LATEST STORIES Rockets’ Zhou Qi released after failure to launch Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Entertainers put on a shadow play recounting the rise of the “people’s champ” from abject poverty to becoming a multi-millionaire who doled out free housing to the poor and visited sick people in hospital.Rock bands and gospel singers provided the music, children danced, and Pacquiao’s wife, Jinky, serenaded him with a ballad.“We are so thankful. He never forgets to help us, his poor constituents,” said Sarah Bagas, a middle-aged street sweeper who lined up for her raffle ticket and food stub in mid-morning.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ No.13 lucky for Orlando Bloom View comments “I feel stronger and faster, and by God’s grace I am wiser at 40, feeling 25,” Pacquiao said, making clear he’s looking forward to facing American Adrien Broner next month.“I believe the best is yet to come. You have not yet seen the best of Manny Pacquiao,” he added.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissThe Filipino southpaw, 60-7 with two draws and 39 knockouts in a career that began in 1995, is to stake his World Boxing Association’s regular welterweight crown against Broner on January 19 in Las Vegas.Pacquiao, winner of an unprecedented eight world titles in as many weight classes, has continued fighting after reversing a decision to retire in 2016. Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony PLAY LIST 00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony02:11SEA GAMES 2019: PH’s Nesthy Petecio boxing featherweight final (HIGHLIGHTS)03:30PH’s Rogen Ladon boxing flyweight final (HIGHLIGHTS)02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college After winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum The rags-to-riches Pacquiao, who quit school and hawked food in the streets and later took up boxing in his teens to support his mother and his younger siblings, is also an elected Philippine senator.“Boxing is my passion and public service is my mission,” he said, wearing a dark suit and fedora hat.The Filipino won his last title by stopping Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse in July at Kuala Lumpur.Speculation remains high that the Broner bout could be a warm-up for a sequel to 2015’s “Fight of the Century”, that Pacquiao lost to undefeated Floyd Mayweather on points.A sedan and two pickup trucks as well as dozens of smaller prizes, like refrigerators, were raffled off at the party, which included a section that was open to the general public.ADVERTISEMENT Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew ‘Mia’: Rom-com with a cause a career-boosting showcase for Coleen Garcia This photo taken on December 17, 2018 shows Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte (C) attending the 40th birthday celebration of boxer Manny Pacquiao (3rd L) in General Santos City on the southern island of Mindanao. – Pacquiao said he is a “stronger and faster” fighter as he threw a lavish party on December 17 to mark his 40th birthday ahead of his world title defence against Adrien Broner of the US. (Photo by Ferdinandh CABRERA / AFP)Philippine boxing legend Manny Pacquiao said he is “stronger and faster” than ever ahead of his world title defense as he threw a lavish party with thousands of guests and a mass giveaway to mark his 40th birthday.A car, pickup trucks and appliances were raffled off and President Rodrigo Duterte and celebrities were among the well-wishers at the all-night event, held at a sprawling shopping mall in his home city of General Santos.ADVERTISEMENT
The Bangladeshi Contingent serving with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) said at least 3200 young Liberians have benefited from their skills training program.This was contained in a statistic released by the Bangladeshi Engineering Contingent that manages the Bangladeshi Skills Training Program, stationed at the Bangladesh-Liberia Friendship Center (BLFC) in Ganta City, Nimba County.Speaking to the Daily Observer in Ganta recently, the Contingent Commander, Lt. Col Mohammed Anwar Uddin said, “So far, more than 3200 Liberians have been trained in this center.”This center conducts training in computer, nursing and medicare, generator operation and maintenance as well as tailoring.BLFC was established in 2007 by the UNMIL Bangladeshi Contingent under the command of Lt. Col Hoque. Through this center many Liberians were able to acquire skills in many disciplines where today some of them are self employed.Lt. Col Uddin disclosed that every year, the center conducts four packages of training in order to build the capacities of hundreds of Liberians for the job market.Meanwhile, the Engineering Battalion commander, who presently manages the center, is calling on Liberians to utilize the center by coming to get skills for future jobs. