Gold trader robs GRA hundreds of millions of tax $$$ bringing in 2020 Lamborghini supercar
In early December, the streets of Georgetown gaped with the amazing sight of a Lamborghini on the road. It was the first one in the country. It landed on the wharf, was cleared and escorted to the Houston, EBD home of Guyana’s local ‘Sheikh’, Azruddin Mohamed. Azruddin is the son of Nazar Mohamed called ‘Shell’, one of Guyana’s biggest gold dealer and a close confidante of President Mohamed Irfaan Ali and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo.
Mohamed’s Enterprise was the biggest financier of the PPP/C for the March 2nd general and regional elections.
The supercar was photographed, paraded and even made its rounds on social media, sparking a number of memes.
What Guyana does not know is that the president’s friend and son hatched a scheme to rob the state’s tax coffers under the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes and duties…all with the blessing and authorization of the PPP/C.
What is known about the importation of the supercar- a toy of the super-rich and famous around the world?
---It landed in Guyana between late November and early December and was cleared in a matter of days.
---On the market it is one of the most expensive of rides at about $600,000 US dollars…. $120M Guyana dollars equivalent- that price does not include duty and taxes. The shipping to Guyana is not more than $4M.
---From records, the gold dealer and his son deliberately submitted an invoice to GRA that the car was purchased for $80,000 US ($16M Guyana dollars).
---An American citizen who is involved in drag racing was used as the purchaser. He claimed he sold them for $80,000 US.
---This is where the deal got exposed. The gold dealer and his son wired up more than a $120M (equivalent in US dollars) to a Newport, California company directly from their account, indicating that the drag racer was a front/fraud.
---GRA accepted and used the $80,000 US dollar invoice by the drag racer to calculate the incorrect duty and taxes.
---Shockingly GRA did not question the invoice and someone there charged just over $60M in duty and taxes.
---Customs brokers have calculated that a 6.5 liters engine/V12 gas vehicle would attract between $300-$400M in duty and taxes.
---This is deliberate under-invoicing, in a blatant scheme of tax evasion.
---This crime is classified as a serious offence under our anti-money laundering laws and can lead to imprisonment locally or extradition.
-The word on the street is that the order to deliberately charge lower duty and taxes resulting in the state losing hundreds of millions of dollars came from the top of the ruling PPP/C party.
MitwahAzruddin is the son of Nazar Mohamed called ‘Shell’, one of Guyana’s biggest gold dealer and a close confidante of President Mohamed Irfaan Ali and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo. Mohamed’s Enterprise was the biggest financier of the PPP/C for the March 2nd general and regional elections. [ more ]
CGID PRESIDENT RICKFORD BURKE ISSUES BLISTERING RESPONSE TO MALICIOUS, FALSE, SLANDEROUS ATTACK BY GUYANA'S ATTORNEY GENERAL ANIL NANDLALL, RELEASES NYPD POLICE REPORT SHOWING NANDLALL IS WANTED IN NEW YORK FOR ALLEGED CONVERSATION PLOT TO HAVE BURKE KILLED
FOLLOWING IS THE FULL STATEMENT BY BURKE
July 11, 2021
ANIL NANDLALL IS A LYING RACIST WITH AN NYPD PROBLEM
NOT A RICKFORD BURKE PROBLEM
Guyana’s racist, installed Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, is currently under Police investigation in New York, in connection with an alleged conversation in which he expressly said that I am a problem and must be stopped and eliminated and killed. That conversation was reported to the Police by a law enforcement officer who witnessed it. Consequently, he is listed as wanted by the Police in New York. The Police report is attached.
Having been caught in an alleged crime, Nandlall is desperate. He again slandered me in an article published today, July 11, 2021, in the PPP’s online publication - Daily News Guyana, with false, malicious statements. I have instructed Attorneys, Mr. Nigel Hughes and Mr. Roysdale Ford to sue him.
Nandlall falsely and comically claimed I made a false report of a fire at his PPP meeting in Queens last week, which summoned the FDNY. CGID and BLM protested the meeting. He's obviously still traumatized by the protest. He has plenty of mouth now that he is in Guyana. But he was hiding while in Queens. He came to the meeting with 10 armed bodyguards with bullet proof vests.
Not only is this “windseed” a coward and dastardly liar. He is a clown. Every moment of my presence at the protest was speaking on the bullhorn to or to the Police officers. Each second was captured on video and seen live by over 45,000 people. My phone was used to record the protest live as well. When was this supposed phone call made?
Nandlall has no access to FDNY records. He has no clue who made the call, but is throwing slander against a wall to see what sticks. He is a naked buffoon who is indulging in malicious lies that can be easily disproved. This clown, who is posing as Guyana Attorney General is not even smart enough to tell lies that make sense.
It is one of the PPP supporters who called the FDNY after the Police rejected their request to move the protestors. That will never happen. This is the US, where protesting is a democratic right that cannot be infringed upon.
Nandlall also falsely claimed that I have a warrant in Guyana for fraud. He claimed I am wanted, because I took money from several businessmen in Guyana and fled the country. I dare this comedian to produce the purported 30 year old warrant and these businessmen!
Nandlall doesn’t know me. He does not know that I left Guyana as a teenager 30 years ago, while I was a special assistant to President Desmond Hoyte. He does not know that my dad was a Police officer and that I grew up in Police housing. What businessmen will conduct business with a teenager, much less allow him to defraud them? His falsehoods are so devoid of common sense that they make him look like a fool.
But his “eyes pass black people.” Like the KKK, he thinks that all black people are criminals and “owe East Indian businessman.” This bitter racist has got the wrong Negro. Every Guyanese must unite to expose his reckless, racist profiling. All Guyanese should be outraged that this racist, congenital liar, piece of trash is the Attorney General. The nation should trust nothing that comes out of his office this nasty, deceitful, dishonest, pathological liar. Factually, he is quickly evolving into a Trump clone.
Having provoked a war with me, Nandall is now running to the US Embassy in Guyana for help. He said he will approach the US Embassy to deal with me. Apparently, he thinks that he can use the US government as his new vendetta inspired hit squad. I dare him. What will the Embassy do to me, put me in detention? It is scandalous that Nandlall – a “Jack The Ripper”- thinks that he can use the US Embassy to interfere with a Police investigation in the US, or to attack me because I exposed his atrocities. His arrogance and effrontery have no limit.
The Embassy must advise him that the rule of law, freedom of expression, democracy and constitutional rights reign supreme in the US. Such international principles are alien to him and the PPP. The Embassy must, however, question Nandlall about his alleged involvement in the Courtney Crum Ewing murder. They must ask about his terroristic threats to send gunmen to kill journalists. And they should ask why he is the only Attorney General in the world who, at the time he was appointed, was facing trial in criminal Court for theft of government assets.
