Sunday, May 24, 2009

EU Vindictiveness

The government said it has consistently reaffirmed that there is no requirement for a final version, and that the requirement of satisfactory progress has been adequately demonstrated by the submission of a draft approved by Cabinet to the Delegation.

Its case is that there are, therefore, three simple points to be made in this matter.

** Firstly, there are two separate financing agreements, one for general budget support and one for sugar sector support.

** Secondly, the PRSP is not a prerequisite for the release of the sugar sector support because it is not a condition in that financing agreement.

** Thirdly, in any event, satisfactory progress has been made on the PRSP and this progress is in full compliance with the condition stipulated in the general budget support financing agreement.

According to the Guyana Government, it should be added that these developments on the part of the EC represent a fundamental departure from the principles of the budget support mode for delivering aid.

The understanding, it said, has always been that budget support emphasises the achievement of certain specified results, and is disbursed when these results are achieved.

“If the results are achieved early, i.e., before any timeline that might be specified, then the disbursement is made early. If the results are achieved later, then the disbursement is made at that later time. The current position of the EC on this matter, suggesting that funds are lost because certain deadlines were not achieved in their interpretation, departs significantly from this principle.”

The government said it will continue to assert that the conditions discussed above were achieved, for the reasons outlined above, and that the disbursements should be made to Guyana as soon as possible.

It said it has also noted that during the early rounds of provision of budget support by the EU to Guyana, disbursements were made promptly and in full.

“It is a striking coincidence that most of the difficulties encountered in the implementation of EU budget support came shortly after Government adopted a position that was critical of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that was concluded between the EU and negotiators for CARIFORUM. Government would hope that the difficulties currently being experienced in securing delivery of promised budget support is not somehow connected with the critique of the EPA, and will continue to argue that the anticipated budget support must be delivered in accordance with the financing agreements.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

LETTER BOX: Debt relief is no easy accomplishment!

Elizabeth Daly: Debt relief is no easy accomplishment; countries have to abide by strict requirements in order to become eligible. To qualify for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) of the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), a country must be poor and highly indebted, having total debts worth more than 150% of exports or more than 250% of government revenue. This was the case for Guyana prior to 1992.

It was necessary for Government to seek other avenues and shift from the traditional debt relief programmes since they were worthless. To reach the first benchmark, called “decision point,’ a country must implement an IMF economic programme for three years, develop an interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and clear any outstanding arrears. Upon reaching decision point, a country receives debt relief in the form of lower debt service payments.

In order to reach completion point, countries must establish a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and be “on-track” with the conditionalities outlined in an IMF “Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility” (PRGF) loan. The approval of the IMF is critical: if the IMF declares a country “off track” in its PRGF programme, it cannot reach completion point and its interim debt relief is suspended, meaning that the country’s level of debt service increases.

Guyana reiterates disappointment with CARIFORUM/EU agreement

Minister Robert Persaud in discussion yesterday with,
from left: European Commission High Commissioner
to Guyana Ambassador Geert Heikens; Mr. Nick Jackson – former
Chief Executive Officer of GuySuCo; Mr. Jos Van Campen, EU Beet
Confederation Grower; and Mr. Nikiforos Silevas, EU (Agriculture)

THE 11th Special African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Ministerial Conference opened here yesterday with Prime Minister Samuel Hinds reiterating Guyana’s disappointment with the provisions in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between CARIFORUM countries and the European Union (EU) on trade in products with sugar content.
Speaking at the International Conference Centre, Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara, he made it known that Guyana will press for changes in the pact which is subject to review in three years.

“We will have to insist on the removal of the accumulation stipulation that prevents one regional supplier from engaging in value addition in a sister State, for the purpose of exporting the product into the European Union (EU) duty free,” Mr. Hinds indicated.

He said, while ACP States have been urged to develop this type of South/South cooperation, the exclusion of government guarantees on price and member States being the buyers on last resort remain the biggest blow.

