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Governor grants Caribbean nationals clemency

Governor grants Caribbean nationals clemency

NEW YORK, Jan 1, CMC – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has granted pardons to several Caribbean nationals, including five Jamaicans, convicted of minor drug and other offenses and saving them from possible deportation under the Donald Trump administration’s tough policy on immigrants.

Cuomo said he was granting clemency to 29 immigrants “who have demonstrated substantial evidence of rehabilitation and a commitment to community crime reduction.

“While President Trump shuts down the federal government over his obsession with keeping immigrants out, New York stands strong in our support for immigrant communities,” said Cuomo, adding “these actions will help keep immigrant families together and take a critical step toward a more just, fairer and more compassionate New York.”

Five Jamaicans, a Trinidadian, one Haitian and six nationals from the Dominican Republic were among those granted pardons.

The Governor said the pardons are in recognition of the immigrants’ “rehabilitative efforts and to remove the barriers that their criminal records present to their immigration status.

“Some are facing deportation, while others wish to be able to participate in their communities as citizens of the country they call home. In each case, a pardon will make immigration-related relief possible, if not automatic,” he said.

Cuomo said Jamaican Olive Ferguson, 75, was convicted of attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in 1991 and that “she has been crime-free ever since”.

He said Ferguson is “an active member of her church. She has remained crime-free for 27 years. A pardon will minimize her risk of deportation.”

Jamaican Rohan Hylton, 47, was convicted of a similar offense in 1992 as well as criminal possession of marijuana in 2001 and 2003.

Cuomo said Hylton came to the United States over 30 years ago with his family “to escape political persecution.

“As a father and dedicated family man, he now lives and works in Queens. A pardon will allow him to apply for discretionary relief from his deportation order. He has not been convicted of any misdemeanours or felonies for 12 years.”

Cuomo said another Jamaican, Kerrone Kay-Marie Parks, 33, was convicted in 2013 on drug-related charges.

“She is a domestic violence survivor, a mother of three children on the honour roll, and currently volunteers full-time at a nursing home. She has remained crime-free for five years.”

Jamaican Jeremy Grant, 58, was also convicted of drug-related charges in 2005 “when an individual in a group he was a member of sold drugs to an undercover cop and the entire group was convicted in Manhattan,” the New York governor said.

He said Grant “has been in prolonged removal proceedings since 2006,” and “has remained crime-free for 13 years.

“A pardon would remove the barriers to apply for a green card renewal, and prevent him from being deported and losing his access to necessary medical treatment,” Cuomo said.

He said Grant’s compatriot, Trevor Elliot, 67, was convicted of drugs in the early 1990s and has worked at a non-profit that provides social services for the youth and as an elder care provider.

“A pardon would allow Mr. Elliot to apply for citizenship. He has maintained a crime-free lifestyle for 10 years.”

Trinidadian Anthony Khan, 66, was convicted of a drug offense in 1980 when he accompanied an acquaintance to sell a controlled substance and was arrested as part of a sting operation in the Bronx.

Cuomo said Khan, who migrated to the United States in 1971, is “an active church goer and a husband and father, who has worked with the Taxi and Limousine Commission for 35 years.”

He has remained crime-free for 37 years, the governor said.

Haitian Reginald Castel, 45, was convicted of assault in 1999 and Cuomo said Castel, who came to the United States at the age of eight, is married with four children and was deported without notice in September 2017.

“A pardon will allow Mr. Castel to apply for re-entry to the United States and reunite with his family. He has remained crime free for 19 years.”

Alisa Wellek, executive director of New York’s Immigrant Defense Project, said that in pardoning immigrant New Yorkers who face deportation, despite years of contributing to the community, Cuomo “has used a powerful tool to restore dignity to people for whom punishment will otherwise never end, simply because they were not born here.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Governor’s office and our Immigrant Clemency Project to provide immigrant New Yorkers with a fighting chance to remain with their families in the face of Trump’s hateful agenda,” she said.

Cuomo had last year announced a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s policy of forced family separation on the US southern border.

To protect the Caribbean and other immigrants from overly aggressive deportation tactics increasingly utilized by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, the governor also issued executive orders to prohibit ICE arrests in New York state facilities without a warrant.

