The Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD) has ordered the recall of Ramipril, a drug for hypertension or congestive heart failure that was found to be unregistered and circulating on the local market.GA-FDD Director Marlon Cole told Guyana Times at the sidelines of a workshop on Tuesday, that the move was taken following a complaint the Department received on Sunday.Cole claimed that an immediate investigation was launched following the complaint and it was later found that the drug, which is highly used, was unregistered.GA-FDD Director Marlon Cole“The reason for registration is to ensure that the drugs were assessed either by a competent and serious reference authority or by the Caribbean registration. So, immediately as we recognised that the drug was not registered or no marketing authorisation was given to it to be sold on our local market, we made a decision to have it recalled from circulation with immediate effect,” he explained.Ramipril is used to treat mainly hypertension (high blood pressure). It is also used to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, or death.The Director said the owner of the unregistered drug is cooperating with the Department and had indicated that it would conduct a recall with immediate effect.Given this recent discovery, Cole told this newspaper that the department would take stringent steps to ensure that other similar situations were reported and addressed.“We will examine pharmaceuticals and specifically look for prescription drugs and ensure that they are on our list as registered drugs. If that is not the case, and they are in circulation and have not been subjected to regulatory oversight, chances are that drug may be posing a public health risk,” he said.The Director explained that in any regulatory system, there was always a need for a balance to be maintained between the availability of drugs that were safe and filtering out substandard drugs.The assessment of these drugs looks at whether the bio-availability is sound, the active pharmaceuticals are indeed included, and the patient information is accurate, among other things.“We also need to check if the drugs could be sold in our climate because it is possible that a drug could be marketed in a temperate climate and when it comes to a tropical zone, it loses its efficacy. So, those are some of the things that our officers have to be vigilant about,” he added.Cole said that his team continued to work hard daily to ensure that everyone was compliant and that unregistered drugs did not reach consumers.The GA-FDD Head addressed a workshop on Tuesday for drug importers which focused on strengthening function and regulatory capacity, with special emphasis on the Caribbean regulatory system in Guyana.
Adolescent Health DocumentFirst Lady Sandra Granger, for her noteworthy work with youth in Guyana, was paid a courtesy call by representatives of the Public Health Ministry and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to discuss the Ministry’s Adolescent Health Strategy Document, which is currently in development. The meeting took place at the Office of the First Lady at State House, Georgetown.First Lady Sandra Granger poses with representatives from the Public Health Ministry and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). From left: Dr Travis Freeman, Dr Janice Woolford, Cilandell Glen, Dr Beryl Irons, and PAHO Representative in Guyana, Dr William Adu-KrowPublic Health Ministry Sexual Reproductive Health Coordinator at the Adolescent Health Unit, Cilandell Glen said that the First Lady’s far-reaching work with youth across Guyana made her an ideal candidate for consultation. “It was important to get our First Lady on board in the development of this document because it’s … not only guiding our young people in Region Four [Demerara-Mahaica], but it’s guiding our adolescents, our young people, throughout Guyana and as a First Lady she could actually have significant influence on the implementation of our document and ensure that it reaches the wide cross-section of Guyana,” she is quoted by the Ministry of the Presidency as saying.The Adolescent Health Strategy Document is being developed with support from UNICEF; the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and PAHO and will focus on reducing teen pregnancies, while boosting reproductive and mental health. Public Health Ministry Adolescent Health Services Officer, Dr Travis Freeman; PAHO Consultant for Strategy Development, Dr Beryl Irons; Specialist in Children, Adolescent and Women’s Health, Dr Janice Woolford, and PAHO Representative in Guyana, Dr William Adu-Krow also attended the meeting.
