opposition.
September 30, 2016 By
Police in C Division (East Coast Demerara) have arrested a 46-year-old man after he hacked his son to death during an argument with his wife over money.
Dead is 24-year-old Mahesh Chand of Lot 81 Narine Street, Annadale, East Coast Demerara.
According to reports, the dead man’s parents were having an argument late Wednesday night and he intervened, siding with his mother. This apparently angered his father who picked up a cutlass and attacked the young man.
Guyana Times visited the home where the incident occurred and the dead man’s mother, Nandranie Chowtie, related what transpired the night before.
She recalled that on Wednesday, her husband had given her $2000 which she used to purchase things to cook and when he came home around 23:00h, he picked a fight asking for the change. The woman claimed that her husband had already picked up the money but still had her search for it as he continued his tantrum.
“(Mahesh) was in his bed – he went to work and was tired – so he get up and bring $400 and tell me ‘mommy give the man this money’. My husband de done pack his bag and say he want the money because he want go away, and he say that me and my children them ah lick one head. So the boy turn and tell he that he taking advantage,” she stated.
Chowtie continued that her son’s comment may have upset her husband; as such, he went into the kitchen and grabbed a cutlass. She added that the man ran into the room and chopped her son to the abdomen and to his thigh.
“I didn’t know that he stab meh son so I run downstairs because I was scared he woulda chop me and I run out the yard and go hide in some bushes on the road… (My husband) go away and come back and start cuss up the boy that how he mek them and they want beat, but all the time meh son upstairs bleeding out,” the woman cried.
The grieving mother said at that time, her four other children were also hiding in the backyard and out of fear, she stayed in hiding and it was not until her daughter alerted her that Mahesh was bleeding that she became aware her son was injured.
“Meh daughter start call for me and tell me come see what happen to Mahesh, he deh bad so I run out (from the bushes) and start call for help and begging somebody to come with a taxi to take him to the hospital,” the distraught woman cried.
She explained that despite her pleas, none of the neighbours came to assist in taking her injured son to the hospital. It was after some time has elapsed that someone transported the injured young man to seek medical attention, but it was too late.
“When they were carrying him out (of the house) last night, like he been done dead because his head was on my foot and it get heavy… I didn’t had money to take taxi so we had to wait long after till when somebody come to take him to the hospital and when we reach there, they call and tell me that he dead,” the aggrieved woman lamented helplessly.
The 24-year-old young man, the eldest of five, worked on a delivery truck and assisted in running the household. He was described by persons in the village as a quite, respectful and willing individual.
Meanwhile, the father, 46-year-old Amarnauth Chand, is currently in Police custody assisting with the investigation. The Police in a statement on Thursday said after committing the act, the man “fled the scene but has since been apprehended and taken into custody.”
<<<Guyana Times>>> was told that the man was reportedly unaware that this eldest child was dead. Moreover, this newspaper understands that this was not the first that Chand has carried out such an attack. In fact, back in March on Phagwah Day, the man attacked his wife, chopping her to the head.
The woman reported the matter to the Police and was given a medical to see a doctor but there were some issues with the document and nothing came out of the matter.
September 30, 2016 By
An East Bank Demerara man was briefly hospitalised after he was beaten by several armed men who posed as police to gain entry into the premises. According to reports gathered, around 02:45h Thursday, 5 bandits stormed the Lot 463 Herstelling home of Lalta, his wife Esther Sammy and their 21-year-old daughter.
Guyana Times understands that the gunmen arrived by car. The five men exited, four of whom kicked down the door to the house while the fifth kept watch. The men then held up the man and dealt him several blows to the back and chest with a cutlass. They then ordered the woman to kneel on the floor as they turned their attention on the daughter.
This publication was further told the bandits took the young lady into the upper flat of the house where they ransacked the bedrooms. They then carted off an undisclosed sum of money and a quantity of jewellery. One of the neighbours recalled what she witnessed.
“They run and kicked down de door and one of the man say we is police and say open de door so the man said why I must open me door for and dem run and kick down the door and go in and hole up de man,” the woman explained.
Eyewitnesses also said that as the robbery was unfolding they made repeated calls to the Providence Police Station but all were unsuccessful. It was sometime later that ranks reportedly attached to the Brickdam Police Station who were on patrol came and took the report.
“We couldn’t do anything because when we peep through we window, we see de gun, we couldn’t come out. We just put on de light and tek it off back… everybody calling [the Providence Police Station] dem seh de phone na working,” the woman said.
This newspaper was however made aware that when one of the eyewitnesses visited the Providence Station, two telephones were working.
The police are continuing their investigations but no arrests were made.
It was only Wednesday around noon that a Cuban vendor Maria Puig, 61, was shot to her right hand outside a store in Regent Street, Georgetown, after being robbed of $5000 cash. The bandits reportedly fled on a CG motorcycle.
