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TOP STORY

Top class Cuba eye centre for Guyana
By Chamanlall Naipaul
CUBA is setting up a state of the art eye care centre in Guyana under a massive aid programme for the local health sector, President Bharrat Jagdeo announced here yesterday.

The ophthalmology centre will be at Port Mourant, Berbice, and will be staffed with Cuban specialists, Mr Jagdeo said at a press conference at his official State House residence.

He returned home Friday night from an official visit to Cuba where he met President Fidel Castro and ministers of the Cuban government.

He told reporters that the Port Mourant Hospital will be refurbished to accommodate the modern ophthalmology centre which will be furnished by the Cuban government and manned by Cuban specialist doctors and technicians.

During his discussions in Cuba, President Jagdeo said he was assured by Cuban officials that the centre will always be equipped with the best and most modern technology.

He explained that the traditional services being provided by the Port Mourant Hospital will be preserved in addition to the ophthalmology centre which will carry out eye surgery free of charge for both local patients and those from neighbouring countries.

Specialists from Cuba are to arrive here in a matter of weeks, the President said, to begin preparations for the establishment of the modern medical facility.

Asked whether this development would not make the west uncomfortable, the President replied he would not be able to say. He added that he does not make decisions based on who would be comfortable but on the needs of the people to whom he has an obligation.

TREMENDOUS BOOST
The centre will be a tremendous boost for Guyana as it would enable many more Guyanese to access eye surgery and at the same time avoid them having to travel abroad, which costs huge sums of money, Mr Jagdeo observed.

Highlights of aid programme
** 965 SCHOLARSHIPS FOR NEXT FIVE YEARS: 715 IN MEDICINE WITH 315 GOING IN 2006 AND 100 ANNUALLY EACH FOR NEXT FOUR YEARS

** A FACULTY OF MEDICINE TO BE CREATED FOR GUYANESE STUDENTS IN CUBA

** 250 SCHOLARSHIPS FOR AGRICULTURE SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING

** PORT MOURANT HOSPITAL TO BE CONVERTED INTO A NEW STATE-OF THE-ART OPHTHALMOLOGY CENTRE TO BE EQUIPPED AND STAFFED BY THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT

** GUYANA GOVERNMENT WILL PURCHASE FOR US$1.2M FOUR `COMPREHENSIVE DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT CENTRES’ WITH THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT PROVIDING 27 MEDICAL PERSONNEL FOR EACH CENTRE

** 20 DOCTORS FROM CUBA IMMEDIATELY TO BE DEPLOYED IN LOCATIONS WITHOUT DOCTORS

** INSTRUCTORS FOR THE LOCAL NURSING PROGRAMME TO INCREASE COMPLEMENT OF NURSES BY 2,000. MORE MEDEXES TO BE TRAINED

** GUYSUCO TO RETAIN SUGAR INDUSTRY SPECIALISITS
He said the Cuban specialists will be stationed for a period of five years and their salaries will be paid by the Cuban Government, while the Government of Guyana will provide a stipend and accommodation.

While in Cuba also, the President said he met some of the Guyanese there for eye surgery and they all told him how impressed they are with, not only the medical treatment, but the accommodation and post-surgery care as well.

President Jagdeo expressed gratitude to the Cuban Government and people for the generous assistance they are rendering to Guyanese in the field of medicine.

Apart from the ophthalmology centre, he announced that out of the visit Guyana has been requested to set aside US$1.2M to acquire equipment for the establishment of four diagnostic and treatment centres across the country by the Cuban Government.

It is highly likely that the equipment will be acquired from Cuba at cost price, the President indicated, as the Cubans have vast experience in the large scale procurement of medical equipment.

These centres, he said, will each boast a clinical laboratory, an intensive care, X-ray, surgical and ultra-sound units and will be manned by a team of 27 specialist doctors and technicians whose salaries will also be paid by the Cuban Government and they will serve for a period of five years.

This will impact heavily on medical care in Guyana as people will not have to travel to Georgetown to access such medical facilities which will be operating on a 24-hour basis, he said.

The exact locations of these centres have not been finalised but the intention is to have them attached to the regional hospitals and in densely populated areas to ease the pressure on the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, the President explained.

Efforts are under way also to launch a cardiac centre here next month, he noted.

In addition, another batch of 20 Cuban doctors will arrive here shortly to further boost medical services in outlying communities where there are shortages of doctors.

Among the communities to benefit from the services of the batch of Cuban doctors are Moruka, Port Kaituma, some on the Essequibo coast, Paramakatoi, Upper Mazaruni, Black Bush Polder, Skeldon and Nabaclis.

The President said these communities will benefit from the services of the doctors on a permanent basis as they will be stationed in these districts.

SPECIAL FACULTY
Cuba has also agreed, he said, to train an additional 715 Guyanese in medicine and the first batch of 300 will leave for Cuba later this year. Thereafter, others will leave in batches of 100 a year.

This is in addition to the 300 Guyanese who are already studying in Cuba, 70 of whom are pursuing studies in medicine.

However, the President said a special faculty of medicine will be established for the new batch of students, unlike the previous arrangement, where Guyanese students have been scattered across various parts of Cuba.

The President noted that the long term plan is that the Guyanese medical students will replace the Cubans on their return to Guyana, as they are all on a contract to serve the government for a minimum of five years.

The Cuban authorities are also examining the possibility of providing instructors to train nurses here to ease the current shortage of nurses, Mr Jagdeo said, noting that Guyana needs an additional 2,000 over the next five years.

Scholarships in the field of engineering and agriculture have also been offered by Cuba, with 25 each in the two fields over the next five years, the President told reporters.

In relation to the agriculture scholarships, he said Guyana is in dire need of personnel to serve the livestock sector, particularly veterinarians.

Cuban technicians will also come here to assist the sugar industry in those areas where there is a shortage of technical personnel.

The other area discussed during the visit to Cuba was energy conservation, in which Cuba has a lot of experience, President Jagdeo said.

Energy conservation is a priority, he noted, adding that energy conservation measures could save Guyana millions of US dollars every year.

Waddell cremated amid calls to reject violence
RONALD Waddell, the controversial TV `talk show’ host killed Monday night by unknown gunmen, was cremated yesterday amid calls by politicians to heed the request of his reputed wife, Bonita Harris, for a rejection of violence in politics and in all relationships.

The funeral procession from Georgetown to the troubled village of Buxton, East Coast Demerara, and then to the Good Hope foreshore for the cremation, triggered unease among East Coast communities.

Saturday is the busiest day at the popular Mon Repos market, the largest on the East Coast which draws throngs of shoppers, but it was almost deserted yesterday. Stallholders and vendors stayed away and the few, who ventured out, hurriedly packed up and moved out as the procession neared in the afternoon.

Police kept a close watch and cleared the main road for the procession and a spokesman said there were no incidents.

Waddell, 57, who spoke out against perceived marginalisation of Afro-Guyanese on his TV show from which he was late last year unplugged by HBTV 9 for controversial statements, was hailed by Opposition and People’s National Congress Reform Leader, Mr Robert Corbin as “a passionate fighter for the rights of his people.”

At the funeral service at the Brickdam Cathedral in Georgetown, Corbin said “this country cannot move forward in peace” unless all citizens enjoy equity, calling Waddell a fearless and tireless champion of the oppressed.

He urged a continuation of the fight against extra-judicial killings, violence in general, and a move towards mutual respect among races.

Leader of the Rise and Organise Guyana (ROAR) party, Mr Ravi Dev also called for a condemnation of violence in its entirety and said no one ought to be killed the way Waddell was.

He said disagreements should be addressed in a peaceful fashion.

After the service, the funeral procession made its way to the Good Hope foreshore, but this was bypassed in the first instance for a viewing of Waddell’s body in Buxton, where emotions ran high among members of a vociferous crowd.

On the way to Buxton, the funeral procession stirred anxiety among many, as the crowd was not all the time orderly and heavily armed Police were stationed along the route.

Some members of the procession rode in overloaded buses, hanging out of windows, while some sat in open car trunks while on the move.

When passing the two Police stations along the way, Sparendaam and Beterverwagting, some members of the procession hurled derogatory slurs at the Police while waving black and red flags.

The PNCR flag flew from one vehicle in the cortege.

Vendors out at the Mon Repos market packed up early to avoid the funeral procession.

The market usually runs into the night, but stallholders who ventured out closed at midday, while the street vendors who usually take over both sides of the road were not in sight.

Those who sell aback the market scurried to pack up in the afternoon when it appeared that the procession was heading back to the city.

Stallholders reported that there were no negative incidents, but nonetheless bemoaned the loss of sales.

When the procession reached Buxton, the Police set up road blocks at Vigilance, and held up traffic for almost two hours, much to the ire of those who had no choice than to wait. Some returned to where they came from, unable to bear the wait.

The body was cremated hours after the scheduled time of 12:30 h.

Reports said Waddell was leaving his Subryanville, Georgetown home and was in the driver’s seat of the car, between 19:30 h and 20:00 h Monday when two men walked up and opened fire, raking him and the vehicle with bullets.

Persons, who said they heard the rapid shooting, looked around and saw flashing bursts of fire from the guns before the killers fled.

Police in a press release said automatic guns were apparently used in the attack on Waddell who was a lightning rod for controversy, particularly coming out of his statements on at least two television shows he produced and hosted on HBTV Channel 9.

As late as last year, HBTV management pulled Waddell off the air after his latest controversial pronouncements, on his show `Taking care of business’, in support of what he referred to as `The Buxton Resistance’ – the gunmen in Buxton with whom he was accused of associating.

His statements on that programme also resulted in him being called into the Ethnic Relations Commission.

Meanwhile, investigations continue into Waddell’s execution and the Police are urging anyone who has information concerning any suspicious vehicle(s) seen in the area prior to or after the incident, to contact them on telephone numbers 225-6411, 225-7625, 226-6978, 225-8196,  225-3650, 225-6941, 226-1389, 227-2128 or 911.

Mechanic dies in Highway accident
A MECHANIC who left his Albouystown home to fix a truck that had encountered problems on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway, was crushed to death by the very vehicle early yesterday morning.

According to reports, 47-year-old Christopher Van Doimen was called out of his 22 Callendar Street, Albouystown home at about 19:30 h Friday to repair a truck that was stalled on the highway.

His grieving wife, Lucille Johnson, 48, who is employed with the Guyana Chronicle as Assistant Librarian told this newspaper that her husband was under the truck, while its owner, Dennis Jones, had parked his motor car facing the truck to provide light.

She said she learnt that a carrier truck contracted by the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) with eight occupants was descending a hill on its way to the City when it slammed into the truck under which Van Doimen was working. The impact caused the parked truck to roll over Van Doimen’s body. The seaman/mechanic/electrician died on the spot.

Johnson said she received the dreaded news via telephone at about 01:30 h yesterday. By the time she got to the scene, however, Van Doimen’s body had already been removed.

Reports are that the impact also badly damaged Jones’ car. Jones himself was injured and is now hospitalised in a stable condition.

The seven soldiers in the truck were also injured. They are Sergeant Gomes, Lance Corporals, Hunte and Tanner; Privates Narine, Kowlessar, Bailey and Campbell. They were taken to the Mackenzie Hospital, Linden, and were later transported to Camp Ayanganna, in the city.

An Army spokesman said yesterday that the whereabouts of the lone injured civilian, who is also the owner of the vehicle contracted to the army, were unknown.

Van Doimen is survived by Johnson and his five children, siblings and scores of relatives. (Michel Outridge)

NEWS

Toddler drowns in Conservancy
A TODDLER drowned in the flooded Abary backlands on Friday last.

Reports said that the child, two-year-old Michael Emmanuel Hinds Jnr., was one of three children of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Hinds of Copeman, next to the MMA’s Conservancy, 30 miles up the Abary River.

The boy’s father works with the MMA’s hinterland Maintenance crew and was living with his wife and three children in MMA quarters near to the Conservancy at the time of the tragedy.

Reports said that around midday Friday, Michael Hinds Jnr. apparently escaped the supervision of his parents and wandered off to the Conservancy where he fell overboard and drowned.

His body was recovered from the Conservancy in the vicinity of the Maina Canal Head Regulator (MCHR) a few hours later and is now at the mortuary at the Fort Wellington Hospital awaiting examination.

The Police are investigating.

Flood waters damaging roads
Flood waters from the Mahaica and Mahaicony Rivers have exacted a heavy toll on the DeHoop Branch road and the Mahaicony Branch roads, two major farm to market roads in Region Five (Mahaica/Berbice).

Residents said that the flood waters sweeping over several sections of these roadways over the past four weeks have washed away the bitumen surface and have cut deep gouges in the clay underneath.

Damage to the Mahaicony Branch road is particularly noticeable at Mortice where water moving from west to east swept over the road way, scoured its surface and damaged the mud underneath.

The De Hoop Branch road was similarly damaged from Frederick Johanna, three miles in from the public road, going inland.

“The road from Frederick Johanna going in is in a mess,” an official source said.

“Both roads now look like scrubbing boards and it is going to take millions, maybe even hundreds of millions of dollars to get them back into the shape they were originally in,” the source said.

Sections of both roadways were still under water up to late last week.(END).

Are Caribbean islands at risk of drowning like Tuvalu?
- exploring concerns of rising sea levels in the Caribbean
By Dawn Marie Roper
Kingston, (Panos) Tuvalu - the fourth smallest nation in the world - is sinking, at least as compared with the surrounding seas. With a total land area of 10 square miles Tuvalu’s highest point is only 15 feet or 4 metres high - a factor that makes it very vulnerable to sea-level rises caused by climate change.

“The majority of Tuvalu is less than two metres above sea level. This is an incredibly vulnerable country,” says Stephanie Long, climate justice campaigner from Friends of the Earth Australia, while describing the dire circumstances of Tuvalu. “During peak tide the airstrip was under water.”

Long was speaking at a conference on climate change held in Canada recently. Ocean scientists have recorded sea-level rise of about one-sixth of an inch every year. Tuvaluans have long been suffering the effects. During high tides, seawater seeps through the ground, destroying crops, damaging roads, flooding houses and even washing out graves. It is a traumatic situation for the people, who are chiefly subsistence farmers and fishermen. Many are attached to their ancestral homes and are reluctant to leave Tuvalu despite the constant flooding from the sea.

The former British colony shares common characteristics with Caribbean islands. Tuvalu enjoys a tropical climate and, like the Caribbean region, the Pacific has reported an increase in the number and intensity of cyclones over the years. The cyclones batter Tuvalu’s economy as they completely destroy banana and coconut cultivations.

Tuvalu’s population has already started to migrate to places like Australia, New Zealand and other pacific islands. But the country’s officials realise that the ultimate solution for its 10,200 inhabitants is total abandonment of the atolls - Tuvalu comprises nine coral atolls lying north east of Australia and north of New Zealand. As Long pointed out, if and when this happens, Tuvalu faces total loss of its culture. It is a painful prospect for any nation.

The tiny islands of Tuvalu are extremely beautiful - similar to those in the Caribbean. But unlike the Caribbean, Tuvalu has not been able to capitalise much on tourism because of its remoteness. And now because of sea-level rise, any prospect of encouraging more tourism is unlikely.

But what about the Caribbean? Could sea level rise force an evacuation of the islands?

“We do have concerns about rising sea levels, although none of our islands is threatened, for now at least,” says Anthony Deyal, Public Education and Outreach Specialist for the Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change (MACC) project in the Caribbean.

Climate change is often used to refer to the ongoing changes in modern climate, including the average rise in surface temperature known as global warming. Some effects of climate change include rising sea levels, warmer sea-surface temperatures and possible increases in severe weather events. Some researchers say that the number and strength of hurricanes, tornadoes, and other events has increased over the last 15 - 20 years. However, scientists are still looking into this.

Last year the Caribbean experienced what was possibly the busiest hurricane season ever. According to weather reports, there were 22 named storms in 2005 surpassing the record of 21 set in 1933. Thirteen of the storms were hurricanes, edging by one the previous record set in 1969. Seven of the hurricanes were considered major. For 2006, meteorologists have predicted 17 named storms while explaining that nine of them could become hurricanes.

But the Caribbean is most concerned about other aspects of climate change, even as sea level rise threatens to ‘sink’ Tuvalu. It seems global warming poses a more serious threat to Caribbean tourism, the lifeblood of its economies, than does sea level rise.

“If the Caribbean becomes too warm, or if the northern countries experience milder winters, this may result in a shift in tourist destinations,” warns www.caribbeanclimate.org, the website of the Caribbean Community Centre for Climate Change (CCCCC).

