Guyana Chronicle
January 7, 2004

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Shawnel Cudjoe looks back at some of the major events that created a significant impact on life in Guyana in 2003. AS the unrelenting crime wave that began in 2002 spilled over into last year, Guyana saw some of the most violent crimes committed on the country's citizenry. These included the slaying of law enforcement officers, home invasion robberies and several well staged kidnappings.

Three major fires and several developmental works by the Government also underscored events that took a big bite out of the pages of newspaper, radio and television news reports.

Guyana Chronicle takes a look at some of those events that are now a permanent part of Guyana's history:

JANUARY 2003 OPPOSITION LEADER SHOULD BE APPOINTED BY PARLIAMENT - CABINET Secretary and Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, expressed the hope that the succession transition within the Opposition (PNC/R) would flow smoothly so that the politicians could continue their goal of nation building.

Since the sudden death of PNC/R Leader, Mr. Desmond Hoyte, on December 22, 2002, the party's chairman, attorney-at-Law Mr. Robert Corbin, has taken the helm. Corbin will be the party's leader until the General Council is called, within 60 days, at which time an Interim Leader will be elected to lead the party until the next Congress.

YOUNG PREACHER DROWNS AT BAPTISM CEREMONY - THE Christian community on the West Bank of Demerara and members of the Wesleyan Churches in Guyana were plunged into deep mourning following the drowning of a young preacher on December 28.

Twenty-five-year-old Kevin O'Brien's death sent shock waves throughout the community, and as the news spread, dozens of young people gathered at his residence at Goed Intent, West Bank Demerara, to offer condolences and support each other.

TWO DIE IN ROAD ACCIDENT AFTER WEDDING - A NIGHT of celebration ended tragically for a family on December 23 2002 when the mini-bus in which they were returning from a wedding reception, crashed, killing two persons and seriously injuring others.

Dead are mechanic Lionel Berkley, 33, who was driving, and his 12 year-old son Colin Shawn Berkley, a student of the East Ruimveldt Primary School, who both lived at Lot 628 West Ruimveldt, Georgetown. His wife Audrey is said to be critical in the Intensive Care Unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.

BANDITS SHOOT STORE OWNER, SON - AN Annandale, East Coast Demerara businessman and his son were rushed to hospital on December 24 2002 with gunshots wounds after four armed bandits casually entered the store at Annandale Market Road and opened fire on them.

The incident occurred around 13:30 hrs while the businessman Basil Singh, 50, and his son Muneshwar, 21, were in their grocery hardware store.

THOUSANDS SEE HOYTE'S BODY AT FIRST PUBLIC VIEWING - SOME confusion reigned when the wooden casket bearing the body of dead People's National Congress/Reform (PNC/R) Leader, Mr. Hugh Desmond Hoyte, arrived at the Party's Congress Place, Sophia headquarters at about 10:30 hrs yesterday.

Colleagues, devout supporters and loyalists, who were orderly up to then, converged around the casket, all pushing to catch a glimpse of the fallen hero. It took more than 30 minutes and regular pleadings over a loud speaker by Master of Ceremonies (MC) Mr. Hector Stoute, before some semblance of order was restored.

BODY OF REVERED PNC/R LEADER LAID TO REST - THE body of Mr. Hugh Desmond Hoyte, the later former President and leader of the People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R) was laid to rest yesterday at the place of the Seven Ponds, Botanical Gardens at about 19:00 hrs.

Huge crowds gathered at the Botanical Gardens from around 15:30 hrs and waited patiently for about two hours for the body to arrive, which was delayed as a result of the large crowds that had gathered along the route to bid farewell to the former president.

PRESIDENT READY FOR DISCOURSE WITH NEW PNC/R LEADER- PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo, in a statement at the State Funeral of the late Hugh Desmond Hoyte, former president of Guyana, has advised the new leadership of the PNC/R that he will be ready for discourse and willing to cooperate in the interest of the Guyanese people.

LET US RESOLVE TO BUILD A GREAT AND FREE GUYANA - PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo, in his New Year's address to the nation, has called on Guyanese to resolve to build a great and free Guyana.

"We have come to the end of yet another year. The year 2002 will be remembered as one of the most eventful and challenging in our recent history. However, our country and people have managed to overcome the challenges and to record advances of which we can be justly proud", the President said.

ANOTHER COP GUNNED DOWN IN COLD BLOOD - LESS than 24 hours into the New Year, the nation witnessed the brutal cold blooded slaying of yet another Policeman on January 2.

Dead is Constable 15885 Mark Latour of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The 29-year-old Cop who hailed from Eversham, Berbice, lived with relatives at Lot 46 Norton Street, Wortmanville. The killing also comes less than two weeks after the execution of Police Constable 16840 Colin Robertson of CID Patrol Unit.

POLICE PROBING NEW YEAR'S DAY BEATING OF BANDIT AT VIGILANCE - POLICE were yesterday investigating the circumstances of a New Year's Day beating of a suspected teenage bandit by irate residents of Vigilance, North Squatting Area, East Coast Demerara. The beating allegedly followed a robbery at a business place involving the 17 year-old and two other bandits.

In a statement yesterday, the Police said that the incident occurred at about 15:15 hrs on Wednesday January 1, 2003.

