…on the economyJordan’s 2018 Budget makes it clear – once again – that for the past three years, the economy’s been bereft of any hand on its till. So, rudderless, we slip and slide, as the external and internal economic waves buffet – and sometimes – batter us. It seems the APNU/AFC Government believes the “invisible hand” of Adam Smith – the market, actually means the “absent hand” of government.But with this lot, especially Jordan, one would be giving them too much credit to even assume they’re “market fundamentalists” who believe in a “night-watchman” government. But you never know! Yet, since in his Budgets up to now, Jordan has had to follow tradition and offer a survey of the global economic scene, so how can he ignore his own statements about the abandonment of the neo-liberal market fundamentalist shibboleths by the West after their economies crashed in 2007?Hasn’t Jordan noticed that Keynes is back in fashion and even the US has had to engage in deficit spending to stimulate its economy? The (economic) word is now “stimulate, baby! Stimulate!!” And where does Jordan get the money? Does he remember the US debt is 106 per cent of its GDP? So, why does he have to strangle ours at 45.2 per cent? He doesn’t even have to be a believer in Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) with its principle of Overt Monetary Financing – which holds that once we’re issuing our own currency, debt can be covered via the printing presses.Has he noticed the US had bailed out its car industry – which all the pundits had declared was too “inefficient” against global competition? Rings a bell? Does he get it that “too big to fail” may also have something to do with keeping citizens employed? So why should Guyana abandon sugar when the US intervened to save its car industry? But the problem with this government is it really doesn’t care about (some) ordinary people. So even if the tools are out there to fix the economy, it’d rather just go with the flow. Even though the flow is inexorably taking us over the economic waterfalls.When the PPP was delivering consistent annual five per cent GDP growth, APNU and the AFC complained it would take us decades to catch up with neighbours like Trinidad. We needed at least 10 per cent growth rates. And that was true! So how come Jordan’s now telling us we should be satisfied with 3.8 per cent growth rates – which inevitably have to be revised downwards?In any other country where folks don’t vote according to their racial/ethnic ascription, this PNC-led APNU/AFC coalition would’ve long been yesterday’s news.And that’s why stimulus spending – which would benefit business, ain’t gonna happen!…to strike againSeems Smart City’s back for the kill on the Parking Contract – on which they had to roll over and play dead until the citizens’ fury – via MAPM – died down! A committee of seven City Councillors will be “renegotiating” with Smart City on our behalf. And as sure as the sun’s gonna rise in the East tomorrow, we’ll have a repeat of Trotman’s ‘renegotiating” the oil contract with Exxon!Meaning we’ll have some ridiculous statement like we “doubled” the number of free parking the city’s allowed in front of schools, etc! Which ain’t worth squat as far as filling the city coffers, bare as usual, like Mother Hubbard’s cupboard! The Meter Contract is null and void (ab initio, as Basil is wont to say to show he’s a lawyer!!) since the Gang of Four weren’t authorised to sign it in the first place.But those fellas from Smart City filled a lot of pockets to get that contract. And they have to get their pound of flesh!…on dictatorial behaviourMinister Bulkan advised the Reg 2 REO to “apologise” for saying “I am the REO. I am in charge of this region. You tell anybody I say so…”But closer to home, isn’t this what Town Clerk King’s been saying?Readers are invited to send their comments by email to email@example.com
…mo’ problemsThe debate continues to swirl around Clive Thomas’s suggestion that the Government dole out some of the funds from the coming oil bonanza as cash payments directly to Guyanese citizens. He’d give $1 million annually to each family. The suggestion was accepted by his party – the WPA – a member of the APNU combine, as its official position. Those members said they’ll be canvassing people – especially the “poor and the powerless” — on the suggestion!!Canvassing poor folks to find out what they think about getting a million dollar paycheck every year for doing absolutely nothing?? What the heck do they expect those people to tell them?? That they don’t think it’s such a good idea?? It just shows you how unrealistic these ivory tower types are!! What they should do is look at studies that have been conducted on the subject – and not by academic types, but by those that experienced the experience of suddenly getting cash injections.The best study your Eyewitness saw – actually heard, since it was set to music – was done and presented by Notorious B.I.G, the Brooklyn rapper. He summarised his findings in the title to his song “Mo Money; Mo problems”! And this is what your Eyewitness would like to expand on today, since it’s clear that Thomas and crew don’t have the slightest clue about what’s it like to have come into money.Let’s sample Notorious’s observation on the downside of affluence: “Now, who’s hot, who not?/ You tell me who flopped, who copped the blue drop?/ Whose jewels got rocks?/ Who’s mostly Dolce down to the tube sock?