– 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.
An early morning accident on the Linden-Soesdyke Highway has claimed the life of 30-year-old Simon Paul of Victoria village, East Coast Demerara, an employee of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).Paul was reportedly proceeding in a northerly direction along the highway, heading towards Georgetown in his car, PVV 9105, when he collided head-on with a truck heading to Linden, Region 10.This publication was told that the accident occurred in the vicinity of Hararuni at about 00:30h, and preliminary investigations indicate that Paul was probablySimon Paul’s ill-fated vehicle (Photo courtesy of Gordon Moseley)speeding when he apparently lost control of the car and slammed head-on into the truck.He was reportedly flung from the car, and his body was discovered on the highway, some distance away from the scene of the accident. The car’s roof was completely ripped off, while extensive damage was seen to its front and rear. Both windscreens were smashed inwards.The driver and the porter of the truck were taken to the Diamond Diagnostic Centre, where they were treated and sent away. However, the driver of the truck has been taken into custody as investigations into the fatal accident continue.
A dreadlocked man whose identity has not yet been established is now a patient at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC), nursing two gunshot injuries he sustained to one of his feet after reportedly snatching a wallet from another man in the vicinity of Robb Street and Avenue of the Republic, Georgetown. Based on information received, police are seeking this man’s accomplice.At the scene of the incident, an eyewitness detailed to this publication that the victim had parked his car in the vicinity of Church’s Chicken and had gone about conducting his business. Upon returning to his motor car, which he was about to enter, the dreadlocked man reportedly grabbed his wallet, and the man whipped out a firearm and discharged two rounds, hitting the suspect to his knee.Police arrived at the scene and took the injured man to the hospital, where he has been admitted a patient. They were, however, seen circling the area, looking for the dreadlock’s accomplice.
…disciplinary actions not ruled out – HarmonShould the allegation prove true after thorough investigation — that Permanent Secretary Vibert Welch of the Education Ministry had used public funds to build at his private residence a guard hut which cost more than $500,000 to construct — he could find himself seriously immersed in proverbial hot water.Minister of State Joseph Harmon, responding on Friday to queries on the issue, said the matter had come to his attention, and he had sought and received an explanation from the Public Service Ministry.He said Government has steadfastly advocated cost-cutting, and that each public official needed to ensure that the dollars allocated by the state under his/her charge should be made to “go as long as they can”.“All employees of the state in the public sector… are required to act in accordance with the law. And anybody, once they step outside of that (obligation), they are exposing themselves to be sanctioned or disciplined,” Harmon told reporters.Harmon said once an investigation is done and due process is followed, “then any person within the state sector that acts outside the law will be subject to discipline.”The story was broken earlier this week in another section of the media that more than half a million dollars had been expended by the Education Ministry (MoE) to construct a guard hut at Welch’s Bent Street, Georgetown residence. The report stated that the structure is approximately five feet in width, five feet in length, and about eight feet in height. It already has all its electrical components in place, and judging from its appearance, it had recently been painted. According to the report, the contract was awarded to Linden Ogle, listed among the contractors who had submitted proposals for the construction of the hut.The MoE is also reportedly paying $20,000 per month to rent a toilet for the security guards.The report has said that Welch has since distanced himself from the project, declaring that he had played no part in awarding the contract or formulating the methodology that was used to arrive at its seemingly exorbitant price. Welch said that all he did was to sign off on the documents after the relevant technical persons, including the engineer and the Chief Works Officer, would have given their approval.PS Welch has explained that his signature of approval was needed, since he is the accounting officer, and all disbursements of funds have to be approved by him.This project was reportedly endorsed by PS of the Department of Public Service, Reginald Brotherson, four days ago.Meanwhile, Welch is embroiled in another guard hut scandal which reportedly cost $1 million. This hut was allegedly built while he was serving as PS for the Indigenous Peoples Affairs Ministry.
