Thursday, August 20, 2009
“I am totally unaware of all of that…I want to mention that I have my visa to Canada, Britain and America…many of them in the PPP and in Cabinet don’t have that.”
Dr Van West Charles, in a display of political maturity rarely seen inGuyanese politics will withdraw from the PNC leadership race andsupport former Party Chairman Winston Murray whom he believes is anexemplary candidate who has served the PNC and Guyana for the pastthirty years.
This move comes after many discussions over recent yearsbetween both leaders whose common fear is that under the presentleadership the PNC will soon fade into oblivion thus denying thousandsof Guyanese the representation against a repressive, racist, corruptand inept PPP.
An official press briefing will be held at noon today then both leaderswill depart for Berbice in a last minute campaign tour.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Ending months of speculation, incumbent Robert Corbin yesterday officially announced his decision to contest to retain the post of leader of the main opposition PNCR, saying his primary motivation is the need to have stable leadership to make the party “fit for purpose.”
Flanked by supporters including PNCR vice-chairs Basil Williams and Volda Lawrence, Corbin told a news briefing that he accepted the nomination of the 160-odd groups which nominated him and emphasised that he would be part of a team concerned about the future of the party, and Guyana.
“I am part of a team that recognises that the enemy is not within but is the present administration that has been involved in several violations of our constitution and has indeed put Guyana in a parlous state at this moment,” he explained.
He said too that in order for the party to confront the current administration, it needed to build unity and strength. He acknowledged that there was a mammoth task ahead of the party in terms of conflict resolution, building harmony and ensuring that it was all inclusive to confront challenges that lie ahead. [link]
Sunday, August 16, 2009
However, the Guyana Chronicle has proven that the Minister is lying about the reasons behind the media tour.
Chronicle claims " The inspection exercise was also in response to a number of queries raised by the local daily, the Kaieteur News, at press briefings and in articles, for specific information on these projects, and the representatives of that entity not only had the opportunity of having all its uncertainties clarified but were also provided with a map of the locations at reference."
The Minister certainly needs to explain how a paper friendly to him opposes what he stated. Robert "Backpeddling" Persaud has some explaining to do.
"A TEAM of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture on Friday paid a visit to Region Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Island) to assess the progress being made with work on several key drainage and irrigation (D&I) structures there.Heading the delegation was Agriculture Minister, Mr Robert Persaud, and the purpose of the exercise was to make good on a promise to deliver quality service to farmers by adapting an inclusive approach."
However, way down the article, Mohabir tries to show some balance, but fails miserably.
"He had one gripe however, which was the deplorable state of the dams whenever it rains, which makes it difficult for the farmers to access their farms during the rainy season."
Further, there was clear evidence that Persaud’s Ministry and the contractor of the projects he visited, intended to frustrate the efforts by the press to police the works being executed.
Following scrutiny by Kaieteur News, Persaud, two Fridays ago, promised to take the media on an inspection tour of the projects between Bonasika Creek in the Essequibo River and Crabwood Creek on the Corentyne Coast.
However, yesterday, after inspecting just eight structures in one of four of the “Lots” Persaud left without informing the media. This was after he had inspected a drainage and irrigation structure under construction at Philadelphia, East Bank Essequibo.Four “Lots” of rehabilitation projects of Drainage and Irrigation structures were recently awarded through the Agriculture Sector Development Unit, with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank.
Essequibo contractor, Roopan Ramotar, popularly known as ‘Fowl Cock’ was awarded two of the ‘Lots.” These are Vergenoegen/Bonasika, East Bank Essequibo and Den Amstel/Fellowship, West Coast Demerara.
The two were constructed at a cost of $385 million; and the one at Golden Grove/Victoria, cost $202 million.The other “Lots” were for Vreed-en-hoop/La Jalousie and Crabwood Creek, and these were awarded to BK International.Persaud, two Fridays ago, said that he would personally take the media on a tour from 05: 00 hrs yesterday and go up to midnight if that was necessary to cover all the areas, including up to Crabwook Creek.
Yesterday morning, the tour commenced at the Parika and Ruby backdams, where Persaud examined seven structures. Thereafter, the state-owned media, consisting of the Guyana Chronicle, National Communications Network, and the Government Information Agency, left.Persaud then moved on to inspect one structure at Good Hope, East Bank Essequibo.
The team then moved on to Philadelphia, also on East Bank Essequibo.When Kaieteur News inquired about Minister Persaud’s whereabouts, Parmanand Persaud, who goes by the title “Farmers Relations Specialist”, said that the Minister had a meeting for 10: 00 hrs.
Along with Persaud, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Lionel Wordsworth, and contractor Roopan Ramotar also left without informing the media team.The only other media house remaining on the inspection tour was Evening News, which only happened to be traveling in the same vehicle with Kaieteur News.
The media team was never told who would be the alternative spokespersons given that Persaud, Wordsworth and Ramotar had left.”As a result, reporters were at a loss as to who would answer their questions regarding the projects that they were being taken to.
It was at this point that Kaieteur News discovered a clear attempt by the Ministry and the contractor to frustrate efforts to reach the project sites. At the head of Philadelphia, the media team was told that the bridge they were going to inspect was one and a half miles into the backdam, and that they had to walk because the road was impassable to vehicles.
