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St. Hill gunned down
THE body of a man identified as Christopher St. Hill, called ‘Ninety’, of Sophia, Greater Georgetown, was found yesterday afternoon slumped in a car, Greater Georgetown.

The circumstances surrounding the man’s death are sketchy. According to reports, the man’s body bore gunshot wounds and he was allegedly shot and killed before being taken to Patterson. St. Hill’s body was found around 15:00 hrs in a white Toyota Carina and it appeared as though he was shot in the head through the tinted window.

The body was in the car with policemen in attendance for about one and a half hours before a hearse from the Lyken Funeral Parlour arrived and removed it.

However, in the interim, a large crowd, including his mother Cheryl Brown,and his sister Samantha St. Hill,had converged on the scene and demanded to see the body of the dead man.

Persons were heard exclaiming that they had seen St. Hill mere minutes before when he left a horse racing meeting further up the East Coast. It came as a shock to many when the news reached them that he had been shot.

On May 4, 2005, Magistrate Maxwell Edwards had issued an arrest warrant for St. Hill who was allegedly involved in the shoot-out at Punt Trench Road, Independence Boulevard the previous week.

He had been charged with attempting to commit murder, malicious damage to property and two counts of discharging a loaded firearm.

St. Hill allegedly wounded Raymond Skeete with intent to commit murder. It is also alleged that, on the same day, St. Hill unlawfully and maliciously discharged a loaded firearm at Skeete. Additionally, St. Hill was accused of discharging a loaded firearm at police constable Dwane Cummings and damaging a police car in the process.

Police alleged that Skeete went to a police car which had stopped at the corner of Hunter Street and Independence Boulevard to report a robbery under arms reportedly committed on him.

According to reports, St. Hill saw Skeete speaking to constable Cummings and approached them. He reportedly attempted to pull Skeete away from the constable; but when that failed, he reportedly discharged four rounds at the two men, hitting Skeete in the chest and abdomen, while another round struck the door of the police vehicle.

Skeete was rushed to the public hospital where he was admitted.

St. Hill reportedly escaped shortly after the shooting. The matter was scheduled to be called on May 31.

On October 7, 2005, St. Hill was once again before the courts, charged with discharging a loaded firearm. He was refused bail and remanded to prison on that occasion. The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge before Magistrate Bertlyn Reynolds. Particulars of the offence stated that with intent to maim, disfigure or disable, he discharged a loaded firearm at Godfrey Bacchus, on September 28, in Georgetown.

IMF completes fifth review
US$13.4M available now
THE Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced over the weekend that it had completed the fifth review of Guyana’s economic performance under its SRD 54.55 million (about US$78.7 M) Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) arrangement.

Completion of the review makes a disbursement equivalent to SDR 9.27M (about US$13.4M) immediately available to Guyana, the IMF said in a statement issued late Saturday.

The Executive Board also approved Guyana’s request for the waivers of non-observance of three performance criteria.

Following the Executive Board’s discussion on Guyana, Mr. Takatoshi Kato, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, said, “Guyana has continued to make progress under the PRGF arrangement. The exchange rate remained stable, the external current account position was better than anticipated, and the structural reform agenda moved ahead. However, economic activity declined sharply in 2005, owing largely to adverse shocks, and inflation was higher, reflecting the pass-through of world oil prices.”

He continued: “The 2005 macro-economic program was on track, seen in particular in a solid fiscal performance. Strong revenues and delayed spending for the Skeldon sugar modernisation project more than offset an increase in current other capital spending and a shortfall in grant disbursements.

&However;, there have been slight delays in completing the tax exemption study and the five-year rolling Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP), and in adopting implementing regulations for the Value Added Tax (VAT) and the excise tax. Progress has now been made in all these areas,” Mr. Kato said.

&A; key focus of the 2006 program is fiscal retrenchment. This will require maintaining the revenue effort, keeping a tight rein on current and capital spending, and improving the balance sheets of the public enterprises. It will be critical for the authorities to resist pressures for additional spending - especially related to the Cricket World Cup - and to monitor fiscal developments closely,” the IMF Executive continued.

He said, too, that monetary and exchange rate policies will continue to be geared to meet the program’s inflation objectives and maintaining competitiveness. The recent increase in inflation underscores the importance of careful adherence to the program’s monetary targets, he added.

The authorities are encouraged to develop an action plan to strengthen the financial sector, on the basis of the FSAP recommendations.

&The; 2006 program maintains the momentum of structural reforms. Preparatory work for the introduction of the VAT will be intensified to ensure smooth implementation after the elections. Wide-ranging reforms planned in other key areas will lay the basis for private sector -led growth,” the IMF official added.

He said, too, that sustained fiscal adjustment and restructuring of the sugar sector will be critical to cope with pressures on the balance of payments coming from high world oil prices and the reform of EU sugar import policies.

&#While Guyana’s debt indicators have improved - reflecting a better revenue and growth outlook, as well as the delivery of debt relief under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI)- prudent fiscal policies will be needed to maintain debt sustainability into the future, and to enable the resources set free under the MDRI to be used effectively in support of poverty reduction,” he added. (Mark Ramotar)

Elections must be held by Aug. 4
-----President Jagdeo
PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo has declared that the upcoming general elections must be held by the constitutionally due date, in a fair and transparent manner, and with quality assurances from the international community working with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

The President has also indicated that his party, the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) is working hard to win the confidence of the Guyanese people and win the upcoming elections constitutionally due to be held by August 4 this year.

&We; believe in an open process – everyone will be out there campaigning and we are working hard to win the elections,” the President told a news conference he hosted on Tuesday at the Presidential Secretariat in Georgetown.

&We; are working hard to win the elections because we believe only through hard work that you can win people’s confidence,” President Jagdeo stressed.

The Guyanese Head of State also urged GECOM to be more active in its public relations so as to allow the Guyanese populace to be better informed on the various aspects and processes leading up to the general elections.

GECOM, he said, needs to inform the population that anyone who tries to tamper with the upcoming general elections in Guyana, or the process leading up to such an elections, that there are serious penalties, monetary as well as imprisonment.

I think GECOM needs to do more public relations work itself to get people to go out more to register, to understand what the elections are about, and to say to people that our laws provide for serious penalties against any person who tries to tamper with the election results - from elections workers to political activists to ordinary people,” President Jagdeo said.

He noted that under-aged persons who register can end up in jail, since they – and their parents or guardians - must know what is the age limit to register.

Elections officials who tamper with people’s particulars will also be dealt with, the President said, while chiding GECOM for its seeming lack of getting such crucial information out to the wider public.

&For; several elections we did not do that; we should have found the people who messed up and gone after them, using the laws of our country to send a strong signal to anyone who may even think about tampering with the elections process, that the full force of the law will come down on them,” President Jagdeo said.

&Voting; is your right regardless of whether you are PPP or PNC; so people should come out and register. It is their democratic right to do so,” the President urged.

“I know they (GECOM) are working very hard, but I think they have to speed up the process. I am a little concerned that a few things may be going a bit slowly,” he said.


Canje murder?
POLICE in Berbice are investigating the suspected murder of David Beepat whose nude body was found on his bed with his trousers wrapped around face.

According to a release, Beepat, 45, of 9 Reliance, Canje, East Berbice, was found around 09:30 h on Saturday morning at his home.

He lived alone.

His body is at the New Amsterdam Hospital mortuary awaiting a post mortem.

UN team to assess flood damage
By Mark Ramotar
ANOTHER team of experts from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) will be arriving in Guyana shortly to assess the current flood situation, Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon announced yesterday.

He said the assessment by the ECLAC mission, expected to be similar to the detailed study conducted after the disastrous floods in January last year, would be used by the donor and the international community to fashion a suitable response to Guyana’s latest case for assistance.

A five-member ECLAC team arrived here on March 3 last year to assess the full impact of the devastating January 2005 floods in the various sectors and later put the flood recovery bill at a staggering $93B.

In a near repeat of last year’s disaster, severe flooding in specific areas along Guyana’s coastline spawned by unusual high intensity rains which began more than two months ago, led the Guyana Government on Saturday to declare the flood-hit Regions Two and Five disaster zones.

The government also appealed for urgent international help to repair crucial drainage structures and dredge four rivers in a bid to contain coastal flooding.

