Rain or Shine center Raymond Almazan beats three Phoenix players for the loose ball. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netPhoenix took its first defeat of the season on Sunday and head coach Louie Alas felt they lost the game on the defensive end of the floor.Alas said the Fuel Masters committed too many defensive lapses that allowed the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters escape with a 98-94 win in overtime in a game that featured the top two teams in the league.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ LATEST STORIES View comments In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Sta. Lucia hopes to turn over new leaf with coach Babes Castillo in tow Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra “We weren’t able to sustain our job defensively in the last five minutes. We had three breakdowns on scrambled defense in the last few minutes,” Alas told reporters.The Fuel Masters emerged as early contenders in the Philippine Cup but Alas said his team still has some work to do if it really wants to be one of the elites in the PBA.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets offers from Asia, Australian ball clubs“If you want to reach the next level, you have to be able to make stops in the crucial moments,” he said.Phoenix made a string of stops in the fourth quarter that completed wiped out Rain or Shine’s 14-point lead in the third period. But the Fuel Masters faltered defensively when it mattered most.With the game tied at 92 with under two minutes left, Phoenix allowed a layup by Rain or Shine guard Rey Nambatac, an offensive rebound by Raymond Almazan that led to two free throws and an open jumper by Mark Borboran to clinch the game for the Painters, who took the top spot away from the Fuel Masters.But despite the loss, Alas said he is still pleased with Phoenix’s 5-1 record midway through the elimination round.“You have to be happy with that and at the same time improve. We have to be even tougher and not allow ourselves to lose two in a row.”ADVERTISEMENT Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Philippine Army to acquire MANPADS, self-propelled howitzers Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Phivolcs: Slim probability of Taal Volcano caldera eruption Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history View comments LATEST STORIES Philippine Army to acquire MANPADS, self-propelled howitzers MOST READ Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? “I was really really pleased with the effort,” said Alapag, whose team remains on top of the league with an 11-3 record. “In the end, we gave ourselves a chance. I thought we fouled a little bit too much and it’s tough. They put a lot of pressure on Balkman and all the other guys to fight for rebounds.”Deguara had a season-high 31 rebounds to go with 18 points, while Holyfield, who replaced the injured OD Bassett in the lineup, added 19 boards to his 20 points.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsEven with Renaldo Balkman as its only reinforcement, Alab kept the game close up until the end and even led 77-71 on a three from Ray Parks who finished with 29 points. In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next HONGKONG—San Miguel Beer-Alab Pilipinas’ seven-game winning streak came to an end on Wednesday night, but there was no hint of disappointment from coach Jimmy Alapag after the shorthanded Filipino club dropped an 88-83 decision on the road against Hong Kong Eastern in the Asean Basketball League Season 9.Playing without 7-foot-3 center PJ Ramos, who went down due to food poisoning before the game at Southorn Stadium, Alab struggled to contain 7-foot-5 Sam Deguara and 6-foot-11 Mike Holyfield as Eastern finally beat Alab for the first time in four games this season.ADVERTISEMENT Go powers Ateneo to cruising win
Rogue cops marked as Gamboa’s targets in his appointment as PNP chief The Bucks used a huge second quarter to grab a nine-point lead after falling behind by 14. That propelled them to their eighth straight road win — their best streak since a nine-game run during the 1981-82 season.Brogdon hit four 3-pointers. Middleton nailed three from beyond the arc. Nikola Mirotic scored 13, and the Bucks moved a season-high 32 games over .500.