Nandlall claims that “Burke should be penalized for orchestrating “a malicious rumor naming him as the subject of an NYPD investigation for “an alleged plot to have him killed.” This is not a rumor. It is a fact. His silly and unimaginative diversion tactic borders on a hilarious and contemptuous joke. But this is no laughing matter.
As I have confirmed, the NYPD received a report from a law enforcement officer who witnessed Anil Nandlall engage in a reckless conversation with four other persons. It was reported that at various times during said conversation, Nandlall allegedly said words to the effect that Rickford Burke is a problem, Rickford Burke must be stopped …he must be eliminated ….he must be killed. He also allegedly said that if the NYPD doesn’t take care of "the Burke problem" a named individual will.
I am not Courtney Crum Ewing who they allegedly killed and have not faced justice. I am not afraid of Nandlall or PPP killers. When he attempts to carry out his plot to “eliminate and stop” me, what does he think will happen to him? He surely doesn’t think that justice is an unknown concept where I live?
Last Thursday, he brazenly said on his Facebook page that press reports that the NYPD is investigating him "is absolute trash." The only trash in this case is Nandlall.
The attached Police Report in this matter, with some sensitive information redacted, states clearly on page 2, that anil Nandlall is wanted. As a perpetrator of an alleged crime, he can easily verify if he is wanted or not, by visiting any NYPD Precinct to inquire. I’m sure the Police will be happy to transport him to the correct Police Station, like they do every other arrestee.
Anil Nandlall doesn’t have a Rickford Burke problem. He has an NYPD Problem. Let him deal with that.
LynnSat:-Dhal n rice, Saltfish n tomato, fry baigan with chicken/aloo. Bhajee(spinach) n Lentil/spinach soup. Sunday..d gal pickeny dem coming over to look at the game with Pops - Lunch :-boil n fry channa, duck curry n dhal puri(Alima’s), stuffed (ground chicken) sweet peppers. Dinner :-Church’s chicken meal SNACKS for the game:—home made nachos, veggie pakoras with granny smith apple sour, cheese rolls, cream cheese danish( using frozen puff pastry) Happy Sunday [ more ]
Lynn@ Wildflower chams .. i never daab fireside or battam house but my ‘ job’ was to pickup d cow dung n dig the caddy for the PuTNA. My eldest sis delegated chores in our home. My mom spent all day in backdam with my dad n they took me with them (being spoilt baby). My dad felt I was too small to do house since I had 3 older sisters. So i used to help ‘graze ‘ cows n take them to our pasture. Used to Catch fish n shrimps with maswah n hooks ,I helped To water the veg plants n also to pick... [ more ]
WildflowerI used to sing this to my one beloved baby brother…I was 9 yrs older than him. He used to sing along and when I sing “ long as I’ve got you here beside me” he used to sing “ lamazite goat kiddie” 🙃💔 [ more ]
The Government on Wednesday rolled out the “Because We Care” cash grant initiative in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), where Education Minister Priya Manickchand said that the $19,000 in cash which will be provided per child will be helpful to parents who have been facing difficulties in providing for their children owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking with parents during the launch at the Cotton Field Secondary School, Essequibo Coast, Minister Manickchand explained that in addition to the $15,000 cash grant, each child in the public education system would receive a $4000 School Uniform and Supplies grant, which was formerly done as a voucher, thus, the total of $19,000.
The education minister went on to say that they would not specify how parents should spend the monies. She emphasised that the grants belonged to the students and it was the decision of parents as to how they should spend to provide for their children’s needs.
“It is the Ministry’s promise to ensure that students are taken care of during the pandemic and for us to ensure that students received quality education at this point of time… It is understood that some parents do not afford to get their children to attend extra classes… So, this is a start for parents who face difficulties in providing essential materials for their children’s schooling,” said Manickchand.
Parents collecting their cash grant
Meanwhile, over at the Anna Regina Secondary School, the Minister stated that this past year has been difficult for Guyana and its education sector. She spoke of the various interventions the Ministry has had to undertake to deliver education to children in ways that were never done before.
However, Manickchand posited that while these initiatives were helpful, they were not as effective as having children in the classroom in front of a teacher. She said that this has been proven by the worrying results recorded in the two recent National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) mock examinations.
She noted that the Ministry also learnt that there were weaknesses in some homes that contributed to the results of the mock examinations. It was explained by the Minister that the best performing children in the education sector were those who have the necessary support at home.
To this end, the Education Minister outlined that children needed to get back into schools, but this could only be done if it was safe. As such, she encouraged parents and teachers to take the COVID-19 vaccines that are available for adults. Further, she said that the Government was looking to procure the Pfizer vaccine that has been approved in the United States of America to be used by students from ages 12 to 17.
Moreover, Manickchand told parents that with Wednesday’s launch, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government was delivering on another manifesto promise of reintroducing the cash grant initiative that was made to students and parents by the PPP/C. She also reassured that this initiative would be equitably rolled out.
“I will never serve you in a partisan way. Your children will get the same type of service that the next child will get. You must remember that about us. We will serve you and we will serve you equitably,” she stated.
The Education Ministry also reminded parents that the “Because We Care” cash grant will increase from $15,000 incrementally each year until it reaches $50,000 by the end of Government’s five-year term in office.
Over $224 million is scheduled to be distributed in Region Two this week to over 11,000 students. The launch commenced at the Cotton Field Secondary School, where 492 students are registered.
Other schools served on Wednesday included the Fisher Primary School, where grants were distributed to parents of children attending that school, along with those from the Fisher Nursery, Abram Zuil Nursery and Abram Zuil Secondary Schools, representing 814 grants with a collective value of over $15 million.
Students from Taymouth Manor Primary, Suddie Primary, Riverstown Primary, Aurora Primary, Lima Sands Primary, Mainstay Lake Primary, Tapakuma Lake Primary, Onderneeming Nursery, and St Monica Primary School also received their grants
-law says three-member quorum needed for binding decision
Chairman of the Local Government Commission (LGC) Julius Faerber is maintaining that he had the authority to unilaterally appoint junior staff member Candace Nelson to act as Town Clerk of Georgetown, although the law stipulates that any action taken by fewer than three members of the constitutional body is not binding.
“I am the Commission between meetings. I am the Chairman. I have that authority to make that decision between meetings. It’s stated in the Act,” Faerber told Stabroek News yesterday, following accusations by two opposition-nominated members of the LGC that he unilaterally appointed Nelson without consulting the other members of the body.
Asked to identify the section of the legislation which empowers him to act in such a manner, Faerber indicated that he was not in a position to do so since he did not have the Act with him.
