Footballer’s murderTwo weeks after a 12-member jury unanimously found him guilty, Delon Henry, called “Nasty Man”, was on Thursday sentenced to 51 years imprisonment by High Court Judge Sandil Kissoon for murdering East Ruimveldt, Georgetown footballer Dexter Griffith. Griffith was murdered on September 29, 2015, near his mother’s home. He was shot six times in the East Ruimveldt warlock area.Henry smiled after he heard the court’s verdict and was even heard threatening persons as he exited court amid heavy security. Nevertheless, Griffith’s mother shouted that she forgave him as Police escorted her son’s killer out of the courtroom. Earlier in the day, the courtroom was packed to capacity with relatives and friends of the Griffiths’ who were all on the edge of their seats as the sentenceDelon Henry, known as “Nasty Man”was handed down.During Henry’s trial, he always professed his innocence and when it was time for him to have his say, he told the court that he was in jail from 2006 to 2014 as a teenager and that he had no knowledge of the Warlock area where Griffith was gunned down. He was represented by Adrian Thompson while Lisa Cave and Orinthia Schmidt prosecuted the case.When he was found guilty last month, the jury required nearly six hours to come to a unanimous verdict. On that day, the 12-member jury emerged at about 15:30h, after being sequestered for deliberations before midday and were deadlocked at a proportion of 6-6. They were sent again and emerged later with the unified decision.During the trial, jurors had been told that five spent shells had been recovered from the scene. However, former Inspector Jackson, who had then been a Sergeant of Police and had tendered the exhibits at the Magistrates’ Courts, had admitted that he could not find the exhibits, after making several checks at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters, Eve Leary. The murderedMurdered footballer Dexter Griffithfootballer’s brother, Keshawn Griffith, had testified that while in hiding, he had seen the defendant, Henry, firing a gun moments after his brother was shot. The deceased man’s mother, Lavern Griffith, had recalled running to the Warlock area from her home where she and other relatives saw the footballer lying in a drain.It was reported in September 2015 that after being shot, Griffith had managed to stand and walk a short distance in an attempt to escape from Henry, but he eventually fell unconscious to the ground while his assailant escaped. He was taken to a city hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.
Judicial Review Act– denies flouting Chief Justice’s orderHinting that an approach to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) over the Judicial Review Act case he lost was considered, Attorney General Basil Williams is distancing himself from suggestions that he was involved in flouting a court order.Attorney General Basil WilliamsAt a press conference on Monday, the Attorney General was asked about the case, which saw his predecessor Anil Nandlall filing contempt of court proceedings against him when he issued a different commencement order to the one ordered by Chief Justice (acting) Roxane George. And he pointed his finger at his leave taking staff.The gazetted order bringing the Judicial Review Act into force“That is a mix up. What happened really was that the law officer who was dealing with the matter went on leave,” he explained. “Then the other one who was dealing with it subsequently went on maternity leave. So there was a little mix up… there was an interim stay granted when the applicant Nandlall gave an undertaking. And that was not brought to the attention of me or the chief parliamentary counsel.”“When Justice of Appeal Rafik Khan, as he then was, gave his judgement, we got the order on the [August] 14th. Court of Appeal sent the order on 14th August and I signed the order on the 15th August. And it was published on the [August] 16th. But because the knowledge of an interim stay was not known, the advice from the parliamentary division was that since July 31 had passed, then you had to use within a reasonable time.”Williams further reiterated his view that the executive had the right to determine when to operationalise the Act. Williams went on to make it clear that approaches to the CCJ were at one point on the table.“We believe, as we said in our case, that because of the separation of powers, the decision to operationalise is really the decision of the executives. And really and truly, it should not be within the purview of the Judiciary to tell the executive to operationalise an Act.”“The Chief Justice did not agree. She ruled. We appealed it. We applied for a stay. Even after Justice of Appeal made his decision, we also appealed. And we asked for a stay too, so the matter could be ventilated before the CCJ. It is our right to use up the hierarchical system that is our justice system. But at no point did we refuse to implement the CJ order.”After court battles and much criticism, Government had finally brought the Judicial Review Act – which will allow members of the public to seek redress for court judgements and decisions by public officials – into force.An order signed by Attorney General Basil Williams was gazetted recently, revoking a previous January 2019 commencement order. According to the new order, the Act took effect from July 31, 2018.Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George had ordered the AG to enforce the Judicial Review Act by July 31, 2018. At the time, she was ruling on a legal action brought against the State by Nandlall.Nandlall subsequently approached the courts to file contempt proceedings against his successor. The former AG had contended that the delay to bring the Act into force was in violation of the Chief Justice’s ruling.
The Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) and other local law enforcement agencies are working closely with overseas counterparts to crack down on the local drug trafficking network as investigations into the arrest of Guyanese businessman Shervington Lovell continues.Lovell was arrested along with two others on Thursday morning on drug trafficking charges at the Normal Manley International Airport in Jamaica after arriving on a Fly Jamaica flight from Guyana.According to information reaching Guyana Times the men appeared in a Kingston court on Thursday and Lovell has filed proceedings to fight the extradition case, filed by the United States law enforcement.This was confirmed by a source close to CANU.Lovell is the co-owner of Tower Hotel on Main Street, Georgetown.Meanwhile, the source added that efforts are continuing to crackdown on the drug trafficking network in Guyana.Police Commissioner Leslie James recently told reporters that the Police Force is assiduously working with sister-law enforcement agencies to get those “big drug traffickers”.“We are fully aware of our mandate and as long as we get leads to track down drug traffickers, that is it, they will have to answer questions. We are not afraid of those large drug traffickers,” the Commissioner lamented.Guyana Times understands that the hotelier is expected to face several charged of drug trafficking along with money laundering.A vessel, property of Lovell, was also intercepted which is suspected to be used by the businessman to ship the illicit drugs from Jamaica to St Maarten.
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has expressed his disapproval of Government’s recent move to take over the operations of the Berbice River Bridge and said it could also create a negative image for Guyana to potential investors here and abroad.“This issue about nationalisation and taking over private property, we don’t agree with it because we are seeking similar models to construct other bridges, hydro power and everything else,” Jagdeo told reporters on Wednesday at his weekly press conference.The Opposition Leader questioned whether there is enough justification for the move taken by Government to nationalise the bridge. “Could there be some other remedy? The Minister (David Patterson) already had the remedy in the Act. He did not have to sign the toll order,” he said.Jagdeo reiterated that any increase in tolls at the Berbice Bridge without the Minister signing the toll order under the Act would have been illegal. As such, he feels Government should not have made such a rash move to take over the operations of the bridge.Jagdeo, who is also General Secretary of the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), feels that the decision taken by Government could be seen as a clever political move. He said, “it was contrived to get the entire media to play it out until November 12 so there is no focus on the other issues… the bridge issue is now dominating daily news headlines.”The Opposition Leader reminded members of the media that the issue started with Berbice Bridge Company Inc (BBCI) Chairman, Dr Surendra Persaud, who also happens to be Chair of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and a member of the Alliance For Change (AFC).But he recognised that the focus has now been shifted, and blame is now being placed on the PPP, even in light of the fact that the BBCI is in breach of the agreement to increase tolls by over 300 per cent and a request made to extend the life of the agreement for 19 years.JustifiedJagdeo said the request from the company cannot by any means be justified, because it has been made clear that revenue is performing better than what was predicated in the concession agreement.“So, clearly the company has to justify in very clear detail why it has not met its obligations to the shareholders and the investors, because they are two groups,” he noted.Further, he made reference to statements made by Finance Minister Winston Jordan who claimed that the project was flawed, and sections of the media that reported that the bridge was used as a cash cow.Jagdeo explained that the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) had invested in Bond One of the project $300 million. The scheme received (not principle payments) $270 million, a 90 per cent return on their investment. If they invested in treasury bills it would have been far less.NIS also invested in Bond Two, $760 million and received $823 million in return. The company also invested $500 million for subordinate debt (loan stuck) $456 million and is now owed $207 million. Preference shares invested was $950 million. They were paid back $163 million and are owed $507 million. Some $80 million was invested in common shares with zero returns so far.