So can rising sea-levels be ignored in the Caribbean?

According to `Concepts and Issues in Climate Change’ a handbook for Caribbean Journalists published by the MACC project, saline intrusion from sea-level rise threatens territories like Antigua & Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis and Trinidad & Tobago. Although Caribbean islands are not ‘sinking’, they frequently suffer coastal flooding from high storm surges. But whether the source of the flooding is gradual sea-level rise or intense storm surges the effects are devastating. Caribbean islands have already lost coastal ecosystems, suffered infrastructural damage, destruction of crops and loss of life.

East Coast flood protests over
SOME of the persons who staged rowdy protests at Catherine, Calcutta and Little Abary on the East Coast Demerara on Friday, said yesterday that excavators deployed to their villages had done satisfactory work and there had been a significant ease in flood conditions.

“Many people are happy about this and since this development there has been no tendency or inclination by anyone to resume protests. The protests are discontinued and the area is calm,” one resident said.

Mr B. Bisnauth, Chairman of the Mahaicony/Abary Neighbourhood Democratic Council, said yesterday that incomplete or damaged embankments on the north to south running main drains and the east to west running outlet into the Atlantic had been the major sources of flooding in the three villages.

This was particularly at high tides when the Atlantic koker is closed and when back dam water flowing from the south to the ocean had nowhere to go and had backed up into residential areas.

Bisnauth said that to prevent a recurrence, machines deployed in the villages on Friday were used to repair and complete embankments on the eastern and western sides of Burma drain and the Abary sideline trench - the two main drains in the area.

And yesterday the machines were strengthening both the northern and southern embankments of the east to west flowing Atlantic outlet, the Bellamy Canal, from Calcutta to Central Mahaicony, a distance of about six miles, to prevent flooding from this source.

The developments followed rowdy protests in Calcutta, Catherine and Little Abary on Friday by persons who felt that the villages were being neglected in a situation were they had been flooded out due to deterioration of the residential drainage system.

Protesters blocked the Georgetown to Rosignol highway at Burma, Mahaicony after seizing a low bed trailer carrying a Caterpillar excavator.

They punctured the wheels of the trailer, stranding it across the main highway and stacked old vehicles, tyres and other debris to further block the road to traffic.

The heavy roadblocks left motorists and commuters stranded on both sides for more than eight hours and Police were deployed to restore order and clear the highway.

Seven persons were wounded when riot Police were forced to open fire with pellets and to release tear gas to disperse the some 250 protesters and get on with clearing the roadway.

Bisnauth, whose Neighbourhood Council is responsible for Catherine, Calcutta and Little Abary villages, among others, yesterday said five more machines were upgrading residential drainage in the NDC.

External diplomacy crucial to mobilising international support
-- Foreign Minister
By Chamanlall Naipaul
FOREIGN Minister, Dr Rudy Insanally has emphasised that external diplomacy is essential for mobilising international support for local policies and programmes, rejecting the contention that it is a net consumer of resources.

During the 2006 budget debate in the National Assembly on Friday, he noted that by its very nature diplomacy is discreet, but it helps to win friends and influence policies that are helpful to development.

“Far from being a net consumer of resources, it is, to the contrary, an invaluable instrument for mobilising international support for our domestic purposes,” the minister offered.

He observed that a focus on the gains should not make people blind to the painstaking efforts by which these have been achieved, as very often the resources it succeeds in mobilising are immediate, significant and tangible.

He added: “Our share of the allocations for expenditure, particularly our contributions to the work of international organisations is thus without any doubt, a modest yet worthwhile investment.”

He recalled that during last year’s budget debate, he had indicated that his ministry will embark on formulating a five-year strategic plan and informed the House that it has been completed.

During this year the focus will be on implementing it to ensure the efficient and effective performance of its policy and operational functions in furthering the interests of the government and people of Guyana by transforming the country through modernisation and partnership, he said.

Touching on border problems facing Guyana, he said the primary goal is securing sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“Besieged as we are on two sides to the east and west by border problems, we must of necessity give particular attention to our first goal - the protection of sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Insanally observed.

He said over the past year there has been “a quiet truce” in relations with Venezuela, the leadership of which has publicly admitted that its claim to Guyana’s territory has no legal basis but is founded on obsolete political perceptions.

Nevertheless, Guyana continues to be denied the right to develop Essequibo as a result of Venezuela’s dissuasion of investment in the region.

“Under the good offices of the UN Secretary General, we are committed to explore the possibilities of an amicable resolution of the controversy. At the same time, through patient diplomacy, we have sought to build on the support for our cause which we have received from CARICOM, the Commonwealth and other friendly countries,” Insanally informed the House.

He also reported that shortly it is expected that the high level Commission which was created by the two countries would be resuscitated with the objective of promoting a climate of confidence and cooperation.

As regards the border problem with Suriname, which is before the International Law of the Sea Tribunal, the minister noted that judgement is due by mid next year once the parties have submitted their replies, as Guyana has submitted its memorial (body of arguments) and Suriname its counter-memorial.

The award will enable Guyana to explore and exploit the resources that are “rightfully ours for the benefit of the economy,” he said.

In the meantime, he said as neighbours and sister states of CARICOM, the two countries continue to cooperate with each other in areas such as customs, immigration and health.

He also said that in the context of Guyana’s maritime delimitation, it is advancing preparations for the submission to the United Nations Commission on the limits of the continental shelf.

With respect to Brazil, relations are moving apace as several agreements for cooperation in the fields of agriculture, health, transport and trade have been clinched, the minister reported.

Of special significance in the International Road Transport Agreement to facilitate the movement of goods and services between the two countries, the Foreign Minister informed the House that the Takutu Bridge is scheduled to be completed by the end of June this year.

He added that in order “to give life to the concept of Guyana as a gateway between the Caribbean and South America, we have also established honorary consulates in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo as well as in Lima, Peru.”

Gunmen hijack miner’s car
THREE gunmen hijacked a car owned by a miner as he was leaving a Georgetown nightspot Friday night. 

Police said Chetram Ramrathan, of Independence Boulevard, Georgetown, was attacked and robbed of his motor car by the men on D' Urban Street, also in the city, at about 21:00 h.

Police said the miner was at a night spot in D' Urban Street and was about to leave in his brown AT 192 Toyota Carina, PJJ 7358, when the men held him at gunpoint and forced him into the back seat of the vehicle.

They took over the vehicle and drove to D' Urban Backlands where Ramrathan was released and they drove off with the car, Police said.

EDITORIAL

QUESTIONS ON WADDELL'S DEATH
Editorial Viewpoint
By RICKEY SINGH
THE SHOCKING execution-style killing last Monday night by unknown gunmen of controversial television 'talk show' host, Ronald Waddell, leaves a number of unanswered questions.

First, who, or what organisation/group - political, cultural or otherwise - could possibly benefit from such a heinous, cowardly act?  

Certainly not the Guyana Government; not ANY of the political parties - large or small. Nor, for that matter, any section of our diverse ethnic communities. So, who killed Waddell, and why?

It would be strange to discover that it had anything to do with his militant, controversial stands, via local television, in relation to racial/political divisions in this country.

After all, there are other so-called "TV personalities" in what remains Guyana's version of "wild west" media, who are yet to exercise the necessary restraint in a volatile social/political climate.

The best known victim of political assassination in this country was, and remains, the legendary Walter Rodney. Some 25 years later, not one of the suspected intellectual authors and actual enforcers of that horrendous criminal act has been placed before a court of law for murdering such an outstanding, unique son of this nation.

Today, five days after Waddell's death, speculations are rife about the real motive behind his brutal murder. In the vicious atmosphere of rumours and spreading of racial/political poison, there will continue to be endless finger-pointing as to who may be involved and why.

There have never been any serious doubts as to who were behind the assassination of Walter Rodney - and why. He was certainly NEVER involved in either "gang warfare" or "drug-trafficking".

To him, appropriately, belongs Robert Marley's memorable "Redemption" song, and more. Walter is Guyana's truly outstanding post-independence martyr.

Now, as decent-minded people in this nation join Waddell's loved ones and friends in mourning his death, the act of assassination remains a matter for the police to resolve. Not any politician or party; not any self-serving group, seeking to play police. 

It is sensible, and most desirable that, as President Bharrat Jagdeo, Dr. Roger Luncheon, Anglican Bishop Randolph George and the group of foreign diplomats in Guyana have urged - the police be left totally unhindered to thoroughly conduct their investigations.

I never knew Waddell personally, and what I came to know of him had much to do with his highly controversial views as a TV host and political activist. Now that he has been murdered, and his body cremated yesterday, I am learning that he was also a "journalist". It is news to know that he was indeed so recognised in life.

More importantly, the sentiments separately expressed by Bishop George and the group of foreign diplomats need to be fully embraced. Bishop George's plea bears repetition:

"I call on our political leaders, our politicians, media practitioners, all in position of influence in our society to resist the temptation to see this incident as ammunition to be used against those with whom they may differ in any way. A dastardly act has been committed on a brother. Let us do nothing to impede the forces of justice in finding and punishing the guilty ones..."

In their own commendable joint statement, the resident top diplomats of the United States of America, Britain, Canada and the European Union, not only expressed their opposition to violence and reaffirmed shared commitment to a peaceful political process.

Speaking against the backdrop of Waddell's killing, they also warned:  "Violence and the resulting culture of fear undermine the stable functioning of society, eroding everything - from democratic development to the investment climate to civic life...."

In asking questions about Waddell's murder, and in sympathising with  his survivors, l think it is also quite compelling for all Guyanese - across ethnic, religious and political boundaries, to remember the many other sons and daughters whose lives have been wasted in various criminal acts, within recent years - including armed robberies; kidnappings and revenge gang-killings in our troubled village communities.

FEATURES

Khan’s Chronicles
Stressed out
By Sharief Khan
I AM stressed out.

You think you got stress? Wait till you hear my woes.

I was heading into work yesterday morning and a pigeon dumped its dung on my head. That’s right – the pigeon flew over everybody else around and chose to let loose its faeces on my head.

I don’t know what made that pigeon mad at me, but it picked me not long after I had just shampooed my hair and had a shower to lend me some of its bird dung gel. I don’t use hair gel but that bird felt I needed some of its custom-made brand to plaster my hair.

One second earlier or one second later, the pigeon shit would have missed my head, but the bird found its mark, and it was me.

Talk about stress.

Some people feel they have got so much stress that they want the world to know about it and proceed to burden others with it. They even take a day off from work to shed stress.

Others block main highways with other people’s heavy duty excavators and old vehicles and jump and shout as a form of stress relief.

So I am shedding stress by sharing some of mine with you.

I like to sleep late because I go to sleep late and I am so stressed out because the sun won’t let me get my best sleep. At this time of year, the sun chooses to wake me just as I am getting into some sweet, sweet sleep by peeking through a crack in the wall of my room right into my eyes.

I tried blocking the crack with old newspaper but the sun somehow finds other cracks to creak into my eyes and I am wide awake when I want to be deep in sleep.

You think you got stress?

There’s a pack of dogs in the yard where I live and they just love to decorate the place with their dung. I get home at nights and guess who’s got to navigate through a minefield of dug ca ca a lot? That’s right, me. I think that’s the dogs’ way of showing their deep affection for me and I am now an expert in dodging puddles of dog dung at night.

You think you got stress?

There’s a nice young lady I know and I try to say nice things to her; you know what I mean?

Guess what? She doesn’t take me on. She looks at this dog ca ca dodging expert as if I am a big lump of dog ca ca. And that makes me feel like dog ca ca.

Please, don’t tell me about stress.

I polished my shoes last week and put them out to catch some of the sunlight and went for a nap away from the sun.

You know what? The sun also went for a nap, the rains came and my nicely polished shoes got wet and lost the shine I was fervently praying for.

Talk about stress.

Ever tried getting someone urgently in an emergency on a cell phone? Ever heard that grating `We’re sorry, the number you have dialled is not within the service area, or it has been turned off’ recording? And you press redial, and redial manually, then press redial, and redial manually again and get the same recording?

Well, I have to do it often from where I sit at work and I have got big stress.

I was thinking about asking the company to invest in some carrier pigeons to be trained to take urgent messages to reporters and photographers out in the field to replace GT&T’s cell phone service, but yesterday’s close encounter of the worst kind with that pigeon gave me a change of heart.

Not satisfied with interrupting my deep morning slumber, at this time of year, too, the sun has gotten into the habit of peering right into my eyes by bouncing its rays off the shiny roof of a house next to the newspaper offices.

Its glare almost blinds me for a while and I have to back off from the computer until it slips into sleep, to dream perhaps about tickling me awake in the morning.

You think you got stress?

I’ve got so much stress that I take tablets to keep my blood pressure down; and those tablets make you pee a lot.

Guess what? The restrooms where I work are a long way from my office and I’ve got to do a quick jog every time I’ve got to go. My co-workers think those little jogs are my form of exercise and I manage to quickly convert the grimace on my face into a sort of a smile as I dash by them in the corridor.

Ever tried smiling when you’re in a hurry to go and someone wants to stop you for a chat?

Talk about stress.

The air conditioner in my office is old and has grown accustomed to me, I think.

It likes to keep me company and it chooses to do so not by a nice comforting whirr. I am sure it keeps a close watch on me, and when I am deep into editing some really hard to decipher stuff a reporter tries to pass off as a story, it goes into such loud thumping that’s it enough to drive me crazy.

And then there are mosquitoes that somehow find their way into the office at nights to buzz and bite and keep me company.

And in the mornings, I find little lumps of insect ca ca strewn around the books and documents in the office.

I pick up the phone to call someone to complain and the methylated spirit the Office Assistant uses to clean the hand instrument is still fresh, and clings to the hand and ear, tarnishing the morning freshness of the after-shave and cologne I delight in.

You think you’ve got stress?

I’ve got pigeons, dogs, mosquitoes, night insects and the sun, among other things, to think about and I just got a lot more stress.

That nice young lady I mentioned earlier just passed by and she gave me such a nasty look that I had to bend my head.

And guess what? I suddenly found out where the dog ca ca cologne smell was coming from all morning -- on the sole of one of my shiny new sneakers.

I am taking a stress day off.

HAITI--OLD FEARS, ELUSIVE DREAM
CARICOM'S watch for Tuesday's elections
By Rickey Singh
REPRESENTATIVES of the Caribbean Community's component on an International Monitoring Mission for Haiti's presidential and parliamentary elections on Tuesday, were due to depart yesterday for the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.

Danville Walker, the respected director of elections in Jamaica, must undoubtedly share the concerns of his colleagues on the monitoring mission - of which he is vice-chairman - about the security environment in view of continuing reports of likely violence and disruption of the electoral process.

Though a comparatively small segment - possibly no more than half dozen - of the monitoring team, which is headed by Canadian Jean-Pierre Kingsley, CARICOM's participation is quite consistent with its commitment for a return to constitutional government, ever since the ousting from power on February 29, 2004  of President Jean Bertrand Aristide. 

Walker has been CARICOM's point man in assessing, over recent months, elections-readiness arrangements by Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council, making good use, in the process, of his own recognised skills and experiences in the conduct of elections in Jamaica.

After three postponements and now lingering fears that pro and anti-Aristide forces would be involved in violent confrontations, largely due to poor voting arrangements and electoral fraud, CARICOM has already signalled that Haiti's return to the Councils of the Community depends on creation of a legitimate government, based on free and fair elections.

That clear warning was firmly stated just a few days ago in Kingston by the Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Kenny Anthony, who has lead responsibility among CARICOM leaders for Governance and Justice.

CARICOM may be the world's smallest economic integration movement in the global economy, but it has distinguished itself by insisting on democratic governance based on independently supervised free and fair elections.

That much was made pellucidly clear to ex-President Rene Preval when Haiti gained provisional access as the Community's newest (also poorest and most populated) member state on July 4, 1997 at a CARICOM Summit hosted by Prime Minister P.J. Patterson.

Guyana as reference   
The biggest and longest victim of electoral fraud within the 32-year-old Caribbean Community would undoubtedly be today's governing People's Progressive Party in Guyana.

It was forced into the wilderness of opposition politics by institutionalised electoral fraud from 1968 until its return to power at the October 1992 elections for which the Carter Centre had played a most valuable role.

Ironically, by 1997, when Janet Jagan, widow of President Cheddi Jagan emerged with an even more decisive electoral victory than her husband had secured in 1992, politically-instigated violence, arson and widespread lawlessness, led to CARICOM's mediation at the invitation of the government in Georgetown.

