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Rejected rice again; no one is accountable, business as usual

first_imgDear Editor,Just about three months after the Panama fiasco, news of another rejected batch of exported rice – this time in Jamaica – is sending shockwaves in the industry. Every time there is a question concerning the quality and safety of Guyana’s rice in an export destination, we must be shocked and worried because such occurrences threaten the total export market. Jamaica is one of the more important export destinations for Guyana’s rice. This is not the first time that poor quality rice has been quarantined and rejected by Jamaican authorities. The rejected batch of rice in Jamaica follows a similar, but larger batch, that was exported to Trinidad and rejected and then exported to Panama and rejected. When Guyana sends poor quality and unsafe rice to any destination, it is a threat to all the markets, all thirty-five destinations that Guyana export rice and paddy to.The response from the APNU/AFC Government is business as usual, not a word of concern. Even as stakeholders in the industry express their shock, there is total silence from the Minister and the Ministry of Agriculture. The GRDB, with responsibility and oversight for rice and paddy export, is also silent. Even more worrisome is that the Agriculture Minister ignored the problem and jetted out of the country to attend what is nothing but a talk-shop food safety conference in Ethiopia, a trip costing more than $2 million. This Minister has a propensity for running away from the problems and always hiding somewhere far. His disinterest in things that impede the growth of agriculture in Guyana must flabbergast all Guyanese. Once again, Minister Holder is MIA, missing in action. This is misconduct in office.The revelation of yet another batch (more than 70 tonnes) of exported poor quality, fungus infected rice, raises serious questions and demand answers from the Minister and from the GRDB. The GRDB has a standard protocol designed to prevent the export of poor quality rice products, whether it is bulk rice, packaged rice, paddy or bran. Inspectors and testers visit the source of the rice product before it is prepared for export and then scrutinise the product before export by physical examination and testing at the wharf during the loading process. The standard protocol, therefore, requires the GRDB to certify that the rice or rice products loaded into ships for export meet all standards specified by the importing country. This is an intense, intrusive process for which the GRDB, the Ministry of Agriculture and Guyana have no apologies. It is designed to ensure that what is exported meet the specifications of the importing authorities and countries.Given the frequency of poor quality and unsafe rice being exported, the questions beg themselves: are the standard protocols still in place? If they are not being rigidly implemented, who is responsible for easing the rigidity with which these protocols are to be implemented? If they are no longer implemented, why not? What mechanism has been put in place to prevent the export of poor quality and unsafe rice and rice products? Is it now a free-for-all, where private exporters are no longer subjected to checks and balances? Has the Government abrogated its oversight and regulatory authority? Why has there not been an investigation already?In the past, as Minister of Agriculture, I visited Jamaica and other export destinations. I often met the relevant Ministers in these countries and always provided assurances that the Government of Guyana is playing an active oversight role. In instances where there might be glitches that affected the smooth export process, I ensured that I was in the loop and that the relevant GRDB officers were engaged aggressively in resolving problems, even if it meant travel to the export destinations.Just as in the Panama situation, the GRDB is already late in its response and the Agriculture Ministry and the Government are recklessly hands-off. The GRDB is accountable and must publicly address what happened and what they are doing about this latest episode which threatens the market for rice. This cannot be treated as business as usual. The farmers and the country need to see that the GRDB and the Agriculture Ministry are acting aggressively and decisively to assure the market and the farmers in Guyana that exporting of poor quality and unsafe rice and rice products will not repeat itself. The GRDB Board continues to display impotence. An independent investigation is needed immediately.Sincerely,Dr Leslie Ramsammylast_img read more

