LNHA president Saweler, Assistant Minister Toe and LNHA secretary general GayeThe Liberia National Handball Association is waiting for plane tickets from the International Handball Federation to make its trip to Niamey, Niger to participate in the IHF Zone 3 Trophy competition.According to LNHA president, J. Mason Saweler a representative from the Ministry of Youth and Sports is working along with the LNHA to write the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue passports to the National Handball delegation for their departure on Saturday, April 7.He said the International Handball Federation (IHF) has promised to provide tickets for two delegations of Liberia (the youth and the junior teams, along with their coaches) to participate in the tournament.Countries expected to participate in the tournament are the host nation, Niger, Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Benin, and Liberia. The tournament is scheduled from 9-14.The International Handball Federation decided to underwrite the cost of traveling by air instead of traveling by road following an appeal by the Liberia National Handball Association, President Saweler said.Meanwhile, LNHA is appealing to Chief Patron of Sports President George Manneh Weah and all philanthropists to aid the teams in their preparation to represent Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
…still awaiting word from GRA on way forward – sourceEmbattled logging company BaiShanLin Forest Developers Inc has put on the chopping block the Cacique Palace aback the Princess Hotel, East Bank Demerara which it had purchased recently.According to an advertisement published in the Wednesday edition of Guyana Times, the entity is advertising for buyers.The Cacique Palace and Banquet Hall began construction in preparation for the 2007 Cricket World Cup; however, the US$3.5 million project was never completed and opened for business despite a G$30 million cash injection by the then Government.To recover its monies, the previous Administration had established a team comprising the developers and other facilitators to negotiate a sale.The Cacique Palace aback the Princess Hotel, Providence, East Bank DemeraraThis obtained in 2009 when the then Government, as well as the owners of the Cacique Palace and Banquet Hall, entered into an agreement wherein the Government would have acquired and complete the construction of the edifice.The property had stayed vacant on the market for a number of years before BaiShanLin snapped it up as accommodation for its employees as it expanded its operations locally.The controversial Chinese logging company has, in recent months, found itself in dire financial straits, causing the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to levy against company property and equipment lieu of in excess of $1.5 billion said to be owed to the tax authority.The Guyana Government has since terminated the Investment Agreement with BaiShanLin and the entity was asked to repay the fiscal concessions it had been granted for the importation of machinery, equipment and vehicles to the tune of $1.5 billion.The two entities have since entered into closed doors negotiations in order to sort out an amicable agreement.Guyana Times was told by a source close to the negotiations that BaiShanLin had been asked to prepare a proposal for the GRA with regard to its initial commitments in Guyana.This was done, but according to the source, the GRA is still to respond to BaiShanLin on the way forward.The revenue collection agency had launched an investigation to determine if the terms and conditions under which the tax exemptions were granted had been complied with.BaiShanLin was found to have breached the terms and conditions outlined in the Investment Agreement.According to the Revenue Authority, BaiShanLin failed to undertake the activities of the project specified in the Investment Agreement with regard to the setting up of a modernised wood processing facility in Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).The tax collection body also found that the company failed to procure and provide all the investment and other financing required by the undertaking, in the estimated sum of US$150 million over a three-year period from the time of signing of the Investment Agreement.The company had found itself in even more hot water when the Guyana Forestry Commission moved to seize all of the forestry concessions held by BaiShanLin, including those controlled through Joint Venture Arrangements with local companies that held Timber Sales Agreements.The company had sought the assistance of the Chinese Development Bank along with the local embassy in its search to secure an investor to no avail.