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsLauri Markkanen and Robin Lopez each scored 26 for Chicago. But the Bulls’ season-high three-game win streak came to an end.It was the ninth straight 20-point game for Markkanen, who scored a career-best 35 against Boston on Saturday. Bulls: G Kris Dunn (migraine) and F Otto Porter Jr. (strained lower left leg) missed the game. Coach Jim Boylen said he thinks Porter “will for sure” travel with the team to Memphis on Tuesday, though he was less certain about Dunn. … The Bulls are scheduled to visit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis on Tuesday.UP NEXTBucks: Visit Sacramento on Wednesday.Bulls: Visit Memphis on Wednesday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college LATEST STORIES Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award MOST READ Lopez had his highest scoring game of the season. But Zach LaVine finished with 11 coming off a career-high 42-point game.The Bucks trailed by 14 late in the first quarter, only to outscore Chicago 38-16 in the second to grab a 63-54 halftime lead.Brogdon had nine points in a 16-2 run to start the period as Milwaukee erased a 13-point deficit. Middleton scored 12 over the final 4:07, including a step-back 3 in the closing seconds to send Milwaukee to the locker room up by nine. And the Bucks never really were threatened after that.TIP-INSBucks: Coach Mike Budenholzer said Antetokounmpo worked out Monday and the Bucks are “hopeful” his absence is “very short term.” The Greek Freak is averaging 27.2 points and 12.7 rebounds per game, putting him among the league’s top 10 in both categories. … The Bucks were also missing guards George Hill (strained left groin) and Sterling Brown (right wrist). Budenholzer said Hill likely will be out at least a few games. … Milwaukee signed G Isaiah Canaan to a 10-day contract and recalled F Christian Wood from the G League’s Wisconsin Herd. … The Bucks completed a four-game sweep against Chicago this season.ADVERTISEMENT Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Eugenie Bouchard’s bid for Australian Open spot ends in qualifying Devin Booker, Suns snap miserable 17-game slide, slip past reeling Heat Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Chicago Bulls guard Shaquille Harrison (3) tries to get the ball away from Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon (13) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb. 25, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nuccio DiNuzzo)CHICAGO — Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon each scored 22 points, and the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks beat the Chicago Bulls 117-106 Monday night without All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo.While the Greek Freak sat out with a sore right knee, the Bucks overcame a sluggish start to pick up their 17th win in 19 games.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history FILE – In this Sunday, July 15, 2018 file photo, France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris holds the trophy aloft after the final match between France and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia. France won the final 4-2. FIFA says its committee for organizing competitions confirms the Asian Football Confederation will kick off the global program. This gives FIFA until early-June to decide on organizing a 32-team World Cup hosted by Qatar, or a 48-team event spreading games around the Middle East. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)ZURICH — Qualifying games for the 2022 World Cup will begin in Asia in June, though political tensions between Qatar and its neighbors means FIFA’s push to expand the tournament is still uncertain.FIFA’s committee for organizing competitions confirmed on Monday the Asian Football Confederation will kick off the global program. Details from other continents “will follow in due course.”ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Rogue cops marked as Gamboa’s targets in his appointment as PNP chief MOST READ FIFA’s decision making runs through its ruling council meeting next week in Miami, and again in Paris days before the June 5 congress of 211 member federations.FIFA members could favor giving themselves 16 more qualifying slots regardless of diplomatic tensions caused by an ongoing boycott of Qatar by regional rivals.Pressure on Qatar has been led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. If Qatar eventually agrees to share hosting, Kuwait and Oman are thought more acceptable options.A June kickoff for qualifying leaves up to three years to complete a program that typically runs to more than 800 games.Qualifying for the 2018 World Cup took 2 1/2 years, from a preliminary game in March 2015 between East Timor and Mongolia through a November 2017 playoff involving Peru and New Zealand.ADVERTISEMENT PBA D-League: Letran banks on big men to thump AMA Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Eugenie Bouchard’s bid for Australian Open spot ends in qualifying Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college View comments This gives FIFA until early June to decide on organizing a 32-team World Cup hosted by Qatar, or a 48-team event which would need to spread games around the Middle East.FIFA President Gianni Infantino has persistently pushed for an expanded World Cup, despite a limit of 28 days to play the tournament from Nov. 21-Dec. 18.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsHowever, Qatar seems unlikely to agree on giving up some of the hosting rights it won in 2010.Qatar is building just eight stadiums for a 64-game tournament while 12 is the ideal number for 48 teams playing 80 games. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title
