Agriculture is not only about baigan, ochro and bora

first_imgDear Editor,Kudos to the Government and Ministry of Agriculture for coming up with the idea of holding the Uncapped Agricultural Expo.Agriculture expos are very dear to my heart. I have fond memories of those held years ago at Skeldon and Albion estates when I was a boy. Such events are valuable because they enable Guyanese to showcase local foodstuff and other agro-products, and also put the spotlight on new techniques and equipment and supportive business ventures.Prime Minister Forbes Burnham had included some vibrant and tangible entertainment in those expos.That said, I am extremely disappointed that the organisers of the Uncapped Agricultural Expo seem to think that only direct producers of agricultural crops qualify to participate in the exhibition. If that is the case, they should remove the word ‘uncapped.’ Do they think agricultural items are limited to things like coconut water, eschallots, bora, pumpkins and cows, goats and sheep?Back in the day, I attended agricultural expos sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture under the auspices of the late Prime Minister and President, Forbes Burnham. He was never my favourite person when it came to certain aspects of politics that struck me as a kid in the Upper Corentyne, including during the 60s and 70s, but I had a lot of respect for his style of communication, his oratory, and his wisdom with regard to agriculture.I am writing this public complaint with much passion and drive, but with due respect for authority, because the organisers of the Uncapped Agricultural Expo denied my business the opportunity to showcase its three-wheel Trikes at the event.To me, the organisers’ refusal to allow us to showcase our Trikes by contending that they are not agricultural items or products shows the possibility that some of the middle management administrators of the nation’s agriculture are dangerously short-sighted.Let me declare openly and fearlessly that anyone who thinks an agricultural exposition is all about cows, goats, sheep, eschallot, carrots, peas and so forth is someone who has zero understanding of the sector, and lacks the vision to move it forward.Persons like that make Burnham look like a mighty man of agriculture, because he saw Guyana as the breadbasket of not only the Caribbean, but the entire Central and South America, and he knew that the fulfilment of this dream would require land, labour, capital and know-how.Burnham had the good sense to realise that it is essential that the leaders and people involved in the agricultural industry have the basic know-how to move it forward. They have to know that agriculture does not revolve around direct inputs alone. Bringing it all together requires both direct and indirect inputs.This Government is supposed to be comprised of inheritors of the Burnham philosophy. They ought to know that he was keenly aware of the importance of agriculture, and he knew that every facet of the agriculture industry is important to its success, not just crops.The three-wheelers we wanted to showcase are used internationally by agricultural vendors and food processors at all levels to access farms, move around agricultural sites, and transport and market livestock, vegetables, meat and fish.If our agricultural authorities go to Indonesia right now, they will see fish and chicken being transported and sold via three-wheelers, and in some cases slaughtered and processed on the spot. Others sell plucked chicken, fish and meat, and others yet frozen vegetables and fruits as well as fresh vegetables and fruits.They will see goats, sheep, all kinds of agricultural produce, fruits and vegetables transported on three-wheelers in Palestine, in Nigeria, in Ghana, Vietnam and Thailand. It is also famous in the hilly and flat land farming areas of Italy, and is growing in popularity in the United Kingdom. It is also taking hold in Central America, and RK’s Eco-Star Motors has been the pioneer in Guyana and the West Indies so far.Our efforts have been gaining attention, but the business has been moving very slowly as it is difficult to get Government’s input in the Caribbean in new ventures such as these.Sincerely,Roshan Khan Snr.last_img read more

