Dear Editor,For the past two plus years, since I have been residing in Cotton Tree, West Coast Berbice in Region Five, consumers have been suffering from water stoppages at least twice daily, from between 12 noon and 13:00h every day for a few hours, then the water cuts off from about 20:30h every night for the entire night until 05:00h the next day.Once I was told that water had to be conserved during the dry season. But we have not had a dry season here for a very long time; and even during the rainy season, Guyana Water Inc (GWI) still cuts off water to consumers during critical hours of the day. In addition, every time we have a blackout, which is often, the water is cut off until the power returns.This is totally unaccepted. I just called Customer Service at Onverwagt, and the young lady who answered the phone was very much in the dark. She was not aware of any water stoppage in the area. She took my phone number and promised to return my call.I then called the only manager listed for Region Five on the GWI’s website, Mr Loiden Henry. He was on his way to the office and was not aware that water was cut off from consumers in the Cotton Tree area. He said he would have to check with the GWI engineer and call me back. When asked why it is necessary to deny consumers the use of water twice daily, he apologetically explained that GWI is now working to provide a 24-hour service in Region Five similar to what was done recently in New Amsterdam. After a few minutes, he returned my call and explained that GWI was experiencing power outages from GPL, and that they were using their own generators to pump water back into the tanks.Editor, Guyana is a country where the annual rainfall averages 200 centimetres in the Berbice area. Other than incompetence and mismanagement, There are no other reasons why the residents of Region 5 should not be getting 24-hour access to potable water from GWI.The quality of service provided by the Guyana Water Inc in Region Five is very poor, and the Customer Service at Onverwagt is beyond lousy; it is simply nonexistent. If there is a problem in the field, as is the case here, the engineer needs to inform customer service, so that a proper explanation could be given to the paying consumers whenever they call in. If the customer service representative is not armed with this information and therefore cannot satisfy the consumer with a proper explanation of the problem, it not only exposes the incompetence of the system, but it also restricts the functions of that employee to answering incoming telephone calls only.On Saturday, February 10, the water was turned off since 09:30h. I’m still awaiting a return call from the Customer Service representative at Onverwagt.Sincerely,Harry GillPPP/C Memberof Parliament
Dear Editor,It is hard to accept and understand the exuberant cost estimates associated with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) case of Guyana vs Venezuela as it pertains to the county of Essequibo. There have been a number of cases where it has taken several years, and in some cases decades, vs oil companies or even the USA Government and the cost of the cases have not surpassed the million-dollar mark. These cases usually entail a number of appeals. A good example was the recent legal case and the settlement associated with NYPD illegal Muslim surveillance. This case was quite sensitive, difficult and costly with the legal fees over almost five years being only US $950,000. Also in the award from the court, legal expenses were included and returned to the plaintiff in the case. If the return of our legal costs are included, then the funds may also be salvaged. In addition, our Bar Association, along with members and alumni of our legal fraternity should be able to furnish sufficient lawyers of high calibre to support this legal pursuit at the ICJ. The inclusion of legal counsel from Her Majesty’s team should also be able to bolster the effort and aid in containing any excessive costs associated. A bit of research into the matter and precedence associated with costs should be quite informative and eye-opening for those putting together the effort at the ICJ. We must also keep in mind that the country has had a very long time in which to be well prepared for this undertaking and a bipartisan approach in the legal team’s makeup will both unite us and make us stronger verses our external adversaries. In this undertaking we must and will have to be as One People from One Nation with One Destiny.Best regards,Jamil Changlee
Dear Editor,The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) wishes to respond to a letter by Mr Robin Singh published on Friday, August 31, 2018 under the title “Questions for government policy making keep piling up.”The letter writer insinuates that the position of the GRA and that of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the granting of concessions for remigrants is the “source of much confusion.” He made reference to the recent views expressed in the press by the Honourable Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Commissioner-General of the GRA.The Authority wishes to state categorically that the views of the two Agencies are in no way at odds. The Agencies are tasked with differing roles and responsibilities. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs ensures that the remigrant meets the criteria set out in the said scheme for being a remigrant; while the Ministry of Finance, through the GRA, is responsible for administering the tax concessions. Administering allows the GRA to withhold, suspend, or cancel the concessions when the remigrant is in breach of the conditions of the scheme.In the case of motor vehicles, the exemption of duties on motor vehicles is granted on conditions pursuant to Sections 23 and 36 of the Customs Act, Chapter 82:01. These clearly state that the remigrant must:* Maintain legal residence in Guyana in accordance with Section 2 of the Income Tax Act, Chapter 81:01, for five (5) years from the date of registration of the vehicle* Report to the GRA in person every six (6) months with the motor vehicle certification of road worthiness/fitness, insurance and registration of inspection* Reside in the country for at least 183 days of each year until the five-year period has expired* Use the vehicle as a primary mode of transportation, and ensure that it remains in his/her possession within the five (5) years without being leased, transferred or sold.The Commissioner-General’s remarks on the breaches are factual. There have been blatant breaches in the remigrant conditions specified. The statement that “one in every three” of the concessions is breached can be borne out by the figures and visits to remigrant residences, where the “high end” vehicles cannot be found and the remigrant cannot be located. Investigations have revealed that funds are provided to prospective remigrants, who buy the said high-end vehicles and transfer possession by means of powers of attorney, then return overseas during the stipulated period that they are required to remain in Guyana. Some of these high-end vehicles include Rolls Royces, Hummers, Range Rovers, and Ferraris.To curb this practice, the GRA has been requesting the source of funds for these applicants. These acts constitute serious offences that warrant the Commissioner-General, under Section 36 of the Customs Act, to impose penalties, inclusive of forfeiture or fines in lieu of forfeiture. In December 31, 2017 alone, over $50 million in fines, penalties and duties were recouped from these individuals.Lastly, the Commissioner-General’s views on tax credits versus exemptions are well known. These views are in keeping with international norms and those of the Tax Reform Committee of which he was a member.Sincerely,Godfrey StatiaCommissioner-General
The former Ogle Estate compound will soon house the Public Service Staff College, according to PresidentThe former GuySuCo Headquarters located at Ogle, East Coast DemeraraDavid Granger. The establishment of the institution is part of government’s efforts to rein in corruption and improve efficiency in the Public Sector.The proposed Public Service College will have four faculties that will produce graduates with university level qualifications.The faculties are: International Relations (Foreign Service), Defence, Public Administration, and Information Technology. Shortly after taking office in 2015, President Granger had announced that the Public Service College will be established.He made the announcement during a conference with various Permanent Secretaries and heads of state agencies at the Guyana International Conference Centre where he declared the entire public service was in dire need of reform.He noted that public servants must possess expert knowledge and high standards to improve the sector’s efficiency and increase the satisfaction of the people of Guyana.Therefore, the establishment of the Public Service College for those desirous of a career in the public service sector is deemed by the Granger Administration as “a step in the right direction”.Further, the President noted that the public service should be established firmly on the basis of an effective merit system and not on the basis of political partiality.As such, he anticipates the functioning of the college would assist in ensuring the merit system is reinforced.Earlier this year, the Head of State had toured the Guyana Sugar Corporation’s (GuySuCo) Headquarters located at Ogle, East Coast Demerara, as a possible area for the college.During the visit, GuySuCo head Errol Hanoman had said the premises will be vacant as a result of plans to relocate the company’s restructuring.
Jose Barker, 35, called “Quarters” of 34 Howes Street, Charlestown, Georgetown, was on Thursday remandedJose Barker, called “Quarters”to prison by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan when he appeared before her charged with robbing a retired British soldier visiting Guyana.Barker pleaded not guilty to the charge which stated that on May 30, 2016 at Croal Street, Georgetown, he robbed Edward Constant of one gold chain valued G$180,000. He was also accused of using personal violence against Constant during the robbery.Barker was represented by Attorney Adrian Thompson who in an application for bail told the court his client is innocent and is a victim of mistaken identity.He further argued that since the matter was laid indictable the case will more than likely not be tried anytime soon.He also stated that the Magistrates’ Courts are overloaded with cases and the victim should not be given preference for the reason he is of a British nationality.Police Prosecutor Neville Jeffers successfully objected to bail on the grounds of the seriousness of the offence and its prevalence.Jeffers told the court the accused was positively identified by Constant during an ID parade, hence his apprehension.He added that the stolen item was not recovered.Magistrate McLennan denied bail and Barker was remanded to prison.He will return to court on June 16, 2016.According to reports Constant, who is in Guyana to celebrate the country’s Golden Independence Anniversary in keeping with a pledge he made 50 years ago, told the media that on Monday morning while sightseeing around the Stabroek Market area, he felt someone grab his shirt from behind and pulled it, in the process, grabbed his gold chain to which was attached a diamond-crested ring.“As he pulled it, he came towards me and I hit him. It was more out of temper, because I saw his face for about a second and I just punched him to the side of the head and he was gone,” the former soldier related.Constant said the stolen items means a lot to him: “My wife bought me the gold chain… she bought me a gold chain before she died and I put her wedding ring and her engagement ring on it and it’s gone,” the old soldier lamented.Although he spoke of one man, Constant said he was told by the police that the perpetrators were two youths.Constant was in Guyana back in 1966 to lower the Union Jack when Guyana gained independence from Britain and promised to return when the country turns 50.