POLICEMAN BRUTALLY MURDERED - LESS than 24 hours after the brutal slaying of a Policeman at a city restaurant, another cop was on January 3 gunned down execution style a short distance away from his Bent Street, Wortmanville home.

Dead is Constable Rayon Anthony Roberts of MM Bent Street, Wortmanville aged 32 and a father of six, including a two-month-old baby. Relatives confirmed that the cop was slain on the second birth anniversary of his two-year-old son.

POLICE OUTPOST ATTACKED: FOUR INJURED - CONFUSION reigned on the night of January 3 at East Ruimveldt Police Outpost following a drive-by shooting which left three civilians and one policeman injured.

According to an eyewitness, at about 20:00 hrs, a car drove past the Police Outpost and fired indiscriminately before proceeding north, up Cemetery Road.

$1.5M MORE FOR NUMBER 63 BEACH DEVELOPMENT - On January 1 Vice Chairman of Region Six (East Berbice Corentyne), Mr. Kadim Bacchus announced that allocations of a further $1.5M for developing Number 63 Beach.

He said it is part of the first phase of the project aimed at making the place a major tourist attraction, through the joint efforts of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) and the Number 63 Beach Development Committee.

PRESIDENT ORDERS $20M MORE FOR POLICE FORCE - COMMANDER-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Bharrat Jagdeo on January 3 ordered the disbursement of an additional sum of $20M to the Guyana Police Force, according to an informed Police source.

This decision came hours after two members of the Police Force have been brutally gunned down while off-duty.

NO EFFORT WILL BE SPARED TO HUNT DOWN PERPETRATORS- MINISTER of Home Affairs Ronald Gajraj on January 5 assured Guyanese that no effort will be spared in his Ministry's resolve to find and bring the perpetrators of violent crimes that threaten life, limb and property to justice.

In a statement issued following the cold-blooded murder of two policemen in the first two days of the New Year and the unprovoked assault Friday night on the East Ruimveldt Police Out Post, which brought serious injuries to four people, the Minister warned that attempts by criminals to cower police ranks will be defeated.

15 POLICEMEN KILLED IN PAST 10 MONTHS - THE wanton attacks on the Policemen and the police stations/outposts have unleashed terror in a populace already reeling from the effects of a spate of kidnappings - some deadly murders - and robberies which followed the escape, almost a year ago of five dangerous criminals.

The henious murders of those for whom service and protection are watchwords, is a direct assault on law and order in the society and an attempt to demoralise members of the force who daily put their lives on the line.

CANU OFFICER GUNNED DOWN AT HOME - ANOTHER law enforcement officer was on January 4 2003 gunned down in cold blood at Cato Street, Agricola, East Bank Demerara, bringing the death toll to three for the first five days of the New Year.

Dead is Harold Duncan, 50, an officer of the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) and of 145 Cato Street, Agricola. He was also a boxing referee and swimming coach.

'MAIN BIG LIME' PULLS HUGE CROWDS - WHAT started out as a trickle of people to the 'Main Big Lime' on Main street, Georgetown January 5 eventually swelled to hundreds as the sun settled West over the capital.

Guyanese and foreigners alike took advantage of the cool of the day to partake in the now annual event organised by the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Industry.

Man fatally stabbed at Bare Root - A MAN was on January 5 stabbed to death, following an argument with another, allegedly over a woman.

Dead is Dennis Hansraj, 24, of Bare Root, Bachelor's Adventure, East Coast Demerara. He was stabbed in the upper region of his chest.

GAS HIKE BITES INTO POCKETS OF MINIBUS OPERATORS - THE Guyana Public Transportation Association (GPTA) said the recent increase in fuel price has begun to affect the income of minibus operators. However, the association will make every effort to ensure that commuters do not pay more to travel, GPTA Executive member, Mr Vibert Belle told Chronicle.

Belle said that minibus operators are now spending between $1,000 and $1,500 more on fuel for their daily operation since the price increased.

GUYANA, CHINA SIGN AGREEMENT TO BOOST TIES - STATE Chancellor in the Government of the People's Republic of China, Madame Wu Yi began an official two day visit to Guyana on January 7, meeting President Bharrat Jagdeo and Government ministers and spearheading the signing of several agreements aimed at enhancing economic trade exchange and cooperation between the countries.

One of the four agreements the Chinese signed yesterday with the Guyana Government entails debt relief worth about US$20M.

COP KILLED IN BUXTON ATTACK - A POLICE Constable was shot dead January 8 when gunmen opened fire on a mobile patrol in Buxton, East Coast Demerara.

Constable 18043 Nandkumar Mohabir, of Enmore, East Coast Demerara, was the forth policeman shot dead in attacks so far this year.

Police said gunmen opened fire on the patrol at about 18:25 hrs at Public Road and Brushe Dam, Buxton.

JOINT ANTI-CRIME OPERATION INTENSIFIES - THE Police and Army have launched their most intensive and 'overt' operation since the joint anti-crime fight began last year. Officials January 9 said 'Operation Saline Solution II' is "the most effective" approach at the moment in combating the crime scourge plaguing the country and flushing out criminals from the Violence-prone East Coast Demerara village of Buxton.

