BUDGET 2019 – Clueless, heartless; promises rice farmers drones, but nothing for dams

first_imgBudget 2019 again neglected the rice industry and rice farmers. The A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) is clueless and heartless. There are no provisions for better access roads and better paddy prices, no indication that increased taxes, lease and drainage and irrigation fess will be reversed, but the Finance Minister dreamed of rice farmers using drones to seed their paddy fields. In fact, Minister Winston Jordan who cannot promise rice farmers better access dams, insists Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) farmers are already using drones. I cannot find any of those farmers.In spite of their hostility to the truth, even the APNU/AFC no longer deny Guyana’s economy has been spiralling downwards, faster than any other economy in the Caribbean Community (Caricom). Every sector has contracted in the period since 2015. In this gloomy milieu, the rice industry has been one bright spot for APNU/AFC. Rice farmers, in spite of many challenges and a tone-deaf Government, have succeeded in maintaining record production reached in 2014. A sensible Government would have ensured maximum support for the one industry most responsible for Guyana still reporting a positive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. Instead, by its policies and by its actions, the APNU/AFC has done everything to stifle the growth of the rice industry, and, therefore, creating hardships for the economy as a whole.In 2014, production had reached 637,000 tons of rice (more than 1,000,000 tons of paddy). The target for 2015 was 700,000 tons and for 2020, 1,000,000 tons of rice. While the 2018 production is still not complete, we know that Guyana will fall short by a significant amount from reaching 700,000 tons of rice. After the first crop in 2015 reached more than 398,000 tons of rice, expectation was high for the 700,000 tons milestone. But APNU/AFC immediately made poor decisions which led to a drop in the second crop production. Guyana fell below 300,000 tons for that crop, failing to reach the annual target of 700,000 tons in 2015. Guyana failed again in 2016 and 2017 also.The reasons for Guyana not being able to build on the sound 2014 rice platform are several. The loss of the Venezuelan export market – which accounted for between 200,000 to 250,000 tons of rice – is one of the major reasons why the upward trajectory for production stalled. That market not only accounted for a large amount of the national production, but paid a price that provided farmers with a descent profit margin. The farmers, therefore, looked to cultivate every inch of available land. The loss of the Venezuelan market could not be compensated for by the Mexican market, which is purely a paddy market and which pays price per ton of paddy on the low end.There were other equally significant reasons. The APNU/AFC took a hands-off approach, claiming that the rice industry is a Private Sector business and Government has no role to play in pay disputes between farmers and millers. Farmers have been forced to take low prices for their paddy, in spite of the APNU/AFC’s pre-2015 election promise guaranteeing farmers $9000 per bag. Adding salt to the wound, farmers have been forced to wait an unreasonably long period for their payments. The APNU/AFC abandoned the practice of Central Government intervening with bridge payment to the farmers. Making matters worse, rice farmers have been forced to pay significant increases in lease and drainage and irrigation fees, while dealing with increased paddy bug and other problems without any meaningful assistance from Government. During this crop, farmers in Region Two had to abandon and burn more than 1000 areas of pest-infested rice fields. During poor weather conditions, such as flooding and prolonged dry spells, the Government has been essentially missing in action (MIA). Rice farmers have repeatedly cried out for relief from the deplorable conditions of many access dams. On top of all of this, vital support such as duty-free fuel and equipment have been removed.The APNU/AFC has struggled to maintain the growth of Guyana’s economy which before 2015 had grown for nine successive years at an average GDP growth rate of about five per cent. Guyana’s growth rate for the decade before 2015 ranked as Caricom’s economy with the best overall growth. The APNU/AFC squandered the opportunity to further elevate Guyana’s economy. The growth of the previous decade had seen Guyana moving from a Least/Low Developing Country (LDC) and a Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) to a Middle Income Country, according to the categorisation of the World Bank. Instead, under APNU/AFC, since 2016, the economy has stagnated with little to no growth, other than that pushed by rice. Yet, APNU/AFC’s Budget 2019 has heartlessly neglected rice, again.last_img read more

