Georgetown Prison and insecurity

Since the incredibly high-profile prison break in 2002, the Georgetown Prison has been under intense public scrutiny regarding its ability to safely house detainees without undue public and internal risk.

Stop smoking: it’s common sense

During the 1990s just when the rumblings about the effects of smoking on health were finally being heard in developing countries, a world tobacco conglomerate sponsored a forum for journalists.

Priceless

Whilst the world has been enthralled over the last few weeks as thirty-two countries battled for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, a much heated debate has been growing here in the letter columns of the local broadsheets.  

Minister Lawrence’s corruption tirade

What we make of the recent press statement by the MOPH warning “senior employees to look out for police detectives and Finance Ministry internal auditors”, who will soon begin investigations into the “misappropriation of funds and the blatant attempts to steal public funds” depends on the perspective from which we interpret it, there being a seeming absence of context to the document itself.  

Presidential press conferences

On May 10 this year, the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) called on the Jamaican Government to urgently resume traditional post-Cabinet press briefings.

PNCR Chairman, PPP candidate

Following the passing of the first rank of post-Independence leaders of our two major parties, it has not always been a foregone conclusion as to who should succeed them.

Nobody’s Nation

In February 2018, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services changed its mission statement.

Prison suicides

In Guyana there is neither much thought nor action given towards the idea of the human rights of prisoners – even those on remand who have not yet been given due process through the judicial system.

Kicking apathy to the curb

Twenty-eight-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s win at the Democratic Primary of the US midterm elections, which held shock value for many Americans, more so New Yorkers, who had never even heard her name before that date, is possibly part of a change occurring in world politics.

Fados and penalties

Over the last three weeks a significant majority of the earth’s population have been focusing their energies and attention on the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

What to do about our prison security system

Given President David Granger’s own forthright expressions of concern over issues of public security he is unlikely to give the prevailing prison security regime anything above a dismal report card.

Questionable spending 

Questions posed by Members of Parliament to Ministers of the Government continue to elicit interesting answers and this mechanism should be utilised to the fullest in the public’s interest.

Indigenous Peoples’ party

On June 18 through a post on Facebook, the former Toshao of Pakuri, Mr Lenox Shuman, announced the likely formation of a new political party.

A Red Letter occasion

Last Tuesday, the first tremors of a political earthquake passed through New York City.

Dysfunction and ignorance

The murder of 28-year-old Tovonie Alexce Simmons of Limlair Village, Corentyne, Berbice last Wednesday would have brought the toll of women killed in or as a result of domestic violence situations to approximately two a month for the year so far.

Future of Test cricket

The first ever day/night Test match in the West Indies began last Saturday at 3:00 pm, East Caribbean Time, at the Kensington Oval, Barbados, and finished yesterday afternoon just before 4:00 pm, with Sri Lanka beating the West Indies by four wickets in a tense low-scoring affair.

Guns and hinterland security

If, on the one hand, the reported imminent return to citizens in the Cuyuni/Mazaruni area of guns ‘called in’ by the authorities during a 2015 post-election amnesty tied to the surrendering of unlicensed firearms should be comforting to those residents who have been without their weapons for some time, there are considerations associated with this development that are deserving of more studied discourse.

A coordinating committee after 5,000 jobs lost?

In the aftermath of the loss of nearly 5,000 jobs in the industry, Friday’s announcement by the Guyana Sugar Corporation that it has created a coordinating committee for its ‘Sustainable and Resilient Communities Programme’ and ‘Alternative Livelihoods Initiative’ can only be seen as another sign of the gross failure of the APNU+AFC administration to come to grips with its responsibilities.

Venezuela’s refusal to participate at the ICJ

The Foreign Ministry could hardly have been surprised when on Monday, June 18, Venezuela made it known that it did not intend to participate in proceedings brought by Guyana in the International Court of Justice with regard to Caracas’s claim that the 1899 settlement of the border between the two countries was null and void.

The politics of displacement

Last week, on World Refugee Day, the Guardian printed the names of 34,361 migrants who have died since the early 1990s, while trying to enter Europe.

Deaths due to medical error

It is perhaps an inescapable fact, applicable to countries around the world, that the public has a notoriously short memory.

The links are still missing

Unemployment and poor infrastructure are two of the recurring themes in our Sunday feature, the World Beyond Georgetown.

VAR controversy

The 2018 World Cup kicked off last Thursday with the usual pomp and ceremony, and the fans of the game are filled with hope that their country will be lifting the World Cup trophy come Sunday, 15th July.

Town Clerk’s food safety licence lament

It appears that one of Town Clerk Royston King’s difficulties as Head of the Georgetown Municipality’s administration is his lack of understanding of how much the image of his administration depends on the goodwill of the citizenry, a circumstance that is decidedly surprising given the fact that  he had served as the City’s Public Relations Officer immediately prior to being elevated to Town Clerk and would therefore have come to his current job with some understanding of the virtues of image-management.

Figures on Cubans, Haitians

One of the innovations of constitutional reform, the sectoral committees of Parliament can undoubtedly help to richen the engagement between the people and the legislature.

