Dear Editor,According to the media, there will be an attempt by the PPP to debate in Parliament on May 8th the rescinding of the 14 per cent VAT on Private Education. This is an Open Letter to all the Members of Parliament in Guyana, representing all parties, to vote against the VAT on private education.Last week I contacted a number of leaders regarding their views on this question.Minister Khemraj Ramjattan stated that he supports the VAT saying “the government has to raise money” as they have a significant deficit.Marlon Williams, the General Secretary of AFC, stated that he was completely opposed to the 14 per cent VAT, saying that “there should be no VAT on education…. Guyana has fought for free education for almost 50 years and we simply cannot turn our back on it now”.The Deputy Mayor of Georgetown, Lionel Kissoon said, “I sincerely think that the 14 per cent VAT on private education should be rescinded.”Roy Beepat, was clear, “On Behalf of the Giftland Group of companies we urge the Government to repeal this tax on our students…this single Tax can and may be the difference between being re-elected and not, as when the 15,000 petitioners go to the poll they will surely remember this.”Christopher Ram stated, “I find the imposition of VAT on education to be disappointing, depressing and distressing…and most of all disappointed at President Granger.”Peter Bouchard said there is a danger that, “ …our future so-called ‘good life’ should prove to be empty electioneering words, words which will never again be believed when it comes time to vote”.There were about 20 others that I invited to comment, including a number of Cabinet Ministers. It could be that the contact information for them was incorrect or they were simply too busy, but there was no response. Interestingly, the only one to respond was the President.In preparing this letter I re-read all 1,500 comments that have been published on our ipetition (see: www.ipetitions.com/petition/education-vat-free). On February 24th the petition, with more than 14,000 signatures, was delivered to the President and Ministers Winston Jordan and Rupert Roopnarine. There was no response.Some of the comments on the ipetition include:Keith Gordon, Guyana, “.. find another way to raise revenue … please speak out Minister of Education.”Charlotte Francis, Guyana, “…there must be at least one person with a heart in this decision.”Yashoda, Guyana, “…don’t raise an ignorant nation please.”· Christopher Williams, Guyana, “education is the only way out of poverty.”Keshawn McAllister, Linden, “how do you know that I am not paying a loan to afford private education?”Oswin Lynch, Guyana, “where is the study which validates this measure?”Maria, Guyana, “…this is discriminating against private school children.”Renee Chester, Guyana, “…this is not what I voted for.”Annika Narine, Guyana, “…can I ask the persons responsible for this to highlight the benefits of this to us?”Gordon Britton, Grand Bend, Canada, “education is a human right, not a good or service to be taxed like a luxury car.”Merle Huntley, Cape Town, South Africa, “the benefit to the state of an educated population is way more valuable than any amount of tax revenue.”Janet Joseph, USA, “President Burnham promised free education from the womb to the tomb.”Alicia Isaacs, Guyana, “for better future leaders let’s say VAT free education.”Hemchand Balli, Guyana, “the government should show that they care for the people.”Azad Khan, Guyana, “…terrible …retrograde move.”Vaidehi Narine, Guyana, “the future depends on us, don’t try to make it even harder.”Vera Zhigalova, Czech Republic, “education is not a thing by which we should build a country’s finances.”Rajeev, Guyana, “so much for free education.”Anil Balli, Guyana, “show that you really care for the people of Guyana.”Somava Stout, USA, “ a tax on education risks the future.”Kevin McKenzie, Guyana, “people expect the government to be compassionate towards its people.”Andrew Budhram, Arima Trinidad, “draconian at best.”Rondecia Wallace, Guyana, “this move by government is heartless.”Imran Bacchus, Guyana, “adding VAT just makes the future of many Guyanese more difficult.”Amanda B, Guyana, “Yes I have a choice … 2020.”Jason Joseph, Guyana, “ it demonstrates backward thinking.”Peter Bouchard, Guyana, “this is one of the most backward steps ever taken by any government in the world.”· Jaime Singh, Guyana, “I am presently studying at a private school …VAT means I may have to drop out.”Eudo Singh, Guyana, “by destroying the buds you will see no flowers.”Yonette Gordon, Guyana, “APNU/AFC said education should be free for all”.As Members of Parliament you are our elected representatives and we earnestly hope you will vote based on your conscience and not simply follow the party line. Before you vote we urge you to reflect on the following questions:#1: How does a coalition government, with a majority of one, manage to ignore a petition signed by more than 14,000 persons?