Guyana was to remain a reference point for reminding CARICOM of the dangers in being silent - as it was for far too long - in condemning electoral fraud under the then governing administrations of Forbes Burnham, and later, Desmond Hoyte.

CARICOM has since emerged as a regular monitor of elections across the Community and, guided by its `Charter of Civil Society’, proudly upholds electoral democracy as a mantra in regional governance politics

Interestingly enough, the Haitian politician who had signed for his country's accession to CARICOM membership and is viewed as the front-runner among some 33 other presidential candidates for Tuesday's elections is Rene Preval, former ally of Aristide and quite familiar with the emphasis the Community places on democratic governance.

If he is successful, either on Tuesday, or in what is widely expected to be a presidential run-off next month, Preval would be in no doubt of what's expected of him to renew and maintain good relations.

But that may be easier said than experienced, given the fundamental differences in political culture and the habit of a governing political directorate in Port-au-Prince becoming entangled with corrupt forces, whose interests mock the tragic depths of poverty and illiteracy of the Haitian masses. 

Focus in Port-of-Spain 
This week, while initial results of Tuesday's elections are being disclosed, CARICOM Heads of Government would be engaged at a two-day meeting in Port-of-Spain, starting on Thursday, in considering the Community's relations with a new constitutional government in Haiti

Focus in Port-of-Spain   
Their meeting comes 11 days after the ceremonial inauguration at Mona of the single market component of the emerging CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). It also follows the recent surprised bilateral meeting in Port-of-Spain of Prime Minister Patrick Manning and interim Haitian Prime Minister Gerard Latortue.

Latortue's January 25 encounter with Manning, current chairman of the Community and host for Thursday's Inter-Sessional Meeting, was his first, and seemingly the last, with a CARICOM Head of Government.

The rule of thumb has been, since the ousting of the Aristide presidency, that there must not be any "collective engagement" between CARICOM and the United States-created interim regime in Port-au-Prince, until a legitimate, constitutional government is in place.

Making this happen with Tuesday's elections, is the enormous challenge of the Haitian people, victims of poor governance by successive governments - military and civilian - for as long as they care to remember prior to and after the formal end of the 'Duvalierist' era.

Even as members of the International Elections Monitoring Mission were preparing to leave for Haiti yesterday, a Reuters news agency report out of Port-au-Prince was indicating that the fears among candidates and eligible voters were that Tuesday's elections could well prove "the most poorly organised" in the brief democratic history of that Caribbean nation. 

According to Haitian human rights officials, with whom I have been in contact, there are good reasons to think that a significant level, no less than 25 per cent, of an estimated 3.5 million voters, 93 per cent armed with ID cards, could be disenfranchised - apart from others too frustrated and disenchanted to bother to queue up in very uncomfortable conditions to cast their ballots.

A major problem is the long distance, between five and seven miles in some cases, that voters would have to walk in order to cast their ballots, due to controversially located voting centres.

Significantly, their placements happen to be outside of the urban slum communities and scattered far-flung depressed rural areas known to be among traditional bases of popular support for Aristide's Lavalas party.

Preval, for one, is hoping to gain support from voters in such rural and urban communities, by exploiting his former links with the deposed Haitian President currently living in exile with his family in South Africa. 

Question is how many will do the long walk to queue up, amid the anticipated confusion and feared violence, to cast their ballots with hopes for the promised better governance and peace that continue to be an elusive dream. 

FLOOD FACTS (2)
Weekly viewpoint by Robert Persaud MBA
The first part of the Flood Facts evoked a response from an overseas-based Guyanese who pointed out that in giving a background to flooding in Guyana I omitted an important contributory factor. Allow me to quote a section of that e-mail: “Of course you did mention that it was because of the intense rains in the backlands which is the fact, but I feel that you should have elaborated a little more on the real reason - The Amazon River. It is summertime now in the region of the Andes and due to global warming 3 million tons of (residue) on a daily average are being deposited at the mouth of the Amazon. With the flowing of the Guyana current from east to west brings with it the stuff that is now so heavily piled up at the mouth of all our rivers, thus causing severe water logging in the rivers.”

ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
We all can remember the attacks against President Bush for not responding quickly when Hurricane Katrina damaged New Orleans. Also, President Mussahraff of Pakistan was criticised for sloth in dealing with the earthquake which ravaged an entire province. But in Guyana, President Jagdeo and his government are condemned by the opposition for acting promptly, taking a hands-on approach and paying continuous attention to our flood situation.

The Head of the Presidential Secretariat in commenting on this criticism stated: “The PPP/C Administration is adamant; the role of the PPP/C political directorate will always be people-based at events such as natural disasters. To reject this position is unreasonable and unacceptable.” The President has declared that he and his ministers will not sit on their hands or stay in their offices while Guyanese are facing difficulties.

Since incidents of flooding were reported in December 2005, President Jagdeo and several members of the Cabinet, along with technical officials, including those from the Civil Defence Commission, visited the areas to assess and offer assistance.

It is clear that wherever and whenever there is a problem, the government will respond even if it means that the President and his ministers will have to wade through flood water or be in shelters with the victims. This has been the case for the past six weeks when the current flood situation surfaced. And will continue to be a policy position.

But the presence of these officials does not take away from the technical work of the respective experts and agencies. The hands-on approach allowed for bureaucratic hurdles to be cleared and quick policy decision making. The model used by Guyana in its disaster response is being copied by international agencies. In fact, Pakistan used the same approach when its President was forced to dispatch three government ministers to the affected province to oversee the humanitarian responses. There was no objection from the Red Crescent, the U.N. or foreign governments which helped.

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is what the people think, especially the victims. They have resoundingly welcomed the direct involvement and intervention of the Head of State and his ministers. The critics once again are certainly out of sync with reality.

FUTURE INTERVENTIONS
The reality is that Guyana will be forever susceptible to seasonal flooding either through heavy rainfall or the annual unusually high spring tides which cause over-topping of the river banks and damaged sea defence structures.

The interventions of the past several years have only managed to contain the extent of flooding and reverse neglect of the country’s infrastructure. Local and foreign experts have pronounced on short, medium and long-term solutions. Many of these have been and are still being worked on.

The government is looking at another US$60M or G$12 billion to carry out both short and long-term impact interventions on the country’s drainage system as part of a massive Emergency Disaster Mitigation and Prevention Programme.

An international appeal has been launched following the declaration of the hardest hit areas (Region Five and parts of Region Two) as disaster zones.

Some of the planned works identified are:

- the dredging of the four (4) rivers, the Abary, Pomeroon, Mahaica and Mahaicony

- straighten the bends in the rivers, particularly in the Abary and Mahaicony rivers.

- the placement of new pumps at No. 28 village or examine an offer to have the abandoned pumps rehabilitated

- the outfall at Land of Canaan needed to be dredged to maintain maximum outflow while at Kofi; the banks would be raised while Barama would clear obstructions to water flows at the outfalls

- in Regions 1, 2 and 3, new weeding boats will be provided and semi-permanent rehabilitation works on the Region 2 Conservancy encouraged

- in Region 6, four excavators would be assigned to remain in that area

Then, there is the US$40M MMA phase two which has been on the cards for decades and for which the massive resources needed will have to be mobilised.

Further, the responsiveness and capacity of the local government bodies will also have to be reviewed. Public and private structures and impediments to drainage will have to be dealt with.

The impending international assistance and local resources will have to be re-directed for these projects no doubt limiting allocations and readjusting national priorities.

Our experience must also be seen in a global context. According to a recent Reuters newswire: “More frequent floods and drought, blamed by some scientists on global warming, brought a near 20 percent rise in natural disasters in 2005, researchers said. The bad news was that rising urbanisation, with people in developing countries often crowding into environmentally dangerous areas around big cities, meant the risk of disasters was growing, said ISDR director Salvano Briceno. "Countries and communities need to understand their risks, invest in resources and prioritise their policies to reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters," he said.

In 2005, there were 360 natural disasters, ranging from hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,322 people in New Orleans, to a measles epidemic in Nigeria in which more than 500 died. Floods and droughts made up 237 of the total. Disasters affected the lives of 157.5 million people -- meaning they were killed, injured, required immediate assistance or evacuated -- up from 150.4 million the year before. "The increase (in disasters) is mainly due to the rising numbers of floods and droughts that affect large swathes of a population."

"Addicted to Oil"
By Gwynne Dyer
"America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world," said President George W. Bush in his State of the Union speech on Wednesday. And his solution? He's going to cut US oil imports from the Middle East by 75 per cent, and replace the missing oil with ethanol made from fermented plant waste: "If...being dependent upon oil is a problem for the long term, why don't we figure out how to drive our cars using a different type of fuel?"

Not a word from Mr. Bush about attacking the demand side of the equation by burning less oil (although after the1973-74 oil embargo the US managed to cut its oil consumption by almost 30 per cent strictly by energy conservation). Not a word about the consequences for climate change of burning so much oil, or about the implications of soaring oil demand in the emerging Asian giants, China and India, for prices and supply. Just a promise to cut American oil imports from the Middle East by three-quarters - by 2025.

As so often with President Bush, it's hard to tell whether he is trying to fool us, or just fooling himself. Sixty per cent of the oil that the United States consumes is imported (up from 53 per cent when Bush came into office). Last year, less than one-fifth of that imported oil came from the Middle East, so achieving Bush's stated goal would only bring the share of imported oil in US consumption back to the level of 2001. And much of it would still come from "unstable parts of the world."

Actually, Mr. Bush is being unfair to the Middle East, which is the most stable part of the planet in terms of the longevity of its regimes.

Perhaps he is afraid that his vaunted democratic revolutions will actually come to pass, for free elections almost anywhere in the region would produce governments much more hostile to the American presence than the current regimes. (See Hamas's recent victory in the Palestinian occupied territories, for example.) But he is also barking up the wrong tree: the real vulnerabilities of the US lie elsewhere.

The three largest sources of American oil imports are Canada, Venezuela and Nigeria. Canada is stable, but Venezuela is definitely not, mainly because the US keeps trying to destabilise it. The Bush administration loathes President Hugo Chavez for his socialism and his closeness to Fidel Castro, and has already been implicated in one attempted coup against him in 2002. If there were to be another attempt, and Chavez suspected American involvement, an embargo on Venezuelan oil exports to the United States would be pretty much a certainty. As for Nigeria....

"It must be clear that the Nigerian government cannot protect your workers or assets," declared the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in an e-mail last month to oil companies working in the region. "Leave our land while you can, or die in it. Our aim is to totally destroy the capacity of the Nigerian government to export oil."

Since mid-December, two major pipelines have been blown up in the Niger Delta, home to all of Nigeria's oil. Nine people were killed in an attack on the Italian oil company Agip. Four foreigners were kidnapped from an offshore rig (and later released, presumably on payment of a large ransom). And at least seventeen people died in a motorboat raid on a Shell flow station in the swamps around Warri.

MEND is the latest expression of the seething dissatisfaction of the region's 20 million people with the fact that all that oil has brought them so little prosperity. In fact, all of Nigeria's 129 million people have a legitimate grievance, for most of the $350 billion that the country has earned from oil exports in the past fifty years has been stolen by a narrow politico-military elite, but only the people of the Delta live amidst the pollution that the oil causes, and only they can take direct action.

Moreover, the protest groups and the guerillas are often tangled up with the criminal gangs who siphon off oil from the pipelines ("bunkering", as it is known). The major foreign oil companies operating in the Delta (Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, ENI and Exxon) have long turned a blind eye to the bunkering in return for being left alone to get on with their operations, and the gangs restricted their stealing to about ten percent of Nigeria's oil. But with the passage of time they have got richer, more heavily armed, and greedier.

The Nigerian government seems helpless to do anything about the security situation in the Delta (as it is about most things). The double threat of political guerillas and criminal gangs has got so severe that Stakeholder Democracy Network, an anti-corruption group active in the area, suggested in a report last month that "Shell and (other) foreign oil operators may have to go offshore altogether by 2008 as security and public order deteriorate."

And who would then buy the onshore oil facilities, assuming that MEND had not destroyed them? Probably China, which is willing to accept higher levels of risk than strictly commercial companies in order to have secure long-term oil supplies. If Mr. Bush insists on treating oil as a supply rather than a demand problem, he should at least find the right trees to bark up.

Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries.

Free movement of people and a larger fund
– the price of the CSME
By Sir Ronald Sanders
(The writer is a business executive and former Caribbean diplomat who publishes widely on Small States in the global community)

THE 13 operational countries of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) should agree to the completely free movement of people from Less Developed Countries (LDC’s) to the More Developed Countries (MDC’s) on a non-reciprocal basis as the first step to encouraging them into the Caribbean Single Market (CSM).

The Bahamas and Haiti are excluded from this proposition.

There should also be agreement that the seven LDC’s would be allocated at least 60 per cent of the resources of the Regional Development Fund (RDF) to implement structural adjustment programmes. And, the fund itself should be larger than is presently contemplated.

Since it is unlikely that the CARICOM countries alone can contribute the resources that an enlarged RDF would require, contributions should be sought from outside countries and regions.

Thus, CARICOM should commit itself to placing on the agenda of its negotiations with the European Union (EU) for Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA’s) the proposition that the EU should contribute to funding adjustment in the LDC’s through the RDF.

After all, the loss of preferential treatment for bananas in the EU market has materially hurt the economies of St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica. And, the sugar industry of St Kitts – already ailing – fell to the EU hatchet that hacked the preferential price paid for sugar.

Agreement from the EU to contribute to the fund for the structural adjustment of the OECS countries should find resonance in Canada, the United States and Japan – all three of which enjoy trade surpluses with the OECS nations.

These two practical measures of non-reciprocal freedom of movement of people from the LDC’s to the MDC’s, and the larger allocation of the RDF’s resources to the LDC’s would, undoubtedly, embolden the countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to join the CSM on June 30th without equivocation.

A NECESSITY
There can be no doubt that regional integration for CARICOM countries is a necessity.

In this connection, even if the OECS countries do proceed to establish an Economic Union on June 18th, they will still be weaker and less able to manoeuvre in the international community than if they were part of the CSME.

By the same token, a CSME of 13 countries is also stronger than the group of six that kicked it off on January 30th. The two groups need each other.

But, there are genuine concerns among the OECS countries, and they should be addressed, particularly as the issues are not insurmountable.

The primary concern of the OECS, or LDC’s, is not about the movement of skilled CARICOM nationals into their countries. Both the governments and the private sectors in the OECS recognise that they need skills if their economies are to grow. They also recognise that some of their own skilled people will move to other CARICOM countries, and they will have to be replaced.

Their bigger fear is that, under the CSM, competition from better resourced companies in larger CARICOM countries will close their local companies creating unemployment and social and political upheaval. In their view, therefore, dislocated labour – particularly unskilled – should be able to move to other countries.

If such dislocated labour does move to other CARICOM countries and finds employment, then clearly they will be satisfying a need and contributing to that country’s economic well being.

Given that there is little unemployment benefits in CARICOM countries, labour is very unlikely to move from being unemployed in their own homeland, where they at least have the benefit of a family network, to being unemployed in another country where there is no support at all.

Consequently, the prospect of huge numbers of unskilled labour from the OECS swelling the ranks of the unemployed in the rest of CARICOM is most unlikely.

GREATEST BENEFICIARY
With regard to the RDF, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Barbados should acknowledge that the benefits of trade in goods under CARICOM have flowed primarily to them. In recent years, a similar development has taken place in financial services especially.

Trinidad and Tobago has been the greatest beneficiary both in trade in goods and services to the rest of CARICOM and, on a comparative basis, more particularly to the OECS. Consequently, it is in Trinidad and Tobago’s self interest to be generous in its contribution to the RDF.

Of course, the Trinidad and Tobago government would be right in pointing to the Venezuelan PetroCaribe facility to which the OECS countries have signed-up as a diminution of its market within CARICOM, and, therefore, reason to be less supportive of these countries.

That argument, of course, speaks directly to the danger that PetroCaribe poses to the project of deeper integration within CARICOM.

But, Trinidad and Tobago’s government should take up the gauntlet thrown down by St Lucia’s Prime Minister Kenny Anthony – it should work with the Trinidad oil companies to match the Venezuelan terms, and by so doing, not only maintain its market in CARICOM, but also safeguard the regional integration project.

Other countries within CARICOM – such as Guyana and Belize – may well argue that their own situation also demands special attention. Unquestionably, they do.

