Slothfulness, unprofessionalism at Govt Valuation Office

first_imgDear Editor,I wish to bring to the attention of the general public and the relevant authorities the unprofessionalism and slothfulness of the Government Valuation Office when it comes to completing a valuation of a property. Since last month I have been following up a request for a valuation to be completed on a property that I am about to sell. I have been given the royal run-around and there appears to be no end in sight.In March 2018, the GRA issued a statement indicating that it “wishes to announce that with immediate effect, a valuation is not required when applying for a Certificate of Compliance to transfer land or property by way of sale, gift or tender. This intervention is intended to relieve the procedural strain and burden on the taxpayers”. This information can be corroborated from the GRA’s website via the link:, there is still a need for a Valuation Certificate to be done since it is required by the banks when they are being requested to finance a property acquisition. In this case, this is exactly what has happened; the proposed buyer needs a loan from the bank and has requested a valuation before an agreement of sale and purchase is signed, which is of course, very reasonable.I first contacted the Valuation Office in the last week of January and was told that the valuation would take “a couple days”. It has now been over two weeks and I am still without a valuation after several frustrating follow-up calls and visits to the Valuation Office.After several frustrating attempts to follow-up with Mr Paul (the Valuator), last week I attempted to speak with Mr Barrington, who oversees the Valuation Office, however, this has proven futile since he is always “busy” or “out of office”.Last week, I was told by Mr Paul to come on Friday at 13:30h to collect the valuation. When I arrived, I was told that Mr Barrington had to sign the document and he would not be in office until Monday. I was requested to visit the office once again on Monday morning. I visited again, as requested, at 10h and was once again told that Mr Barrington “has not come in as yet” and I should visit in the afternoon at 14:00h. I complied and visited at 14:00h, but still, Mr Barrington had not signed the valuation as he was “busy and only came in for a few minutes and then left”.Editor, I am an understanding person and know that at times these officials can be busy but what is so difficult in having an alternate sign off a document in your absence. I have already paid the fees for the valuation and I am currently at the mercy of the Valuation Office.I can only hope and pray that when I do eventually get the document the potential buyer is still interested. I have turned away other enquires about the property since I already committed to selling to an individual, however, she and I cannot go ahead with the agreement until a valuation is done and the bank gives its approval of the financing. I have, thus far, expended significant time and finances in this process and I am frustrated and fed up.Yours Sincerely,Name and addressprovidedlast_img read more

Political parties should refrain from “jingoistic” approaches to governance

first_imgDear Editor,Over the past few days, I have attended the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, with its expansive display by hundreds of companies and countries, including Guyana, as well as conference sessions and collateral events.Guyana is well represented at this conference, and it must be a fascinating reality check for many of us, I would think.I have always been aware that our oil and gas industry would be a boost to our economy, but must admit that what I have learnt during this conference has really opened my eyes to the enormity of the positive impact this sector can have on the quality of life of the Guyanese people; if we manage it well and confront some of the challenges, including social ills such as human trafficking, which are likely to intensify as our level of prosperity is heightened.I really hope that all Guyanese, especially our politicians, can come to grips with the reality that if they do what is right they could chart a course that would provide for every Guyanese to enjoy a quality of life about which they never dreamt.On Wednesday there was a session on Guyana, which focused on sustainable development of Guyana’s oil and gas industry. It was a good panel discussion. While much of the information was not new, what made it useful were the perspectives offered about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (swot) which the sector must analyse and address.One panellist spoke of the “complex political structure” in Guyana, which I interpreted to be among the challenges which must be addressed if the sector is to realise its full potential to be of benefit to each and every Guyanese.I would hope that, in quick time, the political structure of Guyana would change via constitutional reform. In the meantime, however, it is my fervent wish that the political culture in Guyana would change even sooner, thereby providing for heightened collaboration among the major political parties, and drastic reduction in the real and/or perceived animosity which exists among them.Guyana has to have a predictable environment to facilitate investment, private sector and economic development, and job creation. This requires consultation and collaboration among the parties, which would provide for continuity of policies whenever there is a change in Government.In short, what I am proposing is that the major political parties refrain from their “jingoistic” approaches to governance, and work toward some form of unified governance which would not negate a reasonable plurality of outlook, but presuppose it.Seeking to eschew corruption in all its forms and at every level must be the pillar of their collaborative efforts, along with putting an end to political favouritism/loyalty in the appointments to key positions. Perhaps it is time that the major political parties seek to attract to their ranks and leadership persons with a greater commitment to ‘Putting Guyana First’. Failure to so do could torpedo the good life, of which the country is now positioned on its cusp.Some time ago, I attended a business meeting in Curacao at which Paul Keens Douglas was the keynote speaker at one of the luncheon sessions. In referring to “group think” of regional politicians, he said these guys “feel their countries are at the precipice of great developments, and all they have to do is take one great step forward.” Let’s hope this is not the current thinking of our Guyanese politicians.Regards,Wesley Kirtonlast_img read more

