Convicted: Sonia KingConvicted child killer Sonia King, through her attorney Mark Conway, has filed an appeal with Guyana’s Appellate Court to reduce a 20-year prison sentence, which was recentlyDeceased: Emmanuel Kingimposed by Justice Navindra Singh, after she admitted to the lesser count of manslaughter.King’s appeal is being filed on the grounds that Justice Singh had failed to recognise the convicted killer’s psychological condition – which should have been considered as a mitigating factor at the time the offence was committed and further that the sentence imposed was of a severe nature.The mother of two had pleaded guilty to killing her eight-year-old son while he was asleep on February 21, 2016. Justice Singh, who had heard the matter on July 18, sentenced the woman to serve 20 years for the crime.Reports are that King initially claimed that the child fell from a guava tree during the afternoon of February 21 after which he retired to bed. At about 22:00h, the mother had claimed that she went to check on the child but found him in a motionless state.He was taken to the West Demerara Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. However, she later confessed that she killed the child because of frustration, saying that she took a bed sheet and choked the child to death while he was sleeping.After the incident, King reportedly confessed to her husband to killing the child. She was arrested after confessing to investigators.
– Nandlall dismisses charges as frivolous, maliciousBy Ramona LuthiSix persons were on Thursday afternoon summoned by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) for questioning in relation to the Guyana Rice Development Board’s (GRDB’s) operations during the years 2011 to 2015. They were later charged and bailed for fraudulent omission of records in regard to the lucrative PetroCaribe Fund.The former GRDB officials making their way to SOCU headquarters, accompanied by their lawyers on ThursdayThe six are former GRDB General Manager Jagnarine Singh; former Deputy GRDB General Manager Rickey Ramraj; Badrie Persaud of the Guyana Oil Company; former Deputy Permanent Secretary (Finance) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Prema Roopnarine; PPP Parliamentarian Nigel Dharamlall; and head of the Rice Producers Association, Dharamkumar Seeraj.Guyana Times was told that each of these persons had received a telephone call informing them that they were being charged, and instructing that they report to the Special Organised Crime Unit’s (SOCU’s) Headquarters. They were not immediately told of their offence, but after several hours of interrogation by SOCU officials, they were then transported to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to have their fingerprints taken, before being taken to the Brickdam Police Station to be charged and placed on station bail.They are all expected to be arraigned in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts today, Friday, May 20 2017.While none of them was allowed a chance to interact with the media, former Attorney General Anil Nandlall, representing some of them, explained that the charges “concerned the failure to make certain entries in relation to monies received through a foreign-funded project.”He described the situation as “harassment”, and advised the affected persons to sue the state for compensation, since, he said, he believes the matter is frivolous and he is certain that no conviction would be made therefrom.“Public monies have to be better spent! This (that) you’re seeing here is costing the state millions of dollars. This will have to go to court; it will take months in the court and it will never yield a conviction; and a properly advised person charged in these circumstances would be advised to sue the state for compensation, because this is nothing short of malicious prosecution,” Nandlall told media operatives.The former AG also lamented that there was no evidence to support claims that the six persons had intended to commit fraud by the omission of records.“There is no evidence that this money was missing; that the money was not spent for the purpose for which it was disbursed. In fact, the money was spent for the purpose for which it was disbursed,” he explained.Nandlall criticised SOCU for levelling charges against these six persons in regard to the omission of “a ceremonial entry into the record.” He said the accountants should rather have been charged.“Absolute nonsense! This is absolute harassment! Why is it that [they’re] putting people through this ordeal: damaging their character, putting their family and them through anguish and through suffering just because (they) have the power to do so?” he questioned.During the early part of 2017, it had been reported that false and misleading statements were being sent to the Governments of Guyana and Venezuela by the former General Manager of the GRDB in order to obtain monies from the PetroCaribe Fund. The fund was established almost a decade ago, when Venezuela introduced an oil sale arrangement wherein Guyana and a number of CARICOM and Latin America countries took oil at concessionary rates, paid a percentage in advance and protracted payment of the balance over a 20-year period. The PetroCaribe Fund was supposed to hold millions of US dollars.Inconsistencies in this Fund was just one of several financial irregularities highlighted by Nigel Hinds Financial Services in the forensic audit it had done for the period 2011 to 2015.Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman had noted that, based on the audit report, millions of dollars had passed through the accounting unit of the GRDB. He highlighted that the “glaring” financial irregularities uncovered by the auditors had no “no traceable signs that (they) were ever approved”.