One of the reporters from Kaieteur News was taken in on a motorbike by a ranger of the Parika Water Users Association. When the ranger was about to return to pick up another member of the group, to save the team from the arduous walk in, he was stopped by a gentleman who, in clear ear shot of a Kaieteur News reporter - told him to assist anyone besides any member of the media. [link]
Agri Ministry responds to spurious claims by Kaieteur News- remains committed to infrastructural advancement despite negative press
Georgetown, GINA, August 15, 2009
In response to spurious claims and malicious reporting by the Kaieteur News team of developments at an inspection visit yesterday, the Ministry of Agriculture has released a statement condemning the unfair attack of the media house on the ministry and Minister.
The ministry asserts that, in light of the article: ‘Minister Persaud backpedals on agri inspections – abandons media team; contractor seeks to frustrate Kaieteur News’ of the Kaieteur News dated Saturday August 15, 2009, it is clear that the media house is, beyond a shadow of doubt, on a campaign to ‘go after the Minister of Agriculture’ as opined by several observers.
The Kaieteur News (KN) team reported of being abandoned by the Minister and frustrated by the contractor and technical team. This, the ministry stated, is part of a sustained attack by KN and other pro-Opposition media outlets, and is a contravention of a major tenet of journalism - the principle of fair and accurate reporting.
The ministry held that the KN team, in its report of the field visit, omitted or twisted certain facts:
The visit was not requested by anyone; rather, it was proposed by the Minister himself as part of his recent campaign to get all stakeholders, particularly farmers, involved in the monitoring of agriculture projects. This is indicative of his unprecedented drive for ensuring value for money and beneficiaries’ participation;
The Minister was the first to arrive on the worksite, having commenced the journey to the inspection tour site before 05:00 hrs;
Minister Persaud was not scheduled to be with the monitoring party for the entire duration of the activity, but he spent close to five hours touring the sites and interacting with stakeholders;
During a media briefing at one of the project sites at the Parika/Ruby Backdam following hours of inspection to other sites, the Minister questioned whether any member of the media wanted to opt out of the inspection activity and be transported back to Georgetown.
He stated that those who wished to remain would be accommodated. The KN and Evening News teams opted to continue on the inspection activity and were adequately taken care of; Minister Persaud, owing to the exigencies of his job, could not stay on for the full duration of the activity and did not want to limit the media inspection to the time he could spend.
Instead, he encouraged continued inspection of the media, and ensured that the Ministry’s technical team was on hand to facilitate in his absence; and it was the KN team that urged that the activity be terminated before all project sites were visited.
The ministry posited that perhaps the KN team, not being able to find fault with the state of the project; the dispositions of stakeholders; the number of works executed within the project framework; and the ministry’s resolve to improve conditions for all members of the agricultural fraternity and the wider Guyanese citizenry, felt the compulsion to present its version of the reality.
The ministry informed that, notwithstanding the barrage of negative reporting of KN – something that seems to be a policy position of the media house – it will soon be arranging other inspection visits to other project sites, and all stakeholders and media houses, including KN, will be invited.
However, we could not help but notice that the President looked somewhat like Robert Persaud, especially with the sideburns. This has nothing to do with Persaud's marriage to the head-of-state's neice.
We understand this is a major campaign ploy by the PPP/C to confuse voters by 2011, when Robert is expected to be the party's presidential candidate.
Once Jagdeo continues looking like Robert Persaud, voters will be tricked into thinking that Jagdeo is the front runner when instead it will be Robert. Once again the PPP/C is one step ahead. Observers say the only challenge to teh plan is that Jagdeo does not have a full head of hair like Robert. However, a PPP/C insider said that's not a problem as the leader has been washing his hair with Ochro slime and by next year, should see visible signs.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Once tuned, it was impossible to vacillate on the ultimate ennui that the programme disgorged. Even the music played during the More than the show, we have been hypnotized by the cricket in the background that is competing for airtime with Dennis…The chirping is driving us insane to the point of slamming the laptop…Chirp, Chirp, Chirp.
We understand that to avoid any Government interruption during the programme, Mr. Chabrol took his operations underground. It appears to us he was reporting from some lonesome, bushy area hence the cricket in the background…There goes that cricket again…chirp, chirp, chirp. It’s disgusting because we wanted to hear from Gordon Moseley, especially since he has a running rift with President Bharrat Jagdeo. Mr. Moseley is again jumping on Mr. Jagdeo and the Government.
We have tuned out for now, but more on the embodiment of internet radio craziness after we awake.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Guyana: Freedom Under The Law - last upaded June 23, 2009. We will cut this author some slack because they were witness to an accident. Well not really witness, but they sure act the part.
Media Imran - last updated June 19, 2009 but posted some Tweets.
Chris Ram - last update July 26, 2009. However, the length of the posts should keep one occupied for the rest of the year.
Go Moseley - last updated April 28, 2009 for the Guyana Press Association Elections. The Elections and the author have not gone anywhere since. Perhaps ideas to move the GPA foward have dried up.
Guyana Girl - last updated July 31, 2009. Normally blogs every 2-3 days so we are a bit worried.
Young Entrepenure - last updated July 11,2009 and lastly blogged about trying to learn somthing. He might be out somewhere still trying to learn about updating his site.
"And for the records, I am surprised that there is so much brouhaha over what Simels and Vaughn have said. Some of the things they have told the American court were not true. Logic and legal principles dictate that if one aspect is untrue then the court has a right to deem everything untrue.Soldiers fetching beheaded bodies from the front of Buxton to the back? Come now Mr Simels."
Harris who has over the years been seen as an active voice for blacks in Guyana has thrown a master curve ball. Lets rip that statement apart.
Firstly Harris establishes that some of the things that were said in the Simels' trial is untrue. Such a statement would prejudice the outcome of any trial albeit miles away from the origin of the writings. If Harris is going to make such a bold statement, then he must decipher for readers the truth from the lies. Come on Mr. Harris, call on the inner baccoo.