Meanwhile, over the past week, both armed and unarmed bandits carried out over 20 robberies on several businesses in the Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara. In many instances, excessive violence was used. The area’s Acting Divisional Commander, Leslie James met with stakeholders there where he related that more patrols will be set up at strategic locations.
September 30, 2016 By
…urges law enforcement to locate, transport him back
Days before the ruling on a drug trafficking charge against him, Barry Dataram had fled the jurisdiction, a situation President David Granger believes would not have existed had the local justice system been more alert.
During the taping of this week’s “The Public Interest” programme on Thursday, the Head of State posited that while he would not lay blame at the feet of any agency or individual, Dataram’s flight from Guyana was something which could have been avoided.
“Mr Dataram is a person of interest. He is a well-known character in Guyana, and I would expect that even though the judicial branch is separate, there should be a greater level of alertness on the part of the magistracy, in the judiciary, in matters like this and I don’t regard it as a failing on the part of law enforcement agencies, but it is definitely an error which ought to have been avoided,” he told reporters when prompted to comment on the matter.
Nevertheless, President Granger is calling on local law enforcement agencies to work with their counterparts in neighbouring countries and use every possible legitimate avenue available to them to locate the convicted drug lord and have him transported back to Guyana.
“The danger posed in having somebody who is now a convict out there, out of the jurisdiction is going to be harmful to our national interest, so I would urge the law enforcement agencies to alert their counterparts in neighbouring states… I would urge all law enforcement agencies to use every legitimate measure to bring him back into this jurisdiction so that he can serve his sentence,” the President stated.
Furthermore, the President told reporters on the weekly programme that information suggested that Dataram might have absconded using a passport not issued by the Government of Guyana.
“Even though Mr Dataram might have a foreign passport, it might be a forged passport… my information is that he is not travelling on a Guyanese passport. So, after his disappearance, and we weren’t aware of his disappearance, we continued to work with our partners in the Caribbean to bring him to justice. If he is in Suriname as is suspected, the Commissioner of Police has been instructed to try to ascertain his whereabouts in neighbouring countries, but he is not using a Guyana passport – that much we know,” the Head of State further revealed.
Dataram and his reputed wife, Anjanie Boodnarine, along with two others, Komal Charran and Trevor Gouveia, were charged jointly with the possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking.
However, days before the court’s ruling, Dataram and his spouse, who was previously granted High Court bail, fled the country. After the couple failed to attend court on the previous scheduled days of sentencing (September 20 and September 23, 2016), the presiding Magistrate Judy Lactchman issued arrest warrants for them and noted that she would proceed with her ruling in their absence.
As such, on Tuesday last, Dataram was sentenced to 60 months in jail and a fine of $164.2 million after he was found guilty in absentia of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.
Meanwhile, his three co-accused, including his reputed wife, were all freed of the joint charge, which stated that on April 16, 2015, at Fourth Avenue, Diamond, East Bank Demerara, they had 60.840 kilograms of cocaine in their possession for the purpose of trafficking.
September 29, 2016 By
– Van West-Charles among those granted licence
The Guyana Government has granted several licences to import close to one million pounds of chicken for the latter half of 2016 and among the recipients are Managing Director of Guyana Water Inc, Dr Richard Van West-Charles and fired Debt Recovery Manager Lear Goring.
Guyana Development Associates is among the companies granted a licence to import chicken and is jointly owned by Van West-Charles and Goring.
That company was registered on July 27, 2015. Its address is registered as Lot 301 Meadowbrook Gardens, Georgetown. The company is among a list of 19 businesses/individuals who were recipients of the second batch of import licences to bring into the country some 884,000 pounds of chicken for 2016.
GWI’s Internal Auditing Department is currently investigating Dr Van West-Charles over a litany of complaints and decisions, including the hiring of Goring in a position that he created.
Goring was employed by Dr Van West-Charles, the son-in-law of former President Forbes Burnham, as a Debt Recovery Manager, and was paid a monthly salary $263,000 in addition to a $20,000 allowance.
Goring came to prominence recently when it was found that he and the entity’s Managing Director, Dr Richard Van West-Charles, were also both Directors of Atlantic Fuels Inc – an entity which was issued with a fuel licence.
Goring was also found to have been twice convicted of drug trafficking and was similarly deported on both occasions from the United States of America (USA).
He was fired after the Board of Directors decided that “Mr Goring’s credentials do not satisfy the requirements outlined for the position.”
Meanwhile, The importation of chicken has always been a controversial issue in Guyana as some importers have been very unscrupulous in the quality of chicken brought onto the local market. Only recently, the Law Enforcement and Investigation Division (LEID) of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) seized millions of dollar worth of chicken, which was smuggled to Guyana via Suriname.
A number of local farmers are upset at the Government’s decision to grant chicken import licence citing the fact that they have adequate supplies for the local market demand. Some local producers queried exactly how 19 companies were granted licenses by the Government without any consultation with the local industry. This publication was told that such a move by the Government will have devastating consequences on local chicken producers and the feed industry.
September 29, 2016 By