“This is evident in the abolition of the intervention price and the position of a price guarantee of 90 per cent of the reference until 2012, in a regime that extends until 2015, with no assured buyer of last resort.

“We have negotiated long term agreements with private buyers on purely commercial grounds, without the previous guarantee of price,” the Prime Minister said.

He pointed out, too, that the local sugar industry remains a key challenge in Guyana’s economic restructuring process, to which the sub-sector, the largest in the country, contributes some 15 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and accounts for the livelihood of 20 per cent of the population.

Mr. Hinds said Government’s investment in the state-of-the-art Skeldon Sugar Modernisation Project (SSMP) in Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne), is testament to its commitment to secure a self-sustaining and regenerating, economically viable industry.

“The industry’s focus is on value-added products, such as packaged sugar, refined sugar and molasses utilisation,” he explained to the distinguished gathering of ACP Ministers.

AK47 Bandit killed in confrontation with Police!

- said to be a member of a two-man gang suspected of terrorising East Coast Demerara villages

ONE of the two bandits who have been terrorising residents of a number of East Coast Demerara villages was yesterday morning gunned down in an exchange of fire with police.

Twenty-four-year-old Courtney James, for whom the police had issued a wanted bulletin last month, and who was wanted in connection with a series of armed robberies and rapes in a number of East Coast Villages, as well as last month’s attack on Magistrate Nigel Hawke and his wife Donnelle, was shot and killed early yesterday morning.

According to reports received by us, the man was spotted jumping over the fence of a yard on Mandela Avenue, Alexander Village, Greater Georgetown, by police on a mobile patrol.

The fugitive was challenged by police, but opened fire at them.

James was shot in the exchange of gunfire that ensued and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Public Hospital.

Reports said a .32 revolver with live rounds and two spent shells were recovered at the scene.

James had narrowly escaped capture last Saturday when police raided a Haslington, East Coast Demerara house. He left two weapons an AK-47 assault rifle and a .32 revolver behind.
Authorities have also confirmed that the AK-47 is part of the stock of weapons that went missing from the Guyana Defence Force Headquarters, Camp Ayanganna in February 2006.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Workmen cleaning a section of the Thomas Street avenue
near Middle Street

City Hall signed a $120 million deal with the government in March to assist with some of its works. The money is being disbursed at the rate of $10 million a month, providing that the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) satisfies all the conditions set out in the agreement.

MAILBOX: Let history be the judge of this Govt.’s record, not some chimera

Prem Misir: Debt relief became necessary by virtue of the state of the economy in 1992. What the PNC bequeathed to the PPP/C in 1992 was horrifying.

The country was bankrupt in 1991; Reporting on the PNC ruling years, the World Bank in its 1994 Report noted: “Economic performance worsened significantly… Demand management policies were expansionary, the real exchange rate appreciated, the country lost competitiveness, the balance of payments came under pressure, and the government relied increasingly on price controls and quantitative restrictions on trade.

This further reduced overall economic activity, while spawning a parallel market for foreign exchange that fed inflation; the country’s infrastructure became dilapidated, real incomes dropped sharply, and the government became increasingly unable to provide basic social services”.

In the context of these PNC’s economic failures, the PPP/C early in its Administration had inherited practically zero funds to service the huge external debt burden of US$2.1B and develop the social services sector; and so debt relief became a desired option. Eventually, HIPC and Enhanced-HIPC superseded the traditional debt relief packages.

There is a view that debt relief constitutes begging, an indictment of Guyana’s poverty, and that debt relief is automatically available; a totally incorrect view.

Baby Jesus feeling the effects of the Monster he helped to create!

Van West Charles: The process for the renewal of membership to the PNCR has been beset by inefficiencies and delay. We obviously have a difference of perspective in terms of the process of access to the renewal of adult membership and youth membership, at this stage it is still puzzling why the release of forms seems to be so slow in some cases.

