Category: Our Voice

Why Oil Alone Will Not Make Life Better for Guyanese

The choice we make on March 2 would determine the direction we take, the Nigeria way by choosing the Cup or the Palm Tree or the Dubai way by selecting the brightly lighted bulb.

The following is extracted from the statement of Robert Badal at the Change Guyana weekly press conference of 7 January:

According to Bloomberg, the global markets created US$14 trillion in 2019.
Wealth is created at every corner of the globe except in Guyana. A stone’s throw away, Trindadian non-oil sectors exported over US$1B in 2019.

On the local scene, the value of our agricultural exports, manufacturing and local businesses are on the decline. Our national debt on the rise at over 60% of GDP, reserves at under three months of imports. Our unemployment looms at over 30%, and expenses from the public purse keep rising while private consumption is on the decline. This as a result of strangulation of the private sector with extortionary taxes.

These are all symptoms of a fragile, poorly managed economy.

The point is that other oil-producing countries are working at diversifying their economy. They know that oil revenue alone will not sustain them long-term. But here, our politicians’ only answer to every problem is “oil”. In fact their narrative of an oil economy as the only answer to our problems of poverty is a reflection of their incompetence, lack of strategic thinking and woeful leadership failures over decades.

The fact is that oil is a finite resource. Even though it could bring transformative economic contribution, while it exists, it should be used as an opportunity to strengthen other sectors which will outlast the boom times. It should be used to build capacity, modernize our infrastructure and diversify our economy for long-term economic sustainability.

There is widespread belief that the APNU Government failed us in its contract negotiations with oil majors. After oil was discovered in 2015 the Administration had two years to seek competent, professional advice from industry players but omitted to do so.

The result was a production-sharing agreement that is unfair to our interests. It is a contract where the oil companies not only earn the revenue from our natural resource, but they do it at no final cost to themselves: they will recover all exploration, development and production cost before sharing the profit with the country. Not only that, they will be exempt from all taxes for themselves and their contractors, a stabilization clause that exempt them from any changes in legislation, fiscal measures, any review, even requiring us to pay their share of income taxes.

A royalty of a mere 2%, share of profits only after cost recovery, no bond in case of environmental disasters. Even the signing bonus of US$18M is disrespectful to the dignity of Guyanese. Given the quantum and quality of our reserves we should have insisted on US$500M.

Why couldn’t we have negotiated a simple contract, royalty-based, where the profits of the investors and their subcontractors are taxed in the normal way as local companies are, one under which the return to Guyanese is certain, easy to administer; instead of the complicated production sharing agreement, where cost incurred by the oil majors are difficult to verify but nonetheless passed on to the Guyanese people.

Given our lack of experience and capacity, and the Government’s obvious refusal to seek expert advice and intervention, won’t a royalty based agreement best serve our interest?

Who was in charge? Where was the Cabinet of 30 Ministers whose mandate is to protect our interests? What were they discussing every Tuesday? Where was President Granger? Where was the leadership and honesty he is now boasting of on the Campaign trail? Where was the Opposition leader and his parliamentarians? Where was the oversight of Parliament?

The fact is that in the midst of enormous public outcry our Government ignored us. We have been sold out in a manner unforgivable. Yet no explanation from the President, no inquiry, no action to hold those involved responsible, no commitment to do better on future contracts.

Poor governance, lack of transparency and accountability, the same failure of Leadership that destroyed the livelihood of bauxite and sugar workers continues. The same creators of big, repressive and incompetent Government that extort heavy taxes on ordinary Guyanese citizens but exempt foreign multinationals from similar taxes.

Today we remain the poorest in the region after Haiti with a per capita income of less than US$4000 compared to little Antigua of US$17,000. What a shame?

Let’s pause to look at the experiences of Nigeria and many other countries where oil resources have failed to transform the lives of ordinary people because of corrupt leaders.

Nigeria produces one million barrels of oil a day. Yet after more than 60 years it has 94 million people under poverty, 57 million lack safe water, 130 million lack adequate sanitation and 10 million children out of school, according to a World Bank report. At the root is a culture of corruption combined with a political elite out of touch with the daily struggles of average Nigerians.

