Why closure?

first_imgIt is quite unfortunate that in spite of the mounting calls for the coalition Government to reconsider its decision to downscale the sugar industry via closure of sugar estates, the Administration seems unmoved and is bent on moving in a direction that will see thousands of workers and their families being severely affected.On May 8, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder presented Government’s ‘white paper’ on the future of the sugar industry to the National Assembly. He had announced that two sugar estates would be closed and the annual production of sugar would be reduced, among a number of other measures, as part of a new policy on the sugar industry.Cognisant of the huge impact these closures would have on their lives, scores of sugar workers have taken to the streets over the past few weeks to highlight their concerns on the matter, with the hope that the Government would stop to listen. However, so far, the powers that be have basically turned a deaf ear and are operating as if they are unconcerned. For example, the Wales workers’ contention is that they cannot be compelled to travel to the Uitvlugt Estate on the West Coast of Demerara – some 22 miles from Wales – hence they prefer a severance package. But the Administration seems to be sending a message that they (workers) do not have any other option.The latest organisation to add its voice against the closure of the estates was the Private Sector Commission (PSC). The PSC, which represents several Private Sector bodies in Guyana, has highlighted several valid reasons why the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) should be allowed to continue current operations and has even offered to work with the Administration to explore all possible options to avert closure of the estates.Certainly, the estates are a major source of sustenance and their closure will be felt deeply and far and wide. Workers and their families are rightly fearful that their communities would be destroyed, families broken up and there will be increased incidence of crime and other social problems. It should be mentioned that in December 2016, sugar operations ceased at the Wales Estate, leaving over 1000 workers jobless. Even though it might be too soon to measure the impact of the closure, analysts have predicted it would be severe. One can only imagine what will happen to workers and their families; and communities in general, if the Government moves ahead with other planned closures. It should be noted that the Government-initiated Commission of Inquiry (CoI) did not recommend closure of any estate, but, on the contrary, recommended divestment into private hands.It must be mentioned too that in spite of the many calls for the Administration to develop a plan of action to have the necessary impact assessments completed and to engage industry stakeholders, nothing concrete was done in this regard. We had stated on numerous occasions before, that no informed decision can be made on the sugar industry without proper and detailed impact assessments being carried out.Further, because of its level of importance, we suggest that the issue be brought for discussion and debate at the national level with the involvement of all stakeholders. After all, this is people’s livelihoods that would be affected and they and/or their representatives deserve to be fully engaged on what matters to them. The Government has not presented any justifiable reasons to convince the populace that closure is the most viable option.No one can deny the huge contribution sugar has made to the economy. It could be recalled that years ago, the earnings from the sugar industry helped to prop up other sectors when they were performing badly. Of note too is that the industry remains the largest employer other than Government and is the main foreign currency earner. It is, therefore, necessary that all stakeholders – the workers’ union, parliamentary Opposition, Private Sector bodies and other civil society organisations – continue to raise their voices against the closure of the estates.Citizens, especially sugar workers, must hold the Government accountable, as it had promised a good life for all Guyanese during the 2015 General and Regional Elections campaign. Closing sugar estates and placing workers on the breadline are certainly not a good example of wanting to create that promised ‘good life’.last_img read more