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Chief Economist and Vice President of the African Development Bank Group, Professor Mthuli Ncube, has stressed the need for youth and women empowerment in African countries should growth of the African economy be realized.Briefing the media Tuesday, May 20, at the AfDB conference center in Kigali, Rwanda, Professor Ncube stressed among other things that policy makers in African countries should create the condition that will enable youths to acquire vocational training in various technical disciplines, which would enable them get jobs.He added that access to finance is cardinal to the growth of the economy, considering that if people have access, it will help them engage in entrepreneurship that also has trigger down effect on youths with technical skills to have job opportunities.He also stressed that women’s involvement in entrepreneurship helps to bring economic boost, noting that gender balance in economy eases tension associated with dependency.Earlier, the AfDB Vice President and Chief Economist indicated that for Africa to achieve what its people need in the next 50 years, such empowerment should be provided by policy makers.The theme of the 49th annual meeting of the AfDB is “The Next 50 Years: The Africa We Want.”As the case may be, Professor Ncube mentioned that there is no doubt about the need for peace, prosperity, integration, stronger voice in world economy and people-centered Africa.Highlighting some issues discussed in various sessions, he mentioned transparency and accountability, and Africa transformation as highly sensitive topics on agenda.Comparing the growth of economies in Africa, Prof. Ncube noted that Southern Africa is growing strongly with South Africa topping while West Africa has a strong growth with Nigeria rising above the rest.He underscored the challenge of property right to be hampering most African countries in engaging into Agricultural venture that many Africans have as an occupation. He suggested that women be allowed to have some property rights and policy be put in place to deal with strangulation resulting from property right to allow people have land to make farms.He also mentioned lack of feeder roads in many African countries as impediment to economic growth for the greater majority who rely on Agriculture to earn their living. Making reference to Rwanda where the meeting for the AfDB currently ongoing, Professor Ncube praised the country for its current road condition which he said is empowering citizens to bring their products to the market.Speaking on AfDB’s progress in Africa, Prof. Ncube said the bank has invested in many African countries through commercial banks to enable citizens have access to loan to meet their economic demands. The African Development Bank according to the Vice President has also funded many infrastructural development projects in many countries, including Liberia.One of its projects in Liberia is the Fish Town Harper Highway pavement which commenced about two years ago.As the 49th meeting has commenced, stakeholders are in sessions discussing relevant economic issues that will bring transformation to the continent in the next fifty years.Among the issues discussed are Agriculture, Infrastructure, Gender Resource Governance, Conflict in South Sudan and Investment.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Seven of the 18 persons accused of mercenary activities in neighboring La Côte d’Ivoire may be set free, if their pleas are accepted by Criminal Court ‘D’ at the Temple of Justice.The 18 men were arrested between 2010 and 2012 in Grand Gedeh County by state security. They were subsequently indicted and charged in 2013 for alleged mercenary activities.In their 19-count “Motion for Judgment Acquittal,” lawyers for the defense argued that witnesses who have testified for prosecution have already admitted that the seven co-defendants knew nothing about fighting in La Côte d’Ivoire.They further argued that the co-defendants should be acquitted as a matter of law, stating that “The state failed to produce evidence against them.”The lawyers said state witnesses had failed to produce evidence showing that any of the co-defendants was arrested with arms, while returning from La Côte d’Ivoire to Liberia, where they were arrested.The defense team added that prosecution failed “miserably” to satisfy the “burden of proof” in the matter as required by law, alleging the evidence was insufficient to convict the men of the charge.They also argued that government failed during the trial to prove their indictments with clear and cogent evidences, as there were material variances (contradictions) in the testimonies of their witnesses.Therefore, the lawyers prayed that “This Honorable Court should accept the motion and discharge the co-defendants from further answering to the charge of mercenarism, and grant unto them such further relief it may consider just and legal”.