LIVERPOOL, England (AP):Two horses died after being pulled up in a sombre start to the Aintree Festival yesterday.Clonbanan Lad and Maras-onnien died after being pulled up by their jockeys in the Fox Hunters’ Chase, and later collapsing, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said. Professor Chris Proudman, veterinary adviser at Aintree, said “neither (of the) incidents was associated with a fall.””You can never remove all risk completely from any sport, including horse racing,” Proudman said in a statement released by the BHA, “but from 90,000 runners each year, British Racing has a fatality rate of less than 0.2 per cent, which research found is far lower than horses simply exercising in a field.”Equine safety is brought into sharp focus at Aintree because of the feared fences used in the Grand National Steeplechase, the world’s most gruelling horse race. Twenty-one horses died over those fences from 2001-14.The deaths overshadowed a strong start to the festival by Willie Mullins, who is bidding to dislodge Paul Nicholls as Britain’s champion horse trainer and had two winners.The Grand National will be run Saturday.
KINGSTON: For his outstanding leadership in guiding Leicester City to its first Barclays Premier League title, telecommunications firm Digicel, one of the main sponsors of the country’s senior men’s national senior football team, salutes Reggae Boy Wes Morgan on the club’s historic achievement. Describing it as “another proud achievement for Jamaica”, Digicel CEO, David Butler, is in high praise for the champion captain. “Against all odds, as captain, Wes Morgan demonstrated solid determination and the will to win in leading his team to a modern-day fairytale ending. Leicester’s accomplishment will go down as one of the greatest achievements in sport and we are so proud that it happened under the captaincy of a Jamaican,” said Butler. The inspirational defender is known for drumming up support globally for the Reggae Boyz, especially during the lead up to tackling other teams vying to qualify for the World Cup. In March, Morgan attended the handover ceremony at Digicel’s headquarters in Kingston, where the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) received another US$3 million (nearly J$350 million) towards the development of various national teams, including the Reggae Boyz, as they take on the Road to Russia. Morgan had tweeted a photo from the event with six other team members to further attract global support for the mission. Digicel is hoping that Morgan becoming the first Jamaican international football player to win the Barclays Premier League will add a fresh motivation to the national team. “This will surely lift the spirits of the Reggae Boyz as they prepare for the Copa America tournament and another important series of qualifying games. When Wes is a champion, Jamaica is a champion,” Butler praised.
Captain Nikita Miller has described as ‘refreshing’ the Jamaica Scorpions win over Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in their Digicel WICB Regional Four-day Tournament clash at Queen’s Park Oval at the weekend.The Scorpions who entered the game with back-to-back home defeats to leaders Guyana Jaguars and cellar dwellers the Leeward Islands Hurricanes, rebounded to score an 87 runs victory inside three days.Miller, in another man-of-the-match display, claimed four for 39 in the first innings and five for 45 in the second.There were also good displays from batsman Jermaine Blackwood and all-rounders Derval Green and Fabian Allen.Blackwood topscored with a game high 68 in the first innings while Green and Allen, in scoring maiden first-class fifties, netted 53 and 60, in the first and second innings, respectively.LOSING SPELL”It’s a bit refreshing that we could break the losing spell that we had,” assessed captain Miller, whose charges posted identical scores off 201 in both innings while Trinidad made 141 and 174.”I thought we showed a good level of fight, as there were parts in the game that we were down in both innings, and individuals stood up and came up with big innings for the team.”This includes Fabian Allen in the second innings and Derval Green in the first. Thomas as well should be congratulated as himself and Allen put on a 50-odd runs partnership that helped set up the game for us.”With the victory, Jamaica who returned home yesterday, moved into second position ahead of Barbados Pride, who drew their fixture against two-time defending champions the Guyana Jaguars.Miller said that drawn result has made it more difficult for the Scorpions to top the tournament.”I think Guyana are now 14 points ahead of us with two games to play at home, and, they are really good at home.”We will need the other teams to do us a favour (beat Guyana) and we continue to do what we need to do, which is win our final two games.”The 10-round tournament will now take a final break before resuming next weekend.