Hotshots heed coach’s call, overcome Beermen rally in Game 5

first_imgPhoto by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—Magnolia coach Chito Victolero had a simple marching order for his charges against San Miguel Beer in Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Finals: Weather the storm.The Hotshots did that and more on Friday night at the Big Dome, with its veteran guard Mark Barroca leading the way.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Phivolcs: Slim probability of Taal Volcano caldera eruption The Witcher series prompts over 500,000 reprints of Andrzej Sapkowski’s books Solon urges Solgen to reconsider quo warranto petition vs ABS-CBN LATEST STORIES Steph Curry, shorthanded Warriors knock out Rockets in Game 6 Eduard Folayang gets new opponent for ONE Manila card Duterte lambasts Catholic Church anew in curse-laden speech before Filipino Baptists MOST READ “We were talking during that final timeout. We just want a chance at a last shot, and we were bent on getting it,” the veteran guard said in Filipino.Quite fittingly, it was all Magnolia needed. It was, after all, their mantra all conference long.“There’s nobody believing in us. Just us,” he added. “Going into this conference, we’ve been underdogs. Quarterfinals, semifinals.”“But whenever we believe, good things happen. That’s why our battle cry is ‘Believe.’”Magnolia had faith that it would survive San Miguel’s spirited comeback attempts and win Game 5.ADVERTISEMENT The Hotshots hope that belief will be stronger than ever come Sunday night when they shoot for the title in Game 6.But as far as closeout games go, both Victolero and Barroca know it’s not going to be easy.“We know [the Beermen] are not going down easily,” the mentor said. “We just have to [do it again].”“To keep it close and give us a fighting chance,” Victolero added.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance PLAY LIST 01:30’Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance00:50Trending Articles05:21Drama in karate: Tsukii ‘very sad’ over coach’s bullying, cold shoulder02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award03:05Malakanyang bilib sa Phivolcs | Chona Yu Pagadian on tighter security for 100,000 expected at Sto. Niño feast Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard Barroca hit a midrange jumper at the buzzer to move the Hotshots on the cusp of the crown and push the reigning four-time conference champions to the brink of elimination.“At halftime, I told them that there will be a moment in the second half that San Miguel mounts a run,” Victolero said in Filipino.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets‍‍‍ offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsTrue enough, the Beermen rallied from 13 points down to put the Hotshots within striking range. A brief exchange of buckets ensued with Terrence Romeo knotting the affair at 86.Then Barroca’s moment came. LeBron James stretches lead in NBA All-Star Game fan voting View commentslast_img read more

Constitutional change nixed by PNC

first_imgFacing severe domestic and international censure over its failure to deliver on its Manifesto promise to initiate constitutional change to address our political logjam, PNCR Executive member Gary Best sought to shift the blame to the Opposition PPP. He claimed, “We had to get at least two-thirds of the members [of the National Assembly] to vote for the many clauses and articles that are now in the Constitution. So constitutional reform is not an activity for the party in power, it’s an activity for all the parties in power, and parties that seek to have power… It can’t be done without the cooperation of the other Members of Parliament which are from the PPP [People’s Progressive Party]”.This has to be one of the most blatant attempts at a cover-up since the Watergate Tapes. The APNU/AFC Manifesto had declared “The Constitution, in its current form, does not serve the best interest of Guyana or its people”. It then detailed seventeen far-reaching changes that included the President being elected directly and separately from the Members of Parliament and Executive power shared between the President, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, with the PM being the person who received the second highest number of votes in the Presidential poll.A six-member Steering Committee on Constitutional Reform (SCCR) was duly established by PM Nagamootoo in August 2015, took extensive submissions and its final report was handed over to him on April 30, 2016. He promised to submit it to Cabinet but a cryptic comment by President David Granger in June 2016 showed that he opposed the changes. He claimed Constitutional Reform should not come from individuals “sitting in a room” and pontificated sedulously, “We need to go to the people, find out what the people think; we need to have consultation and we need to listen to them”.Never mind that the SSCR had actually recommended a detailed, wide-ranging process to effectuate constitutional change. To wit, that after the report being read in the National Assembly, it would be passed on to the Parliamentary Standing Constitutional Reform Commission (CRC), which would have worked with legal experts to prepare a draft of the proposed changes. After circulating this document to the political parties and the widest possible array of civil society organisations, the CRC would have been expanded by representatives of these groups, and they would, in turn, repeat the earlier process. Their report would then be submitted to the National Assembly for debate and ultimate ratification by one of the methods included in the present Constitution, most likely a referendum.But even Granger’s red herring proposal for “hearings” was not followed up even though Nagamootoo requested and received $80M for “consultations”. Instead, the report was read in Parliament a year later in June 2017; submitted to the CRC and from there never saw the light of day. While the CRC is bi-partisan, it is chaired by the AG and has a majority of Government MPs, including Khemraj Ramjattan. A year later in May 2018, following UNDP and Carter Center missions in 2017 to place constitutional change on the Government’s agenda, pressed for an explanation, Ramjattan claimed:“There are good reasons why there are other matters before Parliament and we haven’t been meeting regularly for good reasons and that has stalled the process somewhat. But as we had indicated prior, we are going to, fast as possible, ensure the passage of that (constitutional reform) Consultation Bill so that the process of constitutional reform could start by the Commission going to the various areas across the country. I think that it will be done before the next election and we have to fast-track it”.Nothing changed in the following year and a half since the PNC-led Government’s frantic efforts to subvert the present Constitution to remain in office.The PNC’s spokesperson, Best, was simply being mendacious, since the Bill never reached the floor of the National Assembly for the PPP’s vote.last_img read more

