Dear Editor,During the last General Election campaign, we have heard about the many varied facets of corruption allegedly perpetrated by the previous Government and there was even a corruption debate on the National Communications Network (NCN) which the A Partnership for National Unity refused to participate. They probably felt that the debate itself is ‘corrupted’ and that they need to sit on the moral high ground or were afraid of questions of corruption under the People’s National Congress era in Government.It must be recalled that one of the pledges made to the people of Guyana was to wipe out corruption as it relates to procurement. An Alliance For Change leader had said on a Berbice TV channel that ’kickback’ accounts for more than 20 per cent of the contract cost and at the time it seemed a well-educated guess. His party vowed to eradicate this type of corruption. Unfortunately, the Public Procurement Commission can now be regarded as impotent against the tsunami of procurement corruption and the Public Infrastructure Ministry and the Government itself seem to have given a free rein to the corruptors.As a Regional Councillor, it is my duty to speak against the cancer of corruption which is engulfing and spreading in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) at an alarming rate with no solutions in sight. I had written extensively about the allegedly corrupt bulldozer deal but despite assurances from the Regional Executive Officer (REO) that the decrepit piece of machine will be sent packing, it is still to this day ensconced next to the entrance of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) Office at Vrymens Erven at New Amsterdam. The REO had said the supplier had signed a bond to the value of $15 million and should the supplier fail to replace the bulldozer then that bond will be forfeited. At the last RDC meeting when I raised the matter, the ‘bond’ seemed a distant memory. Unfortunately, the REO was not present at that meeting.Another area of corruption is substandard and poorly executed works. Recently, an emergency contract was given for excavation works at the mouth of the #43 Channel. The fishing boats at #43 were stranded due to the fact that the canal and the mouth of the channel is heavily silted making it impassable for a large number of boats to go fishing and for those which have already gone out to sea to return with their catches. This situation has been festering for over one month now. Those boats which are out have to use the Eversham channel to offload their catches and reload. Several complaints were made by these fishermen and after a long period and much financial losses to the fishermen, the NDIA invited quotations for the excavation of the mouth of the channel.An experienced contractor who has the capacity to do the job was selectively sidelined even though he was asked to submit a quotation. The fishermen explained to me that they were told that the emergency work was given to a contractor who lacked the capacity to do the job since he does not have the dredging equipment to do it effectively. They claimed it was quite humorous when the contractor showed up with 12 men and two shovels sitting idly, looking at the blockade and contemplating their next move.Moreover, they pointed out that the excavation of the creek to the channel was done by the same contractor who dug both sides and leave the middle which resulted in rapid resilting. Since May 2017, this was done two times at the cost of $8 million each. It was also done once in 2016 for $8 million as well. This canal seems to be a milking cow for the said contractor. The fishermen said if this contractor cannot excavate a canal properly, they cannot fathom how he is going to excavate the embankment at the mouth of the channel. This is another area of corruption where certain contractors who refused to give ‘kickbacks’ are rejected. The best bribers are given the contracts, not the best man to do the job.What is also eating away the quality of work done is the deliberate under-bidding for contracts. Some contractors, through inside information, know exactly how low they should bid. In doing, so they effectively erode their profit margins and when this is compounded with the inevitable ‘kickback’, the result is substandard work which again will be subjected to bribery to ensure it passes certification. The Public Infrastructure Ministry is turning a blind eye to this since cronies and families are allegedly involved.Political commitment is a necessary condition to eradicate corruption in awarding contracts, certifying works completed and rejecting substandard works. There is a clear misuse of public office and Region Six is losing tens of millions each year due to this form of corruption. We simply cannot get value for money.In conclusion, contracts must be awarded to only those contractors who can be certified that they have met anti-corruption commitments and this means establishing a system to identify these corrupt contractors and at the same time award contracts to those contractors who have the capacity and are incorruptible. On the other hand, those found guilty of corruption should be dealt – feeling the full brunt of the law and debarred for life.Yours sincerely,Haseef YusufRDC Councillor,Region Six
