Sugar: deliberate sabotage?

first_imgDear Editor,It was with great shock that the news of the state of the Skeldon sugar factory and the estate generally was received. The Chairman of GuySuCo Board, Dr Clive Thomas, used words like ‘falling to pieces’ and ‘rusting’, etc. The state of the fields also seems to be bad, according to Dr Thomas.How did this happen? Why was this allowed to happen? These are the questions that keep coming to mind.After all, on December 15, 2015, the CEO of GuySuCo, with great pride, reported that the industry had exceeded its target for 2015. The target was 30,594 tonnes of sugar.The highest production since the commissioning of the factory in 2009 was in 2014 when it produced 35,890 tonnes of sugar. The average production from 2009 to 2014 was 30,521 tonnes.On September 16, 2015, GuySuCo credited Skeldon, along with Albion, Rose Hall and Blairmont estates, for making ‘major contributions’ to allow GuySuCo to surpass its target.On September 16, 2015, it was also reported that Skeldon had exported 1,184,000 kilowatt hours of electricity to GPL for the month; up to that point, it had exported 24,184,000 kilowatt hours of electricity to the national grid, for the year 2015.The good performance of the Skeldon factory was not a surprise for those that have been following developments in the sugar industry.While it is true that Skeldon had/has problems, it is also true that a lot of work was done to correct them.In passing, let me note that both GuySuCo and the media have been critical of the Chinese contractors for the problems at Skeldon.This is not totally true. It is unfair to the Chinese!The Skeldon factory was supposed to be like the Komati factory in South Africa. That was how it was supposed to be designed. The Komati factory produces sugar at US10 cents per lb.The design was flawed. It was not the Chinese that did the design. It was Booker Tate. They designed the factory and they were the Project Manager as well.It is for that reason that the board and management of GuySuCo, under the PPP/C Government, took Booker Tate to court for breach of contract.By the end of the first crop in 2015, Skeldon was beginning to perform better. The punt dumper, as well as the condensator tank, the bagasse carrier and co-generation were all fixed.Its performance was so promising that the management and Government (APNU/AFC) tried to gain cheap credit from the work of the PPP/C Administration, crediting the good performance to ‘no political interference…’When the APNU/AFC regime took power, it employed four highly paid consultants, costing tens of millions of dollars per year to assist in the operations of the Skeldon factory.We are entitled to know what work they have been doing to allow such deterioration in such a short time.The talk about rusting parts, etc, suggests that no maintenance is being done at the factory.We need to ask why?Since the commissioning of the factory, the General Manager, Technical Services, has been tasked with the close monitoring of the factory. He submitted volumes of reports, none of which, up to May 2015, ever disclosed that the factory was ‘falling to pieces…’Dr Thomas is reported to have said that not only the factory has problems, but the fields as well. This is a management issue.It seems that the neglect, or to use a stronger term, the running down of Skeldon is deliberate. It appears that there is a coincidence of views for different reasons by some persons in management, the Board and Government to destroy the sugar industry, Skeldon in particular.Some of the managers clearly do not want to seek solutions. Their position for a while has been to close estates. The regime hates sugar workers and this is clearly an attempt to shut the industry down.At the last two elections, they set out to deliberately fool them with the promise of a 20% increase.Recall, too, that Dr Thomas said they are (at least for the time being) looking to keep Albion, Enmore, Blairmont and Utivlugt. Nothing was said about Rose Hall, even though that estate is performing well.Is this a signal that Rose Hall is on the chopping block?From all the evidence before us, it is clear that this regime is moving to deliberately run down the industry to sell it or shut it.This will be a worse disaster than the closing of the railways in the 1970s.Sincerely,Donald Ramotarlast_img read more