Islamic New Year

first_imgDear Editor,The Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG) is pleased to inform the Muslim community that the new moon for the sacred month of Muharram (the first month in the Muslim lunar calendar) was sighted on the evening of Saturday, August 31, 2019, thus, the new lunar Islamic year has begun.The Central Executive Council of the CIOG congratulates the Muslim community and calls on all Muslims to begin this New Year with extra acts of devotion and remembrance of Allah and a renewed commitment to obeying our Lord in accordance with the standard He set forth in the Noble Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).It is only through strict adherence to the way of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which is the very way of all the previous Prophets from Adam to Jesus (peace be upon them all) that people will achieve purity of faith and freedom from vice and corruption. Any other course will result in lusts such as greed, animosity and prejudice which only induce men to indecencies and vileness. We, therefore, remind ourselves and all Muslims in Guyana and indeed all Guyanese that it is our duty to learn and live that Prophetic way in all aspects of our lives without exception.And we pray to Allah that in this new lunar year He forgives us our faults from the previous years and rectifies our hearts and actions and make us among those who are firm and well established in faith so that we can live amongst each other in peace, love and harmony.I close with the following statement by Umar Ibn Al Khattab (RAD), “Richness isn’t found in wealth, as wealth can diminish. Nor is it found in beauty, for beauty fades with age. It’s found in good character and kind hearts. So treat people in such a way and live amongst them in such a manner that when you die, they make supplication for you, and when you’re alive, they benefit from you and they thank Allah, the Most High for having you in their life”.Sincerely,Al HajShahabudeen AhmadPresidentCIOGlast_img read more

GDF ranks dismissed amid rape allegations

first_imgThe three ranks attached to the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), who were implicated in the alleged rape of an 18-year-old girl at Camp Stephenson, Timehri, East Bank Demerara, were dismissed from the force.The GDF in a release to the media stated that the decision to dismiss the three ranks came in wake of the conclusion of the Board of Inquiry (BoI) which was convened to investigate the allegations.Based on the findings and recommendations of the Inquiry, the Ranks were found to be, not only in contravention of the Security Standing Orders but also a number of other Standing Operating Procedures of the Force.However, the matter is still seeking the attention of the Guyana Police Force. As matter of fact, one of the dismissed ranks was on Friday charged for rape when he appeared before Magistrate Judy Latchman at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.Winston Haynes, also known as “Carlos”, 24, was represented by attorney Dexter Todd who was successful in securing bail for his client in the sum of $600,000.The case was called in-camera, hence the details of the charge are not known. Haynes will return to court on March 27.Meanwhile, due to their dismissal, the ranks have lost their benefits accumulated while serving in the Guyana Defence Force. The rape allegation was levelled against the three men in January of this year.The men reportedly collected the young lady while she was awaiting transportation along the Timehri Public Road and took her to the barracks where they committed the act after which they escorted her out of the compound.The matter was reported to the Police and the hierarchy of the Guyana Defence Force. A BoI was established to investigate the matter. Guyana Times was told that the men contacted the victim to settle the matter.last_img read more