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CARICOM RBM life-cycle approach

CARICOM: Manage by Results! (To cure “implementation deficit disorder”)

TMR December 2018

CARICOM[1] and its fifteen member states (including Montserrat) have long struggled with “implementation deficit disorder.” Such a region-wide problem has to be tackled on a regional basis, and CARICOM has set out to do just that.

Accordingly, the fifteen member Caribbean regional body has undertaken a CDB-funded US$ 600,000 project with Baastel,[2] a sustainable development oriented consultancy firm, in order to improve delivery of strategic results. Mr Evan Green (Baastel’s vice-president of Results Based Management [RBM] and disaster risk management), is therefore helping the region to create a “CARICOM Gender Sensitive Results-Based Management System.”

This is why a four-member high level CARICOM delegation recently visited Montserrat as part of a regional series [3] of meetings and seminars on RBM.[4] The delegation was led by Ambassador Dr Manorma Soeknandan, CARICOM’s Deputy Secretary General. The delegation was hosted through the Office of the Premier and held consultations with Government, Legislators, the Senior Civil Service and also with representatives of Civil Society on Monday, November 26th 2018. TMR was invited, and we now share our observations.

Premier Romeo welcomes the CARICOM RBM delegation headed by Amb. Soeknandan, as HE Governor Pearce looks on [Cr. CARICOM]

In his remarks, His Excellency Governor Pearce emphasised the need to drastically simplify delay-prone bureaucratic procedures and to break the cycle of chained consultancies on consultancies on consultancies. For example, “if you want to go on leave you fill in a form and then it has to go round about 10 people. By the time it eventually comes back to you to confirm you can go on leave you’re near retirement.” Likewise, “there are consultancy reports analyzing previous consultancies going back decades; and there’s a consultancy on every conceivable thing you can think of.” (The Governor’s remarks were picked up in news reports and have sparked a wider public discussion, as TMR has reported.[5])

Premier Romeo then emphasised the ongoing, much needed shift to a more results-based expedited implementation of priority projects and programmes that consults with and is accountable to stakeholders. Including, voters.

Ambassador Dr Soeknandan gave introductory remarks on the behalf of CARICOM.  She pointed to the “implementation deficit disorder” and noted that CARICOM is not a third party in the region, we are Caricom. In July 2014 CARICOM adopted a five-year strategic plan aimed at economic growth, reducing environmental vulnerability, integration, better communication and equity for all.   Resource Based Management (RBM) seeks to shift focus and assessments from activities (such as training) towards achieving strategic results. RBM is based on accountability for results, including to our taxpayers.

Mr. Craig Beresford, Director of CARICOM’s Strategic Management Unit,  summarised the CARICOM Strategic Plan 2015 – 19.[6] He noted that many stakeholders across the region do not feel the presence and benefits of CARICOM, pointing to communication/ awareness and effectiveness issues. Effects of the 2008 – 9 global economic crisis linger across the region. Environmental vulnerability can be seen from how the 2017 hurricane wiped out a year’s GDP for Dominica. Regional decision-making is weak and slow, e.g. a regional rights agreement took fourteen years to complete.  The region is not short on plans, implementation is a key gap. Going forward a logical framework approach and a scorecard system will increase accountability.

Consultant Mr. Evan Green then made a slide presentation on Results Based Management. RBM moves beyond the pattern of twenty years ago where the focus was on what was done rather than what was achieved. At that time, the number one progress indicator for many projects was “number of people trained,” and the number two indicator was “number of workshops held.” Instead, RBM emphasises accountability over delivering strategic results and benefits to stakeholders.

RBM has thus become the preferred approach of International Development Partners (aka donor agencies), many states and Non-Government Organisations. 

Considered from a life cycle point of view, in RBM there is an outer loop of planning, monitoring and evaluation. (This loop is common to all management.) Stakeholder participation is at the pivot. The RMB cycle has five phases:

1] Vision-setting

2] Defining the results map and RBM framework

3] Planning for monitoring and evaluation

4] Implementation with monitoring

5] Managing that uses evaluation

Results-based Management (RBM) also incorporates Project Cycle Management [7] and Management of Programmes of Action as components. It also makes use of logical framework [8] (“log frame”) tools and scorecards that track achievement of results. CARICOM is emphasising gender concerns in all of this process.

The “log frame” project and programme planning approaches focus on inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes and long-term impacts on the economy, our society and our natural environment. There is also an emphasis on using open source information technology tools and on common standards.