#2: How can there be a “huge budget deficit” and yet none of the leaders suggest other possible sources of revenue?#3: Others have said, ‘so many of the private schools are not paying their taxes’.Why is it so difficult for a government, with all its powers, to resolve this flagrant injustice?#4: Some Ministers have suggested, that certain schools have been granted tax free status as a “religious school”. Why is the same concession not given to schools run by persons of other Faiths?#5: Senior Cabinet Ministers have stated simply, “they have a choice.” Has the public education system, which is presently the target of a Commission of Enquiry, the capacity to re-integrate the thousands of persons who may be forced to leave private schools?#6: Some claim there is no need for private education as the results from public schools are more than adequate. Have any of those statements been supported by research? The overwhelming body of evidence from national Primary examination results is that private schools are significantly over represented in terms of “success”. Another commentator talks about CSEC success at the top public schools – did he forget the role of the lessons juggernaut here? Moreover, are lessons teachers asked for the 14 per cent or even for any tax?#7: Within a few weeks of the 14 per cent imposition more than 10 per cent of the 800 ABE students at Nations have dropped out and joined the ever-swelling ranks of the unemployed and unemployable in Guyana. The public system has no equivalent course to the ABE programme offered at a small handful of private centres. Furthermore, if the thousands of students at the eight Off-Shore Medical schools cannot find the additional 14 per cent where will they go? The Aeronautical School attracts students from Guyana and the wider Caribbean – the government makes no attempt to provide them with state sponsored training. What will happen to the Jamaican Law school, will the Jamaican Consortium simply look for a more conducive country to do business?#8: Do we care about the international image that has been created by this tax? We cannot find a single example anywhere in the world that has imposed a similar tax on private education.#9: Is it true that “private schools are making significant sums of money?” Yes, some are making “significant” money. Is that wrong? A more pertinent question is “do those schools pay their fair share of tax?” – the ones that are tax compliant pay millions of dollars in Income Tax and Corporation Tax. We need to be careful that we are not developing an anti-private enterprise culture in Guyana – with a huge oil flow around the corner that will not send the right message to the international developers who will be essential to develop those prized riches and who are, no doubt, watching this VAT saga.#10: Why don’t the private schools simply pay the 14 per cent themselves? Yes, that can be done – once all the other businesses in Guyana do the same then the private schools can follow suit.#11: Minister Ramjattan supported his Yes vote by saying simply that there is a significant deficit in the budget. If this happened before elections, rather than after, would they not have been obliged to sincerely listen to and respect the views of the people?#12: In conclusion, where does that leave us? By abandoning any decision for almost a year the government has succeeded in exhausting and frustrating thousands of persons. A significant number of the youth of this country, already disenchanted by politics are now totally disillusioned. They look for their leaders and can’t seem to find them under any political banner.#13: Are the dollars taken worth the pain, suffering and disenchantment of thousands and thousands of persons?We surely deserve answers to each of the above questions from our political leaders. Is that too much to ask for? Should the ‘leaders’ of the country be accountable to the views of the people?SincerelyDr Brian O’TooleDirector, Nations
A dream for a third successive presidential victory for the ruling Unity Party seems to be an illusion as it appears from all indications that the party no longer has no attraction to appease voters come 2017 as corruption scandals continue to mar the party’s future. The latest Global Witness report alleging bribes, which has rocked the government and the general public, seems to be the final nail to the party’s coffin, many have observed.The report implicated top government officials, including the UP Chairman, Cllr. Varney Sherman – who at the time was not in an active government post – of receiving close to a million dollars in bribes. This scandal is not just tarnishing the image of Liberia to the outside world but also tearing the ruling