“…these are the only instruments that have had a return on investment,” he added.Agreement modificationsJagdeo said if there should be modifications to the existing agreement, he would support a two- or three-year extension or even for the tolls to remain the same until the life of the agreement ends.The BBCI has criticised the Government’s unlawful move to take over the bridge and has demanded answers from Minister David Patterson. It noted that based on the legal advice it received, Toll Order 2018 to take over operations of the Bridge was unlawful under the Berbice River Bridge Act.Slap to public-privatepartnershipsHowever, the Government’s unilateral decision did not go down well with BBCI Vice Chairman Paul Cheong, who on Monday told Guyana Times such an arbitrary move was a slap in the face of all public-private partnerships.Speaking with this publication on Monday, a very livid Cheong said, “The decision came as a shock to us and, so we are working with our lawyers to weigh our legal options. I have a meeting with our lawyers tomorrow (Tuesday). This is a slap on the whole Private Sector… this is something bigger than toll increases… it is a slap to all public-private partnerships… it was a model project for private-public partnership and so the Government will have to be responsible in its actions.”But on Monday, several members of the Private Sector were on edge, as, according to a leading businessman, the move by Government did not augur well for investors in Guyana.Dip in confidenceLast week, the World Bank’s 2018 Report signalled a dip in investors’ confidence in Guyana. This year, Guyana placed 126th in the global rankings. Last year, Guyana ranked 124th, while in 2015, the nation ranked 140th.The Ease of Doing Business Index is one of the most comprehensive studies done by the World Bank.In determining ease of doing business, the World Bank looks at key indicators such as registering, compliance, taxation, obtaining loans and similar factors such as administrative procedures. It also looks at legal measures, such as protection and settlements.
Rosignol Secondary School on Friday hosted its annual graduation ceremony which celebrated the remarkable performance of its students at the last Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams.This year, the school produced the top student for Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), Savitree Ramlochan as well as five other students who each attained eight or more Grade Ones. This is the most the region has ever attained.Head Teacher of the institution, Janice Britton De Aubreu, who leads 38 other teachers, revealed in her annual report that more than 10 subjects recorded 100 per cent passes and that the overall pass rate was 90.5 per cent.Feature speaker, former Education Minister Priya Manickchand congratulated the students, parents and teachers, as she gave an overview of how Rosignol Secondary became one of the best schools in the region.Upon assuming office as Education Minister, she stated that she learnt there were no A-List Schools in Region Five and all the children who did well were forced to travel to other neighbouring regions to further their education.With much thought and aggressive action through investments, the Rosignol and Bygeval Secondary Schools were brought up to A-List standard. New labs were built and old ones refurbished. Additionally, all materials for the laboratories were procured. Enough text books for individual children were provided and adequate furniture delivered. A full and trained staff complement and heavy monitoring and evaluation were built into the programme, and much more was done to make the school one that could positively impact the lives of the children who would be placed there after their National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) examination.In 2013, the school’s matriculation rate was 19 per cent; this year, that figure increased to 71 per cent. Manickchand said this remarkable outcome was the direct result of vision and innovation with commitment that were all driven for the children who the school was meant to serve.She said the good results were predicted as it was a certainty that investment in education always paid off once it was accompanied by political will, dedicated teachers, and interested parents.However, the former Education Minister cautioned that those gains could easily slip away with the students being victims if there was not constant attention and effort to meet the challenges that they faced.
