As Guyana advances towards becoming an oil-producing nation, lecturers and instructors from the Linden community in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) were beneficiaries of a two- day oil and gas sector training, conducted by the Centre for Local Business Development and the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training.The interactive training sessions, which were hosted at the Linden Technical Institute (LTI) on Thursday and Friday last, targeted mainly lecturers of the institution, with the aim of promoting an understanding of the process and importance of offshore oil and gas production.Participants received an introduction to offshore oil and gas, health, safety and environmental-related topics under the three courses which were launched.Speaking at one of the sessions, Senior Business Specialist attached to the Centre for Local Business Development, Dr Natasha Gaskin-Peters noted that the Centre aimed to build local companies through funding by ExxonMobil.She said the Centre would have met with the Institution last year, and the technical and vocational schools were assessed to ascertain what was available here in Guyana.“Linden was one of the schools that we have met with and we will continue to work with the technical and vocational schools, as we move along because we know that you guys want to be engaged and want to ensure that your students have the requisite skills for the industry and so this is just the starting process,” Gaskin-Peters said.Additionally, she pointed out that while the workshop was being piloted in Linden, other communities will soon benefit from the initiative.Apart from raising awareness on the process and importance of offshore oil and gas production in Guyana, the workshop also sought to enable participants to understand the implementation of strategies to upgrade health and safety.Participants were engaged by Health and Safety Specialist attached to the Centre for Local Business Development, Allan Lambert. Other topics discussed included value chains, technologies, local content and opportunities in the new oil and gas industry in Guyana.
The case of alleged simple larceny in which 64-year-old Walter Joseph of Oronoque Drive, Retrieve, Linden has been accused of removing from Black Face Disco, where he was employed, 60 cases of empty Banks DIH Ltd bottles valued at $30,000, at some time between May 2017 and February 2018, commenced on Tuesday before Linden Magistrate Clive Nurse.The virtual complainant on Tuesday took to the stand to give evidence against Joseph, who is currently on $20,000 bail and is being represented by attorney René McDonald.The matter has, however, been adjourned to August 27.
Alleged Linden Police beating sagaThe office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has recommended that charges be laid against a Linden Police Officer and a taxi driver who were recently embroiled in an altercation at the Wisroc- Amelia’s Ward minibus park in Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).Police had launched an investigation after the parties were both questioned in relation to the incident, which transpired on October 8, 2018 shortly after it occurred.The incident, which was recorded on video, showed the taxi driver, Kevin Grant, being physically assaulted by a rank after apparently resisting arrest.Based on investigations and statements obtained from the parties involved, legal advice had been sought, with the video also being presented in the file. E Division (Linden-Kwakwani) Commander Linden Lord said it was recommended that Grant be charged with resisting as well as assaulting a Peace Officer acting in the execution of his duties and for Police Constable Tquian Barnes to be charged with using unnecessary violence against Grant.Lord said the charges would be prepared and filed for court presentation today. He noted that the incident was somewhat unfortunate and uncalled for on both parties’ part.“The Police should be given a chance to execute their duties and if by chance they err, of course, the administration would take action. Likewise, Grant if he erred, the law will take its course,” the Divisional Commander said.During the incident, it was observed that a Police Officer who was also on the scene was in possession of what appeared to be a gun; however, Lord noted that he was made to believe that one of the ranks reportedly had an air pistol, which allegedly fell out from his waistband and he picked up it and replaced it.The incident had unfolded in full view of the public and was reportedly sparked after the taxi driver who was being apprehended by ranks attached to the Mackenzie Police Station for a minor traffic violation failed to report to the said Station.In a cellphone video, which was viewed by Guyana Times, the ranks could be seen attempting to arrest the driver by handcuffing him and forcing him into a Police vehicle.A rank was also observed hitting the driver as he was being led to the Police vehicle. By then, a large crowd had gathered and several other ranks were observed on the scene.The taxi driver, who later spoke to this publication at the Station following the incident, related that he had stopped his car at a corner and was confronted by Police who had advised him to park further up.He explained, however, that the only place he could have driven was inside the park, which is located a short distance away, since according to him, there was no other space available.The driver went on to state that when he got there, the Police started to write him a ticket for failing to stop 30 feet away from the corner. “The car end up fulling (with passengers) and he taking over five minutes to write the ticket,” he related. The driver added that he was then told that another offence was being added after he questioned why the process was taking so long. He said he was then told that he was required to proceed to the station, but he refused, since, according to him, it was a ticket offence.It was shortly after this, that an exchange occurred between the driver and the Policemen resulting in his arrest, during which he alleged that he was warned. Following the incident, a number of persons who witnessed the altercation turned up to the Police Station alleging that “Police brutality” was meted out against the driver.“This is a quiet, quiet boy; if you see how he (the officer) kick he up,” one person alleged. Others noted that if no satisfaction was given, they would go further to report the incident. “They can’t do that to this boy. If they make this boy walk out of here without any satisfaction, we taking a bus and we going Eve Leary, to the Commissioner because they wrong,” another had stated.