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Gbarnga-Ganta highway now has a new look as the Chinese road building firm, CHICO, continues its engineering work under the World Bank contract.The new face of the road brought great delight to those who are plying the road daily; especially Nimbaians and those from the south-east.Nearly 40 years since the road was constructed under William R. Tolbert regime in 1976, it has in recent years turned very deplorable owing to what many believe was due to the long civil war.The worst condition was recalled in 2012 when rain damaged almost all poorly constructed roads in the country.The deplorable condition of roads that year hampered movement and made transportation fares to steadily rise.With funding from the World Bank, CHICO and the Government of Liberia in 2012, signed a contract to construct the piece of road from Gbarnga to Ganta Border for over US$ 100m.In mid-2013, CHICO began preparing its camps and setting up mechanism for the construction of the once talk about bad road around Liberia.Despite the late starting, the road work appears to be speeding than expected. At present, the portion of road from Jennepleta in Bong County to a village close to the boundary with Nimba had been paved.And on the Nimba side, the pavement is ongoing beginning from the town called Dukpe, near Kpain and moving toward Sokopa at the St. John River.Prior to the construction of the road, it took a vehicle over 2hrs to reach Ganta or Gbarnga from either side.Even the part of the road that is yet to be paved has been rehabilitated with the old tarmac removed thus creating a smooth condition for vehicles to freely move.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Dear Editor,Kindly permit me space in your reputable publication to respond to the article titled “Poor past…Alexander says Vishnu Persaud’s past performance sank him –Myers emerged the more qualified for top GECOM post”, which was authored by Ms. Ariana Gordon and published in the Guyana Chronicle on June 14, 2018.Before doing so specifically, it is pertinent that I note that relative to my rejection for reappointment to the position of Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO), I had taken the position that I would not comment publicly on this matter, notwithstanding the negative blogs about me by persons with pseudonyms, who do not know me or of my professional record.However, some inferences and statements contained within the above referred article dictate that I respond in an albeit futile attempt to undo some of the defamation and stigma that have now accordingly been cast upon me.For the sake of clarity, context and relevance, the specific issues are documented herein in a manner in which responses are attached to individual identified comments attributed to Mr. Alexander.The article opens by informing that “FORMER Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Vishnu Persaud, was rejected for rehiring on the grounds of his past performance, his alleged history of faking his qualifications to the commission, and the fact that Roxanne Myers has “better qualifications” than him, a top commissioner at the electoral body has said”.The article went further to attribute the following comment to Mr. Vincent Alexander, Commissioner of the Guyana Elections Commission: “He [Justice Patterson] objected to Vishnu based on past performance, based on the other candidate having better qualifications, and based on the history of misrepresentation of qualifications to the commission,” longstanding commissioner Vincent Alexander told the Guyana Chronicle”.The author acknowledged that the “newspaper has been unable to independently verify this,” and the inability to verify defamatory comments should have mitigated against publishing them. Apart from independent verification, I further posit that there was no evidence presented to suggest the aspersions cast against me were anything more than the slanderous utterances of Mr. Alexander. Further, it is disturbing and disingenuous that the author notes the lack of verification of Alexander’s claims, but the word defamation nonetheless commands the headline of the article.In addressing this comment, I will break down my response into three categories as follows:“He [Justice Patterson] objected to Vishnu based on past performance”.It is important to note that while the caption of the article opens with the term “poor past”, the body of the article addresses “past performance” without specifically indicating that my “past performance” was “poor”.However, whereas this comment suggests that my past performance was unacceptable or at the least questionable, there is absolutely nothing in the article to so substantiate.I joined the GECOM in November of 2001 in the capacity of Public Relations Officer (PRO), and worked continuously up to August 2017 – serving in the last three years as DCEO.Throughout my tenure I was never cautioned, reprimanded, rebuked – orally or in writing – by senior management of the GECOM Secretariat or the Commission for failure to honour my responsibilities.On the contrary, from about 2004 up to the end of my stint, I was multi-tasking by carrying the responsibilities of additional substantive offices.In 2004, the person who was employed as Personal Assistant (PA) to the Chairman – a position on the GECOM organogram – was promoted to Logistics Manager. The then Chairman from then onwards had me function as his de facto PA, which I did up to August 2014, when I was appointed DCEO.Simultaneously, I was tasked with the responsibilities of scribe to the Commission, since this