Grid List

POND ISLAND--TelEm Group technicians will be carrying out “important maintenance works” to a company cabinet in the Madame Estate area tomorrow, Tuesday and as a result, voice and data services to business and residential properties will be interrupted throughout the day.

  The technicians will be cleaning and re-strapping the telecommunication cabinet from 8:00am until approximately 5:00pm, when the work is scheduled for completion.

  The areas immediately affected will be Grenada Road, PC Hooft Street, Johan Vermeer Street, Arch Road (in the vicinity of St. Maarten Cable TV), Watling Island Road and a portion of Guadeloupe Road.

  Technicians from TelEm Group’s Zone1 are overseeing the works, which the company says will improve telecommunication services in these areas for residents and businesses alike, the company said in a press release on Sunday.

ANGUILLA--Chief Minister Victor Banks attended the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Monetary Council meeting on July 21 that was held under the chairmanship of Roosevelt Skerrit at the Fort Young Hotel, Roseau.

  The Governor’s report on Monetary and Credit Conditions in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union was presented. The report assessed the recent trends which showed that monetary conditions have eased during 2016 as the money supply continued to increase. It also showed that credit conditions have tightened. The exchange rate anchor has remained stable and strong supported by adequate foreign reserves. It was agreed to maintain the minimum savings deposit rate at two per cent and the Central Bank’s discount rate at 6.5 per cent.

Concerns expressed by the General Audit Chamber in a follow-up report on administrative appointments submitted to Parliament (see Saturday paper) need to be taken seriously. They looked into the legitimacy and integrity regarding the appointments of directors at 20 entities, including Government-owned companies and public foundations.

Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI Christophe Emmanuel obviously means well with his intention to close the road along Maho Beach and reroute the entrance to Beacon Hill (see Thursday paper).

ST JOHN’S, ANTIGUA--In response to revelations on Thursday, that the largest criminal marketplace on the Internet, AlphaBay, was created and operated by an economic citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) issued a statement confirming that the background check prior to the issue of citizenship revealed no derogatory information.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana--Government will be moving to the National Assembly to seek supplementary financing likely to exceed GY $500 million in an effort to house prisoners, boost security at the existing prisons and deal with the fallout from the disastrous fire on July 9, that gutted the Camp Street prison.

This was disclosed during a press conference at the Ministry of Public Security on Friday afternoon. According to Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, his Ministry had come up with a fast-tracked plan pertaining to what temporary constructions would be erected.

“At least [for – Ed.] the purpose of building the prison and the tarmac area, the removal of debris, I haven’t gotten the final figure. The bill of quantities will be made final by tomorrow morning or later tonight. These contractors and quantity surveyors are working hard.”

“But by Monday certainly [we will have final figures – Ed.], because we have to go for the supplementary budgetary allocations by Tuesday or whenever the next parliamentary date. And it will be, as I’m being told, in excess of GY $500 million.”

He noted that this was to ensure that the prisoners being housed at Lusignan could be relocated to the remaining brick structure at Camp Street. According to Ramjattan, these constructions will be temporary.

“But we require, for the support of those prisoners, a kitchen be constructed, an admin building and infirmary to be constructed. And it will be quite costly though it will be temporary. All these major constructions that will make the place safe will cost a good set of money.”

“But the plans, in terms of what we have to construct and security systems have been designed, during the last 72 hours. Because that was [something – Ed.] we had to fast-track.”

Meanwhile, Ramjattan also spoke of other advances that Government has made, including the completion of a tarmac area for the displaced prisoners at Lusignan.

He said “at this stage the tarmac area at Lusignan has been completed and there have been some minor difficulties [that were – Ed.] corrected to the extent that at least 400 prisoners are now there in better conditions than in the swamp area they were in.”

According to the Public Security Minister “there are still [80 – Ed.] prisoners in the swamp area. We felt that it was necessary because we do not want them to contaminate the four hundred prisoners that are in the tarmac area. These are the real bad ones that have done a number of acts which make us believe that if they were to go into that tarmac area there would be real trouble.”

He noted that there are 151 prisoners in the actual prison at Lusignan. The Minister also reported that the charred debris from the Camp Street site has been removed. ~ iNews Guyana ~

HAVANA/NEW YORK--U.S. tour operators that send Americans to Cuba are banding together to try to limit damage to business from tighter restrictions on travel to the communist-run island expected in September from the Trump administration.

NEW YORK--Digital currency bitcoin on Friday averted a split into two currencies after its network supported an upgrade to its software that would enhance its ability to process an increasing number of transactions.
  Bitcoin's miners have signaled their support for the so-called Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) 91, avoiding a split of bitcoin into two blockchains. The miners represent a network of computer operators who secure the blockchain or a public ledger of all bitcoin transactions

LONDON--Britain's Prince William and Harry have spoken of their regret over the last conversation they had with their mother Princess Diana before she died, saying the telephone call was "desperately rushed".
  In a documentary called "Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy", timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Diana's death in a Paris car crash on Aug. 31, 1997, the two princes said they spoke to their mother shortly before she died.