Dear Editor,It is no surprise the government arrested with the mini buses so called union to increase twenty dollars on each passenger thus creating more hardship on the working class. Whilst in reality the average man would end up paying at least one hundred and twenty dollars more a day.Some people have to use three or four means of transportation in order to reach either to work or home, especially those living in New schemes and those who living in the West and East Bank of Demerara and East Bank Essequibo which causes their travelling expense to be more. With the increase, no doubt the short drop cars would also increase their fares which are already above the average presently.There are some buses that work long distance and their fares are rounded off to the closest hundred, do you believe the will let it remains the same? Given the culture of the operators, I know they will not and they will see to increase it more that the agreed twenty dollars and they would cite the distance to suck the blood out of people.Editor, to polish the increase off and defend their actions, the mini buses make a lot of promises about regulations for the buses and they believe that the travelling public are morons. They take it ob their own to increase fares before and also make similar promises but the situation remains the same in terms of overloading, appearances, attitudes towards commuters etc.There is also the headache of travelling in buses that the seat seems to be made of iron which causes tremendous discomfort when you seated and the buses goes over bumps, holes etc.Some buses causes’ material and physical damages to you because of some piece of dangerous iron or welding not look after or some bolts are extra-long and they don’t see the need to modify/rectify it. Like the mini buses, the union collect huge amount of money and not paying taxes on it.I’ve said before, there’s too many buses in the road and there will always be a fight down amongst one another to make more trips. Some only gets to make two trips and with the increase, we the commuters would actually pay for them not doing a proper day work. Instead of the union see to put a limit of buses to work a zone, they seek to pressure the public.It’s real hardship for us. They only sit back and use situations to seek increase in fares while majority or working people’s salary are the same for years whilst they increase at least three times already.Sincerely,Sahadeo Bates
Dear Editor,I wish to respond to a letter penned by one Mr Zamal Hussain, wherein he highlighted the plight of our electoral system. In that letter, he is of the firm view that the electoral machinery in Guyana, instead of being strengthened, is being undermined to the point where there would not be a fair process. I wholeheartedly support Mr Hussain on this note, having seen the underhand, corrupt way elections have been held over the years here under a PNC administration.History is replete with their corrupt practices. All of these disgraceful acts are well documented for our learning and edification.Whenever it comes to the administration of free, open and transparent process where a selection or election process is concerned, the PNC’s stewardship in such matters stinks to the high heavens.With a PNC-dominated, PNC-controlled GECOM, anything can and will take place to subvert a transparent process. No good can come out of such an arrangement.Recently, the Guyana Teachers’ Union got a jolt of this barefaced, dictatorial fraud when they were told in a hand-me-down manner that their views are null and void when the Government is in charge — a very shocking way to treat persons who are known supporters of the regime.It therefore behooves all right-thinking persons in this country to stand up and speak out vociferously against these grave injustices. Guyanese need to stand up and be counted for what is just and fair.Respectfully,Neil Adams
Dear Editor,Allow me to express my heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones in Wednesday’s gruesome accident. These persons are ordinary people who use buses to go to work or home. They have no other option than to use these buses. They would have held their breath every day in those minibuses until, at last, those same buses took their breath away. We know how unruly the bus drivers and conductors behave when passengers ask them to lower the music or reduce speed. I want to appeal to the authorities to introduce 45-seat buses so that this road carnage will come to end. That is the only solution to put an end to these killing machine minibuses. Besides, let these big buses commute with a scheduled time and stop only in bus stations. An immediate introduction of big buses with time and bus station is needed to resolve road fatalities. Let us put an end to the minibuses which have killed enough people thus far. If the Government cannot afford these buses, at least allow the private companies to import these big buses so that our people can be safe and alive. I have written letters to the Editor on this subject before but no action. I beg, let this letter not go in vain.Sincerely,Kevin Ram
At least 300 persons from the Linden community, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) are expected to be employed within the next week following the return of the Drainage and Irrigation (D&I) programme to the community. This was confirmed by Deputy Director of Community Development Councils (CDCs), Sandra Adams.Despite several setbacks which caused some delay to the commencement of the programme, Adams said the community would soon benefit from its return. The programme will involve cleaning of drains and de-silting of creeks throughout Linden, among other cleaning exercises.“We had some setbacks, not from the Regional level but from the Ministry of Agriculture. Delay in signing documentations and all of that but I wish to say… people can expect that a number of people across Linden, including up to Three Friends Mines, will be put to work via the Drainage programme, which is the D&I programme… We hope to employ at least 300 people on that programme across Linden,” Adams stated.In providing some clarity, Adams said the Community Infrastructure Improvement Programme (CIIP), which is presently being conducted via the Linden Mayor and Town Council, is a separate clean-up initiative. The CIIP programme recently came into existence after years of the D&I programme.Additionally, Adams disclosed that two new CDC’s were recently formed in the community of Kwakwani; one at the Kwakwani Waterfront and another at Kwakwani Park. She said these new CDCs would also benefit from drainage and irrigation works. Adams further alluded that she had the opportunity to meet with the Kwakwani Neighbourhood Development Council where discussions were held on a number of issues.
