Arbitral chairperson

There has never been a Minister of Labour, senior or junior, in this country quite as ill informed, blundering or precipitate as Mr Keith Scott, the present incumbent.

Scenes from a culture war

This week, two impassioned statements captured the tone of the American culture wars rekindled  by the #MeToo movement.

Inaction over alcohol abuse

The issue of responsible drinking (or combating excessive alcohol consumption) has been a much discussed, but unresolved matter being grappled with by the authorities.

Handwashing facilities

Just about a month after the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) published their joint ‘Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools: 2018 Global Baseline Report,’ came the news that a non-secular, non-government organisation made up of young people affiliated with the First Assembly of God Church at D’Urban Street, Wortmanville had constructed handwashing facilities for the Charlestown Secondary School.

WADA betrayal

Last week Thursday, on the luxury tourist destination of the Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands located in the northern Indian Ocean about 1,000 miles off the coast of Kenya, one of the smallest countries in the world, the world of sport experienced one of the worst betrayals ever by a ruling body.

GuyTIE: Expectations and outcomes

The idea behind last week’s Guyana Trade and Investment Exhibition (GuyTIE) event at the Marriott Hotel as far as the public/private sector organizers had said some weeks ago was, in the main, to bring together, overseas buyers and local sellers in business to business (B2B) encounters with the hoped-for outcome of expanding regional and global market access for goods and services offered here in Guyana.

Local Government Elections

Nomination Day on Friday for Local Government Elections (LGE) on November 12 was a seminal development as it set in train consecutive elections for grassroots democracy in under three years.

Traffic police

The incident the week before last involving Berbice lawyer, Mr Ryan Crawford, and a policeman generated a plethora of comment on the limits of police powers to stop and search, and considerably less on Mr Crawford’s uncivil behaviour.

Cultivating outrage

Judge Kavanaugh’s controversial confirmation hearing marks a transitional moment in American culture. As critics have emphasized, the last nominee who faced such serious allegations got confirmed while his accuser was doubted and defamed.

Random stops by police

Ask any citizen if they would like to see increased police action against all levels and types of criminals and we can expect an answer in the affirmative.

Ecstasy in schools

There has been some amount of consternation expressed over the reported “discovery of the recreational drug ecstasy in five schools,” which came about as a result of “investigations” by the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU), according to the agency’s Deputy Head Lesley Ramlall, who was speaking at the opening of his organisation’s annual staff training on Monday.

Marathon record

In ancient times, long before the inventions of the railroad and the field of telecommunications, messages were relayed by the age old tradition of professional running messengers.

Our toxic industrial relations climate

The trajectory of the industrial relations dispute between government and the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) now appears imprisoned in a familiar pattern of uncertainty and suspicion (some may even say bad faith) with each side striving to avoid being outflanked, this, as the increasingly coarse texture of the engagement appears to push the issue further away from an amicable resolution.

UN aid for GECOM

In February this year, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) sent a letter to the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Guyana requesting UN electoral assistance for the 2018 local government and 2020 general elections.

Those who came

We have a habit of describing Guyana as multicultural – which it is.

The importance of political restraint

When Canada patriated its Constitution in 1981, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau struck a compromise with wary Quebec nationalists by including a “notwithstanding clause” within the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Mental health problems still need serious attention

World Suicide Prevention Day was observed on Monday, September 10, 2018 and the attention was drawn once again to mental health issues in Guyana, as we are wont to give only periodic bursts of attention to such critical matters.

Hunger and climate change

Between Monday and today, at least one million residents of coastal areas in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina in the United States would have evacuated their homes, provided they followed the orders they were given in the face of Hurricane Florence, which is set to hit these areas by tomorrow.

Umpire’s decisions

Umpires and their decisions have been the topic of highly animated discussions of many sport fans as of late, especially those of international tennis and the Caribbean Premier League.

Education Month

We are still to receive official confirmation that the customary programme of activities usually planned and executed by the Ministry of Education to mark Education Month which is usually rolled out in September will not be staged this year.

Oil and gas decisions

In the wake of the stark duplicity and opaqueness that has characterised the APNU+AFC government’s handling of the nascent oil and gas sector, the public has been awaiting a clear sign from the administration that transparency and full engagement with all stakeholders will be its mantra.

Law school

Guyana’s desire for its own law school dates back to the 1990s, early in the last administration.

Resisting Trump in private and public

The anonymous New York Times Op-Ed which alleges that senior staff have discreetly worked to mitigate president Trump’s emotional incontinence has produced wild speculation within the US media.

The police and public trust

Recently, the President of Guyana, having consulted with the Leader of the Opposition, thereafter made a departure from the norm in naming a new Commissioner of Police who was not one of the more senior contenders, nor the acting Commissioner of Police.

Sea whip and other marvels

For more than 20 years, Estée Lauder, the world-renowned, manufacturing group of companies named for its founder that has been in existence since the 1940s, has been listing P.

Stan Brock

A week ago today in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, Stan Brock passed away, and as is fast becoming the trend here in Guyana, one can expect that his name will soon be forgotten.

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.