SAN DIEGO--Canadian director Denis Villeneuve had fended off numerous requests to direct big-budget sequels until he was approached to make a follow-up to Ridley Scott's 1982 neo-noir sci-fi film "Blade Runner".

SAN ANTONIO, Texas--At least nine men were found dead on Sunday alongside dozens of people discovered inside a sweltering tractor trailer parked at a Walmart store in San Antonio, Texas, in what authorities called a case of "ruthless" human trafficking.

KABUL--As the U.S. administration prepares its new strategy for Afghanistan, the Kabul government and its Western allies are working hard to develop an air force that gives government forces the advantage in their war against Taliban militants.

ABUJA--Nigeria released a photograph of President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, the first in almost three months after he left the country on May 7 for medical leave in Britain.

JAKARTA--Indonesia's President Joko Widodo has instructed law enforcement officers to shoot drug traffickers to deal with a narcotics emergency facing the country.

CALIFORNIA- A Kemar Lawrence free kick two minutes from time gave Jamaica a surprise 1-0 win over Mexico on Sunday and took the Caribbean side into their second consecutive Gold Cup final.

PHILIPSBURG--Wilful Skilful from the British Virgin Islands (BVI) was crowned champion of Battle of the Fitness Basketball tournament at the L.B. Scott Sports Auditorium, last night.

Dear Editor,

In the past two to three weeks the news has been rife with reports on the implementation of the NHI scheme for

St. Maarten. Though this is not new as the idea presented itself in the 2014 election without much information or sound reasoning. The minister of public health and labour Mr. Emil Lee said that haste is of essence and delaying the implementation might not be wise in his opinion. The minister said to have spoken to all stakeholders including the Netherlands, though SHTA and other organizations are not wholly on board, while the Netherlands being a stakeholder is not quite clear...

Then it hit me that the minister is himself interpreting advice from the CFT as coming from the Netherlands. But be that as it may here is why we need to slow down and put in place policies that would assure the local stakeholders that this scheme won’t result in unlimited taxation going forward.

We know today of the pressure exerted on our school system by an uncontrolled implementation of compulsory education. Of course as a society we were and still are convinced that every child should be guaranteed an education; we don’t understand why we should pay such for all who end up here. Because of open and uncontrolled immigration, people were literally able to walk from the airport and register their children in local schools. Persons applying for residence or work permits were allowed to lie on the forms and later inviting their families over, putting more pressure on an already heavily burdened system. Because of this free for all Schools, SMMC, public housing and many more institutions here suffer from lack of space, and payment which the tax payer ends up carrying the load for.

The minister also intimated that the civil servant and the labourer will all be the same in this new NHI, and since he claims the unions were part of the consulted stakeholders I wonder aloud if WICSU, ABVO and other organizations representing civil servants don’t see anything wrong with that picture. We have the (LAR) civil servants Regulation because we have recognized by law that the civil service should be different in their functioning and how they seek redress. Moreover, as has been the M.O. of past years when newly implemented systems or experiments don’t pan out to our expectations, the civil servants, because they are a captive work group in government, are the first to be forced to tighten their belts.

Furthermore, the civil service has always paid their contributions and the reason the system AZV/SZV is having problems is that government never turned in the withheld amounts, which now form part of our debt negotiations. So where are the guarantees or checks and balances; the same won’t be true in the future. It would also be interesting if we were told what would happen to private insurers when government by its very action becomes their primary competition. At this time I recall an adage that says, “The business of government is to stay out of government.”

How would it affect dependants oversees or illegals on the island. The minister himself has commented on the fact that too many permits are been extended to outsiders for jobs locals can fill, so maybe we can be told how this would be addressed and how this activity will impact the NHI. How is the abuse of the system, which today permits patients to be referred abroad for medical tests and not only emergency treatment? Can we not enforce a better way or make it possible for these tests to be done locally.

And of course, in the present system depending on your pay grade and your years of service and how much you contribute determines whether your internment is designated as 1st,2nd or 3rd class how would that be organized in our NHI.

We know certain things require speed but we would much more rather have sound and well thought out decisions than hasty kneejerk changes that aim solely to placate the CFT or the stakeholder the minister sees in the Dutch. So for the sake of a seven year old “country” still finding its feet with so much yet to be done let’s slow it down. In the trade-off between efficiency and time we would hope efficiency takes precedence. It would seem to be in our interest to slow it down.

Elton Jones

Dear Queenie,

My boyfriend is divorced and his ex-wife doesn’t like me one little bit.

The ex’s brother died recently and my boyfriend wanted me to go to the funeral with him to be supportive. I said “no” because I felt things were bad enough for the ex and I didn’t want to make it worse.

Queenie, should I have gone for my boyfriend’s sake?—Funeral Etty Ket

Dear Etty Ket,

No, you did the right thing. Funerals are held for the sake of the bereaved. It would have been altogether wrong to do anything that would have made things worse for the ex and her family. If your boyfriend needed your support he could have gotten it at home.

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