B – Brilliantly, you stood the test of time and so your life is worth emulating I – Impartially you fought gallantly like sainted Dolokelen Gboveh, Barsee Kparngbai and your father David Kuyon putting people’s interest firstS – Surprisingly, as a grass rooter, you found way in the politics and was speaker of the LegislatureM – Memory of yours will forever remain unforgottenA – Agriculturist, you were and did cling to it until your demise at 75R – Resourcefully, in relentless efforts you made strides settling conflicts during the Liberian civil crisisC – Come what may, you have set the paceK – Kinsmen of yours will forever remember your legacyN. – New transformation, new generation on we goK – Kindly, forgive those who might have hindered your earthly progressU – “United we stand to fight for our common good”, you always saidY – You, the people of Liberia, mostly the youths, please keep the torch of peace burningO – Onward lift your banner high, Bismarck, forward march like a Christian soldierN – Negligence was never your lifestyle but rather patriotismShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Despite Liberia being badly hit by Ebola and its citizens placed under international spotlight because of the disease, a citizen of the land is busy flying the flag high on the international stage.Alfred H. Wreh, a Liberian currently pursuing post graduate studies at the University of Queensland, Australia, has been nominated to participate in the global International Society for Industrial Ecology Student Chapter Board Election.The Liberian scholar, according to reports, is the first ever, and only African amongst colleagues from Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, China, USA, Hong Kong, Norway, South Korea, USA, Austria and others to be selected to that portfolio.According to a dispatch from Australia, the Student Chapter Board president, Xiao Li, expressed delight in the nominees and encouraged them to be prepared for the challenges ahead.He disclosed that the Student Chapter nominees will serve a term of two years. Li averred that the society is interested in increasing the representation of students from outside North America and Europe. He said he is well pleased with the current composition.For his part, Wreh said hailing from a natural resource-rich country devastated by 14 years of conflict, and representing the chapter of one of the world’s best universities was a dream come true. He noted that the International Society for Industrial Ecology has always been a radical and powerful force for change; an inspirational source of ideas and an innovation which requires companies to ensure that cleaner production, best practices and standards are upheld.Wreh stated: “Its farsighted founder imbued the Society with a sense of purpose not only to encourage innovativeness, broaden learning, cultivate students’ skills and ensure that industries production and profitability is enhanced; but to ensure our actions globally will improve industries’ overall sustainability, alleviate poverty and provide better services while managing the world’s resources.“I share a common set of values which commits us to rising to the challenges of the social and economic crisis facing Africa and the world at large. These challenges can be met through activities which help to regain and boost our quest for a “sustainable” world by alleviating the plight of the vulnerable sections of our society today. We remain committed to the principles of finding innovative solutions to complicated environmental problems, while facilitating communication among scientists, engineers, policymakers, managers and environmental advocates whose work interest focuses on finding a balance between environmental and economic actions.”The Liberian told over 700 global students that as a candidate, the first African to be nominated since the Society’s founding, he brings the African experience, which fulfils the society’s global commitment. Wreh reminded the world of the great potentials in Liberians across the globe, stressing that the presence of the Ebola virus in his country does not call for neglect or isolating citizens of the continent’s oldest independent nation.Mr. Alfred H. Wreh, a Liberian Pursuing Postgraduate studies specifically in Environmental Management, majoring in Natural Resources at the University of Queensland in Australia, was nominated on September 30, 2014 by his university student chapter for election pending a vetting process by the society board. The vetting process was concluded on October 11, 2014.The candidates elected will immediately begin work and will join the organization of the 4th Symposium on Industrial Ecology for Young Professionals (SIEYP IV) at the Biannual ISIE Conference in Surrey, UK, July 2015.The International Society for Industrial Ecology, with offices at Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, promotes industrial ecology as a way of finding innovative solutions to complicated environmental problems. The Society facilitates communication among scientists, engineers, policymakers, managers and advocates who are interested in better integrating environmental concerns with economic activities.