Our ‘selfish’, `uncaring’ teachers

Sooner, hopefully rather than later, government and the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) will sit down together again to see through the satisfactory settlement of what has become the difficult issue of settling on a mutually agreed offer to teachers in relation to their salaries, allowances and other conditions of service given a universal acceptance of the reality that there is a gap,  a considerable one, between the service that teachers give to this nation and the extent of the material reward that they receive. 

Teachers’ wage talks

President Granger’s statement on Friday at his third press conference since taking office three years ago that the government is now seeking to mobilise funds to make a better pay offer to teachers is cause for great concern. 

Reviving history teaching

Yesterday marked the beginning of Indigenous Heritage Month. We will, of course, be treated to all the usual exhibitions and the like, but one cannot help but wish that the population as a whole, and not just the First Peoples, were exposed to the early history of this land.

Viewing Venezuela with Indifference

With a warning that the exodus from Venezuela is close to producing a “crisis moment”, last week the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) urged Latin American nations to relax visa restrictions for more than 1.6 million citizens who have left the country during the last three years.

Dangerous dogs

It is a rather unfortunate, yet undeniable fact, that the concept of animal control as a responsibility of government, whether central or local, appears to have long been abandoned here in Guyana.

The rise of the Frankenfoods

In recent years there have been many an outcry over ‘plastic rice’ reportedly being sold as the real thing as well as other so-called fake foods.

Heart of the City

The hustle and bustle of back-to-school shopping for the September term is gathering momentum and the converging streets and the never ending flow of traffic amidst the penetrating hum, appear to be a kaleidoscope  of colours  and a ball of bursting energy loosely rolled together  and splattered on to a canvas of shimmering asphalt.

Minibus service standards should be set and regulated by the authorities

The fact that some commentators are advocating that any increase in minibus fares be linked to an across-the -board improvement in the quality of service afforded commuters resembles a desperate bid to claw back some measure of leverage from an industry ‘gone wild’ though the more one thinks of throwing in ‘good behaviour’ as part of the criteria for increased fares the more it seems to be not a particularly good idea.

Media access to the President

Despite assurances, President Granger is yet to convene a press conference for the local media corps and to begin to hold them on a regular basis.

Congressional visit

Last week a 23-member US Congressional delegation, including military personnel, breezed in here for reasons which were never officially explained.

Manafort, Cohen and the Midterms

Three days ago America’s political landscape began to realign itself. Two of the president’s most senior advisers found themselves at the mercy of a special prosecutor, and it seemed, for the first time, that presidential pardons – the legal sleight of hand Trump has relied on to evade political pressure – had outlived their usefulness.

Contextualizing crime

There is a saying attributed to the 19th century circus owner, Phineas T. Barnum, which says that “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” This bold statement is not usually interpreted too literally and is thought to recognise publicity as a contributor to business success, particularly as compared to no publicity.

Preaching to the choir

Earlier this week, at the opening of the 20th biennial convention of the National Congress of Women (NCW), the women’s arm of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), the party’s leader and President of Guyana David Granger called for “concerted action to eliminate violence against women”. 

Hope springs eternal

As the round-robin stage of the 2018 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) reaches the half way mark this week, the hopes of West Indian cricket fans of their team’s chances in next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup, are beginning to climb.  

The killing of Estevao Costa Marques

The actual facts of the matter may still be the subject of investigation though it seems very much that last week’s Puruni incident that led to the shooting to death of Brazilian miner Estevao Costa Marques by a policeman points again to the chronic weakness of the regime that governs interior policing and the protracted failure of government over many years to do anything really meaningful to correct the situation.

Rum in the House

In the course of reportage on the food bill for sittings of the National Assembly, it has been confirmed that alcohol is being served in the House to Members of Parliament.

Judicial Review Act

The Judicial Review Act forms a critical spoke in the wheel of good government.

Naipaul’s achievement

V.S. Naipaul’s passing at the age of 85 leaves behind a shelf of books that will, in equal measure, delight and provoke West Indian readers for generations.

Being Green

On his 1971 album ‘Sinatra & Company’, American singer Frank Sinatra helped popularize the 1970 Joe Raposo song “Being Green”.

New age thinking

The Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) blasted off last week Wednesday with much glitz and fanfare, as the defending champions, the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) hosted the St.

The GTU strike ultimatum: It is the government that must ‘shift gears’

The first thing that should be said about last week’s notification of strike action by state-employed teachers, through their union, the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) is that the extent of the notice given by the Union allows sufficient time for a compromise to be arrived at, thereby sparing us the headache of having to see a new academic year begin with children unable to take their places in classrooms and in a situation where it becomes anyone’s guess as to when normalcy will be restored.

Sovereign Wealth Fund Green Paper

On  Wednesday, the government published its Green Paper on the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) which will guide how oil revenues from 2020  and onwards are managed.

Georgetown City Week

Last Saturday the Town Clerk of Georgetown, Mr Royston King, in a letter to this newspaper, defended the City Council’s decision to hold a week of celebratory activities commemorating the birth of our capital city.

Social media vs the news

The defamation lawsuits against Infowars founder Alex Jones and his subsequent removal (“de-platforming”) from Apple, Facebook, Spotify and YouTube vividly illustrate what is at stake in the battles over who gets to determine the tone and content of America’s public sphere.

