In the future, overseas coaches may be in Jamaica to lift 800-metre running in the island. That’s the renewed promise from Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA). The intention arose in an interview early this month.Though there were earlier hopes of learning from distance giant Kenya, Dr Blake said, “The programme of partnering with countries which are strong in the 800 is still in the mind of the JAAA.”Help may not come from Kenya, home of brilliant middle-distance runners like David Rudisha and Asbel Kiprop. Alluding to allegations of corruption and drug violations faced by Kenyan track and field currently, the JAAA president said, “The leadership of that federation is really in a spot of trouble, to put it mildly.”In the meantime, help may come from other nations.”We’re going to be looking at other countries to partner with,” he said.Since the days when Arthur Wint and George Kerr won Olympic medals, Jamaica has only produced one Olympic and/or World Championship finalist in the 800 metres – Kenia Sinclair.Her national record of one minute, 57.88 seconds was set in 2006. Sinclair has been hampered with injuries in recent seasons, but finished in sixth position in both the 2008 Olympic final and the 2011 World Championship final.On the men’s side, Clive Terrelonge won the gold medal at the 1995 World Indoor Championships.While Natoya Goule and Simoya Campbell broke two minutes for the distance last year, 1996 was the last time Jamaica had athletes beating the men’s threshold of one minute, 46 seconds. Both Mario Vernon-Watson and Alex Morgan did it in that Olympic year.The men’s national record has stood to Seymour Newman at one minute, 45.21 seconds since 1977. The national junior record is almost 52 years old and remains at one minute, 46.6 seconds. That was a World Junior record when it was set by Neville Myton in 1964.
Dear Editor,The headline that caused me grave dismay was: “Exxon Contract – Final – Harmon”; published on February 23, 2017. On reading the headline, several thoughts overcame me: President Jagan would have absolutely rejected this contract; President Burnham would have never given away our birthright; Walter Rodney would never go against the people.I felt betrayed and furious; what arrogance, how bull headed can we get; we are being treated like plantation workers. Guyanese did not give any politician or party the right to dole out 6.6 million oil rich acres of their country without sufficient compensation; thus, whether or not the coalition administration assigned a minister with plenipotentiary power to act on behalf of the cabinet, there is still the requirement of approval from the legislative branch, the budget process, or some such similar mechanism.On what basis can Minister Harmon contend that the Exxon Contract is final? Merely because Minister Trotman signed a Petroleum Agreement? It takes more than one stump to make a wicket. Can the President or his aide/minister sign away any of our counties: Berbice, Demerara or Essequibo, to Exxon and say the contract is final without even having the approval of Parliament?And if they did have parliamentary approval, would that make it legal and proper?The coalition party is caught running downhill; it is afraid to stop for fear of falling or admitting errors. The party, led by its core leaders, continue running Guyana downhill while giving off an odour of pretence that something beneficial to Guyana is being done.I do understand that politicians are inherently spokespersons for the inner power core of the political parties; now the core is prostrating to Exxon, our new overlords. We, the people, must push, force, request, and petition our political leaders to come out and speak with certitude and in an unfettered manner for the contract to be renegotiated.I suspect, and daresay, ExxonMobil has its subsidiaries, affiliates and associates ensnared to varying degrees into the apparatus of our political parties and the upper echelons of our private sector. It is the way of Esso.The members of a political party, with rare exceptions, adhere to the paramountcy of party decisions; thus party members invariably toe and support the party line, the support is not necessarily based on what is best for Guyana and Guyanese. It is not important that, in conforming to the party line, you support an imbecile agreement, utter stupidity, gross unfairness, nefarious conduct, racist decisions, economic sabotage, covering up of lies and incompetence, or covering up of mismanagement; or the breaking of promises or betraying of the Guyanese people to satisfy and largely benefit the upper hierarchy of the political party.Where was the power to contract out our resources for a farthing constituted? Surely not from our legislative branch. What of the dismissed and shackled sugar workers? What of the deplorable conditions in Linden? What of the impoverished bauxite workers? What of the old age pensioners who receive a 100 United States dollars per month? What of our public servants, who are the lowest paid in the Caribbean? What of the poor state of our social services, such as health, water, education and security? What of the need for improved infrastructure? What of the extremely poor quality of life in the less travelled regions of Guyana? Were answers to the foregoing questions not considered when we signed the dotted line of the Petroleum Agreement?This is a petroleum agreement of infamy, with a signature date on the agreement recorded as June 27, 2016; an agreement signed after it was known that the oil find of over 1.4 billion barrels had a crude oil value of over 13 trillion Guyana Dollars (1.4 billion * US$45.80 * FX