CARICOM’s top-level priorities are:

1] Economic: sustainable, resilient growth

2] Social: improved quality of life for all

3] Environmental: reduced vulnerability

4] Technology: innovative, ICT-enabled economies and society

5] CARICOM Identity/Community: an integrated community with equity for all

6] Governance: strengthening community governance

7] Co-ordinated International Relations: CARICOM is favourably positioned in the global community.

In order to successfully implement RBM and achieve these results, capacity has to be built both in CARICOM and in member countries. Including, here in Montserrat.

After the presentations, the session was opened up for a question and discussion period, as part of the needed stakeholder participation. Much of that discussion highlighted a communication deficit, so that people do not “feel” CARICOM’s presence and impacts.  Indeed, some people who work with or use services of CARICOM agencies do not recognise that these bodies are CARICOM at work – “CARICOM” lacks brand recognition. Another concern was the tendency of international development partners to specifically exclude Overseas Territories such as Montserrat from funding on grounds that they should look to the UK or the like; though there are notable exceptions such as a recent fisheries project. Montserratian Officials pointed out that it is then a considerable challenge to negotiate line by line for replacement funding.

Clearly, Results Based Management is a major CARICOM thrust. One, that calls us to work together to address our region’s implementation deficit disorder.

[1]     See:

[2]     See:

[3]     See Channel 5 Belize video:

[4]     See UN Handbook:

[5]     See TMR, Dec 14 2018, p. 1:

[6]     See

[7]     See, also:

[8]     See

Later in Belize: CARICOM Results Based Management Systems-Channel 5 Belize


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Sir Fenton Ramsahoye QC

Sir Fenton’s remains for homeland, Guyana

Sir Fenton Ramsahoye QC

SIR Fenton Ramsahoye, QC,who died in Barbados on Thursday last week, will be cremated there and his remains taken to his homeland of Guyana.

An article in the Stabroek News of Guyana quoted Ramsahoye’s brother, Dr Walter Ramsahoye, as saying the leading regional lawyer died at Bayview Hospital after a brief illness, with one of his two sons, Bernard, at his bedside.

Walter said his brother’s wish was “to have his remains cremated wherever he died and to have them returned to Guyana to be buried in the Blankenburg Anglican churchyard, closer to his childhood home in Blankenburg, West Coast Demerara.”

Ramsahoye, 89, was Guyana’s first attorney general. He lived and worked in TT for many years. He leaves to mourn his widow Phyllis and sons. Bernard is a professor of medicine.

The Stabroek News reported, “Speaking of his brother, Walter said Sir Fenton was a lawyer par excellence, having the reputation in the British Commonwealth of winning more cases in the Privy Council in London, than any other lawyer in the commonwealth.”

It quoted a tribute from Guyana’s bar association which said, “Sir Fenton was one of the greatest legal luminaries ever produced by Guyana.”

An official from the Law Association of TT told Newsday it would pay tribute to Ramsahoye in a media release this week.

Former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, said he worked with Ramsahoye in over 20 cases from TT’s High Court to the Privy Council.

He recalled when he was jailed for contempt of court in 1976 by the late Sonny Maharaj for refusing to apologise to the judge, “It was Ramsahoye who argued my case in the Appeal Court and the Privy Council. The law lords in their judgment agreed with Fenton that lawyers must not be subservient to judges if they feel they are misconducting themselves on the bench to the detriment of clients.”

Maharaj also recalled the famous case of the Judge’s Wife, which dealt with the rights of the media to report on matters affecting the public interest.

Ramsahoye, Maharaj said, was a strong advocate of retaining the Privy Council.

“He was strong in his view that justice was too important for the average man and woman to be left for small societies like ours to have the final say.”

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Caribbeean News Service logo

Forces in Trinidad and Tobago linked to downfall of Guyana government

Dec 28, 2018 – Caribbean News Service – A senior official of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Friday said “forces in Trinidad and Tobago” had colluded with the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) to bring about the demise of the coalition government.

“It should be noted that Charrandass Persaud himself acknowledges the bribe by asking ‘what is wrong if I get paid?’ In his own words, he has admitted his embrace to the treacherous PPP culture of getting rich through corruption and lawlessness,” said PNC executive member Aubrey Norton.

Persaud voted with the PPP last Friday after Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo successfully tabled a motion of no confidence that brought about the downfall of the David Granger-led, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) government.