Harris is obviously trying to tell us as readers that we must not accept some of the information being reported in the press about the trial. He goes further then to give evidence to support his statement.
But, Harris is very smart and is aware of the pro-black sentiments that maligns him that he feels less pressured to go the route to deal with an issue that Simels claims occured in Buxton.
Harris can do no wrong if he appears to disagree with a somewhat negative issue relating to Buxton. Simels spoke of soldiers fetching the bodies of beheaded canecutters from the front of Buxton to the back of the village. To this Harris says, "Come now Mr. Simels", suggesting that the embattled lawyer is making false claims.
We will not be hoodwinked by Harris because he used the Buxton example. Truth be told Harris is actually trying to have us reject the testimony by the US Government informant and Simels himself. Harris' real contention is not about Buxton, but about the grey clouds that hangs over the current Government, especially the Health Minister.
The wolf in sheep's clothing has thrown a smoke screen. He hopes that through his cunning writing, readers would begin to doubt the testimony against the Government that flowed during the trial in NY. Why doesn't Mr. Harris say directly that readers must not believe the evidence against the Government? He can't and so he tries to reverse the angle of attack.
Next time Mr. Harris, next time you might get past us!
Please do not accept polling statistics and surveys that go under the name NACTA with a “pollster” by the name of, Vishnu Bisram. There is no such organization. It does not exist. There has never been such an organization.
There is no group, institution or organization by the name of NACTA that does polling anywhere in the world. No Google search, no investigation in New York, no journalistic research will reveal any information on NACTA or polling work done by a man named Vishu Bisram. What searchers will find are publications by Mr. Bisram himself talking about polls he said he conducted.
Two years ago, Mr. Bisram was exposed as doing polls under the umbrella of an organization named NACTA. David De Caires, one year before he died, found out that Mr. Bisram was not being truthful to him. The late editor-in-chief of the Stabroek News then penned an editorial note in his newspaper explaining how he came to publish Mr. Bisram surveys.
According to Mr. De Caires, last year, Mr. Bisram approached him to have Stabroek News finance a poll. Mr. De Caires said he merely offered a small sum to defray expenses. Mr. De Caires went on to say that Mr. Bisram merely handed him the results and there were no discussions on how and where in the Guyana the operation took place and who were Mr. Bisram’s associates.
After this, Mr. Bisram sent in two poll results and the Stabroek boss informed him that they will have to be carried as letters by Mr. Bisram. They were published in the letters section of the Stabroek News. Mr. Bisram waited and now has resurfaced. He would not have reappeared if David De Caires was alive.
In seeing the publication of Mr. Bisram’s latest poll on Mr. Jagdeo, I immediately sent off an e-mail to Mr. Anand Persaud, the editor-in-chief of the Stabroek News alerting Mr. Persaud to Mr. Bisram’s game. I don’t think we can blame Mr. Persaud for publishing the personalized fictional survey on Mr. Jagdeo last Saturday. I don’t think he has the background information on Mr. Bisram.
There were a number of the reasons why David De Caires refused to accept further submissions by Mr. Bisram. He couldn’t provide details on NACTA. He couldn’t name its elected executives and locate its address and telephone numbers.
Then, Mr. Bisram gave a horrible explanation for why he could not state which school he worked at even though he claimed he was a high school teacher. In both the KN and SN as he was pressed to say where he worked, he wrote; “With regard to my employment, I have sound reasoning for not releasing such information. I held a teaching position and someone tried to get me fired.
That individual is now employed as an advisor the Guyana Government. My place of employment should remain private.”(KN, March 25, 2008). Readers can see Mr. Bisram wrote that more than a year ago. This did not impress David De Caires.
There was more that turned Mr. De Caires off. Mr. Bisram was finally exposed and he disappeared. He wrote in both newspapers as the criticism against him poured in. “Most of my polls are self-financed as part of my personal studies.” Then came the denouement. When pressed as to who he works with when he is in Guyana, he wrote; “In Guyana, I cannot give names because they (his co-workers) will run into trouble with their employment; they worked for me when they should have been at their desk.”
It was for these reasons David De Caires rejected further publications of Bisram’s so-called polls. He chose not to approach this newspaper because of my queries of his bona fides. He knew I would have asked this newspaper to investigate him.
In addition, he promised the editor of this newspaper to confidentially supply the name of the school he teaches at in New York but to this day, never sent in the information.
Let me repeat for all readers and all the Guyanese people - the late Editor-in-chief of the Stabroek News refused to publish any further findings on Guyanese politics by Mr. Bisram because he, Bisram was exposed. It is unfortunate he waited for time to elapse and sought the attention of Mr. Anand Persaud. Mr. Bisram does not conduct polls in Guyana.
He is not a teacher in New York, and is suspected to be a researcher for President Jagdeo. Five polls he has done over a five year period puts Mr. Jagdeo as the most popular living citizen in Guyana. I urge all Guyanese not to be taken in by Mr. Bisram. He is not a professional pollster.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
The Letter Of The Day titled 'Dual citizenship farce continues', authored by Donald Duff and appearing on page A8 of The Gleaner, Tuesday, August 4, has been premised on misunderstanding/ misinformation.
The issue is not ostensibly that a Jamaican with dual-citizenship is ineligible to sit in Parliament or the Senate, as the Duff argument had suggested. Constitutionally, only Commonwealth citizens are eligible for nomination and election to Parliament or appointment in the case of the Senate (Section 39). Consequently, where a Commonwealth citizen had sworn allegiance or is under acknowledgement to a Commonwealth power or state, he is not disqualified under Section 40 2-a. For example, if Rowe had won the West Portland by-election, a successful action could not be brought against him under Section 40 2-a for reason that he held Canadian citizenship at the time of nomination.
