Daily Archives: October 30, 2019

Dave Martins: News to Me – Things I Did Not Know

No matter how long ago you were born, no matter how long you live, we keep running into stuff that leaves you gaping and saying something like, “I think I know a lot of stuff, but I that’s news to me. I never knew that.”

For instance, we generally assume that the manufacturing of steel band instruments would be a Trinidad thing; not necessarily. A Trini friend of mine in Cayman, who is a maniacal steel band aficionado, sent me a note this week about a US company going full bore into that business.  It’s the typical US business approach, offering “Lowest price for high quality full size music instruments. Packages for schools, Steel pans for musicians, Steel drums for beginners, Steel pan stands, Drum Mallets, Steel band music, Steel pan cases, Lead Steel pans.” (“Drum mallets, by the way, are what we know as “pan sticks” – wooden sticks with a rubber tip that the musicians use to play the instruments.)    Continue reading

St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Projects – Christmas Brunch – Pickering ON – December 15. 2019

Guyana: Road carnage—Annihilation by any other name- By Yvonne Sam

By Yvonne Sam

The bloodshedon the roads amount to murder. Figures do not tell the whole story

The Oxford lexicon defines accident thus:  “an event that is without apparent cause” or as “an occurrence of things by chance”. With the number of road fatalities over the past few months, I strongly submit that a miniscule percentage to none would correctly fit the definition of “accident. Once again in Guyana road accidents have taken pride of place as the leading cause of deaths. In fact, it is apparent that Guyanese have become so naturalized by road accidents, that they are no longer moved by newspaper pictures of the dead victims.

Additionally the ubiquity of the fatalities has numbed hearts into covering and sugar coating every event with, “may their souls Rest In Peace”. Yet lives are lost unnecessarily to terrible roads, unsafe driving and unsafe drivers displaying gross indiscipline. On a serious note what does Rest In Peace do for grieving families? RIP has never bought a casket, nor was it ever life insurance to cater for the loved ones left behind.  If we choose not to do something, and labour under the belief that  “RIP” passed around for a day or two is adequate,  sadly we shall perish…one by one. While we cannot prevent all accidents from occurring), nevertheless the majority of accidents is no accident but sheer murder with a capital M.

Surely Mr. Isles you would not want to rest in peace, if all that you desired was to travel from point A to point B and somewhere along your journey, someone cuts your journey short due to bad driving attitude, dimly lit roads, unfit vehicles and an insouciant neglect of regulation by government. In the cases of minibuses, the compulsion to maximize on daily passengers (targets) is a crucial factor that needs to be addressed forthwith. The fact can neither be overlooked nor downplayed that the transport industry plays an important role in the well-being of society and the economy of Guyana. Furthermore safety features should be an integral feature of all newly built infrastructure.

We all have a moral responsibility to seriously address this issue as a matter of the utmost priority and Government must show leadership.  Taking such into consideration how long will the nation continue to mourn before the President, Crime Chief, Chief Magistrate, Minister of Transport, Minter of Public Infrastructure, and Traffic Chief Superintendent collaboratively take a minute to think and address the root cause of the problem?  Has it now become the norm in Guyana to be regularly burying people who have died as a result of road accidents?

A noteworthy fact and one to be factored in is that the enforcement of traffic laws in Guyana has not been satisfactory because of bribery, and corruption, at the level of the long arm of the law. Traffic offenders at the scene of a traffic offence are given a choice of resolution either —the cop’s pocket or the court docket?  With the worrying statistics of road deaths and injuries every day, how do we make sure that we change our attitudes towards safe behaviour on our roads and operating safe vehicles? As a country, the avoidable carnage on the roads could be controlled  by adopting best practices of enforcing traffic laws on passenger seating regulation, seatbelt, drunk-driving, speeding and motorcycle helmeting.

In addition, unworthy vehicles should be eradicated from the roads and pressure placed on the judicial system for vehicular-related offences . Greater emphasis must also be placed on road-safety communication, education and enforcement. Some of these anomalies are easy to fix. However, on that note I hereby beseech my fellow Guyanese to demand good roads, well-lit highways, enforceable traffic rules and regulations and a full redress of corruption.  There needs to be basic traffic education commencing in primary schools, coupled with intensified road safety awareness and public education across the length and breadth of the country.

