December 18, 2020

For Immediate Release to All Media Houses

Guysuco-Khemraj Ramjattan

The AFC takes issue with both the Minister of Agriculture and the CEO of GuySuCo on their continuing propaganda concerning the future of sugar, the most recent of which is “Dubai sees sweetness in Guyana’s sugar”. The investors from that country obviously have their eyes on Guyana’s emerging oil and gas sector, like so many others from other countries.

Additionally, both the Minister’s and CEO’s joint promises to return the industry to viability through coordinated and prudent management are contradicted by both their lack of transparency in telling sugar workers and the nation who are the supposed ten investors interested, and what may be the nature of their respective proposals. This is secrecy, not prudence. The ‘sweet talk’ of a sugar refinery, ethanol production, agro-energy, a distillery and packaged sugar coming in time is all hollow. These are intended to just fool, and create great expectations so that massive mis-spendings can continue unabated.

Sugar has been dying since Guyana lost the preferential prices on the EU market by the WTO ruling that those preferential prices violated open market competition rules. Guyana has been operating at a loss since then. Our cost of production is and will be double the price we will sell for. That again is not prudence.

Moreover, our workforce is not trained beyond substantially a cutlass and punt trajectory, so its a lost cause. This will result in an intergenerational transmission of poverty in these communities which the PPP plays on. This is bad for economic growth as girls are groomed to become housewives to support boys who enter the cane field. There is no opportunity for economic innovation through exposure to education nor technical advances.

The AFC maintains that the right-sizing done under the APNU+AFC Government was the correct approach for the long term growth and development of the country.

False and Fraudulent sharing of a screenshot of a fake post attributed to

Catherine Hughes-Cathy Hughes

On Wednesday December 15, 2020 I became aware that a fraudulent screenshot of a post I made on the Facebook page of Nigel Hughes, was in circulation on various whatsapp chats. The screen shot alleged statements to have been made by me that I did not make and are wholly untrue.

For ease of explanation I am highlighting an image of the genuine thread of the conversation on the screen. I made one comment on this chat “Why, Why, Why. Has this family not had more than most can bear. Madness” (*attachment below)

What the culprit did is to create a screen shot of part of the conversation thread. He or she then created a fake screen shot in which they forged a response purported to be from me, and inserted the forged comment into the fake screenshot. It is this fake screenshot, maliciously doctored and tampered with, that was shared on several whatsapp chats.

What’s important to note is that on close examination one can see that the font of the tampered and false comment is totally different from the font of all comments in the thread.

A check of the original post on the facebook page of Nigel Hughes will reveal the authentic conversation and no presence of this alleged comment.

There has never been this comment on the FB page of Nigel Hughes or I.

This incident has brought severe and untold damage to my character. I have reported these events to the Commissioner of Police and as was made very public responded to a request for information from the Ethnic Relations Commission. This is a cybercrime and given my strong personal stand against racism in all its forms I wish to ensure that my name is cleared.

What is worrying is that this is easy to do, has happened to many persons with dire and dangerous consequences and will happen to many others given today’s technology.

What is necessary is proper technologically based monitoring of our social media environment as takes place in other parts of the world. This must be foundation on which accurate forensic investigation depends.

It is interesting to note that prior to the 2020 elections, I met with the ERC on their invitation as part of the Alliance For Change delegation. Then, I discussed in detail, the importance of the Ethnic Relations Commission having to invest in a digital computer based media monitoring system instead of the old fashioned way of placing persons in front of a TV screen or radio for long hours listening to content.

There are enough scientific studies that have proven that the inherent biases of humans can influence monitoring. Thankfully, several facilities worldwide exist that allow organisations like the ERC to digitally monitor racist or incendiary content on face book, in real time, based on alerts generated from key words.

Today its Cathy Hughes-the question is does the system also feel it has the responsibility to protect the victim from such abuse?

NON PAYMENT OF TEMPORARY STAFF AT THE KUMAKA DISTRICT HOSPITAL – Valerie Garrido-Lowe

Towards the end of June, 2020, Santa Rosa, Moruca, was declared the hot-spot for covid-19.
After the death of one well-known resident in May, the village was put on alert and the then Ministry of Public Health commenced contact tracing and testing in earnest.
The doctors, nurses and staff in general of the Kumaka District Hospital, worked to save people’s lives while risking their own, day and night amidst great denial and misinformation that the novel corona virus was not real and that it was a Granger gimmick.

People continued gathering, protesting and generally living as per normal which included visiting each other, while the numbers infected continued to grow with every test.

In order to save many Morucans lives, the then APNU AFC government took immediate measures to control the spread of this dreaded disease and many persons had to be quarantined, isolated and retested before they were allowed to be with their families at home or be out in public.

Naturally, with so many persons being tested positive and the need for quarantine and isolation, there was urgent need for more staff, which was requested for by the Kumaka District Hospital.
The additional staff were termed as temporary staff and they were about 30 of them but to date only 3 of these temporary staff were paid, and for only one month and 2 months. 27 of them were never paid. The regional authorities were asked to look into the matter including the RHO but so far nothing positive has come forth.

Therefore, the Alliance For Change is calling on the Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, to personally look into this matter with the aim of ensuring that these persons get paid what is owed to them. Since they were temporary staff we expect the Ministry to retain them only when they are needed. But they have worked and now they need to get paid.
There is also the outstanding payment owed to the person who was contracted to spray the village during the lockdown. He, also, has been waiting anxiously for his payment.

The Minister and the entire Government should know by now, about the scarcity of jobs in the hinterland, a challenge that the APNU+AFC Administration has been tackling for the past 5 years through various skills programmes and projects that would eventually create sustainable employment for our Indigenous people in the hinterland.

The Alliance For Change is looking forward to these temporary health workers being paid as early as possible. It is the Christmas Season and receiving their payments at this time would certainly bring cheer to their households.

AFC welcomes ICJ ruling-David Patterson

The AFC welcomes the ruling by the ICJ that they have the jurisdiction to entertain the application filed by Guyana concerning the Arbitral Award of 1899. This is a victory for the Country and testament to the decisions on this matter by the APNU+AFC administration.

The AFC call for unity on these issues, remind this Government that this being a matter of National Importance, that they engage with all stakeholders including the Opposition. We congratulate the legal team and wish them all success in the next Phase of the legal battle. END.