Govt records $2.4B more VAT revenues

first_img…a result of tax on educational, telecommunication, medical servicesIn its 2017 Budget, Government had announced that Value Added Tax (VAT) would be reduced from 16 per cent to 14 per cent, in order to ease the burden on taxpayers and the ordinary man.However, by expanding the tax base to include items such as educational materials and supplies; telecommunication services, such as the Internet; and medical supplies, the administration has in fact secured a financial windfall from VAT. This information is contained in the Mid-Year Financial Report for 2017, which was presented to legislators on Friday last as the House met for its final sitting before going into its annual recess.VAT increasePresented by Finance Minister Winston Jordan, the Report documents that Government — as a result of expanding the tax regime over the past two years — had garnered a whopping $97.2 billion in revenue for the first half of this year.Collections from the application of the controversial 14 per cent VAT regime on an expanded base saw Government raking in $2.4 billion more that it had collected for the first half of the previous year.The total VAT collected during the first half of 2017 is $19.3 billion.The information contained in the 2017 Report details, “VAT from imports of goods grew by $1.2 billion, partly as a result of policy changes in Budget 2017.” This, too, was stated: “The value added tax on domestic goods also increased by $838.5 million, primarily due to higher payments from the telecommunication and wholesale and retail trade sectors.”Taxes make up 88.3 per cent of Government’s total annual revenue collection, and Finance Minister Jordan has reported that internal revenue collection increased by $5 billion to reach $41.6 billion during the first half of 2017.Collection for the same period in 2016 stood at $36.5 billion.The Finance Minister attributes this increase primarily to a $2.3 billion growth in corporation tax payments made by several companies in the manufacturing and services sectors, as well as in the natural resource sector.Petroleum returnsWithholding tax payments also grew by $865.5 million, mainly due to payments by two companies providing support services to the oil-and-gas sector and interest earned on savings accounts at commercial banks.Personal income tax payments made during the period also increased to $10.8653 billion, some $265.3 million more than what was collected during the same period in 2016.Money collected from petroleum products increased by $3.2 billion to $10.9 billion, offsetting the reduction given in excise tax on motor vehicles during the period under review. Excise taxes paid on motor vehicles during the first half of 2017 stood at $2.9 billion, a decline of $1.5 billion in what had been collected in the period January to June 2016, when excise tax payments stood at $4.4B. This decline is credited to a slow-down on the importation of vehicles into the country during the first half of 2017. Revenue collected from excise taxes on domestic alcoholic beverages did, however, increase to $2.1 billion, some $238 million more than what was collected in 2016, according to the Finance Minister’s Report.Jordan credited this increase to two reasons: the Budget 2017 measure that amended excise taxes payable on alcohol consumption, and higher sales of beverages on the local market.Imports/ExportsImportation of consumption goods reached US$231 million in the first half of 2017, and this growth was buoyed by an expansion in the importation of other non-durables. Importation of foodstuff (for final consumption) skyrocketed by 72.7 per cent, while importation of clothing grew by 9.9 per cent and footwear by 37.8 per cent, contributing to the increased taxes collected.In contrast, importation of motor cars, beverages, tobacco, semi-durable and durable goods fell. The importation of intermediate goods, such as fuel and lubricants, chemicals, parts and accessories, did expand to lend to the increase in earnings experienced by Government.Minister Jordan’s Report detailed that importation of such intermediate goods increased in the first half of 2017 to US$408.5 million, compared to US$350.3 million in the first half of 2016.Conversely, importation of capital goods such as transport, machinery, and building materials fell by 25.3 per cent, 20.1 per cent, and 31.4 per cent respectively. Collectively, this represents an 11.3 per cent decline in revenue garnered from those sources, and represents a collection of only US$18.2 million in the first half of 2017.Non-Tax EarningsAs it relates to Government’s non-tax earnings for the first half of 2017, Minister Jordan reported that this, too, rose to reach $11.3 billion, topping the figure for the same period last year by $567.4 million.According to the Finance Minister, this increased collection is credited to “higher transfers from statutory agencies during the review period.”Fees, fines and charges also reported a 4.2 per cent increase at end June 2017 to reach $684 million; while rents and royalties declined by 32.3 per cent, reflecting lower gold declaration from both Troy Resources and Guyana Goldfields.Reserves DiminishingDespite the increased domestic earnings which have resulted from the revised tax regime introduced by the APNU+AFC Coalition Administration over three consecutive budgets, international reserves held by the Bank of Guyana declined in the first half of 2017 to US$578.4 million, a decline of US$18.3 million from the US$596.7 million that had been collected during the same period in 2016, and a representation of 3.4 months of import coverage.last_img read more