Stabroek News examined the Act and found that none of its 31 Sections make any such provisions as claimed by him. In fact, both Section 12 and Section 15 of the Act suggest that any action taken by fewer than three members of the Commission are not binding. Section 12 states that if the LGC membership falls below three, the Commission shall cease to function while Section 15 (3) specifies that a quorum is three members.
On Wednesday, opposition-nominated commissioners Joan-Ann Romascindo and Nicola Trotman told reporters that members were asked at their statutory meeting on Tuesday to agree to have acting Town Clerk Sherry Jerrick revert to her substantive post of Assistant Town Clerk due to underperformance. Trotman explained that Jerrick was previously written to and asked to show cause why this action should not be taken over “her failure” to deliver an Assets Register to the Commission.
The 30-page response submitted by Jerrick, which included the requested register, was never presented to members for perusal but the Chair requested that the officer be reverted.
According to Trotman, her requests for information on who would replace Jerrick were dismissed by Commissioner Carvil Duncan, who claimed that the issue of a replacement was not on the table for discussion and would be addressed at a later date.
Several minutes later, Trotman said that she received information that not only had a letter already been dispatched to Jerrick directing her to revert to Assistant Town Clerk but that Assistant Human Resources Manager Nelson had also been appointed interim Town Clerk.
The letter sent to Nelson and seen by Stabroek News is dated July 27, the day of the LGC meeting.
In fact the letter was received by City Hall at 2.11 pm, less than one hour after the GC meeting began and several minutes before a vote was taken to remove Jerrick from the post.
In his letter to Nelson, Faerber claimed that the decision to appoint her was made by the Commission in keeping with the authority vested under Sections 13 and 14 of the Local Government Commission Act.
These Sections grant the eight member Com-mission, acting as a body, the right to appoint, promote, dismiss and discipline staff.
The two opposition-nominated Commissioners maintain that a replacement was never discussed nor was Nelson.
In fact, since the letter was dispatched and received on the day of the monthly statutory meeting the Chair could not have been acting “between meetings” as he claimed.
His position, however, is not supported by the Local Government Commission Act, which regulates the operations of the LGC.
“The Chairman is not an executive chairman; the chairman is an elected chairman. Therefore, he doesn’t have the powers to write letters to the officials of the Local Government arms, that has to come through the Secretary of the Commission…I don’t acknowledge that letter,”
Both Trotman and Romascindo said that Faerber eventually admitted that the letter had been drafted but was only to be dispatched after securing the approval of the Commission.
“How could you come, asking us to vote and support it and you have already issued the letter?” Trotman questioned.
Despite this, the Commission by a majority vote supported Jerrick’s return to her substantive post.
Currently the LGC comprises government-nominated members Clinton Collymore, Carol Sooba, and Norman Whittaker, opposition-nominated members Clement Corlette, Romascindo and Trotman, union representative Carvil Duncan, and Faerber, who nominated by the Minister of Local Government.
Spugum@Spugum posted: the high court decision re petition #99 was based on a technicality, clown. A person can commit murder and get off on a technicality, doesn't mean he didn't do the murder. further, courts get decisions wrong so what's your point? Court doesn’t deal with cock and bull jumbie story. Until y’all can provide real evidence the outcome would not change.. [your reply demonstrates a lack of understanding - not unlike what pervades the racist cesspool in the other place - of what has... [ more ]
sachin_05Re: Local gov’t chair defends unilateral appointment of city Town Clerk - ‘I am the Commission between meetings’ [ more ]
Demerara_GuyPerhaps, being happily immersed in that matter, you believe that others get in the same situation. [ more ]
Demerara_GuyPoland grants visa to Belarusian Olympian who says she feared for her safety Krystsina Tsimanouskaya refused to board flight arranged after she criticized coaches The Associated Press · Posted: Aug 02, 2021 2:20 AM ET | Last Updated: 1 hour ago, Source - https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olym...pics-hotel-1.6126676 Tsimanouskaya talks with police officers at Haneda international airport in Tokyo on Sunday. She alleges her Olympic team tried to remove her from Japan in a dispute that led to a... [ more ]
Demerara_GuyCoaches Baksh and Gonsalves proud of Persaud’s Olympic performance Jul 31, 2021 Sports , By Sean Devers, Source - Kaieteur News Online - https://www.kaieteurnewsonline...olympic-performance/ Guyana’s swimmer Aleka Persaud, who turned 15 in February, finished second in Heat 4 of the Women’s 50m Freestyle but barely missed out on advancing to the next round. She clocked 27.76 at Tokyo Olympics for a personal best and a new national record for Guyana yesterday morning in Japan. Since this... [ more ]
Demerara_Guy15-Y-O Aleka Persaud vows to make Guyana proud at Tokyo Olympics July 12, 2021, Source - https://www.inewsguyana.com/15...d-at-tokyo-olympics/ Aleka Persaud Fifteen-year-old Aleka Persaud is the youngest of seven athletes who will represent Guyana at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Though it is no surprise for a teenager to qualify for the quadrennial event, Aleka’s ascension as Guyana’s swimming representative caught most off guard, owing to an International Swimming Federation (FINA)... [ more ]
As petitioners, backed by the APNU+AFC Coalition, continue their bid to have a dismissed election petition reinstated, new arguments on the Court’s jurisdiction and processes have arisen.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall, SC, maintains that the Appellate Court has no jurisdiction to entertain the petition. He is supported in his contention by Trinidadian Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes who is representing Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo in the case.
But with that argument on the table, a new question has arisen.
Did the appeal ought to have gone to the Full Court of the High Court, instead of the Court of Appeal, given the peculiar tier system of Guyana’s court structure?
But Nandlall and Mendes believe the question, although of interest, is not one that is necessary at this stage.
Mendes’ point was further elucidated by Nandlall who said that there can only be an appeal after a determination of a matter and there was none in this case.
“We never got there, they did not manage to cross the procedural hurdle which is required by the law as a fundamental prerequisite.
“The jurisdiction of the [High] Court was not even invoked to determine the question,” Nandlall said.
It is for this reason that the lawyers have argued that the question on whether the matter should have been appealed to the Full Court is of no consequence because no appeal, whether to the Full Court or the Court of Appeal, should be entertained because of the reason for which the petition was dismissed.
Petition #99 was dismissed because former President, David Granger, was not served within the required five-day timeline to do so.
The question of an appeal to the Full Court was egged on by Justice Dawn Gregory and Justice Rishi Persaud with the Chancellor indicating that it was necessary to “dive into the issue.”
