Swim Jamaica president, Handel Lamey, says the performances of Justin Plaschka and Michael Gunning at the recent FINA World Swimming Championships in Budapest, Hungary, was very encouraging and he expects them to continue improving their times and ranking. Gunning lowered his 200- metre freestyle national record of one minute: 50.71 seconds and set a new mark of 1:50.00, which placed him 43rd overall and made him the best placed Jamaican male at a world championships since Olympian Allan-Roy Marsh in 1982. He competed in the 200-metre butterfly and completed it in 2:01.83 to place 35th overall, but claim the number one spot in Carifta and is the second fastest from the Central American and Caribbean region. Meanwhile, Plaschka also clocked a new personal best for the season in the 50m freestyle. The national record holder finished in 24.63 to place 41st overall, and became the second fastest from the region. Plaschka’s time also makes him the fastest ever Jamaican to compete at the Long Course World Championships bettering the 25.68 by former national record holder Brad Hamilton. He is also the highest-placed Jamaican man ever and the best ever placed Jamaican, surpassing Olympian Alia Atkinson who went to 46th. The performance of the pair in Budapest had swimming association president, Lamey, beaming with optimism. “It’s very encouraging, especially from Justin Plascka, who has been trying for some time to improve his time and has sacrificed so much, but has been able to do it now,” Lamey told The Gleaner. “Michael (Gunning) has also done very well and is now one of the best ranked swimmer in the entire region, and this is really a feather in his cap,” he added.. He noted that Gunning avoided the regional championship to concentrate on the World Championship, and it paid off for him. “I think that was the right decision,” he added. Lamey did not expect a podium finish from either swimmer at the world championships but he expects them to continue improving their times and continue to climb the world rankings. “They are definitely on the right track, and they are doing exceptionally well … we expect them to improve their times and final placings as time goes along,” he said.
Portmore United forward Jeremie Lynch delivered on his promise to score, as he got the winner for his team in the CONCACAF League round of 16 game at the National Stadium on Wednesday night. Portmore clipped Panama’s Plaza Amador 1-0 to take a slim advantage going into the second leg in Central America next Wednesday. Lynch netted the game’s only goal 73 minutes into the contest, turning home Ricardo Morris’ low cross from four yards. “We had confidence in ourselves. We didn’t have all our players, but we knew what we had to do,” coach Shavar Thomas said after the game. In an evenly contested game, the home team started better in terms of bossing possession, but the Panamanians always looked to hit them on the break, although there were few chances for both teams. The first real chance came after 21 minutes, but Plaza Amador goalkeeper Eric Hughes parried Michael Binns’ shot for a corner. In the 35th minute, the Panamanians forced Portmore goalkeeper Shaven Paul into an equally tough save, parrying the ball for a corner. Portmore started the second-half brightly, but wasted a great chance when Binns decided to shoot instead of passing to his overlapping striker. The visitors then wasted another good chance five minutes after when Jose Murillo fired over from 12 yards. A minute later, captain Ameth Ramirez hit high from 18 yards. Lynch came the closest to scoring when his volley hit the post and rebounded to Morris, who was denied by an excellent save from Hughes. But Portmore would go ahead on the next chance they created in the 73rd minute. Morris broke away down the left and produced a low ball cross the six yards box for Lynch to beat Hughes and a defender with a neat finish. Portmore also had two other great chances through Roshane Sharpe and Binns, but could not extend their advantage to take into next week’s return game in Panama.