Guyana is a Highly Indebted Poor Country (HPIC) and it will shortly face the loss of millions of dollars of annual revenue from the cut in the price that the EU will pay for its sugar.

Belize has already suffered the loss of a preferential price for its banana exports to the EU and will join Guyana in enduring a slash in the price for its sugar.

The situation of these two countries strengthens the argument for a larger RDF, and one to which significant contributions are made by the EU, the US, Canada and Japan.

But to encourage the support of external countries, CARICOM nations must show themselves ready to make the hard decisions that are necessary to show that they are serious.

Therefore, the CSME must move ahead at full pace with the OECS joining on June 30th as pledged.

If non-reciprocal free movement of people from LDC’s to MDC’s helps, there is no harm in granting it. And, a larger RDF with specific allocations to the LDC’s to assist with structural adjustment is patently necessary.

CARICOM should now move to put implementing and management capability in place for the CSME – one that would command the support and confidence of the international community.

It is time for the CARICOM Commission to be established with the CSME as the full time task of one of the Commissioners.
(Responses to: ronaldsanders29@hotmail.com)

SPORTS

Region must remain diligent as CWC approaches - Gordon
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (CMC) - With 400 days left before the 2007 World Cup, West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president, Ken Gordon, has called on the region to act with "diligence, precision and enthusiasm", to make the event the best ever.

"We are really very close to the event now and everyone must recognise the diligence, precision and enthusiasm with which we must all undertake our respective duties to ensure this is indeed the Best Cricket World Cup ever," Gordon, also the chairman of Cricket World Cup 2007 Inc, said.

"All around us, a lot of work is taking place on venues and related infrastructure and various officials - from those in cricket operations to ticketing, to the countless volunteers whom we will rely on heavily - are readying themselves to welcome the world in just over a year from now. We cannot afford to be complacent or inattentive to the slightest detail."

The Caribbean is scheduled to host the event for the first time next year, when it bowls off from March 11 to April 28 across eight territories.

Gordon, who replaced Rawle Brancker as chairman of CWC 2007 Inc last year, called on residents in the eight countries to throw their support behind their respective Local Organising Committees and get involved wherever possible.

"There will be several operational and voluntary functions to be carried out as we draw even closer to this landmark occasion," Gordon pointed out.

"Cricket has always been a binding force among Caribbean people and this is a signal opportunity for the sport, which means so much for us as a region, to unite us in an even more meaningful way."

The tournament opening ceremony will be staged on March 11 in a new stadium being constructed in Trelawney, Jamaica, with action getting under way two days later with the opening fixture between West Indies and Pakistan at Sabina Park.

Smith leads Windwards batting effort with 63
ST GEORGE'S, Grenada, (CMC) - Opener Devon Smith hit a half-century to ensure there were no hiccups, as the Windward Islands made a solid reply in their second innings against Guyana on the rain-affected third day of their Carib Beer Series match at the Tanteen Recreational Oval yesterday.

The 24-year-old left-hander stroked an attractive 63 that formed the basis of the Windwards' 148 for two at the close, as they built a lead of 61 heading into the fourth and final day today.

Earlier, Guyana resuming at 245 for eight, added 31 runs for the loss of their last two wickets, as they were dismissed for 276, a lead of 87 runs on first innings.

Test batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan, unbeaten on 104 overnight, added just four to his score, before falling to the last ball of the day's first over from medium-pacer Jean Paul.

Overall, the right-hander batted 280 minutes, faced 228 balls and lashed 13 fours and one six.

The last wicket pair of Imran Jaferally (15 not out) and Reon King (9) managed to eke 27 runs out of the last wicket before the innings closed.

Kenroy Peters, who accounted for King, finished with four for 43 while Paul grabbed two for 41.

Smith and Craig Emmanuel then gave the Windwards a solid start as they added 68 for the first wicket in enterprising fashion.

After going to the lunch break at 39 without loss with Smith on 22 and Emmanuel, 15, the Windwards lost Emmanuel lbw to off spinner Imran Jaferally for 26.

Alvin LaFuille joined Smith in a second wicket stand of 38 before Smith was caught at leg slip by Narsingh Deonarine off Sarwan's leg-spin, shortly after tea with the score on 106.

He batted 172 minutes, faced 152 balls and struck six fours.

LaFuille, unbeaten on 19 and Hyron Shallow, 34 then saw Windwards safely to the close, despite a near two-hour long rain interruption. Play will start half an hour earlier on today’s final day.

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

GUYANA 1st innings (o/n 245 for eight)

K. Arjune c Sammy b Lewis 4

S. Jacobs c Smith b Lewis 11

N. Deonarine c Sammy b Peters 30

A. Fudadin c Smith b Lewis 1

R. Sarwan c Sammy b Paul 108

T. Dowlin b Sammy 17

M. Nagamootoo lbw b Peters 11

D. Christian c Sebastien b Peters 9

R. Griffith c Sammy b Paul 36

I. Jefferally not out 15

R. King b Peters 9

Extras: (lb-12, w-1, nb-12) 25

Total: (all out, 95.1 overs) 276

Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-50, 3-52, 4-52, 5-102, 6-131, 7-147, 8-243, 9-249.

Bowling: Butler 12-1-32-0, Lewis 29-8-81-3, Paul 11-0-41-2, Peters 16.1-3-43-4, Sammy 13-6-20-1, Sebastien 11-0-33-0, Smith 5-1-14-0.

WINDWARDS 2nd innings

D. Smith c Deonarine b Sarwan 63

C. Emmanuel lbw b Jaferally 26

A. LaFuille not out 19

H. Shallow not out 34

Extras: (lb-2, b-2, nb-2) 6

Total: (2 wkts) 148

Fall of wickets: 1-68, 2-106.

Bowling: King 5-3-7-0, Griffith 5-2-10-0, Nagamootoo 16-4-35-0, Deonarine 9-2-25-0, Jaferally 13-3-22-1, Sarwan 10-0-45-1.

Position: Windwards lead by 61 runs.

T&T inch closer to victory after Simmons century
By Adriel Richard
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CMC) - Trinidad & Tobago had victory over Barbados, and their first regional first-class title in 21 years in sight after three days of their Carib Beer Series match yesterday.

Chasing 412 runs to win, Barbados were 112 for six in their second innings when bad light stopped play six overs early at the Carlton Sports Club.

Dave Mohammed snared three wickets for 21 runs from 10 overs in the 50 minutes before the umpires picked bails, Mervyn Dillon collected two early scalps, and Amit Jaggernauth added another to put the Barbadians on the back-foot.

Ryan Hinds' 32, Dale Richards' 31, and Wayne Blackman's 25 have been Barbados' best efforts with the bat.

T&T, leading by 92 runs on first innings, had been dismissed for 319 in their second innings about 45 minutes after the lunch interval.

Opening batsman Lendl Simmons hit his second first-class hundred of 115 to top score for the visitors, T&T captain Daren Ganga retired hurt for 59, and batting superstar Brian Lara scored 47 at better than a run-a-ball.

Fidel Edwards was the most successful Barbados bowler with four for 56 from 11 overs, and Ryan Austin took three for 64 from 14.2 overs of off-spin.

Barbados though, appeared to be making a fist of it, when Richards batted for almost an hour to share 41 for the first wicket.

Dillon however, made the breakthrough when he had Richards adjudged lbw for 31 playing across a full-length delivery, and in his next over added the scalp of Kurt Wilkinson brilliantly caught at mid-off by a flying Richard Kelly for a duck.

Barbados captain Ryan Hinds came to the wicket and with Blackman carried Barbados to 41 for two at tea.

The two consolidated Barbados' position with a partnership of 45 for the third wicket, after rain delayed the resumption after the break by almost half-hour.

Blackman had dropped anchor and looked solid enough until he played to back to a googly from Mohammed and was adjudged lbw after about an hour.

The most controversial moment of the game however, was just around the corner, when Hinds, moving down the pitch to loft a delivery from Mohammed, was deceived by the flight and was dubiously adjudged lbw by Barbadian umpire Tunley Franklyn.

Two more wickets fell in the space of seven balls, when Alcindo Holder was caught at square cover for eight, advancing and unleashing an ill-advised almighty heave, and Patrick Browne was neatly caught behind off Jaggernauth for a duck.

Earlier, the runs continued to flow for T&T, after they resumed from their bedtime position of 145 for one.

Simmons and Ganga continued to score runs as they pleased, with the younger batsman arriving at his landmark with a single on a misfield by the mid-wicket fielder.

The pair added 122 for the second wicket before Simmons was caught at backward square leg top-edging a sweep after batting for just over three hours, facing 151 balls and striking 14 boundaries.

Lara arrived and was simply Lara, adding 72 with Ganga for the third wicket in the last 45 minutes before lunch.

He struck half-dozen fours and a couple of sixes - one over the pavilion at square leg off Austin, the other over long-on off Ryan Nurse - from 31 balls before he was caught inside the deep mid-wicket boundary.

Ganga, who had been struck on his forearm by Edwards, retired hurt during lunch, and was whisked away for a precautionary X-ray that did not contain bad news.

His absence energised the Barbadians, and they removed the last six T&T wickets for 32 runs in the space of 4.2 overs. None of them scored more than 10, but the lead was significant enough then, not to bother too much.

No team has scored more than 400 runs to win a regional first-class match.

The Windwards have come closest, scoring 371 to defeat the same T&T by two wickets more than two decades ago at Queen's Park Oval.

Victory would draw T&T level with Barbados on 36 points, and unless Guyana can defeat Windward Islands in Grenada to force a three-way tie, the Trinis would finally be able to get the monkey off their backs.

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

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 1st innings 259

BARBADOS 1st innings 167

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 2nd innings (o/n 145 for one)

L. Simmons c Bradshaw b Hinds 115

D. Bravo c wkpr Browne b Austin 50

D. Ganga retired hurt 59

B. Lara c Austin b Nurse 47

D. Ramdin c wkpr Browne b Edwards 1

I. Khan c Hinds b Austin 8

R. Kelly b Edwards 8

R. Emrit c Wilkinson b Austin 9

M. Dillon b Edwards 0

D. Mohammed lbw b Edwards 0

A. Jaggernauth not out 0

Extras: (b-6, lb-4, w-2, nb-10) 22

Total: (all out) 319

Fall of wickets: 1-93, 2-215, 3-287, 4-288, 5-304, 6-306, 7-313, 8-313.

Bowling: Edwards 11-1-56-4 (nb-6), Bradshaw 14-4-49-0 (nb-1), Hinds 12-0-64-1, Austin 14.2-1-64-3, Nurse 9-0-63-1 (w-2), Wilkinson 3-0-13-0 (nb-1).

BARBADOS 2nd innings (target: 412 runs)

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 not out 14

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

P. Browne c wkpr Ramdin b Jaggernauth 0

I. Bradshaw not out 0

Extras: (lb-1, nb-1) 2

Total: (6 wkts) 112

Fall of wickets: 1-41, 2-41, 3-86, 4-95, 5-105, 6-106.

Bowling: Kelly 4-1-25-0, Dillon 10-3-28-2, Emrit 7-5-5-0, Bravo 5-0-25-0 (nb-1), Mohammed 10-4-21-3, Jaggernauth 6-2-7-1.

Position: Barbados trail by 300 runs with four second innings wickets standing.

Buoyant Pakistan ready for India in ODI series
IT'S been just two days since they suffered their second-heaviest defeat in Tests, but India's chance for redemption isn't too far away.

Victory in the five-match one-day series, starting in Peshawar tomorrow, would go a long way in soothing the wounds but India will know that they begin the contest as underdogs, against a buoyant side that have won 10 of their last 12 games.

The upbeat Pakistan squad, almost identical to their Test side, trained for around two hours at the Arbab Niaz Stadium last afternoon, with Inzamam-ul-Haq having a long batting session. Inzamam had missed the Karachi Test owing to a long-term back injury but was expected to don the pyjamas for the opening game here.

There was already a buzz outside the ground, with the public looking forward to the first one-dayer in the city for more then 16 months. The authorities at the Arbab Niaz Stadium indicated that tickets were all sold out and close to 15 000 were expected to turn up.

Recently England had refused to play in Peshawar citing security fears and the city has always been in the spotlight owing to its proximity to Afghanistan.

Ten members of the Indian squad had a net session this morning before heading off to visit the Khyber Pass.

India's spirit received a boost with the addition of four new players to the squad, with Mohammad Kaif, Suresh Raina, Murali Kartik and S. Sreesanth having a net session in the afternoon.

Having been part of the Uttar Pradesh side that recently triumphed in the Ranji Trophy triumph, Kaif and Raina would be expected to provide a lift with their acrobatic fielding along with some handy middle-order runs. Kartik will provide the team with the left-arm spin option and, considering Harbhajan Singh's indifferent form so far, he might turn out to be a crucial addition.

Despite winning eight of their last 12 games, India, as Rahul Dravid has admitted, are yet to completely come to terms with the new ODI rules (Supersubs and Powerplays). They will be up against a side that have thrived under the innovations - with multi-dimensional players oozing out of every pore - and can easily have the momentum stolen from under their noses.

As expected, security arrangements were beefed up for the game, with the full knowledge that even a minor occurrence could be a black mark. Two days ago, the local police were forced to laathi-charge angry fans who protested against the non-availability of tickets but they will hope that the next two days pass without incident. (Cricinfo)

Nets and Eagles undefeated in preliminary round
THE Nets and Eagles basketball teams have soared through the preliminary round of the Georgetown Amateur Basketball Association (GABA) second-division basketball competition having won three games each.

Yesterday at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, the two teams defeated Scorpions and Courts Pacesetters respectively.

Nets won their game 67-64 despite trailing Scorpions at the half 27-24. Leading the way for the winner was shooting guard Mortimer Williams with 24 points while Fabian Johnson assisted with 16. For Scorpions Aubrey Smith scored 12 and Kester Gomes 11.

Eagles also scraped past their opponents winning 60-56, and Nets trailed at the half mark period (30-25).

Drunson McCaulay led the way with 14 and Kwesi Haywood 13 for the ‘bird team’. Pacesetters’ hero was Ryan Gullen who chalked up 14 points.

Also yesterday, Plaisance Disciples lost again, their third defeat since the competition commenced. Ravens won that game 88-76, after good all-round performances from their big names.

Sariah Clarke scored 24, Kevin Azore 20 and Usif Edghill 15, while Plaisance player Enoch Matthews led all scores with 25. Support though only came from Tenga Adams 15 and Dave Causway 14.

Today the quarter-final of the competition is expected to commence at the same venue.

EBFU kicks off two leagues today
AFTER a four-year absence at the Timehri Red Ground, the East Bank Football Union (EBFU) will kick off two league competitions today.

The U-15 New GPC 2006 League kicks off this morning from 10:00 h on the Timehri Red Ground with a double-header.

Grove Hi Tec Reform will clash with Mocha Champs followed by Soesdyke taking on Timehri Panthers.

Another league, the 2006 seniors will start soon after a march past at 12:15 h by the eight teams involved.

A Bagotstown and Houston Stars game will kick off the action, followed by a game between Mocha Champs and Grove Hi Tec, while the feature clash is between Soesdyke and Timehri Panthers.

The Zimbabwe crisis…
No progress as Zimbabwe strike continues
REPORTS that Zimbabwe's cricketers had signed contracts offered to them by the board have turned out to be false.

Yesterday, unknown sources said that Zimbabwe Cricket had bypassed group negotiations and had approached players on a one-on-one basis to offer them new contracts. It was claimed that 16 had signed after meeting board officials during the day.

But a source representing the players told Cricinfo that nothing had been signed, and in fact the players had not only refused to do so, but had also again withdrawn from all cricket in frustration at the board's handling of the dispute. That means that tomorrow's final round of matches in the Faithwear one-day tournament is likely to go ahead without any of those involved in the negotiations.

"We decided to pull back and not sign the contracts," the source told Cricinfo. "And further, we're not going to play cricket until this thing is sorted out."

The players remain concerned about the way that their outstanding backpay is being addressed, and most are also not happy with the new contracts they are being offered, which they feel are inferior to what they were presented before.

They are also very unhappy that Zimbabwe Cricket has refused to allow Clive Field, the players' association representative, to act on their behalf and is forcing them to deal individually with the board. "It's a further step back," the source explained, "because now we have the player rep issue as well as the contract one."

Hamilton Masakadza endorsed that view, telling Cricinfo: "Anything to do with us, you can still speak to Clive. He still represents us and it’s not right for anyone but us to do away with him."