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House Considers 17-year Tax Cut Deal for Cement, Steel Factory

first_imgFlashback: Program making official signing ceremony for the Agreement between the Government of Liberia and TIDFORE (Hong Kong) Investment (LICEMCO) for the Establishment of a Steel Plant in Liberia In an endeavor to develop a sustainable economic environment and boost the country’s steel and cement industries, the House of Representatives is investigating a 17-year tax cut proposal from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.The tax cut deal is part of an Investment Incentive Agreement with a 17-year agreement term valued at US$200,000. The draft law is entitled: “The Investment Incentive Agreement between the Republic of Liberia and the TIDFORE Investment Company and Liberia Steel and Cement Mining (LICEMCO).”The Joint Committee on Investment and Concession and Lands, Mines and Energy, chaired by Grand Gedeh District #1 Rep. Zoe E. Pennue, is analyzing the Tax Cut Deal and will report to plenary in two weeksAccording to the bill, LICEMCO will develop and operate a steel and cement factory (plant) in accordance with the International Mining Standards & Laws and prudent business practices. In a letter to the House of Representatives, President Sirleaf said the investor under the incentive agreement will completely construct, acquire and install proposed steel plants infrastructure and equipment at the facility (plant).The President also said if the Legislature ratifies the 17-year tax cut proposal of LICEMCO it will “provide for safety procedures, create jobs at all levels, cause the investor to enhance its corporate social responsibilities, generate needed revenue for the country and promote economic development and sustainability.”“This Investment Incentive Agreement is in line with Liberia’s relevant laws and public policy to complement the development plan of the mining and steel sector of Liberia.”The President further said: “As government commits to creating jobs and a sustainable economic environment, the passage of Law of this Investment Incentive Agreement will demonstrate Liberia’s commitment and implementation in that endeavor.”The Joint Committee on Investment and Concession and Lands, Mines and Energy is analyzing the Tax Cut Deal and will report to plenary in two weeks. Grand Gedeh County District #1 Representative Zoe E. Pennue and Nimba County District #9 Representative R. Matenokay Tingban are the chairman and co-chairman of the Joint Committee, respectively.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) – Advertisement –last_img read more

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DPP appeals Westford’s $600M larceny case dismissal

first_imgPressure on prosecutorial agenciesThe office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) announced on Monday that a Notice of Appeal was filed at the Guyana Court of Appeal challenging the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts dismissal of the over $600 million larceny charges against a former Government Minister and her Administrative Assistant.DPP Shalimar Ali-HackThe intended appeal follows Principal Magistrate Judy Latchman’s August 24, 2018, determination that there was insufficient evidence to prove that former People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Public Service Minister Jennifer Westford and her Administrative Assistant, Margaret Cummings stole $639 million from the Government of Guyana. The two were employed with the then Public Service Ministry. They were both granted bail in the sum of $4.8 million bail after denying 24 charges which stated that they stole the money between October 19, 2011 and April 28, 2015. The prosecution contended that the monies were requested to conduct outreaches in the 10 administrative regions of Guyana.However, Magistrate Latchman after some two years of hearing evidence from 48 witnesses upheld lead Attorney Dexter Todd’s no-case submission, reasoning that charges against the duo were “bad in law.” The city Magistrate added that there was no evidence to show that the money was taken and not used for its intended purposes.Latchman also determined that Westford was not a public officer and with respect to Cummings, who was a public officer, the Magistrate said there was insufficient evidence for a conviction.Former Public Service Minister Dr Jennifer Westford and her administrative assistant, Margaret CummingsHowever, the DPP’s decision to appeal the case comes at a time when the Opposition is claiming that State prosecutorial agencies are being pressured to convict officials of the former Administration. Just recently, Junior Finance Minister Jaipaul Sharma who oversaw several forensic audits strongly criticised the prosecutors and legal experts for instituting the wrong charges. Sharma declared that the charges should be reinstituted against Cummings and Westford.However, PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo opined that the case was based on “trumped up” charges, saying that Minister Sharma was awarded the forensic audits to different agencies back in 2015, without any public tender. He noted that as a politician, Sharma should allow the technical personnel to do their job and not apply his ministerial influence to pressure them.“Sharma? He’s the last person to talk about reopening charges. And it’s a politician saying this! Why don’t they allow the technical agencies to assess whether there is really a case to be made and do that? Imagine it’s a politician advocating for this,” Jagdeo noted.last_img read more

