A surreal presidency

Earlier this week US President Donald Trump shared inflammatory anti-Muslim videos, originally circulated by an ultranationalist British group, without comment or explanation.

Standard Operating Procedures

The United States led invasion of Iraq which began in 2003 saw the Abu Ghraib scandal emerging as one of the more infamous fallouts of that war.

It’s on us

The first official report on a series of rare and unusual illnesses causing death in young men was published by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on June 5, 1981.

Timing

We have often heard the terms ‘right time, right place’ and ‘timing is everything in life,’ but do we ever take the time to sit and reflect on these sayings, or do we just not have the time, or simply cannot be bothered to make the time?

The sexual grooming disclosure

To say that the recent reports of the sexual grooming of students of the Bishops High School by a male teacher triggered a level of public response that, at times, came perilously close to a social media feeding frenzy, is not to suggest in the slightest that the disclosure does not warrant a serious and decisive official response.

AFC’s capitulation

While the AFC’s capitulation to APNU/PNCR on the GECOM Chairmanship and constitutional reform has left it divided and struggling to stay relevant, an even bigger loss to national politics and public life is the cynicism that will now attend attempts by any political force or civil society group to carve out space to expand dialogue and representation.

BHS

After almost a week of public allegations of sexual abuse in one of the country’s top schools, some decisions were arrived at on Friday by a committee set up by the Ministry of Education. 

Free speech in a global village

In 1942 large numbers of American GIs were posted to Britain, forcing the world’s two leading English-speaking cultures to take stock of each other.

The Smart Classroom

As technology advances generally, and developments in information technology in particular, continue to refine the way we live, it is no surprise that the concept of e-Learning has taken hold in classrooms of many countries of the world.

Allegations of misconduct in the local education sector have been around for years.

Change the culture

Allegations of misconduct in the local education sector have been around for years.

Lost World

The borders of Guyana, Venezuela and Brazil collide at the site of Mount Roraima, the tallest of the Pakaraima Mountains.

‘Calling time’ on Robert Mugabe

In a matter of days Zimbabwe has drifted from decades of stable government, albeit undergirded by de facto one-party rule and a President who, after thirty-seven years in office, appeared likely to govern the country for as long as he pleased, to a condition bearing a suspicious resemblance to a Kafkaesque farce.

Coalition relations

With the GECOM chairmanship now to be adjudicated by the courts and the likelihood of appeals, it is worthwhile addressing what the controversy has disclosed about the governing coalition, particularly the relationship between the executive/presidency/APNU and the AFC.

Suriname and health meetings

Disease is no respecter of borders, which is why a regional meeting of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) comprising representatives from Guyana, Brazil and Suriname convened early this month to discuss indigenous health in their common border areas.

The destruction of Yemen

On the eve of the 2016 US election, the UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed warned reporters in the capital Sanaa that: “People are dying … the infrastructure is falling apart… and the economy is on the brink of abyss.” At the time, Yemen – the region’s poorest country even before its civil war – had endured more than a year of airstrikes by a Saudi-led and US- and UK- supported coalition.

Cannabis and the trend towards legalisation

Scientific name: Cannabis, it is also known as hemp, marijuana, ganja and “weed” (particularly in Jamaica and the Caribbean) among a host of other aliases.

Do the right thing

A little over a week ago, secondary school teacher and actress Kescia Branche was found unconscious at the side of the road; she died a few days later without regaining consciousness and even now detectives are retracing her last steps so as to find the person or persons responsible and bring them to justice.

Second warning

Two days ago, on Monday, November 13th, the World was put on notice for the second time in twenty-five years by the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

Time for Central Government to ‘call out’ City Hall

News late last week that City Hall is seeking a government bailout in excess of $400 million to liquidate its indebtedness to the two companies which, up until recently, had been the capital’s two biggest waste disposal entities, bares the full extent of the travails of the municipality.

PSC proposal for Enmore

The disclosure that the Private Sector Commission (PSC) has tendered a proposal to take over the running of the Enmore Sugar Estate is most welcome.

GPL

One would have to be of fairly advanced years to have a direct memory of the days when you could press the light switch and know for certain that the room would be immediately illuminated, or be in no doubt that a piece of equipment like the fridge was malfunctioning and not the victim of a power outage when it went off without warning.

Distrust, caution and security

The Paradise papers show that Apple moved US$250 billion dollars to an offshore account so that in 2014 it faced a tax rate of 0.005 percent.

Police force under a dark shadow

It was only in October that we editorialised on the Guyana Police Force and the high number of crimes and negative incidents being reported in the press in relation to the actions of a few of its senior officers and many of its rank and file members.

What’s in a name?

Years ago, before the evolution of social media, people changed their names to fit in or to avoid drawing attention to themselves because it was unusual.

Speed thrills and kills

On 15th October there was a horrific vehicular accident on the Corentyne involving a car and a paddy truck.

Power and the glare of public scrutiny

Not least among the challenges of holding political office is the sense of unease that is often felt by the office holder about being constantly in the public limelight and as a consequence, being almost always open to public scrutiny and to the mix of adulation and criticism that attends the occupancy of political office.