Saulteau First Nations receive award for Woodlot management

first_img“Despite many silvicultural difficulties and other arduous challenges, Saulteau First Nations and John Stokmans have persevered and managed a woodlot that is a model for others to follow,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “Their woodlot provides jobs for members of their nations, is operated with environmental impacts front of mind and is an added revenue stream for the Saulteau peoples.”“Congratulations to Saulteau First Nations. It hasn’t been an easy road for them, but they are proof of what can be accomplished with some ingenuity and determination,” said Jeff Beale, president of the Federation of British Columbia Woodlot Associations. “I would like to thank their woodlot operator, John Stokmans, for his drive to acquire a small sawmill to enable a squared-log small home and cabin business to be operated by Saulteau First Nations members in their home community, and also for his insightful commentaries on woodlot licence and pest management plans for other woodlot operators in the area.”Award winners not only receive a signed, framed certificate of recognition from the minister, but the recipients also take home $2,500 each for their area awards, with an additional $2,500 going to the Charles Bloom Secondary school for also being named the top performer provincially. MOBERLY LAKE, B.C. – The Saulteau First Nations have been recognized by the Province through the Minister’s Award for Innovation and Excellence in Woodlot Management for the North.Woodlot licences are small, area-based tenures managed by individuals, groups or First Nations that generate jobs in planning, harvesting, road construction and maintenance, reforestation, silviculture and small-scale timber processing.B.C. has 857 active woodlots, which generate about $200 million of economic activity for the province every year.- Advertisement -Operated by John Stokmans, the Province said that the stand density and productivity of the woodlot is above average and achieved without using herbicides. The First Nation has held the woodlot since 1990.“Saulteau First Nations have clearly shown innovation and strong, sound forest management,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Their consideration for wildlife and non-timber values, while maintaining high woodlot productivity, is a job well done.”The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development said that the Firt Nation’s innovation extends to buying a flock of sheep and mobile pens and employing two full-time shepherds to aid in the removal of unwanted foliage. The high values placement of moose habitat management, wildlife tree retention and support of Treaty 8 rights to hunt and trap was also mentioned by the government as reasons the First Nation received the award.Advertisementlast_img read more

Klopp bemoans injuries to Coutinho and Lovren during win over Stoke

first_imgJurgen Klopp was pleased with Liverpool’s performance over Stoke in the League Cup but bemoaned the cost at which it came.Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren both limped off with hamstring injuries during the first half, adding to the long list of casualties currently taking up residence in the Reds’ treatment room.Coutinho’s replacement Jordon Ibe gave Liverpool a first-leg lead at the Britannia and Klopp said despite the injuries, it would have been the perfect performance had they scored “one or two more” goals.He said: “If we score one or two more goals then maybe [it is the perfect performance].“It’s always easy to criticise things and say ‘we have to make this better’, but as a football game how we started and how we defended the long balls of Stoke was really good.“But there was a big shadow over the game for us which we cannot ignore. The injuries – I don’t know how serious, but they do not look good so we have to wait for this.“If someone had said 1-0 or a draw before the start of the game, we would have taken it, of course.”last_img read more

Full containment of Santiago fire expected tomorrow

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Everyone who was evacuated because of the fire has been allowed to return home. A reward of $250,000 is being offered for information leading to the conviction of whoever who started the blaze. ——————————— For the latest news and observations on crime in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, check out the Daily News’ crime blog by clicking here. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ANAHEIM – Full containment of the Santiago Fire is now expected tomorrow, not today, as had been initially anticipated, fire commanders said. Of the wildfires that began two weeks ago, the arson-set Santiago fire is the only one not fully contained. Containment of the fire has been at 90 percent for several days. The blaze broke out about 5:55 p.m. Oct. 21 at Santiago Canyon and Silverado Canyon roads and eventually destroyed 15 homes and injured 13 people, 12 of them firefighters, according to the Orange County Fire Authority. About 1,245 fire personnel continue to battle the blaze, which has cost an estimated $14.3 million to fight. last_img read more