Guyana to host CPL 2016 finals

first_imgAfter months of speculation as to where the final of the 2016 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament will take place, it has been confirmed that Guyana will host the August 7, 2016 showpiece after outbidding Jamaica and two-time hosts Trinidad and Tobago.Guyana’s Education Minister, who has responsibility for Sport, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine confirmed this to Guyana Times on Tuesday evening, but did not elaborate.“Yes, we have the finals,” said Dr Roopnaraine, who explained that he was in a meeting, but promised to provide further details to this publication today.Reports are that the Guyana Government had outdone the Governments of Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica in a three-way bid to host the final.Guyana will also host both semi-finals which will take place at the Providence Stadium as well.It will be the first time that the final will be hosted in Guyana, having been hosted by T&T twice and once by St Kitts/Nevis.While the games will not be played in the month of May, they are expected to be used as part of the activities to celebrate the country’s 50th Independence Anniversary which will climax on May 26, the date Guyana gained independence from Britain.CPL 2016 is slated for June-July, and apart from the on-field action, the country’s economy is set to receive a massive boost, given the business and tourism potential that CPL has been able to realise in three short years.Guyana Amazon Warriors have been among the success stories of CPL, having made it to the first two finals, narrowly losing to Jamaica Tallawahs in 2013 and suffering a controversial defeat to Barbados a year later.In 2015, Guyana Amazon Warriors made it to the semi-finals, losing out to eventual champions Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel.The CPL since its creation in 2013 has created thousands of jobs across the Caribbean and generated millions of US dollars for the Region’s economy.The tournament attracts some of the biggest names in T20 cricket around the world.last_img read more