Twenty-four juveniles have escaped from the New Opportunity Corps (NOC), Essequibo, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam).A section of the NOC compound, Region TwoGuyana Times understands that the juvenile offenders made good their escape on Saturday around 19:30h after climbing down from the southern window in their dormitory. Some juvenile offenders then climbed over a fence and made a dash for freedom while another group used the Koker entrance which is currently dried as a result of the dry season. Of the 24 escapees, there were 17 males and seven females.Although the facility is equipped with security officers, the teen offenders managed to outsmart them.Meanwhile, police have since said that investigations revealed that the females opened a southern door in their dormitory and tied five sheets together then threw the knotted sheets over the western fence of the compound in order to escape.Police in G Division (Essequibo Coast-Islands) have since managed to recapture all but six of the escapees, while another two voluntarily returned to the facility.Police are seeking the assistance of the public in recapturing the others.In November 2018, a search was launched for five female juvenile offenders who escaped from the facility.That incident followed a number of other incidents wherein inmates tried to flee the holding facility. On October 18, a 17-year-old juvenile offender from New Amsterdam, Berbice, pushed down a social service assistant and escaped.The teen was sent to the juvenile correctional facility to serve a three-year sentence on a charge of break-and-enter and larceny.Reports are that the teen was being escorted back to his dorm when he pushed the 61-year-old social service assistant to the ground and ran west out of the compound and into an area covered with high vegetation and made good his escape.Meanwhile, a few weeks prior to that incident, 13 persons managed to escape from the facility in another such incident. This publication understands that 10 of the teens escaped on September 27, 2018, and the other three escaped on September 28, 2018. The juveniles had completed some chores in the compound of the facility after which they started to run towards the western side of the premises which is not fenced.Since the coalition Government came into power, responsibility for the NOC has been assigned to the Social Protection Ministry.
In commemoration of India’s 73rd Independence anniversary, the Indian High Commission on Thursday held a simple yet significant flag-raising ceremony at the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre.New Indian High Commissioner Dr K J Srinivasa interacts with invitees during the eventIn the presence of Indian officials and other invited guests, the recently accredited Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr K J Srinivasa delivered an address by the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, on the eve of the country’s Independence Day.The Indian flag was hoisted on the lawns of the compound as the National Anthem of India was recited.The High Commissioner mentioned that India’s Independence Day is celebrated worldwide by Indians in the diaspora while noting the greatest potential lies in the people, rather than the Government.The Indian flag being hoisted“While the Government inevitably has its part to play, I would argue that the greater opportunity and ability lies in the skill, talent, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship of 1.3 billion Indians. These attributes are not new. They have kept India going and have nurtured our civilisation for thousands of years. There have been many times in our long history when our people encountered hardships and challenges. Even on such occasions, our society proved to be resilient.”Kovind would have acknowledged in his speech that cooperation is key in forging dependable diplomatic relations with other nations. While India has a steadfast economy, it has maintained good relations with many countries, including Guyana.“The spirit of cooperation is what we bring to our diplomatic endeavours as well, as we gladly share our experiences and our strengths with partner countries in every continent. At home and abroad, in domestic discourse and in foreign policy, let us always be conscious of the magic and uniqueness of India,” his address read.India gained its independence from the United Kingdom on August 15, 1947. On August 15, 1947, the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi.On each subsequent Independence Day, the incumbent Prime Minister customarily raises the flag and gives an address to the nation.
…released on $300,000 bailA 29-year-old Kitty, Georgetown resident was on Wednesday slapped with a causing death by dangerous driving charge.Joel ThomasJoel Thomas, of Lot 205 Thomas Street, Kitty, appeared before Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts. The charge detailed that on July 8, 2019, at Vlissengen Road, Georgetown, he drove motor car PTT 2510 in a manner dangerous to the public thereby causing the death of motorcyclist Stephon Beckles.Thomas was represented by Attorney-at-Law Siand Dhurjon, who requested that his client be released on reasonable bail.Reports are Thomas was proceeding north along the western lane of Vlissengen Road, Georgetown, while the motorcyclist was proceeding south along the eastern lane of the said road at a fast pace, when the motorcycle ended up in the path of Thomas’ motor car, which resulted in a head-on collision.It was reported Beckles and his pillion rider, Kevin Andy, were thrown from the motorcycle, which resulted in both men receiving severe head and other injuries. They were picked up and rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where Beckles was pronounced dead on arrival.On Wednesday, Police Prosecutor Adduni Inniss did not object to bail; however, she requested that conditions be attached.The Magistrate released Thomas on $300,000 bail. The defendant has to report to the Brickdam Police Station every Friday until the completion of the trial, as a condition of bail.In July, Thomas was charged for driving under the influence of alcohol and driving without a tint permit and appeared before City Magistrate Clive Nurse. He was fined $7500 for driving without a tint permit, and he was released on $10,000 bail on the driving under the influence charge.