This declaration came in the wake of tremendous suffering experienced by thousands of people in the two disaster zones where the flood control mechanisms have been overwhelmed.

Following this appeal for international assistance, the government has been meeting the donor community to see what kind of assistance can be garnered.

Asked at his regular post-Cabinet news conference yesterday about the response from the international community so far, Luncheon said he already had several meetings with the donor community and he will be meeting donors again before the end of the week.

“There have already been responses through the United Nations system for a mission from ECLAC. They were here in 2005 and they would be returning in pursuit of the necessary assessment that would be used by the donor and the international community to really fashion a suitable response to the Guyana’s case,” he told reporters.

He, however, noted that it “will be a bit premature at this point to address our minds to responses other than to say the administrative and the technical arrangements are being put in place to facilitate those responses”.

The ECLAC mission that spent several days in Guyana last year was headed by Mr Erik Blommestein. It garnered its own information, in addition to scrutinising raw data compiled and submitted by a sector task force appointed by the government.

The assessment focused on the productive, agriculture, infrastructure, health and housing sectors.

The sector task force had conducted its exercise using sampling techniques and standardised questions.

The assessment by the ECLAC team provided a quantification of the flood impact on the individual sectors and the overall economy.

Following its assessment, ECLAC calculated that Guyana would need G$93B to recover from its worst natural disaster spawned by floods in three coastal regions in January, 2005.

The UN mission found that floods severely affected 37 per cent of the country’s population (275,000 people) and claimed 34 lives.

Its flood impact assessment report (final draft) was presented on March 24, 2005 to a small gathering at the Foreign Ministry in Georgetown where Foreign Minister Rudy Insanally stressed a Guyana Government appeal to the international community to help it meet the huge recovery bill.

Director of the Trinidad-based ECLAC, Mr Neil Pierre, who presented that report, noted that although it was done on the basis of “a snapshot”, the technical team that conducted the assessment had done “a very decent job in terms of putting together the most accurate information and analysis” that could be acquired given the conditions they were working with.

Flood update - situation in disaster areas improving
(GINA) The situation in the disaster areas-- Pomeroon River, and the Mahaica, Mahaicony and Abary Creeks (MMA)-- is improving.

Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam)Regional Chairman Ali Baksh said the water has receded completely in the Charity housing area, which was severely affected.

“The water level at the conservancy is at a fairly controllable level and there is no breaching or over topping at the conservancy; however, there is water on some farms in the upper and lower Pomeroon areas,” the Chairman said.

He said that the water levels at Capoey, Mashabo and Mainstay Lakes are also at controllable levels.

The Chairman also indicated that the two hydraulic excavators promised to the region by President Bharrat Jagdeo on January 11 have been delivered. They are valued at $30M each. These will be permanently stationed in the region to aid drainage and irrigation in both upper and lower Pomeroon.

“We are now waiting on the pontoon and a few more sunny days to commence work in the Pomeroon,” Baksh said.

Flooding continues in the creek areas in Region Five (Mahaica/Berbice), and according to Head of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (ND&A), Ravi Naraine, “Government is doing all that is necessary, based on the request of the farmers, to put measures in place to ensure the water drains off the land quickly.”

At the East Demerara Water Conservancy, Overseeing Officer Chagur Bhudu said that the Lama is at 58.10 GD; Mahaica 56.40 GD; Flag Staff 58.35 GD; and Land of Canaan 55.60 GD.

“There was no rainfall today; all the sluices towards Mahaica are closed,” Bhudu said.

He said the Maduni sluice was closed three days ago but the Land of Canaan and the Cunha sluices are in operation.

2006 Budget provides for under-served areas
- in areas of health, education and transportation
(GINA) Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Harripersaud Nokta said that significant allocations are provided for in the 2006 budget for communities that are not adequately served in areas of education, health care and transportation.

In his budget debate presentation in the National Assembly on Friday, Minister Nokta said that many Amerindian communities will see significant improvements this year. An incinerator will be constructed at Mabaruma while a mortuary will be built in Port Kaituma. There will be considerable improvement in health infrastructure, and a significant sum has been allocated for building teachers’ quarters.

Millions of dollars will be spent this year to build new roads to link communities such as Matthew’s Ridge and Port Kaituma.

Minister Nokta said that the Amerindian population is the fastest growing in Guyana, and so far, half of the total population has access to nursery, primary, secondary, and technical education. Through this year’s allocations, this percentage will increase.

People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament, Donald Ramotar, responding to the main Opposition’s criticisms of the budget, explained that it was drafted under different circumstances.

He pointed out that the decline in production in several key sectors in 2005, particularly agriculture, for which significant budgetary allocations have been provided, was caused mainly by the flood in 2005. He noted that in every agricultural economy floods will certainly have a negative impact, and for this reason, there was significant loss in sugar, livestock and cash crops.

The loss was, however, not as significant as predicted according to Ramotar. He referred to statistics which showed that the 2005 flood had caused a three percent decline in the economy, when experts had predicted six percent. This difference, he noted, was as a result of good fiscal management by the government.

Additionally, several companies recorded considerable success, according to Ramotar, citing Banks DIH which reported an increase in profits for last year, even with the rise in fuel prices from US $10 to US $70 per barrel.

He said the fact that government managed to reduce the inflation rate by eight percent is a commendable achievement.

Guyanese author cops two top literary prizes
McWatt's "Suspended Sentences"
By Rickey Singh
BRIDGETOWN---The distinguished Professor of West Indian Literature and Head of the Department of Language and Literature at the Cave Hill Campus of the UWI, Dr Mark McWatt, has won two important literary prizes for his first novel, Suspended Sentences--Fictions of Atonement".

Published last year in the United Kingdom, the novel first won the 2006 Commonwealth Writers' {Prize for the best "First Book in the Caribbean/Canada Region".

Secondly, the book was judged for the winning prize for the 2006 competition of "Casa de las Americas", Publishing House of Cuba. McWatt's "Suspended Sentences" had competed with 17 other works and won the prize in the "Caribbean Literature Section in English or Creole" 

In relation to the first award for Suspended Sentences, Commonwealth McWatt will now travel to Australia next month to enter the final phase of the 20th Commonwealth Writers' Prize--the international award for outstanding fiction---which will be decided by a panel of four regional judges in Melbourne on March 14.

Competitors will include writers from Africa, Eurasia, South-East Asia and the Pacific.The winner will receive ten thousand pound sterling for the "Overall Best Book" and three thousand pound to the author of the "Best First Book".

McWatt's Suspended Sentences is linked with an experienxce that dates back to 1966 when a group of sixth formers were "sentenced" by their school to write a short story that reflects their newly independent country, Guyana, the author's native land.

Years later, as the story goes, McWatt, one of the group of students, is handed the papers of his old school friend, Victor Nunes, who has disappeared, feared drowned in the Guyana's vast interior region.

As a tribute to Victor, McWatt decides to collect from the other friends, the rest of the stories they were "sentenced" to write. This forms the basis of Suspended Sentences, that has won both the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for "Best First Book"; and the Casa de las America's second prize in the Caribbean Literature Section.

The jurors for  the Commonwealth Writers' Prize described McWatt's book as a first novel that refracts light like a powerful and many-faceted diamond....Its characters circle multiple challenges as they struggle to throw off the yoke of colonialism in Guyana. This is a wonderfully sophisticated threading of voices and variety..."

For the Casa prize, the judges wrote: "The book is distinguished by the originality and inventiveness of the literary ploy on which this anthology is based, of stories by supposedly real authors. The interplay between the magic and the real dismantles the frontiers between both..."


The right to caricature
For the past week, Muslims across the Middle East and Asia have been involved in escalating demonstrations over the publication, starting last September, of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in what they claim are blasphemous depictions in newspapers in five European countries.

The cartoons originally appeared in the Danish paper, Jyllands-Posten, and were commissioned by the culture editor, Flemings Rose.

Looking at one French website which currently hosts the cartoons, one cannot help but think that the commissioning of these drawings was designed to be inflammatory. In one, a golden crescent hangs like an incomplete angel’s halo above a turbaned, bearded figure – emerging from behind the head, the tips pointing forward, gives the impression of horns. The caption reads, “Mahomet, ange ou demon?” Mohammed, angel or demon.