….Jagdeo questions Govt’s alleged $30M expenditure on kitesBy Andrew CarmichaelPresident David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo both visited Berbice, “the Ancient County”, on Saturday to distribute kites to children ahead of Easter Monday. They both took kites to Corriverton, Corentyne in Region Six and Bath Settlement, West Coast Berbice in Region Five.President David Granger distributing kites at CorrivertonAddressing hundreds of children at Corriverton, the Head of State outlined the significance of Easter and explained that, for Christians, Easter is considered more sacred than Christmas, since it has more significance.He noted, nonetheless, that in Guyana we all celebrate each other’s festivals.“So what is happening in Guyana is that all of the religions are coming together to celebrate these ceremonies and festivals and national ceremonies and festivals. So today is not a day for Christians alone, it is not a day for Muslims alone, it is not a day for Hindus alone; it is a day for all Guyanese! That is the reason that I am here,” the president said.While noting that Easter may be significant to only some, President Granger said that, as a nation, we all celebrate the symbolic Resurrection of Jesus Christ.“What I am asking is that your children understand that this is part of a national festival. It doesn’t matter if you are Hindu, Christian or Muslim. We all know that today is what Christians call Holy Saturday. It comes at the end of a long period of sacrifice, called Lent; forty days and forty nights…,” he said.Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who had also gone to Corriverton and Bath Settlement to distribute kites, met with children at Gangaram, Betsy Ground, Adelphi, and Canefield in East Canje; and at Crabwood Creek in Upper Corentyne, where some 5000 kites were distributed to children.He noted that many persons in the communities he visited, including those along the sugar belt — which are now being considered depressed communities — want to be part of the celebrations.“Unfortunately, the economic circumstances are not helping any of the families. So it is not an occasion for politics, it is an event in Guyana that cuts across race and religion, where we all participate in the celebration of Easter,” he expressed.Jagdeo, who later participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Babu Jaan to mark the ninth death anniversary of the late former President Janet Jagan, questioned the amount of money Government had used to purchase kites for the children.The Opposition Leader is of the firm view that Government did not utilize the entire $30 million it allegedly had set aside for the purchase of 5,000 kites, but that a portion of that $30 million went to support the Peoples National Congress and its Easter programme.“So it is very ironic that this Government will spend $30 million, having claimed that they don’t have money to do anything else. $30 million to buy 5,000 kites to share in the sugar belt to kids, and they just took away the livelihood from their parents. Some of that $30 million has gone to Congress Place…, and they had to put Granger’s picture on the kite,” he remarked.He urged all those receiving kites to remember the reason why Easter is celebrated, and he called for religious tolerance and unity among all Guyanese.
A homeless man, who reportedly stole a bag of garlic along with a bag of Boulanger, was on Tuesday jailed when he appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.Thirty-four-year-old Bhisham Sookdeo of no fixed address admitted to Magistrate Annette Singh that he stole the items on April 7, 2018, at Waterloo Street, Georgetown from Alesia Hayman.Police Prosecutor Devon Goodman revealed to the court that Sookdeo was given the bags containing the aforementioned items to take to the Bourda Market for the Virtual Complainant (VC), who is a stall holder. However, he never delivered nor were the goods ever recovered.Magistrate Singh cautioned the repeat offender not to make a third appearance before her as she will be inclined to give him the maximum penalty.After telling him to “stop stealing people’s things,” Singh sentenced him to spend the next month behind bars.
The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has managed to collect millions of dollars since it cracked down on the heavy-duty vehicle racket, which was discovered in 2017.GRA Commissioner General Godfrey Statia said that the Authority went out of its way to make it known that it was prepared to visit the interior locations where persons were using heavy-duty vehicles.“We sent our officers out there, so they would be able to take the necessary photographs and then proceed to register those vehicles. But there has not been a great response in this regard,” he stated.The GRA boss said that the Authority has been going from village to village, houseGRA Commissioner General Godfrey Statiato house, and actually levying fines. “There has not been a great type of a response as we should have seen,” he explained.Nevertheless, once these persons are found culpable, the GRA would apply a conveyance charge of $150,000 in addition to the taxes required on each of these vehicles.It was reported that the State has been losing billions annually over excavators and other heavy-duty machinery and equipment that were not registered. This was first discovered during 2017.Statia reminded that this scheme has been on GRA’s radar for some time now. He outlined that exercises were carried out, monitoring vehicles that had been moving within the country, especially excavators and draglines, but when checks were made, there was no record of them in the system.“It was on the cards for a little while, but then what we found is that there was one particular excavator that was imported and we could not have found it, it was cleared and we could not have found it until now. And now that we have gone through additional transactions,” he noted.The GRA Head had pointed out the problem was as long as these machinery and heavy-duty equipment were not registered, the Authority would be in a position to find or trace them.“It is not only with the heavy duty…Heavy-duty [machinery] has just been on the forefront for us…so when these excavators go into the interior, if they are not registered then, they cannot be traced.”Further asked about the scale of the scheme, the GRA Head had said that it was not all importers of heavy-duty machinery and equipment who were involved in the racket.Heavy-duty equipment and machinery are utilised by most sectors in Guyana. The mining sector and Government are the biggest importers of these.Statia pointed out that “somewhere along the line, the system went lax and allowed these excavators to be roaming free without numbers and without registration. We need to regularise them.”