Unity Party into pieces as partisans are now split between the party chairman, Cllr. Sherman, and its standard bearer, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.Cllr. Sherman is at the center of the Global Witness corruption saga, being the lawyer who was retained by the British Sable Mining company and allegedly facilitated over US$950,000 in bribes and other suspicious payments to top government officials.President Sirleaf immediately set up a task force headed by Minister of State without Portfolio, Cllr. Fonati Koffa, to investigate all involved in the report. However, a defiant Cllr. Sherman indicated that he and his law firm (Sherman & Sherman) will not submit to any GOL investigation. The reason, he said, is because he and his law firm, Sherman & Sherman, “are prohibited by the law and the Liberian Constitution from divulging to anyone what we did for Sable Mining or did not do for Sable Mining when we served as their lawyers in Liberia in 2010.” Angry partisans gathered at their chairman’s residence early Monday morning when they heard news of armed LNP officers sent to Sherman’s Congo Town residence. According to his supporters, they were there to ensure that their top brass received the maximum support from the partisans.They indicated that they were also there to resist his arrest; though Court Sheriff and investigators from the LACC had indicated that they were not there to arrest him, but to effect a search warrant issued by the court.“This government has a lot of corruption cases, such as the disappearance of millions at NOCAL and Maritime to pursue, but it is not doing it; why only this Global Witness Report?” Darlington Williams, who said he is a UP partisan, said.The Secretary General of the UP, Wilmot Paye, who arrived early on the scene, spoke against the manner in which the government is handling the situation.Light was shed on the massive divisions in the party by way of profanities while expressing their frustrations with the President over how she is handling the affairs of the party and bringing its top officials into public disrepute. “The government sent armed men at 4:30 a.m. yesterday with no search warrants from the court to search the home of the chairman.“What is at hand now is a legal issue so let the chairman, who represents the image of the party, submit himself to the legal process so that he can vindicate himself. This will bring some level of sanity to the party,” a UP partisan said.He indicated that as it appears now, Sherman’s action is a disgrace to not just the party, but the entire country, and it dampens the chances of the party come 2017.UP partisans are accusing the President of masterminding the entire situation in an effort to get at the party chairman, as it was done after his 2014 senatorial victory when his certification was delayed.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed he is ready to put faith in the club’s young stars rather than delve into the January transfer window.The Argentine has a growing reputation of a willingness to give younger players a chance in the first team.He has been richly rewarded with the emergence of striker Harry Kane this season, who has proved youth can deliver when it matters with 17 goals in 27 games this term.Playmaker Christian Eriksen has also become a key player at White Hart Lane since signing from Ajax two summers ago, with the 22-year-old netting the winning goal in Saturday’s 2-1 Premier League victory over Sunderland.And the Spurs boss insists he is in no rush to add to his “strong side” over January.“I am very focused on my players in our squad, we have a strong side,” Pochettino said.“It is important to recognise the players that have come through the club’s academy.“We have some real talent and they are starting to knock on my door and this is important for our squad.”
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By The Associated Press MIAMI – A former CIA operative and Cuban exile plans to auction what he says is a lock of Che Guevara’s hair, snipped before the Argentinian revolutionary and friend of Fidel Castro was buried in 1967. Gustavo Villoldo, 71, was involved in Guevara’s capture in the jungles of Bolivia, according to unclassified U.S. records and other documents. He plans to auction the hair and other items kept in a scrapbook. “It’s time for me to put the past behind and pass these on to someone else,” said Villoldo. The scrapbook also holds a map used to track down Guevara in Bolivia, photos of Guevara’s body, intercepted messages between Guevara and his rebels and a set of Guevara’s fingerprints. It’s hard to predict how much the collection will net at auction because there is nothing comparable on the market, said Tom Slater, director of the Americana department at Heritage Auctions of Dallas, which will hold the auction Oct. 25 to 26.