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Dear Editor,Because education plays a critical role in any nation’s development, I have been paying keen attention to the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) and the Ministry of Education’s negotiations for the teachers’ multi-year package, 2016-2020.Editor, please permit me some space in your pages to share my opinion on the above subject.It was reported that the GTU proposed an across-the-board increase in salary of 40% for 2016; 45% in 2017; and 50% in 2018, 2019 and 2020 be granted to all categories of teachers and teacher educators for the years 2016-2020.I wish to point out my view on this, and I am certain others share some, if not all, of these sentiments that will be put forward as I analyse the ongoing negotiations between the two parties.Foremost, let me say from the start that the MoE is not solely responsible for this impasse. The GTU must share some of the blame. Editor, I believe the GTU has a right and a responsibility to champion the rights of its members. However, this should be looked at in the context of the situation in its entirety, and not from a partisan angle.The first mistake the GTU made was when is asked for those hefty increases at a time when the Government was doling out $32B to prop up the ailing Guyana Sugar Cooperation. And we have not even considered the many other financial obligations in regard to loan payments and the funding of infrastructural works across the country, which are critical to national development. In short, the union should have proposed a more realistic sum; with limited fiscal space, it was always unlikely that the Government would have agreed to those increases.I am sure the MoE recognises the importance of resolving this issue, but I am not at all surprised when the Minister of Education noted that there was no fiscal space to facilitate such increases at this time; note: “at this time”.If the GTU President, Mr Mark Lyte, is serious about finding a swift resolution to this issue, I believe he should rethink his approach. I say that knowing almost for certain that if and when this issue attracts the services of an arbiter, the GTU proposed increases will be significantly lowered. Why not accept the $700 million for the 2018 increases across the board for teachers, while both parties look to ink an agreement for the remaining years?It was noticed also that the GTU and the MoE agreed to other non-financial benefits for teachers. Headteachers will now be freed up from dorm duties at those schools that have that facility. The MoE has agreed to employ additional dorm staff to aid in this regard. There is the duty-free concession for 100 teachers for 2018, who rightly have to meet certain criteria. Notwithstanding this number, the Minister of Education has agreed to look at widening this pool to capture additional teachers. Teachers who work in the interior will now be entitled to return flight to the area where they originally reside.I am not saying the union should be passive, but I believe that, as a serious union, it should consider the situation of the Ministry of Education and the Government of Guyana. I feel the concern of President Granger when he said that his government did not want a confrontation with teachers.Editor, it is at this juncture that I want to ask Mr Mark Lyte some questions. He has embarked on a countrywide sensitisation of his union’s proposed strike action, and he said some pretty interesting things. And I wish to point out these, so that union members can solicit some clarity from him.Mr Lyte, paraphrasing, has said the GTU would be unable to provide strike relief for teachers, since your union is low on cash. From the information available, the GTU has around 7000 unionised teachers who pay $500 monthly union dues; that’s $42 million per year for the union’s coffers. The president said they have to pay staff and maintain buildings. Even so, there should be a tangible amount set aside in a bank account somewhere in light of the fact that this sum was being collected for a number of years. If the GTU, by its own admission, does not have money, it should submit its financial affairs to an independent audit.And what about a needs assessment in terms of determining which teacher gets any assistance? Mr Lyte said that would be the most vulnerable in the GTU’s membership. Well, Mr Lyte, all the teachers will be most vulnerable, since they all will see their salaries cut; the GTU should be able to provide some assistance to its members.Mr Lyte, I implore you to look seriously at the offer the Government is proposing as a temporary measure, and rescind your strike call to your members. This nation is poised to experience a golden patch, and the more education this nation is exposed to, the greater are our chances of truly maximising the rich potential of this nation. GTU and MoE, let us cooperate and build this nation.Yours sincerely,Elizabeth Williams