The establishment of an awareness of the inherent dangers of moving vehicles and educating youngsters in being able to judge distance and speed will go a long way towards reducing the huge numbers of pedestrians killed each year.

Guyanese should also appreciate the fact that the majority if not all of the reckless driving taking place is a replay or a vicarious replay of the greedy culture in which most Guyanese were brought up and currently dwell in.  Everyone is always in a hurry to make a quick buck. From this point of view the current recklessness of many road users and drivers can be explained. Your typical minibus/ taxi driver is only interested in doubling or tripling a normal day’s earnings regardless of the cost to lives of his passengers. All of this takes place in total oblivion of the fundamentals.

Then again the problem with the legal system is not the lack of laws, but instead it is the enforcement of such laws that is terribly lacking. Do the courts impose fitting prison sentences for reckless and negligent drivers?  Has the efforts to improve road safety reached their levels of effectiveness.

As for the Trail of Death, the nomenclature for the 45 mile uninterrupted stretch of bituminous road called the Soesdyke-Linden Highway, or should that be termed Dieway, in view of the number of deaths that have occurred.  I recommend that it be among the initial areas of road safety change. Completion of construction of the road took place in 1969, with rehabilitation taking place during 1997-1999. No other major repairs have been done since then.

Currently both drivers and regional authorities have described the highway as deplorable and in dire need of repairs. Several structural faults, indentations and eroded sections can be seen on the highway, and passengers have claimed that only drivers who are familiar with the faults can drive smoothly and safely on the highway. Trucks have also been contributory to the spiraling road deaths on the highway, which has seen as many as six dead on the spot.

To date the road safety measures in Guyana suggests that the country need to do some serious catching up on many fronts. Several weeks ago I travelled on the said highway, and at times felt as if I was an onlooker on the South Dakota Circuit, except I was unable to name the driver.  On my return from Linden in the evening, although only a passenger I was extremely apprehensive, as along the way the fog played havoc with visibility. Lights, markings and road signage are certainly needed on this thoroughfare, as in some cases the bends and curves brought about swerves that made it impossible to maintain the correct lane.

The tollbooths should be restored, with drivers facing a penalty if their toll ticket pick up receipt time reflects incongruence with payment time, thereby showing that speeding, or non-conformity with the speed limit certainly took place between departure at Point A and arrival at Point B.  The E Division Mobile Police outpost situated on the Highway in the vicinity of Bamia should be strengthened. The post is in operation for 24 hours daily with the ranks engaging in traffic patrols during the day.

The primary stated purpose is to monitor criminal elements entering Linden , and also making it difficult or impossible for  suspects to escape.  Fair and fine, but the ranks can start giving the drivers a fright at night by carrying out radar ( Radio Detection and Ranging) or Lidar  ( Light Detection and Ranging) patrols. Speeding drivers are also criminal suspects that should be nabbed before they commit vehicular homicide.  This begs the following questions: Are traffic officers, police and other law enforcement agencies doing enough to end the road carnage?

The message is crystal clear. Speed Kills Skills. The time has come for all afore-mentioned authorities to come together, making visibly collective and cooperative renewed efforts to turn the tide in favor of stemming the flow of vehicular homicide.

The Government of Guyana may find itself being named as mise en cause (party of interest)  or complicit to annihilation if they fail to effectively respond and put in place immediate measures aimed at halting road carnage.

Guyana Elections: 25,000 risk being barred from voting if they don’t collect ID cards

Justice Claudette Singh

The chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Claudette Singh on Tuesday 29 October 2019, ruled that more than 25,000 persons who have not collected their national identification (ID) cards will be given 21 days to do so failing which their names would be struck off the voters list and they would not be allowed to vote.    Continue reading

Four charged with murdering Deon Stoll + four charged for aiding accused

– doctor among four remanded for allegedly aiding accused

Shane Morgan
Shane Morgan

Shane Morgan, called ‘Demon,’ and three other men were remanded to prison this afternoon after being charged with the murder of gold miner Deon Stoll, who was shot and killed two weeks ago after armed bandits attempted to rob him outside El Dorado Trading in Newtown, Kitty.

Four others, including the doctor who police say treated Morgan for a gunshot wound he alleged suffered in the robbery, were also remanded to prison after being charged with aiding him, despite knowing that he was wanted by the police in relation to the murder of Stoll.      Continue reading
%d bloggers like this: