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…though PwC valuation report still to be made publicThough a report on the valuation of the assets of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has not yet been released, Government is optimistic that the divestment process can begin in a matter of months.In a sit down with the media after signing a loan agreement on Friday, Finance Minister Winston Jordan was asked for an update on the divestment process. In his response, he noted that Government is optimistic of starting in the first half of 2019, a fact expressed by President David Granger.“We expect by the first half of next year to divest some of the estates,” Jordan said, adding “I will speak with (Special Purpose Unit head Colvin Heath-London) to see if we have any further updates. Otherwise, the next update perhaps will be in the budget speech, in terms of where we are and what we expect.”The parliamentary Opposition has been calling on the Government to publicise the PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC) valuation report into GuySuCo’s assets. The valuation was supposed to have preceded the sale of the various estates and accompanying assets.That process has already started; however, neither the Government nor the accounting firm has released the document. At a recent press conference, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo zeroed in on this state of affairs.“We were told that before any decision was made, that PriceWaterhouse Coopers will do a valuation of assets. Where is the valuation of the assets and why don’t they release it to the Guyanese public, so we will see what they have valued the assets of GuySuCo at and whether we come close to realising that value,” Jagdeo had said.“Or if they have undervalued the assets of GuySuCo and then would claim that they got more than the valuation. We’d like to see a copy of the report. But it seems as though its done secretly and we don’t know what assurances are given by PwC and SPU, whether those are assurances Cabinet has agreed to,” the Opposition Leader added.SeveranceJordan was also asked about the payment of severances. He noted that the supplementary paper must be approved for the severance to be paid. He also noted that when Government paid its first tranche, many workers received their full severance.“We said once the Parliament passes the supplementary and the President signs the supplementary appropriations Act, they will be paid. We will transfer the money. My understanding is that they already have the sheets ready.”“In January, we had said we were going to make the payments in two parts, because we didn’t have the monies to make severance. We said at the time that those owed $500,000 or less, we would pay fully. So nobody got less than $500,000, if you were at $500,000 or above. So a significant number of sugar workers were paid their full severance.”Jordan reminded that Government had promised to make the remainder of the severance available by the second half of 2018. He noted that the year is not finished, but assured that Government would remain on this timeline.Earlier this month, Government tabled a financial paper seeking parliamentary approval for $2.4 billion to pay-off hundreds of sugar workers. This was even as several sugar workers protested in front of Parliament. Of the $7.5 billion financial paper totalled, $2.4 billion was set aside for severance pay.In May 2017, Government announced plans to close the Enmore and Rose Hall Sugar Estates, sell the Skeldon Sugar Factory, reduce the annual production of sugar, and take on the responsibility of managing the drainage and irrigation services offered by GuySuCo.In November of that year, GuySuCo announced plans to retrench 2500 workers by the end of that year. That number increased substantially and ended up being over 7000.
A drunk-driver who killed two women in a horrific car crash blamed one of the women for driving the car.Dermot Dowd appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court after pleading guilty to causing a crash which resulted in the deaths of friends Kiara Baird, aged 19 and Maria Wallace, aged 38. The two pals died when Dowd, 24, ploughed into a lamppost on the outskirts of Ballybofey in September, 2016.Dowd had downed several drinks before driving out the Glenfin Road, losing control of the car and striking a lamppost.When Gardai rushed to the scenes, they found the two victims had been thrown from the Citroën C3 car just after 4pm in the afternoon.Dowd initially told Gardai at the scene that Ms Wallace had been driving the car.He was rushed to Letterkenny General Hospital but Kiara Baird died at the scene.Ms Wallace was still breathing and was also rushed to hospital but died a short time later from her injuries.Dowd, of Donegal Road, Ballybofey, yesterday (Tues) pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the women’s deaths, dangerous driving, drink-driving, driving without insurance and driving without a license.The court heard how both women had been studying a course with the Education Training Board (ETB) and had decided to go for a couple of drinks in Bonner’s Bar in Ballybofey on the afternoon of September 21st.They met Dowd in the bar and they began drinking together.Around 4pm, all three got into Ms Wallace’s car and CCTV footage showed Dowd having a number of near misses before travelling out the Glenfin Road.A couple of minutes later he was to lose control of the car, hit a footpath and then strike a lamppost.Garda forensic evidence revealed that after it had rained, the road became dry and that weather was not a factor in the crash.Ms Wallace’s car was also in a serviceable condition and was not a factor in the crash on the road which is governed by a 60 kmph speed limit.The families of the two dead women sat in court listening to the harrowing details of how their loved ones died.In a victim impact statement, Kiara Baird’s mother Tracy told how they had moved from Dublin to Donegal to start a new life as they felt their neighbourhood was getting rough.She told how her daughter was a little naive and innocent and took people at face value but how she had the most beautiful smile and was always so happy.She said her life had changed forever since she lost her first-born child.“There will always be a big part of me missing with her gone. I really could never express how much I miss and love her, and how lost we all are without her.“I have lost people in my life who I have truly cared about, but the loss of Kiara was nothing I have ever experienced.“It’s like something broke into my chest and just ripped out my heart,” she said.Maria Wallace’s mum Mary McGonagle’s victim impact statement was also read into court.She said that all she wanted was justice for her daughter.“For me there is no pills or operation I could have to heal my broken heart.“All I do now is stand beside Maria’s grave and cry alone. I would have given anything to keep my coffin in her room to be near her and I still wish I could,” she said.Further victim impact statements were read on behalf of Kiara’s dad Andrew Blake while a poem by Maria’s brother Michael was also read out.Sitting in a grey tracksuit, the accused man sobbed throughout the case.His barrister Mr Colm Smyth, SC, said his client had often wondered why he was not killed in the accident.“He is troubled by the fact that he survived this accident and his two passengers did not.“He full accepts full responsibility and that he needs to be punished. But regardless of the sentence, he will be doing the sentence for the rest of his life,” he said.The court was also told that Dowd has 30 previous convictions for a range of offences including theft and the sale and supply of drugs but has no convictions for traffic offences.Judge John Aylmer adjourning sentencing until this Friday.Drunk driver who killed two women claimed one of them was driving was last modified: February 1st, 2018 by StephenShare 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:Ballybofeycourtcrashdangerous drivingDermot DowddonegalFriendsKiara BairdletterkennyMaria Wallace