responsibility was also being carried by the Chairman’s PA. I carried out this responsibility for about eight years, with a short break when a Legal Officer was employed for a short period.During my stint as PRO, in the run up to the 2011 General and Regional Elections, the Commission as well as political stakeholders complained severely that the Civic and Voter Education (C&VE) programmes of the Commission were severely lacking. Notwithstanding the C&VE function being vested in a substantive manager in a designated position senior to PRO, the Chairman informed the Commission that he was tasking me with significant responsibility for the print and electronic media aspect of C&VE. There was no objection at the level of either Commission or Secretariat.This can be substantiated from the minutes of the relevant statutory meeting of the Commission. I continued to carry this responsibility up to early 2014, when the C&VE Manager demitted office. From then up to August 2017, I carried the C&VE responsibilities in totality because no one was appointed to the vacant position of C&VE Manager. To date, the position remains vacant.Following the 2015 General and Regional Elections, and in preparation for the 2016 Local Government Elections (LGEs), the Human Resources Manager (HRM) resigned. This happened somewhere in the mid-2015. The Secretariat was deeply involved in the training of approximately 12,000 temporary staff for the upcoming LGEs.Upon the resignation of the HRM, the Chief Election Officer assigned me responsibility for management of the Human Resource Division. I carried this responsibility along with that of C&VE simultaneously with my substantive duties of DCEO up to the appointment of a substantive HRM at the beginning of 2017. There was no additional pay, and none was ever sought.While I was DCEO, I acted in the capacity of CEO once, and “held the fort” several times for the CEO when he had to leave the office for a week at a time. I was never cited nor censured for any wrongdoing whatsoever.Naturally, I have seen all of the performance appraisals prepared for me by former Chairman Dr. Steve Surujbally, under whose direct supervision I worked up to August 2014. There is nothing in any of those appraisals that would suggest I was lacking in any area of the regime of responsibilities with which I was tasked.In view of the foregoing, I am at a loss to determine how my past performance could have led to my detriment. I challenge anyone, and specifically the Guyana Chronicle and Mr. Alexander, to dispute the provable facts I have outlined above.Another candidate has better qualifications–This position was put forward without any comparison of the qualifications of the two concerned candidates, specifically in relation to the criteria delineated in the advertisement for the vacant position of DCEO.Under qualifications, the advertised criteria asked for the following: A post graduate degree – it is confirmed that both of the concerned candidates have Master’s Degrees. I have a Master’s in Business Administration from the Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom.Qualification in Elections Management –I have a Level 5 Certificate in Management & Leadership, with specific expertise in electoral processes, which was issued by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) – UK through the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies (ICPS) – UK.This is a successor qualification to the Professional Certificate in Electoral Processes which is conducted by the ICPS, and in which I participated in London, UK. The Level 5 Certificate is equivalent to a Higher National Diploma (HND) in the UK.Additionally, I attended two Commonwealth Secretariat-conducted one week training in Elections Management in New Delhi, India and Kinston, Jamaica respectively.Experience in the management of national electionsI was the substantive DCEO for three years, with responsibility for Operations, during which the 2015 General and Regional Elections and 2016 LGEs were conducted.It is important to remind here that I also carried the full responsibilities of C&VE, and Human Resources to a lesser extent during my tenure as DCEO.Also, I beg to submit that all of the responsibilities as described above speak to my knowledge/experience in electoral processes.Excellent oral and written communication skillsI have a Diploma in Public Relations from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, and over 12 years’ experience as Public Relations Officer.In view of the foregoing, I humbly request that facts be put forward to prove that the “other candidate has better qualifications”. I gather that reading towards a PhD as documented in the article may be used as proof of a qualification not yet had?History of Misrepresentation of Qualifications to the CommissionWhereas there is nothing to support this allegation, I need to make it pellucid that at no time have I ever misrepresented my qualifications to the GECOM. During Mr. Alexander’s ongoing tenure at the Commission, I submitted applications with relevant CVs twice for the position of DCEO: in 2014 and 2017 respectively. On both