EAST BANK GAS STATION FIRE-BOMBED - THE 'Two Brothers' Service station at Eccles, East Bank Demerara came under attack early January 9 by armed men who tried to set it alight by using 'channa bombs'.

During the attack, they succeeded in destroying tow fuel pumps, and fortunately the five members of staff on shift duty at the time were not armed or injured.

GUNMEN ATTACK, ROB CITY GAS STATION - SIX unmasked gunmen swooped down on the gas station at Camp and New Market Streets, Georgetown at about 18:45 hrs (6:45 pm) on January 9 unleashing terror as they robbed the station’s Convenience Store and a customer before beating a hasty retreat.

According to witnesses, in less than 10 minutes the gang of armed men, all under thirty years and fully clad in bulletproof vests, invaded the gas station leaving in their wake traumatised pump attendants, cashiers, a driver, his wife and two children, two and three years old.

TWO KILLED IN CHECKPOINT SHOOTOUT - AS Police intensify their campaign to capture wanted criminals, two suspected bandits were shot dead on January 10 during an exchange of gunfire with police at a checkpoint on Ogle Public Road, East Coast Demerara.

Police in a press release said that about 08:10 hrs, the driver and occupant of a silver grey Toyota Marino motorcar fitted with false number plate PFF 1880, opened fire on the ranks at the checkpoint.

EAST BANK FISHMONGER IS LATEST ROAD VICTIM - A MOTHER of four died on the spot after she was reportedly hit by a speeding car on the East Bank Demerara road on January 10.

The accident occurred around 04:30 hrs at Grant Bridge, Craig, East Bank Demerara. Dead is Azema Talookdar of 29 - A Craig, Grant Scheme, East Bank Demerara. The 43 year-old woman was the mother of four.

GUNMEN ATTACK ANOTHER PETROL STATION - VICE President of the Guyana Petrol Station Dealers' Association, Mr. Charles Woon-a-Tai, said yesterday that should a gas station ignite, the consequences could be disastrous.

Woon-a-Tai said so in the wake of an attack on another gas station last week. On January 10 bandits robbed and attempted to burn down the petrol station at the corners of Lime and D'Urban Streets, Georgetown.

INCREASED RESOURCES FOR ANTI-CRIME FIGHT - CABINET has recognized the concerns about security and the upsurge in crimes and violence and increased financial resources are being allocated in the crime fight, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon has said.

He also told a news conference that Cabinet at its two day session on Wednesday and Thursday reassured that the priority on crime fighting during last year will be continued this year, and will be detailed in the upcoming budget.

CORBIN SEEKS URGENT MEETING ON BUXTON - CHAIRMAN and acting Leader of the main Opposition PNC/R, Mr. Robert Corbin is seeking an urgent meeting with Police Commissioner, Mr Floyd McDonald on the situation in the East Coast Demerara village of Buxton.

In a press release yesterday, he also said that "all blatant law breakers should be equally brought to justice" if there is to be national confidence in and support for the work of the security forces.

COBBLER SHOT DEAD - AN EAST Ruimveldt, Georgetown cobbler was on January 12 shot dead by a man after he attempted to intervene to settle an argument which broke out between the gunmen and another man over a motorcycle.

Dead is Keith Hopkinson, 42, of 52, East Ruimveldt Housing Scheme.

YET ANOTHER POLICEMAN GUNNED DOWN IN EXECUTION STYLE - THE 'campaign of terror' unleashed on Law Enforcement Officers since April last year continues unabated and has dramatically escalated since the start of the new year as another Policeman, the fourth in 12 days, was brutally and cold bloodedly executed on January 12.

Police Constable 17657 Mark Yaw, 22, of Lot 26 'A', East La Penitence is the fourth Policeman and fifth law enforcement officer to have been brutally and heinously gunned down since the start of the year.

BUSINESSWOMAN SHOT DEAD, CUSTOMER INJURED- An Agricola, East Bank Demerara businesswoman was January 13 fatally shot at her shop by gunmen while doctors were battling to save her son's life after he was admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) nursing several gunshot wounds.

A customer who was at the shop during the shooting and sustained a gunshot wound to his left leg was also being treated at the hospital.

ROLL BACK FARE INCREASES - MINISTRY of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Mr Manzoor Nadir, has again called on those operating public transportation, particularly minibus operators, not to increase their fares.

He on January 14 noted that the current increase in fuel prices was temporary and does not justify an increase in transportation fare. At a news conference in his office, he said the Government has dropped the consumption taxes on fuel and he advised commuters that the fare ought to be the same and no increase was justified.

FATHER OF FIVE MURDERED IN WEST BERBICE RSTAURANT - A father of five was on January 13 stabbed to death in a Chinese restaurant at Armadale, West Coast Berbice after he rebuked a teenaged lad about his disorderly behavior on the premises.

Dead is John Pestano, 40, of Lot 33, Number 40 Village, West Coast Berbice.

COMMISSIONER, CORBIN DUE TO MEET ON BUXTON - POLICE Commissioner Mr. Floyd McDonald has agreed to today meet Chairman and acting Leader of the People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R), Mr. Robert Corbin on the situation in the East Coast Demerara village of Buxton, among other matters, a source said yesterday.

Corbin last week wrote McDonald requesting an urgent meeting.