I am being persecuted because of my journalistic, political activism

first_imgDear Editor,After several months of intolerable harassment at the hands of the Guyana Police Force, I am convinced that there is a political agenda to use the criminal justice system to witch-hunt me because of journalistic and political activism.Over the last few months, I have had to endure several days of imprisonment; I spent numerous hours at police stations; I gave several statements to the Police; I have been asked innumerable questions; attempts have been made to frame me for murder; I have been charged with an assault which allegedly took place over five years ago; although assault is one of the most trivial charges known to criminal law, I have been taken to court in chains.The latest series of harassment are concocted charges that I assaulted Mark Benschop, damaged his motor vehicle and that I stole from the same. This incident is alleged to have occurred again some five years ago.I submitted a written statement explaining that I was nowhere in the vicinity at the time this incident is alleged to have taken place. The Police claimed that they have an eyewitness. Myself and my Attorney-at-Law requested the name of this witness. We also requested to have a confrontation with this witness. Both of these requests were denied.My Attorney-at-Law submitted statements from three different eyewitnesses who were present at the time the incident was alleged to have occurred. All of these persons confirmed that I was not at the scene and that I came on the scene some 15 minutes or more after the incident occurred.These statements were submitted to the Police in a timely manner with a request that they be included in my file which was being reviewed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and/or the Police Legal Adviser (PLA). The Police refused to include those statements in that file or to send them subsequently to the DPP and/or the PLA.I reiterate, that I am in no doubt that I am being persecuted because of my journalistic and political activism; I am in no doubt also that the criminal justice system will continue to be used and misused as a political weapon against me.I call on the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) and on all other human rights organisations in Guyana; I call on the DPP; I call on the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR); I call on the Police Complaints Authority (PCA); I call on those in charge of the administration of justice; I call on our diplomatic community; I call on the Caricom Secretary General and I call on every peace-loving Guyanese and on all political leaders to condemn this political persecution of me.I will endure this ordeal and I have no doubt that my innocence will be vindicated in the end. I am strong. I worry not for myself but for the other victims that will follow, for I am confident I will not be the last.Sincerely,Kwame McCoylast_img read more

Williamson hopes for consistency in U-23

first_img0Shares0000NAIROBI, Kenya, January 20 – The National Under-23 team began training on Tuesday in preparation for the African Junior championships and All Africa Games qualifiers. The team will be handled by the senior team technical bench led by head coach Bobby Williamson, his assistant Musa Otieno, keeper trainer Mathew Ottamax and team manager Titus Mulama.Kenya start their qualifying campaign against Egypt for the All Africa Games with the first leg set to be played away on the weekend of February 21 and 22 before hosting the return leg after a fortnight.The eventual winner will then play against Burundi or Democratic Republic of Congo in the second round scheduled for April.In the Africa Championships Kenya has been drawn against Botswana with the first leg away on the weekend of April 24 and 25 with the winner meeting Ivory Coast for the final ticket .Williamson was impressed with the response of the boys on day one, even as he called on consistency within the team to ensure Kenya has a viable team for a longer period of time.“It was the first day today but definitely I was impressed with how the players responded to training. They have been training back with their teams and their fitness levels are quite good. Today’s session was more of a familiarization, getting to know each other and looking ahead,” Williamson said.“Definitely if we want the national team to perform well over a longer period of time, we should invest in the youth. This team has a crop of very talented young players and we should stick together more often, play more friendly matches, the coaches knowing the players and vice versa. Consistency is very important,” The Scotsman added.This comes even as FKF say they will be planning for at least one friendly before playing Egypt in the All Africa Games Qualifiers. Kenya hasn’t been lucky before against North African opponents with the last time an Egyptian team playing a Kenyan junior side, the match ended 5-0 in favour of the North Africans.Tusker FC left-back Dennis Ng’ang’a and Ulinzi Stars winger John Nairuka are the latest additions to the squad with Thika United defender Sammy Mejja being ruled out with injury.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Cameroon, Ivory Coast complete CHAN line-up

first_imgBoua Koffi was the toast of the Ivory Coast as his 33rd-minute goal brought a 1-0 win over twice CHAN runners-up Ghana in Abidjan.Ivory Coast, who lost the first leg 2-1 in Kumasi, won the tie on the away-goals rule to secure a third appearance at the tournament for home-based footballers.Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe are the other qualifiers.Rwanda, automatic entrants as the host nation, complete the line-up for the January 16 to February 7 tournament, which has a similar format to the Africa Cup of Nations.A draw in Kigali on November 15 will divide the 16 countries into four groups with winners and runners-up advancing to the quarter-finals.Defending champions Libya were eliminated from the region-based qualifiers after finishing bottom of a mini-league behind Morocco and Tunisia.DR Congo won the first CHAN in 2009, Tunisia the second two years later, and Libya triumphed in Cape Town last year, pipping Ghana in a penalty shootout.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Ivory Coast vs Cameroon during their 2015 Nations Cup. PHOTO/FILE.JOHANNESBURG, November 2 – Cameroon and Ivory Coast completed the line-up for the 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Rwanda by achieving narrow qualifying victories at the weekend.Ronald Ngah scored on 72 minutes to give Cameroon a 1-0 win over Congo in Brazzaville after a goalless first leg two weeks ago.last_img read more