Not classified PERFECT SCENARIO Name Nationality Manufacturer Laps Time Points 1. Lewis Hamilton Britain Mercedes 58 2:03:23.544 25 2. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer 58 +4.507 seconds 18 3. Valtteri Bottas Finland Mercedes 58 +8.800 15 4. Carlos Sainz Spain Toro Rosso 58 +22.822 12 5. Sergio Perez Mexico Force India Mercedes 58 +25.359 10 6. Jolyon Palmer Britain Renault 58 +27.259 8 7. Stoffel Vandoorne Belgium McLaren Honda 58 +30.388 6 8. Lance Stroll Canada Williams Mercedes 58 +41.696 4 9. Romain Grosjean France Haas Ferrari 58 +43.282 2 10. Esteban Ocon France Force India Mercedes 58 +44.795 1 11. Felipe Massa Brazil Williams Mercedes 58 +46.536 12. Pascal Wehrlein Germany Sauber Ferrari 56 +2 laps. Driver Standings SINGAPORE (AP): Lewis Hamilton had been worried about how many points he would lose to Sebastian Vettel at the Singapore Grand Prix. It was supposed to be a damage limitation exercise for Mercedes after a poor performance in qualifying. Instead, Hamilton took a significant stride toward the world title after winning yesterday’s race from fifth place on the grid. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo prevented a Mercedes 1-2 by finishing ahead of Valtteri Bottas. Fourth place went to Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr a career best for the Spanish driver. Vettel made one of the worst starts of his distinguished career, throwing away pole position as he recklessly caused a crash heading into the first corner. The Ferrari driver took three others out with him and critically, none was a Mercedes. Instead of moving ahead of Hamilton in their enthralling title battle, Vettel now trails him by 28 points with six races left. F1 Singapore Grand Prix Results: 10. Esteban Ocon France Force India Mercedes 58 +44.795 1 Kevin Magnussen Denmak Haas Ferrari 50 did not finish Nico Hulkenberg Germany Renault 48 did not finish Marcus Ericsson Sweden Sauber Ferrari 35 did not finish Daniil Kvyat Russia Toro Rosso 10 did not finish Fernando Alonso Spain McLaren Honda 8 did not finish Sebastian Vettel Germany Ferrari 0 did not finish Max Verstappen Netherlands Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer 0 did not finish Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari 0 did not finish. 1. Mercedes 475 2. Ferrari 373 3. Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer 230 4. Force India Mercedes 124 5. Williams Mercedes 59 6. Toro Rosso 52 7. Renault 42 8. Haas Ferrari 37 9. McLaren Honda 17 10. Sauber Ferrari 5 1. Lewis Hamilton 263 2. Sebastian Vettel 235 3. Valtteri Bottas 212 4. Daniel Ricciardo 162 5. Kimi Raikkonen 138 6. Max Verstappen 68 7. Sergio Perez 68 8. Esteban Ocon 56 9. Carlos Sainz 48 10. Nico Hulkenberg 34 11. Felipe Massa 31 12. Lance Stroll 28 13. Romain Grosjean 26 14. Kevin Magnussen 11 15. Fernando Alonso 10 16. Jolyon Palmer 8 17. Stoffel Vandoorne 7 18. Pascal Wehrlein 5 19. Daniil Kvyat 4 Manufacturers Standings “It couldn’t be a more perfect scenario,” Hamilton said. “I definitely went in today thinking it was about damage limitation. To come out of it in the other direction is a shock.” Vettel was supposed to score heavily here. With less speed and 23 turns, the hard-braking Marina Bay circuit suited Ferrari much more than Mercedes. This was further reflected in qualifying, with Bottas sixth and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen starting fourth. Furthermore, Vettel had the Singapore record for wins (four) and podiums (six). But in a few seconds, he threw it all away. The German driver gunned across the track, triggering first-turn mayhem and causing a domino effect as Raikkonen, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso all crashed with him. On one of the toughest tracks in Formula One for overtaking, Hamilton would have been pleased with a podium finish. Instead, the field opened up perfectly for the British driver to seal his third straight win, seventh of the season and 60th overall. “I capitalised on the incident,” Hamilton said. “Who could have known that would happen?”
The Jamaica Skeet Club’s National Shotgun Championship is under way at the Worthy Park Estates and will conclude today. It’s a 200-bird shoot over two days and is one of the main shooting disciplines that will be used to determine the overall national shotgun champion for 2018. The defending champion and six-time winner, Shaun Barnes, is vying for his seventh championship. He is upbeat about his chances even though he will have the likes of nine-time champion Ian Banks and former champion Christian Sasso as well as numerous top gunners in the island such as Craig Simpson and Geoffrey Ziadie, who will be on the course with him. On the ladies’ side, defending champion Wendy McMaster has been having a phenomenal year after winning several shoots and moving up in at least two categories. She also is looking forward to doing well and coming out the winner again. She will have the likes of Toni Barnes and Marguerite Harris to contend with. The shooters are competing in several categories, including Classes A to E, Ladies, Juniors and Hunters or beginners. They will have to shoot from 15 stations spread across the Worthy Park Estates and will face varying conditions such as the extreme heat and wind that the venue is known for at times.