Between 1960 and 2005 some $20 trillion was stolen from the treasury, more than enough to alleviate such poverty.

The questions are: Where would our rich oil and gas resources take us? Would we follow the path of Nigeria and neighboring Venezuela with the same results? Or the path of Dubai or Norway. The choice we make on March 2 would determine the direction we take.

Will we continue to place our resources and our kids’ future in the sticky hands of the APNU/PNC or their lookalike the PPP? Or would we be smart this time to seek honest, credible, smart Leaders for a new direction to prosperity? Would you continue to believe that those that did nothing for themselves could do things for you?

The point is that the choice we make on March 2 would determine the direction we take, the Nigeria way by choosing the Cup or the Palm Tree or the Dubai way by selecting the brightly lighted bulb.

Defining Transparent and Inclusive Management of Oil Revenues

Of particular importance is a plan to direct monies from the sale of exploration rights into a fund owned by the government and people of Guyana, in which every Guyanese person would be a shareholder from birth.

At their weekly press conference January 7, 2020, the Change Guyana founders unveiled details of how they would ensure the revenues from oil exports benefit Guyana today and in the future. Following is the text of Robert Badal’s statement. 

Change Guyana’s objective is to ensure a fair share of our oil & gas resources for our people and propel Guyana among the league of progressive countries.

We applaud the success of ExxonMobil and its partners Hess and CNOOC in discovering and bringing this world class resource to production, and encourage their leaders to continue their partnership with the people of Guyana.

Our oil and gas reserves are indeed world class and must be exploited for the benefit of both sides. While we feel that our leaders could have negotiated a better deal for the people of Guyana, the commencement of production has put Guyana on the map and will bring enormous benefits to our people.

As responsible Leaders we want to engage Exxon and its partners and all oil majors to continually enhance the benefits accruing to our country.

Our plans include:

Oil & Gas Resources

  • Negotiating a better deal over time on all existing contracts
  • All blocks for which the investors commitments were not delivered to date would be returned to state ownership
  • These blocks and all unassigned blocks would be vested in a state-owned National Oil company (NOC)
  • Blocks would be auctioned periodically to realize the highest price with attractive signing bonuses
  • Contracts governing these blocks will be royalty based, with the investors subject to our local taxes just like local companies
  • Good governance, transparency and openness would underlie all such arrangements
  • Every citizen of Guyana would be assigned shares in the NOC from birth. Such shares would appreciate in value with every Auction and signing bonus. Sales of these shares may only be disposed of to one’s family or the NOC. This will give every Guyanese a stake in our oil resources and the benefits therefrom.

Management of Oil Revenues

Given that oil resources are finite and will be depleted over time, the management of the revenue therefrom is of utmost importance to ensure sustainable long-term development, economic and otherwise.

Given the history of rampant corruption under the PPP and APNU/PNC, new and adequate controls are vital to prevent misuse, theft, wastage and the discretionary abuse by any Government.

Our revenue management plans are as follows:

  • In year 2020 to 2022 revenues from oil would be used to uplift the income levels of all employed through reduction in income taxes, improvements in health care, education and urgently needed infrastructural works including a bridge across the Demerara River
  • From 2023 the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) will be activated. A portion of the annual income from oil will be appropriated to this fund by parliamentary approval. The balance would be appropriated to specific Funds, an infrastructural development fund, a Healthcare fund, an education fund, an agricultural and industrial development fund.
  • The Minister of Finance will only have access to these specialized funds. Any draw-down from the SWF would require parliamentary approval
  • This would ensure better planning, transparency and accountability, and best safeguard of our people’s interest
  • A special allocation, a Welfare Fund, would be made to finance a safety net for depressed communities, single parents and the more vulnerable in our society

Our focus is development around oil and gas to ensure that after the oil is depleted our economy is strong, resilient and fulfills our promises to future generations.

This means developing world-class infrastructure. The physical infrastructure includes networks of roads, highways and bridges that connect all communities; and ports and airports to maintain affordable and reliable ties globally. It also means telecommunications and digital infrastructure;, healthcare, electricity and water supplies.