A 30-year-old Venezuelan was remanded to prison by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan when he appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court on an armed robbery charge.It is alleged that Asdrodel González Berio on December 14, 2018, at Maka Point, North West District, Region One(Barima-Waini), while being in the company of others and armed with a gun, robbed Elroy Bhisnaught of a Yamaha outboard engine and a Nokia Cellphone valued at a total of $250,000.Police Prosecutor Gordon Mansfield in his submissions informed the court that Berio is not a Guyanese and he does not have a fixed place of abode locally.Berio was remanded to prison. The case will continue on February 19, 2019 at the Mabaruma Magistrate’s Court.
Local telecommunications company GTT on Friday celebrated World Telecommunication and Information Society Day by hosting 20 tech students from the Bishops’ High School (BHS).Throughout the day, the students were engaged in several activities, which included a presentation by Customer Experience Vice President Orson Ferguson and a tour of the communication hub through which mobile, landline and Blaze services interface; Senior Engineer Floyd Rodney and Network Technician Carl De Souza facilitated this.GTT Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Justin Nedd said that “it is important to inspire future generations and mould their technical skills to contribute to the development of Guyana; it is our expectation that hosting students like you would kindle your interest in the technology sector”.The aspiring engineers lauded the company for the opportunity to engage in the walkthrough, citing how informative it was. Michelle Shivcharran was given special recognition by the company for being the only young lady in the tech stream at the Bishops’ High School. The students were quizzed on what they would have learnt, and Omkar Persaud won for himself a cellular phone.Accompanying the students were Ms Williams, a Maths teacher, and Sir Blyden, the Technical Drawing teacher. They noted how educational the walkthrough was and thanked GTT for allowing the students to have such an experience.GTT, over the years, has contributed to bridging the standardisation gap through the deployment of many new and improved services.The company earlier this year ventured into several new initiatives including a paperless billing system, which supports the green initiative, as well as the enhanced use of technology through the use of electronic payment systems like Mobile Money Guyana (MMG) and the MyGTT App.World Telecommunication and Information Society Day marks the founding of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) on May 17, 1865, when the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris. This year, it is being celebrated under the theme, “Bridging the standardisation gap.”Two staff members of the telecommunications giant giving the students a tour of GTT’s switching area
A section of the deplorable buildingA section of the deplorable buildingThe Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) on Monday moved a motion to see the establishment of a restoration fund committee to help fast track the rehabilitation process of the historic building.According to the City’s Mayor, Ubraj Narine, every spark is the beginning to a fire, the same spark, he said, was lit during the Council’s statutory meeting, which saw nine committee members being elected.He was keen to note during his remarks that this committee will be extended to include other stakeholders such as the Private Sector, the Chambers of Commerce, the National Trust, the Department of Tourism, civil society, and others.“I believe this (building) is the eye of the City and we all, as Councillors, should work in this cohesive way to restore this historic building of our nation,” Narine said.Councillor Oscar Clarke suggested that the Mayor be Chairman over the committee of nine members, which comprises six councillors, two from each political party and three officers.Meanwhile the Deputy Mayor, Alfred Mentore, reminded that the structure was decaying in front of councillors as he urged them to support the motion. Further he said, “It’s one of those buildings that we use, but it’s now being abused and we got to do something about it. So we got to all take this very important decision to deal with this particular issue”.The executives elected to serve were Mayor Ubraj Narine as Chairman, Deputy Town Clerk Sharon Harry-Munroe as Secretary, and Councillors Deon Younge, Oscar Clarke, Eketa Edwards, and Michael Leonard. Deputy Mayor Alfred Mentore, Acting Treasurer John Douglas and Deputy City Engineer (ag) Kenson Boston were also chosen to sit on the committee.In February, the European Union (EU) handed over a document to the Mayor in relation to the restoration of City Hall’s deplorable structure and ways in which the space can be utilised to garner independent revenues.EU Ambassador to Guyana Jernej Videti? made the presentation to the Mayor alongside Deputy Mayor Alfred Mentor.Speaking with media operatives after discussions between the two parties, Videti? explained that some £280,000 was expended to craft the document, bringing new ideas to the restoration project. He noted that some plans include using the historic building as a tourism spot, where it can be booked for special events to earn money.The Georgetown M&CC has pegged the overhaul of the City Hall building at over $400 million, and noted that stakeholders would strive to attain funding for the rehabilitation works.The building has suffered much neglect over the years even though millions of dollars have been allocated to facilitate repairs, including some $20 million in 2012.Just recently, the Mayor himself had disclosed plans of relocating some staffers due to the leaking roofs.