The recent upsurge in criminal activities across the country seemed to have cracked the nerve of the businessPublic Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattancommunity as it came out swinging at the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change Administration, for what it said seems to be its inability to take control of the situation.Officials of the Central Corentyne and Berbice Chambers of Commerce (CC&BCC) on Thursday first criticised the new Administration, pointing out that it appears to be powerless and ineffectual in tackling the situation.“Government seems powerless, ineffectual, and out of their league in fighting crime. It is extremely disappointing as the coalition campaigned very strongly on this issue and we were all optimistic with all the military, ex-commissioners and other ‘experts’ at their disposal and now we have a situation in Berbice that is far worse than we have ever experienced,” the organisations, which represents the interest of businesses in Berbice said in a statement.The two groups in a joint statement said “everyone seems to be a sitting duck, as it seems every day a business is held up and residents beaten and robbed in their homes, this coupled with the depressed business environment, makes it exceedingly burdensome for businesses and ordinary citizens to cope. President Granger and the Government has miserably failed the people of this country to provide protection and security”.Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan also came under fire for his seemingly reluctant and unconcerned disposition at addressing the situation head on in the ancient county.The Minister reportedly told the business community in the region that he had no time to deal with their concerns as he was extremely busy with the preparation for the country’s 50thIndependence anniversary celebration slated for next month.“The present Security Minister, who we strongly believe will not be able to support and motivate the Force, is too busy preparing for the jubilee celebrations than meet with the Chambers at our request to discuss the present situation… He wants us to do his work for him. We must document what we feel he should do in the present situation and send it to him, instead of his coming to us to hear what we have to say and see if any of it can be implemented. Since we have to wait over one month to get a meeting with the Minister, let the public be the judge of his priorities.”The Chambers articulated that that Police morale is low, with officers uncertain and afraid to shoot. They said this should be taken in context of President Granger’s insistence on pardoning criminals, stating that “it is no surprise that gun crimes have spiralled out of control. Bandits have become more emboldened by the Government’s approach.”Just recently, a Police was almost killed by a bandit in Rose Hall in the presence of his armed colleagues.The Government’s policy on crime needs a serious overhaul. The Government appears weak, soft and sympathetic to criminals, contrast this with the late President Hoyte’s no-nonsense and aggressive approach to the ‘kick down the door bandits’ in the eighties, President Granger being a historian should go back and study and implement the strategies used by President Hoyte, who on assuming office in the eighties quickly brought the crime spree under control,” the Chamber said.In light of Ramjattan’s remark for the CC&BCC to provide their input, the Chambers have suggested several things that could be done to tackle crime in Berbice. These include quick response teams to be located in Berbice, establishing a permanent SWAT teams in the county; Government’s unconditional support for our Policemen and women; increase in salary, pay salaries on time; increased Police patrols; and the Rose Hall Police Outpost should be converted into a Police station. The CC&BCC added that the Force needs more manpower and vehicles, in addition to training and education. They also suggested the exploration of the possibility of CCTV cameras and duty-free concessions for security equipment.Meanwhile, following the release by the Berbice Chambers of Commerce, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) in a statement also expressed extreme concern over the mounting crime situation.The GCCI brought into account the brazen attack on the Ramada Princess Hotel Casino and the killings earlier this month of rice farmers Mohammed Munir and his wife Jamilla.GCCI said that with the independence jubilee fast approaching, the authorities have to do more to arrest the crime situation.It lamented that years of changes and the provision of resources to the Police seemed to have little or no impact. According to the GCCI, there is an urgent need for a national discussion on the long-term capacity of the Police to handle crime.