occasions, I presented to the Commission certificates in support of my qualifications documented in the respective CVs. Had I misrepresented myself in any manner, I submit that would have been sufficiently egregious a transgression to warrant my immediate dismissal with prejudice. Let it be known that this was not done, and I have no reprimand on my personnel file.We all know the outcome of my application for appointment to the position in 2018.In 2014, my appointment as DCEO flowed from a transparent recruitment process which involved (i) advertising the vacant position, (ii) receiving applications and shortlisting candidates, and (iii) the conduct of interviews by a panel comprising the GECOM Chairman, four Commissioners (two from both sides) and the Chief Election Officer.Please see https://www.stabroeknews.com/2014/news/guyana/08/14/new-deputy-chief-election-officer-appointed/While I expect that the entire foregoing may not serve to adequately counter a headline and front page misrepresentation accredited to Mr. Alexander, which has already led to my defamation and personal degradation, I wish nonetheless to be on record that the statements are baseless, reckless, defamatory, and malicious in their design.Allow me to close this missive with the firm declaration that, as the DCEO or any role held, I always conducted myself professionally, without fear or favour, and without bias in any area or level of my responsibilities. This was and will always remain the definition of my core as a human being and a professional, which I will steadfastly defend.Related MatterI have noted an article in the Guyana Chronicle of today (June 15, 2018) titled “Vishnu obtained Masters from a Training Centre”. The article opens with the position that the Master’s I hold is “actually a combination of elections-related training courses which he obtained from the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies (ICPS) and not an accredited University…”This is an outrageous, malicious, and outright lie which is obviously aimed at discrediting my suitability for the position in question.I do not have, and I never claimed to have, a Masters in Elections Management from the ICPS or any other institution. I read for, and was awarded, a Master’s of Business Administration by the Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom.I will respond in a separate letter for the third and hopefully final time to the accusation of alleged corrupt practices that was made against me.Sincerely,Vishnu PersaudFormer Deputy ChiefElection OfficerGECOM
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo’s Office has noted with concern that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has remained silent in the face of the imbroglio which has engulfed six local authority organs that have been unable to lawfully elect their Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Chairpersons and Deputies because of an equality of seats on those organs allocated to the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC). In a press statement, Jagdeo’s Office explained that it is public knowledge that his Party launched legal proceedings and obtained a series of orders from the High Court quashing decisions of Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan who in violation of the law, purported to select the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Mabaruma as well as the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the several Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) affected.The Opposition Leader’s Office further explained that orders were also obtained restraining the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and the Chairpersons and Deputy Chairpersons from functioning in those capacities and that orders were obtained mandating the Town Clerk of Mabaruma and the several overseers of the NDCs to appoint a date for new elections in the several local authority areas affected as the law prescribes. Jagdeo said these legal proceedings were filed not only to protect and defend the will of the electorate, but was also done to protect and preserve the Constitutional mandate of GECOM which is the authority that the Constitution has endowed with the exclusive responsibility in respect of and in relation to the conduct of elections. The statement said against this backdrop, GECOM’s silence and inaction amount to a gross abdication of its constitutional responsibilities.“It is obvious that were GECOM to assume its responsibilities, it will present some reprieve to this impasse. We call upon GECOM to snap out of this paralysis and begin to discharge its mandate now.”