As some 628 applications have been received for land at Millie’s Hideout, there continues to be a “mad rush” for land, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) Regional Executive Officer (REO) Orrin Gordon said.According to the REO, with the Region Ten administration’s efforts in constructing a road that will lead to the Berbice River, the interest by farmers and others to secure land there continues to be significant.Millie’s Hideout is the area in Region 10 where Police conduct constant raids as it is a haven for marijuana cultivation. This year alone, Police have unearthed and destroyed thousands of marijuana plants on large acreage in that area.According to Gordon, Government had given the region $13 million, which was supposed to complete some two miles of road; however, they were able to complete nine miles instead, and is determined that the project which was originally pegged at $300 million can be completed for one-fifth of that amount.Gordon said that some 628 persons have applied for land at the area, noting that the interest in farming continues to increase, and stressed that the public is becoming aware that agriculture is critically important to Guyana.He disclosed that from the 628 applications, the Region has some 21,000 acres of land that will be distributed among the applicants. He added that the region is awaiting the green light from Guyana Lands and Survey Commission before the applications are processed.The REO stressed that the greatest challenge facing the Region Ten administration in its distribution is that the Lands and Survey Commission is not moving as fast as they expected them to move, noting that its slowing the process.REO Gordon declared that the lands that the Region intends to distribute are for serious farmers, warning that the monitoring and evaluation process would be rigged so as to ensure that those who are genuine about farming can benefit.In June, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo called on President David Granger to answer for a massive distribution of prime State lands to certain employees of the Ministry of the Presidency, as well as to cronies in the PNC-led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) fraction of the coalition Government and officials of the States Assets Recovery Agency (SARA), which were supposed to recover State assets.Meanwhile, the Opposition Leader said its quite worrying since a top-ranking official of Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) also received land. That land is located at Millie’s Hideout in Linden.
…was allegedly dealt cuffs to head, body causing him to retaliate with scissorsA 23-year-old miner was remanded to prison when he appeared at the Bartica Magistrate’s Court, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) to answer to the charge of felonious wounding.Dameon Jones, called “Blacka”, of Republic Drive, Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara (ECD), appeared before Magistrate Crystal Lambert on Thursday and denied the allegation that on December 16, 2019, he stabbed 35-year-old Robin Benjamin Lepps.It was reported that on the day, a verbal confrontation began between the two men which stemmed from an old grievance. Lepps is said to have dealt Jones a few cuffs to his body and head.In retaliation, Jones, who had a pair of scissors in his possession, used it to deal a stab to the centre of Lepps’ chest, one to his right-side rib cage, and a third stab to the left-side rib cage.After the fight attracted the attention of onlookers, Jones reportedly fled the scene, while persons rushed Lepps to the Bartica Regional Hospital where he was immediately admitted.Meanwhile, the suspect allegedly visited the Bartica Police Station where he handed over the pair of scissors to the investigating officers who promptly arrested and charged him for the offence.He will make his next court appearance on January 9, 2020.
– gunman escapes with MA gunman on Sunday morning snatched over $2 million from a Berbice businessman as he was about to make a deposit at a commercial bank in Rose Hall Town, sources say.Reports are that the businessman, Rakesh Mangalee of Albion, Corentyne, Berbice, was about to use the safety deposit box at Republic Bank when the gunman pounced on him.Guyana Times was told that the businessman, a Berbice-based distributor, had just exited his car when the gunman came up and demanded that he hand over the bag containing the cash.The man complied and the bandit snatched the bag and escaped on a motorcycle which was being ridden by an accomplice.Police B (Berbice) Division Commander, Assistant Commissioner Ian Amsterdam confirmed the robbery had occurred, but did not divulge much detail as investigations are continuing.He, however, noted that investigators were examining video footage from the Bank’s surveillance cameras, as well as other cameras from nearby businesses.