State officials rush to beat deadline for federal disaster aid

first_img Ellis Stanley, general manager of the city’s Emergency Preparedness Department, said plans have been developed on how to evacuate people from near the ocean in the event of a tsunami and from localized areas in the case of a large earthquake, detonation of a “dirty bomb” or a chemical release. “How do you evacuate for a tsunami?” That’s kind of easy because everybody is going to be going in one direction, away from the ocean,” Stanley said. “It’s not as complicated as doing a high-risk area evacuation. “As far as a plan that would dump 4 million people out of a 5,000-square-mile city – no, we don’t have that. We have to evacuate according to our hazard profile. And you can’t just look at the city boundaries, but you have to look at the 10 million people in the Los Angeles County area, too, and apply those same evacuation decision-support profiles to the whole area.” Casey Chel, the disaster management officer for Long Beach, said officials don’t have a plan to evacuate the whole county. “I don’t think anybody in the Los Angeles Basin can honestly plan to evacuate the whole basin,” Chel said. “That’s kind of what this federal requirement is.” Randolph Hall, founder of the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events at the University of Southern California, said the Los Angeles area is well-prepared for a conventional terrorist attack and has developed excellent agreements with nearby jurisdictions to come to its aid in the event a disaster overwhelms local resources. But Hall said local officials have not put much thought into what should be done in the event terrorists detonated a small nuclear bomb somewhere in the county. “There was a time in the 1950s and ’60s when civil defense was a major area of focus – how do we shelter people in the event of a nuclear attack? But we’ve since decided it wasn’t an important expenditure because the casualties would be so large there wasn’t much we could do about it. “But in looking at a terrorist attack using a nuclear weapon that would not destroy the entire city of Los Angeles, but a portion of it, it would cause nuclear fallout and radioactivity in a wider area. And we really haven’t planned how we would respond, either at the individual level or the medical-care level in such an event.” The submission of the reports is also designed to help federal officials invest funds into the communities facing the greatest risk of a disaster or terrorist attack. This follows complaints from officials in the largest states and heavily populated areas that smaller states and rural areas received more funding per capita. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the federal government has doled out $8.6 billion to first-responders, including $1 billion in California. Earlier this month, the federal Homeland Security Department announced it would provide $765 million in direct funding to high-threat urban areas. James Carafino, a homeland security expert at the Heritage Foundation, said the risk-based formulas have become more sophisticated and that he expects larger cities, such as Los Angeles, to get a larger share of the money. In terms of how well officials have spent the money, Carafino said it’s been a “mixed bag” nationwide. “I put California in the middle of the pack,” Carafino said. “They initially spread the money out willy-nilly, but they have also done some regional planning. California gets in the solid B grade range. I wouldn’t call them the best, but I certainly wouldn’t call them the worst.” Cmdr. Mark Leap, head of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Counterterrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau, said the city will compete with 35 other large urban areas for the $765 million in funding. “The Department of Homeland Security will look at our capabilities, measure our risks and score our grant proposals,” Leap said. “The grant proposals that come out with the highest scores will receive the most money.” Troy Anderson, (213) 974-8985 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! California officials raced against the clock Tuesday to meet a federal deadline to submit catastrophic response plans – making the state eligible for some of the $2.5 billion in homeland security grants to prepare for the next disaster or terrorist strike. The state report, which was still in draft form Tuesday and was expected to be sent later in the day, is part of President George W. Bush’s new plan to ensure that states and large cities are ready for large emergencies. Bush asked for the plans after the destruction and evacuation of New Orleans as a way to get states and cities to focus on assessing their strengths and weaknesses, identifying their needs and improving their ability to prepare for and respond to a disaster. The reports focused mainly on new mass-evacuation plans. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card “It’s difficult to envision a situation in California where we would see mass evacuations on the scale we saw in Houston and Louisiana,” said Eric Lamoureux, spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. “But there is a potential when you look at a terrorist event or bioterrorism situation where there may be a need to move a large amount of people.” Lamoureux said officials were tinkering with the report as the deadline approached. “In the next couple of hours it will be formally submitted,” he said. He said the report looks at opening up both directions of major highways to speed evacuations; identifying emergency shelters in advance and setting up communication between counties and other government agencies. While the report praises some of the state’s readiness plans, such as evacuating people along the coast ahead of a tsunami, it raises a number of questions. The area’s major shortcoming is its hospital emergency medical system, which can barely handle the day-to-day flood of sick patients and those injured in car crashes and violent incidents. last_img read more