By Utamu BelleMinister within the Public Health Ministry, Dr Karen Cummings has urged Lindeners and the rest of Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) to be appreciative of the efforts of Government in forging towards improved public health services. The call was made at the second public consultation of the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC), held at the Egbert Benjamin Centre in Linden on Friday. Dr Cummings said the consultation was timely, stressing the Ministry’s mantra of ‘healthy people, healthy communities’ being enforced. Dr Cummings said it is Government’s national priority, through her Ministry, to deliver the best health services in Guyana with focus on strategic approaches, including accessibility to excellent care and healthcare practices. Minister Cummings stated that the consultation was a timely one as the Ministry strives to embark on a health sector reform in delivering quality healthcare.“The Ministry has began a paradigm shift in the efficient and effective delivery of healthcare… we have a lot of things to put in place… so that we can move smoothly… I must underscore that the Ministry of Public Health focuses strongly on quality management and quality standards with an aim to provide all Guyanese with equitable and acceptable quality healthcare,” she said.CEO’s ReportIn delivering a review of the LHC in 2015 and projections for 2016/2017, LHC Chief Executive Officer, Dr Farouk Riyasat said the Board and management are obligated to at least once a year sensitise communities on available healthcare services. He noted that the LHC, which has a workforce of 630, also comprises sister hospitals: the Upper Demerara Hospital (UDH) at Wismar and the Kwakwani Hospital. Due to increase in demand, the CEO said the general outpatient clinic at LHC was extended from five to seven days per week, while he stressed the need for training and additional staff. He said a proposal has been sent to the Board in looking at daily 24-hour pharmacy service, to include weekends and holidays. This, he said, would require additional staff.As at December 31, 2015, a total of 31,500 patients were seen at the LHC, including 26,000 outpatients and about 5500 inpatients. This year, the CEO said close to 200 units of blood were donated, and a total of 900 surgical operations were conducted. The LHC has a delivery rate of 950 per annum, with 20 per cent being teenage pregnancies and 27 per cent was attributed to caesarian sections and high-risk pregnancies. He added that 140 safe deliveries were conducted at UDH last year and 96 at the Kwakwani Hospital. Additionally, there were six stillbirths and two infant deaths recorded. Overall the hospital recorded zero maternal deaths for five consecutive years. Dr Riyasat stressed that to make meaningful reduction in infant mortality, attention must be paid to warning signs.Issues at Upper Demerara HospitalThe CEO said there is need for more utilisation of the services provided at the UDH. He said although services such as a pharmacy, in-patient and out-patient, antenatal and post-natal clinics, gynecology, rehabilitation, emergency and critical care, among others are offered, people are not utilising services the hospital as they should.“Many persons within the public domain are not utilising the services at UDH and I would like to encourage you to use that service”, he said.The CEO stressed that with regards to the laboratory, there are some limitations with regards to training as well as issues with equipment. He noted that several infrastructural upgrades have been planned, while he urged health professionals to improve their attitudes and relationships with patients. Dr Riyasat also stressed the need for improvement at the level of public relations.ImprovementsRegistering her disappointment, stressing that much more was expected from members of the public with regard to attendance at the forum, LHC Vice Chairman Valerie Sharpe-Patterson stated that the LHC is now in a better place as compared to a few years ago. She said the Board consists of concerned members, who are willing to ensure more efficient and effective service to the region.“Two years ago, we had serious issues with drug shortages, not to say we don’t have, we still do… We had serious issues of doctors being absent, not coming to work regularly and other medical officials which hampered the efficiency of the service we offer to the public. We had issues with emergency ward and we also had issues with staff attitude. These were some of the things we dealt with at the level of the Board and I can see that there has been tremendous improvement in some regards and in others, there is still need for much improvement,” she noted.The Vice Chairman alluded that new services are constantly added to the LHC, while she hailed its zero maternity rate over the few past years. She also expressed her hope of the consultation providing a forum for future improvement at the general staff and management levels.