Less than a week after returning from the United States, the taxi driver who was implicated in the brutal murder of a Richard Ishmael school teacher was Wednesday arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan.Matthew Munroe, of Diamond, East Bank Demerara (EBD), appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts to answer to the capital offence in shackles.With a grave look on his face, the father of six stood before Chief MagistrateDead teacher, Kescia BrancheMcLennan as the indictable charge was read to him.The charge stated that on November 7, 2017 in Georgetown, Munroe murdered Kescia Branche.Attorney-at-Law George Thomas, who is representing the 47-year-old man, told the court that his client, who has been in custody since November 30, has denied committing the crime, holding out that he was not in the jurisdiction.In an attempt to form an alibi, Thomas claimed that his client’s mobile phone was confiscated by the Police and records can prove his claims.However, Police Prosecutor Gordon Mansfield requested one month to complete the case file. This submission was granted by the Chief Magistrate.The case will continue on January 9.The Police are contending that the car from which Branche was allegedly dumped reportedly belonged to Munroe. Upon receiving that bit of information, the Police immediately named him as a person of interest.After spending some time in the United States, the man returned and presented himself to the Criminal investigation Department in the company of his lawyer.The Police stated that during interrogation, Munroe could not have provided information on his whereabouts on the night the woman was brutally attacked and more so, failed to give Police information on his missing car bumper.Twenty-two-year-old Branche, of Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown, was discovered lying at Princes Street and Louisa Row in Georgetown on the morningTaxi driver Matthew Munroeof November 5.She succumbed at the Georgetown Public Hospital two days after her discovery as a result of brain haemorrhaging and blunt trauma to the head.According to reports, Branche had left home for a night of partying.She left her three-year-old son in the care of a friend, who revealed that Branche told her that she intended to go to Palm Court to meet a male friend.The teacher later returned home, but subsequently left again. She told her friend that she would be home by 02:00h, but never returned.She was last seen leaving a nightclub on Lamaha Street in the company of two Police ranks.The father of the woman’s son was also arrested after the teacher’s mobile phone was found in his possession.He, along with four cops, were questioned about her death, but were later released on station bail.
Police in F Division (Bartica) are currently probing a report of assault involving the son of a Government Minister.Guyana Times understands the male and his girlfriend got into an altercation on Saturday. “One pelt one and the other assaulted the other hand,” a Police source related.This newspaper was told that the matter was reported and an investigation has been launched against both parties. So far, statements have been obtained as the probe continued.Meanwhile, F Division Commander Kevin Adonis has refuted reports that he was ordered by the Minister to release her son after he was arrested. A local online news entity reported on Monday that the Minister had threatened the Commander to have him fired if he did not keep the matter quiet.However, Adonis dismissed the report.“Nothing of the sort [happened], it is contrary to what happened,” the Commander told this publication when contacted on Tuesday.