Van West-Charles has been told that the forms are to be distributed through the party’s regional administration. However, what has been happening, he explained, is that forms are being sent to the regions and when they are finished a request has to be made to the party headquarters for more, resulting in a delay. He said the procedures needs to be re-examined for the future, adding that they should also be put down in writing so that every member understands the process.

According to him, there is need for a system that allows members access to forms and accountability for them. “That is the issue, there should not be any form of delay,” he said, “But it is obvious that there is not as efficient a system as there ought to be and one gets concerned when we have inefficient systems, because when we have inefficient systems the risk for corruption becomes great.”

He emphasised that the PNCR “really ought to try” as an institution to ensure that its systems are efficient and effective, particularly given the need to ensure that there is transparency in the process. “Whilst you may say that I know ‘X’ and I trust ‘X,’ in organisations you really want to ensure systems are transparent so that if I want to verify I can verify,” Van West-Charles added.

He also mentioned that he is still awaiting a response to his request for a review of the register of the Georgetown District, though he said the party had assured him that a reply would be forthcoming.

When Burnham was "God", Van West Charles was "Baby Jesus"!

Baby Jesus is already feeling the effects of the PNC rigging machinery!

GuySuCo takes over Skeldon Sugar Factory

The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has taken over the Skeldon Sugar Factory following a successful testing period. Kaieteur News was told yesterday that the sugar company assumed control of the new factory at the end of April.

Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud said that the factory has been producing sugar for the entire crop and electricity for GPL using bagasse.

According to Persaud, the Chinese contractors still maintain a relatively effective presence at the factory working with the local team.

“GuySuCo’s efforts are focused on expanding and accelerating cane cultivation and improving the capacity of the Guyanese team managing the factory and electricity generation activities,” Persaud said.

Strengthening the Nation's Security

Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee Saturday handed over two Nissan 4X4 pick ups and five boats fitted with 40hp Yamaha engines to Community Policing Groups (CPGs) in E & F Division (Bartica/ Mazaruni) to assist in policing the community.

The handing over of the equipment was in keeping with the promise made by President Bharrat Jagdeo in February 2008, following the attack on the community by armed gun men which left 12 persons dead, including three policemen.

These items were purchased from the $25M budgeted by Government this year to support the work of CPGs. Last year $50M was expended to purchase vehicles and equipment for groups to combat the upsurge in crime.

At a meeting with representatives of the 10 CPGs in the community, the Minister said that he was happy to be informed that the security situation was back to normal. He expressed his appreciation to the CPGs for giving voluntary service to ensure the safety of the community.

He encouraged the members to be good examples in the community, as community policing was a serious business and for them to be taken seriously, they must be respected.

Addressing the issue of domestic violence, the Minister urged the groups to get involved in the affairs of the community. He said that they should not turn a blind eye to domestic violence, as it leads to more serious acts which would eventually affect the entire community.

The handing over of the equipment, the Minister said, was indicative of Government’s commitment to community policing as it is viewed as a vital part of the crime fighting strategy.

Minister Rohee said that members should ensure that the vehicles and boats are used to assist in policing the area and they be watchful to prevent misuse.

The members also raised several issues that were affecting them. These included the area housing the Bartica Arcade on First Avenue being used to conduct illegal activities, pollution of the river by mining concessions, the noise nuisance in particular areas, individuals using cars registered for private use to transport passengers and the congestion on the roadway to the stelling on ‘Boat days’.

The Minister promised to address these issues with the relevant authorities. He told residents that they would have to work with the police to put an end to the undesirable activities in the community.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

OBSERVATION: Further evidence of Political Prostitution!

Adam Harris I also note that the politicians who just a few weeks called for Mrs van Beek’s resignation as Commissioner of Insurance have changed their tune. Suddenly they recognize that she has been doing a great job.
There is a television series entitled ‘As the world turns’. Ours is really turning.

Friday, May 8, 2009

ATN's 6% advisory fee not considered by the Government to be a legitimate expense-Brassington!