Mendes has asked the Court to submit in writing “a more confident and well thought out answer”. He along with all other Counsels who wish to further argue the point in writing has 21 days to make those submissions after which the attorneys representing the petitioners will respond within 21 days.
The case will continue on October 26, 2021 where according to Chancellor Yonnette Cummings Edwards, arguments in the petition should wrap up.
But ahead of those written submissions, Attorney Kashir Khan and Timothy Jonas have both added their voice to the argument, agreeing with Mendes and Nandlall that the question of an appeal to the Full Court, while important, was irrelevant.
Khan said as he understands it from his reading of the case law, failure to serve within the required time frame is not a mere irregularity but a fatality to the case.
He further explained that the question of an appeal to the Full Court would mean that the case was still alive.
“But that is not so… failure to serve is not a mere irregularity. That is the end of the matter and it closes the door to the matter even going to the Full Court.
“The matter cannot engage the attention of the full court,” Khan said.
Demerara_GuyLawyers in the appeal case over the first dismissed Election Petition argue over having case reinstated Aug 01, 2021 News , Source - https://www.kaieteurnewsonline...ing-case-reinstated/ Kaieteur News – Lawyers in the appeal case to have the first dismissed Election Petition case reinstated, have raised contentions over the Appeal Court‘s jurisdiction to hear the matter. From left: Trinidadian Attorney, Douglas Mendes and Attorney General, Anil Nandlall SC. The first election petition #99... [ more ]
Demerara_GuyAPNU/AFC bid to save election petition: Appeal Court questions whether dismissed petition should be heard by Full Court July 30, 2021, Source - https://guyanatimesgy.com/apnu...heard-by-full-court/ Continuing a preliminary hearing on its jurisdiction to hear an election petition dismissed for procedural irregularity, the Guyana Court of Appeal on Thursday questioned whether the right of appeal in this matter lies with the Full Court. Election petition #99 which was filed on September 15,... [ more ]
(Cricket West Indies) West Indies vice captain Nicholas Pooran played a sizzling career-best knock while fast bowler Jason Holder took career-best bowling figures, but Pakistan’s bowling attack did just enough to take them to victory in the second match today.
Pooran’s explosive unbeaten 62 off 33 balls with six sixes and four fours kept the West Indies in with a chance of overcoming the target, even to the final over when 20 runs were required to overhaul Pakistan’s total of 157-8.
However, Shaheen Shah Afridi claimed the wicket of captain Kieron Pollard (13) and then denied the rampant Pooran the opportunity to swing freely and lustily at the next three deliveries to ensure the visitors came away with the win with the hosts kept to 150-4 off 20 overs. West Indies suffered a setback when opening batsman Evin Lewis retired hurt on 35 off 33 balls with two fours and two sixes mid-way through the innings.
Earlier in the match, it was Holder and Dwayne Bravo who combined to put the brakes on the Pakistan scoring rate. Holder returned the excellent figures of 4-26 while Bravo, the leading wicket-taker in all T20 cricket, claimed 2-24 as the tourists squandered a solid platform provided by Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan.
Babar’s polished 51 off 58 balls with two sixes and four fours was the topscore of the innings. He put on 67 runs for the third wicket with Rizwan (46) after Sharjeel Khan and Rizwan had set the stage for a challenging target in putting on 56.
Pollard, who played the supporting role in a 70-run fourth-wicket partnership with Pooran to revive the West Indies chances, gave credit to the West Indies bowlers for limiting the visitors after he chose to put them in to bat.
The two teams will return to the same venue on Sunday for the third and penultimate match of the Osaka Batteries Presents PSO Carient T20 Cup. First ball is 11am.
Over the past five years, I have never seen so much fear. People are afraid to criticize the government; they are afraid to correct situations within their control. An example of the latter involves poorly constructed roads.The government issues a tender and some contractor wins the contract. These days, just about everybody would swear that the person who wins the contract is handpicked by the government. So this person undertakes the job. Within weeks the road deteriorates—even before the period of liability kicks in.
But no one would say anything because as far as they are concerned the government is vindictive. People have been known to write letters complaining about a situation and not even signing a name or putting an address on the letter. The local newspapers would tell anyone that most if not all of those letters end up in the wastebasket. When I was an active reporter, people would call to say that they had sent in a letter and that it wasn’t published. On enquiring, I would learn that the letter had neither name nor address.The caller would then admit to writing the letter but would still decline to give a name or an address.
Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo recently visited Leguan Stelling where some works are being conducted. Among his first words when he confronted the contractor was, “I hear you are APNU.”What has a man’s political affiliation got to do with anything? That is a rhetorical question. Everyone knows. If you belong to the political opposition you will eat the bread that the devil needs. But that is only a small reason for the fear.There are people who believe that they could be killed for being too critical of the government.
Grey Boy, who was recently freed of the murder of Courtney Crum-Ewing, actually said in open court that someone sought to recruit him to kill Mark Benschop.Why? Because Benschop was a staunch critic of the government. He spent five years of his life in jail on a treason charge that couldn’t hold water. The preliminary inquiry was stacked against him. The state hired Anil Nandlall and Sanjeev Datadin as special prosecutors. They were highly paid and as a measure of protection, they lived at Pegasus.At the trial in the High Court, one juror, despite the arguments of the other jurors, refused to vote ‘not guilty’, It was back to jail for Benschop. Attempts to get the requisite retrial was like pulling teeth. Priya Manickchand and Anil Nandlall challenged the decision on the ground that cases should be heard in chronological order—that is—heard in the order they are disposed of in the magistrates’ court.The Court of Appeal struck that argument down.
In the end, it took a discussion between Robert Corbin and Bharrat Jagdeo to allow Benschop his freedom. This is one of the reasons that people are afraid. They fear that they could end up in jail at the behest of the government, and remain there until the government decides that the detention is enough.The other day Glenn Lall, Publisher of Kaieteur News, did a programme entitled a 27-year journey to fearlessness. He claimed that since his advocacy against the oil contract Guyana signed with Exxon Mobil people have been reaching him and urging him to be careful and to watch his back. The threat was not veiled.He spoke of the bombing of his printer in Eccles, the killing of his workers, and the visit by gunmen to his office, all during the tenure of the PPP administration. He spoke of his fear and the financial attacks.
He said that many people fear for his safety. Why should that be? It is not nice for any society to see its government as an instrument of death against its critics. And the government is not doing anything to quell the people’s apprehension. But then again it may be in the interest of the government to have that aura. But why was this not the case during the tenure of the coalition?For the first time, I have seen criminal charges against such a large number of public officials. It seems as though they are being charged for just about anything. For the first time, I have seen a confrontation between the government and a service commission.