Pitchess growth in jails proposal

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Plans include a new high-security wing, holding about 400 inmates, at the North County Correctional Facility on the Pitchess grounds. About 9,000 inmates are now housed at the complex. Calling Tuesday’s jail presentation a kickoff discussion, Anna Pembedjian, justice deputy to county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, does not expect an immediate vote by the Board of Supervisors on any one plan. Instead, she said it’s a starting point to consider what kinds of plans and projects are needed for the future of local jails. “The board is trying to analyze what our short-term and long-term housing for our jails need to be,” Pembedjian said. Plans match inmates to housing that reflects their crimes and also reshuffles many who were moved to other detention centers following race riots in February at Pitchess that left one man dead and more than 100 injured. Another inmate died at Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles after fighting spread through the system. Following the deadly clashes, high-risk inmates were moved from Pitchess, where many slept in one large room on 64 bunk beds, to downtown’s Twin Towers, where they live more isolated from others, with one or two to a cell in a maximum-security environment. CASTAIC – A $400 million plan to reduce overcrowding and violence in Los Angeles County jails could bring 2,400 more inmates and three additional facilities to the grounds of Pitchess Detention Center. The Sheriff’s Department will present that proposal and other recommendations – some ranging to more than $1 billion – to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today as ways to modernize the county jail system that houses 19,000 men and women. “We have to have adequate space in our jail system to house the vast number of prisoners that we have, and we’re trying to build for the future,” said Paul K. Tanaka, assistant sheriff. Locally that could mean building a medium-security facility for 1,000 men and a low-security ranch for 1,000 women inmates at Pitchess Detention Center, under the terms of one scenario to be presented by sheriff’s officials and the county’s chief administrative officer. To accommodate that move from Pitchess in March, women inmates at Twin Towers were transferred to Century Regional Detention Center, a medium-security facility in Lynwood that was previously closed down. Now officials propose relocating the women again, a move that could free up about 1,800 spots at the Lynwood facility for more men, Tanaka said. About 1,000 of the women would then be transferred to the proposed Castaic site and 1,000 more to Sybil Brand Jail, an east Los Angeles women’s facility that closed in 1998. Tanaka estimates about $114 million would be needed to refurbish it. Discussions for a master plan began about eight months ago between county supervisors and the Sheriff’s Department. The report was expected before the county’s June budget deliberations, Pembedjian said. Sheriff Lee Baca previously has discussed a bond measure for the November ballot to help pay for improvements to the jail system, although nothing has been formally introduced. (661) 257-5254 IF YOU GO The county Board of Supervisors will review jail expansion plans at noon today at the Hall of Administration, 500 W. Temple St., Los Angeles160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Betty Jean Garriott, age 87

first_imgBetty Jean Garriott, age 87 of Salem, passed away Monday, May 9, 2016 at 3:05 am, in St. Vincent Salem Hospital.Born January 11, 1929 in Boise, Idaho, she was the daughter of the late Reno and Marie (Hansen) Lowe. She was a former teacher with the Kansas City Public School System and earned her Master’s degree from Wheaton College.She was a member of the First Baptist Church of Salem and was very active in the Mission Overseas and the Mission Aviation Fellowship organizations. She married Lloyd Byron Garriott, who passed away May 7, 2014. Survivors include: Daughter: Linda Lee Miller, Corvallis, Montana; Son: Dr. Charles R. Garriott, Mission, South Dakota; Brother: Charles K. Lowe, Golden, Colorado; Sister: Carrie Kerns, Prairie Village, Kansas and 6 grandchildren. She was preceded in death by 3 brothers and 2 sisters.A Memorial Service will be held 11:00 am Saturday at the First Baptist Church of Salem with Rev. Dr. Stephen Gorman officiating, followed by a fellowship meal.Arrangements by Dawalt Funeral HomePrivate Interment at Mt. Carmel Eub Cemetery.Memorial Contributions in honor of Betty’s love of gardening may be given to the First Baptist Church of Salem 200 East Walnut Street Salem, Indiana 47167last_img read more

Smoky Mountain High School Choir to Perform with Foreigner

first_imgSmoky Mountain High School show choir has been invited to sing with a world famous rock band. Foreigner, plays Harrah’s Cherokee Saturday night.On their number one hit “I Want To Know What Love Is,” they’ll be accompanied by the choir. The band was impressed with the choir five years ago when they played at the Biltmore. The students won a video contest and were asked to sing on stage with the band at the Asheville concert. On Saturday night, students will sell Foreigner CD’s at the show. In return, the band will donate $500 to support the local choir.The band’s show Saturday night at the Harrah’s Cherokee Event Center is sold out.Below is a video of the performance 5 years ago

Greasemetal: Greasemonkey for Google Chrome

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#news#Product Reviews#web While Google only announced its own browser last Tuesday and did not include an API in this first release that would allow developers to create extensions for it, Japanese developer Kazuho Oku found a way to run userscripts on Google Chrome. While its functionality is still limited, Greasemetal is already showing a lot of promise and works exactly as advertised, even though it is not compatible with all Greasemonkey scripts yet.As of now, Greasemetal is definitely still rough around its edges. It does not have a user interface for managing scripts, for example. Instead, you have to copy them into a directory in your My Documents folder, which is not exactly user-friendly, but works just fine. The developers promise, however, that the next version will include a UI for managing scripts directly in the browser. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts frederic lardinois Scripts that make calls specific to Greasemonkey will most likely not work yet. If you are looking for compatible scripts, the developer suggests that you start with scripts that are already compatible with Safari or Opera, which limits your choices, but it’s important to keep in mind that this is only a first release.We tried out the oAutoPagerize script for Safari, and it seemed to work right out of the box. Your mileage with other script may vary.Note: To run Greasemetal, you have to start the Greasemetal executable and not Chrome itself. last_img read more