Speaking during an interview at the NCN studio yesterday, Government Representative on the Board of Directors of the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GT&T) Company, Winston Brassington, stated that the Government opposed the accounts of GT&T for last year on the basis that they did not consider the six percent advisory fee to be a legitimate expense.

Last year, he highlighted, following a number of questions on the advisory fee, Government abstained from voting on the accounts.

Brassington explained that the 1990 sale agreement with ATN and the Government of Guyana stated that management services may be provided by ATN or by its subsidiaries, provided that they are approved by the Board.

“We do not consider the advisory fees to be management services, because despite inquiries, they have not been justified as representing legitimate management services; therefore we can’t conclude that any of those payments represents value for services rendered,” he contended.

He said that Government views the advisory fee, which is quite significant, as a distribution. Within the last five years, Brassington said over five billion dollars in advisory fees has been paid, averaging over a billion dollars per year.

“The company’s revenue last year exceeded $19B, and if you take 50 percent of that in the last 10 years it has been approximately $10B, and since the privatisation of GT&T over $15B in advisory fees has been paid,” Brassington stated.

“We believe that the advisory fees should be treated below the line as the distribution. They would therefore not be eligible as a deductible expense, so taxes will have to be paid on the amount and The National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), as a 20 percent shareholder on behalf of Government, would be entitled to 20 percent of that,” he said.

Government's shares in GT&T up for sale!

Government Representative on the Board of Directors of the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GT&T) Company, Winston Brassington, yesterday said that Government has formally indicated to the Atlantic Tele Network (ATN) its intention to sell its 20 percent share in the local phone company.

Brassington made these remarks during an interview with the National Communications Network (NCN) following the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting.

“We formally indicated to ATN that we would like to sell our 20 percent share in GT&T and we are first offering it to ATN. Should ATN decline to buy our shares, we would then seek to sell it to third parties,” Brassington said.

He said Government has been contemplating this decision for a while now.

“We have indicated to ATN that if they wish not to buy our shares, then we reserve the right to sell it to third parties. GT&T is an extremely profitable company; last year the profit after tax exceeded $4B from the year before, so we believe that our shares are valuable.”

Guyana's GDP projected to grow 2.6% by the IMF despite a 1.3% decline in Global Economic activity!

The April 2009 World Economic Outlook (WEO) which presents the International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff's analysis and projections of economic developments has projected that Guyana’s economy will grow by 2.604% in 2009, and by 3.448% in 2010.

In contrast, “even with determined steps to return the financial sector to health and continued use of macroeconomic policy levers to support aggregate demand, global activity is projected to contract by 1.3% in 2009,” the report stated.

“Moreover, the downturn is truly global: output per capita is projected to decline in countries representing three-quarters of the global economy. Growth is projected to re-emerge in 2010, but at 1.9 percent it would be sluggish”, the report continued.

The report also projects that the economies of Latin American and Caribbean countries will shrink by 1.5% as a result of the financial turbulence, slumping demand from advanced economies, especially the United States which is the largest trading partner for the region, and the resulting fall in commodity prices.

Guyana’s inflation rate for 2009 will be a modest 3.639%, and 4.975% in 2010, the IMF has projected.

OBSERVATION: Prophets of doom proven wrong!

It is amazing in Guyana how some relish the spreading of negativity and pessimism, especially when it pertain to national achievements that reflects governmental success, even when these successes will benefit the entire nation.

Unfortunately, many Guyanese have become gullible to rumours, hearsay and pessimism and fall prey to these gigantic and well constructed rumour mills and as such become blind to positives.

A case in point is the new Skeldon Sugar Factory, a project which all Guyanese should be proud of because its success will benefit this entire nation and it is the most modern factory in this part of the world. Instead, some were making “minced meat” out of the start up problems and blowing them out of proportion. Some went as far as spreading the outrageous rumour that the factory may not be able to become operational because of poor design and shaky foundations to name a few .

