Thirty-year-old Malcolm Brown of Belmonte, Mahaica, East Coast Demerara (ECD) was on Thursday arraigned on the murder of Fareez Yaseem, who was stabbed at least 12 times during an attempted robbery on Monday last.Brown was not required to plead to the charge when it was read to him by Magistrate Wanda Fortune at the Mahaica Magistrate’s Court.The father of three was killed during a confrontation with Brown, who was attempting to break into a storage bond.Reports are the now dead man was awakened by a sound emanating from the lower flat of the house and went to investigate.As he walked down the flight of stairs, he reportedly saw the suspect trying to gain access to the bond resulting in a confrontation and ultimately, a scuffle between the men.It was during the scuffle that the suspect whipped out a knife and dealt Yaseem several blows to his body.Guyana Times was told that the injured man fell into a drain and died almost immediately while the perpetrator made good his escape, but reportedly left his pedal cycle and a slipper behind.Acting on information, the Police subsequently arrested Brown and after interrogation, charges were instituted. Brown will make his next court appearance on June 8, 2018.
In its effort to help bridge the digital divide, the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) has announced significant reductions in the cost of its residential Internet service rates for its Gold and Silver customers, effective from January 1, 2017.GTT Head officeGold has been reduced by 36 per cent to $9599, while the Silver is down 16 per cent to $8399.According to a statement from GTT, these reductions are evident of the company’s commitment to continue offering its Internet service to customers, with significantly more value on its plans, even as the company focuses on pushing faster and more reliable broadband services into homes and businesses.These higher tiers enable users to stream, surf and download faster at speeds up to 10 megabytes per second. The Bronze service, ideal for casual surfing such as the use of email services, is up now to $5999.GTT is guaranteeing customers that these prices will remain unchanged when the new Value Added Tax (VAT) regime comes into effect.“We are committed to bringing more affordable Internet to our customers and excited tocontinue to bridge Guyana’s digital divide. This is just the first in a number of exciting changes that GTT will be offering its customers in 2017, with significant speed and service quality upgrades on the horizon,” the company stated.The telephone giant launched the Internet plans back in April 2016, offering 10 megabytes per second (MBPS) Internet speeds, five times faster than what was previously offered and with no extra cost to its customers.Then Chief Executive Officer Radha Krishna Sharma had explained that the Internet service would be sold in bronze, silver and gold packages within the range of 1MBPS to 10MBPS. Bronze package subscribers paid the usual $4999 monthly.Silver package customers paid $9980 but with improved speeds of up to 5MBPS, while Gold package subscribers had up to 10MBPS, at $14,979 per month.While the cost is reduced on residential Internet services, only recently Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Justin Nedd told media operatives that with the introduction of VAT on broadband Internet service and data plans sold to mobile and corporate customers, the company would incur an additional expense in the vicinity of US$6 million (G$1.2 billion).Nedd pointed out that GTT already forked over more than half of its earnings to taxes and pointed to a 45 per cent Corporate Tax.
Rebuilding Camp St Prison…despite 20 companies being prequalified in 2017 for reconstruction…Govt sole source overseas firmSince coming to office in 2015, the coalition Government has been engulfed in several controversies where it sole sourced goods and services. However, this trend seems to be heading into 2018; with more matters of this nature to follow.Speaking during the 83rd sitting of the eleventh Parliament, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan indicated that a company had been sole sourced out of the United States to reconstruct a prison at the ruined Camp Street Prison. Only the concrete block stands, following a devastating fire set by escaping inmates in July 2017.His comments were in response to a motion originally spearheaded by Opposition parliamentarian Juan Edghill. It was subsequently introduced by Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, as Edghill’s suspension continues from the House.In his response to the National Assembly, Ramjattan stated that local companies were unwilling to get involved in “this type” of tendering. The Minister suggested that the reason for this was because they were ignorant of the process.“We had to ensure, because of a certain person in NPTAB (National Procurement and Tender Administration Board) saying there must be some experienced contractors that know a thing or two about prisons. And if we have to single source, we have to single source.”