No time to celebrate

On Monday, April 22, the world ‘celebrated’ Earth Day for the 49th time.

Questionable decisions

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” is one of the most recognisable lines often recited from the famous William Shakespeare tragedy, Hamlet.

Teacher/Parent Town Hall Meetings

We learnt last week that the Ministry of Education (MOE) has commenced a series of meetings with parents across Guyana and teachers and that the objectives of these so-called Town Hall meetings are to attach greater importance to the teacher/parent collaboration in the delivery of education.

Two ministers and conflict of interest

The questions about conflict of interest swirling around two ministers of government, the Minis-ter of Public Telecommunications Catherine Hughes, and the Minister in the Ministry of Communities Valerie Adams-Yearwood, have gone completely unanswered by government.

Campaign

As was the case in the last two national polls, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo appears to have taken charge of the PPP’s drive for re-election and is his party’s highest profile campaigner even though not its presidential candidate.

Heritage

On Monday evening the 850-year-old Parisian cathedral which Victor Hugo described as a “symphony in stone” went on fire.

One for the Ages

The Augusta National Golf Club, a private club in the southern state of Georgia, is the permanent stage of the first of golf’s four annual major tournaments, the Masters Tournament, or as it is readily referred to, The Masters.

Dangerous lives

We have to be doing something wrong. There can be no other explanation for the dangerous lives our women and girls continue to live each day despite the attempts being made at empowerment and education.

Facing gridlock

A month short of four years in office, the APNU+AFC government is at serious risk of being unable to deliver on its economic and financial policies, legislative agenda and oil and gas commitments this year.

SOCU

The Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) was established under the administration of Mr Donald Ramotar as part of Anti-Money Launder-ing Law requirements.

Keeping the huddled masses at bay

Kirstjen Nielsen, US Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security resigned last week, reportedly because President Trump wanted to implement even harsher policies at the US-Mexico border.

Assistance with migrants

There are, it would appear, nearly 6,000 registered Venezuelans here, and according to Minister Winston Felix, an unknown number of unregistered ones.

In reverse

News earlier this week that a subterranean park is to be built in New York in the city’s old trolley tunnels created quite a buzz, but there seemed to be very little surprise that it has actually been conceptualised and is going to come to fruition.

The slaying of a rapper

Two Sundays ago the music and entertainment world was greeted with the horrific news that the 2019 Grammy nominee for Best Rap Album Nipsey Hussle had been gunned down in broad daylight in front of his clothing story in Los Angeles.

City Hall: Past the point of being a liability to the Capital?

Each time that City Hall appears to have plumbed the depths of ineptitude in the course of the discharge (or lack thereof) of its responsibilities to the capital many of us are probably inclined to think that the municipality finally has reached the base of its ineptness or perhaps that it may even be in the process of a long-awaited ascent towards enhanced competence, where, at least, the surprise and shock afforded by its underperformance are both less persistent and less severe and that things can only get better.

Conflict of interest

It has come to public notice that a clear conflict of interest arose sometime in 2017 at the ministry with responsibility for the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) after Minister Valerie Adams-Yearwood’s husband, Godfrey Yearwood, secured a contract to build houses for the same CH&PA.

Naturalisation

Last week, with his customary flair for the melodramatic, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo held a press conference to announce that his party had found evidence of a “people smuggling racket” in the Department of Citizenship aimed at inserting the names of foreigners into the voting list.

The madness of crowds

In 1841 the Scottish writer Charles Mackay published a prescient survey of the dangers of what we now describe as a herd mentality.

The Foreign Affairs portfolio

As with Cedric Richardson, his counterpart in the third term case, farmer, Compton Reid took on the task as a citizen of challenging the validity of the vote of former APNU+AFC MP Charrandass Persaud as a means of nullifying the December 21, 2018 motion of no-confidence which had initially ended the term of the government.

Made in Guyana

On Sunday last, scores of local producers came together in a single space for yet another vigorous effort by the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) to propel small businesses forward.

West Indies Head Coach

After being elected as Cricket West Indies (CWI) President, two Sundays ago, Ricky Skerritt declared that the immediate focus of the new administration would be rejuvenating the high performance centre, governance reform and finding a permanent West Indies Head Coach.

President David Granger

The announcement just over a week ago that the first phase of President David Granger’s medical treatment in Cuba for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma has been successfully completed and that his doctors are satisfied with his response to the chemotherapy which he has had to undergo and with his overall physical well-being, is a development that should be welcomed and celebrated by Guyana.

GECOM Chairman’s vote against Vishnu Persaud

On February 6th, 2019, a subcommittee of the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) completed a report into a complaint that had been lodged with it by the three Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) opposition-nominated commissioners that employment practices have been biased and also that Deputy Chief Election Officer (DCEO) Roxanne Myers had been unfairly selected over the former holder of that position Vishnu Persaud by virtue of the vote of the Chairman, Justice (Rtd) James Patterson.