Candidate Shaely Wilbur says balance needs to be restored on Dawson Creek city council

first_imgShaely – she said she is campaigning simply by her first name – is the secretary for the Dawson Creek Ratepayers, a group that has called for more fiscal restraint at City Hall. She said she believes the current and more recent past councils have been weighted too heavily towards arts and culture interests in the city and have not represented businesses and taxpayers well enough.“Those are all great amenities and services that we have, but I think we need to have a voice for the people who are funding those things,” she said. “I think people are tired of being told, ‘we’re paying, we’re paying, we’re paying,’ and I think there are a lot of people out there who have had enough.”She said she believes the FairShare funding the city receives in lieu of industrial property taxes  should be used to lower taxes, not to pay for big capital projects.- Advertisement -“I don’t think we can afford to go one capital project after another, I don’t think we can afford too many more big projects, I think we have to look at we have. Sustainability is across the board …everything has to be sustainable.”Shaely said she would like to have a look at the contentious water rate structure this current council implemented at the beginning of this year. She said she supports a user-based system, but would like to see if things could be done to address the concerns of people who have been affected, such as the residents of the Mile 0 RV Park.She said she is not looking to make big campaign promises she can’t keep, but rather she promises to listen to and stand up for Dawson Creek taxpayers if elected.Advertisement Shaely is mother to five children and grandmother to three grandchildren.Check back to Mile 0 City in the coming days for more profiles of local candidates. “I will listen, and I will ask the questions, and sometimes people don’t want to do that, they get in there and they feel pressured because they might be going against the grain, and I am well known for going against the grain when need be.”Shaely does not have any experience in public office, but she did serve on the parks and recreation advisory board to city council. She is also the past president of the Northern Lights Community Charitable Gaming Association, and has volunteered for two Northern BC Winter Games, as well as for local sports teams. She currently works as production manager at Busy Bee Signs and Graphics.“I’m very involved in Dawson Creek, I love the community, and I want to see a council that will prepare strongly for our future.”She said she strongly believes this election is a pivotal one for the future direction of Dawson Creek, and she is encouraging residents to get involved by voting and by running as candidates themselves.Advertisementlast_img read more

Guardiola makes winning start at City

first_imgBut with three minutes to play, Jesus Navas’s right-wing cross was helped on by fellow substitute Kelechi Iheanacho and McNair, who had only come on four minutes earlier, headed the ball into his own net from close range.The Northern Ireland international signed from City’s cross-town rivals Manchester United earlier this week and his unwitting intervention denied David Moyes a creditable point on his bow as Sunderland manager.City finished the opening day joint-top of the table with Hull City — surprise conquerors of champions Leicester City — but Guardiola will have been concerned by his players’ struggles to break Sunderland down.The former Barcelona coach, who started with Willy Caballero in goal in place of Joe Hart, must now prepare his troops for Tuesday’s Champions League play-off first leg away to Romanian side Steaua Bucharest.Guardiola awarded full debuts to centre-back John Stones, his 47.5 million pounds ($61 million, 55 million euros) signing from Everton, and Spanish winger Nolito, who lined up on the left.He set his team out in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with full-backs Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy stepping into central midfield and holding player Fernandinho dropping between the centre-backs when City had the ball.But the most eye-catching element of his first competitive team selection was the inclusion of Caballero, usually City’s reserve goalkeeper, instead of Hart.Guardiola cast doubt on Hart’s City future on Friday, amid reports he wants to sign Marc-Andre ter Stegen from his former club Barcelona.– Sucker-punch –Aguero scored from the penalty spot after Raheem Sterling had been fouled in the box by Patrick van Aanholt.PHOTO/courtesyCaballero’s distribution was careless, but he made an important early intervention by boxing away a free-kick from Patrick van Aanholt.Van Aanholt was in the spotlight again two minutes later, but at the other end of the pitch, as his rash sliding challenge on Raheem Sterling gave Aguero the opportunity to put City in front from 12 yards.Kevin De Bruyne saw a free-kick fisted clear by Vito Mannone, but despite pinning Sunderland back in their own half, the hosts created few chances from open play.Indeed, had Caballero not produced a smart reaction save to thwart Defoe, Sunderland might have levelled before half-time.With City continuing to toil in the second half, Guardiola made two changes, sending on Navas and Fabian Delph for Nolito and David Silva.Wahbi Khazri and Adnan Januzaj came on for Sunderland, the latter roundly booed as he made his debut following a loan move from Manchester United.Aguero hit a snapshot wide and De Bruyne saw another free-kick repelled by Mannone, before City were hit with a sucker-punch that Guardiola must have feared.Former City midfielder Jack Rodwell was the architect, releasing Defoe with an incisive pass that afforded the one-time England striker time to drill a shot beneath Caballero.Guardiola sent for Iheanacho and within seven minutes of coming on he had a hand in the winning goal as his touch from Navas’s cross sent the ball cannoning off the hapless McNair’s forehead and into the net.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Sergio Aguero’s penalty, after Raheem Sterling was fouled by Patrick van Aanholt, gave City an early lead.MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Aug 13 – Sunderland debutant Paddy McNair scored an 87th-minute own goal to earn Pep Guardiola a 2-1 victory in his first Premier League game as Manchester City manager on Saturday.City took an early lead courtesy of Sergio Aguero’s penalty, but they failed to make their territorial dominance count and Jermain Defoe looked to have earned Sunderland a point with a second-half equaliser.last_img read more