Zimbabwe Cricket is unlikely to improve the contract and it is possible that offers could be made to the next tier of players. However, this week's Faithwear matches have shown that those players are nowhere near being good enough to play international cricket.

Wales swept aside 47-13 by impressive England
… Ireland beat Italy 26-16
By Rex Gowar
LONDON, England (Reuters) - England will not easily loosen their grip on the World Cup rugby next year if yesterday’s emphatic 47-13 win over European champions Wales is anything to go by.

The world champions ran in six tries at Twickenham to sound a warning not only to their immediate rivals in the rest of the Six Nations tournament but the southern hemisphere giants too.

Ireland, who struggled to beat Italy 26-16 in Dublin, and Scotland, who host France at Murrayfield today, look like they could also be on the receiving end of a beating by Andy Robinson's fast maturing side.

France, expected to brush aside the Scots, will need to live up to their pre-tournament tag of favourites to halt England when they meet in Paris next month.

The Welsh were lacking half a dozen of the players who helped them win the grand slam last season and were not overrun until the final quarter.

This did not, however, diminish England's performance as the penultimate Six Nations tournament before the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France got under way.

Six different players scored the tries for England -- who led 15-10 at the break -- three of them veterans of the 2003 World Cup victory in Australia.

Wing Mark Cueto and flanker Lewis Moody touched down in the first half, while centre Mike Tindall and replacements Lawrence Dallaglio, Matt Dawson and Tom Voyce did so after the interval.

England's performance was full of confidence, forward control and intelligent running, a far cry from last year's Cardiff fixture that Wales took 11-9 and another step forward from last November's tests.

"It's our ability to play in different ways and I think that showed today," Robinson said. "We are not trying to kid ourselves that we are better than we are but we did show an improvement and a more complete game."

His Wales counterpart Mike Ruddock saw no disgrace in the size of the defeat and said: "If ever we're going to have a test of playing depth, it's best that it happens this year rather than next year, a World Cup year."

FRANCE NEXT
Ireland, who scored two tries to one, need a dramatic improvement when they meet France in Paris next weekend.

"If you go to the Stade de France and play like that you're going to get obliterated," said captain Brian O'Driscoll in a brutal summing up of the Lansdowne Road match.

Coach Eddie O'Sullivan, however, said Ireland could benefit from the more open game he expects France to display.

"I think France will throw the ball around a bit and it will be an open game which will suit us," he told the post-match news conference.

Italy have to quickly lick the wounds of a Dublin defeat in which the luck was with the Irish to brace themselves for England's visit to Rome next weekend.

Captain Marco Bortolami came off early with a head wound that needed three stitches but the hurt was more psychological for Pierre Berbizier's team after a controversial try helped the home side to their win.

Television replays appeared to show that wing Tommy Bowe did not touch the ball down properly for Ireland's second try and Berbizier complained afterwards that the referee had not consulted the video umpire.

"We want to play with the same rights as the other team, we cannot play with a handicap," Berbizier said.

Bortolami said the improving Italy side has "another small step to make to win these matches”.

Oscar Shew memorial dominoes set for Everest on February 19
THE much anticipated annual Oscar E. Shew Memorial Points System twelve-team two-round aggregate Domino competition will come to life with at the Everest Cricket Club Pavilion, Camp Road, on Sunday, February 19.

Oscar Shew passed away on February 15, 1999 in the U.S.A. and in a fitting tribute his son, dominoes enthusiast Manniram Shew decided to hold a memorial tourney and has up-kept this tradition since it was first played in 2000.

The late Oscar was also a charter member of the South Georgetown Lions Club and was awarded the Melvin Jones Fellowship (25 years Lionism Service), and a one-minute silence would be observed after which a tribute will be done by the president of the South Georgetown Lions Club along with other members and club president of Everest Cricket Club.

Prizes at stake are: 1st - a winning trophy and $63 000; 2nd runner-up trophy and $45 000 dollars while 3rd prize will be a trophy and $27 000.

The teams that are to be in contention for top honours are: Infinity, Canal ‘6’, Future, Friends, Desperado, F&H Supremes, Tennis, Taliban, International 6, Sri Lanka, Frankie’s and Everest, Zeelugt Sports Club, Snake, Professional 6, Mean Machine, Rebels, Segundo, Honesty, Shop 6, Matrix, Turning Point, Determined Guys, Snake, One Love, Generals and Yard Dogs.

The points system rules developed by dominoes enthusiast ‘Mannie’ Shew are hereby explained: for each 6 games made the team will gain 15 points, for each 5 games made the team gains 10 points, for each 4 games made the team gains 8 points, for each 3 games made the team gains 6 points, for each 2 games made the team gains 4 points, for every 1 game made the team gains 1 point, for each love the team receives the team loses 5 points.

A committee will be set up comprising four members who will be in charge of any ‘underhand’ or corrupt during the tournament.

Any team found or adjudged by members of the committee to be in fraudulent or ‘scampish’ business will be disqualified with their money not refundable. An example of such an act is: if any team that has no chance of winning and has been offered money by another team to throw the match to them, both teams will be disqualified. Also any other interferences will be judged by the committee who will make their decisions.

Other interested teams are asked to contact Manniram Shew on 227-2447 and 625-4134. Orin Boston on 231-6317 ext. 225 and 616-1958, Edmund Sammy on 216-3949 or 642-6250 and Roderick Harry on 226-3243-9 ext. 259. Teams will play on a first-come basis.

All teams are kindly asked to walk with a good pack of playable dominoes. Starting-time is scheduled for 12:00 h and the entrance fee per team is $9 000.

Shearer sets Newcastle record, 200 up for Henry
By Tony Jimenez
LONDON, England (Reuters) - Former England captain Alan Shearer broke Newcastle United's goal-scoring record in a 2-0 home win over fellow strugglers Portsmouth yesterday.

The 35-year-old, who took on the role of assistant to caretaker boss Glenn Roeder following the midweek sacking of Graeme Souness, scored in the second half to eclipse Jackie Milburn's record of 200 goals.

"Knowing Alan Shearer like I do, he will be happy to share that (the record) with the fans and send them away really happy," Roeder told Sky Sports.

It was Newcastle's first victory in seven league games and lifted them to 15th in the table, having picked up 29 points from 24 games.

France striker Thierry Henry also reached a significant milestone, grabbing his 200th goal for injury-hit Arsenal in their 2-0 triumph at Birmingham City.

Arsenal, on 40 points, moved up one place to fifth, one point behind neighbours Tottenham Hotspur who host Charlton Athletic in a London derby today.

Leaders Chelsea entertain third-placed Liverpool today, allowing second-placed Manchester United to trim their lead to 12 points with a lively 4-2 victory over Fulham at Old Trafford.

An inspired Cristiano Ronaldo was twice on target for the Reds, the first a swinging free kick, and his second coming late on to quell a spirited challenge from a Fulham side without an away win this season.

Park Ji-sung and Louis Saha were also on target for United in a five-goal first half in which Brian McBride and Heidar Helguson twice reduced the deficit to a single goal.

United manager Alex Ferguson refused to concede the title and said he would become a Liverpool fan for the day today.

"I will have my red and white on to support Liverpool against Chelsea today)," he told Sky Sports.

"It can happen -- it happened to us once -- but (Chelsea) are consistent and unless they really throw the championship away I can't see it. They really need to make catastrophic mistakes."

Luke Moore's hat-trick inspired Aston Villa to a 4-0 rout of sliding Middlesbrough while new signing Dean Ashton marked his first start for West Ham United with a goal in the 2-0 home win over bottom club Sunderland, who had Stephen Wright sent off.

West Bromwich Albion defeated Blackburn Rovers 2-0 and Bolton Wanderers shared a 1-1 draw with Wigan Athletic.

JORDAN OFF
David Weir's goal gave Everton a 1-0 win at home to Manchester City, who had Stephen Jordan sent off with one minute to go.

New signing Dean Kiely was in sparkling form for second-from-bottom Portsmouth and it took Newcastle until the 41st minute to force the breakthrough.

Kiely made a fine save to deny Shearer but Charles N'Zogbia was on hand to convert the rebound.

Shearer, in his 550th top-flight appearance, made it 2-0 after 64 minutes when he beat Kiely having run on to a ball from Shola Ameobi.

"Everything was perfect because it was a win, he scored from open play, which I think he would have preferred to have done, and it couldn't be a more perfect day for Alan Shearer, the rest of the players and the fans," Roeder said.

Former Monaco striker Emmanuel Adebayor, just back from African Nations Cup duty with Togo, marked his Arsenal debut with a 22nd-minute goal at third-from-bottom Birmingham.

Arsenal, fielding an inexperienced side, made sure they ended a run of three defeats in four games when the club's record scorer Henry raced into the penalty area and slammed in a left-foot shot on 63 minutes.

"I am very pleased for him (Henry)," said Wenger. "He gave a great performance as well, just like the whole team did.

"But today I think he will be like everyone else, focusing more on the victory than on his 200th goal."

To add to Birmingham's woes, Emile Heskey was sent off with seven minutes left.

Drogba penalty puts Ivory Coast through
… to play Nigeria in semis
By Trevor Huggins
CAIRO, Egypt (Reuters) - Captain Didier Drogba converted the winning spot-kick to give Ivory Coast a 12-11 penalty shoot-out victory over Cameroon yesterday to clinch an African Nations Cup football semi-final with Nigeria.

With extra time finishing 1-1, Drogba rifled home the winner after Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o, the tournament's top scorer, became the first player to miss from the spot after all 22 previous players had found the net.

The game burst briefly into life after 90 minutes of tedium when Ivorian Bakary Kone rifled home in the second minute of extra time and Cameroon levelled three minutes later with fellow substitute Albert Meyong Ze.

Having also drawn 1-1 after extra time, Nigeria beat Tunisia 6-5 in a penalty shootout in the earlier quarter-final in Port Said to reach their semi-final berth in Alexandria on Tuesday.

Host nation Egypt will play Senegal in the other semi-final in Cairo on the same day.

The dramatic end to the game at Cairo's Military Stadium followed successful spot-kicks by all 11 players from each side, including the goalkeepers.

When Eto'o stepped up for his second penalty he skied it high over the bar.

Drogba, whose men had lost home and away to Cameroon in qualifying but still pipped them to a place at the World Cup in Germany, made sure there would be no revenge for his opponents as he swept his second penalty home.

Victory followed a game in which Ivory Coast had settled first, their midfielders quick to open the supply line through to Drogba, who flashed a header wide after a few minutes after Kanga Akale's inviting cross from the left.

Eto'o landed in a heap twice in the early exchanges and it was soon clear the Barcelona striker was going to face some crunching tackles.

With the Ivorians pushing forward, Cameroon keeper Hamidou Souleymanou needed to make a brave save as Drogba lunged at a bouncing ball in the area after a long punt upfield.

ETO'O CHANCE
The only real scoring chance of the half fell to Eto'o five minutes before the break.

The Barcelona striker raced on to a great through-ball from Jean Makoun but his shot was brilliantly parried by keeper Jean-Jacques Tizie and then deflected away off defender Emmanuel Eboue.

Ivory Coast, looking hungrier for the win and more determined in the tackle, kept up the pressure right from the re-start, winning a series of corners.

Rigobert Song replied with a bullet header from Geremi's corner that would have been a certain goal had the Cameroon captain been able keep it on target.

However, the match soon became bogged down again with neither side able to find time and space to create much, relying instead on flashes of individual skill, such as Drogba's swivel and shot on 68 minutes.

Without creating any clear-cut chances, Cameroon gradually took the upper hand and defender Timothee Atouba nearly struck the goal of the tournament with a 25-metre pile-driver which Tizie tipped over the bar.

Extra time came as no surprise, but the early fireworks did.

Arouna Kone crashed a 20-metre shot against the Cameroon crossbar and Bakary Kone managed to control the rebound and rifle home a low shot.

Cameroon hit back straight away with Geremi rattling the Ivorian crossbar before Meyong Ze was played in by Daniel Ngom Kome for a clinical finish.

The action finished there, sending the game to a prolonged, nail-biting finish.

Rangers booed off after 3-0 Cup defeat by Hibs
By Kenny MacDonald
GLASGOW, Scotland (Reuters) - Rangers' last realistic hope of silverware evaporated when they crashed 3-0 at home to Hibernian in the Scottish FA Cup fourth round football yesterday.

Furious fans booed the champions off the pitch and manager Alex McLeish, who has been under pressure for several months, said he was "hurting more than the fans".

"We are all hurting," he told the BBC. "I would say to the supporters we are hurting the same as you and we feel it. And I will feel it 10 times more than our supporters."

Scotland striker Garry O'Connor headed home a fine cross by Ivan Sproule in the 50th minute and the two combined for a stunning second goal eight minutes later. This time O'Connor headed the ball on for Irishman Sproule to score.

New Zealand substitute Chris Killen squeezed a close range shot beyond Dutch keeper Ronald Waterreus in the 78th minute.

Rangers are third in the league with 43 points from 24 games and trail leaders Celtic by 15 points.

"Missed chances in the first half is what happened in terms of us coming in level at halftime," McLeish said.

"Even at the second goal we were very much in it, but we didn't defend well from then on in."

Hibernian manager Tony Mowbray said: "They have better players than we have so we had to be organised and disciplined and we got our rewards in the end.

"We hope for a good draw in the next round and be 100 per cent committed and focus on that game.”

PEPPERPOT - LEAD STORIES

Students on show!
LAST week, the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall was a hive of activity as students converged there to either perform at the various levels of Children’s Mashramani Competition, or lend support to participants. Among the categories for the contest were `Topical’, `Fantasy’, `Combination’, `Dramatic Poetry’, `Calypso’, `Dancing’ and `Masquerade’.

Photographer Quacy Sampson, who has been following the competition, snapped this St. Agnes Nursery School student and second prize winner of the nursery individual segment in the Fantasy category, performing ‘Glitters and More’; and students of Starter’s Nursery School performing their first prize entry, ‘Angels of Peace’, of the nursery group in the Fantasy category.

Preserving our literary heritage
Landmarks of Literature -
Guyanese Anthologies of Prose and Poetry
by Petamber Persaud
AS A NATION grows, periodic assessments of every aspect of that development are necessary. It’s unfortunate that the literature that mirrors that society is omitted from the reckoning. It’s unfortunate the literature that acts as a barometer of a nation’s progress is not taken into account. Perhaps that’s why the work of anthologists is so vital – they are bookkeepers of the nation’s invaluable literary heritage. Anthologists are makers and shapers of a literature and could be held responsible for whatever label – good or bad – is pasted on that body of work.

A country is identified by its literature. And so far, Guyana has benefited enormously from her anthologists and their anthologies.

An anthology for the purpose of this article is a collection of stories or poems or a combination of both genres by various writers. It would be useful also to be mindful that an anthology, in original Greek language, meant a collection of flowers. Consequently, an anthology ought to be and do a number of things. An anthology ought to bring out the best, bring attention to the best, have a fair representation of the literary landscape, and provide writers with a wider audience. Additionally, an anthology ought to be able to form a link between the writer and the reader; it ought to be some sort of record of the achievement of the people and so serve to build a sense of national pride.

Quite a constraint for a book; enough reasons why many anthologies begin with apologies.

Our Guyanese anthologies are no different from the rest suffering from lack of space which leads to omission of longer materials and a true representation of prolific writers covering different periods; inadequate funding; lack of access to certain works leading to oversight; and subjection to an anthologist’s personal preferences and prejudice.

The story of our first anthology, `GUIANESE POETRY’, edited by N. E. Cameron in 1931, is quite enlightening. While at the University of Cambridge, Cameron was embarrassed to find that he was unable to give an account of the literature of his country. Returning home, he researched our literature covering a period of one hundred years, resulting in the country’s first major landmark of its poetry.

The first anthology of writings by East Indians was `AN ANTHOLOGY OF LOCAL INDIAN VERSE’ edited by C. E. J. Ramcharitar-Lalla in 1934. However, most of the twenty one poems in that collection were steeped in Victorian influence as seen in a poem by W. W. Persaud, ‘reluctant be to throw aside the reins of England, as thy guide’.

With that collection, Guyana was able to boast of a second anthology in a short space of time.

The first anthology of stories may be `STORIES FROM GUYANA’ which was printed in the late 1960s or early 1970s. This collection of children stories were written by Rajkumari Singh, Sheila King, Doris Harper-Wills, Cecile Nobrega, Evadne D’Oliveira and others. Many of these stories were later reprinted in `THE LURE OF THE MERMAID AND OTHER CHILDREN STORIES’ edited by Janet Jagan in 2002.