Rate of G$210). Oil price on the day of infamy was US$45.80, on the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) – Cushing, Oklahoma Exchange. On February 23, 2018, crude oil was priced at US$62.73, and the initial oil find at Liza 1 value was upwards of 18 trillion Guyana Dollars.Oil findings in Guyana have now more than doubled, and using February 23, 2018 oil price from WTI, with the Ranger Well oil find included, the total value of oil found in Guyana offshore is conservatively valued at over 52 trillion Guyana Dollars (4 billion * US$62.73 * FX Rate of G$210).How callow and unthinking it is to use a cut-and-paste contract approach after the oil has been discovered, with the first oil well out of the multitude being explored already giving us 1.4 billion barrels of oil. Could we not conduct ourselves as men and women of substance and negotiate for a fair share of our multigenerational fortune; and not act as servile hewers of wood and drawers of water?Only we, the people, can free Guyana from the draconian agreement the behemoth called Exxon has signed with our ensnared leaders. We are now waiting on ourselves to act with courage, resilience, fortitude and perseverance to have this contract renegotiated.We must address our minds and energies to rectify all oil contracts related to the 4,000,000,000-barrels-and-counting of oil in Guyana’s offshore that’s located in areas with high porosity and high permeability, resulting in top quality and low-cost oil reserves. We must leverage Guyana’s oil to ensure monetization of the oil find in a manner that Guyanese will have a fair economic share.Sincerely,Nigel Hinds
Over 500 persons are living on Government reserves in Sophia, Greater Georgetown.CH&PA Director of Settlement Upgrading and Regularisation Unit, Gladwin CharlesThis is according to the Central Housing and Planning Authority’s (CH&PA’s) Settlement Upgrading and Regularisation Unit Director, Gladwin Charles.Charles was at the time addressing the issue of regularising areas where there is a large number of squatters.He added that some 85 per cent verification of squatters’ lots throughout various areas which are being regularised across the country has been carried out.He stated that for Sophia, which is the biggest area in Guyana to be regularised, verification and distribution of land titles are still ongoing.“That area is one of the largest areas we have in the country in terms of regularisation. We have approximately 5549 lots in the area and we’ve regularised approximately 85 per cent in terms of verification and about 75 per cent of those persons have received their titles to date,” Charles said.He added that some 24,000 lots will be available throughout the various regions after nationwide regularisation is complete.The Director also expressed that the CH&PA has been facing difficulties with relocation, however, collaborative efforts with organisations such as Food For The Poor (Guyana) Inc, have been made to provide homes for families.“In terms of relocation, we know that’s a bigger challenge, for example, in Sophia we have on the reserves, we’re working with those persons in terms of relocation. We’ve interviewed over 500 persons on the reserves on the power lines…that’s why I mentioned it’s very challenging in terms of relocation but we’re working with those persons with the community groups, community leaders…,” he stated.Over the years, squatting has posed a major challenge across the country for both the current and previous Administration.Chief Executive Officer of the CH&PA, Lelon Saul, said the body has a “zero-tolerance” policy as it relates to squatting.“Persons who are squatting will be removed but we must identify appropriate locations for them and we are currently working on that. There is a lot of issues that must be taken into consideration,” he said.Moreover, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) had indicated plans to ramp up its work to remove squatters from across the country, as it has now been inundated with reports of incidents with affluent people in society also being accused of partaking in this illegal practice.GLSC Commissioner Trevor Benn told Guyana Times that it has been observed by the Commission that there has been rampant squatting taking place along the reserves in Georgetown. Benn said along the area stretching from Bourda to Mandela Avenue, Georgetown, every single landowner has extended their fence.“And these are people with knowledge, money and who should understand that they should not squat. One of them is a senior businessman, who even went to the courts to prescribe for the land,” he explained.He added that as a result of this illegal act, the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown did not have access to clean the reserve which is posing a major problem in keeping the area clean.Benn said, “So, squatting is not a poor people thing. It’s everybody squatting. It has become rampant and it has to stop and we will go after people as much as we can. We have a no-compromise policy when it comes to squatting. People should not squat. The law said so,” he asserted.The Commissioner said it observed that there was a significant increase in squatting along the Linden-Soesdyke Highway and in Port Kaituma, Region One (Barima-Waini), among other areas. Squatting has taken place on lands already leased for industrial, commercial and residential land use, and on reserves, which constrain development of some areas and delay processing of land applications.The Commission has said that all squatters, including those who are encouraging squatting, will be prosecuted and new squatter settlements will not be regularised.