/ The same old pimp, Mace” The most potent message, of course, is that the song was released and became a mega-hit AFTER Notorious was gunned down on the West Coast in a rapper war!The money, according to B.I.G., will be blown on all the bling and luxuries the advertising world convinces us we MUST have to be SOMEBODY. And that’s what the poor want, don’t they? If it was Dolce back in ’97, it’s still them in 2018, even if they just used drones to carry their handbags down the runway this year! And they, or their replacement “pimps” – will still be calling the shots!What Thomas and crew refuse to acknowledge is the role of culture in determining what we’ll do with the windfall. Have our poor been exposed to the notion of “deferred gratification” beyond just telling them “don’t spend it all in one place”??What incentive will the poor have to engage in the drudgery that is their “work” when they know another $1 million is in the mail to buy more Dolce and Gabbana??…but no powerImagine you’re manager of a furniture store, but you’re told you’re in charge of just barstools while another fella handles household, office and all other furniture. What does that say about what your boss thinks of you? Well, Raphael Trotman’s just been told he’s still Minister of Natural Resources – even though the new OIL sector – which dwarfs every other “natural resource” – has been snatched from him and given to a fella with even less experience in oil!! What does that say about what Granger thinks of Trotman?After the elections, Trotman appeared to be Granger’s fair-haired boy – explained by the former’s revelation of a discussion in “Nassau” between him, the leader of the AFC, and the latter as leader of the PNC. But it would seem this may not have gone down well with the die-hard PNC types, who wouldn’t have forgotten the “presumptuousness” of Trotman – who was recruited into the PNC by Desmond Hoyte – to walk out when he wasn’t made leader!!…denied to public servants!Government workers were stung when they got a measly 1-10% raise after the elections, compared to 50% for Ministers. The Government’s now making up by issuing a dress code for them.Your Eyewitness understands it’ll be pyjamas!! RIP!!
Dear Editor,We are at the end of 2017. It was a very difficult year for most people in Guyana. The complaints that things are tough are coming from all classes and strata in the society. It is a year that the vast majority will remember for the difficulties and hardships which resulted from a corrupt, inept and incompetent regime.The most outstanding is the heartless and obviously prejudicial decision to begin the process of closing down the sugar industry. Thousands of workers have lost their jobs. This is already having a big impact in the sugar communities. That is expected to spread throughout the country in the new year.That decision was totally unnecessary and ill-advised. Investing in the restructuring of sugar, bringing more revenue streams into play, would pay very handsome dividends to the country as a whole. Sugar can still make a major contribution to the economy and the welfare of our people.The loss of income by such a large body of persons is bound to have far-reaching effects on several sectors of the economy. Purchasing power has already fallen sharply, and our earning of foreign currency will be greatly affected; all of which will impact on the whole society. It can have a negative impact on the exchange rate.However, it is not only the sugar workers that have been damaged by this seemingly uncaring regime.Earlier, we saw that hundreds of workers in the timber industry were thrown on the breadline. Barama has downgraded its operations sharply. Moreover, the attack on the Chinese businesses has left many small timber operators in the upper reaches of the Berbice and Demerara rivers in serious trouble. Hundreds more were cast onto the breadline. We have also heard of cleaning companies laying off their workers as well, as they were being driven to bankruptcy by the regime not paying for the services.Indeed, one of the most prevalent complaints is that the regime is not paying its bills to contractors and to suppliers. If they do, they are doing so very late. It is causing big disruption in the operations of many businesses.Those are the things in the public’s eye. However, hundreds more workers are being driven from their jobs because of the slowdown in business activities.Many small businesses have had to shut shop. The larger establishments have also experienced a drag in their transactions.Many have had to lay off workers because of the lack of sales. Others have found more creative ways to keep their workers. They have resorted to cutting the amount of days available for work. Rotating their workforce.Sincerely,Donald RamotarFormer President
Dear Editor,Once again, the garbage contractors have had to withdraw their services due to hundreds of millions of dollars being owed to them, and the Council hardly making any effort to alleviate this debt.What is new? In fact, this time the Council, through its administrative officer, is trying strong arm tactics of nullifying their contracts if they don’t continue working without pay.Would that same administrative officer or any of his more than eight hundred colleagues continue to work in spite of not being paid for two years?One wonders, however, with so much works contracted out, why is there need for so many workers? Or are some of them phantoms or dummies?Let us face it: the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown as an institution is, and has been, a failed institution for some time now. How many more hundreds of millions of dollars do they owe the power company, water authority, their fuel suppliers, etc?Council is up to its ears in debt, but continues to spend lavishly on itself.With bodyguards, luxury vehicles, frequent foreign travel, they continue to abuse the City’s resources for personal use. The overtime at M&CC is appalling. It must be the only place in Guyana where the overtime is rivaling the overall employment cost. Additionally, the issuance and use of fuel is inordinately high, but this is not surprising, as fuel is issued to private vehicles when they are going on their retreats, etc.The Government of Guyana, a few years ago, handed over seven new garbage trucks to City Council. And what did they do with them? They actually failed to maintain and repair them, then sold most of them recently to these very contractors that they owe for little or nothing, and now have the audacity to say that they are going to nullify the contracts and take back the service and do it themselves. With what? Donkey carts?Why is the Ministry of Communities turning a Nelson’s eye to these situations? When will they stop bailing out the Council and force them to curtail their profligate expenditure. When will they have them audited and be more accountable? Is this the way our capital city should be run?Sincerely,James Mc Onnell