The APNU had enjoyed a slender one seat majority in the 65-member National Assembly and Persaud later told reporters he had voted with the opposition in a bid to clear his conscience.

Norton told a news conference that the party is in possession of the information regarding the role played by the Trinidad and Tobago forces and knows of the meetings at hotels in Trinidad, but it will not provide the details of its information to the public at this time. He told reporters that a senior PPP official is obsessed with wanting to control the wealth of Guyana that will emanate from the oil sector and as a result was willing to do anything to achieve his objectives.

Norton said that it was for this reason, the senior PPP official “colluded with forces in Trinidad and mobilised resources to bribe a sitting member of parliament in pursuance of his hunger for wealth and power.”

Norton said that the APNU, whose other significant member includes the Alliance for Change (AFC), to which Persaud was a sitting member when he voted to bring about the downfall of the government, is prepared to contest any general and presidential election. But he said the government as well as the PNCR were keeping “all options” open and dismissed calls by Jagdeo for the present administration to resign.

Jagdeo has also said that the PPP has no plans to attend Parliament next Thursday and is open to meeting with the government before then to discuss elections matters.

On Friday, Jagdeo held talks with representatives of the major western missions here to brief them on the recent passage of the no confidence motion and to outline the PPP’s concerns.

The one-hour meeting was attended by officials of the United States, Canadian and British missions as well as the European Union.

Neither Jagdeo nor the officials would comment following the meeting.

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PM says Speaker will have to address allegations that legislator was bribed

PM says Speaker will have to address allegations that legislator was bribed

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Dec 29, CMC – Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo says the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland,  will have to address allegations that former government back bencher Charrandass Persaud had been bribed into voting in favour of a successful opposition inspired motion of no confidence against the government last weekend.

“If a vote in the National Assembly was procured by unlawful means to overthrow a constitutionally elected government that will have serious implications and the Speaker will have to address that issue,” Nagamootoo said.

“If you had a member of parliament who knew that he had lost confidence in his party or his slate, he should have indicated to the House that he no longer wanted to support his slate and he wanted to endorse another slate so that the House would know how to deal with that situation,” he added.

Persaud, who has since announced his resignation from the ruling coalition government, has said that he voted with the opposition in a bid to clear his conscience.

“My conscience was stifled for long…they (government) voted for things that should not have happened, period”, Persaud told reporters soon after the vote.

But there have been several reports posted on social media claiming that a bribe had been paid to the former legislator and on Friday, a senior official of the ruling People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Aubrey Norton, accused a senior official of the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) of colluding “with forces in Trinidad and mobilised resources to bribe a sitting member of parliament in pursuance of his hunger for wealth and power”.

Nagamootoo said that the Speaker of the House will also have to consider whether a simple 33 or 34 votes were needed for the motion to be carried. He said there is an overwhelming view that the motion needed 34 votes to pass and that this was known to the opposition.

“They were privy to a legal opinion that says you needed 34. And so, they are in a quandary now how to deal with the situation because the Speaker had indicated at the last sitting that he will return on the 3rd of January to address the consequences of the votes, meaning, did it meet the threshold under the constitution for a majority?”

Prime Minister Nagamootoo said people are “coming to grips” with the reality that it is not a majority that is catered for in the Standing Orders, as the House regulates its own procedures. The majority, he said, is addressed in the Constitution.

“So, the constitutional majority will have weigh, more significance on how does one arrive at a majority… The formula has been one half plus one. So, if you have 64 members of the parliament, your one half would be 32 and a majority would be 33. How then can you have 33 as a majority for 65, unless you can prove that 64 is equal to 65.

“So, you can see already that it is producing an absurd conclusion, and the constitution would have never contemplated the creation of an absurdity,” he added.

Following the 2015 presidential and general elections, the coalition government received a slender one seat majority in the 65-member National Assembly and Prime Minister Nagamootoo defended the earlier decision of the government to accept the ruling last Friday that the motion had been successfully put to the vote.

“We accepted the ruling of the Speaker, because as an attorney-at-law when a judge makes a ruling, you accept the ruling until you’re able to have that ruling withdrawn, those are things a court would do if it found it had been in error,” he said.


