Captain Nikita Miller has described as unique the opportunity that has been provided for new and emerging players of Jamaica at the triangular Twenty20 cricket tournament involving the Windward Islands and Antigua and Barbuda. The week-long tournament, which forms part of Antigua and Barbuda’s Independence Day Celebrations, bowls off today in Antigua. “It’s an opportunity for the new and emerging players to show the national selectors what they are capable of,” said Miller, who along with teammates departed the country yesterday. He added: “I am, therefore, looking forward to them expressing themselves in the way they know how to. Some of the players who are in this team will be more than likely be in the set up for preparations for the regional Super50 tournament in January.” The team, which has a mixture of recent Jamaica and West Indies Under-19 representatives, includes two players with West Indies level experience. They are Miller and returning leg-spin all-rounder, Gavin Wallace. Set to play leading roles, the duo will also have in support promising batsman Brandon King, fast bowler Nicholson Gordon, and young Guyanese-born opener Trevon Griffith, who represents Jamaica Scorpions. REGIONAL REPRESENTATION The other members of the Junior Bennett-coached aggregation are either former national trials invitees or are new to regional representation at the Jamaica senior level. “It’s a national team and although it’s not a regional level tournament the aim is to win,” continued Miller, who captained Jamaica for the first time at the regional Super50 earlier this year. “I cannot speak for the other participating teams as I have not seen their squads but I know, for example, that Devon Thomas will be playing for Antigua. “We will therefore be going there to play the best cricket possible and hopefully it will help us to the title.” Jamaica squad – Nikita Miller – captain, Oraine Williams, Jermaine Harrison, Trevon Griffith, Kerry Holness, Brandon King, Derval Green, Romaine Morris, Oshane Thomas, Nicholson Gordon, Gavin Wallace, Pete Salmon and Fabian Allen.
Dear Editor,As Guyanese proudly prepared for Emancipation Day 2019, the caretaker Finance Minister heartlessly warned workers that they will be replaced by foreigners willing to work for less. Bewildered, the Guyanese people wondered where the caretaker President is, where the caretaker Prime Minister is, where are the political parties which swear they exist because of the working class. It surely cannot be only Bharrat Jagdeo and the PPP who must rebuke Jordan.This week, just before Emancipation Day, the caretaker Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, who never admitted he is a dual citizen, as has been alleged, stated, unapologetically, that he prefers foreign workers who would work for less pay than Guyanese workers. His statement is as outrageous as it is unequivocally reckless. It is utterly despicable and disgraceful. In fact, under normal circumstances, by itself, it is reason enough for a Government Minister to immediately resign or be fired. Except, this Minister was already fired on December 21, 2018, and he is presently squatting in his position.While his statement is shocking, sadly, few Guyanese are shocked, expecting nothing but recklessness from the APNU/AFC and their Ministers. But the dismay is real and nothing can diminish how repugnant Jordan’s posture is. The dismay is compounded and there is genuine shock that the trade unions are still silent. Where is Lincoln Lewis of the Guyana Trades Union Congress? Cat cut his tongue?For a Government to endorse foreigners coming and taking jobs from Guyanese, on the basis that their wages are lower, is disgraceful and unforgivable. The time has long past for the leadership of the APNU/AFC to reject the statement from Jordan. It is now almost a week, total silence. David Granger as the caretaker President and the Leader of the PNC is silent. Moses Nagamootoo, the caretaker Prime Minister, who still has nothing to do, who often boasts he is the champion of the working class, is totally silent. His AFC colleagues are in “la la land”, not a word of rebuke. The WPA, which has disowned Walter Rodney and which has become totally subsumed as a regular PNC group, is busy ensuring they remain in the warm embrace of the PNC, cannot even be bothered.When the Private Sector in Guyana decides to hire foreigners because they can pay them less than Guyanese workers, they have legitimacy since the Government endorses this shameless practice. In fact, the Private Sector has already done so. Many security guards today in Guyana are foreigners. More shameful and totally unacceptable, many of the foreign security guards are employed at Government facilities. These foreigners are not only working as security guards, but they also work in the stores and restaurants and other service entities. They work in the mines and in the forestry sector.What makes this practice unholy and repugnant is that it is happening amidst high unemployment. More than 30,000 people have lost their jobs through closure of businesses, including the closure of four sugar estates, and through the slowing down of the economy which has forced certain businesses to reduce staffing. In addition to lost jobs, the Government has failed to create employment. Now unemployment among the Guyanese workers is skyrocketing because available jobs are being taken by foreigners, just because they can be paid less, and the Government, if we are to accept Jordan’s pronouncement, is jumping for joy.It is the height of irresponsibility and Jordan and the APNU/AFC must not escape the people’s wrath. It is behaviour and attitude like this which caused the APNU/AFC to lose the no-confidence vote in Parliament on December 21, 2018. That was not an accident, no fluke, it was the reflection of the loss of confidence among the majority of the Guyanese people. David Granger and the APNU/AFC know this. It is the reason they are so morbidly afraid of the election which was due on March 21 and which is again due on September 18. They will do everything within their deceitful best to avoid the elections. What is most egregious is they still insist on their reckless behaviour, hoping to buy votes by handouts and hoping to use some of the foreign workers to vote for them, illegally of course.While this practice began with jobs like sales persons, security guards, restaurant workers, mining and forestry workers, home workers, in the farms, etc, it is only a matter of time before these workers flood the country competing for other jobs, such as teachers, nurses, in the oil and gas industry etc. This must give us pause because we must now develop a cohesive policy to guide the influx of people from other countries into Guyana. It