…as vice chancellor hails “new normal” of performance-based paymentsMonths of uncertainty have finally come to an end with the University of Guyana Workers Union (UGWU) agreeing to accept an offer of a retroactive eight per cent salary increase for support staff on the campus.UG Senior Staff Association President Jewel Thomas and UGWU President Bruce Hayne, had refused an earlier offerThe agreement came after a protracted period of negotiations and the intervention of the Guyana Trade Union Congress. According to the particulars of the MoU, the 8 per cent offer caters for full and part-time support staff.Retroactive to January 2017, the salary adjustments and retroactive payments will be reflected in the payroll for November 2017. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by UG Vice Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith, while Bruce Haynes affixed his signature on behalf of the UG Workers Union.In a statement on the issue, Griffith said the increases were not the university’s only financial obligation. Griffith noted that the university still has to fund an average of 4.5 per cent merit award, as well as allowances for travelling, entertainment, uniforms and academic materials.UG Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw GriffithHe also listed other expenses on the university’s plate, such as study and sabbatical leave, leave passage, and duty allowances for coordinators, heads and deans.In the past, the UG Unions had refused to sign a similar MoU on ground that it contained stipulations against lecturers who did not submit grades.The UG administration had issued an ultimatum of six and eight per cent to the unions, but refused to divulge details of the final offer, along with a breakdown, when requested. This had caused the negotiations to become deadlocked, with little or no effort on the part of the administration to move the process along.From the inception The unions had requested that senior members of the administration be excluded from the negotiations, since their salaries were above the maximum of the regular pay scales. However, the administration has been insistent that they would be paid as part of this process, and it seems that they were willing to do anything to ensure that they were paid.“The administration has repeatedly removed from the agreement any clause that made it absolutely clear that members of the senior administration cannot be paid any part of the increase. The Vice Chancellor has also refused to even discuss the possibility of including the breakdowns we requested. He has said, after publicly touting his belief in “transparency”, that he will not be giving any more information about the details of the offer,” a statement from the unions had said.The unions had also maintained that the Vice Chancellor was attempting to use staff performance as a distraction, to “cover up what appears to be the sheer greed of demanding the same percentage salary increase as persons earning far less than those senior members of administration.”For his part, however, Professor Griffith hailed the MoU in his statement as the start of a new system where performance goes hand in hand with payment. According to Griffith, it would mark the start of a “new normal.”“I am delighted that we are able to close this chapter and begin paying the increases,” he stated. “This agreement also sets the stage for a new normal at the university, where performance is just as important as payment, and where accountability and affordability are key to enhancing entrepreneurship.”
OTTAWA, O.N. – The Canada Border Services Agency announced on Thursday morning that it is launching a scope proceeding to look at whether fabricated steel LNG modules made in China and South Korea can be exempted from anti-dumping tariffs announced last year by the federal government.Last April, the federal government announced that anti-dumping tariffs would be applied to fabricated structural steel and plate-work components from China, South Korea, and Spain. Chinese components are also subject to countervailing duties. The components listed on the CBSA’s website as being subjected to the duties include those for use in oil and gas extraction, mining extraction, industrial power generation facilities, petrochemical plants, cement plants, fertilizer plants, and industrial metal smelters.The scope proceeding is being conducted in order to establish whether or not liquefied natural gas modules are subject to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal’s injury finding issued on May 25, 2017, concerning the dumping of certain fabricated industrial structural components from China and South Korea, and the subsidizing of those components from China.- Advertisement -The CBSA says that the proceeding was launched after Woodfibre LNG, a potential importer of those components filed an application with the CBSA.The CBSA says that the proceeding should be concluded by November 23rd at the latest.