It means creating a low-tax destination that attracts large scale investments in agriculture, manufacturing, fisheries and forestry, bauxite, gold and other minerals. It means a highly trained, efficient and independent civil service, independent Central Bank and judiciary.

It means a culture of governance that serves, instead of being served; honest; a system that guarantees and delivers on fundamental rights of freedom that works for all.

That’s the development and the Governance Change Guyana brings.

We will propel Guyana among the league of progressive countries.

Our major political parties have failed us in relation to the indefensible Exxon deal

Dear Editor,

2019 has been an unforgettable political year for Guyana, if only for the indelible and extreme breaches of our Constitution and Court Rulings following the No Confidence Vote and the grand finale confession coming three years after the signing of a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), when the APNU+AFC administration represented by Minister Raphael Trotman, casually stated that “I would be the first to admit that we should have done far better than we have done.” Better late than never one contemplates. Now if only we could turn back time and have a new PSA that fills the Guyanese economy with Billions of United States Dollars instead of the indefensible PSA.

The undoubted person of the year for 2018 was Charrandass Persaud, who voted the APNU+AFC administration into Caretaker status, with his across-the-floor support of the No Confidence Motion.

The initial acknowledgment of APNU+AFC that the No Confidence Vote required elections by March 21, 2019 didn’t last long. The APNU+AFC advocates for adherence to the Constitution under President Donald Ramotar’s administration, became the violators of the Constitution using the most illogical and confounding arguments that to this day, have facts and logic tottering and reeling from relentless attack of fake math, claims of entitlement to a full term and just plain executive lawlessness.

The Constitution was subjugated, court orders were generally ignored, as the Executive Branch of government took full supremacy over the Constitution and the Courts.

We end 2019 with the PPP/C and APNU+AFC (PNCR) standing or bending in solidarity as they commit to not renegotiate or review the oiliest of oil contracts between Exxon’s subsidiary, Hess Inc. and  CNOOC/Nexen with the empowered hand and the Government of Guyana with the submissive hand.

It seems to me that we have at the highest levels of government, the unlimited imagination and arrogance to defy the Constitution of Guyana; then we go prostrate when dealing with Exxon and gift billions of United States Dollars away from the long-suffering Guyanese people.

Bad man style internally for political power, status and entitlements and stultifying cowardice when dealing with Exxon.

With our political leaders virtually knighting Darren Woods, Exxon’s CEO, to have supreme control over the six billion plus barrels of oil in offshore Guyana, it is appropriate to have Guyana’s Political and Corporate overlord be gifted with the title Guyana’s Person of the Year for 2019. Massive, immeasurable and humongous giveaways and concessions to Exxon and its partner, while Guyanese receive doughnut middle verbally coated in sugar.

As we quibble over first and second lift, waffle over direct oil sales and our unpreparedness for first oil, the deplorable, stark and the unprecedented terms of the Production Sharing Agreements, the aptly named Mr. Woods is, I’m sure quite enamoured to have united the two largest political parties in Guyana to embrace the PSA, a unity that benefits Exxon and throws Guyanese under the proverbial bus.

The 36% of Guyanese living in poverty, the 7,000 sugar workers thrown off their jobs are not material factors to our elite politicians, as the play for power, status, entitlements and wealth for whoever governs, take precedence over improving the quality of life for the Guyanese people.

Yet Charrandass was called a Judas, while Exxon is hero worshipped in unison by the utterances from APNU+AFC and PPP/C. Yet Charrandass was called an interloper, while Exxon and company rushes to monetize their cash cow in Guyana.

The courageous vote of Charrandass Persaud on that December night in 2018 revealed how having power and the prospects of gaining power is primarily not about providing for the welfare of the people, but more about the political hierarchy staying in power or gaining power by any means necessary.

The billions of United States Dollars that have been denied the Guyanese people with the most lopsided PSA is best described by slicing the words of author Charles Dickens: “It was the worst of times…, it was the age of foolishness…, it was the epoch of incredulity…, it was the season of darkness…, it was the winter of despair.”

Indeed we have reached the breaking point of reason, since using words like pre-contract costs, royalties, renegotiate, review, ring-fencing, local content, stabilization clause and signing bonus in the context of the Guyana Government’s PSA with Exxon’s subsidiary, Hess and CNOOC/Nexen are being described as unpatriotic.