Kroger supermarket chain says profits up but slowed by unrest

first_imgAnalysts surveyed by Thomson Financial predicted earnings of 48 cents per share on sales of $20.4 billion. Analysts typically exclude one-time items in their forecasts. Sales at Kroger stores open at least a year, considered a key indicator of a retailer’s success, were up 6 percent in the quarter. Not counting fuel sales, same-store sales rose 5.2 percent. The company said profit margins in the quarter also were hurt by about a 2 percent rise in product costs and that consumers can expect some higher prices. Prices for milk, cheese, corn, wheat and oranges and some other fruit have been rising nationally for reasons including bad weather, higher costs for livestock feed and for transportation. Some pizza chains have raised the prices of cheese pizzas because of the dairy increase and consumers face price increases in a variety of other areas. Some industry analysts have said price increases could benefit grocers by boosting revenue. The reduced margins, labor uncertainty and a recent run-up in shares made for an off-day for Kroger stock with shares sliding 6.7 percent, or $2, to $27.66. Kroger stock recently reached a 52-week high of $31.94, after trading as low as $20.10 nearly one year ago. Kroger, which competes for grocery sales against nonunion Wal-Mart Stores Inc. supercenters, also is negotiating new contracts with union workers in Seattle and Toledo, Ohio, as well as in Southern California. Workers there have voted to authorize a strike by their union if stalled negotiations with Kroger’s Ralphs and two other chains fail. A work stoppage in Southern California four years ago disrupted business for several months at Ralphs stores. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! CINCINNATI – Kroger Co., the nation’s largest traditional supermarket chain, said Tuesday that first-quarter profit jumped 10 percent but was slowed by labor unrest and rising costs for dairy and some produce items. Its shares sank nearly 7 percent. For the three months ended May 26, Kroger made $336.6 million, or 47 cents per share, compared with $306.4 million, or 42 cents per share, a year earlier. Sales rose 7 percent, to $20.73 billion from $19.42 billion. Kroger, with a tense labor situation in Southern California, said its first-quarter earnings included charges of about 2 cents per share stemming from a two-day walkout by some 700 workers at a distribution center near Louisville, Ky., that two companies operate for Kroger. First-quarter 2006 results included a one-time legal expense of 3 cents per share. last_img read more