Wakenaam businessman killed during attempted robbery in city

first_imgA Wakenaam, Essequibo Island, businessman was shot and killed on Tuesday, after two bandits attempted to rob him of his bag. The incident occurred sometime around 11:05h on Alexander Street, between Regent and Robb Streets, Georgetown.Dead is 26-year-old Mahendra Persaud, called “Amar”, of Lot 22 Good Success, Wakenaam. The man, who ran his family-owned supermarket, got married in February.Investigators at the scene following Tuesday’s shootingDead: Businessman Mahendra PersaudGuyana Times understands that Persaud was on his weekly trip to Georgetown to get goods for the business and was in the front passenger seat in the parked vehicle along with his driver on Alexander Street in front of the Torginol building, when two men road up alongside him on a CG motorcycle.As he was existing the vehicle, one of the men whom was armed demanded that he hand over the bag which contained a large sum of money; however, Persaud put up resistance. A struggle then ensued between the businessman and the bandit during which Persaud was shot.The 26-year-old fell to the ground but held on to the bag as the armed man continued his attempt to relieve him of it. At this point, a licensed firearm holder who was in the area pulled out his weapon and went to Persaud’s aid. However, the bandit saw the armed man approaching and let go of the bag, and began running.Further information revealed that as the bandit was running in the direction of Robb Street, the licensed firearm holder opened fire in his direction. There was an exchange of gunfire between the two men during which the bandit was reportedly hit. Nevertheless, the injured bandit managed to escape as his accomplice was waiting at the corners of Robb and Alexander Streets.On the other hand, as gunshots ran out, the driver of a car that was approaching the scene reportedly panicked and ran over Persaud, who was lying at the corner of the road. The injured businessman was picked up by his driver and immediately rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival (DoA).Persaud reportedly sustained three gunshot wounds, one to his neck and two others to his chest.Meanwhile, at the Georgetown Public Hospital, the young man’s aunt,Dr Koushilyia Persaud, who is a staff at the medical facility, related that she was informed of the shooting by their driver and immediately rushed to Accident and Emergency (A&E) Unit where her worst fears were confirmed.The woman said that her nephew’s parents separated, so he grew up with her and her parents. “He and his younger brother were brought up by my parents and so we are all very close… I can’t believe that he is gone… he used to come visit me every time he is in town and would bring me lunch,” the grieving woman lamented.The aunt described the 26-year-old as a friendly, non-confrontational, funny and helpful young man who just began life, having got married just two months ago.Back home in Wakenaam, the news of Persaud’s death spread, leaving relatives and friends shocked and dumbfounded. Persons began gathering at his home to extend condolences to his family. The man’s friends even blocked off the street in front of his home with motorcycles and vehicles as they mourned his untimely demise.They described him as a very independent and consoling friend who is always willing to lend a helping hand to whomever is in need. Many persons even took to social media on Persaud’s facebook page, expressing their shock and sympathy over his sudden death.According to Police reports, the bag that Persaud had in his possession was recovered and handed over to relatives. The Police also revealed in a statement that a man was seen attempting to change the number plate of the vehicle that had run over the Wakenaam businessman. He has since been arrested and told investigators that he is a mechanic who was asked to replace the number plate by the owner. The car has been impounded.The Police said they are yet to arrest the driver of the car. Nevertheless, Head of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Wendell Blanhum told Guyana Times that they are looking for an individual who is known to the Police.The Crime Chief disclosed that investigators were able to obtain CCTV footage from the area and were able to identify one of the suspects. Investigations are continuing.last_img read more

Mazaruni Prison to house more prisoners from Georgetown

first_imgMore prison blocks are being built at the Mazaruni Prison in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) to facilitate aPresident David Granger and other officals during his visit to the Mazaruni Prisonmassive transfer of prisoners from the Georgetown Prison in an effort to ease the overcrowding at the facility.This was disclosed by President David Granger who was at the time responding to questions posed by media operatives during his weekly telecast ‘The Public Interest’.In light of last month’s deadly prison riot, Government began taking proactive measures towards ensuring there is no repeat of the situation.“The problems will not be resolved unless there is a massive redeployment of prisoners from Georgetown to Mazaruni… Mazaruni has the space and it needs to be reinforced and fortified,” Granger emphasised.In fact, he outlined three basic issues that need to be addressed in order to effect successful reforms to the prison system.UnprofessionalismPresident Granger ranked the second biggest problem contributing to the weakness of the prison service as the staff – their limited numbers and unprofessionalism. He said arrangements are being made to provide these individuals with enhanced training.Returning to the issue of overcrowding, Granger pointed out that it is a consequence of the criminal justice system – an element which the prison service has no control over.“So if the Magistrate remands someone to prison then the prison service is obliged to keep that person,” he explained.Nonetheless, he assured that engagements are ongoing between the executive branch and the judicial branch to examine the sentencing policies to ensure that custodial sentences would be reviewed so that there will not be a huge buildup of persons on remand in the prison.According to the Head of State, it appears that the prisoners on remand are the ones more likely to rebel than those who have been convicted.Contraband tradeAnother issue that needs to be addressed is the smuggling of contraband items into the prison.President Granger indicated that changes in this regard will occur overtime, once the first three problems identified above are addressed fully.“It is impossible for that level of contraband traffic to have occurred without the complicity of a few officers,” he noted.On this note, the Commander-in-Chief said the main purpose of the heightened cordons around the Camp Street facility is to ensure persons no longer throw items over the fence into the prison compound.last_img read more