Yellowhead Road and Bridge preparing for another dump of snow

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Yellowhead Road and Bridge will have crews out responding to the heavy snow that’s expected over the next 24 hours.Saturday morning, Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for the B.C. Peace and Pine Pass.  Yellowhead Road and Bridge is predicting there could be up to 30 cm of snow in some places.  The highest amount of snow is expected near Hudson’s Hope.Environment Canada says Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge can expect 5 cm of snow Saturday and another 10 cm by Sunday afternoon.- Advertisement -Make sure to check www.drivebc.ca for up to date road conditions.  If you see any road concerns in the North Peace, you can contact YRB at 1-888-883-6688.last_img read more

Trans Mountain Hearing

first_imgCALGARY, A.B. – A rooftop smudging ceremony where herbs were burned and prayers said served as a proxy for swearing in as the oral traditional evidence gathering part of a National Energy Board reconsideration of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project began Tuesday.Lyne Mercier, the vice-chair of the NEB and chairwoman of the three-member panel hearing evidence, welcomed Indigenous presenters from the Louis Bull Tribe about 80 kilometres south of Edmonton as the first to speak as three weeks of hearings started in Calgary.She said the NEB appreciates that the Louis Bull Tribe has a tradition of sharing knowledge from one generation to another through spoken word, noting that two hours had been set aside for presentations but video evidence could also be submitted if time runs short.- Advertisement -Presenters including elder Ivy Raine and band administrator and member Allison Adams-Bull described their family ties to other Indigenous communities along the pipeline route to the West Coast and their concern that their traditional hunting, fishing and gathering of medicinal plants could be affected by a pipeline spill.The federal government bought Trans Mountain and its expansion project for $4.5 billion last summer only to have the Federal Court of Appeal strike down its NEB approval, citing inadequate Indigenous consultation and failure to consider impacts on the marine environment.The NEB’s rehearing is designed to address the latter issue. The oral traditional evidence gathering continues this week in Calgary before heading to Victoria from Nov. 26-29 and concluding in Nanaimo, B.C. from Dec. 3-6.Advertisementlast_img read more

Costs stall fire station plans

first_imgLA HABRA HEIGHTS – The City Council took another step this week toward building a new fire station at its current site. But officials appeared to step back from seeking a contract for fire services with Los Angeles County. Councilman Stan Carroll, who favored seeking a proposal from the county, said he received a letter from Los Angeles County Fire Chief Michael Freeman in which Freeman estimated it would cost La Habra Heights $4.1 million a year to contract with the county. “Anything that is three times what we’re spending \ is not something I’m going to consider. That letter rules out going with the county,” he said. Mayor Brian Bergman and Councilwoman Tela Millsap both oppose seeking an official cost-estimate from the county. But Councilmen Layne Baroldi and Howard Vipperman still want to pursue a possible county contract. Retired firefighter Roy Francis presented a petition Thursday with 200 signatures asking the council to seek a proposal. “Is that \ what it would be actually be if the county did an independent study like it did for La Habra? You won’t know until you ask,” he told council members. Carroll also asked city staff to place on the council’s June 14 agenda a contract to provide a topographical map of the existing City Hall/fire station property. Such a study is needed so that architect Kelly Needham can do a better job of showing all the possibilities of building a new fire station at its existing site. The council on a 3-2 vote in February selected the southwest corner of Hacienda and West roads as a site for a new station. But since then, an election shook up the council majority. A new majority of Carroll, Baroldi and Vipperman wants the city to at least consider building a station where it is now. The council has asked Needham to look at reducing the size of the station, as proposed by fire Chief John Nielsen, as well as ways to find more parking spaces. One way to get more parking would be to have firetrucks back up into the site from Hacienda Road. Majdi Ataya, city engineer, said the high level of traffic on Hacienda Road poses dangers because oncoming cars traveling at up to 40 mph might not see the firetrucks. mike.sprague@sgvn.com (562)698-0955, Ext. 3022 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more