Moon mission taught us it’s hard to leave Earth

first_imgOn Earth, you can be wandering a forbidding desert but always with the hope that there might be something human over the horizon. On the moon there is nothing but dust and rock, forever. And then – just about all the astronauts talk about this – you look up and see this beautiful blue marble, warm and fragile, hanging in the black lunar sky. And you long for home. The astronauts brought back that image in the famous photo “Earthrise” and, with it, that feeling of longing. That iconic image did not just help spur the environmental movement. With surpassing irony, it created at the very dawn of the Space Age a longing – not for space but for home. This is perhaps to be expected for a 200,000-year-old race of beings leaving its crib for the first time. We will, however, outgrow that fear. It was 115 years from Columbus to the Jamestown colony. It will take about that same span of time for a new generation – ours is too bound to Earth – to go out and not look back. Charles Krauthammer’s e-mail address is letters@charleskrauthammer.com.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! There was another lucky outcome of Sputnik. Two years earlier, President Eisenhower had proposed “Open Skies” under which the U.S. and Russia would permit spy-plane overflights so each would know the other’s military capabilities. The idea was to reduce mutual uncertainty and strengthen deterrence. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev rejected the idea out of hand. The advent of the orbiting satellite circumvented the objection. By 1960, we had launched our first working spy satellite. But our greatest luck was the fact that the Soviets got to space first. Sputnik orbiting over the United States – and Eisenhower never protesting a violation of U.S. sovereignty – established forever the principle that orbital space is not national territory but is as free and open as the high seas. Had we beaten the Russians into orbit – and we were only a few months behind – Khrushchev might very well have protested our presence over sovereign Soviet territory and reserved the right to one day (the technology was still years away) shoot us down. Sputnik and the Space Age it launched had one other curious, wholly unexpected effect. Before Sputnik, while still dreaming about outer space in science fiction, we always assumed that one step would create the hunger for the next – ever outward from Earth orbit to the moon to Mars and beyond. Not so. It took only 12 years to go from Sputnik to the moon, on which we jumped about for a brief interlude and then, amazingly, abandoned. There are technological, budgetary and political reasons to explain this. But the most profound is psychological. It’s cold out there. “In the Shadow of the Moon” is a magnificent new documentary of the remembrances of some of those very few human beings who have actually gone to the moon. They talk, as you’d expect, about the wonder and beauty and grandeur of the place. But some also recall the coldness of that desolation. One astronaut tells how on the moon’s surface he was seized with the realization that he and his crewmate were utterly alone on an entire world. Fifty years ago this week, America was shaken out of technological complacency by a beeping 180-pound aluminum ball orbiting overhead. Sputnik was a shock because we had always assumed that Russia was nothing but a big, lumbering and all-brawn bear. He could wear down the Nazis and produce mountains of steel but had none of our savvy or sophistication. Then one day we wake up and he beats us into space, placing overhead the first satellite to orbit the Earth since God placed the moon where it could give us lovely sailing tides. At the time, all thoughts were about the Soviets overwhelming us technologically. But the panic turned out to be unwarranted. Sputnik was not subtle science. The Soviets were making up for their inability to miniaturize nuclear warheads – something that does require sophistication – by developing massive rockets. And they had managed to develop one just massive enough to hurl a ball into Earth orbit. We had no idea how lucky we were with Sputnik. The subsequent panic turned out to be an enormous boon. The fear of falling behind the communists induced the federal government to pour a river of money into science and math education. The result was a generation of scientists who gave us not only Apollo and the moon, but the sinews of the information age – for example, ARPA that created ARPANET that became the Internet – that have assured American technological dominance to this day. last_img read more

Remi Garde wants Ligue 1 hotshot to boost Aston Villa’s fight for survival

first_img1 Aston Villa are preparing a January swoop for Lorient striker Benjamin Moukandjo.The 27-year-old has been in stunning form this season and is second in the Ligue 1 goalscoring charts with 11.The Cameroon international only joined Lorient in the summer from Reims, but his impressive performances have seen him linked with a swift move away.Aston Villa, according to L’Equipe, are attempting to lure Moukandjo to the Premier League during the current transfer window.Manager Remi Garde is reportedly a big fan of the forward and believes his goals could strengthen the club’s hopes of survival.Villa currently sit bottom of the Premier League and are 11 points from safety. Benjamin Moukandjo last_img