Several Lindeners fined for DUI offences

first_imgSeveral Lindeners were fined for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol on Wednesday when they appeared at the Linden Magistrate’s Court before Magistrate Rushelle Liverpool.The offences all carried a fine of 00 with default sentences ranging from a week to two weeks in prison. Neil Patterson was fined for the offence when he was found guilty of driving pickup PJJ691 along Sir David Rose Avenue, Mackenzie, on Thursday 6 August, while his breath alcohol level was 110 micrograms, which is above the prescribed limit. Failure to pay the sum will result in a default sentence of a week in prison.Floyd Wilson was also fined for the offence of DUI. The court heard that on Sunday 9 October, he drove car PSS9186 on the Kara Kara public road, Mackenzie, with his breath alcohol level at 42 micrograms. Failure to pay the sum will result in a default sentence of two weeks in prison.Additionally, Victor Edward of Speightland, Mackenzie, was charged and fined in relation to the offence. Facts of the case indicated that he drove car PPP9272 on Greenheart Street, Mackenzie, on Wednesday 5 October, while his breath alcohol level was 139 micrograms. Failure to pay the sum will result in a default sentence of two weeks in prison.Meanwhile, Richard Gomes of South Amelia’s Ward, Mackenzie, was also fined in a DUI offence: The charge against him read that he drove a car along the Kara Kara Public Road on October 9, while his breath alcohol level was 72 micrograms. Failure to pay the sum will result in a default sentence of two weeks in prison.Also fined in connection with DUI was Ray Murray of Central Amelia’s Ward. The court heard that he drove car PNN3235 on Greenheart Street, with his breath alcohol level at 67 micrograms. The fine carries a default sentence of two weeks imprisonment.Similarly, Patriece McPherson of Old Kara Kara was fined in connection with driving a vehicle while his breath alcohol level exceeded the prescribed limit.The court heard that he drove van PHH3551 on Greenheart Street on Wednesday 5 October while his breath alcohol level was 45 micrograms. The fine carries a default sentence of two weeks in prison.Ras Marcus Mckenzie of Central Amelia’s Ward was also fined 00 after he was found guilty of driving car PNN5490 along the Kara Kara Public Road on Sunday 9 October while his breath alcohol level was 98 micrograms.In addition, Dwayne Oudkerk also of Central Amelia’s Ward was fined when he was found guilty of driving car PNN3417 on the Washer Pond Road, Mackenzie, on October 7 while his breath alcohol level was 40 micrograms. Failure to pay the sum will result in a default sentence of two weeks in prison.Jillian Benjamin of Noitgedacht was also slapped with a fine after being found guilty of driving motorcycle CG2778 along the Washer Pond Road while his breath alcohol level was 43 micrograms.Failure to pay the fine will result in a default sentence of two weeks imprisonment.last_img read more

Rainy Season Woes

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Playing with the People’s Health