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has announced the enactment of a law that will require the Liberian government to procure 25 percent of goods produced locally to benefit Liberian small businesses.She made the pronouncement Tuesday, April 29, at the opening of this year’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) conference, held in Monrovia.This year’s MSME conference spotlighted agriculture and agri-businesses, which contribute an estimated 60 percent to the nation’s gross domestic products (GDPs) and is the sector in which most Liberians are employed.“I am pleased to announce the National Small Business Act of 25 percent of government’s public procurement for Liberian small business. If made law, thousands of Liberian rice farmers, traders and processors will stand to benefit,” President Sirleaf stated as she formerly opened the MSME conference.She said that the development of Liberia’s small businesses was critical to the growth of the nation’s economy.“It is one thing to have a policy; but the implementation is what matters most. In so doing, we will have to ensure that whatever law is put into place is strictly adhered to,” she asserted.Madam Sirleaf then called on the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to help develop the capacities of small entrepreneurs, so that they would be qualified to access the market.In remarks, Commerce and Industry Minister Axel Addy said that the initiative was meant to empower local production and create market access for Liberian-made products.A Liberian rice farmer in Totota, Bong County, who spoke to the Daily Observer after the 25 percent proposed procurement law was announced, welcomed the news. Harriet Larway, head of the Arise and Shine Farmers’ Cooperative in Totota, Salala District, said the law was needed to give rice farmers greater access to markets.Ms. Larway said that rice farmers in the country find it very difficult to market their produce.“Considering that rice is the country’s staple food, the government needs to pay more attention to rice farmers. Market opportunity is very essential for local farmers. We are lacking access to finance in order to improve our farms,” she explained.The female rice farmer further stated that the price at which local rice is bought from farmers is not encouraging.“The cost for rice production is very high and labor intensive for a 50kg bag to be sold for US$20,” she asserted. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
… says NA Hospital CEO was disrespectful, arrogantBy Devina SamarooAfter being unceremoniously ordered out of the New Amsterdam Hospital’s compound on Friday by theREO Dr Veerasammy Ramayyafacility’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Colin Bynoe, the Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) Regional Executive Officer (REO), Dr Veerasammy Ramayya is hoping someone from central government pays heed to the situation, noting that it was utter disrespect to his authority and capacity in the region.During an interview with Guyana Times on Wednesday, Dr Ramayya stoutly emphasised that he does not need to follow a protocol to enter the Hospital and that generally, representatives of regional organisations would be happy for him to visit and offer advice.Reflecting on the series of events in the lead up to the “kick out”, Ramayya explained that he was informed that the operating theatre was not working and therefore, surgeries were cancelled.As a result, he went to the hospital to investigate the matter.When he arrived, he said the CEO nor the Director of Regional Health Services Jevaughn Stephens were present.“They were apparently in the Boardroom… so when I went in there, I wanted to know what was the problem, so somebody from the hospital maybe called him to say I was there… I can’t recall if he said ‘good morning’ or not, so the man walk straight to me and said ‘REO I want to see you in my office!” Ramayya related.The REO said he was in for a surprise. “I sat there and he started to give me a lecture about if I want to go to the hospital, I am supposed to follow protocol. Whenever I want to visit the hospital, he has to be aware and Jevaughn has to be aware. As the REO, I don’t see where I have to meet that demand,” Ramayya insisted.He posited that it is an insult to his authority in the region.“This is the arrogance of that man… That is disrespectful because although he is the CEO of the hospital, I as the REO, I can go anywhere, this is my responsibility,” he declared.Ramayya contended that the CEO seems to have a personal vendetta against him because of his televised broadcasts, which sometimes highlights irregularities at the health institution.