One could argue that Islamic overreaction in the past – as was epitomised by the issue of a fatwah against, Salman Rushdoe author of the Satanic verses – has been something that has galvanised world opinion against the extent to which Sharia, Islamic law, seeks to extend itself on the international scene. The Dystopia of Islamic extremism that was Afghanistan under the Taliban did little to counter these sentiments.

However, the commissioning of these cartoons is a clear case of Muslim-baiting at a time when Islamic extremism, or in some cases justifiable militancy, is currently at the heart of a complex global standoff. These drawings were not aimed at any sort of political or social commentary on modern Islam, even if a religion with over a billion people could so facilely be classified; they were a direct attack on the religion’s Prophet, its central figure outside of Allah. Anyone who claims otherwise needs to explain how the “ange ou demon” cartoon has any intellectual or moral currency.

How is it different from the Israeli extremist who sticks a Koran into a pig’s mouth and catapults into a mosque during the hours of prayer? Both are actions done to provoke a specific response: in the case of the extremist, it is a reaction geared towards fomenting violence; in the case of Rose, most likely a publicity stunt to boost sales of sales of the Jyllands-Posten. And when the Islamic world gave its initial, noticeably civil reaction, the press in Norway decided to cash in and reprint the cartoons – as did papers in Germany, Italy and Spain. All this was done ostensibly as a freedom of the press issue, with one French paper declaring that the right exists to caricature God. Even a Jordanian tabloid got in on the act to supposedly illustrate the Danish blasphemy.

One suspects that what Rose and the rest of the top staff at Jyllands-Posten did not calculate was the global fallout of this provocative act. The same could be said of the other papers. In very real terms, they might as well have actually thrown pigs’ heads containing copies of the Koran into mosques across the world. While no one can really say that the closure and burning of diplomatic missions that have occurred over the past few days is the best course of action, it is hard to say that is an unexpected course of action.

The right to free speech, of which the art of caricature is one the most powerful modes of expression, needs to be exercised in a manner in which whatever is expressed does not trample on the rights of others. This present situation is one in which that right has been highjacked by the crassest of interests.




Time for strong action
I WRITE to add my voice to those who have been expressing their concern over the quality of the music played and the DVDs shown on our public transport.

As a parent, this undermines the discipline and values you strive so hard to instil in your children at home. You monitor the shows they watch on TV, you teach them about appropriate language and how to speak and then you travel with them in a mini-bus and within 10-15 minutes all your hard work begins to go down the drain.

The loud music with indecent lyrics, the DVDs with almost pornographic content, and the posters on the windows of the buses advertising shows, add to your dilemma.

And these are all complemented by rude drivers and conductors who respect no one’s wishes but themselves and those who take a liking to this new trend in the public domain.

More often than not, your request to change or turn down the music is met with instantaneous rebuke – mini-bus style - and here again they manage to unknowingly reduce your status as a parent in front of your child.

It is time the relevant authorities take action - strong action - lest we continue to poison the minds of the next generation with the kind of material that can only destroy an already fragile nation.

Get real
IF THE issue was not so serious it would indeed be laughable to blame vandalism for the state of Guyana’s drainage systems.

Let’s get real -- it is in fact due to blatant neglect and has been for a number of years; just look at the overgrown trenches and drains throughout the area.

But rest assured things will get worse unless the powers that be take immediate steps to resolve the problems.

I have said previously that Guyana will get the backlash of hurricanes and the sea levels will rise over the coming years.

I saw a television documentary here in the UK on Hurricane Katrina and the American government is still undecided as to whether St Louis will in fact be rebuilt or 90% razed to the ground and left to the elements in low lying areas.

Take heed and take action NOW.

Show the elbow grease
I REFER to a letter written by F. Hamley Case on February 1, 2006 in the `Stabroek News’ which is a very clear case of "Reverse Psychology" at work.

May I remind Mr Case that when former Home Affairs Minister Gajraj was doing a good job on crime, the opposition made sure he was out of office, by hook or by crook.

Their supporters even picketed in front of his private residence.

The government has put a lot of emphasis on and allocated much financial resources for policing but some persons do everything in their power to support criminals and their activities.

President Bharrat Jagdeo is there shoulder to shoulder in knee deep/thigh deep waters assisting in every possible way he can.

Have you ever seen any other President in America helping in such a capacity?

Mr Robert Corbin called on the President to go in Parliament to voice his concern; everybody is concerned and the President is on top of things already, also providing financial assistance.

Mr Corbin should be supporting the President at a time of national crisis and not giving Guyanese the wrong ideas.

Sometimes all the money can't help and you have to apply some elbow grease. Where is the PNCR’s elbow grease? 

When you are dealing with a human condition it will never be enough, especially in times of crises. And there will always be people who will complain they never "got".

Remember the policy of the PNC when it was in government was `Feed, Clothe and House the Nation by 1976’ - it was abandoned eventually. And those were disaster-free times.

Taking care of the human condition is always tedious, and you have to be enduring and patient in dealing with each individual. This is also very taxing.

It is always easier to throw up a road, like the Linden Highway, with stones. It has a starting and a finish. But the human condition is a very demanding and continuous process.  

The flooding has several reasons and a boomerang effect -- 28 years of neglect of the drainage system; recycling replaced with "throw-out", e.g. one time use diapers; where does each individual deposit garbage; takeout fast food waste; closing down of the village councils that used to take care of their own drainage systems; employees who only care about their union rights and take home pay, and global warming causing the flood. The list goes on.

Remember the East Coast/West Coast Demerara trains that carried 200+ persons at one trip. Now it takes 40 cars to do the same job and this has its own chain reaction of problems, including pollution which has contributed to global warming. The list is endless.

As a matter of fact, I am surprised that the government got so much financial assistance to dole out so fast this time around.

There is always an Objective Evaluation Process, a Plan of Action and an Implementation Process that has to be done even in times of crises. 

I shudder to think if the other party was in office what the consequences would have been.

Because under normal circumstances they couldn’t even run the country; remember they ran us below Haiti standards.

Where is Haiti right now?  Where is Guyana right now according to international standards?

Remember, the words in 2002, "We are going to make the country ungovernable" and they are doing a good job of it.

"We are going to loose our political dogs on you"; “We are here to expose, propose and dispose.”

Inciting people in Canada against each other is a crime. Guyana is fortunate to have such a young, energetic, sociable, educated in Economics President who has earned the respect of the international community to move Guyana forward.

He has used his knowledge and wit to write off billions in debt incurred by the former regime. 

The international community has so much confidence and trust that he was able to harness billions in loans and grants to improve Guyana and the lives of its inhabitants.

It must be very difficult to run a home against resistance and progress; men walk out and leave their wives and children but our President marches on with opposition every step of the way.  

Shouldn’t a good opposition join the ruling party at times like these and demonstrate some compassion, understanding and apply elbow grease to assist?

Action speaks louder than words. This government takes care of a country and its people; the former one as I remember, took care of persons with party cards. 

It is sad that the crime situation and the flooding has taken lots of resources, time and priority over all the improvements in health -lots of health centres in the interior districts, housing with 214+ housing schemes, roads, infrastructure, Go-Invest, tourism, international recognition, etc.

Some Guyanese have gotten complacent and take a lot for granted; the PPP is always associated with lots of money. Look around, be very, very objective, use your own eyes; remember where we are coming from, some have forgotten.

This party has done way more in 13 years than the former one did in 28 years.

I have never been a member of any political party, not even now.  

To conclude my observations -- when the PNC was in office we had more peace, but no progress and prosperity. When the PPP is in office we have progress and prosperity but no peace! Why is that? 

Guyanese have to migrate to get all three.

We need to be objective and recognise when persons are stirring up trouble unnecessarily. We need to respect each other, respect ourselves, respect property, respect the elections, respect the elected party, respect people’s decision, who they want to vote for, accept the decision of the majority at elections, the leaders shake hands and move on - setting a good example for peace and cooperation.

Canada just did with 32 million people, 20 races, 33 cultures and 50 languages.

Put emergency lights on taxis
I HAVE been very concerned about the high frequency in car jacking that involves taxis.

It seems that we are reduced to be a passive and compliant society rather than being proactive in our approach towards helping these honest and hard working members of the community to earn an honest living and provide a much valuable service.