Whether it’s the response to the No Confidence Vote by the governing party or the expressed intent not to have the PSA with Exxon’s subsidiary and its partners renegotiated or reviewed, our major political parties have failed us. The two large political parties captured or captive since 1955, with substantial blocks of support from within ethnic demographics seem to embrace this retrograde form of governance in a continuous and interdependent manner.

David de Caires, attorney, founder and editor in chief of Stabroek News had often noted the symbiotic nature of the PPP and PNC in the 1990s and 2000s; this symbiotic relationship has for the most part resulted in the political hierarchy prospering while the Guyanese people are tragically disadvantaged.

The state of our plight and/or plunder is best expressed as a self-licking ice cream cone that licks to sustain a divisive system.

Yours faithfully,

Nigel Hinds

Source

Change Guyana retracts endorsements of Anthony Snow, Robert Gates; highlights policies

See full statement from the Change Guyana political party issued on Friday, December 20, 2019.

Since the launch of Change Guyana on October 29, 2019; thousands of Guyanese from all ten regions of Guyana have come forward to support, volunteer and endorse our unique message of inclusive and accelerated economic development and job creation through tax reforms and other deliverable measures.

The Change Guyana Economic policies have resonated positively across all sectors of Guyana, from the private sector to the public sector; from the unemployed to the employed, from those living in poverty to the wealthy among us, from the youths to our seniors; Guyanese from all walks of life are embracing the clarity of our vision and the positive economic change we offer.

The policies include no income tax or National Insurance contributions for Guyanese working for less than $100,000, VAT reduction to 12%, no property tax, no capital gains tax, no estate tax, no tax on farmers, reduction in taxes on vehicles by an average of 70% to ensure Guyanese travel in safer vehicles that are affordable, no tax on exports, no tax on vehicles, machinery and equipment used in the farming, mining, forestry, fishery and other productive sectors, no VAT on electricity, water or data, free education from Nursery to University, provisions through the tax system for voucher credits to those living in poverty, doubling old age pension within one year, using tax credits to fund collaborative programs between businesses and educational institution for the training, apprenticeship and employment of our youths and adults, setting up a private sector agricultural bank, provide land to sugar workers from closed sugar estates, arrange low cost financing for micro, small and medium sized enterprises in collaboration with the banking sector, regionalize our education, training and administrative institutions, set up special economic zones in at least four regions of Guyana, improve our dilapidated and inadequate infrastructure including roadways, bridges, electricity, water, telecommunications and internet among other areas; provide Guyanese with a secure living environment, a reliable a safe transportation system and remove the administrative bureaucracy that plagues our productivity.

These policies have brought thousands of Guyanese to embrace support and endorse Robert Badal and Nigel Hinds, the co-founders and leaders of Change Guyana Political Movement, for their visionary thinking, capacity to build and deliver and their grasp of the issues that impede development and job creation in Guyana.

At our 10th press conference on December 19, 2019, where Guyanese make public endorsements of Change Guyana, we received the endorsements of three Guyanese, two of these endorsements have been brought into question.

Guyanese are free to endorse any party, policy, message or candidate they wish.

However, while we recognize their right to liberty and just treatment as citizens of Guyana, we have reviewed an informative post by News Room and subsequently done a more extensive examination of the two individuals. Based on the information we have reviewed, Change Guyana has decided to retract the endorsements of the two individuals.

Change Guyana support and momentum is evident all across Guyana as we focus on economic and social development, wealth creation and critical bread and butter issues that affect Guyanese citizens.

We commit to deliver on the expectations of Guyanese voters on March 2, 2020.

Every Guyanese that has a legal right to vote is encouraged to cast their vote for the inclusive and accelerated economic development policies of Change Guyana.

Source

Badal says ‘proud to be a hustler’; chides Gov’t for wasting taxpayers’ money

Owner of the Pegasus Hotel Robert Badal says professionals are needed in the Government to effectively manage an oil-rich economy.