By: Devina Samaroo, UKAhmadis from across the globe will participate in the grand three-day Muslim festival which begins today (Friday) in Hampshire, United Kingdom (UK).Guyana will be among 100 countries attending the event called the Jalsa Salana, an annual celebration now in its fiftieth year.The weekend-long activities are marked by prayers and speeches where worshippers celebrate the teachings of Islam and esteemed leaders address pertinent issues impacting the expanding Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.Participants also use the forum to discover new countries and experience new cultures, taste various dishes and perhaps even learn another language.This unique gathering, considered the largest of its kind in the UK, is also attended by parliamentarians, civic leaders and diplomats from various countries.A field of flags representing the member countries of the Ahmadiyya Muslim CommunityThe key feature is the presence of worldwide movement’s fifth Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Community, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad.On the final day of the celebrations, new followers pledge allegiance and existing adherents renew their pledges to His Holiness who serves as the worldwide spiritual and administrative head of this religious organisation, with membership exceeding tens of millions reaching over 200 countries.The religion was founded by Mizra Ghulam Ahmad in India in 1889, however, today it is still not accepted in some countries because its faith does not recognise Muhammad as the final prophet.While the general sect of the Muslim world believes Jesus Christ will return as the Messiah, the Ahmadis believe that the awaited Messiah came as Mizra Ahmad, who was the first Khalifa.In fact, they are considered apostates by other sects of Islam and in some states such as Pakistan, they are banned.Members on Thursday preparing the stage for the hoisting of the flag of the Ahmadiyya Muslim CommunityNonetheless, as time progressed, the community membership increased and eventually its first mosque was constructed in South West London in 1924.Then in 2003, the Baitul Futuh Mosque (House of Victories), belonging to the Ahmadiyya community, was inaugurated. Stretching across approximately five acres and with an accommodation capacity of 10,000 persons, it is Britain’s largest mosque and one of the largest in Western Europe.Leading up to the Jalsa Salana, guests from all over the world flocked both mosques, to enjoy the camaraderie through which they have meals and say prayers, all the while sharing their enthusiasm for the grand festival.There are approximately two million Ahmadis in the world. In Guyana, the community is numbered at about 300.Speaking to Guyana Times at the events site on Thursday where many preparatory activities were ongoing, Head of the Guyanese arm of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, Aftadudin Nassir explained that the culture is very vibrant locally.“We go out there and we do the work. We preach Islam, we are out on the streets and we talk to people and give the message of Islam to them. We are a small community but we are not deterred. We know we will grow,” Nassir said.Guyana will be hosting its 33rd local Jalsa Salana before yearend, celebrating decades of the presence of the religion within the country.Ahmadiyya Muslims in Guyana was established in the late 1950s in Sisters Village, Berbice. Its first and oldest mosque is located in that community. There are other places of worship across the country and the local organisation is hoping to commission a brand new mosque in Mahdia, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) before yearend.The faith was introduced to Guyana through a missionary who was posted in Trinidad and Tobago to spread the message of Islam. He soon became the first missionary in Guyana and thereafter, more missionaries were posted to continue to spread the message of peace which is the undertone of the community’s motto, “Love for all, hatred for none”.
…”ensure economic growth is inclusive, empowers people” – HDR reportGuyana and other Caribbean countries must draft new public policies to increase gains in the economic, social and environmental fronts while boosting climate and financial resilience and protecting people throughout their life cycles, stated the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Report (HDR) for the Caribbean, which was launched on Monday in Barbados.The report titled “Multidimensional Progress: human resilience beyond income” highlights the need to rethink the methods for ranking development in the Region’s countries that go beyond per capita income, economic growth rates and Gross Domestic Product (GDP).A statement from the UNDP said the report calls for governments and the Private Sector to rethink the Region’s progress along multidimensional lines, inspired by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).“The inspiration for this report comes from the strong demands of Caribbean leaders for more comprehensive metrics for assessing development, and for a more nuanced examination of the meaning of ‘graduation,’ recognising that income per capita does not reflect the vulnerabilities, development needs and challenges of middle income countries,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark at the launch of the report.The report also highlights the fact that Caribbean countries high debt hinders the ability to access finance for sustainable development, limiting the region’s ability to achieve the SDGs. In view of the development financing context in the Caribbean, the report demonstrates how, for the most part, Caribbean countries are ineligible for concessional finance due to their status as middle-income countries.With average national per capita income levels above the international financial eligibility benchmark, the report makes a case for a review of eligibility criteria to access concessional financing. It underscores the extreme economic and environmental vulnerabilities in Caribbean countries that – like other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) – make the Region’s countries special cases for development.