I am still awaiting a plan by the higher-ups that would make the drivers of taxis safe.

While we are waiting, we are being tortured, maimed, kidnapped, and murdered, and we continue to wait.

I am proposing that all taxi owners be required to outfit their vehicles with emergency lights.

The taxi driver can trigger the flashing emergency light in an emergency. The light is located on the front and rear of the vehicle, a bumper sticker encourages members of the public to call 911 if the light is flashing.

Educating the public about the programme is the most important part of this safety campaign. Everyone must do their part in keeping Guyana safe.

With the cell phone boom that we are experiencing this should not be an issue.

Teachers need motivation
A LETTER penned by Mr J. Subrian in the Stabroek News (February 4, 2006) was indeed full of all the nice big words and rhetoric.

However, it did not win the argument of the cumbersome tasks that our teachers have to perform today.

I know that the tasks teachers have to perform today were all done in the past but times have now become harder. Our world is changing.

I applaud the letter writer, a former teacher (well, is still one as I say, once a teacher always a teacher), and you served your profession well.

However, there are hundreds of our teachers today who do all, if not the most that is required of them, and then some.

Many of our teachers give 110% of their services, going beyond the call of duty, preparing all the records that are demanded of them. Yes, we have teachers like those today.

But, motivation, sir, motivation must be there to accompany their hard work and endurances.

Oh yes, our nation’s children are very important, sir, I agree. That is why I did not support the “Stress Day” last week.

I know, myself and many more teachers saw our nation’s children as “our greatest resource”. Don’t you think that we were “stressed” as well? 

To compare teaching years ago to today, Mr Subrian, is just not reasonable. The children then and the children now are two different “species”.

The drug-users, foul mouths, thieves, downright rude students that we deal with today did not or hardly existed in the times of your days, sir.

The ideology you presented in your piece to the Stabroek News was that teachers must do all that is required of them (and I fully agree).

You must have known about the Hawthorne experiments, sir; that study that dealt with productivity and working conditions. The outputs increased when employees were motivated with suitable standards. It was even called ‘Somebody Upstairs Cares’ experiment.

Persevere, teachers, for there is a God.

Why was he killed?
IT RAINED the other night, only this time it was bullets.

All the, by now familiar and ominous, elements were present -- the sinister hanging car and the hovering human spearheads of death.

A man crumples and dies near the shattered sanctuary of home. We know the how and when.

If we ask why, then the answer to the question of who may fall into place.

Before I proceed to raise some questions, let me say that I disagreed most strenuously with the now deceased Ronald Waddell on certain issues. Yet, there were other issues where there was only understanding and agreement.

Now to the questions.

Was this murder a domestic matter? A personal dispute? Rival narcotic tensions? An extraordinary business conflict?

So far, all the indications trample any such suggestions into dust. It is just as unlikely that this man was executed by those whom he championed, namely the `Buxton African Resistance Fighters’. The same can be said for any opposition involvement.

If the thinking and answers to all these questions are overwhelmingly negative, then what is left to contemplate? And this only leads to even more questions.

Was it his support for the `armed resistance’? Or, was it because of his repeated outspoken, controversial, and inflammatory remarks in the public fora?

Is it because of the positions taken - as embodied in the last two questions -that his murder assumes an irresistible political nexus?

Lastly, did his murder come about because of his condemnation of the narcotic enslavement of Black communities and Black youth?

If we seek to be truly honest with ourselves - regardless of our colour or persuasion - then the answers to the last set of questions come chillingly closer to the truth. A truth that has precedents in the violence meted out to individuals such as Ramsammy, Darke, Rodney, the owner of the Strand Cinema, Sharma, and now Waddell.

We may pretend to forget, and some Indians will say that as an advocate of the sword, he fell by it. Some Blacks will say that, regardless, he was one of our own, and he spoke for us.

In the midst of what promises to be ongoing and fraught with controversy, it is my belief that all Guyanese should lament and ask, “How long will they kill our prophets…”

For while the late Ronald Waddell may have been the farthest thing from a prophet, he was worthier than the scum who skulked in the shadows to end his life.

Yes, he was worthier than the bigger scum in their tall buildings who sent executioners to do this dastardly deed. And, he was worthier than that even bigger bloc of scum who influence and protect this evil that menaces all of society.

I close with two thoughts, more questions really.

If it is that Ronald Waddell was killed for his views and stances, then what does this say about us, and who is next?

Finally, if a murder of this magnitude were to remain unsolved, then which ones - past or future - will be solved?

Who will benefit?
THE death of any person who opposes the PPP/C government can only help the opposition parties. 

Any such person alive has little value to the PPP/C, and dead, the person becomes a liability for the PPP/C government.

While alive, a person who opposes the PPP/C is an asset to the opposition parties and dead that person becomes their ace.

Who will now benefit from the murder last week? Was it a case of murder, or a case of sacrifice for the good of some people?

The PPP/C government find the likes of those who oppose them a pain in the neck, but they know fully well that they can't do anything about them because then the pain in the neck will turn into one big headache, like the one now on hand.

Guyanese madness
I HAVE written several letters to this and other newspapers over the last 10 years.

I brought to the attention of the authorities the habits of Guyanese to deposit their waste on the roadside, trenches, vacant lots and even on other properties.

Even the businesses in Georgetown are guilty. Because of this behaviour many of the trenches are blocked, polluted and filled.

The road to the airport is in a mess with plastic bottles, garbage bags, old vehicles, carts, stands and coconut heaps.

I have driven in mini-buses and witnessed the drivers and passengers just tossing their waste out of the windows, here, there and anywhere.

And now the rains have come and the very people who for years have polluted the trenches are complaining.

They never bothered to look after their waste by burning or burying which could be used as fertiliser.

The streets of Georgetown are in a mess and the educated (??) suit-fitted occupants at the City Hall are at a loss.

Guyana is a nasty country. Guyanese have nasty habits when dealing with garbage disposal and hygiene.

The rains have come from heaven so blame God not the government.

How ignorant and stupid can a people be?


Xavier confident Guyana will be a 'Super Host'
CHAIRMAN of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Minister of Culture Youth and Sport, Anthony Xavier, has made a rallying call to all Guyanese to be ready to host the ‘Best Cricket World Cup’ ever.

In a message to mark the landmark date, Minister Xavier said that Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007 will bring great opportunities to the Caribbean people and Guyana will benefit as thousands will visit these shores to see the world’s best cricketers on show.

“I am confident that Guyana will be a Super Host and as a nation we must put our best foot forward to ensure that we overcome the challenges ahead,” Minister Xavier said.

“We are now at the height of preparation - construction at the Providence Stadium is moving apace, we are addressing the accommodation needs, beautification of our environment will be critical and we must work together to ensure our general surroundings are properly maintained. Guyanese are known worldwide as very hospitable people and we must show the world that we are ready for the task at hand.”

“Within the next few months the volunteer programme will be launched and close to 1 000 persons will be identified to serve as volunteers during the Guyana leg of the tournament. The proposed visit by Zimbabwe cricket team will give us the opportunity to test our readiness in the area of Match Day Operations.

“CWC 2007 is also an opportunity to open our homes to visitors and in this regard the LOC has launched the Bed and Breakfast Accommodation programme, in addition, officials of Game Day Management Group, ICC CWC Transport consultants will be visiting Guyana once again to assist with our Transport management plan in April, while training of our airport staff and hospitality sector will continue, let us be ready to host the “Best Cricket World Cup ever,” Minister Xavier said.

CWC 2007 in a statement noted that the race against time will be fever pitch. “What can the region look forward to over the next 400 days?

With the race against time reaching fever pitch, the region can expect to see heightened physical activity at all host venues and across all areas of event management to include: completed stadium upgrades and construction; match-day testing during the upcoming home series in the West Indies; a mascot and trophy regional and world tour; the launch of the official ICC CWC volunteer programme; the application and sales phases of the ticketing programme and much more.”

The tournament’s opening ceremony takes place on March 11, 2007, with the first official match taking place on March 13, with hosts West Indies squaring off with Pakistan at the refurbished Sabina Park in Jamaica.