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Falcons perched atop the SCC

first_imgOn Friday, the Cerritos College baseball team didn’t waste any time climbing to the top of the South Coast Conference standings. Freshman Jerry Pena went 3 for 6 with two runs scored and sophomore Jose Serrano went 2 for 6 with two RBI and two runs scored as the Falcons went on the road and defeated L.A. City 13-4 in their conference opener. UCLA 11, Long Beach State 0 Krista Colburn went 2 for 3 with three RBI and two runs scored and Lisa Dodd, Megan Langenfeld and Jaisa Creps each had two RBI to lead the Bruins past the visiting 49ers at the Stacy Wineberg Memorial Tournament. UCLA (12-5), which entered the game ranked 12th in the nation, got an excellent pitching performance from Anjelica Selden, who allowed just one hit while striking out seven. Panita Thanatharn had the only hit of the game for Long Beach State, which fell to 4-12 with the loss. Later in the day, the Bruins played again but this time, they fell to Illinois State 2-1. Freshman right-hander John Ortega started and went eight strong innings, striking out six to earn his fourth victory over the season for Cerritos (13-4, 1-0). Softball center_img Cypress 9, Saddleback 2 Sabrina Hernandez, Christina Gonzales and Brooks Pefley each drove in two runs and Alyssa Gutierrez pitched four scoreless innings to earn the win as the Chargers (15-3, 5-1) defeated the visiting Roadrunners (6-9, 2-5) in an Orange Empire Conference game. Cypress scored five runs in the third inning to break open the game. Women’s basketball Cal State Dominguez Hills 59, San Francisco State 50 Brigayle Iglehart scored 15 points and Alana Bailey had 13 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Toros to a CCAA victory at home. Jessica Liang also scored 11 points for Cal State Dominguez Hills, which outscored San Francisco State 38-29 to pull away. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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I can get Gunners firing again, says Wenger

first_imgWenger’s side committed far too many errors once again as they slumped to a fourth straight defeat in the Premier League to all but end their hopes of finishing in the top four.The FA Cup holders had been knocked out at the first hurdle by Nottingham Forest earlier this year and they suffered a crushing loss to Manchester City in the EFL Cup final last weekend.The travelling fans voiced their dissent at management during and after the match having seen their team lose for the eighth time in 13 games across all competitions, but Wenger believes he can steady the ship.“It’s the first time it happens in my whole career, I must say,” the Frenchman told Sky Sports after Albion recorded their first win over the north Londoners in 36 years.“It’s not easy, but I have enough experience and enough desire to turn things around and I must say that, at the moment, when you need to stay in the game we are making a few mistakes at the wrong moments.“We have to stick together and focus. We have no other solution.”Asked if he thought the time had come to step aside, Wenger replied: “You focus on your job. These are always the questions you get when you are in the situation we are in.“You do your job and you do the right thing and the things you think are right for the team and that’s it.”0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Arsenal’s fourth straight loss piled the pressure on manager Arsene WengerLONDON, United Kingdom, Mar 5- Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger feels he is still the right man for the job, despite a 2-1 defeat at Brighton on Sunday marking the club’s worst run in 16 years.The Seagulls raced into a 2-0 lead at the Amex Stadium thanks to goals from Lewis Dunk and Glenn Murray inside the opening half- hour, although Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pulled one back just before half-time.last_img read more

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Serie A side enter race for Chelsea and Man City target

first_img Chelsea and Manchester City target Joaquin Correa Sampdoria have made a £5million bid for Chelsea and Manchester City target Joaquin Correa, according to reports in Spain.The 20-year-old has been turning heads with his performances for Estudiantes in Argentina, leading to speculation he will be off in January.Chelsea and Manchester City have both been heavily linked with moves, while Portuguese champions Benfica had a bid rejected for the attacking midfielder in November.But now, according to Spanish newspaper Ole, Sampdoria have lodged bid for Correa.The Serie A side are hoping they can lure the talented Argentine to Italy by offering him regular first-team football. 1last_img read more