The Vaz, Stern and Mair cases are of different complexions. The former two had sworn or were under acknowledgement to the United States and the latter to Venezuela. Both powers are non-Commonwealth countries. Hence, the disqualifications under Section 40 2-a.
Duff had quoted Ken Jones' letter of August 31,2007, (a response to Abka Fitz-Henley's July 31). Jones had characterised as 'enlightened governance', the Guyanese, Baroness Amos, and Jamaican-born Lord Morris serving in the British House of Lords. John Turner was also highlighted as having retained his United Kingdom citizenship while he served as prime minister of Canada.
Nor does the reference to "Stephane Dion, the present head of the Liberal Party of Canada and leader of the Opposition has retained French citizenship without being put under pressure" make good for clarity.
The arguments and references are oblivious of the fact that Britain is and has been the mother of the Commonwealth of which Guyana, Jamaica and Canada are members. Membership accords benefits, privileges and reciprocation. Consequently, it should not be surprising to find citizens of the Commonwealth serving in the British House of Lords or Parliament, or in the Canadian Parliament, without having to denounce their nationalities of birth.
The inclusion of Dion adds more confusion than it minimises. It creates the impression that he was a French-born citizen who had migrated to Canada. The facts are that Dion was born on September 28, 1955, in the province of Quebec, Canada. True, he is of French ethnicity. But it does not make him any less a Canadian citizen than if he were an Anglophone.
If the Jones/Duff criticisms were meant to distinguish Britain and Canada from Jamaica as 'enlightened governance', they have only served to heighten confusion and tension on the dual-citizenship subject. Neither have they provided sufficient response to Fitz-Henley's provoking question as to whether "the spirit of the law [ Constitution ] intended to punish individuals for deciding to serve ... rather than serving overseas?". What is clear, is that the spirit of the Constitution had opted for patriotism rather than making eligibility to sit in Parliament or the Senate a matter of laissez faire. This seems to be a value worth preserving.
I am, etc.,
Ensom CitySt Catherine
"He got a knife in my back, stop turning please," she pleads on "The Rain." "Sometimes I lock myself inside your closet, breathe in the scent of your clothes," she sings on the exceptionally smooth (and appropriately titled) "Crazy That Way."
The Canadian pop singer, whose parents migrated from Guyana, is mostly singing love songs — but not typical ones.
"Keep your clothes off, I'm not rushing out like some dumb girl," she commands on the infidelity tune, "Some Dumb Girl."
Other top tracks include the beat-driven "The Heat," the suave "Colombia" and the mysteriously gloomy first single, "Boom."
Anjulie, who wrote or co-wrote each song, closes the CD with "Day Will Soon Come," where the anxious singer lets you know she'll become a big star. After listening to this top-notch debut, she sure deserves to become one.
CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: On "Addicted2Me" Anjulie's voice is definitely addictive with its winning bridge, "Nobody's got a love like mine."
We were brave enough to call Enrico Woolford's reporting into question. Several emails chided us for it - many suggesting that a man of Woolford's stature should not be mde to answer to a blog. It was Woolford who boldly reported that the spy equipment which Guyana authorities say they have in their possession was wheeled into court in New York.
Reporters live fo that big story and in Guyana, it just does not get any bigger than the current Roger Khan saga, but Woolford must be mindful not to interject his political views. He seems so excited that he had an orgasmic experience the size of a vulcanic eruption in the NY courthouse...ahhhhh, oooooo, ahhhhh....Yessssss.... I got the Government finally!
We openly challenge this letter writer to prove when and in which court it was said that the spy equipment in the hands of the US was the same one seized by Guyana authorities. This is an almost clear cut case that Woolford injected his own scrambled views into the report without first verifying the facts.
We take note with interest the fact that Kaieteur News has dumped Woolford and turned to Julia Johnson to report on the court proceedings. If this is their way around Woolford's scheme, then it is too late. The trial is drawing to an end and the damage has already been done. In addition to her school girl writing for TV, Johnson seems not to know what is news. Anyway, the trial will soon be finish!
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
If this be a wake up call, we are sure that sometime during the day, the lions in Government heard the cries of the opposition mice even if some were shuttled to the city from various cracks to help the cause.
Monday, August 03, 2009
Editor’s Note: Next week we will return to the second part of the discussion on domestic violence in Guyana.
One of the ironies of the post-1992 era is that the return of electoral democracy has been accompanied, some will say tarnished, by persistent charges of official corruption.
The stunning charges being made in a US court and reported in the media of government facilitation of a notorious criminal enterprise pushes this issue to the front burner. While one cannot take all of what is said in the New York court as gospel, given the government’s track record one cannot be faulted for smelling something rotten.
If you ask what corruption is, most people would link it to ‘obvious’ graft and stealing. But there are many other forms of corruption. Those performing the act see it as a favour for party cadre, family or friends, all of which is treated as normal and not a corrupt activity.
This is a critical loose area of graft and that one is not dealt with adequately by most governments. The usual range of nepotism and corruption involves friendship, flattery, small gifts, lunches, and mixing business with pleasure.
The identification and prosecution of corruption in Guyana has a slow and sordid history. Within the first five years of independent rule, Eusi Kwayana challenged the then PNC government to address corruption charges.