Badal, who has joined the race to become the country’s next President as a candidate for the Change Guyana party, blasted Government officials for wasting taxpayers’ money as a result of their inexperience in managing a business of any kind.

“If you never run a cake shop, how could you invest other people’s money, what level of responsibility?” he questioned at the party’s weekly press conference Tuesday at the Pegasus Hotel.

Badal expressed his belief that “people get into politics to put their hand on the treasury,” but he said this is not the case for him because he already has businesses that he manages.

The businessman said he is a proud hustler, adding that he will not even be accepting a salary if elected as the country’s next President.

“I’m proud to be a hustler, I’ve been a hustler all my life. All Guyanese are hustlers, they have to hustle to make ends meet, to pay their bills, to pay loans.

“They [Government officials] are the only ones who don’t hustle, they start the day with a little coffee, then they come in and they give a little interview, then another appointment comes, they put on a jacket and they go and take photograph. That’s not our style, I’ve been a hustler all my life,” the Presidential Candidate said.

Badal hopes to bring the principles he learnt in the private sector to effectively manage the public sector.

Source

Change Guyana commits to opening Private Development Bank to boost Agri. sector

Though recently formed, the Change Guyana Party which is led by Presidential Candidate, Robert Badal, says it has a strong development programme that is sure to stimulate the agricultural sector, should it win the 2020 General and Regional Elections.

The Guyana Standard understands that part of the Party’s plan involves prioritizing in its first year in office, the opening of a Private Agricultural Development Bank that will offer low interest loans to ensure small, medium and large scale farmers have the funding to profitably utilize hundreds of thousands of acres of arable land across Guyana for value added agro-processing.

The Party said that interest rates will range between four and eight percent with loan collateral including traditional land and property assets. It is envisaged by the Party that the Private Agricultural Development Bank will incentivize farming entrepreneurs and potential agri-businessmen to cultivate plants and livestock and invest in added value products for local and international markets.

It proposed that the opening of the bank will be done in conjunction with the release of vast tracts of State and government lands across the 10 regions of Guyana for agricultural purposes.

Source

Region 10 has been trapped in a “wicked cycle” of promises by PPP, APNU+AFC-Change Guyana PM Candidate

For more than 27 years, the people of Region 10 have been tricked into giving their votes to political parties, specifically, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and the APNU+AFC coalition administration, in exchange for broken promises of betterment.

In fact, Change Guyana, a new political party, emphatically asserts that the Region has been trapped in a wicked cycle of promises made by the political majors.

But if given a chance, the newcomer which is led by Pegasus Hotelier, Robert Badal and Chartered Accountant, Nigel Hinds, is assuring that it would break this vicious cycle of false hope as it insisted that there would be a strategic plan for the enrichment of Region 10 inhabitants.

Elaborating on Change Guyana’s position at a recent press conference, Hinds noted some of the broken promises of the PPP based on its 2011 manifesto. After retaining power in the 2011 elections, Hinds noted that the PPP failed to promote growth in the bauxite industry, facilitate major investment by the bauxite companies in increased capacity, ensure the construction of new kilns, and encourage the exports of new products, such as mullite and proppants.

As for the APNU+AFC administration, the Chartered Accountant noted that it failed to modernize the bauxite industry, invite and support foreign investment from reputable and known multinationals to develop the aluminum industry, create new jobs alongside policies to guarantee workers’ rights and welfare, and develop 200,000 hectares of the intermediate savannahs for lemons, limes, oranges, cattle, legumes (beans and peas), vegetables as the country’s second frontier for agricultural development.

Hinds further noted that there are five other manifesto promises that the government did not honour, while noting that these include the development of Tiger Falls and other hydroelectric potential in the region to facilitate industrial development and the establishment of a University of Guyana campus in Linden which offers courses relevant to the developmental needs of Regions Seven, Eight, Nine and 10.

Considering the foregoing, Hinds commented that the manifesto promises from the two old parties are “like colorful sacks, with glittery ornaments on the outside, with very little substance on the inside to improve the quality of lives from high levels of poverty…”

The Prime Ministerial Candidate concluded, “We must change this extremely underdeveloped state of affairs in Region 10 to one of inclusive and accelerated economic development of Region 10.”