Some members of the commission have also been charged, criminally. And so we come to the case of the public official who shot a woman in her abdomen. He has not been charged although there is evidence of abuse. The man and the woman were said to have shared a relationship. It would seem that this public official has a political cover.The woman remains in critical condition in hospital but the shooter has not been placed before the court. Wonder what would have been the case if the shoe was on the other foot.
An investment of US$200 to US$600 million has been proposed for the nearly 1,000-acre Best Village, West Bank of Demerara, oil and gas shore base development, a project summary by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states.
The consortium of local companies executing the investment says that mangrove destruction will be “insignificant”. Mangroves on the West Demerara were controversially removed by another company planning a shore base, Tristar.
“The proposed project area will fringe approximately 60 ha of mangrove forest comprising mainly black mangroves (Avicennia germinans)…” the project summary, uploaded on the EPA’s website on Tuesday stated.
“… It must be noted that the proposed project does not contemplate large scale removal of the mangrove forest in the area. The plan is to leave the existing forest intact as far as practical. There may be some minor impacts due to clearance for example access road, but these are expected to be insignificant. The final designs will articulate the level of footprint expected,” it adds.
On Monday, Stabroek News reported that local businessman and gold miner, Andron Alphonso, is investing in the oil & gas sector and has applied to the EPA to set up a shore base facility at Best Village.
The project is being undertaken through NRG Holdings Inc, a consortium of three local entrepreneurs including Alphonso, whose company is ZRN Investment Inc. The other two are HADI’S World Incorporated owned by Nazar ‘Shell’ Mohammed and National Hardware Guyana Ltd with its representative, Nicholas Deygoo.
The EPA has stated that the Best Village shore base would not require an Environmental Impact Assessment, noting that the project was screened and categorised as having no significant impacts. And while the EPA did not state that the proposed facility would be in an area with mangroves, it noted that “detailed specific mitigation measures” should be explained. The EPA’s decision to not require an EIA for these large oil and gas projects has raised concerns.
The agency said that it will also prescribe in its authorisation, robust measures and safeguards to ensure compliance with its Act and that an Environmental and Social Management Plan is required to be prepared to address specific issues identified in the screening process.
According to the project summary, the project “is estimated to cost approximately US$200-600 million” which shall include geotechnical and environmental studies, engineering works, dredging operations, reclamation, and the construction of wharf, storage, warehouse, and safety facilities.
It describes the proposed initiative as “an industry leading shore base facility for the oil & gas sector including the possible environmental and social impacts” and with an overall goal “to develop this landmark facility as a means of equipping and bringing tremendous value to locals in the management and operation of the emerging oil & gas sector while directly meeting the high standards of overall industry needs.” It continued, “This space will be developed into sustainable and industry leading facilities showcasing what can be done through local content, investment, and international partnership.”
Of its proposed 988 acres (400 hectares) of coastal and nearshore lands and water located seaward of existing mangroves on the Atlantic coast at Best Village, the project summary says that 148 acres of that area has mangroves.
“The coastal area consists of a combination of natural and man-made sea defence structures, tidal mud banks and beaches, and approximately 60 ha [hectares] of mangrove forests. The proposed site is bounded to the east by the confluence of the Demerara River; the west by the foreshore of Best Village; the south by mangrove forest; and north, the Atlantic Ocean,” the summary informs.
Addressing possible environmental and social impacts, the project outline says that the main activities associated with the project during the construction phase are: land clearing, earthworks, stockpiling, machine operation, and concrete works, and they will have the potential to affect the environment “directly or indirectly.”
“The potential impacts are loss of land and habitats, pollution of air and sedimentation of surface water, generation of solid waste, and health and safety related. The impacts, however, are expected to be insignificant and short term in duration and therefore mitigable,” the document states.
It gives a breakdown of expected impacts and mitigation measures the company has in place for air quality and noise, social, human health and safety, and mangroves and fauna.
Emphasised throughout the summary was that environmental monitoring programmes will be implemented to address all activities that have been identified to have any potential impacts on the environment during normal operations and upset conditions.
Underscoring that the shorebase plan is being executed to add to both local content and partner with government as it builds a holistic development plan for Guyana, the project summary notes that inadequate facilities for this country’s oil & gas sector leads to opportunities being gobbled up by other countries such as Trinidad and Tobago.
“This proposed project will help the Government of Guyana meet its strategic priorities to boost the economy and stimulate job growth along with helping the country expand key shipping, port, and shore base facilities to rapidly meet industry requirements,” the summary states.
“The Port of Vreed-en-Hoop will be established, inter alia, by a consortium of leading local entrepreneurs highlighting the capabilities of Guyanese and 100% indigenous ownership of this project (the “Consortium”). The goal is to develop a landmark facility that will equip and bring tremendous value to the management and operation of the emerging oil & gas sector while directly meeting the high standards of overall industry needs,” it adds.
It estimates that there will be job opportunities for approximately 150 to 200 persons during construction phase and 50 to 100 persons for the basic operation and maintenance of the base port facilities. The company said that once the Phase 1 components are fully operational, inclusive of service providers, approximately 1,000 persons will be employed. This number is expected to double with Phase 2 components completed and operationalised.
The port is expected to comprise but is not necessarily limited to: an offshore terminal, fabrication, umbilical and spooling yards, administrative buildings which will house offices and modernised logistics centres, warehousing, container management systems and potential for storage of sub-sea equipment, pipe inspection and repairs, areas for individual and separate operators to provide relevant services to the offshore oil and gas operators including but not limited to waste management/effluent treatment plant(s), other environmental services, lodgings and mud plant.
There will also be areas for a wharf, berths, dry dock, and a potential helipad.
Of the many services to be provided, the project notes that the local economy will benefit from employment, duties and taxes, ancillary goods and services, and capacity-building, as it emphasises that this country must now seize the opportunity that comes with the growing sector.
It contends that since oil was discovered here in 2015, many jobs have gone to other countries because this country isn’t equipped with the facilities needed. “Guyana will continue to lose out under the current arrangement, unless increased emphasis is placed on the development of these supporting facilities that capture these benefits in-country, and direct them into the development of the Guyanese people. “Guyana’s Government and the private sector will have to work together to ensure that they benefit from these opportunities through infrastructure development and building the requisite skills and competence in all possible respects to capitalize on the opportunities that the new sector is anticipated to bring. The oil & gas rapid growth and the country’s economic transformation is expected to be substantial, with opportunities for infrastructural and logistical,” the summary also declares.