Severance payment delays– announces Cdn$44,000 programme to train 120 community coordinatorsCanada’s largest Private Sector trade union, Unifor, has expressed deep concerns over Government’s handling of the sugar industry, particularly when it comes to ensuring that dismissed sugar workers are given their severance package in full.Director for Human Rights and International Department at Unifor, MohamadUnifor Director Mohamad AlsadiAlsadi, told Guyana Times on the sidelines of a one-day conference titled “Sugar – too big to fail” on Tuesday at the Grand Coastal Hotel, which they sponsored, that it is Unifor’s hope that Government act quickly to address the workers concerns.“I have never seen a Government that does something as little as taking someone’s severance, especially after losing their jobs. So, for us, this is a big issue. I mean if this was in Canada, I can assure that they could have gone to jail. It’s serious stuff. So, the Government needs to take this seriously,” the Unifor official said.Alsadi said his union has had a longstanding relationship with many trade unions, including the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU). He said it was important that not only Unifor sponsor the event but attend it to get a chance to listen directly from workers and representatives from both sides of Government.“Obviously today’s conference was important for me and for our president to hear directly from the workers. We were here last year and we did go to some of the estates and met with some of the workers but hearing today from the Minister of State (Joseph Harmon) and the Opposition obviously there are different stories, two different point of views,” he added.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoThe Unifor official said they are saddened by what was presented and the sufferings being faced by the thousands of sugar workers that have been put on the breadline. He committed to working closely with Guyana’s trade unions in general and do all that they can to help. According to him, the main goal is to help save the sugar industry.“So we are going to work with them in solidarity and do all we can and hopefully they will be able to sort out some of the outstanding issues for sugar workers because people have families, communities are devastated and that needs to be fixed.”Fight backMeanwhile, President of Unifor Jerry Dias told the attendees at the conference that it is incomprehensible that Government would move to close the number one industry in Guyana, without first carrying out an impact assessment on how people’s lives would be affected by the closure.On that note, Dias said to workers and union heads that now is the time for them to “fight back” and do not take the road of the past of “least resistance.” He labelled Minister of State Joseph Harmon’s speech as an “economic debate” rather than a presentation on a way forward for the industry.Harmon, who represented the Government, did not provide any assurance of a timeframe within which the final severance payments will be made. He hinted that GAWU and National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NACCIE) were at the table when the issue of severance was discussed.Minister of State Joseph HarmonOn the other hand, however, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who also addressed the conference, did not back down on this issue. In fact, Jagdeo observed that the Minister failed to provide a definitive answer as to when final severance payments will be made to those who are still owed from all the now closed sugar estates.The former Head of State renewed calls for Government to honour its obligation and comply with the laws of Guyana and pay over the full severance payments.Some 7000 sugar workers were dismissed on December 29, 2017, without severance being paid “on termination” as required by the law to all of them. Severance was paid in part to over 4000 of the 7000 dismissed sugar workers.The Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act stipulates that workers who are made redundant must be paid severance upon termination.Meanwhile, Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Indra Chandarpaul used the opportunity to call on Government to provide subsidies (water and electricity) to the dismissed sugar workers. She said this obtains in mining communities where Bauxite workers were laid off and there should not be any difficulty in implementing same.FITUG President Carvil Duncan also urged the GAWU to pass a resolution that would seek to ensure that retrenched workers would be the first to be reemployed in the sugar industry, and demand that GuySuCo put a timeframe in which to pay severance.At the end of the conference, Unifor announced further support to GAWU by launching a programme through the union’s Social Justice Fund at the tune of Cdn$44,000.The programme will see 120 community coordinators being trained in six sugar estates to further the discussion on the future of the country’s sugar sector. The coordinators will also work to increase community involvement and workers participation in the restructuring process and to improve conditions for agriculture workers. (Samuel Sukhnandan)
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) through one of its constituency candidates in Berbice has filed legal proceedings against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and another individual to have the names fraudulently affixed to the backer’s lists for Local Government Elections (LGE) in the Ancient County removed.The court document seen by Guyana Times names Shafraz Beekham as the applicant, along with the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield and Orlando Christopher Persaud as the respondents. The document outlines that the challenge is seeking to have the names of 49 other electors appearing on list of backers in support of the Alliance For Change (AFC) constituency candidates removed.It noted that the submission was made to Persaud on September 21, 2018, in Whim Bloomfield, Berbice Local Authority Area (LAA), for the LGE 2018. The PPP is challenging on the grounds that the said decision is unlawful, illegal, and unreasonable and is in violation of the Local Authorities (Elections) Act.The document also cites Persaud’s alleged refusal to withdraw the applicant’s name and the names of 49 other electors. It said unless the names are withdrawn, the election in the LAA would be tainted with “illegality and fraud.” It also noted that Persaud’s refusal happened before the expired deadline on September 26, 2018.In a sworn affidavit, Beekham, who is a registered elector on the Official List of Electors for Constituency Number 3 in the Whim/Bloomfield Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) said he and others were “deliberately deceived into signing a document by an Alliance For Change representative who he claimed fraudulently represented that she was employed by GECOM and that he needed to sign a document to confirm that his name was on the voter’s list.