first_imgDoes the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOH) truly have no mechanism in place to monitor what is happening in the nation’s hospitals and clinics?You mean this Ministry did not know that the Barconnie Clinic in the country’s second oldest county, Grand Bassa, has not been functioning since the day it was dedicated three years ago by President Sirleaf herself?Besides, what about the county’s politicians–those who follow in the noble  tradition of Stephen Allen Benson and Joseph J. Cheeseman, respectively the second and 12th Presidents of Liberia?  You mean the President pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Senator G. Findley and Senator Nyonblee Kangar Lawrence, her predecessor, the late John Francis Whitfield and all of Grand Bassa’s Members of the House of Representatives–did do not know that Barconnie Clinic has been closed since the very day the President opened it in 2011?Well, that is what our young reporter Conscience Tequah told the nation in yesterday’s Daily Observer.  Quoting Barconnie Town Chief Alphonso Gee (which means leopard in the Bassa language) Tequah said that during the dedication ceremony, there were furniture and staff at the clinic.  Town Chief Gee was quoted as saying, “We as community dwellers, along with the neighboring communities, were very happy because we felt that our health problems would be solved.“But surprisingly, after Madam Sirleaf left that day, we saw a big truck come and take away everything within the place and the nurses we saw earlier  also left.”When the people asked why the furniture had been taken away, they were told that “those materials did not belong to us.”The County Authority told the people, “There is no money for the clinic.” What a grand deception!  We must remember that the Barconnie Clinic was opened in the heat of the 2011 elections campaign, when all the Bassa politicians and county officials sought to gain heavy political capital from it.This kind of raw political deception, hypocrisy and downright selfishness and mean-spiritedness has to stop.  Remember, Conscience’s report said that just next to the Barconnie Clinic is an elementary school with 250 children.  They and the surrounding communities, two to three hours walk from Barconnie, had hoped that this clinic would be a salvation for them.Now, according to Town Chief Gee, people are using the clinic buildings for their latrine.  The roads are also bad, and patients, including expecting mothers, have to use motorbikes to reach the hospital in Buchanan.  “We have lost many babies and other people that way,” Town Chief Gee said.  What a disgrace, happening in the heart of one of the nation’s leading political subdivisions!  You mean the Superintendent at the time, Julia Duncan Cassell, now Minister of Gender, and other county officials could not have contacted some of the big companies in the county, such as Arcelor Mittal and the equally deceptive Buchanan Renewables, to DO something about Barconnie Clinic?The school was opened by the United Nations Special Representative, Karen Landgren.  At the time, the grateful people thanked her and expressed the need for a clinic, and she promised one would be built.True to her promise, the UN community, backed by the UN Development Program (UNDP),  built the clinic.Have our people truly forgotten the high calling of politics–which is to serve the highest interest of the PEOPLE?  No, it is not just about winning elections.   Those politicians who want to be fondly remembered, like Nelson Mandela–yes, he’s the only one we can think of right now–should work so hard, and conduct themselves so faithfully, lovingly, so compassionately, that when their work is finished here, the people would never forget them.Alas! Most of the world’s politicians don’t care.  All they want is to get elected.  They vigorously shun or seem totally oblivious to the concept of statesmanship.  And what is a statesman? According to Webster, “One who exercises political leadership without narrow partisanship.”  In today’s parlence in Liberia, a statesman is one who practices GOOD GOVERNANCE.We call on Dr. Gwenigale and his MOH and all the Grand Bassa politicians to do something quick to have Barconnie Clinic opened without delay, and keep it functional for the sake of our beleaguered and deeply disappointed fellow citizens in Barconnie, the school and the surrounding villages.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

M&CC to remove illegal structures in East Ruimveldt Market, along Mandela Ave

first_img– vendors given 24h notice torelinquish city’s propertyThe Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of Georgetown has issued a 24-hour ultimatum to another group of persons who have been breaching city rules and regulations.According to a statement from City Hall on Thursday, persons who are illegally occupying public spaces on the western side of Mandela Avenue with makeshift structures, as well as the East Ruimveldt market vendors who have also constructed illegal structures are being ordered to remove their belongings from the city’s property.“These persons have constructed shacks and stored items on these properties. The Council has noted that there are plans to utilise the facility and thus offered 24 hours for persons to remove their items and relinquish the city’s property. A 24-hour timeframe was also given to vendors to remove their illegal structures ahead of the Council’s visit to the location,” the release stated.Town Clerk Royston King said, “The Council is concerned about vendors illegally increasing selling points, virtually repeating what is being restricted in the city centre.”King said that several notices have been served on the vendors but they continue to illegally expand.Notice was also given to persons squatting along Mandela Avenue.City Hall is making it clear that all other illegal structures around the city are being eyed for removal, as its sanitation and management programmes continue.The City Council reminded that the city was in a transitional phase and reiterated calls for the cooperation of all stakeholders.“While the law is clear on what is and what is not permitted in and on public spaces, the Council is adamant about mechanisms to ease the transition process for vendors. Though this is not an obligation of the Council and requires separate financing, they have noted that the well-being of the city depends on the well-being of citizens.“All Guyanese deserve to have a city equal to the best in world,” the Town Clerk stated.King said the Council has an agenda to make Georgetown the “cleanest and greenest” city in the Caribbean, and this will be achieved, “regardless of the difficulties”.last_img read more