“I am on television, if something [is] wrong with the hospital, I am going to speak out because that is what I did for 23 years… And under my supervision, if something is wrong I will talk about it,” he posited, disclosing that many things are wrong with the operations of the hospital under the stewardship of Bynoe.However, he did not divulge further details except that the CEO has a long record of insulting and verbally abusing hospital staff.In April, the Chairman of the Regional Health Committee, Haseef Yusuf reported that there had been several complaints issued against the CEO who allegedly has been verbally abusive to visitors and staff of the institution.Yusuf also alleged that there was also a report that the CEO had physically abused a doctor at the institution. Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton has advised that the doctor report the matter to Police.The issue was raised at a recent Regional Democratic Council (RDC) meeting and Director of Regional Health Services defended Bynoe saying that the doctor was not assaulted.“I investigated a matter which was proved not to be true, the same doctor came and said he is sorry because of his interpretation of the issue. I personally called the Police and told them to expect the doctor to come to make a report. I did that from my office in front of the ‘complainee’ and the other guy.”The matter had also been reported to Minister of State Joseph Harmon on April 22, during the Ministry of the Presidency Outreach Programme at State House in New Amsterdam.However, Stephens said he was now forced to deal with several other matters involving the CEO. “There are several complaints of a said nature. I can assure you that these complaints are being taken seriously. Before I came here this morning, I had to deal with a said complaint. I have engaged the Minister of Health and his Ministry to deal with that matter. There is nothing that comes to my desk or my office that I intend to push under the carpet.”Regional Chairman David Armogan had also asked the Public Health Minister to investigate the matter involving the CEO.Meanwhile, prompted on how he intends to address the situation moving forward, Ramayya hinted that central government, after seeing the report in the media, should investigate the matter.“It is there, the people in Georgetown, they have seen it (the report), let them do something about it. Let them come and find out what are the reasons for this to happen,” he stated.
Outgoing Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) of the United States Embassy, Bryan Hunt, is of the view that thereJunior Natural Resources Minister Simona Broomesneeds to be adequate conflict of interest legislation in place for Guyana to be deemed transparent and accountable.His comment comes one month after criticisms were levied over Junior Natural Resources Minister Simona Broomes’ current oversight of the mining sector, knowing that she has a history in mining and that upon taking office, she divested ownership of her mining operations to her children.The US Diplomat during an exclusive interview with Guyana Times said he believes Guyana needs to have ‘conflict of interest’ legislation that applies to all elected officials and senior public servants in order to ensure that conflicts of interest do not exist in the execution of their duties as well as to avoid perceived conflicts of interest from arising.“So I would urge the government, which has made a commitment to looking at these issues, to move forward asBryan Huntquickly as it possibly can, to put in place conflict of interest legislation that would apply to all public office holders, not only those in executive branch but members of the parliament, members of the judiciary, the senior public service, to make sure that we deal with this problem of perceived conflict of interests between people’s personal lives and their public responsibilities,” he outlined.Hunt went on to say that until this is done, there will continue to be problems regardless of which administration is in power in Guyana.Minister Broomes mining interests came under scrutiny last month after information surfaced suggesting she was granted another Mining Permit H43/MP/000 by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC). However, Broomes at a subsequent press conference clarified that no new mining permit was granted, noting that it was a transfer of her dredge to her daughter, whose name is also Simona Broomes.While Broomes, who spent some 28 years as a miner, is maintaining there is no conflict of interest since her mining interests are now being handled by her children, many still believe that once she is the government minister responsible for the mining sector, her presence could influence decisions in her children’s favour.However, when questioned about these public concerns, President David Granger had told this newspaper there is no need for the minister’s removal, noting that this will be done only if a conflict of interest situation arises.