The teachers were awestruck with the beauty, creativity, time and work that went into the transformation. “We must be the most appreciated teachers in LAUSD!” The Cantara staff is truly grateful for the many parents who help make Cantara Elementary School exceptional. Holly Hughes posted this story June 18 to the Reseda hub on valleynews.com. On May 30, Cantara Elementary School teachers got a beautiful surprise when they entered school through the newly renovated and decorated staff lounge. Under the direction of the PTA board members – Patricia Rosales, president; Martha Santana, vice president; Maria Basulto, secretary; Irma Sanchez, parliamentarian; Roxana Arteaga, treasurer – and the parent center director, Flor Menendez, numerous parents, painters, carpenters and a professional muralist worked tirelessly over the Memorial Day weekend to give the teachers a “Mediterranean Oasis” retreat in their lunchroom. The Reseda school’s new lunchroom features faux wall treatments, various artwork with accessories and a mural depicting a view from a balcony overlooking a peaceful ocean scene. The staff bathroom offers patterned sheer tie-back drapes, more faux wall treatments, a formal mirror and vanity to match. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
West also serves as president of the Mosquito & Vector Control Association of California and recently sent a letter urging Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to allocate more resources for both short- and long-term prevention and control measures to fight the virus in California. “We were thrilled with the governor’s rapid response,” said West. “He saw the seriousness of the situation, and his prompt attention will assuredly save lives.” In California, 424 birds and 317 mosquito pools have tested positive for the virus this year. According to the state Department of Public Health, 56 people statewide have caught the virus this year, including four who died. So far this year, seven mosquito pools and seven crows in Los Angeles County have tested positive for the virus. Mosquitoes, found in Granada Hills, and a crow found in Tarzana last week and another found in Van Nuys this week all had the virus, according to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District. No human cases have been reported in Los Angeles County so far this year. WEST COVINA – A second dead crow collected from West Covina tested positive for West Nile virus, authorities said Friday. The bird was reported by a resident from West Covina and tested Thursday by the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District. The first was identified by Los Angeles County Veterinary Public Health officials on July 23. “We rely on the assistance of our residents to report dead birds to the State WNV Hotline,” said Kelly Middleton, public information officer for the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District. Residents can make reports online at www.westnile.ca.gov or by calling (800) 968-2473. “It’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Steve West, manager of the vector control district. “We’re concerned that residents don’t fully appreciate the severity of illness this virus can cause – and not just in the elderly.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
WHITTIER — A few businesses have shut down, street traffic appears to be lighter and school parking lots are a little emptier due to a massive boycott under way this morning in support of undocumented immigrants. But today’s actions are much less severe than a few weeks ago, when thousands of Whittier-area students walked out of classes and took to the streets to protest anti-immigration legislation approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. Local students said those participating in today’s boycott wouldn’t show up to school at all, while others said protests or peaceful marches would take place after school. For the complete story, pick up a copy of tomorrow’s Whittier Daily News. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event165Let’s talk business.Catch up on the business news closest to you with our daily newsletter. Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
SACRAMENTO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would get only a fraction of the money he was seeking to solve inmate overcrowding through prison construction, under a package of bills proposed Tuesday by Democratic lawmakers. Leaders of the Democrat-controlled Legislature would provide less than $1 billion of the $6 billion Schwarzenegger wanted when he called a legislative special session to focus on prison reform. Acting Corrections Secretary James Tilton was critical of the Democrats’ plan. He said it provides no significant immediate relief to a system with 172,000 inmates, more than 70 percent over capacity. “These bills do not solve the state’s short-term prison capacity problem,” Tilton said in testimony prepared for a committee hearing. “The lack of a short-term solution will create an emergency situation whereby the department will run out of beds by June 2007.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts.The package of five bills Schwarzenegger submitted for consideration during the special session would allow construction of two new prisons and several smaller regional prisons that would provide rehabilitation and training programs. Schwarzenegger ultimately wants 43,000 new prison beds. The Democratic plan includes $606 million in bonds to add 5,340 beds at 11 of the state’s 33 prisons. Another $312 million would go to study other solutions, such as adding 10,900 beds at existing prisons. Schwarzenegger’s $6 billion prison-construction plan ran into opposition from lawmakers who are philosophically opposed to adding beds. Their solution is to reduce the state’s inmate population by reforming sentencing laws and parole policies while improving rehabilitation programs. Some Democrats also have criticized the special session as an election-year ploy by the governor.