PrashadI like the gas but transport it by ship to shore because it will be costly to repair if the pipe breaks down. [ more ]
MitwahSanzillo also pointed to the alarming fact that the citizenry is still to know whether there was a cost comparison between where renewable markets are and the proposed gas project for in Guyana. In addition to this, he said that based on his observations of how Guyana’s leaders intend to pursue the gas to shore project spells out “a recipe for financial bankruptcy for Guyana.” [ more ]
The A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) has refuted claims that while in Government it denied the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) some $400M intended for mechanisation, contending that the Corporation and the Union were concerned about the displacement of workers, and opted not to utilise the funds.
Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan
The matter was presented, during Monday’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting, and on Tuesday, the Coalition Members of Parliament – in particular Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan; Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Jermaine Figueira; and PAC Member, Ganesh Mahipaul – sought to set the record straight during a virtual press conference. Ramjattan explained that prior to the APNU+AFC taking office in 2015, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government had agreed to a loan for the agricultural sector; however, the loan was intended to finance the trial of mechanisation of harvesting in the sugar sector. In the preparation of the 2016 budget, GuySuCo had requested that a $400M capital allocation be made available for the mechanisation of the Uitvlugt and Enmore estates. The money was obtained by the government from the IDB for allocation towards this capital purpose.
“Consequent upon discussions and a revisitation by GuySuCo’s officials on the issue, this sum was never requested by GuySuCo from the Government although the allocation was there. Firstly, the argument was that since these are the wettest estates in the country, mechanisation must be put on hold until further data is accumulated on the wetness of land and on the specifications of the machinery that are to be acquired. And, secondly, GAWU wanted to know how many workers will be displaced by mechanisation,” Ramjattan explained.
Opposition Acting Chief Whip & PAC Member, Ganesh Mahipaul
Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Jermaine Figueira
He said at the end of 2017, GuySuCo had failed to provide the required response, and in fact, had not requested the money. As such, the sum was reverted to the IDB as unspent.
“It is outrageous that the PPP through Bishop Juan Edghill now comes up with the cock and bull propaganda that the Coalition was not supportive of the mechanisation of the sector. That is what we had wanted and had been calling for, rather than the perpetuation of the kind of slave labour in hand cutting,” Ramjattan said.He stated contrary to reports, APNU+AFC pumped billions of dollars into GuySuCo. In the latter half of 2015, the coalition injected over $16B into the sugar corporation, and then in 2016, an additional $11B was given in current expenditure.
In other sections of the media, the coalition was accused of inappropriately spending $173.7M in 2016 from its special-projects bank account.But MP Mahipaul said Government’s Chief Whip and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, was dishonest, in her response on the issue. The monies in the Special Projects Bank Account were revenues garnered from different sources, such as the National Cultural Centre, Digicel, and the Guyana Lotteries Commission among other agencies, and according to MP Mahipaul, the system dates back to 2010 when the PPP/C was in office.“I would like the media and the wider population to know that the APNU+AFC inherited a system where the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports had an account where they were storing revenues that they received from other areas such the National Cultural Centre, the Guyana Lotteries Commission, Digicel and a number of other organisations,” he said.
He said the Special Projects Bank Account dates back to 2010, and was mentioned in the Auditor General’s Reports of 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016. He said that it was the coalition that upon realising there was an issue, changed the system to have all funds directed to the Consolidated Fund.“But we do not have it in the Auditor General’s Reports of 2017, 2018, 2019 and we will not have it in the Auditor General Report of 2020, and that is because the APNU+AFC Coalition in Government recognised the problem, fixed the problem, and monies from this Special Purpose Account were no longer stored by the ministry, and is no longer spent by the ministry, it is sent to the Consolidated Fund,” he explained. He said requested funds are budgeted for in accordance with the law.
The PAC Chair warned MPs against using information coming out of the PAC to score cheap political points, noting that the PAC is no battleground for political parties. He said it is expected that all members of the PAC act professionally. “It has legislative functions of varying factors and degrees, and it is expected by all members for us to be professional, for us to be objective, and peruse the audited accounts presented by the Auditor General with respect to the allocations made to various ministries and agencies from the budgetary allocations, and that is why we are here primarily, to give efficacy to the roles and functions that are supposed to be executed by all members of either side of the committee when it comes to matters of the public purse,” the PAC Chair said.
He said it is the duty of the PAC Members to ensure transparency and accountability and that the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act (FMAA) be followed.
Mitwah@sachin_05 The Maniac “It is outrageous that the PPP through Bishop Juan Edghill now comes up with the cock and bull propaganda that the Coalition was not supportive of the mechanisation of the sector. That is what we had wanted and had been calling for, rather than the perpetuation of the kind of slave labour in hand cutting,” Ramjattan said.He stated contrary to reports, APNU+AFC pumped billions of dollars into GuySuCo. In the latter half of 2015, the coalition injected over $16B into the... [ more ]
The events that preceded her being shot by an intoxicated Karl Singh, the Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region Nine, have left 25-year-old Gladys Benedict unsure if Singh had fired the gun intentionally.
The police in a statement said that around 11 pm on July 20th at the Commercial Zone, Lethem, Singh and Benedict were in a motor vehicle belonging to Singh, when he shot her in the abdomen. Benedict was taken to the Lethem Regional Hospital by Singh where she immediately underwent surgery. According to the police, Singh was subsequently arrested and escorted to the Lethem Police Station where his licensed firearm was seized and lodged.
A few days later the police said that their investigation had revealed that the shooting was allegedly accidental. Singh who was in police custody since his arrest, was on Thursday placed on bail. The case file on the investigation was sent to the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for legal advice. Up to Tuesday, Commander Raphael Rose said that the file had not yet been returned.
Benedict has since been discharged from the hospital and is now at home recovering. She told Stabroek News yesterday that based on her recollection she is uncertain whether the shooting was accidental.
According to Benedict, on the date mentioned, she along with her sister went to hang out at the Kanuku Lodge Restaurant, where they ordered some drinks. Shortly after their arrival, Singh and a group of people entered the restaurant and sat at a table close to their group and began drinking whisky.
Later, she said that Singh began sending over some alcoholic beverages to her sister and then invited them to join their table. Benedict stated that her sister accepted the invitation but she stayed. She noted that she went over and after having a brief conversation, she asked Singh why he was pursuing her sister while pointing out that he was married.
That conversation ended when the Police showed up at curfew to shut down the place. However, they, too, started drinking so they closed the gates and allowed persons to continue imbibing in the restaurant. Nevertheless, Benedict said that they decided to leave and called a taxi. As they waited for the car, Singh and his group also decided to leave and everyone gathered outside the restaurant.
When the taxi arrived, she said, she went to get her sister who said that she was not ready. Overhearing their conversation, Singh interrupted and told her that he could take the sister home. He then called her saying that he wanted to talk and while hesitating at first, Benedict said she complied.