The first anthology of prose and poetry was `MY LOVELY NATIVE LAND’ edited by Arthur and Elma Seymour in 1971. This collection may be the first to be published abroad - Longman Caribbean Publishers.

The first anthology of women writers was `GUYANA DRUMS’, published in 1972 with poems by Syble Douglas, Pat Cameron, Sheila King, Evadne D’Oliveira, Mitzie Townshend and Shana Yardan.

The country’s greatest anthologist was A. J. Seymour who was responsible for about a third of the country’s anthologies. His first anthology was `FOURTEEN GUIANESE POEMS FOR CHILDREN’, published in 1953 in a story book fashion that you could read in one of his autobiographies. One year later, he followed that up with `THE KYKOVERAL ANTHOLOGY OF GUIANESE POETRY’, devoting a whole issue of the literary journal he started editing in 1945.

In 1961, Seymour produced `THEMES OF SONG’, a collection of forty five poems, requested by the then Minister of Education, Honourable Balram Singh Rai to mark the conclusion of National History and Culture Week 1960. This collection holds the distinction of been a national bestseller with the sale of 5000 copies!

As mentioned before, anthologies mark certain periods in the history of a country. After the country gained its independence from Britain in 1966, Guyana was able to boast some eight anthologies in the next ten years.

In 1968, Donald Trotman produced `VOICES OF GUYANA’. About this period `STORIES FROM GUYANA’ surfaced.

In 1971, Arthur Seymour teamed up with his wife, Elma, to produce, `MY LOVELY NATIVE LAND’.

`GUYANA DRUMS’ came out in 1972. Then in 1973, Elma Seymour edited `SUN IS A SHAPELY FIRE’. In 1974, the Progressive Youth Organisation (PYO), youth arm of the PPP, published `FOR THE FIGHTING FRONT’ to mark its 8th Festival Congress.

To mark our tenth anniversary of Independence, the National History and Arts Council produced, `INDEPENDENCE TEN, GUYANESE WRITING 1966-1976’.

In December 1976, the National History and Arts Council produced `TWENTY FOUR STORIES’ to mark the successful staging of one of its creative writing courses. This author graduated from that session with a short story entitled, ‘After the Storm’.

After the 1980s, other anthologists surfaced with the most prolific been Roopnandan Singh who edited and published in 1997, `SKY DANCE’ an Anthology of Poems by Guyanese of Indian Ancestry, followed by `ETERNAL QUEST’ in 2000, `JUST A NUMBER’ in 2001, `CRAB-MAN’ in 2003 and others.

In 1986, Laxhmi Kallicharan produced `HRAADANJALI’ Kampta Karran in 1991 produced `AN INTRODUCTION TO THE POETRY OF THE EAST INDIAN DIASPORA 1901-1991’.

`THEY CAME IN SHIPS’, An Anthology of Indo-Guyanese Prose and Poetry, selected by Lloyd Searwar, Ian McDonald, Laxhmie Kallicharan, and Joel Benjamin was published in 1988 to mark 150th anniversary of the arrival of East Indians from India to Guyana.

And the list goes on. But to round off this article, mention must be made of anthologies edited by Guyanese in the Diaspora like those by O. R. Dathorne, Frank Birbalsingh, Victor Ramraj, John Agard and Grace Nichols.

As Guyana celebrates its 40th independence anniversary, we could look back with pride to the wonderful literary heritage shaped by our anthologies of prose and poetry.

Responses to this author telephone (592) 226-0065 or email: oraltradition2002@yahoo.com

Passenger jailed for taking currency to airport for export
Loses appeal but sentence varied to a fine
By George Barclay
BUSINESSMAN Moneram Hazari, who took foreign currency to the Timehri International Airport in 1973 for the purpose of export, was convicted by a magistrate and fined three times the money involved. He was also sentenced to six months imprisonment.

His appeal to the Full Court of Appeal was dismissed and so was his final appeal to the Guyana Court of Appeal in 1976.

But, that final Court, presided over by Chancellor J.O.F. Haynes and Justices of Appeal E.V. Luckhoo and Keith Massiah, dismissed the appeal, affirmed the conviction and forfeiture but varied the sentence to a fine of $1, 000, or six months imprisonment in default.

The facts of the case are that on September 29, 1973, the appellant was at the Timehri Airport for the purpose of travelling to Canada. Having passed through immigration, he was on his way to board the aeroplane when Ronald Hunte, an officer of the Customs and Excise Department stationed at the airport, accosted him.

On being questioned, Hazari said that he had declared $23 in Canadian currency and that he had no other money in his possession.

On conducting a search of the appellant’s bags, Hunte found $1, 945.00 in United States of America currency notes and $569.00 in Canadian currency notes in three glass containers which were in three jars of achaar

In the appellant’s clothing he found currency notes of those countries in the sum of $62.00. The appellant admitted that it was Canadian and American currency. He was charged with bringing currency notes to an airport for the purpose of exportation contrary to Para. 3 of Part III of the Fifth Schedule to the Exchange Control Ordinance, 1958.

He was found guilty and fined three times the sum of money he was allegedly endeavouring to export or in default thereof, he was to serve a term of imprisonment of six months. The money itself was ordered to be forfeited. The appellant’s appeal to the Full Court was dismissed.

On appeal to the Court of Appeal, counsel for the appellant contended that (1) the charge was bad in law. (2) there was no proof that the currency notes were legal tender, and (3) although under section 216 of the Customs Ordinance, Chapter 309, the Comptroller of Customs could elect a penalty of treble the value of the goods in question, such election could only be made on oath on behalf of the Comptroller and this was not done.

Among other things, the Appellate Court held: (1) That the charge was not bad in law and was properly laid under the Exchange Control Ordinance 1958 and not the Exchange Control Act Chapter 86:01 because the latter was not in force at the date of the commission of the offence, nor was it included in the Laws of Guyana until December 31, 1973, by virtue of the Law Revision Order 1973, which was only made on December 29, 1973.

(2) That the charge was properly laid under the Fifth Schedule of the Exchange Control (Amendment) Ordinance, 1965 since the amendment which had redesignated the Fifth Schedule as the Fourth Schedule had been repeated.

(3) That the charge laid was not bad in law for failing to refer to Section 34 of the Exchange Control Ordinance 1958, as that section referred specifically to actual exportation of currency and not to taking currency to a place for exportation as was the case here.

(4) That the charge should have included a reference to Para 1 (I) of the Fifth Schedule as this was the section creating the offence , but the omission had in no way prejudiced or misled the appellant because the charge, as instituted, clearly indicated to him the case he had to meet.

(5) That the words “This note is legal tender…” and ‘Will pay to the bearer on demand’ which were found on the currency notes were hearsay and inadmissible, but the appellant’s admission and assertion to Hunte that “all is good money” was prima facie evidence and proof that the currency notes were legal tender.

(6) That whether or not the Comptroller has elected a penalty as prescribed by Section 216 of the Ordinance is a matter of which the Court should be satisfied by evidence on oath, and since there was no such evidence, the magistrate was not empowered to fine the appellant treble the value of the currency notes.

(7) That the Court of Appeal inherited the powers of the British Caribbean Court of Appeal, which had the power of amending complaints by virtue of Article 5 (2) by the British Caribbean Court of Appeal Order in Council, 1962, and accordingly the Court of Appeal could amend the complaint in this case by inserting therein a reference to Para I (1) of Para iii of the Fifth Schedule to the Exchange Control: Ordinance, 1958, the judgment of the Court of Appeal declared, as it dismissed the Appeal, affirmed Conviction and forfeiture and varied sentence to a fine of $1, 000 of six months imprisonment in default thereof.

Delivering his judgment, Justice of Appeal Massiah (who later became Chancellor), noted that the appellant was convicted in the magistrate’s court for “bringing currency notes to an airport for the purpose of exportation” contrary to Para 3 of Part iii of the Fifth Schedule to the Exchange Control Ordinance 1958.

At the hearing of the appeal, Senior Counsel Mr. C. Lloyd Luckhoo appeared for the appellant while the then Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Loris Ganpatsingh, appeared for the Respondent, Paul Burnett, Comptroller of Customs.

Biotechnology & Biosafety Column
Sponsored by the Guyana-UNEP-GEF National Biosafety Framework Project
Food and Beverage Biotechnology – and the Risks Associated Part 5
WE HAVE devoted a considerable number of articles in this column to Food and Beverage biotechnology because of its most direct impact on human health, food security, animal husbandry, human, livestock and poultry nutrition, among others. It is this branch of modern biotechnology which evokes the most passionate debate on the potential risks aside from impacts on agricultural biodiversity and, to some extent, the environment.

In our discussions two weeks ago, enzyme engineering/technology and its impact as well as basic aspects of the enzyme technology industry were highlighted. We will provide examples of specific bio-processing functions of some of the genetically engineered enzymes in the food and beverage biotechnology industry.

Functions of GM enzymes in food and beverage processing

GM enzymes in baking –
a. Maltogen amylase (Novamyl) is an enzyme used to delay the process by which bread becomes stale.

b. Alpha-amylase functions in the breakdown of starch as well as the production of maltose

c. Glucose oxidase functions in ensuring the stability of the dough

d. Pentosanase functions in breaking down pentosans, the large molecule carbohydrates derived from five-carbon simple sugars. This leads to reduced gluten production. Gluten is a mixture of two classes of seed proteins called gliadin and glutenin according to the FAO’s Glossary of Biotechnology for Food and Agriculture published in 2001. Gluten causes allergies in some persons. Thus, the use of biotechnology is additionally beneficial to the health of persons allergic to this grain/seed protein.

GM enzymes in soft drinks production –
Glucose oxidase, derived from genetically engineered fungus, Aspergillus niger, is used as an antioxidant in soft drinks. This is the same enzyme, we mentioned last week, is used as a preservative for cold storage of shrimp (Biotechnological Applications of Cold-Adapted Organisms 1999 edited by Margesin & Schinner – Springer-Verlag publishers) because of its genetically engineered ability to be active at low/freezing temperatures.

GM enzymes in the poultry and pig feed industry –
The enzyme phytase is used to “liberate” phytic acid, a bound, unavailable form of phosphate comprising between one and five per cent of the vegetable food/feed for pigs and poultry (Current Reviews in Biotechnology Volume 23 published in 2003). According to the authors of this review, purified phytases have been obtained from 8 bacteria, 10 mold fungi and 10 yeast fungi.

GM enzymes in Beer brewing –
Cellulases, beta-glucanases, alpha amylases, proteases, maltogenic amylases, all together function in the process by which the brew ingredients are turned into “liquid” (liquefaction process). For example, cellulase is the enzyme responsible for digesting the cell walls of the barley grains. The same enzymes are also responsible for what is called clarification, a process which allows for the final beer product to be “translucent” or “see through”- beer quality parameter called clarity. Otherwise, beer will appear “cloudy.”

Maltogenic amylases are derived from genetically engineered bacteria called Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, a “cousin” of the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, source of the famed Bt toxin whose gene has been genetically engineered into cotton, maize and other crops for insect resistance.

GM enzymes in wine making –
e. Glucose oxidase is used to remove oxygen gas (as antioxidant) from wine

f. Pectinase is used to increase wine yield. This enzyme is also used in the jams and jellies industry. It is the enzyme responsible for breaking down a substance called pectin which acts as “cement” between plant cells in the form of what plant anatomy students will identify as the calcium pectate component of the middle lamella.

According to Professor Linda Bisson of the department of Viticulture and Enology, at the University of California – Davis, in her review published 2004 in volume 18 of the journal Food Biotechnology, wine yeasts are presently genetically engineered for intrinsic traits/quality such as fermentation performance, reduction of “off-character” production, increase in aroma character production and improvement of healthfulness of wines. Facts complemented by chapter 3 of Genetically Engineered Foods edited by Professor Knut Heller, published in print 2003 and online 2005.

GM enzymes in fruit juice production –
Pectinase is used to increase the yield of the juice and also in preventing the fruit juice from appearing “cloudy.”

GM enzymes in cheese making
We have mentioned chymosin, the GM enzyme for making cheese instead of the tradition rennet obtained from the stomach linings of calves. The gene for calf chymosin was genetically engineered into the fungus Aspergillus niger, which then had the capacity to produce chymosin outside of calf stomach! Protein digesting enzymes called proteases are also used in the manufacture of cheese.

The bioprocess technology involved in soft cheese production in the light of low-fat healthy food consciousness, has also become complex high tech because of factors influencing flavour and texture development (International Journal of Dairy Technology volume 57 number 4 published in November 2004)

In Guyana, a number of the cheese brands on the market indicate they have proteases derived from Endothia parasitica. According to Cornell University data, since 1990 when GM chymosin was approved following stringent food safety risk analysis, more than 70 per cent of US manufactured cheese is now based on GM chymosin.

It is important to note some basic facts. According to a report published in 2001 by the International Life sciences Institute of Europe, headquartered in Belgium, “Genetic modification technology and food – Consumer health and safety” (page 9) (quoted here): “It is impossible to provide an adequate supply of ‘traditional’ calf chymosin: the global annual cheese production of 14 million tones requires 56,000 kg [kilograms] of chymosin, equivalent to 70 million tones of calf stomachs.” Can you imagine how many “baby” cattle would have to be slaughtered for this amount of chymosin?

Next week, we shall take a very brief tour of some of the other areas of food and beverage biotechnology – food additives, nutraceuticals, phytonutrients, probiotics and prebiotics.

Email address: caesarbiosafety@yahoo.com or coordinator@biosafetyguyana.org
* The National Biosafety Framework Project is executed under the auspices of the
Environmental Protection Agency

Cesar Castellani:
Our most prolific nineteenth century architect
Prepared for the National Trust of Guyana by Lennox J. Hernandez, Senior Lecturer, Department of Architecture, University of Guyana.

CESAR Castellani, after whom Castellani House on Vlissengen Road has been named, was the most prolific of out 19th century architects. He came to British Guiana in 1860 with a group of Italian priests, as a Lay Brother for the Jesuits, and was responsible for a variety of architectural works for the Catholic Church. Following his release from the Jesuits in 1872, Castellani turned fully to architecture. In 1873, he married a Guianese, at Sacred Heart Church, and later became choirmaster and organist there. He lived at Lot 64 Middle Street – we believe that the house he lived in still stands. Cesar Castellani died in Georgetown on August 2, 1905.

Castellani was educated in Italy. He was an accomplished architect; his works showing solid professional training and familiarity with contemporary European architecture and architectural writings. Whilst the majority of his works can be found in Georgetown, he also designed the Public Hospital in New Amsterdam. Possibly his earliest building and one for which he received much praise, was St. Mary’s Cathedral (Brickdam) opened in 1868 and destroyed by fire in 1913. This building was described in 1872 as “the finest ecclesiastical building in the West Indies”. The design was of the European Gothic style prevalent during that century, the building possessing a wonderfully intricate steeple and very decorative windows. Another of his early projects was the Girls’ Orphanage building in the compound of St. Joseph’s Ursuline Convent, Camp Street, opened in November 1869.

In 1872, Castellani was granted leave from the Jesuits and joined the staff of the Public Works Department under Baron Hora Siccama, the Colonial Engineer, as a draughtsman. A major project for Castellani was the alterations and additions (1872-1882) to the Sacred Heart Church, Main Street. This wooden building by Fr. Benedict Schembri, was originally much smaller. Castellani added the western entrance and twin towers (Castellani’s original twin towers were squatter and were raised sometime after 1917 to its present height). He also designed the extensions at North, south and east sides again in wood, thus completely enveloping the original structure. During the construction, he was said to have been “unmanageable” and had his contract terminated. Recognising his design capability, however, Fr. Ignatius Scoles, priest/architect, wrote in the prestigious local journal, `Timehri’, in 1885, that the front façade of Sacred Heart Church was “the finest ecclesiastical specimen of the Italian style in Demerara.”

Cesar Castellani’s creativity extended to the interior decoration of his buildings: his delightful treatment of the interior of the Sacred Heart Church, including the beautiful High Altar and tabernacle, and the intricate ceiling of its sacristy, attest to his artistic ability. He became involved in the internal design of other buildings. For example, the 1875 coffered timber ceiling of the Parliament Chambers (reconstructed this year); and the 1882 main bar of the Demerara Ice House, unfortunately replaced in the late 1940s. The bar was based upon the most advanced European café design and was described by one architectural historian as “good as anything in Paris or Berlin.” The style of the decorative ceiling of the dining hall in State House is such that we believe that this too is Castellani’s creation. In 1888, Castellani was engaged on the interior decoration to the sanctuary of the St. Mary’s Cathedral.