By Michael YoungeThe A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU-AFC) coalition Government is failing miserably to honour its campaign promises to the Guyanese electorate as it continues to perform poorly as far as governance, accountability, and transparency are concerned.Former President and Prime Minister, Samuel HindsThis is the position of former President and Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, who stressed that after three years in office, it was clear that the coalition was unable to fulfil many of the promises it had made on the campaign trail ahead of the May 2015 General and Regional Elections.“I think that the campaign was based on a lot of promises and accusations, which were just words…Maybe they didn’t know what to expect when they entered Government, but they haven’t delivered on their promises,” he said.Hinds also stated that the Government’s accusations of widespread People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) corruption were proving to be a fishing expedition as the coalition has been unable to substantiate claims in that respect with hard evidence.The former Prime Minister maintained that the coalition Government should seriously explore the idea of returning to the people for a new mandate in order to restore public confidence in its ability to govern and transform the country’s poorly-performing economy.“Even in areas where they have not performed any better (than the PPP), they should return to the polls to seek a new mandate. In fact, I think that people should demand that the coalition seeks a new mandate,” Hinds said on Friday during the exclusive interview.Asked whether he was concerned by the arguments and propositions put forward by several political and ethnic groupings that he was merely a token used by the PPP for window-dressing purposes, Hinds responded in the negative.He said while he could understand the sentiments being expressed, his career in public service coupled with his quiet yet effective work of representing Lindeners before and after he joined the PPP, spoke volumes about his accomplishments as Prime Minister and President of Guyana.Hinds, who was Donald Ramotar’s Prime Ministerial Candidate back in 2011, said that the Guyanese people were wise and intelligent, and they knew what he stood for as a public figure.He said that ultimately Guyanese were supportive of leaders who were hard workers and understanding as well as compassionate.Hinds’ statement comes on the heels of similar sentiments expressed by former Finance Minister Juan Edghill over the weekend which suggest that the Government is becoming desperate in its actions and attacks on the media, because it knows it is losing electorate support even though it continues to blow its own trumpet.Edghill, like Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, has pointed out that supporters of the coalition are becoming impatient, disillusioned and disconnected from the leadership of the coalition, which is finding itself in a series of controversies and scandals which have affected its reputation since coming to office in 2015.
…as local stakeholders introduced to exponential technologiesGovernment has brought in a technology expert to sensitise local Private and Public Sector stakeholders on the importance of technology in developing a small economy like Guyana.Addressing the gathering of Information, Communication and Technology (ITC) stakeholders at the Marriott Hotel on Wednesday, Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes said that the Administration was committed towards building a government, which is heavily based on using technology.Government partnered with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to host technology expert, Dr Nicholas Haan, to deliver a presentation on exponential technology.According to Minister Hughes, the more ICT is included in the way in which business is transacted, services are provided, and citizens are served, then the better and faster Guyana is going to be transformed. She went on to mention howDr Nicholas Haan delivering his presentation on exponential technologies“extremely exhausting” it can be to access the various services provided by the State on conducting businesses.Access to the Internet and broadband connectivity is considered a human right today. In this regard, Minister Hughes posited that Guyana was making headway, having already provided 157 secondary and primary schools with Internet access as well as establishing 119 ICT hubs across the country.There is no doubt that Guyana is behind in technological advancement and at Wednesday’s forum, stakeholders from both the Private and Public Sectors were introduced to the concept of exponential technologies (ET) and its importance in developing small economies like Guyana.Dr Haan is Track Chair and Vice President of Impact at Singularity University (SU), which is a Silicon Valley think tank that offers educational programmes and serves as a business incubator.During his presentation, he pointed out that in recent years, there have been major technological transformations, which have created opportunities for agencies to rethink the way they serve people.“Humanity is currently witnessing, at this very time, a major transformation never, ever seen before; a transformation into a digital era where every single one of our social systems – our food system, our energy system, our health system, our government system, etc – every single one of those is being transformed by technology and other global trends. This creates incredible opportunities if you’re leading a corporation or if you’re an entrepreneur, and it creates incredible opportunities for Governments around the world to rethink the way to best serve the populace,” Dr Haan posited.He went on to talk about how exponential technology has advanced and developed over recent years to create new concepts such as artificial intelligence programmes that operate in real time with no human control and 3D printing.IDB’s Senior Specialist on State Modernisation, Mariko Russell, said the idea behind hosting this presentation was to highlight how accessible and beneficial exponential technologies can be for local enterprises.
Golden Arrow of Achievement awardee Pradeep Samtami died on Monday after being ill for some time.Samtami was the owner of the Bhagwan’s Stores on Regent and Water Streets, Georgetown and was also a cultural icon, philanthropist, and producer.He recently had two pre-Diwali shows and was one of the featured judges of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha’s annual Diwali motorcade, which was held Monday night.Following his passing, many persons took to social media to express their shock and offer condolences to his family as they mourn the loss of a true Guyanese patriot.Samtami, a legendary cinema owner from 1975 to 2007, was the proprietor of the famous Liberty Cinema on Vlissengen Road and Garnett Street, Kitty. He was also the producer of “Rainbow Rani” – an internationally acclaimed movie produced in Guyana.