…publishes alleged fraudulent naturalisation noticesOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has express grave concern over what he believes is an immigration racket going on at the Citizenship Department within the Ministry of the Presidency.Jagdeo told reporters at his weekly press conference on Wednesday that there is an “enormous cesspool of corruption” at the Citizenship Department, which among other things, has seen fraudulent applications for citizenship here by foreign nationals.He pointed to several such publications in the State’s newspaper over the past months that showed individuals applying for citizenship on more than one publications with different names and addresses.For instance on February 5, 2019, a notice along with photograph was published of a young man by the name of Gabriel St Juste of Lot 56 Burma Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara, “applying to the Minister for naturalisation”. However, two days later on February 7, 2019 a similar notice carrying the same photograph was published but with a different name and address – Daniel Garcia Farres of Lot 1010 Norton Street, Cemetery Road, Georgetown.The same was done last month. Another notice published on March 27, 2019 stating that Rubesh Abdus of Lot 0 Tabatinga, Lethem, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), was also applying for naturalisation. But, again, another publication two days later on March 29, 2019 saw the same photograph published with a different name and address, Hajime Beltran Abreu, of Lot 39 Owen Street, Kitty, Georgetown.According to Jagdeo, these are just a few of several other cases found by persons from his party who are looking into the matter including Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, who chairs the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs.The Opposition Leader does not believe that these were mistakes but rather a “tip of the iceberg” of what he describes as a “deep dark hole of corruption” at the Department of Citizenship, which is headed by Minister Winston Felix.“So it’s just the tip of the iceberg, they found several other examples so that cannot be mistakes. This is a pattern and it’s happening right before our eyes in Chronicle. They believe that people are not (noticing it) because most of us don’t pay attention to this issue and so we are very, very concerned,” Jagdeo said at his press conference on Thursday.He went on to state that this is part of a larger corruption racket to give out citizenship to hundreds, possibly thousands, of foreign citizens, who may be either paying for it or were deliberately brought here for other reasons.“So it something that we will be following up on seriously,” he asserted, noting that they have already brought it up with several authorities. Jagdeo added, however, he hopes the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has taken notice of these activities, which he said, poses risks for Guyanese.Enhance scrutinyHe mentioned the economic citizenship programme that some Caribbean countries had implemented, whereby foreigners who invest certain amounts of money in the country were given passports, which subsequently begun attracting sanctions from the international community regarding the use of passports from those countries by ordinary people.Jagdeo said Guyanese are likely to face the same fate and could be subjected to intense scrutiny since the integrity of Guyanese documents will be questioned.“So they will put at risk our passport. When we go abroad now, we will now be faced with enhanced scrutiny across the Region because if the people in the Region and the US and other places feel that our passports are porous and anyone can get a passport – a person coming from Bangladesh or Brazil or Haiti or DR (The Dominican Republic) or wherever else, can easily get a (Guyanese) passport and then use that to travel on then they will start paying more attention to those of us who travel using Guyanese passports,” he stressed.On the other hand, the Opposition Leader went on to highlight that they also have concerns when it comes to the increasing number of foreign nationals entering the country. He said figures from COPA Airlines show that from October last year to March this year, some 3800 Haitians came through Guyana and most are still likely here.Jagdeo pointed out that Guyanese have been complaining that these foreigners are here looking for jobs and are making it difficult for locals because they (foreigners) work for less pay and so they get hired over Guyanese.Further, the Opposition Leader also questioned the integrity of the entire system, saying the “digitisation of records” is particularly suspicious since false data can be inputted into the system, which can then be used to give false identification to the masses of foreigners coming in the country.The parliamentary Opposition had long been saying that the coalition Government is granting thousands of Haitians and Cubans citizenship in order for them to get voting rights for the upcoming elections. But Government had rejected this notion.A meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs back in June 2018 had revealed alarming statistics which thousands of Haitians and Cubans are not only overstaying their time in Guyana but cannot be accounted for.As of April 30, 2018, a total of 1238 Haitians arrived in Guyana but only 85 left the country. In 2017, 3515 Haitian nationals entered Guyana and 291 left, while the year before out of 722 Haitians who came here, only 451 were on record as leaving. There were 770 Haitian nations who arrived in 2015, 227 in 2014 and 188 in 2013 but only 136, 113 and 99 left the country respectively.