first_imgWith the first phase of homes almost all sold, developers of the innovative energy efficient homes at Rann Mor Meadow are preparing to begin the development of the second phase of homes at the estate.Rann Mor Meadow has been an overwhelmingly success so far, with the energy efficient specifications proving to be a hit with buyers. The property market is slowing getting back on its feet, and this is reflected in the success of the Rann Mor Meadow project.The prices being at their current level must also have contributed to the success so far.Most commentators would agree that these homes are actually an attractive investment when you look at the high specifications that’s on offer for the prices that are being offered.Buyers are taking the opportunity and are buying in at a very low point in the market which will surely represent a great investment in a few years to come. Developed by the highly reputable GDC Ireland (Limited) the homes have been warmly received by buyers, especially new home-owners aware of the cost saving benefits of the homes.It’s been estimated that the new homes which are the only ‘A’ rated energy efficient homes in Letterkenny will cost less than €1 a day in heating costs.Donegal Daily visited the development during the week, and we couldn’t help but be impressed by the quality of home on show.While the energy efficiency is a standout feature on the properties, they also look fabulous.The grounds-work has also been completed outside all of the homes and they really do look fantastic.The location is also a standout feature of the Rann Mor Meadow estate, it’s just a five minute walk from town, and it’s an ideal location to set-up base. Donegal Daily spoke to managing director Daniel Doherty who admitted he’s been absolutely delighted with the public reaction to the first phase of homes at Rann Mor Meadow.While Daniel also admitted there’s been a lot of interest expressed in when phase two of the development gets underway.Daniel told Donegal Daily “We’re absolutely delighted with the reaction so far, almost all of the first phase of homes have been sold, and that’s a remarkable achievement when you consider we still live in a challenging economic climate.“The property market took a battering, but at GDC we knew Energy Efficient homes were the way forward, and thankfully we’ve been proven right. “We’ve been very encouraged with the interest that has been expressed in the second phase of the development which will get underway shortly.“The diggers are due in there next week, so it won’t be long until there’s significant progress being made.For more info on the wonderful homes at Rann Mor Meadow then contact GDC (Ireland) Limited, Kilderry, Muff, Co. Donegal. Tel: 074 9384700.E-mail: info@gdcirl.com of the selling agents Sherry FitzGerald Rainey, Letterkenny, on 074 91 22211 or see http://www.sfr.ieRANN MOR MEADOW PREPARING TO BEGIN SECOND PHASE OF DEVELOPMENT was last modified: November 14th, 2014 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:BusinessGDC IrelandnewsNoticesRann Mor Meadowlast_img read more

School district learns lesson

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventCosts for the additional security have not yet been determined. The security equipment will be available to all schools in the district. Installation depends on whether principals and school staff members see the need for it at their sites. Last fall, break-ins happened at Old Orchard, Pico Canyon, Valencia Valley and Meadows elementary schools. In February, laptop computers and other electronics were stolen from Stevenson Ranch Elementary School. Shapiro said the Stevenson Ranch campus is getting additional police patrols throughout the week after the area’s homeowners association hired the Sheriff’s Department to conduct four-hour patrols throughout their neighborhoods nearly every night of the week. NEWHALL – After a series of burglaries and vandalism, the Newhall School District will beef up security at its schools. Motion-activated cameras inside the schools will collect images of activity and will send that information to a main computer off-site. In addition, motion lights will be installed inside the facilities and will work along with a Neighborhood Watch program. Residents will be encouraged to call police when lights are on at a school during unusual hours. “If they see that the lights are on and they call, we can get over there and hopefully catch the culprits,” said school board President Mike Shapiro, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy. “And if we miss them, hopefully we’ll have their images on camera.” sue.doyle@dailynews.com (661) 257-5254160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

New Orleans riveted by murder

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’In just about any other city, the spot where such horror took place might lie empty for years, regarded as cursed. But Midge Jones, a cemetery guide and enthusiast of the 19th-century voodoo queen Marie Laveau, said he has already inquired about renting the one-bedroom 1829 apartment, still cordoned off as a crime scene. “As long as it is cleaned up and painted, and (has) a new gas stove, I’ve got no problem with it,” the 64-year-old said. According to police, Zackery Bowen, 28, strangled and dismembered 30-year-old Adriane “Addie” Hall, on Oct. 5. Eleven days later, Bowen jumped to his death from a hotel roof with a suicide note in his pocket telling police about the killing. Police found Hall’s charred head in a pot, her arms and legs in the oven and her torso in the refrigerator. For days, French Quarter residents have seemed unable to talk of anything else, in large part because the two people were so familiar. They partied on Mardi Gras, drank at the best watering holes and knew every colorful character in the Quarter. “Everybody seems to have known them one way or another,” said Amy O’Neal, while tending bar at a nightspot that sells absinthe and Transylvanian wine. “Everybody knows your business. The French Quarter is a small place.” NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans is a city fascinated with the macabre. Carriage drivers regale French Quarter tourists nightly with phantasmagoric tales of black magic, debauchery and murder. Visitors stroll around the legendary cemeteries, known as “Cities of the Dead,” and enjoy picnic lunches amid grand but crumbling tombs that look like something from the fevered mind of Edgar Allan Poe. In recent days, New Orleans has been riveted by an all-too-true tale of tragedy: A man chopped up his girlfriend and cooked her head and legs in a French Quarter garret above a voodoo temple earlier this month before leaping to his death. It is one the ghastliest cases ever in a city drawn to the morbid. Bowen and Hall apparently got together the night Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005, when Hall gave Bowen refuge in her French Quarter apartment. They defied the mayor’s order to evacuate and fell in love. Bowen delivered groceries and meals by bicycle; Hall was described by friends as a poet and dancer who worked in bars. But Bowen also talked about being disturbed by events he experienced while serving in Iraq and Bosnia with the U.S. military, and in his suicide letter he spoke of using drugs. And friends said Hall told them about abuse in her past.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more