“And we went and single sourced a firm out of America, (which) has built over 300 prisons and has built the Guantanamo prison steel cell. And so they got the contract and they will come down. The important point here is to know we arePublic Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattandoing something. Steel cells came out of money we allocated last year,” Ramjattan declared.UntruthsBut Ramjattan’s words that persons are unwilling to bid for a project of this nature are not supported by what actually occurred. Last year, Government cancelled a tender for the multimillion-dollar reconstruction of the Administrative Blocks for the Georgetown prison. The project was at the time being undertaken by the Public Infrastructure Ministry.At the time, a total of 20 companies had been shortlisted from a prequalification process and were invited by the then acting Permanent Secretary, Geoffrey Vaughn, to conduct a site visit on July 27, 2017. They were to respond by the following day on whether or not they would be submitting a bid for the project.However, the visit was rescheduled the following day by the Ministry’s Work Services Group Manager for Procurement and Contracts, Philip Bryan. The procurement manager, by way of email, indicated that the site visit for the project was rescheduled for the following day, July 27, 2017.On July 28, 2017, Vaughn wrote again to the bidders saying, “The Ministry regrets to inform you that a decision was taken by the executing agency to annul this bid.” Vaughn, in giving reason, pointed to a clause which speaks to the “Employer’s right to accept any bid and to reject any or all bids.”The Ministry subsequently clarified that the process was annulled because the Public Infrastructure Ministry was not the subject Ministry. According to the Ministry, it was just providing “technical support” for the Public Security Ministry.Disregarding procurement lawsThe Government has been under fire for some time for continuously disregarding procurement laws by not putting requests for goods and services to public tender, but instead sole sourcing. Its policy for procuring drugs has especially been under the microscope.The issue of the sole sourced drugs came to light when, in a letter dated February 28, 2017, the now ousted Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) Chief Executive Officer Allan Johnson thanked the Public Health Ministry for authorising the procurement of medical supplies from Trinidad company ANSA McAL to the tune of $605,962,200.This was even though local firms could have supplied the same quantity and quality of drugs at lower prices. It was subsequently found by the Public Procurement Commission that procurement laws were not followed.In May of last year, the parliamentary Opposition had fielded questions in the National Assembly to Communities Ministry.When a response came from Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan it was revealed that nine out of 10 regions in Guyana did no public tendering for drugs and medical supplies between January 2016 and February 2017. In addition, all regions indicated that no prequalification process was followed. This was all done in the name of emergencies.When in the Opposition, the coalition Government had been heavily critical of the former Administration procuring process.
“She could have been out shopping today, but I’m so proud of her for walking the course,” he said. “That really was the highlight of my day, because I didn’t play well at all.” He opened play from the 10th tee and made the turn at 1-over 37. But on the front nine, he had three bogeys without a birdie to leave him well behind the leaders. “I just need to play,” Stockton said. “When I tried to correct myself, it didn’t work. It’s just fundamentals.” Stockton begins today’s round from the 10th tee at 12:20 p.m. BOSS OF THE MOSS Loren Roberts, who was paired with Helendale resident Mark Johnson, moved closer to tour history. He fired a 4-under 67 for his 30th straight round of even-par or better, including 28 rounds under par. He needs two more rounds to tie the record held by Larry Nelson. SURGERY PROPONENT Peter Jacobsen, who underwent laser back surgery in Florida more than a week ago, fired a 5-under 66 – his lowest round of the 2007 season. Health has been an issue for Jacobsen the past few years. He withdrew due to a sore right knee at last year’s Toshiba Classic and later underwent hip replacement surgery in September. HARD TO BELIEVE Ben Crenshaw, who shares the lead with five others, set a personal-best effort while playing on the Champions Tour. It is the first time that he has led or shared a lead after the opening round since joining the senior circuit in 2002. COMING HOME Mark O’Meara, who attended high school in nearby Mission Viejo and later played at Long Beach State, opened with a 3-under 68 in his third appearance on the Champions Tour. FOR THE ROUND A total of 43 players in the 78-man field finished with rounds under par. The field averaged 70.154, nearly a stroke-and-a-half lower than the 2006 average of 71.487. Only 27 players finished under par in last year’s first round. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NEWPORT BEACH – The last time Redlands resident Dave Stockton began tournament play, he fired a 10-over-par 81. TOSHIBA CLASSIC NOTEBOOK He didn’t need to worry about the dreaded 80 mark Friday during the opening round of the Toshiba Classic, and when Stockton completed his round of 4-over 75, it didn’t take long for him to say what made him happiest. His wife, Cathy, is undergoing radiation treatments for cancer. For all 18 holes, she followed along while her husband competed in his second Champions Tour event this year.