This he said, is exactly what Change Guyana intends to do.

Source

Ryan Dey Bio

Good day everyone, thank you for your time. My name is Ryan Dey.

I’m a lindener by birth, but a Guyanese by heart and nature.

Speaking of nature, I have a degree in Forestry from the University of Guyana and i  work in the forest industry. All my life, I have known only 2 leaders in our political history. What have they done? In my view, neither is better. I am a national Rugby player, and being from Linden, i’m an all rounder in sports! Lindeners, we take pride in leading at the sports level consistently, even after being denied equal access to facilities and resources like other regions, we survive, and we win always.

As a Lindener, you have failed us!As a sportsman, you have failed us in leadership, as a youth you have failed us in leadership? Where are your policies for development?

Looking at Linden, what happened to our beautiful, industrious town?

With all the promises made and never delivered, it is time to change, it is time i choose to change Guyana, now..

I have seen changes in our leadership, but hardly in our lives.

Instead of trying to blame anyone, I decided to do something about it. I decided to join Change Guyana. I believe that this group of successful businessmen have the experience and economic plans needed for my fellow Guyanese brothers and sisters to not only live, but thrive.

Mr Badal’s life story is truly inspirational, a story of perseverance and strategy, of hope and success. Mr Hind’s has in my view, served with distinction, in selfless dedication to Guyanese in the basketball arena.

They epitomize my view on leadership.

In talking with both Mr. Badal and Mr. Hinds I understand their  frustration not only with the current government but  with the previous one, its of our view in the Change Guyana movement that both parties are one in the same, the stand for corruption and backward movement or regression. Let’s take a look at my beautiful hometown of Linden, which was once the bread winner of Guyana, the PPP neglected the town for twenty three years, no jobs, no security, no house lot,  no proper infrastructure, no plans for youth development, and i can go on and on and on , then people of linden and Guyana grew tired and frustrated with the PPP, they decided that there should be a change, here comes the new government with their promises of a better life for all Guyanese, what a joke, the had the easiest job in my eyes, just do things for the people, especially the small man, the market vendors, the school cleaners the security guard that works 12 hours a day to send their children to school, the bus driver and conductor, the street cleaners, all public servants, the sugar workers fighting to keep their heads above water, but they  failed miserably, not only have they done nothing to significantly impact people’s lives, they were arrogant and ignorant in doing so, only looking after their friend and families.

Being in the forest sector i see first hand what the current government did to the sector, without just cause and proper knowledge (indicating their ignorance) they parted ways with a lot of the foreign companies who use to help the small man get monies for their produce,rather than having to find outside markets. Now a well informed government would have sat down with these companies and made sure that these companies comply with the relevant policies and agreements that they have to fulfill in order to help the ones who depend on these companies for their daily bread.

Throughout history we keep giving the government the benefit of the doubt, but they keep saying they did the right thing to get rid of all these foreign forest companies, but ask what have they done to fill that void, NOTHING absolutely NOTHING, and  oh my bad they actually raised taxes on exporting forest produce to further punish the small man. Saying that we need to do value added, with no direction to that effect, when the small man has to pay duties on all machinery, how heartless can a government be to kick the people while their down. But have no fear because there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and that light is called Change Guyana, who’s leaders plan to reform ridiculous and excessive taxation, and will also build a consolidated lumber yard where the small man can sell his/her logs at market value, the team also plan to have a national sawmill where they will employ thousands  and finally Guyana can be the exporter of value added forest products.

We the youths of Guyana;and the future leaders  of tomorrow are fed up, tired and need to see a change now, the only way we can do that my fellow citizens is by putting our trust and support in people who have an economic agenda for this country, which is so rich in natural resources, have you ever asked yourself how come we have so many natural resources that can rake in billions of dollars and we are still poor? That’s because our leaders failed to promote this country as the gem it really is.

Have no fear because change isn’t near change is here in the form of change Guyana, backed by our competent and patriotic candidates Mr. Robert Badal and Mr. NIgel Hindes. Two juggernauts who are sick and tired of the country the love being destroyed by bottom feeders, proven business men with a wealth of knowledge of how not only Guyana works but how the world works.thank you two fine Gentlemen for taking up the mantle and sprinting with it, these two men are going to lead us into the 21 century and I am proud to say that I am coming along for the ride I am endorsing Change Guyana because i am sick and tired of being sick and tired.