Guyana will host Group C of the Super Eight with six second round matches scheduled for March 27 to April 8, 2007 at the Providence Stadium, East Bank Demerara.

Rain-hit Guyana and Windwards match end in tame draw
ST GEORGE'S, Grenada, (CMC) - The rain-hit Carib Beer Series match between Guyana and the Windward Islands petered out into a tame draw after a rain-soaked outfield prevented any play before lunch on the fourth and final day at the Tanteen Recreation Ground yesterday..

Trailing Guyana by 87 runs on first innings, the Windwards got a half-century from Hyron Shallow and reached 283 for five in their second innings when the game was called off at 16:30 h.

All-day Soca music, pounding from massive speakers, kept a good sized crowd entertained as they waited for a start that eventually happened 20 minutes after lunch.

The morning-session wash-out condemned the game to a draw and with both teams already assured of semi-final spots, the mood was festive as the fans danced in the stands and waved Grenada and Guyana flags when the encounter finally ended in the post-lunch period.

Junior Murray (39) and Liam Sebastien (21) were at the crease when the match was called off.

The home team resumed on 148 for two when play finally began after lunch due to a wet outfield and the third-wicket pair of Shallow (34) and Alvin La Fuellie (19) carried the overnight score to 174 without much worry before Shallow departed.

Shallow, the right-hander from St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), reached his second half-century at this level with his seventh boundary but soon hit a short ball from leg-spinner Mahendra Nagamootoo fiercely for the bowler to clutch a return catch after facing 66 balls and batting for 89 minutes for 53.

Three runs later, La Fuellie (26) edged Nagamootoo to slip before Darren Sammy wasted a wonderful opportunity to register a big score when he recklessly swung at off-spinner Narsingh Deonarine to leave the score on 233 for five.

Sammy, who hit two fours and a six in his 63-ball 34, failed to take advantage of a good batting track, a match of only academic interest and opposition just going through the motions and lofted a flighted ball high to mid-on.

In going for the catch to dismiss Sammy, Imran Jafferally (at mid-off) and Steven Jacobs (mid-on) collided, resulting in Jafferally being taken to the hospital after no medical personnel was present at the ground. The off-spinner returned to the ground after no major injury was diagnosed.

By tea, the Windward Islands were 256 for five with Junior Murray on 34 and Liam Sebastien on 11 with the overall lead 169.

After tea, Sebastien, then on six, was dropped by the substitute Neil McGarrell at slip as he cut at a wide ball from Deonarine but by then the game had lost all interest and was not surprisingly called off an hour into the last session.

Guyana's skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan, who was named man-of-the-match and who is scheduled to depart with the West Indies team for the New Zealand tour tomorrow, did not take the field due to a finger injury suffered in Guyana's fourth round game in Jamaica.

Guyana will battle Barbados in Barbados while new champions Trinidad and Tobago face off with the Windward Islands in the Twin Island Republic in the Carib Beer Challenge semi-finals, which are set for April 7-10 when the Test players return from New Zealand.

WINDWARD ISLANDS 1st innings 189 (L. Sebastien 64; M. Nagamootoo 5-41)

GUYANA 1st innings 276 (R. Sarwan 108; K. Peters 4-43)

WINDWARDS 2nd innings (o/n 148 for 2)

D. Smith c Deonarine b Sarwan 63

C. Emmanuel lbw Jafferally 26

A. La Fuellie c (sub) McGarrell b Nagamootoo 26

H. Shallow c & b Nagamootoo 53

D. Sammy c Jafferally b Deonarine 34

J. Murray not out 39

L. Sebastien not out 21

Extras: (b-13, lb-5, nb-2, w-1) 21

Total: (for 5 wickets) 283

Fall of wickets: 1-68, 2-10, 3-174, 4-177, 5-233.

Bowling: King 5-3-7-0, Griffith 5-2-10-0, Nagamootoo 35-9-71-2, Deonarine 26-6-55-1, Jafferally 26-4-63-1, Sarwan 10-0-45-1, Jacobs 11-6-12-0, Fudadin 1-0-2-0.

Points: Guyana 6, Windwards 3.

Ganga elated after T&T first title triumph in 21 years
By Adriel Richard
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CMC) - Carnival came three weeks early for the Trinidad & Tobago team yesterday.

They won their first regional first-class title in 21 years, when they completed a comprehensive 264-run victory over Barbados on the last day of their final preliminary match in the Carib Beer Series at the Carlton Sports Club.

T&T achieved victory about half-hour before lunch, when Amit Jaggernauth held a low catch at third slip to dismiss Fidel Edwards for a duck, as Barbados chasing a highly improbable, if not impossible target of 412 runs, were dismissed for 147 in their second innings.

It was Barbados' heaviest defeat in the history of the modern regional first-class championship (1966 onwards), and a crowning moment in the history of T&T cricket, as they claimed their fifth regional first-class title.

"I think we were starved of an opportunity to play for a regional first-class title for so long, and now being in position to win a title that was our motivation here," T&T captain Daren Ganga told reporters.

"When we won the regional limited-overs competition, ironically in Barbados in 2004, I vowed that T&T should take that type of momentum and win a four-day competition.

"We did not win the title the next year, but two years down the line we have achieved it, and I think it was a matter of self belief."

T&T entered the match last Thursday knowing only victory would give them title, and Barbados needed only one point to seal the deal.

Victory however, meant T&T and Barbados ended the Championship on 36 points, but the visitors, under the guidelines of the playing conditions, claim the title based on the head-to-head results rule.

"I think we knew that we were the underdogs, and I think that was a great position in which to be coming into a final game, and the guys were up for the challenge from the word, 'Go!'," Ganga said.

"Even from the day before the match, we knew that if we played good cricket, we would come out with the Cup at the end of the day."

Although Barbados' decision to put T&T into bat surprised Ganga, he was thrilled, since he believed a competitive total would have been challenging for the home team to chase.

"We should have gotten more runs in the first innings, considering the start to the innings we had," he said.

"In retrospect, in our planning, we knew most regional teams struggle to chase totals to win games. This was our plan, no matter what total we got on the board. We wanted to put pressure on them on the last day, or the second-last day. We knew we had a chance and the guys played well.

"We are still surprised how meekly Barbados played, but they were never put under pressure for the entire competition, so I thought that if we were to do this, we would have a chance. Most regional teams when they are put under pressure, they crack, and we did this, and came out on top."

Ganga expects further support for the game in the two-island republic, following capture of a competition sponsored by the Carib Brewery, a company from T&T.

"When we won the regional limited-overs title a few years ago, it brought plenty of joy to T&T," he said.

"Many people started to support T&T cricket again," he added. "This will surely give everyone plenty of motivation - from sponsors to administrators to players - and all the people that put their energies into cricket in T&T for all the hard work they have been doing.

"If you look at cricket in T&T, you would see that we have been doing well at the junior level with our Under-15 and Under-19 teams. What we have not been having is those players coming through to the senior team, and getting the same results that they had at the junior level.

"So this victory is a sign that our development programme is working, and a sign that we are having the right kind of support, and a sign that the right structure is in place, so it will give motivation not only to us, but to younger players."

Ganga concluded that this title triumph would add further to the high on which the two-island republic has been following their qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Finals and the men's indoor hockey World Championship.

T&T last won the regional first-class championship in 1985 under former West Indies off-spin bowler Ranjie Nanan.

This was T&T's second straight win over Barbados in Barbados in the regional first-class championship, following a 48-run victory last year at the North Stars Social & Cultural Club.

The two teams have already qualified for the semifinals of the competition to be contested in April.

Lara ranks T&T’s victory, Hinds blames poor Barbados batting
By Adriel Richard
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CMC) - Batting superstar Brian Lara has had many glittering moments in a stellar career, but he ranks T&T's capture of their first regional first-class title for 21 years as one he will cherish for a very long time.

T&T completed a comprehensive 264-run victory over Barbados on the last day of their final preliminary match in the Carib Beer Series yesterday at the Carlton Sports Club to claim their fifth regional first-class title.

"To beat Barbados in Barbados, to literally take the Cup off their shelf is an amazing feeling," Lara told reporters.

"On the international circuit, playing Australia and beating Australia is real cricket to me. On the regional scene, playing Barbados in Barbados and beating them is what it is all about."