Three years ago, Anthony and Naomi Caesar refused to purchase a birthday gift for their daughter’s first birth anniversary. They instead wanted something unique, which could stand out at the party they had thrown. They wanted all the decorations for the party to be different. “We were looking around for stuff at various party stores, but all had the same things that everybody else was using; so I decided to make decoration with the materials at (our) disposal,” it was related to this publication.The couple used brown paper bags and Mickey ears photo frames to design their decorations, thus making them unique. They had then never imagined that their ideas would eventually turn into a business venture. Today the business is called A N & K Crafts.Anthony explained that he uses foam boards, foam sheet ,velvet cloth, felt, dry leaves, green sea moss, wire, wood, sand, stones, cardboard, paper, plastic, feathers and other things to create ornaments and indoor decorations. In fact, those are the things that host homes crave at this time of the year.While much of the materials gathered were from the bins of stores and from around the community, about sixty per cent of what is needed has to be purchased.Foam, velvet, green sea moss, decorative stones, paper, plastic craft wood and craft sticks are some of the materials used to make the decorations.“We might not get the right materials in Guyana, so we might have to improvise or order it from overseas,” Anthony said as he spoke of some of the difficulties associated with the craft business.Currently, the couple sell their craft production on the pavement in New Amsterdam, Berbice.“Some people are amazed with the work, and probably have doubts in their minds when I say that the work was done by the family. My understanding is that most Berbicians move away from craft and prefer the Chinese mass (produced) flower and home decor. Probably they are cheaper and affordable, but not long lasting; that’s my take,” he declared.Anthony says that while he is not directly involved in the export of his craft, many of his customers indicate that they are sending the items overseas for family members or friends.The business of craft which might — in other parts of the world and to a lesser extent in other parts of the country — become a flourishing business, does not enjoy the same success in Berbice, he explained.The young entrepreneur, who is expected to celebrate his fourth wedding anniversary today, says sometimes the situation gets depressing.“Because people come up and say they (the craft items) are really nice and neat, but those same people do not buy. It sometimes leaves me wondering if (the items are) so great, why you don’t buy something then? I say to myself, ‘It is great, but not to be put in their homes.’“But then there is that one customer who would come and make you want to continue pressing on,” he revealed.Persons who wish to purchase décor can check out Anthony Zar’s Facebook page.
The post mortem performed on the body of 15-year-old Mae’s Secondary School student, Vanica Schultz, failed to reveal the cause of death. The autopsy was performed by Dr Nehaul Singh on Monday at the Georgetown Public Hospital mortuary, who reported that the cause of death is undetermined.Dead: Vanica SchultzAs such, body contents, blood and urine samples were extracted and are expected to be further analysed to determine the cause of death of the teenager. Nevertheless, the body was handed over to the family for burial.Initially, it was reported that the teenager of Tuschen Housing Scheme, East Bank Essequibo, ingested at least six ecstasy pills and died shortly after she was seen vomiting at school.The Mae’s school administration, on the other hand, said that the teen ingested carbon tablets and died while receiving medical attention at the Woodlands Hospital.While information remains sketchy about the motive for taking her own life, Guyana Times understands that the teenager was part of an investigation with respect to the sale of ecstasy on the school’s premises. This was also denied by the school’s administration. In fact, the school stated that at no point in time were the pills found in the school’s compound.However, soon after the teen’s death, her 20-year-old boyfriend allegedly admitted to Police that he gave the teen the pills to sell in school. He reportedly told investigators that the now dead teen was caught selling the drug and an investigation was launched.Moments prior to the teen’s death, she handed letters to her friends apologising for all the wrong she has done. Her peers also confirmed that an investigation was launched into the sales of ecstasy.Following the alleged discovery of ecstasy pills on the school premises some time ago, students involved were instructed to inform their parents to visit the school so that the matter could be dealt with.It was reported that following the decision to inform the parents, the now dead teen reportedly threatened to take her life since she did not want her parents to know about her involvement in the ecstasy investigation.Last year, the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) revealed a worrying trend of ecstasy being sold to students in at least five schools across Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and Four (Demerara-Mahaica). The anti-drug enforcement agency is working with education officials to address the illegal practice.Ecstasy is making its way into the nation’s schools after being already popular among many affluent members of society, CANU Deputy Head Lesley Ramlall had stated.While it was not revealed if, or how many of these affluent individuals were charged, Ramlall said CANU was working to track down the drug mules and was not inclined to carry out full-fledged investigations in schools.