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US-based group writes Speaker of Guyana Parliament

US-based group writes Speaker of Guyana Parliament

By Nelson A. King

NEW YORK, Dec 26, CMC – The US-based Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) has written to the Speaker of the Guyana Parliament, Dr. Bartland Scotland, requesting that he considers annulling last weekend’s vote of no confidence that brought down the in the David Grange coalition government.

In the letter, the CGID said it is relying on Article 153 (a) and (b) of the Guyana Constitution, that notes  “a member of the National Assembly elected on a list shall cease to be a member of the Assembly if: (a) “He or she declares in writing to the Speaker or to the Representative of the list from which his or her name was extracted that he or she will not support the list from which his or her name was extracted;” and (b) “He or she declares in writing to the Speaker or to the Representative of the list from which his or her name was extracted, his or her support for another list.”

Guyana Parliament Building (File Photo)

Last Friday, government backbencher Charandass Persaud voted with the opposition Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) to win the no-confidence motion in the 65-seat National Assembly after several hours of debate.

The Granger led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) coalition had held a slender one-seat majority since the 2015 general elections.

In the December 24 letter, CGID said that “Persaud publicly withdrew his support for the APNU+AFC coalition List from which he was extracted and declared his support for the PPP/C List.

“Consequently, in accordance with Article 153 (a) and (b) of the Guyana Constitution, it is the position of CGID, having consulted with several attorneys in Guyana and internationally, that Mr. Charrandass Persaud’s vote for the no confidence motion against the government on December 21 is null, void and of no legal effect, and should be vitiated,” CGID wrote.

“The institute, therefore, respectfully solicits your review and sanction of this matter of urgent national importance,” it added.

The CGID said that, prior to the Constitution Amendment Act of 2007, Article 156.3, an original provision of the Constitution, stated that “A member of the national Assembly elected on a list shall be disqualified from being a member of the Assembly, if he or she in the prescribed manner, declares that he or she will not support the list from which his or her name was extracted or, declares that he or she abstain from supporting that list or, declares his or her support for another list.”

CGID said this original provision, Article 156.3, was repealed and replaced with the extant provisions of Article 153 by the Constitution Amendment Act of 2007.

“The amendment, notwithstanding the fundamental intent of the framers of the Constitution, remains applicable and paramount to the interpretation of the extant provisions of Article 153,” CGID wrote, adding that the Constitution “comprises binding rules which govern the organization, powers and administration of government and society.

“The intent of the framers, thereof, is the jurisprudential standard for constitutional interpretation,” it added.

CGID said the framers of the Guyana Constitution intended, in Article 153 (a) and (b), that “a member of the Assembly, elected by the people and extracted from his party’s List, cannot act against, refuse to support nor vote against the List from which he or she was extracted, and neither can a member vote for, with or in support of another List, without first declaring such intent to the Speaker in writing.”

Consequently, the US based group said that Article 153 (a) and (b) of the Guyana Constitution “mandates that any member who, accordingly, makes such declaration against the List from which he or she is extracted or in support of another List, shall cease to be a member of the National Assembly.

“The commission of an act against the List from which a member was extracted, as well as an act in support of another List, for which a written declaration was deliberately and deceitfully withheld from the Speaker, likewise violate the provisions of Article 153 (a) and (b), and similarly disqualifies such a member immediately from the Assembly, since the intention of the Constitution is for the member to fully honor the content of Article 153 to the letter,” it said.

CGID said Article 153 clearly mandates that “before a member acts against the List from which he or she was extracted, or in support of another List, a declaration of that intent must be first submitted to the Speaker, the consequence of which, or the failure to so declare, require nullification of the act by the Speaker and disqualification of the member from the Assembly.

“Article 153, therefore, safeguards against the government side of the Assembly bringing itself down,” CGID said. “It follows, therefore, that a public withdrawal of support for the List from which a member was extracted and the public declaration of support for another List, with or without a declaration to the Speaker, automatically triggers or invokes Article 153 (a) and (b), and such member shall cease to be a member of the Assembly.

“Honourable, Speaker, on Friday, December, 21, 2018, Mr. Charrandass Persaud, then a member of the Assembly, who was extracted from the APNU+AFC coalition List, voted in favour of the no confidence motion that was tabled in the National Assembly by the parliamentary opposition, against the APNU+AFC coalition government of Guyana, enabling its passage,” added CGID in its letter to Scotland.

