Dear Editor,There is a very disturbing trend of robberies in central Georgetown, particularly in the evenings by what appears to be a well-organised gang of young men.On the evening of Thursday, November 16, 2018, persons were robbed in the vicinity of the Route 44 bus park, as well as the Stabroek area close to Demico. The known incidents took place just after 20:00h. This follows the observation of similar incidents by some persons who resorted to sharing their horrifying experiences on social media.The method employed, involves a snatcher, who snatches the victim’s possessions, then runs away, followed by a group of 5-10 young men. The snatcher’s followers would pretend to be public spirited citizens running to catch him, shouting “catch him”. The gang would subsequently regroup after the snatcher would have covered a safe distance. This gang, which is said to be known, continues to operate with unfettered boldness. They seem to prefer the most populated bus parks, such as routes 40, 44, 45 and 48; their targets being mainly unsuspecting passengers with earpieces/ headsets on, persons with bags, and the feeble. Even when there is police presence around Stabroek Square, the gang’s numbers alone seem to be a discouragement for the one or two unarmed police traffic ranks to intervene.The gang operates at all hours, but prevails at night because of inadequate lighting around the areas close to bus parks, making it particularly challenging for victims or even some witnesses to provide reports with clarity of their identity to police.Stabroek Market is iconic, and an insignia of Guyana’s capital city – Georgetown. It has been advertised internationally in tourist documentaries, magazines and other media. The area surrounding it is a hub, where workers, merchants, students, visitors and others transit by their hundreds on a daily basis.How then does this area continue to be the most unsafe place for persons to traverse? Even more ironic, is its proximity to the Ministry of Public Security and the main precinct, Brickdam Police Station.I wish to make it categorically clear that this issue is not being highlighted with any political motive whatsoever. Rather, it seeks to obtain relief and safety for the well-being of all citizens, as well as prevent further distortion to the image of this country.The relevant authorities are therefore urged to properly illuminate and purge the areas mentioned of all unwelcome and criminal elements. They are further encouraged to maintain active police patrols and presence on a 24-hour basis. Such moves will not only deter criminal elements, but increase safety and rebuild public trust towards our security sector.Sincerely,Orette Cutting
The Private Sector Commission (PSC) has given its “thumbs up” to a multibillion-dollar fund headed its way and said that the spill-off would do well for the economy.PSC Chairman Eddie Boyer said the Commission was yet to meet with Finance Minister Winston Jordan to discuss an agreement he signed in Austria earlier this month, but has already done a review of the fund.PSC Chairman Eddie BoyerThe Finance Ministry said earlier this month that the Private Sector was set to benefit from new avenues for finance and investments with the signing of the Agreement for Encouragement and Protection of Investment with the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).The Finance Minister signed the Agreement in Vienna, Austria with OFID Director General Suleiman J Al-Herbish. It is the first such agreement with a multilateral partner and sets in motion a framework for the start of Private Sector operations in Guyana.According to the PSC Chairman, based on the Commission’s review, the fund could see money being pumped into the operation of small and medium-sized businesses, including the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED). According to Boyer, the fund will help fast-track the economy.OFID’s Private Sector facility supports the Private Sector in developing countries through loans to micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as directly to specific projects. As a pre-condition to such Private Sector investments, OFID requires the signature of a framework agreement with the country concerned for the encouragement and protection of investment. The agreement accords OFID the same privileges as those normally granted to international development institutions.Finance Minister Winston JordanThe Finance Ministry had said that the signing of the Agreement came at a time when a number of other initiatives were being implemented by Government to help drive Private Sector growth, including the design of a fiscal regime and a fiscal sustainability framework to address the management of natural resources wealth, development of a local content policy and the development of a time-lined work-plan on what the Private Sector needs to do to prepare for oil and thereafter. Additionally, building on the wide-ranging concessions granted by the previous Government, the coalition has introduced several legislative and operational changes in support of the manufacturing industry, which include the importation of raw materials free of excise tax, waivers on duty and taxes for items that are not listed on the approved list of raw materials once applications are made to the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), initiatives by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to reduce processing time, the introduction of the ‘Trusted Trader Status’ for compliant importers, including manufacturers, the implementation of one-year tax exemption letters for manufacturers, and the reduction of the corporate tax rate paid by the manufacturing sector from 30 per cent to 27.5 per cent.More recently, the Government announced the first Round Table Meeting with the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) scheduled for July 28. This Round Table Meeting aims for a more structured dialogue and effective engagement with key players in the sector.OFID is the inter-governmental development finance institution established in 1976 by the Member States of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and is based on “the natural solidarity which unites OPEC countries with other developing countries in their struggle to overcome underdevelopment”.OFID has 13 member countries: Algeria, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Libya, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.Resources for the Fund come from voluntary contributions made by members and its various operations.Between 1976 to present, OFID has committed more than US$55 million to Guyana through its Public Sector operations. Much of this amount was provided as debt relief – some within the framework of the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative – while more than US$29 million was earmarked for Guyana’s energy, agriculture and financial sectors.
1 Raheem Sterling in action for Liverpool Former Liverpool star Danny Murphy believes Raheem Sterling will depart the Reds this summer – leaving the club having to gamble in the transfer market again.The England flyer has been linked with a move away from Anfield at the end of the season, with Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City all interested.Brendan Rodgers was forced into a summer spending spree last year when Luis Suarez completed a £75million deal to La Liga giants Barcelona.In came Lazar Markovic, Dejan Lovren, Mario Balotelli, Emre Can and Rickie Lambert, among others, but the majority have failed to shine for the Northern Irishman.And Murphy believes, with Sterling set to leave the club for upwards of £50m, the recruitment must be better than last summer.“I’m in the camp of thinking Raheem Sterling might be off,” he told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show. “That would be a huge negative. The club then has to use that money to bring in more players, but are the people in charge of recruitment doing the job well enough? I would question that.“I know Brendan has said that he does have a say on the players and he is involved in the process. I hope he is because ultimately he’s the one being judged on them. The signings haven’t been brilliant.“Brendan [Rodgers] is there for the long haul. He’s moved the club forward. Some of the problems this year were out of his hands.“He couldn’t have predicted what Luis Suarez was going to do in the World Cup, meaning he had to revamp his squad.“Daniel Sturridge has had some horrendous injuries this year. What you could question is some of the recruitment at Liverpool.“Have the signings worked? £19m on Lazar Markovic, yes he’s talented but has he’s not produced yet. Rickie Lambert hasn’t played enough, Fabio Borini was £10m. Mario Balotelli was £16m, he’s not worked. Dejan Lovren, who cost £20m, has hardly played. Is £18m Mamadou Sakho the answer? That’s where I would put the question mark.”