The car that was supposed to take her and her sister home ended up taking off and she was forced to accept Singh’s offer to take them home. At that time, her sister was behind the vehicle talking with her friends so she sat in the front seat with Singh and waited.
While they waited, they restarted their previous conversation about why he was pursuing her sister.
After she further questioned him, Gladys said that she laughed at his response and stated, “Well. Not me,” to which he said, “Oh really, you want to see?”
She said, he subsequently reached for the glove compartment of the vehicle and took out the gun.
“I [didn’t] know what his intention was but when I saw him crank the gun I left shocked and didn’t move and say anything else. He brace back to the door and faced me. A few seconds after, I heard the gun fired out and I felt the pain in my stomach and I screamed,” she recounted.
Singh then asked if he had shot her and she said that she had been shot. He then drove her to the hospital where she underwent emergency surgery.
Benedict’s father, Dennis says that he will pursue the matter and wants Singh to lose his firearm licence for irresponsibly handling the gun.
Spugumthey either dance to the ppp's tune or they're off to some place remote. evil, isn't it? not to worry, is them same "hungry belly" you calling when them bai tek away yuh ting. i could tell from our exchanges you're a weakling [ more ]
sachin_05Yeah, neglect their duties and join the party, filled them hungry belly with free rum all night cause the PPP told them to...hahahahaha [maniacal laughter] [ more ]
Spugumthat's the thing yuh pull out yuh BT that he's not charged yet is no surprise to those familiar with the ways of the ppp a couple of months ago a woman associated with the ppp bit a policeman in public on video and she was not charged. the policeman was transferred. the two at guyoil, no charges. henry boys will get no justice and so will singh the police take direction from the ppp, why is this so difficult to get into your thick skull? [ more ]
Economist Tarron Khemraj has flayed the government for suggesting it may follow the Kazakh model for the still-to-be-created Natural Resource Fund (NRF) and he lamented the continued absence of oil production data in official statistical reports.
In his column in yesterday’s Sunday Stabroek, Khemraj said that it has been pointed out by several observers that the money from Guyana’s share of the oil profits in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York does not constitute a NRF but the account is merely holding the oil revenues at almost zero percent yield.
“Operationalisation of the Fund means, among other things, at minimum, the government hires qualified individuals to manage the monies and release funds consistent with its budget priorities subject to parliamentary approval. It also involves employing and housing at the Bank of Guyana (BoG) a skilled fund manager, macroeconomist and international corporate lawyer. Of course, there will also have to be a supporting team of individuals.
“For its part, the BoG has started to produce monthly statements and quarterly reports on the Fund. The central bank notes that by producing the reports it is fulfilling section 38 (2) of the Natural Resource Fund Act of 2019. Furthermore, the Bank notes that the reports are on the Natural Resource Fund even though the government is yet to formally establish it”, Khemraj asserted.
Nearly a year in office, the PPP/C government is yet to activate the NRF or to bring amended legislation as analysts say it doesn’t want to be constrained by the annual spending limits that such funds impose. The government has argued that it has not spent a dollar of the oil money but analysts say its actual and projected spending far outstrips what would have been expended from the monies in normal circumstances and is likely to rise even higher.
Khemraj cited a Stabroek News report where both President Irfaan Ali and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo said they do not like the present NRF Act and favoured the model now in use in the Central Asian, former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan. Jagdeo, he noted, went on to say that it would “be unconscionable to have children in the present day unable to attend school while the country saves for the future”.
Khemraj noted that the Kazakh model allows for greater discretion in drawing down monies for the national budget.
“The discretion is completely within the remit of a powerful President and Prime Minister, and not the technocrats employed to manage the Kazakh fund. On the other hand, the model used by Norway is more rule-based. The rule essentially draws from a theoretical model that was published in 1957 and authored by the celebrated economist, Milton Friedman”, Khemraj said.
In the same news SN article, Khemraj said that Jagdeo assures the public that whatever model the PPP/C government settles on, it will involve transparency and “input from local sectors”.
Khemraj however contended “It is not so clear what ‘input from local sectors’ means. However, mentioning the term transparency has to be supported by a credible commitment to transparency. It has to be backed up by supplying information and data to the society. Up to this date, the PPP/C government has not made any credible commitment regarding the operationalisation of the Fund”.
The economist also voiced deep concern over the absence of data on oil production.
“… I believe the biggest hidden piece of information that shows no credible commitment is the lack of production data. I find this shocking given how much the supposed GDP growth rate is thrown around by the government, the IMF and IDB. Are they just making up the numbers? How do they know that GDP grew by 26% in 2020 if oil production data are not reported to the Bureau of Statistics?
“The law requires that the Bureau – not the IMF, IDB or BoG – calculate Guyana’s GDP. This means that ExxonMobil, by law, must report the production data to the Bureau of Statistics. Several observers have reported great frustration when trying to obtain the production numbers. Mr. Alfred Bhulai of the Transparency Inter-national Guyana Institute (TIGI) and the folks from the Oil and Gas Governance Network (OGGN) have been asking for said numbers for some time. They have been stonewalled by various government officials, with the head of EPA being most skilful at evading”, Khemraj stated.
He added that surprisingly, the BoG reports – as useful as they currently are – are completely silent on oil production. The reports, he said, document, among other variables, the inflows and the closing balance of the account, which stood at US$344.16 million at the end of June 2021. He also noted that it presents a chart of the price of oil, but no production number, adding that it should not be difficult for the Bureau of Statistics and the BoG to upload monthly production data on their websites.
“When the NRF is up and running, the economist will obviously have to figure out whether the right amount of money is getting to the government. There is no way of accurately knowing the right amount without the production quantity and the prevailing market price. Another factor is the price at which (Guyana’s oil) is sold…Is it at the spot market price or at a premium over market price? Secrecy on these key variables means there is much room for mischief”, Khemraj asserted.
He contended that the Bureau of Statistics is “woefully understaffed” and that the government appears not too interested in changing this given that there is no immediate political return for strengthening data collection that ultimately leads to greater transparency.
“Under these circumstances a model allowing wide discretion like the Kazakh one is a recipe for much trickery and mischief. To be fair, I am sympathetic to Mr. Jagdeo’s idea that there should be a bigger upfront drawdown of funds given the grave infrastructure deficit at the moment. However, there is no reason for sacrificing transparency. Both can coexist”, Khemraj argued.
Happening now || His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali is attending the grand opening of the Amazonia Mall in Providence.
The Mall, which is owned by former West Indies cricketer Ramnaresh Sarwan, is expected to employ almost 300 persons. It has 25 stores, eight food courts, an RS 53 Resto-bar and Lounge and a Caribbean Cinemas.