– dead children were taken after being neglected, mistreated by familyBy Ramona LuthiSocial Protection Minister Volda Lawrence and Director of Childcare Protection Agency (CPA) Ann Greene atMinister of Social Protection Volda Lawrencea press conference on Friday accepted full responsibility for the tragic fire which claimed the lives of two young children on Thursday evening at the Hadfield Street Drop-in Centre.At the conference were the two Social Service assistants Sandra Jones and Rupert Hinds, who were in charge of the 31 children at the Drop-in Centre on that fateful evening. They were given a chance to describe the events leading up to the demise of Antonio George, 6, and Joshua George, 2.According to Jones, who was in charge of the girls’ department at the upper flat of the centre, she noticed sparks emanating from a nearby electrical wire which quickly erupted into a flame and spread into an uncontrollable blaze. It was highlighted that she immediately began awakening the girls, who then rushed out of the burning building to safety, while she tried to battle the flames with the fire extinguishers.“I was in the dorm upstairs and the girls already drop to sleep and whilst sitting down, I noticed the electrical wire on the wall start giving this whizzing sound, and next thing I know, there’s a big bunch of fire all over the place. I wake the girls up and try to save as much of them as I can. I saved all my girls. I got out all of the girls,” she related.Hinds, the boys’ social service assistant voiced his recollection of the night, highlighting that Jones alerted him of the fire and so he tried to get the boys to safety, and then moved to assist Jones in taming the fire. “The elder child didn’t reach outside. He was still in the building. Maybe he might have gone back to get his brother” Hinds related.Investigations are currently ongoing to determine exactly what caused the fire and the deaths of the two boys.According to the director of the Child Agency, the two children along with their three other siblings were taken into care on Wednesday by the CPA, in anticipation of an investigation into the alleged neglect and abuse of the children. She relayed that as per routine, the CPA took the children for medical attention the following day and it was confirmed that the children were victims of neglect and maltreatment.Speaking on behalf of the Ministry, Greene relayed that the Ministry of Social Protection would take full responsibility for the tragic incident and bear the full cost of the funeral for the young children.Minister of Social Protection Volda Lawrence who recognised this incident as very heartbreaking, noted that while many fire prevention measures were implemented, including fire extinguishers, sand buckets and more importantly the training of staff, prior to the fire, there was more than could have been done.She also highlighted that this tragic incident has been an eye opener and there is an intention to provide “safe spaces” for children within the various centres soon.“This morning, when I got there, I realised, that we did not have a safe space for those children in the case of evacuation, not only from fire, but flood, earthquake, anything and perhaps in going forward this is one of the things we can look at,” the Minister pointed out.
… has five psychiatristsThe level of mental health care offered by the Ministry of Public Health will be improved and the Mental Health Unit will seek to further decentralise its service to the community level.Minister within the Public Health Ministry, Dr Karen Cummings, speaking on the issue of decentralisation said that the ministry has already commenced the process of conducting an hunman resources review that will lead to an HR strategic Plan after which the ministry and its partners will identify, train, and allocate additional resources to boost the mental health services particularly at the community level.The Public Health Ministry’s Mental Health UnitMinister Cummings also identified the need for a review of the current mental health legislation that does not allow for extensive mental health care and is outdated. It has also been recognised that persons with mental disorders are more prone to become victims of suicide.“Several risk factors contribute to the high suicide rates in Guyana. The most common risk factors identified are acute emotional distress and depression. This factor accounts for 36.6 per cent of all cases. The care of the mentally ill is provided under the legislative framework of the Mental Health Ordinance of 1930, which is antiquated and fails to make provision for the protection of the rights of people with mental disorders.”Meanwhile, Director of the Mental Health Unit, Dr Meenawattie Rajkumar, in an invited telephone comment with Government Information Agency (GINA), stated that the unit had not been properly structured to cater to mentally ill patients prior to May 2016.Dr Rajkumar added that the unit can now offer counselling and occupational therapy to these patients in a refurbished environment. She said that the unit is equipped with five psychiatrists, eight Social Workers and a pharmacy for the patients to have easier access to treatment.She remarked that the aim of the Metal Health Unit is to break the stigma that is attached to mental illness in Guyana. Located at 252 Quamina Street, South Cummingsburg, the unit caters for patients with mental disorders on an out-patient basis.The unit’s Director said that the Public Health Ministry intends to upgrade the GPHC’s psychiatric department as a specialised in-patient unit, housing patients according to their level of diagnosis.The organisation of mental health services, beds and professionals in Guyana is currently centralised, responding to persons with mental disorders and concentrating them at the National Psychiatric Hospital at Canje, Berbice and the Georgetown Public Hospital Psychiatric ward.Persons with mental disorders are reported to suffer discrimination in their communities, workplaces, educational institutions, judicial services and the health care system.