…on life and deathNow that the smoke has cleared around Camp Street, it’s quite clear the dust hasn’t settled – and won’t for a long time. Yet nobody will be given the old heave-ho, that’s for sure!It was a pathetic sight to behold those who were responsible for the prison walking around with their protruding bellies, pointing out authoritatively this and that to the President, as if explaining the whole sordid fiasco! And the “explanation’? “It was an accident waiting to happen”!!An “accident” is when a mishap occurs with absolutely no warning. Here there was solid info floating around that a prison break was in the offing. A whole lotta people ignored or ducked these warnings. Maybe there ought to be a CoI to find out why? Was it bribes exceeding the quotidian ones necessary to supply the prisoners with phones and other items essential for modern times?And so we’re told that all that ails the penal system will now be fixed! Yeah, right!! Your Eyewitness won’t even bring up the vexed question of why the recommendations from last year’s CoI weren’t even assigned to a task force – much less implemented.NO, he won’t go there. He has a simpler test for the Government: to show the Guyanese people that this time things will be different. Just level about the number of convicts who’re on the loose; and, more importantly, nab them!Does anyone in the Government appreciate the apprehension paralysing Guyanese people right now? It’s like a return to the days of the Buxton gang! The ineptness of those in charge of the “Big Jail” is so palpable after they were shown up by just half-a-dozen criminals, even petty criminals out there have been emboldened. Witness the brazen but well-coordinated daylight attack on that bus in front of Agricola-McDoom.At least 8 bandits are loose; Agricola’s probably the most bandit-infested village in Guyana – and the police didn’t place a cordon around it? Schuups! And three hours after the murder of that poor bus driver – just trying to make an honest buck – troops run around Agricola firing indiscriminately -hitting one poor woman in the buttocks!! What a comedy of errors!!Going into the last elections, if it was one thing the Coalition had going for them was their supposed better handle on the “security” question. With their top candidate being a Brigadier and half of the folks around him all be-medalled, that wasn’t surprising. Especially since the PPP never commanded the loyalty of the Disciplined Forces.But they’ve blown that perception, haven’t they?? Like Humpty Dumpty, let’s see them put that together again!! …on treating prisonersYour Eyewitness was struck by one line from a warden when interviewed about the events leading to the Camp Street conflagration. She said it was around 3pm – “feeding time” for the inmates. Not “lunch” or “dinner” or “mealtime” – but “feeding time”. Maybe your Eyewitness is reading too much into it, but don’t we use ‘feeding time” when talking about animals? “Feeding time” for the cattle or the ducks or the hogs. But inmates?From the Report of the CoI into the last conflagration, it was clear the inmates were in fact treated like animals – and feral ones at that. Now, maybe if we were dealing with all hardened, convicted killers, that may be OK – but at least half of the inmates were on remand!! They hadn’t even been given a trial. And for all we know, they could’ve been innocent!All studies show that, almost invariably, the way you treat people, they’ll act to fulfil your expectations. So last Sunday the “animals” rebelled?…on feeding time?But looks like things became worse for the inmates after they were transferred to the Lusignan Jail. “Feeding time” came and went and no food.The “animals’ had to lasso a cow, slaughter and eat it. It was unclear if they cooked it.