These rumours persisted despite the fact that the construction company made it clear from the inception of the project that a project of such huge proportions is bound to experience initial start up problems. And when the factory was indeed completed it did experience some problems but here again the construction company assured that they will be fixed.

What is interesting that the very people who were blowing the initial problems out of proportion suddenly became absolutely quiet when the problems were fixed, but as expected they did not highlight or mention this fact. But rest assured that should any problems develop they will awake from their slumber like a dormant volcano unleashing their salvo with full vigour. They seem so excited and enthused to pump up failures, which are inevitable, but become paralysed when successes are achieved.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Vybz Kartel banned by Grenada!

The Government of Grenada recently denied the leader of the Portmore Empire a work permit. This is on the basis of the possibility of lewd and crewed music that could be given to the folks on the island for consumption. The speculations are that Grenada has some vendetta since the 1983 invasions but you can rest a sure that this is not the case.
The Government in Jamaica recently banned the explicit lyrics among other things off the airwaves, Guyana also imposed a ban on Movado as well as well a number of other Caribbean countries unwilling to have the minds, hearts and souls of their people poisoned by the potent content of these artiste lyrics.
Though acts have cleaned up a bit since the music ban.. especially Kartel... with quite a few lyrics emphasising his love for money. The money theme itself can be interpreted as trying to get money by all means and thus falls mostly in the immoral and illegal categories of trying to get that scarce set of paper. This could now stand as the basis for a rejection for a man like Kartel who doesn't have much of a clean lyrics reputation in the music business.
I dont know perhaps the ban does not stop here, the precedence has been set.. so you will find that whatever reason these countries ban certain artiste... chances are the other countries will follow suit.

Jamaicans deplore $4000 minimum wage!

Honestly this government must take us all for first class idiots. Just look into the situation the minimum wage was three thousand and seven hundred dollars. Following the budget debate the grand announcement was made that it will not be four thousand, wow, imagine that all of three hundred dollars has gone on it. Imagine dat, the government is so thoughtful…they are thinking about all those poor mothers who are struggling to send their children to school and put food on the table…jeez, I’m so overwhelmed at their generosity that I want to cry.

Yeah right, if I shed any tears it will be for the poor mothers and fathers who are already struggling and now it seems as if there is no real end in sight.

Three hundred dollars…and let’s see they put over eight dollars on the hike on gas, they didn’t touch rum and cigarettes, they tax noodle, salt and all the basic stuff that poor people need and yet they somehow imagine that $4000 per week is enough to put food on the table, pay the bills and get the kids off to school.

I lift my hat to all those champion women out there who are beating the odds and managing to somehow make two ends meet…even though in others eyes it’s a miracle.

For real the minimum wage is a biggest joke I have ever seen, the only thing is I can’t afford to laugh.

It’s time that emphasis is placed on the real background of the country, the hardworking mothers and fathers who are still managing to maintain their home and provide decent values for their children. The minimum wage is a joke with the only ones laughing are those who claim to care about us. Posted by yardFlex

Friday, May 1, 2009

Ramjattan sells his duty free letter for a few pieces of silver.

We have learnt through our usually reliable sources that AFC Co Chairman, M.P and Attorney-at-law, Khemraj Ramjattan has sold his duty free letter granted to him as a result of his membership of Parliament for 3 years as is stipulated, to a popular city businessman. An act of this nature usually entails the purchasing of perhaps a vehicle or whatever, in the name of the person to whom the concession was granted to even though it will be the property of the buyer of the concession letter. What we are asking, however, is if this constitutes an act of criminality.

Is R Kelly involved with a man?

Nah someone must be lying this hell can’t be true. If the report on mediatakeout is anything to go by then very soon an explosive book will be hitting the shelves on the singer’s so called affair with a man who is only going by the name of ‘Russell’.
Russell claims he will be telling all and will be coming with some shocking secrets…if that’s the case we all we can say is let’s see what he has.

Is this another personality issue?