Luis Suarez celebrates with Neymar and Lionel Messi After scoring six in the Champions League against Roma, Barcelona put four past Real Sociedad in La Liga.Neymar scored twice, Lionel Messi got one at the end and Luis Suarez scored this beauty.It was goal no.12 for the season for the in form striker. 1
Dele Alli 1 Tottenham failed to close the gap on third-placed Man City as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton at Goodison Park.It was Everton’s fifth draw in ten matches, but Roberto Martinez will be pleased with his side’s defensive performance after criticism in recent weeks. Spurs will see it as a big chance dropped as Mauricio Pochettino’s side have been tipped for the title this week, but they are now six points behind Premier League leaders and bitter rivals Arsenal. The home team took the lead with their first foray into the penalty area as Aaron Lennon, formerly of Spurs, netted his first goal of the season. Dele Alli chested and volleyed on the stroke of half-time to draw Mauricio Pochettino’s side level. It was a good game of football which highlighted the young English talents in Ross Barkley and Alli, but the two could not find the late magic to snatch their team all three points. Spurs had good early opportunities as right-back Kyle Walker – who has been impressive in Pochettino’s side this season – crossed for England youngster Dele Alli, who could not convert.Minutes later Harry Kane fired across goal from 18 yards, his effort rattling the post before former Spurs man Lennon netted after 22 minutes.It was his first goal since joining the Merseysiders permanently from Spurs in the summer – although he scored twice while on loan at Goodison Park last season. A cross came in from the left and Lukaku rose highest to head a brilliant knockdown into the winger’s path. Lennon controlled with his chest before sending a looping volley past Hugo Lloris and into the far corner.Ben Davies nearly drew Spurs level eight minutes later after Spurs took a well-worked corner. The set piece was pulled back to the Welsh left-back, who unleashed a powerful rising shot from 20 yards, which beat Everton’s Tim Howard and ricocheted off the upright.The north Londoners got their equaliser before the break as Alli scored his fifth goal since joining the club from MK Dons in the summer. Toby Alderweireld’s long ball into the box was controlled and volleyed home by the 19-year-old midfield prospect.The second half was a much tighter contest as both sides were cautious not to slip to defeat.Alli tried his luck from 25 yards but American shot-stopper Howard got behind the ball well.The best chance of the second period fell to the home side, as Spurs failed to clear and the ball fell to Muhamed Besic on the edge of the box.The Boznia and Herzegovina international controlled with his chest and his 20-yard volley beat Lloris before dipping and smashing against the crossbar.Ramiro Funes Mori headed wide for the Toffees, who will have settled for a draw at the start of the day.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2“If there’s a community anywhere in this county that needs to have tobacco issues addressed, especially on their impact on youth, it’s the Antelope Valley,” Javier Flores, Pueblo u Salud’s executive director. Flores said he believes Lancaster should enact further regulations that would give it the authority to bar new tobacco retailers from locating closer to schools. “We believe it can be stricter,” he said. The No. 2 and 3 causes of death in the Antelope Valley are emphysema and lung cancer, for which the main risk factor is smoking, and the No. 1 is coronary heart disease, in which smoking is among the risk factors, according to a 2002 Los Angeles County study. Antelope Valley’s death rate from emphysema is the highest in Los Angeles County, twice the overall county rate, the study found. LANCASTER – City officials have proposed requiring a new city license for stores that sell cigarettes and other tobacco products, as a way of gaining authority to crack down on retailers that sell to juveniles. The ordinance introduced at last week’s City Council meeting does not impose new restrictions or duties on businesses that sell tobacco products, officials said, but is a way for the city to make sure stores comply with state and federal laws after a recent test found that 20 percent were willing to sell to juveniles, officials said. “It’s a matter of coming up with means of enforcing state law. Obviously the law isn’t being enforced if we have a rate of sales that high,” Councilman Andy Visokey said last week. Controls on tobacco sales and smoking in public places are being pushed by a nonprofit organization called Pueblo y Salud, which also supports Palmdale’s new ban on smoking in several places in Palmdale parks and favors a complete ban on smoking in city facilities. The valley’s death rate from lung cancer is the third highest in the county, about 30 percent higher than the county average, the study said. The Antelope Valley also has Los Angeles County’s highest rates of asthma among children and adults. Antelope Valley Chamber of Commerce leaders have not taken a stand on the license ordinance but are expected to review the proposal this week, president Steve Malicott said. Malicott said he assumed legitimate retailers would not object since the license seems to be aimed at enforcing existing federal and state laws. “We didn’t receive any feedback from any business that would be impacted,” he said. Lancaster School District trustee Diane Grooms said she supports licensing tobacco retailers because smoking is starting among middle school students. “It’s very easy for them to access tobacco products by saying, I’m buying it for my mom,” Grooms said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
