Police youth clubs from across the country assembled at the Police Sports Club ground, Eve Leary, Georgetown, on Saturday for what will now become the annual A Division (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara) career fair.The inaugural fair was an all day event, held under the theme “Transforming the Mind, Developing the Nation through Motivation and Inspiration”. It kicked off with performances from children across the country. There were skits, dances, recitals and even charges from Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine who declared the event open.Delivering brief remarks, Dr Roopnaraine commended the efforts of the Guyana Police Force, more specifically the Divisional Commander, Officers and ranks of A Division and other stakeholders for staging of the event. He noted that the theme of the fair strikes at the core of education in Guyana.Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine touring the Guyana Police Force booth as Top Cop Seelall Persaud looks onDr Roopnaraine stated that he was impressed with the emphasis placed on local activities and local products observed in the exhibition booths and expressed the view that they will generate high interest in the youths.The Education Minister also noted that many of the children attending the career fair were at an important stage of their lives where decisions will influence the kind of persons they become, and urged that they pay close attention to their parents, teachers and those who give them guidance in order that they may be able to make a contribution towards the building of Guyana.On the other hand, Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud noted that the career day fair held three important values. Firstly, to the children of the youth clubs, many of whom are completing secondary education and may be entering the labour force, and therefore need to seize the opportunity to explore the diversity of the work environment. Secondly, to the exhibitors who have the opportunity to recruit labour, and thirdly to Police Force itself which has transformed over the years from a para-military organisation into a service oriented and social problem-solving Police Force.Among the agencies which participated in the career fair and engaged young persons were the Disciplined Forces; the Ministries of Education, Public Health and Agriculture; media entities; E R Burrowes School of Art; the Museum of African Heritage, and new kid on the block call centre – Teleperformance.Meanwhile, scores of children and teenagers attended the fair throughout the day and interacted with the exhibitors. Most of the younger ones were dressed as their professions, such as police officers, doctors and nurses, and lawyers, displaying their aspiring career paths.The students seemed enthused as they moved from one booth to another, exploring. Guyana Times managed to get the reaction of a few on the career fair.One of student from Richard Ishmael Secondary School indicated that the fair proved to be educational, mentioning in particular, a device developed by the Hydrometrological Office to test water.Another student related that her interest was captured by the various career paths available with the Guyana Defence Force. “I didn’t know they had so much opportunity, to be honest. A lot of people think that Police and Army is just that but they offer much more, it’s very interesting,” she stated.Speaking with this newspaper, A Division Commander, Clifton Hicken, was pleased with the turnout, noting that the event is part of a calendar year of activities planned for Guyanese youths. He noted that events such as these seek to develop and mould youths to become leaders of the future.According to Hicken, the fair also provides a forum for children across the country to interact and form a network with each other. “In A Division, we are continuing with these types of programmes in the hopes that the children will walk away with brochures, walk away with new information, walk away with the understanding that if you want to become a professional as part of a professional organisation, then there is a road you need to walk and education is the key to getting there,” he stated.Hicken is encouraging his fellow Divisional Commanders to host similar initiatives that would see the Police Force strengthening and rebuilding its relationship with the public.
…files complaint with SARAThe Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has moved to formally file complaints with the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) for investigations to be launched into, among other issues, cases of land handouts to the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) and key stalwarts in the Party.This move comes on the heels of SARA Director, Professor Clive Thomas, telling reporters on Friday that the Agency only investigates matters reported or referred to it by other criminal agencies or Government departments, while noting that civilians too can make reports of stolen State resources.Opposition Chief Whip, Gail TeixeiraAs such, the Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira in a letter addressed to Professor Thomas on Saturday, made complaints on three matters, which she said falls squarely in his remit.The letter, which was also released to the media, detailed firstly the acquisition of a house and land in Bel Air Gardens, by the former Finance Minister of the PNC Government and now Second Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister of the APNU/AFC coalition, Carl Greenidge. According to the Opposition Chief Whip, the property, which was then State owned, was acquired below market value at the time and with no recourse to any procurement process.Director of SARA, Professor Clive ThomasTeixeira also asked for a probe into the Burnham family’s request for land, five acres of which was issued by the PPP/C Government at no cost to former Vice President and First Lady Viola Burnham and widow of President Forbes Burnham in D’Urban Backlands, Georgetown.Finally, the Opposition Chief Whip calls for SARA to look into the acquisition of a huge tract of land to the PNC for their party headquarters, Congress Place, in Sophia, at no cost. She pointed out that sections of the land have been sold over the years at market value and for profit, with the most recent sale taking place after the 2015 General and Regional Elections.“All of these cases are easily investigated as all the records are publicly available. And remember, the SARA Act provided for retroactivity, probably one of the first statutes that did so,” Teixeira said the in the letter.She further went on to also formally lay her complaints on another series of cases regarding corruption, abuse in public office and violation of the Constitution, Procurement Act, and financial laws that were mentioned in a previous correspondence to the SARA Director, calling on him to also investigate them.According to the Opposition Chief Whip, the most egregious of those cases relate to the sale of the country’s national patrimony in oil and natural gas well below what is observed internationally and “relatively favourable to investors by international standards,” as stated in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) report prepared for Guyanese officials.She also named the US$18 million signing bonus collected since 2016 and secretly stashed in a secret bank account at Central Bank instead of the Consolidated Fund as is constitutionally required.During a “walk against corruption” held by SARA on Friday as part of its “Corruption is Everybody’s Business” campaign, Transparency International Guyana Inc (TIGI) – the body of international transparency watchdog Transparency International – also called for the agency to look into the oil bonus. Representatives from TIGI carried placards that read “SARA should recover signing bonus for Parliament – TIGI.”Meanwhile, the other cases include: the purchase of $620 million in drugs and pharmaceutical supplies in 2017, without going through the procurement process and paying over 100 per cent more than the market value; the renting of a house in Sussex Street as a drugs bond for $14 million per month, the contract of which a special Cabinet review team had found was flawed but nothing has been done to review it, while over $300 million in rent has been paid thus far; and the expending of over $2 billion in taxpayers’ dollars for the construction of the D’Urban Park facilities for which no form of public procurement was undertaken and no credible records of the project has been produced to the Office of the Auditor General to date.“Follow the trail Dr Thomas, you will find the answers and the accounts of those who benefited,” Teixeira told the SARA Director.Moreover, the Opposition Chief Whip went on to question Professor Thomas about the complainant of allegations that $28-35 billion was lost each year in procurement fraud and another $306-313 billion per year being lost due to corruption under successive PPP/C Administrations.“Strange to say, these are the same figures you used prior to the 2015 elections. Are you, sir, the complainant? And where is your evidence? If you declared such losses were real and then used your position in the SARU/SARA without evidence and mere mathematical speculation, then this is a case of reckless irresponsibility of enormous proportions,” Teixeira posited.She further noted that such disinformation fed to the Guyanese electorate for several years leading up to the 2015 elections as well as friendly Governments and international organisations has been clearly exposed as a “concerted political campaign to get the PPP/C out of office”.