Development of sport

Guyanese, West Indian and international cricketer, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, is set to be bestowed with an honorary doctorate from the University of the West Indies’ St Augustine Campus in October.

Ending modern-day slavery

Recently, at a major international airport in the United States, a teenage girl who was travelling with her maternal aunt was pulled aside by immigration officials and questioned as to whether she was willingly going to her destination.

Hotel fire

Last Sunday night at about 10.30 pm, a fire broke out in the kitchen of the Guyana Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown, and fortunately, what could have been a massive tragedy was averted and no one was injured.

Water woes

Globally, the importance of clean, adequate supplies of potable drinking water is regarded as a key index of human development.

Appointment of Dr Mark Bynoe

Out of the blue, on February 27th this year, the government announced that a Department of Energy (DoE) within the Ministry of the Presidency would be established to take over responsibility for the oil and gas sector from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).

Minister Felix and the Committee

Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix has failed on four occasions this year to appear before the parliamentary Sectoral Committee for Foreign Relations when requested to do so.

Apple’s trillion dollar valuation

Earlier this week Apple became a trillion dollar company, an estimate close to the combined value of America’s ‘big four’ banks, and the single highest valuation for a company in history.

Threats to press freedom

“Press freedom is facing new threats in major democracies as well as in repressive states, where authorities are focusing their efforts on social media and other online platforms after reducing the independence of major print and broadcast outlets.” This is how the April 2018 Press Freedom report labelled “Attacks on the Record: The State of Global Press Freedom, 2017-2018” prepared by independent watchdog, Freedom House located in Washington and New York, USA.

Demeaning and destructive

On Monday last, the BBC reported on a shocking incident of assault, the video of which had already gone viral.

A voice in the wilderness

One of the lesser known Japanese products of recent times is the Shouting Vase, a pottery –inspired plastic jug mouth muffler which is designed to fit the contours of your mouth. 

The New York Times’ cheap shot

It is not in the nature of newspapers like the New York Times, on those occasions when they must pay a measure of editorial attention to countries like Guyana, long arbitrarily grouped as ‘banana republics,’ to fail to litter their offerings with ill-informed and open ridicule, sparing no feelings.

Continuing problems in the police force

More than three years after APNU+AFC entered office, the public has grown increasingly impatient with the poor performance and corruption in the security sector particularly considering that President Granger had had deep engagement with law and order matters before taking office and was one of the members of the 2003 Disciplined Forces Commission (DFC) which enquired into the deficiencies and challenges facing each of the services.

Emancipation

On Wednesday we will celebrate Emancipation Day. And it is worth celebrating, not just by the descendants of those from whom the shackles of slavery were removed on August 1, 1838, but by everyone.

Bad news and Facebook

When Facebook’s stock plummeted earlier this week, wiping out US$120 billion dollars of market capitalisation in a single day, Wall Street’s analysts – most of whom had rated the stock as a strong buy just the day before –  couldn’t agree on the exact cause.

Krauss’s article and insights

When writing an article, a writer wants his first few words and sentences to grab the attention of the reader and to set the tone for the rest of the article.

Plastic: not so fantastic

Video footage taken last week and shared online more than a million times since, to expressions of disgust and outrage from many, shows sluggish waves of waste, mostly plastics, hitting the shoreline at Montesinos Beach in the Dominican Republic capital following a storm.

Mission Impossible

The Mission: Impossible franchise started out in 1966 as an American television series and ran for seven seasons.

The mistreatment of police vehicles

One might have thought that in a discipline-driven  organization like the Guyana Police Force (GPF) it would be unnecessary for the subject Minister to have to ‘reach in,’ so to speak and to publicly declare that policemen (and women) responsible for damage to the Force’s vehicles in circumstances that can reasonably be deemed to be the result of their own recklessness/carelessness would have to go into their pockets to pay for the damage.

A welcome initiative by President Carter

Former US President Carter’s recent conversations with President Granger and Opposition Leader Jagdeo in an initiative to get high-level dialogue between the two leaders going is most welcome.

Warraus

It should come as no surprise to anyone that there are increasing numbers of Venezuelans taking refuge in this country.

Age of extremes

A recent study by America’s Economic Policy Institute shows that US income inequality  is now approaching levels not seen since the eve of the Wall Street crash.

Disaster Preparedness

Over the years the response of the Guyana Civil Defence Commission (CDC) to various local emergencies, mostly to do with flooding in riverain areas, has not always been sufficiently sophisticated, nor always timely and effective.

Different lives

For the year so far, at least seven men have been convicted of child rape, one pleaded guilty, at least one was acquitted and more than three have been charged.

World Cup observations

When the Air France jet carrying the triumphant French team, the 2018 FIFA World Cup champions, touched down at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris on Monday it was greeted with a water cannon salute and hundreds of adoring fans. 

The Ministry of Public Health and the tender process

The manner in which drugs and other materiel associated with the delivery of services at the state-run health care institutions in Guyana are acquired has long been the subject of animated public chatter that often alights upon the subject of the circumvention of tender regulations and excursions into what are believed to be optional corrupt practices.