APNU+AFC Administration has become a cautionary tale

first_imgDear Editor,It could not have escaped attention that I have been critical of the APNU+AFC’s administration from almost the inception; after reading PNC Chairwoman Volda Lawrence’s recent statements, I took the weekend to examine my own writings for signs that I may be displaying unconscious bias based on my ethnicity. What I was looking for, was empirical evidence of bias; suffice to say that I am satisfied to say my writings are based on logic and my penchant for pragmatism. Interestingly, what I found as a by-product of this introspective was that the APNU+AFC relies on anecdotal evidence for its formation of policy and actions, this approach would seem to be the reason for their characteristically incomprehensible decisions.Editor, I will offer a few examples to support my theory expressed above: In one of its first acts, APNU/AFC granted its top brass a hefty 50 per cent salary increase, the reason given by Minister of the Presidency Joseph Harmon was that this was done to avoid corrupt practices by Ministers of Government. What was absent in his explanation was empirical evidence that this was true. In fact, numerous studies have shown the opposite to be true; “Rather than decrease petty corruption, the salary policy significantly increased the police efforts to collect bribes” (Foltz, J and Opoku-Agyemang K 2015). Logic would dictate that corruption is a character flaw not driven by economics; personal integrity is the solution to greed, not higher salaries. The introduction of a 2am curfew ostensibly “in the interest of citizens’ security and safety with the aim of suppressing criminal and other offences.” (MPS) was done without release of a single study or statistic to support the reasoning; three years on, and no evidence has been provided for or against the policy, instead we are told it has “support from women’s groups, religious groups and a number of other organisations”. In presenting a $300.7 billion budget for 2019, one that is double the amount of the largest PPP Administration budget, Minister Jordan made an assumption of increased 9 per cent revenue collection to predict a deficit of $42 billion. Editor, the tax base has shrunk by loss of 30,000 jobs so far under the APNU+AFC Administration, and every single growth prediction by Jordan has failed to materialise to date. Based on this I would suggest the evidence points to an even larger deficit, we cannot plan for our nation’s future well-being by way of political rhetoric. Editor, we examine election results by every imaginable voter demographic, have we ever done the same for the taxpayer? Is it not time we examine who pays for the follies of these ever increasing ‘Good Life’ budgets?Editor, the APNU+AFC Administration has become a cautionary tale, critical for all Guyanese; that while on opposition benches in parliament , MP’s should be doing the work of critical oversight of Government policy, action and expenditure, and in so doing learn the business of Government and Administration; APNU+AFC squandered their time on those benches, choosing instead to make outlandish claims and wild accusations; given the opportunity to govern, they were bereft of a sensible basis for policy and action, the haphazard unscientific approach to governance is a direct result of the success they had with their loud lies, they never learned the difference of politics and policy. Monies spent on Commissions of Inquiry would have been better allocated to a scientific study for solutions to our problems.Respectfully,Robin Singhlast_img read more

We must greet APNU/AFC apologists with truth: Ask them about 2015 Manifesto promises that…

first_imgDear Editor,A perverted narrative has recently emerged to cloud the gross mismanagement of our economy by the PNC (now camouflage as the APNU-AFC collation) over the past four-plus years. This narrative, which is propagated by a group of PNC’s apologists, attempts to paint the 23 years of the PPP/C as the most unsuccessful period while projecting the past four-plus years as the most progressive in our post-colonial history. The irony is that this narrative is the complete opposite of the truth. As a researcher, I have a moral and professional responsibility to confront the distorted narrative with every piece of data that is publicly available.The facts about our economic development under the PPP/C are there for everyone to examine. Additionally, the success under the PPP/C during the period 1992-2015, ‘needs no academic gloss.’ The undeniable fact is that when the PPP/C took control of the country in 1992, Guyana was classified as one of the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, with more than 60 percent of the total population living below the poverty line. During the decade before the PPP/C assumed office, inflation averaged 28.9 percent during the period 1980-1990 and G$: US$ exchange rate depreciated from 2.50 in 1980 to 111.8 during 1990. The physical infrastructure of the country was in total disrepair, and the Guyanese couldn’t access essential items because of the shortage of foreign currency. The external debt represented 600 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1989. Indeed, the country was worst off in 1992 than when it gained independence (see study titled “Income Distribution, Inequality, and Poverty Reduction During Economic Reform in Guyana” by John Gaffar). The economy was in such bad shape that the PNC, which has grown accustomed to rigging elections, had to broker a deal with our international partners to have ‘free and fair elections’ while simultaneously embarking on a Structural Adjustment Programme.Over the period 1992-2015, our economic fortunes were reversed despite the turbulent global economic conditions and attempt by the PNC to make ungovernable with their ‘slow fyah’ and ‘more fyah’ campaign. The country reported two episodes of economic expansion 1990-1993 and 2006-2015 and the displayed greater resilience to external shocks with the diversification of its economic base. Inflation averaged less than 6 percent annually between 1992 and 2015 while the G$: US$ remained stable. By 2012 the external debt represented 48 percent of GDP. Because of the buoyancy in the economy and stable business environment created by sound macroeconomic management, the country attracted US$1,326.4 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) between 2006 and 2012. Most of the FDI went into new and emerging sectors such as transportation, telecommunication, manufacturing, and energy sectors. Credit to the private also witnessed concomitant growth.Extreme poverty was reduced from 29 percent in 1992 to 18.6 percent by 2006. Meanwhile, the Human Development Index and Gini coefficient showed significant improvements, with Guyana promoted to a medium human development country. Further, Guyana was praised for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (GDS) in the areas of nutrition and child health, eradication of poverty and hunger, and universal primary education. In summary, the country made significant economic and social progress.All of the policy dividends that accrued from the sound macroeconomic management practiced by the PPP/C are being eroded before our naked eyes because of this incompetent APNU-AFC government. Except for gold production, we have seen contractions in all the critical sectors due to excessive taxes and willful neglect. The lukewarm response to crime, coupled with the unwillingness of the government to respect the laws, contributed to massive capital flight as businesses searched for safer investment destinations. If we were to subtract the national ‘eye-sore’ often described as the ‘wood-ants’ stadium, Durban Park there is little for the coalition to be proud of. Indeed, everything the shameless APNU-AFC boast about today was bequeathed to them by the PPP/C. The production of oil they take credit for today would not have been possible without Janet Jagan. The G$9 billion collected from Norway is the fruit of another visionary leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, who was the brainchild of the Low Carbon Development Strategy. All the significant infrastructure (road projects, airport expansion) originated during the tenure of Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar.As we approach the 2020 elections, the APNU-AFC apologists will continue to push there perverted narrative. However, we must greet these apologists with the truth and ask them about the 2015 Manifesto promises that were delivered by their party.Regards,Name and addresswithheldlast_img read more