My name is Ryan Dey and I approve this message.

 

 

Badal demands that Granger articulate a viable economic plan for sugar workers

WATCH VIDEO

Yesterday I visited the Villages around the closed Wales Sugar  Estate.

I was deeply disturbed at the level of poverty and unemployment in that community Lands of closed sugar estates should be allotted to former employees to enable them to create a livelihood to cushion the dislocation that the closure brings I am aware of large slots of land being parceled out at Wales to friends of the APNU administration without any consideration for the displaced sugar workers.

This reflects a most uncaring and  unpatriotic act of the Granger administration.

I am demanding that the President articulate a viable economic relief plan for those workers as a matter of urgency I am also demanding that the President halt all sale or lease of sugar lands and disclose all transactions whereby lands were leased, sold or being sold, outlining the acreage, name of purchaser or lessee and the amounts paid.

This and all injustices across Guyana must come to an end. Guyanese have had enough.

For media enquiries: info@ChangeGuyana.com

Badal calls out Irfaan Ali on “fool the people” promise to reopen sugar estates

The recently formed political party, Change Guyana has taken the political opposition to task over its campaign promise to reopen the three closed sugar estates, saying such a move is totally impossible.

Presidential candidate for Change Guyana, Robert Badal, today said he is firm in his position that any plan to reopen closed sugar estates is just another plan to “fool the people”.

Speaking at his weekly press briefing, the businessman said it is not possible to bring the sugar estates (factories) back into operation since that would mean replanting of cane and repurchasing of equipment, which would represent a substantial financial investment.

“From my business experience that is impractical. And I would say, I mean without any apology, they are trying to lie to the people, lie to the people again. You cannot close that sugar estate and after a year reopen that sugar estate. It is impossible,” Badal said.

Presidential Candidate of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Irfaan Ali has pledged to reopen the estates. He has made it an issue of his campaign.

The APNU+AFC government believes that Ali’s claim is a ploy to get votes from those persons who live along the sugar belt.

Badal appears to agree with the government’s position and said his Change Guyana party would have no interest in reopening the estates since that would cost billions of dollars.

He said Ali’s promise is a political gimmick.

“Our alternative to those estates is to ensure that we return the existing estates to profitability, through reorganization and diversification. They had a long time since the 70’s to have cogeneration in all sugar estates. Albion can produce alone 20 megawatts and the demand in East Berbice is 18 megawatts. You can power East Berbice by cogeneration. But you know what’s the crux of it, it’s the leadership. The lack of business experience that we bring to the table.”

The PPP/C has dismissed criticism that its plans to reopen the sugar estates are unrealistic while maintaining that the party has a sound plan to resuscitate the industry.

Mr. Ali has promised that under a PPP Civic government, he will ensure the estates closed by the current government are back up, running efficiently and turning a profit.

The PPP Civic had also closed down a number of sugar estates during its time in government. There were no efforts to ever reopen any of those estates.

Source: https://newssourcegy.com/elections/badal-calls-out-irfaan-ali-on-fool-the-people-promise-to-reopen-sugar-estates/

Mother of child who was bullied in school endorses Change Guyana to change the education system

The mother of a student of the Tagore Memorial Secondary School who had her religious attire pulled off her head during a bullying incident at her school wants the issue of bullying in schools to be properly addressed.

The mother, Rosanna Mohamed feels that the entire school system in Guyana should be revamped and policies put in place to act as checks and balances so that they could be early detection of violence and bullying in schools.

She said there is a need to reduce the growing incidents of violence within the school system.

“My personal mission is to spread awareness of bullying and school violence and to help the youth of this country to be good model citizens…I firmly believe that our school system needs to be revised to be better equipped to face the daily challenges our young people are facing today,” she stated.

Mohamed, who is also a teacher, said it is a sad reality that violence is an everyday thing that has now seeped into the school system.

The mother of two said she wants to see the problem hammered out because it has no place in the education system.