When Prime Minister Burnham’s subsequent promise of a Code of Conduct for government officials did not materialize, Kwayana moved to the Ombudsman with charges against two government ministers.
The outcome of the case set in train a culture of government sweeping corruption issues under the carpet and affording protection of those accused. This pattern continues up to the present day, making a mockery of the hopes of all those who imagined that 1992 would have ushered in a new dawn in the Guyanese political culture, and despite the pronouncements of those in the current administration who, seventeen years later, would have us believe there has been a sea change.
Kwayana, who continued to plug away at the issue throughout the PNC’s tenure in office, would later observe that corruption under the current government outstrips that of the PNC. We do not take Kwayana’s observation lightly; in fact we embrace it.
The PPP tacitly acknowledged corruption during its first term when it removed one of its ministers under a cloud. It was announced that Mrs. Jagan would head an anti-corruption committee. But these proved to be more political tactics than a concerted effort to confront a fundamental problem.
The rest as they say is history. From charges of misappropriation of public funds to the steering of government contracts to party supporters to involvement with underworld criminal elements, the fingers have consistently pointed at the government.
Yet the government, apart from casual denials, has done little or nothing to demonstrate its innocence. Government must not just say it is not corrupt; it must be seen to be above corruption in the eyes of the population.
It is funny the way those now in power so easily refer to ‘28 years of dictatorship’ whenever hard questions get asked. It has become an alibi for the status quo. You are not supposed to raise or ask questions about the blatant abuses of power we see today when that mantra gets trotted out.
And yet the way the current regime has operated is almost exactly the way Kwayana described the previous administration back in the 1970s when corruption was a “new” phenomenon – “shadow-boxing”.
It entails angry denials (we are supposed to believe that these are sufficient and the end of the story), indignant calls for evidence or derailing of allegations or evidence in endless obfuscations and bureaucratic sloth.
They dismiss corruption charges on the basis that there is no proof provided by the opposition. But how much leeway is given to opposition MPs, journalists and the institutions of state that should be preserving the people’s money – like the ombudsman or committees of the people representing all political parties? How many in the current and past governments could come out and expose corruption?
What do we currently have in place for protection of public funds? In a letter to the press some time ago, Frederick Kissoon stated that President Jagdeo never “acted on information supplied to him.” Chris Ram in a three-part series also examined ways in which corruption seeped under the official gaze.
But these are “opposition” critics whose word is not to be trusted, so the criticism is shunted aside in the polarised culture of “we” versus ‘them”…“they can’t be rational”.
There are some basic ways to prevent and fight against corruption in a society like Guyana, bereft as it is of objective oversight standards amidst an ethnically driven system.
The first would be the state’s willingness to be frank and to have an open door policy on public scrutiny of public funds and its expenditure. Where is the Ombudsman today and what is the precise role of this position, then and now? Are the current powers, role and activity of the Auditor-General sufficient to the task in modern Guyana? What about the involvement of a genuine non partisan watchdog committee and effective legislation? Where are the whistleblowers from within? Why is it that with the exception of a miniscule representation of key party activists in the government and PPP, few can or do speak publicly?
There are at least three possible reasons for the PPP’s attitude. First, the party seems to have decided that it will do anything it takes to ensure that it does not experience a recurrence of the wrongs it suffered in the 1960s. Second, its apparent confidence that it can win all elections given the country’s ethnic voting patterns has made it the most unaccountable government in the country’s history.
Finally, the lack of sustained and thoughtful opposition has allowed the government incredible leeway to indulge in all kinds of practices. For its part, the opposition has often been too preoccupied with looking for knock-out punches rather than persistent, systematic and well-informed positions.
How much research goes into corruption? Is there a willingness to do the hard work? Ask Kwayana about his favourite domain, the Committee of Supply in parliament. He would spend hours and hours going over critical documents and finding the truth, questioning on Order papers. It involves detailed work, the labour that is so necessary if we really want to usher in a new dispensation and fundamentally change our political culture.
The record suggests that there are intensified declarative statements on corruption fighting and other ills around the point of elections. All sorts of things are promised by all those looking for votes. Once there is victory the intensity dissipates.
The government needs to stop behaving as if corruption charges are simply politicking. Certainly some of it is partisan and will always be.
The current charges and counter charges offer the opening for a thorough investigation, for instance by a competent CARICOM-led commission that includes prominent Guyanese and appointed by the parliament, in other words some grouping that has the full confidence of all Guyanese across divisions.
In the meantime the President and his government can begin house cleaning by coming clean with what it knows.In 1974, a visiting journalist for the New Yorker magazine observed that Eusi Kwayana demonstrated “inflexible incorruptibility.”
He wrote of Kwayana that after a “paid state visit to Africa he received a thousand dollar check for ‘additional expenses and inconveniences’” but Kwayana “sent it back, received another check, and sent that one back with a note saying he had not had any additional expenses and, furthermore, had not been inconvenienced in the least.”
Is this generation of political leaders too far away from that standard? And are we prepared for the hard and careful, committed work it will take to insist on that standard from those who claim they want to ‘serve’ the people of Guyana (instead of taking office to serve themselves)?
"Vivian Harris has always been a great fighter to watch, simply because of the excitement he brings to the ring," said Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions.
"He is without a doubt one of the premier junior welterweights in the world and now it's time to remind the boxing world of that fact. We will do our job to put Vivian in big fights that will have the fight fans cheering." [Link]
The entire media corps holds the Government of Guyana responsible for the safety of Mr. Woolford, his staff, his company and his family and any property associated with him and them.
The Government of Guyana is the elected administration of the country and should immediately cease being insensitive to robust criticism and evidence being led in a Court of Competent jurisdiction.