“I am informed and do verily believe by the other electors in the community that they were told that they would benefit from better roads, jobs, better pension and rehabilitated playgrounds and were also deceived into signing,” he stated in court documents.He said too that it was only after Nomination Day on September 21, 2018, that he learnt that the signature which was taken from him was unauthorisedly used as a nominator backing the AFC candidate in constituency Number 3.According to him, at no time whatsoever was he or the other residents informed, or did they know that they were in fact signing a list of backers in support of the AFC candidate(s). Persaud said on becoming aware of the fraud perpetuated against him and other electors, he immediately demanded that their names be withdrawn or deleted from the AFC lists.He recalled that he and the other electors had affidavits to withdraw their names and support for the AFC candidate on the lists submitted. On Tuesday, September 25, 2018, Beekham and other electors visited Persaud’s office in Whim to submit the affidavits to have their names withdrawn.According to his court document, “The first named respondent was not in office and there was no other representative present who would accept our withdrawals. I returned to the first named respondent’s office at 2:00pm (14:00h) on September 26, 2018, with the other electors to submit our withdrawals. It was made clear to Persaud that we did not knowingly or intentionally submit or affix our signatures to any lists in support of AFC candidates. The first named respondent initially refused to accept our withdrawals erroneously, stating that the time has expired for us to do so.” The PPP candidate said he did not leave and persisted to demand that his name be removed from the list. He recalled making contact with PPP GECOM Commissioner and Attorney Bibi Shadick and sought her intervention and advice.He was informed that at a meeting between GECOM Commissioners on September 25, 2018, it was confirmed that the deadline for the submission of the statutory affidavits was on 23:55h on September 26, 2018.“The statutory affidavits to withdraw the names of electors from the lists could be submitted by the representative (head of the list) or deputy representative or in person by the elector. If the elector appeared in person, a letter addressed to the first named respondent would have sufficed to effect a withdrawal. The statutory affidavits were legal documents which the first named respondent would be duty bound to accept,” he added.However, after 14:30h on September 26, the CEO was out of touch and was not in his office and could not be reached personally or by telephone to give any directions to Persaud. In the absence of the CEO, the Deputy CEO, Roxanne Myers, was contacted in her office and indicated that she could not give any instructions to Persaud without first conferring with the CEO of GECOM who she was also unable to contact.Subsequently, Persaud informed Beekham that he will accept the statutory affidavits from him and the other electors only if the electors desirous of withdrawing (including himself) were present in person. Beekham and 49 other electors presented themselves to Persaud the same day.But he later advised that “a confrontation had to be done between us and the AFC candidates” and further that the AFC candidates would be given time to rebut the allegations being made and fixed 10:00pm (22:00h) as the deadline after which a decision would be made.When the time had reached, Beekham said that he and the 49 other electors were all present. The AFC candidates were not present. Persaud then proceeded to accept all of the affidavits and in his presence signed and issued an acknowledgement of receipt to the representative of the PPP Himatee Latchman.Beekham learnt on Friday, September 28, that Persaud had refused to withdraw his name and that of the 49 other electors from the lists submitted by the AFC.The proceedings were served on Wednesday. The matter is fixed for hearing before Justice Navindra Singh on October 11. The attorneys representing Beekham are Adrian Anamayah, Ian Anamayah and Anil Nandlall.
…mechanic points to contaminated smuggled fuel channelled through gas stationsIn just over one week, four vehicles have mysteriously burst in flames; the most recent being on Wednesday, where a father and his child barely managed to escape unhurt.The car that was damaged by flamesThe incident took place at Oronoque and Charlotte Streets, Bourda, Georgetown.Fire Prevention Officer Andrew Holder told Guyana Times that the engine of the red Toyota Allion car which bears registration number HC 8512 was badly damaged.According to him, the owner’s daughter complained of smelling a burning scent. The owner later observed smoke coming from under his bonnet and upon checks, discovered that the engine of the car was engulfed in flames.Holder noted that an investigation has been launched into the recent fiery destruction of vehicles. He noted that the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) is in the process of issuing advisories on the proper maintenance of vehicles as this has been found to be a major area of concern, in light of the recent fires.