In examining the criticisms leveled against the Former President's Benefit Bill by the main Opposition party, the PNC/R, one gets a profound sense of suspicion, especially as their particular focus on the current President becomes clearer to all and sundry when in fact the current Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds, will also be a beneficiary of this bill as he functioned as Guyana's President after the death of Dr Cheddi Jagan. No amount of emphasis is being placed on this fact! Why?
What's all this fuss about guys? These are all efforts aimed at ensuring that the holders of these constitutional posts are guaranteed their benefits. And also the tabling and subsequent passing of this law will ensure that these benefits and conditions are enshrined in the laws and not left up to the discretion of Cabinet or any other body.
I was looking at a recent episode of Nation Watch where the issue was being discussed at length by Lance Carberry and Aubrey Norton and from what I gathered these objections by the PNC/R stemmed from a statement made by Dr Luncheon which had absolutely nothing to do with the content of the Bill.
Guyana has suffered a lot as a result of the PNC's selfishness and many are becoming intolerant of it.
As I understand, most of what is contained in the Bill are benefits currently being enjoyed by high ranking government officials and their equivalent in the Opposition the only difference now is that it's being made statutory via the Bill. The PNC is yet to tell us otherwise!

The PNC/R is guilty of making irresponsible and proactive statements against Government's efforts to tackle crime-Rohee

HOME Affairs Minister Clement Rohee yesterday slammed the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) for peddling falsehoods about the People’s Progressive Party (PPP/C) administration in its (PNCR’s) continuing efforts to gain a political niche in order to ensure its survival.
The PNCR at its press conference yesterday cited the Monica Reece case as it seeks to make the connection that the Administration has links to the criminal under-world.
Minister Rohee, in an invited comment on the PNCR statement, stated that to say that the administration has prevented any investigation into the Monica Reece case is a blatant falsehood. Reece was murdered and her body was dumped on Main Street in 1993.
He said the then Commissioner of Police had never made any claims about being prevented from investigating the case by the administration. Minister Rohee said until the then Commissioner reveals that he or officers under his command were prevented from investigating the Reece case then, it is clear that the opposition party’s statements have no credibility.
The Minister called on the opposition party to support its claim by producing evidence that the drug-underworld and other criminal enterprises are strengthening their hold on law enforcement agencies in Guyana, rendering them impotent to deal with drug-related crimes.
Minister Rohee said the PNCR should also explain “how is it that the law enforcement has been able to make such significant breakthroughs in this country...and how they managed to capture and exterminate many of the leaders of gangs that were terrorizing this country.”
He noted that if the PNCR’s allegations were indeed true, then citizens of this country would not be living in the relative tranquility that it is experiencing right now.
The Minister debunked the statement that the Jagdeo administration has resorted to the use of drug lords and phantom killers. “This is clearly a political statement without any foundation whatsoever, and it must be dealt with as such. To say that the Jagdeo administration has resorted to the use of drug-lords and killers is a figment of the PNC’s imagination; they seem to be living in a world which has no connections to Guyana,” the Minister said.
The PNCR also believes that the police are being prevented from acting ‘professionally’ during investigations of the Maria van Beek shooting. Minister Rohee disputed this, saying that so far the police have brought three suspects under scrutiny.
“They have had identification parades and as far as I am aware professional policemen around the world never cease investigations. They may go to a cold case but they never cease investigations, because a criminal may escape the clutch of the law today, but we all know from experience that eventually the law catches up with the perpetrator; so I think this rush to judgment is very unhelpful and is to be condemned for its falsehood,” he said
The PNCR said they are convinced that the Government’s approach of being complicit with crime and criminals is responsible for criminals not having to worry that they will be brought to justice.
“I would not give credence to this statement, because again it’s a political statement without any foundation. What we have in this country is the freedom of people to make statements of this type and not be brought to book to prove that they have any truth in them. The PNC is taking advantage of this…making irresponsible and proactive statements against an administration which is trying its best to rein in and uncover the criminal underworld in this country, to make its people safe,” he said.

