PRESIDENT Desmond Hoyte has expressed the hope that the proposed ‘Skills Training for Development Programme’ (STEP) would produce people with the necessary skills who will not compromise high standards.
He was speaking at the weekend opening of the annual GNS Officers Conference held at the GNS Sports Complex, Carifesta Avenue. Heads of the Disciplined Services and special invitees were among those present.
The President said there was a tremendous national shortage of persons with vocational skills and urged that the training programmes be well coordinated and made attractive to the young.
He said that a distinction should be made between literacy and intelligence, and that he felt that as long as students excel in practical aspects of a skill, it was possible for them to learn the theoretical aspects of it.
It is time the President said that work becomes a culture and people do things because they know it is the right thing to do.
50 Years On The Job
On March 19, 1939 Redmond, then a 16-year-old began working for Mr. Francis de Caires, on the recommendation of his grandfather. He was fired in the second week because he was caught lying his way out of a situation.
The next day he was told to return to work. That lesson taught him the importance of a good name.
Ivelaw recalls that working in Georgetown in those days was very pleasant. “I started out as an office boy. Most workers were older people whom I found nice to work with.”
The behaviour and attitude of today’s youths are a serious gripe of his because he finds them rude, discourteous and impolite. He contends that moral standards have dropped considerably and that the use of foul language is on the increase.
After fifty years Mr. Redmond is past the age of retirement. “It is time for me to leave but I have become part of the family. I am a shareholder in the company and I am also quite attached to my job.”
When he retires, Ivelaw plans to make a final trip to the U.S.A. for a brief holiday. He disclosed that he has travelled abroad extensively, but he never had the inclination to settle abroad.
The father of three and grandfather of ten, Redmond says that he has thoroughly enjoyed his life.
In his spare time he amuses himself by betting on horses and walking to keep fit.
Redmond is also a longstanding member of the Anglican Church.
Money Talks In Prison
MONEY is power in prison. That’s the word from an ex-convict who has just spent several months at the Georgetown Prison on Camp Street.
He told this paper that though the purchasing power of the dollar is very low in prison compared to what it is in the streets, brisk trading has developed in the cells with the Number One item on the most wanted list being ‘special food.”
He said that the regular menu is boiled fish (mostly Banga Mary) mashed and served with rice. This is eaten for lunch and dinner (the latter always served before 4 p.m.)
“Sometimes, once or twice per month fried fish or steamed greens are added to this menu,” the ex-prisoner noting, adding that for breakfast a “sugar water tea” or corn meal or rice porridge is served.
“For breakfast the ‘tea’ is preferred because the porridge causes terrible belly aches and diarrhoea,” he declared.
“The kitchen prisoners who work under the supervision of prison officers take rations from the daily stores allocation and cook special meals which is sold to the other prisoners.
“Although the price per plate varies according to what is prepared, the food is always popular among the prisoners,”, the source claimed.
And money also ‘talks’ if one prisoner has a grudge against another. “The more wealthy prisoners always get the better in these deals, because they can afford to pay some officers and other prisoners to beat the offending prisoner,” the ex-convict alleges.
He claimed also that prisoners who can afford it, can pay to stay in the prison infirmary “which is the cleanest and most comfortable place at the jail. The dormitory is infested with bugs,” he noted.
“Money flows in prison,” he said, “just last Christmas one prisoner was found with $870 in a cell.”
He alleged that the money enters the prison through some prison officers who go to the inmates’ homes and collect money from their relatives. “Half of the amount collected goes to the prisoner and the other half is pocketed by the officer,” he explained.
The source said the same is the case with cigarettes. “Some officers take cigarettes and ganja (marijuana) into the prison which they give to certain prisoners to sell for them,” he said, adding that sometimes inmates are forced to sell their cigarettes and three-quarters of the money is handed over to certain officers. The price is two cigarettes for a dollar, he noted.
The source said that if soap and other toiletries were not brought by relatives then they would have had to do without. Contrary to popular belief, he claims that the prison is well supplied with pharmaceuticals. However, these are hardly dispensed to patients, he said.
“Aspirins or panadol are what is given for almost all ailments,” he declared, pointing out that diarrhoea is the most common illness among inmates.
“What is most frightening is that some prisoners are equipped with razor blades (brought by relatives for them to shave) and surgical needles and blades. These they just pick up from dust bins where they are discarded,” he said.
He claimed that overall sanitation at the facility is poor with the toilets running over whenever it rains heavily.
When contacted for a response to these allegations, the office of the Permanent Secretary in the Home Affairs Ministry said the PS was in a meeting and would not be immediately available.
Move Caricom Secretariat: Charles
PRIME Minister of Dominica Eugenia Charles has made another call for the Caricom Secretariat to be removed from Georgetown.
During an interview over Radio Antilles last Monday night, she said it was well-known that she has been unhappy for some time with the performance of the Secretariat which she linked to problems the Secretariat had to face in the recruiting of staff to work in Georgetown. She contended the power failures would make things worse.
Ms. Charles declared: “In spite of the fact that I’ve a great friendship for the leaders in Guyana, Ido not believe that we are well served by having the Secretariat in Guyana. But I do not believe that any other country in the Caribbean is going to agree with me.’ She referred to the need for an unanimous decision on Caricom to get things done.