The movie theatre has six screens and the seating capacity for almost 1000.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, The Honourable Anil Nandlall; Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, The Honourable Dr Ashni Singh; Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, The Honourable Hugh Todd; Minister of Housing and Water, The Honourable Collin Croal; Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water The Honourable Susan Rodrigues and Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, The Honourable Deodat Indar are also at the opening.
Temperatures dropped across Brazil on Thursday - with rare snowfall overnight in some places - as a polar air mass advanced toward the center-south of the global agricultural powerhouse, threatening coffee, sugarcane and orange crops with frost.
Cars, streets and highways were blanketed in ice while people took the opportunity to take pictures and play in the snow, building snowmen.
"I am 62 years old and had never seen the snow, you know? To see nature's beauty is something indescribable," said truck driver Iodor Goncalves Marques in Cambara do Sul, a municipality of Rio Grande do Sul state, speaking to TV Globo network.
More than 40 cities in the state of Rio Grande do Sul had icy conditions and at least 33 municipalities had snow, reported the meteorology company Somar Meteorologia.
General view of a street covered in snow in Vacaria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil July 28, 2021, in this picture obtained from social media. Picture taken July 28, 2021. TWITTER @Lho_nardo via REUTERS
Unusually cold weather in Brazil has already sent international prices for coffee and sugar higher and Friday was forecast to be the coldest day of the year, according to Marco Antonio dos Santos, a partner at weather consultancy firm Rural Clima.
In a report on Thursday, dos Santos said the south of Goiás and Mato Grosso do Sul, states where farmers grow crops like corn, would face low temperatures on Friday as the wave of cold air marched northward.
The polar air mass should move over Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais, major producers of sugar, citrus and coffee, on Friday, bringing freezing temperatures.
According to meteorology company MetSul, winds in the city of Sao Francisco de Paula reached a maximum of 80 kilometres per hour (49 mph), a rare occurrence in Brazil.
"It was worth it. Actually, you almost do not feel the cold because of how exciting the snow is. It is marvellous, it is marvellous!" Brazilian Joselaine da Silva Marques told TV Globo while enjoying the snow in Cambara do Sul.
Guyanese singer of international acclaim, Mark Holder, died Thursday morning in Canada after a period of illness, relatives confirmed.
He was 74 years old.
Holder was recognised as a pioneer of Caribbean music and was well-known for songs such as “Something of Value” and “Hold On To Your First Love”.
He had over the decades toured several countries and performed alongside Eddy Grant, Bob Marley, Aretha Franklin, Mighty Sparrow and The Jackson Five.
Holder was based in Canada.
IIn widely circulated video of a conversation with his wife, Jennifer, Mark while he had been hospitalised, he had thanked his fans and others for “being very supportive of me all my life.” In that video, he had also referred to another of his popular songs, “Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way” and he added that “I’m fine in the Lord.”
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government is moving apace with the much-anticipated electoral reforms and the first instalment of the draft reforms has already been drawn up.
Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, SC
This was revealed by Legal Affairs Minister and Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, during the latest edition of his weekly programme – Issues In The News.
According to Nandlall, the draft document is currently with the party’s leaders for review.
“We have the electoral reforms. I’ve churned out one set of drafts already and that is with our political leaders. They are consulting on that and soon that will be made public,” the Legal Affairs Minister said during his programme.
Guyana Times understands that once all the draft documents are in place, it will be sent to stakeholders for review.
Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo had previously explained that once completed, the draft amendments would be sent to the various political parties including the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Opposition, civil society bodies, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the international community for review. They will also be available for the public to give their input before being finalised and presented in the National Assembly, where again they will be debated by both the Government and parliamentary Oppositions.
The need for both electoral and constitutional reforms was underscored following last year’s March 2 General and Regional Elections, which led to a five-month tumultuous impasse before the Irfaan Ali-led PPP/C Government finally took office on August 2, 2020.
There were concerted efforts by the former governing APNU/AFC and some GECOM officials to undermine democracy after elections were held.
It was previously reported that the Representation of the People Act (RoPA), which contains laws specific to the conduct of elections and election-related issues in Guyana, is being ironed out to remove ambiguous provisions and include penalties for persons attempting to carry out electoral fraud.
In fact, during a previous programme last month, Nandlall had said that the ongoing reform of the electoral laws in Guyana is intended to tighten the legal process and rectify the deficiencies that led to the post-election events in 2020. He had pointed out that these reforms were not intended to create any electoral advantage in favour of any political party.
Instead, the Legal Affairs Minister said: “They are all intended to tighten our legal process, to tighten the laws as well as to rectify all the deficiencies we have seen exploited by the likes of [embattled Returning Officer Clairmont] Mingo and [Chief Elections Officer Keith] Lowenfield at the last elections. So that in future elections, we ought not to have such reoccurrence. So, all the lacunas, all the gaps, all the ambiguities, all the areas that were cause for concerns and cast doubts in people’s minds, we are going to clarify all of that in the law. So, the law should be very clear.”
Another important component of the reforms would be the hiring process at the Elections Commission, Nandlall had said.
CEO Lowenfield, his deputy Roxanne Myers and RO Mingo, along with other GECOM staff, are currently before the courts facing electoral fraud charges over last year’s polls.
Mingo had heavily inflated the figures from Region Four – Guyana’s largest voting district – to give the APNU/AFC coalition a lead over the PPP/C. Meanwhile, Lowenfield, with the support of Myers, presented false figures to the GECOM Commission for declaration as official results of the elections.
However, a 33-day recount showed that the PPP/C won the elections, but it took the firmness of local and regional courts, the resilience of GECOM Chair, Retired Justice Claudette Singh and threats of sanctions from the international community led by the United States before former President David Granger finally stepped aside and allowed President Ali to be sworn in.
While the cases against the trio are pending in the court, the three Government-nominated Commissioners have filed two motions at the level of the seven-member Commission to have Lowenfield and Myers removed from the Elections Secretariat in light of their actions following the March 2020 polls.
Minister Nandlall contended last month these senior GECOM officials should have already been removed.
“In any other society, in any normal society, a motion or motions ought not to have been required for the dismissal of these three miscreants. The world saw what they did, we saw what they did, courts ruled, condemning what they did and declaring what they did as illegal and unlawful. In those circumstances, they ought to have been dismissed without cause instantaneously upon the declaration of the [elections] results. But Guyana is not a normal place and GECOM is not a normal institution,” he had asserted.
At a GECOM meeting last month that was scheduled to debate the motions against the CEO and DCEO, who were both sent on administrative leave, the three Opposition-nominated Commissioners had walked out of the meeting causing it to lose quorum. A subsequent meeting was deferred.
Since then, however, Lowenfield has approached the High Court to block Government Commissioners Sase