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ BREAKING: DOJ indicts ex-PNP chief Albayalde for graft SEA Games 2019: No surprises as Gilas Pilipinas cruises to basketball gold PLAY LIST 06:27SEA Games 2019: No surprises as Gilas Pilipinas cruises to basketball gold02:43Philippines make clean sweep in Men’s and Women’s 3×3 Basketball02:43Philippines make clean sweep in Men’s and Women’s 3×3 Basketball01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award03:05Malakanyang bilib sa Phivolcs | Chona Yu01:26Homes destroyed after Taal Volcano eruption02:48ABS-CBN franchise has ‘natural deadline,’ no need for quo warranto — Gatchalian03:06Tahimik, Mapanganib | Jong Manlapaz00:49Sweet! Indian bakers make world’s ‘longest’ cake San Miguel executives, coaching staff and players were present to mingle with the fans.San Miguel fans full force at the victory party at SMC compound. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netPhoto by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netFEATURED STORIESSPORTSAllen Durham chews out Meralco: Everybody played like sh*tSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSThirdy Ravena gets offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsPhoto by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netSan Miguel president Ramon Ang. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netSan Miguel head coach Leo Austria. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netSMC sports director Al Francis Chua. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netSan Miguel Beermen on the stage. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netThe PBA Commissioner’s Cup trophy! Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netSan Miguel’s Marcio Lassiter and Chris Ross. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netSan Miguel forward Arwind Santos. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netSan Miguel guard Chris Ross. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netPBA Finals MVP Terrence Romeo. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netThe San Miguel bigwigs. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netCoach Leo Austria being interviewed by the media. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netPhoto by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net Robredo hits Mocha over false post: Why let gov’t pay a fake news purveyor? ONE: Gina Iniong eager to showcase her best in 1st fight of 2020 MANILA, Philippines–The San Miguel Beermen celebrated their latest conquest in the PBA with their employees and fans Tuesday night at the SMC compound.The Beermen captured the Commissioner’s Cup crown on Friday, their second championship this season that put them closer to rare Grand Slam.ADVERTISEMENT Coco Gauff vs. Venus Williams in 1st round of Australian Open OSG petition a ‘clear sign’ of gov’t bid to block ABS-CBN franchise renewal — solon WATCH: Robredo repacks relief goods with ‘mocha’ behind her LATEST STORIES Lacson on Albayalde, ‘ninja cops’ indictment: The law has a ‘very long memory’ View comments Cignal rallies to beat Petron, forces decider for PSL finals spot Roger Federer: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic ‘will win more’
Mr. Justice Phillip Banks and his colleague, Madam Justice Jamesetta Wolokollie, last week dissented against the Opinion of three of their colleagues on the Supreme Court bench. The case involved a petition against the Code of Conduct which became law after the Senate and the House of Representatives adopted it and it was signed into law by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Monday, May 12, 2014. It was meant to serve as “an integrity check” for employees of the three branches of government and a guide to unwarranted behaviors, especially corrupt attitudes. When she signed the Bill, the President said it was the first of its kind in Liberia and said it would make Liberia “a better country.”The President could not be more wrong in her perception. Such a law, which this newspaper is on record as deeming unconstitutional, instead of making Liberia “a better country,” would rather be a recipe for conflict—conflict that could lead us back into war.The Civil Law Court decided that James Brooks, Chairman of the Citizens Solidarity Council, which filed the petition for declaratory judgement against the Code of Conduct, was indeed of legal standing to file the suit. But the Justice Ministry’s lawyers took exception to the Civil Law Court ruling and filed an appeal to the full bench of the Supreme Court. There were two issues: first, the government lawyers contended that the Chairman of the group did not have the legal standing to bring the case against government. Second, that section 5.1 says that all officials appointed by the President of Liberia shall not: (a) engage in political activities, canvass or contest for elected offices; (b) use government facilities, equipment or resources, in support of partisan or political activities; (c) serve on a campaign team of any political party or the campaign of any independent candidate. The Code’s section 5.2 says, “Wherein any person in the category stated in section 5.1, appointed by the president or by a board of directors, who desires to canvass or contest for an elective public position should resign the post at least two years prior to the date of public election.” Section 5.2 b states that any other official appointed by the president, “who holds a tenured position and desires to contest a public elective office, shall resign said post three years prior to the date of the public election.” Petitioner Brooks and his colleagues contended that these provisions in the Code of Conduct