LUNCHEONN URGES PATIENCE IN PREPARING CASE - HEAD of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon yesterday urged patience for the Police to prepare a good case and allow justice to operate in the case of the three heavily armed men detained by the Guyana Defence Force at Good Hope, East Coast Demerara early last month.

He made the comment while responding to speculations that the administration is somewhat reluctant to prosecute the men found with the high powered weapons and sophisticated equipment capable of intercepting cellular calls, and a plan of the city.

THREE GOOD HOPE DETAINEES CHARGED - THE three men held by an Army patrol at Good Hope, East Coast Demerara early last month allegedly with a large cache of arms and ammunition, appeared yesterday before Magistrate Jerrick Stephney at the Sparendaam Court, also on the East Coast.

MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR POPEYES RESTAURANTS TO OPEN HERE- THE famous Popeyes fast food chain in the United States on February 14 opened its first multi-million dollar Chicken and Seafood Restaurant in Georgetown, and local franchise holder, El Dorado Restaurants Incorporated, plans another four outlet across Guyana in another four years.

A group of local investors under the business name, El Dorado Restaurants Inc, recently won the franchise and according to Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Robert Badal, each restaurant will cost about G$90M. More than 250 jobs will be created in total.

BUXTON GUNMEN TERRORISE PUMP ATTENDANT- GUNMEN from the East Coast Demerara village of Buxton on January 16 pounced on a pump attendant at nearby Enterprise and after brutalising him, let him go to bring them a hefty sum of money.

Navendra Mangal, 39, was on duty at around 10:00 hrs when six men attacked him, his sister Sarojanie said.

PRESIDENT TO VISIT CHINA - PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo is to go on a 10-day State visit to the People's Republic of China in late March. The visit will see him touring some 10 provinces.

He made the announcement following a conducted tour of the G&C Sanata Company Inc at the Ruimveldt Industrial Site in Georgetown on January 17 but said he was still in the process of putting together his delegation which will most likely include a private sector team.

MIDNIGHT BLAZE DEVOURS STANLEYTOWN COTTAGE - A TWO-Bredroom cottage was razed in a midnight fire that devoured an undisclosed quantity of home furnishing and personal possessions at Lot 49 Stanleytown, New Amsterdam.

The blaze which broke out about 23:45 hrs on January 16 reportedly began at the rear entrance of the one-flat building owned by Ms. Amanda Samaroo.

GUNMEN TERRORISE ANOTHER EAST COAST VILLAGE - LESS than 24 hours after a Buxton gang shot and killed an Annandale resident in the latest raid in the East Coast Demerara village, gunmen again yesterday rampaged through the nearby Vigilance/Bladen Hall, terrorising and robbing residents.

Retired teacher, Jainarine Singh, also called 'teach', who was shot in the head and hospitalised after a gang of armed men swept through Annandale on Friday and robbed a supermarket of about $110,000, died on January 18.

SUSPECTED SNATCHER SHOT DEAD - TWO men who witnesses said, robbed a woman of her gold chain on Hadfield Street, Georgetown, were gunned down on January 18 by Police who pursued them into the yard where they were hiding.

The witnesses said that the men known to them as 'Lil Charlie' and 'Marlon', both residents of Sophia, Greater Georgetown, reportedly committed the act on Hadfield street and attempted to escape when Police who were in the area pursued them and found them hiding in a bathroom.

TAXI DRIVER KILLED - GUNMEN on January 17 shot and killed an Albouystown, Georgetown taxi driver before taking off with the motorcar he was driving.

Dead is Linden Hoyte, 34, of 173 Campbell Street Albouystown. The hijacked car which belongs to a cousin of the driver, was recovered on the East Coast of Demerara yesterday, Police said.

NARROW ESCAPE FOR YOUNG BUSINESSMAN - A YOUNG businessman narrowly evaded an attack and robbery attempt by three men at the Enterprise Railway Embankment, East Coast Demerara January 19 but lost his car in the process.

Inran Khan, 34, said the attackers set his car on fire as he fled for his life after managing to slip out of the vehicle as the three men closed in on him.

BANDITS KILL EAST COAST BUSINESSMAN - AN East Coast Demerara businessman was gunned down on January 19 when a gang of heavily armed bandits stormed his business premises at Better Hope South.

Reports said Ralph Bassoo, 44 died after he was shot several times in the head by the gang which attacked shortly after noon and fled in a car with an undisclosed amount in cash and jewellery.

WIDOW RECOUNTS DEADLY ROBBERY ATTACK - SHIREEN Khan, nursing bullet wounds, was on January 20 trying to come to grips with the reality that her husband of 14 years, East Coast Demerara businessman Ralph Bassoo, was no longer alive.

As friends and neighbours were putting up a shed for the wake, she recalled the horror of the daylight Sunday attack in which gunmen cold-bloodly killed her husband as she watched.

WANTED CRIMINAL SHOT DEAD - A MAN wanted in connection with at least five murders, including the killing of two Policemen, was on January 20 shot dead in an armed confrontation with cops, Police said.

A Police press release said that about 19:00 hrs, the fugitive Hoofman Lall was fatally shot on Water street, Georgetown.