“We have a draft code of conduct and if any situation (of conflict of interest) were to arise, I’m very confident that she’d either be put in another place or she would demit office but that situation hasn’t arisen at the present time,” the Head of State remarked in response to the calls for Broomes’ removal.However, while the president has said he awaits a clear case of conflict of interest involving the minister, Guyana Times was able to obtain a copy of an ‘application for permission to operate dredge or specified machinery’ dated March 4, 2016, in the name of Simona Broomes. The document contained National Identification Number 11383803.Upon investigations this publication was able to confirm that the ID number is that of Simona Judie Broomes, the full name of the Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources, contradicting what Broomes had earlier said, that it was her daughter who was named in those documents.On the other hand, the US official further underscored the importance to have public disclosure legislations to enhance transparency and accountability.“We need to see public disclosure legislation that is not only on the books but is actively enforced, again not just for the executive branch officials but across the board for all public office holders at all levels, all public servants at all levels, the judiciary, etc, so that we can be confident that people are fully disclosing what outside business interests they have and that they are taking the necessary steps to either divest themselves of those business interests or ensure that their public duties do not in any way benefit their personal business interests,” Hunt posited.He added too that such legislation is just as critical for members sitting in the Opposition as it is for those in Government.According to the outgoing DCM, Guyana has had a long-standing problem with transparency and in his opinion, among the basic problems is the fact that there is no Public Procurement Commission.He said that it is absolutely critical, as the country moves forward, to see the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) move immediately to appoint the membership or to put forward the names of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Opposition’s membership so that Parliament can move expeditiously to approve the members put forward.“Without that Public Procurement Commission, it is going to be exceptionally difficult to ensure transparency throughout the procurement system here in Guyana,” he remarked.Moreover, Hunt posited that with Guyana entering phase where it is going to have a significantly increased state resource-base that needs to be managed effectively, government should not procrastinate on putting such measures in place.“We need to see some very quick forward action on these issues especially with the sector of increased oil and gas development, increased resources coming into the State’s treasury; we can’t afford to continue to operate as if these are not serious issues in Guyana because I think they have been serious issues for a long time, and the importance of these issues are going to grow” the outgoing US diplomat stated.
– demanded $125,000 not to prosecuteA 67-year-old caretaker of Amazon Delight located at Regent and Oronoque Streets, Georgetown was allegedly scammed of almost $300,000 in imported liquor and cash from two men pretending to be officials of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).“Aunty Seeta” told Guyana Times that the men turned up at the business place about 10:00h, fully dressed and carrying badges with the GRA logo.“They said GRA sent them to seize the imported liquor because she didn’t have their [GRA] stamp on it,” she explained.This publication understands that GRA’s Customs, Excise and Trade Operations (CE&TO) has made mandatory the application of Excise Stamps on imported alcohol (excluding beer) and tobacco products.As such, importers, businesses and persons selling alcohol and tobacco products are expected to have these stamps on their products to verify that the items wereGRA headquarterslegally imported into Guyana.According to “Seeta”, she was ordered to turn over $150,000 in imported liquor— namely, tequila, whiskey, Black Hennessy, Ciroc, Grey Goose, Apple Smirnoff and Vanilla Smirnoff.Moreover, the men advised her that if she did not want to face criminal charges, she should pay them $125,000. The woman said that she complied.However, after the men left, the distraught woman said she began to feel sceptical about the way in which the men operated. As such, she reportedly contacted the GRA office on Wednesday and reported the matter.However, she was then informed that the entity did not order the seizure of items belonging to the establishment. It was then that the pensioner realised she had been conned.“I called 911 and they took a statement from me and the person on the other end of the line told me to report the matter to the Alberttown Police Station,” the woman explained.The woman has been taking care of the business for the past 14 years and according to her, this is the first time she has been conned. Both the GRA and the Guyana Police Force have launched an investigation into the matter.