are unconstitutional.The government lawyers, on the other hand, argued that the Code of Conduct is not unconstitutional, and that Brooks, who filed the petition, had no legal standing.In their Dissenting Opinion, Mr. Justice Banks and Madam Justice Wolokollie argued that Petitioner Brooks and his Citizens Solidarity Council do in fact have legal standing to present the case to the Supreme Court; and further that the Code of Conduct itself violates the Liberian Constitution because it affects only certain persons and not others in government. It does not affect the President, Vice President, neither members of the Legislature. So these may remain in power and use government resources to campaign for reelection.The Chief Justice, His Honor Francis Korkpor, and his two collaborators, their Honors Justices, Kabineh Ja’neh and Sie-a-Nyene G. Yuoh, overruled the decision of the Civil Law Court, and ruled that Mr. Brooks and his group lacked the legal standing to pursue the case. Because of this, the Supreme Court threw out the entire case, without going into the constitutional merits of the case.Justices Banks and Wolokollie, in their Dissenting Opinion, argued that Brooks and his group do in fact have legal standing. The dissenting Justices further argued that the Code of Conduct is itself unconstitutional because it only singles out a particular group of people—presidential appointees. What next, since the Supreme Court’s decision is final?There are many thinking Liberians who argue that those who are still holding positions in government and who intend to contest the elections may be affected by the Code of Conduct. But those who have already resigned before this Supreme Court ruling are not affected by the Code of Conduct.The latter group’s most tangible argument is, it is only recently, since their retirement from office that they decided to seek election. Who can hold that against them, and on what constitutional grounds? If, however, their candidacy is challenged before the Elections Commission, then these former officials who are now running for public office would, according to a prominent Liberian lawyer, have no other recourse, but to run to the Supreme Court. For they, the candidates whose candidacies will have been challenged, would definitely have the legal standing to pursue their case before the High Court.And such candidates would need to run to the Supreme Court, because time would be of the essence.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
With momentum on his team’s side and players peaking just at the right time, Ayo believes his team can rise to the challenge.“We haven’t achieved anything yet,” Ayo said after the Tigers overcame the second seed University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons twice in the stepladder phase to reach the finals. “Of course we are grateful that we reached this far but this is not our main goal.”The coaching clash between Ayo and Baldwin on the sidelines will be among the interesting sidelights of the series. Both coaches have steered their teams to a championship over the other with Baldwin leading Ateneo past Ayo’s La Salle team two seasons ago, a year after Ayo guided the Archers in the victory over the Eagles in the finals.The Tigers were actually the team that came closest at beating the Eagles, bowing 71-72 in their first-round matchup more than two months ago. The Eagles will be coming off a 16-day break going into Game 1, while the Tigers will be playing their fourth game in 10 days.ADVERTISEMENT View comments DSWD Bicol donates P1.5M worth of food packs for Taal eruption evacuees 2 village execs nabbed in Bohol buy-bust SEA Games 2019: No surprises as Gilas Pilipinas cruises to basketball gold PLAY LIST 06:27SEA Games 2019: No surprises as Gilas Pilipinas cruises to basketball gold02:43Philippines make clean sweep in Men’s and Women’s 3×3 Basketball01:00Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST01:05Poor visibility, nakaapekto sa maraming lugar sa Batangas03:028,000 pulis sa Region 4-A, tuloy ang trabaho03:57Phivolcs, nahihirapan sa komunikasyon sa Taal01:04Sold-out: Stores run out of face masks after Taal spews ash01:45Iran police shoot at those protesting plane shootdown01:54MMDA deploys rescue team to Batangas following Taal eruption MOST READ LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Phivolcs: Cloud seeding in ashfall affected areas needs study Andray Blatche has high praise for teammate Kai Sotto 400 evacuees from Taal eruption take refuge in Mt. Banahaw With a squad armed with experience from three previous trips to the championship round and a system that methodically wears down teams, the Eagles have set the bar high for themselves this season.No less than a championship will suffice for the team that wants to be remembered as one of the greatest teams in Philippine collegiate basketball history.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSAndray Blatche has high praise for teammate Kai SottoSPORTSBig differenceSPORTSAlmazan status stays uncertain ahead of Game 4“We just want to be the greatest team as coach Tab [Baldwin] has preached to us in our practices,” said Ateneo captain Mike Nieto. “This 14-0 sweep that we did [in the elimination round] doesn’t mean anything without a championship.”A period of transition with nine rookies in the fold has turned out to be a season full of promise and excitement as the Tigers climbed out of the stepladder semifinals in ferocious form. Advancing to the finals, however, hardly gives coach Aldin Ayo satisfaction. ‘People evacuated on their own’ Ramsay proves worth after long dry spell with Azkals Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next No need to wear face masks in Metro Manila, says scientist Lava gushes out of Taal Volcano as villagers flee A team chasing perfection and a squad that has exceeded expectations battle it out on Saturday as two-time defending champion Ateneo and upstart University of Santo Tomas begin their UAAP Season 82 best-of-three finals before an expected sellout crowd at Smart Araneta Coliseum.Untouchable in the elimination round, the Blue Eagles aim to extend their unbeaten run at 4 p.m. when they go up against the Growling Tigers, who are looking dangerous and confident after surviving three knockout games in seven days.ADVERTISEMENT