– in separate incidents Two men – one a contractor and the other a school teacher – were on Tuesday placed on a total of $360,000 bail for allegedly having sexual relations with three teenagers. The men appeared at the Albion Magistrate’s Court charged for two separate and unrelated cases but were both granted bail.Zafiel Yusuf, 25, a teacher and the son of a former AFC Regional Councillor, was charged with the rape of a 14-year-old girl and her 15-year-old brother.Zafiel YusufIt is alleged that on April 19, 2017, he had sexual penetration with the teenagers at a Corentyne village. Yusuf, who operates a private school on the Corentyne, was granted bail in the sum of $120,000 on each of the two charges. He will return to court on July 27, when the Police are expected to file statements.It was alleged that Yusuf went to the teenagers’ home and requested to see their mother and told her that he had hampers to give to poor people and if she wanted one she will have to send her children with him to collect it.The children got into his car and he stopped at a Chinese restaurant and asked them if they wanted beer to drink. The girl said she did not want a beer but would accept a bottle of juice.Dexter ClerkIt is alleged that the siblings were later taken down a dam and next to a clump of bushes where she was told to perform a sexual act on Yusuf. It was also reported that she refused and was cuffed and told that she would be killed if she did not comply. Out of fear, the teenager performed oral sex on the school teacher.It is alleged that her brother was also forced to do the same after his sister.After the teenagers returned home, the matter was reported to the Police.Meanwhile, also appearing before Magistrate Marissa Mittelholzer on Tuesday was Dexter Philadelphia, also called “Dexter Clerk”, 43, a contractor.He is accused of having sexual intercourse with a 12-year-old in August 2015. He was granted bail in the sum of $120,000 and will return to court on July 4.It was reported that the victim and Philadelphia were known to each other. On August 16, 2016, she was in the bathroom at their Corentyne home which is located at the back of the yard when the suspect came into the said bathroom and began to touch her. She told him to stop but he allegedly continued. After the bath, she went upstairs to her bedroom and Philadelphia went after her.At the time she was wrapped in a towel. The towel was pulled off and she was allegedly raped. At the time, Philadelphia was involved in a relationship with the teenager’s mother.When the matter comes up again on July 4, the Police will be expected to file statements.
By Samuel SukhnandanWhile declaring that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) does not have any respect for President David Granger for a number of valid reasons, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has said that his party has the highest regard for theOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeoposition and the Office of the President.Jagdeo told a news conference on Wednesday that the PPP’s non-respect for President Granger is mainly due to the many so-called broken promises, wasteful spending of taxpayers’ dollars and his blatant disregard for the office, the Constitution and the rule of law.“We do respect the institution of the presidency but not the person who holds that office now,” Jagdeo declared, stating that the unilateral appointment of Justice James Patterson as Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) after rejecting his 18 nominees is one bold example.According to Jagdeo, presidential respect has to be earned and not taken for granted. Granger, he claimed, “loves” pomp, protocol and ceremony “but doesn’t like scrutiny”. “We will treat him with respect once he complies with the Constitution and laws,” the Opposition Leader asserted.The former Head of State also defended the action of the PPP/Civic MPs in Parliament at the last sitting where they held up placards and chanted in opposition of the Government. Although several Government Ministers had referred to them as “vulgarians,” Jagdeo said the current Government has behaved worse.And while the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland is yet to pronounce on the action, at the next sitting on November 17, 2017, Jagdeo believes that the Speaker might have approved of the action in the House because he did not identify any breach of the standing orders.