Minister of State, Lt. Colonel (Retd) Joseph Harmon, told Guyanese during a recent town hall meeting in Brooklyn, that the Coalition government has brought back pride to the Guyanese people. The informative hours-long discussion addressed many concerns that were on the minds of expatriates.
Crime that has reached alarming levels in Guyana was a top priority for expats, who called for a plan of action to safeguard their security, especially when travelling from Cheddi Jagan Int. Airport.
The MP, who expressed gratitude to nationals for braving the frigid weather on March 2, to attend the meeting in New Life Center of Truth Banquet Hall — reassured expatriates that the government will make Guyana a safe place where all will sleep in peace, without heavily grilled properties, with security alarm systems.
Harmon’s weekend visit coincided with a March 1 United Nations forum on International Wildlife Day, before the Q&A, where he said security was a major concern of President David Granger, whose government received a United Kingdom grant, from military officer Russell Combe to craft a Security Sector Reform Action Plan. The UK funded initiative is aimed at improving intelligence gathering, and for security equipment, in order to combat crime.
He criticized the incompetence of the police force, stating the top brass must be reformed from the senior level, and argued that there was a resistance to reform from some of the ranks who had served in the previous government.
President Granger, Prime Minister Nagamootoo, and Public Security Khamraj Ramjattan among others, he noted, address crime incidences at weekly briefings, and are dedicated to fighting crime in the Republic.
The December 2018 planned launch of the CJIA expansion, will be equipped with trained, well screened immigration officers, Taxi drivers and baggage handlers, who may be sharing travellers’ information with criminals according to the minister. Poorly lit areas along the airport route would also be outfitted with proper lighting to thwart crimes.
Guyana, on the cusp of becoming an oil and gas-rich state, with the help of Exxon Mobile — now on its sixth oil find in the Stabroek Block- has brought much relief to the country. Harmon said the country continues the fight for its sovereignty in the International Court of Justice, naming distinguished diplomat Sir Shridath Ramphal as the coordinator in the tribunal.
“We have been fighting for this for 50 years. Venezuela has been like a “monkey on our back,’ preventing economic development of the Essequibo region,” said Harmon, who insists that the current contract signed by Guyana and Exxon Mobil, will remain. Adding, more that 100 Guyanese are being trained in various parts of the world to work in the new gas and oil sector.
Minister Harmon also put to rest a protest rally that is demanding the decriminalization of marijuana, and the legalization of the herb by the Rastafarians movement in the National Assembly. The group threatened the government with not showing up at the polls if its demands are not met. However, the politician pointed out that persons are trafficking the illegal herb, and students are using it.
He added that the herb is illegal in Guyana, and as such, the government told the Rastafarian movement to await recommendations from an upcoming CARICOM forum on the legalization of marijuana, at such time, the government will move forward with its decision.
Colvin Heath-London, an expert on GUYSUCO, Guyana Sugar Corporation, made a comprehensive presentation outlining plans to rehire retrenched workers, whose welfare the Coalition vows to protect.
London said 214 workers would return to the Enmore sugar factory on March 14, to produce sugar that would be made into molasses for rum maker, Demerara Distillers Limited.
Additionally, 176 cane cutters will resume work at other estates such as Skeldon, Rose Hall Uitvlugt and Albion and Blairmont.
Major (Rtd) Aubrey Heath Retemeyer CEO State Asset Recovery Agency, also briefed the gathering on Guyana’s progress on the recovery of state assets.
The executive body of the People’s National Congress Reform North American Region — Errol Lewis, Joycelyn Thomas, Ismay Griffith, Terrence Simon, and Beryl James, hosted the town hall meeting. A March 4 gathering at D’Lorice Banquet Hall in Irvington, NJ, and March 5, meeting at XGDF Hall in Queens, were also held.
The minister’s delegation included, Attorney Geeta Chandra-Edmond, Bobby Vieira, Jennifer Ferreira-Dougall, Major (retd) Aubrey Heath Retemeyer and Colvin Heath-London.