The GPA finds the singling out of Mr. Woolford a gross attack on freedom of expression to the extent that it seeks to not only question the credibility of sworn testimony but also intimidate this well-respected journalist.
Rather than erroneously identify Mr. Woolford as the villain, the Government of Guyana and in particular Caribbean Community (Caricom) Chairman, President Bharrat Jagdeo should engage the parties named in the court documents in meaningful investigations that would lead to clarity.
It seems that Mr. Jagdeo, who is charged with upholding the Laws of Guyana and the Caricom Charter of Civil Society, has arrogated unto himself the right to impugn the character of other persons in society and at the same time enjoys immunity from prosecution.
None of those claims by Mr. Jagdeo has been made in a Court of Competent Jurisdiction, whether in Guyana or overseas, compared with those contained in testimony in the trial of witness tampering against Mr. Robert Simels, former lawyer for confessed drug-lord, Roger Khan.
The GPA shall be taking steps to immediately advise our regional umbrella Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM), the France-headquartered Reporters Without Borders, and the International News Safety Institute (INSI) that the Government of Guyana has put at risk the safety of Mr. Woolford, his staff, family and property.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
“The evidence establishes that Guyana’s President, Bharrat Jagdeo and Health Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, “Are crooks who are alleged accessories to murder, and who allegedly countenanced the killing of hundreds of Guyanese citizens," the organization said.
“The evidence has proven both Mr. Jagdeo and Dr. Ramsammy to be chronic liars who have breached the public trust. We call on them both to resign forthwith," the Institute declared. CGID also called on Guyana’s Police Commissioner Henry Green to resign, saying
“Commissioner Green has blatantly mislead the public and intentionally overlooked hundreds of murders by a network of “Phantom” hit-men, some government Ministers and members of the security forces. He must resign so that the Guyana Police Force can be reformed and its integrity rehabilitated.”
The Institute noted that since Guyana’s Police, Military and Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), appear to be irredeemably corrupt, they cannot be trusted to conduct a professional or credible investigation of these matters. Hence, it called for Jagdeo, Ramsammy and other accomplices to be hauled to the International Criminal Court in The Hague and prosecuted for ‘crimes against humanity.’
“They deserve to be thrown in jail like other international criminals such as Slobodan Milosevic, Manuel Noriega and Charles Taylor, Jr.,” the CGID statement said. The organization appealed for an International Inquiry into extra-judicial killings, torture and executions by government officials and the “Phantom” gang, as detailed in the Gay McDougall Report, which was presented to the United Nations General Assembly in February 2009.
The Institute also said that "Now that evidence of atrocities committed by the Guyana government has been established through the judicial process, Caricom Heads must no longer show forbearance to a Head of State who that has been complicit with murder. We call on them to speak out."
CGID singled out Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, whom it said recently called for the elimination on term limits on the Presidency of Guyana. This would allow President Jagdeo to contest the presidency for additional terms.
“Now that Prime Minister Gonsalves has ‘opened the door’ to comment on Guyana’s constitutional political process, we hope that he will lend his extraordinary moral and legal prowess to the condemnation of acts of extra-judicial killings and torture in Guyana.
His prospective is necessary, as he has been a champion of human and civil rights in the Caribbean,” CGID noted. The CGID statement came as the US government presented damaging evidence in the Robert Simels trial, which implicated senior officials of the government of Guyana (GOG).
Simels, who is on trial for witness tampering and possession of eavesdropping equipment, is a former lawyer for confessed criminal, Roger Khan. Khan is a Guyanese drug baron and alleged financier of the ruling PPP. He was arrested in Paramaribo, Suriname on June 15, 2006 in a Police sting operation, and charged with drugs and weapons possession and plotting to assassinate several Surinamese government officials.
His preventive incarceration was then lifted by the Prosecutor’s office, and he was ordered deported to Guyana. Police officers then took Khan from his cell in the Santo Boma penitentiary straight to the international airport and placed him on a flight to Guyana, en route through Trinidad and Tobago (T&T).
However, while his flight was in-transit in T&T, DEA and FBI Agents arrested him and brought him to the US, where he was charged with multiple counts of “importation of cocaine” and “conspiracy.”
Khan retained Simels as his Attorney but has since pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. President Jagdeo had viciously attacked the US government in Khan’s defense, and had labeled his arrest a US ‘rendition.’
Simels’ indictment information states that he attempted to hire a hit-man, on Khan’s behalf, to “eliminate” a witness in Khan’s case. The prospective hit-man turned out to be a DEA informant and Simels and his associate, Arienne Irving, were consequently charged with “witness tampering.”
FBI and DEA Agents raided Simels law office on September 10, 2008, and found telephonic eavesdropping equipment. Hence, they were subsequently slapped with an additional charge of “possession of electronic devices for the purpose of surreptitious interception of wire, oral and electronic communications.”
The equipment was first found in Khan’s possession when his pick-up truck was pulled over by an Army patrol in Good Hope Village, Guyana, in December 2002. Khan was in the company of Haroon Yahya and policeman Sean Belfield.
The surveillance computers were seized and Khan and his accomplices were charged and placed before the courts. Thereafter, the charges were mysteriously dropped by the DPP and the equipment was unlawfully returned to Khan.
Khan’s lawyers claimed that when a large number of prison escapees went on a killing spree in 2002, Khan responded by providing “financial and logistical support to the GOG,” and that he was in pursuit of the escapees when he was arrested. In an affidavit filed in US Federal Court, DEA Agent Cassandra Jackson, swore that US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, records show that Simels traveled to Guyana from October 9 to 12, 2007.
