Headlines      Issue Released April 23 2003

Jagdeo dissatisfied with security forces

Orders of the Commander-in-Chief to “clean out the situation in Buxton” failed to produce desired results

Georgetown — The Guyana Government has made several efforts to address the spiraling crime situation in the country to combat which it has given all it could in terms of policies, resources and morale support to the law enforcement agencies. But these have all failed to yield positive results, the president informed the Guyanese people at an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA) over the last weekend.
  President Jagdeo admitted that he is not satisfied with the work of the security forces in their handling of the crime that has bedevilled the country in the recent past. So Mr Jagdeo is calling on the security agencies to “rethink their strategies.”
  Referring to the stranglehold that bandits have exerted on the East Coast village of Buxton that has now become a hatchery for myriad crimes, the president admitted to have instructed the law enforcement agencies “to clean out the situation at Buxton.”
  Mr Jagdeo denied the suggestion that he had requested the army and the police to “hold back” on fighting crime, particularly in that crime infested village. But the president rejoined: “I’ve made my orders clear. It’s either that these orders are not handed down or some people on the ground are involved in things they should not be involved in” adding, “if a crime is being committed and a soldier says he does not have orders, that’s wrong; he should not be in the army.” The Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces declared: “I’ve made it clear what I wanted ... to clean out the situation in Buxton.”
  The president said he passed on directions to this effect to the Minister of Home Affairs, Ronald Gajraj, the Commissioner of Police (ag), Floyd McDonald and Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Michael Atherly.
  Mr. Jagdeo stated that he was confident the police and the army have the capacity to tackle the criminals. “I am very unhappy that is not being done,” he lamented.
  The President expressed optimism that the presence in Guyana of members of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will shed some “positive light” on the situation. The FBI has been in the country since the kidnapping of the US diplomat earlier this month.

FBI investigating kidnap incident of US diplomat

Georgetown — Officials from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are in Guyana conducting investigations along with other US-based investigators into the kidnapping of US Diplomat Stephen Lesniak.

Lesniak, the Regional Security Officer (RSO) of the US Embassy, was snatched by two armed teenagers just after 9:00 a.m. on April12, 2003 while playing at the Lusignan Golf Course on the East Coast Demerara. Reports in the local press indicate that a ransom of $12 million was paid by American friends of Lesniak for his release and that the money was handed over on the East Coast. He was taken to Buxton, the epicenter of crime in Guyana over the past year, where it is reported he was paraded in front of some villagers with a gun to his head. Lesniak was released unharmed on the same night around 7:30 pm, after an intense military operation on the East Coast.                                   Click here for continuation:

Why ‘Indian Rights’ in Guyana?

It’s an oddity that a majority population should have to agitate for "rights", yet everyone in Guyana is comfortable with the Indian rights label that has been attached to GIHA. Everyone uses it and no one questions it. The advocacy and agitation for "rights" are usually applied to minority groups within a society who are targets for discrimination. There are Black rights activists in the United States where African Americans are a minority, and Aborigines in Australia are in a struggle for their civil rights as are Indigenous Indians in North America.

It says a lot about the accepted status for Indians in Guyana that the Indian rights activist label is used, and so very comfortably by all. Even President Bharrat Jagdeo during our meeting with him last September referred to us by this term. He or anyone else has never stopped to ponder the implications. The PPP/C Government is in office because of the majority voting power of Indians in Guyana – that is fact – yet the head of the PPP/C Government acknowledges the need for Indian rights activism in Guyana!

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Hard words for govt on kidnapping surge

By Sandra Chouthi
Special to Indo Caribbean World

Port-of-Spain — While the government is facing stiff criticism from all quarters in society about incidents of kidnapping, the Opposition UNC is refusing to support anti-kidnapping legislation in Parliament.
  Gregory Aboud, president of the Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) last week told Panday: “I have noted with great interest the fact that you are concerned about constitutional reform, and that you have made this the main issue of your desire to participate in collaboration on the question of crime. But let me point out that we may not have a Constitution to reform if we don’t stop the criminals.”
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Tobago concerned about SARS

Port-of-Spain — Chief secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, Orville London, has admitted there remains cause for concern over the threat of the highly-contagious virus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, hitting the island. However, London said Tobago is "not panicking, but preparing" for whatever is to come from the disease.             Click here for continuation:

Government agrees to support ailing BWIA

Port-of-Spain —The government has confirmed support for the formation of a regional airline and has agreed to lend cash-strapped BWIA (TT) $116.8 million to keep the national carrier flying. But it is with the condition that the board of directors review the performance of the Conrad Aleong-led BWIA management team.

Cabinet last week agreed to support the formation of a regional airline involving the merging of debt-ridden carriers BWIA and Liat.

Envisioned is a carrier that would service the southern and eastern Caribbean, Information Minister Dr Lenny Saith told reporters at a post-Cabinet briefing at Whitehall. He was accompanied by Minister in the Ministry of Finance Kenneth Valley and Transport Minister Franklyn Khan.

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Headlines Continued