T&T achieved victory about half-hour before lunch, when Amit Jaggernauth held a low catch at third slip to dismiss Fidel Edwards for a duck, as Barbados chasing a highly improbable, if not impossible target of 412 runs, were dismissed for 147 in their second innings.

"You've got to understand I am now aged 36, and any sort of success on the playing field would be greeted with uncontrollable emotions because I am not sure to experience it again," he added.

"I thought we were in a very privileged position coming to Barbados knowing we had to win.

"Barbados, maybe, needing just one point to earn success were under more pressure than we were and it proved so in this game.

"Their decision to bowl first on such a good pitch was strange, but it was great to come out and win in Barbados.

"Barbados and Jamaica are the premier teams in regional cricket. After 21 years to come to Barbados and snatch this victory, and this trophy away from them is a special occasion for us."

Lara praised T&T captain Daren Ganga and hopes the success for T&T cricket will continue.

"All kudos to Daren and the way he has moulded his team over the last couple of years, and he was able to come away with a title," Lara said.

"Hopefully, this is not the end. This is the start of things to come, and we can dominate for a few years. We have to cherish this moment, live in this moment, and I'm happy to be part of it."

Barbados captain Ryan Hinds was visibly dejected, after leading Barbados to their heaviest defeat in the history of the modern regional first-class championship (1966 onwards).

"We are very disappointed," he said glumly. "We did not really bat well on the first day, but we still have the semifinals for which we can look forward, and we will be very positive going into that game."

Barbados' decision to field first in the match had been roundly criticised, but Hinds disregarded the criticism.

"It really did not matter whether we put T&T in to bat or not," he said. "We bowled them out for 259 and then lost four wickets on the first day, and I think that is what put us out of this game."

Hinds expressed a bit of disappointment at the decision to delay the semifinals of the competition to April.

"We would love to have the semifinals brought forward, since many of our guys will be going to England either next month or early in April on playing contracts," he said.

"Until then, we hope the guys can continue the hard work, but the coach already has some plans for us, and we hope to be ready for the semifinals."

Hinds has been the leading batsman this season with 570 runs at an average of 81.42, and hopes to gain a place in the West Indies A-Team for their series against England-A.

"I have been enjoying the cricket all season," he said. "I have been working very hard, and the team has helped me to be in this position with lots of encouragement."

In the semifinals from April 7 to 10, Barbados are likely to host Guyana, and T&T are likely to stage the other against Windward Islands.

The Final is set for April 15 to 19.

T&T claim victory to take Carib Beer Cup
By Adriel Richard
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CMC) - Trinidad & Tobago won their first regional first-class title in 21 years, when they completed a comprehensive 264-run victory over Barbados on the last day of their final preliminary match in the Carib Beer Series yesterday.

T&T achieved victory about half-hour before lunch when Amit Jaggernauth held a low catch at third slip to dismiss Fidel Edwards for a duck, as Barbados chased a highly improbable, if not impossible target of 412 runs.

Barbados were dismissed for 147 in their second innings and conceded their heaviest defeat in the history of the modern regional first-class championship (1966 onwards).

Mervyn Dillon ended with five wickets for 36 runs from 21 overs to end with match figures of eight for 65 that earned him the Man-of-the-Match award.

Dave Mohammed supported Dillon with three for 45 from 20 overs.

Barbados captain Ryan Hinds' 32 the previous evening was his side's top score, Dale Richards made 31, Wayne Blackman gathered 25, Ian Bradshaw was not out on 24, and Floyd Reifer scored 23.

It was T&T's second straight win over the Barbadians in Barbados, following a 48-run victory last year at Crab Hill.

Both teams ended the Championship on 36 points, but T&T, under the guidelines of the playing conditions, claim the title based on head-to-head results.

There is a possibility of a three-way tie on points also involving Guyana, but T&T gained first innings points in a drawn match against them.

Barbados will finish second, despite the outcome of the match in Grenada between Guyana and hosts Windward Islands.

Play commenced half-hour earlier than scheduled to compensate for time lost on the previous day to rain.

T&T had to wait about that same time before claiming their first wicket of the day, after Barbados had continued from their bedtime position of 112 for six.

Experienced left-hander Floyd Reifer was adjudged lbw to Dillon for 23 coming forward to a well-pitched delivery, but a sharp shower about 10 minutes later raised Barbadian hopes that might have fulfilled a common saying on the island that "God is a Bajan!"

The rain break was short-lived, however, and about 10 minutes later, the umpires were erecting the stumps again.

Just when Ryan Austin looked set to play the same kind of innings he had in the first innings, Dillon bowled into his rib cage, and he fended the ball away to be caught at leg-slip for one.

In his next over, Dillon gained a palpable lbw decision to dismiss Ryan Nurse for a duck to leave Barbados 131 for nine.

Edwards came to the crease and the visitors thought they had him caught behind early in his innings, but he and Bradshaw frustrated them for three quarters of an hour until Bravo's intervention that took the monkey off T&T's backs.

T&T last won the regional first-class championship in 1985 under former West Indies off-spin bowler Ranjie Nanan.

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 1st innings 259

BARBADOS 1st innings 167

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 2nd innings 319

BARBADOS 2nd innings (target: 412 runs) (overnight 112 for six)

D. Richards lbw b Dillon 31

W. Blackman lbw b Mohammed 25

K. Wilkinson c Kelly b Dillon 0

R. Hinds lbw b Mohammed 32

F. Reifer lbw b Dillon 23

A. Holder c (sub) S. Ganga b Mohammed 8

P. Browne c wkpr Ramdin b Jaggernauth 0

I. Bradshaw not out 24

R. Austin c Simmons b Dillon 1

R. Nurse lbw b Dillon 0

F. Edwards c Jaggernauth b Bravo 0

Extras: (b-1, lb-1, nb-1) 3

Total: (all out) 147

Fall of wickets: 1-41, 2-41, 3-86, 4-95, 5-105, 6-106, 7-129, 8-131, 9-131.

Bowling: Kelly 4-1-25-0, Dillon 21-10-36-5, Emrit 9-7-5-0, Bravo 7-1-26-1 (nb1); Mohammed 20-6-45-3, Jaggernauth 6-2-7-1, Khan 2-1-1-0.

Man-of-the-Match: Mervyn Dillon

ICC Under-19 YWC under way…
Cooper smashes 104 to help Aussies make rousing start
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, (CMC) - Australia, who will face talented West Indies on Wednesday, made a rousing start to the International Cricket Council's Youth World Cup (YWC) yesterday when they thumped South Africa by 175 runs with a whopping 16 overs to spare in their Group B match.

Sent in to bat, the Aussies gathered a formidable total of 316 for nine off their 50 overs before reducing the South African Under-19s to 141 all out in 34 overs at Sinhalese Sports Club Ground.

Man-of-the-match Tom Cooper smashed 104 - the first century of the tournament - and an overpowering show that followed from the Australian pace attack crushed South Africa's hopes of challenging the target.

Stung by their failure to reach the Super League stage in Bangladesh in 2004 when Pakistan won the title ahead of West Indies, Australia have a point to prove this time around and exhibited highly focused and motivated performance.

Cooper stroked his hundred off only 134 balls with 12 fours and one six, while ferocious knocks by Aaron Finch, 74 off 57 balls, and David Warner with a 50-ball 54, powered Australia past 300.

Captain Moises Henriques also contributed 37.

"It was the perfect start for us," Henriques said after the game.

Left-hander Jean Symes top-scored for South Africa with 34 not out, while pacer Simon Keen snared three for 10 off six overs and Henriques picked up three for 37 to rip through the South Africans' batting.

In what has been dubbed "the group of death", also including West Indies and the USA, this was a vital match for both teams and it was Australia who burst out of the blocks.

West Indies play the USA today in the next Group B game.

Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe got the other opening day victories.

In Group A, Bangladesh beat New Zealand by three wickets.

New Zealand were bowled out for 175, with Suhrawadi Shuvo (3-36) and Mehrab Hossain (4-29) doing the damage with their left-arm spin.

In reply, Bangladesh stumbled early to five for two and 123 for six before Mehrab Hossain's unbeaten 38 saw them home by three wickets.

Sri Lanka had a bit of a struggle before getting past Scotland by four wickets in the Group C opener.