COP SHOT ON CITY STREET - DECTECTIVE Constable Gregory Brushe was on January 20 shot twice in the head and neck by an unknown gunman while on his way to work at the Brickdam Police Station, Georgetown.

According to a Police report, Constable 14225 Brushe was, at about 08:10 hrs, walking west along Croal street in the vicinity of the 'Action Tyre' automobile service centre, when the gunman on a bicycle rode up behind and tapped him on his shoulder and then shot him and rode away.

TERRIFIED WOMAN HIDES IN CLOSET AS THIEVES RANSACK HOUSE SHARON Trim, 29, had a terrifying experience on January 20 when she hid in a bedroom closet as thieves who had broken into the house ransacked the place, stacking booty to fetch away.

She said she was home alone shortly after noon when men broke into the house at 55 Earl's Court, La Bonne Intention (LBI), East Coast Demerara.

MORE SECURITY MEASURES IN PLACE TO COMBAT CRIMINAL VIOLENCE - CABINET on January 21 continued its assessment of the impact of the law enforecemt agencies on the current crime situation, and acknowledged that the persistant concerns about raids and robberies raised by the residents of communities neighbouring Buxton on the East Coast Demerara are being addressed.

Dr. Roger Luncheon said that additional security measures have been implemented in the neighbourig villages to deal with the heightened criminal activities being perpetrated by elements from Buxton.

KIDNAP SCARE FOR ANNANDALE TEENS - TWO teenagers, Amit and Aravinda Omrou from Annandale, East Coast Demerara, got the biggest scare of their lives on January 20 when gunmen kidnapped them in front of their home and forced them at gunpoint into the backlands in the vicinity of neighbouring Buxton.

However, quick response and tactical moves by some angry residents of Annandale ensured that the two young men were safely back with their family less than an hour after the ordeal began.

TWO SHOT DEAD AS BANDITS STRIKE AGAIN-Two men were killed and some seven other persons wounded when heavily-armed bandits on January 22 attacked and robbed two business places, 'Pet Boy's Beer Garden and Pool Bar' and 'Steven's Beer Garden and Cheap Shop', both in Ketley Street, Charlestown, Georgetown.

The gang escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash around 20:45 hrs after attacking the shops with heavy gunfire that lasted for about 15 minutes, witnesses said. Dead are Leonard Parjohn, 32 proprietor of Steven's Beer Garden and Carlton Norton, 22, of 17 Broad and Lyng streets, Charlestown.

PENSIONER DIES AS OLD HOUSE COLLAPSES - A SIXTY-seven year old man was tragically killed at the corner of Water and New Market street, Georgetown, on January 22 when a derelict building crashed as he passed by.

Dead is Fitzgerald Williams also called 'Joe Younge', of Lot 8 New Market Street, a former security guard attached to Ming's (Auto) Services. He was employed with creative Craft on Main Street at the time of his death.

PRESIDENT ASKS FOR RETHINK OF ANTI-CRIME PLANS - PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo on January 23 announced that he had asked the Police and Army to revisit the current anti-crime strategies because these are not working.

His announcement came at a Press briefing shortly after he received the long awaited report from the steering committee on the Public Consultations on Crime, which was presented by Chairman, Bishop Juan Edghill in the Credentials Room, Office of the President.

RELATIVES RECALL HORROR OF NIGHT ATTACK - The wife of the Businessman slain in Wednesday's night shooting spree in Ketley Street, Charlestown, Georgetown, Mrs. Nandaine Parjohn, on January 24 remained deeply shocked at the horror of the bandit attack which claimed the lives of her husband Leonard and another person Carlton Norton of nearby Albouystown.

Most of the ten other persons wounded in the attack by the gunmen were recovering in hospital.

BANDIT KILLED AFTER ANOTHER DEADLY ROBBERY ATTACK - ONE bandit was killed in a shootout with security forces after a gang had shot dead an elderly driver while robbing a shop at Better Hope, East Coast Demerara, on January 24.

The gang of six men who residents said wore stockings over their faces and carried AK-47 guns, stormed into 'Dolly's Variety Store' at about 15:00 hrs and killed Yacoob Mohamed, 63.

TWO DIE IN CONFRONTATION WITH POLICE - TWO men died after they were shot in separate confrontations with Police in Georgetown on January 24.

One died after prompt action by a Policeman thwarted a robbery on a 56-year old security guard, by two armed suspects at about 08:10 hrs in the vicinity of the Bank of Guyana.

WOMEN DEMONSTRATE AGAINST KILLINGS - MORE than 150 women came together for a one hour peaceful demonstration in Georgetown January 24 against the killings in the country.

They gathered around the Centotaph outside the Bank of Guyana from noon. The women dressed in white, but are not affiliated with the 'Women in White' movement.

FEBRUARY COPS NAB SUSPECT IN EAST COAST DRAMA - ONE man is now in Police custody and about three others were reportedly hiding out in areas behind houses in the vicinity of the Mon Repos Market, East Coast Demerara, after they jumped from a bus Police were following.

The drama which lasted for some one and a half hours before the suspected bandit was caught, began to unfold around 11:30 hrs on January 25, witnesses said.

KETLEY STREET SHOOTING VICTIM DIES - THIRTY- year old Sharon Reis, one of the ten persons injured in the recent Ketley Street, Charlestown robbery succumbed on January 25 at the Georgetown Public Hospital.