is not that Guyana cannot accommodate others. Guyana can benefit from an increase in population. But clear policies must guide the influx. When the only rationale is it is better to pay foreigners cheaper, it is a clueless way forward, it is reckless, it is even criminal.Guyanese workers are still the lowest-paid workers in Caricom, outside of Haiti. Now we have a Government which promotes as sound economic sense for foreigners to compete with Guyanese workers by offering their services cheaper. What is unforgiveable is that the APNU/AFC took the reins of Government on the backs of Guyanese workers who they promised dramatic wage and salary increases and significant improvement in other benefits. Guyanese sugar workers, after four years, have received not a cent in wage increases and they have lost significant associated benefits. The public servants are no better off and, after four years, they are still told their increases are coming. Weeks after the APNU/AFC became the Government, they increased their own salaries and benefits between 50 and more than 100 per cent. At the time, they told public servants the Cabinet had to take their own increases first because it will make them more competent and less corrupt and the public servants must be patient and await their turn. Now, workers are told foreigners will take their jobs for less pay.They are utterly shameless in telling the Guyanese workers their jobs are in jeopardy because foreigners are welcomed to come take those jobs if they are willing to work for less. It is high time we punish the APNU/AFC by voting them out. But these shameful people have decided they will not permit any election to fire them.Sincerely,Dr Leslie Ramsammy
The attention of this newspaper is drawn to a front-page lead story in its May 23, 2019 edition headlined “Halting Gongloe ‘Was in Line with Supreme Court’s Protocol”.According to the writer of the story, Abednego Davies, quoting a release from the Supreme Court, says Chief Justice Korkpor’s gag action against LNBA President Tiawan Gongloe was in keeping with the protocol of the Court.“It is an established rule and protocol of the Supreme Court that, at the official opening of each Term of Court or at formal judicial program held at the court, those who speak in response to the Chief Justice’s addresses or remarks must confine themselves to what the Chief Justice has spoken on”.The press release from the Supreme Court, which came in the wake of the Daily Observer’s May 22, 2019 editorial, headlined, “You have Indeed Gravely Erred Mr. Chief Justice”, appears to have been driven by expressed public concerns about the action of the Chief Justice during the seating program of newly appointed Associate Justice, Yussif Kaba.The recurring theme, it would appear, is the question of freedom of expression and thought. And that raises the question whether established Supreme Court rules and protocols take precedence over the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, particularly those provisions protecting freedom of thought and expression.From all indications, the remarks by Bar Association President Tiawan Gongloe must have angered the Chief Justice and triggered off such knee jerk response that tripped the constitutional wire. Established rules and protocols in dissonance with the Constitution can not be used to justify arbitrariness, not even by a long stretch.The issue at bar here is the fundamental right to freedom of expression and responsibility for same thereof and not whether Bar President Gongloe’s remarks were inappropriate or not.Granted, even if his (Gongloe’s) remarks were inappropriate, did such remarks rob the Chief Justice of the opportunity to respond to what the Supreme Court considered inappropriate? In the opinion of this newspaper, fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution especially those enshrined in Article 15 a, b, c, d, e make mincemeat of spurious arguments suggesting that rules, protocols, and laws take precedence over the Constitution.More besides, those who administer at the “altars of justice” in Liberia should not and cannot afford to be seen as intolerant or hostile to rights guaranteed under the Constitution. They should always be guided by the Voltairean principle: “I wholly disapprove of what you say—and will defend to the death your right to say it.”The Daily Observer holds the view yet, unchanged, that Chief Justice Korkpor’s action violated provisions of the Constitution guaranteeing and protecting freedom of thought and expression. In this regard, no rule, law, protocol or special arrangement can supersede the Constitution. For reasons of clarity, those relevant provisions of the Constitution referenced are quoted here below:CHAPTER IIIFUNDAMENTAL RIGHTSArticle 15a) Every person shall have the right to freedom of expression, being fully responsible for the abuse thereof. This right shall not be curtailed, restricted or enjoined by government save during an emergency declared in accordance with this Constitution.b) The right encompasses the right to hold opinions without interference and the right to knowledge. It includes freedom of speech and of the press, academic freedom to receive and impart knowledge and information and the right of libraries to make such knowledge available. It includes non-interference with the use of the mail, telephone and telegraph. It likewise includes the right to remain silent.c) In pursuance of this right, there shall be no limitation on the public right to be informed about the government and its functionaries.d) Access to state owned media shall not be denied because of any disagreement with or dislike of the ideas express. Denial of such access may be challenged in a court of competent jurisdiction.e) This freedom may be limited only by judicial action in proceedings grounded in defamation or invasion of the rights of privacy and publicity or in the commercial aspect of expression in deception, false advertising and copyright infringement”.In closing this editorial, this newspaper begs to differ with Justice Korkpor and must warn of the implications of setting dangerous precedents. As innocuous as the action of the Chief Justice may appear, it is important to ask: just where does this all end since, from hard experience, we know that one arbitrary behavior leads to another and yet another?Thus, we beg to differ, Mr. Chief Justice for this newspaper cannot accept that Court rules and protocols take precedence over the Constitution. Liberians have paid a very high price for the freedoms enjoyed today and are not prepared to accept anything less. As Nelson Mandela reminds us “there is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires”.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)