Headlines      Issue Released November 17, 2004


Diwali event garners a record $158K for Trillium's fundraising campaign

Toronto – To say that Trillium Health Centre Foundation’s third annual Diwali Fundraiser came off with a bang would be a bit of an understatement. With a record $158,000 raised from the event coupled with a surprise $500,000 gift announcement by Ken Philbrook, Director of Mentor College toward the Auditorium in the new Learning Centre, the Foundation has reached the $22 million mark, well within sight of its $30 million goal.

Lighting the way: From back to front, Mike Cloutier, President and CEO of Platinum Sponsor AstraZeneca Canada Inc., raises a candle with Diwali Co-Chairs Anil Shah, President, Ni-Met Minerals and Metals, and Dr. Gopal Bhatnagar, Chief of Cardiac Surgery, Trillium Health Centre. The candles, representing ‘diyas’ symbolize the conquest of darkness through the light of knowledge.

Buoyed by the magnanimous response received, Philbrook and Gay Mitchell, Executive Vice President, RBC Financial Group and Chair of the Trillium’s Fundraising Campaign, urged the community to offer their support at "this giving time of year."

Over 800 guests were engaged and entertained with a sumptuous buffet of South Asian foods, a colourful fashion show, and an astounding display of aerial acrobatics by Cirque Sublime.

The Honourable George Smitherman, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care was in attendance.

"Trillium Health Centre is one of the treasures of the Ontario health care system," Smitherman noted. "When we look for partners and leaders, one need look no further than Trillium Health Centre."

Dr. Gopal Bhatnagar, Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Trillium Health Centre, and Anil Shah, President of Ni-Met Minerals and Metals, co-chaired the event. They wish to thank all the sponsors and corporate tables, including Platinum Sponsor, AstraZeneca Canada Inc., Gold Sponsors GlaxoSmithKline/PRIISME Ontario and Star Jet Airways, Silver Sponsors Antex Designs Inc., The Host – Fine Indian Cuisine, Medtronic of Canada and Pearson Convention Center, and Bronze Sponsors Baxter Corporation, Bromed Pharmaceuticals Inc., Byrex Gems Inc., Citibank (NRI) Services, Genpharm Inc., Ni-Met Metals and Minerals Inc., Sears Canada and Sun Life Financial.

Trillium Health Centre Foundation has begun making plans for the Diwali 2005 Fundraiser. Corporate sponsors are encouraged to secure their sponsorship opportunity early due to the growing popularity of this event.



Guyana's debt level a worry to the IMF

Georgetown — The International Monetary Fund has expressed concern over Guyana's debt sustainability and has restricted the government from contracting projects over US $10M without an evaluated feasibility study. The IMF expressed grave doubts about the cricket stadium that is now being constructed at a projected cost of US $25M.

In its second review under the three-year arrangement under the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility, the IMF granted that economic growth and inflation have been broadly in line with programme expectations. But it expressed concern about debt sustainability with reference to new projects that include the rehabilitation of several sugar factories and the bridge over the Berbice River.

The review posits that the current baseline debt-to-revenue ratio is projected at 252% by the end of 2007, declining subsequently to 245% in 2009. Then it suggests that several large infrastructural projects not factored into the baseline could cause sustainability indicators, including the Net Present Value of external debt-to-fiscal revenue ratio, to rise steeply and breach the threshold set for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC).

The review calls for the debt threshold in Guyana to be kept well below the HIPC threshold and referred to recent research on debt sustainability levels for low income countries which suggest that this is the prudent route to take.

DPP lets Rowley off the hook

Port-of-Spain — Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Geoffrey Henderson has instructed Police Commissioner Trevor Paul, that no criminal charges be laid against Housing Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who had been accused of assaulting Opposition UNC MP Chandresh Sharma on September 15.

In a memorandum dated November 12, Henderson wrote to Paul that "having balanced the factors for and against prosecution carefully, and recognising that an alternative course of action has already been engaged, in my view it is not in the public interest that criminal proceedings should be instituted.

"I have done so on the basis that any decision taken in this matter may generate strong political sentiments on either side of the fence."

Copies of Henderson’s memo were sent to both Sharma and Rowley. Henderson’s memo also stated that Parliament possessed disciplinary powers over its members in the conduct of its affairs.

"It is the availability and efficacy of these powers as an alternative to prosecution that I consider to be a compelling public interest factor against prosecution," he said.

Contacted by the media over the weekend, Rowley said he was not aware that criminal charges would not be brought against him. "I am in Tobago, and I have not seen the letter," Rowley said.

Henderson, when contacted said: "I set out fully the reasons for my decisions not to authorise criminal proceedings in my memo to the Commissioner."

If he were to be prosecuted and found guilty, Rowley would have been liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of (TT) $2,000 and imprisonment for 12 months, sources told the media.

Henderson said in his memo that it was an offence to assault a member within the the precincts of the House. However, he said there were two stages in the decision to prosecute, the evidential test and the public interest test. Henderson said if the case met the evidential test, it must be decided whether a prosecution was needed in the public interest.

He said the factors which operated in favour of proceeding with a prosecution would include looking at the seriousness of the offence and the need for deterrence. The more serious the offence, the more likely it would be that the public interest would require that a prosecution be pursued, he said, and that the public interest must be considered in each case where there was sufficient material to pass the evidential test.

Rowley had been accused of assaulting Sharma on the afternoon of September 15 in the Members’ Lounge. Present were MPs Roodal Moonilal (UNC), Stanford Callender (PNM) and Kelvin Ramnath (UNC). Prabha Singh, a food and beverage hostess employed by the clerk of the House, was also in the room. It was reported that while in the lounge, an argument ensued between Sharma and Rowley, after which Sharma alleged that Rowley struck him with his left hand on the right side of his face and chest. Additionally, Mr Sharma alleged that Rowley threw two remote controls, a cordless telephone and a teacup, and that the teacup struck him on his hand, fell and broke.

Sharma’s allegation, sources said, received support from Moonilal and Ramnath.

A medical report was submitted and Sharma was reported to be suffering from soft tissue injury to his face, chest and right hand.

Rowley was interviewed under caution on September 23 and denied the allegations.

His denial received direct support from Callender and circumstantially, from Singh, the media was told.

Henderson warned that a prosecution should not be instituted unless there was a prima facie case against an accused.

"The evidence must be such that a tribunal of fact, properly instructed on the relevant law, can conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the offence charged.

"The evidential test is a separate test from the one that the criminal courts themselves must apply. A jury or a magistrates’ court should only convict if satisfied, so that it is sure of an accused’s guilt. It therefore follows that criminal charges (based on witnesses’ statements) do not always result in convictions (based on witnesses' evidence that has been tested on oath)."

On noting that Parliament had disciplinary powers over its members, Henderson said by use of these powers, Parliament could "safeguard and enforce its authority without the delay to which recourse to the ordinary courts could give rise."

Parliament can summon and examine witnesses through the Privileges Committee, which then reports to Parliament on its finding and makes recommendations.




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