Governance of Caricom

Indications in the press this week that the Heads of Government will consider the issue of the relationship between the Caricom Secretariat and the Caricom Regional Negotiating Machinery, serve to remind us that since the deliberations and decisions of the Heads at their last Conference in July last year, nothing further has been heard on implementation of measures agreed for Caricom’s reorganization, based on the Report of the Technical Working Group (TWG) on Governance, Managing Mature Regionalism.

Kosovo

When he first addressed the United Nations General Assembly after the independence of Barba-dos, Prime Minister Errol Barrow indicated his recognition that the world’s powers tended to see small states as irritants.

The phoney war

Stalling the meaningful implementation of the National Drug Strategy Master Plan and skimping on cash for the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit while serenading the public with promises to be “tough on drug lords” have helped the administration to win for itself another adverse annual report for under-performance in its so-called war on illegal narcotics.

The phoney war

Stalling the meaningful implementation of the National Drug Strategy Master Plan and skimping on cash for the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit while serenading the public with promises to be “tough on drug lords” have helped the administration to win for itself another adverse annual report for under-performance in its so-called war on illegal narcotics.

The US drug report and the crime crisis

Friday’s rebuke by the US of Guyana’s drug efforts will be hard for this government to lightly dismiss especially in the backdrop of the current UK-funded security sector reform programme which identifies the narcotics trade as a risk factor.

Politics v professionalism

In our edition last Tuesday we carried a report saying that the photos of six men wanted by the police in connection with the Lusignan and Bartica killings had not been released by the police force to Stabroek News despite the fact that they had been carried in the February 23 edition of the Guyana Chronicle, as well as in the Kaieteur News the following day.

It can’t wait

On Monday last, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched a multi-year global campaign bringing together the United Nations, governments and civil society to try to end violence against women, calling it an issue that “cannot wait.” This campaign, themed “Say No to Violence against Women”, runs until 2015, the same target year as the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

Sea wall embankment

A news item in the January 21 edition of Stabroek News referred to the damage that has been done and continues to be done to the seawall embankment along the Rupert Craig Highway by the large, unregulated Sunday gatherings.

The law of large numbers

The disturbingly distinctive characteristic of criminal violence in this country over the past six years has been the high incidence of massacres, or mass murders.

Policing and Politics

The administration’s agreement to establish a special select committee on the Disciplined Forces Commission Report in the National Assembly must have been an embarrassing admission of its sloth and weakness.

Deliver

President Jagdeo’s declaration on Tuesday at Bartica that the same gang of men was responsible for the Lusignan massacre on January 26 and the February 17 slaughter in the township raises a troubling dilemma which neatly crystallizes the law and order crisis facing the country.

Consultations

In the aftermath of the Lusignan killings, nothing which those elected to protect us had to say seemed to have much relevance to the issue.

Child survival

What is a life worth, UNICEF asks in its State of the World’s Children 2008 report titled ‘Child Survival’ and released last month.

Atonement

A couple of weeks ago, in South Korea, the Namdaemun Gate, a 600-year-old building in Seoul, was destroyed in a fire started by an arsonist.

Where is the love?

It was very telling that on St Valentine’s Day, when love was supposedly in the air there was none in the National Assembly.

Mismanaging misery

The smell of tear smoke discharged by the police at villagers demonstrating against poor security; the sound of ministers of the government being abused by members of the public; the sight of a bulldozer stuck in the soft mud in the village backlands; the shambles of a minister’s meeting with irate farmers; and the scene in the National Assembly of a cabinet minister intemperately remonstrating with the speaker will, sadly, remain some of the tragi-comical memories of what has now become a month of mourning for this country.

Nine years

That the word conscription has been uttered by President Jagdeo is the clearest evidence yet of how far the Lusignan massacre has pushed the decision makers of the country.

Caricom and ALBA

In an opinion piece in Stabroek News on February 1, Dr Norman Girvan observed that Dominica’s accession to the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, or ALBA, as it is known, was by no means the first time that a Caricom member state had acted at variance with its regional commitments.

Cuba in Transition II

Last week in Cuba, in a government-sponsored debate that touched mainly on social issues, but which was really very political, given the nature of the Cuban system, the Culture Minister, Abel Prieto, took the lead in voicing criticism of some of the controls imposed by the Communist regime.

Inevitable risks

A month before he was caught, the trader Jerome Kerviel worried that his supervisors at Societe Generale would uncover a secret profit of one and a half billion euros which he had made in fraudulent trades.

Mother of all inquiries

At the time of the submission of the report of the commission of inquiry into the alleged involvement of former Minister of Home Affairs Mr Ronald Gajraj in extra-judicial killings in May 2005, President Bharrat Jagdeo mooted the notion of having a “mother of all inquiry” [sic] into this country’s bloody history of civil violence.

The race ahead

The US presidential race has reached a juncture that is as fascinating as it was unpredictable.

Short-sighted

It goes without saying that there is a need for the government and the Joint Services to be supported across the board as they try to deal with the crisis brutally carved by the fusillade of the Lusignan killers.

Deafness

The aftermath of Lusignan has exposed beyond all doubt that the administration really has no answers to the entrenched problems of this society, which is not to say that it is now prepared to entertain ideas from any other quarter.

Fear, anger and chaos

Not surprisingly, the much-hyped compensation meeting between the government and the Buxton backland farmers degenerated into chaos over Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud’s choice of words.

Leadership 101

US President Harry Truman famously had a plaque on his desk that said “The Buck Stops Here” and he meant it.

Toronto’s Afrocentric school

Last week the Toronto District School Board decided to approve a new school in which the “knowledge and experiences of peoples of African descent [will be] an integral feature of the teaching and learning environment.” The school, which will be funded by taxpayers, has been proposed as one way of curbing the alarming drop out rates among the city’s black students – one study suggests that as many as four out of every ten black students fail to graduate from high school.

A new Caricom-United States Trade Agreement

The Caricom-EU Economic Partnership Agree-ment negotiations have come to a de facto end, though not without a certain amount of disputation in the Region about its potential advantages and disadvantages.

Fuelling crime

While the two-and-a-half-year trial of Mr Omprakash ‘Buddy’ Shivraj plodded on ever so ponderously before magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry at the Providence court, it was surprising to learn that the chief witness, Mr Joseph O’Lall, had been removed from his post as chief executive officer of the Guyana Energy Agency with effect from December 31 2007.

It is time for the President to deliver

There will come a period soon when the turmoil and outrage over the massacre of the Lusignan 11 (L-11) will no longer be a cacophony, when a shadow of normality will descend on the lives of all of the aggrieved and when the heat on the government and the security forces would have dissipated.

Freedom from fear

Even as more and more people eschew the radio for the visual immediacy of television and the interactive, multimedia experience of the Internet, Tuesday, February 1, 2011 was quite an interesting day to be listening to the BBC World Service.

Failed strategies

Despite all that has happened since February 23, 2002, this is the first time that the residents of the lower East Coast have confronted the administration in anger.

Then what?

As with everything else in Guyana, the crime situation just had to get totally out of control and people had to protest before there was any obvious sign that efforts were being made to deal with it.

Seven Years’ War

None but the most inhuman would be unmoved by the slaughter of innocent villagers at Lusignan on bloody Saturday.

Dominica, Alba and the region

The action by Dominica of signing up to Venezuela’s ALBA initiative, now seems to be a source of concern in the region.

The open education revolution

As the founders of two of the world’s largest open-source media platforms – Wikipedia and Connexions – we have both been accused of being dreamers.

Massacre of the 11

Savagery of the sort perpetrated against the villagers of Lusignan on Saturday morning denotes a fundamental societal collapse.

Critchlow Labour College

On May 12 last year the Government Informa-tion Agency (GINA) issued a press release on Presi-dent Jagdeo’s address to “hundreds of youths” at the 50th anniversary of Guysuco’s training centre at Port Mourant.

At what price

The news in the entertainment world this week that actor Heath Ledger had been found dead in his home at the age of 28, apparently from an accidental overdose of prescription medication was not only sad and shocking, but unexpected.

Influencing the trade debate

A statement by President Bharrat Jagdeo to the effect that the Caribbean are the losers in the recently concluded negotiation of the Economic Partner-ship Agreement (EPA) with Europe has been welcomed by a group of prominent Caribbean personalities, including academics, NGO activists and union leaders.

Political surprises

One of the minor pleasures of this year’s US presidential campaigns has been the frequent stumbling of highly-paid and supposedly knowledgeable pundits.

Barbados and the integration movement

As with elections in other countries of the Region, it is natural that the question should be asked as to whether, with the change of government in Barbados, there will be any change in the attitude of the new Democratic Labour Party administration to the regional integration movement.

What we need to know

Presiding over the security sector’s year-end performance review, Minister of Home Affairs Mr Clement Rohee boasted that it was his understanding that the Guyana Police Force has been doing “much better” than its Caricom counterparts.

The GDF lockout

Thursday’s lockout of the media from the annual officer’s conference of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) was another in a series of ominous signs for the fourth estate epitomized by the government’s assault on press freedom via the withdrawal of state advertisements from this newspaper.

ALBA

On Tuesday we reported that Dominica had joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, generally referred to by its Spanish acronym of ALBA.

The continuing culture of violence

Mind-boggling atrocities, many committed against children, are being attested to as the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor proceeds in The Hague.

Living the dream

Next Monday Americans will celebrate Martin Luther King Day. It is a national holiday for a national hero, the only black man to be so honoured in the United States.

The party faithful

If campaign rhetoric is anything to go by, the next American president – regardless of which party eventually prevails – will be a deeply religious person.