So Detective Eric Buschow was more than happy to help get the yard into shape by clearing weeds, clipping bushes and trimming trees. “This was about helping out one of our own,” he said. “We’re like a family. There comes a point where people need help.” Detective Bill Hutton, who has known David Bonebright for eight years, arrived at the house after working the 6 p.m.-6 a.m. shift. “I came straight here,” he said. “I’m here to help out a fellow officer, friend and partner. I want to see him smile. Dave keeps me going.” firstname.lastname@example.org (818) 713-3699160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesWearing black shirts emblazoned with the words “The Ashlyn Project … It’s a family thing,” 50 sheriff’s deputies, their spouses and children turned out at the Bonebrights’ Simi Valley home for some backyard cleaning. “I thought we’d be planting tulips or something,” said Deputy Amy Ward. “It required a lot of hard work, which is just fine with me.” Christine Bonebright said that since Ashlyn’s birth, doing the laundry, dishes and other housework just has to wait. “We live most of our lives in this room,” she said, looking around the purple, pink and blue nursery. “We play with her here. We eat here. We sleep on the floor.” David – who works 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. – admits that he’d really let the backyard go. Every minute spent home is dedicated to Ashlyn, who is able to sit up on her own, roll over and use hand signals to communicate. SIMI VALLEY – Ventura County sheriff’s deputies traded their handcuffs and weapons for chain saws and stump grinders Saturday to help one of their own. Household chores at the Simi Valley residence of Deputy David Bonebright and his wife Christine have taken a back seat to caring for baby Ashlyn, who was 13 weeks premature when she was born 17 months ago at UCLA Medical Center. Blind and breathing with the help of a ventilator, the red-haired baby takes nearly 20 medications and requires constant attention from her parents and six nurses. With daddy David unable to find the time between work and baby care for yard work, his fellow deputies stepped in.
1 November 2013Durban instead of Cape Town, New York Magazine advises its readers in its winter travel 2013 special.While the publication acknowledges that the world’s greatest cities “got their reputation for a reason”, they’ve decided to turn their attention to long-overshadowed cities such as Bourdeaux (not Paris), Birmingham (not London), Leipzig (not Berlin) – and Durban (not Cape Town).“They may not sell as many guidebooks as their A-list counterparts, but they have just as much charm and excitement – with way, way fewer tourists.”The weekly general interest magazine praises Durban’s “spectacular beaches” with their temperate Indian Ocean waters; the world-renowned aquarium at uShaka Marine World, “which is actually much larger than its Cape Town counterpart”; and the I Heart Market, which is held in the world-class Moses Mabhida stadium for its “hand-stitched leather iPad cases, tribal-print baseball caps, and mod vintage dresses by local artisans and collectors”.The city’s “vibrant blend” of Zulu, Indian and British influences means that the cuisine is more eclectic than Cape Town’s. Durban is well known locally for its curry – and the magazine urges visitors to try bunny chow, which is “messy curry served in a hollowed-out loaf of bread”.Other top spots highlighted by the magazine are the chic Oyster Box Hotel; Ile Maurice, where the crepes Suzettes are apparently unmissable; and Teremok Marine hotel in Umhlanga, which overlooks the harbour.Cape Town was recently named in the top three best destinations in the world to visit by Lonely Planet, the global travel publishers.SAinfo reporter