VIEWPOINT: Gay Mc Dougall should be investigated

TODD MORGAN: Gay MacDougall, the U.N Independent Expert on minority Issues has done considerable damage to race relations and democracy in Guyana. Worst yet, she has done irreparable damage to the high U.N. office she holds. It goes without saying that she has also fundamentally compromised her own credibility. Henceforth, Gay McDougall will become known for her partially, where should be impartial; carelessness, where should be meticulous; and irresponsible, where she should be judicious.
McDougall’s Partiality – The Report filed by McDougall reads like excerpts of the racialised anti-government letters written in the Guyana press and hate blogs. If McDougall was indeed an independent Expert she would be studied the ways in which the opposition has used race-based discourses as political resource, rather than as objective expressions of injustice.
Instead of analyzing the race-based narrative of the counter-democratic forces as a strategy of political competition, McDougall treats them as ‘objectives texts’ which must be used as legitimate documents. No expert on Guyana would do this. Worse yet, no impartial Independent Expert would read one set of narratives while marginalizing others.
Any impartial expert in a conflict would take the time to present a comprehensive perspective of the factual situation that exists on the ground. In doing so, the expert would exercise a high degree of professionalism by accurately representing all dimensions of a conflict. This particular expert, however, found one side guilty. Quite fantastically, instead of presenting the complex sociological situation in Guyana, Ms. McDougall laid all the blame on Indians and the PPP. In simple language, this U.N. expert displayed clear bias for the opposition, and one ethnic group.
The expert’s bias can be clearly illustrated by looking at the way she deals with the armed forces in Guyana. Although Africans up about 30% of Guyana’s population, they make up over 90% of the armed forces. All reports prior to McDougall’s have rightfully seen this as wrong. Gay McDougall, however, uses the dominance of Africans in the Military against Indians when she says that Indians are afraid of the military because of their ethnicity. This is a particular egregious instance of this Independent Expert’s aggressive partially.
McDougall’s Carelessness – Ms. McDougall is a Yale Law School graduate. She knows the difference between hear-say and facts, and the difference between allegations and evidence. Most of all, she knows that great care should be exercised in the collection of evidence in getting a solid understanding. Despite her training, Gay McDougall spent three days in a country of 83,000 square miles separated with endless rivers and interior regions. Three days.
She was apparently ill during one of those days. It appears therefore, that her investigation lasted two days! McDougall could have only arrived at her conclusions through one of three procedures, namely – (1) the sociology and politics of country is so transparent it could be read from the most cursory of inspections; (2) she held several (round-the-clock) focus group meetings/hearings and heard pretty much the same story; (3) she arrived in the country without adequate preparation and instead of engaging in wide-ranging fact-finding, she confined her conversation to one segment of the population.
The first option is not possible. Guyana is not transparent. No matter how small, no country can be so read from the hotel window, even under Western eyes. The Caribbean is known for its complexity.
The second option, that is, several focus group meetings were held in the 2-3 days research visit in Guyana, did not happen. We know this because the government of Guyana has publicly stated that it sought consultations with Ms. McDougall but were unsuccessful. Her meeting with the President was ceremonial – a matter of protocol, not investigative.
It must be that Gay McDougall’s fact finding mission in Guyana developed through the third strategy, namely conversation with one group, or more accurately, one segment of one ethnic group.
A clear illustration of McDougall’s carelessness can be found in her representation of the spatial structure of Guyana. She complains about villages being dominated by one group without properly describing the circumstances which led to this. She also neglects to mention that since 1992, Presidents C. Jagan, J, Jagan, and B. Jagdeo have distributed about 70,000 house lots, and the most new housing schemes are multiracial. McDougall could know this because she only visited Georgetown and Buxton.
This is utter and unforgivable carelessness for anymore, but especially for an official from a High office on the United Nations.
Irresponsible Report – The last thing that United Nations should do is to allow its offices to be used to legitimize violence, albeit under the name of resistance. Gay McDougall’s report clearly gives succor to counter-democratic elements in Guyana who have been engaging in wanton killing and even in massacres. The U.N. has not been in that business before, and it should not start now. The U.N. should ask McDougall why she did not go to Lusignan, the village that was massacred. In the political logic supported by McDougall, the massacre (of Indians) at Lusignan was understandable, if not justified.
McDougall spent three days in Guyana and had some conversations with a small group of people. She obviously did so through a prism of pre-analytic and politicized dispositions. She then filed an Expert Report!
Gay McDougall will no doubt go on to another case and file another report. It might very well be better than the one she did on Guyana. But one thing is for sure. Her report will be the basis for deepening antagonisms in Guyana.
This is very unfortunate because Ms. McDougall could have really used the multilateral authority of the U.N. to move to Guyana one step forward. She chose not to do so, and for that must only be credited with rolling back race relations in a country that is trying hard to be better.
The U.N. should appoint a small team of Independent Experts to investigate McDougall’s partial, careless, and irresponsible report.