“The Speaker might have agreed with our position because I did not see the Speaker intervene and tell us that we were breaking the standing orders,” the Opposition Leader said. He added that Opposition Members of Parliament were not prepared to be lectured by the Speaker nor the President.Jagdeo claimed that the actions taken by the now coalition Government both inPresident David Grangerand out of office has always been highly controversial. “In contemporary history, the numerous instances of the worst display of lack of civility in politics… it was a [People’s National Congress] PNC-led group that invaded… led a mob that invaded the compound of the Office of the President, broke down the gate, came into the building and as a result of which some people were shot and killed. What about that for respect of the presidency?”Jagdeo also recalled that burning of buildings in Georgetown led by the same group that also threatened business people. “What about the people who were beaten on the streets by the same group that talks about civility in politics now,” he added.Further, Jagdeo said while the Government has claimed that the Opposition disrespected the intentional community because of their protest in and out of the public building, he said these same groups that were again PNC-inspired displayed the highest level of vulgarity on several national day’s events.He recalled that he was addressing the crowd at the National Park on Republic Day and couldn’t hear himself because it was the vilest form of protest on display.“What about the respect for the international community at that time? Many of them were there in their full presence. Many said to me that they had to walk through a gauntlet of taunts and the vilest remarks thrown at them by the same people who are now lecturing us,” he claimed. Jagdeo went on to state that the PPP exercised the best display of civility even though they felt that the 2015 elections were rigged. With a difference of 4500 votes between parties, Jagdeo said his party accepted the results. He said, “You didn’t see a single building burn. We accepted the results and we’re now in Opposition struggling to retake power in Guyana.”By contrast, he urged Guyanese to examine the history of Government, not ancient history, but between 1997 and 2001 when the international community certified that the elections were free and fair. “When the difference was close to 30,000 they still refused to accept the results, they burnt the city and beat people up. What about the respect for the international community at that time?”He also referred to United States President Jimmy Carter’s book Beyond the White House where he said that the most personal danger he felt since leaving the White House was in Guyana in 1992, because of the ruckus created by these groups that were allegedly politically motivated by the PNC.Jagdeo also highlighted Granger’s no promised jobs for youths, spending of more than $100 million on Escalade and Toyota Crown vehicles and the laying off of thousands of sugar workers of different race and political persuasions. “I can go on now and list the vulgarities in the country…one hundred times more vulgar than the PPP holding up a few placards in the Parliament,” he said.The Opposition maintains that the action taken by the Opposition in Parliament was a robust expression of dissatisfaction with this illegal unconstitutional act by the President.
Several residents of Kwakwani in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) on Friday took to the streets to protest the poor quality of water and electricity supply in the area.Guyana Times understands that the residents stood in front of the Kwakwani Utilities Inc (KUI), Kwakwani Park Office, attempting get the attention of a senior representative, to address the ongoing issues affecting them.The villagers have long been complaining about the poor quality of water they receive as well as the constant fluctuation in power supply. According to one of the protesters, a member of KUI’s Board engaged them and in the end referred to them as “jackasses” for protesting.Meanwhile, over in Kuru Kururu on the Soesdyke Linden Highway, several residents complained of being without power from more than 12 hours after aA section of the protestors in Kwakwani, Region 10 on Fridaytransformer exploded around 20:00h on Thursday evening.<<<
No-confidence cases– cite case law, dictionaries to substantiate casesVarious parties in the slew of no-confidence vote related legal challenges have filed and sent out their submissions to the High Court. In one, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, through his legal representatives, is arguing that the court processes are being abused to overturn that fateful vote.This is according to the submission made on Jagdeo’s behalf in the Compton Reid vs Speaker of the National Assembly; Charrandas Persaud; the Attorney General; Jagdeo and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) General Secretary Joseph Harmon.Asking the court to strike out Reid’s application, Jagdeo’s legal team (led by former Attorney General Anil Nandlall) noted that “it does not disclose any reasonable ground for bringing the claim; it is an abuse of the process of the Court and it is scandalous, frivolous and vexatious.”The submission goes on to argue that Reid’s application “flies in the face of the Constitution”, when one stops to consider the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act Chapter 1:04.AG vs Speaker, Opposition leaderMeanwhile, a second submission was made on Jagdeo’s behalf by Nandlall and two other members of his legal