After their pacers Tissara Perera (3-26) and Shalika Karunanayake (3-34) restricted Scotland to 186 all out in 49.4 overs, Sachithra Serasinghe (64) led the Sri Lankans to victory at 187 for six in 39.4 overs with Scotland letting themselves down by some poor catching and bowling.

And in the Group D fixture, Zimbabwe beat Ireland by 118 runs.

Sent in to bat, Zimbabwe made 215 for seven and Ireland could only score 97 all out in 29.1 overs in reply, with 17-year-old pacer Keagan Meth grabbing three for 15 off nine overs.

GVF/GTM National League all-fours…
Achievers in the lead going into semi-finals
THE Guyana Volleyball Federation (GVF), Guyana Trinidad Mutual (GTM) Fire Insurance 125th anniversary National League all-fours volleyball competition could be won by any of the four teams competing.

This Saturday, it will definitely be who will click and play better, since the three preliminary rounds have shown us that there is no dominant side.

Castrol Strikers were the most successful team in the first round at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH) on January 21 while the week after at the Port Mourant Guysuco Training Centre it was the home team Berbice combined that shone.

Last Saturday after the inclement weather hampered the games from reaching Goed Fortuin and it switched to the CASH, Young Achievers dominated.

They won all their games, to finish with nine points for the night and 21 overall to lead all scores. Berbice combined also did well winning two of three games to finish with six points and 12 overall, while Goed Fortuin won one game to finish with an overall total of six points. The losses incurred by Strikers shocked many after they started the night in the lead on 15 points.

Still with 15 points, the Castrol team will tackle the Berbice team in a semi-final this Saturday at CASH, while the other knockout game will pit village rivals Goed Fortuin without their captain Satrohan Ramnarine (who was injured in the first round) against Young Achievers. The top two teams will then clash in the final of the competition for a top prize of $50 000.

The day’s activities will start off with a female encounter between Linden and Georgetown combined for a first place prize of $25 000.

Aussies beat S.Africa in another lop-sided match
SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) - Australia crushed South Africa by 57 runs yesterday in another lop-sided triangular series one-day match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The Australians, rapidly approaching the peak of their powers with the finals about to start next week, plundered a record total of 344 for six against the Proteas then restricted the visitors to 287-6 in reply

Adam Gilchrist (88), Damien Martyn (79) and Ricky Ponting (72) each smashed half-centuries as the world champions went on a batting rampage, registering the highest score by any country against South Africa and the second-highest total by any team in a limited-overs international at Sydney.

"When we get those sorts of totals we're always going to be hard to chase down," Ponting said at the post-match presentation.

"All our batters are looking good and the bowling and fielding have improved as well ... so we're in really good shape going into the finals."

Australia's total eclipsed Pakistan's 335-6 against South Africa in 2002-03 and was just 15 runs short of Australia's record of 359-5 against India in Sydney two summers ago.

South Africa's total was their highest score of the tournament, which also includes Sri Lanka, but they were still never really in the hunt to win the match.

Wicketkeeper Mark Boucher scored an adventurous 76 that featured two successive sixes off spinner Brad Hogg and Herschelle Gibbs carved out 46, but Australia were always in control.

With Australia already assured of their place in the best-of-three finals, the other spot will be decided by the outcome of tomorrow's clash between South Africa and Sri Lanka in Hobart.

Australia made their intentions clear from the outset after Ponting won the toss and elected to bat first in front of a crowd of 35 136.

They raced past 50 in the sixth over with Gilchrist slamming four boundaries from the third over of the innings from Johan van der Wath.

Gilchrist was at his aggressive best, pulling and driving the ball ferociously to chalk up 14 fours and give Australia a flying start.

He reached his half-century off just 29 balls and had faced just 37 more when he threw his wicket away on 88, skying a pull shot off Charl Langeveldt to Boucher.

Ponting was also in superb touch, reaching his 50 off only 37 balls, peeling off eight boundaries in 61 balls and 98 minutes before he also fell in pursuit of quick runs.

Martyn began cautiously but accelerated in the final overs after being joined by Mike Hussey, reaching his half-century off 65 balls.

Martyn belted 11 runs of the last over but was run-out off the final ball of the innings trying to scamper back for two, leaving Hussey stranded on 47 from just 33 deliveries.

South Africa, needing to break the world record for the highest successful run-chase in international one-day cricket, made a terrible start when their out-of-form skipper Graeme Smith was caught down the legside for six.

The remaining South African batsmen all got starts with everyone making at least 25, but the target was always out of reach.


A. Gilchrist c Boucher b Langeveldt 88

S. Katich c Kemp b van der Wath 11

R. Ponting c Gibbs b Botha 72

A. Symonds c Hall b Smith 7

D. Martyn run-out 79

M. Clarke c Rudolph b Hall 27

M. Hussey not out 47

Extras: (lb-4, nb-1, w-8) 13

Total: (for 6 wickets, 50 overs) 344

Fall of wickets: 1-65, 2-138, 3-168, 4-203, 5-263, 6-344.

Bowling: J. van der Wath 10-0-76-1 (w-1), M. Zondeki 4-0-42-0 (w-2), A. Hall 10-0-69-1 (w-1), C. Langeveldt 6-0-49-1 (nb-1, w-2), G. Smith 10-0-52-1 (w-2), J. Botha 10-0-52-1.


G. Smith c Gilchrist b Lee 6

B. Dippenaar c Hussey b Clark 27

H. Gibbs c Gilchrist b Symonds 46

M. Boucher c Hopes b Symonds 76

J. Kemp c Bracken b Hogg 28

A. Prince run-out 25

J. Rudolph not out 31

J. van der Wath not out 37

Extras: (lb-7, nb-2, w-2) 11

Total: (for 6 wickets, 50 overs) 287

Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-52, 3-105, 4-172, 5-199, 6-236.

Bowling: B. Lee 6-0-31-1 (nb-1, w-1), N. Bracken 9-0-51-0 (w-1), S. Clark 10-0-70-1 (nb-1), J. Hopes 5-0-35-0, A. Symonds 10-0-42-2, B. Hogg 10-0-51-1.

Hitman Hearns labours to victory, son also wins
By Steve Keating
DETROIT, USA (Reuters) - Veteran Thomas Hearns took another stuttering step towards an eighth world title with a laboured 10th round stoppage of Shannon Landberg on Saturday, on a night when his son lit up the bill with a crushing victory.

Two fights into his comeback, the 47-year-old Hearns landed plenty of blows during the scheduled 10-round light-heavyweight bout, but none with the lethal power that made him one of the most feared fighters of his era during the 1980s.

Although both boxers were clearly exhausted, 'The Hitman' was well ahead on all three judges scorecards when referee Dale Grable stopped the bout 1:35 into the final round, improving his record to 61-5-1 (48 KOs).

Earlier, 27-year-old middleweight Ronald Hearns knocked out Kirk Douglas with a thundering right at 2:12 of the second round to improve his undefeated record to 8-0, including six inside the distance.

"I can't be hard on myself," the elder Hearns told reporters after the bout.

"I'd say my performance, out of 10, was a seven or eight.

"I didn't pull the trigger like I was supposed to. The times when I had him out, I let him off and that's not me."

Hearns noted that his ring-rustiness was also a factor in the stuttering display.

"I've been out the ring for a while, it's going to take time," he said.

"I had the strength, the energy, the will power to do what I had to do but he was determined not to be knocked out by Thomas Hearns.

"It almost happened but it didn't happen."

If nothing else, Hearns proved he remains a big draw in his home town.

Even with Super Bowl fever gripping Detroit and a blizzard whipping across the city, Hearns still attracted a crowd of 15,121 to the Palace of Auburn Hills.

As with any comeback, Hearns' opponent was carefully handpicked with the idea of providing more entertainment than a stern test.

While Landberg (58-11-3, 26 KOs) had won eight of his previous nine fights, more eye-catching to the Hearns camp was the fact the 40-year-old had not been in the ring for nearly three years.

Promoted as the 'The Legend Continues', Hearns has shown few glimpses of his former greatness during a comeback that began last July with an equally mundane eighth round TKO of John Long.

After the bout, Hearns confirmed his next fight would be an April rematch against Long in St Louis.