… as more former officials questioned by SOCUThe drama continued on Wednesday, though not as ostentatious as before, as more former prominent Government officials trickled into the headquarters of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) in connection with several investigations into ostensible criminal activities regarding the misappropriation of State assets.Former Prime Minister and President Samuel Hinds; former Education Minister Priya Manickchand; former Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee; former Public Service Minister Jennifer Westford; former Labour Minister, Dr Nanda Gopaul; and former Housing Ministers Irfaan Ali and Sheik Baksh were drilled by SOCU agents in relation to findings which stemmed from several forensic audit reports.Clement Rohee on completion of his interview at SOCU headquartersFormer Public Service Minister Jennifer WestfordFormer Education Minister Priya Manickchand speaking with media following her interview with SOCUSheik Baksh walking away from media operatives outside of SOCU headquartersNanda Gopaul as he exited SOCU on WednesdayUnlike what transpired the previous day where some officials including former President and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and former Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon were arrested, the officials who visited SOCU’s Headquarters on Wednesday were not placed under arrest.British Advisor to SOCU, Dr Sam Sittlington, explained to media operatives that the persons were only arrested because they demonstrated some level of unwillingness to cooperate.But contrary to what he said, former Natural Resources Minister Robert Persaud and daughter of former President Donald Ramotar and General Manager of the Guyana Gold Board, Lisa Ramotar, had freely visited SOCU’s Office but were detained.Dr Sittlington presumed they were only detained because of their ‘attitudes’ towards the SOCU agents.“That had to do with the investigators and how they were talking to the investigators,” he stated.Political vindictivenessAttorney Anil Nandlall, who has provided legal representation for a number of the past Government officials, announced that he has enough evidence to prove a case of political vindictiveness and witch-hunting against the Government.“It is clear that they are taking directions from the Office of the President… If charges germinate from these investigations, these charges are going to be challenged vigorously on that very ground. The criminal justice system must never be used as an instrument for political vendetta, vindictiveness and to oppress people,” he declared during an interview with media operatives outside of SOCU’s Headquarters.Nandlall said the evidence would be compiled in an affidavit that will demonstrate with clarity the case of political vindictiveness and vendetta if charges are laid.Criminal actMoreover, the former Attorney General argued that the alleged acquisition of house lots at prices below market value is not a criminal act, as is being peddling by the Government.The majority of the persons being currently questioned by SOCU are persons who purchased properties at the Sparendaam seawall area commonly known as “Pradoville 2”.The current Administration contends the transactions are a criminal act because of the belief that the properties were acquired below market value.But Nandlall remarked that subsidised housing has always been a part of the legacy of the People’s Progressive Party and that countless Guyanese have benefited from lands sold below market value.“Every single house lot in this country was distributed way below the market price; $50,000 for a land in Mon Repos, $200,000 in Eccles, is that the value of the house lot? So let us not get carried away and become victims of the propaganda,” he pointed out.DistractionMeanwhile, Priya Manickchand expressed her strong belief that these events are orchestrated by the coalition administration to distract the populace from its bad governance and the fact that the promise of a ‘good life’ is yet to be fulfilled and is nowhere on the horizon.“I would like to say this to the Granger-government, bringing in a Priya Manickchand for questioning, arresting a Roger Luncheon, bringing in the former cabinet members here and parading them in and out of SOCU will not distract the parents who have to pay 14 per cent VAT on children’s education, ordinary public servants who sacrificed and bought themselves a car and now repaying that loan on the car and are now being asked to pay parking meter fees on very opaque contract that majority of the country is asking to be withdrawn and the over 200 new taxes which have been introduced…,” she affirmed.Manickchand told reporters while leaving SOCU’s office that Government should make better use of its time and try to stimulate the economy.“Move our economy so that money is circulating. Recycling an envelope or two is not going to help us in that regard,” she stated.QuestionsManickchand, Rohee, Westford and Ali were questioned in relation to their acquisition of lands at the Pradoville housing scheme.Manickchand disclosed to the media that she applied for a house lot under the national housing programme and was subsequently designated a one in the Pradoville Scheme.“I bought the property, I built on the property and I took mortgages to do that…,” she stated.On the other hand, Gopaul was questioned about his role as former Permanent Secretary of the Office of the President and as former Chairman of the Board of the National Communications Network (NCN).“I was a public servant. I never in my working career had any query with respect to my job, my work has always been transparent and I followed the rules of the public service, I am perhaps the only public servant who has never had a query in my career,” he told the media as he exited SOCU’s Headquarters.Gopaul is not a holder or any land in Pradoville but his son, Dr Ghansham Singh was called in for questioning in relation on the matter.“My son acquired his land on his own right and in his own behalf, I have never intervened on behalf of anyone, I have never begged favours, as a public servant I have always been very professional,” Gopaul commented on the matter.Hinds was also questioned about his role in the development of the Pradoville 2 Housing Scheme. He denied claims that the State’s transmission mast was removed as part of a plan to clear the land for distribution.