The mother of four, who celebrated her birthday last month, was shot as the bandits were fleeing the scene, firing indiscriminately. Two men businessman Leonard Parjohn and 22 year old Carlton Norton were also shot dead by the bandits during the attack on Wednesday night.

CRIME THREATEN AUSTRALIA CRICKET TOUR TO GUYANA - THE Austrailian Cricket Board (ACB) has written the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) seeking urgent advice on the current crime situation in Guyana and what contingency plans are in place to amend the tour schedule, should circumstances evolve to determine the unsuitability of Guyana as a venue to host the tour and first test match.

OVERALL MINING PERFORMANCE GOOD, BUT PRODUCTION DROPS - OVERALL performance in the mining sector last year was good due mainly to the production levels of gold and diamond compared to the previous year, Prime Minister Sam Hinds has reported on January 26.

At a news conference at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) he congratulated those who are involved in the mining of gold and diamonds as well as the GGMC for the output in the sector.

INDIAN ENVOY PLEDGES TO BUILD ON TIES WITH GUYANA - RECENTLY appointed Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Mr. Tara Singh, has said that although Guyana and India enjoy a close and warm friendship based on age-old historical ties, the potential that exists for further strengthening bilateral relations has not been fully exploited.

He was speaking on January 26 at a reception he hosted at his residence in University Gardens, East Coast Demerara, to mark India's 54th year as a Republic.

LACK OF FUNDS FORCES CLOSURE OF SHELTER FOR ABUSED WOMEN - A HAVEN for abused women and children will close its doors come Friday because the Help and Shelter Agency has run out of cash to keep the facility operational.

A release from Help and Shelter on January 27 said the agency regretfully announced the coming closure of the shelter at the end of this month. However, the Crisis Service at Homestretch Avenue, Georgetown will remain open as usual from 08:00 to 16:30 hrs from Monday to Friday.

'LIGHT BILLS' SET TO GO UP FROM SATURDAY- ELECTRICITY bills are set to be higher from Saturday but the move by the Power Company is coming under fire from city businesses and others.

The Guyana Power and Light Company Inc (GPL) on January 28 submitted to the watch dog Public Utilities Commission (PUC), prescribed information showing that energy (KWH) rates will be increased by between 13.9% for residential customers and 16.6% for commercial customers from February 1.

GOVERNMENT MOVES TO ENSURE SECURITY OF EAST COAST RESIDENTS - HEAD of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon told reporters on January 29 that steps taken by the Government in relation to national security were noted by Cabinet and that further efforts to secure the residents in communities neighbouring Buxton were reviewed.

MAN SHOT DEAD AFTER ROBBERY ON CITY STREET - POLICE yesterday reported that a man who had robbed another on Tuesday night was shortly after shot dead at the corner of Croal Streets and Avenue of the Republic, Georgetown.

The Police in a statement said the incident occurred around 19:55 hrs when Errol Emanuel, 21, of 3272 South Ruimveldt Park, Georgetown pounced on his victim at the corner of Charlotte street and Avenue of the Republic, placed a knife to his throat, snatched a silver chain and fled south along Avenue of the Republic.

GUNMEN KILL ANOTHER POLICEMAN - ANOTHER Policeman was executed in cold blood on January 30 - the fifth cop killed for the year so far.

Dead is Police Constable Deon Joseph 18343, who was gunned down while riding north along E Field Dam in Sophia, Georgetown at about 09:10 hrs, Police said.

Residents in the area said that two men ambushed the 30 year-old Policeman, shot him several times and fled as the Constable fell to the grounds bleeding from his wounds.

PRESIDENT URGES PNC/R TO UTILISE GOVERNANCE IN PARLIAMENT - THE People's National Congress Reform proposal to the Government to have some level of shared Governance is just another dead end to the many attempts made by the Government to involve the party in national issues way.

This is the view expressed by President Bharrat Jagdeo during a television interview with Mr. Patrick Denny of the Stabroek News.

TWO KILLED IN ATTACK ON SHOP - A BUSINESSMAN was on February 2 shot dead and a customer fatally stabbed when armed bandits waged an attack on a wholesale and retail beverage shop at 17 Broad Street, Charlestown, Georgetown, during a birthday celebration.

Dead is proprietor Albert Peters, 46, who had been residing and operating his beverage business on the premises for some 20 years neighbours said. The other man was identified as 'Shurland', a music cassette vendor.

POLICE CONSTABLE SLAIN ON EAST COAST - ANOTHER Policeman was on February 3 brutally killed by gunmen in the Friendship area, near Buxton, East Coast Demerara. He is the sixth Policeman and seventh law enforcement officer killed by gunmen for the year so far.

Police Constable Ronald Abel, 25, of 170 South Vryheids Lust, East Coast Demerara, was fatally shot by five armed men on Ogle Street, Friendship, Police said

IMPROVED MEASURES TO BOOST EAST COAST SECURITY- COMMUNITIES neighbouring Buxton on the East Coast Demerara, which are targeted by criminal elements, are now better protected following improved organisation of the collaboration between Police and the Army, a top Government official said February 5.