Handing over of report delayed

first_imgThe report on the findings of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the deadly Camp Street Prison riot has not been submitted. The report was scheduled to be submitted to President David Granger on Tuesday.The CoI panel tasked with compiling the findingsAccording to information reaching Guyana Times, the report is now expected to be handed over at the Ministry of the Presidency some time today. The CoI began on March 8 and was expected to conclude by March 28, but the Commission applied for a two-month extension, which was granted. Testimonies and cross-examination were wrapped up on May 9. Retired Justice James Patterson served as Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry while Dale Erskine and Merle Mendonca served as Commissioners.After two days of rioting at the Camp Street penitentiary, 17 inmates died after fire, reportedly set by inmates, engulfed the Capital A block filled with scores of prisoners on March 3. President Granger who serves as Chairman of the National Security Committee ordered an inquiry into the fire after inmates met with Minister of State Joseph Harmon and Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.At the meeting, the inmates and the Ministers reached a “gentleman’s agreement” whereby some of the concerns of the prisoners were addressed. These negotiations did not sit well with some sections of society and was met with criticism.Outlined in the terms of reference, which covered the period March 2 to 4, the CoI aimed to enquire into all the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the prisoners, to report the findings and conclusions to the Minister of Public Security, and to make recommendations on any action that should be taken to avoid a recurrence. When the witness statements had concluded on May 9, Commission Counsel Excellence Dazzle noted that witnesses’ testimonies along with many other materials which the Commission had in its possession would be used to compile the report.On April 20, the Guyana Bar Association withdrew from the CoI citing time constraints in cross-examination of witnesses.last_img read more

Mother, relative refused bail

first_img14-year-old busted with cocaine in suitcase handlesThe mother and another relative of the 14-year-old who was busted with cocaine concealed in the handles of his suitcase were refused bail at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts when they appeared before Magistrate Leron Daly on separate charges of possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking. 31The child’s mother, Cora Towler and and the other relative, Ian Griffith pleaded not guilty to the charges that stated that on Friday, August 26, 2016 at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, they were in possession of 1.4 kilogram of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.Defence Attorneys Peter Hugh, who represented Ian Griffith, and Paul Fung-A-Fat, who represented Cora Towler, both contended that the cocaine was found on a third party and not on their clients, hence, further investigations should be carried out.Hugh made an application for reasonable bail on behalf of Griffith which was denied by Magistrate Daly.Fung-A-Fat explained to the Court that his client was 41 years old and had four children. He pointed out that she was self-employed as a shop owner and was a naturalised American. The Attorney pleaded for reasonable bail which was denied.He clearly explained that his client only packed her son’s suitcase and did not dismantle it, pointing to the fact that the cocaine was discovered in the handles of the suitcase.Police Prosecutor Shellon Jupiter contended that Towler admitted in a caution statement that she placed the drugs in her son’s suitcase, along with Griffith who helped her pack. Upon this revelation by the Police, Griffith was later charged.The defendants will make their next court appearance on September 12, 2016. The 14-year-old was held following the discovery of the 1.4 kilograms of cocaine concealed in the handles of his suitcase while he was waiting to board a flight destined for New York at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri on Friday afternoon.It was reported that the teen was travelling alone, returning home after spending the August vacation in Guyana.Upon the discovery of the cocaine, four persons, including the teen’s parents, were arrested.last_img read more