“The challenges of sustainable, holistic and universal development do not end at a certain income threshold: we don’t ‘graduate’ from development challenges unless we can respond accordingly to the multiple dimensions that enable people to live the lives they consider valuable, ” UNDP Latin America and the Caribbean Director Jessica Faieta said.In line with the SDGs, the report stresses that on the one hand it is crucial to invest in people, environment, sustainable and affordable energy, institutional efficiency, stability and security as these are key factors to boost economic growth. On the other hand, it is essential to ensure that economic growth is inclusive, empowers people, leaves no one behind, and is not achieved at the expense of the environment.The report focuses on several groups and their “vulnerabilities”, which accumulate over a life cycle hindering people’s capacity to fulfil their potential and also to leave poverty behind, the report stresses.WomenIt said women are disadvantaged in the labour market, with lower paying jobs than men. Although they head nearly half of the Caribbean households, the participation of women in senior managerial jobs is still limited to about 25 per cent in the Region, with the exceptions of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados,” the report stated.HDR said while education can be a potential protective factor against women´s disadvantages in the labour market, women are still earning less than men and are proportionally holding fewer decision-making positions in the Public and Private Sectors.The report stresses that violence against women is a key challenge for the Caribbean, not only threatening lives but also negatively impacting all of society. Physical, sexual, psychological violence or a combination of them affect between 20 and 35 per cent of women in the Region.YouthThe report stated that the Region’s youth are also a critical group in vulnerability, with unemployment among this group ranging between 18 and 47 per cent, except in Trinidad and Tobago where it is 10 per cent.For young women, it stated that teenage pregnancy can hinder the possibilities of studying, working – and leaving poverty behind. It added that young men, especially in poor communities, are both the main victims and the main perpetrators of crime in the Region.
Indian High Commissioner to Guyana Venkatachalam MahalingamGPC Leader, Pandit Rudra SharmaGHDC Vice President Pandit Jagmohan PersaudIndian High Commissioner to Guyana Venkatachalam Mahalingam is being lobbied to provide assistance in resolving the holiday timing controversy, which has caused a division in the local Hindu community, most notably during the celebrations of hallmark events like Diwali and Phagwah.Massive confusion erupted last year after two Hindu organisations in the country failed to find middle ground on the date for the Festival of Lights – Diwali. This disagreement rolled over into the new year for the Festival of Colours – Phagwah, with the celebration being observed on two days. This again will be the case for Diwali celebrations 2016.The Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha (GHDS) has declared that October 30 is the true date for the celebration of the holiday, while the Guyana Pandits Council (GPC) is holding out that it is October 29.Restore harmonyIn an effort to settle the controversy in order to restore harmony among Guyanese Hindus, the organisations have taken a decision to seek the intervention of an expert from India.The yet-to-be selected expert, who must be a member of the board responsible for setting national holidays in India and an astrologer, will be responsible for conducting his own study and making his own assessment of when the holidays ought to be held, and both organisations are hopeful that his pronouncement will be timely so as to avoid controversy next year.GHDS Vice President, Pandit Jagmohan Persaud, during an interview with Guyana Times on Tuesday, explained that the Indian High Commissioner responded via telephone after several requests were made.The organisations were still awaiting an official written response from the High Commission, pledging its assistance in this regard.Pandit Persaud expressed high hopes that by next year, the issue would be resolved.GPC Leader, Pandit Rudra Sharma, during a telephone interview with this newspaper also shared similar views.“It is extremely important to us to have this issue resolved, because it is dividing the Hindu community. It is not looking good and we would like to have this resolved as early as possible,” he stated.