"There has to be another fight because my plans are to win an eighth world title," Hearns added.

"As long as they pay me I'm going on.

"We have to keep it going, the legend continues.”

Chelsea grind out 2-0 victory over Liverpool
By Martyn Herman
LONDON, England (Reuters) - Chelsea emerged from a spate of draws to grind out a 2-0 victory over third-placed Liverpool and re-open their 15-point lead in the Premier League football yesterday.

After three successive 1-1 draws for the champions, two in the league and one in the FA Cup, goals in each half by William Gallas and Hernan Crespo all but extinguished Liverpool's remote chance of overhauling them.

Liverpool have been a thorn in the side of Jose Mourinho's team in their Champions League tussles but after a bright opening half hour, they faded badly at Stamford Bridge.

The European champions' frustration boiled over eight minutes from time when Spanish goalkeeper Pepe Reina was sent off for raising a hand to Arjen Robben who collapsed to the floor holding his face.

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez accused the Dutch winger of making a meal of the incident.

"Now I must go quickly to the hospital to see Robben, he must be in the hospital now," an angry Benitez told Sky Sports.

"It's unbelievable, we have to stop these things. Pepe just touched him and he dived on the floor, it's so clear."

Earlier yesterday, Tottenham Hotspur consolidated fourth place with a comprehensive 3-1 home victory against Charlton Athletic -- with Jermain Defoe twice on target.

Chelsea now have 66 points from 25 matches, Manchester United are second with 51 and Liverpool have 45 with two games in hand. Tottenham have 44.

United's 4-2 victory over Fulham on Saturday trimmed Chelsea's lead to 12 points and a victory for Liverpool would have raised the prospect of a revival of the title race.

Liverpool were the more impressive side early on, playing the more fluent football on a threadbare pitch.

Midfielder Steven Gerrard was influential, as was giant striker Peter Crouch, whose aerial prowess ruffled Chelsea's rearguard. After 23 minutes Crouch headed over, leaving Chelsea keeper Petr Cech with a bloodied eye in the process.

Chelsea had hardly created a chance before they took the lead after 35 minutes. Joe Cole's outswinging corner was headed goalwards by Ricardo Carvalho and Gallas turned the ball past Reina from close range.

Crespo thought he had made it 2-0 on the stroke of halftime but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Liverpool sparked briefly after the interval with Mohamed Sissoko and Gerrard having chances to equalise, but Crespo killed them off after 68 minutes, racing away to smash a powerful shot past Reina.

Liverpool's misery was complete after 82 minutes when Reina's clumsy tackle after he had raced out of his goal left Eidur Gudjohnsen in a heap near the touchline.

He then became embroiled in a row with Robben who fell theatrically to the floor after a slight push in the face.

Tottenham's challenge for a top-four place got back on track after a three-game winless sequence thanks to a double from Defoe, who was granted a rare start alongside Robbie Keane by coach Martin Jol.

The England striker, who has slipped behind Keane and Egyptian striker Mido in the pecking order at White Hart Lane, took just 12 minutes to make an impact with a deflected shot past Charlton keeper Thomas Myhre.

Jermaine Jenas fired home a second goal five minutes before halftime and Defoe, who began his career at Charlton, made it 3-0 a minute into the second half with a clinical right-foot finish after being played in by substitute Tom Huddlestone.

Charlton substitute Jerome Thomas gave the visitors a glimmer of hope when he cut in to flash a shot past Paul Robinson with 20 minutes remaining.

Tottenham are four points above fifth-placed north London rivals Arsenal, who beat Birmingham City 2-0 on Saturday.

Goodluck, Hing walk away with GNRA top honours
RECENTLY elected National Sportsman-of-the-Year Ransford Goodluck and Dale Hing were rewarded for their outstanding performances in 2005, when the Guyana National Rifle Association (GNRA) held its awards presentation at the Police Officers Mess, Eve Leary on Saturday.

Goodluck claimed six trophies to win the overall title in the fullbore division while Mahendra Persaud, his team-mate at the Commonwealth Games in Australia next month, finished second.

Third place went to Ryan Sampson, while Dane Blair and Derick Narine followed in that order.

Hing on the other hand told Chronicle Sport that this is his second win over the last few years.

The competitions, used as a yardstick, were held from November to December and included a .22 pistol competition (which he won) 9mm practical pistol (third place) and a 9mm International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) competition (second place).

He finished with the overall highest score 93.7. Second place went to Murtland Smith 78 points, third Everall Franklin, 76.4, Brian Yong 75 and Harold Hopkinson 73.6.

The fullbore trophies were sponsored by Crown Mining while John Fernandes, Wireless Connections, Queensway and Spads Inc. sponsored the smallbore.

Penalty curse haunts Cameroon again
By Brian Homewood
CAIRO, Egypt (Reuters) - Twice within four months missed penalties have catapulted Cameroon out of a major competition and this time striker Samuel Eto'o has taken on the role of villain.

Eto'o scored with his first penalty in Saturday's shootout against Ivory Coast but missed his second, enabling Didier Drogba to shoot his side into the African Nations Cup semi-finals.

In October, the Barcelona striker was involved in a public slanging match with Pierre Wome over the miss against Egypt which cost Cameroon a place at their fifth successive World Cup.

Cameroon, needing a win to qualify, were held 1-1 at home after Wome missed a penalty deep into injury-time.

Then, as now, it was Ivory Coast who benefited, qualifying for the 2006 finals in Germany.

Wome was bundled out of the country after the match and overlooked for the Nations Cup. He said he had taken the kick because nobody else wanted to.

However, Eto'o gave a different version.

"Why didn't I take the penalty? I went to take it but Wome came up to me and said he was really confident of scoring," he said at the time.

"There is only one remedy for it all and that is to do well in the African Nations football Cup, to give everyone who is suffering with us now a great lift."

How those words must be haunting Eto'o now.

Until Saturday, he had led by example in Egypt, scoring five goals to take Cameroon through the group stage with a 100 percent record and often dropping back to midfield to inspire his team.

Against Ivory Coast, however, he managed only one real effort on goal as the sides drew 1-1 after extra time.

He strode forward confidently to take the first penalty of the shootout and scored comfortably and, after each team converted their first 11 kicks, he was forced to step up again.

Possibly having lost concentration during the 20-minute gap between kicks, he skied his effort over the bar, allowing Drogba to fire the Elephants into a semi-final against Nigeria.

The defeat leaves a question mark over the future of Cameroon's Portuguese coach Artur Jorge.

Despite being at the helm when Cameroon failed to qualify for Germany, Jorge had an unbeaten record going into the tournament in his first foray into African football.

"I'm not thinking about the future, the future belongs to God," he said after Saturday's elimination.

Cameroon have been a dominant force in African football since the 1990 World Cup, when the Roger Milla-inspired side beat Argentina on the way to the quarter-finals.

Since then, they have regularly qualified for the World Cup and won two Nations Cup tournaments despite almost non-stop behind-the-scenes bickering and chaotic administration.

Being forced to watch from an unfamiliar position on the sidelines could finally provide a much-needed wake-up call for the country's football administrators.

Scolari says his English must improve to get Sven's job
LONDON, England (Reuters) - Portugal's Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari says he needs to improve his command of English to have a chance of taking over the England job from Sven-Goran Eriksson.

"I know if I want to take over England I need to learn the language more," the Brazilian told BBC radio yesterday.

"It is difficult now but I know in two or three months I need to learn more and it is no problem for me.

"It is not a problem for the job as the language for the players I know very well, but it is important for communication with the media."

Scolari, who guided Brazil to World Cup glory in 2002 after they beat England in the last eight, will quit his post with Portugal at the end of this year's finals in Germany.

Swede Eriksson agreed last month to step down after the World Cup following a sting by a British Sunday newspaper in which he told a journalist posing as an Arab businessman that he would be prepared to dump England.

Scolari, who is known as 'Big Phil', said he would consider taking over as coach of Premier League Newcastle United, who sacked Graeme Souness last week.

"After I finish my contract with Portugal (on July 30) I will consider all offers," he said.

Scolari's Portugal side ended England's hopes in the quarter-finals of Euro 2004, winning on penalties before going on to lose to Greece in the final.

The World Cup begins in Munich on June 9.

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