This has been argumented by closer coordination of the activities of Community Policing Groups with the law enforcement agencies. This was according to Dr. Roger Luncheon at his weekly post-Cabinet news conference.

GUYANA TO BENEFIT FROM US$100M AGRI PROJECT - GUYANA is among 15 Caribbean countries to benefit from a Regional Special Programme for Food Security (RSPFS) under which the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the Italian Government will make available US$100M to boost agricultural production.

The focus will be on water and water-related activities such as improving drainage and irrigation for farmlands, and already $50M has been distributed.

CANADIAN FEDERATION TO HELP STRENGTHEN LOCAL GOVERNANCE - THE Federation of the Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has announced the start of implementation of a five year programme to help strengthen local governance and management in Guyana.

An FCM release said that Guyana Municipal Governance and Management Programme (MGMP) will be implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development.

LINDEN WATER SUPPLY SYSTEM TO BE UPGRADED - PLANS are in place to upgrade the Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara/Upper Berbice) water supply system to provide Lindeners with an adequate supply of safe and potable water.

Minister of Housing and Water, Mr. Shaik Baksh said a consultancy firm will be contracted to examine the entire design layout of a Linden water system and make recommendations on what should be done to ensure that Lindeners receive water.

PRESIDENT STRESSES NEED TO BUILD TRUST - PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo presented the position of the governing PPP/C on shared governance in a position paper entitled 'Towards greater inclusive governance in Guyana - Building trust to achieve genuine political operation.

Presenting the paper at a formal ceremony at State House, he alluded to the post-independence politics in Guyana which he said has been characterised by "a lack of trust between the two main political parties despite the determined efforts of the parties.

TWO KILLED IN SHOOTOUT WITH POLICE PATROL - TWO men were killed after one of them began shooting at a Police mobile patrol in the city and the cops returned fire on February 8, Police reported.

Police in a press release said the men were fatally shot on the Avenue of the Republic, in the vicinity of the New Building Society, after one of them opened fire on the patrol with a 9 mm handgun.

ARMY PROBING FATAL SHOOTING OF SOLDIER - THE Guyana Defence Force (GDF) is investigating the shooting death of a soldier during an incident which involved two ranks at Base Camp Stephenson, Timehri, on February 8.

Reports said that Lance Corporal Rory Clarke, 25, of 41 Engineers Squadron, was shot around 08:05 hrs, and was taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

GOVERNMENT SAYS NEWSPAPER HEADLINE 'UNFAIR' - THE Stabroek News page one headline on February 9 titled 'Jagdeo rejects shared governance' is unfair, according to Mr. Robert Persaud, Information Liason to the President.

The headline and corresponding story reported on the contents of a position paper entitled 'Towards greater Inclusive Governance in Guyana - Building trust to achieve genuine political cooperation' presented Saturday at State House by the President.

LARA INSPIRES W.I TO STUNNING WIN - BRIAN Lara hit a subline century on February 9 to inspire West Indies to a stunning win over South Africa in the opening match of the tournament. Scores: (West Indies 278-5 (50 overs) beat South Africa 275-9 (49 overs) by three runs)

The batsman, who hit 116 runs, lit up a clash, which set a glittering precedent for the remaining 53 games to follow.

GIKES DOES IT AGAIN - VETERAN poet/playwright/film-maker and former academician, Dr. Micheal Gikes, has once again come into the money, having been judged winner of the 'Poetry' prize in the 'Guyana Prize for Literature' 2002 awards.

Gikes, who previously copped the Prize's 'Drama' title in 1992 for his interpretation of Edgar Mittleholzer's 'A pleasant Career', gained the judges' nod this time around for 'Jonestown', said to be a series of love poems to Georgetown and someone named Joan which, in their own special way "helped to take some of that unpleasant resonance away from that other Jonestown.

ROHEE SAYS ALL NOT LOST IN BID TO SAVE SUGAR MARKETS - BRAZIL will continue its challenge to the European Union (EU's) sugar regime by taking it to the trade dispute panel of the World Trade organisation (WTO).

Guyana's Minister of Foreign Trade and International Cooperation, Clememt Rohee, who was part of an African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) trade ministers lobbying mission to Brazil recently, on February 10 reported the development.

TWO CHILDREN FOUND DEAD IN FRIDGE - Relatives were on February 22 in shock and still baffled over the discovery of the bodies of two children in an old refrigerator at the back of a yard at 57 Norton Street, Lodge.

The bodies of four-year-old Jamal Codrington and his seven-year-old friend Jabez Robinson were found in the fridge about 22:00 hrs Friday evening, about six hours after they had gone missing. Jabez twelve year old cousin found the bodies.

POLICEMAN SHOT DEAD AT BUXTON; TWO BURNT TO DEATH IN ALBOUYSTOWN - Police Sergeant Walton Brummel of the Tactical Service Unit (TSU) was shot dead in Buxton on February 22/

Brummel in his late 40s and of North Melanie Damishana, was reportedly on his way to the city in a mini-bus when two gunmen, who were also passengers in the bus, shot at him.

Police also reported that a drive-by shooting in Albouystown last night has left two men dead.

Reports sated that the occupants of a motor car opened fire on two men on a motor cycle. The cycle caught fire and the two men were burnt to death.