As a result of Friday’s no confidence vote, Guyana is preparing for general elections early next year.

Persaud, a lawyer, told reporters after the vote that his conscience had been “stifled for long,” adding that he had not been offered any money or position by the opposition to vote against the government.

Persaud, who had long criticized the PPP as “corrupt” and “out-of-touch”, among other things, said he will be tendering his resignation to Parliament and the Alliance for Change (AFC), a partner in the coalition government, and that he would not be returning to the House as a Member of Parliament for the AFC.

In the interim, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, a former president, said that he plans to meet with Granger on several issues. The meeting is scheduled for next month.

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Government back bencher defends his vote that topples coalition

Government back bencher defends his vote that topples coalition

Government back bencher Charandaas Persaud, said his conscience had been “stifled for long” as he defended his decision to vote with the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and topple the three-year-old coalition government of President David Granger late on Friday night.

With the coalition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU)- commanding just a one-seat majority in the 65-member National Assembly, Persaud’s vote was crucial and he told reporters that he had not been offered any money or position by the opposition to vote against the coalition government.

Charandaas Persaud speaking to reporters after voting to bring down the government

“My conscience was stifled for long…they voted for things that should not have happened, period”, Persaud told reporters.

Media reports quoted Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, as saying that security arrangements will be put in place for Persaud, who is due to leave the country on Saturday.

The vote by Persaud means that Guyana will hold fresh general elections by March next year.

His colleagues, who were caught by the surprise vote, believe that he had made a mistake in the voting.

But the attorney gave a strong “yes” when the Clerk of the Assembly re-started the process.

He told reporters he voted to clear his conscience and now that his conscience is clear, if he dies, he knows that he would die a happy man.

Persaud said he will be offering his resignation to the Parliament and the Alliance for Change (AFC) a partner in the coalition government, and that he would not be returning to the House as a Member of Parliament for the AFC.

He told reporters that he had become tired of voting along party lines and had become disenchanted with his party for always voting for issues brought up by its coalition partner.

He said there were a number of issues that forced him to vote against his own party and side with the PPP, a party that he has long criticised as being corrupt and out of touch.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said that he intends to meet with the President Granger on the issue and several other matters.

Under the Constitution, the Government has to call elections within three months or at a time agreed to by two-thirds of the National Assembly. The President is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment following a cancer diagnosis. That treatment schedule is expected to continue for five more months.

Meanwhile, Britain’s High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn Saturday called on Guyana to respect government’s loss of the no-confidence vote.

“Members of Parliament must be allowed to undertake their constitutionally mandated roles in the absence of fear or favour,” he said, urging politicians to campaign on the issues facing the country.

“We urge calm on all sides and look forward to a free and fair election and a campaign fought on the issues that confront Guyana and it’s future development,” he said, adding that he was hoping that any protests that followed the vote on Friday night would be peaceful.

“Maintaining the fundamental tenets of democracy is paramount to us all and whilst everyone has the right to protest this must be peaceful,” he said.

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Bharrat Jagdeo successfully piloting motion of no confidence in government

Guyana Government falls

by staff writer

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Dec 22, CMC – Guyana was preparing for a general election early next year after a government back bencher supported an opposition motion of no confidence against the David Granger government late on Friday night.

Opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who had been heckled as he outlined his reasons for the motion in Parliament, has already signalled his intention to work with the coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) government leading up to the polls that could be held as early as March.

Bharrat Jagdeo successfully piloting motion of no confidence in government

Government back-bencher Charandass Persaud voted with the opposition Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) legislators to win the no-confidence motion in the 65-seat National Assembly after several hours of debate.

The APNU had won the 2015 general election by a slender one-seat majority and despite repeated urges by fellow parliamentarians to change his vote, Persaud declined.

When the debate started, Jagdeo, a former president, described the coalition government as “incompetent and corrupt”.

agdeo said the Government has been a total failure and has not been keeping its promises to the Guyanese people who voted them into office.

“The people out there, they demand that we pursue this and I know there are 33 members who have been growing fat on the perks of office and wish that this motion disappears”, he said, adding that the coalition government had mismanaged the resources of Guyana and that is the main reason behind his decision to file the motion against the government.

Jagdeo said the government has failed on its manifesto promises and is harming democracy. He said the Granger led administration is totally untrustworthy and that it has failed to bring any major investor to Guyana and has only been talking “about oil oil oil”.