She attested that DHS records show that on or about October 11, 2007, a ‘Portable Auto Data Processing computer/machine was shipped from Guyana to Simels York Avenue Office, New York City.
She also attested that Simels, in secretly recorded conversations, confirmed possession of Roger Khan’s surveillance equipment.
The CGID statement quoted its President, Rickford Burke, as saying that the spy equipment has the capacity to intercept cellular phone communication anywhere in Guyana as well as pinpoint the geographic coordinates and location of callers.
He said that the evidence shows that Roger Khan and his “Phantom Death Squad,” while acting as agents of the Jagdeo Administration, used it to track down and kill individuals who were marked for elimination.
He noted that Journalist Ronald Waddell and boxing coach Donald Allison, were named in the testimony as two of the over 400 victims who were executed. Burke said that Khan had breached the country’s national security by tapping multiple alleged conversations of former Guyanese Police Commissioner, Winston Felix, rand eleased said illegal recordings on a CD to the media, with the full complicity of President Jagdeo.
He noted that when the recordings became public, Jagdeo, rather than seek international assistance to determine how Khan had breached national security, instead asked the FBI to authenticate Felix’s voice.
The FBI declined Jagdeo’s request, as the original recording had been altered and rerecorded multiple times. Burke said that Felix became a target because the Bush Administration had disengaged then Minister of National Security, Ronald Gajraj, and had been directly engaging Felix on law enforcement and national security issues.
The latter information was disclosed to a CGID delegation and a number of New York elected officials, when they met with US government officials in Washington DC, to discuss Roger Khan and the “Phantom” gang’s connection to President Jagdeo and his government.
Gajraj later resigned in disgrace after telephone records showed hundreds of calls between he and well known “Phantom” hit-man, Axel Williams.
“The US government was aware that President Jagdeo and Ministers Leslie Ramsammy, Ronald Gajraj, Clament Rohee, and others, had knowledge of, and had allegedly been complicit with, Roger Khan’s criminal enterprise,” Burke asserted.
On July 19, 2009, when President Jagdeo and Burke met for over six hours at the Brooklyn Marriott during the Caricom Heads meeting in New York, Burke pointedly asked Jagdeo if his government had purchased or authorized the purchase of the spying equipment that was found in Khan’s possession in 2002, and who had current possession of the said equipment.
President Jagdeo’s response was that“No one in my government purchased nor authorized anyone to purchase that equipment. Only Dr. Roger Luncheon has the authority to authorize that kind of transaction. And the computer is in the possession of the Police, ask the Police Commissioner.”
However, on July 28, Peter Myers, the Director of the Smith Myers Firm, the UK based company which manufactured the equipment, testified in New York Federal court that the cellular intercept equipment used by Roger Khan had been sold to the GOG by his company.
Myers provided evidence that the said equipment comprised a CSM 7806 intercept receiver and two “Tough Book” Laptops, and told the court that they were sold to the GOG by the company’s Florida sales office, through the Fort Lauderdale-based Spy Shop.
Moreover, Simels’ Attorney disclosed to the court that the equipment was purchased for and received on behalf of the GOG by Health Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy.
Myers also confirmed that independent contractor, Carl Chapman, traveled to Guyana to train Khan and others in the use of the equipment.
CGID has now called on the Smith Myers Firm to release the bill of sale, Fedex shipping invoice, signature of the party in Guyana who received the equipment as well as the names of the individuals whom Chapman trained.
The Institute’s President also contended that “The evidence demonstrates that President Jagdeo has swirled himself into a contorted web of lies and deceit; conduct which is unbecoming of a Head of State.”
On Friday July 31, the GOG issued a statement saying that “The Government of Guyana rejects the claim that it bought the spy equipment… The main source of the information disclosed in the local media frenzy is Enrico Woolford, known for his anti-government journalism and reporting selectively on the ongoing trial in the USA.”
Reacting to the latter statement, Burke said “The Jagdeo administration’s credibility is in the cesspool. Its denials are a joke as the evidence is incontrovertible. No mendacity propagated by its Goebbels can save it from culpability.
Rather than attack the journalist who has accurately reported on the evidence presented to the court, the GOG should acquire a copy of the transcript and use this evidence as a basis to pursue the criminals in its midst.”
Burke also said “I dare President Jagdeo and Minister Ramsammy to come to the Federal Court in New York and testify under oath.” Furthermore, FBI informant, Selwyn Vaughn, a confessed former member of Khan’s “Phantom” death squad” gang, last Tuesday also testified that Khan ordered the execution of journalist/political activist, Ronald Waddell, with the full knowledge of Dr. Ramsammy.
Waddell, a talk-show host on HBTV Channel 9 and a former parliamentary candidate for the opposition PNC, was executed on January 30, 2006, as he entered his car outside his Georgetown home.
Vaughn, who is in US protective custody and who has immunity from prosecution by the US Federal government, testified that he was the “lookout man” in Waddell’s execution, and that he was situated in a Burgundy AT 192 motor car staking out the Talk Show Host.
He attested that he tracked Waddell to his home in Subrianville, Georgetown and called Khan on his cell phone and reported that Waddell was at home and had left his car idling on the roadway. Vaughn said that within minutes, four members of Khan’s squad, all former members of the GPF whom he named, turned up and shot Waddell when he returned to his car.
Vaughn testified that after the shooting he and the shooters assembled at Khan’s Nightclub - the Blue Iguana, where Khan, in his presence, called Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, and informed him that Waddell had been shot and that doctors at the Hospital must let him die.