“No proper counseling was done with these children. These children need professional help and counseling. My daughter is the victim of this incident is traumatized and I am pleading with the Ministry of Education to send the mobile psychosocial unit to counsel her and the other children.”

Mohamed explained that while the police did a separate investigation into the incident and the file was sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), she is yet to hear from that office.

“I never want another child or another mother to experience what we went through. It was an awful experience. As a mother, I am deeply hurt and disappointed that the system failed us,” she remarked.

According to the mother, “in my opinion, there must be a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of violence. Cyberbullying is becoming more a problem too. The use of cell phones and other electronic devices to harass, intimidate, bully and text messages and posting of videos is now prevalent”

With these advanced forms of bullying, the educator said the schools are incapable of dealing with these issues.

With elections coming up in March 2020, the mother said she will be throwing her support behind the recently formed Change Guyana party.

The party is headed by businessman Robert Badal.

Source: https://newssourcegy.com/news/mother-of-child-who-was-bullied-in-school-endorses-change-guyana-to-change-the-education-system/

Mothers of bullied children say Gov’t lacks capability to tackle school violence

Two mothers whose children were bullied in school over the past two months say the Ministry of Education is failing to provide much-needed counselling to the students involved.

Rosanna Mohamed of Port Mourant whose 15-year-old daughter was beaten and stripped of her hijab at Tagore Memorial secondary school in October told the News Room that said since the incident, her daughter has not been attending school on a regular basis.

The woman said she believes both her daughter and the other student involved are in need of urgent counselling but the Ministry’s Welfare Department is incapable of providing the level of help needed.

“The school’s welfare, they cannot do a proper job. They’re just covering up and keeping the matter there. If the professional people come in, they can be able to help these children [and] see what cause this type of behaviour but the children they are going to finish high school and the behaviour will still be there,” she told the News Room at the sidelines of a press conference at the Pegasus Hotel on Tuesday.

Mohamed said she contacted the school, the Welfare Department and the Police but has seen no justice.

The woman, who is also a Nursery School Teacher, said in most instances, the Welfare Department takes too long to respond to issues.

Because of her frustration, Mohamed turned her support to a new political party, Change Guyana and made an endorsement speech at the party’s weekly press conference.

She believes that if elected to office, the party will be able to curb violence in schools.

The mother of two is also using the platform to raise awareness on the matter and called for urgent action.

“The school system needs to be revised to be better equipped to face the daily challenges our young people are facing today. Policies must be put in places to act as checks and balances so that there can be early detection of violence and bullying in schools,” she said in her statement at the press conference.

Meanwhile, Fazia Khan, the mother of 6-year-old Fawaz Asgar whose hand was slashed with a piece of broken glass at the Mon Repos Primary School on the East Coast of Demerara, also raised similar concerns at the press conference.

“I haven’t gotten any words from the teachers as yet. They had promised that they would call me and check on my child and they haven’t done anything as yet. He is acting out…he’s getting aggressive because he’s saying he’s out of school and the child who cut his hand is in school,” the mother told the News Room.

“No one has come forward to offer counsel for my child or me,” she added.

Khan is not joining Change Guyana but says she was there to show support to Mohamed.

Khan said her son has been unable to attend school for three weeks as a result of the injuries sustained to his hand.

The incident occurred on November 13, 2019, and the News Room understands that the child received several stitches.

Khan told the News Room that when she tried to get the matter addressed, she was given the opportunity to transfer the child to the Lusignan Primary School.

“Is that the way to get rid of a parent when their child is a victim?”

The mother said the incident occurred at an old house located in the school’s compound and though the school has promised to remove the house, it is still there.

The News Room had reported on another incident at the Mon Repos Primary School which left an 8-year-old student hospitalized.

The child’s mother had told the News Room that the school was also trying to cover up that matter.

Another incident was publicized where a male student was seen beating a female student at the Richard Ishmael Secondary School recently.

Education Minister, Nicolette Henry then asked the student to apologise raising additional concerns about the Ministry’s inability to deal with violence in schools.

Source: https://newsroom.gy/2019/12/03/mothers-of-bullied-children-say-govt-lacks-capability-to-tackle-school-violence/