– Govt roasted for alleged breach of Accountability ActFor Ministry of PresidencyOver $100 million dollars of taxpayers’ money have been allocated in the 2018 Budget to cover an alleged corrupt act, which saw the Government of Guyana, via the Ministry of the Presidency (MoTP), purchasing more bulletproof vehicles — worth millions of dollars — on credit from a local business entity in 2016. The purchased vehicles have reportedly been delivered although arrangements to pay for them have not been made in the 2017 budgetary allocation, as is provided for in the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act. The Ministry of the Presidency allegedly has even already put some of these vehicles into use.According to the Parliamentary Opposition, the Government allegedly purchased five new bullet proof vehicles despite there being no budgetary allocation made therefor in 2017. Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Bishop Juan Edghill told a media conference on Thursday that this move is in clear breach of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act.Edghill, who was earlier this week suspended from the National Assembly, has claimed that Government is not allowed to make purchases on credit. He noted that this breach amounts to corruption and poor transparency.“The Government compromised itself with a supplier by taking an advance in vehicles and trying to find monies in 2018 to pay for that (transaction),” he opined.Saying he would have liked to ask the Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, several questions about the transactions, Edghill declared that the Permanent Secretary would have had several questions to answer as well.The vehicles were reportedly purchased by the MoTP.
Conflict of interest at Housing MinistryTransparency Institute of Guyana Incorporated (TIGI) has weighed in on the conflict of interest issues arising in the Housing Ministry, saying the fact that a contract for constructing houses was awarded to the Housing Minister’s husband is not a good look for the State.Minister Valerie Patterson-YearwoodGodfrey YearwoodOn Saturday, TIGI called for Government to review the contract award.In an interview with Guyana Times, TIGI President, Dr Troy Thomas noted that a review would determine to what extent Housing Minister Valerie Patterson-Yearwood was involved in her husband being awarded the contract.“It would seem that there is a conflict of interest and then it would be important to try to understand the circumstances under which the contract was awarded and to what extent the Minister was involved,” Dr Thomas said.“Even if the Minister wasn’t directly involved, if a subordinate of the Minister was involved, the whole situation doesn’t seem ideal,” he explained, nevertheless acknowledging reports that the contract was awarded before the Minister got married.He noted that the timeline for the award of the contract could raise complications regarding accusations of a conflict of interest in the award of the contract. But he said the importance of transparency and the need for answers are important.“Given that it has come out like this, it should definitely be reviewed and let’s understand what happened, when it happened.”Earlier this week, it was revealed that the Housing Minister’s husband, Godfrey Yearwood, was awarded a contract to build homes for a project spearheaded by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA).ContractThat project is still ongoing and according to CH&PA Chief Executive Officer, Lelon Saul in an interview with the media after the story broke, the contract awarded to the Minister’s husband was a one-off award.In fact, Saul himself noted to the media that the contract award is a conflict of interest and in fact that a review of the award might be in order. He had called for the CH&PA board to review the matter and ensure there is no reoccurrence.“The award of contracts is above my level. But I think the (CH&PA) Board should review that (awarding process) based on recommendations coming from the agency,” Saul asserted.When contacted on Thursday for a comment on the matter, which was published in Guyana Times on that day (April 4, 2019), Minister Patterson-Yearwood said she would not give a comment.This issue came to the fore on Wednesday last when Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo disclosed that the Minister’s husband had sub-contracted the works and the person whom he hired is complaining of not being paid for works done to date.In fact, the construction worker, a resident of Victoria Village, on the East Coast of Demerara, had written President David Granger four times over the past year for his intervention but only got acknowledgement responses so far.
By Christine Rumleskie- Advertisement – Next week will be Women’s Institute Week in Fort St. John.Fort St. John City Council made the proclamation at Monday afternoon’s council meeting.Women’s Institutes were first established in the 1930’s and are still active across the Peace Region. It is comprised of women who want to make a difference in the community.The local organization supports facilities like the Fort St. John library, various community halls, and the Fort St. John Hospital.The Women’s Institute Week starts on Valentine’s Day, and runs until February 20th.Advertisement Photo: City Council hands representatives from the Women’s Institute the proclamation on Monday afternoon – Christine Rumleskie/Energeticcity.ca