Vaughn said that he had previously met Ramsammy at his Ministry of Health office and at the Blue Iguana, as an emissary of Khan’s. He also told the court that Waddell was killed because he was criticizing Khan and the government, and was connected to the prison escapees’ gang.
Vaughn also stated that around the period when Waddell was killed, he and Khan met with Ramsammy to discuss the Buxton Gang.
Vaughn also testified under oath that Khan’s gang had conspired to kidnap the wife of a high-ranking US diplomat in Guyana in retaliation for Khan’s arrest by the US government.
Ramsammy, in Guyana, has vehemently denied that he has ever had any contact with Khan and said he has no knowledge about the surveillance equipment. This prompted Burke to call on the telephone company “to release Roger Khan’s ‘unsanitized’ phone records for January 29th through 31, 2006.”
Burke added that “It is one thing to issue mendacious statements from Georgetown but it is another to testify under oath. I understand that Dr. Ramsammy is a US Citizen. Hence, I again urge him to come to the Federal Court in New York and present his testimony under oath, so that, according to him, he can clear his name.”
The CGID President said that court documents establish that Simels met with Ramsammy, in pursuance of information for his client’s defense, and at one point asked that Jagdeo “lodge a formal protest with the United States government regarding the arrest of Roger Khan.”
President Bharrat Jagdeo, when asked at a press conference on July 28, to respond to Vaughn’s testimony that Ramsammy had been complicit in the assassination of Waddell, said “Maybe if at the end of the day, all the criminals were to deal with each other we may have a better society but I am not going to sanction that. This is not government policy… but I wouldn’t lose any sleep, frankly speaking, about criminals when they kill each other.”
Jagdeo also further said that “If you believe all that this informant is saying you have to also believe that he (Waddell) was a member of the Buxton gang and that he was basically in a criminal enterprise. Waddell was a criminal involved in a criminal enterprise.”
When asked whether his administration would appoint a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the matter, Jagdeo rejected the idea. He noted that “You don’t need a Commission of Inquiry to go after criminal acts, the police should do that.”
He also stated that his government “does not go on the basis of allegations” and asserted that “there is nothing for a commission of inquiry to address.”
Responding to Jagdeo’s comments, Burke asserted that “Both President Jagdeo and Dr. Ramsammy have referred to the testimony presented in Federal Court in New York as ‘allegations.’
However, they are wrong. I suggest that they retain a Criminal Attorney, who, I’m sure, will appropriately advise them that testimony under oath in a court of law is not “allegation” but “evidence.”
He said that it is ironic that President Jagdeo readily accepts Vaughn’s testimony that Waddell had an alleged connection to a Buxton gang, and on that basis alone, declared Waddle to be a ‘criminal’ but conveniently rejects Vaughn’s testimony about his government’s connection to Khan’s criminal enterprise as mere ‘allegations.’
Burke contended that “Jagdeo’s mindset telegraphs their modus operandi. "They labeled whomever they choose as ‘criminals’ and then direct their “Phantom” gang to eliminate them." He slammed Jagdeo for labeling Waddell a ‘criminal’ saying, “Waddell’s only crime was to exercise his constitutional right to free speech. President Jagdeo continues to demonstrate complete repugnance to this fundamental civil right.”
Referring to Jagdeo’s statement, made in relation to Waddell, that “I wouldn’t lose any sleep, frankly speaking, about criminals when they kill each other,” Burke observed that “The instant comments by President Jagdeo are uncivil, callous and reckless.
They seem to emanate from the mind of a psychopath.” Burke strongly accused President Jagdeo of attempting to divert the nation’s attention from the testimony presented in New York to the investigation into the fire that recently destroyed Guyana’s Ministry of Health.
He labeled Jagdeo’s efforts “A smoke screen to obfuscate the mountain of evidence about the criminal conduct of his government.”
Burke said that said that a Guyanese political commentator who likened the Ministry of Health fire to “The Reichstag fire” in Germany, was “spot on.”
The Reichstag fire was an orchestrated arson attack on the Reichstag building in Berlin which housed the German parliament, on February 271933. The event led to the rounding up and banishment of opposition politicians and the birth of Adolph Hitler’sNazi majority government in Germany.
Saturday, August 01, 2009
We refused to speak on it before now because we belived that Woolford could have corrected the confusion in a subsequent story, but he only added more fuel to the fire. Contrary to what was reported this week by Woolford in the Kaieteur News, the infamous spy equipment is with Guyana law enforcement officials. This has been confirmed by the Commissioner of Police. However, the editor/publisher of the Kaieteur News should have realised by now that there are two different sets of spy equipment. One of our sources spoke with the US prosecutor who confirmed that they understand that there is another spy computer in possession of Guyanese law enforcement and that attepts will be made to gather it as evidence in time for Khan's trial. Thats how easy it was to confirm. Perhaps the security officials should invite the media to see the equipment in their possession.
The other bone of contention is who purchased the spy equipment currently in the hands of local police/army officials. Woolford and the Kaieteur News carried a huge headline that it was Health Minister Leslie Ramsammy. This has been denied by the Government and the Minister. Sitting in the Court, our source has been able to confirm that at no time did the NY Court hear that Ramsammy or the Government purchased the equipment.
It was said over and over again that Ramsammy facilitated the purchase. This could easily mean that he gave the OK for Khan or someone else to make the purchase. The screaming headline by the Kaieteur News is ground enough for Ramsammy to sue Woolford, Glenn Lall - the publisher of the Kaieteur News and Adam Harris - the editor of the Kaieteur News.