“We have made the case that this government is totally useless to the people of Guyana. The longer they stay there, the more damaging it will be to our future”.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, who led the government’s response to Jagdeo defended its record defending adding “when you speak of harming democracy, you have to look at what the PPP has done”

“We are confident that we have restored the symbols of nationhood in this society and this is what keeps us together,” the minister stated.

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo described the motion as “self –serving” saying that the Opposition Leader is hoping for a “fluke” in the motion being carried.

He said the motion was moved with political viciousness and resulted in the image of the country being reflected as unstable.

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ILO Dec 18

Labour Overview 2018: Unemployment in Latin America and the Caribbeandown slightly in 2018

18 December 2018

After three years on the rise, unemployment in Latin America and the Caribbean dipped slightly in 2018, according to the ILO’s Labour Overview 2018. But there is uncertainty about future trends, amid slow growth, high volatility and concerns about the high rate of youth unemployment.

LIMA (ILO News) – The unemployment rate in Latin America and the Caribbean fell slightly to a forecast 7.8 in 2018, from 8.1 per cent in 2017, reversing a three-year trend of rising unemployment, the ILO said in its Labour Overview 2018 regional report.

“In a context of slow economic growth, the improvement in the unemployment rate has been modest,” said ILO interim Regional Director Carlos Rodriguez, adding that there is a need “to increase the speed at which we generate more and better jobs “. He pointed out that the latest figures, based on data collected up to the third quarter 2018, mean that some 25 million women and men in the region are unemployed.

ILO regional economist Hugo Ñopo pointed out that youth unemployment in the region was at alarming levels. One in five people in the 14-25 age group were looking for work, but failing to find any in the third quarter 2018.

The report highlights the need to step up efforts to reduce gender inequality in the world of work. The labour force participation rate for women has remained constant, at 50.3 per cent in the third quarter, 20 percentage points below the rate for men. The unemployment rate for women reached 10 per cent in the third quarter of 2018, as compared with a 7.3 per cent rate for men.

While the average unemployment rate for the region dropped, it actually increased in 10 countries and fell in seven. The decrease in the regional rate was driven in large part by an improvement in Brazil – home to 40 per cent of the region’s economically active population – which saw the unemployment rate drop by 0.6 percentage points.

At the same time, real minimum wages increased regionally, and in 12 of the 16 countries that provided data for this indicator.

The report says one million jobs could be created if an IMF forecast for a 2.2 per cent growth in 2019 is realized. But it also warns that future trends in the region remain uncertain amid labour market vulnerability to political, trade and investment fluctuations.

Labour Overview marks its 25th anniversary this year, at a time when the ILO is gearing up to mark its centenary, starting in January 2019.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, International, Labour, Local, News, OECS, Regional0 Comments

Educator calls for criminal prosecution of those responsible for circulating sex video featuring school child

Educator calls for criminal prosecution of those responsible for circulating sex video featuring school child

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Dec 10, CMC – A former president of the St. Lucia Teachers Union (SLTU) is calling on stakeholders including the police to take the necessary action against those responsible for the circulation of a video on social media showing a school girl in uniform engaged in sexual acts.

“This is getting out of hand,” Virginia Albert-Poyotte, a veteran educator told the on-line publication, St. Lucia Times after the police and education officials confirmed they were aware of existence of the video, involving the 13-year-old student.

Albert-Poyotte, said the authorities should ensure that the persons with whom the teenager was engaging in sexual activity, those who recorded the video as well as those circulating the video face criminal prosecution.

“Whoever is involved in this type of activity needs to be pursued and justice needs to be administered in order to curtail that kind of behaviour,” the former school principal said, urging the Ministry of Education, the SLTU, the National Principals Association and the police to come together and decide how to deal with the matter.

The publication said that in addition to the video, there are also reports that nude photos of another young girl have been posted on social media.

Under the St. Lucia Criminal Code, no person under the age of sixteen can legally consent to sex. The code makes it a criminal offence for anyone to have sexual intercourse with or attempt to have sex with a child under 16, commonly known as statutory rape.

The maximum penalty for rape in St. Lucia is life imprisonment.

Posted in CARICOM, Crime, Kids, Local, News, OECS, Police, Regional, Youth0 Comments

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Honourable Premier Donaldson Romeo 2019 New Year Statement