Models of decency

Karl Popper’s much quoted aphorism that institutions are like fortresses: they have to be strongly built and well manned, is as applicable in Guyana as it is elsewhere.

The “Collusion Delusion”

The first hint of the media narrative that would turn into “Russiagate” surfaced on October 7, 2016 when the US intelligence community announced that foreign hackers had targeted email servers at the Democratic National Committee.

City’s littering dilemma

Recently, Georgetown Mayor, Ubraj Narine posited that the fine for littering should be increased from $10,000 to $40,000 to curb the distasteful habit that seems to be possessed by too many city dwellers.

Extraordinary leadership

For the past week at least, the name Jacinda Ardern has been in every international newspaper, her image plastered all over and the commentary on her latest actions is still ongoing, though not all of it is complimentary.

Winds of change

The Caribbean hurricane season runs from 1st June to 30th November, but last Sunday, the first heavy gales for the year struck the region.

The Court of Appeal ruling and its aftermath

Now that the Guyana Court of Appeal has spoken, the no-confidence motion (NCM) case and its variegated repercussions will wend their way to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) for final resolution.

The UK and Guyana

No one has ever seen anything like it before in the UK. In fact, there are no precedents for it in the parliamentary record.

The ‘resource curse’ and governance

Twenty five years ago, the economist Jeffrey Sachs found that economies which rely on the extraction of natural resources tend to develop slower than those that don’t.

Alarming number of child abuse cases

The cases of child abuse reported to the Child Protection Agency for 2018 numbered a stunning 4,917, according to a statement emanating from agency Director, Ms Ann Greene.

The future of education

There are several things happening now in the world that can and will change the nature of education in the very near future.

SNC–Lavalian saga continues

The SNC–Lavalian saga continues to haunt Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government like a never ending nightmare.

Is the ecstasy ‘monster’ still stalking our schools?

Last September, the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) made what, at the time was held in some quarters to be a somewhat surprising disclosure that the ‘recreational’ drug ecstasy (surely a misapplied terminology) was being distributed in five local schools.

Constitutional crisis and its cause

As the no-confidence motion clock runs down towards the end of the three-month period for the staging of general elections, there has been a flurry of accusations back and forth between President Granger and Opposition Leader Jagdeo about who is responsible for the present deadlock.

Not good news

In any other circumstances, we would be paying more attention to the matter of the Venezuelan border.

Hate speech and extremism

Yesterday’s massacre at two mosques in New Zealand is another instance of extremist violence facilitated by  digital platforms which freely share supremacist ideologies and other forms of hatred.

Despairing depths of disregard for life

One of the moral principles that govern most of the civilised world is the principle of the “right to life.” The United States of America’s “Declaration of Independence” captures this concept in beautiful prose which reads, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Here in Guyana, Article 138 (1) of our Constitution speaks to the protection of this “right to life” in the following manner, “No person shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of an offense under the law of Guyana of which he has been convicted.” All this sums up quite neatly the fact that life is something to be respected and highly regarded, whether it is one’s own life, or that of another.

Women and discrimination

On Tuesday, as the Commission on the Status of Women began their 63rd session at the UN in New York, news broke that the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission had launched an investigation into the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) over whether it has been paying women less than men for doing the same work.

Cricket West Indies elections

On Sunday diehard West Indian cricket fans were left with a bittersweet taste in their mouths following their team’s useless total of 71 in 13 overs in the final T20 match as England completed a 3 – 0 sweep of the shortest format of the game.

Raising standards in the Public Service

One of the difficulties with the term ‘the Public Service of Guyana’ reposes in the fact that its popular interpretation is  misleading in its narrowness insofar as it largely limits the institution to the traditional Ministries of Government administered at the top by functionaries titled Permanent Secretaries and (for no clearly defined reason arbitrarily excludes other state-run institutions which, in much the same manner as the aforementioned Ministries of Government, administer the affairs of the state and provide services to the people of Guyana as an agent of the state.

Deaths of three children

Following an investigation, the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) has confirmed that three young cancer patients succumbed after the improper administration of chemotherapy drugs.

Fine words

The President has virtuoso skills when it comes to issuing soothing, anodyne statements which, on their face, appear to be well advised and equitable, but which in reality mask undeclared intentions.

Intolerant politics

The US Congress recently passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry and intolerance.

Police reforms needed to rein in traffic chaos

In the United States of America (USA), the term “vehicular homicide” is used to describe the criminally negligent or murderous operation of a motor vehicle which results in the death of someone other than the driver of the said vehicle.

Balance for better

Tomorrow, Guyana joins the rest of the world in observing International Women’s Day under the theme promulgated by UN Women – the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women – “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”.

Rumblings in Ottawa

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government has been rocked to the core over the last week by the SNC-Lavalin affair.