THOUSANDS CELEBRATE MASH - THOUSANDS from all walks of life and from around the country on February 23 flocked the capital Georgetown to celebrate the 33rd anniversary of Guyana becoming a Republic.

The music was infectious and the streets were aglitter with colours as the huge throngs of people gathered along the traditional main vantage points for the float parade and to participate in the truly unique Guyanese style of pomp and revelry associated with Mashramani since it began 33 years ago.

DAMOND DAZZLES TO TAKE CROWN - NEW Amsterdam beauty Leanna Dmaond was crowned Miss Guyana Universe 2003 one hour into Mashramani Day and made an early promise to do Guyana pround at the Miss Universe pageant in Panama in May.

Damond, 25, became Mia Rahaman's successor when she answered her final question, telling the judges that a person becomes famous when he/she discovers something, as in the case of Christopher Columbus, who discovered this part of the world.

GUYANA TEAM FOR SOUTH AFRICAN CONFERENCE - THE National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), with funding from the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID), has invited six local government officials from Guyana to attend a conference in South Africa next week.

NDI on February 25 said the delegation would be attending the Commonwealth Local Government Forum-sponsored Second Commonwealth Local Government Conference to be held in Pretoria, March 3-6.

FIRM SUFFERS $60M IN LOSSES FROM FIRE - Metro Office and computer supplies suffered some $60M in losses after one of its building, at 79 Montrose, East Coast Demerara, was gutted by fire around 22:00 hrs on February 24, according to Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Tej Jadunauth.

He yesterday said he received a phone call from an employee saying that the building was on fire. However, when he reached the scene, the building was already engulfed in flames.

VETERAN LABOUR LEADER DIES - VETERAN Labour leader, Mr. Joseph Henry Pollydore, C.C.H, who served the trade union movement with distinction for some 61 unbroken years, died around 02:30 hrs on February 26 at the Medical Arts Centre, Georgetown.

Mr. Pollydore, 94, a former founder member and General Secretary of the then Transport Workers Union Congress (GTUC), was reported to have "succumbed to old age" after he was admitted to the medical institution earlier this week.

GUYANESE STUDENT IN CUBA DIES AFTER ACCIDENT - A GUYANESE student studying on a Government scholarship in Cuba since October 2000, died on the Caribbean Island on February 23, following an accident.

Rajkumar Tularam, 23, from 63 Hibernia Village, Essequibo Coast, was pursuing studies in Agronomy.

MORE IMF WORLD BANK AID EXPECTED- GUYANA is expected to receive further assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank for its development programmes, the Government Information Agency (GINA) announced on February 27.

It said that President Bharrat Jagdeo who is on an official visit to Washington, met officials of the World Bank and the IMF yesterday to discuss Guyana's economic and Social performance.

'UMBRELLA PARTY' COPS MASH ROAD MARCH PRIZE - THE popular Mash 2003 tune 'Umbrella Party' by Campton Hodge has copped the Road March prize, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports announced yesterday.

The ministry in a release on February 27 announced the results of the Mashramani Costume Band and Float Parade, the Individual Costume Competitions and the Masquerade Competition.

SARWAN IN COURAGEOUS KNOCK FOR WINDIES - Sri Lanka edged out West Indies by six runs in a thrilling World Cup Group B match on February 28, bouncing back from their shock defeat by Kenya to virtually assure themselves of a place in the Super Sixes.

Opening bowler Chaminda Vaas was again the hero, scoring an unbeaten 2 and capturing four vital wickets to leave West Indies just short of Sri Lanka's modest total of 228 for six.

PM REFUTES PNC/R ALLEGATIONS ON ELECTRICITY SITUATION - Prime Minister Sam Hinds on February 28 vigorously refuted recent allegations by the main Opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R) on the electricity situation in the country.

He also accused the PNC/R of trying to jeopardize the ongoing negotiations between the Government and AC Power - the major shareholders in the crisis - plagued Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL). HOME Affairs Minister, Mr. Ronald Gajraj, along with senior officials of the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Prison Service and the Region Six Administration, toured the New Amsterdam Prison on Monday.

While there the Minister interacted with both male and female inmates and held discussions with senior officials of the Guyana Prison Service on ways in which they can carry out their duties more efficiently, according to a statement from the Government Information Agency (GINA).

GINA said the Minister heard requests from prisoners on a wide range of issues. Some of these included an increase in educational opportunities that are being offered and the expedition of trials. There were also pleas of innocence from several inmates.

GINA said Mr. Gajraj also pledged assistance to one prisoner for the acquisition of a pair of spectacles. While interacting with the females, Minister Gajraj urged them to remain focused. He urged the authorities to concentrate on ensuring that reforms are carried out in a positive manner.

The Home Affairs Minister also commented that he is generally pleased with the conditions of the facility.

Accompanying the Minister were Divisional Commander, ‘B’ Division, Mr. Paul Slow; Officer in Charge of the New Amsterdam Prison, Mr. Trevor Small; Staff Officer Assistant Commissioner, Mr. Ovid Glasgow; Regional Chairman, Mr. Kumkarran Ramdass; and Members of Parliament, Mr. Zulifikar Mustapha and Mr. Ramesh Rajkumar.

A total of 216 prisoners are housed at the New Amsterdam Prison.