Request Accepted

first_imgIt seems that the outgoing Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Walter Traub Gwenigale’s request for retirement has been granted by President Ellen Johnson SirleafIn a special address to the nation yesterday, President Sirleaf replaced Dr. Gwenigale as Minister of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) with Mr. George Werner, who, too, will leave his post as head of the Civil Service Agency (CSA) if and when he is confirmed by the Liberian Senate.However, the President had a special word for Dr. G, as the former Health Minister is affectionately called. She said “ Dr. Gwenigale who continues to have my full confidence, will continue to serve as Advisor in the Ministry of Health, will continue to work with me on the President’s Advisory Ebola Committee, until his planned retirement in February.”Dr. G., who joined President Sirleaf’s Cabinet in 2006, had written the President on November 3, 2014, asking for her permission to retire next February 2015, which is also the month in which he takes his deferred annual leave. He will also turn 80 next February.In his letter, Dr. G. did not provide reasons for his request to retire but told the President he was retiring “from a personally gratifying active service to my country since September 1, 1973.”Recounting his years of service, Dr. G. said he returned to the country in August 1973, with “a young foreign wife and a year old son and started working for Phebe Hospital and School of Nursing on September 1st as the Chief of Surgery.” He was subsequently appointed Medical Director/CEO of Phebe the following year and in that same year, he was made Medical Director (now County Health Officer—CHO) of Bong County, where the hospital is located.He had inherited a 65-bed hospital; but between 1974 and 2003, when he left his administrative post at the hospital, he had increased the beds to 200 and the hospital campus grew to include the Rural Health Training Center for 200 students and an eye hospital was built by CBM of Germany.Even after stepping down as CHO and CEO in 2003, he continued to serve the hospital as Chief of Surgery until he was asked by the President to join her Cabinet.The former Health Minister told the President: “I have enjoyed working for my country under your wise and competent leadership. I will truly miss you and my seat in your Cabinet Room, but stand ready to advise you and my successor, should I be asked to do so.”Dr. G. also had this to tell the President: “Because I started supervising all of the MOHSW activities in Bong County in June of 1974, I can truly say I have served my country from that time until now, and do deserve to be pensioned by the country I have served all my productive life. Therefore, I kindly request that you favorably consider my request for a pension for the years, I have worked for the Government of Liberia.”Following 33 successful years in Bong County, the last three years of Dr. G’s tenure in Monrovia as Minister of Health and Social welfare, have been contentiously driven by claims and counter claims between him and striking public health workers on one hand and some members of the National Legislature on the other hand.Last October, when he addressed a regular press briefing at the Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism, he had said the two dismissed leaders of the National Health Workers Association of Liberia (NHWAL) would “NEVER” come back to work with the Ministry as long as he was there as Minister. Calling for the reinstatement of the two had been one of the demands of the striking health workers.Min. Gwenigale’s remark did not go down well with many people, including lawmakers. When lawmakers in the Senate summoned him, he reportedly accused the senators of being supportive of the strike action by health workers. It angered the senators who threatened him with “contempt.” He was, however, saved from the senators’ wrath when his physician, Dr. Robert Kpoto, told the lawmakers that his (Dr. Gwenigale’s) blood pressure was 197/90, and that he needed rest and medication for 14 days and therefore could not appear for a hearing.Following that communication from his doctor, 15 senators, among them, Senators Geraldine Doe-Sherif, Jewel Howard-Taylor, H. Dan Morais. Sando Johnson, Henry Willie Yallah and Thomas Grupee, requested, in a three-page communication to their colleagues, for President Sirleaf to retire Min. Gwenigale.They had said in their communication that Dr. Gwenigale, who should be the frontline general to supervise health workers, needs to be in the best frame of mind, void of illnesses such as high blood pressure during the Ebola crisis.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more