The Guyana and Argentine Governments will be working together to deepen relations aimed at strengthening support in the public security sectors.Argentine Ambassador to Guyana Luis Martino and President David Granger toast at a reception to mark the 200th Bicentenary of the Independence of the Argentine RepublicArgentine Ambassador to Guyana Luis Martino announced that his Government is looking at areas which they can provide support for potential opportunities of development in Guyana.He was at the time speaking at a reception hosted to observe the 200th Bicentenary of the Independence of the Argentine Republic at the Marriott Hotel on Saturday evening.Ambassador Martino said the Argentine Government is currently looking at a project which deals with public security in Guyana, particularly to determine how they can provide support on a range of issues, including criminology, forensic studies, piracy, smuggling, and forensic medicine, among other areas.The proposed package is now under review at the various agencies in Argentina, Martino disclosed.Furthermore, the Ambassador said his Government is discussing with the Natural Resources Ministry and the Protected Areas Commission (PAC) ways in which staff locally can participate in training to upgrade their knowledge in the field.He stated that moves are also underway to develop a programme aimed at restoring historical artworks in Guyana.Other areas for consideration, he said, are with the Private Sector and the sport sector.Ambassador Martino noted that discussions with the various Private Sector bodies in Guyana have recommenced and with regards to sport, engagements are underway with the Education Ministry and the Guyana Olympic Association.He disclosed that Argentina will provide Guyana with a coach for intensive training of a national rugby team for an upcoming championship tournament.Meanwhile, President David Granger in his brief address, wished the Argentine Republic a happy independence anniversary.President Granger outlined that Guyana and Argentina celebrate four years of diplomatic relations; a partnership that continues to grow and improve.He noted that Guyana and Argentina share common values; whereby they do not interfere in internal affairs, they respect various treaties and international laws, and they maintain international peace and security.President Granger posited that the two countries will continue to work together for the betterment of both peoples, all in a shared notion of embracing the Union of South American Nations.
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has released its 2015 Annual Report and is calling on the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) to step up efforts to have faecal coliform eliminated from its water supply network. According to the PUC in the report, GWI submits its monthly water quality test results to the Commission, which randomly selects samples from 24 locations and compared the test results to the standard set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).The Commission outlined that the test results for pH, Iron, turbidity, aluminium, colour, chlorine residual, total coliform and faecal coliform were compared with the WHO standards and revealed that GWI was close to achieving all of the standards with the exception of faecal coliform.“Faecal coliform by its very nature is hazardous to health and a greater effort is required by GWI to achieve compliance with this standard,” the PUC remarked in its report as reinstated its committed to monitoring the water quality standards.The Commission added that GWI had committed to achieving the WHO bacteriological standards within six months for coastal water supplies and within 12 months for hinterland water supplies as stated in the GWI licence which was issued on November 13, 2002. This licence has since expired and the company and the stakeholder should make all efforts to ensure that the company is operating with a licence.Back in October, the PUC had ordered GWI to halt its usage of a potentially dangerous chemical – Antinfek – for countrywide water treatment purposes, “until a full and comprehensive review by an external agency confirms that it is compatible with existing safety standards.”Guyana Times had first reported that GWI was using the chemical, which not only Haiti refused to use but is without certification from the US National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and failed to demonstrate its ability to meet the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) limited protection microbiological performance targets.Additionally, Director of the Government Analyst Food and Drug (GA-FDD) Marlan Cole told another section of the media that the Antinfek chemical has negative reviews and has also not been tested or certified by the GA-FDD.But GWI said the chemical is not dangerous, pointing out that it was tested by a number of other laboratories in Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Switzerland, Ghana, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Kenya, Trinidad and Tobago and Germany, all showing favourable results in its use.Meanwhile, the PUC in its annual report has suggested that the company uses a new technology being adopted by utilities companies around the world to effect disconnections and reconnections. The Commission said during ongoing research it became aware of the “Rye Ball Valve”.The PUC explained that this device is a right angle lockable ball valve that is attached to the consumers’ main to effect a disconnection. It carries the added feature of a seal which when in place ensures that the consumer could only be illegally reconnected by breaking the seal.“This acts as a deterrent to illegal reconnections which is a problem currently faced by GWI. The Commission has forwarded this information to GWI and hopes the company may find it practical and useful,” the Commission stated.