The Public Hospital in New Amsterdam, just recently losing its prime function, is another of Castellani’s fine works. Opened in 1885, the hospital was described by the Resident Surgeon, Dr. E.D. Rowland, as being “the model hospital in the Western tropics’ because of the suitability of the design to our warm-humid climate”. One particular building project usually credited to Baron Siccama, the Colonial Engineer, is the 1887 Supreme Law Courts, Georgetown, now the High Court. The architecture of the building, however, suggests very strong inputs from Castellani. In the Caribbean, Castellani designed the Catholic Cathedral in St. Patrick’s, Barbados (1898-1899). This may have been his last project.

Top Education student says
Prayer, support of loved ones, determination key to success
By Stacey Bess
THE 2005 best graduating student in the Education Programme from the University of Guyana‘s School of Education and Humanities was stunned when Sunday Chronicle called her last week seeking an interview regarding her excellent performance.

Although she attended the 2005 graduation ceremony held last November at UG’s Turkeyen Campus and felt satisfied with achieving her Bachelors of Education Degree with distinction, Neeta Chowtie was oblivious that she had also copped the Vice Chancellor’s Special Award for Best Graduating Student other than the winner of the President’s Medal and the Chancellor’s Medal, who in the opinion of the School’s Special Panel, has demonstrated the most outstanding research ability in the Education Degree Programme.

“It’s hard for me to absorb this,” she told the Sunday Chronicle, “but I’m very happy,” she added.

Twenty-eight year-old Neeta Chowtie’s family tree is laden with teachers. She began to blossom in this noble profession at age 16 at her primary-level alma mater, Graham’s Hall Primary School, Graham’s Hall, East Coast Demerara, where she continues to serve. She started as a junior teacher and is now a trained graduate.

Chowtie was born at Suddie, Essequibo Coast and lived at Affiance, also on the Essequibo Coast, until she was four years old. She has lived the last 24 years at Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown, a small community, she says, in which everyone was once familiar with one another. Today, Cummings Lodge is a busier community, which is home to people from different parts of the country, especially those who are seeking residency close to UG’s Turkeyen Campus.

Chowtie said that the seeds planted by other family members in the education sector in Guyana bore fruit in her life, making it easy for her to propagate the family tradition.

Moreover, she likes being around children.
“I like to listen to their conversations. Sometimes I think that I’m still a child at heart. And they are so innocent, they speak freely, without holding back; they are honest. With adults, most times, the truth does not come out the right way,” she posited.

The St. Roses High School alumni earned her Trained Teachers Certificate (Primary) from the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) in 1997. At CPCE, she had chosen science as an optional area of study. For her astuteness in the subject she was awarded the Vice Principal’s Award for Science (content) and the Vinelli Industries prize for Best Graduating Student in Science (methodology).

Chowtie’s interest in science spawned her university years prompting her to explore ‘The Interactive Teaching of Science at the Primary Level’ for her research project in partial fulfilment of the Degree in Education.

Students of Graham’s Hall Primary became the subjects of the research activity as Ms. Chowtie compared the traditional “chalk and talk” method of teaching science with the technique of utilising manipulative aids. In essence, she evaluated the effects of passive learning against that of active learning.

Her findings revealed, after engaging two classes – one in active learning style and the other in passive approach – utilising the identical curriculum, that the active learners demonstrated a deeper understanding of the subject over the passive learners. A corresponding mode of assessment was the basis for conclusion.

“It was difficult to cope between school and assignments,” she recounted.

After school she rested before planning school lessons for the following day. Early morning hours, between 02:00 hrs. and 05:00 hrs., became her study period.

Ms. Chowtie, who is from a single-parent family, had to unravel numerous kinks to get to the prize. Her mother and brother are elated by her success.

Her mother, whom she described as her greatest strength, became ill during her final year at UG.

“At one time I thought that I was not going to finish what I started,” she said.

The encouragement of her mother, younger brother, friends and colleagues motivated her to finish the Education Degree.

Chowtie has concluded, “Determination is the key to success, but you cannot be successful without the support of family, friends, and prayer.”

She is grateful to Mr. Edward Jarvis; Ms. Gaitri Singh; Ms. Padmoutie Pooran; former Headmaster of Graham’s Hall Primary School, Mr. Prince David; the staff of Graham’s Hall Primary; and Research Lecturer, Ms. Ruth Downer for their support.

Daughter of the soil excels in US
ABOUT two weeks before Christmas 1999, Guyanese 11 year-old Sheron Alene Mead received one of the most precious gifts of her life – two loving adoptive parents.

Their input in her life is facilitating her grooming into a phenomenal woman who is well on her way to a lifetime of greatness.

She celebrates her 18th birthday on March 2, this year. Already she has acquired recognised experience in aviation, has been having dialogue with members of the United States Congress, and has received the highest honour that a Governor can give to a citizen.

She was born to 100 per cent Amerindian parents of the Carib tribe and was adopted by Bill and Catherine Mead of South Ohio, United States of America in Guyana, December 7, 1999.

Her new parents took her home to Ohio, USA, one week later. Her adoption by the Meads was sealed in Scioto County, Ohio, USA on February 24, 2000.

Mead’s acculturation to American language and customs was an extensive crossover.

Evidently, her parents, Bill and Catherine, did everything in their power to motivate her into social acceptance.

Church involvement aided this process well. Mead was baptised at Friendship Church of Christ less than three months after taking up residency in Ohio, on March 7, 2000. Every year, she comes to Guyana to visit and work with missions of the Church of Christ. Each year, she also participates in a variety of church activities, which include helping the poor, Vacation Bible School, and church camp.

US citizens’ adoption of an indigenous Indian girl from South America, who is on the road to success, will make an interesting feature story any part of the world. And the Meads have done their part to give their daughter recognition and media coverage. In 2000, two newspapers interviewed her. Both publications of Portsmouth, Ohio featured her on the front page. In 2004, she was also featured in a Sunday publication of a Georgetown, Guyana newspaper.

In a letter to the Sunday Chronicle, the Meads said Sheron attended Bet Sehfer Academy (a home school) from December 1999 until graduation February 5, 2004. Mead was featured as a member of Who’s Who Among American High School Students, 2002-2003. She started at the Rickenbacker Air Force Base at Columbus, Ohio, and was scheduled to re-enter Shawnee State University last month.

Even, prior to gaining US citizenship on June 30, 2000, the Honourable Ted Strickland, Member of Congress, had a flag flown for her over the United States Capitol on February 2, 2000. Sheron Mead has since travelled to Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Canada and Scotland.

The tenacious Carib spirit is certainly alive in this young lady’s soul.

She became a Cadet Airman First Class in the Civil Air Patrol (no longer active); an active member in 4-H; and has met and had discussions with three members of US Congress and one member of US Senate – Congressman Mike McIntyre, Senator Elizabeth Dole, Congressman Rob Portman and Congressman Ted Strickland.

Her talks with the Congress and Senate members must have been impressive since she was made a Congressional Intern to Congressman Rob Portman in September 2004 and worked in his Portsmouth, Ohio office once a week. Last year October, she was appointed Congressional Intern to Congresswoman Jean Schmidt after she received a latter of support and recommendation from Congressman Portman. He is now a Presidential Cabinet Member (Secretary of Trade).

Sheron Mead was made Honourable Member of the Kentucky Colonels on February 24, 2003. This is the highest honour the Governor can give a citizen. She became a member of Young Eagles (flying club) in April 2003 and completed Red Cross CPR and First Aid studies that same year.

She has had extra lessons in flight instruction, sign language and piano. She got her Ohio driver’s licence in 2004 shortly after receiving her acceptance letter to attend Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio.

Her other credits include recognition from the Ohio Air National Guard. She took MEPS on July 5, 2005; was inducted July 28; left for BMT at Lackland AFB August 30, 2005; completed USAF Basic October14, 2005 and was promoted to Airman First Class with two medals. (Stacey Bess)

Book Review:
The Brown Curtains by Clive Sankardyal
by Chamanlall Naipaul
A REMARKABLE piece of literature has joined the list of excellent Guyanese novels. This time, the author is a former career teacher from a humble rural background. But surely, this first novel will remove him from obscurity.

The Brown Curtains’ by Clive Sankardyal expected to hit the bookshelves in Guyana by the end of this month is indeed a brilliant piece of prose writing for a first novel, and is a must read for every Guyanese, particularly as a means of delving into the more sophisticated and complex issues of race relations, cultural tolerance, sociology, philosophy and politics.

It is not surprising that the book won the St. Lucia National Writers Award - where Sankardyal is currently based - and like many of Guyana’s foremost writers, he has also excelled while being abroad.

Perhaps, being away from the actual situation gives one the space and time to soberly and objectively analyse and reflect on the Guyanese reality which has been so much influenced by politics and race relations.

However, `The Brown Curtains’, in which the main character Raj, a migrant Guyanese pharmacist of Indian descent, becomes involved with Felicity, a St. Lucian beauty of African extraction, and eventually marries her, gives a vivid description of how deep-seated are traditions, culture and religious beliefs. The novel provides an insight into the nerve-wracking complexities they can cause within families.

When Raj’s staunch Hindu parents and siblings back home in Zeelugt hear about his relationship with Felicity and the couple’s intention of getting married, it caused ripples, immediately triggering a feeling of a betrayal of Raj’s religious and traditional beliefs. In the process, Raj is resented and shunned.

“Look wha shame Raj bring pun awe,” Raj’s mother declares, stressing their committed involvement in the Mandir in the village.

Even more distressing to his parents and siblings was the fact that, in accordance with Hindu tradition, they had already “fixed” him with a girl of their choice from the village.

And it is here the long saga of an emotional battle between Raj and his parents becomes intensified. His parents insist on orthodoxy and Raj holds out on his more modern and open approach to issues of love and marriage, and, in a determined manner, resists his parents’ insistence on giving up Felicity to marry the Hindu girl of their choice.

In the end, Raj’s father, reluctantly, painfully, and in a state of depression, attends the couple’s wedding ceremony in St. Lucia, and eventually begins taking steps to accept his daughter-in-law.

While the main plot of `The Brown Curtains’ is the story of Raj and Felicity, this is wonderfully interwoven with an insight of the mindset of Guyanese teachers in the 1980s, about the politics and future of their homeland, which decisively influenced their migration to other Caribbean territories, and the trials and tribulations they endured in adjusting to a new culture and environment.

The intricacies of this process of adjustment is so lucidly narrated by Sankardyal - who refers to himself in the book as Ron - that one gets the feeling that he is actually there with these fellows, particularly those scenes where inevitably tempers flare and all the Guyanese adjectives, expressions and cuss words flow freely.

For a first book, Sankardyal has done a remarkable job, and for those who have read V.S Naipaul’s Miguel Street, they would sense a similarity in style, whereby serious issues of sociology and culture are related in lavish humour and hilarity, but the message remains firmly embedded in the story.

I have been privileged to work with Sankardyal for more than ten years at Zeeburg Secondary School and to be his friend for many more years, and have always found him to be a humble “roots man” with an excellent sense of humour so evidently reflected in `The Brown Curtains’.

It is also no wonder that the setting of his book mirrors the village of Zeelugt, East Bank Essequibo where he lived most of his life and to which he is so committed. While he was living in Guyana, many residents fondly referred to him as `Zeelugt’.

One of the witty characters in the book, `Kalli’, whom Sankardyal describes so vividly, characterises his attachment to Zeelugt and his indelible experiences there, and hence his nostalgic reflection in his book.

FILM CLASSICS ROUND-UP
By Terence Roberts
‘BALL OF FIRE’ MGM. 1942. Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, and Dana Andrews. Directed by: Billy Wilder. B&W.
WHEN I was growing up in the 1950’s in the western half of Shell Road and Barr Street, Kitty, there was a Guyanese lady, Mrs. Brandt, purely of non-Anglo European descent, who quickly realised my artistic bent from the early age of nine, and began to casually guide me towards the reading of unique serious novels and seeing films of similar quality. Mrs. Brandt’s younger sons were my friends and like most of the residents of Kitty back then, the Hollywood cinema with its polished port-holed doors and turquoise lobby filled with vintage posters (like an exciting art gallery) was the most educational place of entertainment and human development in Kitty.

At that time in the 1950’s, the most popular films among boys our age were vintage Westerns with names like: ‘Man from God’s country’. ‘Masterson of Kansas’, ‘Lone Hand’, ‘Ride a crooked trail’, etc, with cowboy stars of strong moral and social values such as George Montgomery, Joel McCrea, Audie Murphy, etc. At Christmas time, the village neighbourhoods, streets, and shops were filled with boys, and some girls, between the ages of seven and fifteen, fashionably dressed in colourful cowboy clothes, our silver, black, and steel-blue six-guns leaving the air filled with cap-pistol smoke as we fought mock battles, seen in such films, between ranchers, marauding “savages”, sheriffs or posses pursuing bad men, lone gunfighters facing each other in the street, etc, etc. All this mock violence around lattice-work wall, stairs, fences, and pillars of our weather-beaten wooden Guyanese houses must have served a seriously valuable therapeutic social purpose in our little lives, since all of us, by no means of rich families, have grown up to be law-abiding educated professionals in diverse careers, whether in Guyana of abroad.

Films Like `Ball of Fire’ also helped to nurture the possibility of genuine romantic involvement between different classes, races, and personalities of Guyanese boys and girls, in Georgetown and Kitty at least, where in the 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s, adults like Mrs. Brandt did not instruct or prevent their children from developing intimate or social relationships with those of another race or class. This is why I happened to know the Brandt’s weather-beaten but comfortable house so well.

Mrs. Brandt’s interest in my intellectual development increased when she overheard me relating the events of the first novel I had disciplined myself to read to the end, at the age of seven. It was a western called `Silver Canyon’ by Louis Lamour, and this prompted her to invite me into herself and husband’s bedroom where their bookshelves, crammed with paperbacks, were made available to me from then on. Later, at around the age of ten, when I had returned one of the many exciting westerns I chose to borrow, she suddenly took down a different hefty paper back and told me it was time to start reading serious fiction.

The novel was called `Mosquitoes’, the first novel by one of the greatest 20th century novelists, William Faulkner. She told me to keep the novel, and keep trying to read it no matter how difficult it seemed. Indeed, never had I attempted a novel so difficult, with shifting tenses, long winding sentences filled with shifting thoughts. Yet later I came to cherish this great and rare novel about young people becoming artists.

My introduction by Mrs. Brandt to the 1940’s Film `Ball of Fire’, occurred one Kitty afternoon of sea breeze and clear blue skies as she came to her front door, bare feet, and overhearing our young boys’ gossip about neighbourhood girl-attractions. Her freckled face burst into a grin, before she mentioned a film we must remember to see when we became a bit older. The film was `Ball of Fire’ with Barbara Stanwyck as `Sugarpuss’, the showgirl jazz singer in a Nightclub. The film apparently had a reputation as socially daring, and it was not until I was in my late teens that I saw it free of charge at a midweek matinee at the Plaza cinema, where I hung out.

This is the sort of film that had enormous relevance for our earlier Guyanese generation who realised that poverty, little education, and bad social influences could push physically beautiful women into bad company, harming their chances for growth and true happiness. Indeed Stanwyck’s name `Sugarpuss’ reeked of local Creole vernacular, and from the film’s opening scenes with her performing in skimpy silk clothes to the real Gene Krupa Jazz orchestra, we can guess the sort of gold-digging doll she is.

However, the brilliance of this classic film lay in its originality in building its story around the topic of “slang” use, a sort of highly creative hip American Creole language used by the working class, Afro-Americans, Jazz artists, gigolos, and “wise guys”. Sugarpuss is the mistress of such speech; it’s the only language she uses. Gary Cooper is the intellectual studying such language, and he tries to interview her, but even the very rapid slang she uses to dismiss him, interests him, and he asks her to repeat it so that he can write it down. Dana Andrews is Sugarpuss’s con-man boyfriend pursued by the Law. Due to Andrews, she finds herself also wanted, and ends up taking refuge in a strict house with Cooper and a bunch of old wise University Professors.