The Hugin autonomous underwater vehicles being deployed to search for MH370. Photo: Ocean Infinity. Deep sea search company Ocean Infinity has confirmed it has inked a deal to continue the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and says the search will start “imminently” in the zone identified by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.The company said the project’s sophisticated surface vessel, Seabed Constructor, was now close to the search area and the “no find, no fee” sweep, which was expected to last 90 days.“We are pleased that our offer to continue the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has been accepted by the Government of Malaysia, who I would like to thank for giving us the opportunity,’’ OI chief executive Oliver Plunkett said.“Whilst there can be no guarantees of locating the aircraft, we believe our system of multiple autonomous vehicles working simultaneously is well suited to the task at hand.“I wish our team the best of luck in their endeavours and sincerely hope that we will be able to play a part in providing some answers to the many people affected by this tragedy.”The company also confirmed it would use up to eight Hugins autonomous underwater vehicles capable of operating to depths of 6000m and already tested to just above that limit.The company did not give any details of the agreement but Channel News Asia reported earlier today that it was a tiered arrangement that would see the company paid up to $US50 million if it is found in the ATSB search area and $US70 million if it is found beyond that.The report said the it would be paid $US20 million if the plane, which went missing in 2014 with 239 passengers and crew on board, was found in first 5000 sq. km.The search will begin in a 25,000 sq. km area designated by experts in 2016 as the most likely crash site.Drift modelling and analysis of satellite imagery significantly boosted confidence among Australian experts that the wreckage of the Boeing 777, which went missing in March 2014, is in the southern half of a 25,000 sq. km.Scientists identified a location at latitude 35.6°S and longitude 92.8°E, near the seventh arc defined by satellite data, as the most likely location for the missing plane.However, if the wreckage is not found in the 25,000 sq. km search area the vessel will head north to areas proposed by other experts.Ocean Infinity said the use of “free flying AUVs” meant they were not tethered and could collect higher quality data.The AUVs are equipped with side scan sonar, multi-beam echo sounder, sub-bottom profiler, HD camera, conductivity/temperature/depth sensor, self-compensating magnetometer, synthetic aperture sonar and a turbidity sensor.They can scour up to 1200 sq. kms a day, meaning the initial search area could be covered in about three weeks.The discovery of the wreckage will leave the Malaysian Government facing the question of how to retrieve the debris and particularly the crucial flight data and cockpit voice recorders.The quickest way to start the process would be to use the Seabed Constructor.The Seabed Constructor. Photo: Swire Seabed.Sources have told AirlineRatings the sophisticated vessel is carrying remotely operated vehicles and a 6000-metre rated recovery winch capable of retrieving debris at the kind of depths at which it is likely to be located.They also saw the Seabed Constructor as the “asset of opportunity” if the wreckage is located before the winter weather sets in.Crucially, the ship is equipped with a dynamic positioning system that allows it to stay on station above the tethered robots as they work.Also on board to assist with analysis of sonar data are staff from Deep Ocean Search, a company which focuses on “ultra-deep water services” in depths of up to 6000m.DOS was instrumental in finding the SS City of Cairo, sunk by a German U-boat in 1942 while carrying 100 tonnes of silver coins from Bombay to England.Under contract to the UK government, DOS and recovered tons of silver coins from a depth of 5150m, a world record at the time and more than 1300m deeper than the Titanic.DOS told AirlineRatings it was unable to answer questions because it had signed a non-disclosure agreement with Ocean Infinity.But its website indicated operating at extreme depth was not without “serious technical difficulties’ which resulted in multiple breakdowns but were eventually resolved.ROV’s differ from the torpedo-shaped autonomous underwater vehicles being deployed in the search in that they are tethered to the ship by a cable and operated in real-time from consoles.They have cameras and often come equipped with sonar as well as thrusters and often manipulating armsSensitive electronics and data storage on deep water ROVs are protected in titanium vessels and an expert said every connector, cable and device had to withstand the pressure.He said there were many ROVs designed to run at a depth of about 3000m but very few work class ROVs rated for 6000m.However, he said the technology for deep dives was mature.“The ones around that can be used for this sort of thing are typically designed for something other than the oil and gas industry,’’ he said.Much deeper dives were conducted by the bathyscaphe Trieste in 1960 and by movie director James Cameron in 2012. Both dived on the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench and reached depths of almost 11,000m .A Japanese remotely operated underwater vehicle called Kaiko established a depth record for umanned probes in 1995 when it reached the bottom of the Challenger Deep. Others to explore the abyss were Japan’s ABISMO, the US hyrbrid ROV Nereus and China’s Haidou-1.