Suspected serial thief Anthony Brown, 24, of Lot 138 Waterloo Street, South Cummingsburg, Georgetown, was remanded to prison after reportedly stealing a motorcycle.Brown appeared at the Wales Magistrate’s Court late last week, and the charge was read to him by Magistrate Clive Nurse. It is alleged that on October 14, 2015, at Schoonord, West Bank Demerara, he stole the motorcycle, valued $420,000, property of Linden Agard.Brown, who pleaded not guilty to the offence, explained that it was the first time he has been charged for such a crime. This assertion was, however, rejected by the prosecution. The Court was informed that based on information, the defendant, a father of one, was arrested for a similar offence. He is also wanted by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) for related matters.On this basis, bail was denied and Brown will remain incarcerated until his trial, which is scheduled to commence on July 29.
A medical physician at the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town, who was diagnosed with the Ebola virus, was Wednesday, July 16, reunited with his family at the J.F.K Cholera Division.Claudius Banarwolo, who started medication on June 28 this year, claimed that he contracted the virus from the nurse who recently passed out at the hospital.In a statement, the Chair of Ebola Management Committee, Dr. Moses Massaquoi, cautioned people to take Ebola seriously and report suspected cases immediately.He said when suspected cases are reported in a timely manner the Management Team, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, will provide supportive treatment.Dr. Massaquoi, however, called on Liberians to help the Ministry by making use of the hotline estblished to report persons showing signs and symptoms of Ebola.Looking frail and pail, Claudius Banarwolo thanked God and the Ministry of Health for their continuous support during his time of illness.“It was the grace of God that has brought me thus far. I am saying this because, even before I came here, people pronounced me dead in my community or place of work. And to see myself here today, it is a miracle.“Since I was diagnosed positive, it has not been easy for me. I was in real pain; I even lost hope of surviving.“I contracted the disease from the nurse who died at hospital because I was the person assigned to treat her. At the time, she had not been tested to know what was wrong with her.“It is by the grace of God I am able to feel nature once more,” Banarwolo said shivering.Amongst the relatives who attended Banarwolo’s reintegration Program, Nennie Parker, who is also a health practitioner, said it’s about time the Health Ministry starts thinking about health workers.She said health workers remain vulnerable to diseases, viruses and other contaminable sicknesses even in the absence of Ebola.“The Ministry should start thinking about us because we are not protected. And in cases of high risk diseases, health workers stand greater chance of being contaminated than any other people. “So today, I am happy that my nephew is out safe and alive. His parents and relatives have been marginalized in the community. People have warned their wives and children not to go close to their home in order to stay alive.”“Ebola is real and dangerous,” she warned.Pastor Solomon Telewoyan, pastor in charge of the World Limitation Outreach Church in the Rehab Community, advised the religious community to remain strong in interceding on behalf of the country.He said that citizens should also pray for other suspected and confirmed cases.“As a church, we have been praying for this young man because he is one of our members. Not only because he is our member, but we have also been interceding on behalf of the country and other victims of this illness,” the Pastor said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Multiple news agencies announced Saturday, that ZMapp had cured 100 percent of monkeys that were inoculated with a different strain of Ebola in a Canadian study of the virus.According to researchers, health officials and medical teams, the vaccine has not undergone the normal human clinical trial stages. However, a small handful of infected people agreed to be injected with the vaccine.CBCNews.com reported yesterday that one Ebola survivor now pleads with the vaccine manufacturer to hurry with the production of the drug.The drug that is being referred to as a “monumental achievement,” only had about 20 doses in stock, and all have been exhausted.Researchers said once a living host has been sick for too long, there are those instances wherein possible treatments cannot turn back the damage already done to the body by the hemorrhagic virus.According to USA Today, a newspaper circulated across that country, of the small amount of