team – attorneys-at-law Manoj Narayan and Rajendra Jaigobin – in the case of AG vs Speaker and Jagdeo.In this submission, the team argues that the AG’s application is “incurably bad in law” and should be dismissed. According to the team, the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application by way of a “case stated”, based on the Civil Procedures Rules (CPR).The team, nevertheless, addressed the substantive issues raised by the AG’s application, such as his claim that 33 is not a majority of 65. Here the team cited Blacks’ Law Dictionary, the Oxford Dictionary and the Webster’s third new International Dictionary, in order to define a majority.Blacks’ Law Dictionary states “A majority always refers to more than half of some defined or assumed set. In parliamentary law, that set, may be all of the members or some subset, such as all members present or all members voting on a particular question.”The Oxford Dictionary defines a majority as “the state or fact of being greater, the number by which in voting, the votes cast on one side exceeds those cast on other.”Meanwhile, the Webster Dictionary states that a majority is “the quality or state of being greater: number greater than half of a total: the excess of such a greater number over the remainder of the total.”The team went on to assert that by the AG’s definition, the meaning of what a majority has a ripple effect. The team gave as an example the Court of Appeal and its three Judges and the Public Service Commission.“The Attorney General’s approach will also lead to unusual and unworkable results under the Constitution. Thus for any question proposed for decision to be passed in the National Assembly under section 168(1)1, where all 65 members are present and voting, the votes of 34 members must be obtained.”“Where a Government is formed on the basis of the support of only 33 of the 65 elected members, it means that in order to implement any legislative measure, it must obtain the vote of at least one opposition member,” the team stated.Ram vs AG, Opposition LeaderMeanwhile, Attorney General Basil Williams, through his legal representative, has submitted a response contesting the arguments put forward by activist Christopher Ram, who had approached the court seeking to have the Government resign as per the Constitution.In the AG’s response, filed by Attorney Maxwell Edwards, he argues a number of things. According to the AG, resignation depends on Parliament being dissolved before General and Regional Elections.In this instance, the AG cited Article 106 (7) of the Constitution of Guyana to support his arguments. He then went on to reject calls for Government to be in a caretaker mode, contending that the vote was not a valid one.On the matter of former AFC MP Charrandas Persaud’s dual citizenship, the AG then pointed to Article 165 (2) of the Constitution. The AG noted the danger to Guyana’s democracy to have MP’s who are disqualified from voting due to dual citizenship, vote in the National Assembly.When the cases were first heard in her chambers, Chief Justice (acting) Roxanne George had given the sides a date of January 18 to exchange submissions, January 21 for rebuttal submissions and in the case of Christopher Ram versus the Attorney General and Speaker of the National Assembly, submissions will be heard today.Oral submissions for Compton Reid versus the Attorney General, former MP Charrandas Persaud and the Speaker of the National Assembly will be heard on January 24. And finally, in the case of the Attorney General versus the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Opposition Leader, oral submissions will be done on January 25. (Jarryl Bryan)
CALGARY, A.B. – The Northeast B.C. Yukon Midget Trackers were in Calgary over the weekend for the International Hockey Association Tournament.In game one of the IHA Tournament, on Thursday, January 31, the Trackers faced IHA. The Trackers managed to win the game 7-1 over IHA.On Friday morning, for game two, the Trackers took on the Edge. After a close game, the Trackers managed to pull away with a win of 3-2 over the Edge.- Advertisement -Then for game three, on Friday afternoon, the Trackers faced Fort Saskatchewan. The Trackers would sweep this game 6-1, moving the Trackers to the semi-finals.In the semi-finals on Saturday, the Trackers took on St. Albert. The Midget Trackers ended up winning that game 5-1, advancing them to the finals.On Sunday, the Trackers faced the Northwest Bruins for the finals. The Trackers managed to win gold after winning the finals 4-1 over the Bruins.Advertisement Up next, the Trackers will return to regular play for a road trip series on Friday, February 8 as they take on the St. Albert Blues. Game time is 8:45 p.m. at the CMM.Then on February 9, the Trackers will be headed to Morinville to take on the Sturgeon Sting. Puck drop is 3:15 p.m.The final game of the weekend series will be on Sunday, February 10 as they face the Maple Leaf Athletic Club at the Confederation Arena in Edmonton. Game time is 1:30 p.m.