Appointment of Local Government Commission

We welcome the long-awaited appointment by the APNU+AFC government of the seminal Local Government Commission (LGC) notwithstanding concerns about the basis on which the AFC General Secretary Marlon Williams was chosen as a member.

The President and Parliament

Nobody familiar with how events have unfolded in Guyana in recent times would have been altogether surprised by the raucous heckling from the placard-bearing ranks of the PPP/C in Parliament on Thursday.

Persistence in error

In a concluding note to a series of lectures on “The Uses and Abuses of History,” the historian Margaret MacMillan observes that while we ought to refrain from pat assertions about what history “teaches” us or “shows”, it is nevertheless useful “to be reminded, as a citizen, that those in positions of authority do not always know better.” She illustrates her point with the case of Vice-Admiral George Tryon.

Public safety and the government’s role

In most countries (and Guyana is no exception) issues relating to “public safety” rank highly on the list of concerns for the population and the government.

Every woman an activist

A story making international headlines this week, amid the news of the indictments in Washington and Tuesday’s terror attack in New York, involved contestants of Peru’s Miss Universe Pageant reciting statistics detailing violence against women in that country, rather than giving their body measurements as had been expected.

Disappearing landmarks: ‘Change is the only constant in life,’ Heraclitus

American photographer Seph Lawless in his book Autopsy of America: The Death of a Nation has documented the failed state of the shopping mall in the United States of America with a series of eerie photographs of empty decaying buildings, shattered display windows, naked mannequins and broken parking lots.

Testing government’s take-it-or-leave-it pay negotiating strategy

By the time this editorial appears in public we would most likely already have been in possession of the outcomes of yesterday’s meeting between the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) and President David Granger, the invitation to the Union to meet with the President coming in the wake of its call to teachers countrywide to withdraw their services to press its demand that government treat frontally with its proposals for salary increases and other benefits.

The President and the GECOM Chairman

On June 2nd this year, after rejecting the second list of GECOM nominees submitted by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, President David Granger had this to say about the way forward.

The President and the teachers

As was pointed out in the Stabroek News editorial on Monday, the “social compact” about which President David Granger spoke so glibly prior to May 2015 has been all but forgotten.

Lessons from America’s Opioid Crisis

President Trump’s decision to approach America’s opioid crisis as a “national health emergency” is a welcome departure, if only rhetorically, from his country’s decades-long attitude to illegal drugs.

Sophia squatters and ad hoc fixes

Since coming into office in May 2015, the APNU+AFC administration has shown an unusual appetite for courting controversy by making decisions and taking actions that are not only unwelcomed by the political opposition, but unpopular with the masses as well.

Something has got to give

There is a stark divide in Guyana’s youth population today; referencing young people aged 15 to 24 years.

The Age Factor

When the new Gecom chairman was announced last week, the subject of age became a hot topic of discussion.

East Coast railway embankment one-way traffic restriction

On weekdays, during the morning peak hours, when the movement of traffic along the East Coast corridor, heading into Georgetown, is at its heaviest, the railway embankment, covering the distance between Mon Repos and Sheriff Street becomes one of the high-risk stretches of coastal roadway.

Will there be free collective bargaining?

On Thursday, for the third consecutive year, the APNU+AFC government unilaterally announced hikes in wages and salaries for 14,000 public servants and computed how much this will cost.

Gecom Chairman

No one who is reasonably au courant with events in Guyana will believe that President David Granger did not anticipate the consequences of his actions.

Soil Not Oil

Soil degradation is hardly a commonplace phrase in the media, and it looks dull next to the vocabulary we use for oil (ultra-deepwater wells, synthetic crude, hydraulic fracturing), but the ground beneath our feet is literally disappearing because of over-intensive industrial farming and global warming; and, like petroleum, soil isn’t a renewable resource.

A better Christmas crime-wise?

Just one week into the month of October, President David Granger while speaking to reporters at State House concerning the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the alleged plot to assassinate the Head of State, put forward the view that it is important to ensure that the Guyana Police Force (GPF)  can be trusted and is efficient in addressing crime.

Not enough

It is not enough. It is not anywhere near enough for the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) to dismiss the two City Constabulary officers who were implicated in the sexual assault of a vulnerable 15-year-old child, which occurred in August.

Trump and the NFL

Over the last month President Trump has been very critical of the National Football League (NFL) and its players for kneeling during the playing of the American national anthem before the start of games.

The Demico House vending strip

It serves no meaningful purpose to restate what, by now, are the well-known facts of the protracted saga of City Hall versus the growing army of pavement vendors who now populate most of the empty spaces in downtown Georgetown.

Medical aid by the state

On March 2nd 2015 after the disclosure of medical aid by the state to senior PPP/C officials including $2.1m in cosmetic dentistry for then Minister Pauline Sukhai, the newly formed APNU+AFC coalition quite rightly expressed its outrage.

Government

It happens to all governments: they come in with the best of intentions coupled with the belief that only they are equipped to ameliorate a bleak situation.