people who have received the vaccine, only two have died. These were “a Spanish priest and a Liberian doctor.” This means it could be that they may have received the vaccine too late, the newspaper said.The monkeys which were given a lethal strain of Ebola recovered, and were given the drug five days after infection.With only a small number of Ebola patients testing the drug, it is hard for researchers to conclude whether it is the main reason for the patient’s recovery.In the wake of numbers of Ebola cases increasing in West Africa, health officials, medical teams and pharmaceutical researchers have scrambled to find a treatment of the virus to help reduce and contain the spread of the epidemic in the West African affected countries.Thomas Geisbert, an Ebola expert, said one of the infected Americans, Kent Brantly, didn’t just receive the vaccine but he also had a blood transfusion from an Ebola patient who survived — so his case isn’t one hundred percent ZMapp.The research report, published in the Journal Nature, states that humans should receive three scheduled doses to optimize the efficacy for recovery. While the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimates that the current outbreak will infect more than 18,000 people, Gary Kobinger, who works for Canada’s Public Health Agency, said the drug is manufactured by a bio processing plant in Kentucky, and can only produce 20 to 40 doses per month. But the question remains, does Zmapp work for humans? Kobinger told The Washington Post, “I think it strongly supports that concept, but it’s not proven.”The spokesman for the owner of the Kentucky Bio processing plant believes that the three doses are theory. Since conclusive human studies have not been done, the real issue is to have everyone’s focus on the clinical, and development steps to help find the correct dosing requirements, and speed up processing, he said.ZMapp could obtain approval of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in six month, maybe less, under their accelerated review titles.So far, Kobinger said, none of the animals tested has shown any side effects. He also indicated that the Zaire Ebola strain now appears to be mutating as it moves from host to host, and researchers can’t be sure that Zmapp will solve the Ebola problem.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Metropolitan Plaza Hotel, situated on Broad Street, Monrovia, was last Thursday shut down by the Commercial Court for defaulting on a US$51,740 loan from Global Bank-Liberia Limited.The hotel’s closure was a result of the final judgment entered against the hotel by the court on November 13, 2013.The bank said it loaned or guaranteed Metropolitan Plaza US$99,000 before the lawsuit, of which US$51,740 is still owned by the company.A.N. Charifz, general manager of the hotel and loan guarantor, was nowhere to be found when the court’s officers went to close it down following a “Writ of Execution” issued by Resident Chief Judge Eva Mappy Morgan, last Thursday.In the execution order, Judge Morgan instructed her court officers that, “If Charifz fails to comply with the order, they should arrest him for contempt of court consistent with 1LCL Revised Chapter 44- enforcement of judgment and orders.”The court further ordered Charifz to pay Global Bank the sum of money necessary to satisfy the judgment adding that “if the money that would be realized from sale of the company’s properties is not sufficient to pay the reasonable expenses, then seize the real properties until it shall have raised the sum of US$51,740.”Judge Morgan also instructed court officers to seize and expose for sale land, goods and chattels of the management of Metropolitan Plaza Hotel.”Immediately, after the sudden closure of the hotel, an employee was heard phoning his fellow workers shouting,” Oh, guys the government has closed the hotel. We and our customers have been left in the cold, especially in this festive Season,”According to financial experts, non-payment on bank loans by business institutions could jeopardize the entire financial system of the country, especially in the post- Ebola recovery period.In August 2013, Global Bank Liberia Limited filed a case in the Commercial Court to recover US$99,000 from Metropolitan Plaza in unpaid loans and interests due the bank.After the company was sued for non-payment, the court ruled on November 3, 2013 that the company was not paying the US$99,000 loan in compliance with the agreement and authorized the bank to sell the company’s mortgaged properties to recover the outstanding debts.The court at the time also ordered the company to settle the outstanding debt within a few months, which it failed to do up to the hotel’s closure last Thursday.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)