Just like that, Christmas 2019 is here. My family and I wish every one of our Guyanese sisters and brothers a blessed Christmas and a joyous holiday season. We are hopeful that in some way, no matter how small, every family can find something that brings happiness and celebration. Guyana has always been a country where Christmas is a unifying time, when all Guyanese share in the festivities. Christians will observe with religious significance, but they will be joined by other Guyanese in the festivities. Christmas is a visible evidence of Guyanese living in, and revelling in, religious harmony. I am therefore confident that we will put aside our many differences, whether political, cultural, religious or other, to have a joyous holiday season 2019.Christmas 2019 comes at a time when hopes are high, but when despair also clouds our entry into 2020. Some will argue, rightfully, that hope and despair are always partners in our lives, and every Christmas season finds us with both hope and despair. But Christmas 2019 is more pregnant with the presence of hope and despair, their co-existence being more pronounced than ever before. Thus, when Guyanese celebrate this Christmas season, they will harbour the exhilarating possibilities of hope for a better future for Guyana and for families living everywhere in our country. At the same time, there is the sinking feeling of despair as we face the many challenges that have knotted our forward trajectory into a more prosperous country.We are more hopeful than usual this Christmas 2019, because Guyana is now officially an oil-producing country. Oil brings wealth, and this can only raise the hopes that every Guyanese citizen has for not just a better future for Guyana, not just for a handful, but for every citizen, no matter where they live, no matter which political party they support, no matter which religion, no matter whether they are presently employed or not, no matter what their personal economic circumstance might be.There are sound reasons why oil has brought and heightened the hopes we have in our bosoms. In one whirlwind swoop, Guyana has doubled its economy. In 2019, our per capita GDP was just US$4,500. In 2020, it will likely be almost US$10,000 per capita. Our country’s overall GDP will bounce up from about US$5B to US$10B. This is a whopping increase, and rarely in the history of the world has such enormous economic movement occurred with such swiftness.Hopefully, this new-found wealth will not leave anyone out; that, in some way, every Guyanese citizen, no matter their age, will benefit. Oil wealth brings enough equity to meaningfully change the lives of all of our citizens.So, as we celebrate Christmas, there are high hopes in every corner of our country, and this should make Christmas 2019 very special.But amidst the euphoria of hope that oil presents this Christmas, there are obvious reasons for despair. Our oil resources are being managed, so far, in a way that clearly is incompetent and clueless enough to dim the high hopes we embrace. There is a sinking feeling we might have given away our oil, and that the wealth of oil will not benefit every Guyanese; in fact, leave too many Guyanese behind. There already appears too much corruption tied to oil, such that our country will produce oil but the vast majority of citizens will become poorer, as in Angola, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and other countries. There is a sinking feeling that citizens of other countries will benefit more than Guyanese. We are still hopeful that oil will transform Guyana and the lives of Guyanese, but this hope is dimmed by the despair on how our Government is managing oil.As Christmas 2019 swoops down on us, our celebration is muted by knowledge that, for the first time since 1926 — that is, 95 years ago — Guyana will not produce 100,000 tons of sugar. In fact, 2019 will be a rare year, since it will be one of only three years that Guyana has failed to produce 100,000 tons of sugar since 1876; that is, for almost 150 years.In the throes of this shame, more than 7,000 sugar workers are living day to day without a job, their children not able to go to school, their Government abandoning them, never taking a single day since 2016 to visit them to reassure them. Clearly, the hope that oil brings is dimmed by the prospect that things can only get worse for the sugar communities. In fact, there is that feeling that this Government is deliberately setting sugar up for failure as an excuse to end sugar in Guyana.Unfortunately, sugar workers will celebrate Christmas with the ugly possibility that 2020 will see another dramatic downsizing of sugar.In 2019, Guyanese witnessed the absolute raping of the constitution, flagrant violation of many laws by our Government, spiralling crime, our roads being a death trap, our Government trying to rig elections again. After almost three decades of a democracy, during which we ended hunger in Guyana, we see hunger reappearing as dictatorship re-emerges. That is why this Christmas is being celebrated with both hope and despair together.