Jagan's family home donated to the National Trust

DESIGNED by Dr. Cheddi Jagan and constructed in 1966, this simple edifice that encapsulates the essences of two iconic figures in the landscape of Guyana’s history was gifted to the National Trust by only daughter of Dr. and Mrs Jagan, Nadira Jagan-Brancier, during a simple handing-over ceremony held on the lawns and presided over by Presidential Advisor Navin Chanderpal at 17.00 hrs yesterday afternoon.
Mr. Chanderpal said the event marked a historic moment in memory of two great patriots, and that the Jagans were two idols who, despite extraordinary public lives, lived very simple private lives.
Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture Dr. Frank Anthony, lauded the act of donating to the nation the home where Dr. and Mrs. Jagan spent most of their adult lives, which will enable the public to have insights into the private lives of two national leaders who have made landmark contributions to the development of the nation and create a heritage site for all Guyanese to understand the historic proceedings of the nation.
Nadira, who has always been the most dutiful and supportive daughter, spoke movingly of the simple lifestyles of her dearly beloved parents and the great love and happiness shared by the small family in this simple home built by a man who retained his simplicity all his life despite reaching great heights in public life.
She said that, except for a few minor changes she had made when her mom returned to live in her home, the house was exactly the same as when her father first built it.
In the study of the home, two photographs displayed capture a picture of a leader sharing moments of happiness with his grandchildren ensconced within his arms in a hammock, which Nadira describes as the one essential comfort zone in his life, and which could be found wherever he spent any length of time.
Nadira said that the eclectic literary tastes of both her parents are reflected in the diversity of the reading material in their library, with every genre of literature collected over a lifetime on display, but that the paintings and Objets D’Art reflect her mother’s love for things cultural and beautiful.
However, things green and beautiful in her father’s garden reflect his love for plants and growing things, because the towering mango and other fruit trees, as well as the flowers and rare orchids that he cultivated are a testimony of his grounding with his roots in the agricultural belt in Berbice.
She said that the logistics of times for public showings are still being fine-tuned, but that provision will be made for those who cannot visit during weekdays.
President Bharrat Jagdeo, in a brief address, said that he endorsed the sentiments expressed and thanked Nadira for what he described as her tremendous act of generosity.
He said that Guyanese would have been otherwise deprived of the rare opportunity of understanding the outstanding persons that Dr. and Mrs. Jagan were. He described Nadira’s prodigious efforts at cataloguing and preparing the books, documents and artifacts left by Dr. and Mrs. Jagan as a tremendous contribution to the Cheddi Jagan Reading and Research Centre.
The President said that the things the Jagans had believed in are enshrined in just a short walk through their simple home and expressed the hope that children who would not have experienced these amazing personalities in their lifetimes would, from this monument to their private lives, be enabled an understanding of the role they had played in the formation of Guyana and its progress.
A tour of the house after the formalities unveiled the soul of a home which encapsulates the quintessential spirit of two monumental human beings with hearts large enough to cradle the entire family of humanity.