Editorial

Censorship in China, business as usual

China’s current crackdown on Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s) – which allow uncensored use of the internet — may well prove to be a milestone in the country’s increasing restrictions on free expression .

‘Democratic institutionalism’

Oscar Arias, the former president of Costa Rica (1986-90 and 2006-10), won the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the guerrilla wars ravaging Central America and for promoting peace and democracy in the isthmus .

A year of tough choices

Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Helen Clark named 2015, the year of tough choices for world leaders .

Obama on the offensive

It seems to be the case that President Obama’s recent State of the Union message to the Congress took his prime audience, the Joint Session of the Senate and the House of Representatives, by surprise .

The police and the public

For as long as the issue of law and order, in all of its various facets, remains a national challenge – and this has unquestionably been the case for several years now – those institutions that are responsible for ensuring that the peace is kept and the law upheld will come under public scrutiny .

Getting away with torture

Torture by any agent of the state whenever proved must be met with the most exacting punishment and at least immediate removal from the force and no chance of re-employment within the same sector .

Election date

So, the President has named an election date .

Boko Haram’s reign of terror

Three weeks ago Islamist militants descended on Baga, a town in Nigeria’s northeast Borno state, and set about destroying property and killing civilians .

Venezuela on the brink?

The position of President Nicolás Maduro’s government in Venezuela is looking increasingly precarious in the face of a worsening economic crisis .

No quid pro quo

Following the unrestrained plummeting in the price for crude oil over the past seven to eight months, its plunge below US$50 on January 7—the lowest in six years—has led finally to the government, through Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh announcing a reduction in the price of fuel on Monday .

The Middle East’s influence

It appears that the Middle East continues, in one dramatic way or another, to be at the centre of world events .

The blinding glare of diplomatic scrutiny

Leaving aside its ongoing ‘discourse’ with Washington and London over the prorogation of the National Assembly and the limbo in which the country is being held (at least up to the time of the writing of this editorial) on the matter of a date for general elections, the ruling party has, all too often, been drawn into prickly exchanges with some resident heads of mission, notably those of the United States and the United Kingdom over issues like crime, law-enforcement deficiencies, drug-trafficking and local government elections .

Disasters of the Jagdeo/Ramotar presidencies

In time it may become one of the most important arteries ever built in the country’s history but today the road to the proposed Amaila Falls Hydropower Project serves little purpose while its maintenance could cost at least $200m annually, according to Public Works Minister Robeson Benn at his press conference on Friday to review 2014 .

Undiplomatic norms

Discretion, tact and subtlety are not characteristics by which the PPP is normally distinguished, and so it came as no particular surprise last week when they went trampling diplomatic niceties underfoot to deliver yet another round of invective against representatives of foreign missions here .

Energy after oil

As slumping oil prices spread political and economic uncertainty through many parts of the world it is becoming clear that a sudden abundance of cheap oil could offer governments opportunities for long-delayed reforms once they have weathered their current short-term crises .

Cuba

The recent release by Cuban authorities of the last of 53 political prisoners in accordance with the terms of the historic deal announced by President Barack Obama and President Raúl Castro, on December 17, 2014, after 18 months of secret negotiations, marked another step forward in the process of rapprochement between Cuba and the United States of America .

$1B and counting

In the 2014 national budget read in Parliament towards the end of March last year, the government allocated $1 billion towards a campaign called ‘Clean-up my Country’ .

Trinidad & Tobago faces oil crisis

Last week Trinidad & Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar addressed her country on the possible consequences for the Twin Island Republic of the rapid decline in oil and gas prices on the international market .

Bravo, Pollard and West Indies Cricket Board

Last Sunday really ought to have seen a triumphant celebration across the entire Caribbean following the West Indies’ record-breaking run-chase (236 for 6 in 19 .

An election date must be named

With two weeks of the new year nearly finished, President Ramotar is cavalierly treating his solemn commitment to the country to name a date for general elections .

Amerindian freedom of speech

The urge by those who rule over us to curb freedom of speech can find expression in insidious ways, and is not always enunciated in explicit fashion by the General Secretary of the PPP in the course of his press briefings .

Cartoons and free speech

Oscar Wilde, who spent a lifetime mocking sanctimonious people and urging them to be less righteous, once quipped that “a man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies .

Policy musings

In his most recent Sunday Stabroek column, ‘Negotiating the coalition,’ Ralph Ramkarran lays out a scenario for a possible coalition government, if the PPP/C were to win executive power with a plurality but not a majority of the votes in the next general election .

Guyana’s bloody roads

One need not wait for the Guyana Police Force’s dissemination of its annual statistics to come to the conclusion that 2014 was a tragic and bloody one for many road users .

Changing geopolitics in Europe

Events in different parts of the world in the course of this year have been forcing observers to question whether the period of détente, or relaxation of negative relations between leading powers, signalled by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ending of one party dominance of that state, is coming to an end .

Mr Rohee’s Old Year’s Day tirade

Ministers of government have an obligation to manage the image of their portfolios efficiently, to seek to ensure, that, as far as possible, their ministries and departments pass the public test in so far as service-delivery is concerned .

Observers

Word that former President Bharrat Jagdeo has been chosen by the Commonwealth Secretariat to head its observer mission to Sri Lanka’s elections where Prime Minister Rajapakse faces a serious challenge evoked strong comment here .

Void and fantasy

Guyana enters 2015 in a state of uncertainty .

Lessons from last year

“Is not the pastness of the past the more profound, the more legendary, the more immediately it falls before the present?” Thomas Mann’s memorable question in The Magic Mountain retains its force to this day .

What will 2015 bring?

On the stroke of midnight and way into the wee hours of today, many persons would have been singing the traditional ‘Auld Lang Syne’ .

Caricom’s relations in the hemisphere at year’s end

Knowing that there is still a tendency among some in the region to doubt the utility of close Caricom-Cuba relations, Caricom heads of government will have felt gratified that so soon after the 5th Caricom-Cuba Summit held in Havana, the leader of what used, in the days of the Cold War, to be called the Free World, made bold to announce that the United States and the Government of Cuba had decided there is now, after so many years of estrangement, to be a deliberate progression of increasing US-Cuba interaction .

An Orwellian existence

Guyana is a country in which it is common for the powerful and the influential to cast long and unpalatable shadows .

Flood control

As stated in the November 23rd Sunday Stabroek editorial, the deep flooding of Georgetown on November 20 was “a painful commentary on government’s inability to think ahead, consult the best skills available and manage projects of a certain technical complexity .

The Minister and GT

If you asked Georgetowners what was at the top of their wish list for the capital in 2015, the majority of them would probably say flood relief .

Another Christmas and the song remains the same

Another year, another Christmas; in many respects, the song remains the same .

Someday at Christmas

Someday at Christmas we’ll see a landWith no hungry children, no empty handsOne happy morning people will shareA world where people care – Stevie Wonder – Someday at ChristmasToday many will sit at overburdened tables and overindulge while many have nothing, or not nearly enough .

North Korea’s provocation

The favourite public portrayal of North Korea in the Western world, and particularly in the United States, is that North Korea is one of the most backward countries in the world, incapable of advancing its own development, and led at the present time, by a political infant, Kim Jong Un, inclined to buffoonery .



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