The University of Guyana (UG) announced that it will host its inaugural “Diaspora Engagement Conference” from July 23-28, 2017, under the theme ‘Dreaming Diaspora Engagement, Doing Diaspora Engagement’.More specifically, it claims the Conference would provide the platform to develop a diaspora engagement strategy that would inform the work of the first “Caribbean Diaspora Engagement Centre” which will be launched during the conference.But in that statement, there are several ambiguities that need to be clarified. While the conference claims to be an “inaugural” one, it followed several engagements initiated by the new Vice Chancellor (VC) Ivelaw Griffith that also invoked the ‘diaspora’ theme. One of these was a “Renaissance Weekend” last September in New York City, to which the VC flew up with a large delegation of 13 from UG to represent the “UG Renaissance” in order to “friend and fund raise”.It would appear the idea of a “diaspora engagement” was already in the air since in the UG Magazine “Renaissance”, following the inaugural one, it was reported: “One of the bold objectives of this Renaissance project was to facilitate tangible Diaspora Support Engagement in four critical academic areas: Technology (Architecture, Civil Engineering, and Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering), Health Sciences (Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Optometry, Medical Technology), Natural Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics), and Law.”On the team’s return, the VC dubbed the trip to the diaspora a “success”, especially as it related to the above mentioned assistance and what it foreshadowed: “The Renaissance weekend in New York has set the stage for considerable financial, human capital and technical assistance to our university by providing structure to Guyanese and other nationals in the diaspora to support critical areas of need.” However, when the financial details were revealed, it turned out that while $2,019,950 was secured through contributions from the diaspora, $4,366,024 was spent on the expenses of the team. There were cries of protests from some staff, especially against the background of an increase in student fees and the presentation of UG’s largest budget ever – $5.2 billion for financial year 2017, of which $3.0 billion was earmarked for recurrent expenditure, versus $2.2 billion for capital works. The main reason for mentioning the previous expensive engagement to stimulate engagement with the diaspora is that the present “inaugural” Conference seems to have completely ignored the achievements mentioned above from the September 2016 engagement, since they relate to the core raison d’etre of UG. The attention of the VC appears to have expanded without consolidating the initial claimed gains: “the Conference will contribute to the development of diaspora policy and a framework to effectively attract direct diaspora investment and engage the diaspora in nation building.” If the “success” of the first foray into “diaspora engagement” is anything to go by, one must be concerned about this expanded initiative with three components – an academic symposium, a business forum and community engagement.This concern is heightened by the further ambiguity about exactly which “diaspora” the organisers have in mind, since the announcement speaks of establishing a “Caribbean Diaspora Engagement Centre”. The word “diaspora” means “to scatter about” and refers to people who leave their homeland and maintain some sort of identification with that homeland when they migrate, voluntarily or as in the paradigmatic Jewish instance, involuntarily to other lands.The question that arises is whether UG and its VC are targeting the “Caribbean diaspora” or the “Guyanese diaspora”. If it is the former, is it the entire Caribbean diaspora as represented, say, by the nations of Caricom, or only the Anglophone Caribbean. And even if it is the latter, is it realistic to expect Jamaicans or Bajans to become part of a group intended to spur “engagement” in, for instance, the “community engagement” component of the Conference. This, the release claimed will, “focus on building relationships with key stakeholders, such as diaspora community leaders, governments and hometown associations.”If we are not clear about our destination how will we ever get there?