Worrisome development

In the sports section of last Sunday’s edition, this newspaper broke a story that the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) was asking Under-15 and Under-17 players to sign contracts with long term implications for their future earnings from the game of cricket.

Teachers

Few things can be more inspiring for our struggling education system than teachers, mostly females, (these days it appears that males run a proverbial mile to avoid teaching) fending off their less than appealing conditions of service, and presenting themselves, day after day, fully prepared to draw a line under the frustrations of the previous day and to simply soldier on. 

APNU and AFC meeting

Governing coalition partners, APNU and the AFC are scheduled to meet today to discuss a revision of their ground-breaking Cummingsburg Accord that seeded their win at the 2015 general elections.

Mayhem at sea

On April 27th, 2018 off the coast of Suriname, there was an attack by pirates on four fishing boats manned  by Guyanese most of whom were living in Suriname.

Trump vs Democracy?

In a memorable passage, Emerson observes that:  “An institution is the lengthened shadow of a man … and all history resolves itself very easily into the biography of a few stout and earnest persons.” That insight is a good starting point for a raft of books about the Trump era, most of which interpret the president’s  disruption of the status quo, and his proud ignorance of much of it, as a death knell for American democracy.

Waiting in lines

It would be a very useful study indeed to research the amount of time the average person in Guyana spends standing in line to access goods and services.

No clear division

On Monday last, residents of some villages along the lower East Coast Demerara were exhorted to reclaim their communities through the use of the ballot box at this year’s Local Government Elections.

Physical challenges

It is a long wait for fans of America’s National Football League (NFL) between the end of one season, the Super Bowl in early February, and the start of the next season at the beginning of September.

Sedition and cybercrime

Considering the bewildering array of criminal behaviour in cyberspace – in particular the purveying of child pornography and human trafficking –the advancing of a draft law on these matters and the compromising of computer systems is welcome.

Road culture

In November 2015, a few months after the present government took office, Road Safety Month was launched at which none other than the President of the Co-operative Republic gave the inaugural address.

Learning from Toronto

Six days after Alek Minassian used a rented van to kill 10 people seriously injuring 15 others, Toronto is returning to normal.

Occupational Safety and Health

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) marks April 28 globally as Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) day, promoting the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases.

Addressing plastic pollution

What about nature’s worth? It’s our planet’s womb… What about forest trails? Burnt despite our pleas… – Earth Song, Michael Jackson (1995) Humankind’s stewardship of the earth, for the most part, has been deficient.

Latest weapon

On Monday afternoon at about 1.30 pm, as the City of Toronto finally began to thaw out from a long winter – as recently as last Thursday it was two degrees Celsius with snow on the ground –  the warm spring day was disrupted with the shocking news that a van had struck several pedestrians at the busy intersection of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue, in the north end of the city.

Settling mercury issue quickly

Something would appear to have given over the past few days after the state entities that share responsibility for the administration of the various facets of the gold industry in Guyana – the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Guyana Geology & Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) ‒ had come under further public pressure over the issue of mercury emissions from gold processing by the GGB and its effects on the health of GGMC workers.

The charges

For the entire period of the APNU+AFC administration, it has been clear that the toxic relationship between the government and the opposition – and reflected in everyday encounters among their adherents at various levels far and wide –    would lead to increasingly intractable crises such as those that resulted in the unilateral appointment of the Chairman of GECOM and the continuing absence of substantive appointments to the top two posts of the judiciary.

Sugar heritage

Sugar has defined us. Barring those interludes when crops like cotton, coffee and cacao were grown here, sugar until recently was our primary crop, our primary employer and our primary export.

Us and them politics

A riveting sequence towards the end of Ava DuVernay’s 2016 documentary ‘13th’ intercuts scenes of racial violence from the 1960s with a recording of Donald Trump speaking at a rally – shortly after he has been heckled by an African American protester.

Youth projects

The millennial generation, that age group currently between 18 and 34, make up the single largest chunk of the Guyana population, approximately 45%, using data from the 2012 census.

Disrespecting professionals

At a recent hearing of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), members learnt, or rather were officially informed, that Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) has a significant staff deficit and that the 204 vacancies included teachers, nurses and doctors.

Misplaced machismo

By now you must have experienced the roar. Chances are, once you leave your home you will hear it.

Mercury emissions at the Guyana Gold Board

It really ought not to have been this way. Successive political administrations, ignoring their own repetitive articulation of the virtue of safety and health at the workplace, inexplicably failed to practise what they continually preach resulting – by the admission of the present administration – in damage to the health of a still unknown number of workers at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) to an extent that remains unclear.

The invested signing bonus

It now seems clear that the APNU+AFC government has no intention of placing the US$18m signing bonus in the Consolidated Fund as required by Article 216 of the constitution.

Indigenous democracy

That people don’t learn any lessons from the experience of others is perhaps understandable, but why they shouldn’t learn from their own experience – good as well as bad ‒ is more difficult to explain.