Such a wild woman in such an intellectual environment is bound to turn conventional values upside down, and soon we see her teaching the Professors how to dance to Jazz and the Latin Cha-Cha-Cha beat. Of course, Cooper’s quiet but unbiased interest gets to Sugarpuss’ heart, and they gradually find true love, Hollywood style, with each other. Con-man Dana Andrews comes to realise too late that Sugarpuss is not really the bad girl he thinks she really is, or wants her to be.

By the time I saw ‘Ball of Fire’ in the late 60’s, I had moved away from Kitty village and almost never saw Mrs. Brandt, because I had become a wild Georgetown ‘sweet boy’, living it up. I never did get a chance to thank Mrs. Brandt for all the good guidance she gave me, so I’m doing it now.

PEPPERPOT - BEAUTY TIPS

UNLEASH THE POWER IN YOU!
By Sherry Bollers-Dixon
This article is about power and how you can use it to be what you want to be, to do what you want to do, and have what you want in life.

LET me break it down. The power that each of us is born with is part of God, the spiritual aspect of our being, which is perfect. This power is a creator, or generator of energy that is either potential or kinetic. Potential energy is passive energy, energy that is stored, waiting to be used. Kinetic energy is active energy, energy that is being used. As active energy, this power is neutral and may be used to create sickness, loneliness, poverty, crime or war – or good health, wealth, peace, friendship, happiness and fulfilment.

God has given us what some call free will, but what if I call it the option of choice. We have the choice to use our power positively or negatively, constructively or destructively. If that is so, you may ask, why on earth would any one choose the negative? No one would consciously make such a choice. And that’s the point! Most of our choices are made unconsciously. You need to heighten your consciousness, your self-awareness, so that you can choose consciously.

The first truth you need to accept is that you are already a complete person, with nothing missing. That’s the way God made you.

The second truth is that you are a creative being. That is your nature, and you’re always creating.

The third truth is that you create from your beliefs about God, yourself, and life in general.

The fourth truth is that you have made decisions about yourself, others, and life that were once conscious decisions, but have become unconscious ones, and yet continue to direct your decisions and to determine the quality of your life.

The fifth truth is that the universe is totally supportive and cooperative. It says “yes” to your ideas, to both the good ones and the bad ones. It’ says “yes” even to an idea that will destroy you. So no one is coming along to save you. Only you can do that.

There is a story of a man who fell into a deep hole and yelled for someone to throw him a rope. When it finally became apparent to him that no rope was forthcoming, he grew tired of waiting and got out himself. What I am getting at is that the same power that traps you also frees you. You have the power and you’ve always used it. You have no choice over that. The power flows continually and will be used, no matter what. You do have a choice as to how you use this power.

Your transformation depends upon conscious choices. And your conscious choices depend upon your increased awareness of yourself, upon your willingness to practice the art and skill of self-observation. Begin to stand back from yourself and observe your thoughts, beliefs, reactions to people, those who push your buttons and those who don’t. Observe your body reactions. Notice when you are tense or relaxed. These are messages from your body, and you should learn to understand them. Observe the results in your life and recognise that the physical universe doesn’t lie. Accept that you can only reap what you sow.

One of the biggest obstacles we create in our lives is our resistance to change. Most of us combat change from the day we are born until the day we die. Knowing that change is inevitable doesn’t stop us from fighting it. We want stability everywhere and think that’s the way to security. We want all our friends, our lovers and our jobs to remain the same. That way we think we will be safe. Over the coming weeks, we will learn together, that when you are at one with yourself and God, you can quit resisting change. You will learn to accept that all expressions of God are dynamic and that, consequently, various aspects of ourselves and our lives are always changing.

OTHERS ARE NOT YOUR SOURCE
Self-reliance depends on knowing deep within yourself that, no matter what’s going on in your life, others are not your source. It’s known that while you do need other people and do choose to react with them, they are not responsible for your happiness.

People may be the avenue, the channel, through which your happiness, well-being and prosperity flow, but they are not the cause. The source is God – your Higher Self – your True Self. Because we think other people are the source of our good, we make them into gods. We look to our parents, children, mates and friends to give us security, abundance and happiness. And, as we think that what we want emanates from others, we become frightened. We come to believe “they” are withholding, and we seek to placate them to get what we think we need. That is what dependence is. We manipulate and threaten others to get what we want. We really believe that if “they” don’t give it to us, we won’t have it. As a result, our relationships become based upon dependence instead of upon love.

To look to others as the source of your life is to look in the wrong place, and you will never be satisfied. You may try to find a substitute for love by insatiably seeking money, food or possessions, but ultimately you will still feel empty and alone. Look at the tragedy of Marilyn Monroe. She was a woman of great beauty and talent, yet she died of an overdose of drugs. The sadness in her life came because she was not self-reliant. She did not recognise her God within. In her quest for gratification, she used her beauty, talent and helplessness. But no matter how many people adored her, either as fans or as friends, it wasn’t enough. She didn’t know that she was the source. She thought it might be anyone or everyone else. She was begging for someone, something to fill the empty vessel of herself, never recognising the ironic truth.

We all do that at one time or another. We beg others to fill us up. But when we are honest with ourselves, we know that it just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because we are already filled with the Spirit, just waiting to be poured forth.

It takes real courage to break out of these snarls. Courage is required because we’ve entangled need and love. Each of us, parent and child, is scared to death that, if the other recognises his or her own wholeness, we won’t be needed. Actually the opposite is true. The more secure, whole, actualised and self-reliant a person is, the more he or she is able to be sensitive and respond to the other person. True self-reliance allows love to flow.

Let’s look at how dependency develops. As parents we don’t accept the fact that maturing is a gradual process. The result is that the child goes from birth to adulthood by curious path. In our desire to keep children dependent – because we think their dependence proves their love for us – we don’t allow them to mature gradually. We don’t allow them to take small, independent mature steps. We don’t allow them to learn from their own mistakes and successes how to handle their own lives. Instead, it’s total dependence one day and complete independence the next. One day we say “Well, you’re only seventeen. You’re still just a kid, so I’ll make the decisions.” The next day, they are eighteen and we say, “You’re an adult now, so get out there and make your own decisions.” In this way, we become the source for our children – and may remain so long past their initial adulthood. So the child becomes mature in years, but not in emotions. The child then looks for, and often finds, a mate he/she hopes will fill the role of the protective parent. The new couple has children and perpetuates the cycle. This dependence of the parents is visited upon the children.

The final twist in this vicious circle is the dependence of old age. It’s sort of a game called “I am old now, so I’ll lose my mind and you’ll take care of me.” So we go from dependence to dependency, from birth through adulthood and into old age without ever achieving maturity and self-reliance.

The sorrow is that each of us has sufficient God-given power to become self-reliant. In fact, we each use our power. Some of us, through lack of consciousness, use it toward sickness and helplessness, others of us, for strengths – we can hide behind. And there are the enlightened ones who use their power within for loving, nurturing, supportive relationships. They are self-reliant ones, the ones who are creative, prosperous and healthy. The marvellous fact is, however, that no matter how misdirected your power was yesterday, YOU CAN make a complete turnaround today. You can do this by expanding your consciousness, your self-awareness and tuning into the Spirit that’s an integral part of your True Self.
(Reprinted from the May 1 issue of the Sunday Chronicle.

PEPPERPOT - DENTIST

Cancer risks
Dr. BERTRAND R. STUART DDS.
A FEW months ago, someone sent an elderly woman to consult me at the Cheddi Jagan Dental Centre. I do not usually attend to patients sent specially to see me at my place of employment, but I made this an exception. The woman said she wanted to have her tooth extracted and when she opened her mouth, one of the worst cancers I ever saw confronted me.

Cancer is one of the leading killers in the world today. It had been established that head and neck cancer predominate among these. Although the specific causes of the cancers usually seen by dentists remain unknown, several factors have been associated with their origin.

Cancers of most head and neck sites have been related to cigarette, cigar and pipe smoking. The relative cancer risk increases with the duration and amount smoked per day. The incidence of oral cancer among cigarette smokers had been estimated to be six times greater than that observed in non smokers and is likely related to a variety of substances, including nicotine and tars in cigarette smoke.

Studies of alcoholic populations who do not use tobacco have demonstrated an increased relative risk of developing oral throat and voice box cancers. Alcohol may serve as a local irritant, causing a chemical burn that increases cell membrane permeability and absorption of cancer-forming compounds dissolved in alcohol. It may also lead to impaired absorption of the nutrients and vitamins that could increase the incidence of cancer. When a person drinks as well as smokes, the risk is multiplied by fifteen.

In 2003, Blot, Winn and Fraumeni, published findings that suggest mouthwash is a possible risk factor in oral and throat cancers. In an interview of 866 patients with oral and throat cancers, risks increased in proportion to duration and frequent mouthwash use regardless of gender. Since then, however, other studies have refuted this despite the high alcohol content in some mouthwashes.

Chronic mechanical oral irritation such as from dentures, irregular or sharp teeth and fillings, hot spicy foods, improper oral hygiene and other physical agents that have been suggested as possible factors in the development of intraoral cancers.

Three groups of DNA viruses have been shown be oncogenic (cancer producing) in humans. These include parvovirus such as human papillomavirus, the adenoviruses, and the herpes virus groups.

Metabolic and dietary deficiencies may also have a role in the cause of head and neck cancers. An increased incidence of oral cavity and throat cancers has been seen in Scandinavian women with Plummer-Vinson syndrome, a disease caused by iron and riboflavin deficiencies. In another case study involving women in North Carolina with oral cavity cancer, a protective effect of diets high fruits and vegetables, including vitamin C and beta-carotene, was seen for patients who were of tobacco and snuff.

Exposures to asbestos and wood dust are occupational risk factors implicated in the development of head and neck cancers. Also causing nasal and sinus cancers are isopropyl oils, sulphuric acid, chromium, mustard gas, and chemicals in leather and textile processing.

Farmers, fishermen and other outdoor workers may be prone to skin cancer (especially the lips) from prolonged ultra violet exposure from the sun’s rays.

It may seem that everything could cause cancer. But the fact of the matter is that genetics plays an important role on deciding whether a person develops cancer or not. The thing to do therefore in any case is to play it safe.

PEPPERPOT - DIRECT ANSWERS

My Three Sons
Just before Christmas, as I was coming home from Christmas shopping, I saw through the basement window, my 19-year-old son and his girlfriend having sex. It was early evening, and my husband and my other two sons were home. I was incensed.

I was ready to march in there and raise the roof. My husband, on the other hand, thought that it would be a mistake and convinced me he would talk to our son the next day. He did, but candy-coated it by saying he thought he had seen them doing something and not to do it again. The bedroom door was also to remain open.

I wasn't happy with that but went along to keep the peace. Two days later, I came home from work at 11 p.m. and found them in his room again with the door closed. Their clothes were on, but I yelled at them and asked her to leave. For almost six weeks now my son and I have not spoken.

My heart is broken because I don't know what to do. I'm the bad guy again, and my husband can't see what the problem is. He feels I should apologise for shouting at them. I feel an apology is in order from my son. Am I missing something? Have I lost all perspective?
Peggy

Peggy, you are not operating a bordello or a flophouse. Your home is not a place where people meet to have sex. Your son is living in your house under your rules. If he wants different rules, he can move out, support himself, and make his own rules.

In setting rules for your son, there are several things to consider. You don't want to become a grandmother any sooner than necessary, and you don't want drugs or alcohol abused in your home. You do want parents of girls to know your house is a place with adult supervision, not a bachelor pad. And you want rules which are reasonable for all three boys.

As long as the boys are in your home, their problems automatically become your problems. The discussion of rules must begin with your husband. His desire to be a "cool dad" undermines the need for order in the household. There is no reason for you to be a bad guy, prison guard, or the only grown-up in the house.
Wayne & Tamara

Lola Wants
I will admit I did not know my husband well when we married. We are both in our early 50s, and I wanted to find someone to spend the remaining years of my life. What I have come to realise is he is still a little boy who is self-centred and uses his anger to control me.

I feel he will lie to me to get his way. For the most part we cruise along with not a lot of acrimony, but underneath the surface I don't trust him doing things in the best interest of our marriage. He did cheat on his first wife, and I found e-mails to and from a woman I don't know.

I get angry sometimes because he pretty much does what he wants, yet I have a nice house, don't have to work, and things are okay most of the time. I have a history of lousy relationships. I don't want to go into therapy, and I don't want to start over again either.
Lola

Lola, you don't want to lose your nice house, you don't want to work, you don't want to go into therapy, and you don't want to start over. Based on what you've said, we suggest you call David Copperfield, the magician.

A man who has walked through the Great Wall of China, levitated over the Grand Canyon, and made the Statue of Liberty disappear may be able to help you. But we can't. What you want is a magic trick.

Tamara
Send letters to: Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield, MO 65801 or email: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com.

PEPPERPOT - OUR ENVIRONMENT

World Wetlands Day – February 2
EVERY year on February 2, people in many parts of the world celebrate World Wetlands Day. Thirty years ago, on that day in the Iranian City of Ramsar, several countries agreed that Wetlands are in danger and that steps need to be taken to save them.

What is Wetland?
Wetlands are areas of land that are wet all year round or at least part of the year. Commonly referred to as swamps, marshes and bogs, wetlands are often found between dry lands and water bodies such as rivers and lakes. Wetlands may not always appear to be wet; many dry out for long periods of time. Others may appear dry on the surface but are soaked underneath

Some wetlands are formed in low-lying areas where water drains and collects. Others border salt or fresh water bodies such as oceans, rivers or ponds. The mangrove forests that are found between the sea and the costal plain in Guyana are wetlands as are the swamps bordering the creeks along the Linden Highway. In some cases, man-made wetlands such as fishponds, irrigated agricultural land, reservoirs and canals are created.

What are the Basic Features of a Wetland?
Wetlands vary in their appearance and size. Differences in plant type, water flow and chemistry (e.g. saltiness, acidity); soil type, landform and climate contribute to the variety of wetland types found around the world. Wetlands may occupy just a few hundred square feet or cover thousands of acres. Despite these differences, Wetlands share three basic features:

Hydrology (water)

Hydric Soils (soils that form due to presence of water,) and

Hydrophytic Vegetation (plants that grow well in wet soils)

Wetland Benefits
These natural systems play an important role in the health of our environment and the quality of our water. Wetlands provide support for:

Fish and wildlife habitats

Complex food webs

Water absorption to reduce flooding and damage

Sediment traps

Erosion control

Water quality

Groundwater to build up (recharge); maintaining flows in streams by releasing water during dry periods

Open space and aesthetic (beautifying) value

Threats to Wetlands
Wetlands are prevented from carrying out their important functions because of man’s bad practices, for example,

Destruction of Mangroves for use as firewood or building material.
Removal of sand from beaches.

Discharge of wastes from factories, farms and households
Squatting.

Use of excessive quantities of fertilisers on crops.
Over-use of wetland resources e.g. fish, birds, palms.

What can you do to protect a Wetland?
There are many things that people can do to protect Wetlands. These include:

Support only Wetland friendly activities in and around these areas.

Avoid disturbing wetlands if possible.

Share information with other people.

Learn more about the Wetlands in your environment.

Encourage Wetland Protection in your community

Lobby for Wetland protection policies.

Wetlands are ‘Lifelines’
The international focus for World Wetlands Day 2006 is the role of wetlands in supporting life and sustaining livelihoods, especially for the poor.

In the face of poverty, wetlands are lifelines for food, transport and business. But irrespective of whether people or countries are rich or poor, wetlands act as lifelines by:

· Protecting people and property during times of heavy rain, absorbing water and releasing it gradually so flooding is reduced.

· Improving water quality through the removal of impurities and the addition of oxygen, enabling water to be used many times over for drinking, farming, irrigation, industry and many other purposes. Without water there is no life.

· Moving sediment and depositing it on flood plains, thus creating fertile soil for agriculture and horticulture.

· Sustaining fisheries, both freshwater and marine, as a basic food commodity for millions of people.

· Providing a stopover for migratory birds on the long flight from one side of the world to the other.

· Contributing to human health and well-being as a venue for recreation and relaxation - ‘there’s something about water’ that renews the mind and body.

In numerous ways, wetlands are lifelines for our continuing existence on this earth, even though we don’t always recognise or respect the vital role they play.

World Wetlands Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of wetlands and to celebrate their infinitesimal capacity for sustaining life.

You can share your ideas with other readers by sending your letters to: “Our Environment”, C/o EIT Division, Environmental Protection Agency, IAST Building, Turkeyen, UG Campus, GREATER GEORGETOWN

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