Decriminalisation of homosexuality

The Gay Pride March which was held earlier this month in Georgetown was less significant in terms of what it represented in and of itself, than for the fact that it generated yet again the fundamental debate on the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

America’s zero-tolerance immigration

Two weeks ago, a New York Times op-ed by Anne Richard, a former assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration asked “Is the United States Losing Its Humanity?” As evidence Richard cited the nomination of a “virulently anti-immigrant” candidate for her previous post, a sharp reduction of refugee aid to the UN, and, in response to criticism of the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, an 80 percent cut to the funding of a UN agency “that runs schools and provides health care to Palestinian refugees”.

Mental health and the poor and downtrodden

The recent death by suicide of American celebrity chef, television personality, travel documentarian and author, CNN’s Anthony Bourdain, has placed the spotlight once more on the issue of mental health awareness and treatment.

Social media

Just think about it. Prior to 2004, there was no such thing as social media.

World Cup pandemic

Tomorrow, the world’s population will begin its quadrennial vacation from reality. Other than deaths within one’s immediate family, and perhaps the arrival of a first-born generation heir, everything else will take a back seat and will be dealt with at a later date.

The Bee Hive incident

When public officers who knowingly place themselves in harm’s way in pursuit of enforcement of the law are harmed or come under attack from those whose criminal pursuits they seek to deter, not only do law-abiding citizens have a duty to roundly condemn such acts and to insist that the perpetrators are determinedly ferreted out and suitably punished, but the state itself has an obligation to place every available resource at the disposal of the effort to hunt down and apprehend the guilty parties.  

The Esso list and local content

As the government inches along with presenting the final draft of its local content policy (LCP)  for the oil and gas sector, it released from its major operator thus far, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) a list of 227 goods and services suppliers utilised this year.

The GECOM Chairman decision

Chief Justice (acting) Roxane George’s decision on Friday upholding what is now the unfettered discretion by President Granger in deciding who should be Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission is the most retrograde development in the arena of electoral laws and reforms since 1991.  

America’s ICE Age

Last week, a Brooklyn army base called the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency when a pizza delivery man could not produce adequate documentation.

Improved facilities for fire service

One critical flaw in the management of this country that has not changed even one iota, despite the changes in the managers over the years, is our seemingly wilful or unwitting neglect of many state institutions, both with regard to systems and infrastructure.

Going back to basics

Two Thursdays ago, Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence launched revised food-based dietary guidelines for Guyana in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (UN), tweaking and updating those that were established in 2004.

Education Accreditation Council

Over the past decade, Guyana has seen a proliferation in the establishment of private educational institutions at all levels, most notably at the post secondary and tertiary levels. 

Theatre in international relations

Astute analysts of global affairs, (even at this eleventh hour, would probably not bet their houses) on the absolute certainty of the June 12th ‘summit’ between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, the clear signs that the two men are now likely to meet and talk in Singapore, a week today, notwithstanding.

Deaths of GGMC employees

On Friday, the opposition PPP issued a statement expressing concern at the deaths in recent months of four employees of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).

Flag colours

On the afternoon of May 25th, in what was a departure from the custom, the Golden Arrowhead was hoisted at D’Urban Park in an event specially scheduled to accommodate hundreds of children. 

Outrage is the New Black

A month ago, at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, the comedian  Michelle Wolf made risqué jokes about Donald Trump.

Rehabilitation of prisoners

When inmates of the New Amsterdam penitentiary posted images on Facebook showing themselves imbibing hard liquor, energy drinks, and smoking what appeared to be marijuana cigarettes, much as if they were having a celebratory drink at a neighbourhood bar on the corner, the obvious culpability of prison officers in the regular breaches occurring in the prison system were dramatically exposed to the glare of public scrutiny.

Vicious circles and statistics

The Guyana Prison Service Inmates Survey, conducted as part of the Citizen Security Strengthening Programme, has confirmed that a number of prisoners have grown up surrounded by violence.

Sad day at school

On the eve of the 52nd anniversary of our independence, one of the more prominent private schools in the capital city marked the occasion by celebrating culture day.

The Critchlow Labour College/ Kaizen oil and gas initiative

On Thursday and Friday of last week the Critchlow Labour College in collaboration with Kaizen Environmental Services, a Trinidad and Tobago company whose profile credits it with providing services that “balance environmental sensitivity with economic concerns,” executed a two-day Course titled “Introduction To Oil and Gas” comprising twelve modules.

Time for a decision on Chancellor, CJ

If the President and the Opposition Leader needed any further admonition about substantive appointments to the top two posts in the judiciary they heard it in a stinging rebuke from the incoming head of the CCJ, Justice Adrian Saunders.

Map without Essequibo

On Friday, the management of the American Home and Beauty Centre on Robb and Wellington apologised for a Facebook advertisement of a sale which carried a map of Guyana sans its largest county, Essequibo.

Roth, Wolfe and the Billion-Footed Beast

May has been a cruel month for American letters. Two weeks ago, Tom Wolfe – a pioneer of New Journalism who penned one of most memorable novels of the Reagan era  – died at the age of 88.

Bipartisanship in Parliament

For far too long the Guyana Parliament has served almost only as a battleground for warring political parties – both those in government and those with their eyes set on becoming the government.