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Papa Messi misses Barca match for birth of third son

first_img0Shares0000Lionel Messi has pulled out Barcelona’s match at Malaga with reports saying his wife Antonella Roccuzzo is about to give birth to their third son © AFP/File / Josep LAGOBARCELONA, Spain, Mar 10 – Lionel Messi announced that he and his wife Antonella Roccuzzo had become parents for a third time on Saturday.“Welcome Ciro!!! Thank God, everything went perfectly. He and his mummy are doing very well. We are super happy!!!” wrote Messi on his Instagram account, accompanying the post with a photo of the baby’s hand. Ciro is a brother to five-year-old Thiago and Mateo, who is two.Messi had pulled out of Barcelona’s squad for Saturday’s La Liga match at Malaga to be present for the birth.The club tweeted: “Change to the squad. Messi is out for personal reasons and Yerry Mina takes his place.”The Argentinian couple, both 30, first met in their home town, Rosario, in 1996 and started going out a decade later. They were married last year in Rosario.Barcelona, who face Chelsea in the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie at the Camp Nou on Wednesday, have an eight-point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Reports – Inter Milan steal a march on Chelsea and Arsenal in race for Serie A starlet

first_imgChelsea and Arsenal will have to move fast if they want to sign Paulo Dybala after reports in Italy claimed Inter Milan are ready to make their move for the Palermo forward.Dybala has been strongly linked with a move to the Premier League with both Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger reported to be big admirers of the prolific striker.The 21-year-old has been earning rave reviews in Serie A and has already scored 13 goals this season.Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport is claiming that Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini was at the Palermo game on Sunday to see Dybala in action and the Italian giants are ready to make a large bid for the Argentine striker.Dybala failed to get on the scoresheet as Palermo lost 1-0 to Parma but that will not stop Inter from making a bid believed to be over £20m for the star forward. Paulo Dybala in action for Palermo 1last_img read more

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West Brom v Chelsea: Live stream the Premier League on talkSPORT

first_img West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea: Live stream the Premier League on talkSPORT 1 West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea is live on talkSPORT.Stream commentary from the Hawthorns on Sunday 23 August 2015.To find out how you can get coverage of West Brom v Chelsea, click here.Check out the shock Chelsea team news here.Check out our full Premier League coverage here.last_img

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Women’s Tennis Welcomes Milwaukee, Friday

first_imgMilwaukee comes to Des Moines with a 0-5 record and fell to Northern Illinois 6-1 in its last time out on Feb. 2. The Bulldogs enters the weekend with a perfect 5-0 record and are coming of convincing wins over Omaha (6-1) and North Dakota (6-1) last weekend. Senior Tess Herder led the team in the wins over the Mavericks and the Fighting Hawks as she was named MVC Singles Player of the Week. She blanked Omaha’s Savanna Crowell 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 singles and then put together another impressive performance by beating UND’s Isa Sullivan, 6-2, 6-1. Senior Summer Brills has also started the season strong with a 4-0 singles mark at No. 1 and a 5-0 record at No. 2 doubles with Joely Lomas. The Bulldogs will face their toughest opponent when they square off against Minnesota on Sunday. Prior to hosting the Bulldogs, the Gophers will square off against Marquette and South Dakota on Friday. Minnesota finished its annual Courtside Classic event with a 1-1 record, defeating Marshall and falling to Utah. The Gophers are led by Caroline Ryba who is 4-1 at No. 1 singles. Freshman Liza Petushkova has made an immediate impact as she is a perfect 5-0 in singles this season. In doubles, Petushkova and Herder are 5-0 at the No. 1 spot.center_img DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University women’s tennis team hosts winless Milwaukee on Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. and then will close out the weekend with a trip to Minnesota on Sunday at 4 p.m.  Print Friendly Version Following this weekend’s matches the Bulldogs return to action on Feb. 23 when they host Western Illinois at 5 p.m.last_img read more

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