A time to pay attention

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow recently closed an episode of her show with this thought: “When politics goes right in a well-run country, citizens do not have to think much about their government and about the responsibilities of citizenship.” Pausing briefly, for effect, she continued: “The contrary is also true.

Corruption in law enforcement

Recently, British High Commissioner to Guyana, Mr Gregory Quinn had some harsh words to say against corruption in law enforcement, making a strong suggestion that corrupt officers must be jailed once found guilty.

Deterring youth crime

Data on the early ages at which children begin smoking cigarettes and using hard drugs surfaced once again during a national community policing organisation event on Sunday last, with Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan expressing amazement that some were as young as 11.

The longest Test continues

After the twenty-ninth inter-sessional meeting of the conference of the Caricom Heads of Government concluded on the 28th February, in Haiti, the communiqué issued, surprisingly, included the subject of West Indies cricket.

The public’s right to know

On February 16, the Stabroek News published a news story regarding the discovery of “a drug ring inside two Georgetown secondary schools” in which we attributed to “a source” information to the effect that “a group of students was involved in the peddling of the psychoactive drug ecstasy to peers” in the two named schools.

GPL’s US$110m requirement

GPL’s introduction to the media of its new Chief Executive Officer, Albert Gordon and his frank evaluation of the needs of the beleaguered utility is most welcome.

Round Two

In an act of singular perversity the City Council held a special meeting on Wednesday to approve the amended by-laws for parking meters.

The Sky’s Wild Noise

One of the enduring strengths of American politics is its willingness to hold a dialogue with earlier opinions; to review, for example, current political issues from the perspective of the Founding Fathers. 

Teachers’ salaries

Between 2015 and the present, the issue of a salary increase for teachers in the public school system has been simmering, occasionally threatening to boil over into controversy between the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) and the Ministry of Education (MoE).

Integrity in public life

If all goes according to plan, the office of the Integrity Commission, which will seek to hold public officials to standards consistent with the assurances they have given in their oaths to serve the Guyanese public, will be up and running very soon.

International cricket incident

Just when cricket fans around the world had had enough of the ‘ball tampering’ incident in the Third Test between Australia and South Africa, they are slowly coming to the conclusion that not everyone is prepared to accept, and/or play to, the same rules of conduct.

Drugs in schools

We now know, more or less for sure, that this newspaper’s disclosure about a month ago, of a drugs ring involving two secondary schools in the capital is a microcosm of a wider problem and that, more worryingly, it seems that, as it has done in various other instances of crisis in the system, the Ministry of Education has again assumed a more or less ‘hush- hush’ posture on the matter.

Keeping an eye on gov’t and ExxonMobil

On March 30th, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon announced that the US$18m signing bonus contracted with ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, EEPGL would be deposited into the Consolidated Fund before any disbursement is made.

Border security

It was an advertisement in this newspaper on Thursday which drew public attention to the situation facing Guyanese miners in the Cuyuni River.

Criminal justice

The criminal justice system has three major components: law enforcement (mainly the police), the courts or legal system and the penal system (the prisons).

Juvenile justice

Earlier this month, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan tabled in Parliament, a bill that is expected to see a change in how juveniles at odds with the law are treated.

Reverse swing

Worldwide cricket fans have had their appetites filled in the last week, whilst experiencing a roller coaster of emotions.

The agro- processing sector

There are signs that the agro-processing sub-sector of our manufacturing sector is beginning to creep closer to the realization of the long-held ambition of having our products such as sauces, condiments, beverages, snack foods and the like, make a mark on the local, regional and international markets.

Three deaths on the seawall

Considering all of the facts known at this point,  there is an unmistakably familiar incongruence in the police explanations for the deaths of three men on the seawall on March 15 and numerous outstanding questions.

Stamps

It was like a cheap magician’s trick on a Music Hall stage: now you see it, now you don’t.

Digital deceptions

Before Cambridge Analytica (CA) mined Facebook data from 50 million users for  “psychographic” profiles that could influence the US elections, it reportedly honed its methods in Trinidad.

Water, but not drinking water

“Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink,” is a line from the poem ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,’ written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, detailing how a sailor on a becalmed ship is surrounded by undrinkable salt water.

Down the drain

Last month, the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) formally approached the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) seeking a rate increase, citing old and odd tariffs and the need for a means to subsidise maintenance/service costs.

Fading memories

Over the course of the last few weeks, between 17th February and 11th March, to be precise, a trio of Guyana’s sons, Dr Mohamed Shahabuddeen, Wilson Harris and Dr Harold Drayton were called to higher pastures.

Cheddi Jagan

To attempt the chronicling of the life and times of Cheddi Jagan within the inadequate confines of a single newspaper editorial, harnessed as it is by the constraint of brevity, is to court all sorts of risks.