“So yes we have launched an investigation and I guess at some point in time in summing up the causes of all these vehicular fires, the Fire Chief will make a statement,” he said.Holder also explained that the GFS has not ventured into investigating the fuel being used by the vehicles as preliminary investigations point to poor maintenance of the vehicles.Owner of the car assessing the damageThis option has however not been ruled out, he said, but expressed willingness to explore this area, if other vehicle combust under similar circumstances.He however admitted that the fire department is incapable of running tests to verify the quality of fuel being used by the vehicle owners.“The Fire Service in itself we are not equipped to test the fuel to see if it is something about the fuel causing these fires, but rest assured that if this continues to happen definitely we will have to examine that possibility,” Holder noted. On Thursday last, a minibus in Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), mysteriously caught fire. Prior to that on Wednesday last, two vehicles in Georgetown also faced the same fate in separate incidents.Meanwhile, this newspaper contacted several experienced mechanics for an opinion on the recent incidents and was told that it is not normal for vehicles to burst into flames even if servicing is not done on time. One mechanic who works for a major mining company pointed to the possibility of contaminated fuel being the source of the issue. He added that in Guyana’s case, he will not be surprised if contaminated smuggled fuel has been channelled through pump stations.Reports are the first fire occurred at High Street and Brickdam, Georgetown. The driver of that car saw thick smoke emanating from under the bonnet and existed the car. The vehicle subsequently burst into flames.The Guyana Fire Service was called and the situation was brought under control. No one was injured.Minutes later on Sheriff Street, Georgetown, a similar scenario unfolded when a minibus contracted to the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) erupted in flames.According to information received, the minibus was crossing David Street, heading in the direction of the Rupert Craig Highway when the driver, Tameshwar Mullin, noticed smoke coming from under his seat. After exiting the vehicle, he lifted the seat and saw flames.Efforts to save the minibus proved futile.
Hundreds of dead fish were found floating in a canal on the Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) on Saturday morning and residents in nearby areas are complaining of the unbearable stench emanating from the decaying fish.Reports have indicated that hundreds of fish have died over the past few days in the conservancy canal that runs between the Richmond Housing Scheme and the La Belle Alliance Housing Scheme.Dead fish in the canal that runs between the Richmond Housing Scheme and La Belle Alliance Housing Scheme, Essequibo CoastAccording to several residents in those areas, the water is stagnant and they are unable to use the water, as they previously did for household chores and other activities. Guyana Times was told that the area where the fishes are floating is polluted with garbage as well as other items that persons appear to have dumped into the waterway.Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder, on Saturday told this newspaper that officers from the Ministry are presently investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.“It cannot be due to the dry season that so many fishes are dead and there is water there. I just received a message about this and have asked my Ministry to investigate to determine what caused such a situation. It had to be something extraneous,” he stated.Meanwhile, when contacted, several top regional officials were unaware of the situation.
Fort St. John slo-pitch will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday night (Oct. 8). The society has some important updates and information to share with members, so anyone who can make it is encouraged to head to the Lido theatre for 7pm.- Advertisement –
All the capital projects listed above are expected to be complete in this construction season. In the 2011 Financial Plan, $250,000 was budgeted for upgrades to storm sewer system infrastructure, including 8,700 metres of ditch enhancements in various locations across the city, the removal and replacement of about 160 metres of culvert in various locations, and the replacement of storm sewer mains, including three concrete manholes and 10 catch basins with leads. A bid was received and approved from Bill Jacobsen Trucking and Excavating to complete all of that work, though the ditching work had to be scaled back significantly by 5,900 metres, or about $155,000, to get the bid within the approved budget.Shawn Dahlen, deputy director of infrastructure for the city, said the remaining ditching work will be prioritized based on some of the problems that became apparent during the flooding events earlier this summer.The city is also working on securing provincial funding to complete repair work in the area of 17 Street and 102 Avenue.- Advertisement -Council also approved two borrowing bylaws to allow major roadworks that were identified in this year’s capital plan to be completed.The city will borrow just over $1.7 million to: install an asphalt overlay and curb and gutter where necessary on 17 Street from 94 Avenue up to the Imperial Access Road, and from 108 to 116 Avenues; undertake a sidewalk replacement on the east side of 15 Street from 108 to 111 Avenues; and to pay for the city’s portion of intersection upgrades at 13 Street and Alaska Avenue. The provincial government will contribute the other funding necessary to complete the intersection upgrades, which includes the installation of traffic lights that will be tied into emergency response systems to allow for traffic control during emergencies.Another $804,000 will be borrowed to pay for asphalt overlay, curb, gutter and sidewalk installation on 110 Avenue from Eighth to 13 Streets. The total cost of that work is about $918,000, but the balance will be paid by local property owners through the adoption of a Local Area Service Bylaw.Advertisement